In my athletic background as a softball player, running always came as a repercussion – at least that’s the way my college teammates and I thought of it. The less running we had to do the better.
But since I hung up my cleats four years ago, I’m ready to give running a second chance.
Everything I hated about running is getting pushed aside, and I’m starting fresh – in a big way.
Over the next six months I will train for my first marathon with the Inland Empire chapter of the L.A. Roadrunners.
When the opportunity to run in the 2012 L.A. Marathon came along, I jumped at the challenge to do something I thought I’d never do.
Three miles is the longest distance I’ve ever run. Ever. That personal record got knocked out of the way during the first training session – 3.02 miles.
Now in the fifth week of training, any distance from here on out is a milestone.
I initially expected the training to be for elite marathon runners, but it’s far from it. The program is geared to accommodate everyone. And I mean everyone.
The roadrunners offers training groups for all experiences and abilities.
I find myself running among individuals who’ve never run a mile in their life, and others who can rack up the miles like it’s nobody’s business.
And along the way, I’m already developing a new outlook on running.
It’s no longer about running my fastest to stay ahead of the competition. There’s no position to fight for anymore. The only competition is me.
So, I put myself in one of the slower-paced groups. The group is set train at about a 13-minute mile pace with the projection to complete the marathon in a 5:15- to 5:25-hour range.
I couldn’t care less about how fast I run it. If there was ever a perfect time to say it, this is it: It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
It’s pretty nice not having to run so hard to the point that I feel like I’ll keel over on the spot.
My only goal is to cross the finish line (alive and well) and not have to be swept aside by a street sweeper truck.
The biggest obstacle to overcome will be the psychological toll.
The one thing that I did appreciate with all the conditioning running I had to do in college was the mental stamina I built from it.
But if I feel like I can’t go on I’ll just have to remember the wise words of Jenny Curran, “Run, Forrest, run.”
I can’t wait to run the marathon’s Stadium to the Sea route that will take me from Dodger Stadium to the San Monica Pier. The entire course will pass through 24 L.A. landmarks. I’m still trying to figure out if there will be a way to strap a camera while I run. No ideas yet. I can’t help but think as a photographer at all times.
But as for the 26.2 miles, I’ll try not to think about that too much.
I’m just enjoy the running for now and taking the training one mile at a time.