How can I describe one of my bucket list achievements? PAINFUL!!! Running a marathon is no joke. So this was long overdue. I ran my first marathon on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2016, (10 days away from turning 42). It's been a little over a month now and I can say it's still pretty fresh in my head.
First off, what made me want to run a marathon? Well, I don't consider myself a runner. Ever since I was a child, I've always had problems with my legs. I blame it on the fact that I'm flat footed. I've always had pain in the bottom of my feet, my heels, my achilles tendon always hurts, shin splints, and knee problems. I only get these pains when I run long distance, (3+ miles), for the exception of my knees which I also get knee pains when cycle. So, I guess I can say for me running with aches and pains has been the norm because I've dealt with this my whole life. So not being a runner, I got into cycling, loved it, and now I've been wanting to do a triathlon. But in order to do a triathlon I have to run. That's the scary part. It used to be the swimming, but now at the age of 42, what scares me is the running part. So I decided to run the marathon this year with a little push from my sister-in-law who ran a couple of marathons before.
My brother, his wife and I signed up to do the Los Angeles Marathon. I'm going to be honest. The most I ran for preparation was 5 miles. My training routine was to run 2-3 times per week, 3-5 miles. About 3 weeks before the event, I hurt my knees during a training run to the point where I couldn't walk and had to have my brother pick me up in the middle of my so-called training run. So 3 weeks prior to the event, I only ran twice, which was the week of the marathon just to see if my knees would hold up. So I guess I can say I ran about 3 miles the week of the marathon for preparation.
The morning of, we met at my brother's house and took his RV. We were on the road to Los Angeles at around 4:15AM. We arrived at Dodger stadium when it was still dark, and we were given special parking all the way out by what they called "the garden" because they didn't expect someone to drive up in an RV. In a way it was cool because it was like having our own private parking. We got ready, used the bathroom, went back and forth on whether we took a jacket or not because it was so cold that morning. I had my protein shake, vitamins and oatmeal, put on sun screen lotion and around 5:45AM we started making our way to the starting line.
On the way to the starting line, it was pretty un-eventful, I just remember being really cold! I decided to just wear my arm warmers and not take any extra stuff that I knew I was going to take off 10 to 15 minutes into the run. When we found our gate, we had to squeeze in because it was so packed! There were so many people, I believe there were over 25,000 runners that day. So we stood in line for what felt like eternity because it was cold and like it always happens... when it's least convenient, the urge of going to the bathroom hits. I don't know if it's happened to you, but it's the worst feeling. So I start with the bathroom dance making it seem like I'm trying to get some type of warm up in before we start. During the national anthem, standing still was so hard.
Finally we get started. Just to reach the start line took us about 5 minutes with maneuvering and hurdling through all the "obstacles", (water bottles, clothes and stuff people left lying on the road). The fence to the left was full of sweaters and jackets that people took off and left behind. It was hard to get in a stride so we just kept it easy and super slow which was good because I felt like my bladder was going burst. About mile 2 there were the porta potties. We didn't hesitate to stop. Talk about relief. So we're off again. We took the first 5 miles easy to get into rhythm. It was at around mile 5 where I lost my brother and sister-in-law. I waited for them and turned back but it was so crowded that I just didn't see them.
So I'm off on my own now. Usually at around mile 5 is where I begin to feel my aches and pains, but I was feeling pretty good. I pick up the pace to about an 8:30 minute mile and kept it there until about mile 13.
It was at mile 13 where I noticed my knee pain coming back. Even worse, I got a really bad pain on my left achilles and the bottom of my left heel. I felt like I had a rock that was dabbing at the bottom of my heel. Super painful. And my achilles just tightened up so bad, I felt it was going to tear with every step. It was like all my injuries just hit me all at once. My time at mile 13 was at 1 hour 59 minutes. From there I started running funny because I was trying to avoid landing hard on my left foot so that it wouldn't hurt as much, but nothing seemed to help. Unfortunately, the funny running led to over working my right hip flexor. It just kind of gave out on me. Now I could barely lift my right leg. Not only did it give out on me, but it was also painful to move it. This was at about mile 18.
The crazy part were the things that were going through my head. I was physically in pain, but in my head, I was more concerned about getting passed by (with all due respect), these little old ladies. WTF! My respects to these women. They are warriors! I was like... there's no way I'm going to stop and get beat by a little old lady. So here I am, a 42 year old fit guy, limping and running all weird and in the worse pain in my life, trying to keep up with little old ladies.
Then at around mile 20 I'm texting my wife just to give her status of how I'm doing and she asks me if I wanted a ride. Hell no! I replied! Here I am, in the worse pain in my life, but in my head I'm thinking, if all these people can do it, there's no way I'm stopping, especially getting beat by little old ladies. They ended up leaving me behind and demoralizing me, hahaha, but I was determined to figure out a way to walk faster or run or something to keep me moving. Just being on my feet was painful. My muscles felt fine, I wasn't tired, I was just in pain. I felt like someone was sticking needles in my knees, like I had pulled a muscle in my hip flexor, like having sharp rocks dabbing the bottom of my heel, and like my achilles was about to tear apart. But my main concern was my pride.
Is that crazy? Am I crazy? All these different thoughts went through my head over and over. Should I stop? Is this worth it? What if I stop? What if I injure myself so badly that I can never run again? But if I stop, will I regret it? If I stop, I'm probably going to regret it and it'll be in my head the rest of my life. Then I'll be looking for excuses the rest of my life of why I didn't finish my first marathon. I can say, I didn't train, which is true. I can say the pain was unbearable, which is true, but deep inside I knew that if I quit it would haunt me for the rest of my life.
So I decided to keep going. I changed my focus to asking all these questions about quitting, to focusing on a strategy to get me through the last 8 miles. So I did, I started focusing on small efforts. I'm going to run 1 mile in pain, then walk, stop and stretch, then go again. So I did that until about mile 23. Then from mile 23 and on, I just said... suck it up and run it in. I ran (remember this is at a really slow pace, running super weird because I can barely lift my right leg, and I can't put pressure on my left foot), to mile 25... and had to stop and stretch. These felt like the longest 2 miles of the whole run because my negative thoughts came back in. Should I stop? Should I just walk? No, keep going! But what if...? Come on! Go! Keep going! I'm in pain. I need to stop... Don't slow down, keep going. These are the things that were just going through my head these 2 miles. Felt like forever.
My last mile I said to myself, this is it Jose, just finish. Doesn't matter how, just finish. So I started up, couldn't run anymore. So I just simulated running and walked as fast as I could. I see the finish line. I'm getting passed by so many people including more little old ladies. I don't care anymore because I am about to accomplish something that took so much out of me. With about 200 yards to go, a lady comes up to me and tells me, come on, let's run it in, don't quit... and I tell her, I'm right there with you... I'm going as fast as I can. She looks at me and smiles and takes off. 100 yards, 50, 10 I finished!
Was it worth it? You bet it was! I was still in pain, but the feeling inside of having to endure such pain and finishing such a task in my conditions were unexplainable. It's something I can live to talk about and be proud of. Painful experience, but well worth it. Will I run a marathon again? If I want to run an Iron Man triathlon, I'm going to have to. My training will start very soon again. I'll keep you posted.
Jose Nilo aka Coach Nilo
As an entrepreneur, I was pulled into the life of work, work, work. It just sucked me in so deep to a point where I started to believe that I wanted things that really didn't fill me inside. The things I was going after were material things, like money, cars, houses, and superficial things. There's nothing wrong with having nice cars and nice things, but it got to the point to where conversations and presentations were mostly all about that.
For a long time, I forgot about what really mattered in my life. The people who were there for me since the beginning. For a long time, I saw them as my enemies because I felt like they were holding me back and putting me down for not supporting what I had decided to do. In presentations, meetings, webinars, we hear speakers talk about how our loved ones are the enemies. That they hold us back and kill our dreams because they're negative about an opportunity that we just joined. They tell us how when we listen to broke people, we buy into their lifestyles. I know, I was one of them. In the beginning, I didn't believe it, but it got to the point where I began to believe it. So I pulled away from the people who loved me because I was taught that I am the 5 people I hang out with. Sometimes, speakers forget to explain a little further, and people, me included take things to heart and don't "read" in between the lines. There may be truth and logic into what "leaders" say, but it's not the whole picture.
We are told that we need to figure out our "Why". And most of us do things because we want a better life for our families. But during our fight and struggle to get to where we want to be, we stop enjoying life with our loved ones. Not only that, but we see them as the enemy because they won't join our opportunity. I saw it all the time with the people around me and it happened to me in the beginning. It got to the point to where my own family didn't answer my calls or I felt like they didn't want to be around me because I was going to pitch them on my opportunity. My "Why" was to make life better for my family, yet, I wasn't enjoying or participating in my family life.
Now, let me make something clear before I go on rambling more on this post. In no way, shape or form am I talking negatively about anyone or any opportunity. I'm talking about my experience and how it changed me and how I learned from it. Hopefully, it can help someone that is in the same situation I was in.
Getting back to my rambling... during my times in network marketing, where I learned so much about business, entrepreneurship, and so many other things I met so many different people. I still communicate with many of them to this date. During those times, I remember one of my mentors saying that a friend was a person who we did things with and followed the same things as us. (He used different words). An example of that is, we have our drinking friends. We hang out when we drink. Or our cycling friends, we hang out when we go cycling. And so on and so on. This makes sense and has a lot of logic to it. But now that I've stopped the chase for the superficial things and I'm more focused on my passions in life, that meaning doesn't fit me anymore.
Now I see things a little differently. The way I see it now that I've changed my priorities in life, a friend to me has some kind of love for the other. Not the "I want to marry you kind of love", but that person truly cares about you and whenever possible he or she will be there for you through thick and thin.
I used to call friends people who hung out with me. But most of them hung out with me because they benefitted from me. That has been the case the majority of my life. I still have those acquaintances who say they're my friends, but as soon as they don't benefit from me, they stop answering my calls. Not all of the people who I hung out with were like that, but I can honestly say that out of 10, maybe 1 or 2 of them truly cared for me and would be there no matter what. Luckily I know tons of people, so I'm blessed to have more than a handful of people who truly care for me. There are still a lot of people in this world who care for humanity. More than we think.
But sometimes we just get pulled into our own little world, that we forget about the good things in life, like cherishing a good friendship. We forget to call them on their birthdays, or on special days. Nowadays, all we do is send a text message or post it on Facebook or twitter. People say that calling up a friend and having a conversation with someone that doesn't involve business or making money is a waste of time. Now I think it's important to be able to call someone and have a conversation.
This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a special event that a friend invited me to. At this event I was reminded of how important it is to nourish our relationships. I've always known it's important, but as I mentioned above, we get pulled into our little world where we forget and don't make the time.
My friend Howie Palmer invited me to this event. I met him through network marketing. For me, he has been my guardian angel on this planet for about 10 years now. When I was left homeless, he and his beautiful wife Ellen, who is also my good friend, took me into their home and let me stay in one of their empty bedrooms (rent free) for a few months until I was able to get back on my feet. We've had our differences, but not once have they let me down or put me down. For the longest time, they had nothing to gain from me, except for my company and sincerity. Now they still have nothing to gain from me. We do own a couple of businesses together, but our friendships, I believe has only grown to a level where I consider them to be my family. Howie and I can sit and talk for hours, (he does most of the talking), hahaha... but I enjoy the conversations we have. We talk about so many different things in life and unwind from our everyday lives.
We talk about our crazy business ventures, our dreams, our wives, our kids, bikes, basketball, soccer, and topics that just come out of the blue and we laugh a lot. Together, I believe Howie and I were able to keep each other motivated and inspired through the tough times that we've gone through. We went from people who didn't go to church, to now we attend church. We have conversations about God and everything we do, we do it for God, to service and bring value to as many people as we can. It's a beautiful feeling inside knowing that I have people there for me and I thank God for putting people like Howie and Ellen in my path. Life is so much better when you have people who truly care for you and are truly there for you. I have a loving family who one way or another we have managed to stay together and now they answer my calls again, hahaha.
My loving wife, baby, mom, brothers, sister in law, nieces and nephews, my cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends that we've kept in touch and we know that there's love for each other. We all know we're not looking to buy, sell or benefit from each other besides knowing that we care for each other and we'll be there when we need a shoulder to lean on. That is such a great feeling inside and it is priceless.
If there's one thing I learned in my roller coaster life is that a true friend will always be there for you. I learned that deep inside, I know who truly cares for me and who is just there to benefit from me. So I still treat everyone as I would like to be treated, but my true friends, I make sure I nourish that relationship and show them whenever I can that I too care for them.
Who are your true friends? Deep inside, you already know. Remember to call them up and say "hello".
#What a life changing experience. This is what started the whole change in the new chapter, or I should say, new book, in my life. My first year as a coach.
In an earlier post I mentioned how I made a decision to go back to what truly makes me happy, which was team sports. At the age of 41, I decided that instead of going back as a player, I'd go back as a coach. I was lucky enough to be referred by a friend and received a call from Head Coach, Damian Galvan. Somehow Coach Galvan and I just seemed to click from the beginning. His philosophy about coaching and about life just gave me a good vibe. I accepted the position of an Assistant Coach and Fitness Coach. In the beginning the boys didn't take it very well that I worked them super hard, especially when I suggested morning training sessions.
We were up at 5:45AM and in the gym or on the field working out. Oh man, were they some tough workouts. But I have a thing about training, I won't give someone something I can't do myself, so to show the boys that I could do it, I would do the workouts with them. I loved it! Most of them didn't like it so much. The morning sessions only lasted 2 weeks and already in such a short time I was beginning to get a name for myself. There were a few players who liked the workouts, but most of them hated them.
So we moved the fitness back into practice time. I still worked the boys hard, but now I only had 15 to 20 minutes. Either way, even when Coach Galvan only gave me 10 minutes, I found a way to be effective to get these boys to improve their fitness.
Finally, the time came to select the roster. It wasn't easy because there was so much talent on the team this year. It was unfortunate that some of the boys didn't make grades, so it made that easier for us coaches. Only a few players were cut and we ended with a team of 22 players.
Once scrimmages began, figuring out strategic moves and player formation was the focus. Now the players were fighting for starting roles. We experimented so much with moving players to different positions, people must have thought we didn't know what we were doing. Fortunately these boys have talent. Wherever we asked them to play, they would go out there and play their hearts out.
Once we established a foundation and a starting line up the team started improving game after game. It was amazing how people could notice how the team was coming together and growing at such a fast pace.
It wasn't all nice and dandy... there were some tough times for the team. From tears of frustration, to challenges with school, relationships, family, health, financially, injuries, and more. These boys went through a lot to make it through the season. To us as adults, we've been through this, but for them, being in their shoes, we have to remember how tough it was.
These boys were more than a team, they were a family. They may have gotten on each other's nerves sometimes, but they always had each others backs. It was amazing to see. Even through the challenges they had, they found a way to stick together through thick and thin.
Coach Galvan was a huge impact. He didn't only focus on playing soccer, he focused a lot on working on their mentality and emotions. Attitude, consistency and staying composed were his most used words. He was hard on the boys, but in a respectful manner. One could see the respect these boys had for Coach Galvan. It was quite a sight to see. But that's what it all came down to during a game. Attitude, consistency and staying composed. The league was a tough league. The only differential during the games was "who wanted it more". Who had more heart, more passion and who was willing to fight for that extra inch. Our team always came out on top. We went undefeated in league.
Our last game against Garey High School would decide who was the league champion. Garey or Ganesha? When our injured goal keeper blocked a penalty and the follow up shot, our boys took that same play and scored on a break away, which was the game changer.
Our spirits were lifted so high, Garey had no chance of coming back and turning off that energy that just roared and lighted up all the fans and players. It was a feeling I hadn't felt since I was a boy after we won our little league championship game. Man it was a great feeling!
Now we had a little over a week to get prepared for CIF. We trained hard. The boys were ready. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make the CIF game and we were eliminated in the first round. It was a tough loss, but it was a great season. Ganesha hadn't won a league championship since I can't remember when, but it had been years.
What these boys accomplished was something that they can be proud of for the rest of their lives. It was well deserved and I just hope they take this experience and apply it to their daily lives.
As for me, it will be a lifetime memory and feeling. It was this that started me on my new careers and ventures in the soccer industry. It was this team that helped bring that spark back of when I was a kid and I played my heart out to help the team win. It was this team that reminded me of becoming resourceful, especially when life is constantly knocking me down. It was this team that inspired me even more than I already was to continue on this path of living my passion every single day to help others in any way I can.
Congratulations to the 2015-2016 Ganesha High School Varsity Soccer Team! Thank you for such a great season and thank you for an experience and memories that will last a lifetime!
#CoachNilo #Ganesha #HighSchool #Varsity #Soccer