November 28, 2007

Logan's Run

Let's call him Logan.

I've known Logan for five years. Met him on a bike ride in 2002 and have since been cycling with him more times than I can count. We've challenged each other on the road, pushing, pulling, sprinting until the little blue veins in our foreheads nearly explode. We've been out to group dinners together, have met each other's girlfriends and even shared a few morning conversations over a nice, warm cup of coffee.

Here's the catch: I don't like Logan. Never have.

I have absolutely no reason for despising the man. I've enjoyed the time we've spent together. He's a nice enough fellow. Fairly harmless and pretty friendly, he always says hello with a smile. Sure he's got a bit of an ego and likes to be the star of the show, but as my buddy John once said as he ducked for cover, Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

The truth of the matter is that Logan is my triathlon nemesis. I'm not quite sure why, but these things don't always have a reason. All I know is that from the moment I met the guy I've been focused on beating him. My goal in sports is simple, whatever I do I need to do it better than Logan. When I see him cycling on the road, I can feel the adrenaline begin to course through my veins. I push forward to get in front. I churn with all my power to break him down; to make him admit that he can't keep up with my breakneck pace. Say Uncle! I scream inside with an intense competitive anger. SAY UNCLE! SAY IT! SAAAAYYY IITTTTT!!!!

But Logan is strong. He's not the type of person that gives up easily. From what I can gather, he doesn't seem to be the type of person that gives up at all. Present him with a challenge and he pushes forward. That's what has made him such a darn good athlete - and that's precisely why I despise him.

Logan is repeatedly a sub-11 hour Ironman racer. He finishes 70.3 races in 5 hours or less. He kicks my ass at every distance. If I drove the marathon course of an Ironman race - swim, bike, drive - he'd still beat me. That's how far ahead he is.

There is no chance in hell that I'll ever beat Logan in a race anytime in the near future. If he collapses and falls into a coma before finishing, he'd still have time to de-vegetable-ize himself, have a CAT scan, go through speech therapy, pay his medical bills and crawl on all fours across the finish line before I even come within sight of the darn thing. But this doesn't stop me, I still want to beat the guy. Just once, I want to win.

Every year I seem to get faster. My speeds improve and my race performance enhances. I'm still getting PRs and still feeling excited about it. I'll cross a finish line and immediately look down at the time on my watch. I scream with joy seeing that I beat my last year's time. I raise my head to the sky, point to the stars in my best Barry Bonds meets Tiger Woods impression, and scream my head off in a Howard Dean frenzy. I got you this time you fucker! I'll say in a cacophonous roar. THIS time, you're going down.

Later on I may glance through race results to see how Logan did - to make sure that my increased speed was just enough to leave him sucking my dust in a similar race. But alas, with each 10 seconds I improve, he's gone 1 minute faster.

I should probably admit that he's a better racer than I. But I won't. You might say I'm stubborn. Even hard-headed. I like to think of it as focused and determined. My glass is half-full, thank you very much. And if you can just step the hell out of my way, I'd like to take a drink from the darn thing. I'm feeling a bit parched.

It has now been years that I've been trying to beat Logan. With those years, my feelings have morphed into something short of insanity. I no longer want to just come in ahead of him, I want him to suffer. I want him to admit that I'm a better racer. That I am a better human being. I want him to quit.

Here's the catch of it all - the dude doesn't even know my name. He has no clue that I consider him my rival, no reason to even think that despising him is my fuel to move forward. I am nothing to Logan; a mere face on a bike ride so easily forgotten.

This is the funny thing about sports rivals, it's all so personal. Rivalry is often driven by no rational thought process other than a need to find a bad guy. After all, there would be no superheroes to save us without villains to conquer. We all need villains in our lives, if for nothing else than to make us feel like saints.

Logan is my villain. I'm the superhero.
Let's not forget that.

I'm determined to beat my villain this year. And if I don't get him this year, I will get him the next. I'll train harder and stronger and push myself faster. If he keeps moving away, I'll keep going. Because eventually he'll have to stop. Eventually it has got to end.

Maybe his knees will give out before mine, maybe his desire will wane. If I don't beat him in this decade or the next, I will still be there chasing. And perhaps one day down the road while we're piddling along in the 90-94 year old age group, I'll edge his sorry wrinkled ass out on the line at some remote race that nobody cares about. And if I have a heart attack and fall dead to the ground right there right then on the other side of that finish line, I'll die a happy man. Because even if it takes me another 40 years, eventually Logan's run will end. And then I'll know that the superheroes have won.

November 22, 2007

The Giving of Thanks (revisited)

My loving family. My health. My happiness. My luck and life. The beautiful area in which I live. My supportive friends. My friendly colleagues. My amazing girlfriend. The ability to run. To walk. To laugh and cry. To speak, hear, taste and see. The sadness of sunsets. The rebirth of sunrise. To touch and feel. Feel and think. Think and grow.

To learn. To love. And learn from love. The music that fills my life. So that I may run. Bike. Swim. Eat. Sleep. And dream such wonderful dreams.

The nieces. The nephews. The mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. My grandparents. And grandfather. And grandfather. My grandfather.

The serenity in silence. The joy of noise. The mountains and trees and oceans of beauty. The sun. The moon. And endless hopeful skies. The gifts I’ve given, and those received. The touching of a child’s hand on mine. The godson. And god-daughter. And God’s ceaseless giving.

My joy. My gratitude. My utter, complete happiness. The smiles and tears. The screams and silence. The yin and yang of me. My safety. Security. Solitude. Strength. I’m strong. I’m strong.

My intellect. And writing. And style. And flow. And on and on it goes.

Thank you.
Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

[this was edited, reworded and reprinted from a post nobody saw two years ago.]

November 20, 2007

46 Random Things About Me

I'm really not one to do these silly things, but my girlfriend sent this one over to me and I actually found it quite interesting to share with one another. The interesting part is really learning about other people, but it'd probably be really tough for me to have every one of you answer this, so how about I just take the egotistical tact. Here are 46 things about me that you never really needed to know. If you decide to answer these questions on your blog, drop me a line and let me know.


yes, my great grandfather Joe (I think) and, um, somebody else. I can't remember who. I recently asked my father and he couldn't remember either. I think it might be Aquaman.


I thought it was 4 or 5 years ago but have since learned that it was 1 or 2 years ago. Either way, I don't remember.


I like my handwriting when I really focus on making it neat. Other than that it's more chicken scratch than hand writing. I like my typing a lot better.


Salami, but don't tell anybody.


Not that I know of.


Absolutely. I'm looking for more me to be friends with.


What do you think?


I think so, unless the tooth fairy swiped them when I wasn't paying attention, the little whore.


No thanks. I will barely jump off the couch.


It used to be apple jacks. I'm going to go for Heritage Flakes right now.


Depends on the shoes and my mood.


Physically, hell no. Mentally, hell yes.


Herrell's cookies and cream.


The energy in their eyes


I'll take red for a hundred please, Alex.


The voices in my head.


Me, when I was young and innocent


Sho' nuff


Black sweat pants, no shoes


Lettuce with balsamic dressing


The sound of my wine fridge humming in the background


Purple. Or navy blue. Navy purple.


Fresh air. Morning after an evening rain. My girlfriend's neck.


My web designer




Baseball, billiards, basketball, bicycling… mostly b sports.


Blond-ish brownish


Blue, brown, grey. Depends on what I wear.




Pizza. Patty's pizza with barbecue chicken if you really want to know.




American Gangster, not really that happy, but you asked.




Summer (if autumn isn't an option)










"Words, Words, Words" by somebody or other.


Ain't got a mousepad, haven't you heard of laptops? Time to crawl out of the 90s, my friend.


I watched my girlfriend watching Dancing with the Stars


Music (the actual song depends on my mood).


Silly question. Beatles, of course..




I can annoy you in less than 5 seconds.


Philly, home of the cheesesteak. Which I guess explains a lot.

November 17, 2007

A Study In Marathoning

I ran my first marathon in 1997. 'twas the Chicago Marathon and it was a wonderful race. Probably still is. I was married back then and the goal was to help my then-wife qualify for the Boston Marathon. We had to beat a 3:40 to make that happen.

Back in 1997 I didn't know a lot about nutrition. And though I'm no expert now, I've since learned the basics for survival. For instance, I now realize that I have to eat healthy to stay healthy. In fact, I now realize that I have to eat, period. It wasn't uncommon many years ago for me to get so busy I'd actually forget to eat a meal. What'd you have for lunch today, the wife would ask later that evening. Um....uh...., I'd stutter as I delved into the meal-specific corner of my mind only to see an empty gap. Inevitably, of course, I'd wonder why I kept getting sick and never bothered to associate it with poor eating habits.

In terms of exercise, I ran a lot. These were back in the days of youth when my legs could handle the pounding. Back then running was running to me. Running wasn't eating and drinking. Calorie intake and exercise were mutually exclusive properties. I run and then I drink and nary the two were combined.

So back to the Chicago Marathon. We started off the race at a pretty good clip. By the half-marathon point, we were on course for a 3:20 marathon and were feeling pretty happy overall. Even if we walked a mile, the wife would still qualify for Boston. But we felt no need to walk, so things were looking good.

Around mile 17 she started having hamstring problems and that slowed us down a bit. But not to worry, we were still on pace for a 3:30. We could practically taste Boston. And though I don't quite remember the actual flavor, I can recall it had a sweetness to it.

Then we hit mile 22 and I hit the wall.

I didn't really feel anything building within me, it just happened suddenly, which I suppose explains the whole "wall" concept. I mean, it's not called "hitting the exit ramp."

One step all was nice and fine and then the next step I couldn't move, couldn't walk, couldn't speak. I had become a vegetable. I thought I was going to die. I stopped right in the middle of the street and stood there, hoping to dear God that my wife would turn around and see me before I collapsed onto the ground in my final pathetic goodbye.

help, I said quietly and meagerly. Not nearly loud enough for anybody to answer. Not even loud enough for anybody to hear. My knees were knocking, legs were feeling like a windblown castle of cards about to tumble. I was not enjoying myself.

That feeling, I realized later, had nothing to do with healthy.

The wife eventually did realize I wasn't by her side anymore. She looped back for me and somehow pulled me to mile 23, at which point I stopped at the aid station and drank about 10 glasses of water.

Eventually I was able to run again and eventually we got to the finish line (albeit at 3:41 - one measly minute slower than her qualifying time!). I don't know how we finished. I mean that literally, I have absolutely no recollection of anything after mile 22. It scares me. Kinda freaks me out that I did so much damage to my body, destroyed so much of my brain that I can't even remember the last 4 miles of my first marathon. It's like a drunken blackout, when a big chunk of your life is missing and will never come back no matter how hard you think about it. I don't like not remembering my life, it scares the hell out of me.

Fast forward 10 years and 3 weeks later and here I am running my second stand-alone marathon. I am proud to say that I've learned a think or two over the past decade. I know a bit more about nutrition and have a vague concept of how to keep myself healthy. Still, my only stand-alone marathon experience still looms in the scared section of my brain. As marathon day approached, I was subconsciously nervous. I had no clue what would happen to me this time at mile 22. All I know is that I didn't want to have the same experience I did back in Chicago.

In the past 10 years a company called Fuel Belt was launched, enabling people like me to run with a veritable buffet around their waist. With memories of Chicago haunting me, I needed liquids and nutrition within arms reach at all times, so I bought myself a new fuel belt right before the race. I tried to drink constantly throughout the course, knowing that liquid intake would ward off the demons of disaster.

When I passed the mile 22 point, I did a mental check. Am I coherent? I asked myself. Will I still be able to remember this moment?

All answers were positive, I felt pretty good from the waist up. Sure my legs were in pain, but I was mentally secure. Even when I got to mile 23 and my quads decided to revolt, I remembered. I was present and accounted for.

As I crossed the finish line of the New York Marathon, I hobbled over to the side of the course and mentally reviewed the last 10k. I wanted to be sure I could remember, that I would never forget. I wanted to be sure I didn't hit the wall and not realize it. Mile after mile I went through in my mind, trying to recall every single painful step of the way.

You may not understand this, but it was somewhat of a surreal experience to actually remember my entire race. It almost feels like I had just ran my very first marathon. It makes me happy, not so much that I finished, but that I can remember it all. I'm proud of myself and, perhaps, a little bit curious to try another.

November 13, 2007

New York Marathon: A Race Report - or - Make The Bad Man Stop

Five facts to remember for the following race report

1. I've been battling achilles tendinitis since August. It's been a very frustrating battle.
2. For the two months prior to the marathon, I only ran 31.7 miles on the road.
3. 95% of my marathon training was done on the elliptical.
4. Elliptical work does bupkis for strength training.
5. I have no quad strength anyway.

OK, now on to the details...

Last year, Catherine and I were lucky enough to win a couple of precious lottery slots to the New York Marathon. However, since we were still recovering from Ironman Lake Placid we were barely able to muddle through 4 miles without sounding like my gripe-heavy Jewish family, always trying to one-up each other on our physical maladies.

You tell me your hamstrings hurt? I might question Catherine within the first mile of our run. Oy gevalt, you don't know from hurt. With the pain I feel I could only be so lucky to have my hamstrings seize.

Needless to say, we deferred our slots until this year.

Catherine and I both grew up in the New York area. She spent the first 16 years of her life in Brooklyn while I was primarily a Connecticut boy. Our memories of youth are jam packed with the bustle and energy of the Big Apple. Though we both spent our entire adulthoods in California, we still consider ourselves east coasters. New York will always hold a special place in our hearts (which, for the record, can be easily located by going to the place in our hearts that loves pizza, and taking a quick right.)

Surprisingly, neither of us have run the NY Marathon before. My father has run the race five times and my mother ran it once. I've spent many a cold November afternoon of my youth standing on the sidewalks of First Avenue and clapping my mittened hands. In fact, if you dig up the December 1979 issue of Runners World, you can see a photo of me, 12 years old and freezing, standing on the sidelines of First Avenue as I wait anxiously for my father to zip on by. I still remember my super comfy, green, two-toned, wool-lined winter coat that I wore that day. I miss that coat. But I suppose that's a different walk down a separate memory lane.

To avoid delving any further into the cobwebbed memories of my captivating childhood, let's just agree that I've already set the tone about Catherine and I having a connection with New York and feeling excited to run the New York Marathon. We all on the same boat for that one? Great. Now we can move on.

I'm told that the beginning of the 2008 NY Marathon was different than other years. I hope that is right, because this year it sucked. And that, my friend, might be putting it nicely.

The logistics for the beginning of the New York Marathon was, without question, the worst pre-race experience I've ever had in my three decades of competing. Bar none. Whomever was in charge of pre-race logistics should be fired, stripped of their clothing, save for knee high multi-colored striped socks, and then forced to skip around Central Park naked, in the dead of winter, carrying a live ferret, for no other reason than to be humliated.

Here's the deal. Like many other events, there's a drop off zone at the beginning of this race. You shove all of your post-race needs into a plastic bag and hand it off at your pre-assigned UPS truck, who will than magically transport your belongings to the finish line so you're all comfy and cozy as you meander aimlessly through the streets of New York and proudly display your finishers medal for all to congratulate.

We got to the pre-race staging area about 60 minutes before race start, which in a normal race should be ample time to prepare ourselves. We had our plastic bags in hand and all we needed to do was drop them off at our specific UPS truck and head to the race start.

There were about 70 UPS trucks lined up for drop-off. All of the trucks were parked side-by-side in one corner of the staging area. That's where the problem began - the part where all the trucks were in one small corner.

There were over 39,000 people who started the New York Marathon this year. In order for said 39 thousand people to drop off their bags, they had to enter the roped-off area where the UPS trucks were waiting. In order to enter the roped off area, you had to get through a 10 foot wide entrance space. At first shrug, ten feet doesn't sound too bad for an entrance. I mean, it's wide enough to fit four, maybe even five people at a time. Unfortunately, it's not quite wide enough to fit 39,000 people. It's especially not wide enough to be an entrance AND an exit, which it was on race morning.

So here we were, less than 60 minutes before race start and it was chaos. Thousands of people were cramming, scrambling, pushing, shoving, yelling, rushing and elbowing their way through. It was like a riot. It was chaos. People were packed so tight there was no room to move. You didn't walk, you were pushed. There was no escape. People were scrambling for any relief. Anxiety and stress were building. At least one person fainted and had to be carried away while others were jumping on the tops of UPS trucks in the hopes of mere survival.

Catherine and I tried to hold hands so we didn't lose each other but with the pushing and shoving our arms got bent. We reached as far as we could, desperately clinging to one another. At one point, I honestly questioned whether I'd make it out of there alive. We got pushed and shoved and jammed and jostled and poked and pressed and nudged and thrust. I wasn't old enough to be at the Who concert in Cincinnati when those people got trampled to death, but I imagine it wasn't too much different than the beginning of the New York Marathon, but with better music.

For at least 15 minutes we were imprisoned in the clammering masses, hoping to dear God we'd get spit out the other side. And then, just like that, we did. Suddenly we could walk. We could breathe. We exhaled joyous sighs of relief as our bodies shook in shock from the post-traumatic anxiety.

We followed the crowd towards the starting line, flowing with the current of athletes. A few minutes later, as we continued walking forward, we heard an air horn go off. I looked at my watch. 10:10 am. The race had just started. Go figure.

For us non-elites, the starting gun doesn't really mean much. We remained at a standstill as we watched masses of runners stream across the Verrazano Bridge far in front of us. Slowly our line crept forward, inching step-by-step. We flowed on in the current of the crowed, walking around the corner, down the stairs, onto the roadway. Nearly six minutes later we made the U-turn to see the bridge rising majestically in front of us. In a few steps we reached the starting line and, with the crowd finally thinning out, we were able to start running.

Welcome to the beginning of the New York Marathon. It seemed the hard part was already over. Now all I had to do was run 26 miles and change.

To begin running the New York Marathon is an amazing experience. The first mile is a consistently steep climb up the Verrazano Bridge. It is a rare moment when you can truly experience the enormity of such a structure while being free from the limited confines of a plane or car. It made it all the more symbolically appropriate to start the marathon in this fashion. Like the experience of running across the bridge, the New York Marathon is an enormous, awe-inspiring endeavor. It is a mind-boggling task to shut down one of the most active cities in the world and guide 39,000 disparate soles through an intimate tour of the far-reaching corners of this town. These are the types of things that you think about when you start your first New York Marathon.

Another thing you may start thinking about on that first mile is how much your achilles is hurting. As I kept a steady pace up the hill, the exterior beauty of this amazing experience battled with the internal frustrations of my damn achilles pain. I forced myself to stay slow, to let my legs warm up. I prayed that the pain would not become debilitating. It was too soon to be limping.

On the other side of the Verrazano Bridge lies Brooklyn and a steady stream of cheering and clapping fans. Without question, the spectator support in Brooklyn is the best of the burroughs. Singing, screaming, cheering, laughing and yelling, the Brooklyn-ites sure know how to make 39,000 people feel special. As we made our way through the mob-packed streets, Catherine and I couldn't stop smiling. The miles began to roll by. 2, 3, 4. Suddenly I realized my achilles pain had subsided or, at the very least, was reduced to a mild twinge. Mild twinge I can deal with.

By mile 5 I realized that Catherine and I were on a pretty good clip, at least 1 minute per mile faster than I expected to run. I was ecstatic. At the same time, I knew from a run I had done two weeks previously that my quads would not be able to hold out for long, especially at this pace. By the end of that 10 mile jaunt, my quads were in so much pain that my legs nearly seized up. I realized it was not a matter of IF that would happen in New York, but a matter of WHEN.

Still, after 6 miles at this pace I was feeling pretty good. Catherine wanted to break 4 hours in this marathon and I was thinking that she had a really good chance of making it happen. As we crossed the 10k mat, I committed myself to her goal. If I could just keep her pace as long as possible and drive her forward, it will help her break that 4 hour barrier. I'd stay as strong as possible until my legs gave out, then I'd let her go and hobble my way to the finish line. At least that was the plan.

By mile 7, the quads started whispering quiet warnings to me, but it was nothing that demanded immediate attention. I stuck to her pace and stayed by her side. We wisped through the streets of Brooklyn and moved with the masses towards Queens.

About the time we hit Queens I looked over at Catherine and saw a grimace on her face. SHIT! she screamed. I could tell her legs were beginning to hurt. I know that look on her face all too well. She had been battling pain in her right leg for months. Though she was able to log in some serious training miles, most of it was done in discomfort. And that discomfort just reared it's butt ugly head again.

We slowed down the pace and struggled along for a few more miles, but by the time we got to mile 15 I could tell Catherine was reaching her limit. Tears were forming in her eyes, the anger and frustration steaming out of her pores.

My quads were growing more tired but they hadn't yet given out. I pushed a few steps ahead of Catherine to give her the space to sort out her pain. Mile 15 is a long, lonely uphill across the 59th Street Bridge. There are no spectators, no sunshine, no sky to look at, nothing but the pitter-patter of shuffling feet pounding like a metronome in your mind. And then, all of the sudden, everything changes.

The bridge ends at Mile 16 and you are dumped onto First Avenue. First Avenue is the epicenter of spectatorness at the New York Marathon. Continuing on for about 4 miles, the race opens up to it's widest berth, six lanes of open road for runners to spread out their arms and soak in the energy from the mass of spectators that lines the corridor, reaching 10 people deep in certain areas.

Emerging from the confines of the 59th Street Bridge, there is a sense of relief when you reach the openness of First Avenue. As we tried to soak in the experience, I tried to ignore the growing pain in my quads as Cat sunk deeper into her own personal agony . By mile 17 1/2 it was too much for her. We stopped by the side of the road as she tried to stretch out the pain. After a few minutes we moved back into the flow and pushed forward. It was slow and agonizing to watch her run, but run we did.

It didn't get better for Catherine and as we hit mile 19 1/2, just a few short blocks before the bridge to the Bronx, Catherine could go no further. Her right leg had seized, she couldn't run. She was done. End of story. Over. Finis. Kaput.

I walked with Catherine for a block to make sure she would be alright and then I bid farewell, gave her a kiss and started my jog again. Though the pain in my quads was steadily increasing, my breathing felt fine and my mind was clear and focused. I picked up the pace a little bit, back to our early race rate and tried to motivate my mind to push forward through the rest of the run.

Miles 20 and 21 breezed by and soon enough I was out of the Bronx and back into Manhattan. As I reached Mile 22, I could feel my legs take a turn for the worse. The pain increased dramatically. Knowing I still had 4 more miles to go and a fair bit of uphill, I slowed down a little.

The climb up Fifth Avenue to mile 23 is horrendous. Block after block you trudge along, knowing that you will eventually get into Central Park but with every step the carrot gets pushed further away. Your legs are tired and Fifth Avenue is an endlessly long steep uphill. It was dreadful.

After what seemed like hours, I reached 90th street and took a right turn into Central Park. Mile 23 marks the entrance to Central Park. Mile 23 also marks the moment when my legs finally gave out.

There is a water station on Mile 23, as there had been at just about every mile throughout the race. Having worn a fuel belt, I had very little need to stop at any point during the run. In the days leading up to the race I had told myself that I should walk the aid stations. That method got me through the Ironman marathon without issue, I didn't see any reason why it shouldn't work at the NY marathon. But, alas, I found myself running through every single aid station. There were a couple of short stops to refill the water bottles, but that's it.

So here I was at Mile 23 with my legs burning like waffle irons and I figured that there's no time like the present to enact my super special aid station walk-run strategy.

The moment I stopped at the Mile 23 aid station, I knew the strategy was for shit. Abort mission! I screamed in my mind. Abort mission! But my legs didn't feel like running again.

I grabbed a Gatorade and sipped on it as I lumbered painfully down the road. When I reached the end of the water station I knew it was time to run again. That's all part of the strategy. I've got to stick to my plan. Still, I knew it was going to hurt. I psyched myself up, reached for the lonely place deep inside and began to move forward into a slow jog.

I felt a million and one machetes slicing through my quads. I screamed in pain. I actually screamed. I inched forward in a dead man's shuffle. I could barely pull my legs off the ground. The impact of each step was like a hot poker searing through my body. But I kept going. Slowly and deliberately, I kept moving like a turtle with broken legs and red running shorts.

As I passed Mile 24 the road turned to a steeper downhill. Downhills hurt my quads even more. I slowed down the pace and tried to weave across the road to lessen the impact. I wanted to quit. I looked for a place where I could sneak off and slip into the grass. To lay down under a tree like Ferdinand the bull, maybe smell some flowers and take a very long nap. I had enough. But the gates and fencing didn't just keep the spectators from crowding the course, it caged me into this race. I was stuck, with no escape. I was a prisoner to my pain. So I kept jogging.

As I finally reached the end of Central Park and the last of the downhill, I glanced at my watch. That was a 12:20 mile. Ouch.

I passed the mile 25 banner and took a right turn on 59th street. The next mile was an uphill to Columbus Circle, then a right turn into the park and an uphill to the finish. Uphill I can do. Uphill isn't nearly as painful. Besides, I've only got one more mile to go and then the pain will be over.

Make the bad man stop.

Only 1 mile to go, I told myself again and again. I can do this, I know I can. I can make it. As I picked up the pace a little bit more pain seared through my bones. A twinge turned into a pange which turned into a stab. Only 1 mile to go, I kept saying to myself.

I tried to ignore the pain and picked up the pace even more. I can do this. I can make it.

I turned the corner into Central Park and passed the 26 mile mark. I could see the finish line in the distance. Spectators lined the course, 20 and 30 deep. I hurt. I hurt bad, but the adrenalin masked the pain. I began to scream shouts of joy, of disbelief. Did I really complete the New York Marathon? Did I really run this distance with such ridiculously crappy training?

Yes, I said to myself. I did. I sure as hell did.

The moment I ran over the finish line my legs stopped moving. Enough of this shit, they said. And I kinda agreed. Enough already.


The New York Marathon is a truly amazing race on a truly amazing day. Every year, on the first Sunday in November, the magic of the city gets amplified to incredible proportions.

The beginning and the end of the race were horrendous this year, a clusterfuck of organization. But I can only guess that the thousands of complaints will create a much more efficient solution in years to come. I look forward to seeing how it happens.

By the way, Catherine ended up walking the last 7 miles of the course in pure agony and crossed the finish line, though mostly because that was the only way she new how to get back home.

November 07, 2007

post-Marathon Gluttony

I deeply and sincerely apologize for the lack of communication. Already so many days past the New York City marathon. I have stories to tell (of course, don't I always). There are good parts, exciting parts, even bone tingling parts (definitely my bones were a-tingling, no guarantees that yours will) and there are sad parts, painful parts and frustrating parts. But I suppose that's what marathons are made of.

Catherine and I are still in New York. Once we stop eating, I will fill you in with the details.

Thanks for your patience. Back atcha soon, babe.

November 01, 2007

Relax A Little

Last Sunday I ran 11.3 miles. The Wednesday before that, I ran 8 miles. That's a good solid 19.3 mile week of running.

If you add that to all my runs over the past two months, that comes to.....let's see here..... hold the three, carry the eight..... ummm.....where's my abacus when I need it.....ok........errrr... That comes to a grand total of 31.7 miles that I've run in two months.

Let me repeat that for you people out there that are slow of reading. I've run 31.7 miles on the road since September 7th. It is now November 2nd. Two months.

Don't worry, you say. It's the off-season, you say. Relax a little, you say.

Shut up, I say. I've got the New York Marathon in 3 days.

Yes, it's true. I will be running more miles this Sunday than I have in total since the beginning of September. And here's the thing that baffles me: I'm not real worried about it. In fact, the thing that scares me the most is the fact that I'm not scared. I'm kind of at peace with the whole thing. Maybe even looking forward to it.

Trust me, I'm not the type of guy that can go out and run a marathon all willy-nilly. At least I didn't think I was. But it seems that I've overcome the mental barriers of the whole thing. I've got no expectations. It goes without saying that I'll be breaking no land-speed records. I'll have to walk through some aid stations, that's for sure. I'll have to pick a slow pace and stick with it, that's for sure too. But I'll finish the race, I'm pretty sure that's for sure.

In fact, I bought a disposable camera today. I've decided to document my journey through the streets of New York. I've never run the NY Marathon but I've heard it's a blast. If it's half as much fun as everybody tells me, I want to grab a few photos on the way. Maybe it'll even stop me from passing out.

OK, gotta finish packing.

See you on the other side.