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Running the San Diego Marathon January 18, 2004

I decided to train for a marathon on Sunday June 2, 2002.  How do I know?  My college roommate had just completed the Suzuki Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon for his 50th birthday.  And I wrote it down.

Writing it down is one of the keys to my success.  Every day for the next year and a half plus, I wrote down every training day.  Early in my training I followed my own coaching.  That is to say, from my 28 years of running experience plus working with fitness coaches, talking to experienced marathoners, and reading different magazines, I developed “my” consistent running program.

It included a weekly beach run, typically 45 minutes and up.  Frequently I did repeat stairs at Tamarack Beach or long flats in Oceanside; occasionally I would choose the sand beach.  During weekdays it was 30 to 45 minutes every other day plus cross-training, mostly stationary bike mixed with some weight training.  At this point you might say that I was getting ready to get ready.

On July 21, 2003 (it was a Monday, I wrote it down), I changed my diet significantly.  Going from a high- to a low-carbohydrate diet, plus the running, I went from 225 to 190 pounds in about seven months (I wrote it down).  Now my nearly 6’2” frame could handle the marathon.

During this time I took a free (Delta frequent-flyer miles) subscription to Runner’s World.  In one of my first issues was the Runner’s World Guide for Marathon Training for Beginners.  I cut it out as well as numerous articles on training, eating, sleeping, and running gear for marathoners.

On October 12, 2003, I decided to run the San Diego Marathon (I wrote it down).  A friend in Carlsbad had mentioned she was going to run, and I took this as a message that now was a good time to do the marathon.  At this point my goal was just to stay the course and finish the race.

As I trained following the guide, I started to look closely at my distances, measuring them with the car.  I was training at about an 11:30- to 12:20-minute mile.  On October 18, 19, and 20 (wrote it down) I did some specific timed distances, running as fast and as slow as I could.  These became my time-training standards.  Following the Runner’s World Guide and these standards, I worked steadily towards my finish goal.

On October 31 (still have the card) I was informed that I had a spot reserved in the San Diego Marathon.  In less than 90 days I would be running.  Much of my training was done on the course we would run on January 18.  As I trained my weekly miles continued to increase, and I started to consider my finish-time goal.  The moderate distant runs (5 to 10 miles) encouraged me; I always finished them strong, fast, with plenty left.  I figured I could complete the marathon in less than 5 hours (11.27 minutes/mile).  The 13- to 20-mile runs were harder; I was often fatigued, and my times were slower.  After these I figured that finishing in less than 6 hours (who cares about minutes/mile) would be just fine.  I trained not to eat the day of the race.  Before each long practice run I hydrated so that I wouldn’t have to drink much during the race.

As race day approached I was feeling stronger.  Short distances were the norm for the last three weeks (mostly 5-, 4-, and 3-mile runs).  On the Friday before the race I went to pick up my race number, running chip, and goodie bag.  There I met my angel, Geo Nicol, a fitness coach from the Los Angeles area and the volunteer pacer for the 5-hour pace.

On race day, wearing clothes that I assembled during the previous four months (what can I say, I’m an organization fanatic), I was ready to go.  Geo promised all ten of us that we were going to make it under 5 hours (I believed her).  She made it fun!  We sang, told jokes, walked when we were ahead of pace (reward for our hard work), danced, yelled to the crowd, cheered ourselves, and got to know our new friends.  There are stretches of the race I don’t remember running because Geo made it fun.  We made it fun.  Friends and family cheered us along, and photographers snapped our pictures.

For those who run marathons frequently, mile 20 or near there is referred to as “The Wall.”  I started to notice, around mile 13, that some of our new friends started to disappear.  By mile 18/19 Geo, Dan (a 4-hour-and-40-minute marathon goal runner) and I were the only ones remaining from the original group.  The closer we got to mile 20 the more conversation around us turned to “The Wall.”  I remember telling myself, “If I think that I’ll hit the wall at mile 20, I’ll hit the wall at mile 20.”  I didn’t let the negative talk influence me; I told myself as I got to mile 20 on pace that I was going to finish in less than 5 hours.

The remaining miles ticked away.  At mile 21 Geo, Dan, and I realized we had less than an hour to go.  I started to feel like I just wanted to slow down, but knew if I did I’d finish above 5 hours.  I kept telling myself, “Stay on pace.  You got this far.  Stay on pace.”  I figured as long as I kept Geo close to me I’d meet my finish goal.

At mile 24 I knew I only had 2.2 miles to go.  Geo was just ahead of me, and I decided to keep pace with her until just before the 25-mile marker.  Just before we reached it, I realized that we were still on pace for 5 hours.  I had gotten this far, and wanted to be certain to break 5 hours.  Somewhere I found another gear.  I remember Geo saying, “Good work, Gerry.  You’re awesome!” as I increased my pace.  Coming down the last hill at about 25.5 miles, I was doing everything I could to keep my feet under me.  As I rounded the bend, heading for the last straightaway, I kicked it into a higher gear, knowing that I had to beat 5 hours.  With the end in sight I sprinted (well, did my best imitation of a sprint) to cross the finish line at 4 hours, 59 minutes, 22 seconds.

My training paid off.  I drank water after mile 13 to keep myself hydrated and needed only one potty break.  My only real pain was fatigue in my knees and thighs.  I ran for 30 minutes on Tuesday January 20, and was back in training form by the 21st.  My next marathon will be run in 4 hours and 40 minutes (or less; I wrote it down).  Between now and then (probably the January 2005 San Diego Marathon) I’ll hire a running coach who will work with me for three to four months and run the race with me (pace me).  I will work on my running form (heel roll to toe, overall stance), consider dropping my weight 5 to 10 pounds, and decrease my body fat from 17.6% to 15%.  I will train using the two new pairs of shoes I now have, and buy the latest model of Nike Air Max Moto three to six weeks before the next race (to break them in on shorter runs.)  I will maintain a low-carbohydrate diet, and drink at least eight glasses of water per day.  (When I load carbohydrates, I eat vegetables and fruits; breads, pasta, potatoes, and rice are off-limits.)  The week before race day I will again carbo-load on breads, pasta, potatoes, and rice (this year I gained 6 pounds in four days).

Below are my results as they appeared on the official website:

2004 San Diego Marathon Results


Bib:   2785
Name:   Gerry Rose
Gender:  M Gender Place: 789
Age:  53
Division:  50–54 Division Place: 67
Home Town:  Oceanside, CA
Start Time:  06:31:04.35
10k:  1:07:58
Half Marathon:  2:30:03
19.6 Miles:  3:45:27
FINISH:  4:59:22 PLACE 1198
Gun Time:  4:00:25

Gerry has since run four full marathons, four half-marathons, and in 2006 completed the Ford Half Ironman in Oceanside, California.

Gerry Rose runs INTEGRITY Networking Solutions in Oceanside, CA.  He works with people in business who want to attract the right prospects and generate more referrals.  More than 10,000 businesses have been presented the INTEGRITY Networking Solutions system in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange Counties.

Gerry’s stimulating presentation Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals is ideally suited for small business owners, home-based businesses, and independent professionals who want clearer direction and want to attract more prospects, develop dynamic systems, and strengthen their companies’ accountability.  Gerry does one on one consulting, conducts a range of keynote speeches from thirty minutes to full-day education workshops.

His book series, Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals, are available on the website,

Gerry has more than 20 years’ experience directing business owners how to grow their businesses.  He is a networking dynamo.  Those who know him will assure you that he does a great job of bringing people together—which is why he started IntegritY.

Involved with networking organizations since 1984, Gerry is a Distinguished Toastmaster, a member of Toastmaster International, and has chaired numerous chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations.

Are you truly committed to attracting the right prospects and generate more referrals?  If so then contact INTEGRITY Networking Solutions for availability and information.  You can contact Gerry by mail at 1610 Quiet Hills Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056.  Direct dial (760) 439-4623; e-mail to  For more information, go to

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