In Response to Chad Stafko’s “Get Over It” Diatribe

2013/11/14 at 11:00 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, Health, Inspiration, Life, lifestyle change, Running, weight loss, weight loss blog | 2 Comments
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A few days ago, Chad Stafko wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal entitled “OK, You’re A Runner. Get Over It” and since then, runners from all over the world have chimed in on what Stafko had to say, much less wonder what the act of running had to do with WSJ.

If you don’t want to read the article, he basically doesn’t get why runners insist on “patting themselves on the back” by showing the world what they’ve done. This can be in the form of wearing a shirt from a recently run event or, in some cases, a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on their car. He only quotes those two because 70.3 or 140.6 probably would have blown his mind.

But that’s the extent of belittling I’ll do here. In fact I probably shouldn’t have even gone that far because running is something not everybody “gets” and Stafko definitely falls into that category despite how many running friends he says he has.

I’ll quote one part of his article, prove my point, and the game will be over. It really will be that simple.

Why would someone want to get up at 5 a.m. and run 10 miles adorned with fluorescent tape to avoid being struck by someone who has the good sense to use a car for a 10-mile journey?

Easy. Because I can guarantee that this dad (2004)…

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…had a better chance of dying from something health-related than this dad (2013)…

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…who now runs events with his son and will continue to do so until he drops dead.

(By the way, those are indeed the same two people in both pictures: me and my son.)

He will also continue to be the person Stafko despises in the article: he’ll wear shirts from events, put [insert appropriate distance here] stickers on his car, wake up on any given Sunday at 5 a.m. to go for a 10-mile run, and even wear medals the entire day after competing in an event. And it will be done with pride.

Running any distance is indeed an accomplishment and therefore, I believe is worth bragging about. Running has also changed, and possibly saved or extended, my life.

Game over, Chad.

And no, I won’t get over it.

2013 Hollywood Half Marathon and 5k/10k

2013/04/09 at 9:18 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, Health | Comments Off on 2013 Hollywood Half Marathon and 5k/10k
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On Saturday, April 6, I took part in the second annual Hollywood Half Marathon event and no, I didn’t do the half marathon. But I’ll get into that a bit later.

In last year’s inaugural event, I ran in the 5k and set my current PR of 31:51. It’s not hard to do when you consider that most of the first half is going downhill. And I figured since I already ran 5k, I’ll make this year the year in which I make it my first 10k.

But we all know how that went.

At any rate, Hollywood was indeed my second 10k of the year and it was much more memorable than last year’s event. For one, there were water stations in abundance along the route. This was a huge upgrade from last year’s event in which large bottles of water were randomly placed on the roadside. Also, the start time was bumped to 6 am and the finish line was moved down the street. All that aside, I still rode the train to the event to avoid 1) driving and 2) paying for parking.

And the results:

  • Gun: 1:25:54.9
  • Chip: 1:10:48.1
  • Pace: 11:25

It’s definitely slower than the Coaster Run:

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

However, it seems there’s a little discrepancy. For the Coaster Run, I logged 6.16 miles on Sports Tracker but for Hollywood, I logged 6.33 miles.

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So if you take those two things into consideration, one could say that since I ran .17 miles longer and since it took only 5 minutes longer to finish, my time at Hollywood of 1:10:48.1 is a new 10k PR. And I’m totally fine with that!

A few of the highlights:

  • Passing a runner dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz who was carrying a basket with a stuffed Toto inside
  • Being passed by three runners in Marilyn Monroe dresses
  • Being cheered on by every LAPD officer working the event
  • Strolling Hollywood Boulevard and the Chinese Theater before either got crowded with tourists
  • The horrible cramp I got while walking back to the train station
  • The poor woman in front of me who stopped to take a picture of the Mile 5 sign – and twisted her ankle in the process
  • Seeing runners stray off-course to stop at McDonald’s or Starbucks

Yes, there are pictures. Allow me to show them to you.

As for that thing I’ll get into later, well, here it is.

  • 2012: Hollywood 5k
  • 2013: Hollywood 10k
  • 2014: Hollywood Half

Yes indeed, folks, I’ve made my decision. In 2014, the year I turn 45, I will be running 13.1 miles through Hollywood and beyond and the training has already begun. The plan is to get down to a weight of around 190 and build up my stamina so that I’ll be able to run most if not all of it without much difficulty. In case you couldn’t tell in some of the pictures, I’ve gained a little back – I’m at about 220 now and I need to get myself back into a solid program of eating right and exercising regularly. I have a year to do it. I will get there.

And as of now, this is my last event for a while. In fact, it might be the last one until October rolls around since the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour and 5k are the only ones I have registered for. We’ll see; there are few more that I want to tackle but you know, these events are not free and I’ve got a family to look after.

Well, that’s all I have for now. We’ll see how my latest weight loss plan progresses!

Awesome 80s 5k

2012/09/03 at 9:56 pm | Posted in Exercise, Health, Inspiration, Life, Motivation | 2 Comments
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Another month, another 5k in the books!

I ran the inaugural Awesome ‘80s Run on Saturday in beautiful Pasadena, California or more to the point, the Rose Bowl loop. I had contemplated long and hard about doing this one or the Conquer the Bridge event since I’m not exactly made of money and must choose between events most of the time. In the end, this event won and I’m glad it did.

As the name implies, the event was ‘80s themed with participants encouraged to dress in ‘80s fashion and believe me, the neon was out in force for this one. Well, maybe except for me:

80s

But at least I have stories behind my outfit. The hat was from the 1984 Olympics which were held in Los Angeles, the shirt was from Depeche Mode’s 1988 concert at the Rose Bowl, and the Walkman (not visible) was the one I had in high school in 1986. The rest of the stuff was thrown together and were the best ‘80s-like items I had.

CAM01223At any rate, the vibe was excellent with everybody checking out each other’s outfits and costumes. I saw people dressed not only in ‘80s fashion but also ‘80s icons: Ghostbusters, Hulk Hogan, Boy George, Richard Simmons, and a few were even dressed up as Rubik’s Cubes and Simon games. It was amazingly cool, and there was even a replica Back to the Future Delorean you could get your picture with. To see some of the craziness yourself, click here to view their album on Facebook.

Okay, costumes aside, there was a 5k and 10k to run. Unfortunately there was a delay in getting the run going as the police had to limit the number of runners to 100 per pack. By the time I started going, it was almost an hour past the original starting time. Not cool but not something I’d cry over. It’s not like I had a job interview or anything.

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By the time I started going, I realized that maybe standing around for too long may not have been good after all as I started cramping up before I hit 1/4 mile. But I persisted, told myself I was fine and kept going. Just keep going…uphill…

One of the big complaints with runners was the lack of water stations during this event. There was one at about the halfway point which worked out fine for me but apparently not with others. It’s turned into a great, big ugly discussion on the event’s Facebook page, complete with name-calling and profanity. There was also a lack of nutrition at the race’s end, something I wasn’t prepared for as every run I’ve done has had either fruit or bagels at the finish line. Simple advice even for me: people, always come prepared with your own just in case.

In the end, however, my experience was more positive than negative. I met a few friends there and we started off together but then separated about 1/2 mile into it. And hey, I also met someone who was also at the Depeche Mode show in 1988!

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Sadly, she admitted to throwing out all of her shirts from that tour and offered to buy mine. Not for sale, I told her 🙂

Finishers got what will probably be one of the heaviest medals in their collection:

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This medals is seriously thick, seriously heavy, and seriously cool! Despite a few glitches, the Superhero Events team – they are also responsible for the Hollywood Half events – provided a memorable event and venue, one that was a bit more nostalgic for myself and my fellow DM fan. You could tell that people were loving this event despite the fact that most were probably born in the ’90s.

I left the event with yet another medal for my wall and a yearning to go back to the ‘80s for only a moment to see if we actually did dress as hideous as we did that day.

But I think we know the answer to that.

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Next event: Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour on October 7!

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.

stats

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…

Schedule of Events

2012/07/06 at 10:40 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, Health, Inspiration, Motivation, weight loss, weight loss blog | Comments Off on Schedule of Events
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Despite not making a whole lot of money, I’ve managed to scrape a few bucks together so that I could buy entry into several upcoming events. Here they are in chronological order.

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In an effort to mix things up and not run the same events over and over again, I will be running in the OC Fair Fun Run 5k for the first time on Sunday, August 5, 2012. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing when I had a few bucks in  my wallet so I figured I might as well, right?

What makes this one a little different is that the course winds through the Orange County Fair which my family loves to visit each year so much like this year’s WetNWild 5k, it will be familiar territory and not much of an issue. You can see a PDF of the course map by clicking here. Oh, another bonus is that your bib gets you free entry to the Fair on the day of the run and it’s pretty local. In fact, I went to college right across the street from the fairgrounds. Close to home, free Fair entry, a nice finisher’s medal. Sounds good to me!

Links: Official site / Register

80s-Run-LogoRegList8About a month later on Saturday, September 1, 2012 I will be running in the inaugural Awesome ‘80s Run taking place around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Comprised of 5k and 10k runs (one loop = 5k and two = 10k), this is a themed event in which participants are encouraged to wear their best ‘80s (workout) attire.

While it sounds like a no-brainer, it was honestly a toss-up between this run and the Conquer the Bridge event happening on September 3 and I had a hard time deciding. Then I saw the finisher’s medals for the ‘80s run and I was sold:

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There is no medal for conquering the bridge so my mind was made up after seeing this. It’s going to be totally rad, tubular, or whichever ‘80s vernacular you choose to use.

Links: Facebook / Facebook Event page / Register

LogoLockUp_FinalSo we’ve got August and September covered. What’s on the slate for October? Well, on Sunday, October 7, 2012 I will be hitting the streets of Long Beach for the third time in as many years for the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour and I think I’ve already mentioned that. But anyway, I say it again to stay on topic with the post.

Nothing new to say about this other than the Tour finally has a sponsor: Volkswagen. Maybe this will result in more and better goodies in our goodie bags.

Links: Official site / Facebook / Register

bike_v2And yes, I’m even planning my events well into 2013! Unless something happens to come my way or I find something in January, my first event for 2013 will be another cycling event: the Firecracker Bike Tour through L.A.’s Chinatown and beyond on Saturday, February 23, 2013. Again, I wanted to do something different and the organizers were offering a nice discount on registration (use code 1974 at checkout before July 8 for nearly 20% off) so I went for it. Besides, I love Chinatown. It’s one of the cooler places near Downtown L.A.

But ah, I also decided to challenge myself for this one. There are two course options: 20 miles and 30 miles with the 20 mile course being the easier of the two. Your pal Dave here is a glutton for punishment so he registered for the 30-mile ride that includes hills around Elysian Park and Dodger Stadium. It’ll be a piece of cake, right?

Ask me the following day…

And of course, both rides are dependent upon my acquiring a new wheel for my bike

Links: Official site / Facebook / Register

459747_10151812259890035_789137_oUPDATE: I recently discovered that my dates for this and the Firecracker Bike Ride were incorrect. They are both on Saturday, February 23 which means that this one is officially off the list.

Speaking of the following day and challenging myself, I may push it a bit further and register for the Los Alamitos Race on the Base 5k, another local event that happens the day after the Firecracker Bike Ride on Saturday, February 23, 2013. It’s a week after my 44th (yikes!) birthday so I think this would be a fun way to remind me that a little pain (or aches as may be the case here) is just a reminder that you’re still alive to enjoy the moment.

The ROTB offers something for everybody: 5k runs and walks, 10k run, 10K Handcycle/Wheelchair, Mission: 1K Kids Run, Jr. Reverse Triathlon and Reverse Triathlon. It’s a popular event that is sure to sell out fast and something I’ve missed out on since I started doing these events.

Links: Official site / Facebook / Registration is not open yet

So there you have both my scheduled and potential events. I hope to add many more in the coming months including the Hollywood Half Marathon 5k which I enjoyed thoroughly last year.

I’m off to bed. Plan on running 5k tomorrow morning with the family in tow – on their bikes. Hey, whatever keeps you active, right?

Stay busy and focused! 🙂

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