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Saturday, December 31, 2005


All over and not yet begun

Well, here we are. New Year’s Eve, 2005 and I promised myself that I would write the last entry of my blog before the end of the year. I thought long and hard about what I would write in this final entry. Something profound about that one thing I learned throughout my training? Some life-changing pieces of advise for you all? You know, I don’t have much of that. The truth is, I don’t feel like this is the end and so I don’t really have very many concluding thoughts. This was merely the start.

You know that corny saying “today is the first day of the rest of your life”? Well, that’s how I feel tonight. That’s how I’ve felt ever since I finished that marathon. I guess that is what I’ve gotten from this whole experience. I do have a few parting thoughts I guess. First, I’ll start with a few thank you.

Thank YOU, my faithful readers. You were my cheering section. You spanned the globe and made me feel like a rock star. This has been the period of my life that I have felt the most supported. That support spurred me on, on a daily basis and helped me in ways I could never describe.

Thanks to all the professionals who fixed me up every time I fell. Thanks to my massage therapist, Laurie. Thanks to Mark at the sports medical institute. Thanks to my podiatrist, Bill Hopkins, fellow marathoner who managed to get me custom orthotic and have my insurance pay every cent! Thanks to Dr. Rasi, the orthopedic surgeon who shot my knee with cortisone… the miracle drug.

Thanks to the Team in Training coaches and mentors. Our head coach Ed who did not, for one second, have ANY doubt that I would cross that finish line, my main mentor Jake and all of the other mentors, Joe (who is doing great and is recovering well), Joy, Sarah, Nicole and last but not least Cristina. Cristina is one of those people who are absolutely dependable in a way that you hope to be like them as much as you can. An inspiration. Thanks also to Martha and all of the rest of the TNT staff. You were all fantastic!

Thanks to the honorees. You guys had the hardest job of all. You’ve either gone or are going through blood cancer treatments that make all of this pale in comparison. You were my inspiration during the training and you will continue to be for the rest of my life. It was an honor knowing you.

Thanks to my Team. You are the first bunch of athletes I’ve ever known that did not look down on losers like me. Now, I don’t actually think of myself as a loser any more, but that’s because I’ve never been made feel like one by my teammates. You have all been NOTHING BUT supportive. That support made a huge difference. You all made me part of YOUR team and made me feel like it was OUR team.

Special thanks to Luis. My brother in arms. We went through hell and back together, starting from pretty much the same place and ending EXACTLY at the same place, with arms raised, at the finish line of the 2005 Honolulu Marathon. You have inspired me to be a better person in all aspects of my life.

EXTRA special thanks to Stacy. The love of my life and my best friend. Don’t worry, I won’t get all soppy on you (or is it too late?). Stacy has sacrificed a LOT over the past few months as I’ve been running or at track or stretching or reading about running or doing my core exercises or… I really appreciate the fact that, although you didn’t understand WHY I was doing all of this, you never complained about it and you did your best to participate by going out and volunteering at water stops or whatever else you needed to do to show your support. I know that you finally GOT what all of this was about while we were in Hawaii. For that, I love you all the more. Okay soppy stuff over now.

Will I ever do this again? Simple answer. Yes. I have a long term plan to participate in a triathlon in about two years time. Why two years? Well, a triathlon consists of a swim, a bike ride and a run. I don’t know how to swim. But I do know that I am capable of doing things I am currently unable to do. So, I’ll learn to swim. And I’ll practice until I can swim for a mile or more. And I’ll eventually be good enough for a triathlon. Will I run again? Yes. I’ve already signed up for a 10K run in February. Will I run another marathon? Good question. I actually WANT to. I WANT to run one, and I mean RUN one. Get a finish time of five or six hours. BUT, based on the experiences of the past few months and the professional advise of many, I need to assess whether I’ll mess my legs up by doing so. They whole idea is that I’ll be fit enough to keep up with Ronan as he grows up. If I wreck my knees that is not going to happen.

In closing, all of this reminds me of the time I won my very first medal and how I felt upon receiving it. I was a late bloomer and while most of the other kids in my class had medals from sprints or long distance or some egg-and-spoon race or three-legged race they did with their friend, a medal seemed to pass me by. Probably had a lot to do with that lack of participation thing. Anyway, the date that I did receive that first medal will ALWAYS stay with me. It was December 11th, 2005.

Thanks for your money.
Thanks for your readership.
Thanks for your support.

It was a privileged to have you on this journey with me and have a great 2006!


Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Marathon Photos

I know I said that there would be just one more blog entry. I lied. This is the penultimate entry. I’m nor ready to compose my final text entry but I do have a few photos I took during the marathon that I’d like to show you.

Here I am at the very start of the race with fireworks going on above me

Soon into the race we see the freaky runners emerge. Here are two people dress up as Lilo and Stitch

A bunny and a dolphin!

A sign on the obligatory Irish pub that says “ Finish Line… for Guinness drinkers, all others 24.5 miles to go”

We ran through downtown Honolulu which was decorated for the holiday season. That was a great distraction!

Stacy met me as the Sun rose on mile five.

Why not dress up as an Alien before running 26.2 miles!

Better still, dress up as Robocop!

At the top of the Diamond Head hill.

… and on the way down.

A very old man making his way in flip flops!!!

A typical waterstop

Luis, enjoying his Hawaiian run.

I’m having some fun myself

This lady played Jingle Bells on her accordion as we trudged along the road.

Believe it or not, this was around mile 20!

Some people sat in their front garden screaming encouragement and playing Christmas music. How come those snowmen aren’t melting?

Happy me, at the finish (believe it or not, I don't have any good photos of my actually CROSSING the line.

Brothers in Arms

One of my blisters…

Finally, I can say I finished what I started!

… and enjoy my reward …

… in beautiful Hawaii

Monday, December 12, 2005


Mission Accomplished!

I did it! As promised, I didn't break any land speed records in the process, but I DID it. Actually I should say WE did it as Luis and I stuck together for the whole thing, step by step, hour by hour ... and we were still talking to each other by the end.
Before I start this, my final blog entry, I'd like to thank all of my supporters and well wishers. The collective crossing of all of your fingers made a big difference on the day and I can't thank you enough for your faithful readership of this blog.
So, the first question you probably have is how (or why) I am writing this blog entry when I'm supposed to be in Hawaii. Well, the hotel room has this really cool 42" Plasma TV that also allows internet access. Stacy is sleeping and I am too exited to tell you all how everything went to wait until I get back to California. I won't be able to publish any photos (and I have some good ones) until I return, so don't forget to check for that update next week some time.
We arrived on Friday. The hotel was really nice and we settled down quite nicely. It was great to finally arrive in Honolulu after all this time. We went out with some of my teammates that evening for dinner. I went to bed quite early as I had set my watch three hours earlier than local time in order to make getting up at 3am on Sunday morning a bit more feasible.
The team in Training pasta party tool place on Saturday night. I had been complaining earlier in the day about the fact that it was on the night before we were supposed to be up at 3am and it was a PASTA party and our coach had told us that eating pasta the night before would do nothing except sit in our stomachs the day of the race. The pasta part was actually excellent and a very important part of the experience. Yes, the provided pasta was crap. But the speakers that night were both educational, funny and emotional. All of it was very motivational. The first speaker was from an esteemed running magazine (the same one I appeared on a few months back, remember?) he was VERY funny and very inspiring at the same time. I learned much from his experience of running 48 previous marathons. The other main speaker was the father of a four year old little girl named Hannah who had lost her battle with cancer earlier this year. He explained to us how much the leukemia and Lymphoma society had help him and his family deal with her disease and brought home the enormity of losing someone so precious. I couldn't but help think about Ronan and how I would cope in a similar situation. Would I be brave enough to speak on his behalf in a similar manner. He asked her once what she wanted to be when she grew up and she answered "a cancer survivor. When he asked her what she wanted to say to people if she didn't make it she said she wanted people to know that she tried her best to be a cancer survivor. He then explained the bumper sticker many Hawaiians display on their cars. It simply says "Eddie Would Go". Eddie Aikau was a surfer, riding some of the biggest waves in the world; as a lifeguard, he saved hundreds of lives from the North Shore's treacherous waters; and as a a proud Hawaiian, he sacrificed his life to save his fellow sailors aboard the voyaging canoe Hokule'a. He has become a symbol of courage throughout the islands. Hannah's father ended his talk with tears in his eyes simply saying "Hannah would go". We then sat and watched a slide show that showed what a beautiful and courageous little girl she was while she was alive. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house at the end. I saw a lot of people who were very emotional and guessed that their lives were touched in some way with Leukemia. I thanked God that mine has not. I knew that I would finish the next day because some cannot give up, even when their fate is inevitable. The speaker then asked for a moment of silence so that we can contemplate who we are running our race for. I knew immediately that I was running for my friend Stephanie who died earlier this ear and was my biggest inspiration to get up and start living my life. Steph died at the age of 40. At her memorial service one of her friends said that she had actually lived to a ripe old age because she crammed so much into the time she had on earth, many times more than the average lifetime. She spent 90% of her energy thinking about and doing good for others. Steph would go.
After dinner we got together for a couple of quick team photos and quickly dispersed. I had a small moment of panic as Mark, my sports medicine guy was nowhere to be found and had told me that he would tape my legs for me. Knowing that he must have had a pretty serious reason for not making it to Hawaii, I taped my right leg up myself in my room. I did it over until I got it just right. It was time to go to bed as I'd need to be up again in five hours time. Amazingly, I slept.
The alarms went off at 3am. I had set four separate alarms. I had taken coach's advice and prepared all my gear the previous day. I had breakfast and was out the door in a few minutes. Predicting that the elevators would be full of like-minded marathoners, I decided to walk down six flights of stairs that were beside our room. I opened the door making sure to close it behind me, as it was a fire door. When I reach the bottom I realized that the exit had a warning in big bold letters that said "warning, alarm will sound if door is opened." So, I had gone down an emergency exit. Back up I go to the first floor. The door was locked from my side. Same for the second floor. TYPICAL. This was TYPICAL of me. I would miss the marathon because I got stuck in the emergency stairwell! I was just about to go ahead and set off those alarms when I saw that the third floor exit was left ajar and I managed to escape. I went over to the elevator and, of course, there were no crowds and getting down was a piece of cake. We all met up in the hotel lobby and took a few photos. Then it was off to the marathon!
believe it or not, we had to walk about two miles to the starting point. We managed to pee three times before the starting blast, as planned. I say starting blast because the race was actually started with a spectacular fireworks display. It was very exciting and I was smiling from ear to ear. I had accomplished my primary goal. I had endured the rigorours training schedule and made it to the starting line! Luis looked at me and smiled. He said "how far away from the couch is this?". How far, indeed. We had set ourselves at the 6 hours or more starting point and it took us a full half hour before we made it to the starting line. Plan A was to race walk for the first ten miles or so and to start running based on how we felt at that point. What's race walking? Well, it more or less like when you are really late for a bus and have to walk really fast but don't want to run... except you do that for several hours! Luis and I took off like bats out of hell and were passing people left, right and center. We even past a few slower runners using our race walking techniques. We felt great and had a good laugh at all the weirdos and their fancy costumes.
Stacy was waiting for us at around mile four. It was great to see her. She had tears in her eyes as she told me how much she loved me and how proud she was of me. On we went to see our team of mentors and our coach. They all went BEZERK when they saw us. It was great! On we went. We were met by the seven hour Team in Training pacer. His job was to walk at exactly the right pace to get people finished in seven hours. It was great to see him as his presence implied that if we just keep our current pace we could finish in seven hours or under. As we got stalking to him he wanted to talk about work and crap like that. We needed to lose him as he was ruining our fun! We did, eventually. On we went up Diamond Head, a famously steep hill that many who have run the race speak of. As we were going up the hill, we saw the race leaders going the OTHER direction. It was two hours into the marathon and these guys were already finishing. Apparently, the guy who won did so with an average pace of four and a half minute miles!!! My heart sank as I realized that I would not come in first place this year. :-)
One and one we went. We saw our team mentors once again and that lifted our spirits out of the stratosphere. I was REALLY happy. We were doing this and I was feeling great. The next several miles were actually run on the highway. I was realizing that Luis was not going to be ready to run when we originally planned. I didn't give a damn! I was so happy to be there running with him and I was feeling GOOD.
The marathon actually had two lanes on the highway so we were able to see the faster runners return on the other side. Every time we saw a fellow Team in Training participant (TNT'er from now on) we would wave at them, shout encouragement, high five them. They would all reciprocate. There were more TNT'ers out there than we were used to on our Santa Cruz team. In and around three thousand more! It felt great to be part of that team and to get continuous encouragement from the sidelines and from TNT alumni and TNT participants from all over the united states. On and on we went. We felt good but it was getting hotter and hotter and a lot more humid. That made things a lot more challenging. However, our training had though us how to say properly hydrated and how to manage our energy drink supplies. Dehydration would not be our problem. Luis was having a few aches and pains from the halfway point and I was setting the pace. In my excitement, I would perhaps go a bit too fast for him and we would need to slow down. Despite his aches and pains he had a huge smile on his face. In our own little world, we were kicking some ass!
On and on we went. We eventually met up with our team mates Len and Jen. They were doing good but the heat had also forced them to walk a lot and to take it easy. They were in great spirits. We tried carrying on together as a foursome but soon realized that our paces were incompatible. They went on a head and we caught up with them in a mile or so and they would then pass us and we would again pass them. Luis managed to be over his previous injuries and we picked up the pace we were going like bats out of hell (still race walking) until about mile twenty when Luis started to have some more serious problems with one of his feet. He said it felt like it was broken. Just after that, we saw our coach, Ed, and Luis through out an expletive I won't repeat here for the sake of my more sensitive readers. Luis really wanted Ed to have seen us during our bat out of hell stage, not when he was limping around the place. It was here that I realized that we wouldn't be running any of the race. I didn't care one little bit. This run would be about finishing together. As we continued,Luis' pain grew more and more and I really had to talk him through every agonizing step. At this stage of the race, we were surrounded by 'bodies' of the fallen. Luis could see them and know that he could be worse. As the miles went on, Luis' pain increased. At one stage he filled the top of his sock with ice. That helped. Our mentors were waiting for us at the top of Diamond head again. Mile 22. I could see that Luis was in pretty bad shape and our conversation had turned exclusively to making sure Luis would get to that finish line and pick up that finisher's medal and T shirt. We were literally taking him there one step at a time. Luis was wincing on every step. I was impressed with Luis' strength. Despite the pain, he kept the correct form and went as fast as he possibly could. We were still at a good striding pace. Stacy was waiting at mile 26. It was GREAT to see her. She had been waiting there (rather optimistically) for the past three hours. She managed to see pretty much all of our teammates finish their race. She hugged and kissed but we still had 0.2 miles to go and I was afraid to stop. We walked to the end raised our hands together and FINISHED. Our time was unimportant at this stage. We had made it off our respective couches, gone through hell and back during our training and actually MISSED the later half of the training, but we did all that together. We would wonder if we could carry on together and it was really great to finish together. Despite the pain, Luis had made it all the way. Luis would go.
Later that day Stacy told me that she cried her eyes our with pride as she heard those fireworks go off at 5am. Everything we had gone through that weekend helped her understand my REAL motivation behind what this is all about. She saw what Team inTraining is about. She realized how it REALLY helps people. She saw the bond I had made with a bunch of complete strangers and the support we had for each other. Stacy definitely looks at me with ride in her eyes now. When she supported what I was doing before this weekend, she now UNDERSTANDS why I did it. I'm so glad that she was able to come and watch me go through it all, from start to finish.
So I'm sitting here now in my fancy hotel room and have a lot to reflect on. I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a lot of peoplewho helped me get here. Physically, I have a few aches and pains but that sort of thing doesn't bother the new Martin. He's used to that. What he's not used to is finishing something physical that he started. I am very proud of myself. I am officially off the coach and through that finish line. I have more to say, but I also need to go snorkeling and lying on the beach and getting a massage, so I think I 'll finish those thoughts when I get home.



Thursday, December 08, 2005


On my way

Well here it is, my very last blog entry before the big day. I can’t believe I’ve made it. I can’t believe that I’m flying to Honolulu tomorrow morning. Actually, I’m supposed to be up and at ‘em in just a few short hours so I’d better be getting on with it.

I’m feeling pretty good. I have NO IDEA how my ITBS (side knee pain) is doing because it only occurs when I run and I haven’t run since last Saturday. I went for a last massage earlier on and it felt really good (for a change). My knee is a bit sore but I think I’ll be in fairly good shape on Sunday morning. Since we have to get up so early on Sunday I’ve decided to set my watch ahead three hours relative to Hawaii time. That’s actually only an hour ahead of California time. In short, I’m going to image that I’ll be flying EAST one hour tomorrow. That way, I’ll think I’m getting up at 5:30 instead to 2:30 on Sunday morning. Of course, the fact that I will KNOW that its not REALLY 5:30 won’t help matters.

You can all track my progress on Sunday in REAL TIME by going to


and entering in my name. I’m not sure how (or if) it will work but you can apparently see my progress during the race this way. The run starts at 5am which in 7am in California and 3pm in Ireland. Send good vibes my way.

I had a bit of a fright this morning. Luis told me that he may not be able to make it as his son was pretty sick. Luis is a single parent and his son needs him so I understood his situation but felt really bad that his marathon bid was in jeopardy. Fortunately, his son is getting better and it looks like Luis will make it after all. I was starting to dread running / walking / crawling this thing on my own.

Looking back on the past few months I can only see positive things. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, I’ve lost 20 lbs in weight, with your help I’ve raise a LOAD of money to help those kids and adults suffering from blood cancers and we’ve all helped getting closer to that cure. I’ve met some great people. The honorees like Greg stay with me and will stay with me throughout the pain of Sunday’s run. I get to rest on Monday. Many don’t have such a luxury. I’ve made new friends like Luis and Carrie and Lora and Len and Jen and James and … I really could go on and on. When I started this endeavor they told me that training for this marathon would change my life forever. No matter what happens on Sunday that much, I now know, is true. From the bottom of my heart I thanks you all for supporting every step I have taken on this journey, even when those steps became limps. I thank all of you that have donated so generously your hard earned cash.

The phase ‘it’s not the destination but the journey’ could not be more apt at this point in my life. Thank you all for taking the journey with me. Whether you know it or not, you have all managed to lighten my load.

Now, close your eyes and wish me luck. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with a report of how everything went.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Midweek update

I just thought I’d check in again. I decided NOT to get that second cortisone shot. I really couldn’t justify it and I’ve read that needless cortisone shots can do some damage to the muscles, long term. I don’t think I’ve ever been as paranoid in my life. I still have very little pain in my knee since last week’s cortisone shot. At one stage I actually had to leave work to run around for a mile or so just to see if my injury would come back. Well, apart for doing something silly, I don’t think there will be anything I could do to get my knee to hurt like it used to. It still hurts a BIT, but not very much. In short, it still hurts enough to make me run very gingerly on Sunday. I have no idea when the pain will start during my BIG run but I really hope that it is as long past the starting line as possible.

I’m starting to dream about my run. Last night I dreamt that Luis and I had a great run. The night before I had one of many ‘exam’ dreams. You know those dreams where you realize the night before a big exam that you haven’t studied at all?

Anyway, I will remain paranoid about every little pain and spasm that takes place in my lower body. I have tape on my foot to help stabilize it. I have tape below my knee to deal with that Peronial nerve. I have a PatStrap wrapped around my knee to help with my ITBS. Sometimes I feel like I’m being held together with string. I cannot WAIT until Monday. I make be in a world of pain, but I will know how I did. I will have DONE whatever I’m about to do and I can rest. I can finally REST. Of course, I am grateful that I CAN rest. I must keep our honorees and all of those suffering from blood cancers in my mind and APPRECIATE the fact that I can stop and rest for a few days, or weeks. I can choose to stop the pain. Thank god for that.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Fingers continue to be crossed!

I have a fair bit of catching up to do since Thursday night’s entry. It’s pretty much all good news, even though I HATE to say stuff like that. I’ve had three days pain free and I’ve run twice in those three days. I have a tiny bit of residual pain but I’m going to try to go back and get one more shot to make that go away.

Friday morning, I went out to the Skypark neighbourhood – the one with the one-mile running track around it. I ran a full mile with lots of trepidation. I ran a bit and stretched and ran another bit and stretched but I didn’t feel my usual pain one single time! At one stage a let out a huge whoop of joy. It was GREAT to not feel my usual crippling pain after a couple of minutes! I stopped after a mile mainly because I didn’t want to ruin my good mood with a sudden reoccurrence of my injury. I spent the rest of the day smiling… a little paranoid, but still smiling.

The last buddy run of the season was on Saturday morning. I had already written it off last week but I changed my mind on Friday night. I would make the final Team in Training run. The run started at the bottom of a hill, a hill I didn’t want to climb on my first real run in weeks so I drove past the starting point so that I could start my run past that hill. I saw a couple of teammates looking at me as I drove by. I’m not sure if the surprise one their faces was because I was driving past the starting point of simply because I was there at all. I started out my race walking for about a mile. Race walking is walking with a technique that allows you to move ALMOST as fast as you might run (but you also look like you have a stick up your bum). I then started jogging and continued to run/walk/run/walk for another couple of miles. As I ran back I came across Cristina, one of my favorite mentors. Cristina is a true mentor for slower runners like myself. She is not a particularly fast runner herself, but has a huge heart and I don’t even think she does the mentoring because she likes to run. She likes to encourage others to achieve what they know is inside themselves. She’s great. I couldn’t have chosen a better mentor to run my last couple of miles training with. I didn’t meet up with the others because I had actually run farther than they had and so didn’t meet them on my way back, as I had expected to. When we got to my car I didn’t want to stop running! Half because I was just enjoying myself with Cristina and half because I wanted to REALLY challenge my knee before getting any way confident about next weekend. Se we ran a mile DOWN that hill I avoided at the start and Cristina drove me back UP to my car. It felt GLORIOUS to run again. I was surprised by how good it made me feel.

Today, my knee is starting to feel a bit sore again. Sore enough for me to want to go back to Dr. Rasi and get one more shot before next Sunday. Yes, SUNDAY is race day! I can’t believe how fast it is coming up. Ram, my friend in work who has been taking part in his own marathon training ran his race today in Sacramento. He was joined by four of my teammates. I think they all did very well and I very happy for them all. Keep me in your thoughts over the next week and please keep those thoughts positive… focusing on the outside of my right knee!

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Tired, getting a cold, getting nervous

Just a quick entry tonight as I’ve had a VERY busy day (week) and I’m tired. First of all, my knee is no longer hurting when I don’t run. Now, I don’t know if that means that my leg is not going to hurt after a couple of minutes of running but this is still a big improvement. I couldn’t test my new legs out today as it was raining cats and dogs ALL day.
We had out final send off meeting tonight. It really made me realize just what I’ve gotten myself into, both for the good reasons and for the scary reasons. Did I tell you that the run starts at 5AM? We have to be assembled in the hotel lobby by 3:30am, which means that I’ll have to get UP at around 2:30am!!! We were also told not to count on getting ANY sleep that night. Just what you need before a 26 mile run! Ah well, it’s all good at this stage of the game. I’ll do it all, I’ll soak it in and I’ll have something to remember for the rest of my life.
Finally, I want you all to send good vibes my way. I’m getting a sore throat or a cough or something coming on and it’s not very welcome right now. So send anti-cold vibes my way and help me fight it off. I’ll do my part by loading myself up with vitamin C and zinc lozenges. If I get it, I’ll try my best not to let it get me down. Better to get it now than this time next week!
I’m going to try a quick run in the morning if the rain has stopped by then. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Officially Broken (but not bad news)

I went to the appointment with the orthopedic surgeon today. They x-rayed my knee from every angle and his comments upon reviewing the x-rays was NOT what I wanted to hear. He said that he saw significantly more ‘degeneration’ in the structure of my knee than he would expect for someone my age. He told me, point blank, to stop running. In his opinion arthritis is almost a certainty in my future. The more I run, the sooner the future will be. I told him that being able to keep up with Ronan as he grows was a big factor in why I started to run. He basically told me that my continuing to run would just mean that I would be able to hold my breath longer than Ronan, but it wouldn’t necessarily help me pick him up. He suggested I try cycling or swimming next. Seeing as how I can’t swim, cycling is the only thing that’s left. However, this Marathon has thought me that I am capable of things I did not think were previously possible so I may just go back and learn to swim (without giving up mid lessons, as is the historical pattern). So be it. I will have to reconsider that vow I made to run another marathon. I’ll set new long-term goals in the New Year. Perhaps I’ll learn to swim and do a triathlon. Perhaps I’ll do a 100 mile cycle. Either way, whatever I do, I’ll do it better as a result of this experience.
The doctor examined my knee and felt confident that I did, indeed, suffer from ITBS. Now, it usually takes up to six months to fully recover from this condition, but sometime the cortisone shot can work miracles. He showed me exactly where the band of muscle was rubbing on my knee. He thought that a cortisone shot would probably do some good in helping me get over my injury and finish the marathon in one piece. The cortisone shot was actually very easy. It felt like the flu shot with a little more shot. He also gave me a prescription for course of anti-inflammatory pills that would kill a horse.
I looked back at the events that have covered my blog over the past few months and I’m SO glad I did this thing DESPITE the pain. Pain can sometimes make you feel like you’re doing something, like you are ALIVE. There is a form of good pain and all of my pain has been good pain. I hope to keep this blog around as a constant reminder to myself that the payback for getting out of shape can be very significant indeed. I hope it will inspire me to keep fit after the race and beyond.
Stay tuned to see if the shot did me any good (or any harm). I’ll try running again on Thursday and I’ll see what happens. The doc told me that I could go back again next week if I need to try another shot before the marathon.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Getting in the 'zone' - Cortizone!

First and formost, thanks to all of you for your words of encouragement. They were very much appreciated and made a big impact on my mental state.

I went to my podiatrist this morning. He was SURE I have a thing called IT band syndrome. He thinks there is one more thing I can try and it should provide good results. He even called in a favor with a colleague and got me an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow at lunchtime. I’m going to get a shot of cortisone into my knee area. I have no idea what that means but I do know that it’s main function is to drastically reduce the inflammation so that my IT band no longer rubs off my knee and has a chance to heal. I’ve read about this stuff on the internet and people claim anything from ‘this will mess you up for the rest of your life” to “ this will fix your IT band problems overnight”. I’m hoping that the latter statement is more applicable in my case! I choose to ignore the former because if you look up a head cold (for example) on the Internet you’ll probably find someone with a story of how you will DIE within a week. Anyway, I’ll let you know what happens tomorrow.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


New Leaf

I don’t know if anyone is checking my blog anymore. It’s been an entire week since I did an update and I honestly don’t know if anyone is going to read this entry. Not that it matters. I’m writing this one for myself.
I’ve been in a really bad mood over the second half of today. My Mam has been visiting for the past week and Ronan had a great time with her. It was great to see him interact with his ‘nanny’ for over a week. She left earlier today and I had been thinking that it was the leaving of a loved one that goes back ‘home’ that put me in my ‘mood’. Not so (of course, I’m sad to see my mother go back). If I look down deep inside, I know that I’m angry with myself. Why? Because I gave up on myself. After a quick run on Wednesday morning I was in pain and gave up hope of running the Marathon in a couple of weeks. I used Thanksgiving and my mother’s visit as excuses, but I did not roll, I did none of my prescribed exercises and I did not run. I didn’t have a master plan behind any of this but I know that I gave up. It really is looking like I’ll be LUCKY to finish this race in two weeks time. My leg still hurts. My knee hurts when I run and it even hurts when I walk. It hurts when I just swing my leg back and forth for a while. I can’t find any cause and neither can any of the experts I’ve been seeing over the past few months… other than to tell me that my problems stem from strangely shaped legs and feet. I’ve done butt exercises, taped my leg, gotten custom orthodics, endured deep tissue massages that went to the core of every muscle of my lower body and endured hours of pain… and I’m STILL not likely to be able to run this marathon. That is NOT why I’ve been in a bad mood. That is NOT why I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I’m in a bad mood because I LET all of this things get to me. I finally gave in to the weight of all this crap that seems to have been in vain. I gave up.
The main purpose of this blog entry is to try to turn myself around. Now, I realize that turning my attitude around will not cure my knee issues. Continuing with my training regiment probably won’t help me to run an extra step at this stage. But it can help me finish (walking or crawling) with a smile upon my face. Ever since I was a kid I pretty much gave up doing anything when I started to be at the back of the pack. I was always the kid to be picked last for football teams. I used to ‘play hooky’ at sporting events in school because I was so bad at them I used to get shouted at for letting the ball fall between my legs, or whatever. This marathon would be the first difficult thing I ever did without giving up. When things were going well, I felt like this was going to be the first sporting achievement I would ever do and I wouldn’t give up! I realize that I need to keep trying in order to say that I didn’t give up. So I will.
I will probably finish this marathon in a dismally bad time. I will probably be in a lot of pain and lots of people in Santa suits will sail past me on a continuous basis. But I’ll know that DESPITE all of this, I won’t have given up.
I will vow two things tonight. The first is that, starting tonight; I will do everything I can to be in the best shape possible for the start of the Honolulu marathon. I will continue to do my strengthening exercises. I will continue to run short distances. I will continue to see all of my ‘specialists’, starting with my podiatrist in the morning. If none of this helps me physically at this point, so be it. I will know I tried.
What’s my second vow? I vow that I WILL run (and I mean RUN) a marathon within the next couple of years. Looking back, I see that I WAS crazy to assume that I could run this thing with zero running experience. Hey, I didn’t have any sporting experience at all! Taking care of Ronan was probably the most physical activity I ever did until the one-mile time trial a few months back. I will start training for the NEXT marathon soon after I return. I will rest my knees in an attempt to fix my problem (whatever it is) and I’ll ramp up my training at a much slower rate. But I will do all of it to prove something to myself and to fulfill a promise to the many of people like you who have donated to my cause and placed to much faith in me. This is not bullshit. It’s not an excuse with a feeble ‘I’ll try better next time’. I don’t honestly think I can try better than I did this time around, but I do know that I can try slower and fitter and more informed.
Thanks to all of you still reading my blog. Thanks for staying with me all this time. Thanks for believing in me. I’ll be writing more often as we get closer to the ‘event’.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Sorry it's been so long.

Well, I just realized that it’s been a very long time since my last entry. I’ve had a very busy weekend and I’m tired and I want to go to bed. But I owe you guys an update. I withheld an update because I really didn’t want to tell you bad news. Well, the bad news just keeps on coming.

I missed track on Thursday night because traffic was hellish on the way back from picking up my mother at SFO. Mark retaped my ankle and my knee as I went up to collect her. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to try his new taping out. I also had to get stacy to remove the original tape on Thursday morning. Ahhhhh! Pain! Anyway, I was too late to run track by the time we got back from SFO and watched Ronan and my mother get along with each other. Friday, I really took it fairly easy as I didn’t want to do too much before the big one. 20 miles. Our official dress rehersal for marathon day.

Stacy, Ronan and Mam came with me on Saturday. The run itself was about an hour away and I wanted Stacy to drive me home in case things didn’t go too well. My bad knee is my driving knee (if you get my meaning). The three of them took charge of a water station… seven and a half miles into the run.

I felt good. I was thinking that I should try my best to listen to Mark’s advice and only run 16 of the 20 miles. That should be enough to get my confidence back fo the final race, now that we had worked out the problems with my knee. We started  and my the outside of my knee started hurting within the first few minutes. I tried walking for a while. Not too back. Tried running again. Nope, my knee pain was increasing. Walked again. I had started by attempting the run-eight-minutes, walk-two-minutes technique. I was BARELY able to RUN for two minutes. I ‘race walked’ for the first seven and a half miles. Did it in two hours. That’s fairly fast walking. I turned around at the seven and a half mile point. I really wanted to make it to the seven and a half mile point as that was where Stacy, Ronan and Mam were and it would have killed me not to see them on the run. With the walk back, I had walked a total of fifteen miles. In short, I ran as badly as I ever have over the past few weeks. I really felt like it was my IT band, but I also felt that my feet may also have had something to do with it. Severe pain on the outside of my knee that would get worse with every step. I was barely able to bend my leg for a few hours after the run and when I did it REALLY hurt. I sat in an ice bath, things improved significantly. I still had a bit of pain for the rest of the day, but my recovery was much faster than usual.

Today was Ronan’s baptism and I spent many many hours on my feet, often holding him. Not too good for my legs but I guess that’s what I signed up for. It was bad, but not THAT bad. I think all of this training has at least made my recovery period a bit shorter.

I’ve GOT to go to bed now. I was up at 5:30am on Saturday morning for the run and 7:00 am this morning.

I’ll write more tomorrow night.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


My bones are getting on my nerves!

So much to write about… so little time. I have half an hour to write about the past 48 (or more) hours.

Sunday, Ronan and I went for a walk with Luis and his son Santiago. It was maybe a couple of miles. Between that and some odd jobs I was doing around the house in preparation for a visit from my mother, my knees were pretty sore by Sunday night. Monday, as I wrote last night I had an appointment with Mark Fadil. I learned several things during this time.

1. I was, indeed ALWAYS doing my core strengthen exercises incorrectly. I have no idea how to control my abdominal muscles and controlling them is at the essence of strengthening my core. I still don’t really understand what or where they are. Now I know what the person who wakes up in a hospital bed feels like when they scream “I can’t feel my legs, I can’t feel my legs”, except I was lying there screaming “I can feel my abs, I can’t feel my abs!”. I still have no idea. Yet another thing to work out along this journey.

2. I was also doing my butt strengthening exercises incorrectly. See above.

3. I have set a new bar for the amount of pain I have experienced in my life. As part of the diagnostic process, Mark thought it would be a good idea to bore holes into my back with his fingers. The deepest deep tissue massage I ever experienced. Of course, in reality this really means that my back muscles were REALLY tight and needed to be tenderized, as one would tenderize a big lump of mutton in an attempt to pass it off as lamb.

4. I have a new probable offender for my knee pain. Turns out, I may have had a compressed Peronean nerve in my knee that may have been caused by bad knee joints that may have been as a result of a snowboarding accident I had about five years ago (sounds glamorous, but it wasn’t, believe me!). Mark taped up my leg in various places and my pain subsided considerably!

5. I have very hairy legs. Mark was not happy with his first attempt at taping my legs and had to rip the tape back off. Now, this tape is pretty much the same as duct tape, as far as its adhesive properties are concerned. After he ripped the tape off, the tape was very hairy and the leg was not… any more. How on earth do people do that bikini wax thing? Nut jobs!

Mark suggested that I try a short run today and I did just that this very morning. I finished that three mile run with mixed results. The run went fine. I still had soreness in the area Mark  taped yesterday but it registered at about a 4/10 (compared to an 8/10 before). I also noticed that the soreness would subside if I stopped and stretched my I.T. band... getting worse as I ran again. I also noticed that the soreness was associated with the action of bending knee as I lifted my foot off the ground. I stopped after 3 miles feeling like I could have run four or five... but with increased soreness and maybe even some pain.

Two hours later, I still had pain behind my knee, especially when I bend the leg - perhaps even sorer than when I was running. The tape around my ankle came loose in the shower and I'm not sure if I reapplied it correctly. Already I started second guessing everything. The miracle cure was not as miraculous as I first imagined it might be.

I still have pains in the back of my knee when going up or down stairs or when I bend my knee upwards. Reading some stuff about the Peroneal nerve, many of the symptoms resonated with me and I really think that this is were most of my problems lie. I just don’t understand why I felt so good just after my appointment and have reverted back to such a degree now. I honestly give up trying to figure it all out at this stage. But I will keep trying to improve and I absolutely REFUSE to give up. As the old prayer goes…

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference.

Monday, November 14, 2005


A New Hope

So it turns out that all of my pain over the last few weeks may have been due to an injured nerve. My fibula to tibia joint was found to be a bit wobbly, probably cause by a snowboarding accident about FIVE years ago. This was putting pressure on my peroneal nerve. Mark at SMI taped my knee together again to secure the joint and lighten the pressure from the nerve. The results were nothing short of miraculous! I’m going to try running again tomorrow to see if I’m REALLY fixed this time so I’ll write tomorrow with a full report (and a better explanation). I want you all to cross your fingers…

Friday, November 11, 2005


Life's up and downs

Wow! I just keep getting thrown one way and then the other. I’m not going to write too much tonight as I’m not in a very good mood and I have a new carpet cleaner to assemble and a kitchen table to take apart. I tried running this morning and I lasted a whole 200ft or so before my knee started to give me problems. I’ve gone from the longest I’ve even run four weeks ago to the shortest I’ve run in memory today.
After a day of limping around feeling sorry for myself I may have Stacy to thank for saving me, once again. I showed her the exercises I’ve been doing all week and she was shocked that I had not actually broken my knees doing them. She tried one of them herself and actually hurt her own knee! I’m going to try some of the butt strengthening exercises Stacy showed me tonight from now on. They make a whole lot more sense and don’t put any stress on my knees. I’m taking a break tonight to give the pain in my knees a bit of a rest. I have a busy day ahead tomorrow to get the house ready for my Mam’s visit on Thursday. She’s coming over for Ronan’s baptism.
And in other news, Luis messed up his knee once again last night at track. In short, we are still as lame as each other right now.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


One step forward...

I woke up this morning at 5am to pee and I had a bit of pain down in the region around my knee. Oh, oooh! To cut a long story short, my running-related pains are transforming into bum exercise-related pains. Not THAT, I don’t mind at all, as soreness is a sign that I’m actually working some muscles. I decided to cycle into work and cycle home again at lunchtime. I’ve been using reasons why I absolutely, positively have to use my car as excuses not to ride my bike to work for far too long. Of course, the knee injury hasn’t helped that endeavor either! It’s been so long since I cycled last that I actually had to put some air in the tires (tyres) once again. I also did all of my exercises – took me about an hour and a half in total. I need to do the same think every single day for the next month. I looked at the calendar this morning and realized that I HAVE LESS THAN ONE MONTH LEFT!!! After a brief heart attack, I resolved to do everything I can (within reason) to get back on my feet (and my bike) and get my confidence level back up. To do that, I need to work on that knee pain. To do that, I need to work on those muscles of mine.
I was supposed to have track tonight but I didn’t go. I know in my heart that it would have set me back a couple of steps. I want to go one step forward for a change! I’m going to try running a few miles on Saturday and MAYBE a couple of miles tomorrow morning… just as a test to see how bad a shape I’m still in.
As ever (and ever)… wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


On the mend

Just a quick update to let you all know that I finally feel like I’m on the mend. The butt-strengthening exercises Mark ahs me doing are very tough but I know, from experience at this stage, that that’s the reason I NEED to do them and that it will get easier in time. I still don’t feel like I could run very far just yet, but the general pain has definitely subsided. Most of my soreness is coming from those exercises!
Still not sure what to do about track tomorrow night. I may go but take things at my own pace. No more bounding up those hills!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005



I’ve got a bit of good news for a change. It feels good to feel a little more optimistic. I’ll explain why in a minute.

Last night I went to Len and Jen’s talk about running together and Len’s blindness and all of that sort of thing. It was very entertaining. I learned a lot about how they run together. God, that must be hard… being tied to the same person for several hours at a time running to close to the point of exhaustion. I learned a lot about blindness and how, for Len, this is not really a disability. There is very little Len is unable to do as a result of his blindness. I was in awe of both Len and Jen because what they do is an example of true humanity and teamwork. I couldn’t run a marathon tied to someone else… unless I was being dragged, that it!

I went over to Palo Alto to see sports medical expert Mark Fadil. What can I say? The man is a generous! He managed to pinpoint the two places that caused my injuries every time I run. By applying PRESSURE to two places around my hips he was able to cause the same pain in my legs as occurs when I run. He was then able to do deep massage to those places and finally ease my pain. He also accessed that my real problem is that I have very weak bum muscles and I’ve been put on an intensive butt workout. My success or failure on my Marathon bid depends on my bum. Talk about putting your ass on the line! All in all, I know what the problem is, I know how to fix it and I feel like I can recover.

I met Luis for lunch yesterday and we made a bit of a pact. We will run with each other throughout the Marathon in December. If one of us is tired or injured the other will stay back to help get us BOTH across that finish line. I think it helps both of us to try our very best to be in the best shape possible on the day because we don’t want to let our partner in crime down. Whatever happens with our injuries, I know that I will have a lot more fun running with Luis than I would running alone.

Wish me and my weak bottom luck over the next few weeks.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Run, walk or crawl

Well, I’m guessing that your checking in to see how I did with my eighteen mile run. I’m afraid the answer is … I didn’t do all that well. I walked ten of those eighteen miles with Luis (also still very much injured). I was almost crippled by the end of it so I’m actually GLAD that I didn’t run. I would have been TOTALLY crippled had I run. I’m also glad because I would have missed out on a dozen laughs with Luis. I wouldn’t have received a great pep talk from Luis when I was bitching and moaning and generally being full of regret. He said a few things that put things into perspective for me. He reminded me that, no matter what happens at the end of all of this, I would never regret the experience. After our long, fast walk, it was suggested that we go knee deep into the Pacific Ocean. Now, the Pacific Ocean is cold, REALLY cold! I screamed like a little girl as the waves crept further up my knees and thighs. I think it did me some good.
As the day progressed, my legs started to cramp up all over again and I once again had problems bending them. One of my feet really hurt. It almost feels like a sprain on the side of my right foot. I’m really falling apart lately. I tried something I haven’t done in a while. I did some pretty deep quad stretching. That actually helped with my inability to bend my leg, which is kind of strange, since the quad stretch requires me to bend my leg as much as it will go. I think my main problem since the walk yesterday has been my foot problem. It really is quite sore. Fortunately, I had an appointment with my podiatrist tomorrow to fit and pick up my custom orthotics. I’ll ask him to check out my foot while he’s at it. Once again, I’m going in to test the comfort and fit of a pair of insoles while I have sore knees and a sore foot. How will I know how they feel? “Other than the cramping pains in my foot and knees, these feel so much more comfortable than my own shoes”.
Tomorrow night, I’m going to a fundraiser arranged by Jen and Len - two people I will be running with in Honolulu. They are both faster than me and consistently beat me both in time and in distance. They run together, just like Luis and I do. They are good friends and have a developed a very strong bond. Len runs with a handicap that I used to suffer from. He has asthma. His asthma was bothering him a lot recently but some changes in the dose of his inhaler has made running much easier for him. Len and Jen were recently featured in the local paper for their inspirational teamwork. They run with each other on every run. Step for step. They will run the marathon with each other step for step. Oh, and by the way, Len hasn’t had use of his eyes since he was a baby. If you want to know more about Len and Jen I recommend that you can go to the newspaper article by clicking the following link. I’m my opinion; the headline has a small typo. If you saw him running every week like we do you’d agree… that Len’s blindness is NOT a handicap.


Since I have raised my fundraising minimum, I’d also like to suggest that you offer any donation you were going to offer me (not presuming that you would or should) to either Len or Jen as they both have yet to make their fundraising minimum and all the money we raise as a Team goes directly to exactly the same place, helping exactly the same people. Len or Jen just wouldn’t have to worry as much about their fundraising.  

Len’s donation page is


And Jen’s is


These are two amazing people who will inspire me for years to come. They are just one of the reasons that I will have no regrets with regard to my experience training for this marathon, whether I end up running, walking or crawling to that finish line.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Dori Galster (Part 2)

You may remember I had a Q&A with Dori Galster a few weeks back. Doris is amazing because she is a Team Honoree (and cancer survivor) AND a team member. Dori recently completed her event, the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco. She passed on her reflections of the whole experience to us and has given me permission to pass them on to you. In short, Dori is saying thank you to all of you who have contributed to the cause.

This journey has been a very powerful experience for me. San Francisco played a key part in my own cure. It was here that they harvested my own healthy bone marrow to put in storage for 5 years in case I should relapse. Thank goodness I didn't need it, but I think a part of me has always held onto that fear. With generous support from my friends and family and the magic of TNT I was able to let that go.
It was surreal running down the streets of SF. The first few miles went slowly but we were able to take in the beautiful skyline, the welcomed fog, and remind ourselves what we were all there for. It was amazing how quickly the miles added up. I surrendered myself to the experience and my heart was touched more ways than I could express.
As we rounded the corner to enter golden gate park just after mile 10, I saw my family cheering me on. I nearly lost it. This was the most emotional part of the run, the feeling like my life had come full circle. Just 14 years earlier I sat on the other side of the park, overlooking the trees, contemplating my future, fearing what might happen if I ever needed to come back here again. As we approached miles 11 and 12 I tried to remind myself what I was here for. My friend Abel and Javier along with all the countless other honorees who had lost their battle. My boys, Elijah and Jake, who are miracles and everyday blessings to remind me what a gift life is. I remembered a scared 16 year old who wasn't sure what her future held. I looked around me and took in all the people, my running partners Nicole and Amie, as well as complete strangers running with the same mission. Would they ever know the lives they have touched? Could they ever know how my heart was touched? Heading into mile 13 I felt an incredible release. Not only was I on my way to successfully running my first half marathon, I left a 14 year fear somewhere in the trees.
I am healthy and I am lucky to be alive. I have been blessed with a cure thanks to generous people like you who believed. Just remember as you continue to run/walk those countless miles you are making a difference and you are touching the hearts of many. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. GO TEAM!

Let's take a moment to applaud Dori's accomplishments, both in San Francisco and in life. Her strength is the compass that points in to the finish line.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Tight Ass!

I’m starting to get my injuries under control. It seems as though the source of my knee problems lies in ... how should I put this? … my bum. Specifically, I had a very tight gluteus minimus and tensor fascia lata which ‘referred’ pain down the side of my legs to my knees. Know, I don’t expect you to know what on earth I’m talking about, I’m really just showing off about my newly acquired knowledge of my butt muscles. So, believe it or not, I need to sit on a tennis ball in order to reduce the pain in my knees. And it works!!! So that’s what I’ve been doing today. I’m not ‘cured’ by any stretch of the imagination BUT I am improving!
I heard some scary news today. I hadn’t looked at my training calendar but our eighteen-mile run is on Saturday. I thought I had two weeks between these runs! I’m in a total dilemma with regard to whether or not to skip it. If I do skip it, I have to run 20 the week after. That’ll be going from 15 to 20 miles! On the other hand, I don’t want to do the one step forward, two steps back thing I did last weekend. I’m going to buy new running shoes and will make a decision on Friday night. In the meantime, I’ll do my level best to improve my physical state. Once again, wish me luck!

Monday, October 31, 2005


I can't remember what 'no pain' feels like.

A quick update on my injury status. While I was in a lot of pain yesterday, I’m a little better today. My feet are still very sore but I feel like they will recover (probably time for new shoes). I saw my deep tissue massage therapist today and she found a few knots they MAY be the root cause of my knee pain (it sure FELT like the root cause of some kind of pain). As I lay down tonight, I still hurt in my knees and my feet feel like they have trekked the length of the great wall of China. I will get better. I will return! I will run again... for eight minutes… then walk for two.. then run for eight…


Weekend Catch Up - Part 1

So I’ll start my block report with news of Saturday’s run or lack there of. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had decided to try a run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes strategy and it was working well… for the first four miles. Here’s why I liked the run-8, walk-2. It provided short-term goals. I was not focused on “fifteen of sixteen miles to go”, I was simply thinking in 7 minutes and I can walk again, in six minutes and I can walk again…
Things fell apart when we stopped at about mile three or four to stretch. As I started to run again, I started to feel pain in my knee. This got worse and worse and was soon acute. At one stage I even lay to stretch my ‘glutes’ on a patch of grass outside someone’s house. As I hobbled on, I started to feel pain in my right foot too, along the ridge that connects my little toe to my heel.  I eventually caught up to my injured buddy Luis who own knee had given up the ghost about a mile after me. We limped back to the first water stop and finally caught a lift back to the starting line with Joe. That’s Joe of the thyroid cancer surgery. Joe’s recovery from his surgery has been an inspiration in of itself. He already back up and running and talking photos of the Team. He even walked a half marathon last weekend! He amazes me. What made my injuries worse was the fact that Stacy and Ronan were waiting to cheer me on at the finish line.
On Sunday, I could not bend my right knee without excruciating pain. On top of that, I kept getting jabbing pains in my feet… both of them! I think yesterday was an all time low for my injuries. I was worried about how I would stand up to MC’ing Sunday night’s TNT Spooky Silent Auction. Little did I know that standing would be the least of my worries that night.


Weekend Update Part 2 - Is This Thing On?

On Sunday Luis and I were on for MC’ing the Spooky Silent Auction. Basically this auction was set up as a fundraiser where team members would get items donated (vouchers for local businesses, etc) or might have hand made some jewelry or whatever and the winning bid amount would be added to their fundraising. I was lucky enough to have some very generous friends and family and I didn’t have to go from business to business looking for donations. Instead, my contribution was to help make the event go as smoothly as possible. The event was publicized in the local papers and all was set for a great evening. The event itself was to be staged at a place called the Ideal Bar and Grill. It had a round bar with an adjoining restaurant. The auction would take place in the restaurant section. Unfortunately, Luis was not able to make it because he son was sick and I was on my own. I racked my brains thinking of funny things I could do or say. The first thing to do was to have a couple of costume changes. I’d start by addressing the crowd as seventies dude and then go off and have a costume change, coming back as Austin Powers. I can do a mean Austin impersonation, baby!  Another pla I had was to come out with a Darth Vadar mask on. Get the mic and breath like the dark lord himself. Then I would get an Asthma inhaler, take a shot and say “ah, that feels much better” in my own voice. I had also found out that someone had donated five puppies. I decided to use them as my main catch. My first ‘guilt trip’ would be to tell the audience that, much as I didn’t like it, the puppies would be sent to the dog pound if they were not bid on and that they would be euthanized unless one of two things happened. They could be saved if one of two things happens. The first is that we could get a call from the Governator who could grant them all a pardon. This was highly unlikely. The other option was that people could bid obscene amounts of money to save the puppy’s lives. I had a few other bits and pieces prepared. Some of them, I thought, were at least a BIT funny. I had one other task for the night. I had to read out the winning bidders and what they one. The auction had two stages so I had to do this twice. I decided to read the first list as Austin Powers and the second list using my Sean Connery impersonation.
Then the reality hit. The auction and most of the people attending the auction event were in the restaurant section of the bar. The PA system, where the bands play and most of the casual drinkers were in the bar section. In other words, when we were getting up to address the crowd, we were addressing the wrong crowd. All this crowd wanted to do was drink their beer in peace and not be harassed by the hosts (dressed as Dr. Suess characters, Thing 1, Thing 2 and Thing 3. Neither did they care for my seventies guy persona. My bit about the puppies went down like a led balloon, as did most everything else I had to say. I definitely had that thing happen to me where I lost the crowd (or never found then in the first place) and thereby lost any momentum. Instead of getting energy from the crowd, I had all the energy sucked out of me. They didn’t even seem to acknowledge the fact that I had stopped talking when I did. I went back into the room where my ‘people’ were actually sitting and asked how I did. How did the thing about the puppies go down, was it too much? I had two types of replies.
  1. Couldn’t tell you. Didn’t even know that you were up there.

  2. Couldn’t tell you. All I could hear from here was “waw, waw, waw, waw”. The PA system was NO EQ’ed for my fine Irish lilt.
Next time I was due to get up, I was to read the auction winners. I went into the bathroom and turned from Seventies Dude to Austin Powers. On stage I went and gave a big “Hey Baby!”  No reaction from the bar crowd. This sure was a tough crowd. I lost my Mojo in seconds and started to read out the list of winners and the items they won. Unfortunately, all of the winners were actually in the restaurant and none of the winners (or bidders) were in the bar. I was told to stop shouting by some and to better annunciate by others. I ended up reading off the list of auction items like a bingo announcer… for 80 auction items. I actually started to feel sorry for the people at the bar, until they got bored by item number 40 or so and started to chatter on... louder and louder. I couldn’t wait to get off that stage!  I gave up on all the lines I had thought about, as they would be wasted on this bunch. I went back to my people, my Team. They appreciated my Austin, even if everyone in the bar thought I was a gobshite. By the time the second round of the audition was over I had decided to just read out the list and go home. I was not going to waste my Sean Connery on these barflies! And that’s what I did. I finished up, announced my availability for children’s parties and Bar Mitzvah’s and left. When I got home and told Stacy about it all, she laughed so hard that I could only see the funny side of it all myself. All in all, it was a fun night, for a great cause, with some great company. Today, several of my Team mates assured my that I did not bomb as badly as I think I did (or, they would probably maintain, as badly as I have described here tonight. BUT they were in the restaurant area. They didn’t see the blank faces in the bar. They didn’t hear the pins drop between sentences. And you know what? I’m glad.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


I. O. U. two REAL blog entries

Sorry folks, I’m just back from BOMBING as the M.C. of the TNT silent auction and I’m tired and I want to go to sleep. Unfortunately, my 16-mile run went terrible on Saturday. I’ll give you all the details tomorrow night, I promise. In the meantime, here are some Halloween photos of Ronan.

Lost in the Pumpkins

Fancy Dress (and no, not his actual hair!)

Thursday, October 27, 2005


You filled my glass half full

First and foremost, I would like to thank you all for your kind words of encouragement today. It meant a lot to know I still have all of your support. It’s all led me to work out a new strategy for this marathon thing. I realized that it’s the TRAINING that’s killing me. So, if I don’t run between now and the 11th of December, I will probably be injury free between now and then. Why hadn’t I thought of this before now? It’s so simple. I’m going to write a book about this non-running marathon training technique I’ve discovered. I’ll call it “Getting to the Marathon Starting Line Injury Free in twenty weeks or less”. God, sometimes my marketing savvy amazes even myself. But seriously folks, all of your works help me reframe my outlook on this whole thing. I WILL walk, crawl or maybe even run this Marathon in December.
The good new for people like me is that I’ve discovered that serious athletes trying to break personal records and the like do not favor this Marathon in Honolulu. Is it because of the heat? No. Is it because of the hills? No. It’s because of the huge party atmosphere that surrounds the race every year. Around 22,000 actually run… many of them in business suits, many in full costumes. Many of them will be smoking! I’m very serious! So, with all of these non-serious people in my way I can ONLY take it easy myself, right? I can now blame my ten-hour finish time on that freakin’ chain-smoking clown that would not get out of my way the whole race. Don’t believe me? Here are some photos taken from last year’s race.

So, despite the fact that I am still injured, I need to remember a few things.

  1. I still have a good few weeks left.

  2. I don’t have to wear a costume.

  3. I have the support of my friends and family, no matter what happens from this point on.

  4. I was injured before and I got better. I’ll get better again.

  5. I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be, a runner.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Wild Mood Swings

They said when we started this training that we would have our highs and our lows. I’m definitely in the middle of a low right now. I tried to run this morning. I had to quit after a couple of miles with … guess what? … knee pain. This time, the source of the pain was towards the back of the knee.  This means that I had either mis-diagnosed the IT band thing or I’ve moved on to another injury entirely. Sadly, my run started out pretty well. There was a dull pain in my knee, but nothing to write home about (although, I guess that is exactly what I’m doing). Then, at the two mile point I decided to stretch out a little bit when BAM a sharp pain in the back of my knee. This officially pissed me off. I am sick of having injuries. I really, really want to train for this marathon, put in the miles, but every time I try, I seem to go two steps back these days. I’m getting really nervous that I may miss Saturday’s long 16 mile run. This would be catastrophic for my confidence, basically obliterating the high from my 15 mile run as the lesson learned is that if I run 15 miles or more I will mess myself up.  Sorry for the downer. I’m just SO annoyed today. I’ll get back into an icing, painkiller and stretching routine between now and Saturday and we’ll see what happens. Let’s just say my glass is looking half empty right now. Maybe it’ll be half full by the morning.
Here’s my plan for Saturday’s run, assuming I’m up for it. I’ll run for eight minutes and walk for two, run for eight, walk for two, until I reach the end. Assuming that I walk at half the speed I run, I will still finish at 90% efficiency (I think). So I’ll only be a bit slower than I would if I ran the whole thing but MAYBE I’ll save my legs at the same time. You see, my glass is changing direction as I type!
A quick note of congratulations to Elizabeth, Dori, Mimi, Christina, Sara, Leslie, Maria, Dayna, Nicole, Layne, Joy, Jake and Joe for successfully running the women’s Nike half marathon in San Francisco last weekend. The whole team is proud of you. You all did great (or so I hear).
The team is holding a charity event over the weekend and I’m being asked to co-host the event. I said yes, but thinking about being up there really makes me nervous. Even though I’m very much a messer by nature, I always get stage fright when asked to perform on the spot. We’ll see how things go. I won’t be going to track tomorrow night. I mean, doing all that RUNNING would be just asking for trouble, wouldn’t it? Man, am I in trouble!

Monday, October 24, 2005


Warning! This entry is very boring!

Well, not much to report again tonight. I went and got my good old deep tissue massage today. God, it felt good to get all of those nooks and crannies ironed out. I’m now sore as a result of the massage and won’t really know how much good it did me until a day or so. Stacy suggested that I just rest for a day. No rolling, no stretching, no core strength, no nothing, except some ibuprofen and some ice for my knees. THAT sounds like an excellent idea. So my plan for this week is to rest up until Wednesday when I try a six-miler to see how well I’m repairing. I may skip track practice on Thursday night as a result. Ultimately, I need to be focused on getting myself in ship shape for Saturday’s sixteen miles. I know that if I can accomplish a good run on Saturday, this will refocus me mentally and I can get back to the business of training for the marathon. No looking back, and all that.
So, with that, I bid you all success, good health and wealth until we meet again in my next boring blog entry tomorrow night. I swear, if something interesting doesn’t happen to me soon I will be force to make it happen, or make it up.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Road to Recovery

What can I say? I’m still injured. I have an appointment for a deep tissue massage tomorrow. I honestly can’t wait. Right now, I don’t know what is wrong with me, specifically. I’m achy in the knee region and I also have sore ankles. I honestly think that the root cause will lie with my bow leggedness and how it affects the way my foot falls and then, how that affects my legs in general. I’m wondering how much things will improve when I get my custom orthodics in a couple of weeks.
Luis was out at SMI in Palo Alto. Mark, as usual, diagnosed the root cause of his problem. He was back on Saturday and ran eight miles without any pain, whatsoever! Congratulations Luis!
I’m a bit down tonight. It’s amazing how fast things can swing, both up and down, in a single week. This time last week I was on cloud nine! I hope to be back this time next week! I need to replace running next week with cycling for the equivalent amount of time (about an hour per day) in order to make sure my cardio doesn’t go to hell in a hand basket. Cycling is pretty low impact - especially if I ‘spin’ on lower gears. I’m going to continue to do everything I’m supposed to do to get better. As I write this, I have an ice pack on each knee, I need to keep stretching and rolling and strength training. Keep the faith and I’ll be back with stories of danger, adventure and daring stunts before you know it!

Friday, October 21, 2005


Last week up, this week down!

I am officially injured. My IT bands are a tight as a drum. ( This is probably MORE painful than any of the other injuries. At least, it’s the most painful to treat. I WON’T be running tomorrow. I probably won’t be running until our sixteen mile run next weekend. Instead, I’ll be doing my best to get myself in some kind of non-injured state. I’m disappointed. I thought I was doing a good job of preventing injuries at this stage. Running may be the LAST thing I do at the end of all of this training. Last week’s great progress seems like a lifetime ago already!

If you are interested in learning more about my condition (or what it may become) you can check it out here.


I notice that being bow legged increased the likelihood of having IT band problems. They really meant it when they told me that my body is really not built to run. Not that that’s going to stop me running this marathon!

Well I’d better try to stretch out my leg muscles once again.

Once again, wish me luck!

Thursday, October 20, 2005


A Brand New Injury!

Guess what? I have a new injury! This time, my right knee is killing me as a result of an over-tight IT band. This is the SAME problem Luis has been suffering with. The good news is that Luis paid a visit to the evil massage overlord called Mark at the Sports Medical Institute in Palo Alto. He’s the guy who sent me to a new reference point of pain when I had my first knee injury. Looks like Luis had similar punishment. At least when doctors say ‘how bad is the pain on a scale of one to ten, ten being the most pain you’ve ever had’ I’ll know what a ten is. Anyone who complains to us about childbirth will get a look of indignation from anyone who has paid a visit to SMI. Luis’ prognosis looks good.
So after training I am in a fair amount of pain. I skipped pizza tonight because I felt it was a higher priority to stretch out my IT band (a notoriously difficult muscle to stretch). I still need to give myself a good old deep tissue massage using the foam roller. I’m REALLY not looking forward to that as I anticipate it’ll be just a bit less painful than a hot poker in the eye.
Tonight’s training focused on hill repeats. This means running up the same hill several times in a row. Builds strength… or helps pull something in your IT band that yields a lot of knee pain. Anyway, I’d run and stretch and run and stretch. I really wanted to quit but coach helped me get through the night. At this stage of the training, easy quitting is not an option. I know that it’s VERY LIKELY that I will be in pain for the last few miles of my marathon run and I need to get used to working out how to finish, knowing the right thing to do to get me to the finish. Don’t worry. I won’t be stupid.



I thought I'd let you all read a funny email I receieved from my good friend Erik...

So I am thinking about starting a blog conveying my experiences reading other people's blogs. This, of course, making me a blog bloger, or blogoger. Here is a sample of the first few entries:

Day 1:
Read Martin's blog today. Boy, that guy works hard. Its also sometimes pretty long and I am somewhat winded after reading it.

Day 2:
Read Martin's blog again today. I am starting to wonder if he really is running that much. If they can fake the moon landings, I bet they have the technology to fake reports of excercise.

Day 3:
Again, I read about Martin and his running. I wonder if there is something to running that I am missing out on. It sounds like he may be having a good time.

Day 4:
Hmmm....again, Martin and the running. Perhaps I should do some running. Someday.

Day 5:
Read his rotten blog again today and decided I would give it a try. Running is a horrible experience! I almost died this morning jogging for about 10 minutes. Martin's blog is in serious need of warning labels and possibly something to prevent children from reading it and trying those things at home.

Day 6:
The campaign to fight Martin's blog is underway. Anheuser Busch was thrilled to sign on as our sponser. Apparently they are sick and tired of only sponsoring athletic events and have been waiting for something like this for a long time.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Work is not an excuse!!!

Another short entry, mainly because I have done very little today to warrant an entry. I feel ashamed! I’ve been really busy at work of late and that has left me little or no time to train AND do the other bits and pieces that are involved in having some kind of a life. My knees are still sore and I really have not been doing a good repair job. I should be stretching and doing core training and stuff if I’m not able to run but, alas, I think last Saturday’s fifteen miles have gone to my head. I've been eating and drinking WAY too much and not doing much exercise at all. It’s time to remember that I still have a long road ahead and I still have to be on top of my game EVERY DAY if I’m going to do this without requiring a wheelchair at the end of run. That would kinda ruin the romance of the holiday we have planned for after the race. I promise you all that I'll get back on track starting tomorrow. I will at least do some injury prevention exercises before going to bed tonight. To do that, I need to stop typing. Therefore, I bid you adieu.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Please be kind to the knees!

I’ll write a quick new entry tonight, if only to start a new comment thread. That other one was getting out of hand! Well, I tried to do my six-mile run this morning and after about a half a mile my right knee went “ah, come on! You’ve got to be freakin’ kiddin’ me!” and that was the end of that. I had gotten all dressed up and driven to my regular Tuesday running spot for nothing. I have not recovered from my 15 mile run. Not that that really surprises me, considering the amount of effort it took. In fact, the way my right knee felt today, I’m very glad that I listened to my knees and stopped. I call that a close call. My new main goal is to get myself together before Thursday night’s track training and continue with the short runs. The injuries stay with me… just like they said it would be. We don’t have a long run for a couple of weeks. It’s funny. When I say short, I mean eight miles. It wasn’t long ago that I was struggling with even the concept of running eight miles in a row. The next big long run is a week from Saturday. Sixteen miles. After that I have an eighteen miler, followed by a twenty miler, followed by a 26.2 miler a few weeks after that. Scary stuff! But THEN I have the holiday of a lifetime.
Anyway, I spent my time tonight rolling my leg muscles and stretching my calves and my hamstrings. I know that’s the right thing to do because my knees always feel better after a good stretch. I still need to stretch my quads but I need to by lying down to do that sufficiently. My balance exercises are going well. I can now stand on one leg for about thirty seconds with my eyes closed while brushing my teeth. Clean teeth are very important when running a marathon, …  as is balance. Try the closing your eyes, cleaning your teeth thing tonight. It’s harder than it sounds!
I’m finally starting to notice a little bit of weight loss too. My spare tire has become somewhat deflated. I’m hoping it will disappear completely by the end of this training lark.
To answer Mark’s question about my bladder ‘issues’, I think I worked out the solution. I don’t drink anything the morning of my run. To compensate for this, I drink about six pints of water on the days before my run to get myself super-hydrated. In that way, my body doesn’t need ‘topping up’ the morning of a big run. I learned that from a guy who had the same problem. He was commenting on an Internet forum. I applied it over the past two longer runs and have not had a big compulsion to pee during either run! Excellent!
Okay, I’m off to bed. Keep up the comments. I’m enjoying reading them.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


My Finest Hour

Well. What can I say? I’ve had the best run of my life. Not that that’s saying a whole lot considering I’ve only been running for about twelve weeks now and that, before that, the farthest I ever ran was about a mile… and that was probably because I was being chased. Where am I going with this? Well, today I ran fifteen miles and I really ran it. Other than the water stops, I ran the entire distance. I did not walk a single step of it. I felt good for most of the run and just kept going, and going, and going. Now, I’m not saying it wasn’t hard (it was) or that I was very fast (I wasn’t) or that I’m not in pain (I am), but there was something in my today that kept me going. Best of all, instead of coming in last (like last week) I was actually the first to finish out of the marathon trainers. We do start in waves so I’m not actually saying that I was the fastest of there but I was not passed at any stage by anyone… unlike my experience of every single run up to this date. Needless to say, I’m feeling fairly proud of myself today. I finished in three hours and twenty minutes that, while it may not break any records is (obviously) my personal best for fifteen miles.  Oh, and my pedometer said 32,000 steps taken. It’s no wonder my knees are killing me!

I ran most of the run with Lora. Remember, Lora, as in “I will never forget Lora”? Anyway, Lora is very cool and I had fun running with her for the first eleven miles of our run. We are at about the same level of running experience and I think we helped each other keep running as well as we did. Meanwhile, she got to hear the story of how I met Stacy and I got to hear all about her family. I’m AMAZED that I am now one of those people that can have a full-blown conversation while running. The run itself took us through some of the best scenery Santa Cruz has to offer. I say hawks and rabbits and all kinds of sea birds. The air was fresh and clean and I really couldn’t possibly think of a better way to run fifteen miles. You’d keep running if you were with me too. Lora’s leg was giving her a bit a problem and I left her behind as I really wanted to try to finish without walking (just once!) and I hobbled along all the way to the finish line. The last few miles required the help of others. I thought about you lot. All of my blog readers mean a lot to me. You keep me going. And knowing how proud of me you’d all be if I kept running, well, kept me running! Stephanie showed up for a while to push me along and to remind me that she’s still around and in my thoughts.

Greg was out to help out today. He was at our first water stop, freezing his butt off. He looked great and is doing well. [Scroll down to read Greg’s ‘interview’ if you haven’t done so already].

Poor Luis had to back off his run a little after a couple of miles and had to stop completely after about six. I think the team managers are getting worried about him at this stage. He’s doing everything he should to improve his injuries but they get him over and over again. He’s going to go to Stanford to get an MRI and to see if there is another reason for his pain. I really, really hope he finds some way to get back on his feet. I mean, I consider him my running partner at this stage, and I hate to think of finishing the marathon without him. It would also be really hard for him to have to hang up his running shoes after all of the sacrifices he’s made to get this far. Well, I’ve had a couple of beers and a MASSIVE dinner of spare ribs and potatoes and coleslaw. The best thing about running fifteen miles is that I can celebrate by stuffing my face and absolutely get away with it. Anyway. It’s time to crack open another beer, sit back and smile. Maybe this will be my finest hour. If that’s the case, it’s been a damn good hour!

Friday, October 14, 2005



Training went pretty well last night. Hill training. We had to run up a very steep hill five or six times in a row to help build our leg muscles. It was hard but I felt good. We then had to do an aerobic run for the rest of the track session. We all went out for pizza afterwards, which was a good time of eating and drinking. I had a good chat with our coach Ed. A few of you were wondering about Ed’s ethnicity. He is not from Hawaii. He was born and bred in San Francisco and his family originates from the Philippines. So, there you go. I think it was the grass skirt that threw you all off.  

I have my fifteen-mile run tomorrow morning at 7:30am. I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. My chesty-ness has not quite cleared up yet (I get into two or three coughing fits a day) but I’m still going to run as much as I can… even if that means leaving Luis in the dirt (for saying that, he’ll probably leave ME in the dirt). The rest of the team gave Luis and me a bit of a hard time at last nights track after reading my blog… all in good jest, of course.

Anyway, that’s all I really have to report. I’m sure I’ll have lots of fun stories to report after tomorrow run.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Luis' take

Actually, I just read my previous post and it really was pathetic. To try and make up for wasting your time, I’m copying and pasting Luis’ take on last Saturdays’ “run” from his journal…

Well, now that Marty has spilled the beans I guess that I should come clean with you all, I was genuinely trying to run the 14 miles but in reality I took pity on my poor ailing buddy and decided to act as his caddy. Yep, I think Joe got a picture of me carrying his kleenex box on Saturday. I just couldn't stand the thought of leaving his wheezy butt out there for some mountain lion to snack on. You know the thought that came to mind was that most predatory animals in the wild will hunt down the weakest or sickest member of any pack. Yeah, no kidding, if a polar bear is going to take down a caribou, it goes for the one that's hacking up a lung. So taking care of Marty just appealed to my altruistic side, and besides his wife slipped me twenty bucks to keep an eye on him.... a little extra gas money never hurts.... And now finally to the "NO BUT REALLY" part of this entry: It was actually a team decision, we can walk the miles and make it to the next training session or run the miles and "maybe" make it to the next training session. The operative word is "maybe", and in this context, perhaps the most suspect as well. At any rate, I have to say it was the most fun I've had "running", ever. I suppose next week we'll have to try having fun while actually running.


Boring Update

Not much to report today. I stretched a little, I rolled a little and I did a little bit of core strength. Actually, I still need to do a bit more stretching. I’ve learned the hard way that flexibility is the secret to an injury-free life. I feel ready for track tomorrow night and that feels good for a change. A short and uneventful entry tonight. I’ll try to do something more interesting tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


5-miles, and a shout out to Joe

I ran five of my targeted six miles this morning. I was running around the Skypark neighbourhood – the one with the one-mile trail circumnavigating it. I planned on running three miles in one direction and three in the other. My right hip started to irk me between mile four and mile five and I decided that running on a painful hip was … well… stupid, really. I did the halfway turnaround because of something Nicole, one of our mentors, told me. I was talking to her about the longer distances we were running every week and how they seemed more and more insurmountable. She told me of a trick she taught herself the season before. You focus on running half the distance. After that, you are just heading back to your car. It made sense. I’m going to use it on Saturday’s 15-miler. The good news is that my cold didn’t really bother me while I was running. I coughed up a lung after the run, but during the run, I was fine. Weird.
I worked late tonight and I was feeling tight in my right leg and my knee was pretty sore. I stretched for about a half an hour when I got home. I’m in fairly good shape now as I lie in bed writing this.
Finally, I want to give a shout out to Joe, one of the team’s mentors. Joe was instrumental in getting me started on the team. He told me during the introductory meeting in July that he ran for the very first time when he joined Team in Training last year. He did well and finished the Anchorage Midnight Marathon. He’s about my age. Joe told us all that he has been diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer earlier today. He’ll be in surgery tomorrow to get his Thyroid removed. He deserves all of our support because he has helped so many others. In short it seems very unfair, considering all he has done for others. It just shows how the big C never discriminates.
So, when you read this, send a few good thoughts in his direction. Here’s to a speedy recovery, Joe! And with these good thoughts for Joe, I’ll leave you for tonight.  

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