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.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Run Turkey Run Half Marathon, Day 1

Today is the first day of the Run Turkey Run series, put on by Tracy's Racing. I wasn't planning to run this series, as it is one week before CIM, but Tracy dangled the carrot in front of me. Seriously, show me some bling and I'll run your race. I'm that easy. Since this was going to be the first half marathon of this 52.4 mile weekend, I thought I'd take it at a leisurely pace so that I could save my energy for the Brazen Quarry Turkey Half the next day. For this reason, I took Chewbacca along.

For those who are new to the Endorphin Empire, Chewbacca is my dog. As you can see in the photo above, she is tiny. This dog can really only handle a 10k tops, so I brought her doggie back pack along so she could rest in it when needed. You will also notice from the photo that I am a wearing a fuzzy hat. That hat has Chewbacca's (the wookie, not my dog) face on it. I ran with my dog Chewbacca while wearing my Chewbacca hat. It just felt right.

This race took place at American River Parkway in Carmichael, CA (near Sacramento). The course is 6.55 miles out on a bike path and 6.55 miles back. It is a straight forward course, and it was fun to see the runners turn around and pass us. I walked the whole way with Chewbacca and my half marathon partner in crime for the day, Jennifer Walker. We took lots of photos and poop breaks. Well, the dog pooped, not us.

Pre-race group shot!
I knew Brian Marks was going to be there, but Jay Petit showed up out of the blue!
This woman saved me at The Lake Tahoe Marathon back in 2010. Thanks again Diane! I know that was forever ago, but I will never forget what you did for me that day when I was down and out and sick to my stomach at mile 18!
How random is this? It's a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge. I wanted to go off course and run across it just so that I could get that San Francisco Marathon feel!
Aid station drama. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chiweenie, White Guy With Stick.
Yes, that's Chewbacca hoodie. 

It took the three of us a long time to get to that finish line, but that's ok. The true test will come tomorrow when we string together two half marathons in two different cities, 120 miles apart. To make it more interesting, I'll be gunning for the PR. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Nitro Turkey 5k

In the modern day marathon version of Nathaniel Hawthorne's literary classic The Scarlet Letter, Endorphin Dude and his out of wedlock GU child are considered the outcasts of the running community. These two are only allowed to participate in races only if the marathon caped crusader wears the scartlet letters BRAZEN on his chest. In this puritanical society, decor and good manners are a requirement, and Endorphin Dude has consistently crossed the line by shamelessly frolicking with the runners of Brazen Racing. This is the price E-Dude and his innocent energy gel offspring must to pay in order to run the Nitro Turkey 5k.

Yes, it is only a 5k, but because it is Brazen's Nitro Turkey, you know it will be epic! Being the law abiding citizen that I am, I adhered to the rules and regulations. I channeled Hester Prynne and shamefully displayed my sins on my chest. I don't think anyone truly recognized me in my very incognito pilgrim dress, so this gave me the opportunity to run hard (or as hard as I could in that get up).

This course was slightly long, measuring in at about 3.35 miles, so I don't feel too bad for not earning that 5k PR. I am very happy to announce that I finished this Turkey Trot in 30:32, placing 89th overall in a field of 543, and 10th out of 27 in my age division. I seriously deserve another prize for running in that fashion faux pas!

There are many races to choose from, but I will always pick Brazen. These people are no longer just runners I hang out with, they have become my friends and family. Things have gotten a little rocky over the years in my family, so we don't really get together for the holidays. I am very thankful for Brazen because this racing company has welcomed and accepted me, even after the puritanical society shunned me! On that note, your scarlet lettered caped crusader was caught on film committing every sin imaginable. Looks like more letters will be added to the pilgrim dress for the next race!

Another scarlet letter for offering alcohol to a child!
Scarlet letter for flirting with a hot blond!
Scarlet letter for trying to sneak a peek at Dave Pearson's Lagoon Valley! That blond pilgrim is no other than my ugly sidekick. She's a bigger hussy, but she never gets caught, hence no scarlet letter on her chest.
Scarlet letter for spilling wine on the table! That's alcohol abuse!
Scarlet letter for trying to bite the bacon off another pilgrim!
Scarlet letter for showing too much skin!
Scarlet letter for corrupting this innocent boy!
Scarlet letter for gettin' jiggy with it with the preacher's daughter!
Scarlet letter for public urination! By the way, that preacher's daughter's chef husband didn't like that the I was dancing with his wife, so he tried to cut off my cranberries! Luckily, I got away.
And the biggest scarlet letter of them all for the biggest sin: trying to bribe the race director with a hot leg in order to get more bling!