Action 500 – Get Ready To Run The Marathon.

After one hundred days, it all comes down to this moment.

Action 500 – Get Ready To Run The Marathon.

As I type this, I’m sitting in my car at the Pasadena City College (in VIP Parking!). In just over one hour, I’ll step across the start line and begin the marathon. I’m excited, nervous, and a little bit anxious.

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This has been an amazing journey already. I’ll blog about it more after the race, because I really want to capture this experience. All of these actions have had a big impact on me, and I want to use all of this as I go forward to my next challenge.

For now, though, my eyes are on 26.2 miles of the beautiful city of Pasadena.

It’s run time!

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Action 499 – Meet The Press.

I’ve never really been a shy person. But Friday tested even my own “look at me, look at me!” tendencies.

Action 499 – Meet The Press. Earlier this week, an article came out in the Pasadena Weekly. Yesterday, the author published it on the Huffington Post website. Here’s a link. How cool is that? Before and After photos of me, too.

At the Marathon Expo, I was interviewed for The Marathon Show. I had a chance to talk about each mile I am dedicating to a Fallen Marine, and I also had a chance to promote the Semper Fi Fund. The audio show will be available on iTunes early next week, I think.

After that, I met with a lovely young lady from Crown City News. It was a fun interview, and I had a chance to talk about SparkPeople and how it really made a difference in my life. We also talked about my other races, my excitement about running Pasadena, and even a bit about the Ragnar Relay races. The video interview should be up on their site soon, though it seems to be down as I write this. (Guess my popularity just overwhelmed their servers.)

It was all a little surreal, to be honest. I’ve never been to a race where people knew my name, wanted to interview me, take my photo, etc. I’m used to showing up, milling about for a while, and then taking off to run. It’s weird to think that even one person along the course might have heard anything about me, this project, the Marines I’m running for, etc. It just adds a little more pressure to me to perform well, I think.

I’m ready. Bring on the media, the fans, the critics… bring them all. I’m ready.

Action 498 – Get The VIP Treatment.

Friday was an unbelievably amazing day. I have never felt like more of a runner in my life.

Action 498 – Make The Rounds.

My day started with the drive from San Diego to the Santa Anita Race Track. It was overcast but still warm enough, so I took the top off of the borrowed convertible. (And the lesson I learned? It is entirely possible to get sunburned while driving around under an overcast sky. Sunscreen is your friend, people.)

The drive was a great chance to calm my mind. I even had the radio turned off most of the way, so I could drive without distractions. I spent the time thinking about the marathon, the miles to run, and all the things that had brought me to this moment.

I managed to get up through Los Angeles traffic quickly and made it to the Expo just after noon. There were already a lot of runners in line, though there were far fewer waiting to check in for the full marathon. I got in line and found out that, since I was a VIP, my bib and runner packet were elsewhere. They were very apologetic, but it was going to be a little while before my stuff was ready for pickup.

Wait. What? Me, a VIP? Yup. I credit my Marine Corps connection with the Race Director, but it was still pretty cool. While I waited for the VIP folks to get all the stuff together, I wandered over and helped some of the volunteers sorting out bibs. (Hey, it’s true. ALL volunteers are VIPs!)

And then, just like that, there it was. My bib for the marathon. And it was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be.

I can’t really explain my response to finally  holding it in my hand. I’m running with the number 1775. It’s a tangible reminder of the reasons I am running – the Fallen Marine heroes that will carry me through each mile and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund that is now more than $2,000 stronger.

I’m proud of my Marine Corps service and I am honored to wear this number and represent those who came before me, those who served with me, those who will serve after me, and most importantly, those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice to this great nation.

On Friday, I enjoyed what it felt like to a VIP at a large running event. And I also was reminded what true VIPs are.

 

 

Action 497 – Admit That It Takes Time.

Have you seen this going around?

You Have 1,440 Minutes Every Day – Take 20 to Workout.

I call BS. Sure, it may only take twenty minutes to get a quick workout or run a couple of miles, but that’s not all the time required. If you work out at a gym or run somewhere away from your home, there’s travel time there and back. If you work out during the workday, there’s time to change clothes before and then shower and change back after. Saying it only takes twenty minutes seems stupid to me.

Action 497 – Admit That It Takes Time.

Let me be absolutely clear. It IS worth whatever time it takes. I get up at 4:30am to be at the gym by 5am, work out for an hour, get showered, dressed, and make it to the office by 7am. Working out or running first thing in the morning makes my whole day better, so I am happy to give up the time for it.

It takes time. And it isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.

But for those just starting out, understand that the “only 20 minutes” thing isn’t the whole story. Don’t feel bad if you struggle with adding exercise into your routine and find it tough to find the time. It WILL be tough. But it’s worth it. So stick with it, keep experimenting with different times and different workouts. Find what works for you. And soon, it will start to feel automatic.

Action 496 – Make Good Fuel Choices.

You would think that after nearly two years of this fitness journey and one hundred days of this specific project, my eating habits would be absolutely solid. You would think wrong.

Just this morning… literally, this morning… I found myself standing in a 7-11, pouring coffee, and eyeballing a pack of mini-donuts. I was thinking, “well, I’m running a marathon on Sunday, so I’ll totally burn those calories off.”

And then the light bulb flashed in my head.

“Here’s an idea, John. How about you DON’T eat those donuts and burn off calories you’re already carrying, instead?”

Action 496 – Make Good Fuel Choices.

It really is that simple. Garbage in, garbage out. If I want to run strong and feel good, I need to put good stuff into my system. It’s a basic truth that, apparently, I need to learn over and over again.

I went with this, instead. Is it the very best breakfast I could have? No, and I won’t let myself get that obsessed with it. But it definitely isn’t crap like mini-donuts or some sort of sausage tan food monstrosity off the rollers at the convenience store.

Good choices make good results. So I will make good choices.

Action 495 – Stand At The Edge.

Today has been quite a day. The newspaper article came out in the Pasadena Weekly, and I’m a little disappointed. I feel like what I said and what was printed are very different, and the article makes me sound like a shell-shocked combat vet using running to numb my pain. I never said anything like that, and I understand that the writer was trying to convey a lot of my story in a few sentences, but still…

On top of that, since I am heading to Pasadena for the Expo tomorrow, I needed to get myself packed and ready to go tonight. I wasn’t quite ready for that, the process of preparing everything for a race. And this is a big race, so my nerves are already a bit raw.

Action 495 – Stand At The Edge. I am a day away from finishing this project and two days away from running the marathon. Right now, my heart knows I am ready but my head continues to analyze.

Soon enough, that edge will be a start line, and I’ll be on my way.

 

Action 494 – Ring The Last Call Bell.

Last month, I announced that I had reached my fundraising goal of $1,775 for the Semper Fi Fund. But I quickly realized that I was not going to be content with just meeting the goal and posted a new challenge. My counterpart, Don Thieme, has also continued to raise money and has far exceeded the amount I have helped to raise. But the ultimate winner is still Semper Fi Fund, so there is no loser in this contest.

Action 494 – Ring The Last Call Bell. The Pasadena Marathon is Sunday, and this action is my last request to friends and family. For those who have already donated, your generosity is appreciated more than I can say. And for those who have been waiting until the last opportunity, this is it.

The Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund is an amazing organization offering real help to real Marines in need, like Corporal Colin Faust and Major Justin Constantine.

As I have said before, I will continue to talk about this cause anywhere and anytime, to any and all who will listen. The work they do is so important, and the Marines they serve so worthy, that pushing for more donations is the very least I can do. But this is your last chance to donate as part of ProjectOneFive and the Pasadena Marathon.

Click here to reach my donation page. And thank you.

Semper Fi, Marines.