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!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lesson Learned

Looking at the San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon course after running it is interesting. I'm thinking, "Ooh, had I known there was going to be an incline towards the end of the race, I would have taken a gel shot!" Lesson learned: always study the course before running it.

I seriously need to get back into training mode. My body is still sore, so I'll wait it out. The 10k Golden Gate Park run on Sunday is up next, followed by the Eye-Q Two Cities Half Marathon in Fresno on November 8th. I'm still on runner's high, but oh the pain...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

2 Runners Die in San Jose Half Marathon

This is very sad. Two runners died after the San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon. The scary thing is that I actually witnessed one of them! At about the 10 mile mark, a woman not too far ahead of me collapsed face down on the concrete. I waved my arms and yelled for help and a few spectators rushed to her aid. This morning, I heard on the radio that she, along with another man from Antioch, died. I looked up this woman's results and saw that she was only 4 minutes and 35 seconds ahead of me at the 10 mile mark, so I know it was her.

2 Runners Die in San Jose Half Marathon
Associated Press
10/05/09 7:25 PM PDT

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Two runners competing in the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in San Jose have died.

Medical personnel were unsuccessful in trying revive 35-year-old Brandon Whitehurst of Antioch and 34-year-old Rose Lo of South San Francisco during the Sunday event.

Race medical director Dr. Lewis Maharam said the losses were "unfortunate and tragic."

The Santa Clara County Coroner's office said it has not yet determined how the runners died.

Over 10,000 runners participated in the 13.1 mile race through San Jose, where temperatures reached a mild 68 degrees.

Event spokesman Dan Cruz said these were the first deaths since the San Jose race began in 2006.

At a Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Virginia last month a 23-year-old male runner died.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Reflections On Tony's First Half Marathon

I'll admit it, I am sitting on my bed in my pajamas with my medal around my neck. I can't seem to stop staring at it. I absolutely cannot believe that I just ran a half marathon. I am definitely still on runner's high, comfortably lounging on clouds 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13.1. My legs, knees, and thighs may be completely banged up, but my heart is yearning for more. Seriously, six months ago I thought I was having a heart attack. Right at this moment, I am experiencing a cardiac infarction of the euphoric kind. Has anyone invented Endorphins in a bottle yet? I should run out and get a patent on that. Life is pretty sweet right now.

A full day has passed since the big race, and I now have had time to reflect on the experience. I am glad that I wore my Garmin GPS watch because it allowed me to relive every lap of the 13.1 miles. I can now analyze what went well and what blew up in my face, and apply those things to my next race. You gotta love modern technology.

Lap 1, 8:05am - 8.22 per mile.
I learned from my rookie mistake at my first 5k when I jetted out the the gate, so I made sure that I kept a steady pace up front. I probably did take it a little too fast, but I managed to pace myself to a 8.22 per mile average for the first lap. The difference between my first 5k and this event is 10 miles! The last thing I wanted was to bonk at the 4 mile mark!

Lap 2, 8:13am - 8.57 per mile.
The first two miles are always the toughest for me, but I really kept my cool. I felt like Serena Williams at a Grand Slam event. She may not put 110% into the lower tiered events, but she'll step it up for Wimbledon, Roland Garros, Flushing Meadows, and Australia. I see this Rock & Roll Half as my major, so you better believe that I will put my all into it!

Lap 3, 8:22am - 9.32 per mile.
My legs were still holding up by mile three, but I do have to say that my mind began to wander. What kept replaying in my head was, "What the heck am I doing out here? I still have 10 miles to run!" I had to do everything I could to channel Endorphin Dude to save me from a mental melt down a la Jana Novotna at Wimbledon. My superhero alter ego told me to whip out my camera and take some pictures, just to take my mind off of the run. I did, and it worked!

Lap 4, 8:32am - 9.57 per mile.
I thought the San Jose Rock & Roll course was supposed to be flat! Halfway through the fourth mile, there was an incline! I remember having to run under an overpass and then up a mini hill! I have to say, though, all the spectators and cheerleaders on the sidelines really did help me to keep my focus.

Lap 5, 8:42am - 9.40 per mile.
Feeling good! I think this was when Endorphin Dude took over my body and I flew!

Lap 6, 8:51am - 9.55 per mile.
Miles 4, 5, and 6 felt good for me. With my music blasting and my legs holding up strong, I was able to keep my pace under 10 minutes.

Lap 7, 9:01 am - 9.52 per mile.
Still holding up, but I did begin to feel a little bit of fatigue start to kick in by mile 7.5.

Lap 8, 9:11 am - 10.23 per mile.
My legs...

Lap 9, 9:21 am - 10.37 per mile.
Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! My biggest fear looked like it was going to happen, but something midway through mile 9 changed all that. I heard a familiar voice from the side lines. I looked to my left and saw a woman shout out my name. Because I didn't have my glasses on, I wasn't sure who it was, but I recognized the voice. The woman ran up to me with a "Way To Go, Tony!!!" poster and I immediately saw my big head on Peyton Manning's body. It was Darlene Weston from my fantasy football league! I couldn't believe it. I swear, I was about to hit the wall, but seeing Darlene helped me get through miles 9, 10, and 11.

Lap 10, 9:32 am - 10.27 per mile.
Thanks to Darlene Weston, I managed to pick up my pace in mile 10. I kept going and going and going.

Lap 11, 9:42 am - 10.51 per mile.
Almost there...

Lap 12, 9:53 am - 11.31 per mile.
By mile 12, I seriously thought my legs were going to collapse. I only had one mile left, so I seriously had to pull it together mentally. I kept telling myself, "run through the pain, run through the pain." I cranked up my music, and as cheesey as this may sound, "Rock Lobster" saved me. The B-52's pushed me to that finish line!

Lap 13 - The Finish Line.
With the final .1 miles, I sprinted my way to the finish line. I lifted my arms in victory and let out a huge "OH MY GOD!" I couldn't believe it. I finished my first half marathon in 2 hours and 15 minutes at a 10:20 pace. The endorphins kicked in and pretty much followed me everywhere the rest of the day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tony's First Half Marathon

I did something pretty incredible today: I ran a half marathon in 2 hours and 15 minutes. I completed the 13.1 miles at a 10:20 pace, and finished 4946 out of 9892 runners. I am still in shock. What an awesome experience the San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon was. I have been working so hard the past few months to get healthy, and I think the dividends are finally starting to show. Life is pretty sweet. Definitely no complaints here :-)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Half Marathon Eve

I am sitting here in my room at The Hilton in San Jose prepping up for tomorrow's big event. I am excited, I am nervous, I can't wait. My system is saturated with energy, thanks to The Old Spaghetti Factory. I have laid out my uniform for tomorrow and now I will channel my inner yogi and rest my mind. Rest my mind?! Yeah right. I'll be lucky if I get any sleep tonight!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Race Fashion

Here's a sneak peak of what I'll be wearing on race day, minus the dog, of course.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mall Carbs

What I love about running is that I can eat carbs without guilt! Of course, I go for the best kind of carbs too: SBARRO! 3 more days...