Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Egg Run!

Hey Everyone!

I hope that you had a bright sunny and warm Easter weekend like we had here in the Texas Gulf Coast. The only bad thing that happened is that my husband let it slip to the kid that Mom is really the Easter Bunny. Here is what happened. I had gotten the kid off to bed and started dying the eggs and assembling the basket. I had bought a pre-made Gingerbread house that needed decorating to look like a rabbit hutch. So I spent way to much time working on that. It was pretty scary looking until all the gum drops, jelly beans, and green coconut grass was on it. The basket was filled with the Indiana Jones movie collection, a current copy of the DuPont Registry, a Led Zeppelin CD, a new Houston Astros jersey that did not have druggie Roger Clemens or Andy Pettit's name on the back, and an assortment of goofy things like a Slinky, Silly Putty, a wind up swimming dolphin, and some candy. I get everything in place and clean up the kitchen and put the box that the gingerbread rabbit hutch came in down deep in the paper recycling box.

The kid was stoked with the rabbit house and the basket. Later in the day, he asks me what time I went to bed and I pawn off some story about 10:30 (more like 1 am) and that I was in bed before Dad was (true). About an hour or so later, the kid comes up to me and puts his arm around my shoulder and starts to rub my back, "Mom," he says, "I don't want you to have your feelings hurt but Dad told me that you made that bunny house. We found the box in the recycling tub when we went to go empty it. Dad told me not to tell you that he said you made it. But I really like it. It's cool. You did a good job on in." SHIT!!! Stone cold BUSTED!!! I gave my husband the evil eye and asked him why he revealed the secret. His answer was that the kid was asking. I told him he could have spun the story. Oh well, innocence is lost. Now it is time for Santa and the Tooth Fairy to be revealed like the Wizard was when Dorthy pulled back the curtain in Oz.

On Saturday, I had my Easter Egg Run with my Team in Training group. It was a blast. We did a 5 mile looping course through the park and they had 5 check points that they had to reach. Before the run, each person was given a plastic bag and they were told that they needed to collect an egg at each check point. Check point 1 had eggs filled with SPF 30 chap stick with the TNT logo on it. Check point 2 had eggs filled with a Power Gel (still in the package of course). Check point 3 had eggs filled with some Team in Training logo temporary tattoos. Check point 4 had eggs filled with TNT jelly bracelets. Check point 5 had eggs filled with mini sticks of Body Glide that USA Triathlon sends out with race sanctioning stuff for race goody bags.

As you can see, it was great weather for a run and everyone had a great time. A few people got off track and took a wrong turn, but since we were in a park they were all going to find the way back to the starting point. At the conclusion of the run, I brought out 7 dozen CASCARONES or confetti eggs. If you did not have the wonderful opportunity of growing up Hispanic or in Texas, then you missed out on some good fun. It is kind of like not knowing what a Cow Tail is from Steve in a Speedo's post. Well, take 7 dozen confetti eggs, and 18 sweaty runners (who by the way are doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, and parents themselves) and there was a Duel in the Sun! I was the first one to smacked with an egg to the head and it all went down hill from there.

This weekend is the LONE STAR TRIATHLON FESTIVAL in Galveston, Texas. We will be moving into the beach house on Friday afternoon with the Sprint on Saturday and the Quarter and Half IM distances on Sunday. I will take lots of pics and give a full report.

Hasta Luego!


Friday, March 21, 2008

Galveston Ride Photos

Heading west with a tailwind!

Terry cranking it out on the way back in.

Dave and Terry fighting the 20 mph headwind.

Liz hoping she does not get blown into traffic.

Louis and Angie riding the seawall. Check out those waves!

The Craby Boys!

The weather has been great the past few days. I took the kid to see Horton Hears a Who and then down to Herman park to ride the new train and to go to the museum. I'm off for a run and then I guess I have to help clean the garage. It is more like I need to make sure that all of my igloo coolers, run direction signs, bike boxes, and other gear I use for coaching does not end up on e-Bay.

Later dudes and dudettes!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Weekend Update...

Boy Howdy! Spring Break with the kid home is cutting into my training time that I have when he is at school. Good thing hubbo is taking the day off tomorrow and I can do my Thursday Brick. So the terrible weather that hit the rest of Texas yesterday missed Houston and we only got a few rain showers late in the day. I was trying to get the kid to understand that I did not want to be caught in traffic or miles from home at the Rodeo, the museum, or in Galveston when that storm hit so we went to the Downtown Aquarium. We saw a very active octopus, some crazy cajun alligators and snapping alligator turtles, Nemo and Dory, moray and leopard eels, local fish that can be found in the Texas Gulf, an enormous python, and some sea horses. After the Sting Ray petting tank we were off to see the real stars of the Aquarium, The White Bengal Tigers. The Aquarium has four White Tigers, 2 males and 2 females. We were fortunate enough to see a demonstration led by the trainers on how they get the tigers to stand up on two legs, sit down, lie down, and stand still so that they can be visually inspected on their undersides of their bellies, paws, and chin by the trainers and vets. After the demonstration, the cats were allowed some free time to play around in the water.
Well, I promised an update from this weekend's training rides. Saturday was absolutely beautiful! We waited a little bit for some of the fog in the low areas to burn off and then we hit the road. I sent one of my fast guys up to the front who I have been coaching for over a year with TNT and had him lead the ride and then had one of my ride buddy volunteers hang with the middle group and I headed up the rear. I spent a good portion of the 21 miles teaching 4 gals about gearing and how to change the gears on their bike to make climbing hills easier and to have gear when they zipped down the hills on the other side. I also was constantly on them about upping their pace. 12 mph is a bit too slow to train at. I told these gals that if the work did not feel more than just challenging and comfortable, then they needed to bump it up to challenging and hard. Try to hit at least 16 mph. At 12 mph, once off the bike they still have a 10K to run and I did not want the race staff to be pulling the finish line down before they were done. I was trying to be nice about it without hurting their feelings, but I had to let them understand they they were going to be in a race, not a fun run or charity ride. Triathlon is all about getting down to business. So I think that they got the drift and they picked it up and said they would hit the LBS for a bike computer. The pine trees are spewing their yellow pollen right now and when I made a stop at a corner, I found yellow pine dust in the stitching on my tri shorts and my water bottles were caked with it where some water had dribbled out from the top. Yick! Of all the things I am allergic to, the pine dust does not bother me as much as it does other people.

On Sunday, we headed down to Moody Gardens in Galveston to have a training ride for the group that is gearing up for their first Sprint Tri at the Lone Star Triathlon Festival. It was less humid and the wind was much stronger than the morning before. We had a smaller group but they were still gung-ho. We did a 21 mile out and back route with the wind at our backs on the way out and a rip roaring headwind on the way back in. Again, I stayed back to help some of the newbies with gearing. One gal that I was with was really huffing and puffing. OK, she is on a road bike so what gives? I dropped back and looked at the gearing and then her tire. She was at 53 x 12 gearing and riding a semi-flat tire!!! I asked her if she had pumped up her tires and she said she had not, but that they were pumped up for her last ride a few weeks ago. Dho'! I guess that all off the fabulous training plan that I had written for them that included weekday workouts was not being followed because they have a 30 minute ride to do on Tuesdays and Thursdays. SAG came to the rescue and I got her taken care of. I told her I was going to go up and check on another rider. I pulled over with two of my guys that were struggling with a flat on the rear tire. Seems they were not at Coach's lesson on how to change a flat. So we had class there right on the side of the road. They were thankful I came to the rescue and SAG showed up just in time with the pump. I got them squared away and had seen Missy pass by so I told them that I was going to catch up to her. They are quick so I knew they would be alright. Whoo Hoo!!! with that tailwind I was cranking 26 mph and my heart rate was around 145, way under my 80% HR Max of 160. It felt great to get the speed up. I caught up to Missy after a few miles and we were near the turn around point. The rest of the gang was waiting for us. Erich and Terry showed up a few minutes later and joked about me leaving them in the dust.

The ride back in was going to be tough for this group, but I knew they could do it. I would ride ahead to check on each one of them and then pull to the side of the road and let them pass. Traffic was getting heavier as people were now up and about and it was the first weekend of Spring Break. Most motorists were not moving over and there was a huge motor home that gave everyone a scare by driving too close to the white line on the shoulder of the road. We only had about 12 to 15 inches of shoulder to work with and less if the sea grass started hogging the shoulder. Missy was really struggling on the way back and we stopped several times for her to take a break. At a point where we were only going 6 mph, I told her to pull over and rest. She said her back was really hurting and that she had a bulging disk in her low back last summer. That was it--ride over! Missy did not want to quit, but I made her SAG it in so that she would not hurt her back. I pedaled the last few miles in by myself and when I got back up on to the seawall, the wind was blowing the sand so hard that it felt like I was getting sand blasted. The wind was also blowing spray from the rather large waves up over the wall. It was refreshing, but salty.

Once I got back in and loaded the bike, we head out to Joe's Crab Shack for crabs! Yum! It was a great morning and they all felt like the experience in the wind was good for them. Now we just had to get home and deal with the crazy drunk and sleepy drivers heading home from the beach.

It was a great training weekend!

I'm off to go get my swim workout in. Have a great day!


Monday, March 17, 2008

Need I say more???

Alright, so maybe that is way too much information to be putting out on the blog but at least now I have a justifiable reason for being a hag.

So, I really needed a shot of HAPPY today and since the kid is on Spring Break, we headed to the zoo. I love the zoo. I did not even mind that we had to park in the lot that was way back there and that it was really crowded. The high today was 79, but at least it was partly cloudy and very windy to keep things cool. The zoo is undergoing some renovations for a new African Mammal section to open in 2009. So, some of the things we normally get to see, were no longer there. The rhinos, and gorillas were absent. I guess they are on loan to another zoo until construction is finished. Most spectacular was that the tigers were active today! It was aquathlon time in the tiger exhibit!!! One of the tigers was taking a stroll along the back of the compound and then he would hop in to the moat at the far end and swim to the other end of the moat and climb out to repeat his trek around the compound. The other tiger would follow and then chicken out of getting in the water and bound over the logs and rocks to meet his buddy as he exited the water. Over and over they did this. I must have watched them for a good 30 minutes. There is a nice observation deck and at the side of the compound there is a huge glass wall. I took in all the action from both vantage points. Hmm...if a tiger was in the water with you, would you swim faster? The answer is YES. We got to see the Sea Lions do some tricks and lots of animal feedings. Somehow we timed it just right to see the giraffes, Asian elephants, orangutans, and otters get fed. It really helped to brighten my mood. I did have to make a gift shop purchase. I could not pass it up. Like I need another magnet on my refridgerator, but this on is cool...

Norma Update:
Norma got the clearance to go home this afternoon after another round of MRI and X-rays. She was also finally given some pain medication. The doctors did not want to give her anything until they could determine if the injury was more serious. Norma sent me a picture of her helmet with a chunk out of it. It saved her life! She is going to take the bike into the shop tomorrow to get it checked out as well. She is stiff and sore, but she is going to get better!

O.K., yes I promised an update from the two great rides I did this weekend, but I have to get some pictures off my camera. Look for an update soon.

Have a great day!


Sunday, March 16, 2008



Just a fast one here since I have lots of other stuff going on.

Norma is being held over at the hospital in ICU for another night. The doctors are concerned that her head is still hurting pretty bad. She will have more x-rays and another CT scan tomorrow.

Luke said she is cranky and ready to get out of there.

Great ride in the wind today. Steady 20 mph with gust up to 30 mph. I was cranking it out at 26 mph with the tailwind. Pictures soon...

Have a great day!


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Safety Reminder...

Today I got the text message that no one wants to get. One of my athletes that I coach sent me a message that another one of my athletes was in a bike accident and was in the hospital. They were not at my group training today because they were partaking in a local charity ride as training for the Houston to Austin MS-150 ride. Norma is a great gal and has done this ride for the past three years. This was only Luke's third large group ride. Here is how it played out.

Norma was in a bike accident this morning while she was riding the Tour De Houston, Luke and Norma’s twin sister were on the ride with her, but at the time of the accident, Norma’s sister was ahead of her and Luke was a ways behind her so neither of them saw the crash. Luke rode up on the accident and there were several people down. Norma was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital. She had a CAT scan and it revealed that there was some bleeding on the brain and that Norma had a seizure. Since Luke and Norma’s sister were not there at the time of the accident they do not know if she had the seizure before she crashed or after she was on the ground. Along with a concussion, an air cast on her arm for a banged up elbow, and some really bad road rash on her shoulder and hip. She seems to be doing well enough to want to go home. The doctors are keeping her overnight for observation and she was going to have a CT scan this afternoon.

Luke told me that he did not feel comfortable with the number of riders at the event. He said it was huge and there were several bike crashes within the first few miles. He mentioned that Norma kept telling him to be careful on his new bike and to watch out for other riders and that she told him she was nervous or did not have a comfortable feeling about the ride.

If you ever do not feel comfortable or have that strange gut feeling about a training day or even a race, please consider bailing out. So you lost a race entry fee or a goofy t-shirt over it. Listen to your body and your gut. Also, it is not "IF" you are going to have a crash, it is "WHEN" you are going to have a crash.

As goofy as it sounds, taking your bike out to a park where there is a large field and practicing falling and rolling can help if you have your wits about you in a bad situation. Learning how to not stick out an arm to break your fall and tucking can help you avoid a broken wrist or collar bone. Have a Road ID or other form of ID on you at all times with important information such as blood type or allergies listed as well as an emergency phone number to contact someone. Always be watching the people around you and stay out of large packs of people that do not call out road debris, on-coming cars, or slowing speeds. Be a verbal rider and let people know that you are coming up on their left side and passing, slowing or stopping, and not holding your line due to an obstacle in the road. Do not pass on the right. Get a new helmet every three years even if it looks like it is brand spanking new.

O.K., more on today's fantastic ride with everyone's training buddy, HILLS, later with a Norma update. Tomorrow is a ride on the Galveston Seawall with our friend, WIND. Oh, and the Indian Paint Brush are starting to bloom. The Blue Bonnets are not far behind!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly...

Allergy Update,

I spent 3 hours--more time than I spent on my Thursday brick workout--in the Allergist's office this afternoon. Before I had arrived, I had filled out 15 pages of data and questionnaires about my past and current symptoms, and the environments that I lived and worked in. "Do you have a dog?" --No, but I would like to have one again. "What kinds of window coverings are in your house?" --Metal and plastic blinds, cloth blinds, and drapes hang in the windows. "Do you consume alcohol?" --Duh, Yeah! Rarely when I am training but sure as hell when the race is over.

The Good News was that the doctor was impressed with my lung capacity on the breathing tests before I was given any Proventil. Hmm, something about that swimming, biking, and running might have helped. After the Proventil my scores went up 11% and 25%! The doctor said that I do have asthma (I knew that) but that I really should be using the Proventil before I exercise to aid the breathing. The doctor took me off of the meds that the GP prescribed and put me on a different/stronger antihistamine (more sleepiness), an asthma specific medication, and Nasonex to help with the nasal congestion. He was puzzled about the wheat and corn allergy because it is very common for children to develop those allergies, but it is very uncommon for adults to develop them.

The Bad News is that I have to wait until April 7th for my first round of allergy testing where they prick your skin 80 times all over your back to find out what triggers the allergies. I will have the second round of testing on April 10th. Five days before that I will need to stay off the antihistamines and take steroids. Not liking that. They will also be running a screening for Celiac disease. That one is kind of scary. I don't like having to wait almost a month for these tests.

Now THE UGLY NEWS...my husband does not want me taking the medications. He thinks that they are addictive and that they will have bad side affects. He did not go with me to the appointment because he had to be at an FBI interview for a work related project. So, he did not get to hear from the doctor why I should be on these medications and I have a feeling he thinks that I am exaggerating my symptoms and my need to seek treatment or relief of all the itching and scratching. I am trying to be the "good wife" and ask him what his concerns are and why he feels that way and then he gets exasperated and says,"Do what you want. Don't listen to me. That has never stopped you before." Ouch! Stake to the heart on that one.

Yeah, we have our hurdles we have to get over just like any married couple who have known each other for 20 years and I have been working hard to do better at not being inaccessible to the family due to the job or training. But that comment smarted. Sure I am a little angry, but more than anything I am just really bummed. It is bad enough that I have had to give up cookies and most candy. When the kid asked if we could go get a scoop at Ben & Jerry's, he said,"No, Mom can't have ice cream any more." I shot back that ice cream did not have wheat or corn in it unless it had added cookie dough, brownie, or cake batter in it and that I did not like the fact that he was trying to take that away from me as well.

O.K. I'm feeling terrible now because I am painting him out to be the "Bad Guy". This is just a lot of information to try to deal with in the span of 3 days and I am trying to make sense of it all. It is no doubt going to be a huge change in the way I live and change is not easy. I just need to feel like I have someone in my corner to support me, and right now I am in the ring alone with two pretty big and ugly Lucha Libres named Wheat and Corn coming at me.

More details as I get them or at least a post that is more fun to read,


Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm Screwed!!!

O.K., I may not be totally screwed, but I will be undergoing a HUGE change in the way I live, train, and eat.

Today I found out from my friendly physician that I am allergic to wheat and corn.

I went in for blood work because I suspected a food allergy a few days before the LA Marathon. My results came back and not only was I high in the histamines but I was low in B-12, iron, and deficient for Vitamin D. I was given a B-12 injection, put on oral B complex twice a day, iron and Vitamin D once a day and to combat the allergies and to get some relief from the hives and itching skin and eyes I am now taking Singulair, Hydroxyzine, and Zantac which is normally used for stomach acid but also contains a histamine blocker.

I am mourning the loss of cookies, bread pudding, french toast, tortilla chips, corn on the cob, pop corn, beer, and anything that contains maltodextrin. It is the last one that is gonna kill me. Maltodextrin is the first and major ingredient in all sports drinks and every packet of Power Gel, Car-BOOM, and Hammer Gel. Thank God for Shot Bloks and Clif Shot made with rice syrup. I have to take a look at the bars, but for now Power Bars are out because they are made with Corn syrup.

All I can say is that at least chocolate was not one of the things that I was allergic to. I will be making an appointment with an allergist for the oh so fun allergy tests on the back and arms with the nurse who tells you, "Don't scratch!"

I have a feeling that this may have played a part in my LA Marathon stomach issues. I had taken the Power Gels a bit more frequently than I do in normal trainings so that I had energy in early so when it got hot and I switched mainly to sports drinks for calories I would be ahead of the game. One too many gels with something that is going to cause an allergic reaction can play havoc on the digestive system.

I will be learning as much as I can about this and it looks like I get to go on the Paleo Diet for life now. I followed the Paleo Diet while I was training for IMAZ and felt great. So it is back on the wagon and clean living again.

More on this as I find out the details...


Monday, March 3, 2008

LA Marathon Race Report...

In "A Tale of Two Cities", Charles Dickens opens the novel by writing, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,..." and makes a contrast between life if England and life in France. This quote can also apply to my adventures at the Los Angeles Marathon yesterday. All I can say it that it will be a long time before I use a chocolate flavored Power Gel on a run again.

My adventure really begins early Saturday morning when I had to get up at 3:30 am and run around my neighborhood trying to calibrate the foot pod on my new Polar R400 HR monitor. I went out and ran 1500 meters only to be given the message that the foot pod failed to calibrate. Dang! So I ran it again. Once again, it failed to calibrate. Damn it!! Oh, I guess it would help to turn the foot pod on. Doh'! So I ran it again. As I did that I kept thinking that it was the last thing I needed to be doing the day before my marathon. The calibration worked and then it was 4:30 by this time and I had to rush to get a shower, eat, and grab my bag and head to the airport for the 7 am flight.

Once I got to LA, I had to wait on Johnny Tri to pick me up. Seems he overslept and was on the other side of town. I let it slide, and figured maybe I would see someone famous leaving LAX. No luck there but I did see lots of people who probably wished they were famous, HA! Once JT picked me up, we drove to the LA Convention center for packet pick up and the expo. They had a really great expo that was all over the place. For $79 you could get your teeth whitened, sign up for vacation rentals in Napa Vally, or register for a pair of ticked to see the musical Wicked... ...and pose with monkeys. JT and I kinda look like a deranged Harry Potter and Hermonie with those glasses on. Dang that was fun. There was no one at the booth when we walked up and then everyone started crowding the booth for a picture. What a hoot. Oh yeah, they also had booths to buy running shoes and clothing. My brush with fame was one of the "It was the best of times..." experiences. I got to meet Bob Babbit, the famous Ironman and publisher of Competitor Magazine. I was kind of star struck! I think Bob was sincerely flattered that I was excited to meet him and asked to take a picture with him. He was working the Competitor Magazine booth and handing out stuff to people and telling them about the Muddy Buddy race series. My big purchase was a bracelet with a silver tag that had the word PERSEVERE stamped into it. I am not sure why that word struck a cord with me, but I wanted to buy that bracelet. Little did I know what significance that word would have to me in the next 24 hours.

After grabbing lunch and checking in to the hotel, JT had to run to do some stuff and I got a call from a guy I coached last year telling me that he received an interview for Pharmacy school at Purdue University. I was so excited for him. That is such an accomplishment. Now he just has to get accepted. I think he will. So I killed some time by walking over to Macy's and looking around, grabbing a Subway sandwich for dinner, and watching Anchorman and Batman Begins as I got my race gear ready. JT rolled in around 12:30. What a party animal. I don't think either of us slept well. It felt like i laid quietly with my eyes closed for 6 and a half hours more than anything.

Race day was bright and sunny and it was going to get warm. I had a long sleeve cotton shirt that I was going to toss after the start. It was warm enough that gloves and an ear band were not needed. I knew that it was going to get hot so my plan was to keep my salt intake in check and start the fluids early. JT and I took the subway with hundreds of other runners up to the North Hollywood station for the start. It was cool when we got there but as soon as the sun came up it started to warm up. We stood in line for the port-o-cans and when we made it up to the front, there was no toilet paper. I only had to wiz so I was ok, JT decided that we needed to move down to the next bank of cans and find a new line. Of course our line was moving slower than the lines on either side of us. Once we got to the front, no toilet paper again. That is when my love and friendship for my buddy Johnny Tri was put to the ultimate test. He asked for my shirt. WTF!!! He stated I was just going to toss it along the road, I might as well just hand it over then and there so it could be put to good use. OMG!!! The image of my white long sleeve Old Navy shirt being used as substitute toilet paper has been forever ingrained in my brain, never to be removed. I told JT that there would come a day that I would get him back for this. After more thought, there are other shirts that I have that would have been better used to do the job and would have provided more comedy rather than shock for me.

We made our way to the start and got the HR monitors going. Mine was nice at 71 and JT was nervous at 87. This was his first marathon since 2004. We listened to a few tunes on my iPod and then it was time to start shuffling over the start line with close to 20,000 others. The temps were fantastic and I saw so many people who were over dressed. What impressed me the most was the huge number of school kids who were running the marathon. They were running for a program called Students Run Los Angeles. They were really impressive kids to watch, especially at mile 15, 21, and headed to the finish. I had turned on my foot pod (or at least I thought I had) and started my timer. It took us 10 minutes to get to the start line.

I hung with JT for the first mile and then I started finding my groove. I kept my heart rate in check and started my Powerbar Endurance fluids early. I talked with a guy who was asking me about Team in Training and he said he wanted to sign up. I encouraged him to do so and then we parted ways. My first landmark to run by was Mulholand Dr. and then The Hollywood Bowl. As we made our way down into Hollywood we passed tons of spectators. There was an area where a whole bunch of them were out on the side of the street and on ladders with fishing poles extended out over the runners with donuts, packages of sno-balls, and ding-dongs...man that was funny. We ran past the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and then into a rather ritzy neighborhood.
No luck of seeing anyone famous. I was feeling great and my heart rate was in good order. I was right on schedule with my fluids and nutrition. My 10K split was listed at 1:00 and my watch said something like 51 minutes since there was gun time and chip time. We ran into a area that looked like it was "China Town". I could not read any of the shop signs and there were Taiko Drummers, acrobats, and Kung-Fu schools out with their students along the sides of the road. I passed two men running BAREFOOT around mile 9. HFS!!! That is crazy. I was still feeling good but it was getting warm. I tried to run in the shade of buildings as much as I could. Here I am running past the Olympic Stadium where the 1984 Summer Olympics took place.
Around mile 12 I figured I had better consider a port-o-can stop in the next mile and then I took in THE CHOCOLATE POWERGEL. It sat in my stomach like a rock. All the other flavors I had with me had done ok and I was doing a good job keeping tabs on the S-Caps and fluids. But that chocolate gel was thick like paste rather than runny like honey. As a result, nothing was draining out of my stomach and I was starting to get the swimming pool feel in the gut. According to my watch, I hit the 13 mile mark at 2:05 or around there. From mile 13 to 14 I started getting a cramp in my right side that was positioned to the right and below my belly button. It really hurt. When I dug my thumb up into it I could keep running but if I removed my thumb it was too painful to run. Mile 14 to 16 was running and walking with that cramp that soon moved up under my fuel belt and started moving all the way across the front of my torso. It caused some nausea just because the muscle cramping was so severe. I had to switch to taking in some oranges and water and once or twice I had to swallow back down stuff that was coming up the pipes. I knew that if I threw up the race was over. I could not take in any fluids because that made the cramping worse and I would feel like doubling over. I power walked from 16 to 19.5 and when the nausea went away and I could feel that my stomach had started to drain I tried to run again. I had thought about sticking my finger down my throat to get it over with but there were too many spectators that I would have grossed out, so I kept power walking past the Staples Center and other parts of town. Other than the legs being a little tight they were fine but as soon as I tried to sip on Gatorade or water the cramps under the fuel belt came back. I went back to walking and I think I ran some more around mile 22, but that only lasted a quarter of a mile. I kept to the middle of the street so that JT could see me if he caught up to me and I would have a familiar face to see. I wanted to die it hurt so bad but I kept telling myself that the letters D, N, and F were not in my alphabet. I got a call from Johnny Tri to see where I was just ahead of mile 24 and he said he was a mile behind me and that I better pick it up if I was going to finish under 5 hours. I looked at that bracelet on my arm with the word that intrigued me so much the day before. PERSEVERE. Quiting was not an option. I gutted it up and ran the rest of the way in.
When I was running I was passing lots of people who had been run-walking around me for a while. No fluids, no nutrition, no S-caps! All I could do was to zone out and stare at the sky and rely on my peripheral vision to not run into anyone. The last quarter mile to the finish line was up hill and as soon as I crossed the line and stopped the cramps hit me like a brick wall. My finish time of 4:55 was not the best or even the slowest marathon time I have had but this was by far the hardest one that I have done. I was dragged to the med tent but I told them all I needed was some cold Gatorade and if they had any potato chips that I would take them. Sitting down I was better and I took in the Gatorade in small sips to make sure it stayed down. I was far better off than the other poor souls in there hooked up to IV drips and retching their guts out. As soon as I finished my Gatorade and signed the release, I was out of there.

I found Johnny Tri soon after his 5:14 finish (CONGRATULATIONS BUDDY!!!) and he showed me an inspirational quote that was on his Blackberry. I have to get it from him and when I do, I will post it here because it was so appropriate to our race that we just finished. We made our way out of the finisher's shute and into the after party. As we were walking back to the hotel to get the car, my abs were wanting to cramp up again. That sucked! It was cool walking in the shade of the buildings and I know JT was wanting my foil wrapper that I had bundled about me since I did not have my long sleeve shirt to snuggle into...JT, I'm gonna get you back for that one of these days. Once the car pulled around we looked at the time and saw that it was 3 pm!!! I had to be to the airport at 4:15 to get checked in for my flight. The hotel would not give late check out so we had loaded out bags in the car before we left for the start line. So we loaded in the car still in our race gear and headed for the airport. I felt so sorry for the person that was going to have to sit next to me and my marathon funk on the plane ride home. We were hungrier than bears after hibernation and we had to find some food. All that I had after the race was the cup of Gatorade and a package of McDonald's apple slices. We pulled off before the airport entrance and found a Chipotle's burrito joint that was across the parking lot from a Walgreen's. I dodged into Walgreen's and purchased a travel package of baby wipes and a can of spray deodorant while JT ordered burritos and beer. I took my back pack into the bathroom of Chipotle's and proceeded to take a "whore's bath" with the baby wipes and sprayed down with anti-perspirant/deodorant before changing into clean clothes and washing my hair in the sink with the liquid soap. There were a couple of cops having a burrito and I think that they were slightly amused at us stumbling into Chipotle's looking the way we did. JT said that one of the cops asked him if he had just finished the marathon. When he said yes, the cop answered that he thought so since JT looked like he was stiff and moving kinda slow. LOL, it wasn't the race gear or the finisher's medals that gave it away. Johnny Tri had woofed down his burrito before I did my Superman phone booth change and all I can say is that those were the best chicken soft tacos and Corona beer that I have ever had.

It was time to head to the airport to get checked in. I was sad to be leaving my good friend Johnny Tri because I won't see him again until we go to Switzerland in June for the 70.3 Ironman. Thank you JT for your words of encouragement and motivating me to get my butt moving again. When I was praying for anything to end my suffering, the angels in that city must have heard me and told you to give me a call. You said exactly the right words that I needed to hear. You truly are the best bud that anyone could ask for.

"...it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way..."
I had spent 5 hours and 26.2 miles living each one of those emotions and experiences yesterday morning. Because I do these crazy events, people have come to expect more out of me. I could not let them down. I had to do this for my kid, for my athletes that I coach, for my personal training clients, for the people who come to my classes, for my training buddies, for my Honored Teammates. When things were at their darkest and the light at the end of the tunnel was not visible, somehow I found the ability to keep moving forward. The race was not over. I was not willing to accept defeat even when I wanted it all to end and it felt like the odds were stacked against me. I had persevered and endured. I had to show them that even the strong people have bad days and it is how you deal with those setbacks that defines the person that you are. As I made my way to the gate with my finisher's medal on, I had several people tell me congratulations and some asked me if I had won. I love folks like that. They are so naive about what we ultra endurance nuts do for fun that anything is a huge accomplishment. Actually, what I had done was a huge accomplishment! "So how did you do?" I finished! The weather was great and I got a sunburn. The volunteers were awesome and the course was interesting. The lessons that I learned were huge and the insight to what makes me the person that I am is priceless.

Oh, here is the quote that JT shared with me...

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."
--- Orison Swett Marden

Hopefully you enjoyed the recap of the events and possibly you might be intrigued to give the LA Marathon a go one day. It might just change who you are.

All the best!