Monday, May 30, 2011

Nanny Goat's 12/24 Hour Trail Race

When I registered for the Nanny Goat 24 Hour race, I had every intention of attempting the 100 miler. However, this little injury got in the way of that goal. Being on the injured reserve list is no fun, and every weekend that I'm sitting on my couch and not out there cranking out those marathons, I feel my Titanium dream slip away. Nonetheless, I've said it before, and I'll say it over and over again: Titanium is very important to me, but I am not going to kill myself in the process to get it.  I want to be able to run a few marathons every year for the rest of life and not 52 in one year and never be able to run again. I'm still on track to hitting my goal, but it certainly makes it a bit more challenging being sidelined.

I took a few weeks off from the marathon to rest up and heal my aching body. When Memorial Day rolled around, I felt ready enough to participate in the Nanny Goat event.  I figured I had 24 hours to complete a 50k, I could crawl the whole thing and still finish with plenty of time to spare.  I also knew that this was going to be one big party with a bunch of Marathon Maniac friends, so I had to be there regardless of injuries!

Ultra Woof and I traveled down to Southern California from the Bay Area with a station wagon full of camping gear and food.  There was probably more food than camping gear.  There was A LOT of food.  What do you expect at an ultra event?  We spent Friday night at a fellow runner's place near Magic Mountain and headed to the ranch early Saturday morning. This ultra race took place on a one mile dirt loop on a private horse ranch located in Riverside, California, and at 7am, I could already feel the heat.  When Ultra Woof and I arrived, we unpacked our gear and claimed our spot in one of the stables in the barn.  The thought of hanging out in a horse stable for the next 24 hours was quite comical to me.  I felt like I needed some sort of Kentucky Derby moniker, like "Endorphin Equine!"  After setting up, I picked up my bib and chilled out before the race. 

What a bunch of Maniacs!
Unscripted. Unplanned. Unexpected. Guinness Book World Record holder Yolanda "Walking Diva" Holder greeted Endorphin Dude at Nanny Goat with an Endorphin Dudette head band on! When this Walking Diva recorded her record breaking 106 marathons last year, I sent her this honorary pink head band. I never thought she would ever wear it at a race! Since I packed all my capes for this 24 hour race, I had her model the pink Endorphin cape for the paparazzi. I am a huge fan of Yolanda Holder. I met this incredible lady after the 2010 Mardi Gras Marathon. As a brand new runner, I was so self-conscious and worried about not fitting into the "mold" of the runner. Yolanda said to me, "This is your journey. Do it your way." Indeed, I have. Thank you, Walking Diva. I am proud to have you represent the Endorphin Empire! I am also very happy to have you as my friend.
I told you we had food, food, and more food!
And we're off, just like cattle!

Was it coincidence that my bib number was 100?  Did that mean that I had to run the 100 miles?  Or maybe the 100k?  The thought of doing either crossed my mind, but reality quickly kicked in when I started to run and felt a little discomfort in my right leg.  I immediately dropped to a walk pace, and continued that pace for the next 31 loops!  That's what I love about these 24/12 hour races, there is no time constraint.  I also love the one mile loop concept because I never "fell behind the pack." Of course, in mileage I did, but because there was always someone ahead or behind me at all times, I always felt in the mix.  Ultra races always bring out a great cast of characters, and it was awesome for me to see them over and over again throughout the day and night.

We all know Ed "Mad Hatter Fancy Pants" Ettinghausen!  This guy runs every race dressed like a jester, and he goes out of his way to learn everybody's names so that he can give them a personalized woot woot every time he passes them.  Ed truly is an ambassador for our sport, and by the end of this year, if all goes as planned, he will enter the Guinness Book for having run the most marathons in one calendar year with something in the neighborhood of 111.
Here's follow Marathon Maniac and Dolphin South End Runner, Bill McCarty.  Bill ran 71 miles...with a broken arm!
Deo got his 100 miles in!
Jo Jo Starbucks!
And there's our Nanny Goat winner, Michael Miller, who ran a whopping 119 miles!
Four Divas!  Big thanks to Jessica Montoya and Diana Kitching and all the others who came out to cheer and pace us runners on.  It was also great to see Ultra Woof get her 50 miles in.  At times, my running partner in crime struggled mentally, but she persevered through it all and got the job done.
Desert Tortoise taking a little break while Bobbi Galindo waits for her man Kansas to make it to the next loop.

Nanny Goat was one big party for me.  Of course I had to work hard to get the 50k in, but I had fun doing so.  I made a lot of pit stops at the barn to refuel and socialize throughout the day and was even able to crank out seven ward robe changes!

The Red E-Dude. These boys' mother asked if she could take a picture of me. The boys posed with Endorphin Dude.
E-Dude donned the pink Wabbitz suit for Jessica Wabbitz!
Gotta have the Mad Hatter Fancy Pants ensemble!
E-Dude traded in the cape for the Monkey shirt to pay tribute to his marathon twin and nemesis, Dave Mari.  Yes, E-Dude did attempt the trademark Mari X jump, but failed miserably.
It got really hot in the afternoon, so Endorphin Dude threw on a cap.  I call this one, "Boy Wonder."
And of course, the signature Black Endorphin Dude suit!  Here I am with my stable mate (that's my mate who shared a stable with me and not my mate who is stable, although I would say that Kimberly is pretty stable!), Kimberly Lohstroh Miller.
When my race ended, I reverted back to plain old Tony Nguyen.  I wore my comfortable Nanny Goat tee and medal and cheered on the 100 milers.  Poor Deo.  There was nothing left in him after circling that ranch 100 times!

At the end of the weekend, I logged in 31 miles, which was enough to earn me Marathon Maniac credit.  My heart really wanted more, but my mind and legs said no.  I kind of feel like a slacker because I "only" completed a 50k, compared to everyone else' 50 miles, 100k, 100 miles and beyond.  But out of all honesty, I am totally cool with this.  Injuries have made this past month very frustrating for me, and completing this 50k brings me great confidence and pride.  It's good to be back!

Titanium scoreboard: 17 down, 35 to go!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hellyer 10k

When I first approached my sister Diane about running a half marathon a year and a half ago, I got every excuse in the book not to do it from her. With every cop-out she unleashed, I shot back with a retort.
  • What?  You can’t run a half marathon because you don’t think you can do it?  How do you know if you don’t try?   
  • What?  You’re too fat to run a half marathon?  Maybe this will be a good way for you to get active and lose the weight that you’re always complaining about.  
  • What?  You don’t have the time?  You can’t make the time to improve your health?  
  • What?  You can’t do it?  Is it that you can’t, or you won’t?  
Oh yeah, I fired off all these things at her, and what finally got her to run her first was a little bit of coercion.  For her birthday, I registered her for the San Jose Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon.  I told her that she had plenty of time to train for that race, and if she decided not to do it, then she owed me 100 bucks!  Well, Diane did train and she did cross that finish line! Something sparked inside of her after completing 13.1 miles and she vowed she was going to train harder to beat her time.

Sure enough, a few months later, she ran the Oakland Half Marathon and improved her time by a whopping 14 minutes!  The running bug stung her hard and she signed up for a few more races.  On April 16th, just a few weeks after running Oakland, Diane ran Brazen Racing's Western Pacific Half Marathon and shaved another 5 minutes off her time.  Momentum hit an all time high for her as she continued to train for her third half marathon in three months. Today, my sister crossed the finish line at the Hellyer Half Marathon and scored yet another PR.  Right before she hit that final timing mat, I pointed to the clock and made sure that she checked out her time.  This moment was captured on film by the Brazen photographers.  If you ever wondered what the definition of "endorphins" is, just look at this photo.

And yes, it's another another PR!

Now get this, not only did Diane PR for the fourth time and earned her first sub 3:30 half marathon finish, but this race qualified her for Half Fanatics.  Yup, my sister Diane, the girl who complained about being fat and would never be able to walk around the block let alone finish a 13.1 miles, is now a Half Fanatic.  Endorphin Dude's sister entered the Half Fanatic Insane Asylum in the most spectacular fashion possible.  I guess making grand entrances and attracting attention runs in this family. 

Endorphins everywhere!  That, and hair.  Yes, my family is know

It was very important for me to be at the finish line when Diane crossed, so I dropped to the 10k.  With my nagging injury, I just didn't think that I could cross the finish line before her.  With the 10k, though, I was able to walk/jog it.  Oh yeah, there were a few photo shoots that happened along the course as well.

Asian Pop Star!
That little girl beat me. Yes, a 6 year old girl smoked me!
One of my favorite peeps on the course, fellow Marathon Maniac Eileen.
Me and fellow Marathon Maniac, Diane Adele.
Here's another running super star, Ernie!
This Endorphin Dudette pounded out a PR at Hellyer!
I swear, that guy in the middle is always pouting about something.
Woo Hoo!

I've talked about runner's high a lot, but for the first time ever, I experienced this thing called second hand runner's high.  Seeing my sister Diane cross that finish line with yet another PR and then marching right in to the Half Fanatic Insane Asylum sent me into an endorphin high.  I may have only completed a 10k today, but the runner's high in my system felt like I just ran an ultra.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Centennial Bay To Breakers

Would you believe that I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area pretty much all my life and have never participated in the Bay To Breakers?  Not even as a spectator!  There was no excuse for me this year: I am a runner, I live two blocks from the finish line, and it's the 100 year anniversary of this historic event.  Oh, there's also this little thing called a bunch of Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics escaping the Insane Asylum for one day to partake in this parade!  This 12k is a huge deal for San Francisco, and I was very happy to have the opportunity to be there for 100 year celebration with all my friends.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so for the rest of this race report, I will give you a photographic recap of this incredible day.

It's a B2B tradition: tortilla throwing!
Endorphin Dudette Katie Cookie and her crazy eyes.
Group shot! Notice the crazy Cookie eyes.
Endorphin Dude and Jennifer Walker.
The start line.
It's like a scene straight out of High School Musical.
As you can see, all we did was take pictures!
Charlie Sheen and his posse.
We climbed hills!
We ran down hills!
One of my favorite runners out there, Eddie Hahn.
Me with mother and daughter duo, Pam and Brandi.
Where the buffaloes roam.
Deo needed more boobies!
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Sclemeel, schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated. We're gonna do it!
Woo Hoo!
Hey, I didn't get a royal British flag!
Bling Bling!