Posted on 21 March 2013.
RIF #140 Dennis Arriaga
This week’s Run It Fast – The Club Profile is #14o Dennis Arriaga. Dennis hasn’t been running that long but he’s already accomplished a lot…and not just running. Dennis once suffered from CPS (Couch Potato Syndrome)! But not anymore! Check out his profile to find out more about how Dennis hopes to prevent CPS from recurring:
Name: Dennis Arriaga
RIF #: 140
Years Running: 1 yr, 5 mos
Favorite Race Distance: Half marathon (at least right now!)
Favorite PR: Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon – 1:44:45
Favorite Race: I have yet to run a race twice (maybe a good thing) but my favorite venue and race so far has to be the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay. I LOVE the Monterey area and to run along the bay shore was cool.
Favorite Bling: There are two medals that mean a lot to me at this point in my running life: The medal I got for my first race and the one for my first full marathon. They both are basic medals – I do have medals from other races that are cooler in design – but the meaning is what sets these apart. The 5K one was for the Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5K and I had recently “graduated” from the Couch to 5K program. It was the “can I really do this?” test – and I did…BOOYAH! The bling from my first full marathon was, to me, the sign that I had arrived – I was not only a runner, but a distance runner. The course for that “full” involved two loops and runners had to grab a rubber band to indicate that they had completed each loop – I kept those as part of the bling…they were earned! I also got third in my age group for the marathon – which added to the memorable day.
Next Races: Rock’n’Roll San Francisco (4/7), and the Big Sur International Marathon (4/28)
What Makes You FEEL Fast?: It’s weird, but for me it’s the shoes. For some reason, new shoes seem to inspire me to RUN IT FAST and my workouts/runs/races tend to be a bit speedier the newer the shoes.
FUN RUNNING QUESTIONS
Why did you start running?
To be honest, I am a natural-born couch potato. That said, after losing about 115 pounds over the course of 1.5 years (all without a bit of exercise…proof that one can do it by calorie counting alone); my doctor chided me and said I needed to start moving if I wanted to keep the weight off. The fear was that I would put the weight back on as I had numerous times before. I do not like going to the gym, it just doesn’t fit with my lifestyle or schedule, so running seemed appealing. I downloaded the Couch-to-5K app and the rest is history…albeit only 1.5 years at this point…but I see myself running as long as I am able to move forward at any speed.
What is your favorite go-to pre-race meal?
I don’t really eat just before a race (other than a plain bagel), but I do carb load for two days before a half or full marathon. I have two favorite, pre-race, dinners that I alternate between the two days: Spaghetti with just a bit of marinara sauce (the old faithful among runners) and Chinese take-out: a pint of white rice with quart of broccoli. I’ve experimented with other things over the course of a year and these two provide the carbs and don’t bug my stomach the next day (yeah, even the broccoli.)
How many pairs of running shoes do you have and which pair are your favorites?
Right now, I have seven in the closet – all varying in age and mileage. I do most of my running on the road right now, so I only have one pair of trail shoes. I like Saucony right now and my favorite shoe is the Kinvara 3 (I have 5 pair). The trail shoe I use is their Xodus 3.0 and I just added a Type A5 to my coral – light & fast!
Why do you race?
For me, I race to hold myself accountable to training – for some it’s the other way around. As in many areas of life, I can’t see myself showing up to do something without being prepared – racing is no different. Having a “big one” on the calendar always gets me out of bed when I would rather turn over…
What’s your pre-race routine?
Nothing too exciting… The night before, I set everything out and chill. The day of the race, I wake up early and the first thing I do is eat a plain bagel (I guess one superstitious part of this whole routine is that I always buy Sara Lee brand, plain bagels.) I shower, dress, and go. On the drive, I always listen to a playlist I’ve put together of the music from the movie about the 2010 Western States race: “Unbreakable.” I like to arrive at the venue early, hit the Port-o-Johns (PoJ) while they are fresh(!), check in, and then chill – sometimes in my car, sometimes with the crowd. At 45 before, I eat a gel, do some light stretches and strides, and hit the PoJ. At 15 before, I eat a gel, a salt tab, and hit the PoJ. Then it’s GO TIME!
If you can’t run, you’re ________?
Ask my wife…grumpy!
Congratulations to Dennis for losing 115 lbs and overcoming Couch Potato Syndrome! It is not easy to keep that much weight off. It takes 10 times as long to take it off as it does to put it on but it is well worth the effort. Running is a great way to keep the pounds off and it’s fun! It doesn’t have to be running, of course, but running is one of the easiest ways to get moving. Yes, it’s hard in the beginning but stick with it and you’ll learn to love it like Dennis does. Just look at how much fun he’s having in his pictures! I especially love the trail photo. That looks like it was a muddy blast!
Thanks for sharing Dennis! Good luck at R&R San Francisco and Big Sur! Run it fast!
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[All photos submitted by Dennis Arriaga]