Wednesday, December 06, 2006

City of Angels Half Marathon

This weekend I was a spectator at the Inaugural City of Angels Half Marathon. I would have liked to run the race myself since the first 6 miles are along my regular training paths in my hometown, but I wanted to give myself a few weeks rest after the marathon.

I rode my bike to the starting line around 6:30. It was COLD. I think it was down around 50 degrees, possibly less, and I wasn't dressed properly. I had a t-shirt and a light jacket, no gloves. I was caught in the dreaded catch-22: It's cold riding the bike, so the faster I go the sooner I can get off the bike. But the faster I go, the colder I get. I did not envy the runners who had to stand around waiting for the race to start.

This was a point-to-point race, and there were hardly any spectators in Griffith Park. I felt a little bad for the racers who maybe didn't get as much encouragement as they might normally, but it was a nice, almost peaceful feeling riding along the roads with no cars or people around. (aside for the mob of 3600 about to run.)

I found some extra Department of Public Works signs and used them to create a mini-tower to hang my race sign. I borrowed a cowbell from Brad which was a HUGE hit. Many people did horrible Christopher Walken imitations demanding more cowbell. There was a problem however: the cowbell didn't have a padded handle. It was simply bent metal. My fingers were cold, chapped and numb, and at one point I looked down and realized my fingers were covered in blood. The metal scraped my fingers raw. (Unfortunately I took the photo after instinctively sucking up all the blood, so the picture doesn't do it justice.)

There was a short out-and-back loop, so I was able to see people at miles 2 and 3.5 from the same location. After I saw 6 or 7 friends go by, I rode my bike to a new location along the course. Part of the race was along a narrow bike path which (ironically) I didn't want to ride my bike on through the crowds, so I got a bit lost trying to find where the course hit the streets again. I rode up a few small hills that I probably didn't need to go up but was able to see everybody again around mile 9.

It was then off to the finish line in downtown L.A. By now everybody I knew was really spread out along the cross so I only saw 2 people finish. I was able to meet up with most of them afterwards though. The finish line was certainly a lot more festive than the start and from what I can tell most people seemed to think it was a pretty good race.

The adventure doesn't end there however; I had to get myself home. I backtracked along the course, but many of the roads were starting to reopen. At one point a street-sweeper-truck came up behind me and when I tried to get off the road on to the sidewalk my front wheel got caught and I crashed. I tried to break my fall with my hand (bad idea, I know) and really bruised up my wrist/plam kind of bad. When I got home I couldn't turn the key in the door with my right hand because of the pain, nor could I lift up a bottle of soda. Three days later, it's still sore with a slight bruise.


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