Wednesday, June 29, 2011

She's the one

"It's all part of a grander plan, that is coming true" -Rascal Flatts, "Broken Road"


They used to tell me things like, "When you know, you know" or "She's out there, somewhere". My favorite line I heard was, "When you stop looking, you'll find her" because sure, that makes sense.


While the friendly encouragement was appreciated, it means absolutely nothing to a single person. None of the encouragement even makes sense.


A little over a year ago, I got to know a beautiful little blonde and she immediately stole my heart. It wasn't easy (it never is), but we managed to find our way through the broken roads of past relationships and tough emotions to get to the place I had been looking for. The one that all those people told me about. The place of "knowing". I have never experienced such a comfortable yet exhilirating place.


Suddenly all of the encouragement made sense. When I knew, I knew. I found her and the rest is now, as they say, history.


On June 12th, 2011 at Thousand Steps Beach in Laguna Beach, CA, Lindsey Joy Linker agreed to be my bride.


I could not possible be more excited to start the rest of my life with her by my side.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Preparing to prepare to train for my next race

Baseball players play games almost every day, Basketball players a few times a week and football players every Sunday. Runners train for months to prepare for ONE DAY. It's a strange idea when you think about it.

For serious marathon runners, training can take anywhere between 3-6 months and is often accompanied by a strict diet, supplements and special recovery techniques. Most will invest hundreds of dollars into gear, registration fees and other expenses for that one day.

With so much invested, the pressure to perform is incredibly high. Runners don't have the luxury of 'turning the page' and playing again the next day. It's do or die, all or nothing.

As I work towards my next race, the Malibu Marathon on November 13th, I can't help but think about the months that lie ahead. Here's hoping it all works out...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Humbled...Double Race Report: Part 2

They say you should take at least 1-3 weeks to recover from a marathon. Most doctors recommend no running for at least that long. I needed to be back at it 19 hours later, so I relied on every recovery method I had ever tried.

An ice bath, compression socks, blister pads and stretching routines were the tip of the iceberg. There was also a healthy dose of Aleve, a massage roller and two Chipotle burritos. I'm not sure where the magic was, but I woke up Sunday morning at 4:45 with energy. I stood up to legs that were sore, but not stiff. I stretched and experienced very little pain.

"Today may be a good day" I thought as I hurried to get ready. For everything that was wrong with the Palos Verdes Marathon the day before, Pasadena got right. Ample parking and porta-potties, a solid finish area and an organized start helped calm my nerves on race day number two.

I ran into Ron (my Maniac friend who helped me finish Carlsbad and gave me valuable tips on running a double) who did what all Maniacs do, pump me up. Bby the time the race started, he had me feeling confident in my tired legs.

The race started and our shuffle turned into a small stride. A comfortable rain was coming down, distracting me from my stiff legs. I yawned as I forced one leg in front of the other. Running wasn't as effortless as I was used to. Normally on long runs I am able to turn of my mind and go into 'autopilot' as my brain told my legs what to do and I stood by as a third party.

Not today.

I had to constantly remind myself to keep moving forward, forcing myself not to walk until my scheduled breaks. Today would be just as tough a mental test as it was physical.

Miles 8-12 brought me tons of encouragement. Fellow Maniacs gave high-fives and fellow runners shared a few laughs as we ran the "lonely miles" together. I passed one guy who was dribbling two basketballs throughout the entire race. I thanked the soldiers running with the American flag. I smiled at the elderly Asian woman shuffling through the full marathon.

When your energy is depleted and you have nowhere to go but towards the finish line, you look for any type of encouragement you can find. Thankfully, there was plenty of it out on this course. Maybe it was the cool weather, but everyone was social and everyone in a good mood.

As the miles ticked off I noticed I was keeping with my target pace, ahead of day one even. I didn't expect it to last, so I pushed myself in the middle miles. To my surprise, I reached mile 20 and was maintaining my pace. The mental effort was still exhausting, but my legs had turned into some kind of senseless machine, turning over as fast as my mind could tell it too.

Mile 22 came and a steep incline thankfully coincided with a scheduled walk-break. I looked down and noticed a spot of blood on my shirt. Uh-oh.

This being my 13th marathon, I had seen my fair share of nipple chafing, some producing some gnarly blood stains, but thankfully never had the pleasure of experiencing it for myself. Until now. Rather than risk any further damage, I took of my shirt and ran most of the rest of the way while I worked on my tan.

Four miles from comleting my toughest challenge yet, I wasn't about to let that slow me down. I pulled negative splits over the final four miles and threw my 'Marathon Maniacs' singlet on to run the last quarter mile.

I passed my parents and sprinted through the finish at 4:11, six minutes faster than day one. Three days later I still don't know how I ran faster on day two.

Humbled...Double Race Report: Part 1

"Double marathon weekend" started off with an unofficial marathon, six hours of LA traffic to pick up two race bibs. It was a test of patience that would come in handy over the next 48 hours as I attempted my first "double", two marathons in two days.

Marathon number one took place Saturday in Palos Verdes. A beautiful and wealthy beach town featuring lots of rolling hills. The morning got off to a hurried start when the shuttle bus arrived two minutes before the start time. I crossed the start line minutes after the gun and was in the very back of the pack of half and full marathoners.

With another marathon on Sunday, I took the advice of some Maniac friends and used a run/walk plan to finish this race. I felt like a commuter in traffic, speeding up only to slow down and watch the other cars pass you. I knew I was faster than them, but I had to pace myself. The inner struggle was incredibly difficult early on as I fought the urge to pass.

The energy around me in the first half of the race was relatively strong. With plenty of half marathoners around, the pace was quick and the energy high. The second half of the race was like running through a ghost town. I didn't have to worry about being passed anymore because I felt like the only one on the course.

After keeping my pace and maintaining my scheduled walk-breaks for the first 19 miles, my body started to fight back. This was not unfamiliar territory, but I had trained so well and didn't expect my body to fight against me until day two. My energy was low, my legs just moments away from cramping and my confidence draining.

As he always does, God answered the prayer I prayed earlier that morning. My prayer before every race, as a matter of fact, is that God would be present during my run and that I would recognize Him. Sometimes it has been through a spectator, other times through music and even once through a little old lady running the race with me, but he has always showed up for me. Shocking, I know.

At mile 23 I spotted my girlfriend and my mom jumping up and down once they spotted my yellow shirt. The smiles and cheers were all I needed to help me through the last 5k, but God did me one better...my iPod was set to "shuffle" and my favorite worship song came on as I walked away from my girlfriend.

The rest of the race wasn't easy and I took a few more walk-breaks than scheduled, but I finished in 4:17, under my 4:20 mark I was shooting for. While it was over 30 minutes longer than my PR, I knew I needed to leave some gas in the tank for Sunday. I didn't know what to expect in the hours between the races, but I was pleasantly surprised...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Preparing for 52.4

A little banged up and in need of some R&R, i've finally come to race week. Or perhaps I should call it races week. This Saturday and Sunday I will attempt my first "double", running a full marathon on each day for a total of 52.4 miles in about 28 hours time.

The training for this hasn't been too grueling. Sure the back-to-back long runs have been a little tough and learning to run on very tired legs hasn't been a walk in the park, but all in all it wasn't horrible.

My legs are a little banged up...a sore right ankle, a tight left calf muscle and a left heel that barks on my long runs. These are pretty typical for any runner, though, and I don't anticipate them playing a role in my weekend. I pray they won't play a role in my weekend. Somebody please knock on wood for me.

Though my mileage is down to almost nothing, this week has proven to be the toughest training week yet. My physical training is over, but now the mental training kicks into gear. Preparing to run 52.4 is proving to be more daunting than it was when I signed up for the races. The extra steps I need to take to ensure my body survives the runs and the state of mind I have to will myself to have proven to be incredibly challenging.

I'm not looking for a pat on the back for this, trust me. There's plenty of other things I could do to earn a couple of those. I am doing this for me. Period. I am testing my limits to see what my body and my spirit can take. There are plenty others who have done far crazier, longer and bigger things in their running careers, and those are the people that truly deserve a pat on the back.

I am anxious, excited and cautiously optimistic for this weekend. Here's hoping I stay on my feet :)

When life takes over

Sometimes you make plans and life happens. It's a simple truth, but one worth stating. No, nothing dramatic happened to me so please don't worry/get excited.

I was just thinking this morning on my run about some new years resolutions I made and which ones I have kept so far. Before I let myself feel like a failure for the ones that have long since passed, I realized that most were out of my control. Life simply took over.

Take this blog for instance...after months of regular entries, i've been dormant in my most crucial training period to date. I've had many realizations on the road and have plenty of stories to share with you all, but life happened.

It's like they say, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans".

Monday, April 25, 2011

Looking for a 25 hour day

Have you ever felt like there just isn't enough time in a day? Why didn't God decide to make a day longer? How am I supposed to fit everything into 24 hours?

I have found myself asking this question almost daily as I try to work, run and keep a dying social calendar on life support. I know everyone is busy, so I am definitely not looking for pity, just pointing out how difficult it is for all of us to navigate through the maze of our lives in such short time.

My running has been going well as i've surprisingly squeezed in my miles to some tight spaces. I have spent a lot of time on the roads with no sun to guide my path, only street lamps and headlights from oncoming cars.

One thing i've learned in the past few weeks is that being busy can be a good motivator. What I mean by that is, it's hard to be apathetic when you're up against the clock. College students are familiar with this concept when it comes to term papers, but the same rings true for running and even for life.

If I know I have to be somewhere, I run faster. If I have too much to do and my mind is racing, I run faster. The challenge lies in not getting caught inside this maze of life, because it doesn't matter how fast you are going, you have to stop when you hit a dead end.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A little motivation goes a long way

Just a few days ago I was miserable on a three-mile run, with no race in sight I found very little drive to get out on the road in the morning. The next day I hopped straight out of bed with plenty of energy and found new life in my legs. I was excited to be out running and found a new sense of confidence. The difference? I had signed up for a couple of races, giving myself something to strive after. I was loving the new energy, but realized something about myself. I can push myself incredibly hard if I am motivated by a goal. However, if no goal or dream exists I become as useless as an old pair of running shoes. At some point, I need to find a happy medium. I need to be able to live my life with the passion of chasing a dream, even if i'm not.

Monday, April 4, 2011

26.2 x 2

I love running because it gives me a daily opportunity to test my limits. Each and every morning, I am faced with the obstacle of laziness and doubt. Each and every morning I have the opportunity to start my day off with success by overcoming said obstacles, along with several others that seem to creep their way into my body/mind/schedule. Recently, i've been testing my limits by running marathons with relatively quick turnaround time. I've become a "Marathon Maniac" not to pad my stats or to boast in my running (i'd have to be much faster to even think about bragging), but to test myself physically, mentally and emotionally. Perhaps it's a "guy thing" or maybe I just have a screw loose. It could be the "runner's high" or maybe i'm a glutton for punishment. Whatever it is, i've decided that I want more. Running six marathons in six months was definitely challenging, but I never found my limit. Back to the drawing board... In six weeks, I will be running the Palos Verdes Marathon on May 14th and the Pasadena Marathon on May 15th. They say, "You never know until you try...", so here goes nothing...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In the presence of Greatness

I'm truly at a loss for words today. Being in the presence of greatness has left me speechless.


Working in sports, i've been blessed to be around some incredible athletes, the best of the best at what they do. There is one name, however, that transcends sports. One man whose presence leaves me with no words to say but "thank you". I'm talking about the living legend, Muhammad Ali.


An unforgettable moment. Throwin' a fist at Ali.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bring it on! (LA Marathon Race Report)

When I decided to run six marathons in six months, I pegged the LA Marathon as my final race in that series. I thought it would be a big, fun, fast and local race to run. Well...it was big.

I consider most marathons a challenge, but LA was a filthy battle.

It all started at 3 a.m. on race day. The ungodly wake-up time should have hinted that bigger challenges were to come. I arrived in Santa Monica at 415, met up with my training pal, Bill, and hopped on a shuttle to Dodger Stadium. For all of the complaints from last year, the process was very smooth. I did pay in the end, however, as we arrived to the start line at 450 for a 730 race start.

Now what?

Bill and I found a couple of seats and tried, unsuccessfully, to catch some shut-eye. The music in the stadium and the blistering cold wind kept that from happening. After a couple of hours sitting in the cold we made our way towards the start.

After what seemed like an eternity spent at one of my least favorite places (Dodger Stadium), we were finally off and running. Slow at first, as over 20,000 people made their way through the start, and then things opened up for Bill and I. About a half-mile in, the threatening clouds opened up and gave us a light rain.

We flew through the first couple of miles thanks to some step downhills and found ourselves way ahead of our scheduled pace (for a 4:20 finish). The rain kept coming, even harder now. We managed to keep our pace well ahead of schedule and were rather enjoying the moderate rain fall. Then it got nasty.

Somewhere around mile 10 it started to really come down. I'm not talking a light California rain, i'm talking an Oregon during the winter type of rain. Throw in the wind and we were in for a battle. The rain got so hard at points that Bill and I were taunting it and begging for more. Nuts, I know, but we were literally stuck in it so we might as well accept the challenge.

Feet soaked from puddles, rain in our faces and cold temperatures not doing any favors for our muscles, our pace slowed a bit in the later miles. We had crossed the 13.1 mile marker under two hours and were well ahead of that 4:20 pace.

The spectators along the course provided a lot of encouragement for Bill and I in the late miles. With shouts of "Fight On!"(for Bill in his USC shirt) and "Looking good!" (for me, of course), the few spectators that braved the rain provided tons of encouragement.

Twenty miles in and we were chugging right along. The light conversation we enjoyed the first several miles had all but stopped as we focused all of our energy on moving our bodies forward and fighting the urge to walk.

Mile 22 came and Bill wasn't next to me. I looked back to see him with a hand on his right hamstring, clearly not happy. The cold weather (and probably the 22 miles he just ran) got to his hamstring, but he didn't let that slow him down. A little stretching and a whole lot of motivation got him running again, and faster than he was before! What a stud.

The final four miles were all downhill, pushing us towards the finish line. By this time we were completely soaked and still freezing. The finish line was no longer our goal, but the means to an end. Dry clothes and heat were what we wanted most.

We pushed hard at the finish and came in at 4:19:16. Not only did Bill beat his goal of 4:20, but he CRUSHED his previous best time of 4:41.

The race was finally over. My six in six was complete. More important to me was that I finally had the pleasure of running a marathon with my pal, Bill. Great job out there, BP...it was an honor to "Fight On" with you and I can't wait to do it again!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dark

I'm a morning person. I love waking up early and being productive, it's when i'm at my best. It's also the main reason I love running in the morning. I have energy, the world around me has yet to wake up and most importantly, I can see.

While working in Arizona, my schedule is different than back home. The biggest difference for me is that my schedule forces me to run in the evening. I'm more than three weeks in now and I am still having trouble adjusting. It's not the lack of energy (which is definitely a challenge) or the uncertainty of when i'll run, but the hardest part about running in the evening is the dark.

The obstacle of darkness challenges me in a couple of ways. First, running becomes more difficult because I have to focus more on where I step and pay close attention to any hazards in the road. Even though I wear a headlamp to help me see, i'm often times thrown off by something I don't immediately see.

The aspect of night-running that I find most challenging, however, is not being able to see what lies farther ahead. I can only see about 10 feet in front of me. I hate this.

In life, as in running, I love to focus on what lies ahead. Often times future goals are my main motivation to get through today. Night running forces me to stay in the moment, to focus on the immediate task at hand and to put foot over foot, keeping a close eye for anything that might cause me to stumble.

By now you all know me well enough to read into that and know this doesn't only apply to my running.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

In the groove

I feel like a liar. I posted with promises of "to be continued" on some blogs, and in others I guaranteed some follow up. I feel like a liar because I did nothing of the sort.

To be perfectly honest, i've hit a bit of a "mindless groove" in my running, and therefore in my blogging. For those of you distance runners out there, it's like miles 14-18 of a marathon. You're in a groove, haven't yet hit a wall and have managed to just turn your mind off and run.

I guess I just turned my mind off.

I'd promise to write more in the coming weeks, but I don't want to risk lying to you lovely people again. Off for a run...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Let's talk about running, Part 1

I'm gonna be straight with you...runners love to talk about running.

We don't care if you've ever picked up your feet and ran a mile yourself, for most of us it is our passion and we can't help but want to share it. Unfortunately, "non-runners" usually last about six seconds before they completely lose interest or write us off as crazy.

For those of you with an attention span longer than six seconds, I thought I would share some tips for talking with a runner. Maybe you have someone special in your life who has a passion for running, or you want to appear like a runner to friends/coworkers, or perhaps you are making an effort to not be a jerk and to participate in conversations with others.

Whatever your motivation, here are some simple do's and dont's that will help you navigate your conversation...

DO ask about the their goals

DON'T ask what their race time was, unless you know what their goal was and/or what a reasonable time would be for them (the marathoners you see on TV finishing in 2 hours ARE NOT comparable to your running friends, guaranteed).

DO talk to them about how many miles they run per week.

DON'T ask them how fast they are. Apart from this being a tough question to answer directly, it's awkward. If you really feel the urge to ask, lace up your shoes and go race 'em.

DO ask them abour upcoming races

DON'T ask them how long "this marathon" is. All marathons are 26.2 miles.

DO ask them what motivates them

DON'T ask them how they could like something so boring or painful. Just because you don't like our hobby doesn't mean you get to bash it.

I'll continue this conversation in my next post...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Running is like dating

I shared in a recent post that running is very much like dating, so I thought i'd try to expand on that thought. Here are a few truths that apply to both running and dating...

1. Neither has to be expensive, but the more serious you are about it, the more it'll cost you.

2. If you're in good shape, you're more likely to be successful.

3. You will get hurt, but the recovery process is what makes or breaks you.

4. It's a whole lot more fun when you're going through it with someone else.

5. If you start too fast, you risk flaming out early. Start too slow and you risk finishing altogether.

6. It's important to know your weaknesses. You may not be able to do anything about them, but it'll help you avoid failure.

And a few ways that running is like dating...

1. Standing at the start line is like a first date, you get butterflies in your stomach no matter how many times you've been there.

2. I would imagine finishing a race is like tying the knot, you rejoice that the first challenge is over, but know plenty more lie ahead.

3. Running is just like dating in that it'll never be perfect and you will never be the best, but the moments you'll experience are unlike any other.

4. In running, as in dating, no matter how long you have been doing it there is still something new to learn.

5. Running is like dating, both require encouraging spectators to give support when things get tough.

To be continued...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Falling

As a runner, I don't mind blisters on my feet or even losing the occasional toenail. I can put up with some chafing or even turning an ankle every once in a while. The one thing I can't stand is falling. Face down, hands to the ground, scrape up your knees type of falling.

To some runners, falling may be just as normal as the occasional blister, but in my short running "career" i've been very lucky and have managed to stay off the pavement...at least until the last couple of days.

Thinking back, I can only remember falling one time while running. Three years...one fall. The last two days? Ate pavement on both runs. Un-freaking-believable.

If you have ever read my blog, you have shared in the many life lessons I have learned through running. This lesson is no different. It may sound simple, but if you are not focusing on life where you are at right now, you will stumble and fall.

Too often I find myself planning for the future, working towards the future and never taking my eye off of what lies ahead. Sometimes the present sneaks up like an uneven sidewalk and forces me to come to a screeching halt.

I've had to learn, in life and in running, that the future will get here and i'll be ready for it...in the meantime I need to stay focused on the present, living and loving now, because I hate falling.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My biggest fan

Webster's dictionary describes a fan as an "enthusiastic devotee, follower or admirer". I describe it as someone who is willing to wake up before the sun and stand on street corners in the cold for four hours just to support me in doing what I love.

It's for those reasons (and many others) that I am incredibly thankful for my biggest fan, my girlfriend, Lindsey.

If you've followed my blog for some time, you may have read a post in which I describe how/why running is simply not a spectator-friendly sport. For those of you who have witnessed a marathon as a spectator, you can surely attest to this.

It is painful (sometimes literally) to be a devoted supporter of a runner, but the encouragement and motivation it brings to the runner is indescribable.

So I would like to issue a special thank you to my biggest fan. Thank you for giving up your weekends, for braving the cold and dark street corners, for waiting and waiting and waiting. Your support and encouragement mean more to me than I could ever begin to tell you. Thank you, Button.

Runners High: I'm a believer (Surf City Race Report)

The morning of my 10th marathon started off much like the nine before it, an early wake-up call followed by a quick breakfast. For the first time, though, I had to throw some cough medicine into the mix as I continued to fight off a cold. I felt good enough to run, but my body was definitely not at 100 percent.

Lindsey and I were out the door at 5:20 a.m. to make the very short drive to Huntington Beach. My always-faithful-maybe-slightly-crazy girlfriend is always ready and willing to support me, no matter how early the wake-up call.

Standing at the start line to the race, I was in a sort of daze. I had little to no energy and couldn't shake this deep-chested cough. Next thing I knew, we were off and running. Somehow I ended up between the 3:40 and 3:50 pacers. I knew that wouldn't last for long, but decided to try and ride the wave of adrenaline from the start line.

Two miles in my body was not happy. I was coughing and was struggling to find energy. I passed Lindsey and told her, "This is gonna be a long day". I really thought it was.

Minutes later I was contemplating the upcoming 23+ miles and decided I needed an attitude adjustment. I knew if I let myself make excuses, it would indeed be a very long, painful and frustrating day. Instead, I decided to turn my excuses into motivation. I would take the "I wasn't feeling good, so I didn't run very fast" and turn it into, "I ran my fastest yet, despite being sick". Sounds simple, but it was a huge turning point for me.

At that point, although very early on, I was posting 8:45 miles and was on pace to finish right around my previous personal best. This was no big accomplishment, as I had been at that same point in a majority of my races but failed to hang on in the end. For some reason today was different.

Maybe it was the weather (beautiful and overcast) or the course support (excellent) or the other Maniacs on the course, but I found new energy that never left me.

As I neared the 20 mile mark, I started to anticipate "hitting the wall", physically or mentally it had happened to me in each of my first nine marathons (in varying degrees). Instead, I noticed that my mile pace was getting quicker. It was as if my legs didn't know what was going on. Maybe they were too sore from my race two weeks ago. Whatever it was, I LOVED IT.

I was passing other runners and kept seeing my new PR get faster and faster. The sun still hadn't shown its face and I knew I had only a couple miles left.

I was cautious, hoping my legs wouldn't start cramping as I neared the finish line, but I pushed myself harder anyhow. With about a quarter mile left, I spotted Lindsey and my parents (who surprised me by showing up) and I had all the energy I needed to sprint to the finish.

3:45:08.

I pumped my fists and let out a yell. I felt way too good to have just run 26.2 miles. For the first time in 10 marathons, I never stopped to walk, I never hit a wall and I never let an excuse slow me down. As a reward, I experienced a serious case of runner's high. Maybe it was the sickness leaving my body or the shock of setting a PR, but I don't think I have ever felt that good.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

UH-OH

Three days until my next marathon and I can't seem to shake this cold. It's been hanging around for a couple of days and just when it seems to get better, I wake up feeling even worse.

I never get completely sick. It's always this kind-of-sick-maybe-just-tired-and-worn-down-don't-need-to-stay-home type of sick. Chances are it'll still be that way come race day.

One thing is for sure, i'm running that race.

I may have to add some dayquil in with my usual shotbloks or down some cough medicine and chase it with Gatorade, but I will race and I will finish.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Surf City here I come...

The more races I run, the less special they start to feel. Eventually I will probably get to the point where it will be hard to tell them apart. My next race, however, is very special to me for a number of reasons.

1. This will be my 10th marathon. I never thought I would run a single marathon, let alone get to double-digits.

2. This is a "hometown" race. Growing up and living 10 miles away adds a warm, hometown feel to this race and having run the very same streets in trainingwill no doubt benefit me come race day.

3. I'm hoping to have family and friends come out to support me as I run (it is local after all, guys).

4. This is my fifth marathon in five months, only one more to complete my "Six in Six" goal.

5. It's Super Bowl Sunday. One of my favorite days of the year. What could be better than burning 3,000 calories and then putting 5,000 back in?

Monday, January 24, 2011

First ever VLOG! Enjoy...

video

Carlsbad Marathon Race Review

For my race report, please scroll down to the next post.

I normally don't do this, but I felt it necessary to praise the organizers of the Carlsbad Marathon for a great race. This was my ninth marathon to date and so far has been my favorite. I wanted to take a minute to review some aspects of the race and to give my thoughts on how I felt about my personal race...

The course: In a word, stunning. A large majority of the course was along the water with the beginning of the race offering a view of the ocean at sunrise. You simply can't beat that view. The course was predominately flat with just enough rolling hills to allow for a challenge.

The swag: Very nice, long sleeve shirt and a hat (not a typical giveaway for a lot of marathons).

The expo: While not the biggest ever, offered a strong amount of vendors as well as being well organized and easy to get in and out of.

The spectators/entertainment/course support: Those that were out along the race rivaled the well-respected Rock and Roll Marathon series. Excellent live entertainment and plenty of well serviced aid stations. A strong amount of spectators, thanks in part to the half-marathon, was a huge boost to runners.

How I felt about my race: Though I finished well of of my personal best marathon time, this was only my third marathon under the four-hour mark and my first since May of 2009. What I was most proud of, however, was the consistent splits I was able to maintain (between 8:40 and 8:50). Thanks to the course, my Maniac friends, my cute supporter and a strong performance, this was easily my favorite marathon.

Great day to be a Maniac! (Carlsbad Race Report)

My bright yellow "Marathon Maniacs" singlet came in the mail over a month ago and ever since then I had been dying to put it on for a race. That time finally came on Sunday as I stood at the start line of the 2011 Carlsbad Marathon.

With the moon and the stars still shining brightly, 1,500 runners crossed the start line and headed into the dark streets of Carlsbad. My legs felt fresh and I had plenty of energy so I knew this would be a pretty good day. We made a couple of turns and found ourselves running parallel with the beach just as the sun was starting to appear over the horizon.

What a perfect sight.

The sun rising, the fog lifting and the waves rolling in provided the perfect backdrop for the day. I got lost in the view for a mile or so and didn't realize I was running next to two other Maniacs! We quickly exchanged pleasantries and jumped right into a typical runners conversation. We talked about pace, heart rate, previous races, future races and just about anything else running related you could imagine.

The next thing i knew we were over six miles in and myself, Doug and Ron were keeping a solid pace and enjoying each others comraderie. This Marathon Maniac shirt held a lot more potential than I realized. The encouragement I received from other Maniacs and even from strangers spectating was amazing.

I did have one favorite spectator, though, and my-oh-my was she pretty. Not only was she stunning, she also spent her entire weekend dealing with her crazy-runnning-boyfriend, waking up at 4 am on race day to come watch me run. (Sidenote: She woke up at 4 am to watch me run for probably a total of a minute and a half) To me, that is just as impressive as running 26.2.

Heading out onto Palomar Airport Rd., we were still out of the sun enjoying the cool morning air. We conquered a couple of hills and reaped the rewards on the backside. In no time at all, we passed the half-way mark with no problems whatsoever.

Turning for our last out-and-back we started running directly towards the sun. The heat had picked up and my energy was quickly being sapped from my body. Ron had dropped back a little ways, leaving Doug and I a few hundred feet ahead. After reaching the top of a particularly difficult hill and making our last u-turn, my legs were burning and needed a brief rest so I said goodbye to Doug and took a quick walk break.

About a minute later, Ron came up alongside me and I kicked back into stride. With about six miles left, we were determined to break the four-hour mark. The next few miles went by relatively quick, until mile 23 when we began using a run-walk method at Ron's suggestion. He could have easily kept going and left me to finish with the others over 4-hours, but Ron was determined to help me stick it out. He offered just the right amount of encouragement and advice as we pounded out those last few miles together.

After the mile 26 sign we took a left turn and could see the finish. The clock was at 3:59...we sprinted toward the finish line and finished strong, 3:59:37.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Experience the race for yourself!

I have some exciting news for those of you that follow my blog. For the past couple years you all have been reading about my experiences, but now i'd like to offer you the chance to SEE them!

This weekend I will film some of my experience at the Carlsbad Marathon and show them to you right here on this blog!

My hope in adding this feature is rooted in the same motivation I have for doing this blog in the first place, 1) To chronicle my experiences for myself and 2) For others (friends and family) to get a glimpse into why I do what I do. Hopefully this avenue will be both interesting and entertaining.

Make sure to check back after the weekend for a race report and my very first "Vlog". (Yes, that is really a term...I just looked it up)

Happy weekend everyone!

Here we go again...Two more marathons in 14 days

Can you ever have too much of a good thing? While opinions may differ, i've been pushing my limits to find out. Distance runners everywhere strive to discover the answer to this question and many eventually reach that point. Distances vary, but at some point most runners realize how much is too much of a good thing.

Two days from now i'll be up before the sun to run the Carlsbad Marathon. Two weeks later i'll head to the beach for the Surf City Marathon. For those of you keeping track, these are races four and five in my "Six in Six" goal. Almost there.

An update on my tired legs: They're pretty tired. Some mornings they will surprise me and find some life, but most mornings I am having to drag the heavy stumps all over Orange. I'm encouraged, though, at the rare moments they do show new life and I realize that I have to get through the tough times to break through into a new level of conditioning.

I'm excited for the next couple of races. After a killer 50k, I cannot wait to go back down to marathon distance and to do so in flat races. It's strange to think that a marathon will be a "welcomed regression", but I am looking forward to these courses.

Stay tuned for what I hope will be some great race reports!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Never satisfied...

I've never been able to really explain why I love running so much and i'm always at a loss for words when people ask me why I push myself so hard. It has always just made sense to me, but i've never been able to put it in words that make sense to others.

Last night, I was reading a new book titled, "Run: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel" written by Matt Fitgerald and I came across a line that was just perfect. It finally gave me an answer that makes sense...

"Being a happy runner is compatible with being a runner who is never satisfied."

The statement is so simple, but it truly captures my motivation to run more, faster, and longer.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized the statement is also true of my life. Never being completely satisfied gives me the desire to try new things, to learn more and to set and reach new goals.

To those of you who have asked me about my running and have not received sufficient reason, I hope this helps. If you're not satisfied, well, then you have what it takes to be a runner.