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Got this note and poem from a club member who is training to complete his first marathon at SAMM in March.

Just wanted to share this poem. I have been flirting (literally) with the idea of my first marathon. First step: write a poem about it. Second step:start running. I am still stuck on step one. Thought I’d share.

I am a new member to Shadowchase, but my IT Band and busy schedule don’t allow me to see you guys very often. Hope that changes soon.


Dear 26.2-Mile Run

by Sam Pierstorff
sampierstorffI have been drinking a lot lately,
slugging shots of honey whiskey,
watching you all night leaning
over the bar, legs so long an airplane
could land on your hamstrings.

I want you more than you want me.
We both know that. But still you flirt
with your miles of experience, your wide open
roads that men can’t stop chasing.

All over your body, they have traveled—
slow and gentle, careful not to hurt
themselves along your windy paths.

Others pound your pavement
like machine gun fire, stomp,
stomping along, thinking only
of their own time, their own
personal best.

They never look down, never admire
the mature road you’ve become, your dark,
poreless skin, your edges of soft grass
and golden wheat fields.

I am sorry that I have been with your friends—
5K, half-marathon, mud runs that left me
feeling so dirty I’ve had to hose myself off
at a gas station, but it’s always been you
that I want so badly.

I think near daily about it, what it will take
to get me out there—next to you, on top of you,
gliding along every curve, letting you
wear me down, exhaust me
until I am breathless
on my knees, praying
that you will let me


Want to run or walk a marathon, half marathon or a 5K? Maybe you are already a runner, but want to train for a PR? The Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon training program is gearing up for the 2014 race. Come down to one of 3 informational meetings to see if our training program is ready for you.

Informational Meetings

All meeting at the ShadowChase Running Club office at , Modesto.

  • Saturday, September 7, 2013 @ 1:00 p.m.
  • Monday, September 16, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 24, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.

You can look forward to:

  • 26 week training program calendar
  • Weekly training schedule e-mail reminders
  • Twice weekly group workouts (Sat, Tues.)
  • Monthly cross training sessions
  • Expert coaching
  • Custom Modesto Marathon technical training shirt
  • Varied training locations
  • Seminars
  • Fun
  • Miscellaneous goodies
  • Friendships

Walkers & runners welcome!

More information contact Mike Mason or Susan Taylor at [email protected].

Meeting Location

[mappress mapid=”45″]

Dee Cajiuat sports her Modesto Marathon shirt at the Grand Canyon on vacation last month.

Dee Cajiuat sports her Modesto Marathon shirt at the Grand Canyon on vacation last month.

If you’ve been around the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon (SAMM) Facebook or website much, you’ve most likely noticed there’s one name that creeps up, over and over again. So who is this Dee Cajiuat person who sings the praises of SAMM and KT Tape wherever she goes?

If you ask her, Dee, a second grade teacher from Southern California, will tell you she dislikes running but loves her friends in Modesto so much, so she makes frequent trips north to participate in ShadowChase Running Club events as often as possible. But there’s a serious message she brings with her, no matter where she goes.

“I started my long distance running journey soon after my nephew, Joshua, had his accident. On Nov. 30, 2009, my 17-year-old nephew was involved in a serious car accident. Thankfully he had the support of car insurance providers similar to Oxford Auto (https://www.oxfordauto.com/). They also decided to work with an expert lawyer to ensure that they got the compensation they deserve. It was a complicated and difficult process which is why legal support was critical. I remember Joshua telling me that he spoke to a few lawyers like Brad Keating before starting their case. All these lawyers provided some useful insight into how they could work the case. Thankfully he was alive but he sustained multiple broken bones and a traumatic brain injury which meant he needed family support. He was in a medically induced coma for nearly four weeks. When he awoke, he was in a vegetative state and we didn’t know what the future held for him and his family,” Dee recalls. “During those four coma weeks, in the midst of life and death decisions that needed to be made, I signed up to run a Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon. My goal was to run and tell people about Josh and by being out there I hoped to get as many people possible praying for Joshua. Three years later, I still have people who say they have been and will continue to pray for Josh and his journey.”

Dee Cajiuat jumps for joy has she reaches KT Tape headquarters on vacation last month.

Dee Cajiuat jumps for joy has she reaches KT Tape headquarters on vacation last month.

That’s some pretty heavy-duty stuff coming from a woman who clearly enjoys laughter, dining with friends, riding her motorcycle, reading, traveling the country, and in general, not wasting a second of life, even on sleep. Since that fateful race in 2009, Dee has completed 42 half marathons, eight marathons and a 50K. The 2011 SAMM was her first full marathon, and she’s been back ever since. And every year Dee comes back, she brings friends in tow.

But 2014 will be extra special for the Cajiuat family. Although Dee will “only” be running the half, it’s for good reason. She’ll be running alongside her nephew, Josh, and she’s bringing a whole contingent with her.

Josh’s parents will be running; his father, David Cajiuat, will be trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon, as mom Charlotte runs the half. Josh’s brother will be running his first full alongside his father, and Josh’s sister, Hope, will be running the half. And as if that’s not enough, Dee’s San Bernardino Pacers will have some six members present to run with Josh and David.

Asked why she has adopted SAMM, Dee says, “It’s more of SAMM adopting me! I was looking for my first marathon and met (SAMM sponsor) Dr. Calvin Lee via a promotion he was having on his Facebook page and he invited me to do the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon. As I shared my story of why I run, many ShadowChasers supported my effort and have continued to be a great source of encouragement in all that I do.”

Dee Cajiuat sports her KT Tape at the Country Music Marathon.

Dee Cajiuat sports her KT Tape at the Country Music Marathon.

Dee also looks forward to sponsoring Mile Marker 26, which she has done for the past three years. It features a picture of Josh on it. “To me, that totally personalized the event and SAMM is now a great part of my life. I try to go up to Modesto as often as I can so I can participate in any SAMM related activities.”

And when she’s here, or anywhere for that matter, she can usually be found sporting a Modesto Marathon shirt along with a layers of kinesio tape.

“I heard about KT Tape from my brother,” says Dee. “He mentioned that Josh was using it and I started reading up on it. I was running in Vibram Five Fingers and my calves were dying and I found a tape application that I used, along with the shin pain app. I did my first back-to-back weekend runs and I was hooked. I couldn’t believe how minimal my pain was. As I progressed in my running, I got injured in different parts and KT Tape was there for every injury.”

In her ever-present enthusiasm, Dee continues singing its praises, “KT Tape is THE best invention ever! It can be used for muscular or joint pain. It can be used for support or prevention of injuries and yes, even recovery. KT Tape is flexible and elastic enough to support any part of the body.”

Dee will be bringing that enthusiasm to SAMM in 2014. She got KT Tape to donate its product and she will be taping runners at our Expo for free! And as if that’s not enough, she’s packing up the rolls and bringing it to the Modesto Marathon booth at the Santa Rosa Marathon later this month where she will offer free tapings to help attract potential SAMM runners! Yes, she simply loves that much. Whether you’re her second grade student, her favorite marathon, or her nephew Joshua, it’s love, unconditionally. She’s Dee like that.

traininggroupWant to run a marathon, half marathon or a 5K? Maybe you are already a runner, but want to train for a PR?

The Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon training program is gearing up for the 2014 race. Come down to one of 3 informational meetings to see if our training program is ready for you.

Informational Meetings

  • Saturday, September 7, 2013 @ 1:00 p.m.
  • Monday, September 16, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 24, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.

You can look forward to:

  • 26 week training program calendar
  • Weekly training schedule e-mail reminders
  • Twice weekly group workouts (Sat, Tues.)
  • Monthly cross training sessions
  • Expert coaching
  • Custom Modesto Marathon technical training shirt
  • Training log
  • Varied training locations
  • Seminars
  • Fun
  • Miscellaneous goodies
  • Friendships
  • Walkers & Runners welcome

More information contact:

Mike Mason or Susan Taylor
[email protected]

How did I hear about the Modesto Marathon?

I was in between surgeries in late October when I bumped into Dr. Harvey Palitz, who told me about the Modesto Marathon, and he told me that they were looking for a title sponsor. He knew that my wife, Dr. Tammy Wu, and I had sponsored other organizations before such as the Modesto Symphony and the Gallo Center for the Arts. Other than that, we had not heard of the Modesto Marathon. I was away for about three months this summer. I was touring Asia on my violin playing in some of the great concert halls in the East. I don’t currently run or have running partners, and it had been about 10 years since I had been regularly running. I don’t think I would have heard about this sponsorship opportunity if it hadn’t been for the chance conversation with Dr. Palitz.

I was very excited to hear about the first Marathon in Modesto. I then shared the info with Dr. Tammy Wu, plastic surgeon, who had been an avid runner. We knew we wanted to help the cause. We really enjoy helping new projects in Modesto, such as the Gallo Center, and now the Modesto Marathon.

Why did we become the Title Sponsor?

Initially we didn’t want to be the title sponsor. But as time went by, the spot wasn’t filled. We decided we needed take some action and fill the spot ourselves. The main push came from Dr. Wu. Our medical group is called Surgical Artistry and much of it focuses on beauty. We are of the belief that true beauty comes from within – a healthy body. This is the goal of many plastic surgeons, such as New York City’s plastic surgeon, Dr. Joshua Hyman. We felt that the Marathon and Surgical Artistry had common goals when it came to healthy living. We also had many patients who have run marathons. Furthermore, on a humorous note, we thought there would be opportunities to look at leg veins of runners and perform acupuncture for leg/back pain caused by the race. Surgical Artistry provides services in veins, acupuncture, and plastic surgery.

About Dr.Calvin Lee…

I’m a general surgeon who specializes in acupuncture and vein procedures. I practice medicine with my wife, Dr. Tammy Wu, who is a plastic surgeon. Our practice is called Surgical Artistry and is located next to the post office on Sylvan Avenue in Modesto.

Before I became a surgeon and acupuncturist, I played a lot of violin. Recently I won a contest on YouTube to be part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. We performed at Carnegie Hall with famed San Francisco Symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. With my violin videos on YouTube, I was “discovered” and had the opportunity to play violin solos with physician orchestras in Taipei, Hong Kong, and Macau. I also enjoy learning piano, which is new for me.

Early life: I grew up in New York City. I started violin lessons at age seven. I had recognized early that I was very athletic with my fingers but not with anything else. This came in handy for typing, playing violin, and later for performing surgeries. While in high school, I was accepted to great universities such as Harvard and Stanford, and was even thinking about going to one of the best Caribbean medical schools, but chose to go to Brown University. At Brown, I majored in Neurosciences, and got my medical degree eight years later. It was a very thorough course where I learned everything from which coding to use to create medical bills, for example, learn more about 99203 and the treatment that represents, to how to open my own medical business. I came to Modesto in 2003 to work with the McHenry Medical Group as one of the Trauma / General Surgeons. I left the group in 2006 to start Surgical Artistry Inc. with my wife, and I also learned acupuncture at Stanford University. I love being active in the community. I am on the board of the Modesto Symphony and have been invited to be on the board of the Gallo Center. My wife and I are in the process of creating the Surgical Artistry Academy, which offers education to students in the area regarding medicine and aesthetics. We have already informally taught some students in the area.

About Dr. Tammy Wu

Dr. Wu is a busy plastic surgeon in Modesto, CA. She is the only woman plastic surgeon from Fresno to Sacramento. On the web she is considered to be an authority on breast augmentation surgery on runners. This has been the first website listed when searching for “Running and Breast Augmentation.” She graduated first in her medical school class at Brown University and has won plastic surgery research awards. She is on the board of directors for the Cooperation of American Physicians – a company headquartered in Los Angeles. The Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. (CAP) is a physician-owned and governed organization comprised of the finest doctors practicing in the State of California. If you go to its website,https://www.cap-mpt.comyou will see her picture appear right after the CEO of the company. Membership in CAP is the gateway to Mutual Protection Trust (MPT). Available only to CAP members, MPT is a market leader in the California medical professional liability arena.

Early Life: Tammy Wu, grew up in Taipei Taiwan, and moved to the United States when she was 11 years old. Her parents remained in Taiwan while she learned English and went to boarding school in Atlanta, Ga. She spoke with a southern accent, learned enough French to be awarded second place in an all-USA French speaking competition. She went to Brown University for college and medical school. She majored in Biochemistry. She came to Modesto in 2003 to join the Sutter Gould Medical Group and was the only plastic surgeon for the group until she left in 2006 to start Surgical Artistry Inc. with her husband.

Running History

I started running during my surgery residency. The general surgery residency required many hours at work. Many times it was over 100 hours per week on the job. Running gave me a relief from the stress of surgical residency. I mainly got into running because my wife started running during residency. She was always better than me at running. In fact, she had won races in the past in her age group. I found it to be awkward for me, but I kept at it. A year after I started running, I ran my first marathon, which I finished in a little over 5 hours. To me, the marathon represented my surgical training – it was long – and the fact that I had finished it gave me confidence that I could finish my surgery training. A year later after the first marathon, I ran my second marathon, which took me almost 6 hours – I wasn’t conditioned at all for that race, but I wanted to do it regardless. I had fun racing the truck that said “end of race.” After 2002, both my wife and I had stopped running to focus on our medical practices. Because we have decided to sponsor this event, we’ve both taken up running again. Once again, I’m seeing that I am not genetically made for running, but it isn’t stopping me from watching myself improve again.

Why Half Marathon?

Maybe I’ll walk the Marathon … I reserve the right to change my mind at the last minute … I think I’ll look at the half-marathon marker and decide which direction to go when I get there. My wife thinks the half-marathon is barely the right distance to train for given the 17 weeks left before the event. She’s more realistic. I tend to aim for the stars but am happy if I get the moon at the end. Our Surgical Artistry staff is excited about the event and most plan to attend one of the races that day. I was already looking for ways to motivate myself to exercise again. Hearing about a chance to run in the first Modesto Marathon event was enough motivation to get going. I hope this inaugural event will motivate others as well. Whichever event we choose, it will be a 26.2 mile party because it is the first of its kind in Modesto.

Do you have any advice for others taking on the challenge?

It’s always good to take on a challenge, such as running the marathon. Even if we don’t conquer the challenge in the end, we may have improved ourselves tremendously while trying to reach that challenge.

I see two challenges for me with the Modesto Marathon: I want to run one of the races and I want to help make it as successful as possible.

Things that worked for me when I was training for my previous marathons:

  • Keep a running log
  • Rest is as important as running
  • Read running articles for motivation
  • Do one long run per week.

A simplified version of my current training plan:

Run every other day. If it is a weekday, run 3 miles. If it is a weekend, do a long run. The long run increases each time (i.e. Start at 4 miles, then next week go to 5 miles) until it’s Modesto Marathon time!

Throwdown a Challenge?

The marathon will be a draw for many people. It’s always nice to see Modesto on the map for good things. I hope to see over 2,000 runners on race day. And I want to thank the organizers and volunteers in advance. I’d like to challenge other sedentary types like myself to run/walk the marathon or half marathon. I can say with some certainty that if I can aim for this, many others can too. Plus it’s for a good cause – the Teens Run Modesto program. Couch lovers and runners should all come out for this event because it is history in the making – the inaugural Modesto Marathon.

vickieAs the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon (SAMM) prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary in 2014, changes are taking place behind the scenes. Race director Heidi Ryan is preparing to relinquish control of the event to Modesto businesswoman and ultra runner Vickie Chu-Hermis. Ryan will retain leadership for the March 2014 event, with Chu-Hermis shadowing her to make for an easier transition. ShadowChase Running Club will remain as board of directors of the marathon, and Karen Lozano will stay aboard as assistant race director.

Ryan cited “burn-out” as the main reason for stepping down. “It’s time to give the marathon to someone with new ideas and passion, to keep the high energy going,” said Ryan. “It is important to be passionate about the project and I am getting tired and don’t want to throw out negative energy and change the great momentum we have going.”

The 2013 SAMM brought approximately 3,050 runners to Modesto for marathon, half marathon and 5K events. SAMM and its accompanying Expo have given the local economy a shot in the arm each March since 2010 through participants and visitors.

The Modesto Marathon was founded by the ShadowChase Running Club to promote physical fitness and healthy lifestyles to area at-risk youth through the Teens Run Modesto program. TRM students experience the benefits of goal-setting, character development, adult mentoring and improved physical fitness through a structured training program, culminating in running the Modesto Marathon. SAMM gave approximately $50,000 to the TRM program last year to train about 200 area students, and to provide $11,500 in college scholarships.

The Modesto Marathon has grown to incorporate popular annual adult running and walking training groups, as well, encouraging fitness and camaraderie among area adults.

Chu-Hermis, who has been on the marathon committee since its inception, said her top priority for 2014 is “to be a sponge to soak in and learn everything I can about being the SAMM race director. I am here to shadow and support Heidi and Karen, so that 2014 will be the best year yet.”

As for the future, Chu-Hermis said, “I would love to see the marathon numbers continue to grow ‘out of control.’ I would also love to see more local businesses getting involved in the way of sponsorship to promote health and wellness in our community.”

ShadowChase Running Club President Jeff Lozano, who was on the committee to find Ryan’s replacement, said, “We will miss Heidi’s passion and dedication to the marathon and her attention to details in putting on this major event. We feel fortunate to have someone with Vickie’s credentials step up to take over.”

Ryan, who operates a local hair salon, said she is most proud of “how we were able to start with nothing and build to what we are now in just a short time” and of “all the volunteers who have given so much of their time to get us where we are today.

“ShadowChase Running Club is a great group of people who have had to work hard to bring an event like this to our community and I am a part of this group.”

Ryan said she will remain active with the marathon through her activities as a ShadowChase board member. “It has been very gratifying to bring a top notch event to our community and the rewards for doing so have been enormous. Every day when I drive down the street I see so many more people than before out there running and walking. I truly see a difference in our community getting more exercise.”

She said she is looking forward to spending more time with her family, and taking a vacation without having to worry about marathon details.

Chu-Hermis admits she has “huge shoes to fill,” and will be relying on her organizational and management skills, as well as past race director experience through the Riverbank Cheese and Wine Run, which she headed up for three years. She has been a member of Soroptimist International of Modesto North for 20 years where she heads the Pathways program for young adults. She is a former local business owner and works as a bookkeeper.

juliestanley5kThe SAMM 5k…this is my race.

Not in the sense that I own it, or that I started it, or that I’m anything special in connection to it.  No, this is my race because it’s special to me, just like all races are special to someone.  So we lay claim to our race, along with everyone else who feels this is their special race, even though it doesn’t really belong to us.

The 2012 SAMM 5k was the completion of a goal I had set for myself when I decided to do something about my weight.  I challenged myself to become fit enough to run a 5k…someday.  As my weight loss progressed and my activity level increased, I began looking for a 5k in the area and found this one.  It was an exhilarating experience for a middle aged grandma who had just lost 80 pounds.  A year prior to that, I could not have run from the front door to the curb.

Running in that first 5k sealed the deal for me; I was hooked.  I was thrilled to find fliers in my goody bag for other races coming up.  I immediately registered for the Modesto Memorial Classic.  I began to check the ShadowChase calendar on a regular basis to find more races.  And, I set a super secret goal for myself; one that I didn’t even want to admit to myself, maybe because I thought it was impossible.  Next year, I wanted a medal in this race.

The idea entered my mind in a flash, and was gone just a quickly, but the shadow if its imprint was there, hiding in the back corner somewhere, working on my sub-conscience…a medal…in this race…my race…

Over the next several months I ran in as many races as I could.  Manteca’s Hit the Streets for Hunger in April, our own Modesto Memorial Classic in May, the Hilmar Udder Run in June, (now there’s a story all its own…), Escalon Park Fete in July.

Also in July, I decided take my training up a notch.  Too bad I didn’t talk to someone who knew something about how to do that.

After Hilmar in June, I began to be concerned about the nagging pain I had been having in my lower legs.  It started with some twinges in my ankles, which were replaced with twinges in the outside area of my shins.

I kept running through all the twinges, and they finally went away, but were replaced by something a little more painful on the inside of my shins.  Since the pains I had been having had always gotten better after awhile, even though I kept running, I expected this new pain to do the same.  It didn’t.

I finally stopped to visit a physical therapist friend who confirmed I had some mild shin splints going on, and said that I should be ok to keep running.  What he failed to caution me about was the fact that I should NOT go out and see how far I could push my limits while I was waiting for my shin splints to subside.  I guess he figured I was smart enough to know better.  He was wrong.

So, in July I went from running less than 10 miles a week to running about 20 miles a week.  No gradual 10% a week increase for this tough broad, just 10 miles one week and then 20 miles the next week, and the next week, and the next week…

Then, for good measure, I decided to do some hill work.  I had done some with a group about a month before.  We ran the long, gradual climb from the park to the parking lot on Scenic Drive for about 20 minutes.  I figured if that was good, then steeper and faster would be better.  I found a shorter, steeper hill in the park near the golf course, and ran up and down that as fast as I could until I couldn’t do it anymore.

The results of this self devised training schedule were double edged.  My next race was Color The Skies in Ripon on September 1, 2012.  Even with legs that were painful just walking, I turned in a personal record of 28:12 and placed second for my age group.  These were the results I was striving for with my workouts.  Unfortunately, the tradeoff for the fast gains I was making turned out to be serious injury.

Sometimes, I can be a really slow learner.  Or maybe I just wanted to believe that if I ignored it, the pain would go away.  Whatever the case, the Marathon Training Group for the 2013 SAMM was starting up at about this time, and I decided to join.  While I had no intention of running the Marathon, or even the Half, I figured training for it could only make me faster in the 5k.  And I had this super secret goal…

While I had already registered for it, the training group was making the Riverbank Cheese and Wine 5k one of their training runs.  It would give those who had never been in a race some valuable exposure to the excitement and distraction a race creates for a runner, and it was the right distance for where we were in the training program at that point.

Unfortunately for me, because I didn’t want to lose the momentum I had going, I didn’t back off my training and allow my legs the time they needed to heal.  I ran the race in Riverbank, but turned in a slow time and left immediately to go home and ice my legs.

I had one more race I was scheduled to run; the Peace Officers Memorial in about a month.  I iced my legs every chance I got, took anti-inflammatory meds, gave myself leg massages, and took time off from my running.  Unfortunately, I had pushed myself too fast and too hard for too long.  I ran my final race for 2012 with a decidedly unremarkable time and finally admitted to myself that I had a real injury that I needed to address.

After x-rays failed to reveal anything specific, I had an MRI performed on both legs.  The results were as I expected by this time; I had stress fractures on the tibia of both legs; a result of overtraining.  The treatment; no running for 2 months.

Since I had already stopped running about 6 weeks before receiving this diagnosis at the end of December, I targeted mid January as my date to start training again.  This time, though, I would be taking it very slowly.  At the first sign of pain, I would back off.

Even though I had finally admitted to myself at some point that I really did want to try to medal at this year’s SAMM 5k, I believed my goal was now out of reach. But, I was still determined to at least be IN the SAMM 5k, even if I had to walk the entire distance.  After all, this was MY race.  There would be other races to medal in, so long as I got healthy again.

January 8, 2013; for the first time in over 2 months, I have risen before the sun to pull on my running clothes, lace up my shoes, and test out my recently pain free legs.  I am to start slowly, walking most of the time, light jogging a little bit.  Over the next few weeks, I can gradually run more and walk less until I can do a slow and easy 3 miles without pain.  If it hurts, I am to back off immediately.

Fast forward two and a half months.  It’s March 24, 2013.  The sun is not yet up.  My husband, bless him, rolled out of bed at 3:00 AM and is out setting up course barriers for the marathon.  I’m wandering around the finish area, checking out where everything is located, lending a hand here and there with set up, trying to cope with the inevitable pre-race jitters I always seem to get.

I still believe my goal of a medal is out of reach, but I am well beyond thinking I should not run.  For the past month I have managed to log about 6 miles a week of easy, slow, short runs.  I don’t feel anywhere near ready to turn in a good performance, but my legs feel good.  I’m mostly worried about my cardio.  Will I have enough oxygen to sustain the pace I want keep?

The sky begins to lighten as the crowd thickens.  The lines for the rest rooms grow ever longer as the start time for the marathon and half marathon nears.  I call my husband.  Is he going to be there for the start of the 5k?  I have his camera that he left on the kitchen table that I want to give him.  Yes, they’re headed back in right now.

I shed my sweats, jacket, and gloves, placing them in my drop bag and handing it over to the attendant at the bag drop station.  I’ve learned that it truly takes an army of volunteers to put on an event like this, and I’m thankful for every one of them.

It’s almost 7:00 AM.  The marathoners and half marathoners will be starting soon; time for me to warm up.  I head out for an easy run away from the race route.  Six minutes out, six minutes back.  My cell phone rings.  My husband is at the start line and wonders where I am.  I’m breathing hard as I arrive and he chides me for wearing myself before I even get started.  I tell him I’m fine.  By the time the gun goes off, I’ll be perfect.

Runners are lining up for the 5k now.  Each one tries to find his or her perfect spot to start.  Too far to the front and we’ll be in the way, too far to the back and we’ll be dodging slower runners.  Ephron is on the high lift next to us, talking, taking pictures.  He introduces Karen, who is there to send us on our way.

And we’re off…

Before we reach the first corner the jitters have disappeared.  This is what I came here to do.  This is what I have been working toward for the past year.  This moment.  This race.  All the training, all the worry about my legs, all the pain, all the impatient waiting as I healed.  This is what I had been working toward.  This race.

I concentrate on the things I’ve learned in the past few months.  I try to keep my strides short and turnover quickly.  Am I crossing my arms across my mid body?  And smile…this is fun.  I decide I will smile and wave at everyone I see; all the spectators, all the volunteers, all the musicians, all the peace officers, all the photographers.  I want to keep my focus away from how fast I can go and just enjoy the fact that I’m here.  This IS fun, and I’m so happy to be here.

At the first mile marker I check my pace.  Not blinding, but faster than I expected.  I decide to not check anymore.  I’m just here to have fun.  Wave to the onlookers.  Tell the volunteers thanks for being here.  Think about my form.  Keep the stride short and quick.

Before I know it, we’re turning the final corner, heading for the finish.  I focus on the clock as I get close enough to see the numbers.  I can’t believe what I’m seeing.  The clock reads 28:…something as I go under it.  I can’t focus on it without feeling unbalanced, and I don’t want to fall.  This is fast for me.  I must have been mistaken.

We head for the results booth.  I love this; we can get immediate results.  I key in my bib number.  My data comes up.  My official chip time is 28:24:302.

I turn and bury my face in my husband’s chest.  My shoulders start to shake as the emotions threaten to break free of my control.  I feel the tears start to burn my eyes.

I’m stunned.  This is just 12 seconds slower than my personal best.  After pushing so hard that I end up injured.  After all the time off. After all the frustration of feeling my goal slip beyond my reach.  After weeks of short, slow runs.  After making the conscious decision that this run was for fun and not time.  Twelve seconds.  Wow.  .

I’ve finished 2nd for age group.

I did it.  I earned a medal in this race.  My race.  Second place.  Double wow

The SAMM 5k was special to me because it was my first.  Now it’s special to me because it has taught me that I can achieve more than I thought I was capable of achieving.  It has taught me to aim for that which I believe is beyond my reach, because reaching beyond my perceived limits is the only way I will ever learn just how far I can go.

The 2013 Adult Training Group came to a close with the annual awards banquet. This is a time for each runner, mentor and coach to be acknowledged for 6 months of dedication and hard work.

It is also a great time for runners to share their “war stories” from running the marathon.

Thanks to our program, over 150 people reached their goals of either completing a full or half marathon.

We hope to see everyone (and their friends) back in September for next year’s training group.


Did you run this year’s Modesto Marathon and neglect to buy a race poster? How about any of the 3 previous years?

Here is your chance to correct this over site. Artist Mike Pascale has a limited number of race posters on eBay.

Don’t delay! The opportunity to own a piece of your running history ends April 24th.

To get your poster, visit Mike’s eBay page.



It takes an army of volunteers to put on the Modesto Marathon. Thank you to everyone who gave up their Tuesday night to get our goody bags ready for Expo Day.

tyregirlUpdate: Read Tyre Girl’s blog post about her experience at the Modesto Marathon.

TyreGirl (TG) is an IT consultant who grew up in Singapore and now works in the UK. She was conceived in 2006 when she began training for a North Pole expedition with a tyre decided to enter the Singapore marathon with her tyre.

Her current ambition is to complete 100 marathon/ultra marathon events by 2020 with a tyre.

She has completed 29 marathons (24 marathons and 5 ultras; 848.4 miles) and DNF in a 135 mile marathon, having to be pulled off the course at mile 60 as she limped along with an injured achilles.

Due to the quirky nature of a gal pulling a tyre in a marathon, TG thought she would make people more aware of the impact they are having on the environment and so began her campaign to highlight the importance of conservation and sustainability.

A tyre is very much part of the energy cycle. We use tyres to get us from A to B and we dump tyres when they no longer have any more use to us.

The simple message is Reduce, Reuse, Repair! Recycle as a last resort.

For more information go to www.tyregirl.com.