Spotlight on Rob Disotell


The March Spotlight is on Rob Disotell. He is one of our ultra dedicated San Diego Race Guards team members. Not only does Rob rarely miss the opportunity to help out at our local area races, he traveled to Austin, Texas in February to support our local Austin team. Rob is an accomplished marathon runner with the Boston Marathon on his list of accomplishments.

Rob and Dr Laura at the Austin Marathon in February

Rob and Dr Laura at the Austin Marathon in February

Q.  How did you first become interested in Race Guards?

A. I was running the trails out near Raptor Ridge in San Diego, and I took a turn and got a bit lost.  A runner came by and offered to show me the route if I wanted to follow him.  Turns out it was Andy Voggenthaler.  We exchanged the usual "what do you do" questions, and Andy told me about Race Guards.  Fortunately, it was at the bottom of a hill, so I asked him to explain further.  Very strategic.  I got to listen all the way up a pretty brutal hill and made Andy do all the talking!  He did it - impressive!

Q.  What is your favorite event that you have done so far?

A. I would say the Austin Marathon.  A great city and a fun trip.  I really got to know some fellow Race Guarders and learned a lot at the Expo.  Every member of Race Guards should make a point of working the expos.  The day of the race was 93% humidity, so we were really busy that day.

Q.  What is your most memorable experience as a Race Guards member?

A. It was at Austin.  Laura and I had run the half marathon, then we worked upstream on the marathon course.  We positioned ourselves at the base of a hill about 3/4 of a mile from the finish.  We spent a lot of time getting runners up the hill, which was not that hard on its own but looked like Mt. Everest at that point of the course.  We noticed a woman running towards us who was leaning so far to the right we thought she was going to fall over.  We stopped her and administered electrolytes and water and got her back to a coherent state.  She kept mumbling 3:40, and it became clear she was shooting for a BQ (Boston Qualifier time).  We slowly escorted her up the hill, and as the salt kicked in she became more upright, coherent, and walking with a purpose.  When we hit the crest of the hill she started to jog, then sprint the last two blocks.  We got her to the medical tent, then went back to the finish line just as the 3:40 pacer crossed.  We went back and told her, and she was crying and telling us we were her Guardian Angels.  Not a dry eye in the house!

Q.  What is your funniest Race Guards moment?

A. First, I should clarify that I am almost 63 years old and I am hard of hearing and have to wear hearing aids (too much rock ‘n’ roll). During races I don't wear them because they are uncomfortable and the sound of the wind is really annoying.  So, the funniest moment is really all those times my partners have to put up with me saying "what" or "huh" a million times during the race.  I'm sure after a while I will be like the last kid picked for the kickball team.  No one will want to run with me!

Q.  What is your favorite post race or training pig-out food? Is it garlic risotto?!

A. The garlic risotto was pretty awesome at Austin, but during the last few miles of a marathon I literally start hallucinating for a Smashburger, fries, and chocolate shake.  Also, the chocolate milk at the finish line, although it's usually gone by the time we get finished.

Q.  What is your fitness background and have you had any physical challenges or injuries along the way?

A. I have been very fortunate in avoiding injuries.  I have been blessed with good knees, hips, etc. and have been able to run a lot of miles pain free.  However, I spend extra time with dynamic warm-ups before each run, and I don't start getting comfortable until about 3 miles in.  I try to do cross training like P90X and boot camps, but I need to be more consistent.  I didn't start running until I was 48, but up until then I played a lot of competitive basketball in various adult leagues and tournaments.  I developed plantar fasciitis at 47 and had to lay off for about a year, and in order to get back in shape I started running (I couldn't do one mile at 5 mph on the treadmill!).  Before I knew it, I was hooked and gave up hoops before I experienced any serious injuries like all my basketball buddies.

Q. How would you sum up your philosophy of life in one sentence?

A. Uncomplicate your life and enjoy the simple pleasures it offers.  And, try to give more than you receive.

Q. How does being a Race Guards member tie into your philosophy of life?

A. Running is probably the most simple and joyful activity that I can imagine.  It's a great way to de-clutter your mind and experience pure euphoria. Race Guards keeps me motivated to stay in running shape, serve others, and continue to do what I love.

Q. Is there anything that you would like to add?

A. Life is all about timing, and crossing paths with Andy and finding Race Guards was perfect for me.  I was training for my first Boston (motto - you don't have to get faster, just older) and I had decided that after the race I would do less racing and approach my running differently.  Race Guards provides me with the motivation, camaraderie, and sense of purpose that I was seeking.  It's been a great experience for me.

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