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Running Background:

marathon photoI consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for hobby. I've been active most of my life with sports and going to the gym consistently for a few years. I didn't focus on running until late July 2006 when a friend of mine said he would be running a local half marathon in October. Since I used to run more about 10 years ago and actually completed the La Jolla Half Marathon at that time, I figured, "What the Heck?!" In training for the half marathon, I thought I should try a full marathon since I was feeling pretty good with my training. I actually did the half without my friend since he started having back pain, but by then I was hooked!

Training:

I trained for 4 months averaging 30-40 miles per week, but I didn't subscribe to any specific training regimen. When I started focusing on solely running in late July, I was running about 3-4 miles fairly comfortably on the treadmill at about a 7:30 pace. I knew that (1) running on a treadmill is a lot different than running on the roads and (2) I would not be sustaining a 7:30 pace for my first marathon. I read a bunch and just added 10% per week to my mileage. I ran 3-4 times M-F and then a long run on the weekend. Since I have a family with 2 little guys (2 and 3 years old), I would make it a point to run early in the morning before work when my wife and the kids were still sleeping. Waking up early was never the problem...it was going to bed early that was tough for me!!.

The best advice I received was what I read in Dean Karnazes book Ultramarathon Man. It's only after reading this book that renewed my interest in running at the same time my friend asked me to do the half marathon with him. In the book Dean states that his first running coach from jr. high told him to "Run with Your Heart". That mantra has stuck with me ever since.

The worst advice I have received was suggesting that I peak with 20 miles for a long run before the marathon. In my opinion, so many people hit the wall around the 20-mile mark because they have not trained their bodies to run further than that distance until the marathon. For future marathons, my longer runs will be mid-20s instead. Plus I want to start ultras later so I'll definitely need the longer runs.

Race Day:

The 2006 California International Marathon was better than expected. My friend, Kenny that was supposed to run with me drove me to the start which was great so I didn't have to wake up so early to catch the bus at the finish with all the other runners. I probably got an extra hour of sleep as a result.

I ran my long training runs with a 20 oz. hydration bottle belt so I used that during my race. Since I didn't want to risk stomach problems from drinking the stuff they offered at the aid stations, Kenny offered to meet me every 9 miles or so to give me a fresh 20 oz. of Gatorade since that's what I was training with. I didn't think I would have a problem, but I didn't want to risk it!

The CIM course has a net loss in elevation with some rolling hills mixed in. I felt really good and was running about a 7:50 pace for the first 18 miles or so. It was then that I noticed my pace start to slow down to 8:00, 8:15, 8:30, 9:15. My legs were really starting to feel heavy and my feet were really getting sore. A coworker of mine on a bike found me around mile 22 and started talking to me. I distinctly remember saying to him, "You talk and I'll listen." It was great to have the support, but I was in no mood to shoot the breeze. Unfortunately, race officials didn't let him ride with me longer than a block so I was back to my solo endeavor.

The best part about the whole race was when I saw my wife and two boys waiting about 50-75 meters from the finish line. I was being cheered on by all the spectators and yelling at the top of my voice those last 50 meters. Definitely one of the most memorable moments of my life.

Recovery:

My recovery wasn't bad. Again, not the most scientific recovery program. It was very tough just getting back to the car and then getting home to take off my shoes. A shower? Stood in the shower and hoped the soapy water was going to get my feet clean, cuz there was no way I would be bending over to scrub 'em! I sat on the couch the rest of the day and didn't attempt stairs until the next day. I tried to walk, but couldn't bring myself to do any running, or jogging for that matter. In a week, though, I was back to a slow jog and just slowly worked my way back into it, depending on how I felt.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Asics Kayano XII Running Shoes
Love them to death!!
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Injinji Socks
Will never use any other socks. These cover each toe individually to prevent blisters. Kinda like a glove for your feet. Highly recommended.
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Search on Amazon

Running Shorts (with a boxer brief liner)
Running shorts with a longer than normal, tight liner inside...like a boxer brief. No chaffing, which, of course is always a good thing!!
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

I didn't think I would feel such a sense of accomplishment upon finishing despite all the encouragement and support I received during my training. Maybe it was related to sharing that moment with my two little guys. In any case, if you try a marathon, you just might get hooked and never look at life the same way again!!

Plans to Run Another:

I'm planning to run more marathons because I can't get enough now!! I'll be running the LA Marathon on March of '07. And now my wife, a runner herself some years ago, is training with the Train to End Stroke Association and we'll be doing the San Francisco Marathon together in July '07. My boys love to run too. At such an early age, it's great to see!!

For my next marathon, I'll definitely be doing longer long runs to be better prepared to not hit that wall as early, if at all.

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