Going the Distance, Part 5

After months of training for the Los Angeles marathon, Shawnn Slaughter crosses the finish line and realizes a new level of self-appreciation.

BY Shawnn Slaughter

April 26 2008 12:00 AM ET

After six months
of training, the Los Angeles Marathon had finally
arrived. I drove in from Las Vegas on Friday and checked
into the historic Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los
Angeles. As I entered the hotel, the excitement of the
race sent chills down my spine.

The next morning,
I boarded a Metro train and headed for the Los Angeles
Convention Center for the marathon expo. I met my pace
group, and we picked up our bibs and the timing chips
that track our time. After the expo, we all headed
over Papa Cristo’s for a delicious Greek lunch.

The night before
the marathon, the National AIDS Marathon had a pasta
party at the hotel. AIDS Project Los Angeles asked
me to give an interview to the local Fox station.
I talked about how I had commuted from Las Vegas for
the training and that being a 22-year survivor of HIV
was one of the motivations for my running the marathon.

Sunday, the
morning of the marathon, I met up with the rest of the AIDS
marathoners at Pershing Square across from the Biltmore at
5:45 a.m. We took the Metro subway to the starting
line in Universal City. The marathon started at 8:15
am., but with so many people ahead of us, it took our
group almost 10 minutes to get to the start line from where
we were standing, with Randy Newman’s "I Love
LA" blaring out of the speakers.

Tags: Sports

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