2011 was an amazing year for Bodie Olmos athletically. It started with an emotional and inspirational journey in his first marathon (L.A. Marathon) and wrapped with another first, a 50k trail run.
The 36-year-old actor and executive vice president of Olmos Productions tackled 14 events over the course of the year, marking a decidedly enthusiastic and ambitious return to athletics after 25 years away from competitive sports.
For Bodie, the son of Edward James Olmos, the journey sprang from a conversation with a childhood friend whose goal of running a half-marathon kindled Bodie's desire to complete a life-long dream of running a marathon. "I was like, 'I wanna do that,’" he told OlmosPerfect.com back in March. "I've always wanted to run a marathon. I mean, I've watched the race (L.A. Marathon) for probably most of my life … and so I was like 'I'm in. Let's do this.'"
He did it, too, 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.
Bodie was overwhelmed by the emotional impact of just completing the race, which he dedicated to his late triathlon coach, Dan Bonfigli, but when he learned upon reaching the finish line that he'd raised more than $10,000 for the American Cancer Society, he was clearly stunned. “Oh man, I was … I couldn’t take it,” he said in March. “It was so overwhelming this whole day and the whole leading up to it and then to realize that…. I still can’t quite believe it."
Now here we are 10 months and 13 more events later, Bodie fresh off a 6th place age-group finish in the North Face Endurance Challenge and presenting perfect opportunity for a retrospective.
True to form, Bodie (Battlestar Galactica's "Hot Dog") graciously agreed to answer some questions for Olmos Perfect and I am delighted to report, but not surprised to find, that he remains the happy, thankful, and humble young man I spoke with earlier in the year.
In the 14 events you’ve competed in, how did your final results compare with your expectations going into each competition?
"I think overall, I am extremely happy with how I competed in each event. I learned so much from each one, and some of them were better than I expected. Actually, all were. I had no idea where I would fall, as far as competition goes, [since I was just] returning to the sport, but now that I have begun to compete again, I am so happy with the final results of each race."
Which event was the biggest challenge and why?
"All races pose their own great challenges. The biggest challenge for me was probably the Orangeman (half ironman). It was the longest distance triathlon I had competed in and had a tough break on the run. Whenever you are feeling good in a race and have a misfortune happen, it can be very defeating and challenging to keep your spirits up. You always have to expect things to go wrong or happen, but when they do, even when you are most prepared, they can be a real challenge to pull through them. You work so hard to get to a certain point and when something goes wrong, I feel it's only natural, to get down on yourself and have to pull through. Again, sometimes our failures are our biggest successes."
What events have you enjoyed the most and why?
"I really enjoyed my first marathon, the 2011 L.A. Marathon. It was such a special achievement for me. When you decide to run the marathon for the first time, there are so many unknowns and concerns. When I decided to run, I had a lot of personal attachments to the race. Since I was very young, I have watched the marathon and thought it was the pinnacle race. The true measure of a runner. I was also reintroducing myself to the sport after being away from it for so long that I was amazed to be doing it again. The race was a dedication to my great coach, Dan Bonfigli, who passed away from cancer and I wanted to do this for him. So all this, leading up to a first marathon, made it one of the most moving experiences of the year. You only get one first marathon experience and I must say it was the best and definitely the most enjoyable of the year."
What’s your favorite discipline: biking, running, swimming? Which do you feel you’re the best at?
"Out of the three, I would have to say running. It was what really introduced me to the sport and is the one to which I feel closest. Even though I have a deep connection to the water and love to be there, swimming has always been a challenge for me. The techniques used in swimming are very difficult to master and learn. The bike is a tricky one, too. for a couple of reasons. One, most people can ride a bike and off they go. Easy, right? No, there are a lot of fundamentals and techniques used in cycling that seem minute but there are so many different degrees of riding that can really advance your power, position, and endurance on the bike, that makes it very challenging to master. I am not a natural runner, though. It's something that I have and continue to work on. It's just that I feel out of the three, it's where I am most comfortable."
What’s your favorite distance?
"So far, I really enjoyed the half ironman distance. I really think its the perfect distance of endurance and speed. You have time to find your pace and then push it. We will see how my body reacts to the full ironman distance next year."
What prompted you to take on so many events in a year?
"I really think it was just an overall excitement to get back into the sport, but also working with my coach, Gerardo Barrios. We had gone over a plan and most of the races were all strategically placed for specific reasons. Each race had its purpose and led up to another event. I found this to be extremely helpful and a real-big confidence builder leading up to each race."
How do you avoid injury?
"I have found in the past year that injuries do happen and can sometimes be avoided. Most injuries, I find, are due to overuse, improper form or technique, and going too fast too soon. If you can eliminate these, you can have a successful season and stay injury-free. There are, of course, the accidents that also lead to injuries and those are tough ones, and the only remedy for those is rest and proper rehabilitation. Another way to avoid injury, is proper rest and nutrition. Allowing the body to rest and recover is a huge part of staying injury-free. Also, what we put in our bodies affects the muscles and tissues needed to sustain such demands on our bodies. So, with all of that considered, you can have a good shot at avoiding injuries."
How do you cope with the physical demands and challenges (pain and/or suffering) that happens during a race?
"This is a tricky one. Most physical demands and challenges occur when you have pushed yourself to a limit where the mind wants to quit. It's [a matter of] knowing when it is your mind or the actual body telling you that. You can really only find this out through experience and see how your own body reacts to different situations. I know for myself, I am constantly telling myself, 'You're almost there, don't give up' or 'You are well prepared, you can do this' or simply, 'Shut up, legs.' These are a couple of examples I find myself saying over and over again when you reach these points. It's common to experience high emotions such as crying, anger, and frustration; or aches such as side stitches, vomiting, and cramping. There are ways to deal with these and they all just take either a mental or physical push to pull through them. And again, nutrition helps to avoid some of the other aches, always discovering things that work and things that don't."
How do you stay motivated?
"The way I stay motivated is by surrounding myself with people that are going after the same thing. Training can get difficult and is hard a lot of the time. It can be lonely and mentally challenging. So finding friends that can help keep you motivated and inspired/focused is a huge part of staying in the game. I always say the hardest part of running is starting. After that, you just put one foot in front of the other."
What do you personally get out of competing?
"A sense of accomplishment within myself. I learned early on in my competition, that you are only competing against the clock. Of course there is a little bit of 'can I beat him or her,' but in actuality, it's how are you doing personally. Are you gaining from the training you are putting in? And its just fun. I like the competition side of it and its just who I am. I am competitive. I don't like to lose, even though I do. I still want to keep getting back out there and try my best."
You did some coaching and mentoring in 2011 as well, can you tell me what the role reversal is like for you and how has it helped you in your own competitions?
"Since I was young, I have always worked with coaches, from gymnastics to running to triathlons. I really enjoy that relationship and learning from a person who has dedicated their life to the sport. There is a great bond/connection when you have an athlete that is eager to learn and a coach who sees that. It's pure joy. It's helped me in my own competition. From the little coaching I have done, I've learned that you are, in a lot of ways, you're own coach and that really they (the coaches) are there as a guide. Now I can benefit even more from a coach as I learn more of how I coach myself. Always remain teachable and never stop learning."
Are there any races/events that you haven’t done but would like to do?
"Oh, there are too many to list."
What would be your ultimate achievement as an athlete?
"To be able to continue racing and enjoy the sport for as long as I can."
What’s on tap for you in 2012?
"There are a few races. It will be a little bit less than this past year but, definitely a great year ahead with a couple of 70.3 ironmans (Oceanside and Vineman), and my first full ironman, Ironman Mont Tremblant, just to list a few."
Other races Bodie plans this year:
- Desert Triathlon, International Distance (March 4)
- Solvang Century (March 10)
- Oceanside 70.3 (March 31)
- Mulholland Challenge (April 14)
- Wildflower Long Course (May 5)
- ITU World Triathlon San Diego (May 12)
- Heartbreak Hundred (May 19)
- Ojai DBL Metric (June 2)
- Ojai Half Marathon (June 3)
- LA Wheelman Grand Tour (June 23)
- Vineman 70.3 (July 15)
- Ironman Mont Tremblant (August 19)
Click on images to enlarge
During most of Bodie's competitions in 2011, he sported the team colors of Fortius Racing/Coaching. Below, Bodie is pictured with his fellow Fortius competitors: