Action 486 – Share The Spotlight.

I’ve been ultra-focused on my upcoming marathon, and I make no apologies for that. This is a big deal for me and I’m proud of the progress I have made since I began this project. That said, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge two people who are inspirations to me and who are also running significant events this weekend.

Action 486 – Share The Spotlight.

First up is the amazing Katie, who blogs at RunsForCookies. She is running her first full marathon on Sunday, the Cleveland Marathon. This is her next step in a journey that has seen her drop 125 pounds. She is funny, adorable and absolutely motivating to so many people. I can’t wait to see your finish line photo, Katie!

Second, a shout-out to the fabulous Mary. She blogs at ASmallLoss and has lost an incredible 151 pounds. She is running the San Francisco Bay to Breakers event this year, and she will be joined on the run by a long-time reader of her blog. How amazing is that? She has managed to not only motivate herself to change her life, but she is also motivating and inspiring others. I love that!

These ladies, along with several other running buddies, are hitting the streets this weekend all over the country. They will be giving all they have as they run mile after mile, and they are examples of what can be done when you set a goal and let nothing keep you from it.

I am happy to share the spotlight, because there is plenty of “oh my gosh, that is so awesome!” to go around.

Run strong, ladies!

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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 militarytimes.com.)

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!

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.