Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Zombie Runner Halloween Run Half Marathon

Happy Halloween all you Endorphin Ghouls out there! While most of my friends were partying it up at the bars or trick or treating with their kids, I opted to run a half marathon. Does this surprise anyone? Furthermore, I decided to run in costume! Shocking, eh?

Can you figure which one I am?

It's been a long week of running. This Halloween half marathon capped off 69.5 miles in four days for me. I ran my pink running skirt off and finished strong. The trick was that this half marathon was actually about 14 miles. The treat: I finished in 2:15:31. I also placed 20th overall in a field of 55 and won second place in my age division (male not female). Dude, I NEVER WIN AGE DIVISION!

The best part about tonight was when I crossed the finish line, the race director looked at me in complete awe and perhaps some confusion. He said to me, "Tony?! You're done already?!" I'm always in the back of the pack or last at all the Coastal Trail Runs, so this was a shock! I'm so freaking proud of myself. I'll be gunning for a huge PR at my marathon this Sunday. Woo Hoo!

Oh, did I mention that I won $50 toward a new pair of Hokas for my costume? Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monster Madness Half Marathon

Race director Tracy had planned to cancel today's Monster Madness Marathon due to low attendance, but I convinced her to turn it into a fat ass. The problem was that she didn't have any bling because she gave what was supposed to be medals for today out yesterday. We all wanted that skull bling! Empty handed, Tracy announced that we could move forward with the race, but there would probably be nothing hanging around our necks when we crossed the finish line. That's when I stepped in.

Those who know me know that I am pretty creative and I know how to navigate around Photoshop. I figured I could quickly whip up something that our runners would love. It was an added bonus that this was a very small field, so I could customize it. After a few minutes of experimenting with our post race photo from yesterday's Lazurus Marathon, the light bulb lit up in my head. The only problem was Tracy took the photo, so she wasn't in it. Fear not, as Photoshop Dude found a way to stick her in, thanks to Elvira Mistress of the Dark. A few clicks of the rubber stamp and eraser tools later, I created something that each runner would be proud to display around their necks!

How's this for bling?

What I love most about Tracy's Racing is that it's a great little social event amongst friends. Some people meet up at bars after work to catch up or go to lunch. We run. It's what we do. Today's Monster Madness fat ass was such a success that we decided to do it monthly. The catch is that a different runner will be responsible for providing the bling every month. I'm excited to see what others come up with! This should be a lot of fun.

I seriously need a hair cut.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lazarus Marathon

That don't look like Lazurus!

Yesterday I ran the Bummer Half Marathon, today I doubled up the mileage and ran the Lazurus Marathon. It was the least I could do for these two pups. For those who missed yesterday's race report, Bummer and Lazurus were "two stray dogs that roamed the streets of San Francisco in the early 1860s. Recognized for their unique bond and their prodigious rat-killing ability, they became a fixture of city newspapers, were exempted from local ordinances and immortalized in cartoons." (Wikipedia). I got there at Lake Merced (again) and ran loops. I ran really slow today.

There's really nothing else to report, as Lake Merced is not the most exciting course out there. Just ask anyone who's run the Nike Women's Marathon. When I crossed the finish line, I was given my medal. I was expecting another plush doggie bling, but instead I got a skull. The reason why is that the race director contemplated canceling tomorrow's Monster Madness race due to low attendance, so she gave out the skull medals because we all really wanted it. We got tomorrow's canceled race bling today! I like the skull. It's creepy and fun and the twine used for the ribbon is perfect. Happy Halloween, peeps!

The Wizard of Oz, Tracy Racing style!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Bummer Half Marathon

Bummer and Lazarus were two stray dogs that roamed the streets of San FranciscoCaliforniaUSA, in the early 1860s. Recognized for their unique bond and their prodigious rat-killing ability, they became a fixture of city newspapers, were exempted from local ordinances and immortalized in cartoons. - Wikipedia

Leave it to Tracy's Racing to come up with creative races: Bummer and Lazurus, two dead dogs of San Francisco! Definitely unique, a bit creepy, but wildly appropriate a few days before Halloween. 

After my 4 miler this morning, I sent Siegfried Von Weinerschnitzel back to the apartment and headed out to Lake Merced for the Bummer Half Marathon. Yes, it was a bit of a bummer that I had to send my Deutsch running alter ego home, but I had to. That lederhosen worked fine for 4 miles, but I doubt my knöchel, füße, and beine could handle 13.1. 

I got out there and ran around Lake Merced three times. When I crossed that finish line, my Bummer medal was there waiting for me. Another doggie bling to add to my collection! Woo Hoo!

The Bummer medal.

I got 17.1 miles on these legs. Time to chill out with Mr. Bubble! Oh, that and some German chocolate cake with Mr. Von Weinerschnitzel.

Great Highway Halloween 4M

It was only 4 miles, but it was a lightning fast 4 miles! I was so quick on my feet that one of the elite runners noted she couldn't believe it was me coming crossing the finish line as soon as I did! Another runner said to me, "please don't take this the wrong way, but you're always behind me. When you got ahead, I just figured I would catch up to you, but I never did."

News flash: Endorphin Dude is back to pre-Titanium form. In fact, your marathon caped crusader is better than ever, finishing this 4 miler in 35:02. This is a three minute PR from my 38:11 finish in 2009. The best part? I ran this one in lederhosen! Da. Endorphin Dude couldn't get up this morning, so he sent his German side kick, Siegfried Von Weinerschnitzel, to run. Ausgezeichnet!

I'm feeling pretty awesome. Not only did I have an incredible run, but I got to hang out with all my running peeps, most of whom showed up in costume. Wow, Halloween and running, two of my favorite things combined in one event. Ausgezeichnet!

Get away from me you angry birds! Yes, I mean you too Penguin!
I think I found my Christmas card!
Too much fun. Love my DSE peeps.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pork-A-Thon Half

Too much FIERCE, I can't handle it!

Here's the latest in haute couture. Now this is relentless fashion forward motion. The new winter marathon line from the Tracy Crane collection has hit the runways of Paris, Milan, and Sacramento. Fashionable and functional, this eye popping ensemble, complete with piggy accessory, made quite the statement on Endorphin Dude. That statement was "Dang. It's cold and wet. Gotta get this 13.1 miler done!" Sure enough, E-Dude power cat walked his way to life time half marathon #80. Strike a pose.

It was wet and cold out there at the Pork-A-Thon Half Marathon this morning. I wasn't prepared. Race Director Tracy quickly made a make shift poncho for me when she saw me freezing in the rain. I came into this race intending to run 26.2 miles, but it just wasn't in the cards for me. The rain poured down hard and my cotton hoodie got heavier by the minute. Mother Nature threw a bucket of water at me and by mile 7, I was soaked and shivering like a wet chihuahua.

I still had quite a few miles to go and I wanted to give up. Then out of nowhere, Half Fanatic Sabrina popped out to run with me. She wasn't even in the race, but when she saw pics that Tracy had posted online, she came out to root the runners on. She gave me the boost of energy I needed to finish. Also on the course was my buddy Brian. This guy planned to only run a half marathon and seven additional training miles. When he reached his goal, he joined Sabrina and I. When he realized he had power walked 3 miles with us, he threw in another 3 just to complete the marathon distance.

Thank you Sabrina, Brian, and Tracy. We should have put Tracy in this group shot too!

I was miserable out there, but Tracy, Sabrina, and Brian got me through it. I wanted to give up and go home. Thanks to these three, I got to that finish line once again. This is why I do what I do. I love my running family.

There's my piggy medal!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kennedy Drive Run 8k

Chewbacca PR'ed this morning! Well, it was her first 8k. Come to think of it, I think this may be my first 8k too. Dude! I PR'ed!!! Kennedy Drive Run 8k done. Time for a nap.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rocky Ridge Half Marathon

Yeah Baby!

There are 4 cool things in this photo. First up is the Hokas. These Mafates helped me cruise through 13.7 of hills (just a hair under 4000 feet to be exact) and fog. The medal on the far right is for completing today's race, Rocky Ridge. The coaster in the middle is the prize for finishing 4 of the toughest Brazen half marathons out there plus Rocky Ridge. Finally, the patch on the far left is the special Pete tribute, courtesy of two of the nicest ladies in the running community, Karen Peterson and Angela Abbey. For those who don't know, I lost one of my best running friends recently. Pete Mingwah was my fellow Marathon Maniac and Titanium Beast Brother. He suffered a brain aneurysm and died at the young age of 42. I know you love your trails, Pete. Thanks for watching over me today. I ran strong and confident, and I'm feeling awesome. This is one of the sweetest finishes of my running career. I'm still on runner's high.

Complete with war paint too!

Additionally, I am very proud to announce that I nailed the Brazen Racing Ultra-Half Series! To earn this bad ass coaster, I had to complete four of the nine races in series, plus the Rocky Ridge Half Marathon. These five races aren't easy. According to Brazen Racing, "our toughest half marathons measure at least a little (and sometime more than just a little) longer than 13.1 miles. What really makes them "ultra", however is the the serious ascents and descents and variety of tough trails you have to run to finish them. While flat half marathons are always a challenge, these "ultra half marathons" take it to another level!"

The sweetest part is that I finished the toughest course of the series with the best finish time. Look at the elevation for Rocky Ridge and then compare my finish times with the other races from earlier this year. You will see the drastic improvement. 

I came into this race feeling confident. It's no secret that Endorphin Dude and trails don't mix, but for the first time ever, I felt no anxiety heading into this non-road race. I have been training hard and I am sporting a new pair of Hokas on my feet. I took the one hour early start because I did not want to jeopardize my chances of taking home that coaster. 

I started out with pack and by mile three zoomed off. Typically, when I take the Brazen early start, the usual suspects would pass me up by mile five or six. Not the case today! I didn't see the first runner until mile 8 and it wasn't until mile 10 and a half that Jonesy, Sanford, and all the other top five age division winners passed me! When I saw Jonesy, I immediately assumed that he was having a bad day because it took so long for him to catch up to me. The reality was that I was having an incredible race. It got cold out there and the mountain we had to climb in the final two miles almost broke my spirit. I just kept going and going. When I saw the giant Brazen Racing inflatable arch, I ran down that hill with a huge smile on my face.

Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!
You think I do this for my health? Heck no! I run because I get to party with all these awesome peeps. It really is one big social event!

I ran Rocky Ridge strong and proud. Crossing that finish line was simply euphoric. I am in the best shape of my adult life and every day I keep getting faster, stronger, and fitter. Completing 52 marathons in 52 weeks last year was quite a feat, but my accomplishments this year have been even more epic. I have PR'ed on all distances, earned my first 100 mile belt buckle, and developed a confidence in myself that will take me even further. Hard work really does pay off.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Men's And Women's Marathon

That's my "Ta-Da!" pose. What am I Ta-Da-ing about? I can finally fit into my Lagoon Valley shirt! It took a few months, but I am now able to get that tech shirt on without showing too much scoops of flesh. I'm tired of things hanging out where they shouldn't, so it's nice to finally be able to comfortably fit into smaller sizes. Ta Da!

I really wanted to wear that Lagoon Valley shirt because I knew it would be foggy out at Lake Merced. I wanted to have that Creature From The Black Lagoon look and feel as I ran the Men's And Women's Marathon. You gotta love these Monday marathons. I love the fact that Tracy's Racing puts on races during the week. What better way to cure the Monday morning blues than to run a marathon? The funny thing is that I was only planning on 13.1 miles, but when Tracy waved the creepy yet wildly creative bling at me, I had to double up the mileage.

What I love about Tracy's Racing is that it's low key and a lot of fun. I come out to chill with the regulars and to welcom the newbies. I don't particularly love Lake Merced, but this course allows runners to see each other every lap, as we have to turn and run the opposite direction for each alternate loop.

We had visitors from Germany and Virginia! Welcome! I had to get my photo with the out of towners before the race. At the Tracy's Quadtoberfest, we had two "fake" Germans. It's nice to have real ones this time around. The added bonus: we also had a Virginian!
The usual suspects.

It took me awhile to get this race done. I was in no hurry. After Saturday's epic 2:07:04 half marathon PR, my legs are beat. Also, there was actually two marathons going on. Along with The Men's And Women's Race, there was also Bill's Birthday Marathon, which happened shortly after. The gentleman in the middle of the back row in the photo above is Bill, and today is his 65th birthday. Here's the kicker: today was also his 65th marathon! Congratulations to you Bill. You rock.

Happy Birthday Bill!
And there's the creepy yet wildly creative bling.

And just like that, I am up to life time marathon #77. I am still on pace to completing my 100th marathon at the 2013 San Francisco Marathon. Now I have to find the perfect spot for my creepy doll bling. Maybe I'll put them right next to my Lagoon Valley Half Marathon medal. Ta Da!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rockaway Beach 5k

Before heading out to cheer on 25,000 Nike Women, I had to squeeze in a 5k in the morning! After my epic half marathon PR yesterday, I could only muster up a walk with Chewbacca. It's only a 5k, so I know the chiweenie could handle it. Heck, that little mutt handled it better than I did! Chewbacca may have tiny legs, but she can certainly keep up. They say that to determine a dog's age, you multiply the year by seven. Does this work for distance as well? If so, then that would mean that Chewbacca walked a 21.3 miler. Almost a marathon!

Once we finished our 5k, Chewbacca and I headed back to our neck of the woods. Since I live two blocks from the Nike Women's Marathon finish line, I had to get out there to support all the ladies! It was fun standing out there by the Cliff House cheering everyone as they cruised down The Great Highway. I definitely felt that second hand runner's high, and it was pretty darn awesome. The best part of the day was seeing the back of the packers push themselves. Many were participating in their first half marathons. I know that look of determination. To all the first time Nike Women finishers, I am so proud of  you. Thank you for letting me be a part of your incredible experience.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Oktoberun Half Marathon

You gotta love the paparazzi...

My marathon mantra is "always hydrate, GU up when necessary, and never ever forget to smile for the paparazzi." I guess I didn't practice what I preach in the above photo. That horrid picture was taken shortly after I crossed the finish line of the Surf City Half Marathon back in February. That race took me 3 hours and 46 minutes to complete. Yes, nearly four hours to complete 13.1 miles. 

I had just come off my 52 marathons in 52 weeks, and quite frankly, I was burnt out.  I gained about 30 pounds from Halloween up to that point and I simply lost all motivation to run. I couldn't even walk that day! I remember shuffling along and faking a limp so people thought I was injured. That's when I knew I hit rock bottom. How could Endorphin Dude, once a 2:11 half marathon finisher, let himself go like this? It was definitely time for a reboot.

With the support and motivation of my Titanium Brothers, Jonesy and Pete, I went into Beast Mode. I changed my diet, mixed up my work out routine, and got rid of that defeatist attitude. For the next few months, I focused on getting healthy and returning to my pre-Titanium form. Eight months later, I dropped 40 pounds and earned my half marathon PR. It took me 3 years and 76 tries to get that personal record! I must either be really persistent or just plain stubborn. Check out my 2012 progression:

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)


I am bouncing off walls. Earning that PR has done wonders for my confidence. After Surf City, I thought my running days were over. I didn't just fall off the wagon, but I had gained so much weight that the passenger side wheel fell off causing me to lose control. My wagon went off the cliff, rolled down the ravine, flipped over a few times, and ended up in the creek. I had to fix that wagon before I could get back on. I am now cruising once again, faster than ever!

Ready for the paparazzi this time!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Quadtoberfest Half Marathon Day 4

When I pulled up to the start line, I saw this chick standing next to a guy I knew. I was thinking to myself, "um, that's Gary Morgan, but who's that chick he's with?" Then I thought to myself, "Damn, that bastard is cheating on his wife with some hot chick. And what an idiot! He's cheating on her with another Half Fanatic!" Talk about Days Of Our Half Fanatic Lives. I then thought to myself, hmm, should I tell his wife Brandi? Or maybe her mom? Her brother? I was in a pickle. What to do what to do. 

So I approached the couple. It turned out it was his wife after all, but she had dropped 62 pounds! Yup, Brandi Pettit Morgan dropped a 100k worth of weight! Congratulations to you, Brandi, on the weight loss and the completion of your first double! Thank you for chaperoning me through this race. I almost didn't make it out of bed, and if you hadn't been there, this race probably would have taken me over 6 hours to complete!

Brandi and I took a picture together one year ago at the Tahoe Triple and one today at the Quadtoberfest Day 4 Half Marathon. What a difference a year makes!

And there it is, four half marathons in four days. I even threw in a 5k so that I could get extra bling! In the past three weeks, I have put 141.2 miles on these legs: 10 half marathons, a 5 miler, and a 5k! Why oh why do I do this? Oh yeah, because I like it. Life time half marathon #77 done! 

Woo Hoo!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

2012 San Jose Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon

Ah, the San Jose Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon. Unless you've been living in an Alaskan igloo without internet connection for the past three years, you probably know that this race is very special to me. It was here that I ran my first half marathon back in 2009. That seems like ancient history to me now. You never forget your first, and the San Jose Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon will always have a special place in my heart. In addition, San Jose was where my sister crossed the finish line for the first time one year later. Every year we run this one together.

My sister Diane has really improved over the past two years, and the best part is that she's loving it. She finished her first half marathon in 3 hours and 52 minutes. Her goal was to complete that race within the 4 hour time limit. When her foot hit that timing mat, her smile lit up. That smile lasted only about 13.1 seconds, because right after the paparazzi got her finish line shot, she hunched over like the Elephant Man and cried, "I did it! But it freakin' hurts!" I couldn't help but laugh at her.

In two years, Diane has improved her time dramatically, earning a 3:09 finish at her last race. We were gunning for that sub-3 finish today, but missed that goal. It's fine because we had a great time running together, and she's more motivated than ever to shatter her PR now. Most importantly, she is very aware of her health issues and doing what she can to fix those problems. It's no fun listening to doctors give you that laundry list of health problems. What I tell anyone with a stethoscope around their neck now is that the only way I am going to die is from a bling fatality!

I love running San Jose. I have really made a name for myself in the running community, and it's fun to see all my running friends on this course, my "home town half." Diane and I took it slow and easy, so this gave me the perfect opportunity to socialize with everyone on the course. We may not have had the best finish time, but we certainly had an awesome time.

Met up with Jonesy's sister and her partner in crime before the race!
Group shot! Yeah, I look sexy up front.
Plugging along at mile 3.
Met some very nice peeps at the finish line.
Not really sure what's going on with this one!