Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Los Angeles Marathon Success!

I am happy to report that on Sunday I successfully finished the Los Angeles Marathon, all 26.2 miles, in 6 hours and 42 minutes. I ran with Team in Training and raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It was without a doubt the most challenging marathon I’ve ever run. It started raining when the opening gun went off (actually the opening horn), and it rained the entire time.

It was no drizzle, it was an out-and-out winter storm, even though it was the first day of spring. The rain was continuous, sometimes light and sometimes coming down in buckets. And just for fun, there was a brutally cold wind whipping through the LA area with gusts up to 25-30 mph. The route took many twists and turns, so we got the wind from every direction at one time or another – front, back and both sides. And since I was soaked through and through, it sometimes cut like a knife.

In many locations the drainage could not carry off all the water, so it backed up into the street, 3-4 inches deep in places (today’s Los Angeles Times described it as “shin high,” and that was no exaggeration). There were 2 inches of rain in Santa Monica, 2.29 in downtown LA, and 6.35 inches in Van Nuys, which is just a few miles north of the marathon route.

I used a run-walk strategy which really saved the day, and at the end I had enough steam left to run all out for the last half mile. At times I felt – well, miserable: cold, wet and tired. I had to keep reminding myself that I was doing this voluntarily! I didn’t break any records for speed, but the objective was to finish. And I finished feeling strong – I did not hit the wall. As a footnote, last year’s winner, Wesley Korir, hit the wall at mile 21. He said afterward, “First of all, I’d like to thank God that I’m still alive. I thought it was the end of my life.” Hey Wesley, I felt your pain! Thousands of runners were evaluated for hypothermia and 26 were taken to hospitals for treatment.

Tami and two dear friends, Dirk and Tonya Jackson, were my support team. They braved the rain to cheer me on at the halfway point and wait for me at the finish line. All four of us, dripping wet, finally made it back to the hotel where we could dry out. I took a long hot shower (hot water never felt so good!), then we went out to dinner and had a big juicy steak to celebrate.

On Monday I was a little stiff (surprisingly, not as sore as I thought I would be) but very happy with the outcome. The Bay Area Team in Training runners raised over $100,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Team in Training runners from all over the U.S. participated in this race, as it was one of their main events, and all in all TNT raised $610,000 at the LA Marathon.

Many great friends and members of my family helped me more than double my personal goal of $3,000. My final total topped $6,000. I am deeply grateful for everyone’s financial and moral support. Their donations will go a long way toward advancing the mission of curing leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improving the quality of life for patients and their families.