C.J. Lin, staff writer at the L.A. Daily News is training for her first marathon, the Honda LA Marathon. You can follow C.J.’s day-to-day progress on her twitter page and watch for her stories in the Los Angeles Daily News.
By C.J. Lin, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/01/2012 01:00:00 AM PST
Part of an occasional series about a novice runner training for the 2012 L.A. Marathon.
A year ago, Zia Hotaki was smoking a pack a week. The farthest he had ever run was a mile, and that was in high school.
A year ago, Danielle Hummel ran a 5K on New Year’s Eve and hated every minute of it. She just couldn’t understand why people liked running. She had signed up for several races and always quit.
Fast forward to today, the first of the new year, and Hotaki has quit smoking and is on his way toward becoming a world-class runner and a triathlete. Hummel already has three races – that she actually enjoyed – under her belt just since October.
The two are training for the L.A. Marathon, and on top of that, are about to tackle pretty serious undertakings: their 2012 New Year’s resolutions.
Starting today, Hummel, 27, is going to work on becoming a United States Running Streak Association member. Which means that for every single day of 2012 she’ll have to run at least one mile, even if she’s sick, injured or feeling lazy. Otherwise, she’ll have to start the streak all over again, and make sure she keeps it up for 365 consecutive days. (She can actually stop on Dec. 30, because it’s a leap year.)
Becoming a member is based on the honor system. Runners don’t get anything but bragging rights upon becoming a member. But even so, Hummel is pretty determined not to cheat.
“I feel like if you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself,” said Hummel, 27, of Burbank. “So I plan to stick with it.”
And then there’s her other resolution – doing a race every single month, including the L.A. Marathon in March.
I’m getting tired just thinking about it.
But Hummel, an art director for an automotive design firm, has been pretty tireless in keeping her 2011 resolution, which was to live the healthiest year of her life.
She did, and this year’s resolution is an expansion of that.
And like Hummel, Hotaki is the healthiest he’s ever been.
The 27-year-old computer security engineer had been weightlifting and felt like he had peaked. At the same time, he quit smoking after about four years for his wife, and needed another stress reliever.
So he began running, and for the first three months, it was hell.
But he kept pushing, and something clicked. And now he’s in the fastest pace group with the L.A. Roadrunners training group in Westlake Village, hoping to finish the L.A. Marathon in less than 3 hours and 30 minutes.
To run the Boston Marathon in April 2013.
It’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s not something that anyone can sign up for, like here in L.A. Boston is the world’s oldest marathon, one of the best-known racing events and a hallowed course for serious runners, who must first qualify at other marathons before being allowed to sign up.
“It’s pretty much like if there was a world championship of running, Boston would be it,” said Hotaki of Woodland Hills.
For Hotaki, he’ll have to run a marathon in less than 3 hours and 5 minutes, which means finishing each mile at a 7:05 minute pace or better. And so he’s going to train for and then hope to beat that time during the Long Beach Marathon in October.
“It’s a good motivating factor to keep on not smoking,” Hotaki said. “It would make all my efforts right now all for naught if I started smoking again. Running is definitely a much bigger passion in my life now rather than smoking.”
And he’s also hoping to get into good enough shape to compete in the Ironman World Championship triathlon in Hawaii in 2013, where he’ll have to first qualify. If he does, he’ll have to swim 2.4 miles in the ocean, bike 115 miles and run 26 miles.
In comparison, my resolution seems measly. But I’m OK with that.
With the injury, the holidays, working overtime and it being colder and getting dark earlier, I had all but given up on training for the last of 2011.
So starting today, I’m going to get serious about training and wake up early if I have to. I just want to finish the L.A. Marathon, even if I’m whining and crawling to the finish line.
I should run with Morgan Lieberman, a 16-year-old soccer player from Calabasas High School also training for the marathon.
“My New Year’s resolution is to be able to find strength and motivation with the people around me,” Morgan said. “When I run, I feel invincible being part of a pack, and hopefully when I run the marathon I can give off positive energy to other people, and they can help me along the way, too.”
I’ll need all the help I can get with my resolution.
But I’m looking on the bright side – this is one resolution that I’ll only have to keep for another 78 days.