Thursday, March 14, 2013

It's Not About The Time...But The Time Spent

The Daily Bosco Writer and his daughter Nadia finish the Los Angeles Marathon locked arm in arm.

By Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

This coming weekend is the Los Angeles Marathon and so I started thinking about my experiences running marathons, half marathons, and 10K Runs.

I experienced the Los Angeles Marathon for the first time as a participant a few years back. I am an urban walker and don’t have a problem walking 25-30 miles in one day. If you have been reading The Daily Bosco since I started it about 5-1/2 years ago , you have read about my walks through San Francisco and Seattle... A total of 75 miles in three days. and other places.

So the LA Marathon was a good excuse for me to take a long walk through a major city. Of course, if you have participated in the LA Marathon in particular, on any level, you know it’s much more than just completing the course….it’s an emotional experience that you will never forget.

There were 26,000 participants in the LA Marathon which means there were 26,000 stories. Mine was just a minor footnote. But to me it was special. I participated with my daughter, who while probably being in the best shape in her life right now, had never gone more than 12 miles at one time...running or walking.

The experience reminded me how determined of a person she can be. Her foot was bothering her from the beginning but she started anyway. At around mile 15 with a little more than eleven miles to go, Nadia’s hip started to hurt. She lives in downtown LA and she could have easily pulled it over and went home. But she went to the next first aid station, took an Advil and pressed on.

At around mile 17, our competitive nature took over. Many of the people that sped ahead of us at the beginning were starting to fade...we were passing many of them and we were determined not to be passed by anybody else. To do this we would focus on somebody up ahead to overtake. Like, tall guy with the blue shirt, you’re next...lady in orange running shorts, you’re next. Not to many passed us from mile 17 to the end.

At mile 23 as we were starting to go over the Whittier Blvd. Bridge, Nadia was hitting the wall. But she pressed on anyway, one foot in front of the other saying something that I heard from some of the other walkers and runners. “I’ve come this far, might as well finish.”

And she was there at the end. We locked arms with a half mile left of the 26.2 miles and did a full out sprint to the finish line so we finished with the exact same time.

Her determination reminded me of some stories when she was a young girl. Like the time she was struggling with learning how to tie her shoes. She was so determined to learn how to tie her shoes, she went to my car that was parked in the driveway, shut the door and didn’t come out….about an hour later…until she knew how to tie her shoes.

In a race, it’s not always about the time, it’s about the time spent. In this case, it was the time spent with my daughter and about 13,000 of the 26,000 participants, the volunteers, and the people along the way. Here’s a vignette of some of the sights, smells and sounds of LA Marathon…

The volunteers from Aids Walk LA who gave Nadia and I generous amounts of sunblock and shared their resources with everybody, including giving me directions to the subway back to the starting point at the end.

All the little children from Hancock Park to South Central who gave us high fives and smiles….the young African-American child in South Central with the delicious sliced bananas at the right time…the Hispanic family in the Garment district that gave us Orange slices…. The members of the LAPD who ran a torch relay for a fallen comrade with the son of the late officer running the last mile… All the people, responding to my shirt and shouting “Go Bosco!”

The wonderful aroma of the Korean food in Koreatown with the pounding of the drums…the wonderful aroma of the Mexican food in various locations along the route with Mariachi music…the Christian Hip-Hop and gospel singers on Washington Blvd.

Nadia and enjoyed it so much, we are going to do this in another city. We’re talking about participating in the Seattle or San Francisco Marathon next.

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