May 212011

Rocky completed his run one hour after I did.  He did an awesome job considering that he was sick.  He said that he made it to around mile 16 before he began walking and eventually crossed the finish line.  All of our supporters were there cheering Rocky on.  When I told my supporters when I planned on finishing the marathon, I had told them that I thought it would be around 4 hours.  I also told them to get there early because I knew they wouldn’t want to miss me when I crossed the finish line.

Basically, I made them all wait for an extra hour and a half before I finished.  But, I did finish and surprisingly, everyone had a great time cheering us on. 

After the race, my brother and I could hardly walk, but we all decided to go to Red Robin for some food.  We hobbled into Red Robin and had a terrific meal with some of our most favorite heroes.  The food was amazing, but my knees were killing me and my crotch was on fire.  I wore boxers for my first marathon and I’m assuming that was the reason for the uncomfortability I was experiencing in my genitalia. 

Upon inspection my body, I found two things for concern:

  1. So much chaffing had gone on between my legs that I was bleeding.
  2. I had blood blisters that are actually still on both of my feet.  They are hiding underneath my callouses.

In the days following the race, my knees gave me problems for 3 to 4 days and for some reason, the top of my left foot caused me a lot of pain when I walked on it for the next two weeks or so after the race. 

As of writing this, it has been two weeks since the end of our first marathon and I think I have fully healed with the exception of the blood blisters on both of my feet.  My brother and I have decided on our next event, a sprint triathalon in San Luis Obispo towards the end of July, since we will be up there for the California Scholastic Press Association’s 60th Anniversary celebration. 

As for our next marathon, I haven’t talked it over with my brother yet, but the Long Beach marathon in October sounds like a good one to get involved with.  We will keep you informed.

May 202011

After my first step into the second half of the marathon, I had run further than I ever had before and, immediately upon crossing the half-way point was an enormous hill.  I mentioned earlier that I had developed a strategy to my running.  It was to walk up hills and to walk and make sure to get enough water at the water stations.  After beginning to walk up the hill I began to feel some immense itching going on downstairs, something that I had never experienced before.  And man, it hurt.  

After making it over the crest of the hill, I got back into jogging.  The searing pain in my crotch region distracted me from the pain that I was feeling in my knees so it was a rather unpleasant, but fortunate distraction.  I kept up my jog and was going strong, still stopping at the water stations to grab a drink of water and actually being able to carry on a few conversation with one runner who was from Chino Hills as well.  We ran alongside each other for at least a mile or so until I broke away from her.  

 One of our Twitter followers predicted that I would “hit the wall” at mile 18 or 19 . . . I hate psychics!  She predicted correctly that my running ended at mile 19.  I tried to run after the water station at mile 19, but my knees wouldn’t let me.  I simply could not run.  I was not winded or tired, but my legs gave out on me.  I ended up walking the last 7 miles. 

Two more complaints I had about the Orange County Marathon were:

  1. The longest stretch without a water station was immediately after mile 19 . . . probably one of the spots where the most water is needed.  They should have had one more water station there.
  2. They had a band playing music, which was cool, but I think it was live band karaoke, because some out-of-tune kid was singing Blink 182’s Damnit.  Not that I’m an amazing karaoker myself, but having to listen to his screeching was not something that I needed to here as I’m trying my hardest to complete my first marathon.
  3. I decided to myself that once I saw the finish line, I would try my hardest to run across it, mostly to impress those that had come to see us.  Some jackass at the end of the race was yelling, “You’re almost there, just 200 more yards.” I broke myself into a slow and steady jog, which was amazingly difficult at the time, only to find out that the finish line was not anywhere near where I was.  I had exherted all of my energy prior to the finish line.

When I came down the final straight-away, I saw my Mom waving her hands and cheering me on and this is when I broke into my jog.  As I ran down that final straight-away, I waved to all of those who came to support me and my brother, Mom, Dad, Lacey, Cindy, Jacklyn, Danielle, Claudia, and Dusty.  We had some amazing support and I tried my hardest to run across that finish line and I did, barely passing my 80 year old competitor at the last possible minute.  I had completed my first marathon in a little over 5 and a half hours.

May 182011

I was heading toward the OC Fairgrounds by mile 24 and it felt good. I was still trying to do the math, was I gonna make it by the 7 hour time limit? My brain was not cooperating and I resorted to counting on my fingers which were pretty fat by this point from all the sweeling. About the 100th time I tried to do the math I was gonna be 30 minutes short. Then on the 101st time I did the math I was going to finish with 30 minutes to spare.

Then I came to one of the final water stands and they were playing some great motiviatonal music: Journey, Eye of the Tiger. By this point I had walked for about 8 miles straight but the music found some energy in my legs. I managed to run for about 2 minutes and my calves started to cramp up again.

Now I was a mile away from the finish (walking) but I knew I was gonna make it and knowing that made me feel great. It didn’t make my legs feel better but I had a smile, at least I think I did. Then I saw one of our supporters, Dusty, walking out of an adjacent parking lot. Dusty started to walk with me and it was great to have someone to talk to.

He really underestimated the distance to the next streetlight but it was nice to have someone to chat with. I crossed the final street and was heading into the OC fairgrounds, only a quarter mile to go. Then I saw the metal gates to separate the runners from the spectators and the spectators started getting more dense. Then I saw a few limping runners with medals arround their necks. I WAS CLOSE!!! I looked arround with the group I was going to be finishing with and decided I wanted to have my own finishing moment at the finish line and saw a large gap infront of the group I was in. I started to get up on my toes and take a few running steps then I was actually running. After 10 miles of nearly nothing but walking I was running.

One final turn and my support crew was running along the finish shout with me cheering me on. They announced my name on the loud speaker, I raised my arms in pounded them to the sky with excitement. The final step across the line I HAD DONE IT!!! I finished my first marathon, under the time limit, with a cold, in new shoes and on some pretty woobly legs.

I had ran and walked for 26.2 miles and now I could barely walk to see all of our support crew. My legs were toast. Our athletic trainer was on top of it and had plenty of ice for all our aches and pains. Zeb meet me at the end of shout. We both had our medals, body aches, and a great sense of accomplishment. Zeb finished nearly and hour ahead of me, he just keeps impressing me and he has a bunch more planned for his running career.

It was an incredibly experience and I made it to my goal but I think I have some more goals. Like improving my time, walking less and beating my brother next time. I guess we just have to see where we will end up.

May 172011

The next several miles were through business and industrial parks and it was a definently quite a contrast from the first 10 miles.

Coming in to mile 16 to the South Coast Plaza I had started to walk and my calves were starting to cramp. When I started walking I started to try to do the math. If I did make it to the finish line, would I make it in time? The course was shutting down in 7 hours. Based on my math and my walking pace, I was going to be cutting it close.

Then I saw our support crew again. They could tell I was struggling but they were great. Danielle was ready to massage out any cramps if I needed it and the rest were fully of encouragement. I couldn’t stop because I already did the math and I didn’t have any time to waste. 

As my calfes wouldn’t cooperate I decided I was walking the rest of the course and I tried to walk with a brisk pace but I was getting paced like crazy by other walkers. I just keep turning my legs and drinking at every water stop.

By mile 20 we were heading on to the Santa Ana River Trail. Zeb and I rode the bike trail a few months before. Let me tell you, walking the trail takes alot longer than biking it, especially when you walking miles 20 to 24 of a marathon. The sun was beating down on us, my nipples and other areas were chaeffing pretty bad, but I kept moving my legs.

The turn off the Santa Ana River Trail through fairview Park was sweet relief. Every step from that point on was actually straight toward to finish line and relief.

May 162011

The countdown was over and we were walking to the startline. As we crossed over the automatic timing sensor we were taking our first step toward one of my major goals. The course started at Fashion Island and quickly headed down across PCH and down to Corona Del Mar. The views were spectacular, several runners stopped for pictures, I was just trying to keep up with Zeb. My cold was getting to me but my legs were turning.

The course lead us though some of the most expensive neighborhoods in California. The residents came out and cheered it on. It was about 7:00, they were still in their robes and we 4 miles into our race. Zeb had started to pull away from me and was well on his way to finishing his first marathon, I however was debating the desicion I would have to make at mile 12, to turn in toward the OC fairgrounds with the half marathoners or go straight with the full marathoners and see how far my body could take me.

By mile 5 we ran into our support crew, Jaclyn and Danielle were cheering us on with smiles and they let me know that Zeb wasn’t too far ahead, yet. After running through the Backbay, and ecological preserve, we encoutered our support crew again, this time it was a little larger, our parents and sister made it out and were cheering us on.

We were coming up to mile 11 and our support crew were out again and I had made my decision I was heading in with the half marathoners and attempt my marathon another day when my body cooperated a little more. At 11.75 miles the crowd started to get a little more dense and they were coming out with some great signs, very creative and I got some good chuckles from them.

I was with a large group of half marathoners and thought I could slide under the rader and turn in with them. I was about 200 feet away from the turn and I saw the race officials directing the half marathoners to turn, then 100 feet and I started to get a little nervous like I was cheating or something. then 20 feet from the turn and an official points me out and says “marathoners go straight.” I guess I wasn’t fully coinfident about my previous decision, and I went straight. With every step I was getting farther from the OC Fairgrounds but I was doing it.

May 152011

Like Zeb said we had to get up super early to get there in time for the 6:00 start. I like to get to these things early so I can hit the restrooms before the crowds and try to relax a bit. So I was up at 3:30 packing a small bag of pre-race supplies (waters, fig newtons, sun screen, bandaids and mole skin). I mole skinned my feet in all the places I usually get blisters and it paid off. After packing my bag and joing our personal driver (Jaclyn) it was off to pick up our athletic trainer (Danielle). They were the best support crew.

Driving to the race was a fun experience. We were anquious and excited, I think this is when Zeb realized I had a pretty good cold working, I was determined to at least start the race with him and then when he was out of sight I would slow down and see how long I could last.

We got to the start line and meet some really cool people. We headed to the restroom facilities which were crowed andthen to the start line  trying to find people that looked like runners and stand next to them for the start.

This was our first race with a waved start and it was a little different. The really good runners started at 6:00 on the dot and crowd started to do the bunch up thing and push toward the start line. Several minutes later they announced it was about our time. Zeb and I high fived and wished each other luck. I was a nice feeling that we were doing this together. I knew Zeb was gonna do great I just hoped I wouldn’t have to call our support crew for a ride somewhere on the course.

May 132011

By now you have read a lot about the Orange County Marathon from my brothers. I thought I would describe some of my experiences that were slightly different than my brothers. We registered for the race several months ago but it really didn’t feel like we were going to run a marathon until about a 2 weeks before the race.

Our training really fell off in the month leading to the marathon (we called it peaking). So with two weeks to go I felt everything really had to go perfectly for us to have a chance of finishing.  With 12 days to go I decided I should try to get miles on my new Sacony’s to make sure my feet fit them. A lot of people say getting new shoes before a big race is a mistake but I really felt like it helped us out. My old running shoes felt flat and unresponsive and I really felt a difference in the new shoes.

The weekend before the race I started a yard irrigation project (digging trenches, installing irrigation pipe and that kind of stuff). I finished the project but the next day i could bearly move my back, I pulled something in my shoulder. My body can usually recover from anything in about 3 to 4 days so I wasn’t too worried that it would affect the marathon but it did disturb my sleep.

So about 3 days later my back started to feel better just like I knew it would but I had another problem. I started to feel my throat getting sore and my nose started to run. I caught some sort of cold and I only had 3 days to tell the marathon. We already made our mind up that we were gonna do this marathon and we paid the entry fee. Backing out did cross my mind because I was feeling pretty crappy because I didn’t want ruin the day for my brother. We were in this together and I was gonna atleast start the race with him.

I was still feeling pretty bad the Friday and Zeb was on a little get-away and we needed to pick up our race packets. Other than crossing the finish line I think those pre-race exhibits are the funniest part of the whole race experience, everyone is excited, friendly and helpful, you also get all kinds of cool freebies.

I picked up race numbers which had our team name (runningbros)… pretty sweet!!! After picking up the race packets and mooseing arround the exhibit hall I decided I was near Newport Harbor and I might put my resently obtained sailing certification to the test. I drove down to Newport Beach Boat Rentals where they had a nice 14`Capri sailboat. Sailing in Newport Harbor was a little complicated because it was pretty narrow but checking out those water front houses was pretty cool. It was nice and relaxing, although I still had that pesky cold thing.

I also got to see one of the coolest boats ever…. the Vigrin Oceanic Catamaran.  I have heard about Richard Branson doing some pretty cool things like the Space X prise for private space flights but the Virgin Oceanic mission also seems pretty cool. If you space/exporation junky check out the link to read Virgin Oceanic mission to explore the deepest parts of our oceans.

May 112011

Many people had given me tips on how to run a marathon.  Many of our heroes provided comments on and others did so on Facebook.  My Dad even had a few pointers to share with us after talking to some of his running friends, including our fourth hero, Greg Hardesty.  In response, I developed a game plan as to how I was going to conquer the Orange County Marathon. 

  • The first part of my plan was to run extremely slow.  In the gym, I frequently run under 8 minute miles on a treadmill, and recently, even a few under 6 minutes, but they are all in 1 or 2 mile bursts.  I decided not to worry about my time and just run at a consistently slow and steady pace.
  • My second strategy was to stop at every water station along the way and relax when I grabbed some water or gatorade.
  • My third strategy was to take ibuprofen before, during and after the race.

I ran slowly with my brother at the start of the race, talking to him along the way and after a few minutes of blabbering on to him, I could tell that he was struggling already, most likely because he was sick.  A couple of times he did mention that he wasn’t feeling well and we were only on mile 1.  I stopped talking, thinking that he was exerting energy just listening to me and just set my own pace.  He kept with me for about 2 miles until we made it to the first water station. 

For the most part, the Orange County Marathon was well planned, but I did have two complaints and the first complaint was at the first water station.  At the first water station they only had two tables with a handful of staff pouring water for the runners.  At the beginning of the race, thousands of runners are coming through that point and most were stopping for water, it took several minutes until we made our way to the front of the line to get water. 

From there, I began to pull away from my brother.  The second watering station was a little more organized although not much more and upon leaving I saw my brother coming down to the hill.  I waved to him as I finished drinking my water and continued on my run.  That was the last time I would see my brother until the end of the race.

Before the race I did all kinds of stretching, especially on my knee, but for whatever reason it took a long time for me to get warmed up on my run.  My calf muscles and the muscles that went up and down my shin were extremely tight.  I actually don’t think I warmed up until about the 5th or 6th mile, but once I reached that point, it was smooth sailing . . . at least for a while.

The race weaved in and out of residential communties and briefly along the beach which was pretty cool.  We had many supporters who came out to cheer us on.  At around the 5 mile mark (I’m guessing), my brother’s girlfriend, Jacklyn and her sister, Danielle cheered me on and took pictures . . . it sure was nice to see some friendly faces.  At the 9-mile mark, Jacklyn, Danielle, my Mom, my Dad, and my sister, Lacey were there to show their support and take some high quality photos. 

Zeb High-Fiving Dad at The Orange County Marathon

At the 11th mile is where the half-marathoners split off from the full-marathoners.  I did not realize how many more people were doing the half-marathon than the full.  When I crossed that threshold, it seemed like much more than half of the people made the turn to complete their half-marathon.  The halfway point was marked with a large blow-up gateway type thing along with some inspirational music.  I was half-way done with my marathon and with one step into the second half of the marathon had run farther than I had ever run before.

May 092011

My brother picked me up at 4:30 AM Sunday morning.  Yes, you read correctly 4:30 AM.  Luckily, we were being dropped off by my brothers girlfriend, Jacklyn otherwise we would have had to arrive in Orange County at that time.  Which would have meant being picked up before 4 AM.  Typically, I don’t wake up before 9 AM. 

I couldn’t sleep the night before, which is usually the case when I have something important planned and need as much sleep as possible.  For some reason I get this overwhelming sense of anxiety and can’t sleep the night’s when I need the most sleep, although, I did get 3 hours of sleep which is better than usual. 

Jacklyn and her sister, Danielle, our personal athletic trainer drove us to Fashion Island in Orange County and dropped us off shortly after 5 AM on Sunday morning.  Thousands of people were making their way towards the start line of the race and we followed along side them.  We made sure to hydrate before the race and drank a couple bottles of water, and with the drinking of water came the need to urinate.  It looks like many others had the same idea of hydration because the lines for the toilets were LONG.  Fortunately, the organizers of the Orange County Marathon had the forsight to order a ton of port-o-potties so we were able to find one with a small line and did our business.

We then made our way to the start line.  The Marathon was scheduled to start in waves and according to our paper work, we were placed in wave two.  When we looked at the signs strewn around the marathoners; however, we soon realized that there was no wave 2.  The actual waves were broken down into letter, A, B can C as far as we could tell so we jumped in with the B’s. 

Our bib numbers were pretty sweet as everyone who was running the race and spectators alike commented on our good fortune.  Mine was 2222 and my brothers was 2221.  Also, when we signed up for the race we were allowed to sign up as a team, so, my brother signed us up as The Running Brothers which was largely displayed on our bib numbers.

I was very active Twittering in the days just before the race and one person actually recognized us from our tweets, which was very cool.  He introduced himself as Cory and asked which one of us was training for the Ironman.  Unfortunately, I forgot to ask what his Twitter name was so we could be sure that we connected with him after the race, so Cory, if you’re reading this . . . let us know.

One last thing I need to mention was that my poor brother came down ill in the days preceding our marathon and was not looking good on the day we ran the marath0n.  It was awful timing to be sick on that day and I totally would have understood if he didn’t want to even attempt the race, because in all honesty, he looked terrible.  But, being the trooper my brother is, he attempted to run the race anyways.  Not only that, but he never made any excuses and secretly I think he even was trying not to let me know that he was sick.  Running a marathon is hard enough, but doing it while sick and running in 80+ degree temperatures . . . now that’s what I call guts. 

The first wave went off around 6 O’Clock and the second wave began around 15 minutes later.  Just before we were about to begin my brother turned to me and said, “I’m not sure this is such a good idea.”

I looked back and him and smiled . . . I knew he was right.

Zeb Running at The Orange County Marathon

May 062011

I think it’s important to establish exactly how I prepared for the Orange County Marathon, so that in the future I know exactly what not to do. My whole plan in training was that I was going to attack this marathon as a complete novice, knowing nothing about running and continue to do events until I learned a valuable lesson about training properly. Up to this point, my brother and I have completed a sprint triathalon and a half-marathon and we completed both with relative ease. In preparing for the marathon we made a variety of mistakes, take a look at the things we did prior to preparing for the race and see if you can offer up any suggestions for improvement.

  1. Most of my running was done at the gym on the treadmill or the elliptical.  I knew that I would have to practice doing street running, but every time I ran on the street I ran into problems with my knee.
  2. I ran about 15 miles per week up until about the middle of march and then I took some time off from running.  I wouldn’t say I got burnt out, but I would say that I lost motivation for a brief period of time. 
  3. I did run during April a few times trying to build up my endurance running in the street, but it was sporadic at best. 
  4. I forgot to eat dinner the night before the race. 
  5. For some reason, whenever I have some big event to do in the morning the next day, I have a tough time sleeping.  The night before the race, I fell asleep at 12:30 and woke up at 3:30 in the morning.  I don’t think 3 hours of sleep is too good the day before you run a marathon. 
  6. I did drink a lot of water the day before the race.
  7. I took some ibuprofen during the morning and during the race.  I heard that this was supposed to reduce swelling.
  8. We bought brand new running shoes and socks the week before the race.  We were told that was a bad idea.
  9. I did not have breakfast the morning of the race.
  10. We remembered to apply sunscreen before our race thank goodness.  Had we not that would have been disastrous.
  11. I wore boxers underneath my shorts.  I soon realized this was not the best idea.
  12. I did not do anything with my nipples prior to the race . . . led to bleeding nipples.  Ouch!
  13. We did bring some energizing food that we used during the race. I think the name of the type of food that I enjoyed the most was Shots, although I’m not sure if that’s what it’s called.  It’s basically energy food for runners.

I think that was it as far as our preparation for the race.  Please comment on things we did well and things that need improvement.  I know that my preparation for our next marathon needs to get better.  What are the best things we can do to improve our times and our capabilities for our next marathon?

Zeb High-Fiving Mom at The Orange County Marathon