Rose Bowl Half Marathon
As I have traditionally done after a race, I write a summary of the race for those people that have supported my racing efforts through Team Tisser Foundation (TTF), the non-profit charity co-founded by my wife Laurie and me. The following is a summary of my latest race.

Surf City Marathon
My 2007-2008 marathon and triathlon season was supposed to start at the end of 2007 with a half marathon race (13.1. miles). Unfortunately, due to injuries and not feeling well, I didn’t do that race.

The Perfect Season (and more) Accomplished
Let me give you the bottom line first. I achieved a lifetime personal best in the Ironman triathlon (a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run) at Ironman Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on June 24, 2007. I finished the race in 13 hours 54 minutes, almost 2 hours faster than last year’s time of 15 hours, 45 minutes.

Ford 70.3: The Dream Continues for the Perfect Season
As you may recall, my goal for the 2006-2007 season is to have my Perfect Season, which will consist of breaking my lifetime personal best time in 4 different races, a half marathon, a full marathon, a half Ironman triathlon and a full Ironman triathlon.

As you know, I competed at Ironman Coeur d’Alene, in Idaho, on June 25, 2006.

Woodland Hills, California to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: 4,410 Miles
Have you ever had a dream you were working towards? Do you remember how nervous and excited you were as the day approached for making your dream come true?

168 Mile Thanksgiving Bike Ride
On Friday November 25, 2005, I set out to do something I had never done before; I was going to ride my bicycle from the San Fernando Valley to Santa Maria, California over the course of three days as part of my fund-raising efforts on behalf of Team Tisser Foundation, raising monies to fight cancer and other diseases.

Doron Tisser Completes Big Kahuna Triathlon
September 11, 2005 is a day I will remember as the day I set a new personal record for completing a half Ironman distance triathlon at the Big Kahuna Triathlon on a beautiful day in Santa Cruz, California.

Doron M. Tisser Completes California Half Ironman
April 3, 2004 is a day I will not forget. In addition to it being my uncle Zev’s birthday, my aunt Sara (his wife), was very ill with cancer, and I dedicated this race to her.

5430 Triathlon: My First Half Ironman Distance Race
Today is the big day I have been training for. I have had so much support from friends and family that I can’t even explain what it means to me.

Triathlon - The Early History of the Sport
Four years before the Ironman, the first triathlon was held on Mission Bay in San Diego. It was directed and conceived by Jack Johnstone and Don Shanahan and sponsored by the San Diego Track Club. What follows is the story of the beginnings of this new sport as remembered by one of its founders.
February 3, 2008

Surf City Marathon

My 2007-2008 marathon and triathlon season was supposed to start at the end of 2007 with a half marathon race (13.1. miles). Unfortunately, due to injuries and not feeling well, I didn’t do that race. So my next race, a full marathon, was on Sunday, February 3rd in Huntington Beach, CA.

The weather forecast for race day was for rain from midnight until 6 a.m. and then light sprinkles or no rain by race time at 6:50 a.m. It just didn’t turn out that way.

On race day, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to have breakfast, so that I could digest the food before the race started. I looked outside and saw that it had not rained during the night and the sky seemed clear. My hotel was facing south, though, and I couldn’t see what was happening to the west and north.

I stretched, listened to my iPod, and went through my regular pre-race routine. By 6:00 a.m., it had started to drizzle, and by the time I went downstairs for the race, it was no longer a drizzle; it was a steady rain, and about 45 degrees.

In a marathon, I typically wear my triathlon shorts and a sleeveless jersey during the race. Today, however, because of the weather, I also wore a long sleeve shirt under the jersey and a rain jacket over both, in addition to wearing gloves. Because of the rain and the fact we wouldn’t have any sun, I didn’t wear my sunglasses.

The race started on time. Despite the fact that the road was slippery, I soon got into my planned race pace. I knew how fast I wanted to run the race, with goals set for how fast to start the race, and how to get progressively faster as the race went on. I knew I could achieve a personal best time because of how well my training had been going.

At the two mile mark, we started up a hill into a residential area, where we spent the next 7½ miles running. The rain started coming down harder, requiring us to run around large puddles of water. This made it more difficult to go up and down the hills, as well as to keep an even pace. But I was able to stay on schedule for the time I had planned to run.

At about mile 9½ , we arrived back at Pacific Coast Highway and started running north. The course would take us 2 miles north on PCH, then 3 miles south in the opposite direction. We would then turn onto a beach path and follow it north for 3½ miles, before going south on the path for five miles, and then turning back onto PCH for one mile to the finish line.

When we turned on to PCH at the 9½ mile mark, I felt my quadriceps starting to hurt, which was not a good sign; I knew it was not going to get better. In addition, the winds were getting stronger. If the winds were coming from either the north or the south, that would have been okay, because if I was running against the wind in one direction (which would be harder to do), I would have been running with the wind in the other direction (which would have made the running easier). Unfortunately, the wind was coming from the ocean and was a crosswind, so it didn’t matter which way I was running, the wind would be coming from the side, making it a harder race.

The unknown is what I love about racing. Regardless of how well you prepare for a race, you never know what can happen on race day. On this day, we had a steady rain, my quads were hurting and we had a crosswind, all of which combined to make it a tougher day. But then again, if everything was easy, it wouldn’t be as much of a challenge.

As the miles went on, the rain came down more steadily, making the roads a bigger mess. I had to keep running around large pools of water in the road, being careful not to slip and fall; however, splashing through unavoidable puddles became part of the race.

Through the halfway point (13.1 miles), I was on target for my goal, averaging about 8:35 per mile. In fact, my time at the halfway point was only 3 minutes slower than my best time in a half-marathon race, so I knew I was doing great.

At that point, however, two things started happening. The winds got stronger and the pain in my quads got worse. As a result, the front and sides of my legs were hurting every time my feet hit the ground. Running a marathon is not easy and is not always pain-free, however, so I kept on running. Besides I knew I had worked too hard to DNF, i.e., “did not finish” the race.

As my legs started hurting more, I was not able to run as fast as I wanted to and I started slowing down. For a time, the frustration of seeing my goal for the race disintegrate was almost more painful than my legs. These are the thoughts that go through an athlete’s mind during the race because you are so focused on the goal you have set for yourself, that it is difficult to let go and accept that on that day, you will not achieve your goal.

After a while of thinking about it, I accepted the fact that things weren’t so bad. I was actually quite fortunate. I saw physically challenged athletes in their specially designed wheel chairs who were doing the race by hand-cranking their chairs through the entire race. As you may know, these athletes are my heroes. They continually have more pain than me and what they do in a race is so much harder than what I go through. Every time I see these athletes, I cheer them on, but I’ll discuss this later in this letter.

I was actually quite fortunate. The pain I was feeling in my legs was temporary. Sure, it would last a few days after the race, but by the end of the week, I would be back to running. So when I realized how fortunate I was, I went back to focusing on keeping my pace as fast as I could. If I couldn’t achieve a new best in the marathon, I felt I could still run the race in under 4 hours. Besides, a fellow triathlete I know who is physically challenged has said, “pain is good; it reminds you that you are alive.”

As the race went on, I was slowing down each mile. It wasn’t something I perceived; I had on a watch that told me how fast I was running and I could see that my pace was slowing. While I had been running about 8:35 per mile in the first half of the race, as the race went on, I was slowing down to 9:30, 10:00 and 10:30 per mile.

The challenge was increasing. With four miles to go in the race, I had been running for 3 hours, 20 minutes. To break four hours in the race, I would have to average 10 minutes per mile. Despite the pain in my legs, I picked up the pace. I did the next mile in 9:50 and the next mile just a little slower. The pain in my legs kept getting worse to the point where I couldn’t hold the pace and I had to slow down.

Usually, as I near a finish line, the yelling of the crowds spurs me to run faster. On this day, however, there was nothing I could do about the pain in my legs. Each step created its own level of pain and no matter what I willed my legs to do, they couldn’t respond. So I just kept my pace until I ran through the finish line.

My final time was 4:05, which was my slowest time in a marathon in 8 years. While I was thrilled to run this time at the New York City Marathon in 2000, I have to admit my disappointment in not going faster at this race.

Of all the marathons I have run, I believe I am most proud of this race. With the rains, the winds and the pain in my legs starting so early in the race, I kept pushing and refused to let the adversity discourage me. It was harder to push through the challenges of this race than in any other marathon I have run. I continually readjusted my goals during the race. At first, I wanted to achieve a lifetime best. Then I wanted to match my best time ever. Then I wanted to break 4 hours. It was a continual mind game, as it so often is in a race. But I overcame everything and am quite happy with my time.

When I finished the race, my legs were in so much pain that I had to sit down for about 10 minutes before I could move. I needed help to stand up and then I wobbled over to where my wife and best friend, Laurie, was waiting for me. She could see the pain I was in and had to help me walk.

It was difficult to walk and at times my legs buckled, almost causing me to fall. I had to go down a few steps and I almost fell doing that; the pain in my legs was so excruciating. Each step was a new level of pain. We had to walk about 100 yards to the hotel, which seemed to take forever. When we got to the hotel, I had to climb about 15 steps to get to the lobby; there was no ramp. I climbed each step slowly, holding on to the railing so I wouldn’t fall.

The day was an experience I won’t soon forget. As always, I learned a lot from that race and I will use it to help me in future races. The biggest mistake I made that day, however, was to have left my salt pills in the room as I left for the race. My coach and I believe that is why my legs were in so much pain. I was probably salt deficient, which is what caused the cramping in my legs. I always carry salt pills during a race and take about 600 mg per hour to prevent cramping. With the preparation for the rain, I left the salt pills in the room and didn’t even realize it until my coach and I talked after the race. I can assure you I won’t make that mistake again!

The rest of the day was as painful as the race. Every step I took produced pain through my legs. My legs felt so unsteady that at times I didn’t feel that I could stand without holding on to something; I didn’t stand, I pushed myself to a standing position by using my arms. I continued to feel the pain in my legs all night as I tried to sleep. Even as I sit at my computer writing this, the pain is a reminder of yesterday’s challenges.

As I continue to prepare for my other races this season, including Ironman Coeur d’Alene in June, I would truly appreciate any contributions you can make to Team Tisser so that we can benefit others less fortunate than us. As always, you can send contributions to Team Tisser. If you have any friends or relatives that would be willing to make contributions, that would be great. We would also appreciate corporate contributions and matching funds.