Marathon Journal: 14 Miles
January 20, 2010
I went to my men’s Bible study this morning. Every week a different guy brings breakfast and today Glen brought oatmeal, oranges, OJ and pastries… perfect food to provide energy for a good run. Now today was my put up or shut up day for the LA Marathon, where if I couldn’t do at least 10 miles I couldn’t do LA in March.
At the Bible study, we discussed the Haiti earthquake, and weather God does or can speak through disasters. It’s a deep subject, because it ponders God’s choice to act, or if it’s fair for him to insert His will into the natural course of events in the universe. These were ideas I thought about during my run, since I often wonder if God cares about my daily jogging schedule, or if he cares if I run the LA Marathon at all. Is exercise just another trivial thing our culture enjoys, and does God still manage or influence trivial events? That’ll have to be a discussion on another entry.
I started out jogging normal enough, trying to keep a slow, 12 minute mile pace. I felt confident, refreshed, and finally over this hideous one month long cold. After a couple of miles, all hell broke loose. SoCal was hammered with a great storm, and I had the remainder of a mighty long run still in front of me. Good thing I wore my rain slicker.
After my first five mile loop, the rain picked up a lot. By now, I had to avoid streams of run off that poured over streets and sidewalks. By mile seven my hands grew so cold that I couldn’t feel my fingers. I was wearing little blue shorts so my thighs were red from wind blowing cold rain on my legs. The weird thing is that I was getting hungry.
I passed another runner at mile 9 and we laughed at each other. I shouted, “What’s wrong with you?!” I try to keep a good attitude when running because it doesn’t make sense to be a grouchy anything. Life is too short. Still, I was tempted to complain when I passed two Mexican gardeners who also smiled at me. Let’s face it, these guys work ten times harder than I do and they aren’t out in the storm by choice like me. How can I complain or give up when they’ll be out gardening long after I’m inside getting warm and cozy? I draw strength from other people’s strength and hard work. Both gardeners smiled as I jogged by and we gave each other the “You’re crazy.” “No, you’re crazy!” look.
I wrapped up mile 10 which put me back in front of my house. The Beloved Mrs. TenNapel came out to run a couple of miles with me and I asked her to quickly make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! “Right now?” “Yes, right now!” She ran inside and came back out in 30 seconds with a perfect PB and J. When a woman has four kids she can hammer out a good PB and J with her eyes closed… in a coma. She joined me on the tail of my run as I devoured the sandwich. It was one of the best PB and J sandwiches I can remember. It hit the spot and warmed me up… and I would need it.
Now Angie became my pace car. She runs a little faster than I do, so it kept me from dragging my feet too much. But the storm picked up even more and my feet were getting soaked. Ever run in wet shoes? Don’t. After mile 13 Angie went back into the house and I made a last push to squeeze out one last mile. I jogged 14 miles in 2 hours and 41 minutes. That’s about an 11 3/4 minute mile average. Pretty good for running in a storm. Can you tell I’m proud of myself?
The best news is that I’m still alive for the LA Marathon. I’m back on track so long as my knees hold out. As I write this, my knees feel pretty banged up. I took a couple of Advil and just got up from a nap. I’ll take a few days off to let my body catch up but today was a really good day. I needed this.
Today’s jogging music was a new mix I put together late last night: Fleetwood Mac: RUMORS, Paul Simon: NEGOTIATIONS AND LOVE SONGS, RHYTHM OF THE SAINTS, Prince: (singles RASPBERRY BERET, ALPHABET STREET, KISS, WHEN A DOVE CRIES), Pure Funk, Tears for Fears: GREATEST HITS, Everclear: SO MUCH FOR THE AFTERGLOW, World Party: GOODBYE JUMBO. I never got to Larry Arnn’s overview of the greatest thinkers of the last 2,000 years… next time.