Action 485 – Honor Heroes (Mile 26).

I am dedicating each mile that I run in the Pasadena Marathon to another Marine Corps hero who has made the ultimate sacrifice, so that in my own small way, they may be honored, acknowledged, and remembered.

Action 485 – Honor Heroes (Mile 26). I will run mile twenty-six in honor of Cpl Ramona Valdez. On June 1, 2007, the United States Marine Corps honored the memory of Cpl. Valdez by dedicating the II MEF Communications Training Center as the Valdez Training Facility during a building dedication ceremony. The building has a plaque with Valdez’s name inscribed.

I will run this mile in honor of this fallen Marine warrior, dedicated wife, sister and daughter. Semper Fi, Corporal.

Marine Cpl. Ramona M. Valdez died June 23, 2005 serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom; She was 20, of The Bronx, N.Y.; assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed June 23 when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near her convoy vehicle in Fallujah, Iraq.

(Photo and summary courtesy of


Action 484 – Handle The Unexpected.

Just when I thought I had prepared for everything marathon-related, along comes something so completely out of the blue that it caught me by complete surprise.

Mosquito bites. Lots of them. All over my feet and my ankles. Apparently, while I was sitting at my Aunt’s house late Sunday evening, I became the buffet for every mosquito in the neighborhood. I knew I had been bitten by a few of them, but it wasn’t until today that I realized how bad it was. The sweat and the scratching from my socks irritated all the bites, so by the end of my six miles, I felt like my toes and my feet were on fire.

Action 484 – Handle The Unexpected.

I completed my run, and that was good. Tomorrow is a rest day, so no problem there. And I’m hoping that by Thursday, the welts will have gone down and the bites won’t be so red and itchy.

Sheesh, who saw this coming? I have a marathon to run on Sunday, and I’ll inhale a bottle of Benadryl before I let something this petty stop me.

Bring it, bugs!

Action 483 – Run Six And Only Six.

With the marathon only a few days away, every choice I make right now is important. If I don’t do enough, I could be running the event cold. If I do too much, I could run the event tired or even injured. So a balancing act is required here.

Action 483 – Run Six And Only Six.

And I did. It was an easy six miles at a ten minute pace. I felt good, strong, and crazy tempted to crank up the speed a bit. But I stuck to the plan and ran my six miles in an hour.

Seems weird that I had to talk myself OUT of running faster. What kind of upside-down world have I created?

Action 482 – Enjoy The Entire Experience.

When I’m in, I’m in. And this weekend is no exception. I was planning to get up to the fitness expo just before it closes on Friday at 7pm, but I’m changing that plan a bit.

Action 482 – Enjoy The Entire Experience.

I’m going to work early morning Friday, then leave from here and head up to Pasadena by 10am or so. I want to get to the expo, meet the race director, claim my Bib No. 1775, and then wander up and down every single row. I want to meet the different vendors, chat with other runners, and gather all the swag and free samples I can.

These expos are celebrations of runners and running, and this time, I will not just dash in, grab my bib and t-shirt, and then dash back out.

Bring on the free stuff!

(Image courtesy of RockandRoll Seattle.)

Action 481 – Elevate.

With less than a week to go before the Pasadena Marathon, I finally took the time to go to the website and review the course.

Action 481 – Elevate.

Oh, Pasadena. You tricked me. I thought you were a nice, flat course, but no. Check out the elevation profile.

The bad news? There are some significant hills here. The good news? There are some great downhill stretches, too. And I love me some downhill. The best part? The last few miles are more or less all downhill. That works for me.

What does this mean for my run? At the end of the day, nothing, really. Whether the course is flat or hilly doesn’t change anything. I’m still going out there with the intention of running steady and true. It’s nice to know what to expect from the course, but my plan of attack on race day doesn’t change.

Come on, Pasadena. Elevate me!