WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! I have so many things to say... but all of them translate to THANK YOU - to my supporters, both online and off, family, friends, co-workers... each and every one of you who listened, supported and contributed to the joy I am feeling as a result of completing the 25th Los Angeles Marathon!
On Sunday my alarm went off at 3AM (not a mistake!) - I got in my clothes, including some PJ bottoms that kept me warm while waiting for the race to start... I had a garbage bag with a hole cut in the top for my head to keep my upper body warm - it's not a gorgeous look but it works... met up with my running pals and we waited for time to start.
At the starting line, along with over 25,000 other people, I pulled my PJ bottoms off (exposing my running shorts!) and tossed them on the fence by the side of the course, they were collected along with hundreds of other pieces of clothing and donated to charity -
Running is not impossible or painful. Training for this day was easy with the National AIDS Marathon Training Program. It took just over 5-1/2 months... weekly runs, maintenance runs... it's all attainable. Raising money for AIDS Project Los Angeles was an honor, and with your help I currently have raised $4,494.54!!! - I am STILL working towards my goal - I promised $5,000.00 and I intend to reach it. If you haven't donated or want to give more, visit HERE - as of right now, I am 10th highest fundraiser out of 250 runners who participated in the LA marathon training program this season!
The day of the race, my training pace group got together, set a plan for one or two of us to keep time and pace, and off we went - slowly working our way through the amazing new "stadium to the sea" course... In the beginning it was easy - running around Dodgers Stadium... mile 1... mile 2... mile 3... it felt like any other training run except for the energy being shared by spectators... and the bands and events on the sidelines keeping us entertained...
I think I started getting tired around mile 11 - it was time for a salt packet (you know; the kind you get at fast food places) - eating this packet restores sodium levels... and it is necessary....
Mile 22 was the breaking point... the "wall" as it is called... but the coaches from my program kept showing up (out of nowhere it seemed) and jogged along with us - asking what we needed.. gave some inspirational thoughts... like less than 1% of all people on the planet ever run a marathon... or that a marathon is around 52, 400 steps... 26.2 miles... or that the good we did raising money has made such a difference in the lives of those who REALLY needed it... that we should complete the marathon with pride because we are heros...
The last mile was a joyous thing - running along the Pacific Ocean towards the finish line, hearing all the hundreds of people lining the street cheering us on, calling out "You can do it!" - holding up signs "Don't Give Up" or "Never Quit" - it brought tears to my eyes - and for those last few hundred steps, I ran in, remembering those who couldn't run the marathon... thinking of all my friends who supported me and helped me believe I could do it... and being thankful that I have completed this goal - I RAN A MARATHON! -
How long did it take? 6 hours, 40 minutes and 5 seconds... a LONG time. I never said I was fast... I did finish. My legs were in pain the next day - I literally couldn't walk the next day - the second day I was in pain but could at least get to work... today, I'm back to almost normal (still hurt but smiling) -
So... thank you for your support - for helping me raise a LOT of money for those in need... for helping me to prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to... and for believing in me...
The other good things that happened as a result of my decision to do this:
TWO friends decided to change their eating habits... they each have lost near (if not over) 50 pounds... both working towards healthier lifestyles... another friend actually JOINED me on the marathon training quest - she took the steps to realize her own personal goal of running a marathon... so not only have we raised lots of money, we have directly impacted the lives of 3 specific people... (and me... that makes 4!) -
Now that the marathon is behind me, I'll be focusing on lots of other things... ceramics, weaving and of course KNITTING.... more about these things later - for now, I hope you'll indulge me and allow this post to just be one big THANK YOU for everything you have done and the support you shared.
I could not have done it without you!!!
After finishing the 25th Los Angeles Marathon - a sense of pride... exhaustion and accomplishment...
A week from tomorrow (on March 21, 2010) I will be FINALLY running the 25th Los Angeles Marathon - joining 25,000 other runners on the path from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier -
I must send a big THANK YOU to all those who have donated! With your help, I have been able to raise (to date) $3718.92!! I am just over $1,300.00 short of the goal of $5,000.00 - it'd be AMAZING to reach that goal, but I am proud of getting this far, and currently being one of the TOP TEN FUNDRAISERS in the program!!
Now comes the fun part - running 26.2 miles! -
For those of you who might want to keep track of my time and pace during the marathon, you can go HERE - and sign up... Search for me (Kyle Kunnecke) as the runner you'll track during the event. Once signed up, as I progress through the race, they will send you updates as to my time! Cool, huh!!
Let me know if you are tracking me - I am curious how many people actually want to follow my time! - You can also watch the marathon on KTLA Channel 5 - from 7AM - 10AM (I won't have finished by this time!) haaha
You can choose to receive updates via pager, email or text message. This is the coolest thing and I'm SUPER excited to be able to share my time with you. Keep in mind as you discover my pace, I'm not a "real" runner... I'll be slow, but two things I will promise:
1. I WILL finish the marathon!
2. I will NOT be the last person to cross the finish line!
If you are still able to make a donation and want to help me get to the $5,000 goal, please make one more trip to the donation site - give what you can, and share the link with your friends -
I'll be thinking of all of you while approaching the finishin line at the end of this long journey - it really is true: you can do anything you want if you set your mind to it!