Sunday, October 30, 2011

Zombie Runners Halloween Marathon

I had to confuse the Marathon Gods. In order to get to that finish line, I figured if I went all sexy Jessica Wabbitz on them, they'll get all excited and give me a tail wind to push me along. I don't think they bought it, but they did show me some mercy in convincing the race directors to give me an early start. With an additional 60 minutes tacked on to the 7.5 cut off time, I knew I could comfortably hop along and get this one done. After Mari-ing (yes, I just turned Dave Mari's surname into a verb) through that Dam Marathon yesterday and having to deal with the added stress of a delayed flight which didn't get me back home until a little before midnight, I was very grateful for that 8.5 hour cut off time. I hopped along for the first few miles and then my little bunny legs pooped out. I walked the rest of the way, milking the clock for all it was worth.

Crack of dawn!
This is the Zombie Runners Halloween Marathon, and sure enough, a Zombie Runner showed up!
One of my all time favorite pics of the year. There's Catra Corbett and Ultra Woof having so much fun. Even without runners high (this was early on in the race), these two are loving life. That's what running is all about!
Quote of the day from a kid walking on the trail with his mom: "Mommy! It's a bunny and a fairy!"
Yes, I milked the clock for all it was work. My legs were dead tired by the time I reached the end, but I got it done! The Marathon Gods smiled upon me and rewarded me with this 52.4 mile finish because they knew I dug keep to get to both finish lines. Life time marathon #45 is in the books!

I really needed this double. Injuries have really thrown a wrench in my Titanium quest. Had it not been for the bulging disc, the sciatica, the capsulitis of the right second metatarsal phalanges joint, and the random kidney stones, I would still be on track. In a perfect world, I would have hit the half way mark at the Seattle Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon back in June. However, the culmination of these unfortunate events pushed me far behind schedule. As are result, I did not make it to #26 until the end of August, and will now have to cram in the doubles and triples this late in the game. I am Endorphin Dude! I can and will do this!

Titanium Score Board: 38 down, 14 to go!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hoover Dam Marathon

It's Halloween weekend, and if the Marathon Gods are kind to me, then I will get a big 52.4 mile treat rather than a tainted little poison GU trick that will knock me out of the Titanium race. Time is running out for Endorphin Dude, and it is imperative that I nail this challenging double weekend. Logistically, pulling off the Hoover Dam Marathon in Nevada on Saturday and then hopping on a plane back to northern California for the Zombie Runners Halloween Marathon in Palo Alto is manageable, but it would take some very careful planning and race efficiency. Oh yeah, it's also Halloween, so your Marathon Caped Crusader had some tricks up his Endorphin sleeve. Maybe I can confuse the Marathon Gods into thinking I am someone else and get a free pass? Hmm...

Happy Halloween, Dave Mari!

I arrived in Las Vegas early Friday morning. Thanks to fellow Marathon Maniac Ultra Pussy...Cat and his Hello Kitty wife Melissa, I saved myself about $300 and a lot of headaches this weekend. This very kind pair of pussy cats picked me up at the airport, chauffeured me around every where, provided shelter for me, and pretty much eased all traveling anxiety so that I could focus on the race. Thank you kitties, MEOW!

Don't you just love these Marathon Maniac monikers? Mr. U.P...C got his name because he's one big! Also confined in the Marathon Maniac insane asylum with  Endorphin Dude and Ultra Pussy...Cat are Ultra Woof, Dianasaur, The Mo, Walking Diva, Mad Hatter Fancy Pants, The Italian Stallion, The Manimal, Lyle Lyle Crocodile, Jessica Wabbitz, Coconut Boy, Cadillac Steve, and JoJo Starbucks. How's that for a motley crew? Oh yeah, I forgot about that one guy who always wears that monkey shirt. What's that guy's name again?

*Now Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Program*
After getting my dam bib pinned on my dam shirt, putting my dam timing chip on my dam Mizunos, and filling up my dam Gatorade in my dam Nathan Pack, I got some dam sleep. I was ready for this Dam Marathon! We got up at dark o'clock and headed out to the dam start line. On your marks, get set, GO!!!!!

Yes, dark o'clock. Where is the head lamp when you need it most?
"You'll traverse a hard packed dirt trail leading you through several old railroad tunnels that were used in the 1930s to transport supplies to the workers in the construction of the then Boulder Dam- now Hoover Dam. The trail is perched atop of a ridge overlooking the crystal blue waters of Lake Mead and the marina." - Calico Racing
I see the light!
Damn you Marathon Junkie! I really wanted to win this one!
There's Martha Corazzini running down the hill. If you rearrange the letters in her name, you get "Marathon Crazzii." Indeed, she is!
And there's Marathon Maniac Diva, Bryndis Svavarsdottir, running down the hill.
One of my favorite Marathon Maniacs, Diane Adele. I like this picture for two reasons: A) Diane is in it, and B) The shadow looks like a violin player behind us!
Jasmin Flores' Dad!
And of course, there's Jasmin!
Gotta love the Halloween costumes.
And there's Ultra Pussy...Cat! Loving the jammies. He looks like a biker thug who just rolled out of bed.
I finally got to meet Karen "Evil Twin" Weston Vollan. I hear she's really evil.
How' this for a happy bunch? Giovanni Guevarra ran the whole race with the American Flag! Also pictured are fellow Marathon Maniacs, Elizabeth Trask and Hector Aleman. The four of us shared some miles together. The best moment was when Giovanni said to me, "I gotta tell you. I had heard so much about Endorphin Dude. When I finally met you, I was like 'wow, I pictured you to be this tall, dark, and handsome super hero! And then I see that you're not!'" I know that Giovanni meant that in the nicest way possible, but it just came out that way! The four of us had a good laugh.
Maniac super star Larry Macon and Steffan Schneider sporting the Maniac yellow!
I got so excited when I saw the very pregnant Bobbi Galindo on the course. I was so happy she wasn't running, because after being beaten by the pregnant woman who two hours later went to give birth after the Chicago Marathon, I didn't want to be beaten again by a pregnant woman!
Yay! Mile 26!

Dam! I am da man! I am a shaker and a mover and today I ran The Hoover. Dam! Woo Hoo! I made it through the first hurdle of this marathon double this weekend. Chasing Titanium is tough, and it's only going to get more challenging from here on out. In order to stay on track, I will need to complete four more double headers and a triple. I just have to be patient and take it one race at a time. After crossing that dam finish line, I couldn't help but let out a sigh of relief. This race wasn't initially on my schedule, but I'm sure glad I ran it. I'd like to give a special shout out to race director Joyce Forier for putting on this awesome event, to Ryan and Melissa Launder for taking care of me, to Ryan's sister Alicia for letting me sleep in her guest room, and to all the Marathon Maniacs who high fived me along the course. You all gave me the treat that I desperately needed this Halloween weekend!

Life time marathon #44 done. Titanium score board: 37 down, 15 to go. DAM!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Morgan Hill Marathon

Yeah, this about sums it up.

The Morgan Hill Marathon is one race I would like to forget. I won't get into the gory details, but let's just say that El Diablo followed Endorphin Dude over to the south bay to wreck havoc on his Titanium quest. That little devil threw pitch forks at the Marathon Caped Crusaders in all directions. Long story short, these are the reasons why it took so long for E-Dude to cross that finish line:
  • Our attempt at the early start ended up biting Ultra Woof and Endorphin Dude in the booty. Somewhere along the way, the two of us added 2 miles to the marathon!
  • Morgan Hill was more like Morgan Hilly for that first half. I was already stressed out about those extra two miles. Add exhaustion from climbing those killer hills to that equation and you have one very frustrated super hero!
  • The second half of Morgan Hill was more like Morgan Hell, as the temperatures reached inferno status. At that point, I knew El Diablo was there at every mile mark, sucking out all my energy.
By mile 19, heat exhaustion got to me and I wanted so desperately to veer off and just finish the half. Nausea kicked in at this point. However, I kept moving forward. By mile 23, the sag wagon pulled up next to me to pick up the cones. I asked the driver if I needed to get into his truck and he noted that there was one injured runner behind me and that the race director was keeping the finish line open for him. I believe this is what saved me. I only had one little 5k left so I kept plugging along. When I reached mile 25, I had a complete melt down at the aid station. I threw a tantrum so intense that one of the volunteers, who was also a coach for the local running club, walked with me to the end. All I needed was someone to talk to in order to get my mind off of the pain and ease my angst. I've talked about marathon guardian angels before, and this guy fought off El Diablo to get me to that finish line.

Another marathon guardian angel. Thank you for getting me to that finish line. You really don't know how much that meant to me. Really.
The smiles on Ultra Woof and I are genuine. We were SO HAPPY to get this one done!

This marathon should have been a DNF or a DQ. The DNF I had control of, but I seriously needed some sort of external factor to save me from that DQ. Fortunately, that came in the form of the injured runner behind me. I finished way after the cut off time and probably should not received the official finish, but I did.

What upsets me the most about this marathon is that I let the mental break downs get to me, and I did some things that I am not proud of. There is a code of conduct that I adhere by when I am out there on the course. As Endorphin Dude, it is my civic duty to bring positive vibes to all runners and walkers. Today that did not happen. I snapped at a volunteer. I cursed under my breath at another runner. I ignored those who cheered me on. Endorphin was nowhere to be found at Morgan Hill. I am glad to get another notch on my Titanium belt, but this is one race I would like to forget.

Isn't a marathon 26.2 miles? Titanium Score Board: 36 down, 16 to go.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Nike Women's Marathon

16 girls for every boy? I like those odds! I don't know what the exact statistic is, but one of the message boards indicated that the Nike Women's Marathon had a 94% female participation rate. That's a lot of estrogen for San Francisco!

I wasn't planning to run this race, but after my devastating DNF at Diablo, I had to scramble to find another marathon. Fortunately, Endorphin Dude managed to get him and his cape into this sold out event, thanks to his TNT connection and fellow Marathon Maniac, "The Mo." Your Marathon Caped Crusader got out there, ran the race, and waiting for him at the finish line was The Chiweenie! How awesome is that?

How's this for striking a pose?

I thought this race was going to be a piece of cake, but it wasn't. I struggled quite a bit. I really didn't know why. I just figured Nike Women's is the sister race to The San Francisco Marathon, so I would just glide through. That didn't happen. All my problems were mental though. Fortunately, no injuries hit me. Nonetheless, it's tough when you mentally break down during a race. Hitting the half way mark was especially rough not only because all the marathoners could see the halfers hit their finish line while we had another 13.1 miles to go, but also because my apartment was only two blocks away! Oh how I just wanted to veer off head home where I could just jump right back into bed. But I kept my eyes on that Titanium prize and kept plugging along. It helped that I kept seeing all my marathon buddies on the course!

There's my San Francisco Endorphin Dudette Nadia!
Deo looked so pretty in his Marathon Maniac Diva shirt and pink tutu. This picture doesn't do Deo justice! Too bad I don't have a full body shot of him.
At Surf City this year, Sue "The Italian Stallion" Mantyla called me "Euphoria Guy." I'll take it!
Always a pleasure to see Susan Carino on the course. I do have to ask, does my head look unusually large in this photo?
Fast Sally stopped to take a picture with Endorphin Dude! Thank goodness I didn't blink, because I would have missed her!
I had just seen Roland at The Tahoe Triple! It was good to see him again!
You gotta love Coconut Boy. I still need to ask Jon Mahoney how he got this nickname.
Funny thing is that I first met Sofie at my very first marathon in San Francisco. She was with fellow Marathon Maniacs Jessica Wabbitz and Sue Bear.
Doesn't Martha look like a puritan with her bonnet looking hat on?
Woot Woot! This is Sharon Mante's first marathon!
Ah, Kathy, my college buddy from yesteryear. This girl must have found the fountain of youth because she hasn't aged!
The Tutu Girls! I first met these ladies in Long Beach!
Marathon Maniacs from Arkansas! I will be seeing these ladies again for The Little Rock Marathon!
Janeth, Ultra Woof, and me post race! Notice Woofie showing off her bling.
Endorphin Dude with Susie from Alabama.
Me and my chiweenie.

Thankfully, the Endorphin Empire Headquarters is only two blocks from the finish line, so it didn't take me long to get home. As I walked back to my apartment, I figured out where it went wrong. After three weekends of extreme runner's high, I crashed. It's like feeling the high of a sugar rush and then crashing hard. After triumphing at the Tahoe Triple, pacing my sister to a PR in San Jose, and then flying high in Chicago, it was inevitable that this happened. I wasn't there mentally and I had to fight to get this one done. I took it for granted that this race was in my backyard. This is my stomping grounds and I just figured it would be easy. It wasn't. I struggled to get through miles 19 through 26.2. Nonetheless, I dug deep and crossed that finish line for the 42nd time in just a little over two years.

My body is beat up and I am exhausted, but my heart is still going strong. Just 17 more steps and I reach my goal of 52 marathons in 52 weeks. I believe I can do this. With every race, it does get harder, but I am up for the challenge. I will get there. I run to be TITANIUM!!

Titanium Score Board: 35 down, 17 to go!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

At one point during the race, I turned the corner and witnessed the parade of spectators cheering on all the runners. There must have been thousands of people screaming for us. My heart pounded hard and my smile lit up so wide that my face started to hurt. The runner's high lifted me as I flew to the side to high five the cheer leaders. Every person made eye contact with me as they reached out to slap my hand. The chants of "Endorphin Dude! Endorphin Dude!" rang through my ears. Never have I experienced this kind of crowd support at a marathon before. But what did I expect? This was not just any ordinary foot race. In the running world there are five grand stages: Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, and New York City. These are the five world marathon majors, and today I crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon!

What an incredible experience. I have run many marathons up this point but I have never experienced anything like this. It was like the whole state of Illinois came out to support the runners. I came to Chicago with very tired legs, having just completed the Tahoe Triple and then a 39.3 mile combination the following week.  My big concern was getting to the finish line within the six and a half hour cut off time. Once I found my groove on the course, I knew I had no problems, as there were 45,000 runners out there with me. As long as I kept a steady pace, I would make it. Sure enough, I did, and it certainly helped that I had all my Marathon Maniac friends out there to make sure that I stayed on my Titanium track!

Lots and lots of Marathon Maniacs!

The Chicago Marathon left me completely speechless for 26.2 miles. It's not every day that a non-elite runner like me can say that he got to run one of the five world major marathons. Along with the awe-inspiring crowd support, the volunteers and other runners on the course cheered me and everyone else on. Once I hit the half way point, I stopped worrying about the cut off time and soaked up all the positive energy all the way to the finish line.

I was so antsy at the start line. I wanted to fly!
For the first mile, I ran at a 8:46 pace. My second mile I ran at a 9:42 pace. I knew I was in trouble! The excitement of being in Chicago got to me and I charged out! By mile three, I slowed significantly down and caught my breath. How could I not get excited? I was running THE CHICAGO MARATHON!
What's the male version of Lady Ga Ga? Lord Gu Gu! I think I took a shot of GU at this point in the race.
Cheer leading Maniac!
One of my all time favorite signs at a marathon.
Yay! The finish line!

When I hit mile 24, I noticed a guy struggling. I could see it in his step and in his eyes. He looked defeated. The two of us had been keeping pace all the way back at mile 18, but I could see that he was ready to throw in the towel. I moved over to him and introduced myself. I asked how he was doing, and sure enough, he admitted that he was struggling. He explained that this was his first marathon and that his legs were cramping up and he just didn't wanted to do it anymore. I looked him straight in the eye and said I was going to get him to that finish line.

I knew he could do it, and he did!

Sure enough, I stayed with this first time marathoner all the way up to the end, and when we crossed the finish line, I could see his pride emerge. When it was time to collect his bling, I took the medal from the volunteer and placed it around his neck. This guy finished strong, and I was so proud of him! There have been many times when I struggled to get to that finish line, so I really wanted to be there for this guy. I'm sure he could have gotten to mile 26.2 on his own, but I'd like to think that I helped him out just a little by keeping his spirits up and mind off of the pain. We definitely shared a special bond for 2 miles. I congratulated this young man and wished him the very best.

Yes, we are two different people!
Me and my Marathon Maniac Family! From left to right: Randy Donaldson, Heather Ziegler, Lori Alderman-Denton, and Lien James.

I have to give a huge shout out to Kristin Fancsalszki Schmelz. Without her, I don't think I could have made this trip out to Chicago. This Titanium quest is killing my wallet, and I almost had to drop out of this race. Kristin opened her home to me, and for that, I am very appreciative. Kristin made it easy for me to run one of the world's five major marathons, and what an incredible experience it was!

With my medal around my neck, I shouted out to all of Chicago, "HEY EVERYONE! I JUST RAN THE CHICAGO MARATHON!!!" I couldn't help myself. The runner's high was just too much. I was smiling ear to ear as I limped along the rest of the day.

Titanium Score Board: 34 Down, 18 to go!