Aug 142011

On the rock-hard mattress in a Lassen Hall dorm room at California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo my brother woke me up.

He stumbled to the bathroom.

“Are you ok?” I asked.

“I don’t feel so good,” he said. 

And then it came . . . this grotesque vomitting noise from the bathroom . . . the dry heaves made me nautious.  I went to check on my brother.  He was shaking violently.  This was not good.

Earlier that day, my Mom, sister, brother and I had packed our bags and were headed for San Luis Obispo.  We have been to San Luis Obispo every Summer for as long as I could remember.  My Dad runs a two-week journalism workshop for High School students who live all across the United States, the California Scholastic Press Association workshop.  

The CSPA Workshop has been conducted at the Cal Poly campus every Summer.  And this Summer was its 60th Anniversary.  My Dad has been running the workshop for the past 30 years.  He attended the workshop himself when he was in High School.  

He came back every Summer since then, first as a counselor, then an instructor, then as the man in charge. 

It was as a counselor that he met my mother.

Eleven or so years later, I was born and three years after I popped out the Running Brothers were complete.

My Mom grew up in San Luis Obispo and although she moved down south for college and eventually settled in Chino Hills, she still loved making her way back to her home town.  As kids, we would stay for two weeks at my Grandmother’s House.  My Grandma passed away roughly a decade ago, but my Aunt and Uncle still live in the city. 

Needless to say, The Running Brothers have a strong connection with San Luis Obispo . . . (If you’re a real Running Brother hero, then you’d know that this is where our Running Brother’s journey began)

The trip from Chino Hills to San Luis Obispo was as smooth as could be.  Although, afterwards, my brother complained that I talked way too much and that I didn’t listen to anything he said . . . but that’s besides the point. 

We reached our destination after 9 PM and quickly headed to bed. 

And that’s when I knew that something was wrong with my brother.  Watching him shiver while dry-heaving into the toilet at the dorms at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo scared me.  He said he was fine, but deep down, I knew that he wasn’t.  I was hoping that it was something that would go away by the morning.  Eventually, Rocky made his way to bed and with two days until our Triathlon in San Luis Obispo, I feared that he wouldn’t make it.

Aug 112011

I had the best of intentions.  I set my goal 30 days before the San Luis Obispo Triathlon to run 30 Sprint Triathlons in 30 days to prepare myself for the event. 

I did it twice.

If you read my previous post, you’ll understand why I only was able to do it twice.  A great business opportunity got in the way of my traning.  My two Sprint Triathlons were completed in the gym and I did both of them in 1 hour and 40 minutes approximately three weeks before the SLO Triathlon. 

I was not in peak shape, and as far as I knew, my brother hadn’t done any training either.  The San Luis Obispo Triathlon was going to be interesting . . . to say the least.

Aug 032011

The day prior my brother raced and completed is first normal sprint triathlon. Now I had a race of my own.

I was gonna pee, gosh darnit. After several attempts  the day before with no success and the unpleasant use of a catheter. I was ready and I was gonna win this race. I whimpered my way to an upright position then slowly and with a grimace I eeked to a standing position. I wheeled my IV pole to the bathroom, lifted the thin vail that covered my special region and pushed like the dickens….. nothing! I was bummed.

I was not ready to give up, so with steadfast effort I leaned against the wall and gave it the old steady sustained push and eventually a small dribble turned into a glorious stream. It was relief to my ears to hear the sweet sound. I exited the bathroom, hunched over with stomach pain but arms raised in celebration, fully filled bottle in one hand and my IV pole in the other. Very rarely have I ever experience such joy. 

I quickly thought the hospital staff wouldn’t appreciate a crazed patient fist pumping his own urine in the hallway. So I quietly returned to my room, set my bottle down where the nurse could see my success and went for a victory lap around the hospital. I like to think the hospital staff could see the joy in my eyes but they probably felt sorry for me with my hunched shuffle walk.

I returned to my bed and my Dad came. He gave me a fist bump after seeing my proudly displayed bottle and we knew it was only a matter of time before I would be out of there.

While I didn’t get to race in San Luis Obispo, I think I got that sense of accomplishment that finishing my first normal triathlon would give me. Even though it was a bit unorthodox, I finished my race and I was proud of my brother. Now, well after two weeks of light exercising (doctor prescribed), the Running Brothers will be training for their next event.

Aug 012011

I was stuck to a bed in French Hospital and my brother was about to start the SLO Triathalon. I was going to missing my brothers Race. My sister managed to find an Application (Qik Video) for ourAndroid Smartphones which was like a video calling application and as my brother started the race I got an alert from my sister.

After acepting the alert I was pool side, hearing the  splashes and seeing my Brother completethe 36 laps in the pool. He was looking good and halling but especially when I compared him to his lane partner (an elderly lady with a good kick and medicore swimming form). To save her phones battery my sister said she would check in with me every so often as the race progressed.

It looked like such a wonderful day, I was stuck in a hospital bed and it was so great out. Zeb finished the swim and I got my next alert from Lacey. I watched Zeb on his first transition to the bike and watched him pedal off out of site to Orcutt Road.

Lacey’s phone died after that but Zeb looked good and I knew he would finish.

 After about an hour my Mom came into my room and told me my brother would be running infront of the hospital. I had an urge to get up and see if the staff would let me out the front door to watch him but, by the time I knew he was close it would have taking me a good 30 minutes to get disconnected from everything and out the front door. He passed the hospital and went on to finish the race.

He must have immediately crossed the finish line, loaded up his bike and came to the hospital. He was there very quickly with my whole family. He gave me his metal and I got to ask him about the race. He said it was tough and a lot more difficult than he expected, even slightly boring. I wish I could have ran with him to keep things more lively.

My brother did great and I am really proud of him.

Jul 312011

With less than 24 hours the start of the the SLO Triathalon where Rocky is going beat Zeb, Rocky is consummed with stomach pain.

After a few hours of resting with stomach pain and no fever the Running Brother Family meets and decides it would be best for me to see a doctor. My family is absolutely fantastic, they were all immediately on the phone trying to find a place for me to see a doctor without voiding my health insurance. Very quickly we determine their is no Kaiser on the Central Coast and French Hospital is the nearest facility for me to get a check and a quick dose of something to get me ready for my big race.

The CSPA workshop was having their 60 Anniversary gathering. Where my Dad and my number 1 hero was named to the organizations Hall of Fame.  My Dad, Brother and Sister go to the Anniversary and my mom and I are headed to French Hospital.

My mom and I walk into the ER doors and immediatly are talking to the check in desk folks and they immediatly get us to a bed, within 15 mins of walking in the doors our doctor was at talking to use and attempting to diagonis the problem.  He quickly orders a Cat Scan which is completed and sent to the Radiologist.

Within minutes we would have our answer and I was hoping to get a shot or parscription and be out of there. Unfortunently it was not my day… I had an appendicitis which required surgery. My race was over and hospital stay was going to be a lot longer than originally desired.

Fortunently for me the best doctor and anateialogist in the State were called in to perform my appendectomy. We had only walked into the doors about 3 hours before and they were wheeling me in to surgery. My brother, never being a person to miss a joke, gave me a, “if I never see you again….” joke. I was a little scared so while I laughed I didn’t paricularly appreciate it.

I schuffled over to the opposite table and before they could tell me all their names the sleepy doctor had  worked his magic. I was out. I came to in a completely different room and they were wheeling me to my overnight room where my family joined me, here is a picture of as they were wheeling me out of surgery:

My racing goals changed there: instead of beating my brother it was now to pass gas and pee as fast as possible to get out of there and watch my brother race.  I was told I could be out of the hospital the next day if everything went well.

Well everything did not go perfect for me. My body had a difficult time whipping back in to shape. I got the passing gas thing down, but hey needed me to urinate to show I was not retaining water. Either by body knew I was supposed to be swimming or it really liked that hospital water, my body retained water like a champ. After not being able to urninate on command the doctors decided to hold me one more day, which meant I would miss my brothers race.

Jul 292011

We arrived to San Luis Obispo Friday night at about 10:00 and felt great. We stopped for some In-N-Out Burgers in Santa Maria and made it to Lassen Dorms where the CSPA workshop was staying. We meet our Dad and unload all of our gear to our room for safe keeping. Our our heros (our mom and Sister) who made the trek up north were about and hour behind us.

After everyone arrived it was nearly 11:00p.m. and I was paricularly exhausted I resorted to room after saying hello to a few of our long time family friends and was gonna call it a night.

My stomach was starting to get a little upset and I thought, we are still two days away from our race, this can’t be pre-race jitters. So I toughed it through the night with some chills and other discomforts, and my brother was great in getting me something to drink and just being a caring, concerned person.

The next morning we woke up and the CSPA cats (actually volunteer instructors) were heading to Lazy Cats a local resurant in Downtown SLO, that has good breakfest and cat themed decour.

Everybody was getting the breakfast specials with plenty of food, good chunks of bacon and hash browns at affordable prices. I was stilling hunched over from the night before so I stuck with a small fruit cup and a water.

Throughout breakfast we got to decribe how the Running Brothers came about and the success we have had thanks to our Heros. One of our family friend and heros, Fred Schoemehl (editor of the Tombstone Epitaph), began asking us questions about the triathalon. We quickly realized we may be in over our heads.

We didn’t know where or when to check in, what the course was going to be like or even where it went. Maybe we were overly coinfident and didn’t bother to do our research but I like to think its because we have been very busy for the past several weeks. Zeb has started a new company with our Sister and I have, well…. just been busy.

Immediatly after breakfast we decided we needed to get serious. So we had a lesuirly strolled around downtown looking for a place to buy new swimming goggles and then we would figure out how to check in for the event.

The old Copeland Sports which had two locations in downtown SLO is not a Sports Authority with a very wide selection of swimming googles. We picked the $9.99 pair and we were on on our way.

Now, off to check in. Well…. my stomach was hurting and I needed to rest especially if we were going to be racing tomorrow. My brother and sister took me back to our room and hit my bed like a sack a potatoes.

I feel like I am person that never quits, I sometimes don’t give it my best effort, but I never quit. I was really looking forward to this race because I thought I would have a chance at beating Zeb. I have steady lost weight, I am playing Racquetball weekly and I generally felt pretty fit.

So now, I am not feeling that great and our race is in less than 24 hours. So I resort my mind to just giving enough effort to finish and I would beat Zeb on another day.

Jul 282011

We have been gaining some popularity and followers along with a little coinfidence so we thought we would go to our first out of town event. The San Luis Obispo Triathalon. This event sounded exciting, it was a modest sprint triathalon, it was a staggered start because everybody started in a Pool at the SLO swimcenter, the bike took the racers on to Orcutt Road which we were told is a country road with near the busy San Luis Downtown and the run was arround local streets infront of French Hospital and other neat San Luis sites to Sinsheimer Park Baseball Stadium.

The event was held last Sunday on July24 and we were excited. This was our first normal triathalon (the Race at the Base was a backward sprint triathalon) so we were interested to see how we would do with the swim (our worst event) being first.

 The friday before I got of work, meet my brother and we packed his truck with our bikes, helmets and other gear and started on the scenic 4 hour drive out of LA and up the Pacific Coast Highway.

As a family we used to make this trip every year to visit my Dad who runs the CSPA workshop our of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and other family members who live in the city. SLO is also where we started our training program only a few months ago.

So to find out if SLO was slow,  fast, or other to us… stay tuned….