Marathon Rationale Part 2: INSPIRATION


“A baby learns to crawl-A toddler to walk- A child to run- A marathoner never forgets the child within.” ~ Dad

“Part 2” rationale for my marathon is INSPIRATION. Throughout the process of preparing for the LA Marathon, I have taken inspiration from many sources. Whether it was an inspirational quote, or seeing a person out on their wheelchair using the same trail I do (that happened several times). At some point it begins to feel as though there is not much more inspiration to run for other than because I CAN. Because God has given me my mobility, I will put it to use while I can. I think it would be great to run for a cause in the future, in fact I plan on it.

There are a couple bits of inspirations though that are very close to my heart. As mentioned in “Part 1” running has been a part of my life forever it seems. My dad ran many races as I was growing up. Between the 5k’s, 10k’s and marathon’s he did, I’ve always considered him a seasoned runner. I thank him for giving me one half of my “running bug.” My mom is the other half to that equation. She also did several races during that time and would support my dad on his marathon’s as well.

Here is a great post-race pic of my parents probably almost 20 years ago.

The official contributor's to my "running bug"

I love them 🙂

My mom ran a 5k with me (my first) when I was in junior high. In high school, we had a little tradition of running together during the early mornings before I’d go to school. Looking back I believe it was our way to stay connected during those teenage years. Between myself being busy with school and extra curricular activities, and her working, running gave us something special to do together. The mornings welcomed us with early sunrises and the sound of morning birds in their usual chatty spirits. It encouraged the healthy chatter between a mother and daughter that can often get lost in the shuffle of life as we grow up. I’m very grateful for those times we had on our morning runs together. It helped to solidify our relationship, and inspires a closeness I hope to have with my daughter.

There is this great horse trail at the top of the street that I grew up on, which we would all use for running. It brings back so many memories when I’ve had the opportunity to run that trail again.

Revisiting the trail and my street I grew up on.

I can almost imagine my younger self walking to the top of that street again. I’m guessing I would have never imagined to see the woman I am today, but I think I’d be pretty proud.

Being inspired by my parents all my life gives me inspiration as a parent now myself. To be able to leave a positive impression on my children, like my parents did, is something I pray about often.

My inspiration for this race comes also from being a mother. My kids inspire me everyday. They have brought so much life and love to my world and I want to help make sure that I’ll be here for them as long as possible. That means taking care of myself and my health. Running has been something they enjoy doing with me on our local riding trail. I try to get them out with me as often as I can. Plus it’s the perfect activity to complete physical education requirements. Ella and Gavin ride their bikes and I push Grant in the stroller as I run. I hope this helps to spark a lifelong positive approach to health and fitness.

My parents set my sister’s and I up with a great foundation of fitness. Now it is up to us to continue for ourselves/families. We often attended these races as a family when we were little. It gave my sister Jackie and I (being the older two of us three) the opportunity to take part in the children’s dashes. As Jackie also describes here on her family blog that we were fortunate to have the experience and memories of those early days of fitness. Now we have the opportunity to re-create those experiences for our own family which carries on the tradition again.

Here are a few photos from our early running days haha…

Budding young runners 🙂

Now all these years later, I’m glad to have the knowledge of my dad from his training days. My dad has been such an encouragement. Unfortunately after originally agreeing to do this race with me, he reached the point for himself during the training process that he had to back out of doing it.

That was a bitter-sweet moment.

His mind was telling him he wanted to be there with me to run the race, but his body had told him something else. He finally had to listen to it. Something about pushing between 13 and 15 miles was just not settling right for him. I really didn’t want to persuade him to keep going, even knowing it has been his dream all along to run a marathon with one of his daughters.

Dad and his daughter's

That brings me to the special thing about the marathons he did run. He made a point to run at least 3 marathons, earning a medal for each daughter. And he did it. 3 solid times, LA Marathon in 1999, 2001 and 2002. It would have been consecutive if it weren’t for a horrible knee injury he had on a ski trip we took in 2000. It was during the middle of his training, already up to 17 miles which is one of the worst setbacks you can ever face. He had to wait it out for one year.

The story of Dad’s marathon life actually began back in 1989. It was the 4th LA Marathon on the books. My dad’s INSPIRATION to run a marathon came after watching the 1984 Olympics here in LA. He set out for that first marathon not being fully prepared as he came to find out. After only training up to 15 miles, he arrived to the race with not an ounce of nutritional supplements on him. He thought he could rely on what the race would provide for runner’s throughout the course. Little did he know or really consider the thought that they could run out of these things so maybe he should bring back up. That was exactly what happened. Supplies became low by the time he reached the stations. All was good for him till about mile 19, when he started to realize that he wasn’t feeling so well. Then by mile 21 he was able to get a slice of orange to eat. The acidity on his empty stomach was definitely not a match. At mile 22 my dad said he “was done.” He had to quit the race.

This is a moment that would haunt him for the next 10 years. He had to finish it. Ironically the unfinished marathon is the story he shares most, not so much his following victories. I think reliving such an intensely painful moment, not only physically but mentally is therapeutic in some way for him. I would gladly hear it again and again. It’s obviously one of those moments that just changes you forever. You never forget it, and it lives on in you through sharing and reliving it.

I can’t imagine what that experience really was for him. I just know he is a hero in my book and an inspiration for not giving up on his dream to finish it. I can truly acknowledge now how much perseverance he had to complete those runs for us. I appreciate it on such a higher level now that I am going through what he did to reach his goals.

I hope my kids look up to me that way too someday. Not to say I’m going to go run more marathons or anything….now that would be crazy lol.

Overall my inspiration comes mostly from within. What is in my heart and mind. The things that drive me and have kept me inspired are the ones who are closest to me rooting me on, and my kids who always have my heart and soul.

As my dad reminded me…

Inspiration is nothing without your own spirit in it.” ~ Dad

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Washing a load of pride at the laundromat

This was my first experience with a “load” like this. And it’s not the fact that pride is hard to wash away, for me it was the fear of being exposed and out of my element for the first time in a while. Discomfort, inconvenience, the fear of the unknown all took trail behind me as I made my way in, and checked my laundromat snobbishness at the door…

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So the last time I remember setting foot in a laundromat was about the age of 4. I recall that age fairly well still. My parents, my sister Jaclyne and I lived in a duplex back then, down in San Pedro.  I remember our tire swing in the backyard, playing with play-doh on the back patio, our neighbor who had a giant toybox, shaped like a turtle that seemed to hold oodles of toys which I was envious of, and of course I’ll never forget our days at the laundromat. I just remember encountering so many various walks of life there. To me at that young age, it was like such an exposure to people of the world by simply sitting on a chair waiting for the clothes to get done. Back then it was leaving my safe environment at home with mom to go to a place where you never knew who you would meet, or what you would see. To be quite honest it was a place where I encountered someone with obscenely large ears for the first time in my life (couldn’t stop staring I’m sure) and the first time I noticed or became aware of other races besides mine(I asked my mom why the guy next to us looked purple). Through the eyes of a child, who wouldn’t know any better than to be bluntly aware of my surroundings, I also didn’t know anything other than that way of life at the time. It was a good time, and I am thankful for that.

Fast forward several years, my parents bought their first home, and we became accustomed to washing our clothes in the comfort of our own home. Laundromats became a thing of the past and that was that. I don’t like to call it a snobbish thing but essentially, I wouldn’t have dreamed of being in another one of those places again in my life. I knew that those days for us as a family were tight living and I guess somewhere down the road I began to associate it with being poor. How sad does that sound though I’m sure. For some I know it might be their entire life they use a laundromat and it has nothing to do with their status of living. It was just an ignorant way of thinking and becoming spoiled yet again with the luxuries in life.

Well the time ultimately came where I was faced with the fact that I had to actually step in a place like that again, out of necessity. THERE WAS NO WAY AROUND IT!! Pull up the shoulders and walk in like a big girl….figure it out and don’t drop any underwear on the way out! So that’s what happened, this big girl walked in again 25 years later, 3 kids in tow, and with A LOT of laundry I might add!

It actually wasn’t as scary as I imagined either. As much as I had done my laundry time after I time, I felt like there must be some magic way of working the machines that I was unaware of. Thankfully I met the sweetest lady who works the place, and she had me feeling right at home in no time, showing me the ropes. The kids all liked to help with it of course. What’s more fun than loading up clothes and pouring the soap in with mom right? Watching the dryers spinning is a favorite pass time now too lol.

One thing that I noticed hasn’t changed over the years are the various walks of life you can meet there. I have had the pleasure of meeting a homeless man, who is now on my list of inspiring people that I have been blessed to meet in this life. He lives out of his car at the moment, yet manages to take care of himself still some way or another. He is on the road to recovering from this state of living which he has been humbly open about with me. The nice owner of this particular laundry place has taken a chance on him and gave him a job to help get him back on his feet. There is also a local church that has been very good to him as well.  The same sweet lady (her name is Cathy) who made me feel at home, also brings him a good meal when he works. It’s just so refreshing to see truly GOOD PEOPLE in this world taking care of others. Having the opportunity to meet this man was a blessing. I have seen him working hard there and it is obvious he is grateful to be working, regardless of what job it is. It hit me when one day when I had run out of quarters as I was waiting for a last load to finish drying. It ended prior to all the clothes being completely dry. When both Cathy and the homeless man saw that my clothes weren’t done drying, they insisted that I don’t leave with damp laundry. It was at that point that this man reached in his pocket and begins putting quarters in the machine for me. It was as if he didn’t think twice about it…just gave away any hard-earned change like it was nothing. I couldn’t even thank him enough. How do you give thanks to a person in that situation who still gives of himself regardless of his own needs. All I could do was pray later that evening and gave my thanks to God for giving me that special moment to learn from that day.

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There is much to be learned in this world. Try spending a couple of hours in a laundromat and you are bound to discover something. I am so thankful for being reintroduced to this experience all these years later. Even more so because I never want my kids to feel that they are too good for these places or anything for that matter. There is a huge upside to bringing our clothes in there as well: it saves me time because I can get it all done at once and it’s saving water since I’m not at home doing it! Besides the worst thing that could happen (dropping underwear in the street) hasn’t happened yet, so I think I can get used to this for a while! The pride has dried so to say 🙂