Monday, March 10, 2014


The phone rang as I was getting in bed at 8:30p.m. the night before the marathon. My running friends’ rented van was picking me up at 4:30 a.m. which was really 3:30 a.m. due to daylight savings change marathon morning.

I answered the phone and heard the quiet voice of my responsible, reliable, reserved marathon pacer, Judy. 

“When I got off the exercise bike at the gym, my leg felt terrible. I hate to say it but it feels like it did when I had a stress fracture. I want to be with you tomorrow, but…” Judy’s voice trailed off

“Judy, rest and get better whether you pace me or not.”

So, I tucked myself in wondering if I’d have a pacer, about the effects of sleep deprivation, and what the 81 degree weather forecast would do to my run.  Oh, and if I’d have dreaded port-o-pottie stops slowing my marathon. Turned out, only one of the problems would matter.

Awoke at 3:40, dressed, polished off the last morsel of a pot of white rice (anti-poo medicine) and runners gathered at my door. 

Please read my Daily Pilot Commentary to fill in details I’ve left out of my blog. Turned out Judy did show up. Her leg was “better,” and she was determined to get me to the finish at a ten-minute pace. We got to Dodger Stadium, the race started and I ran behind Judy, matching my step to hers, except when she scouted cups of water which she handed me. 

I’d planned to run to the mantra, “You are strong, You are fast.” but the night before I opened Galloway’s book, RUNNING TO 100, and read of the importance of relaxing, so out of Dodger Stadium and through Echo Park, I repeated, “Relax on the track,” to the rhythm of my feet. Lost Judy at around Mile 5 but kept up the pace. In fact, all the way to Mile 13, my pace was 10 minutes, exactly as planned. Found Judy about the time the sun broke the cloud cover.

The sun burned down on me. My family’s joke on hot vacations was, “Carrie’s wilting in the heat.” I hate heat. Turned out it was 85 degrees Sunday, probably more with heat radiating up from the asphalt. and 21,000 runners panting hot air. We climbed hills which did not bother me, the swelling on the ball of my foot hardly hurt, no stops for an over-active intestine, but the heat killed,sending 91 runners to the med tent and a dozen to hospitals. 

By Mile 24, my pace dropped to 12:22. That’s because I was walking. WALKING, felled by grabbing, squeezing, seizing leg cramps that almost caused me to crash down on the pavement. Some kind of electrolyte imbalance gets me. Yes, I took my gatorade-shot-blocks, Yes, I drank a lot. No, I didn’t take salt tablets. I had salt but couldn’t stand the thought of swallowing it. 

So, while the start of L.A. under a fairly cool cloud cover was glorious, the steaming end was a detestable disappointment. And I complained to Judy who stood by me, offering to massage my rock hard leg. I made a real spectacle of myself muttering “bullsh*t” to the crowd who called out, “You’re lookin’ good!” 

Then to cap off a the L.A. experience, I got home, I looked up my time and saw a FIRST PLACE by my name. I’D ACHIEVED WHAT I PROMISED MY NEWSPAPERS READERS IN SPITE OF THE HEAT AND A TIME ONE HALF HOUR SLOWER THAN I HOPED. I’D DONE IT!

Opening up the site a few hours later, I’d been demoted to second place. Sinking feeling, double disappointment. I hate L.A.
I’ve had an attitude adjustment since. I’m lucky to be 70 years old and healthy enough to endure 26.2 miles anywhere. AND the sweetness of my running friends who facilitated the whole race for my success and gave hours to work-outs and running wisdom which benefited me.

Love letter to Steve(s), Caroline, Catherine, Jill, Judy, JohnO, Mark and all the Saturday Runners. Team support=more than first place. 

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