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!