Sunday, December 19, 2010

Zombie Runner Bay Trail Half Marathon

I've always wanted to wake up at 5am on a Sunday morning to run through mud. That has always been my life long dream. NOT! Why oh why do I do this to myself? Do I really love running that much?? I am reluctant to say it, simply because I'm having flashbacks of the cold, rain, and mud as I type this, but the answer is yes. Yes, I really love running so much that I will do stuff like this!

I ran my 35th half marathon today. Well, saying that I "ran" it is a gross exaggeration. I walked it. I walked all of it. The Zombie Runner Bay Trail Half Marathon was nothing like the trail half that I ran the previous week. This one was flat. I walked it because of the rain and mud. I really didn't want to slip and slide into the wet dirt!

About half way through this race, the rain came down hard. Unfortunately, I tried to take some pictures of strutting geese when the downpour happened, and my camera officially died. Hence I have no photos other than the one of my ASICs covered in mud, which I took with my iPhone. This is a shame because I had some great shots with Half Fanatics Mattsaur and Mae Kim, newly minted Marathon Maniac Martha, and the legendary Guinness Book of World Record holder for the most marathons by a female in one calendar year Yolanda Holder. In any case, I walked this whole race with my running partner, Alva Woof. It took us about 4 and half hours to cross that finish line. I'm ok with that. Hey, it's been a long year.

Next up for Endorphin Dude will be the New Year's One Day 12 Hour race. I am so ready to run around a lagoon for 12 hours. This will be final race of 2010.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Summit Rock Half Marathon

There have been races where I feared the DNF. For the Summit Rock Half Marathon, I actually feared the DNS. I was very under the weather the day before and I didn't think that I would be able to show up. However, thanks to shot of NyQuil and a good night sleep, I woke up ready to run.

Brazen Racing puts on awesome events. The Summit Half Marathon was very well organized and the people are very friendly. The only issue I had with this race is not the organizer's fault. Damn hills! Also, my inexperience with trails made it very challenging for me. Dude, check out this elevation chart:

Nonetheless, I soldiered through, climbing what felt like Mount Everest minus the altitude. When I reached the top, I took a shot of GU, looked at the trail straight in the eye and said, "I'm going to run you down!" However, my plan got foiled because of my fear of tripping over a twig and falling on my face. So I plugged along alone in the woods, skipping over rocks and dodging poison oak. It took what felt like an eternity, but when I reached the finish line, I cheered!

Trail races are hard for me, and I worked hard to get to the finish line. It took me 4 and half hours, but I did it. I'd like to reiterate that me being sick the day before had nothing to do with me taking this long to finish. Trails are extremely difficult for me and it will take a while before I can complete a sub-4 trail race! I'm happy to be done and I'm happy with my bad ass medal with a bad ass bird ready to attack!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Las Vegas Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon

And there it is, the 2011 Endorphin suit, complete with the Marathon Ho utility belt! Not only is it fashionable, but it's functional too!

I came to Las Vegas with one goal in mind: PR. And by PR, I do not mean a personal record but a PARTY RUN! I got exactly that. This is the final Rock 'N' Roll event of the year and a bunch of Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics showed up ready to par-tay!

Being a Marathon Maniac and Half Fanatic is not cheap. I feel like my wallet has gained about 20 pounds because of excessive charges on my credit card! The problem is that my wallet lives in my right butt pocket, so it looks like I've added 20 pounds only to my right butt cheek! But alas, a Marathon Maniac and Half Fanatic has to do what he has to do to get those stars and to the next moon. In any case, because of the butt cheek weight gain, I chose to fly in on Saturday afternoon rather than Friday night so that I would not have to spend on an extra night for a hotel, not that Hooters is that expensive. Yes, I am staying at Hooters. Again.

I arrived in Sin City about 11:30am. I walked out of the airport to catch a shuttle, but the line was so long that I opted for the taxi. Big mistake. It cost me an arm, a leg, and a few internal organs to get to my hotel room! In the future, I will just suck it up and wait in line. The cab driver dropped me off and I proceeded to check in. Shortly after, my running partner and Vegas room mate, Dianasaur, arrived. It was great seeing Ms. Saur, and I'm glad she agreed to bunk with me this weekend. We quickly checked into our room and monorailed it over to the Expo to get our bibs.

Go figure, all this time Dianasaur has been hiding the fact that she is an elite runner! I had no clue she's been running with Kara Goucher, Dean Karanazes, Ryan Hall, and Meb! Too funny. Actually, what really happened is that there was a little snaffoo, and Dianasaur ended up with the full marathon corral one bib. I told Diana that she should just go up to the head of the pack, sprint her way out of the start line, and pretend that she injured herself at the mile 2 mark so that she can just run at her own pace the rest of the way. Everyone would think that she was hurt and that's why she didn't get her elite time in! I am such a genius.

Because we got to the expo late, most Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics had already picked up their bibs. I did get so see my good friends Stephanie Elfman Bradsher and Mohan Dutt. Mohan is now known as "Mattsaur," which is derivative of Dianasaur. Not surprisingly, the latter's maternal unit is appropriately named "Mamasaur." I have been given the task of coming up with a moniker for Ms. Bradsher, and if she's cool with joining the Dinosaur family, then I believe Stephasaurus Wrecks would work, as she is the running beast that wrecks up the competition on the course! But if this doesn't fly, then I'll have to come up with something else. The other Half Fanatic that I got see was Lou-E. Not sure what his moniker is just yet.

After the expo, Dianasaur, Mattsaur, and I headed to the food court for a quick snack and then went back to our hotel rooms to freshen up for the pre-race dinner at the Rio. Later on, the three of us took a cab to the Rio and what a thrill it was to see Maniacs and Half Fanatics everywhere! I got to meet so many whom I am Facebook friends with but have not met in person. I also met some new ones and reunited with others. Dinner at The Rio was one huge party. Even though the hotel could not accommodate us and we had to scatter all about, that did not stop us from having fun!

After dinner, Dianasaur, Mattsaur, and I went for a drink before turning in for the evening. I'm not sure why I ordered a Diet Coke, as my pre-race beverage of choice is the Chamomile tea. The combination of excitement and caffeine, unfortunately, kept me up the whole night. It was a good thing I had adrenaline and endorphins working in my favor at 5am on race day! My marathon twin Dave Mari made sure that all Maniacs and Half Fanatics met at 6:30am for the group photo in front of Mandalay, and sure enough, a whole lot of peeps came out for that photo shoot!

From the beginning, I proclaimed that this was going to be my party race, and indeed it was. I made plenty of stops to dance with the bands, take photos with cheerleaders, and at one point, I even jumped into the casinos for a quick round of slots! This half marathon is my 32nd overall 13.1 miler, and I wanted to have fun!

Now do you see what now what I mean by PR? What a fun weekend. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, here's about a million words about my 2010 Las Vegas Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Running Off The Turkey Half Marathon

In bowling, if you nail three strikes in a row, you've bowled yourself a turkey. This Thanksgiving weekend, I struck out! Endorphin Dude trotted his way through the Turkey Triple, completing 3 half marathons in 3 days, and 32nd half marathon overall. The best part? DUDE! I got a trophy!!!

When Charlie Alewine handed me a trophy the size of a super sized Hickory Farms beef stick, I pretty much collapsed in shock! Ok, it wasn't really the shock that made me fall to the ground, it was the spaghetti legs from three days of running! Seriously, though, this came as a big surprise. I was ecstatic to have three medals hanging around my neck, but to have a trophy on top of it was icing on this GU-filled cake! I had no clue this was coming to me.

The trophy had engraved on it: "CHAMPION: Thanksgiving Weekend Triple Finisher. 3 Races - 3 Days." I, of course, ran out and got my own special "Endorphin Dude" engraving added to the trophy. Truth be told, I have never won a trophy ever in my life. Seriously. Until today, I have been the Bobby Brady of everything. Everyone had a trophy but me. Not anymore! Endorphin Dude now has a big gold shiny man on a pillar statue that I can call my own! WIN!

The final half marathon in my triple weekend went very well. I am very familar with Huntington Beach, having run the Surf City Half Marathon back in February. The course ran along the Pacific Coast Highway, and for the most part, it was a beautiful day. There were some gusty winds after the turn around, but it really wasn't anything I couldn't handle. I did take this one slow and easy and walked a lot towards the end. I had wanted to finish as quickly as I could so that I could beat the post Thanksgiving LA traffic, but my body simply said no. Instead, I casually made it through this race, finishing in 3:44:13. Along the way, I met some pretty cool people.

Here's the lovely Debbie Alewine. I sat with Debbie for about 10 minutes at my 8 mile mark and chatted with her. I needed the break and she provided me with exactly that. Both Debbie and Charlie are such down to earth people. Because of them, I will definitely be driving 400 miles to run their races in the future!

I met Inrid at about the 8 mile mark. I'm sure I'll be seeing this lady at more races in the future!

There's Ward Sullivan! This guy ran the full marathon yesterday!

I barely recognized Jessica without her bunny ears! Here she is with Steve Hernandez. These two actually saved my butt by telling me I had gone too far! Had I not seen them on the course, I probably would have kept running all the way to San Diego!

My new running friend Khirstine.

Here's the ever popular Deo. This guy ran his 203rd or 4th marathon today. This was his third in three days. DAMN!

Here's fellow Marathon Maniac, Dan Margolis. This guy finished before I did, and he ran the full marathon!

And of course, the group shot.

I'll be honest and say that I am bouncing off walls. By completing my first triple, I not only earned three medals and a huge trophy, but I also skyrocketed to Mars! Endorphin Dude is now a 5 moon Half Fanatic! Woo Hoo! Half marathons #30, #31, and #32 are now in the books. Yay!

Here I am with my big trophy and my mom. Notice that Chewbacca is staring at the trophy probably thinking, "Uh, you better not sleep with that thing! I ain't giving up my spot in bed!"

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend Trail Half Marathon

This is what I am thankful for:

I love the fact that my nieces and nephew like to have fun. I also love the fact that their conservative parents allow them to have fun when Endorphin Uncle is around. I brought these voodoo dolls back for these kids when I ran the Mardi Gras Rock & Roll Half Marathon back in February. Because of my busy race schedule and the fact that these kids live about 200 miles away, I have not been able to see all three of them until Thanksgiving. I told them that when they stab the voodoo dolls with the pin they had to really feel the anguish towards the person they want to inflict! hee hee. Sure enough, these three really got into it. Hmm, I wonder who it was they were thinking of?

Part two of my Turkey Triple took place in Coto de Caza Sports Park. Getting to the start line from my Motel 6 in Fullerton was quite interesting. I learned something about southern California on my drive there. Actually, let me be a little more specific. I learned something about Orange County. Apparently, there are toll booths! I had to pay at least four times! Had I known this, I would have filled my wallet with coins! The sad thing is that I was 30 cents shy of my fourth payment, but the toll booth operator said that I could go online to pay the toll. Wow, I've never went online to make a payment of 75 cents before. As absurd as this sounded, I made sure that I paid right away because the fine is $55! Can you imagine being slapped with a $55 fine for not having paid 75 cents? Even the Epinephrine Pup was baffled by this!

I barely made it to the start line thanks to these toll booths. I arrived at Coto de Caza Sports Park with 2 minutes to spare. This entire race is run on "very wide well-groomed horse trails in beautiful Coto de Caza. Runners will go north from the Sports Park 0.75 miles on horse trail and a short section on Coto de Caza drive, turn around and run 3.25 miles south on the horse trails to Hilldale Way, the turnaround point, then return to the Sports park for a total of 6.55 miles each loop. For the half-marathon, run twice, for the marathon run four times." When I first read this description off of the Charlie Alewine Racing website, I didn't make the connection that this was going to be a trail race, even though it clearly stated "well-groomed horse trails." I guess I was more fearful of coming face to face with a horse on the course. True confessions, I fear horses more than I do trails.

It no secret that Endorphin Dude's krytonite is trail races. I've said it before, I'll say it again: Me on trails is tantamount to an American on the clay of Roland Garros. I ran the first few miles of this this course, and then I made the decision to walk the rest of the way. I figured, I had seven hours to finish this race and I wasn't really going anywhere afterwards, so why kill myself. Plus, the little rocks sneaking into my Mizunos made for an uncomfortable run. I finished this race in 4:14:15, which I'm totally cool with. At the finish line were fellow Marathon Maniacs, David Reid and Ward Sullivan. Super nice guys. Mind you, they completed the full marathon!

Two down, one to go! Woo Hoo!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Feeling Stuffed Half Marathon

Who needs cranberry sauce when you have GU?
Happy Thanksgiving Peeps!!

I’d like to thank my family for adjusting our Thanksgiving tradition and moving the feast to lunch instead of dinner so that I can run my Turkey Triple this weekend! There are a lot of things I am very thankful for, and my family is definitely way up there on my list. Sure we fight, we bicker, we throw fish sauce at each other when we’re annoyed, but at the end of the day, we stick together. Just to clarify, when I say "sticking together" I don’t mean that in the physical sense because of the fish sauce! Seriously though, we have been through quite a bit of drama these past few years, and it’s good to know that when the going gets tough, the Endorphin clan works together to get back on track and finish the race.

Speaking of races, I decided to attempt the half marathon triple this weekend. I’ve completed different variations of the double, so now it’s time for the triple. The Goofy Challenge is right around the corner, so I want to be prepared for anything that mouse throws at me! After my family's Thanksgiving feast, I drove down to southern California for three half marathons in three days with Charlie Alewine Races.

I have heard so many great things about the Charlie Alewine races in SoCal that I had to give it a shot. These races are designed to be low-key, and I love the personal message that Charlie sent to all participating runners:

"For those of you that haven't run one of my races before, or lately, I ask that you please review the FAQ page on my website to answer some of the questions you might have. Also, I want you to know that my races are designed to be very low-key. Therefore, I don't allow sponsors, advertising or banners at these races. These are not big city events. For the same reason, I ask that you leave your cheer leading squad at home. We're just a small group of runners out to have fun."

Hmm. I guess the cape is out this weekend.

First up is the Feeling Stuffed Half Marathon in Long Beach. I was excited about running this one because it got me nostalgic for The Long Beach Marathon, which I did so well at. I do have to admit that I was a little nervous at first, as this was a new race and all. It was that first day of school jitters again. I don't even know why I worry about these things, because every race I've ever run in the people have all been so cool. Fortunately, this Charlie Alewine race was no different.

I showed up at Marina Vista Park in Long Beach at little before 7am. I met Charlie and his wife Debbie and got signed in. Charlie wasn't kidding when he said his races were low key! But that's a good thing because it calmed my first day jitters. The course is a 4.37 mile loop/out and back along the city streets and ocean front that passes the aid station at mile 1 and mile 4.37. The course is run 3 times for the half marathon and 6 times for the full marathon. No bands, no high school cheerleaders, no crazy costumes. That suits me just fine because I just wanted to be incognito after the long drive and the previous night's gluttony fest. The other great thing about this race being small and low key is that I got to meet and get to know each runner personally. Good stuff.

There's fellow Marathon Maniac Nadia Ruiz Gonzales. This girl is FAST! Geez Ruiz! (like my play on words there? I could have said Geez Louise, but since Ruiz rhymed with Louise, I chose to use it. Geez Ruiz, I'm so witty!). Nadia was already done when I hit the 10k mark! Needless to say, she finished first!

I noticed that this woman was sporting the Eye-Q Two Cities gear, so I had to ask if she ran the half or the full. She responded that she ran the half but wish she had done 26.2 because the course runs right by her church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. What a small world. I told this woman that my niece Jacqui is a student that catholic school. Turns out, "Ms. Veli" had both Jacqui and Maddie in her music class! Truly a small world.

Ooh! It's Ed "Fancy Pants" Ettinghausen! This guy is a character. I first met Fancy Pants on the Extraterrestrial Highway when he was dressed as an asstronaut. And yes, I intentionally spell "astronaut" with two s's because Mr. Fancy Pants bore his ass in that suit!

At the finish line, I got to meet Marathon Maniac Kurt Neilan. We would see each other on the course at the cross overs, but it wasn't until the end of the race that we formally introduced each other. Kurt finished the marathon in under 4 hours. The other picture is of me and Charlie Alewine himself!

I took this race slow and steady, as I wanted to save my energy for the other two half marathons. I finished this race in 3:11:41 and felt really good. There were no aches, no pains, and no soreness. Woo Hoo! Part one of Turkey Triple is done! I'm looking forward to the next two. I'm really liking this low-key concept!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Big Sur Half Marathon

I had no intention of running the Big Sur Half Marathon this weekend. My originally plan was to run the Inaugural Stockton Half Marathon, which would have given me my Central Valley/East Bay double half marathon package weekend. Logistically, it made more sense to travel from Bakersfield to Stockton. Driving from San Francisco to Bakersfield to Monterrey and then way out to Antioch to pick up the Epinephrine Pup would add way too many miles on the Mini and stress to my Endorphin head. Why then did I end up running Big Sur? Because of this:

Seriously, how awesome is that medal? What I love about it is that it looks so organic. No other medal in my collection looks like this. I do have to add that my running buddy, Alva Woof, kept nagging me to sign up for Big Sur because they would sell out fast. I had my mind set on Stockton, but she kept going on and on and on about this race and ultimately I gave in.

I owe a lot to Ms. Woof because I absolutely loved running this half marathon! I'll tell you this, Monterrey is so much more scenic and fun than Bakersfield! Being out in the sun, seeing the waves crash against the rocks and feeling the positive energy from all the runners and walkers really got me into the groove. It was the perfect atmosphere for Endorphin Dude to fly! It was funny, at about the mile three mark, I heard someone shout, "Hey Endorphin Dude!" It was no one I recognized! He then turned to his running partner and explained, "That's Endorphin Dude. He runs every race." HA! I love it!

Having just run a half marathon the day before, I took this one nice and slow and soaked up the atmosphere. I have been to Monterrey a few times before, but never like this. Half the fun of running these races is that I can be a tourist and see a new city. There was so much of Monterrey that I never knew existed. Here is Monterrey from the eyes of the runner.

Along with the scenic course, the added bonus of this race is seeing people I know and meeting new people. I swear, every time I run a major race, I end up making about 20 new Facebook friends.

Here's the person who convinced me to run this race in the first place, Alva Woof. She's the one on the left. On the right is Rebecca Paunovich, the wife of the camera guy on my film team, It Donned On Me. This was Rebecca's first half marathon, and you know how excited I get when I see newbies! Imagine how excited I will be when she runs her first full marathon in Oakland next March!

TNT superstars, Ron and Mohan.

This couple ran the Eye-Q Two Cities Marathon the weekend before. I knew this because of his tech shirt. When they caught up to me, the guy said, "couldn't get enough last weekend, huh? Had to run another race?" I looked mildly perplexed at him. He then said, "I remember that cape!" HA! I love it!

At about mile 4, this runner tapped my on the shoulder. I turned around and couldn't figure out who it was. Come on, the girl was wearing sun glasses and a hat, how could I have figured it out. It's a good thing she introduced herself because I would not have been able to pick her out in the crowd. It was Corrie Frances, one of my Facebook friends. This was our first meeting! Corrie will be running her first full marathon at CIM in a few weeks. I'm very excited for her.

There's Tornado Girl! Endorphin Dude got to meet Tornado Girl on the course! Woo Hoo! Tornado Girl's true identity is Audra Cardwell Ramerman, and when I saw her Half Fanatic shirt, I had to introduce myself!

There's Carol Renney, the woman who shouted out "Dana says hi!" I'm glad I bumped into Carol after the race because I was able to get her contact information! Carol is connected to fellow Half Fanatic, Dana Says, and pretty much every other Half Fanatic and Marathon Maniac out there. Another Facebook friend to add to my growing list!

I'm glad I ended up skipping Stockton and chose Big Sur instead. Wow, I completed my 29th half marathon this weekend. Actually, let me rephrase that. I completed my 28th and 29th half marathon this weekend. Yup, another double weekend in preparation for The Goofy Challenge! I am happy to say that I finished my second race of the weekend in 2:39:15. This weekend is one big win for Endorphin Dude!

Now it's time for Endorphin Dude to change back into Tony Nguyen.