Wednesday, March 23, 2011


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
- Lao-tzu

My journey began as a joke. “Maybe I’ll do the marathon!” I said when YMC became an official charity of the Los Angeles Marathon. Everyone in the room laughed, knowing full well that those words would never be uttered with any kind of real intention. The seed was planted however, and before I knew it, I was up at 5:30am THE MORNING OF MY BIRTHDAY registering for the Roadrunners.

That first morning we did 3 miles, and I thought – “I got this!” and for the next 6 months, I showed up every Saturday morning at the crack of dawn, at the flagpoles on Venice beach and found out that I didn’t have anything! Just the stubbornness not to give up! I also discovered a brand new world. Hundreds and hundreds of masochists - I mean runners, and walkers invaded the streets before the break of dawn. They high-fived, whistled, sang, and rooted for each other. A moving, bouncing, fluid, graceful, sweaty community of marathoners in training took over the boardwalk, the Santa Monica Pier, and the surrounding streets. It was awe inspiring.

I felt pain in places I forgot I had! Shin splints? Really? Every week there were new blisters on different places on my feet. Why are my toes numb? You would have thought that I had lifted a bus my back ached so much. And the topper was when I went to get my monthly mani-pedi, and my girl Lisa says to me, “are you running or walking a lot?” Surprised, I asked her how she knew, and she pointed to my blackened toe-nail…. I am officially a part of the club! I am losing my toe nail!

There have been many firsts since starting this adventure. Seeing the sun rise over the Ferris wheel on the pier, discovering that athletic fashion can be cute, inhaling deeply because I could, and oh yeah – I DID A MARATHON!!!! 26.2 miles.

The one thing I prayed for was a cool, nice day. The universe had different plans…. Apparently the plan was to prove that indeed it does rain in Southern California. And not a refreshing little sprinkle – noooooooo - we are talking MONSOON type rain! Sheeting, stinging, whipping rain for 26.2 miles, and in my case – for 7 hours and 9 minutes. It literally started raining as we were approaching the first mile marker and it did not stop! Not for one single solitary second did it let up…. At first I thought it was kinda fun… but after a couple of hours all I could say was “Seriously??????”

Becky, good friend, mentor, and fellow marathoner gave me some tips she had used to get through the 10 other marathons she had run, and the one that spoke to me was to dedicate each mile to some one or something, so I did. Every couple of miles I would look at my list – This one is for Debrah, this one is for my niece Alexa, my nephews, Simon, Theo, Bryson, this one is for my sobriety, this one is for Derry, this one is for my mentors, this one is for Tony, this one is for my smoke free lungs, this one is for my mentees, this one is for Olivia and as I turned the corner on Ocean for the last ¼ mile and I saw the finish line – this one is for ME! And I started – yup, you guessed it – bawling!!!!! I had done it!!!!! Too cold to feel anything but exhilaration, I bowed my head to receive my medal.

If I had started this epic journey thinking about the 26.2 miles, I couldn’t have done it. Instead I took it one step at a time. I did what was in front of me. Nothing more, nothing less. And I did it because the amazing people in my life believed I could – so I believed I could. Huh – kinda like mentoring… Imagine that! You believe so I believe. Believe this – never again. Done and done… MMMM I wonder what my next initiation will be?



Anonymous said...

Hoolie, what an amazing accomplishment. Congratulations!!! A marathon is still on my to do list, but I feel like I will definitely take it "one step at a time." :) ...10K first, then another half marathon. lol S.Sanchez

Tony said...

Yes you did!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hoolie!!!! I wish I could of been there to support you!!! I am so blessed and honor to know you my Hoolie... I miss you so much it hurst! I am proud of what you accomplished I would of never ever doubted you! Come on it's Hoolie lol! Congrats! You are the best Ms. Wells... Sending you lots of xoxo! ;)
Love ya always,
Maria Marban ;)

Anonymous said...

oye, linda peliroja, te felicito, que linda experiencia y que fuerza de voluntad envidiable que tienes hay que tener agallas para meterse en eso y disfrutarlo.
un beso
Juanca ( tu proveedor de musica)

ogshortdawg said...

Thanks so much Sandrush and Maria! One thing I have always done really well is surround myself with amazing people and that is exactly what you two are.

Love you both.