Monday, October 10, 2011

I Left My Heart In Long Beach

This was my second year running the Long Beach Half Marathon and I must say it tops the chart on my list of favorite races. My time wasn't all that great. As a matter of fact, it was my second worst time ever. I'd set out to do Long Beach for several reasons. Last year, I'd let the hill at mile three defeat me. It not only challenged me physically, but mentally it broke me down and I was discouraged to finish. I wanted to walk off the course and just go home. The last ten miles were just awful. I swore I was going to come back this year and beat my time. I beat it by 6 minutes (in my defense I had to stop for a potty break or my time would have been better--too much coffee before the race and too many people in line before the start). Part of me was determined to challenge mile three again but the real reason I signed up, and the reason that will keep me coming back every year is my love for the city.

The medal itself represents the historic parts of the city
Long Beach has so much history for me. It's where my passion for running grew and also where I studied in college for so many years. As a Cal State Long Beach alum, the streets of the city have so many memories. Ocean Avenue was where my best friend rented her first apartment. It's where I hung out in between classes or unwinded after a long day at school. It's where I had my first Smirnoff Ice and realized I was a lightweight with the booze. LOL! 

I remember when the Pike was first built. At the time I was a writer for the magazine at school and covered its development in a very beautiful piece that talked about the history and what it meant to the residents who visited the original Pike. I wrote so many stories about that city and people in it. It was a good ride at that school...

So, so many memories. You don't forget your college years, the lessons you learned along the way and the people that helped shape your life to mold you into the person you are today.

Years after graduation I would come back to the very same city to join the Long Beach area Team In Training. A marathon was always on my bucket list but when my cousin Sam was diagnosed with Hodgkins, I knew this was no longer something to check off my list but something I wanted to do in her honor. I never imagined that I would become so passionate about the sport, that I would continue on after my first one. Sam is cancer-free but I never forget the journey that brought me here.

Proudly sporting my Long Beach gear and my medal of course
Needless to say, Long Beach is like my second home and running through the city is like taking a stroll down memory lane only this stroll is a little bit harder on the body. Thank you @runracing for such a great marathon. A big thank you to all the volunteers for being out there handing us water or snacks (my favorite were the Boy Scouts with Clif Shot Bloks) and those of you who were out there to support. I heard a few "Go Jewels" as I ran by the crowds...I will never get to say this to those people but THANK YOU for taking the time to be's those of you on the course that really keep us going when we feel like we can't make it another mile. Maybe one of these days I'll muster up the courage to do the full and run through my old Alma Matter. 

My marathon fire was definitely ignited once again. It had been way too long since my last. Till the next one...

1 comment:

  1. Great post and kudos for racing again. Sometimes the experience outweighs the time. I love running races that I enjoy even if portions of the course are challenging. Keep running strong and keep racing!