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Saturday, January 21, 2012

LA Marathon Training Diary: Singin' In The Rain

January 21, 2012 - 15 miles
I'm not going to lie. I almost didn't go on this run. Why? It was raining. I have never run in the rain before and I was a little nervous. I didn't think I was prepared and I didn't want to get sick. There were a few times after I woke up when I tried to convince myself that I shouldn't run. Another added reason is that I am starting a new job in two weeks and I don't want to get sick before I start. This time last year I got the flu, then I managed to get bronchitis. It was a rough month for me. I didn't want it to happen two years in a row. After thinking it over, I decided to go anyway and I was swearing at myself the whole drive down.

The oddest part of this whole situation was that I had a great week of training. I felt pretty strong the entire week, so I was excited for this run. Then, I realized on Thursday that it may rain on Saturday and my confidence began to dwindle. Mental toughness is a really interesting aspect of training for a marathon. I still question whether I am mentally tough enough. I can't speak for other people in my pace group, but a lot of people weren't there. They probably were scared of the rain. Running in the rain is not fun, but I figured it would be good for myself to see if I could do it.

I soon realized that I probably was not properly equiped for the run. I wore a trash bag, but my other parts of my body were already soaked after just walking to the starting point on the Venice boardwalk. It was miserable and I was hoping Roadrunners would shorten the run. That was not the case. We were doing 15 miles. The route was a little different this week since the usual route is a lot of dirt roads and they were muddy. We ran mostly on cement and stuck to roads through the Marina. It didn't even take a mile for my shoes to be soaked. We tried to avoid puddles, but it was no use. After a while, most of us didn't even care. We just ran through puddles while the rain crashed into our faces.

It wasn't a torrential downpour, but it was a steady rain for at least the first 10K (6.2 miles). Last year it ran the entire LA marathon, so I have to be prepared it could happen on marathon day. It's probably unlikely to happen two years in a row, but never say never. After a while, running in the rain didn't even matter anymore. We were all wet and I actually got used to the rain. I think it helped that I was constantly moving, so I never really got too cold either. I don't really remember when it happened, but it actually stopped raining. My pace group continued on in our wet clothes for the rest of the way. By the end of the run, it actually started to warm up a little. It was a really weird day for weather. I guess that's California for you.

As the run went on and the miles increased, I actually felt really good. It was at that point that I realized that while weather elements can mess with your head, if you train hard nothing will stop you. It was probably the first time after we ran at least 13 miles that I felt like I had a lot left in the tank. I had this attitude like, "Fuck this rain. I'm running my ass off." When I finished the run, it was a great feeling. I can now cross off running in the rain off my bucket list.

My shoes are in bad shape, but I need to get a new pair. I was planning on going to the running store next week and I think that is part of the reason why I'm having some problems with blisters. It's just my left foot, too. Blisters are gross and I hate popping them when I get home. It doesn't hurt, but I hate doing it. Sorry for being gross, but I want to share everything. I also had a minor problem with chafing this week as I think the rain took off the Body Glide because I could feel the friction for the first time on my chest. I didn't have any problems, but I was starting to get a little worried that I was going to have some bleeding. Again, sorry for being gross.

When I was driving home after the run, I realized something. Championship teams in professional sports often have games or moments that define their season. They look back and say this was when we knew we could win it all. This is when everything came together. I think I had that moment when I ran the 15 miles in the rain. I figured I would have that moment with my 20 mile run, but I don't think you can script stuff like this. I'm going to remember this run for a long time even after the LA Marathon has come and gone. It gave me mental and physical toughness I didn't have before and it's something I'm going to need when I run the 26.2 miles on March 18th.

Until next week… 13 miles...

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