Wednesday, September 07, 2011

To Disneyland and beyond

Wow, what a weekend! I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon on Sunday and then got an epic bike ride in on Monday. Lets start from the beginning.
I was raising money Lazarex Cancer Foundation who is helping me with my travel expenses for the clinical trial I need to be on in Houston. The event was the aforementioned half marathon. I had a huge outpouring of support from friends and family and raised a total of $3467 which made me the top fundraiser for this event. For that I send out a huge thank you to everyone that donated.
Kasey and I arrived in California on Saturday morning and were picked up by the Lazarex endurance coordinator Jenny Walls. We were able to stuff my bike into the back seat of a compact car and still carry 4 people back to the hotel. After a settling in I was off to the fundraiser lunch where two other patients and I all told our stories to the rest of the fundraisers in order to give the charity a real face. I stumbled through my talk, but everybody seemed to appreciate it so that was good.
Sunday morning came early with a 6am race start. We caught a shuttle from the hotel to the park, then walked for what seemed like a mile to find the starting area. The crowds were massive with 15,000 people running. I didn't request a wave based on a time goal so I was in corral E lined up with the 2:45 pace group, which would have been pretty slow for me. I got in near the front of the corral so with the time gap between corrals I had some room to run from the gun. Then in about a half mile I hit the runners in the corral ahead of me and it was a wall of people. I didn't have a specific time goal so I wasn't worried, bu I did want to get a good run in so I had fun running on the side of the street and on the curb to weave my way through the people. Running through the park was a lot of fun. I was surprised at how many people were stopping, during the race, to stand in line for pictures with characters. After leaving the park the road started to open up so I could run without much weaving, but there were tons of people the whole way. I had to make 2 pit stops along the way during the first half. I started to get a side stich around mile 9, but had worked it out and was feeling completely revived by mile 10. My longest training runs were a couple of 8.5 milers so all of this was now beyond that, but I had faith that my past experience and training would hold me through the distance. And did it ever. After mile 10 I started to feel really good and started to pick up the pace. The road was clear enough that I didn't have to weave, but was passing people the whole way. I sprinted across the finish line and stopped my watch at just under 1:51 with a huge smile on my face thinking of all my supporters. I was glowing the rest of the day as I celebrated with the rest of the Lazarex team and even into the evening as Kasey and I visited Disneyland to get a few rides in and watch the fireworks.
Monday morning Kasey had to leave early for a 6am flight to make it to work that afternoon. I was staying for a bike ride with Alex Eusebio, an old running friend that has recently gotten into cycling while living in the area. I assembled my bike and rode up the street to get breakfast at Starbucks and wait for Alex to make the drive down to pick me up. When he arrived we headed to Santa Monica to start our ride. We headed a few miles up the PCH before turning up Topanga canyon then following Old Topanga to Mulholland Hwy.  We took a short detour to find some water and started planning how to make our way back. An admirer of Alex's bike suggested we head up Piuma Rd. so we did. That was probably the longest sustained climb of the day and seemed a lot like Lookout Mtn. from home. The decent from Piuma was a little gnarly. The sign at the top said 10% grade next 3 miles. It was very steep and very winding. I'm still a little skiddish on steep sharp corners after my fall last year so I was riding the brakes hard all the way through that. We got in close to 4000 feet of climbing and 48 miles for the day. I felt really good the whole time and the views were awesome.
The whole weekend was awesome and I'm still on a bit of a high. I can't wait to let my body recover and start training for the Marine Corps Marathon.