Sunday, October 24, 2010

Los Angeles Rock & Roll Half Marathon

Non-marathoners ask me all the time, "why do you subject your body to all that pain?" Pain? I guess I don't see it the same way as they do. Sure, it hurts when I get deep into the race, but the truth of the matter is I really enjoy it. Non-marathoners don't get it. That's why I'm so glad when I show up at these races and see others just like me who truly understand why I do what I do, because they do it too. Behold, these are the Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics, at least a small sample of them.



It's funny, I've had Facebook relationships with most of the people in the above photo. These online relationships have ranged from the casual salutation and occasional comment on a photo to the scandalous online rendez-vous in the middle of the night. Ok, maybe it's not all that scandalous. In terms of "scandalous," I think the only incident that comes close is that of the Monkey Man hijacking my photo at the San Francisco Marathon. Check out this pic:


Can you believe it? Some guy in pink photo bombed Endorphin Dude! I had no clue at the time, but when I browsed through my digital camera later that night, I saw the mystery man in the monkey shirt cheesing it up behind me. This was Endorphin Dude's inaugural marathon and Monkey Man upstaged him on the Golden Gate Bridge! Luckily, the perpetrator had his name and number on his bib, so I was able to track him down. SMACK DOWN!!! I searched high and low, and ultimately I found the guy. Monkey man has a name, and it is Dave Mari. I requested Mr. Mari's friendship on Facebook and he happily accepted. Little did he know, I was plotting. Buhaha ha ha ha!

Let me tell you, things got weirder as I ran more races. After I entered the Insane Asylum as Marathon Maniac #2810, other maniacs and half fanatics started to approach me. The only problem was that they were coming up to me thinking I was the Monkey Man! No kidding. On three different occasions, I was mistaken for the man who photo bombed me. I seriously suffered the Jan Brady syndrome. My marathon world crumbled around me because everything was (Dave) Mari Mari Mari! I couldn't handle it. Everybody thought I was him!

This stressed me out so much that I rearranged my running schedule so that I would be on the same course as the ubiquitous Monkey Man to make him pay for what he did to me. Yes, I was going to find Dave Mari on race day and jump into his photo!!! Buhaha ha ha!!! You think I wanted to run the Los Angeles Rock & Roll Half because I wanted to? HECK NO!! In my world, everything is MARI MARI MARI! I hated being the marathon middle child so I had to make things right!!!

Come race day, I showed up with every intent to sneak up on Mr. Monkey Man and make faces in his photo. I was set to follow him all the way up to the finish line so that when he flashed his patented double peace sign and puckered lips, I would do the same from behind! Buhaha ha!!! I was so prepared for this. I took GU shots to give me energy to run from mile to mile to keep up with him. I hid behind port-o-potties and bushes waiting for him, while he took photo breaks with other marathoners. When the time was right, I pounced!

Well, I really did not get the reaction that I had anticipated. You see, when I met the guy in person, I realized that the reason why people mistaken us is because he really is my marathon twin. Dave Mari has such an positive outlook on life and he's so much fun to be around. Hey, if people think I'm him for these reasons, then I'll take it! I decided there and then on race day that there was going to be no sneaking up on anybody. My Monkey Man Marathon Twin and I will share every photo together! Jan Brady, go ahead and get yourself a black afro wig to make yourself stand out, I'm going to stick with Monkey Man! Dave Mari is my friend and not my foe! Take that! Oh wait, Jan, forget that wig. Dave already did pulled that stunt in Chicago! Always one step ahead, that Monkey Man.



If you haven't figure it out already, I was totally jesting. I loved the fact that Dave popped up in my picture on the Golden Gate Bridge. All my friends thought it was a hoot when they saw the photo. I had to find this guy so that I could tag him. More importantly, I just wanted to be his friend. I'm glad that we were able to finally meet in person.

There were many other Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics whom I met for the first time other than Dave. The night before the race, we all met up at at the San Antonio Winery in Los Angeles to celebrate Stephanie Elfman Breadsher's 50th birthday. I got to see Marathon Mitch and Jessica Wabbitz again. I also met Sef Cuesico, Mayra Hernandez, Jenn and Robert English, Sherry Ricker, Henry Kuwahara, and Ethan Hopkin. It was awesome to match of up the Facebook profile with the face in person! Of course, we carried the party into the crack of dawn on race day!


There's Half Fanatic, Henry Kuwahara! Notice that we are paying tribute to Dave Mari. That's Monkey Man's signature pose.


There's Sherry Ricker and Ethan Hopkin. Sherry was one of the first Half Fanatic I became Facebook friends with. It's awesome to finally meet her in person, as we kept missing each other at other races. On the other side of me is Sherry's partner in crime, Ethan Hopkin. When I met Ethan, the first thing I said was, "I've seen your face all over Facebook! So glad to finally meet you in person!" Of course, these two struck the Endorphin pose with me.


There's the gang! I see Jenn English, Dave Mari, Jessica Wabbitz, Dianasaur, and Nancy Hamilton Shumard. There were about ten cameras flashing, which explains why Dianasaur is looking the other way!


In any case, I came into the Inaugural Los Angeles Rock & Roll Half Marathon expecting to have fun. After coming off a full marathon in Long Beach seven days earlier, I really didn't want to push myself too hard in LA. Besides, I knew that a bunch of Maniacs and Fanatics would be out there, so it would be one big party. Indeed it was. I ran with my new running buddy, Dianasaur, took lots of walk breaks, had multiple photo shoots, high fived a whole lot of people, and just straight up had fun! Along the way, I met some fans, admirers, and a whole lot of endorphin-charged half marathoners. This race was too much fun.

Here's a shot of Dianasaur, the funnest running partner I could ever find! I wasn't kidding when I said we took a lot walking break and had multiple photo shoots!

Two Tutu Admirers! I met these two in Long Beach the week before and they remembered me. Ladies, if you're reading this blog, friend me on Facebook!

At mile ten, this guy jogged up to me and said, "keep up the good work with the blog." He introduced himself as Louie and said that he enjoyed reading my work. I was stunned! I have fans!


And then when I crossed the finish line, waiting for me there was the Competitor Group photographer, Lester. It's no secret that I love the Rock & Roll events, and that's why I keep coming back for more. The guys at there are awesome. So far, I've met Natalie, Ryan, Ryan, Megan, and now Lester. It's so nice to cross that finish line and have someone there cheering you on.


What an incredible weekend. The Los Angeles Rock & Roll Half Marathon marked my 26th half marathon to date, and I have to say, this was the funnest out of them all. As I sat at LAX waiting for my flight, I kept saying to myself over and over again, "Did I just run my 26th half marathon?? One week after running my 5th full marathon??" People tell me all the time that I am a machine. I truly am beginning to believe it.

6 comments:

  1. wOOhOO!!! Great Run!!! Fun times all around and looking forward to your next run and blog. Hopefully, we will run into each other. I never ran in entire life until 5 months ago. I use to be so involved with World of Warcraft until a life changing experience came my way. It got so bad that my family and people at work notice I have been gaining weight. It doesn't help especially when you work in the IT department. People have a certain perception on what really an IT looks like. My younger sister and brother-n-law introduce me to do a 5K in Orange County. I sprained my ankle and only had a week to prepare. Then when I completed my first 5K, I was hooked. Did my first half marathon in San Francisco and now running is another thing I love to do. I have to thank my sister and brother n law for introducing me to this because for years they have been trying really hard. My cousin who's the team captain inspired me to run with a cause and purpose. Since both my aunt and uncle died to cancer, my runs are for their cause and other that involves special charities.

    If you want to add me facebook feel free to do so. It's Louie Soriano, I work for Electronic Arts in Los Angeles. Yeah, if you are wondering if it's EA Sports or games we put in facebook/iPhone like Scrabble ... Tetris, that's us. =D

    That's a short introduction of myself.

    Lu-E

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  2. Good to meet you Louie! I just sent you a FB friend request. I'm glad you told me you worked at EA. There a quite a few of you out there!

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  3. Heya!

    I've been reading your blog now for a while and I think you are incredibly inspiring. I have just started running 6 weeks ago. Actually I'm doing the whole walk/run thing but hey progress yo.

    So reading your blog is really inspiring, who knows one day I'll be a machine like you too.

    Thanks for the inspiration Endorphin Dude!

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  4. Whats up bro. I accidentally came across this blog. Good work. I'm very proud of you and your accomplishments. You are a true inspiration to all who wish to change there life. not just being healthy but your story helps me in my struggles too. you know what i mean. I invited the rest of the Wicks to your blog. anyway cant wait to read more. i got you bookmarked! P WICK

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