In early January I was watching an episode of 60 Minutes that focused on obesity. They had chosen a group of people intent on losing some serious weight. One woman, 45 years old and 180 pounds, chose to run the weight off. Her goal in order to stay on task? Complete a marathon. And that she did. A year after beginning her program the show followed her as she labored through and finished a marathon in Hawaii.

So there she was, a woman who had never seriously exercised in her life, running 26.2 grueling miles. And here I was, sitting on the couch, watching TV, eating a bag of bite-sized snickers. Talk about a blow to the ego. I thought to myself (because if I "said" anything, that would make me crazy) I should run a marathon, too. I know, I know, famous last words.

Over the next couple of days I ran the idea past some people but realized that unless I actually registered for the race I could (and likely would) easily back out. I went to the official website to see when the next marathon was scheduled. I figured a June race would give me time to get in half-decent shape. So I scrolled down to the date - March 7th! Damn. Only two months to train. So $80 later I was an official entrant in the 19th Los Angeles Marathon. Man, what had I gotten myself into?

As I explored the website I saw that the marathon was affiliated with about 25 charities. I figured that if I'm going to be doing this for myself I might as well help someone else along the way. I settled on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society because my father succumbed to leukemia when I was 18. That in itself is a long story. At that moment I knew this was the right thing to do. So I sent out a letter to family, friends and select collegues soliciting donations, and, to date I have received approximately $600. I was surprised and deeply touched by the generosity. Thank you all.

Although it appeared at first that my students were simply making Forrest Gump jokes via the school marquee...

...they were really encouraging me. Thanks guys (especially Anna).

The (very long) marathon route.

After visualizing Downtown L.A. traffic on marathon day I decided to take public transportation. To the Gold Line. Bonus: With my marathon bib all buses and trains were free for the day. I love L.A.

Transfer to the Red Line at Union Station and off at Pershing Square found me three easy-walking blocks from the starting line.

A shot of the starting-line crowd from a bridge.

Me on the same bridge.

With the masses waiting for the start.

The race hasn't even start and I'm already tired.

The official MCs were Mayor
Jim Hahn , Olympic Gold Medalist Jackie Joyner Kersee Jackie Joyner Kersee, and The Greatest, Muhammad Ali.

The crowd chanted, "Ali, Ali, Ali!" as it passed The Greatest.

8:30 and off we go.

Just a bundle of energy.

Cruising past Staples Center.

Mile 1, no problem.

I was next to the Trojan cross country team as we passed the USC campus. The crowd went wild for them.

Mile 6, no problem.

Mile 8, smooth as silk.

Looking for all the help I could get. Dude was actually blessing me as the picture was taken.

Mile 11, don't be deceived by the smile. I'm tired, it's 11:30 and already 82 degrees.

Just in case I was tempted to complain about the pain....

Mile 13. The good news, I'm half way there. The bad news, I'm only half way there.

Again hats off to his courage - until I noticed the roller skate. Cheater.

And finally, the real reason why it took me 5 hours and 39 minutes. Again, I love L.A.

A shot of me winning the marathon. And look at that tan.

A screenshot from the L.A. Marathon website of my results.