My Thoughts on the Marathon + Last Week’s Runs

Runners are fascinated with the marathon. They love to brag about how many they’ve run, their personal records, if they’ve qualified for the infamous Boston Marathon, and will tell you “You haven’t run a marathon until you’ve run New York.” I’ve run my fair share of marathons and the New York City Marathon is definitely on my bucket list, but besides running the cool courses, I don’t have ambitious marathon goals. The marathon is not my favorite distance. Although I do love the feeling of crossing a marathon finish line, I don’t want to do it more than once a year. It’s not that I lack mental toughness and am scared . I’m a dean in South LA. I survive on grit. It’s just not my favorite distance, and many runners find that difficult to understand.

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My Six Marathon Finishes (Don’t you love the one of Brent and I with our dorky hats?!)

Yes, the marathon has taught me many life lessons. It has taught me to be humble and patient. It has helped me recognize that I can’t power through something long and difficult (thank you Santa Clarita). Through marathoning I have discovered just how deep I can dig, and what complete depletion feels like. There is something exciting about not knowing what your body will encounter at mile 20. More than other distances weather can really impact your race, so the week before you’re obsessively checking the weather to see if Sunday morning might be a few degrees cooler. Compared to other distances I don’t have much experience with the marathon, so it always feels like a journey into the scary unknown. I worry the transformative experience of the marathon would lessen if I ran them too often.

If I had to pick my favorite distance, it would be the half. I’ve found it to be the distance where I can really push myself. I love running distance, and it’s the perfect amount of distance to still feel like a race. The gun goes off and you I feel like I don’t have a second to waste. I push it from the start. I take more risks in a half, and that feeling is invigorating. I feel completely empowered when I finish a half marathon and see how fast i can run for 95 minutes. I can run a half as often as once a month without sacrificing my relationship with friends and family. No, a half marathon doesn’t take more than three hours, but it is really hard.

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Ventura Half Marathon 2014

One thing I’ve discovered running lots of half marathons is that nobody really cares how many you’ve run, and although my half marathon times are much more impressive than my marathon times, but that doesn’t seem to matter. As a half marathon fanatic you don’t get the glory of running a marathon even if you average under seven minute miles whole time. ESPECIALLY if you’re at a half/full combo event the question is always, “Did you run the full?” and if you say no, the conversation pretty much ends. I’m OK with that though. I’m OK with setting and meeting my personal goals and nobody really knowing I ran a race. I’m not running to prove how many miles I can run. There will always be someone running more. They’ll be someone who ran a 52 marathons in a year, who ran an ultra marathon on a Saturday and a marathon on a Sunday, or someone who ran across America. I’m not interested in being a Marathon Maniac. I have nothing to prove. All power to mega milage junkies who love the thrill of running setting crazy racing goals and who love the challenge of the slow burn. I find more joy in racing without strapping a meal of gels and salt tablets to my waist. I love the combination of a long but fast race. For me, it is more rewarding. But hey, that’s just me! What do you think? What’s your favorite distance? Why do you think runners are so obsessed with the marathon?

OK, enough on that rant.  In other news, this weekend Brent and I spent too much money on Brooke Williamson food. The Tripel for dinner Friday night and Playa Provisions for breakfast Saturday and Sunday. I love Brooke Williamson! Her food is AMAAAAAZINGGGGG.

Cream of Wheat and Quinoa, Halloween Fun at Provisions, Dulce De Leche Biscuit, Stewed Tomatoes, Pretzel Croissant with Cheese and Prosciutto, Almond Latte, Baked Eggs with Kale Pesto and  Prosciutto

Cream of Wheat and Quinoa, Halloween Fun at Provisions, Dulce de Leche Biscuit, Stewed Tomatoes with Burrata, Pretzel Croissant with Cheese and Prosciutto, Almond Latte, Baked Eggs with Kale Pesto and Prosciutto

Here’s what I ran last week:

  • Monday: Three Mile Run with Brianne at Back On My Feet (8:19 Average) before work
  • Tuesday: MDR Track Club (I think we did 2 x 200, 3 X 400,  2 X 800.)
  • Wednesday: Five Mile Run (SLOW)
  • Thursday: Off
  • Friday: Two Mile walk with Back On My Feet  before work and Four Mile Tempo (6:55 Average)
  • Saturday: Twelve Mile Run with Marta and Ellen (Getting ready for Canyon City Half!)
  • Sunday: Nine Mile Run at Lululemon (7:44 average. We were planning on running slower, but a new runner Nancy showed up and WOAH she was fast. We also were treated to Aqua Hydrate water after our run. Electrolytes and Alkaline water in one!)
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    We got free Aqua Hydrate water after our Lululemon run!

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    #RunningCan campaign with Back on My Feet

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Hello Baby Miles + Last Week’s Runs

Brent and I are on our way back from a quick trip to Washington DC to meet our new nephew Miles.. The whole Johnson family was in DC, which is pretty amazing considering we are scattered in New York, Los Angeles, and Michigan. I’m amazed at Alicia’s speedy recovery and ability to host the family for the weekend. Miles is only 10 days old! She even made Brent and I scones for the plane ride home. Thank you! Check out some weekend pics below!

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Clockwise: Miles, Alicia and her boys, Carmen and Miles, the sisters getting crepes.

In running news, I ran a nice easy run on Tuesday after-school. Just an easy two. All I had time for 🙂

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Check out this awesome picture of Brent, Marta and I at the Long Beach Marathon. We only took two walk breaks, and they HAD to snap our picture during one of them. Don’t you like my compression socks? I’m not sure if they work, but I feel cool wearing them.

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Also, huge congratulations to my cousin Lucile for her strong finish at the Detroit Marathon today! 12 minute PR. Amazing! This race is definitely on my bucket list. Maybe next year? url

This week’s post was short and sweet. I’ll leave you with last week’s runs if you’re interested.

  • Monday: Four Mile Run with Back On My Feet
  • Tuesday: MDR Track Club (6 x 200, 4 X 400,  1 X 800 and a bunch of drills)
  • Wednesday: Eight Mile Run (7:57 average)
  • Thursday: Six Mile Run (Watchless)
  • Friday: Off
  • Saturday: Six Mile Run on Mt. Vernon Trail
  • Sunday: Five Mile Run on Mt. Vernon Trail (7:41 average. Last two miles at 6:55)

Long Beach Marathon Spectator Review + Last Week’s Runs

Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, said “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” She’s so right. Yesterday Marta and I spent the morning supporting Brent, Lesley and Ellen at the Long Beach Marathon and Half Marathon.  There’s something about watching your family and friends challenge and push themselves. I am so inspired and so proud of all the runners.

Yesterday Brent and Ellen PRed in their events and Lesley finished her first marathon! Marta and I spent the morning running around trying to catch glimpses of all of our runners. We ended up logging nearly 11 miles as spectators. Crazy huh?! It felt like a fartlek trying to see everyone at various points throughout the race.

Our morning started at 4:30 AM. Brent was as chipper as ever, laughing, eating bagels, drinking coffee as we drove to Long Beach for his first full in five years. I wish I was this relaxed before a race. Brent, what is your secret? This is us at at 6:00 AM before we sent him on his way for his 26.2 mile journey.

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I ran into T from Back on My Feet after the marathon start. She completed her first half yesterday!

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The course was well designed for spectators. Mile six returned back towards the start so Marta and I were able to see Brent looking good at six…

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and Lesley six miles in.

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We then met up with Ellen to pump her up before her half marathon. They took off at 7:30 AM. Spoiler Alert: Ellen ran a 1:41:54!!!
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Marta and I then rushed to the 16/20 mile mark up near Cal State Long Beach. We JUST missed Brent, but saw Lesley at 16 and waited for Brent to look around Cal State Long Beach to meet us at mile 20. Fun Fact: Brent and I had our first kiss at Cal State Long Beach during Teach For America Institute. He said running around campus was a trip down memory lane!

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Marta and I were a little tired from our 5 mile hustle to the 16/20 spot and were starting to get hungry waiting around for Brent. Marta saved the day by whipping out these gatorade energy chews. We got stressed about not having energy for Brent’s final six.

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The final six was challenging for Brent, but he was so positive and his form looked amazing. He experienced the usual 20+ mile exhaustion/I hate running/why did I sign up for this, but no injuries, no vomiting, no dehydration. He barked at me when I took this photo, but I knew he would forgive me later.

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At mile 25 Marta and I went off the course, and took the sidewalk back. We sprinted a mile to the finish line and were able to capture Brent’s marathon finish. Brent finished in 4:03, nearly a 30 minute PR and his first marathon in five years. I remember Brent saying he would NEVER run more than eight miles again in his life, and here he is finishing a marathon strong!
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Gisele, my super fast AREC Member of the Year run buddy works for Run Racing, who put on this AMAZING event. She got Brent, Marta, Ellen and I into the VIP tent. It took Brent about an hour to have any interest in eating or drinking anything. We had fruit salad, omelets, LOTS OF BACON and mimosas with an incredible view of the finish line. THANK YOU GISELE!

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Marta peeking in before she got into the VIP tent.

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Thinking of running the Long Beach Marathon?

Pros:

  • Flat course
  • GREAT t-shirt!
  • Fun post race celebration with plenty freebies, massages, a huge run club village and lots of positive energy!
  • Well-organized expo and easy packet pick-up
  • Big city race feel with lots of community support
  • Plenty of water on the course
  • Lots of spectators, fun bands, cheerleaders and other course support

Cons:

  • I really can’t think of many. Maybe that parking was congested at the end? To be expected.

My Runs Last Week:

  • Monday: Six Mile Run after-school. 7:34 pace.
  • Tuesday: No running. Strength routine.
  • Wednesday: Back on My Feet in the Morning and 4 Mile pace run with Ellen after-school. 7:27 pace.
  • Thursday: Off.
  • Friday: Back on My Feet 4 Mile Run. 7:47 pace.
  • Saturday: Watchless 8ish Mile Run in Santa Monica with Kathy and Lauren
  • Sunday: 11ish run around Long Beach. Yoga video.