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!

This Is How It’s Done

2011/06/24 at 11:16 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, Health, Inspiration, lifestyle change, Motivation, weight loss | Comments Off on This Is How It’s Done
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I had been meaning to post this article from the moment I read it but since I seem to be addicted to Facebook like the rest of civilization, I just posted it there. But I truly think it needs a lot more attention.

Shannon Davis lost an incredible 300 pounds by doing something most people never think about doing: moving. No, not geographically relocating herself from one part of the world to the other, but just by getting up and exercising, weightlifting, etc.

Can you imagine that? Someone had the wherewithal to do a little research and realize that hey, this is possible without having to resort to gimmicky fad diets or some kind of risky surgery. Quite simply, Shannon Davis got it and boy, did she run with it.

While I will link to the original article here, I’ll go ahead and post the text below for future reference (and in case the link dies). And do yourself a favor and watch the video – you will be inspired. It’s also worth nothing that the food she ate wasn’t something ridiculous, either. It was simply about portion control and eating the right foods, not something funky like a can of diet drink or a single carrot and broccoli. She ate regular meals and stuck to it.

Again, imagine that!

What struck me about Shannon’s story was that it was not entirely unlike my own. While never the same weight she was, I know exactly about the intimidation, the stress, the downright depressing nature of being overweight and feeling helpless about it. But when her friends started to tell her she was going to die from her obesity (almost the way my doctor hinted at it with me), she turned the switch on and never looked back which is exactly what I’ve done.

So go ahead and read the article, courtesy ABC News. Oh, one more thing. I’ve removed all the links from the original article as they were an injustice to anybody who has ever lost weight through hard work. It seems ABC was trying to push their own agenda by advertising weight loss gimmicks within the article, to which I said, “Uh, no thanks.”

I was especially displeased to see a link to weight loss advice from “Dr.” Oz. whom I wouldn’t trust if my life depended on him. Why? Because any doctor that thinks it’s okay to promote trashy garbage like this…

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…is only interested in a paycheck from the studios and tabloids, not the health of his patients.

So please, America, stop watching this guy and lose weight the right way: through hard work and exercise.

Me and Shannon Davis did 🙂


Amazing Weight Loss: Woman Sheds 300 Pounds on Her Own

By RYAN OWENS, JAMES SCHOLZ and NATASHA SINGH

June 10, 2011

For every pound you want to drop, there’s a diet plan, surgery, high-tech gadget or reality-TV show promising to get you to your goal, faster, cheaper and easier than the rest.

But what happens if you strip away the conveniences of today’s high-tech, “we want it now” world, and try to lose the weight the hard way?

One Colorado woman did just that and succeeded, losing 300 pounds in nearly three years all on her own, with no surgery or gimmicky diet to take credit.

“There is no magic bullet,” Shannon Davis told “Good Morning America.”“You cannot lose weight without putting in the time and effort.

“It’s not easy. It’s simple sweat equity.”

And sweat is certainly something that Davis — a 39-year-old master’s degree student who also works full time and cares for her mother — knows something about.

She is now committed to a seven-days-per-week workout routine that consists of an hour of cardio for four days and weightlifting with her trainer the other three.

That is a far cry from where Davis found herself three years ago — a 589 pound woman unable to leave her Broomfield, Colo., home, much less jump on a treadmill.

PHOTO: Shannon Davis lost 300 pounds all on her own, without surgery or a gimmicky diet.

“I was afraid to go out,” Davis told “GMA.” “I knew people would stare, judge me and make comments about me.”

Comments from her friends made her say enough was enough. They warned her she was going to die if she didn’t change.

So she got off the couch and headed for a local gym, but couldn’t even make it one step on the treadmill.

“There was no way I could walk on the treadmill at 589 pounds,” she said.

But she kept moving.

“I’d go back to the pool and walk back-and-forth for an hour,” Davis recalled of the first days in her weight-loss journey. “I didn’t want people to see me. I wanted to be invisible.

“Things have changed a little bit,” she said.

Gaining While Losing

Changes for Davis have come not just on the outside — she now stands as literally half the woman she used to be — but on the inside as well.

She no longer beats herself up over food cravings and has learned to enjoy an indulgence, in balance with her everyday, healthy diet.

“Everybody messes up,” Davis said. “That’s the thing about dieting everyone needs to learn: Everyone makes mistakes.”

Davis says she follows a healthy diet of three simple meals per day, and stays satisfied with the reduced intake compared to her previous daily calories by focusing on the quality of the food, not the quantity.

“I eat quality food,” she said. “Lots of greens, lots of vegetables, lots of lean meats. I love apples.”

But that doesn’t mean she’s immune to cravings. She has learned, over a long, hard three years, how to handle them.

“If there’s a cookie around, I want the cookie,” Davis said of her favorite treat. “You have to forgive yourself and you have to indulge on occasion.”

But indulging for Davis now means celebrating with friends, not food, something she would have never even considered three years ago when she spent her days alone in her home.

This weekend Davis will host a “300 Pound Down Party,” bringing together the network of friends from across the country she’s assembled along her journey down the scale.

Each friend is on a path similar to Davis’, an element she sees as crucial to her weight-loss success.

“It’s so important to surround yourself with the best people — people who won’t sabotage you, won’t say, ‘I don’t think you’re going to make it today, won’t put you down,'” she said.

Davis’ journey has led her now to want to give to others the tools she used to succeed on her own.

Davis says her next step, far from that first step she took to the gym so many years, and pounds, ago, is to start a nonprofit organization to pay for gym memberships and personal trainers for obese people.

Asked if she was proud of her body, she replied, “I’m getting there.”

“I’ve got some work to do still, but it’s been a long journey,” she said. “I know where I started from and I know how I looked then, and I know how I look now and it’s a lot different now.”

Courtesy and copyright 2011 ABC News

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