Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What happens when the weather is nice?

The LA Marathon took over the streets of Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica on Sunday, March 18.  The 27th running of the event found me lined up in corral B aiming for a sub-4 hour race in my fourth LA Marathon and 20th marathon overall.

Having a great time at Mile 18.  (photo by Miri Frankel)

If you have been keeping track the past few weeks, Sunday's weather forecast featured torrential rain, maybe some hail and a fair bit of wind.  And in fact, Saturday's Big 5K race had all but the hail.  Combined with last year's rainy marathon, my imagination needed no stoking to construct a picture of what I could expect.  In fact, I did not care too much if we got drenched during the run, but standing in the rain awaiting the start seemed miserable.

Yet expectations are not always realities.  And a cool day (perfect for marathon running) dawned on Sunday.  Not a drop of rain feel that I felt, and other than a windy run home on the beach after the marathon, I was comfortable, had a great time (literally and figuratively) and all around cruised.  (This past Sunday, we had all of the promised torrential rain, and I stayed happily dry inside.  The weather gurus had the right weather on the wrong day!)

Here are my results:
Time:  3:33:59 (1 minute faster than my best hoped for time)
Place:  996 out of 18,837 (Top 6%)
Male Place:   863 out of 11468 (Top 8%)
Males 40-45:  138 out of 1431 (top 10%)
Age rating (basically, how good did I do against the record for my age):  61% 
    (this is very good - 70% is the highest I have ever hit in any race)

Results Commentary
I aimed for 3:35 - 3:45, so I am psyched with my sub 3:34.  This is my 4th fastest marathon ever and fastest in 18 months.  It's also my 3rd marathon under 3:40 this year to go along with a 3:44 one.  I actually cramped in my calves just as a I crossed the finish line.  Someone from the staff came over to see if I was ok, but after 30 seconds, I was able to move, get my medal and pose for a photo.  5 minutes later I was running home the 4.2 miles to hit my 30 mile target for the day.

Race Commentary

Saturday, March 17, 2012

LA Marathon Update 2: Rain or shine?

Hello all -

The big question I have received since sending out my marathon update earlier in the week has been about the weather.  After nearly a whole winter without rain, LA got hit this weekend with a storm.  As I type this, the sun is clearing around the Palisades even as dusk commences.  Does that bode well or ill?  The forecast still says "few showers" for tomorrow.  Scattered is an improvement on last year's "continuous" actuality.  (And of course, we just got a squall as I typed this paragraph.)  I don't mind the rain much when running, but the standing waiting in it is lousy.

I had a taste of the rainy run this morning of LA Big 5K - a 3.1 mile jaunt around the environs of Dodger Stadium as part of the marathon weekend.  I joined a group of runners running for the Alliance of Children's Rights.  I mentioned the group in my last email, and I'm excited to say that we've reached last year's $50,000 level.  Thanks in part to those of you who have donated this week based on my email, we are in a position to surpass 2011.  So, if you haven't had a chance or do not know which charity to support, please pick the Alliance for our final push.  https://www.justgive.org/registries/wishlist/donate/runlairdrun.

We had good representation today from the Activision quadrant.  My fellow running club friend, Miri, was in town from Minneapolis for business meetings and braved the lousy LA weather to take in her first LA race.  On a day when running around lake Minnetonka would have been more pleasant, she got to meet many people from the Alliance contingent and then get dumped on with rain when I picked up my bib for tomorrow's race.  Miri and her friends run for charities too.  Read more here  http://theracewithinus.blogspot.com/

I also had the pleasure to meet Mike whom I have only know via email and Facebook.  Mike is from Ohio and is best friends with Activision's SVP of North American Sales, Steve.  Steve connected us last year when Mike started his running career because he wanted to share some of my running adventures.  I am super appreciative, and today I got the chance to see both of them as they ran the 5K.  Mike, like me, is running for the Alliance and is also running the full marathon tomorrow.  So, we'll be hanging out prior to the event.

As I have written before, the LA marathon course is great.  Honestly, I was getting very excited during the 5K and then at the expo just thinking about it.  I have friends waving hi on the course, and I can already picture myself stepping (splashing?) through the 26 miles from Dodger Stadium to the beach.  My goal is then to add in 4 more miles running home for a total of 30.

My name on one of two pace cars.  I was in about the same spot last year too.

None of us can control the weather, so all that is left is to enjoy the rest no matter what happens.

Thanks again for your support.  The US charities page is here:  https://www.justgive.org/registries/wishlist/donate/runlairdrun, and the page for Rays of Sunshine in the UK is now as well:  http://www.justgiving.com/runlairdrun.

Look for a post race update tomorrow.  For those who want during the course action updates, you can follow me by registering here:  http://www.xacte.com/templates/lamarathon.  My bib number is 679.

(By the way, there isn't a lot of meaning to the bib numbers, but for some reason mine is very low for a normal runner.  I was super jazzed getting to go to the "1-1500" section of the race pick up area.)



PS If you actually can control the weather, please dial in a nice mid-50's cool day with minimal breezes.  Thanks in advance from all 20,000 LA Marathon runners.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Let the Fundraising Begin!

Dear friends and family,

Once more, the streets beckon to my feet, and once more I hope to dash through a number of marathons this spring.  Like last year's equinox fling, the big events kick off with the Honda LA Marathon on March 18.  Then, 5 weeks later, I'll be hitting the pavement in my short lived but thoroughly beloved expatriate home of London, England.  After that, I am heading to Fort Collins or Fargo (or both!) for more 26.2 mile jaunts.  My big goal for this year is to complete a 50 mile race.  Crazy? Sure!  But first things first.  (Yep, it's fundraising time! Here's the link for those wanting to skip the commentary: https://www.justgive.org/registries/wishlist/donate/runlairdrun)

The Awesome Stadium to Sea Course

Now, you may be wondering why LA again.  Well, of course geographically, I should run LA.  Yet more than that, I really have loved the past two years competing in the Stadium to the Sea Course that kicks off at Dodger Stadium, heads east to downtown and then back west through Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood and Brentwood before ending in Santa Monica above the Pacific Ocean.  Heavy rain last year did not dissuade me from a third crack at this awesome route.  With Frank McCourt selling off both the Dodgers and the LA Marathon, no one has any idea how long this course will stay in place.  And even beyond those reasons, I like being proud of running in Los Angeles.  This is my hometown, and while I have lived in many places and liked them all, I should be loyal and supportive of LA's race - one of the oldest big city marathons.

This support of LA extends to one of the four charities I am backing again this year.  The Alliance for Children's Rights provides free legal and support services to children in the foster system here in LA.  They do amazing work with adoptions, child defense, reuniting siblings split by foster parents and creating programs to support kids moving into college and beyond.  They have mentor programs and take a very hands on approach to everything they do.  I am the co-chair again this year of their LA Marathon fund raising.  Last year we hit over $50,000, and the goal this year is much bigger.  We expect over 80 runners between the 5K and LA Marathon on March 17 and 18.  If you are in LA and want to run one of these, please let me know!  The team at the Alliance does a great job taking care of us runners, and they will be at mile 20 of the marathon to cheer us on.  This is also the 20th anniversary of the charity.  Rebecca's new medical practice is a sponsor of their efforts as well.  Learn more:  http://kids-alliance.org/

Later, 2012 finds the world descending on London for the Summery Olympic Games.  So, I wanted to run the Virgin London Marathon as my way of connecting to that amazing event in a place where we lived for about a year.  When I am in London, just walking through the streets makes me feel at home and relaxed.  The race is April 22 and follows a lovely course from Greenwich to near Buckingham Palace.  The 1908 London Marathon was the first to set a marathon distance at 26.2 miles (42.1 km), and so in many ways, it is part home of the marathon (along with Athens which hosted the first ever and Boston which has kept it alive for over 110 years).

To celebrate the London marathon, I'm running for Rays of Sunshine.  I met the Executive Director and her family on a flight to Morocco back in 2010 during my 7 continent quest.  She gave me the opportunity to run for her group, and I took advantage.  Rays of Sunshine provides wish fulfillment for children suffering form terminal and serious diseases.  They work throughout the UK and have been around for many years.  They are well known and moreover well respected.  I am proud to add them to the fold.  https://www.raysofsunshine.org.uk/

While I left Activision in December, I still believe strongly in the C.O.D.E. mission of providing training and jobs for our veterans.  C.O.D.E. has been gaining a lot of momentum and continues to establish new scholarships and job opportunities throughout the United States.  Whenever I post on the C.O.D.E. site about my running, I get a lot of positive support and affirmation.  http://www.callofdutyendowment.org/

Children International is another awesome group.  I was privileged to visit their Viña del Mar facility in Chile this past October.  In fact, I actually followed my 7th continent marathon with that excursion.  I'm so happy I did because it reminded me of the power of people helping others;  I spend a lot of time running by myself, and connecting my running to something much bigger than my mileage log is crucial to my fun.  In December, I visited the C.I. HQ in Kansas City.  Together, we brainstormed how the funds we raise could be used, and we agreed that all funds donated to the marathon efforts will go to their new kids sports program: Game On!  This program is designed to keep kids busy after school so they do not fall in with the wrong elements in their impoverished neighborhoods.   Soccer is the main activity, and that means a lot of running!  At some point this spring or summer, I will go back to KC and run a race with their staff for fun.  Learn more at www.children.org

Over the next few days, I'll provide some updates as the LA Marathon unfolds, and I gear up for London.  As always, if you want off the list, please just email me.  No worries at all.

And moreover, thank you to those who have supported me in my 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 campaigns.  We've officially opened the 2012 donation page at: https://www.justgive.org/registries/wishlist/donate/runlairdrun.  This is for the US charities.  Another email will detail how to donate to Rays of Sunshine on a similar UK site.   For all donations made, we will match $10 per donation to the charity chosen.  So, giving anything nets more money to each charity.

Thank you in advance for considering any amount you see fit.  Also, if you prefer to write a check to any of these organizations, please let me know.  This saves on the processing fees and gets more money into the charities' programs.

Here's to hoping whatever endeavors are inspiring you are going amazingly!



PS Once again, thanks for reading and supporting.