Day 10: Count-Down to the LA Marathon

By Colleen Yorke
Navigational Art and Directions by Colleen Yorke, © 2015
"Well, the first guy who ran a marathon died", my friend Will responded matter-of-factly after I told him of my plans to conquer 26.2 miles running. How did the marathon race, inspired by the battle of Marathon and its best runner, become such a trend? 

Forty-two year ago, in the 1972 Olympics, a wiry Yale alumni ran through the streets of Munich en route to the gold medal, unleashing a collective running effort across the country. Recreational running participation numbers spiked, but only a very small group actually ran marathons. The rest of us still perceived a marathon to be well beyond the limits of mere mortals. It took another gold medalist runner in Los Angeles in 1984 to fire up the "you-can-do-it-too" mentality of running 26.2 miles. 

Ever since, numbers have gone steadily up, and running competitions are held all over the country. In the 2013 New York City Marathon 50,304 runners crossed the finish line, and with the sold-out 2014 Boston Marathon on the horizon, it seems clear that the past is only prologue. When I started running, marathoners were those trimmed folks clad in tight silicone pants, skin-clinging shirts, and brightly colored shoes I occasionally spotted on TV.  I certainly did not know what "Bib" or "seeded corral" meant. "Garmin" was a person, and "electrolyte" sounded, well, very electric to me. Goo Goo? Absolutely no clue. And of course I was drawing numbers out of a hat when I was asked about my "pace". 

Yes, I had no idea. And in many ways, I still don't. My mileage count just passed the 1,600 mark, and with the Los Angeles Marathon being only 10 days away, I am still figuring many things out such as how to fuel, how to pace, how to manage my adrenaline, and what it will take to cross that finish line. Over the next ten days, follow me on my own personal marathon journey from the start lines to finish. Have comments or tips? Drop me a line!