★ San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon

Two weeks ago I ran the San Diego Rock N Roll marathon. Being my first marathon, I had no idea what to expect. I was anxious and nervous because this was the largest physical undertaking I had ever attempted. I was excited because I was running this race with my friend Nolan, my brother Mikey and a few of my cousins. I’m proud to say that I finished the marathon in 5:41:35.

Since I participated with Team in Training all of our accommodations in San Diego were taken care of. If you have a chance, I HIGHLY recommend at least doing one event with TNT. The experience is a very rewarding one and you are doing it all for a great cause. I met a lot of great people along the way. My only regret is that I wished I participated in more practices. My knee kept me from running the majority of this spring season.

The morning of the marathon started when some people are calling it a night. We met at the lobby of our hotel at 3:45 AM. I’ve had nights end later than that. From the hotel they shuttled us over to the starting area where we waited for about 2 hours before the race started. Once we lined up, it seemed like forever before our corral was let loose. Once we were let go it was on! The first 3-5 miles I was worried about my knee. I could feel it tighten up ever so slightly but once I got the jitters out of me and got warmed up, it felt fine. From miles 6 to about 9 or 10, Nolan and I hit a pretty good groove. We had a nice steady pace going and we spaced out a couple of walking breaks. Once the course took us on to the 163 freeway, trouble started. Part of the course took us from downtown San Diego to Mission Valley along the 163. If you’re familiar with this stretch of freeway it is all uphill for about 4 miles and goes downhill from Washington St. all the way to Friars Rd. Not only that but the freeway is banked so you’re also trying to compensate for the slope of the freeway. This, along with weather that was hotter and more humid than usual, contributed to severe cramping in my legs. I’ve never felt cramping like that since my days of playing high school basketball. So from about mile 11 until the end of the marathon, I had to alternate between running, walking and stretching out my cramping legs.

Once we crossed 20 miles, I totally felt like I wanted to chop off my legs because they were hurting so bad. No amount of sports drink, water, GU or salt could take the pain away so we just had to finish. Once we made the final turn toward the finish line, the sound of the crowd made me forget all about the pain in my legs. I knew I had friends and family waiting for me at the finish line and I couldn’t wait to see them. I still don’t think it’s fully hit me that I’ve completed a full marathon.

After running my first marathon, I can definitely say I will remember the experience the rest of my life, especially with my involvement with Team In Training. I thanked everyone in a previous post but I’ll do it again because I don’t think I was able to do it with all of your support. I’m already thinking about doing my next event, the inaugural LA Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I brought my camera along with me and you can check out the pictures here.

Francis and MikeySea of PurpleOrange PeelsFam BamFinishers

★ Thank You

After 5 months of training and fundraising, the day is almost here. This Sunday is the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon. Just the training and fundraising has been an experience and I can’t wait for the race. I learned a lot in these past 5 months. I learned that although I think I’m in good shape, I’m not. I’m also not as young as I used to be. My training has been hampered by a nagging IT Band injury. It’s a sobering thing to learn that your body can succumb to any type of injury when all your life you thought that you were practically invincible. I have TONS of respect for long distance runners and people who have run multiple marathons. It’s not the easiest thing to do.

I also learned that when you’re doing something for a cause, a lot more weight is placed on the task at hand. I’m no longer running this marathon for myself. I’m running for all those suffering from Leukemia and other cancers. I’m running for all the people who have donated their own money to help fight these diseases.

I’ve learned that a lot of people are willing to help if you just ask. I think that’s what surprised me the most. At the beginning, I was kind of scared to think that I had to raise $2,500 to participate with Team In Training. I was seriously amazed at what a few emails, letters, blog posts and Twitter posts could do. Old friends, far off relatives, and even people that I did not know donated in my name. I’m not the type to ask for anything from anyone but when I asked for your support in this cause, you all didn’t hesitate. For that, I thank you. I’ll be keeping all of you who supported me in my thoughts as I run this Sunday.

See you at the finish line.