Sunday, July 31, 2011

San Francisco Marathon

Endorphin Dude & The Chiweenie!






































When I crossed the finish line of last year's San Francisco Marathon, my inaugural 26.2 miler, I feared that the intensity of runner's high would send me into cardiac arrest.  My heart pounded so hard I thought it would register on the Ritcher scale. It felt so surreal to me. That out of body experience felt like one big fantasy, but it quickly become a reality when the finish line volunteer put that medal around my neck.  I looked at the shiny object and proudly announced, "I AM A MARATHON MAN!"  I never thought that feeling could ever be duplicated again, but exactly that happened today at that same finish line one year later.

Unless you've been living in a remote village somewhere out in the mountains of northern Vietnam, you probably know the Endorphin Dude story.  For those new to the Endorphin Empire, I'll give a quick recap.  Two and a half years ago, a heart attack scare served as a wake up call for your marathon caped crusader.  I knew I had to make some changes or else I wouldn't be able to live past age 37. I took my dog for a walk around the block. That short walk eventually turned into multi-mile urban hikes with the dog. I then started to jog, and before I knew it, I was running. A year later, I dropped a huge chunk of weight, was weaned off all meds, and discovered this little thing called running.

I believe I tipped the scale at 223 pounds in the picture on the left.

In July 2009, I headed out to the Embarcadero in San Francisco to cheer on some friends running the marathon.  Mind you, I knew nothing about running back then, and I actually thought that a full marathon was only 10 miles.  When I saw the look of pride on every runner's face as they crossed the finish line, I felt that second hand runner's high in the air. Endorphins ran amok. Something in my heart snapped, and I found myself proclaiming that I wanted that runner's high for myself. I boldly stated right there and then--in front of witnesses--that I was going to run the 2010 San Francisco Marathon!  Over the next year, I trained my butt off and on July 25, 2010, I crossed the finish line of my very first full marathon.  One year later, I did it again, and it felt like the first time all over again.

The 2011 San Francisco Marathon marked my two year anniversary of running.  The funny thing is that my first marathon was supposed to have been my last.  It was supposed to have been my one and done bucket list race, but somewhere along the way I got hooked.  In two short years, I became a Marathon Maniac and Half Fanatic, completed 6 ultra marathons, 23 marathons, and 39 half marathons, and really made a name for myself in the marathon community. Who would have thought that the fat kid who always got picked last in PE would be where he is today? I am Endorphin Dude and my life got awesome when I put on that first pair of Mizunos and took my first shot of GU. Running has completely changed me, and I seriously do not want to stop.

By now, you probably figured out that San Francisco is *MY* marathon.  This weekend was all about celebrating Endorphin Dude's rite of passage from couch potato to marathon super hero, and I enjoyed every second of it.  From the expo to the carbo load dinner to the actual race, I cherished every moment.  Here is a photographic recap of my incredible marathon weekend.

The slogan this year is "worth the hurt."  Indeed it is!
So I walked up to Marshall Ulrich at the expo and said, "Do you remember me from The Modesto Marathon? I gave you a big hug at the finish line. I was the guy in the cape." He looked at my shirt and said, "That's right, Endorphin Dude! You were the only one smiling, everyone else looked like they were in pain." It was raining hard that day and after 7 hours on the course, nobody looked happy!
Who wants to see Endorphin Dude in a running skirt?
After the Bad Bass 5k, Denver Michelle and I went to the expo!
Guess who showed up to The Endorphin Dude Marathon Carbo Load Dinner?  That's right, Mr. Bart Yasso, that's who!  Ultra Woof invited him and he said yes.  What a treat.
What an awesome bunch.
Mad Hatter Fancy Pants singing Wabbitz's Marathon Maniac shirt.
Good Morning Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics!
The start line. Endorphin Dude is in wave two with the elites!
E-Dude and Jessica Wabbitz!
Ah yes, my running partners of the day, Stephanie and Ultra Woof.  Running across that Golden Gate Bridge is pretty amazing.
This was a training run for Hector. The following weekend he ran the Headland Hundred!
There's Sharon!  We met at the Salinas Valley Marathon last year.  She said she was running it again, so the two of us will celebrate our one year marathon anniversary in Salinas!
Chris Bliss not only made signs, but she brought Chewbacca out to cheer!
Here we are right before heading to the half way mark.
Eileen!
Here's an amazing person.  Algis has pancreatic cancer.  He contacted me last year and said what gets him through chemotherapy is reading my blog.  He decided to run his first marathon, and chose San Francisco to be it.  We met up at this race.  Check it out, this guy runs barefooted!
Oh Poop.  I could have used a different four letter word that means the same thing, but I refrained!
There's the 5 hour pacer, Patrick!
Of course, we had to take a pic with The Walking Diva herself, Miss Yolanda Holder.
I got to play Dr. Dude throughout the second half of the course.  Stephanie's ankle was killing her.  Ultra Woof and I were not going to leave her behind.  We stuck together to the very end, and it was so worth it.  
Maniac Girls!
Loved the cheering section on the Haight.
Andrea qualified for Marathon Maniacs with this race!
And there's my buddy Jon, the 5:45 pacer.  I'm so glad we didn't see him earlier!
Two For His Heels!  The Cribbage Crew comes out to cheer on E-Dude!
Finish line shot.
And there's the July Endorphin Dudette, Miss Nadia Ruiz!
Woo Hoo!

Only at The San Francisco Marathon will you ever see me not ham it up for the paparazzi at the finish line. The final .2 mile stretch of this race is my moment, and I "sing like no one's listening, love like I've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like its heaven on earth." - Mark Twain. If I could bottle up this feeling and sell it, I would be a gazillionaire.

Titanium scoreboard: 22 down, 30 to go.

When I see my two San Francisco Marathon medals, all I think about is how I no longer have to inject insulin into my body. I have come a very long way, and I am very proud of the person I have become.  A healthy dude is a happy dude.  Life is sweet.

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