Friday, January 18, 2013

Mind over matter...

  A couple weekends ago, I flew to LA for a sister's weekend. Actually, Susannah had won the entry to the Los Angeles New Year's Eve half-marathon and she had a hotel and wanted me to come hang out with her. I agreed, under the condition that she understand I will NOT be running any races. I hadn't jogged a step since the Zombie race in October. I brought a good book onto the plane (Unbroken, which incidentally is about an Olympic runner from Torrance--where Susannah currently lives) and was planning to read the book back in the hotel room while she was out running in the middle of the night. Still, she said I should bring my running things just in case.

  I spent the first night at her house and got to see the kids. Then we did a little bit of shopping, lunch at P.F. Chang's, and then headed to the hotel, The Biltmore downtown LA which was swarming with runners for this very race. I love historic buildings so I thought the hotel was great, even though the bathroom was a little "icky". I love the ceiling in the picture here, and check out that chandelier

So you see that I'm wearing running attire. Rest assured, I let Susannah talk me into walking the half marathon with her. I hadn't signed up for the race but figured it wouldn't hurt anything if I'm just "walking along." "It's just walking; I can always walk another step," I thought. We explored downtown and hung out at the mall and at nine, the race was beginning. I don't know what it was that filled that air, but the tension made my legs start itching to run. "Maybe I'll run the first mile," I told Susannah and she was so agreeable and said she'd do whatever I wanted; she was just so glad she wasn't there alone. Here we are just minutes before the race started. 

And once that race started, I don't know what happened but I felt invincible. It didn't matter that I hadn't run in two and a half months, I was going to run this thing. Okay, so we ran and walked and ran and walked and just kept going as fast as we possibly could. We ran through Chinatown and up and down hills. At mile seven, we were at Dodger Stadium and actually ran through the field there. We talked and walked and ran and talked through the whole thing. We thought about dad and spoke about him when we were passed by the cutest old man. I felt pretty good up until we passed Mile Marker 11. And then my legs hurt so bad from walking fast that it was actually a relief to run. So we ended up running more in the last two miles than walking. And wow did I just want it over! It is amazing the feeling of accomplishment you get when people are cheering you on at the end and you realize that it was kind of a big deal. I've never felt more relieved than to stop moving. We crossed the finish line a little after midnight. No one seemed to care that I hadn't actually registered for the race and they showered me with a medal and a tin-foil blanket and lots of food and drinks. I was doubly surprised by how many people we passed in those last several miles. Here we are, barely able to hold up our medals.

After resting a bit, we still had about seven blocks to walk home, but at least we could walk slowly. Kind of. It was late and it was downtown LA after all, so we kind of wanted to stay with a group of people who were all heading back to our same hotel. I showered, then laying in bed was actually the best feeling of all. 

  I didn't really understand just how much this 13 miles would affect my body. The next morning, I could hardly walk, which wasn't great considering Susannah had planned a "walking" tour of the city where she showed me the building where she worked as an accountant at KPMG right out of college. Every step was painful. Yeah, I shouldn't have been all that surprised considering I hadn't run in over two months, but sometimes when you tell your body to do something, it listens and then you pay for it later. Mind over matter, right? Well, I was definitely paying for it.

  We had tickets to see the LA Philharmonic perform Tchaikovsky's 4th and then some experimental, first-time-performed-in-the-US piece that reminded me a little of August Rush. We drove around a little city where Susannah hopes to move to in the future and then she dropped me off at the airport. It was a short trip but so fun. I'm so lucky to have an awesome sister who makes me do things I really don't want to do and then appreciate it later. Now, weeks later, when the soreness is all finally completely gone, I can say that yes, I'm glad I did it. I can now check 1/2 marathon off my bucket list of things to do before I die. 


Susannah Harper said...

Yay for us! I feel such an incredible sense of accomplishment. I'm especially proud of you. You are one strong lady! ;). Thank you for taking the time for such a wonderful week-end. I will cherish this memory forever!!

Erin said...

Congrats on finishing a half-marathon. Sisters are awesome to provide some push. Great job!

Jenny G said...

Good job! I just got back from a girls weekend with my family and I read Unbreakable on the plane too! Ahhhh! Only we didn't run at all, unless you can count going to Ikea.

Cami said...

What a neat experience!