It’s All In The Socks

I got an L.A. Marathon merchandising email in my inbox today. They’ve finally stopped offering me ultra-discounted crap from the last marathon four months ago and they’re finally focusing on next year:


Time for me to do the same.

My marathon history in a nutshell — no, let me go even one better: bullet points! Little opportunity for digressional tangentalization for which my nutshells are known:

  • 1994 – Marathon
  • 1995 – Bike Tour
  • 1996 – Bike Tour
  • 1997 – Bike Tour
  • 1998 – Bike Tour
  • 1999 – Bike Tour
  • 2000 – Bike Tour
  • 2001 – Bike Tour
  • 2002 – Bike Tour
  • 2003 – Bike Tour & Marathon
  • 2004 – Bike Tour
  • 2005 – Bike Tour & Marathon
  • 2006 – Bike Tour

In 2003 my very good friend and Candy Goddess Cybele decided she was going to walk the marathon. After doing what I had expected would be my first and last back in 1994, I found myself deciding to join her. We engaged in some training and felt confident we could cross the finish line in anywhere between 6 to 6.5 hours. On the big day I got up early cruised through the 21-mile bike tour, met Cybele up near the marathon startline after putting on a bad pair of socks for walking 26.2 miles in and by the time I dragged out our finish time to just under eight hours (Cybele could’ve finished it in 6:30 easy had she not had to hang back with my limping/cringing self) I was in blistered agony and swearing never again.

That didn’t last long and I signed up to get my six-hour revenge with the 2004 edition not long after my senses deserted me. Cybele was eager to do so as well, but injuries along the way ended up keeping her from training and forced her to bow out. Me? I wound up doing no training either, but had no injuries I could blame it on. To top it off about a week before I got a head and chest cold, but still hadn’t made up my mind not to walk it until that morning after wheezing and sniffling through the bike tour. Only on my way up from that finish line near USC back to my truck parked downtown with temps already in the 80s and threatening to go much hire did common sense whallop me upside the head and send me home. See ya next year, marathon.
2005 was the same as 2004 in that I didn’t train a lick. The positives when marathon time landed was that I hadn’t been hit by any colds or flus, and the temps were much more seasonably cool. So I did the bike tour and then walked the marathon solo. The majormajormajor negative was that for the 2003 marathon I weighed in the neighborhood of 235. This time around I was up to 260.

And once again, I put on a crappy pair of socks to walk 26.2 miles in. On top of that I freakin’ live-blogged my slow descent into hell, posting audio and phonecam pix made and taken along the route. Even better, without Cybele to give me a “whoa idiot!” I got caught up in the energy and actually jogged the first mile. Stooopid.
The only good news to report was that I came in four minutes faster than my 2003 time. So instead of it taking me a full eternity of agony (aka 7 hours and 47 minutes), I shaved 240 seconds off the pain. Small victory.

I was wiser this year. From the get-go I had no delusions of walking the marathon. I signed up only for the bike tour and stuck to it. Sure I wavered when I went to the convention center to pick up my bike tour bib; I was a few months into my diet and beginning to shed some pounds so the little devil on my shoulder said “Oh but you can soooo do this!” But I didn’t listen. And this time I met a few cycling pals and for the first time in all the bike tours I’ve done I biked all the way from home to the bike tour and back. When I got home I watched the marathon on TV. Didn’t miss it a bit.
It wasn’t long thereafter that I found the registration for the 2007 events open and of course I signed up for both the bike tour and the marathon. But I’m not in it this time for the six-hour finish. Hell no. Now that I’m presently down to 208 pounds and expect to be at my final goal of 195 by the beginning of November, this time I’m going in for some longer-term steady training so that I’ll be trotting across the finish line aiming for a finish somewhere between 4 and 4.5 hours.

That’s right, I’m talking about averaging 10-minute miles from the first one to the last, but don’t shake your head like you’re just now realizing I’m crazy. I’ve been a loon all my life. But with six months of regular and consistent output beginning in September — and some really good socks — it’s totally doable. I’ll show you.