Sunday, August 28, 2011

In the "Spotlight" with Charles

Meet the amazing Charles from Los Angeles California.  Can you guess how young Charles is?  This awesome man is on his 3rd round of the 50 states and has run over 150 lifetime marathons at the young age of 74!!! 

                             The San Francisco First Half Marathon - Sunday July 31, 2011
I had a good run with the first half marathon. In 2009 I ran the full, it took me 6:40. I had gotten lost that added about 20 minutes and finishing that far behind was not fun and it was hot. So the next year I ran the second half, and the approach to the finish line was much better. This year I decided to the first half and complete all three runs. After I had entered they announced a special medal for those who had run both halves. This was my fastest half marathon since the Virginia Beach Rock-n-Roll half in September 2006. A friend who has been running marathons recently at my speed of 6 to 6:30 three weeks before had finished a half in 2:30. I was impressed and wondered if I could do it. Figured probably not. I had had some good training runs in Griffith Park including seven 9 miles during the month of July. These days I don’t hear the beep of a watch so I count double paces (every other time my foot comes downs which coincides with my breathing pace.) I got to the point where I would run 55 and walk 30, except on down hills where I run 80 and walk 30 and on up hills it would be run 20 walk 40. 
For the SF First Half I kicked it up to 60 x 30 and started with this. In the early part of the race saw runners wearing the SF t-shirt but they said “Worth the Hurt”. I figured that was a fund raising group. When I got to the hill at mile 2.5 it was steeper than I thought so I did not run any, but on the other side ran about 150 and walked only when I got to the bottom. I continued the 60 x 30 until the approach of the Golden Gate Bridge. Again this was steeper than I remembered and walked up this. It was back to the 60 x 30 over the bridge and back. While northbound I passed a guy who looked like he might be in my age group. Said “hang in there” as I passed him. On the way back across the bridge my overall pace as 11:30 which would have been good enough for a 2:30 finish. After coming off the bridge there were some down hills which added to my speed, but the up hills slowed me more. When I got to mile 12 at 2:20 I knew that no way could I make the last 1.1 miles in 10 minutes particularly when we were running up hill. In fact it took 15 minutes and I finished with 2:35:04. This was my fastest finish in almost 5 years. After finishing I got some water and the first half medal. I then looked for the truck with my gear bag. This was the most unorganized I had ever seen. Then I realized why. Usually when I finish it is at the back of the pack. By that time the gear truck is nearly empty. When a volunteer see me approach and he runs my gear bag out to me. This time I was not at the back of the pack.
then start walking to the bus to the start. It was a long line and I got to talking to the guy I had passed on the bridge. His name was William, he was from Modesto and he was 76 years old. (the age group was 70+). He said this was his hardest half marathon. He said he and run 10 marathons (7 of them San Diego) and 12 half marathons. He said he ran his first marathon at age 68 (for me it was 64). As sat next to each other on the bus. He asked if I had gotten my medal for finish the two halves. I told him “no” as I thought they would be mailed out. He said they were being given out. I had see those fancier medals and the inscription “Worth the Hurt” and figured it was for those in the fund raising program. He said it was for finishing both. I was disappointed that I did not get mine, and concluded it was not worth driving back to the finish line of the first half to get that medal. When the bus dropped us off near the start/finish of the marathon which was also the finish of the second half I thought I would ask. I figured they would not have mine because at the end of the second half they would a list of those who had finished the first half last year and use that to determine who got the medal. I went to the information booth and explained that I had second half year (I was wearing the bib of a first half runner). The person I asked went to the back of the booth and got a medal for me. It was a nice medal with a spinning part that had the golden gate bridge on one side and Haight – Asbury on the other. She did not ask my name nor check a list.
When I got home I checked the results. I came in 5th out 15 in my age group. And out of 6496 finishers I tied for 5th oldest (top 0.1%) and finished before all of those older than I am. The guy from Modesto was tied for oldest. And of the 15 in the age group I was the last to cross the start line, some 1 hour 4 minutes after the first runners started. Chip time is nice.
After doing as well as I did at SF-FHM I started thinking about running the full next year. I know where I got lost in ’09 and maybe could do better and not finish after they have moved the race to the crowed sidewalks.
See you out there.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Run-de-Vous 100 Miler

The inaugural Run-de-Vous 50k, 50-miler &100-miler endurance run was held in beautiful Harvey Bear Ranch in San Martin California.  Run-de-Vous translated means YOUR RUN.  I finished 100 miles in 25:56:42!!!
The amazing and courageous Val ran the 50 miler and won 1st place!  She PR too...10:13:55.  Congrats Val!
It's always a pleasure to see my favorite marathon buddy, Tony "Endorphin Dude"  Tony puts the fun in marathoning...Love you Tony!
Race director Rajeev is a man with a big heart.  He's a wonderful race director and motivator.  I have never done a race where the race director and his volunteers truly want you to finish YOUR RACE.  Run-de-Vous was an inaugural race that was well organized, good food (even cake!!!), and the best volunteers.  Volunteer Cindy Goh was awesome!!!  Run-de-Vous 100 miler is perfect for first timers and I highly recommend it.  Congrats Rajeev for a race well done.  See you next year...

In the "Spotlight" with Kimmie

Meet the fabulous and amazing Kimmie from Chicago!

Kimmie Brown is a regular city girl from Chicago, Illinois who began running on a whim. Two years ago, I would have never thought that in 48 months I would have completed 2 marathons 7 half marathons and countless 5k, 8k and 10k races all within months of each other. The first time I took a run was in May 2009. I was 130 pounds heavier. I ran literally for 45 seconds. Those 45 seconds nearly killed me. I remember a group of teen boys driving past me who had obviously observed me struggling and they yelled out the window “keep running fat *** (mean words followed). At that point I knew I had to get my health in control. While their words hurt me deeply, what hurt more was I was 29 years old and couldn’t run one minute. While I wasn’t super active in High School, I wasn’t completely sedentary either.  I walked about 15 miles a week and did strength training two hours a week. Following High School, I joined the Navy where physical exercise was a must. I questioned myself heavily “How could I let myself go in 8 short years?” Had I become so wrapped up in being a mother and working that my health wasn’t important anymore?

When I arrived home all sorts of emotions ran through me. “Should I go try again tomorrow?” “Should I quit now?” “What do I do who do I turn to?” My ego was severely bruised but not broken. I started researching healthy weight loss options, came up with a plan and started my journey to HEALTH AND FITNESS. In 2009 just a few weeks after my initial run, I signed up for the “United Run for the Zoo 5k”. It took me 51 minutes to walk/run but I did it. My road to Marathon Mama had officially begun. In 2010 I completed the Chicago Marathon, (2) 10 mile races,( 4) half marathons the Willis Tower Stair Climb and the Aon building stair climb. In 2011 I have completed the Georgia Marathon March 20 and I am currently training for Chicago (October 9). In addition this year I have completed 3 half marathons, 3 5ks and 1 8k. My 2011 goal was to complete my first 50k October 29, however I recently found out that I am expecting, therefore I will run/walk maybe 10 miles and drop out of race. My ultimate goal is to become a MARATHON MANIC which I hope will happen in Spring 2013, by completing the LA marathon (march) Illinois Marathon (April) and Rockford (Illinois) Marathon in May.
   As a wife, mother and career woman, I have learned to balance my life to include exercise as a major component. My children completed their first 5k Girls on the Run in November 2010 and they will do it again in 2011. Although my exercises will change I have made a commitment to myself to continue moving throughout pregnancy as LONG AS MY DOCTOR ALLOWS. Soon my miles will be walked instead of run, however as long as I can move I am excited. I will begin training for 50k June 2012 if everything goes ok with labor, delivery and post partum.            

I have decided to dedicate my miles in raising funds for Endure to Cure a charity that raises funds for the fight against Pediatric Cancer. It’s a great organization and I would encourage readers to check it out For those interested in donating to me personally as I run miles for kids, please check out my page

Sunday, August 14, 2011

ET Midnight Marathon - August 14, 2011

This was my 4th year walking ET Midnight Marathon!  Highway 51 (375) in Rachel Nevada has an overwhelming number of reported UFO sightings. In 1996 the federal government officially named highway 375 the "Extraterrestrial Highway."  I did a personal best 6:22!!!

I met the lovely Rachel and there were lots of Marathon Maniacs!
"Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure;  where your treasure, there your heart;  where your heart, there your happiness.

In the "Spotlight" with Chester

Half Fanatic of the Year 2010, Chester from Key West Florida!

Chester “Southernmost Walker” Kalb
  I did not begin race walking until 1999.  I had been a runner from 1969 to 1986 when the pain in my knees would not let me run anymore.  I was just an average runner until 1976 when I spent the summer running and walking from Cincinnati, Ohio to Washington DC to Cape Kennedy, Florida to Disney World, Florida.  After that I became a very successful runner who usually did 5K races, but also did longer races, including many marathons.  In the Cincinnati area I was usually able to finish first or second in my age group and had a 5K personal best of 15:56 in 1979.  In 1984 I had a fourth overall in a marathon in Columbus, Ohio and a tenth overall in a marathon in Athens, Ohio.  My personal best was a 2:50:24 on April 8, 1984.  I began travelling to other places to compete.  I have always enjoyed travelling.

After I stopped running I began walking 3 to 5 miles a day recreationally.  When I retired from Ohio teaching in 1998, I moved to Key West, Florida where I taught for 10 more years and continued to walk recreationally until 1999 when I met my current wife, Gerda, who liked to run in the local races.  After watching her do one race, I decided that I would rather participate than just watch.  I reasoned that if I could walk faster than the slowest runner that no race director would complain about me being in the race.  I found out that I could walk faster than a lot of the runners and that the competition did not bother my knees. 

Gerda and I were married on October 6, 2000.  By the summer of 2001 we began to discuss the possibility of travelling to other places to do races.  We decided that we should do something more challenging than a 5K.  I saw an add in Runner’s World that said there was a marathon and half marathon in Disney World on January 6, 2002 and the marathon had a walking division.  We entered and had successful races as Gerda was 5th in her age group and I was 6th overall and second in my age group in the walking division.  I also entered another marathon the next weekend in Clearwater, Florida and counted as a runner even though I walked the entire event.  I enjoyed marathons.  I also decided that if I was going to get into shape for one marathon that the same training could carry over and allow me to do several marathons relatively close together.  Being a teacher I operated in school years.  My yearly totals per year began to increase: 2, 3, 7, 13, and 17.  It turned out that my marathon walking times were reasonably fast as 18 of my first 19 marathons were under 5 hours.  My best walking time occurred on January 25, 2004 in Tampa, Florida where I finished in 4:42:52.  Except for the first Disney Marathon none of the other marathons had walking divisions including Disney because too many people can not understand that if you enter a race as a walker, you must walk every step of the event, not jog and walk.

I found that the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach on March 20, 2004 had a walker division and entered.  My overall first place time was 4:46:23.  This was my first non-Florida walking marathon.  By February of 2004 I had finished a marathon in 10 different states and met several people who were members of the 50 State Marathon Club and the Marathon Maniacs.  I joined both organizations.  I began trying to earn stars in the Marathon Maniacs while completing marathon in many more different states.  In 2007 I decided that 2008 would be the year I finish my 50 states and earn my 10 stars.  The Dunkin Donuts Marathon in Falmouth, Massachusetts on October 26, 2008 was my 50th state plus DC and the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, Alabama was my level 10 Titanium marathon.  I also hurt my left knee in the Space Coast Marathon in Cocoa, Florida on November 30, 2008.  Between May 18, 2008 and May 17, 2009, I finished a total of 42 marathons and had a streak of 18 marathons in 18 weeks.
When the Half Fanatics were started in July of 2009, I quickly joined on July 21, 2009.  I decided that I would concentrate on half marathons after completing my 135th marathon, the Pikes Peak Marathon on August 16, 2009. Ever since the injury mentioned above, my left knee would begin hurting as I neared mile 18 in a marathon.  My knee improved as I could finish half marathons with out pain. In the Half Fanatics I reached level 10 on August 28, 2010 at the Mesa Falls Half Marathon in Ashton, Idaho.

2010 also saw me become 1st place Male Half Fanatic of the Year.  My quest to reach a half marathon in all 50 states plus DC is at 47 with the other 3 states to be completed in October of 2011, finishing in New Orleans.   So far I am the only Marathon Maniac and Half Fanatic to reach level 10 in both organizations and when I finish my other three states I will also be the only one to have both a marathon and a half marathon in all 50 states plus DC.
My quest towards the 50 half marathons has been a little more challenging than the quest toward the 50 marathons as on August 23, 2009 I was diagnosed as having a pulmonary embolism from which I fortunately have recovered.  My left knee has also deteriorated to the point where there is no cartilage in part of my knee and I will need to have a knee replacement before too much longer.  When that happens I intend to end my race walking career on go back to being a recreational walker

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dreams That Come True - August 7, 2011

Having fun at the San Francisco Marathon!

Dreams that come true...

If you had no limitations, what would you choose to achieve? If you could get up from where you are right now and go to do literally anything, what exactly would it be?
You instinctively know there are things that matter to you more than anything else. It’s important to remind yourself specifically of what they are.
You may not be able to fully achieve your ideal life right now. Yet you absolutely can take very clear, definite and effective actions today to move your life in the direction of that ideal.
With every choice, with each decision, you are progressing in one way or another. Know clearly where you want to go, and even the little moments will bring you closer.
Your life is a continuing manifestation of your most firmly held intentions. So focus on the intentions that you most sincerely and passionately desire.
The dreams that come true are the dreams with which you are most intimately and consistently familiar. Know precisely what you want, and the living of your life will make it real.
— Ralph Marston

In the "Spotlight" with Shangrila

Meet the passionate and beautiful Shangrila from Los Angeles California!

“At this very second, somewhere in the corner of this world, a child is being abused,“ a good friend of mine uttered these words to me as I shared with him my vision of raising funds for abused children.  Racing for a Cause, a non-profit organization that I founded this year, aims to bring awareness about the horrific silence that abused children go through and raises funds for Audrey Hepburn CARES Abuse Team of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids (TAALK) non-profit organization chaptered in Orange County and San Diego.  Both of these entities work hard and are genuinely dedicated in giving the support and help that abused children need.  Mark your calendar!  Reserve October 8th and run or walk with us in Elysian Park (besides Dodger’s stadium) to raise funds for abused children.  As I have deep passion for running, I have designed the race to be fun, memorable and for children.  During and after the 5K race and kids’ fun run, we will have about 70 dancers performing drill step along the course, great talent trained by 2006 Billboard award winning music producer Andrew Lane, singing and dancing, a puppet show, live bands, literary and art booths, professional talk about abuse, special celebrity guests such as Karlie Redd, Cash Money recording artist and actress, and free food and beverages.  What else can you ask for?  Check out our website for more information,!

I’m an engineer, triathlete, ironman finisher, double century rider & ultra-marathon runner.  So, how did I come up about the idea of Racing for a Cause?  My innocence was shattered at a very early period of my childhood. I was sexually abused as a child from about 5 years old until 19 years old. During these years, I kept the abuse as a secret and acted like everything was okay. I was an ‘A’ student at school while at night I always cried and curled up in the corner of my dark room and had many sleepless nights due to images and acts of abuse. Before I came here to America (at the age of 17), I had suicidal thoughts. It was too much for me to take the number of men and frequency of the abuse that was happening at the time. I didn’t know how to fight and react with it except to just be silent. I’m really grateful that I didn’t end my life. I thought no one would violate my body anymore when I had become independent and “stronger” at age 19. I was wrong. At 25 years old, I was sexually abused by a parking attendant in Los Angeles on November, 2005. As painful as it was, I didn’t get any justice. I continuously did not believe in God or any form of higher being.  I lost my sense of spirituality, considered myself as a living dead and was hopeless until I got my first engineering job and finished my first marathon in Los Angeles last 2006. This was when I started seeing light in my future. I struggled with eating disorder for 10 years, was dependent on alcohol for 5 years and didn’t believe in God for more than 10 years. I was fortunate to receive help through eating disorder and alcohol outpatient programs, intensive and continued therapies and self-growth seminars. After 5 years of gradually healing myself, I am now stronger and grounded compared to many years ago. Though I am now better, many children are still in need. I don’t want to have another kid go through what I had gone through. I want to make a difference. As I am an athlete myself, a vision to organize racing events for a cause has emerged.  I founded Racing for a Cause.

I know that my past is very personal. However, the key word is that it is part of my “past.” Hence, it doesn’t define me anymore. Instead, I want to use my past as my strength and motivation for getting better. I disclosed my past to the public because I want my past to inspire the bigger population. Yes, I was a victim of abuse and sexual assault, had an eating disorder, was dependent to alcohol and spiritually lost.  That is not who I am now. Who I am is a strong, independent, good-hearted, God-believer and mature twenty-nine-year-old woman who strives to find her happiness and passion at all times. I am someone who wants to do something great and self-rewarding; something that makes a difference to children’s lives.  For the sake of children, together, we can help stop abuse.

Monday, August 1, 2011

San Francisco Marathon - July 31, 2011

I love SF Marathon! My baby sister Stacy ran it and we both agreed that our favorite part of the course is running across the famous Golden Gate Bridge!  I finished 6:30
I'm Tony "Endorphin Dude" #1 fan!!! I love Tony!!!
I ran into the beautiful and courageous Val!
The famous Golden Gate Bridge...
The amazing Rosemarie!

and the cute Sofie...
This is Murugan first marathon...Congrats you did it!!!
Hey Liz!!!
Jon & Sherry were having fun...

We had fun at the San Francisco Marathon!
The Path to a Dream

The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and lined with determination.
And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way and may go in more than one direction,
it is marked with faith.
It is traveled by belief and courage, persistence and hard work.
It is conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances,
to fail and try again and again.
Along the way, you may have to confront doubts, setbacks, and unfairness.
But when the path comes to an end, you will find that there is no greater joy than
making your dream come true.
-Barbara Cage-

In the "Spotlight" with Marina

Meet the outgoing and pretty Marina from Irvine California!

Who would have ever thought I would love running in marathons? Definitely not me! I remember dreading the weekly half-mile and monthly mile I had to complete in P.E.  But then in my final year of high school, two life-altering events occurred. First, I volunteered at the Pacific Shoreline Marathon, where I was inspired by the vigor and enthusiasm of thousands of finishers. Second, a club I was in decided to raise money by completing the LA Marathon 5K. I can still vividly recall that race morning in March 2004, dressed in my cotton sweatpants and t-shirt ready for my first race, where I struggled to make it through 3.1 miles. Afterward our group walked to where the Marathon was finishing, just as some of the fastest runners were concluding. I felt so encouraged to see lines of people cheering for these awesome runners who had just blazed through 26. 2 miles. I felt this might be just the type of motivation for exercise that could keep me active for life, so I decided that by the next year I would double my racing distance to the 10K!

It helped that I was heading off to UC Santa Barbara for college, where beautiful places to jog were abundant. The training was a challenge for me, but by March 2005 I completed my first 10K, The Great Race of Augora Hills. I was enjoying jogging so much that I invited my roommate to train with me for my next goal distance: the half marathon. In January 2006, we completed the OC Half. My sights were then set on the magical marathon distance. Could I do it? The other distances had not come easy to me but the marathon always had a mystical quality, and I was determined to train and put forth my best effort.

 Pacific Shoreline was symbolic for me of the places I had lived and run in my life near the west coast, so I decided to make that my first marathon in February 2007. I trained hard and smart and had a fantastic time on the course. Crossing the finish line was exhilarating and shortly after completing it, I signed up for the next one- the Zurich Marathon for April 2007, when I would coincidentally be playing tourist in that area over spring break.  The double excitement of the travel and the racing inspired me even more. I learned that there were groups that aim to run marathons in all 50 states and 7 continents, as well as to run at least 100 total marathons and these became my new goals! I have had such a fun time in this pursuit, and am happy to report that I am more than two-thirds of the way to completing all these objectives (68 marathons including 31 states, 5 continents) .

Of course even when I achieve these goals, there will always be another finish line to work toward. In summer of 2008, I achieved another long sought after dream of joining the Marathon Maniacs when I completed my first double marathon, another milestone for me.  Since then I have completed a few other doubles, as well as a triple and quadruple marathon.  I love the new challenges that the jam-packed marathon calendar offers and recently I have focused on some tough trail marathons, ultras and hikes in preparation of my goal to complete Pikes Peak Marathon in August 2011 and summit Mt. Whitney in September.

For me, nothing can compare to the invigoration I feel when I am participating in marathons. They will always be an integral part of my life. I have met so many amazing people, explored such diverse landscapes, and discovered much about myself in the process. Even though I have just shared this brief story focused on me, I know one thing for sure: it certainly never would have been possible without the blessing of having a lot of fabulous individuals in my life-- many great friends (running and non) supporting me, volunteers and spectators cheering us on, my Mom for shuttling me to races at all hours of the day and night and helping me during them, and Christ, who always offers divine Strength. My story, along with those of other racers, still has many more chapters to be written.  What new and amazing journey will be next? Where there’s a will, there’s a way—so go for it!!!
I have a blog of all my adventures in racing & marathoning: