Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dean Karnazes Silicon Valley Marathon

I had lofty goals this weekend. I wanted to complete my very own Goofy Challenge, which I called "The Endoofy Challenge." My goal was to complete a half marathon on Saturday and a full one on Sunday. I am ecstatic to announce that I reached this goal with flying colors! Notice the two different chips on each shoe.


For the second straight day, I woke up at 3am on race day. 3am is not even the crack of dawn. In fact, dawn is still tucked so far up that crack that there is no light in sight! It's ok though, because I slept at 9pm, so I did have a solid six hours of shut eye. I usually squirm around in bed like a fish out of water after a race, but thanks to my new compression calf sleeves, I was able to sleep cramp free! These compression sleeves ROCK, that I am considering getting the whole body suit. Heck, I think there may possibly be a new Endorphin suit in the making! I'll keep you all posted.

Marathon day started an hour earlier for me than all other runners. I wanted to get there early to see my one of my marathon mentor, Yolanda Holder, the "Walking Diva" who is going for the Guinness record for most marathons completed by a woman in one calendar year. The Silicon Valley Marathon marked her 92nd of 2010. When I arrived at the start line at 5:42am, I met two future Maniacs, two newly minted Marathon Maniacs, some Dolphin South End Runners, two first time marathoners, and Yolanda!

First up is Yolanda. I dig the fact Yolanda and I always meet up. This has become our standard routine. So far this year, the two of us marathonned (I just made marathon into a verb!) together in New Orleans, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, The Extraterrestrial Highway, Lake Tahoe, Long Beach, and now Silicon Valley. I always looking forward to seeing this Walking Diva.

I proudly wear my Marathon Maniacs shirt on race day for reason. It's my way of sending a signal to other Maniacs letting them know that I am on the premises. Have you ever traveled to a foreign country and you meet someone from your home town? I remember once I was on the Eiffel Tower (the one in Paris, France, not the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas!) and I saw someone one in a San Francisco State University sweat shirt. I naturally gravitated to that person and struck up a conversation. Sporting that Marathon Maniac shirt is no different. Sure enough, four people spotted me: soon to be Marathon Maniacs Tiffany and Andy Gates and newly minted maniacs Gina and Linda from the Bay Area! Sorry, Andy, my pic of you turned out way too blurry for publication.

And of course, there are the Dolphin South End Runners. Greg, the gentleman below, has run a marathon in 50 states. He's also the very first person in my running club that I met. One of the nicest people I know. The other two young ladies are first time marathoners! Yup, the Silicon Valley Marathon marked Sharon and Martha's inaugural marathons. Both of them were nervous, excited, happy, afraid, you name the emotion, they probably experienced it! What's really funny is that at about 8:29pm the night before the race, Martha posted this on her face book: "...find myself fretting about the number 26.2." I had to email her to tell her to chill out! By the way, Martha finished the race in 04:39:30. Not too shabby! I was very happy to be there for these two at the start line. It is very important for me to be there to cheer on the first timers, even if I am running the race too.

At about 6:50am, Dean Karnazes took the stage with his pre-race pep talk. Clad in Greek attire, Karnazes emulated Pheidippides, the soldier who ran from the battlefield in Marathon, Greece, to Athens to bring news of the Greek victory over the Persians. Today is a big day for runners all over the world, as it is the 2500th anniversary of the first marathon in Athens. After completing his speech, the race director fired off the gun and away we went!

So there I was at mile three plugging along. I'm minding my own business when I feel a presence come up right next to me. I turned to my left and was a little taken back by who I saw. I looked at the runner straight in the eye and said, "Dean? Is that you?" The person replied, "Yup!" It was Dean Karnazes! I was in a little bit of shock. I was thinking, "Whoa, I'm running with Dean Karanazes!" The next thing that came out of my mouth was, "Hello! I am Endorphin Dude!" Dean smiled and said he was pleased to meet me. The next thing that came out of my mouth is classic Endorphin Dude kookiness: "If you hit the wall at mile 18, just call on me and I will send you some endorphins!" I'm glad Dean Karnazes had a sense of humor about it! Come on now, Dean Karnazes hitting the wall at mile 18? Ridiculous! Dean laughed and at that point I asked if I could take a picture with him. He happily obliged. I then ran with Mr. Karnazes for the next quarter mile. Wow.

I'm glad I had my camera readily available for that impromptu photo shoot with Dean Karnazes. We took that shot on the go! After snapping that pic, I put my camera away so that I wouldn't slow down at every mile marker to take a picture. My goal for the day was to avoid my trigger happy fingers and just focus on the run. It's a good thing my buddy and fellow DSE member, Elizabeth McKay, was on the side lines cheering us on. Elizabeth got a few action shots of Endorphin Dude flying through the Silicon Valley!

Throughout this race, I felt confident and strong. The compression calf sleeves did wonders for me. All I need now is the the compression pants for my thighs and quads, which started to ache at about mile 19. I kept focused all the way through and to my shock, I was able to run the final 10k. I did take a very short walk break at about 24.2, but for the most part, I was able to keep a steady pace for the final 6.2 miles. I kept chanting to myself, "GOOFIFICATION! GOOFIFICATION! GOOFIFICATION!" Amazingly enough, that was enough to get me to that finish line under six hours. Imagine my shock and excitement when I looked up at the clock and saw that I had PR'ed by 8 whopping minutes!

Furthermore, imagine how incredibly warm and fuzzy I felt when I saw Elizabeth, Paul, Sharon, Sharon's dad Alex, and Martha cheering me on at the finish line! These folks from my running club did not have to wait for me, but they did. It's funny, I always refer to DSE as my "running club," but I have to say that they are more than just that. There is a reason why I wake up at the crack of dawn on Sundays to run with these folks. They are my friends and my running family, and I appreciate and love them!

Wow. What a weekend. I completed my 6th marathon one day after running half marathon #27. And, I PR'ed and finished under 6 hours. I am feeling soooooo good.

I cherish all my medals, but there's just something about this one that makes me choke up every time I see it. This piece of bling represents all the hard work I've done to prepare me for this half/full double combination. Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, I am so ready for you!!!!

On a final note, legend has it that Pheidippides delivered the victory message, then collapsed and died. Good thing that didn't happen to me this weekend!


  1. Shoot, DK! Diana Kitching? Oh, wait ;) That's so cool that you've been running with the other DK! I kinda wish I had a medal with my initials on it, LOL. When I finished my first marathon I thought about pheidippides... Super awesome Tony!!!