Feb 102011

The gun just sounded and the crowd of over 600 runners bunched up. In my prerace preparation I looked at the course map and elevation chart and I knew the first half of the race would be the easier part of the race. The first three miles were a slow gradual downhill, what I did not know what that a lot of race was a trail run and trails creates a whole other set of issues.

Less than one mile into the race the entire field is funneled to a small almost unnoticable trail. The single wide trail resulted in a lot of bunching up and walking, which was fine by me because I knew there was a lot running left. As the trail opened up we were running 3 or 4 wide on a rocky dirt trail in the Arroyo Seco River Bed. 

Wec continued under a few bridges, one of the other runners said one bridge was haunted. At first, the Suicide Bridge is very pretty and architecturally very impressive. But as the name sounds there is more of a story. Starting in 1919 people starting comitting sucide by jumping from it. In the four year span of the Great Depression nearly 50 people lost there lives right there. It is kinda creepy knowing we ran right through there. Local Legend is that several ghost spirits haunt the bridge. I didn’t have a close encounter but maybe Zeb noticed some unusally activities.

Unknowingly, Zeb and I escaped the ghosts and hauntings to start the return back toward the Rose Bowl. The next 6 miles were gonna be uphill, according to the elevation chart.

Zeb decided to start running at his own pace and started to pull away. Before the race we decided that we would run at our own paces. I knew Zeb would be faster and I just hoped to stay close. Eventually our friend from the start line with the fancy GPS watch came up and I asked how are we doing on our pace, she replied 8:43. I know I start faster and slow down toward the end so 8:43 sounds about right.

By mile 5 we emerged from the trail and were back on streets. My feet, knees and ankles appreciated it. Our support crew was cheering for us as we passed by the Rose Bowl. I don’t care who are, seeing familar faces cheering for you will always put a little pep in your step.

It turns out that at that point I was only 2 minutes behind Zeb . I was doing pretty good up .

Stay tuned to hear about the second half and the post race.

Feb 092011

As you may have read from several of our previous posts, my brother, Rocky, scheduled a mystery challenge for me this past Sunday.  I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but knowing my brother, I knew that it would be good. 

Zeb at The Rose Bowl

I am, what some people would call, a night owl.  In order to prepare for this event, I decided that I would sleep very little the night before, so that I would be able to get a good nights sleep before this Mystery Challenge.  So, the night before I got 4 hours of sleep and I went to bed at 10 PM, the night before my Mystery Challenge, but going to bed and sleeping are two different things.  I did not fall asleep that night.  So, when my brother arrived at my house at 6 AM, I had not gotten an hour of sleep that night, and only 4 hours the night before.

When he came inside he furnished a gift . . . and it was . . . a T-shirt.  But, it wasn’t just any T-Shirt.  This T-shirt had a picture of our faces on the front and a picture of us running on the back.  Not only that, but safety-pinned to the front of the T-shirt were the numbers 642 and the words The Rose Bowl Half Marathon just above that.  My brother had entered us into the Rose Bowl Half Marathon.  It caught me completely by surprise and I was extremely excited.

We headed to the Rose Bowl with our brand new, kick-ass T-shirts for my very first Half Marathon . . .

Stay Tuned for Part #2

Feb 082011

I was looking forward to this past weekend for a long time. It was a three day weekend for me, it was Superbowl weekend, it was mystery challenge weekend for my brother, but I was most excited cause it was Rose Bowl Half Marathon for me.

With the Lacey Welborn designed shirts in hand I gave Zeb his shirt with bib number, 642, and revealed the mystery challenge. He was surprised and had a geniune look of excitement. I was releaved because he mentioned he wanted to skip the half and go straight to a full marathon but it worked with his planned training for the week.    

We left the house arround 6 am to get to the Rose Bowl before 7:15, which apparently was a little early. They close the roads for the race at 7:30 and they told me 1200 people were going to be racing, so I thought it would be conjested… it wasn’t. We arrived at 7:00 and I told Zeb of my pre-race rituals, since I am a seasoned half marathoner with 1 under my belt aready. The pre-race rituals included people watching, using the restroom before a line formed and drinking a gatorade.

People watching at these events is a whole lot of fun espesially before the race. The serious runners are running/warming up, the not serious runners are yawning and the in-between people like the running brothers are giddy but a little ackward. But everyone is social, friendly and unusally excited for 7:00 AM on a Sunday.

We were surprised by our parents, who showed up arround 7:30 with big smiles and awesome running brothers shirts. We spent a few minutes searching for a place to get them coffee which apparently didn’t exist. I guess runners don’t like a quick shot of gut-busting coffee before 13.1 miles.

We headed to the start line at about 7:50 just in time to hear a less soulful but much more acurate version of the Star Spangled Banner than Christina Aguileria version later that day. After hearing whispers about how cool our shirts were we ran into another nervous runner who wanted to chat. She was a Mom from South Pasadena training for the LA marathon and the Half fit right in with her training schedule. She had a Garmin GPS watch which had some pretty cool functions but very little battery.

Zeb and Rocky on The Starting Line of the Rose Bowl Half Marathon

So we know we were only seconds from the gun going off. I strectched out my calf one more time and looked arround to see the 1200 anticpated racers seemed much smaller and then with little warning…BANG… the race was on.

Stay tuned to hear about my race:  the first half, second half and post race. Zeb is also providing his step-by-step or if our knees could talk blow-by-blow account of day.

Feb 062011

Mystery Challenge =Rose Bowl Half Marathon

Zeb and Rocky at the Rose Bowl Half Marathon

Several weeks ago I saw the Rose Bowl was hosting a half marathon and I thought that would be a great stepping stone on my way to the marathon. Zeb has been left in the dark about this until I showed up at the house at 5:30 AM. I had to sneak arround to get Zeb registered but I got it all ready to go.

Stay tuned to see how we did? Are we gonna finish? Is Zeb gonna be pissed? Who is gonna win? Where are we gonna place in our divisions… in the whole race?

More to come……

Feb 062011

Today is the day for our Mystery Challenge.  Rocky put today in the works a long time ago and I’m really excited to see what he has in store for me.  I honestly have no idea what we are going to be doing, but if I had to guess, I am guessing that we’re going to be doing something in the mountains.  I know that my brother has done quite a few things associated with hiking, so I’m thinking that we’re going to run along some mountain trail.

At least, that’s what I thought.  Now, I’m changing my mind.  My brother came over yesterday morning to prepare for our outing tomorrow.  What could he possibly have to do to prepare?  Maybe it’s a scavenger hunt of some sort?  Or maybe he’s just psyching me out and making me wake up at 530 AM on Super Bowl Sunday, with no intentions of showing up.   Just kidding.  I know he wouldn’t do that . . . or would he?  I guess I’ll just have to wait . . . Stay Tuned for the outcome of Rocky’s Mystery Challenge.

Jan 062011

To put it simply running is just putting one foot in front of the other, over and over and over again. I know people get more out of it and that is what helps to push them to keep working out and maintain their fitness but everyone needs to change it up every once in a while. You can change it up by running with new people or in new places and I need that. So I think I have found an exciting oportunity to change it up and to keep the suspense for my brother I am telling him it is a mystery challenge for him.

So here is the deal for him. Be ready at 5:30AM (I think that is the time he goes to bed) on Febuary 6th, 2011. Here is a short list of things he will need: 1) Running Shoes & 2) Shorts. So be ready for a good work out in a new city,  some soreness and hopefully a good steping stone in our journey.

In the past I think my brother may have made fun of me if I told him what I have planned. I like that my brother is onboard for this fitness stuff, it really helps me in my goals.

One month to get ready!!! We will see if Zeb and I can do it.