Frank Banaga - San Diego, CA
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Frank Banaga - San Diego, CA

Frank Banaga - San Diego, CA

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis in April of 2003, before then I was not very active and I didn't like any sports that involved any type of running like soccer or basketball. When I became ill I could not walk very well. My knees were very swollen and everything hurt. I found myself using the handicap restrooms, and never realized how important those hand rails are, or even the height of the toilet seat, but without those modifications I would have had a more difficult time taking care of myself.

Being unable to carry my four month-old daughter up and down the stairs at our two story house was very hard to deal with and not being able to kick a ball to my six year-old son at the park when he rolled the ball to me left a lasting impression in my heart that I will carry forever.

At thirty four years old the rest of my life looked very challenging, but for some reason about five months later I went into full remission, and luckily I had no permanent joint damage. When my health got better I decided to be a bit more active. At the time I was taking care of my kids as soon as I got off of work, and my wife was working late so I needed some activity that was the most time effective for me and running just made sense.

I started with a run around the block, and made it about fifty feet before I became winded and started walking, The next day I tried it again, this time I made it about seventy five feet and then walked again the rest of the way around the block. With that twenty five foot increase in one day it was enough motivation to keep trying until I ran around the whole block without stopping. Build and build and staying positive, I kept running one block, then two, then three, then four, and kept looking back everyday on yesterday's accomplishments to go farther the next day. Soon I was up to about 2.5 miles a day it was amazing what I accomplished.

I ran every day for about sixty days and then one day on the Internet I came across a marathon in Las Vegas on the famous strip. The strip would be closed for the first time! Running on the strip excited me, but I knew I was not even close to being able to run 26.2 miles. I knew I needed great help in this endeavor and with that thought I went to the book store, and did research on the Internet.

I was a little scared about my health. Being in remission from RA I didn't know if such stress on my body would trigger a relapse or if my joints were strong enough. I purchased several books for marathon training and started to read them and I still had not made up my mind about trying 26.2, but one of the books I picked up was The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer. I read some parts of all the books but kept going back to this book it seemed as if it was written just for me.

I decided to stick my neck out and I signed up for the new Las Vegas Marathon. It was eight months away, with the book training alone I started the journey, I followed the training to the letter but as soon as the long runs started to increase, my knees and calf muscles were too sore even with days off in between to continue at that training pace. So I shortened my mid week runs to two five mile runs and kept the long runs at the end of the week the same as in the book and it worked.

I ran my first marathon in Las Vegas, December 2005, with a finish time of 5:06:05! It was the most uplifting experience in my life, and to know the feeling of accomplishment for such a great task and all the challenges along the way to get there makes the moment priceless for me. NOW I RUN MARATHONS!!

December 2006, I ran Las Vegas again with a finish time of 4:13:41, and I am running San Diego Rock and Roll marathon in June of 2007 along with Las Vegas Marathon in December. Now I am hooked. The training for 2006 was ten miles a week with the same long runs as in the book on the weekends; it seems to have worked for me, I am a current VIP member of Road Runner Sports and the kind and knowledgeable staff have helped me along this journey. Thank You.

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