Coaster Run 10k

2013/03/10 at 9:48 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, lifestyle change, Milestone, Motivation, Photos, weight loss, weight loss blog | Comments Off on Coaster Run 10k
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Years ago, Uncle Lou gave Anthony some pointers on how to swim and tread water.

When he saw that Anthony was having trouble with it, he dropped this piece of advice on him:

“A man can do whatever he wants.”

Naturally, he meant “whatever he wants” in terms of whatever he sets his mind to do. And while this was my first 10k, his words resonated during the entire run and helped me pull through.

The sold-out race started around 7:30 am with waves of runners leaving every minute and with me being in the 7th wave, it took some time to cross the starting line. But once I got going, I never looked back and the first half breezed by fairly quickly.

I continued and at about Mile 4, I slowed a bit to take some sips of water from the bottles on my hydration belt. I would only take a few two more breaks, one for each remaining mile. By the time I turned the corner and saw the Mile 6 sign, I was pumped.

I crossed the finish line with as much steam as I had in me and, once crossed, was handed my medal and immediately started to sob. It was pretty emotional not only for it being my first 10k but also for the fact that I dedicated the run and medal to Uncle Lou. It seems his words my guidance as I continued to run at a pace that was no doubt one of my best to date even if I dropped a few seconds from miles 4 through 6. The official results:

  • Gun – 1:15:14.5
  • Chip – 1:05:48.5
  • Pace – 10:37

All in all it was fantastic run to be a part of and I look forward to 2014’s event. But the one thing I won’t look forward to is this: bandits.

For those who don’t know, a bandit is someone — not considered a true runner by other runners — who sneaks into an event without paying but reaps the benefits by getting a medal. Keep in mind that running events take a lot of time to put together and benefit a variety of organizations. A bandit is a low-life who not only cheats a paying runner out of their medal but also the beneficiary out of their money. It’s a lose-lose for all involved. Just imagine if your kid finished their first 5k and, thanks to a handful of bandits, all of the medals were gone.

In other words, a thief. Not cool.

But it seems that there were a lot of them at this popular event and one of them even bragged about it on her Instagram feed.

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This was posted on the Coaster Run’s Facebook page. Looks like user celisshy isn’t all that shy if she is brash enough to bandit this run then go about bragging about it on Instagram — and tag it #coasterrun. Many runners began to criticize her and, curiously, her feed was soon made private. I hope she felt the guilt of it all, especially knowing she cheated kids out of their medals. The good thing is that the organizers have promised to give medals to those who didn’t get them as soon as they have more made.

Anyhow, I did take some pictures and they can be seen below in what is my first WordPress album ever! Note that these are a combination of photos from my phone, Ann’s phone and Anthony’s Samsung Tab.

And as for Uncle Lou’s words, yes, he was absolutely right. A man can do whatever he wants 🙂

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2013 Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride

2013/02/25 at 9:46 pm | Posted in Blog Stuffs, Discipline, Life, lifestyle change, Motivation, Photos, weight loss, weight loss blog | Comments Off on 2013 Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride
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So how did my Saturday go, you ask?

I woke up at 4:30 am, took a shower, got dressed, had a little breakfast, put the bike on the bike rack, hopped on the train, got to Chinatown, rode my bike almost 30 miles…and by the time I got home, it was nearly 3 pm. I was exhausted.

Anyway, here’s the day in pictures since I’m pooped. I am having trouble uploading the video of me lighting the firecrackers but when I can do it, I will post it. I had a great time doing that and riding today.

UPDATE: The video is up! Scroll to bottom of post.

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Union Station is incredibly awesome. So many movies, shows and commercials were filmed here.

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Chinatown

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Waiting for the event. I got there way early.

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My bike.

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Firefighter giving us tips on lighting. We had to wear helmets and goggles and when the firecrackers went off, even where we were standing, the debris was hitting us. We also had an option to wear earplugs which I did.

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Near the top of one of the many hills we had to climb. Believe me, this was just the beginning!

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Dodger Stadium, still looking as great as ever (even under construction).

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Pit Stops were set up every 10 miles with goodies like this.

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Warner Bros. Studios Gate 2. I worked here when I was on The Whole Truth.

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Roy E. Disney Animation Building.

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Walt Disney Studios. I worked there when I was on No Ordinary Family.

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River sans bike trail. We rode along another river.

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With my medal. It was pretty small. Here’s a better view.

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I don’t drink beer but I thought I’d try. And to this day, I don’t know what compels people to drink that garbage. It’s awful stuff (but was free to all riders after the tour).

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Even got a free meal afterward. And Chinese food in Chinatown? Nothing compares.

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All in all, it was a beautiful day and a great event with awesome volunteers. Thanks to all of them, the organizers, and to the LAPD for keeping traffic in check while we rode along.

And seeing Los Angeles and its surrounding areas by bike? It’s just amazing as the pictures show. Being on a bike gave me a better idea of how big Griffith Park really is since we rode through and around it at times. The first 5 miles of this course were uphill and hearing into Griffith Park — and they were killers! That’s why I was happy to see the two rest stops at Mile 10 and Mile 20. They provided much needed nourishment for the ride, a very demanding ride at that. Riders were treated to peanut butter, energy gels, trail mix, Gatorade, fruit, etc. and it was all we could consume.

The Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride was one of the most fun, well-run events I’ve done. It’s very close to Long Beach in terms of organization, helpful volunteers, etc. And even with few street closures, I was amazed at how well-behaved L.A. drivers were that day. It just made the day that much more brighter.

If you’re interested in my stats, then here they are via Sports Tracker app.

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UPDATE: Here’s the video!

2012 Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour

2012/10/09 at 7:59 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, Health, Inspiration, lifestyle change, Motivation, Photos, Victory, weight loss, weight loss blog | Comments Off on 2012 Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour
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CAM01752Under normal circumstances, getting me to wake up at any unreasonable hour of the morning usually requires tons of pestering by anything or anybody. That or it takes being cajoled with the promise of donut holes for breakfast.

But there is one day of the year when waking up at 3:30 am is not only easy, it’s a welcomed change.

And rising long before the sun is exactly what I did on Sunday morning when I participated in the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour, my third year in a row of doing so. Not only did I wake up before my alarm went off, I was ready to go even before then. That’s how much I enjoy this 26.2 mile ride around the city.

To give you an idea, here’s how my day was planned:

  • 3:30 am: Wake up and have some breakfast
  • 4:00 am: Strap bike to rack, drive to train station
  • 4:30 am: Take train to downtown Long Beach
  • 5:00 am: Arrive at last stop, walk/ride to venue
  • 6:00 am: Start of Bike Tour

With the exception of catching the train at 4:30 (it was later than that), that’s pretty much how it all went down. Well, and the delayed start of the tour which was around 6:20 am. No big deal.

After arriving and roaming around a bit I found my place at the starting line and at that point it was still pretty empty. This was one of the first shots I took with my phone, looking toward the starting gate.

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Here’s one I took in the same direction shortly before we started…

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…and looking behind me.

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From what I had heard, there were over 2,600 participants riding the streets this year and as you can tell, it sure seemed like it! Helmets and lights as far as the eye could see. It was amazing.

Long story short, the tour of the city was just how I remembered it the two previous years but I seem to be forgetting about those inclines. I believe that’s why my time was about 5 minutes slower than last year’s total. That or I’m just getting older and the muscles are telling me “NO!” But in the end, I did finish in one piece and earned yet another medal for the wall.

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This year’s tour, however, seemed to take on a new meaning than the previous years.

As you know, the main reasons I continue to do these events is to stay in shape, prove to myself I can, and remind myself to never be the way I used to be: 300 pounds and lazy.

And as some readers may know, my connection with Dad remains strong despite his passing in 1976. If anything, the one thing I remember about Dad is his constant need to keep me happy and smiling, something these events also do. As a result, at the end of each one when I get my medal, I give it a quick kiss and silently dedicate it to Dad because I know he would be proud to see me finish – and smiling.

This year really emphasized that.

At the Health Expo the day before the event, and for the first time that I can recall since doing the tour, the folks at JetBlue had a banner on which runners, family members, etc. could write their notes of encouragement or in some cases political messages (look closely for “OBAMA 2012”). The sign, reading “1 MORE MILE – You’re nonstoppable” was to be placed at, of course, Mile 25.2.

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My message was simple. I found one of the few places left on the banner and wrote what my heart told me to.

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And when I saw that banner at Mile 25.2 it was as if Dad was standing right there cheering for me. It was all I needed to push myself through the final mile since I seemed to have difficulty with the previous 5 or so (cramping mainly).

When I walked across the finish line – cyclists must dismount before doing so – and toward the volunteer who handed me my medal, my eyes were starting to well up. I knew Dad was there more than previous tours. I thanked the volunteer for my medal, glanced at it for a second, gave the medal a little peck then thrust it skyward and said, “For you, Dad.”

Somewhere I know he’s smiling back at me.

With the sentimental stuff out of the way, let’s move on to a few not-so-serious memories from the event and Health Expo.

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It’s not uncommon for people to wear costumes to these events but take a look at this guy dressed in a Robin costume. I saw him before the bike tour outside the Health Expo. I hope he finds Batman.

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The mural covering the Long Beach Convention Center was done by famed artist Robert Wyland in 1992.

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The VW display had these blank bibs in which you could write a message. I chose to inspire people and get some free advertising at the same time.

Also at the VW display was a photo booth that was powered by two stationary bikes connected to generators. Pretty cool. The problem was that when we entered the booth, I soon realized that Anthony was too short and couldn’t be seen by the camera. I had to lift him a little bit to get him in the picture.

Unfortunately that didn’t work, either.

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I wasn’t aware that there would be this giant ad at the bottom and the monitor inside the booth does not compensate for that so all you see is his forehead. Kind of reminds me of that scene from Sixteen Candles.

Fortunately, the booth was moved outside for the marathon and bike tour so I was able to get at least one good shot emailed to me.

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After that, I relaxed and cheered on the runners for a bit.

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All in all, another excellent day in Shoreline Village and beyond. So will I return for my fourth tour in 2013? You bet I will. And this time I will be coming home with two medals.

That’s right. For 2013’s event, I have decided to ride in the Bike Tour and run the Forrest Gump “Run Forrest Run” 5k which takes place at 8:30 am, just enough time to transition out of cycling mode and into running. It’ll be a kind of duathlon which is something I’ve been wanting to try. So watch out. Next year I will be wearing two bibs and ready for more action.

The 2012 Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour was once again memorable and continues to be one of the most organized events I’ve done. From registration to finish line it cannot be easier and before I forget, I have to take a moment to thank the volunteers. If not for them, this event would simply not take place. They do an amazing job and give up a lot of their personal time in the process so they need to be recognized, which I did plenty of along the way by pointing, clapping and thanking them as I passed them.

Thanks a million to all volunteers. You rocked!

Another special thanks to all of the spectators along the route who had their cowbells, signs and from what I heard, donut holes for runners. They are also some of the event’s unsung heroes because what they do is important if you are struggling mentally or physically.

As one sign read, “Pain is temporary. Pride is forever.”

Indeed it is. See you in 2013, Long Beach!

OC Fair 5k Fun Run

2012/08/06 at 9:24 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, Health, Inspiration, Life, lifestyle change, Motivation, Photos, weight loss, weight loss blog | Comments Off on OC Fair 5k Fun Run
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On Sunday I ran in the Orange County Fair 5k Fun Run, the first time I’d participated in the event. I had honestly forgotten about this one until I saw it being advertised in an email I got from Active.com so I figured I might as well go for it.

Much like the WetNWild 5k, this is more than your standard 5k. The route winds through the OC Fair and you have a choice of running straight through the course or, as was my case, decide to take several “Detours of Fun” along the way. I’ll get into those as you scroll through the pictures.

Speaking of pictures, here we go.

Here is the pile of finisher’s medals being prepped at the start/finish line.

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The start/finish line. I was back about halfway so that I could pace myself and not get in the way of anybody who wanted to pass me. And I was actually shocked at how many, um, thinner runners I managed to pass after the first mile.

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Here was one of the Detours of Fun: the Euroslide.

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And here’s a video from my POV sliding down it!

Did you notice the stuffed animal at my feet? No, it wasn’t a good luck charm that I carry with me to each 5k. It was a prize I won at another Detour of Fun in which runners were given two baseballs to break at least one plate. I managed to break two but we were only allowed one prize. (I couldn’t have done that if I paid!) I ran by Ann and Anthony during the run where I gave my prize to him, gave him a hug and a kiss, and kept on running. He named him OC5k.

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Another detour was at the Pacific Amphitheater. Here is the backstage VIP area.

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Nothing fancy, right? Well, they also let you go onto the stage. Here’s what it looks like to perform in front of…a bunch of empty seats.

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While onstage, you could have your picture taken as you live out your rock-and-roll fantasy by standing in front of a mic with a bass – back to the crowd, strangely. It’s worth noting that The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” was playing in the background as my photo was taken and I yelled, “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!”

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And, of course, my efforts were rewarded in the end. Here’s me, now goatee-free if you hadn’t noticed yet, with my finisher’s medal.

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A better shot of the medal.

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Oh, then there’s my not-so-magnificent time below. I can explain. The time you see is the total time that included my lollygagging with all of the Detours of Fun.

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But this is why I use the Sports Tracker app. I stopped it at all Detours and started it when I was finished. According to the app, my total time over 3.16 miles was 34:03 which is much more like my average pace. Click image below to enlarge.

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Afterward, we all sat around and waited for the Fair to open. Thinking we had to exit and come back in, we were told that we could just sit tight where we were and partake in the Fair once it opened. So that’s exactly what we did. Granted, we could have gotten in for $2 per person and I got a ticket as part of my goodie bag, but free is good. I ended up giving my ticket to a mom who was bringing her kids in as we were leaving.

And yes, Fair silliness ensued.

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That’s a totally big cow.

All in all it was a fantastic day for a run and some fun in the sun.

Next run on the list: Awesome ‘80s 5K/10k on September 1, 2012. I’m looking forward to seeing some awful ‘80s fashions at that one since runners are encouraged to dress the part.

And yes, my outfit is almost complete. You will see it in less than a month…

Running the Streets of Hollywood

2012/04/08 at 7:36 pm | Posted in Exercise, Health, Inspiration, Life, lifestyle change, Motivation, Photos, weight loss, weight loss blog | 2 Comments
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I’m pretty sure my Facebook friends are tired of hearing about it with all the stuff I’ve posted there, so here’s the last time they will see anything about it – until next year, at least.

I had the pleasure of running a 5k in that ran along the streets of Hollywood, CA. Well, down Hollywood Boulevard and back at least.

The inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon and 5k/10k took place this Saturday and despite its problems (as I will detail later), it was a great time. How often is it that you can run down Hollywood Boulevard with thousands of others and not be a part of a mob of angry citizens up in arms about [insert source of frustration here]?

But as I said, there were some issues that were outlined by some runners later, including:

Parking: Not an issue for me because I rode the MTA trains to the venue and to Universal City Hilton to pick up my bib and timing chip on Friday. Once there, though, I witnessed what other participants would later complain about: traffic going in and coming out of the hotel was disastrous. Not only that, even if you took the train to the hotel, you had to walk up a massive hill to get there. And I heard that finding a spot was next to impossible and leaving the hotel as well as the event itself was almost impossible. Again, I thank [insert appropriate deity here] for the MTA.

Cups: Again, this was an issue that I hadn’t dealt with personally but read about on Hollywood Half’s Facebook page. Apparently there was a serious lack of cups along the half marathon route which did not sit well with many. Being I ran the 5k, I didn’t have the need to hydrate as often as the half-marathoners so I didn’t even notice the problem. Water was handed out at the end of the run as were bagels and bananas.

No Electrolytes: Lack of what your body needs during a long run was also a strike against the organizers of the event. Again, not an issue for the 5k runners. In fact many of them reported no complaints about the event.

All in all, I did have a great time and even set a new personal record for a 5k:

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Is it the best? Of course not, but it’s my best and that’s all that matters to the guy who used to be 300 pounds. For comparison, here’s what I logged on Fitness Tracker.

Honestly, the way I finished, I’m considering a 10k later this year.

Like all inaugural events, it was a learning experience for the organizers to improve upon for next year’s event which I am already looking forward to.

And by then, who knows? I might be running in the half marathon.

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For more pictures from the event, click here.

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