With the Brazilian World Cup coming this Summer, I am going to bring up an old soccer icon: Pele. He was considered by many as the greatest soccer player of all time, having won three World Cups and scoring the most goals of any players out there.
This is not your typical TSFM blog post. I’d like to believe that I am your typical TSFM Ambassador because the role of a TSFM Ambassador is to represent every kind of runner, and what I’m about to chronicle is true and honest in both events and the feelings associated with them. It’s a real world kind of blog with all the glamour stripped away and just the honest truth left. I’m afraid that the lack of puppy dogs and butterflies may not sit well with some, but maybe there will be some who read this and it will resonate with them more than happy trees and perfect days with perfect runs. Sometimes we go through challenging times. And sometimes those challenging times happen to coincide with training for a marathon. Or becoming an Ambassador for the San Francisco Marathon where your chief role is to inspire and encourage others to realize their true potential. To help them see that they are champions. To make them believe that they can, and will, achieve greatness on the streets of San Francisco. That, armed with a reason to run that is wholly unique and just their own, they will overcome whatever obstacles are before them to make it to that starting line on July 27, 2014. With recent events that I will detail a bit later, I’m finding this a bigger challenge than anticipated.
If you’ve ever run a marathon, chances are you’ve probably seen a dude with spiky hair in a cape fly by. That marathon caped crusader probably high fived you, cracked a 4th grade joke or two, and then ran off to grab a GU at the aid station. That’s Endorphin Dude, and that dude is me. I run a lot of marathons. I run a lot of ultras too. And yes, I run in a cape and you will always see a big smile on my face. I am happy to be out there on the course because I never thought that I would be able to. I am a former insulin dependent couch potato turned Marathon Maniac and endurance athlete.
Five years ago, I took control of my life, dropped a bunch of weight, got weaned off all meds, and trained for the 2010 San Francisco Marathon. That marathon was supposed to have been a one and done bucket list item, but somewhere along the way, I got hooked. I really fell in love with this sport, and being the obsessive person that I am, I kept on running. The San Francisco Marathon changed my life. Hence, I thought it would be fitting that I repost my race report from that incredible inaugural marathon followed by my race report from my 100th lifetime marathon, which just so happened to be the 2013 San Francisco Marathon.
July 25, 2010.
I accomplished something pretty extraordinary this weekend: I ran my first full marathon. That’s 26.2 miles. This was the single most difficult thing I’ve ever set out to do, but it is, hands down, the most rewarding. I worked so hard to achieve this goal, and when I […]
There are many compelling reasons to run – fitness, fun, friendship. There are equally compelling reasons to sign up for a race – to compete, to challenge yourself, to keep motivated. Almost every runner’s reason to be in San Francisco this summer is some amalgamation of the above factors. For my first marathon, I wanted to prove to myself I could make it to the finish line. In the second race, I wanted to prove that I could make it to the finish line without cracking. When the time came to run a third, I found the need to run for something other than myself.
My wife and I have owned greyhounds and been involved with greyhound adoption since we got our first in 2003 while living in Berkeley. Upon moving back to the east, we adopted our second, a beautiful blue fawn boy from Connecticut Greyhound Adoption, who we named Berkeley for obvious reasons. Unbeknownst to us, Berkeley would live up to his name. He was a free spirit who loved and loved to be loved. At much too early an age, Berkeley contracted osteosarcoma, which is unfortunately prevalent in greyhounds. He underwent an amputation of his affected leg and received chemotherapy to slow the spread of cancer. His chemotherapy drugs were provide free of charge by the Greyhound Health and Wellness Program at Ohio State. Dr. Guillermo Couto who ran the GHWP has since moved to State College, PA to continue his work as a private consultant and veterinarian. Since greyhounds are one of the few animals other than humans (primarily children) that are susceptible to bone cancer, Dr. Couto’s work may someday identify both the cause of and treatments for osteosarcoma in both […]
Running is often considered a solitary sport. Sure, there are great running groups you can join, but inevitably, at one point or another you will be out running alone. You might be an evening runner, an early morning runner or a lunchtime runner. Whatever time you prefer, or can fit into your busy schedule, it can be hard to find someone to run with you every time you go out.
It can be very difficult to motivate yourself to put in that five miler at 4 AM or log a ten miler after work. Who is going to know if you skip this one run? No one is waiting on you. Your run club doesn’t meet for two more days. Why not take an early rest day? I admit it. These thoughts have all gone through my head and at times I have surrendered to them. I’ll hit snooze and snuggle back under my warm sheets or just turn on the TV and sit down after work. It’s hard to go out and run when no one is watching or waiting for you.
A few years ago I set about to change this and my top way of staying accountable when no one in my community is watching is to reach out on social media. I have a tight knit group of running friends from social media that motivate me every day. Some I have met in person and some I have simply met in the digital world, hailing from New York, Montana, Texas, Canada, England, and Australia, to name a few. I can always look to these runners for some motivation at any time of day.
When I am in need of a push out the […]
It’s rare that I’ll be truly inspired by an athlete. I can appreciate the awesome feat that he or she might have completed, but it’s rare that I will look at him or her and say “wow, you make me want to do this.” Mirinda Carfrae, Mia Hamm, and Natalie Coughlin are three who have, at one point or another in my life, inspired me to take myself a step further—to realize that within me is a far greater strength than, perhaps, I knew I had. This fourth athlete, though, inspired me on a much deeper level. She showed me that, if not for anything else, hereditarily, I have within me an amazing strength and ability to accomplish something. Now, she will probably hate me for referring to her as an athlete in this article, but Mom, you are, whether you like it or not.
Let me start with the (embarrassing) details. About a year and a half ago my mom realized she needed to change her lifestyle. What’s so inspiring about my mom is, of course, that she spent absolutely no time hesitating. True to form, she started researching athletic trainers, feverishly. As the token athlete in the family, I, of course pointed her in the direction of the trainer whose middle-aged-mothers-of-five trainees were kicking my, nineteen-year-old-with-no-excuse’s, you-know-what: Jenny Schatzle. And so, with the help of the spitfire coach, my mom began a regiment unlike any other. She stopped snacking, she stopped drinking, she stopped every terrible habit she had before. Cold turkey.
Of course, she also started some exercising. Jenny doesn’t mess around. Inside that gym is business. I, a tender, young, fit, triathlete, twenty year old have found myself near tears doing squats […]
“I didn’t plan on running today, but those cops came out of nowhere!”
And just like that, a runner is born. Everyone’s story is different – some are born to run, some are born out of necessity. I started my journey out of necessity 16 years ago. I had embarked on my weight-loss journey in January 1997 by joining my local YMCA and immersing myself in their group exercises classes. By April 1998, I had lost 35 lbs and had become a full-fledged group exercise addict, attending class every single day of the week. When I decided to take a week-long vacation that year, I realized to my horror that I couldn’t take my fitness instructor with me. What do you mean you can’t go with me on vacation so I can still work out? I had to improvise so that first day of vacation in June 1998, I hopped on the treadmill at the hotel gym and a runner was born. Born out of necessity to stay on track even while on vacation.
Looking back at those early years, I limited myself mentally and physically on what I could achieve. For those first 5 years, my running was confined to the treadmill (except for a few short road races). And the most I would run was a 10K distance. I was afraid of what would happen if I tried going farther.…maybe my legs would fall off, maybe I’d faint. Never did it cross my mind that I could actually succeed. Fast-forward to April 2005, now a mother of two, a toddler and a newborn, and going through a divorce. It was an emotionally draining time for me and I was looking for outlet to escape, […]
In 2011, I weighed 260 pounds … realizing I was only 28 and still young and still had a long life to live, I didn’t want live it being unhealthy. I wanted to try something new, something that I could challenge myself with. I had a few friends who were runners and told me that running a half marathon should be my goal and that anyone could do it if they trained for one. Initially I thought running 13.1 miles was crazy, but I had to start with baby steps first if I wanted to start running.
I signed up for a local 5k in 2/2012. I knew that if I had not signed up for one, I would just lay on the couch eating junk food and further prolonging my unhealthy lifestyle. After running my first 5k, I ran several other 5k’s and 10’s as well. Running with 260 pounds of weight working against gravity was not easy. But in a few months I’ve had lost a little over 15 pounds which was a good enough reason for me to continue and the feeling of crossing the finish line never got old.
June of 2012 – I decided that since I was turning the big 3-0 at the end of the year, I would sign up for my first half-marathon. The half-marathon took place in Las Vegas on December 2, 2012 — the day before I actually turned 30. This made it more special for me because I had wanted to do something before I enter into my 30’s.
I was able to finish the half marathon in Las Vegas — I crossed the finish line full of tears and overcame with disbelief because I had […]
I freely and openly admit it. And I am pretty proud of it. I am a mid-pack girl. For as hard as I have trained I have never been the one that will be up front in any race. I will be the be the gal that is slow and steady, but gets to the finish line with her head held high. I have have had countless people ask me the question; “Why do I run, if I know I will never compete?” My answer is always almost the same, its not about the competition (though I like getting faster than my last time), but it has been about the things I have learned along the way have been well worth the training, the pain, the blood (yes, I say blood), sweat and tears.
Ultra running…a daunting, challenging, and very rewarding distance.
What is an ultra marathon? It’s a distance that exceeds the standard 26.2 mile marathon. It can range from 31+ miles to the century distance of 100 miles.
To many people, the distance seems impossible. From 31+ miles to a 100 miles, all at once? Before you dismiss the idea of an ultra, let me tell you, from my own experience, that we can all lace up and take on the challenge of an ultra.
Let me tell you, that I am not an expert when it comes to ultras. I am not born with some super genetics and I don’t have all the answers. But I can give some insight on my experience preparing for my ultras and what I did that was good and what didn’t work so well.
Preparing for an ultra is not very different from preparing for a marathon. You need to commit, maintain consistent training, have proper equipment, and keep your eye on the prize. Here are some things that I did that helped me prepare. THESE THINGS WORKED FOR ME….I HOPE THAT THESE HELP YOU. Remember, what works for me may not work for you. Find your niche and run on!
1. Committing to running an ultra. First thing is first, you need to commit to an ultra. I looked for a run that was close to home, provided ample support, and let me have support crew close. Once I searched for a while, I finally said YES and registered. A good website that has many ultras is www.ultrasignup.com.
2. Once I found a run that worked for me, I did my research on what type of run it would be. Ultras range from complete […]