Monday, January 28, 2008

Happy B-day Sweet girl!!!

This weekend was fantastic!!! My parents and in-laws were in town for my daughter's 5th Birthday party, and it was so nice to have the family here. Adryana's birthday party was a success, and she enjoyed it immensely. After the party, we had a lot of family time together... dancing, laughing and getting caught up on all types of stuff. On Sunday morning, it was back to running, and Chris and I got up early to do an 18 mile run around my neighborhood. We both had family in town, so we wanted to get the run done and out the way, so we could spend whatever time we had left with our families before they left. The run went very good, and it gave me the confidence of running a long time without anything bad happening. I didn't push myself at all during the run, and we still finished in under 3 hours without any problems. Back to Adryana.... great kid!!! She had a really stiff neck that she woke up with on Friday morning and she was extremely uncomfortable throughout the whole weekend, but she did not complain at all during her party, and she was such a trooper. Here are some pics from her big day:

My dad was down this weekend and he also ran on Sunday morning, just not as early as we did. He actually completed his 1st 13 mile run, in preparation for the Ft. Lauderdale half-marathon. I'm so proud of him, and the changes he has made in the physical aspects of his life over the last 3 months. Good job Dad!!! Keep up the good work!!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008


The key to achieving most goals in life. I was just finishing up my last consultation of the day for fitness/weight loss, and my potential client asked me? “Why is your program better than any of the other programs, gyms, personal trainers that I have been affiliated with in the past?” My answer to her was “I honestly can’t say that this program is truly any better than anything you have ever tried. I personally think you can go to the gym, have a personal trainer, do other programs and have the potential to have the same amount of success or more than the Therafit program…. The key is consistency. Most people can’t stay consistent with anything that doesn’t have serious repercussions. We will go to work daily, because if we don’t, we won’t get a paycheck and our lights in our homes will be turned off, we will lose our modes of transportation, and other potentially bad things can happen. Honestly, if we don’t work out… who really cares?” It’s so interesting to see the different people that are in our program, and the array of different results that we get. We have had at least 6 clients lose over 50 lbs over the past 7 months, and we have had people lose…. You got it.. nothing!!!!! What is the difference? One person does the program, 3x/week consistently every week, and won’t miss their workouts for anything…The others might do one circuit regimen every month or two, and hope through the science of osmosis, and thinking about exercise, that pounds will magically fall off. It’s just not realistic for that to happen… I heard this saying from Pat Riley, “Hard work doesn’t guarantee you anything, but without it, you have no shot!” I so believe that…
Consistency brings results… Period.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Exciting Times!!!!

Yesterday marked the official start of Zumba in a our Wesley Chapel clinic!!!! What’s Zumba??? It’s a really fun aerobic based dance class, based on Latin music. About 8 months ago, my wife told me that she wanted to do a Zumba class after taking our daughter to one of her dance classes. Next door to my daughter’s class was a group of people doing a Zumba class. The next time I dropped my daughter off to her class, the Zumba class caught my eye…. A few months later I got to try a sample of Zumba through an instructor and I loved it, and we now have Zumba in our center… exciting!!! Unfortunately, I caught the tail end of the class, as I was finishing up consults for my fitness/weight loss clients. My wife and I have decided that she will get to go to the classes for the most part and I will watch the kids, because she has always wanted to do Zumba, and I already have a “habit” (my running, that is). I think that’s fair… so no problems on my end. Speaking of running, Monday night, Chris and I were in the clinic talking to one of our patients about the marathon experience that we had, and by the end of the conversation, we almost had her convinced to start training for one…. So I was thinking……. Who wants to do this???? No, I’m serious…. Who wants to train for a ½ or full marathon? I think it would be incredible to have a group of people train together to run, walk, and/or run/walk a marathon. What a great experience that would be for all of us. So, I already know what some of you are saying…. You’re nuts!!!! And I probably am, but after last Sunday, I am truly convinced that anyone (barring serious injury to the lower body) can complete a marathon. My goal is to find 15 people that would be willing to attempt to train and complete a distance race…. Notice I said complete, not win!!! This is just to have the experience of conquering such a momentous accomplishment. It would be a great way to commit to a goal that would challenge you, but a goal that would be attainable because of the time that we have before completing the race. I would probably pick Disney as the race of choice, because of the magnitude of it, and proximity. After experiencing the excitement of the Disney Marathon, Kerry has committed to participating in the ½ marathon next year, and my Dad is deciding on whether or not he is going to try to do the full or ½ (by the way, he is doing his 1st ½ marathon in 3 weeks!!!) One of my cousins, who is currently on our Therafit program, has commited to doing the ½ marathon also…see… we are almost there!!!! C’mon!!! Take a little risk and go for it…

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Before I go on a rant... let me start out by saying, "I ran today.... and I didn't cramp!!!!!!" Ok, well maybe that wasn't too funny, but I have had in the back of my mind all week, "What if I start cramping all the time, when I run?" "Was last Sunday, the start of my cramping running career, maybe the end of my short-lived normal running career?" Question answered today... I didn't know how much I was going to run... I just wanted to run... and feel good. As I have said earlier in previous blogs, it is therapeutic for me to just go out there and be in my own little world. Anyways, it was just like every other time... perfect!!! No cramping, no issues, just a little fog and a light drizzle.... Here is the run....
Ivy Lake Easy Run
So anyways, this week my main focus was to figure out how I could possibly prevent the things that happened to me last Sunday in future races. I did a good amount of research on my issue, and the main thing that I found was how important it is to maintain a balance with hydration... too much = major trouble, too little = major trouble. You just have to find a balance, and unfortunately it is going to be a trial and error type of thing for me, until I figure this whole thing out. I'm not planning on this happening to the severity that it happened on Sunday, but this is going to take time. So I guess I'll start with not taking in as much water, and try to limit the bathroom breaks to less than 25 in one day (seriously, that's about how many times I went... ok too much information, sorry!!)
But the other thing I thought about while running today was that balance is so important in life, with everything that we do. As much as I enjoy running, there are so many other things that take precedence over that... such as my Lord and Savior, my family, friends and work. But, I always have to try to make sure that those things stay in that particular order. Sometimes, I overload with too much of one thing, which throws the others off balance, which can lead to spiritual/personal/vocational cramping...if you know what I mean...
So I guess the reason that I am saying all of this is because this week I have gotten numerous e-mails, text messages, and phone calls from friends, family, current and former patients who read my blog or have been affiliated with me in some fashion (whether I have trained them or treated them as a therapist) and I have been so grateful to hear how my experience, starting from early last year to this Sunday, has inspired so many people. Although running has now become a fond hobby of mine, and has so many health benefits and brings so many positive things to my life, I don't want to come off by any means to make anyone think that it brings ultimate happiness, and in the interim you will look great (you do lose a lot of weight, though)!!!
My true peace and happiness comes from the things that I have talked about earlier, in the order that I put them, with the 1st thing (my relationship with God) being the thing that keeps me grounded and helps me keep focused when my personal electrolyte levels get out of whack!!!! I lose focus at times, and with the never-ending help of my family, friends and constant prayer, I usually am able to right the ship. Sunday's experience was no different. Determination, family, friends and most importantly God, allowed me to complete that race. Unfortunately (being in the profession I'm in), I realize that my running hobby can come to an end at any time, so until then, I will enjoy every minute of it, but I vow that it won't engulf my life to the point that I lose touch with the real important stuff that goes on... which is not a 26.2 mile race, or any race for that matter.
With all that said, for those of you (you know who you are) that feel motivated to get things going in your life from a personal fitness level... I just want you to know that I will assist you in any way that I can, and congratulations!!!! This is the 1st step that will lead you to great things!!!! Just remember balance is the key!!!! Keep the important things important, and it will make your new or existing fitness hobby even more enjoyable!!!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Back to Work...

Ok... back to normalcy again. From last Friday to Monday was a huge blur for me... it was all I could've imagined, and more!!! Chris and I have been talking about marathon stuff everyday, and we won't admit to each other, but we are both currently so psyched up about this whole marathon mania...

On Monday, I could barely get up... my leg muscles were toast! All the cramping and strong contractions apparently took a huge toll on my muscles and it was very hard for me to get in/out of the car. The best thing for me was to walk as much as possible, which I did. Instead of going to a Disney park, Chris's family and my family went to IKEA, which is a the amusement park for home furnishing... I got my exercise in walking through that place. My wallet got some exercise as well...
On Tuesday, same thing... muscles were still shot and I had to work all day. We spent the whole day explaining to every patient what exactly happened during the marathon... and everyone said the same thing.... "you finished? Wow!! good for you guys!" By the end of the day, we were tired of telling the story... but I told it one last time to a physician that I work with for fitness/weight loss. He told me that the same thing happened to him during the Chicago Marathon... he has run 8 maratons in the past.... finally I didn't feel so bad... I thought I was the stupidest physical therapist for making such a huge mistake like that (probably still am.. but whatever!!!). I do have a new nickname, which was given by one of my patients.... Aquaman!!!! That same patient also decided to call Chris Florence Nightengale..... I can dish out some jokes, so you gotta be able to take it when it comes your way, so it's all good!!!! Well, guess what? Aquaman and Florence are going to go for their second marathon, hoping to eclipse our personal best of 5:37:00by at least a minute or two in Ft. Lauderdale.... February 17th!!!! We have already put our plans into place, and are ready to roll!!! This one is going to be special in different ways, because this is my hometown, and I am going to have triple the amount of support out there as I did on Sunday (which was more than I could've ever imagine!!!) Below is the race (or carnage) of Sunday... if you click on the map, you can see exactly what was going on with my heart and when everything fell apart.
Pictures will be coming.....
BTW, I will start running again this Saturday (I'm itching to run today, but I'm trying to hold back, maybe just go on the bike for 30 minutes or so..)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Amazing Race!!!!

Well Folks, I apologize for not blogging more frequently as I led up to the big week of my first marathon. It has been a crazy week, and I have meant to blog, but the circumstances of life just got to me, and unfortunately, I was unable to. What I have decided to do is recap you from Friday when I got to Orlando, and let you in on the whole weekend.

I left work at about 1:30, picked up my daughter at school and went home to pack up the car and head out for our marathon trip to Disney. By the time Adryana and I got home, Arjay was still sleeping, so we didn’t want to wake him up, just so we could go to Orlando earlier. I decided to get the car packed, take a little nap and start hydrating myself for the big race on Friday (more on that later).
We got to Orlando a little before 6, and we got checked into our hotel. By the time we got settled in, we were starving. We decided to go to the local Publix and pick up some treats and fruits for the kids, get me some water and PowerAde (as that would be the choice of drink that we would use on the course) and get some dinner to bring back to the hotel with us. We got pasta, in order for me to load up with carbohydrates in my muscles. Food was good, and after that we got ready for bed.

I couldn’t sleep well Friday night, knowing that the race was so close. I woke up at around 3 am, and heard the buses outside that were transporting the half marathon runners for the early Saturday morning race. I was so excited and I couldn’t fall back asleep for over an hour. The realization that my big day was just one day away was overwhelming. Later on in the morning, we went for breakfast, and then headed over to the marathon expo, so I could get checked in to the race and get my chip timer, Disney shirt, and bib. The expo was unbelievable!!!! There were so many vendors, so many people, and it was just so much bigger than anything that I have ever been associated with. All the races I’ve ever done were on such a smaller scale than what this was all about. I just tried to soak it all in (while keeping myself hydrated in the process). Once we got back to the hotel, Chris called to let me know he just arrived with his family in Orlando, so I went and met up with him and his family. Later on that night, Chris and my family went out to dinner and we did our little pre-race marathon eating thing. As we finished eating, my parents arrived in Orlando, and met up with all of us. We all went over a game plan of where everyone would be during the race to watch Chris and myself. My parents decided to see me start the race at 6:00 am, and then watch me at mile 4, mile 9-10 at the Magic Kingdom, and at the Yacht Club in Disney World. Kerry, Katrina (Chris’s wife) and the kids would meet up with them at the Yacht Club, which was mile 24. We said our farewells to everyone around 9:00 pm, and I went back to the hotel and tried to get some zzzz’s. That didn’t work too well, as the excitement surrounding everything made me anxious. Didn’t actually sleep until after 11 pm and I woke up around 1 am. I just figured since I can’t sleep, I’ll just continue to keep hydrated and make good use of the time.

I actually feel asleep again at about 2:15 am, and slept until the alarm woke me up at 3 am. I was ready to roll!!!! I got myself ready and Kerry woke up, gave me a goodbye kiss, wished me luck and I was off. I went out to the bus in front of my hotel, which took me to the starting area of the race. I met up with Chris and a friend of ours from Saddlebrook, and checked in my baggage. We had to be at the area around 4 am, so we had some time to spare. Our friend from Saddlebrook had not trained much for the marathon, and didn’t have any time goals, but to attempt to finish. As you know, I had time goals of under 4 hours and so did Chris. I drank some fluids as we were conversing, and used the potty. We finally got ready to go into our corrals (that’s the gate area where you start the race). The place was packed!!!!!! There were so many runners (18,000 entered the marathon), it was just insane!!!! About 5 minutes before the race, Disney did a fireworks display, which was incredible. We were so excited!!! I can’t believe it… the time is here… all that training is going to finally pay off!!!!!
When the starting gun went off, Chris and I were probably 6 minutes from the front of the pack, so we didn’t start until 6:06. We were ready to go and started off at a comfortable 10 minute pace. We really didn’t have a choice, since there were so many people in front of us…. We just had to wait until the hoards of runners cleared. I was ok with that as I wanted to go out slow and not get too excited and start out too fast. I saw my parents about ½ mile after the start and I was so excited to see them. Chris said that my dad had a look on his face, like he wanted to jump over the fence and start running (more on that later). Once we got past mile 2, Chris and I split off and I tried to get into my comfortable race pace. It was still pretty crowded, but I was able to get some of the miles under 9 minutes. The first part of the race went through Epcot, and they had everything lighted up…. It was awesome!!!!! At mile 4, I saw my parents and I waved to them and pumped my fist in the air… I was so happy to see them again, and I blew them a kiss and continued on. There wasn’t as much fanfare after mile 4, so I wanted to start focusing on getting into my running groove.

As I started to scroll around in my watch, I noticed that my heart rate was at very high levels!!! I was at 180 beats per minute at the 5th mile… which is extremely high for me. I just figured that maybe the excitement of everything was making my heart beat fast, so I decided to not look at the watch anymore. But at that time, in the back of my head, I knew something wasn’t right. I continued on and again saw my parents as we got closer to the magic kingdom at mile 9. I gave them a hi-five, and I was like nearly jumping for joy!!!!! I was just so pumped at that point!!!!! Right after I did that, my left calf muscle started to cramp up….. I was like, “what the heck is that? Ok, don’t pay attention to it, just keep going” Well, I wish I could say that it went away but it became more and more severe…. It happened again, about 2 minutes later, and then it happened in my other calf, then my quads and hamstrings. I have never experienced anything like this before in my whole lower body. I started to panic, and I didn’t know what to really do… should I stop for good? Should I just stretch and see if it goes away? I decided to do the latter, to no avail. I was in major trouble. I was hydrated, and taking my energy gels….what did I do wrong? Why was my body doing this to me? You have to remember that I have performed 18-22 mile runs, 4 times since training for this marathon, and never experienced anything like this. I decided that I should start to walk for a few minutes, hoping that it would go away, and that I could continue with the race. Unfortunately, it all got worse….pain that was almost unbearable every time I attempted to run, even at a shuffling pace.
It was my worst nightmare coming true. People started to pass me left and right and there was nothing that I could do. I started to walk and stretch, and about 10 minutes later, Chris caught up to me. He was extremely concerned, realizing that I had stopped running the race, and assessed the situation. Chris, or should I say, my guardian angel, tried everything in his power to help me continue the race. He tried to massage my legs, stretch me and even walk, but everything got worse. I ended up having to go to a medical tent and have them take a look at me. The nurse told me that I was suffering from hyponatremia (which basically is water poisoning, or too much water in my system). She asked me if I wanted to be removed from the course… and I said no. She advised me to only drink PowerAde, not to touch anymore water for the rest of my time on the course. I took her advice and proceeded on. I wanted Chris to continue on and run, but he would not do it… he wanted to stay with me, figuring that at some point I would be able to start running again. Unfortunately, it was not working. I was at mile 14, having already walked 3 miles and realizing that I could be in for a long day. I had to decide what to do at that time… the thought of calling it a day came into my mind… for like 2 seconds. And then I realized, I have to finish….. and the reasons I gave myself were…
1. Shane told me to have 3 goals… make one of them to finish, by any means.
2. Zack, click here
3. I’m just so darn stubborn, there is no other way I’d do it.

Chris decided to stay with me and not continue on running. Unbelievable!!!! I really didn’t want him to, but I realize that he felt as though my well being was more important than him finishing in any particular time… I so much appreciate his friendship, and he always shows how much he values me as his friend, but never more than today. Chris, what you did for me today…. I can never repay you for that!!! Thank you so much for sacrificing your big day for me. It really meant a lot. (I wonder if Disney will give Chris an honorary sub 4 hour marathon for his heroic efforts with me today?) He earned it!!!!
The tough part was watching everyone pass me…. From Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, 60 year olds, 70 year olds, dead people….. you name it…. I was done…. My body failed me… and my pride was broken, like it had never been broken before. I’m supposed to be the fitness guy… so many people say they are inspired by what I do with Therafit and my running, and the weight I lost… and I felt like I just bombed it. Actually, to cap off the nightmare, one of my Therafit patients saw me during my low point in the course, and cheered me on (but I’m wondering if she was like…. My trainer is so slow!!!” My wife, my mom and dad, and my kids were waiting for me to pass the finish under 4 hours, and I was lucky if I could reach mile 17 by that time. We tried to call them from one of the medical tents, but they didn’t pick up(because they didn’t know the number). Remember that friend of ours from Saddlebrook that had no goals for the race? She caught up to us and passed us, but before she left, she let us use her cell phone, so we could notify our family on what was happening to me. After that I walked and attempted to run, but every minute or so after running, my body would cramp up and I would have to stop.
Fast forward to mile 24, we finally reached the Yacht Club after 5 hours and 10 minutes and we finally saw my parents, including Kerry and the kids. Kerry dropped what she had in her hands and hugged me and told me how proud she was of me and to continue to press on. I have to admit that I got a little emotional, because she was still so proud of me, even though I stunk it up!! Adryana said the same thing too… But here was the thing that just did it in for me. Kerry and my mom saw that I was in pretty bad shape, but they both knew that I didn’t come this far not to finish… so they told my dad to do something!!! So my dad came over the fence, put his arm around me and told me, “Son, I am so proud of what you have done… let’s go finish this together… (I’m sorry but I’m actually tearing up as I write this). My dad put his arm around my shoulder and basically helped my shuffle the last 2 miles of the marathon…. So many people started to cheer me and my dad on that I was overcome with emotion again. After about a ¼ mile, I was severely cramped all over and I was literally jogging on my toes!!! Emotion carried me through and I was able to shuffle about a mile without stopping. Eventually I had to stop, but within 2-3 minutes I started again to run, and I ran with my dad’s hand around my shoulder to mile 26. As we attempted to cross the finish line, I held my dad’s hand up and we crossed over together…. Words cannot describe the feelings I had at that moment, and realizing that my father was so proud of me, and that he willed me to the finish. It was the best Father-Son moment we have ever had, and it was the most priceless thing that we have ever done together. And for that reason and all the reasons I talked about earlier, this was my most amazing day I have ever had with running, and that is why it will always be known as “The Amazing Race” to me.
So here are the things (in no particular order) that were reaffirmed for me today.
1. The marathon is like life…. You can prepare all you want for something, but you never know what may come your way. Your character is based on what you do when everything comes unglued. I learned that I am mentally tough when I want to be.
2. There is nothing like family. They love you when you are at your high, but they love you even more when you are at your lowest of lows. Don’t ever take them for granted… (I love you Kerry, Mom, Dad, Adryana and Arjay)
3. Chris is a gem… we have known each other for years… very rarely can business and friends work, but our relationship is the exception….
4. I’m doing another marathon….. Stay tuned!!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My Family Fan Club

I just wanted to journal about the people that have made this marathon training so enjoyable for me. I can’t say that I’m one of those folks that have a marathon as one of those things that I have to do “once in my lifetime”… (Maybe I’ll feel that way after the race!!!!). I love to run, and it helps me with so many things in my life. But I think for some people who train for a marathon, it is just so much of a hassle to make the time to train for the race, with all the other responsibilities of work, family and friends who don’t support them in their goals, etc. For me, I don’t have that problem. I know some runners say that their spouses give them a hard time about running, and that they always feel discouraged because so many people are telling them it’s such a “stupid” thing to do. I am so lucky that my # 1 fan is my wife and best friend, Kerry. She gives me so much support and encouragement, and pushes me to always fulfill any dream that I have. Honestly, I personally think she would rather me not run the marathon, more for safety concerns….like when she heard that the marathoner in Chicago suddenly died on the course, and an elite marathoner died a few months ago in the Olympic Trials in New York…those things didn’t sit to well with her. She didn’t tell me not to run, she just expressed her concern that she didn’t want to lose me… But every single time that I come back from a run, she is usually waking up, and she always tells me how proud she is of my dedication to making myself so much fitter and healthier over the past 1 ½ years. Telling someone one or two times is enough of a compliment, but imagine… every single time!!!! You want to hear something else? After every long run on the weekend, she makes me an omelet to help in refueling me…by time I shower up and come out to the kitchen…. The plate is ready… Unbelievable!!! It’s not like she is a runner …. She just loves me so much, and realizes how much this means to me, that she is willing to do anything to help me become better and more successful at anything I strive to do…in other words, she is the perfect wife, my best friend, and my biggest supporter. Before my first 5k about 2 years ago, she said to me, “Babe, do you think you can win it?” I think I placed 2,000th or so…. but that is what she thinks of me… she always thinks I can be the best at everything, and she helps my confidence so much……aside from the Jesus Christ, she is the biggest reason for helping me achieve all of my goals…including attempting to complete the Disney Marathon. Kerry, I love you so much… you just don’t even know how much I love you, and I swear that when I see you on the course on Sunday, I don’t care how focused I am on running, I will stop and smack a big kiss on you!!! My sweet little girl, Adryana, is a fan just like her mommy…every morning, if I am at home, she says, “Daddy, you going to run today?” And if she is outside in the yard, she will say to me, “Daddy, watch me run like you!!”, and she will proceed to run, just to make her daddy proud. My son is too young to understand what is going on, but he has helped me get through a few of my runs… if any of you know Arjay, you know that he loves comfort ( he had colic as a baby, and I think he has residual effects of it) If I ever put him in our jogging stroller, he will not make a sound…seriously I have run up to 1 ½ hours with him, without a peep from him… he enjoys it as much as I do!!! I think this Thursday, which will be my last run before the race; I will jog with him in the stroller. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll see me make comments about my dad. My dad is in fantastic shape…but he decided to take his fitness to the next level, by increasing his time running (from 2-3 miles to 5 miles), and over the last 4 months, he has now lost close to 20 lbs, and his cholesterol levels have dropped significantly. Yesterday, he calls me up and says “Son, this week I am attributing my running to you. I am going to run 26.2 miles in 4 days (which is more than he has ever done), and he said that if my son can attempt to run 26.2 miles in 4 hours, I can run that over 4 days…. If he can do it, I can do it!! That was so awesome!!!!! Dad, I appreciate your support for me and I love you. My mom is the nutrition expert. I can’t tell you her weight, (because I know that is a no no with women, but if you ever see her, you would think she is 15-20 years younger than she actually is... (I’m not telling you her age either!) She always gives me encouragement over the last 4 months of my training, and has helped me so much with getting my nutrition on point. She also has set it up for her, my dad and my younger brother to be at the race this Sunday. They don’t live in Tampa…they are in Miami and they are driving up Saturday to watch me race. I just feel so blessed to have such a supportive family that wants to celebrate this very important day with me. I just wanted to let my peeps know how much they mean to me!!! BTW, I ran some easy intervals this morning, hopefully to help keep my speed up, but I was only out there for about 40 minutes…… 5 days left!!!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Sorry I have not been diligent in my blogging this week. Although there have been some runs that I have done, I have had a busier than usual week at work for a few reasons... 1. I have to catch up with everything after going out of town last week
2. One of our therapist took off some time, so I had to fill in some hours at our other clinic. I also must admit that my previous blog was pretty important, and I wanted that to be the center focus for the week, so I wasn't feeling to rushed to write about running, as I feel as though that situation is a lot more pressing. If you don't know what I'm talking about just click here.
So let's get caught up....
I ran very hard on Tuesday and did intervals. 6 1/2 mile intervals with only a 45 second rest break in between each one. It was tough, but I loved it... very challenging. At the end of my final interval, I was exhausted... but I ran an extra mile home, and I tried to run it at the pace that I plan on running the marathon at. It was challenging, but I was doing this to play a few mental games with myself. I wanted to challenge myself to run at that pace when I was tired. I'm trying to get my body to not want to stop, no matter how tired I am...maybe it will work, maybe not. Great way for me to get 2008 started!!!!

On Thursday, I worked at our South Tampa clinic, and one of the neat things about working down there is Bayshore!!!!! Well, for a runner that is... because it is about the best place to run in the Tampa Bay area, and I'm so blessed to get work down there every once in a while...I will never pass up an opportunity to run on Bayshore.... so many people running and the view is great!!! The other thing is when I run on Bayshore, I always call up my former patient/mentor/coach/friend, Shane Asbury. This guy is the best!!!! He is such a huge reason on why I am doing this race, and he has pretty much given me tons of tips, coaching, training, mentorship and encouragement throughout the past 4-5 months. If he is in town, and I am working in South Tampa, he meets me at the clinic when I'm finished, and we run Bayshore. I knew this would probably be the last time I saw him before the marathon, so I would pick his brain about things I should do to finalize everything and get ready for the big day. So once we got onto Bayshore, we started to run (at a conversational pace) and he was giving me a bunch of tips.... we were supposed to start running harder after 2 miles, but the info he was giving me was so good, that we ended up running easy for another mile before we got into the hard stuff. So this is basically what he told me.
1. Don't get too excited in the beginning... pace yourself properly
2. Write on your forearm 3 goals...make sure one of the goals is to finish, no matter what!!!
3. Don't force something if its not there... If its sweltering heat, don't try to push it... it could get ugly...real ugly
4. Count down the miles after mile 13...he said treat it like New Year's Eve... he said when you count down, you see the end in sight!!!
5. The halfway point is not at mile's at mile 20. Treat it as a 20 mile warm up and a 10km race... the physically fit people win the first 20, the mentally strong people win the last 10 km.
6. No matter how good or bad it goes, remember the real reasons why you are doing this... fitness, health, personal goals.
7. It's your first marathon...enjoy it!!!

He also brought my goals down a bit... he said I should be ecstatic if I finish in under 4 hours, but don't expect it to definitely happen. He told me about a time, when with 3 miles left he was at 3 hours, and things went so bad over the last 3 miles that he finished 2 hours later. I have to be honest with you... he scared the daylights out of me after I talked with him.... but it has put everything into perspective.... this is no joke!!! I need to respect the marathon distance!!!
But I'm ready to take this on.... Tomorrow morning I will run 8 miles, and then just a few 2-3 mile runs next week and that's it!! Let's do this!!!!!