I ran the marathon! I ran the marathon!Seriously, I did. This was my sixth time.
You might think I am kidding and trying to sound tough by saying I participated in the 20th annual Los Angeles City Marathon Sunday in Downtown L.A.
But I really ran a marathon and this time I have proof. I’ve run five marathons in Los Angeles and Sunday was the first time I had my own personal fans on the course.
My fianc? Brenda and my kid sister Jenny were on sight as I made my way through the streets of Los Angeles running 26.2 miles in 5 hours, 56 minutes and 13 seconds.
That was the first time anyone had ever come out to see me run. In the past, it has always been a disappointment finishing and achieving such a goal without having a single person come see me.
It was always a sad feeling to run through the streets and see the million’s of fans holding banners with encouraging words for their moms, dads, brothers, sisters, boyfriends, girlfriends and friends. Sometimes I would run into the encouraging siblings a few times as they raced up to catch their acquaintances at different stages of the run.
On Sunday, I was lucky to see my two very own cheerleaders race up L.A. streets to see it for themselves.
They brought me food and water that helped me through the heat. Power gel gave me a boost of energy at mile five. Their Ben Gay helped calm cramps on mile 13. Their Red Bull gave me wings at the 21st. Their companionship as they walked alongside my slow trot over the final mile was definitely the kind of support that I’ve lacked in years past.
Thanks to their presence, I was able to reach my goal. I finished the marathon non-stop for only the second time since I started running the L.A. version in 1997. Last December, Brenda gave me the same support as I ran the White Rock Marathon in Dallas, Texas, and I had the same outcome.
Running in L.A. is special to me because this is where I started to run marathons. Every year I tell myself that I cannot miss this event. However, because of the lack of support and having to battle through injured hamstrings, I was forced to stay off the course from 2001 to 2003.
Finishing this run was a great achievement for my fans and I. Brenda was able to find me at the aforementioned locations without a problem. This all, while driving on the streets of Los Angeles for the first time in only her third visit to California.
Jenny was proud to say she walked two miles, the final mile with me and back to the truck at the end of the day. She was also proud she got photos of me on the course so I can prove to everyone that I did it.
The best thing about it was that my fans weren’t too tired to go and thought spending six-plus hours in Los Angeles, to watch a bunch of idiots run 26.2 miles just for fun, was worth it.
Maybe they were there to show support. Maybe they were there because they knew how important this is to me. Maybe they wanted to have a reason to miss Sunday mass.
Or maybe they just wanted to see if I was for real when I say, I ran the Marathon!