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November 22, 2011

2 heart attack survivors share a new interest in running

C.J. Lin is a staff writer for the Daily News and is training with our newest LA Roadrunners program in Westlake Village. C.J. will be sharing her experience training for her first Honda LA Marathon, as well as featuring the runners from her group as they journey together to completing 26.2 miles.

By C.J. Lin, Daily News Staff Writer
Updated: 11/21/2011 07:34:02 PM PST

Six years ago, Barry Zweben and Michael Moline never thought they’d be training for their first-ever L.A. Marathon.

The two men, both now 54, became close friends through a shared, but unfortunate, set of circumstances: They both had heart attacks. Zweben underwent a quadruple bypass surgery and Moline had a six-way bypass surgery at Tarzana Medical Center.

“When they cracked open my chest, the pain was so bad,” said Moline of Agoura Hills. “I’m just afraid of ever having that pain again. I remember consciously, being in my hospital bed, really believing that I’m going to be living minute to minute. Slowly that evolved hour to hour.”

They met while at a cardiac rehab gym in Tarzana and have been working out four to five days a week since.

And now, they’re healthier than ever. What better time to tackle the daunting 26.2 miles of the marathon?

Which is probably why they’ve decided to take on the task after joking about it for years. Moline had always asked Zweben when he was going to do the marathon, and Zweben would laugh it off. But this year, Zweben told him: “I’ll do it if you do it.”

So the two train with the L.A. Roadrunners in Westlake Village on Saturdays. They’re not doing the race at a full-out run for fear of injury or overburdening their hearts. They’re heading into it with a fast walk that should see them finish in a little more than six hours.

Time isn’t an issue for them; it’s completing the race and getting a second chance to cross it off their bucket list.

That, and hopefully inspiring others as ambassadors for heart health by encouraging a good diet and lots of exercise.

“Our story might give others, who find themselves in similar circumstances, the encouragement to try this as well,” said Zweben, who’s from Chatsworth.

“I know what it’s like to rediscover what it felt like when I was younger,” said Moline. “It would allow me to tell people if you do this, you can run a marathon.”

They’re so lucky that they have each other to train with and then run the race with. The long miles zip by faster when you have someone to chat with, keep your mind off the pain and tell you to keep going because they know you can.

“It’s much easier when you have a friend with you,” Zweben said. “Because it motivates you to keep going.”

Don’t I know it.

I’m supposed to be running three to five miles every other day, but more often than not, that “run” is more of a “walk.”

It’s not that I can’t physically do it. It’s just that I don’t want to for some reason. I guess it could just be my natural dislike for running.

But I recently ran and actually finished my first-ever race, the Race for Rescues at the Rose Bowl to raise money for animal shelters. It was only a 10K – 6 miles. I couldn’t have done it without my buddy Mike Tang. He kept my snail’s pace with me, and made the six miles much easier to bear.

I need someone to train with, someone whose presence alone will shame me out of my laziness and secretly embarrass me into doing my best.

Someone like Moline is to Zweben, or Zweben is to Moline, although they don’t need any extra motivation. They’ve already been through the wringer, and are happy that they’re even able to be doing this.

Which I guess does shame me a bit, now that I think about it. I guess I just need to just shut up and run.

November 22, 2011

Marathon training with an early start

Follow Rachel’s day-to-day training on her twitter and facebook pages and read more of Rachel’s marathon experience every other Sunday in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

 

By Rachel Luna, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/19/2011 06:09:58 AM PST

 

Allow me to wipe away the sleep from my eyes as I begin my fourth marathon installment. My days are starting a whole lot earlier since I’ve begun my training, and waking up is the toughest part about it.

So much thought went into my decision to take on this adventure: all the running I’d have to endure, the healthy diet to adapt, and the commitment to a six-month training schedule.

But none of it steered me away.

Not even the “Are you sure you want to do this?” questions I received from others made me rethink my decision.

In fact, it excited me to know training for a marathon would lead to a healthier lifestyle. That pretty much sealed the deal.

I had it all figured out. Or so I thought.

But the one thing I overlooked was the change in my sleep-wake schedule.

On the first Saturday run with my L.A. Roadrunners training group, I rolled out of bed at 5:30 a.m. and two things became evident that morning. First, that the San Gabriel Valley continues to functions before the sun is up (something I’ve hardly witnessed before). And second, I would be forced to completely change my sleep cycle if I wanted to follow through on my latest adventure.

It’s been a major adjustment.

In addition to my Saturday sessions with the Roadrunners, I’m running two to three times a week on my own for nearly 45 minutes.

Now, it’s bedtime by 8:30 p.m., then rise and shine around 5 a.m. to get out the door for my early runs. Okay, it’s really more like 5:30 a.m., but only because it’s so cold in the mornings and I like to hit the snooze button a few times, and I’ve never been much of an early bird before.

But it’s getting easier to wake up early. And sticking with my sleep-wake routine is just as important to my marathon goal as everything else, if not more.

Published running studies present evidence that lack of sleep interferes with the metabolism of glucose, which muscles use for recovery. The immune system also can deteriorate because of a lack of sleep.

I tend to get sick easily when I’m sleep-deprived, and it’s never fun being sick.

I prefer running in the morning to running in the evenings because I can get it out of the way without feeling chained all day to my marathon training.

The day goes by faster after running and eventually I barely remember running at all.

And no, it’s not because I’m still half asleep. There’s only been a couple of occasions where my recollection was fuzzy.

The sleep-wake schedule adjustment has become the unlikely component to make all of my training possible.

It’s nice to know my need for a full night’s sleep – even if I have to wake up early – is no longer just for my beauty rest. It’s a major necessity to staying healthy during my training process.

All I have to do is wake up.

November 7, 2011

It’s all technique: downshifting while training for a marathon

Follow Rachel’s day-to-day training on her twitter and facebook pages and read more of Rachel’s marathon experience every other Sunday in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

By Rachel Luna, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/05/2011 07:09:19 AM PDT

“I’m going to run a marathon.”

Yes, that still sounds really weird whenever I hear myself say it. I’m not quite sure if it’s because I don’t quite believe it or because I haven’t faced the pain and torture of marathon training.

I keep bracing myself for that slap-in-the-face dose of reality. I don’t know when or if I’ll get to that point in my training.

And yes, I realize it’s still early to say but I’m feeling pretty confident.

It’s 133 days until the Honda L.A. Marathon on March 18, 2012. Just looking at the days seems like it’s years away, yet all the running in the weeks of training are flying by fast – and it’s not because I’m the next Usain Bolt. (For those of you who don’t know, Bolt is the world’s fastest man.)

It’s time to let you in on my little secret that’s giving me all the confidence in the world: I decided to run-walk my first marathon.

Now, don’t laugh or snicker. But if you must, I won’t hold it against you.

When I first heard of the run-walk method I had no idea what that meant. Images of little old ladies walking popped into my head. It’s probably because my grandmother is a mall walker … and she’s got some speed.

The technique doesn’t mean walking when you’re tired. Instead, it means taking a brief walking break while you’re still fresh. And before you judge, know that it is actually faster than running the whole time.

Jeff Galloway, a member of the 1972 Olympic team, came up with the run-walk approach. His method has found that most runners will record significantly faster times in a long run when they take walk breaks because they don’t slow down at the end of the run.

I’m not going after any time record, but I am interested in avoiding grueling fatigue as much as possible.

Runs are split into run-walk ratios varying from 30-second intervals to a three-minute run and one-minute walk. My particular run-walk group is training at a one-minute run, one-minute walk rotation.

The method uses muscles in different ways so your legs keep their bounce as they conserve resources, according to Galloway. Shifting back and forth between running muscles and walking muscles allows the workload to be distributed among a variety of muscles, which will increase the overall performance capacity.

Another interesting thing I learned while training with the L.A. Roadrunners is the run-walk groups actually will end up passing the slower running groups while they all race in the marathon.

I originally started training with the runners. But I’m now sold on the run-walk method. I did 10 miles last week and had no idea I’d feel so fresh afterward.

Now that the training is hitting the long, double-digit miles, my group already is passing some of the running groups.

It makes me feel fast. Maybe I will pick up some speed after all. But if not, the run-walk method sure makes me feel like the world’s fastest run-walker.

SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2015