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Going the
Distance, Part 3

Going the
Distance, Part 3


As the Los Angeles Marathon nears, The Advocate's resident marathoner is experiencing the onset of injury and fatigue.

Since I ran the Las Vegas Half Marathon in December, I feel as if I have been on a downward spiral. On December 15, I ran a 20-miler in Los Angeles, sustaining in a minor injury to my foot that caused some isolated swelling -- possibly a stress fracture, also known as a fatigue fracture. This results from repeated stress, like running on hard surfaces, that creates microscopic hairline fractures in the bone. These tiny fractures are rarely visible in X-rays. The best way to treat this common runner's injury is rest. I stayed off my foot for about five days.

After recovering I was ready to resume my maintenance runs, but the fierce weather here in Las Vegas interfered. The wind was gusting at more than 40 miles per hour. The temperature was in the upper 30s to low 40s. I ended up running on my gym's dreaded treadmill. Running in the same spot 30 minutes or more can be boring, so I take my iPod and listen to music as I run. I especially like listening to Los Angeles-based rocker Gabe Lopez. He's a cutie with a hot sound that keeps me going. When running on the course with the National AIDS Marathon, we are not allowed to wear headphones in the interest of safety. It also works against building and keeping the team spirit of our pace groups.

Around the end of December, I began to experience a profound lack of energy. I was sleeping quite a bit and had little stamina and desire to do my maintenance runs. I had to force myself to get up and run. In so doing, I slowed down my pace. I was able to complete a 30-minute run but felt tired afterward.

Although my T-cells are over 200 and my viral load is in the low thousands, it turns out that I have developed a resistance to some of my HIV medications. So now I am looking at a change in meds. This is not such a problem, as there are many new drugs that have recently become available. I can remember a time when there were no medications for HIV. I am more than confident this will all work out for me.

On January 12, I pushed myself to travel 300 miles west to Los Angeles for a 23-mile run with the National AIDS Marathon Program. I almost didn't make it, but I remembered that I was running for a cause. Even though I have raised enough money for AIDS Project Los Angeles, I realized that there are still people who are rooting for me, including those at APLA, the National AIDS Marathon, and people who watch my video blog, Run Shawnn Run. I didn't want to let them down, and I didn't want to let myself down.

To assuage my lack of energy, I chose a slower-pace group, which ran at 16:30 per mile, and a run/walk ratio of 1:3 -- running one minute and walking three minutes. I had not run with this group before, so I got to meet some new people in the training program.

Our 7 A.M. training run was so chilly I could see the frost on my breath. We ran through Griffith Park and past the Los Angeles Zoo. By Mile 3, it began to warm up. We proceeded out of the park into Glendale, passing by DreamWorks Studio, at which point we lost one runner in our group to a knee injury.

There were many runners in the training program who had dropped out during training that day because of various injuries. I was worried I would be one of them. The group continued through Burbank, passing by Disney Studios. As the run went on, I heard some members of my group grumble about the length of the run, how tired they were, and that they were ready to stop. I made no objections about the run or the complaints of my fellow pace group members. I could only feel grateful that I was able to do the run.

Soon we were in Toluca Lake, passing by some very beautiful houses. Finally, we were on our way back to Griffith Park, with a total run time of about 7 hours. I sustained no injuries, just some soreness. I was quite proud of myself for making it to and completing the run.

It's now less than two months until the Los Angeles Marathon. I'm excited and nervous about it at the same time. I have a 26-mile training run at the beginning of February in Los Angeles. I still have to do my regular maintenance runs. Somehow I will find the strength to get through all of this and run the marathon as planned.

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