Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crazy 8, Day 5

Yo Yolanda!

Guess who I bumped into on my final day of the Crazy 8? Well, since I posted the photo right before the question, it's not that difficult to figure out. What a great way to end my week, sharing some miles with the new Guinness World Record Holder for the most marathons/ultras completed in one calendar year. I believe this race was Yolanda's 109th for the year, which breaks her 106 total for 2010. What's awesome is that she's not stopping! The Walking Diva has her eyes set on 120 for 2012. Congratulations Yolanda!

I'm glad to get this Crazy 8 series over. With the pain in foot and a repetitive course, it got a little painful out there, but physically and mentally. I managed to cram in 8 races in 5 days in order to get all my bling: one marathon, four half marathons, and three 5ks. Now I have all eight pool ball medals. Woo Hoo!

Love my pool ball bling!

I'm glad I got out here this week and got. I need all the miles I can get between now and New Year's One Day if I want to with most race miles of the year. The 87.9 miles here at Crazy 8 will definitely keep me in the lead, but I cannot rest of my laurels. The competition is fierce. Last year I lost by 2 little miles, and I won't let that happen again. So as I say good bye to the Crazy 8 and head on down south to The Winter Seven, I'd like to take a look back on this tough week. Rather than showing my pain, I will highlight the good times!

First night post race dinner!
Big congrats to Amy Ellingson for completing the most miles to date! This young lady took control of her life and lost a huge chunk of weight. Keep up the good work Amy. I hope to be there at your first half marathon!

I had a great time hanging out with Teresa.
I love my pacer.
I wish I could bring Chewbacca to all my races. Love seeing this Chiweenie at the finish line!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crazy 8, Day 4

Yay! Day four of the Crazy Eights is done. Another half marathon and 5k in the books! I picked up my pool ball medal and jumped back on the course to complete my 12-12-12 FAB Virtual Racing 1.2 Miler. This is the fourth day on this course. I'm getting really bored.

Hi all. Chewbacca here. Just hacked into Endorphin Dude's iPhone. Dang, my legs are beat. Just completed the 12-12-12 FAB Virtual Racing 1.2 Miler with The Dude. Wish he had just stuck me in the pooch pouch!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Crazy 8, Day 3

Yeah Baby.
This photo was actually taken yesterday at the start. This was when I was happy and rock solid. Then again, I'm always happy and rock solid at mile zero! Everything unraveled after the halfway mark. Hey, I got it done yesterday and today is a new day, and a good day it was! I walked a half marathon and felt great. It's nice to finish a race with others still around! I threw in an additional 5k for extra bling. Yeah, I'm a bling whore what can I say.

What a novel idea! Pool balls as bling for the Crazy 8!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Crazy 8, Day 2

Yeah, this text message exchange just about sums it up.

Halfway through my marathon, that little jab in my foot turned into a Bedrock sized JAB-BA DABBA DOO! Oh boy, did that jab dabba dabba hurt. Yes, out of nowhere, I threw in a Flintstone analogy into my race report. I am sitting here reading that opening line over and over again and am not really sure if it's a hit or a miss. However, because my legs and brain are so fried, I'm just going to go with it.

Because this course was 13.1 miles out and back, I couldn't drop! I had to get to that finish line in order to go home! By mile 20, I knew I was toast, but I kept plugging along. The worst part was I kept my ride waiting. If I had driven myself, then I would have just had my little meltdown and kept going. However, I kept Ace out there waiting for me until way after sun down. I finally crossed the finish line way after 5pm, and Ace and Chewbacca were there cheering me on. I felt so bad. Ace was such a good sport about it. I told him no more marathons for the rest of the week for me. 13.1 will suit me just fine.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Crazy 8, Day 1

The Chiweenie Meets The Manimal.

If you saw this guy on the side walk, would you let your little dog come up and sniff him? Chewbacca was curious. She thought there was a punk poodle on his face. I had to let the little one approach Mr. Fuschia Beard to see what's up. He picked her up and they instantly bonded. Well, sort of. After Chewbacca realized that there was no poodle in that beard, she got a little antsy. Good thing she didn't pee on him. Chewbacca, meet The Manimal. Yes, I know the guy with the I'm-Coming-Up-So-You-Better-Get-This-Party-Started facial hair.

Wayne Sherman is a fellow Marathon Maniac who came out all the way from the other side of the country to run the Crazy 8 series. I met Wayne last year during my Titanium quest and we quickly became friends. What I will always remember about this guy is that he called me the day of my 52nd marathon of that quest to make sure that I didn't miss my flight. Mind you, he did this during his marathon. It was great to see Mr. Sherman out there on the course and knowing that he was going to be there all week. I only did the half marathon today, and I don't plan to limit the marathons for the rest of the year. There is this nagging pain in my foot that's bothering me. This is only day two of my 16 races in 13 consecutive days quest, so I took it easy. I only have a few marathons scheduled in the next 12 days, but we'll see how this foot holds up.

Hooters dixie cups at the aid station!

Golden Gate Park 10k

Got up at the crack of dawn to run the Golden Gate Park 10k. After I finished, I zoomed off to Sacramento to run the first race of The Crazy Eights. The next two weeks is going to be absolutely nuts. I will be running five of the Crazy Eights and then off to Southern California for The Winter 7. Oh boy!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Summit Rock Half Marathon

I've become quite obsessed with time, and by that, I don't necessarily mean personal records. Without a doubt, it is my goal with every race to do the best that I can and improve. There is another element of time that has consumed me, and that is finishing within the cut off. Many races offer an early start option, and while I think this is great for hikers and slower runners, I want to be able to complete a race with everyone else. I have taken the early start many times, but now that I have reached this new level of fitness and endurance, I want to challenge myself further.

I showed up to Summit Rock with a lot of nerves. I don't love this course. The last time I ran this technical trail, I picked up an injury in my left foot. I kept thinking in the back of my mind that if I took the early start, I could just walk most of the way to avoid any possible injuries or grief. That, however, would defeat the purpose of this challenge. I stayed far away from the early start line to avoid any temptation of jumping in. I wanted to conquer Summit Rock under four hours, and with my Mafates strapped on my feet, I kept telling myself that I had a legitimate shot at this. How hard could it be? All it is up one big uphill and then down I go, right?

With my bright yellow Hokas on my feet, I power hiked up the hills, ran the flats, and sprinted my way down. I kept focus and 3 hours and 21 minutes later, I crossed that finish line. I am happy to announce that I earned a new course record at Summit Rock! The first time I ran these trails, I limped in at about 4:15. Woo Hoo!

I have graduated from the early start! The goal now is to get even fitter and faster so that I could get an age award! Ok, maybe that's wishful thinking, but as long as I have that goal in my head, I will keep working hard. Who knows, I may place in the top three Rocky Ridge next year. Hmm.

Love my Brazen Family!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

California International Marathon

CIM = California International Monsoon. Yes, that is exactly what it was like out there today. Mother Nature sent us the memo early on, so we all knew it was going to be cold and wet. Yet, we maniacal marathoners braved the harsh weather and ran 26.2 miles. Some may say this is dedication while others call it insanity. I like to think it's a little bit of both.

I have to admit, I was a bit annoyed by Mother Nature for choosing this day to water the plants. CIM was supposed to have been my PR race. Months ago, when BEAST MODE shifted into high gear, I set my sight on this race as being my first sub-5 marathon. I made that bold announcement right after The Giant Half Marathon when I nailed my 2:14 half marathon finish. Mind you, I had not seen finish times like that in over three years, so that really boosted my confidence. A few weeks later, I got that sub-5 marathon at the Two Cities Marathon in Fresno, clocking in an astounding 4:56 finish. I readjusted my goals to hit another PR at Santa Barbara the following weekend and then again at CIM a month later.

Being on that PR high got me cocky, and I went out way too fast at Santa Barbara. I did manage to squeak by with a 5:14 finish, which is my second best marathon time. I felt great about this, but I really wanted that sub-5 repeat. Hence, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do it again at CIM. There's actually more to it. You see, this is my first CIM. I have skipped this race for the past three years because I was never able to make the six hour cut off. Things are obviously different now. I fitter and faster now, and this was my year to shine at CIM.

Thanks for the down pour, Mother Nature!

With all that said, in hind sight, it doesn't surprise me at all that I did not PR at CIM. I had put so much pressure on myself that my mind pretty much imploded half way through the race. I lost my PR at mile 16 and for two miles, I pretty much gave up. Fortunately, a fellow Brazen runner caught up to me and lifted my spirits. He knew I was struggling, so he encouraged me to run with him. I still struggled, but this runner gave me enough of a boost to get my mojo back. He stayed with me to the end, and we crossed that finish line together. Even though I did not get that PR, I am proud to say that I earned my third best marathon finish time.

Thank You Stephen! You saved me!
The lens on my iPhone camera was all fogged up!

I could have completely given up and walked to the finish line and still made the cut off. Instead, I kept pushing for the best finish time I could. Am I bummed that I didn't PR? Of course. Am I going to let it bother me? No. I did the best I could and for that I am very happy. When I crossed the finish line, all my running friends cheered me on. Any negative feelings of not PRing went away.

Woo Hoo!

In closing, I'd like to share a funny little story. I can laugh about this now, but at the time it was pretty traumatic. A few miles into the race, there was major flood on the course. While some runners tried to go around it, I ran through it. Well, I slipped and face planted into that pond! I looked like seal in an inflatable kiddie pool trying to escape. After flopping around for a few seconds, I was able to get up. And yes, I swallowed some muddy water. Yuck. In no way am I saying that this fall affected my overall performance. I will say, however, that it probably does explain why I threw up after the race!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Run Turkey Run Half Marathon, Day 3

This is how day 3 of the Run Turkey Run Half Marathon started for me. Hee hee. I love that Darla Given of KXTV came out to Tracy's Racing. So random!

You figure by now I'd be used to these insane racing weekends. I've done far more extreme things than 55.5 miles in four days. The truth of the matter is that is doesn't get any easier the more you do them. It does give me comfort knowing that I've done these distances before back to back to back to back, so I know what I need to do to get the job done. Still, it's not easy. My body was pretty much shot from yesterday's marathon distance. I went into today's race still on adrenaline and actually considered upgrading to 26.2, but I realized that with CIM right around the corner, I did not want to risk anything. Smart move on part. Today was a slow as molasses half marathon day. My body pretty much said "NO MORE!" by mile 9, but I kept chugging along until I reached the finish line.

55.5 miles in four days. Yay! I can go home and take a bubble bath now. I'm so ready for CIM!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Run Turkey Run Half Marathon, Day 2

I really didn't have too much time to bask in the glory of my Quarry Turkey PR, as I had to jump in the car and drive 120 miles to the next half marathon! By the end of this weekend, I will have completed 55.5 miles, and Run Turkey Run Day 2 will undoubtedly be the toughest of the five races. To psyche myself out, I kept saying over and over again in my head that this is like a 12 hour race with a big break in the middle. I can certainly get a marathon distance in 12 hours with a nice 3 hour rest in the middle, right? What I didn't account for was daylight savings time and the fact that the park where the race was held would close at sun down.

Very scenic by day, but when the sun went away, The Headless Horse Man lurked.

Jennifer Walker and I arrived at the start line a little after 3pm. The two of us knew that we only had a four hour window to get this done so we booked it. We kept telling ourselves that all we had to do was go 6.55 miles out and back. We kept a solid power walk pace up to about mile 7 before Mother Nature dimmed the lights. As it got darker and we got slower, we both knew that we had to split up. With the park closing their gates at sun down, there was no way we would be able to make it back to the car at the rate we were going. We figured if I ran the final 10k, I could get there before the gate locked us in. 

It not only got darker, but it also got colder. I ran like my life depended it on. I kept a solid speedy pace, which quite frankly shocked me, as I had just run a 2:06 half marathon a few hours before. The adrenaline kept me going. Well, that and the fact that in my mind the Headless Horse Man was chasing me! At about mile 11, I received a call from race director Tracy letting me know that my time was running out. It felt like that scene from the movie Krull when the Widow of the Web gives Ynir the sand from the enchanted hourglass, and he only had minutes to escape the Crystal Spider. (WHOA, did I just completely geek out there? Yeah, Krull was one of my favorite films as a kid.) I thanked Tracy for her warning and I continued to run. 

When I finally hit mile 13.1 and turned into the parking lot, I saw a vehicle with it's lights on waiting for me. At first I thought it was the park ranger, but upon closer inspection, I realized it was fellow runner Chris Wallen, who also took the late start and was waiting for me. Chris let me know that he talked the park ranger in keeping the gates open until I was done. I thanked him for saving our butts! It felt great knowing that I ran strong and got the job done. I congratulated Chris and then moved the car outside of the park to wait for Jennifer to finish her race.

Thanks for saving our butts, Chris!

42.4 miles in three days completed! I only have one half marathon left and I complete my 55.5 mile Thanksgiving weekend. Jennifer and I were absolutely beat when we made it back to the Doggie Nanny's place. We took our finish line photo and then passed out.

Just one more and we're done!

Quarry Turkey Half Marathon

Depending on the day, a "PR" can mean just about anything. Last weekend at the Davis Turkey Trot, that PR was "pouring rain." On Thanksgiving Day at Nitro Turkey, I went into "pilgrim rage" mode with my scarlet letter Brazen gown. Yesterday at Tracy's Racing's Run Turkey Run, I had a "party run." Peeps of the Endorphin Empire, I am ecstatic to announce that today I earned the true PR: PERSONAL RECORD baby!!!!

Woo Hoo!!

I was a man on mission at the Quarry Turkey Half Marathon. I came into this race determined to get that PR. I showed up incognito once again: no cape, no headband, now fanfare. It was important for me to bring my best for three reasons. First of all, CIM is right around the corner, and I want more than anything to come into that race with a personal record under my fuel belt. Secondly, I wanted to show my Brazen Family that I am capable of running a good race. Finally, and most importantly, I needed that PR to validate my dedication and hard work this year. I got all those things and so much more.

What most people don't realize is that I was a runner before I had to slow down. When I pursued my 52 marathons in 52 weeks Titanium Quest, injuries hit me left and right. I had to slow my pace down to what another walker in the marathon community referred to as a "Costco stroll pace". This quest burnt me out physically and pretty much killed me mentally three quarters of the way into the goal. Nonetheless, I kept plugging along at my turtle on crutches pace at the back of the pack. When I hit my Titanium goal, my mind and body pretty much spiraled back onto that couch. I never wanted to run ever again, and the scariest part was that I was still eating large quantities of food as if I was still doing a marathon every weekend. I put on a lot of weight and I knew I had hit rock bottom at Surf City when I painfully dragged my way through a 3:46 half marathon. After that race, I told myself that I needed a reboot.

Truth be told, I really didn't think I would be able to run ever again. I kept telling myself that I was fine in the back of the pack, hanging out at aid stations and stuffing my face with junk food. I was ok with that Costco pace, stopping to take pictures at every kilometer. I had no problems being dead last crossing the finish line and then zooming off to In-N-Out Burger for two 3x3 animal style meals complete with animal style fries. The sad thing is that my power walk pace from the parking lot to the In-N-Out front door was often faster than my pace on the course! As difficult as it was, I knew I had to start all over again. When I returned from Surf City, I went back to the basics and took Chewbacca for a walk around the block. This is what I did three and a half years ago, and it is how I got healthy. For the next few weeks, I increased the distance and intensity of the walk. I then started to jog again. I quickly felt better and before I knew it, I was running again.

On April 9th, my Titanium Brothers, Jonesy and Pete, flipped the switch on me. I had lost 8 pounds since Surf City, but it was on this day that BEAST MODE kicked in. Since then, I have dropped another 32 pounds, PR'ed at the half marathon distance twice, earned my first sub-5 marathon finish, and legitimately nailed that elusive 100 miler. Along the way, I completely changed my nutrition by becoming vegetarian, added cross training to my workout routine, and uncovered that confidence that got buried deep in my soul. The beast has now been unleashed and I am unstoppable. I am very proud to earn that PR on my home turf. Having my Brazen Family cheer me on was icing on this GU cake. (Special thanks to Allen Lucas, Chris Jones, Peter Beck, Ryan Baird, Bernadette Dayrit, and Patrick Mckenna for the photos!)

Even before I started, the fight broke out. So I didn't show up in my Brazen scarlet letters, so what! This chick accused me of giving GU to her husband! I am a good pilgrim!
And there's my illegitamate GU child.

No, I am not corrupting these children!
Amanda is my aesthetician.
I know so many Dianes! There's Diane Lucas, Diane Adele, Diana Saur, my sister Diane, and Dianne Chan! This is Dianne Chan. I like saying "Dianne Chan." It's like poetry.
I saw the paparazzi and smiled. Many runners told me I looked possessed out there. I really really really wanted that PR! I was focused!
I only had seconds on the clock! I had to book it!
Woo Hoo! 2:06:21 baby! PR!!
Rocco impresses me so much. This guy helped me get to my PR! Thanks Rocco!
Jonesy: "If I can position my sweaty butt just right, I might be able to shart on Tony." Yes, he really said that.
Pilgrim Rage! No, personal record! PR!!!!
A bunch of bling whores!
There's GU child's biological father Ryan.
Bernadette got to hang out with Chewbacca!
Me and my chiweenie. This is the dog that got me off the couch. I heart Chewbacca!
Very happy peeps! 
Leila got to hang out with Chewbacca too!
The Doggie Nanny!
Photo bombed by a chiweenie!
We really should have our own reality show. "E-Dude & Jonesy Run A Marathon."
Yeah Turkey!

I wasn't exactly incognito about my accomplishment. Everyone there knew. I can now add another half marathon PR to the trophy case! The proof is in the It's It, folks. I am once again a runner, and my results clearly show it:

3:46:02 - Surf City (2/6/12)
3:15:28 - Hellyer (2/18/12)
2:53:09 - Oakland (3/25/12)
2:41:31 - US Half (4/8/12)
2:33:23 - Pleasanton (4/29/12)
2:14:49 - Giant Race (9/16/12)
2:07:04 - Oktoberun (10/13/12)
2:06:21 - Quarry Turkey (11/25/12)

I have not only returned to pre-Titanium form, but I am better than ever. Flip the switch to BEAST MODE, peeps, and you too will see results.