Over 16 Years Ago I Ran My First Marathon!

Los Angeles Marathon IV Finishers Medal from March 6, 1994My 7 year old brought home a huge trophy for his Pony League baseball season...to him it makes no difference if the team wins or loses, or how many hits he gets...no, to him, its all about having fun and all the "stuff" that he gets, least of which is the humongous, oversized trophy that all the kids receive at the end of the year. He just loves that trophy and the fact that it is bigger than his soccer trophy. He's proud.

So then I had the problem of appeasing my 4 year old, who doesn't have a nice big trophy like that (yet). He wanted something too. My quick thinking led me to the Mizuno shoebox in the garage that has become a repository for 16 years of race medals.  There must be over 200 medals in that box, with the ribbons all tangled.

Most of the medals I could easily part with, but I became possessive of my marathon medals. They have a different meaning than the local 5K/10K races.  I can go out and run a 5K anytime. But a marathon, run at a decent pace, takes months and months of dedication, persistence and grit. Running the marathon means sacrifice. It means getting out of bed at 5 a.m. to run for 3 hours while everyone else is sleeping in. It means braving the heat, leaving parties early, passing on the salsa the night before the run. It means hard work and focus!

All...for the glory of...running 26.2 miles...and a finisher medal.

My 4 year old seemed to intuitively understand this. I told him that some of the medals were "extra special" to me and I wanted to put those in a special box (or in my case shove them in a different drawer). He was amenable to that and got his medal fix with other medals.

So I was looking through the 25 or so marathon medals I've collected and most of them brought back distinct memories. (A handful of marathons I ran as "training runs" and interestingly I have very little recollection of those marathons.)

My very first marathon was the 9th Los Angeles Marathon on March 6, 1994. It was a wet day and I hadn't really trained in rain. In fact, I remember the day before wondering, what type of clothes should I wear in the rain. This first marathon was a surreal experience. After finishing 17 minutes faster than my expectation (I ran a 3:03), I was jubilant, yet, like the other finishers, the celebration was muted because of the rain pouring down on us.  I was sorer then hell for the next week and I already knew another marathon was in my future. I was hooked.

That 1994 L.A. Marathon medal is actually one of my most unique medals. It is the only one made out of glass as you can see from the picture. What a great memory that medal brings. It deserves a better home than a Mizuno shoe box in the garage.

So today I was determined to run for 2 hours. Two weeks ago I ran 1 hour, 39 minutes and a week ago 1 hour, 47 minutes (my 2 longest runs of the year). Without much fanfare I came in at 1 hour, 54 minutes, approximately 15 miles.  I ran a loop course and decided I didn't need to go out of my way for an extra 6 minutes.

3 weekends, 3 progressively longest runs of the year. I'm on track with my training.  Just have to keep dodging injuries as best I can.

Next weekend I'd be better off doing a tempo run or finding a local race to get some speed into my legs. We shall see.