Sunday, November 27, 2011

Running From The Turkey Marathon

When I completed the Charlie Alewine Thanksgiving Half Marathon Triple Weekend last year, I wrote something in my race report that's worth a repeat mention:

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. The best part? DUDE! I got a trophy!!!

The only modification I will make to that statement is that this year it was a 78.6 mile finish! I am very proud and relieved to get this Thanksgiving Turkey weekend done. The final marathon of this triple weekend went very well. I once again took it easy and had a leisurely walk along Huntington Beach with my dog. It took me a while to get to that finish line, but that's ok. A finish is a finish. Along the way, I got to high five many of my running buddies.

The Danimal!
One of the funniest guys in the Insane Asylum, Mr. Haywood Crowder.
Marina Vasolina!
There's Coconut Boy and Shoney Mahoney. Thanks for the free therapy, Dr. Coconut!
I love it. Good job Shawna and Jessica. You guys rock!

When my foot acted up earlier in the week, I panicked. But because Titanium was on the line, I had to step back and patiently get through it. I believe the Marathon Gods decided to shake me up a little by throwing rocks at my foot, but then healing it up right before the triple started. Any other time, I would have just not shown up. Hitting this goal of 52 marathons in 52 weeks is extremely important to me, and I will do anything to nail it. I've made it this far, I couldn't let a little pain in the foot stop me. I took it conservatively all three days and made it across all three finish lines. Thank you Charlie Alewine and all my fellow runners and friends for getting me through this arduous weekend!

Titanium Scoreboard: 46 down, 6 to go.

I can add another triple to my resume. I can also add another 22 inch trophy to my mantle! Yay! I am now within striking distance of my goal. I can see the finish line from here.  Let's count it down peeps: SIX!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Feeling Stuffed Marathon

After the Mayflower Marathon, I got back to my room and continued to R.I.C.E, and by that I don't mean pigging out on the fried rice of Panda Express! Thanks to fellow Marathon Maniac Elizabeth McKay, Endorphin Dude had a very comfortable cottage on the lake to stay during this Triple Turkey weekend. It was cool to be in a house with Chewbacca rather than sequestered in a Motel 6. It was also nice to have a comfortable bed where I could just sprawl out and relax. I stayed off that bum foot for the rest of the day. I fell asleep at 5pm and when I woke up ten hours later, the pain was gone! My mental state made a complete 360. I felt good going into the second marathon of this triple header weekend!

Another dark o'clock start.
Cadillac Steve and Sofie were instrumental in getting me to the finish line yesterday. Today, they were very happy to see me smile. I was happy to see me smile! I was happy to see these two out there for the dark o'clock early start with me!

Even though my foot felt healed, I still took it easy. Fortunately, this was a flat out and back course so I didn't have to put too much stress on my body. I also got to see other runners pass me on a few occasions. Some runners don't like this, but I do. I like being able to high five my fellow runners as they zoom past me. I'm not one of those tunnel visioned marathoners who is only concerned about their finish time. I am very social and I like schmoozing it up with peeps along the course. I got to do a lot of this today!

Here's a great group of Maniacs. From left to right: Me, Ultra Pussy Cat, Shoney Mahoney, Coconut Boy, Deo, Brady Wentlandt, Shawna Wentlandt, Doggie Doc Jim Grimes, and soon to be minted Marathon Maniac Mike Hanson (he qualified with this race).
And away we go!
Action shot!
Mike and Jim going for their second loop.
The couple that runs together, stays together!
Gotta love Rosemarie and Raoul.
The winners! My trophy is a banana.

What a difference a day--and quality sleep--makes. I got my mojo back, and everyone on the course who ran yesterday's marathon knew right away. I had so much fun today. The medal rocks with the cartoon turkey on it! I'm excited for tomorrow's race, the third and final in this Thanksgiving Triple Extravaganza!

Titanium Score Board: 45 down, 7 to go.

You'll probably notice that the date on the medal doesn't match up. Charlie Alewine gave us all Sunday's medal instead of today's. It's all good, because I know I'll get that other medal tomorrow. Let's count it down peeps: SEVEN!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mayflower Marathon

Another visit to the Chinese Medicine Man.

I'm not really sure what exactly happened, but something must have gone awry at my 50th life time marathon. I didn't feel anything at the time, but one day after completing the Charlie Alewine double header marathon weekend, a sharp pain hit my right foot. This was the same pain that hit me in New Orleans earlier this year, and quite frankly, it concerned me. I have on my schedule the Thanksgiving Triple in a few days, and any injury at this point will knock me out of the Titanium race. Fortunately, the Chinese Medicine Man was able to squeeze me in on Tuesday afternoon. I feel like a voodoo doll every time I visit the acupuncturist, but Dr. Needles knows what he's doing, so I let him work his ancient Chinese magic on me.

The pain worsened late Tuesday night, and by about 3am, I couldn't move my foot without feeling any pain. Even the slightest wiggle of my toe made me flinch. I positioned myself in bed like a corpse in a queen sized Ikea coffin, moving not one muscle in my lower body. Seriously, it hurt so much that I couldn't sleep. My mind quickly sprinted down the path of doom and gloom. As melodramatic and tragic as this may sound, the only thing that lingered in my paranoid head was diabetic complications and amputation. Three years ago when my hemoglobin A1C numbers jumped to double digits, morbid thoughts of losing limbs took up permanent residency in my psyche. My doctor warned me that I was on that amputation track, and that frightened me. These days, any time my foot fails me--no matter how big or small--I am brought back to that dark time. I laid motionless in my bed until sunrise.

I called in sick that Wednesday before Thanksgiving and dragged myself to the acupuncturist early that morning. At one point, the pain was so unbearable that I had to do the left foot hopscotch skip so that I could keep my injured right foot still. I managed to get to my Chinese Medicine Man, and he said it looked really bad. In fact, my foot had flared up so much that he was only able to do partial acupuncture on me. He worked around the swollen areas, applied some ancient oriental potion in the form of a cold green cream, and then gave me a pair of crutches to wobble home on. I spent the rest of the day in bed with the sick foot elevated and iced. I also popped in a few ibuprofen throughout the day. Miraculously enough, the swelling dramatically went down by late evening and by Thursday morning, I was able to walk with only a slight limp. I headed down to my family's Thanksgiving get together that morning, where I stayed off the foot with hopes that I would heal 100% by Friday morning for my first marathon of the triple weekend. I didn't quite hit that goal, but I felt well enough to get out there and walk 26.2 miles. I showed up on race day determined to get the job done. Titanium was on the line.

My walking sticks saved me. Not only did they give me balance, but they served as make shift crutches.
Love this sign. Notice what's hand written in a Sharpie there? It's true. There was horse manure all over!

This was probably the toughest 26.2 miles to date. I managed to physically plug through with minimal pain, but my mental state was completely shot. I didn't even bring my camera, and the few photos I took were with my iPhone. I just wanted to get out there and get the job done with as little distraction as possible. There were moments during this race when I broke down to my fellow runners. Fellow Marathon Maniac Jon "Coconut Boy" Mahoney got an ear full from me, as did Cadillac Steve and Sofie Romero. I see these guys at so many races, so I knew that I could count on them for support. Sure enough, they gave me the free therapy that I needed to get myself back on track. At the end of the day, I played it conservatively and set a course record: a 9 hour marathon! I played it safe and it paid off, as I was able to cross that finish line once again.

Titanium Score Board: 44 down, 8 to go.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rock The Park Marathon

On July 25, 2010, my life changed when I crossed the finish line of the San Francisco Marathon, my inaugural 26.2 mile foot race. This was supposed to have been my one and done bucket list race, but the endorphins got to me and I instantly got hooked.

Today, I reached a major milestone: Marathon #50. In just a little over a year and 4 months, I have run, jogged, walked, and or crawled FIFTY marathons. Can you imagine how happy I am right now? If it weren't for these beat up legs, I'd be bouncing off walls!

Titanium Score Board: 43 down, 9 to go.

Single Digits Baby! Let's count it down: NINE!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Beachfest Marathon

The Chiweenie won't be entering the Insane Asylum anytime soon.

I took Chewbacca along for my marathon double header in southern California this weekend because her nanny was unavailable. I thought it would be fun to go on a road trip with the chiweenie. I packed along her backpack too so that she could actually participate in the marathon with me. With such tiny legs the size of the mozzarella cheese sticks you get at Denny's, the little mutt can really only handle a 5k. The first marathon of this double header weekend was perfect for both of us, as it took place at Dockweiler Beach in Marina Del Ray, and the weather was perfect.

The Beachfest Marathon had a very small turn out, but that's no surprise for Charlie Alewine Racing. I do love the idea of low key races for under 25 runners. Charlie Alewine has been my saving grace during this Titanium quest. Not only does he have multiple marathon weekends at affordable prices, but he allows me to take the early start so I don't have to worry about time constraints. There would be no Titanium for Endorphin Dude if there were no Charlie Alewine. Charlie, if you're reading this, THANK YOU!

Charlie & The Chiweenie.

In any case, only nine runners showed up for this marathon, but these were the nine regulars that I see every weekend. Party on the beach! Chewbacca was able to get about three miles in before I scooped her up and tucked her into the back pack. Gee, why can't I ride in someone's CamelBack? That would make 26.2 miles go by much faster!

On your marks, get set, GO!!!

The lone garbage can in the middle of the beach.
50 Staters Mary Fischl and Brad Schultz.
Dale Roberts. This guy always gets a few phone calls from his wife during marathons.
Deo! No tutu today. Low key.
Chris Haines earned a PR today!
Always good to see Rose Marie on the course. She placed first in the half marathon.

It took me well over seven hours to finish this marathon, but that's ok. I took it very easy and had a great time with my dog. I would not have been able to do this at any other marathon. Only at a Charlie Alewine race can I leisurely complete 26.2 miles with a chiweenie without the worry of the sag wagon. Win!

Titanium Score Board: 42 down, 10 to go!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Veteran's Day Marathon

The Plan: Fly out of Tampa Bay at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, layover at O'Hare, arrive in San Francisco a little after noon, hop into the Mini Cooper, drive seven hours to Riverside, take a quick nap in the car, and then take the early start of the Veteran's Day Marathon. In order to hit my Titanium goal, I have to cram in a truck load of doubles and one triple, so this was the plan for this weekend. I didn't factor in the possibility of delays, and sure enough, the plane heading back to SFO had some mechanical problems.

Needless to say, I did not arrive back in San Francisco until 5pm, which made for an exhausting marathon weekend even more exhausting! Fortunately, Chewbacca's nanny offered to drive me to southern California so I got to get some shut eye in the car before starting this trail race at dark o'clock!

Rattlesnakes! Wonderful!
This is what it looks like at dark o'clock on the trails.
Yes, there was elevation.
Didn't really need the head lamp once the sun came up, but I like that it takes the attention away from my rather large cranium. It's a good accessory for my forehead.
This is what my dog looks like when she pees. Yes, *she* lifts up one leg. I wasn't peeing when I posed for this photo though. Thought I'd clarify that.
Along with my medal, I got this very nice parting gift.

This was one long grueling race through Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park, and as you can see from the photos, "wilderness" is the operative word. It's no big secret that I am not a fan of trail races. I've figured out why. I am a people person and I like being around crowds. I like slowing down at aid stations to high five volunteers. I like running down the street and smiling at spectators with signs that read "Chuck Norris Never Ran A Marathon." I like stopping in the middle of the street and rocking out to what the live bands have to offer. I like the fanfare of the big road races, something I do not get with trail races.

I am often alone on a dirt path with nothing but trees when I run a trail marathon. I would probably like it more if the trees could talk to me like the ones in The Lord Of The Rings. However, the only time any flora ever had a conversation with me was in the 22nd hour of an ultra when delirium kicked in. I guess that doesn't really count. What I'm trying to say is that I do not love trails, but I have to run them in order to reach Titanium. I respect and applaud all the trail runners out there, but to each his own. It's just not my cup of Cytomax.

Titanium Score Board: 41 down, 11 to go!

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 Marathon of Sarasota

He's alive!!!

He can laugh about it now, but I don't think there was any giggling going on during his 4 day nap. Let me tell you a little something about Mr. Greg Goebel. At the Zoom Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon earlier this year, this Marathon Maniac's heart stopped ticking and he collapsed on the course. Fortunately, a doctor happened to be in the right place at the right time and was able to get the tick tock back. Mr. Goebel, however, fell into a coma. Miraculously, he woke up four days later to tell his tale. True story. 

I was extremely lucky and managed to do something Pheidippides wasn’t able to do--die, and live to tell about it. I don’t recommend it by the way, and will be eternally grateful to Dr. Bob Aby who was at the right place at the right time for me. Had it occurred in 90% of the 30 marathons I ran in 2010, I wouldn’t be here to type this. Whether 5Ks, marathons, or ultras, you can never take anything for granted. I had no warnings, no symptoms and no heart attack – it just quit beating. I am sure my conditioning of all the marathons last year helped me survive. I hope my January ‘event’ doesn’t scare someone else away from making a 26.2 mile commitment. It hasn’t me, and this weekend will be #5 AD. Many miles with many smiles to all! - Greg Goebel.

Fast Forward to 11-11-11.

Woo Hoo!

From what I understand, it was Greg's dream to race direct his own marathon, and this dream played out in his head long before his brush with death. Over the past year, he planned his 11-11-11 Marathon of Sarasota, paying very close attention to every meticulous detail. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend this epic once in a millennium event.

I wasn't kidding when I said Greg paid very close attention to detail. Everybody had two bibs, on for the front and on for the back. The front bib had your number and the back bib had your name so that people behind you will know who you are!

And to think, I almost missed this event because I missed my flight! I set my alarm clock for 3am so that I could make it to the airport on time for my 5:30am flight. I woke up at 5:47am. I knew I was screwed. Panic mode hit me hard as I jumped out of bed, grabbed by bags, and charged for the airport. It wasn't like I was flying to Los Angeles or Las Vegas where this is a flight every hour, I was flying across the country! When I got to the airport, I plead to the ticket agent. I explained my Titanium quest and pretty much said I needed to get to Florida. She looked me straight in the eye and responded, "What you have is a reward ticket, and there's not much I can do with it. Even if I can get you a flight, it would cost about $500." Ugh.

I was desperate, so I just told the ticket agent to do what she had to do. After about 20 minutes of typing away on her keyboard, making a few phone calls, and speaking with a gentleman clad in a suit, she handed me two boarding passes and said, "I got you on the flight to Houston. This flight boards in 10 minutes. From Houston, you are guaranteed a flight to Tampa Bay at 8pm and arriving a little after midnight. However, you can try to get on the 4pm flight and get there sooner." She then signaled to someone to get me through security. I thanked her profusely and pulled out my wallet. She told me to put it way. "Good luck Endorphin Dude. This one is on us." I couldn't believe the Endorphin Dude card worked! With no time to lose, I raced through security, caught my flight, and was fortunate enough to get on the earlier flight in Houston. I made it to Florida by 9pm! Very stressful day, but I made it across the country for #40 of this Titanium quest!

I said it before and I'll say it again, the 11-11-11 Marathon of Sarasota was an epic event, and words really can't express how awesome it was. For this reason, I will show you what an incredible job Greg Goebel did via photos. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, prepare yourself for the greatest story every told!

It's like the who's who of marathons! So many marathon celebrities at one event!
Please meet the lovely Endorphin Dudettes of November: Mary Signorelli, Mary Lenari, and Diane Bolton.
Thank you Stephanie Zehr for offering your room to this broke marathon caped crusader!
What a bunch.
Right before the start.
Endorphin Dude and the 10 foot tall Tom Scott from Washington. I swear, I felt like a weed standing next to a redwood tree!
On your marks, get set, GO!!!!
This is what I'm talking about when I say meticulous attention to detail. Greg made these signs for everyone and placed them along the course. As we ran the marathon, we got to learn about our fellow runners! Good stuff.
There's Patti Randall Krebsbach doing the famous Dave Mari X-jump.
The Marathon Show running, trying to catch up with The Most Famous Runner In Utah, Miss Angie Whitworth Pace!
And sure enough, The Marathon Show's Joe Taricani caught The Most Famous Runner In Utah!
I love it. The 11-11-11 Marathon of Sarasota winner grabbed the Endorphin Cape ran across the finish line with it. Justin Gillette's finish time was 2:34. The Endorphin Cape BQ'ed!!! Does that mean I get a free entry into Boston?
Sure enough, the Endorphin Cape got passed around from one runner to the next. That cape ended up doing an ultra that day.
And there's Mr. Greg Goebel, smack dab in between Dave Mari and Endorphin Dude. This photo proves that we are two different people. Or are we? There is this little thing called Photoshop, you know...
Endorphin Dude with the legendary Larry Macon!
And there he is, Mr. Justin Gillette! Thank you for getting the Endorphin Cape to a BQ!
See that doctor up at the beginning of this race report? Well, that' Scott Dahl. This guy had a wardrobe change every two laps! He paid tribute to every runner on the course! Scott was so much fun.
And there's was a wedding right in the middle of the marathon! The couple finished in about 3 hours, so they had time to go back to their hotel and change. I think I was only on my mile 15. Oh yeah, Dave Mari stopped to play wedding photographer and he still beat me!
I love that everyone walked with Charles Sayles on his final lap.
Woo Hoo!! I love crossing the finish line!!
More proof that these are two different people. Or is it?

The Marathon Show's Joe Taricani summed up the 11-11-11 Marathon of Sarasota well:

"Official 11-11-11 Race report: course was flat, weather was good, Anette Blanton grabbed my rear-end, the first time that ever happened on-air, a bride and groom ran the race, then got married on the race course, Stephanie Arango arrived on crutches, ran, then left on crutches, Dennis McCarthy ran with an arm in a sling, I think he beat me, part of Endorphin Dude had a BQ, his cape crossed the finish line in 2:34, I ran 200 yards at a 2:34 pace, that's really not my pace, Steve Boone is really fast, Larry Macon is running a quad this weekend, Greg Goebel is awesome and plans to run in Cuba for his next race. I am on info overload! I need 30-40 good photos from the day...."

Titanium Score Board: 40 down, 12 to go! And in case you are wondering, I got a second medal for winning third place in my age division!!! (ok, everybody won a medal for their age division).