If the rain spoils our picnic,
but saves a farmer’s crop,
who are we to say it shouldn’t rain?
~Tom Barrett
I have always enjoyed running in the rain.  Mostly because it’s refreshing and I love the cool drops on my hot skin.  I love the puddles and the feeling that I’ve done more than most by just being outside.  The first time we ran in the rain, we ran 6 miles.  And, I spent the day in my bathrobe because I was exhausted.  But, I was hooked.
And so it came to pass that I ventured to Southern California in hopes of redeeming myself at the LA Marathon.  We traveled Friday.  We carb loaded.  We spent the night at my parents’ house, and took a quick 20 minute jog the next morning.  We drove to the Expo, and seasoned shopper that I am had to be dragged out and into my car by my two pals.  I dropped Jami & Kim off at their hotel, while I met up with Harley Guy in Marina del Rey.
Carb load dinner:  Hard Rock Cafe.  I’m looking around the front door, and all I’m thinking is we run right by here.  I don’t care much about the dinner or the noise or the music.  All I’m thinking is.  Tomorrow.  I run by here.  The menu choice was dim, as the only pasta selection had white wine sauce.  Couldn’t risk it.  A Caesar salad?  Too much fat.  So I was served a chicken sandwich and french fries.  This meal would prove to be too light for me.  I usually have pancakes the night before a long run.  Not french fries.  Harley Guy was amazing as he drove us all over the place.  Up and down and on lost freeways.  All the while four girls chattered in the background.
Marathon morning:  3:00 am.  Pre race prep.  Harley guy gets me moving and out the door and to Blue Heaven at 4am…  and it was cold, really cold.  It would prove to be the best weather of the day.  Sat in my parents’ seats above first base.  Bathroomed.  Again.  and Again.  I ate and did all the stuff I normally do.  I was not nervous, not even a little bit about the marathon.  I was, however, terrified about one part of the course:

The place of my demise at the LAMarathon in 2010.  Where I was on the ground for 45 minutes.   I didn’t care about finishing the marathon.  I cared about gracing my way from mile 18 to mile 19.  It was there last year that my heart broke.  In the City of Angels, I was looking for mercy.

Marathon: Horn sounds.  Runners start.  And.  Downpour.  Just at that moment, you heard a collective 20,000 person groan.  I had checked my pants and hat and sweatshirt, leaving only my white long sleeved tank, visor, gloves and trash bag.  Ditched the trash bag about 5 minutes before the rain.

Mile 1-5:  I wanted a 12:00 pace.  I was right on track.  Miles 1-3 were different, and I loved Chinatown and Little Tokyo and it was eerily absent of spectators.  I noticed a slight breeze coupled with spritzy rain.  Lovely.  I also noticed that I was starving.  I had to eat.  And, now.  When we got to the Disney Concert Hall, the course started halfway up from where it was last year, so that hill was only about 3 blocks long.  Harley Guy was somewhere around there yelling my name, but I was focused.  He raced off to see me at other spots.  He truly was my guardian angel that day.  When I got to mile 5, I was thrilled.  On pace for a 5:18 marathon.  Only one problem.

Into each life some rain must fall. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Miles 6-10:  Echo Park.  The rain is loud.  It’s noisier because we are beside the fountain, but I’m starting to challenge my body a bit with trying for more 11 minute miles.  I’m chasing 11 back and forth and this part of the course reminds me of a part of the Marine Corps Marathon.  The water, the memory.  And, I’m just reminding myself to get to the Pantages Theater.  Don’t think.  Don’t think about your job and your house and your kids.  I invited God into the run.

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. ~Langston Hughes

Mile 11-15: All the way.  Past mile 12 and 13 and I am halfway home.  And on mile 14 I was starving.  I had a 15 minute mile as I walked past that part of the course.  Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  It was there that I started to notice that LA was here.  ON the course.  AGAIN with my hometown!  I couldn’t believe it.  I started to think about the previous miles and how people were still handing out water and Gu and it was pouring.  I was soaked in my pink top.  And the locals were all there.
Loud roared the dreadful thunder, The rain a deluge showers.
~Andrew Cherry

Mile 16-17: I am dreary.  I am wearing frozen bricks as shoes, my quads are on fire, my stomach is growling.  I know that Glenn will soon be there.  My long time bloggy pal who promised to get me through Mile 18 to Mile 19.
And.
Mile 18 comes.
And I can’t do it.  I have to go to the bathroom.  I’m hungry.   Glenn keeps talking.  He says “Look at those big red vultures! They’re waiting to take runners away!”  And I look at the ambulances and I am horrified.
One can find so many pains when the rain is falling. ~John Steinbeck

I only can describe Mile 18 like this.  That was no one mile.  It took forever.  Three miles worth.  By this time, the mile markers were down.  I kept thinking, it was here were I lay.  No here.  No here.  And I started to get disoriented as to where I was.  I had vivid memories of looking up at a cop last year, and I just kept shaking it off.  It was a 14 minute mile, but I didn’t want to walk.  I just couldn’t.  And Glenn kept trying to cheer me up…and got me up to Mile 21…
Mile 21-26  Finally, finally…we get to the Veteran’s Administration grounds where I will see my sister Laura, Harley Guy and Shiloh who is taking me to the end of the course.  We are running through parts of the course washed away.  It’s hailing.  It’s raining and I can’t take it any more and I walk and she talks and I want her to shut the hell up and she keeps talking.
Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth;
without rain, there would be no life. ~John Updike


and.

i start to count.
t0 100.
and inside i’m glad.
and i’m weeping.
and i don’t care that i’m cold
and i want out.
just out.
i see the finish, and i am living.
i am 52
and i don’t care that
i got no PR.
for it isn’t the time.
it was the race i had to run.
and it’s a monsoon.
and i don’t care.
the volunteers are cheering.
or their teeth are chattering.
and then i see
a big blue and white umbrella.
and he is under it.
holding me and walking me back.
and i am protected.
and i have finished.

 

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11 thoughts on “The Rain Is Both A Fading Memory & A Distant Promise

  1. WOW! DAMN I make that garbage bag look SEXY. Ive said it before… will say it again.. You are an amazing woman. Thank for letting me TALK you to the finish. Let’s do it again next year! xoxo

  2. Incredible recap! You had some ugly conditions out there and you pushed through!! You are superwoman! Great job out there!

  3. Amazing post. So, so happy that you did it! I was thinking of you the whole way and how you were going to show this course who was boss. And you did. Through some of the worst conditions I have ever run through (except my first 20-miler in a blizzard!) and you lived to tell the story. Congratulations you rock girl!!!

  4. Santa Monica Blvd and the VA sections were the worse for me too. Great job in pulling through! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  5. Awesome job!
    I struggled through my half on 3/27 w/horrific foot pain, got grim news from my podiatrist which may mean the end of my running, slow n’ clumsy as I am…
    It’s really demoralizing to think that when I thought I was doing GOOD for myself, it may have been the exact opposite. (Insert big curse words here)

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