Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So Janet and I went to the dipsea trail to run it a few times. She is in the process of training for Western States 100 so decided to do a training run up there. The dipsea trail is beautiful; it is got amazing views and an insane elevation gain and drop. It is one of those trails that no matter how hard it is, I want to go back and run it as many times as possible… or whenever I can.

I picked up Janet early in the morning and went to pick up two more friends of hers. The day seems to be promising, the weather was beautiful and most importantly we were soooo looking forward to do this. In fact I had been having secret wishes that we would be able to do a octo-dipsea. I even dreamed of a customized license plate 8XDPSEA.

Arrived at the location, prepared our stuff and took off.. The first pass was uneventful; Janet’s friends were really nice to let us set the pace since we were going to be there most of the day. I am sure they could have gone faster, but decided to stay with which was greatly appreciated. We got to the beach for the first time, refilled our water bottles and started the treck back.. yay, 2X down.

Came back to the car and ate our usual, pickles, tortilla chips, pretzels, bananas, PJ sandwiches, coke and other indulgencies. We said our goodbyes and Janet’s friends left. Janet and I refilled our bottles and started the next pass. Since this coming weekend is the double dipsea race, there were a number of people training there displaying their dipsea trail apparel. When we got to the beach this one was really packed, the sun was high and it was getting really hot. We started the run back to Mill Valley once again and when we got there I was particularly thirsty and hungry. Before going to the car I stopped at the bathroom and tried, unsuccessfully, to empty my stomach. At this time I was not feeling that good…

We sat down, ate and refilled our bottles; we started the long trek back for the 5th pass. Just before cardiac hill I started to feel really bad. My stomach was not happy and for the first time in a very long time, my legs started to cramp. I told Janet so and she was nice enough to slow down for me, but the harder I tried the more I realized that I was not going to be able to keep up. So I told her, at the top of cardiac hill, I am going to sit down and take a breather. You go to the beach and when I feel better I will go find you. Easy right? She agreed and went on her own.

I went to find a nice place to sit-down, but before that I had to negotiate with my stomach and my legs. They were not collaborating.. oh Crap. So when I finally was able to sit-down, I actually was so tired that I fell asleep. When I woke up, I kind of had an idea of how long I had been sleeping so I decided to wait a little bit more before I went to find Janet. Well I miscalculated the time… fuck..

I got up, felt a lot better and started to run towards the beach. Not realizing that Janet had already gone to the beach came back and she was in her way to Mill Valley and to the car. When she passed through Cardiac Hill I was out, so she was running toward Mill Valley and I was running toward Stinson Beach.

As I was running I was getting scared by the minute since I was not finding Janet anywhere.. It was like where is she? Where did she go? When I got to the beach I asked a few of the fellows there and they did not see her at all. At this time it was already beginning to get dark, so I decided to go back to Mill Valley and brave the darkness. Darkness fell in no time and I was not even close to Mill Valley and I started to have thoughts of mountain lion attacks and stuff like that. It was funny…

Meanwhile in Mill Valley, Janet found herself wondering where I was. She waited for a while and then decided to go to the fire station and report his missing friend. The fire department sprung into action and they were about to deploy the search and rescue team. She got scared for me and I was scared for her too..

I finally made it back to Mill Valley after a few near falls, I actually made it out of the trials OK. As I got to my car my heart sank, there were police there. I thought, Fuck what happened to Janet. As I approached they asked me “is this your car?” and I said yes sir it is, and added. Where is Janet, what happened to her. I thought something bad had happened. They explained that Janet was OK and she gotten worried about me and decided to report me missing. She came back and we hugged and were happy to see each other.. yay!! The End!!

Now we have another excuse to go back and do it all over again…

Friday, June 05, 2009

Runner's Story

I have been asked many times when did you start running? Every runner has a story, here is mine:

It was 2003; I was diagnosed with a brain tumor on October 9th. My ex-wife and I were scheduled to go to Chicago that particular weekend for the wedding of a good friend of ours. It was a Friday afternoon hen my doctor called home (how often a doctor calls your house with good news huh?). He said, we found a mass in your brain (after an MRI taken that morning), thus you have an appointment to see a neurosurgeon Monday morning. I was like, What the FUcK!! A mass in my brain? What did that mean? A tumor? OMG.. My ex-wife started to cry like crazy and I just went in shock, I could not believe it. It is one of those things that might happen to everybody else, but you really don’t realize what it really means until it happens to you.

So that particular Friday we decided to go to Chicago anyway. There wasn’t anything we could do for the weekend and staying home would have been horrible, so we went. We drove to Chicago from Midland Michigan (where we used to live) and made it to the rehearsal dinner. My ex was obviously very distressed and I, well I was sad and afraid, very scared. The very next day (Saturday) we went to the wedding, and we tried to have a good time. In fact I danced the night away and we laughed and tried to forget the fact that I had a fucking abnormal mass in the middle of my head. But the night went well, after the wedding we went back to our hotel and went to sleep.

The next morning, we woke up and I knew that the Chicago Marathon was being run that particular day and I asked my ex to go and see the marathon. We went to the finish area and it was amazing to see the elite runners finishing in amazing time. As the hours went by more and more people started to cross the finish line. I could see people crying and becoming all emotional as they crossed the finish line. I noticed that many runners had little signs in their shirts. “Cancer survivor”, “survivor”, “breast cancer survivor”, etc, etc. It was inspirational, so I turned to my ex and I told her, “Hey, look at that” pointing at the people wearing those signs and I added “Next year I want to run this marathon”. She started to sob and said, “Oh My God, you don’t even know if you are going to be alive next year, what are you saying is crazy?”. I replied, “Yes next year I want to run this marathon and you are running it with me”. She looked at me like I was crazy, and then a sparkle illuminated her eyes and she said “it is a deal, lets do it”.

After two brain surgeries, an incredible amount of physical therapy to relearn basic skills such as the ability to drive, write, even pee, we started training. For me was a very painful journey. I had never run more than 5 miles let alone a full marathon. But we stuck to our promise and we started to train, and on October 10th 2004, I and my ex-wife were among 40,000 other runners to start the Chicago marathon.

That day, my first marathon, was the beginning of a new life for me, the beginning of my life as a runner wannabe.  I survived my tumor, my marriage did not. And then came to California and discovered PCTR and the great smile of Sarah, and of course my best running buddy, Janet, and the rest is history.

So that was my story, what is yours?