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.

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12 Responses to “Marathon Journal: 14 Miles”

  1. chris Says:

    I can’t believe you ran for almost three hours straight, that’s insane.

  2. Bob McGowan Says:

    Way to go Doug. I’m really impressed that you hung in there in bad weather even when you had an easy out at mile 10. A little food or carbs of some sort can help change your mental focus. Sometimes challenging conditions can fire you up a little bit. Anyone can jog when its a beautiful day but you have to be hard corps to run in a monsoon. I’m not sure if God cares about how many miles you ran today, but I am sure that he cares what you’re thinking about when you ran them. Kudos to Angie for being a great pit crew. You’re back on track big time so give your self a break and take care of your feet and any other abrasions that are common after running in the rain.

  3. Sean McGowan Says:

    Dad, what are you doing up at 4:42 am?

  4. Sean McGowan Says:

    Oh, I see…


  5. That’s really impressive, and I can only imagine how great you must be feeling right now, to know you made it. That LA Marathon has nothing on you now!

    “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” is something I’ve been thinking about lately, too. It’s an entertaining idea I guess, but I’ve experienced too much evidence to know that God is with us daily. I don’t mean just watching and letting His Nature run Its course, but actively involved. Otherwise the scriptures “ask, and it shall be given thee” are null and void.

    Also, Paul Simon’s “Rhythm of the Saints” is one of my favorite albums of all time. I mentioned it to a friend once, and he said, “Rhythm of the Saints? Like, a church album, or something?”


  6. I’m reading these on Facebook. Way to work through it Doug. Hope having the time to train for the marathon means you’re doing well. The skin is good and everything. People comment on your dual post on facebook that you can’t read.

    • tennapel Says:

      Ellis!
      I forgot about these posting over on Facebook. If you ever find any comments worth sending along, feel free to email them to me. I’m loving my time off from that vice! (and drinking coffee while writing this)

      Doug T.


  7. Ahh bummer I was convinced you where a rational atheist.. ahh well… have fun at bible study!

    • tennapel Says:

      Sven, there’s no such thing. Though people are welcome to use their faith to believe in rational atheism, I don’t like to use my faith to fill in gaps of reason.

  8. Kathy Fullerton Says:

    Thanks for the song list. Was out for an hour today. Hoping to build up to 13.5 by April. The fact that you did 14 miles in bad weather was motivating. Sounds very similar to what runners experience in St. Louis. Run, Doug, run!

  9. Kathy Fullerton Says:

    Oh, forgot to mention, what a great thing Massachusetts did last night. Whoo hoo.


  10. I can’t believe your stamina. You go Doug, *Woot–Woot*
    You’ve inspired me to get out and do a few laps myself. I’m taking it slow. A brisk walk around the block each morning, before I sit down to write. If this rain keeps up, we may just take up kayaking.


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