Marathon-ready: Brandon heads to NYC

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(3TV/CBS 5) -

The time has come! It’s finally here! I am off to the Big Apple! 

A little background first: I lived in NYC for about 8 years. I moved there after high school to attend NYU. I lived in the financial district during 9/11. Needless to say, NYC means so much to me. I truly believe its where I a “became a man”. In fact, I love NYC so much, I still have my same (917) cell phone number! It’s what we call “the old New York.”

[Track Brandon during the race via the TCS NYC Marathon App | iOS | Android | Bib# 19443]

The terror attack that just happened there this week is gut-wrenching. I’ve biked on that same bike path where the suspected terrorist mowed down those innocent people. As we pray for those families, New Yorkers prove that nothing will keep us down. We will not be afraid of terrorists. We will continue to live our lives as free Americans. And so… the race will go on! 

I grew up playing sports: tennis, soccer, baseball, basketball, and track. Last year I did my first ever half marathon in downtown Phoenix. I trained about 3 weeks before that race and that was not a wise decision. I was hurting, sore and it was painful. I swore to myself when I crossed the finish line that I would never do that again.

But on NYE of 2016, I challenged myself to do something I never thought I would ever do. I decided I would compete in my first marathon. I always believe that things in life happen for a reason, at the right time and the right place. I was given the opportunity to race for Team Tillman and the Pat Tillman Foundation. I would also commit to raising money and awareness about what the foundation is all about. The Tillman Foundation raises money for military families so they can go to college. It's a beautiful gift to be able to give back to those military families who’ve sacrificed so much. So far, with the help of Arizona’s families, I have raised $6,000! 

Training for this marathon has been brutal. There’s no other way to put it. I started training in the last week of July. Yes, the temps were about 115 degrees that week. I am not a morning person, so I started my training at around 8 a.m. I tell people there is nothing more butt-kicking than running along the canal, alone in the scorching summer heat. My producer Bonnie - who’s run more than a dozen marathons - gave me a training schedule. She promised me that if I stayed committed to the schedule and trained hard, then I would be able to finish the full 26.2 miles. 

I never missed a single day of training. I am so grateful I have not suffered any pain or injuries along the way. I did discover something through this: I am mentally stronger than I gave myself credit for. There were times running along the canal - during a 20-mile training run - when the sun was beating down on me and I was tired, my legs were tightening up, and part of me wanted to shut down. But then, I thought about Pat Tillman. Would Pat ever quit? Heck, no, he wouldn’t! I ran through the pain. I only put positive vibes in my mind and sure enough, each week I got faster and faster. 

Here’s why I think I stayed injury free: I cold plunge after every training day. From the neck down, I plunge into 45-degree water for 30 minutes! Some guys last for 3 to 5 minutes. But, I go into a meditative state and I absolutely enjoy every moment of it and it prevents all inflammation and gets rid of all the lactic acid. 

Food: I eat Pho soup the night before a big run to get all that sodium in me.

Well, the bags are packed. I just checked the forecast and it looks like it’ll be a rainy day on Marathon Sunday! No matter what, nothing will stop me from finishing my goal!

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