Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Running and Brain Tumors!!





When I am running I feel alive, that is how I can summon it all. Over the last few weekends I have been able to see some awesome and amazing views.

Ran from Redwood city to San Francisco one day just to go and have lunch there. Went to the Headlands in two consecutive weekends to re-live my Headlands 100 experience. Step out of my house and ran in the Woodside mountains a lot and this past weekend I ran from Woodside to Half Moon Bay and back. That was awesome and brutal, but awesome nevertheless.

Just recently I got an email from somebody who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and she will be having surgery. She found me through this blog and I realize that having a brain tumor and surviving it was the beginning of my new life as a runner and endurance athlete. Being able to do these runs is a blessing and knowing it is even a bigger blessing. I have learned not to take things for granted, although I have to remind myself of that.

To my new found friend in Australia, I know you will beat this tumor and you will go on. Life is a myriad of constant change, for some of us the change is drastic (brain tumor) and for others the change is so settled that they might miss it entirely. Embrace change, it is necessary and if approached wisely you will come out on the other side stronger and happier.

So for my friend Amanda undergoing brain surgery soon “Down Under”… these are the 10 top things that made my “condition” a lot more fun (literally).

1. Focus on your life, not your tumor.
2. Try to find more about the doctor rather than the details of the operation.
3. If you have the choice, have the surgery when you are the healthiest and the strongest.
4. The tumor you can’t control, surgery you can’t control, recovery?… yes you can.
5. Don’t be afraid of Change, take it as a challenge not as a handicap.
6. Stay positive no matter what, let the negativity die with the tumor. Tell people how positive you feel about your upcoming surgery.
7. Take care of yourself, exercise, be active. You cannot control the tumor growth, but you can control how you react to it. Being active will help you recover faster.
8. Make fun of your tumor; give it a funny name… Use it as an excuse when you forget to take out the garbage or pick up the milk.
9. Look for courage not sympathy.
10. Stay away from downers.

Stay strong.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Change



I just saw this slideshow and it really hits a cord.. I have been forced to change many times, and I wish I was shown this slide show in the past.   I particularlly like #4 as we tend to focus on stopping old behaviours instead of creating new ones.   




Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Say what? Kathrine Switzer all over again!!

I was driving to get an Xrays of my right foot as it is been hurting when I run quite a bit.  Last weekend, as I ran from Redwood City to San Francisco (32 miles),  I had pain from mile 2 until the end.  It was more painful if I walked, so that forced me to run more.   In any event,  I self diagnosed myself with Morton's Neuroma or a stress fracture.  I sure hope that is MN, as that is more easily treated than a stress fracture.

So anyway, as I was saying, I was driving and I was listening to NPR and they were interviewing people from Palestine as their marathon got cancelled.  It turns out that they cancelled because they (Their government) don’t want men and women to run together.  I remembered the book by Katherine Switzer describing her experience in 1968 when she ran the Boston Marathon and one of the marshals tried to kick her out of the Marathon, amazing. 


Almost half of the international runners who had signed up for this year's race in Palestine were women. Of the 551 local Palestinians registered, 266 were women, this is the type of events that will bring the country together and bring some happiness to many.  It is too bad that Hamas has decided that it is against the “culture” of the region to have men and women running alongside, but is it?

Friday, February 08, 2013

Training continues!!



Just a few months ago I had brain surgery and coming back to running has been a little slow.  It is not because of the brain surgery, but because my fitness level has decreased.  I am in the process of building up once again.  I miss the days when I could run 50K+ with no training..   I am getting there, somehow.
I also lost a dear uncle of mine.   He died unexpectedly a few weeks ago.   I traveled home to be with the family.  He was young and such an incredible human being.   Once again, I am reminded how fragile life can be and why it is important to enjoy every minute of it.  
I have been training in Huddard park with  my crossfit buddies.   We have signed for American River 50 Miles in a couple of months and looking forward to get it done.
We did a 20 mile training run this past weekend...  It was awesome.  We are doing 25 miles this weekend on the same hilly course. I am on a paleo challenge at the moment, so I am trying to find out how can I fuel myself during this long run without the use of conventional gels / bars  /coke etc.    I will report my results in a later post. 

Friday, January 04, 2013

12-30-12 Woodside 17K



Jim, Oliver, me and Jennifer before the start. 
Getting back into running has been proven to be a challenge. On December 30, the SCCF endurance team completed the Woodside trail run 17K.  I was fortunate enough to be able to do this and given that I haven’t run since last October it proved to be a challenge.   My fellow San Carlos CrossFit fellows came to run it with me.   A conversation with my wife earlier in the week made me realize once again that I just had brain surgery.   She was concerned that if I was going to do this, I needed to have someone with me at all time.  So she gave me permission to run this if I had friends with me at all times.   I con my friends into running together and we did.   It was, like always, awesome.

Jennifer Landivar, a fellow crossfiter was about to run her first trail run ever, and that was exciting.  Just the night before we exchanged text messages to give her last minute advice as what to wear and what to eat.  She was a bit nervous, but at the start of the race she was ready to charge the hills, and she did…   She finished strong, and I have a belief that she could have gone faster even though she rolled her ankle at the beginning.     

Jim and Oliver were, as always, consistent.  And I, was slow, in addition my ankle was hurting a bit.   I am not sure what is the source of the pain but it caused me to change my stride which in turn miss-aligned my form and as a consequence, my left hip and IT band started to hurt.  It is amazing how one little thing leads to bigger problems.

Huddard park in Woodside, is awesome and I enjoy running there a lot.   The first half of the run is uphill, all the way, and the second part is downhill, all the way.  It was a really a beautiful run and I was jealous of the people that were doing the longer distances.   But that is ok; I will be back soon enough.   I am looking forward to regain my running fitness and speed.    

Celebratory finish hanstand...  CrossFit rules

Friday, December 14, 2012

Brain Surgery Again...



So what happened?

Over the last few months, I had been battling with a re-growth of the tumor that made me start this blog.   After running Western States 100 back in June,  I went to have a regular check up.  Following my regular MRI I went to see the doctor (This was the first time I was seeing him). He told me that my tumor had a very unusual growth and that I needed to take care of it as soon as I could. Interestingly, he also told me that there was something bizarre about my tumor, because of its size and the location, he pictured a patient that probably wasn't able to walk straight, talk coherently etc.  He was surprised that I looked healthy and I just finish running 100 miles.     We had a long conversation regarding my options and after a while we both agree that I needed to go under the knife once again to remove the tumor once again. 

Between July and Oct 30,  I ran 2 50K’s and a couple of 25K’s and I did crrosfit throughout.   I wanted to be the strongest and the healthiest as my operation approached. Unfortunately I skipped competing on IronMan Arizona.     On October 30, I went to the Kaiser Permanente Neurosurgery department in Redwood city and checked myself in.   I was ready. 

After a very long operation,  I was back in the recovery room.   My beautiful wife was there and so were my mom and my sister.   All of us were really happy that the operation went better than expected (the doctor was able to remove 90% of the tumor) and I was coherently talking shortly after the operation.  Unlike my first operation in which I could not recognize my mom for three days and I was in the ICU for 12 horrible days; this time, the whole thing was so much better.   I was out of the hospital in 3 days back home where I knew things were going to evolve much better, and they did.

After the first week, I was practically recovered about 60%, I was able to walk without help and I had not neurological deficiencies, except for the fact that my hearing was totally diminished, and my short term memory seemed a little off as well.  But compared to the first time, I was in heaven, and pretty happy.  I knew that the short term memory issue will get better over time and the hearing too.   With that mindset, I decided to totally take the time off to heal.  I am known to workout hard all the time, but this time I knew I needed my head to heal before I return to my crazy self.  

I am in week 6 now, and after I went to see my doctor two days ago, we both are happy with the results.  He has released me to start working out and yesterday was my first good workout.  It was awesome and I am looking forward to get stronger and stronger.

I have started to plan my calendar for next year..   The first half of the year I will focus on running trails.  I need a qualifier for Western States 100 for 2014.  Sadly I wasn’t selected for 2013, but I am hoping 2014 will be my year once again.  I also intend to complete an iron distance triathlon,  and crossfit as much as I can.   2014 will be awesome..

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

RIP Michael Popov!!


Picture from Sarah Spelt's Facebook Album!!
Michael Popov, you know who I am talking about, right?    An amazing athlete and a gentle person left us earlier this month   He took his last run in Death Valley, and like Caballo Blanco, he found his maker doing what he loved to do; running that is.   I learned of his death and I simply couldn’t believe it,   this guy as fit as one can be, as strong as he was… was… no more.   It took me a little while to absorb the news, we weren’t close friends, but the times we interacted he showed to be a gentle giant. 
I first met Michael at the end of a race back in 2007, he had crushed the course.  And then, when he took over co-management of PCTR, Janet and I were very keen of the sweeping of the courses.  We enjoyed being out there on our own, and sweeping the courses was something we enjoyed to do.   Many times we cursed Michael since we found way too many ribbons out of our reach, us being vertically challenged.   We brought that up to him, and his big smile was a sure indication that he was playing with us. 
Michael lost his life after he miscalculated the distance of his run and the amount of water he needed.  He and Sara Spelt went to Death Valley on a reconnaissance trip to scout their next event, a 100 mile race they were planning to stage next year.  According to Sarah, he said “So, I may regret it, but I’m going to run from West Side Road to Badwater today. You can drop me off and drive to Badwater and pick me up.”  According to Sarah, this was unlike him since he was a meticulous planner.    Unfortunately this particular run was his last,   Michael miscalculated the amount of water he would need to complete the “short” run in 120 degree temperatures.   He was found lying on the asphalt after he actually completed his planned run, he was delirious but conscious.   Unfortunately his condition worsened rather quickly and all resuscitations efforts failed, he died at the end of his last adventure.  The cause of his death was “heat related, including asphyxiation due to pulmonary hemorrhaging”.
Michael was an amazing athlete, and it put in perspective my own mortality. I always told my friends, if I am going to die, I rather die running.   Michael had no intention of dying that particular day, but it happened.  And so recently, thanks Michael, I am faced with the growing awareness and acknowledgment that life isn’t forever and this day could be very well be my last.  But instead of wallowing in fear and sadness, I am driven to make good choices, and focus on living (like Michael did).  I rather “go”  running. 






Monday, August 13, 2012

Tour ' Organics

Tour d’ Organics 100 mile bike ride
Last weekend I had the pleasure to join a bunch of others on my third ride of the Tour d’ Organics in Sebastopol, CA..   This particular ride is very beautiful.   It is unlike any other organized ride I have done, specially because most of the food at the aid stations is organic, fresh, locally sourced and vegan… yes vegan.  That was the reason I started to do this tour, but now as a carnivore, I still enjoy the beautiful scenery and the challenge of this ride.

Vegetarian/vegan lunch...  Awesome food..   now back to Paleo!!
Oliver, Jim, Janet and I did this last year,  Janet, was out this time, so it was an event for the three amigos…  We decided to leave early and Jim was supposed to drive.   But the boy had insomnia the night before so he did what anybody would do… take Nyquil a couple of hours before he was supposed to get up. ;)      Well the time of meeting came and went by,  I called him a couple of times and he answered and told me… I am on my way.   The reality is that he was woken up by my call… so needless to say, he was a bit late, but in good spirits.  We drove all the way to Sebastopol and got ready to go for a great bike ride.

Ride started nice and mellow… and cold a bit.   But it soon warmed up pretty nicely.   I didn’t train for this ride at all… well I went biking three times last week,  I wouldn’t necessarily call that training, but being as stupid as I am, I decided to do the ride and bring my friends with me since misery likes company.   Interestingly, we did awesome…  Last year we did the same ride and it was considerably slower than this year, which can attest of the amazing way CrossFit keeps us fit.    
A few weeks ago I read a very interesting article about how CrossFit is generalist and does not train you for anything specific…  But being in shape, being healthy and being simply awesome is specific, at least in my view.  We did this ride basically with zero specific training, and we finished and had fun doing it.  Granted, one of us had some cramping issues, which were not related to fitness, but nutrition.
The total elevation is not that much ~6,000K,  but it has lots of rolling hills and some start at the end of a 90degree turns and there were several road crossings that were a bit dangerous in my view.  And the most difficult asphalt to ride on..   The tour goes through many old roads that had been fixed way too many times..   My butt is still sore from the consistent vibration,
After we finished the ride...   Still smiling!!
The food, as I mentioned earlier, it is awesome.  Nothing like getting a ripe peach to quench your hunger or a few sweet cherry tomatoes with pesto to finish it up.  This was the highlight of the whole ride, the amazing aid stations in organic farms.  Love it and we will be back next year for more. 
The course starts a bit hilly until about mile 40,   after that aren’t any more long significant climbs, but a million of tiny hills that sure will require you to shift constantly and get off the saddle.  From my scale of awesomeness... this one is a 10!!   

   
The route and elevation profile..   Awesome!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Western States 100miler!!!


Ok.. just one mile to go…   but it was the most brutal mile in the world.    People kept telling me,  it is ALL downhill from here….  Unfortunately at this moment the last thing I wanted was a downhill, uphill, flat or whatever.  I was ready to be done..   I barely could feel my feet, all I was feeling was pain, horrible sharp pain… my whole body was in pain and my hands… OMFG,  they were BIG…  There was a disproportion between the size of my hands and the rest of my body,  they were so damn big.. more on that later.
When I  learned that  I have gotten into the WS lottery,   I couldn’t believe my luck and I was really happy I did,  but I was really scared of the whole thing.   The idea of running 100 miles in hell like conditions, for some reason, scared the hell out of me. I always heard of this incredible ultrarunning party and I had been invited…   ooohhyyeaa!! 

My training had been, I thought, right on the money.   I ran a lot and for the last month I had been doing some “heat training” which consisted of sitting in a sauna everyday for as long as I could endure..  well.. that wasn’t the whole truth..   The reality is that I could endure more but I had so much to do that the only time I could afford was ½ hour.   I recently got a membership at 24 fitness with the sole purpose of making my body accustomed to extreme heat. I even, once, wore running clothes into the heat room,  that didn’t work well because I  sweat like a mofo so the clothes were drenched and.. well..  it wasn’t wise and advisable..     But in any event,  I actually completed almost a month of heat training in preparation for the run…  and I had adapted my body to the heat so I was ready…  
 
The night before the race, I managed to go to bed early.   Sometime at night, I felt some sort of “shake”,  I heard a friend of mine describe his “religious” experience at WS,  an experience that was, according to him, a defining moment in his race.   I thought my wife had come to bed, and when I realized that she hadn’t, I thought, perhaps this is it,  this was my “experience”.   It turns out, as I learned the next day, that we had a small earthquake in Squaw Valley.  Nothing major, big strong enough to wake me up and made me believe something that I couldn’t explain and with that thought in my mind, I went back to sleep…. 

At 3:00am in the morning race day,  I woke up and  ate my breakfast, which was cooked the night before.   I drank some tea, got dressed and went back to sleep for a little bit.  My beautiful wife had gotten up with me and while I was getting dressed, she prepared my breakfast.  I have never experience having a crew before,  In all of my racing I was solo or with Janet, and both racing.   Later, Janet got up, and the three of us walked to the starting line.   Now, this is something I have never experienced in an ultramarathon,  the bib handing experience was awesome,  I got mine is a very short time, pinned to my shorts and I was ready to rock and roll..     The weather, as we learned the day before, was going to cooler than usual.  Because of that prediction, I went the day before and bought myself a hat and a pair of arm warmers.   I thought, as soon as we start running I am going to get hot, but  I was wrong…  so… very wrong.    

All the runners congregated at the started line and then…  the countdown started..  10..9..  Ok..  ready or not here goes nothing..  8..7..6..4… oohhh yyyeaahhh!!!  3..2..1..  Goooooo.    And everybody starts running, everybody is excited and then a few meters into the race, everybody, but the elites starts walking.    The first few miles of the race are a very steep section.   From the base of squaw to escarpment, there are about 4 miles,  but they are really steep.   It takes the leaders about 40 minutes to reach the top, it took me 1:20,  I am already 40 minutes behind the leaders, and that is just 4 miles into the race.   As we reached the top,  we are also at the highest elevation of the race,  about  9,000 feet above sea level.  My breathing is very heavy,  it reminds me of the multiple times I used my elevation training mask while doing CF…. but at CF,  I wore that mask for no more than 15 minutes,  here,  it was going to be a loooong time.    It was like breathing with a sock in your mouth..  and I kept telling myself  keep climbing, keep going..  it will eventually end..  and it did…  Ok, I thought, it is all downhill from here…    As soon as we reached the top, my face was hurting because of the cold and the intermittent hail was painful as well… the trail was very technical,  I was glad I wore my tough shoes… and then it happened..   I hit a rock with my left foot… pain shoot through my foot and I knew that I probably I was going to lose a toenail,  I just hoped that it wasn’t going to be so painful the rest of the way… I only had 95 miles to go.. 


I kept moving and talking to people.  I knew that soon the field was going to spread so much that I would not have much company at all.    I was expecting hot and got cold,  but hey..   I kept thinking as soon as we get down to the Canyons it will be hot and then you will get your money’s worth.   I made it through the first aid stations with easy; my goal was not to spend more than a few minutes in each one of them.   I kept my promise for the first few as it was easier to keep moving that staying in one place and be cold.  People couldn’t believe it how cold it was, and most of us weren’t prepared for these conditions, in fact we were prepared for the totally opposite.  My hands were numb at this time…  my fingers were in pain, my face was numb,  I thought I was going to freeze…  and my foot..  OMG..

I reached the aid station where I was supposed to meet Janet and Rujeko.  I assumed they were going to be there and had a jacket for me or something..  Sadly, I bet them to the aid station.  They weren’t there when I arrived.  I asked the aid station people if they had a garbage bag I could use to make a raincoat…   no luck… somebody told me there was one in the garbage can so I dug some and ...  SCORE... I found one...  but it was too damaged to be of any use..  Damn it… oh well!!   This was the lowest point of my race, at this moment I thought of quitting, the cold was unbearable, and my foot was in so much pain…  and then it hit me…   how about some Ibuprofen Luis..     I reached into my funny-pack and spent a lot time trying to get the pills out of the bag, my fingers were numb, but I managed to get them out and took my first 4… I kept on running and a little while later I started to feel a lot better.  Foot wasn’t as painful anymore and it stopped raining and the weather seemed to be getting warmer.   I was soaked, but I was moving well..   I was back…  wooohooo!!!

The next aid station that was memorable and was heaven,  was “Dusty Corners” at mile 38.  I was looking forward to this aid station as it was where some of my friends were volunteering.   When I came to the aid Station,  I was really happy and my spirits were up.  The weather had changed for the better and I was feeling awesome.   I ate the awesome aid station food that included watermelon, oreos, boiled potatoes and salt oh..  and for the last few aid stations they were serving chicken broth…  now that was a treat. 

My strategy was always made sure I had plenty to eat, I wasn’t going too fast and I had my salt intake under control.   I set my watch to beep every hour… and at every hour, I would take two salt pills.  During the first 38 miles I noticed that my hands were beginning to swell.   It was my understanding that I was retaining water because I needed more salt.  So I kept taking salt every hour and my hands and feet kept getting bigger and bigger and my wedding ring started to get really tight.    However,  at the aid stations, where I had to check my weight,  it was OK.. I wasn’t feeling bad, and I wasn’t losing or gaining any considerably weight, so I assumed things were OK.  Other than my hands getting big, nothing else was out of the ordinary.  I was even peeing constantly, and my pee was clear, a good sign. 

I kept moving along pretty well, and at mile 55.7, aid station Michigan Bluff, I saw my wonderful wife and her sisters.  They came to cheer me up,  at this aid station, I actually change clothes.   It felt good to have a dried shirt on,  and I knew soon I will see Janet (my pacer), and having her company was going to be awesome.   My wonderful wife was encouraging and she told me that she was scared that I had dropped due to the rain and cold.   I am glad I did not disappoint her.   After she helped me change and remove my wedding ring from my fat fingers,  I continued forward.   I was feeling OK,  not great, but enough to keep plowing along  It is funny,  at this moment I really can’t recall much of the run as I was probably “in the zone”  but I do remember kissing my wife entering the aid station,  that was the encouragement I needed to keep on going. 

After I met my pacer at “Forest Hill” mile 60, and taken care of a blister issue on my right foot, I was ready to go.  I was happy to have Janet with me as she was giving me the encouragement and the juice that I needed to keep going.  We chatted about everything and about nothing like we usually do when we are running long distances.   A funny thing happened in the trail..  you see, I had to go #2, and I realized that there was no way in the world I could hold it until the next aid station.  So I stepped out of the trail to do my business and after I was done,  I was about to retake the trail when I saw a couple of runners, they couldn’t see me, but they sure could hear me.   When they finally saw me,  they were stopped on their tracks and told me they thought I was a bear.  I thought that was funny.   I joined Janet and we continue moving along quite well… the sun was down and nighttime was upon us.

Running at night is awesome; I think that is my favorite time to run. For some reason in WS, it wasn’t as enjoyable as I had experienced in other places.   It was probably the fact that my foot was hurting,  I felt like a water balloon and I had been running all day long…    When we finally arrived at Rucky Chucky, the river crossing, my spirits were already at an alltime low.  For some reason I was not looking forward to the river as I knew the water was going to be cold… and it was.  I managed not to fall in the river as that was my biggest fear, when I got to the other side,  I quickly was giving my dropbag and I proceeded to change clothes... and shoes.   It was great to feel dry again and the new socks and shoes felt great as well.   Janet did not change,  I don’t understand how she did it,  I was freezing and she was in great spirits and smiling all the way.  I knew she was concerned about me, as this time I had become a bit rude and my level of energy had decreased a lot.    Once I finished changing my clothes,  I was ready to get going,  I didn’t want to stay there too,  and for some reason I was looking forward to get to aid station at mile 85 where many of my friends would be stationed.  

I told Janet as we were approaching mile 85, that I wanted to take a break there.   When we arrived, I was put on a scale… and I had gained so much weight.   They Aid station people were concerned about me and told me NOT to drink anymore water and stop taking salt pills.   As I explained in the beginning, I was taking two salt pills every hour, thus my body was retaining water.   Although I was peeing constantly, I was also drinking quite a bit.   The thought of not continuing was a nice thought, and then I was greeted by George Miller and his group and Leigh Moser.   They were awesome, I sat by the fire and they quickly brought me warm pancakes and orange juice as I had requested. I let my body warm a bit and I don’t remember how long I was there, but then I felt the need to get going again.   I recompose myself, had a few more bites of my pancakes and other fun aid station food and just like that we were in our way again.
  
The last 15 miles were the slowest and the hardest.   When I got to aid station "Highway 49 crossing", (mile 93.5) I saw my beautiful wife and that made me feel a lot better, albeit, shortly.    I knew I was getting chaffed in an unmentionable place and I was beginning to hurt.   I told Janet I needed some Vaseline, she brought me some and I went to the bathroom to get it in all crevices.   It did hurt, but I knew it was a small price to pay if I wanted to be able to take a shower the next few days.   I couldn’t believe I only had one more aid station before the finish line…   and it was sunny again..  I changed clothes once again, from my warm night clothes to a more comfortable shirt and hat.   I told my wife, I will see you at the finish line and with that we were off again.    The views were magnificent, but at this moment I was ready to be done, I did not have the desire or the time to stop and smell the roses and appreciate the views.  All I wanted is to be able to fly and finish as soon as possible, but my legs were spent.  They say that in an ultra, you run the first 50 miles with your legs and the next 25 with your brain and the final 25 with your heart.  I don’t know what kept me going, because my brain and my heart were telling me to stop and my legs barely were able to move.    And then… a wonderful view…   No hands bridge..  mile 96.8 just a few from the finish line, and I had plenty of time to spare.   I started to move well again,  I passed several people and all seemed to hurting, just like me.  The final ascent to town wasn’t as bad, but it was slow, very slow.  I knew I was going to finish…  I just needed to move and even if I crawl, I would probably finish within the cutoff time.   I had no desire nor I could run anymore..   I was dragging myself to the finish line… somehow.   When I finally got to Robie point (mile 98.9), I didn’t even stop.  I kept on going, walking mostly, all the way to the end.   Funny thing is that at this point many people are about to start their day and they kept telling me… “go go go.. it is all downhill from here”.   They were right,  but downhill, uphill, flat… they all would hurt the same and I was not going to change my pace…  slow pace that was.    My beautiful wife and friends were waiting for me just before the finish line, they “ran” with me for the remaining of the race and just like that that, I entered the finish chute..   just 28+ hours after I started this incredible adventure.    I told my wife and pacer, “I am done with 100’s,  I am retiring”.... but as those words were coming out of my mouth,  not even I believed them.  

I recently got some news that puts things into a much bigger perspective, I hope I can do this again, otherwise, I can say I DID IT….

The prize... 

Monday, January 02, 2012

My Bday Run Dec22..




Just before the start... 
So I tuned a year older this year…  I cannot believe how time flies..  As like every year, I do my bday run!!   Each year I run my age in miles, this year like in previous years, I simply added a mile to the previous year’s run.   And ... Gulp!!.  I cannot believe how fast time flies and how old I am getting.   It appears that it was a few moments ago when I had my first memory… yes, I do remember my first memory… what was yours?  Do you remember?
This year was different,   for the first time I had a friend run with me the whole duration of my run.  In the past I had friends join me for some parts of it, but this time my friend Jim was crazy enough to start and finish with me.
Somebody left a couch for me to take a rest... 
Bright and early, Jim drove to my house and we started the awesome run.   I knew it was going to be a great day, it wasn’t raining like last year.   The weather was cold, but not wet, so I knew from the start that we were going to have a great day.
This wasn’t a race, it was simply a day to cover my age in miles and a day of having fun, it happen to be also Jim’s longest run ever, so not I wasn’t only celebrating my birthday, but Jim was about to complete something he had never done before.
Of course, our first stop was at SCCF where I had the chance to go to the bathroom and remove my hoodie,  it was going to be a hot day.  We continued our long run and decided to have breakfast in Burlingame, at Panera bread.   We got coffee and a breakfast bagel, sat by the window and eat in earnest.   Unlucky for Jim, he was sitting next a lady who had some gas problems, and lucky for me that I am hard of hearing so I did not hear her at all.   The smell, I thought, was a product of our sweat.  It turns out that it wasn’t… LOL.
Entering SF!!
Our next hard stop was at “The ferry Building” in SF where we got hamburgers and potato fries.   Jim also ordered a yummy MilkShake.  We needed all the calories we could get into our already tired bodies.   It was a good recovery meal before making the final push all the way to Sausalito.   After an hour of eating and resting, and of course facebooking, we got ready to go once again.  
The weather had gotten a little colder, but as soon as we started moving again, I got warm and sweaty.  Because it was the end of the year, we could notice a greater influx of tourists to one of the SF landmarks, The Fisherman’s wharf.  We made out of there, unscratched, however there were lots of stares as you could imagine.  Who are these people who are moving so slowly, pretending to be running and looking in as if they are in pain or something?  They didn’t know that at this time we had run over a marathon already and Jim had the beginnings of a cramping episode.  Thank God it didn’t happen totally…  
Jim Stretching trying to avoid cramping!!


We reached the Golden Gate Bridge just in time to take a few pictures still with the light of day.   It was beautiful and I just loved the series of pictures I took of the Golden Gate Bridge as we were far, and then closer and then really close and finally on the Bridge.   As we were running on the Bridge, we heard someone honking,  we didn’t know it then, but turns out it was our ride.  Jim’s dog was sleeping and as soon as he “smelled” him, he started to bark.  Apparently Jim smells so bad that his dog can recognize his smell even if he is on car driving over the GG Bridge and Jim is running outside, Funny.
First Bridge


First Look


Closer


Closer


Closer


Finally on it!!


We made it to the other end of the bridge and made our way to Sausalito.  This was the only part that was scary simply because it was already getting dark and there is no shoulder in some of the roads from the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito.   But, needless to say, we made it to the end.  We finished my bday run, and Jim ran the farthest he has ever run…  We had a good day.  If you want to know how long was my run, here is a clue…. yes, it was over 40 miles +-2.