Running With L.A.

It’s amazing to plant an idea in the mind and watch it take root and grow. What started out as a pipe dream far into the future was now looking like near-term reality.untitled1 This would be my second 10k in 2 months, a monumental achievement in and of itself, considering back problems almost cost me a 5k run just 3 months before. The run was nearly in line with Hal Higdon’s marathon training program, which was supposed to be a 7 mile run, but a 6.2 competitive run was close enough. The early morning fog made it relatively cool that day, which was perfect for running. The idea was to go sleeveless, but I packed a shirt with sleeves just in case, considering the weather, and the fact that it would be down by the ocean. Beach front temperatures would be at probably be a good 10 degrees cooler, and that turned out to be the case.

The race was taking place at Dockweiler State Beach, just a stones throw from LAX, so the jets were constantly taking off overhead. It was so foggy that they usually weren’t visible though. Every once in a while a jet tail or wing would peek out from the fog. Ambiance. This was the Keep L.A. Running annual run. The previous year had boasted celebrities and local politicians at the event, and this year was slated to be full of luminaries as well. Former Olympian Zola Budd was going to run in the 10k, along with one of the Spice Girls. The Laker Girls would be there to warm us up again, as they were a few months ago at the lake. This was kind of the big time for me now. Too bad that once again, I was attending alone. Well, serious running is relatively new to me now, so it will probably take a little time to insert myself into that community. Still, it was disappointing to go to something that was genuinely exciting for me without being able to share that excitement with anybody. The anger was welling and there really was no reason for it. There were plenty of people there, and most seemed pretty friendly. Most, but not all. There always seems to be a few cyclists that just have have to scream through the crowd on their bikes, as if they didn’t know that a few thousand runners would be there for a well publicized event. This event was no different. Obviously, most cyclists-and people in general are good folks, but there’s always a few in the crowd…

People were arriving late, so the event was going to be delayed as well. That annoyance was growing. It didn’t make sense. Even when things got underway, I was in no mood; I just wanted to run. As the lovely Laker Girls took the crowd through the warm ups, I just paced around, waiting for the race to begin. For the 10k runners, the race would be late. The 5k started first, and the 10k wouldn’t start until well after that race was underway. That left me to walk around and check out the event. A few car companies were there sporting next years models, along with a few food vendors. It seemed a little boring, but then again, I was bringing that on myself. It didn’t make sense. While the 5k was going on, I suddenly noticed that The Laker Girls were sitting at the VIP table-alone. It was as if they had been presented to me personally. This was my opportunity to have a conversation with some pretty girls-celebs if you will, and maybe get some pictures with them as well. That didn’t happen. My mood prevented me from having fun that was right in front of me. I could have been having a great time.

Finally it was time for the 10k. The course was up a hill on a road overlooking the ocean. Very nice. A flat, out and back course combined with ideal weather conditions was a golden opportunity to beat my last 10k time. The race commenced with a very loud speaker, and I was off.As in the last race, a nice easy pace would assure that at least I would finish. With earphones on, I made my way down the road. One thing that perked me up was that unlike the last race, there were photographers this time. I felt better after I started running. This was the sole reason for coming.

The run turned out be easier than the last one, probably because of the flat course, and after about mile 4, I realized that I still had plenty of energy and sped up for the last 2, hoping to get under an hour. It was too much to ask at that point, although it felt good galloping across the finish line rather than the usual stagger. The crowd lined up along the way made me feel like some kind of star, whether they were there for me or not. They got me anyway.

Physically it was a great race, but emotionally there were issues. It was a good time though. It could have been a great time. It seemed that something was bothering me, and it was affecting my mood. I knew for several days that no one would be attending the race with me. Answers would start coming later. For the time being though, it was another step forward towards that marathon goal.

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