Which brings me to how screwed up things got before I got there. But I digress, I wanted to start with last weeks Hollywood Half Marathon run.
It all started back in December when I went to Zabs holiday party and saw a bunch of awesome improv folks I haven't seen in a while. 2 being Dave park and Dave Holmes. (btw Zabs is short for zabeth, I never asked her if she was ok with being called Zabs. I should ask her). Dave Holmes pointed at me and said "we are doing the Hollywood Half and you're doing it too!" are you kidding me!? I'm not running enough this year? It immediately seemed like a horrible idea for me. Extra exhaustion, extra chances of me getting hurt, I'd have to find a guide to run with... Ok I'll think about it.
When I got home I mentioned it to Deborah, my love. She looked at me like I was out of my fucking mind. But that's sort of what this year is all about right? It seemed overwhelmingly tough and I wrote to Dave and said I couldn't do it. And then the haunting "what if..." starting nagging at me. What if I did it? Maybe that would produce extra publicity? Extra donations? Extra footage for my maybe doc I'd like to put together at some point after all this? I checked to see when it was, one week before the St Louis marathon I was all signed on for already. 8 days before actually. What does the course look like? What does my training say I should be running that weekend? Things started lining up pretty good. It was going to start and end at the Universal City Walk and go through Hollywod blvd and for the most part be pretty flat. I signed up!!
After telling deborah, she gave it some thought and decided to run it too! Little did I know that all my running had been getting her thinking about trying it herself. But we were only about 6 weeks away from the race and according to Hal higdon he has a 12 week program for novice runners for half marathons.
But deb jumped right in and even with changing around the set routine and even a week in bed sick she ran a 10 mile run for her training about a week before the race. And she said it went ok. I was totally impressed and very jealous that she got to run outdoors and enjoy the sights. Not only that but I trained for 7 months or so before my first half marathon in 2010 and the race nearly killed me. My time was just shy of 3 hours. A month later I ran another half and shaved over 20 min off my time and enjoyed it much more.
She was running a little slower than me which meant I would still need a guide, here comes David to the rescue again. Yup another Dave. Mr wright ran the LA with me and is set to run a lot more with me this year. Since this run is only a week from a marathon run I had to treat it like a training run. So even though deb and I were running the same race we would likely run it separate.
Wright is a personal trainer when he isn't getting acting gigs so he came to my house a couple of times and trained me, the latest was a training run on the treadmill, where he taught me about intervals and speeding up my pace here and there to spike my heart rate. Ok sure. It felt good but was hard to run 8mph on the treadmill without feeling like I would fall over or off. It gave me some confidence though. And secretly I was going to try to run the whole half marathon without stopping. I usually take walking breaks each mile.
The two Dave's (park, Holmes) along with friend Brian and guy I don't know so well, Matt, were all signed up. They asked if they could guide me. Take turns and so forth. Which was really great of them. I had already asked david and had gotten him signed up with a comp. but I was hoping to run the race with the guys at least around. I also didn't want to be a hindrance if they were trying to break any personal records at anything like that.
I forgot to mention Greg, my PT at LA fitness. A young 20 something guy who has never run before, long distance. I told him about the run and he and a few friends signed up. I wouldn't see him the whole day though. Wasn't even sure he ran it until I texted him after.
Deborah and I met up with wright at the expo the day before the race. The expo was designed like a Hollywood movie premiere, complete with red carpet and wax statue of Marilyn Monroe (or maybe Michelle Williams? :) At the Hilton by where the start of the race would be. Apparently we got there at a good time because I had a couple people tell me it became a mad house later. And it was already pretty packed and busy. But the Hollywood half released a tweet apologizing for the chaos.
As deb and I were on our way to the car I sawa NBC news van and a camera guy and reporter. I thought I'd approach them and see if I could get my story told. But I was seen by Kenneth who was helping organize the marathon. Turns out he was looking for me. What luck! They wanted to interview me. I don't know what happened to the interview but I'll try googling it, maybe it'll pop up.
I think I got up at 345 am. Had a decent sleep. Deb and I slept in separate rooms so we could each get our necessary sleep. I think she was nervous. So was I really. I hate running blindfolded. It's one of my least favorite things to do.
Because of the chaos that goes along with a 6am start time and the fact that it's so dark and I wasn't wearing my glasses, meeting up with my trainer or the friends that originally talked me into doing this thing, was not going to happen. And before I knew it it was go time. It started with a steep run down the hill at universal, it would lead to cahunga pass also down hill and highland blvd, also downhill. The downhill would go on for about 2 miles but that meant running up 2 miles at the end. I needed to pee right away and I swear the peeing will be my ultimate downfall with all these races. I had already gone 3 times that morning before even setting foot on the course. Wtf?! The wait was at least 5 minutes I think. And who would come yelling by me and saying hi? My friends dave, Dave and Brian, Matt too I'm sure. They blew passed me and I was antsy to get back to running.
When I got back to it, it went well. The weather was good and as we turned east onto Hollywood blvd the sun was there to greet us. No matter I had my blindfold. We did have to stop and walk a handful of times due to congestion. What a pain. A bigger pain? How bout noise makers? The bane of my existence. I'm only slightly exaggerating. I've said it before, I appreciate the volunteers and support on the side lines. I good "you're doing great" is all I need. No need for screeching screams and cow bells. In fact one guy ran the marathon with a cowbell. I told my guide david, in my best, most exhausted, Christopher Walkmen impression "less cowbell.". It's just so annoying and I'm not the only annoyed my sighted guide was annoyed too. I would love to run these races with an iPod and free eyes. I'm sure that would be a different experience for me. What would I listen to? Howard stern on Sirius XM of course! Can't get enough Howard. No music? Well, my girlfriend actually ran while listening to a Dan brown audio book.
I forget how far we had gone before the water stops were saying they were all out of cups. Really.?! It was only 90 minutes or so in. Rookie mistake. This was the very first Hollywood half apparently. People had to take water into their hands or they were ncouraged to save the cups they had. Or fill a water bottle if you thought to bring one.
But I was feeling pretty good. We got to the half way point which was a turn around on sunset blvd. I was going to try to keep running til at least the turn back onto highland which I thought may be mile 10 or 11. And that's what I did. I even was running for a part of that until a force stop by walkers in front. And by the time that happened it ended up being a welcomed stop.
I did some run/ walk action. And when we hit cahunga pass out of nowhere was a huge wind. Making it colder and almost pointless to try to run against. We ran into a cousin of my guides and he said we were almost done and over this hill is a downhill to the finish. That gave me enough juice to get me to the finish. I did well. My finish was2:23, a personal best for a half for me.
I got my medal and looked around. The finish line was an unorganized mess! I'd never seen it like this in any of. My races. It was so clogged and lots of people waiting for other runners. We're all these people runners themselves? I wasn't sure. After 10 minutes or so I got nervous about Deborah. We hadn't seen her at all since the start. I called her and she picked up! She sounded great and said she was between miles 11 and 12. Awesome! I waited for her. And as she came over the finish my heart swelled with pride. She was so nervous about not finishing before the allotted 3.5 hours. When in Fact she finished in 2:52 minutes! Faster than my first half marathon in Chicago!
She was happy and proud of herself and I was grilled for her. I wanted to get a professional pic of all of us, but they only had one photographer with the Hollywood half banner background. The line for it had to have a hundred people on it. It was unbelieveable! Usually there are several photographers and spots to get your pic taken. I've never waited more than one or two people. we skipped it and just pics with my phone.
My eyes were starting To bother me. I was out in the sun too long. And even though I had my dark shads on, it didn't matter. That's why I can't run with just glasses. It's the pain I get from the sun and damage it does to my vision. Time to go. On our way to what would become a very long way to the car, my friend Brian stopped me. I was thrilled to see him and ask how he was. He got slowed down by one or two injuries during the race. He had lost the other Dave's but was going to meet them.we parted ways and we continued to the car. Due to all the congestion and steets to cross, there were big, no, HUGE lines with huge waits. I couldn't believe how long it took. My body was now catching up with what I had just run, my back was tightening up and my eye pain was turning into a migraine. From the time I crossed the finish line it took over an hour to get to the car. An hour in the southern California sun. We said good bye to mr wright at our car. I got in the car and felt immediately nauseus. Like I might throw up. I still had my blindfold draped around my neck like a scarf and I had my medal in. It felt like they were strangling me. I couldn't get them off soon enough.
We started driving and now we were left with traffice to contend with. After the race was the only time I had regretted doing it. It took another hour to get home, even though it could've taken 15 minutes. But we live south of the race course so we had to go around it (we did it in the morning too). Adding time to our trip back.
I was in bad shape for that car ride the sun plus all the stuff I had burned off during the race had taken a toll. A nice shower, excedrin and a bagel was helping a lot. We went to my favorite burger joint and I had a great meal. I think deb did too.
She was pretty sore a fees days after wards. I was sore in spots but it wasn't that bad. I've had worse and will have worse.
So here I am. On my way to st Louis Missouri. I have a bad feeling this will be the hardest of all my races all year. I hear the course is crazy hilly and according to weather reports it going to rain all weekend. Great.
Who's dumb idea was this again?..... Oh yeah :)-
I'm running 12 marathons in 2012 blindfolded.
Check out my www.crowdrise.com/ejcurechm
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