Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good Morning Vietnam!

I just went on a Garmin-free run in Ho Chi Minh City. What at trip. I somehow managed to dodge scooters, panhandlers, and street vendors. I'm really missing the San Francisco oxygen. Here are some scenes from Saigon, from the eyes of the American jogger.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Frantically packing! In a few hours, I'll be on a plane en route to Vietnam. I'll try to squeeze in a few runs while there, but I'm not sure how I'm going to pull that off. I'll be on vacation!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I just registered for the Surf City USA Half Marathon in Huntington Beach. Why? The medal is shaped like a surf board! Cowabunga Endorphin Dude! Surf City is also one third of the California Dreamin' trifecta. I just need to complete Surf City, San Francisco, and Long Beach and I get a cool medal and a jacket!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Las Vegas Rock & Roll Half Marathon

I ran my third half marathon of 2009 in Las Vegas, it didn't go quite exactly the way I had planned. At the halfway mark point in the race, I looked at my Garmin and was ecstatic to see that I was on my way to a person record. My legs were strong, my breathing was good, and my mind was set on shattering the 2:11:32 record from The Eye-Q Two Cities Half Marathon a few weeks before. I was feeling good! However, when I hit mile 9, every runner's worst nightmare happened to me: I kissed the concrete.

I slipped on somebody's GU and landed on both my knee caps. I couldn't stop bleeding. I saw race officials approach me, but I limped skipped away from them. I know what happens in these situations! They throw you onto a golf cart and drive you back to the finish line, and I ain't gonna DQ! For the rest of the race, I limped, I whined, I grimaced, I cussed, and I did whatever I had to do to get to that finish line. I managed to complete the race at 2:32:14.

I was very annoyed with myself, but those feelings of frustration quickly changed when Luis and Christine crossed the finish line. These two members of the Chew Crew rocked it. I remember a few months ago when we first started training, they were skeptical, but if you could see the look in their faces when they crossed the finish line, you knew that these two truly believed in themselves. It was that confidence that brought them to the finish line. Coming into this, I only had two rules: Be on time and show up ready to work, and leave all negative energy at the door. Christine and Luis did just that, and now these two members of the Chew Crew have medals hanging around their necks. I am so proud :-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Run Wild For A Child

Let's call it what it is: I did *not* run the turkey trot. I like to think that I did, but the bottom line is that I only ran 40% of it. I think I even cheated, and took a shortcut home! Because of this guilt, I made up for it by running the "Run Wild For A Child" 5k after Thanksgiving.

Joining me was Christine Clark, Mary Castillo, and Luis Rodriguez, members of "The Chew Crew." If I hadn't mentioned it before, I formed a little exercise club to people who were in the same shoes I was get back into shape. The name is a derivative of my dog Chewbacca, the little chiweenie that got me off the couch out walking her for hours on end. I am very happy to announce that the Chew Crew did an awesome job. These guys get props just for showing up, but to cross the finish line really shows commitment.

I give double kudos to Mary for being brave enough to show up in costume! Because this race benefits the San Francisco Firefighter's Toy Program, runners can dress up in their favorite child hood toy and compete for two Southwest Airlines tickets. When Mary showed up at my door step at 6am in full Minnie Mouse gear, she nearly had a stroke when she saw me in regular running clothes. I had changed my mind about going in costume because I wasn't too satisfied with my Monopoly Man Get Out Of Jail get up. When I saw that Mary was about to break down, I knew I had to throw on that jail bird suit. I'm glad I did, because both Mary and I walked away with medals for participation!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Cancer Report - Episode 72: "Cancer Awareness Run & Ride"

On this day after Thanksgiving, I'd like to take this time to quickly break away from my goofy self and post something serious. I am so thankful to have my health. I worked so hard to get my life back on track and as a result, I am proud to say that I have extended the expiration date on my mortality. I am all about outreach now, and my goal is inspire others to get off the couch and make changes in their lives.

Recently, I was featured on a local television show in Modesto called "The Cancer Report." Although the main focus of this series is cancer awareness and prevention, I was invited to participate because my quest to get healthy was noticed at the Cancer Awareness Run & Ride 10k. When I crossed the finish line in under one hour, the endorphins took over and I showed everyone there how happy I really was by smiling and dancing and pretty announcing to the world how much I loved life. An oncologist congratulated me and asked for my contact information. A few weeks later I received a call from the Memorial Medical Center and was invited to share my story. When you get a chance, check out the episode here. My segment starts at 14:01.

I'd like to dedicate this to the three people I know who either have cancer or have a loved one who does: Jeff Crispi, Tony Flandrich, and Saskia Pardo. I'd also like to thank my two best friends, Charlie and Daniel, for kicking me in the butt all these years to get healthy! Good health is something that should not be taken for granted. I had it taken away from me and I fought to get it back. Now I just have to firmly hold on to it. My life is good, and every day it gets better.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving all. This is the one day in the year when you can be at gluttonous as you want without consequence! I will admit that I fell prey to all the food on the table. But it's all good because I did the turkey trot this morning! Well, I did half of it. I ran 1.2 miles and walked the rest. My turkey trot turned out to be a turkey flop! No worries, I'll get back on track after Thanksgiving. Below is a picture of my family. Why the heck did I decide to wear my skinny jeans on the day when I knew I was going to over eat?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The 18 Miler

My marathon training is coming along very well. I managed to pull out an 18 mile run today. The first 13 miles were relatively easy. Once I hit 15-17, things got shaky. My body ultimately told me to stop at 18. I walked through the Tenderloin to Geary and jumped on the bus. This was my first run over 13.1 miles, and though I hit the wall, there's no shame in running 18 miles under 4 hours! I am very lucky to live in this city. Below is the course I took.

Lands End
Sea Cliff
Baker Beach
Golden Gate Bridge
Crissy Field
The Marina
Fort Mason
Fisherman's Wharf
Pier 39
The Embarcadero
AT&T Park
Potrero Hill
The Tenderloin

Friday, November 20, 2009

Evan Donn, The Muay Thai Guy, recently introduced me to Nerd Fitness, a blog that "helps nerds and average joes get in shape the right way, one day at a time." If fit into this category perfectly. Check out Endorphin Dude's on Nerd Fitness!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


60086. That's my bib number. For what? The 2010 San Francisco Marathon!!! I just registered!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chicken Soup For The Soul

A few days have passed since the Eye-Q Two Cities Half Marathon, and I am not embarrassed to say that I am still on runner's high. My body is almost at 100%, and hopefully by tomorrow, I will be able to get back on Ocean Beach for a run. I am so motivated, and am looking forward to the Las Vegas Rock & Roll Half Marathon in about 4 weeks.

I have proven to myself that I am the real deal. I am a runner! My performance in Fresno proved that I am not a fluke, and that the San Jose Rock & Roll Half was not a one shot deal. I believe I was able to achieve my PR of 2:11:26 because of these modifications:
  • Replacing the iPhone with a Shuffle. The lightness of the clip on mp3 player probably saved me a few seconds.
  • Applying chafing cream to the thighs. Oo-wee, this made a world of difference.
  • Contact lens! Yes, it's so nice to see where you are running.
  • Nip Guards! Yes, I know, TMI, but I have to put it out there. Two Band-Aids on the nipples will save you so much pain once you hit mile 8.
  • Keeping a steady pace all the way through.
I am very confident and motivated now. My sophomore effort was a huge success. I will continue to challenge myself. I am healthy, happy, and loving life. At this time, please allow me to offer up some chicken soup for the soul: Smile until your face aches. Laugh until your lungs collapse. Become your own biggest fan. Appreciate, respect, and love yourself, and everything will fall into place. Life is sweet so go ahead and take a bite out of it. No worries, it's sugar free, low-cal, and carb-less!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

No Fluke

I am relieved to announce that my success at the San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon one month ago was not a fluke! I ran that race--my first--in 2:15:15, a time that far exceeded my expectations. I was ecstatic. Imagine how I feel now, having just broke that time to earn my PR. That's right, I completed the Eye-Q Two Cities Half Marathon in 2:11:26 at a 10:02 pace. I had initially thought the time was a little faster based on my Garmin watch, but I am totally ok with the final result. I am getting better with every race and my confidence continues to soar. The icing on the cake is that I got my brother-in-law excited about running. He, too, had runner's high all the way home. We're going to get the whole family into this running thing.

Lap 1, 7:00am - 8:58 per mile.
I keep thinking back to my first 5k when I shot out of the starting line and ran until I lost my breath at the 0.8 mile mark. I have since learned to control my adrenaline and excitement and slow down the pace upfront. I wanted to crank up the speed, but I kept telling myself to slow down, which helped me in the end.

Lap 2, 7:09am - 9:30 per mile.
One thing I did differently this time around was that I switched iPods. Instead of strapping my bulky iPhone to my arm, I clipped a Shuffle to my shirt instead. The smaller size was definitely more physically comfortable, as well as it allowed me to fidget with the play list as needed. I couldn't do this with the iPhone. The first three miles are always the toughest for me, so being able to play DJ helped.

Lap 3, 7:19am - 9:30 per mile.
Amazingly enough, I was able to keep up at mile three. I distinctly remember singing along to The Beatles as I soaked in the scenery. "If there's anything that you want, if there's anything I can do, just call on me and I'll send it along with love, from me to you." I probably looked silly lip synching during my run, but it helped get my mind off of any possibility of bonking!

Lap 4, 7:28am - 9:41 per mile.
I had to stop to tie my shoes!

Lap 5, 7:38am - 10:18 per mile.
By mile five, I was getting a little concerned because I didn't feel like I was getting into my groove. Janet Jackson was not getting the job done for me, so I exited the Rhythm Nation and entered Motown. Stevie Wonder saved me.

Lap 6, 7:48am - 10:09 per mile.
At the halfway point, I looked at my Garmin and realized that there was the possibility of me achieving my personal record, so I picked up the pace! I looked for my brother-in-law at the turning point, but I couldn't find him. Everyone looked the same in their running uniforms!

Lap 7, 7:48am - 9:24 per mile.
The endorphins started to kick in and the adrenaline allowed me to kick it up a notch.

Lap 8, 8:08am - 9:41 per mile.
No pain, no mental break downs, no drama. I did have to stop to tie my shoes again, but I was able to keep a 9:41 pace in my eight mile. Not bad!

Lap 9, 8:18am - 9:40 per mile.
Endorphin Dude showed up at mile 9! I WAS FLYING!!!!

Lap 10, 8:27am - 10:32 per mile.
...and then there was that hill.

Lap 11, 8:38am - 10:05 per mile.
I recovered after climbing the hill and was able to get my pace back down to 10:05. My legs were beginning to give out, but I was in a much better mind set at the 11 mile mark here in Fresno then I was in San Jose. I did not allow myself to bonk, and I kept plugging long.

Lap 12, 8:48am - 10:40 per mile.
To keep a 10:40 pace at the 12 mile mark is quite a feat. I cranked up the music and kept pushing to get to that finish line. I was so close to the end and that coveted personal record. I kept soldiering on.

Lap 13 - 8:59am - 10:18 per mile.
My legs were cramping up, my thighs were throbbing, and my heart felt like it was about to explode, but I cranked it up to a sprint once I saw that the finish line was within striking distance! I ran and ran and ran, and when I crossed, I raised my arms in victory and limped my way over to the medical station to get iced up. Sheer euphoria. It felt like the first time all over again.

Running 13.1 miles is not easy, but I love it. I am so ready for the Las Vegas Rock & Roll Half in four weeks!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Intestinal Fortitude

I'd love to call our next documentary "Intestinal Fortitude." When we interviewed ultra runner Charles Wickersham this afternoon, he came up with these two words in a sentence. I don't remember what context they were in, but it was funny. The past couple of projects that It Donned On Me put out, we ended up using titles that were direct quotes: "A Place Like This...," "Intrinsic Self," and "Sur Mesure." Why not "Intestinal Fortitude for this documentary short on ultra running? Maybe not.

I spent the day in Modesto with the IDOM crew to film the interview portion of our upcoming documentary on ultra running. The timing was impeccable, as I am running a half marathon tomorrow! We filmed at Dr. Wickersham's home and then at the pharmacy where he works. We got some great footage, which will fit in perfectly with the footage we got two weeks ago at the San Francisco One Day, the 24 hour ultra running event at Crissy Field.

I'm loving this project. I am able to combine the two things I love: filming making and running. We will head into post production now, and hopefully "Intestinal Fortitude" will make it's debut in December. I know my director and editor is cringing right now, reading that ghastly title! Ok, ok, ok, we'll leave it untitled for the time being.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Great Highway Halloween 4M

I donned my Endorphin Dude suit for today's Great Highway Halloween 4 Mile Run. It was definitely a challenge running in the towel cape, but I managed to finish the race with a 9:32 pace. My legs held up fine, and I do hope that they will continue to hold up through 13.1 miles at next week's Eye-Q Two Cities Half Marathon in Fresno. I'm feeling good!

I feel like a kid every time I am handed a ribbon. I don't care what race I am running, I cherish every ribbon, medal, trophy, or award that I receive.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sweatin' To Lady Gaga

If you haven't figured it out already, I am a big fan of Halloween. This year was especially fun for me because I am much healthier physically and mentally than in past years. I really wanted to go all out with the tackiness, and I sure did with my Richard Simmons costume. I met up with three friends for dinner and we headed to house party in the Western Addition. Good times.

I stuck with the schtick the whole night. Unfortunately, there was hardly any oldies played at the party, but I was able to I sweat to Lady Ga Ga. Do you see my poker face? I really did work out at this party, which is great. I must have burned at least 500 calories jumping around attic turned dance floor. My advice to everyone who is concerned about eating too much at a party: dance your butt off! Well, if it's a cocktail party with no dance floor, then I recommend excusing yourself to an empty room to work off the calories.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Richard Simmons Takes The Cake!

I am very excited to announce that I won my crown back! After not placing on the podium last year, everyone thought I was washed up, but I came back with a vegeance and won the gold medal for the fourth time in my corporate Halloween career! For 2009, I really wanted a costume that reflects my transformation from sloth to fitness guru, so who better to channel than Richard Simmons? As tacky as I looked, I was even tackier on stage, but that schtick was enough to win me first place. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Eye! My Eye!

After a five year hiatus, I have decided to return to the contact lens. Now that I am a runner--I LOVE SAYING THAT--I can't be wearing my glasses during my workouts anymore. I got fitted for my disposable one day contacts last week and today I returned to my optometrist to pick them up. My eye balls are slowly getting used to these optical suckers. I had to lube up those pupils every 10 minutes! My hope is that my eyes will adjust to these lens so that I will be able to see at my next half marathon. That, by the way, is a week from Sunday.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Translation: I'm Not Dying!

I am very happy to announce that am normal! Ok, I know that many will beg to differ with this statement, but I have proof! I am normal! Well, at least from a blood work point of view. My numbers were off the charts last year, but now I am well in normal range. There won't be any heart attack, stroke, dialysis, kidney failure, or death in my future! Well, death is inevitable, but by reducing these numbers, I have extended my expiration date by many years. Ah, life. What a awesome thing!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

San Francisco One Day

It Donned On Me is putting together a web series on "normal people who do not so normal things." The idea is to feature everyday people who have unique hobbies or interests that may make one go "hmm." These mini-documentaries will be entered into festivals and competitions throughout the United States, and will also be featured on a designated It Donned On Me web series site. For our inaugural subject, we will feature Dr. Charles Wickersham, a pharmacist by day and an ultrarunner by night. Dr. Wickersham just so happens to be my marathon mentor and trainer, and you may have seen previous blog entries and tweets referring to him as "Wickpharm."

Dr. Wickersham has run a lot of races, but the San Francisco One Day, a 24 hour run around the lagoon in Crissy Field, is something that people will no doubt find compelling. We all know about marathons and the smaller races, but the general public is probably not familiar with the 100 mile run or the 24 hour run. I'm sure that many think Dr. Wickpharm is nuts for running these races, and this is exactly what makes him the perfect candidate for this project. It Donned On Me spent the whole weekend with Dr. Wickersham as he ran 100.79 miles in 20 hours and 46 minutes.

I had the honor of being Dr. Wickersham's pacer for the final 10 miles of this event. Speed walking from 3am to 6am in the dark was definitely a challenge, but I did what I could do to get my friend to the finish line. What Dr. Wickersham did this weekend is amazing. He continues to inspire me again and again.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Interview

I recently ran the Memorial Medical Center Cancer Awareness Run & Ride 10k in Modesto. When I crossed the finish line, I was so happy that I made it known to all the spectators that I was the fat kid who always got picked last in PE. The endorphins got me so giddy that I gushed to everyone about my story of how I was on the fast track to suffering a heart attack before hitting 40, and how I turned my life around. A very nice couple had overheard me and was very intrigued by my story, so they approached me and asked for my number. I remember thinking to myself, "that's odd, wouldn't an email address be better?" Nonetheless, I fumbled around to find a pen, but the gentleman said it wasn't necessary because he remembered my bib number. "Hmm. Bib number, that's what he was asking for," I thought. In any case, the couple congratulated me once again and moved on.

Fast forward three weeks: I received a call from Cheryl Casey, the Community Outreach Coordinator from Memorial Medical Center. Cheryl noted that the gentleman whom I had met is a physician at Memorial Medical, and he thought I would be a good candidate for the monthly local television show that the hospital produces called "The Cancer Report," a 30-minute program hosted by David Shiba, M.D., Medical Oncologist and Medical Director of Memorial's Cancer Services. She explained that my story of transformation would inspire others, so even though I am not a cancer survivor, the hospital was interested in doing a segment on me telling my story. I am all about outreach, so I jumped at the chance. The past year has been intense for me. Getting healthy is not easy, but I did it. I am living proof that the average Joe can turn his life around, and I want more than anything to reach out to those who are in the same shoes as I was a few months ago.

I headed to Modesto today film my segment. What a great experience it was. I am very much looking forward to the airing of the November edition of "The Cancer Report." I will keep you all posted on the date and time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Hate Needles

I am not a fan of needles. In fact, I absolutely hate them, and I fear getting my blood drawn. Today, however, was different. I was actually excited to have a phlebotomist poke me. The reason is because I am confident that I will pass with flying colors. I worked hard these past few months to drop 50 whopping pounds, so I expect to see decent numbers! The results should come back next week, so for now, I am not going to think about it. It's hard though. It's like you've just taken a final exam and you know that you did well, but you won't know for sure until you see the grades posted outside the professor's office. Oh well, I'll just have to wait this one out.

On a side note, I do have to give two thumbs up to Kaiser Permanente. I just switched over, and I must say that I was very satisfied with the customer service. I showed up at 7am and was out by 7:07am. I then got my flu shot, which took another whopping 5 minutes. I left the building, jumped on the 38L-Geary, and made it into the office before 8am. Woo Hoo!

Monday, October 12, 2009


I think it's time to exercise some moderation. I am completely zapped of all energy. Doing a half marathon and then a 10k has worn me out. Endorphin Dude, where are you?? I guess superheros need a break too. I will put running on hold for a few days. I don't want to burn myself out and not be able to run the Eye-Q Two Cities Half Marathon in Fresno on November 8th.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Golden Gate Park 10k

I recently joined the Dolphin South End Runners Club in San Francisco. As I just finished typing that last sentence, I am thinking to myself, "uh, Tony joined a running club?" Crazy but true. In any case, my first race with this group took place this morning: a 10k run through Golden Gate Park. Joining me on this 10k was my horror movie buddy, Rachel, who ran the Kaiser Half last year and is itching to get back into the running scene.

Rachel arrived at my place at about 8:15am. The race didn't start until 9am, and it only takes about 5 minutes to get to the starting point from my place, but I insisted on allowing plenty of time, as this was our first run with the Dolphin South End peeps. Good thing we did, because the two of us got lost in Golden Gate Park! There are so many twists and turns in that park that we were running around in circles! Fortunately, we were able to find our way and made it to the starting point right when the start gun went off. The two of us probably lost about two minutes, which I must admit, stressed me out at first. However, once I got into the groove, I relaxed and found my pace. I am happy to say that I completed this 10k in a little over an hour with a 10:19 pace, according to my Garmin GPS watch. The final results have me at 67:58 with a 10:56 pace. No complaints here!

I absolutely love this ribbon, and I will proudly display it on my wall! Until the San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon, I had never won anything for a sporting event. Hence, every award that I receive for running, big or small, will be cherished.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Downward Facing Chewbacca

It's funny, I used to get so nervous before a race. With a half marathon under my belt, there is absolutely no more pressure. I'm going to have fun at tomorrow's 10k run through Golden Gate Park! In any case, it's time to close the MacBook Pro and channel my inner yogi. I will now clear my mind, relax my soul, and contort my body into downward facing Chewbacca.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Almost Back On Track

I went for my first run since the San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon during my lunch break, and boy did I suffer. My legs aren't experienced enough to jump right back in. I cranked out a grueling 5.36 miles at 12:03. I nearly collapsed by the ball park. I guess the worse part of this run was my fashion sense, or lack of. I completely forgot to bring my running clothes, so I had to settle with the tacky gym attire from my fat past. At least I had the decency not to sport the ripped pink t-shirt with those once red Bum Equipment shorts. Instead, I opted for the blue Arizona Rock & Roll Half Marathon tee. Oh, did I forget to mention that I registered for that event? I also signed up for Las Vegas. The next couple of months will be busy!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Will Become A Heavy Medal Groupie!

My goal is to become a heavy medal groupie! I will need to complete seven Rock & Roll half marathons in 2010 and four full marathons in 2011 in order to win all the bling above. The word moderation does not exist in my vocabulary. When I get excited about something, I will stop at nothing to get it. I WILL BE A ROCK LEGEND!