After much careful thought and deliberation (1-2 minutes), I think I'm leaning toward running in the LA Marathon. Though the thought of pushing the race back another three more months is kind of painful (JESUS CHRIST DO I HAVE TO KEEP RUNNING THAT LONG???!!!), there's something about running your first race in such a large, nationally known event. The OC Marathon is two months earlier, but I really don't want to screw up my Christmas vacation plans. I mean- I love running, and I love races, but if they were to come at the expense of my vacation?!! Well forget that sh**- my a** is going to Spain!!! Know what I mean?
Now that the local race postponement/cancellation news has sunk in (and pretty much passed), I'm all fired up about the race again. This was not the case a week ago, however. I noticed that as I started to run more each week in the heat, my energy level had really started to wane. For about 2-3 weeks I could barely manage 4-6 mile runs. I felt like a wimp. Which is why I hit Amazon.com for motivation. I ended up getting a book I've been wanting for awhile- First Marathons: Personal Encounters With The 26.2 Mile Monster.
And how's this quote (from George Sheehan, the widely acknowledged philosopher-of-runners) for motivation?
"We are here to be heroes. The marathon is one way we prove it to ourselves... The marathon is a theater for heroism, the common man and an uncommon challenge."
But I have to agree with him. Running 26 miles really IS absurdly crazy. There seems to be a recent trend of ultramarathoners who almost make running a marathon look easy (Dean Karnazes & Sam Thompson come to mind), but by and large, I think at least half, if not more of all marathoners are like me- novices, scared sh**less, slightly out of shape...just hoping to finish.
Though all of the personal accounts in the book are ultimately motivational, there are more than a few that terrify me. One woman wrote about hitting the infamous wall at mile 20 and witnessing other runners laying down on the side of the road, vomiting, being carried away in stretchers, etc. Another wrote about being unable to step off a curb the next morning.
Everything I've read thus far has said that a little over 400,000 Americans run in marathons each year, and about 382,000 (in 2005) actually completed one. Of that number, 60% are male, 40% are female (apparently transgendered individuals opt not to participate). When you consider that the US population is about 300,000,000- this makes the feat seem all the more impressive. Now before you point out that many of those 300 million people are either the elderly or young children (not exactly prime marathoning material)- I would beg to differ. As I've pointed out in the past- most old people finish in front of me in races, and I'm quite sure that given the chance, toddlers would too.
In any case, I think I'm gonna roll with LA in March of '07. Though I was really looking forward to a December race, I think this will give me the opportunity to train a little more competitively and perhaps beat a few more toddlers. ;-)