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.


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!

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 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 480 – Wait By The Phone.

On Sunday, I will be running 26.2 miles in the Pasadena Marathon. And I am absolutely confident that I will be motivated the entire way. But I am also only human, and I am open to the idea that I may have a mile or two where I really struggle. That’s where all of my friends come in. I need you folks to each make a call. Meanwhile, I’ll be right here.

Action 480 – Wait By The Phone.

I am asking everyone to call my Google Voice number (619.630.4328) between now and Thursday and leave me a brief message cheering me on. On Thursday evening, I will download all the messages and add them to my iPod Shuffle so they will play randomly between my running songs during the race. One minute I’ll be rocking out to Pink or Disturbed, the next minute I’ll hear your voice encouraging me to get after it!

You aren’t sure what to do? No problem. I’ll give you a scenario. Imagine that you are standing near mile 20 on the course and you see me about to run by you. You have just a moment as I approach and then pass you, so you have to make it count. What do you yell to me as I come by?

Run, John! Run!

You trained for this. You can do this. Go, John!

Semper Fi, Brother. Almost there!

Whatever you feel like saying, go for it. You can say whatever you want, as long as it isn’t a ten minute message extolling the virtues of sleeping in, walking, or lounging around. *laughing*

I did this once before, and I can’t possibly explain how much it means to me to hear from my friends and family while I’m out there running. Your words inspire and motivate me, and I feel like you’re right there with me.

So, pick up that phone and call now. I’m standing by waiting for your call! (Well, the call is going immediately to my Google Voice mail, but you get the idea.)

Thanks, everyone. You’ll all be with me as I complete this milestone.

Action 477 – Make Them All Count.

I’m down to the last few days before I run the marathon, and that raises the stakes on each of the last actions. I’m confident that the past 90+ days have been good for me, and I want to finish strong.

Action 477 –  Make Them All Count.

This week, I won’t be introducing anything new. I’ll stick to foods I know and eat regularly, so I won’t have any worries about nutrition. Physically, I’m planning a short run on Tuesday and Thursday, and I may run again on Friday if I feel like it. I want to feel loose and ready to run on Sunday.

I have been hyper-focused on this marathon for more than three months. Mentally, I think the next few days will seem a bit of a blur. But emotionally, I think I will be a bit overwhelmed by the time Sunday gets here. It’s a lot to process, all that has led me to this point.

Spiritually, I feel like I am in a good place. With the help of very generous friends, I have managed to turn this all-about-me marathon project into a chance to make a real difference for other people. That feels pretty great.

All that said, I will not coast this week. I will work just as hard as I have all the weeks before. I will be ready.

Action 465 – Spend Time With Family.

One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older. There’s a comfort in being with people that have known you all your life.

Action 465 – Spend Time With Family.

I’m here in Texas for my Grandfather’s 90th birthday, and family has come in from across the country to help him celebrate. In addition to my aunt, uncle and cousins that live here in Austin, my uncle and aunt are here from Washington and another uncle is down from Dallas. Add other cousins and my Mom, and it’s a houseful of family.

It’s funny, but when I was younger, traveling meant being on the go the whole time and checking in with as many friends as I could. These days, I’m perfectly content hanging out with family.

This is good stuff.