Bodie Olmos is not quite back to full speed after his run in Sunday's L.A. Marathon but he was both happy, thankful, and humble when I spoke to him earlier this week.
"It's just incredible. I'm so taken aback by this whole experience," Bodie said by phone Wednesday from Los Angeles. "This was definitely a huge, huge event for me, and I think my body and my spirit and everything are definitely decompressing from it all ... I'm about 65 percent now and it's day three, but I feel great."
Bodie, who had a recurring role in Battlestar Galactica alongside his father Edward James Olmos, chose the annual Los Angeles race as his first marathon. The choice came after reconnecting with a childhood friend who mentioned she was training for her first half-marathon with coach Bob Gamez from Snail's Pace Running Shop in Brea, Calif.
"I was like, 'I wanna do that,’" Bodie said. "I've always wanted to run a marathon. I mean, I've watched the race for probably most of my life ... and so I was like 'I'm in. Let's do this.'"
And he did, running the 26.2-mile course at a steady pace throughout and finishing with an impressive time of 3:23:11. His overall ranking was 589 out of some 26,000 runners, and he did it all in gusting winds, heavy rain and cold temperatures.
The 35-year-old executive vice president of Olmos Productions began training for the marathon in November 2010. He said he had a five-day running schedule where he slowly worked his way from shorter to longer runs, and trained with different types of exercises. He said there were lots of philosophies on nutrition for marathoners but “it’s basically whatever works for you."
“You wanna figure out what your stomach can handle while running. So you’ll wanna eat something a little bit before you go out for a run, and if your stomach agrees with it, if you’re not puking on the side of the road, then you’re probably okay,” Bodie said. “You want to eat something probably with high carbs and a good amount of protein ... and you want to stay hydrated of course.”
No stranger to athletics, Bodie spent his youth and teen years participating in baseball, soccer, running and surfing, as well as triathlons. It was, however, during his time in gymnastics from the ages of 3 to 5 that he said he developed a love of the bond between athlete and coach.
The bond with his former triathlon/cross-country coach Dan Bonfigli led Bodie to run the L.A. Marathon in Bonfigli’s honor and to choose the American Cancer Society to benefit from his fund-raising efforts. Bonfigli died of liver cancer three years ago in January.
“This was a big, big race for me. It meant a lot and it was an ode to my old cross-country coach Dan Bonfigli, a positive for me in my life at a very young age,” Bodie said. “He was a wonderful, wonderful man who inspired me and we ran together basically throughout my childhood and did lots of triathlons. He was a great athlete. He was a wonderful tennis player and coach.”
When asked how he stayed focused during such a long run, Bodie said, “I do a lot of visualization work and prepare myself to go a certain distance and then my mind is ready for what I’m about to do. And, you know, you just appreciate what obviously is around you while you’re running, the sightseeing part of it, and other stuff that may come through your head.”
Still, Bodie credits Bonfigli as his biggest inspiration in going the distance with preparation and the marathon itself. “The driving force of this obviously was my coach. He was my guide through this whole race and training process.”
“I owe it all to him,” Bodie said of learning to be a disciplined athlete. “He helped guide my abilities in long-distance running.”
Sunday’s weather tested those abilities in ways Bodie said he had not faced during training but added, “Since you have the energy and excitement of the race, conditions like that, crazy as it might sound, they help you through."
“It [the rain] was quite cool,” he said. “It was almost refreshing. You’re running your body at such a high level that it cools you down and it’s actually welcome.” On the flip-side, Bodie admitted he did get a little cold a few times “but it wasn’t like ‘oh my God I can’t get through this.’”
Around Mile 21, Bodie said his entire foot was submerged in freezing cold water, “now my feet were running warm so it was like ‘ah, that helped,’ but it added about two pounds of weight to [my] feet.”
“It was an obstacle course of sorts,” he said of the weather, “but everyone did a great job.”
“I felt ... just so ... happy’s not even the word. I don’t even know if there’s a word to express that type of feeling.” He said he felt “a sense of accomplishment that I planned to do something. I trained properly for it and I felt prepared and then I completed the race at a pretty remarkable time for myself. And I felt strong."
“It was a really great moment for me, especially being away from the sport for so, so long. To come back and run in my own city and to run with friends and family that were running in the race. Having my parents there and other family there. It’s an overwhelming sense of completion, an overwhelming sense of joy.”
The final distance to reaching his goal was particularly emotional for Bodie.
“I was crying basically on the last couple hundred yards... I had to get myself together 'cause I wanted to finish the race and not be in sobbing tears.”
Then he reached the end and found out how much money had been donated in the final leg of his race at the behest of his father’s online cheerleading via Twitter.
“Oh man, I was ... I couldn’t take it,” Bodie said. “It was so overwhelming this whole day and the whole leading up to it and then to realize that ... it [the donations total] raised” by about $2,000 from 6 a.m. to around 11 a.m., pushing the total raised beyond $10,000. “I still can’t quite believe it,” he said. “I’m still very choked up about it.”
On the people who donated and offered support and encouragement on his marathon journey, Bodie said he really didn’t know how to thank them but offered, “I'd really just like to say to them that they were very much a part of something that was special to myself and to a lot of people. It was really an extraordinary experience for me and the American Cancer Society. It [their support] really was a strong force of what got me through the race in the fashion that I got through it. I was not tired. I was not in pain. I felt very, very supported and that was because of all the people who came out to support and donate their money in love for what I was doing."
“I’m just deeply, deeply touched,” Bodie said. “I'd really love to express my gratitude and my complete happiness for everyone in their participation in this with me. They were very much a part of this along every step of that way, through my training, through my early mornings, through my aches and pains, through my joys in crossing that finish line, and that they are helping so many people get help for this unfortunate disease...
“My love to you all.”
With the L.A. Marathon under his belt, Bodie said he is looking at others: “I’m contemplating a couple races that I’d like to maybe do. There’s one locally in Long Beach and another called the California International Marathon that I may do in December, and those would be both to qualify for the Boston Marathon,” he said, adding with a little laugh, “I’d like to give it a shot while I’m still young and vibrant.”