There is no better way to start off the new year than by running a race. The first race of the year, my second year running this race, and it is the inaugural Doubleheader Challenge. I signed up for the 5k and the half marathon; two races in one night, and I’m walking away with three medals. What better way to challenge myself than this.
January 2, 2015: Health and Fitness Expo
Goodies Galore was the name of the game that day. When you register for the Doubleheader Challenge, you get the 5k/10k tech shirt, the half marathon long sleeve tech shirt, and the doubleheader challenge hoodie. I immediately feel in love with the doubleheader challenge hoodie, it is very nice, and made from great material. It is now my favorite sweatshirt to lounge around the house in, and to run errands in.
I met up with my run group and we all hung out during the expo. I needed some energy gels, and to pick up the medal I received from the virtual run. During the expo, I don’t know how I did it or if I did it, but three of my friends signed up for a 10k run for Run to Remember Los Angeles. It meant so much to me that they did sign up for it, and honestly, I chocked back tears.
I do love expo’s, its a chance to sign up for races, talk to vendors, and talk to other runners. Its also the best when you hang out with your friends before the race.
January 3, 2015: Race Day
The day I have been waiting for, but at the same time nervous about is here. The closer it got to race day, the more I began to doubt myself. That is mistake number one; never, NEVER, doubt yourself. One thing is doubleheader challenge taught me, was no matter how much I doubt myself, I am capable of so much more.
First up, the 5k event; 3.1 miles of warm-up for the main event. Susy and I decided to take it easy and that was not going to be a problem, I was going to jog it with my son and my dad. My friend Suzie, found us at the start line. It was her first race ever, and she was doing the 10k.
The 5k course was different than last year. It was a very nice course, took the same route as the Turkey Trot, around Grand Park which I like. We went through the 2nd Street tunnel and we heard the beating of the taiko drums, now all we had to do was get to the drummers and say the magic word.
Mission accomplished! We got to the takio drummers, said the magic word and got our t-shirt. My son even got one. We were part of the first 100 people to get the shirts, and I was so happy.
We made our way back through the 2nd Street tunnel and back out toward Grand Park. Susy and I decided that we were going to run the rest of the way, it was downhill, and lets warm up our muscles. While we were making our way toward the finish line we saw Rundalay on the side cheering us on. That was all the momentum I needed, its very uplifting for the soul, and we both finished strong. We got our 5k medal, now it was time to recharge and relax before the half marathon.
I decided to head over to Starbucks to meet up with an old friend of mine, and to talk to my son and my dad before they left. They finished one minute after Susy and I finished. I wanted to give my son a kiss and a hug before they left.
After that I headed over to the gear check area to put my 5k medal in my bag, to grab my SPIBelt which had my energy gels in it, to grab my long sleeve tech shirt, and head over to the start line. I was nervous because I heard there were a lot of hills, and I never ran this particular half marathon before. Everything would be ok though, I was running with Susy.
At the start we kept a good pace, and we were ahead of the 3 hour time schedule. Alex was pacing the 3 hour group and I was feeling fantastic. The pace felt easy, and we were feeling great. The first couple of miles were not bad at all, then we came to the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. Oh my Gosh, it was only the first hill and I was already lagging. My stride was shorter, and I slowed down my pace. Susy was waiting for me at the top, with her hand stretched out, I always grab her hand and that pushes me to keep going, and to keep going harder. Its the little things like that, that always inspires me to keep going.
Going through the parking lot of Dodger Stadium, we can hear the music and I wanted to run inside. I had never been to Dodger Stadium, and I was very excited to go. As we made our way out of Dodger Stadium, we started to go through some of Elysian Park. Those hills we took slow, and both of us didn’t feel like running when it was time to run. We listened to our bodies, and took the necessary length for walking break. Mile 4 had the best views that I recognized from the Christmas 2 Give run, but to see it at night was absolutely breathtaking.
Susy and I were running down the hills and half on the flat parts, and walked up the hills. We made our way back onto the pavement, which put us on Stadium Way, along the 5 freeway. We were running down this hill, made a u-turn and walked up the way we came. This was a killer hill, it was one of the worst on the course. Once we got to the top we were headed strong toward mile 7.
My gluteus muscles, and hamstrings were killing me. Susy said her hamstrings were also killing her. I was in total agreement with her, we were going to power walk the rest of the half marathon. Starting at mile 7 the hills seemed like they were back to back and nonstop. While were walking up toward Dodger Stadium Susy said she couldn’t feel her legs, and I said that I couldn’t feel my butt. A woman behind us started to laugh hard. That’s what its all about, helping other runners. Susy was laughing at that comment and it took our minds up the hill we were in the middle of conquering.
We made it, Dodger Stadium! I have never been to a baseball stadium before, and it was an unique experience for me. To be able to run inside Dodger Stadium, I though was a very cool thing. That was my picture taken, video filming moments. I didn’t want to leave, I was soaking it all up. I honestly didn’t want to leave, who would? How many times will you get to be practically on the field, along the warning track.
Susy, do we have to leave? Time to get our last two medals. She’s right, lets go get our last two medals, and we’ve come this far, lets keep going.
Exiting Dodger Stadium, our legs were hurting, our feet were hurting, but our conversation was awesome. That is the best part of the entire half marathon, is the conversations Susy and I have. I value that more than anything else, and to share adventures.
Through out the route we saw our Rundalay family and we were all encouraging each other through out the half marathon. Once we got to mile 10 we both had blisters forming on our feet, but it was literally all downhill from here. We pushed on, and there were a few times I though we weren’t going to make it. Susy said that we are going to make it and to just keep going. We kept going, and we saw that we were near the finish line.
Susy said we are running to the finish line, no matter how bad it hurt, we ran to the finish line. I wanted to cry, because we did it! I couldn’t believe it, we did it.
I don’t know about everyone else, but I was tired and hurting. I made my way back to the hotel room, took a hot shower, and got some food. Once I ate and relaxed, the blister at the ball of my right foot was so bad that I was unable to walk on it. I also had two bruised toes, and my legs were hurting so bad that I didn’t get to sleep until 5:30am.
This was certainly a challenging, and unique experience. I’m glad that I did it. I’m currently on the fence if I’m going to do it again next year, as I have something in the works for next year which falls the week after. I don’t want to say anything as I’m afraid I might jinx it. Knowing me, I’ll more than likely do this again next year. Always challenge yourself, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.