The Wipro Marathon and Half Marathon event, in San Francisco, July 29, 2012, had thousands of participants which included Citrus Heights resident Dennis Bodine. This was the first half marathon for Dennis; however, his second of two life-changing events.
It was not an Olympic effort, but I’m proud to check it off my bucket list.
A struggle with weight
In April of 2009, Dennis weighed a lot more than he did by December of 2009. He experienced his Biggest Loser moment by demonstrating with a half-his-former-self video (included within this article). “By December 2009 I had lost almost 50 pounds and ended up donating most of my clothes to Goodwill. At my peak fitness in the middle of 2011, I weighed 223 pounds but due to a couple injuries and time constraints I have bounced back to 233 pounds”, explains Dennis.
“My weight when I started this journey was about 275 pounds, in December 2008. My dad had just passed away from a heart attack due to complications from atherosclerosis, and my doctor gave me grief because of my gut that I had been carrying around for nearly fifteen years. It took a couple months to really sink in, but when I remembered my dad’s final words to me being, ‘You ARE going to lose the weight, aren’t you?’”
Training for the race
“I trained for about three to four months. I ramped up very slowly because I had not done street miles in so long. I had been mainly using my treadmill for running. In the beginning, I could not even run two or three miles without walking but I built up to 12 miles non-stop. I had a few minor bumps, bruises, and strains that slowed up from more aggressive training, but just took the time off and let my body tell me what to do. I think the main problem I hit in training was that earlier in life I was a sprinter, and my body just naturally wants to go fast. On the shorter runs, like three or four miles, I was running nine-minute miles in training, which made it difficult to maintain a slower pace when going for the longer distances.”
Challenges during the race
“I did hit the wall around mile-11 due to stomach cramps and overall fatigue. I did prepare that day. I had a bagel with peanut butter on it 90 minutes before start time, and I was drinking water up until the start. I also got water, and electrolytes, at every aid station. The cooler weather also contributed greatly to my good start, but being in San Francisco, there were a few more steeper hills than I was used to finding in Sacramento that really ate up my energy. I think the way I got through it was just slowing down on the hills to a pace where I was not breathing too heavily then letting my body carry itself downhill rather than pushing the pace. I kept reminding myself that the goal was to finish this thing without stopping rather than trying to win. It is hard when you have a competitive mentality to accept that, but you have to in order to get through it. I saw a lot of fitter people walking and some were puking their guts up because they did not keep their efforts in perspective. I rode out the stomach issues, sped up as much as I could at mile-13, and finished strong. My finish time for this race was 2:23:59. I had splits at 5k (00:33:37) and at 7.4 miles (01:20:59).”
Future races for Dennis
“I think it became apparent through the training and the race itself that my body is just not made for long-distance runs. When I finish anything over 10 miles, I feel like I have been hit by a car. My hip muscles are sore, my knees hurt and I just feel sore and run-down. I can, however, rip off three to six miles like it is nothing, and feel no effects from it. I think I will stay with the 10k and under races if I choose to compete in the future. Right now I want to get back to more balanced training with weights, treadmill, and yoga, to try to get my weight back down to where I had it a year ago. I think street running will be out for a while.”
Advice from Dennis
“As a guy who has struggled with his weight for over 20 years, it’s a constant battle to remember to eat well and to get exercise. I have tried just about everything in the past, like fad diet or exercise plans, starving, etc, and none of that garbage works. I would say the keys to success are:
- Monitor your calories through some sort of tracking method. I now use Lose It! on my iPhone. Make sure you stay under your limit for the day.
- Eat small meals at regular intervals.
- Get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
- Get 30 minutes or more of intense exercise at least three to four times a week, and vary it up between cardio, resistance training and low-key stuff like yoga, or mix it up in circuit or cross-training.
Always remember, there is no magic pill, no name-brand diet, and no one thing you can do that will get you in shape. You have to change everything in your life and make it work for you. Just eating less or exercising more is not enough. You have to eat and exercise by pushing yourself harder. I might never run a marathon, or even a half-marathon again, but I learned new ways that my body can endure physical tests that will help me lead a better life in the future. So go for it!”
Event reporting by Melody Jones
Event photography by Marie Bosker of Tuzigoot Photography
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