• There’s just something about running until your legs don’t work anymore.

    So, time changed on Sunday. I’m not talking in an existential manner or anything. The cosmos shifted, dimensions coalesced and in spots of Newark pigeons walk backward… no, nothing like that. We were thrust forward an hour, unless you reside in Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, et al. For most people who work Monday through Friday this equaled less sleep-in time. However, for over 25,000 people that congregated at Dodger Stadium on Sunday it was a ridiculous pain in the ass.

    Imagine that the majority of these people drove to Santa Monica Beach as early as 2am. Then, these people all road in shuttles to Dodger Stadium. When taken out of context it seems like very odd behavior, but the title of this post probably gave away what I’m talking about. It was the 29th annual Los Angeles Marathon.

     

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    I took the metro to the base of the hill (since I live just a few miles from the stadium), and then walked up the steep slope to the stadium. It was then that dawn crept up over the horizon. Hordes of people everywhere were jogging, stretching, and waiting in line for the restrooms (a recurring theme later on).

     

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    (This man was smart. He was armed with a goo belt.)

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    I met up with two of my friends who were also running in the event. I was advised to use the facilities, so twenty minutes later I found my way back to my friends. Shortly after, it was time to run. As people were getting ready, they started throwing jackets, over-shirts, and sweaters off to the side and onto the fence. Hundreds of articles of clothing tossed away. I looked at my friend, “This is a thing?!?” He said yup and his wife handed me her jacket to throw. I grinned and chucked it as hard as I could. It landed on the 11 minute mile marker flag. My prowess was greeted with rousing cheers and applause.

     

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    Then it started. Thousands upon thousands of people in all manner of colorful outfits and neon kicks broke out into a stampede. We ran down the steep incline going from 600 feet elevation to 200 feet elevation in the first two miles. It was already a warm 60 degrees at the get go. Traversing some of Downtown Los Angeles, then Echo Park, we cruised through Silver Lake.

    I made a point of staying hydrated which meant drinking lots of water and Gatorade. There were two problems with that: one, they were always out of Gatorade which meant just water and two, there were about six port-a-pottys every mile for 25,000 runners. This egregious error on the part of the Marathon coordinators was a travesty. Guys (and some girls) were utilizing trees, alleys, and garbage bins or they were forced to wait upwards of 15 minutes a stop (seriously adds to your run time and improper cooldown). It didn’t help that one stretch of the pottys they forgot to unlock.

     

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    So, we are cruisin’ along and people start passing out bananas and oranges to the runners. This is a fabulous idea except for one thing. Everyone threw the rinds and peels on the ground. I thought “Whose brilliant idea is this? Covering the street with thousands of banana peels!?!” Talk about an obstacle course. I felt like I was playing Super Mario Kart and everyone ahead had picked up the special banana peel weapon, and in fact someone had tripped and fell. There he was surrounded by paramedics with a gash on his forehead.

    People left and right were ending up lying by the side of the road, clutching their legs. Every medical tent was full of people being bandaged, iced, medicated and treated for heat exhaustion because by now it was 85 degrees.

    We kept along Sunset Blvd. until we got to Hollywood. We passed the Pantages Theatre, Mann’s Chinese Theater, and the Walk of Fame. Cruising along I was getting desperate for the energy goo that Clif passes out. My friend had given me some energy Jelly Belly beans that saved my life the first 11 miles, but now I was getting run down. I could feel my body screaming for sustenance. We turned two corners and headed into West Hollywood. I saw an energy shot tent up ahead. Yes! I asked for two when I finally got there. Sickly sweet vanilla goo… it made me happy and slightly ill at the same time, but I was stoked. The Whisky A Go Go was just down the road and then the Troubadour.

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    There were bands playing, cheerleaders cheering, and fans yelling support all along the way. There was a hot dog stand giving away dogs. They had a sign that said Bad Idea? or Goooood One? There were also a group of people giving away cold pizza. Ugh.

     

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    The race went through Beverly Hills. I popped out my camera from time to time hoping not to drop it. I caught Rodeo Dr. before we headed into Century City and West LA. All this time I saw black helicopters in the distance. I thought perhaps it was for security, but just down the way KING KONG was swatting at them like they were mosquitos! He was growling and beating his chest while holding onto the building. It was insane! He started reaching down, picking up cars and throwing them! There were no screams though. In fact, no one even noticed except for me. I got out of there as fast as I could.

     

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    Mile 23 and my legs started to get incredibly stiff. I knew the end was near (and not just because people had signs that said so). We were in Santa Monica and I could see glimpses of the ocean. Mile 24 was tough, but I actually picked up speed. By the time Mile 25 was upon us I stopped taking small walk breaks.

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    I just trucked on until I saw the finish line. I ran the last bit and finished in just under 5 hours (beat my Long Beach one by about 13 min). The fastest time was a little over 2 hours, so I was pretty close.

     

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    I hobbled over to receive my medal. It was put on backward so I pulled it off to flip it over. The corner was so sharp I gouged my head with it. I had forgotten about that until I was using a cool towel to wipe my brow. Where did all this blood come from? I wondered. I recalled the medal and laughed. I made it all the way to the end braving heat, banana peels, orange rinds, potholes, sharp turns, and King Kong throwin’ cars for cryin’ out loud. In the end it was the medal that got me.

     

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    I went to a small patch of lawn that was occupied with the fallen. They went to stretch and lay in the shade. We all nursed or wounds and smiled at the feat that we pulled off. This was amazing.

    I’m sitting at my computer two days later, typing about this adventure. My muscles are yelling at me saying such hateful things, but then I just look up at my medal and smile.

     

    In celebration of my run I enjoyed a couple bottles of wine with friends…

    The Three Saints 2007 Sixty-Seven which you can get online at K&L for $17.99

    90 points James Suckling

    “A wine with currants, berries and hints of smoke. Full body, with fine tannins and a chewy finish. Give it a year or two to mellow. Made from 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot, 5% Syrah, 4% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec.”

    89 points Connoisseurs Guide

    “*Good Value* Here is a sturdy, Cabernet-based blend that plays to complexity more than outgoing fruit. Its themes of cherries and dried currants are laced with soy, loamy earth, graphite and a touch of spiced meats, and it comes across as a burly, slightly sinewy, extracted wine of more substance than grace. While its ample tannins dictate a clear need for patience, they are never more than the wine can support and should slowly ease over the next six to eight years as increased complexity arrives.”

     

    We also had some of Foxen Winery & Vineyard’s

    2010 Foxen Cuvee Jeanne Marie

    91 Wine Advocate

    “The Grenache-based 2010 Cuvee Jeanne Marie is another compelling wine from Foxen. The sweet, floral infused red fruit of Grenache is the dominant element in this racy, medium-bodied Rhone blend. Ideally, the 2010 is best enjoyed over the next few years, while the fruit retains its juiciness. Hints of mint, tobacco and cedar add complexity as the wine opens up. In 2010, the blend is 64% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 16% Mourvedre. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.”