Yesterday I ran the Fontana Half-Marathon …

Lisa finishing Fontana Half-Marathon

… and I’m feeling a wonderful post-race confidence and well being that running always brings me. Back in March, I wrote the below article to be published in the Chino Hills Life Magazine. But before it went to print, they went out of business! Since running is my favorite wellness activity, what better place to post it than on beingwellstayingwell.com ? This story is dedicated to my amazing running friends at the Inland Empire Running Club.

 

Nobody Walks in LA -They RUN! 

IERC Members Conquer the LA Marathon

March 8 was a big day for running in Los Angeles. Twenty-five thousand people ran the 29th Annual Los Angeles Marathon. The Inland Empire Running Club (IERC) had a strong showing with 190 members finishing. The following Saturday the club met at Butterfield Ranch Park in Chino Hills for a short “victory run” and post race celebration. They ate, laughed, showed off their medals, and shared some astounding stories.

Jim, an experienced runner, describes how he stood at the starting line filled with adrenaline and determination. He was boxed in among 25,000 runners – each psyching themselves up to accomplish one of the great challenges of life: running a 26.2 mile marathon.

The song “I love LA” boomed from gargantuan speakers as the announcer began the countdown. The crowd emitted an unquenchable energy to conquer the goal for which they had each spent long months preparing.

Like every other runner, Jim would fight battles of both body and mind. Like every successful runner, he would rely on his inner resources to overcome them.

That day, every runner contended with fatigue, muscle soreness, cramps, and lactic acid build-up, not to mention the effects of the temperature soaring to 85 degrees. The mental battlefield was equally grueling: self-doubt, negative thoughts, and what-ifs.

Perhaps the most heinous obstacle of all is what the marathon is famous for: “the wall.” Runners hit the wall, (or “bonk”) when around mile 20, the mind and body challenges converge … all the body’s reserves have been used up, and the runner continues by sheer force of will.

For Jim, mile 9 started to feel like the wall as he forged up the hill near Veteran’s Hospital under the blazing sun.

Suddenly he saw a giant screen flashing a larger-than-life photo of him with the words, “Run like Jim!” He laughed, recognizing it as a pre-planned loving gesture by his sister-in-law and fellow runner, Angela.

Jim and Angela pic

Angela and Jim

“Going up that hill, I was struggling and in pain; that sign kept me going. It motivated me.”

Michelle, another IERC member, beams with a mother’s pride as she tells her story of running the LA Marathon with her entire family. For six months, Michelle, her husband Scott, their 21 year-old son Zac, and their 20 year-old daughter Amanda trained for this event. She explains – with a spunky joy – what running together has meant to her family.

Applegate pic

The Applegate family

Parents often find it hard to get kids to commit to anything for more than a day. But my kids showed up every week to complete the long training run. They did the weekday sessions too. We’ve always been a close family. Now we have so many great running stories to share.”

Jackie, another IERC member, relates how running has been a means of transforming her life and health. She posts pictures of her three LA Marathons on Facebook to illustrate the emergence of her healthiest self.

Sometimes you get so busy thinking about how far you have to go, that you forget about how far you have come. It was not until I compared my photos and race times that I recognized my success.”

For this race, her third LA Marathon, she was 20 pounds lighter and one hour faster than she was for her first.

Jacky pic

Jacky as IERC pace leader

“The most I did in high school was marching band. I weighed 210 pounds. Then I heard I could run through Disneyland and get a medal! I decided at that point to run a half-marathon. My mom brought me to IERC three years ago, and I’m still making progress.”

Jackie looks fit and fantastic, and more importantly, she feels unstoppable. She now volunteers as a pace leader in the club, assisting other runners in accomplishing their goals.

With plucky conviction, Jackie shares what she has learned along her running journey. “Losing weight makes me go faster … and going faster makes me lose weight. Running helps me eat healthy because food is my fuel, and I want to feel good on my runs. Food is not the reward – the finish line is the reward.” Lowering her voice, she confesses, “But after the LA Marathon, I let myself have a burger and fries.”

“One more thing,” she says, eager to be an effective role model, “If you don’t change your habits you will never see changes in your body.”

Perhaps IERC member Victoria’s comments best sum it up: “This was my first marathon. It was so hard and it hurt. But my confidence was through the roof this week. I plan to do it again.”

Julesha, another IERC member adds, “Pain is temporary … pride is forever.”

Standing before the diverse and invigorated group – who have become like family to each other – IERC President David concludes the storytelling session with a probing question, “So … what’s next?”

IERC LA Marathon Logo