Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Post-LA Marathon

(continued from "LA Marathon")

Crossed the finish line and got a medal put on.  A volunteer, probably only about 16 years old, handed me a water bottle and started walking with me, probably some sort of standard to make sure runners are OK after the race.  I gotta say, she was sweet and had a pleasant disposition.  After a block or so, she turned around and headed back to the finish line.

For some reason, I was having trouble walking.  Less than five minutes ago, I was churning out 6:30 miles, but now it’s hard to just walk.  Go figure.  After another minute or two of shuffling and groaning, I found Nick getting a massage.  I stretched for a while, and just as I was done stretching, Nick’s finished up, and Adam had just arrived.  We were all back together again, purely by chance.  Adam and I stuck around to get massages ourselves, while Nick started back to the hotel to get the first shower.

Before getting a massage, some guy had to take your pulse and make sure you didn’t belong at the medical tent instead.  He first took it from my wrist, gave a puzzled look, then took it again from my neck.
“That is low,” he exclaimed, looking at me with incredulity.
“My pulse is normally low, I think my resting pulse is 50...” I started
“Yeah, but you just ran a marathon!”
“Well, that was 15 minutes ago.”

A table opened up and I received an awesome massage.  Almost half the time the guy was just pushing or pulling me into stretches.  At one point, he lifted my leg straight up and started making circles.
Relax your leg,” he told me.
“Yeah, that’s as good as it’s gonna get.”

After 15-20 minutes (I had expected only about five), my turn was up, so I found Adam and we started walking back to the hotel together.  About two miles.  Should take about an hour.  Adam was still wearing all his warm-up, which he’d worn during the race, since he got in the line for the bathroom after I did and didn’t make it to the clothing drop in time.  So while I thought running shorts and a tank top was just enough for the weather we had (which was perfect), Adam was wearing a short-sleeved shirt, a long-sleeved one over that, and long pants over his running shorts.  He was lucky it didn’t warm up as expected, or that would’ve been completely miserable, rather than merely unnecessarily uncomfortable.

It was pretty cool to walk along Venice Beach again, this time during the day, after seeing it the night before.  After probably half an hour, Adam stopped in his tracks.
“Oh no,” he kept patting himself, like he was looking for his keys, “Shit!  I left my pouch at the massage tables.”
“Oh man.  What was in it?”
“My credit card, my ID....”
“Do you need me to drive you back when we get to the hotel?”
“No, I’ll turn around and go now.”
“....OK.  Do you need me to pick you up at the finish?”
“No, I’ll be quick.  Just go ahead and I’ll meet you at the hotel.”
We were already halfway to the hotel.  It would probably take an hour and a half to walk all the way back to the finish line, then back to the hotel again.  Nonetheless, I set off without him.

I headed on to the hotel alone.  Nick was packing up his stuff.  I told him we might need to pick up Adam, since I had little faith we’d be out by 1:00 otherwise (it was now about noon).  I hopped in the shower, and as I was getting out, Adam came through the door.
“Wow.  That was fast.”
“I told you I’d be quick!”
“Yeah, but.....
damn.”  I still have no idea how he covered that kind of ground that fast.

Nick was catching a flight from LAX that night, so he just walked back over to the Google office to hang out there for the rest of the day.  Adam and I got in the car, navigated some more bad LA traffic, then had a nice, easy long drive back to Silicon Valley.

I had wanted to go out for St. Patrick’s Day, but couldn’t find anyone to go with, and I wanted to get to bed early after only getting three hours of sleep the night before.  So I just had a couple beers while wearing a green plastic leprechaun hat and called it a night.

Was I disappointed?  Kinda.  There is some amount of pride in the fact that just about everything went wrong, I had to stop for the bathroom five times, and I still finished in a Boston-qualifying time.  But more than that, I’m glad that Boston improved their standards.  Because I’m not so sure a performance like mine is deserving of a spot in the world’s most prestigious footrace.  I’d like it if the cutoff time eventually got whittled down to 3:00, which would truly make that the ultimate mark of a good marathoner.

I don’t plan on running the LA Marathon again, and I don’t recommend it.  The course is...OK...the organization is bad, the support is average, and the price is high.  Not to mention you have to deal with driving in LA.  Nothing really made it stand out as good, and a whole lot of things stuck out as bad.  I understand some of those come with the territory of an event that large, but I’ve done these before, and I don’t remember any other one being this bad.

It made me start thinking though, and this may signal the end of mega-marathons for me.  I think for me, soccer was kind of like that first girl you had a crush on and made you realize that girls weren’t icky, and marathons were like your first love from back in high school that you went head over heels for, at the time.  Bike touring and backpacking have been other great loves along the way.  But now fully mature, I may have found my soul mate in trail running.  Sure, I might catch up with my old flames and do a bike tour, or backpacking trip, or road marathon every now and then.  But trail running and myself, I think we’re destined to be together.