12/31/08

Final run for 2008

"There is a great advantage in training under unfavorable conditions. It is better to train under bad conditions, for the difference is then a tremendous relief in a race." EMIL ZATOPEK

Got out of work early today due to going to work early and finishing some items still on my list of things to do for the school that I am working on. Although getting in early allowed me to finish up on some items that were missed from the newsletter that JM and I were working on last night and left early to meet up with ES at Union Square for a celebatory drink.But anyways, since I was in early, I got to finish up early and also get JM's comments as she had caught more errors...she never ends until the newsletter is actually POSTED!!!

So, we posted the newsletter and finally that was done...last one of the year!So got out of work and did a little shopping, got some booze for the night. Decided to go for a final run (about a 6 miler) where I would stop by EMS to use up a gift certificate that I had received during the Hartford marathon.

So got dressed and went out as the weather just dropped...it was frigid out and I was glad to get some new items that will help out my running: backpack, gloves,etc.Left after a while and decided to give HL a ring...finding out what she was up to...she never wrote back, so I decided to move on and quickly get ready for dinner with BS and JM.

I went down broadway towards the Staten Island Ferry, then around towards the East side and around towards the FDR...then back towards 14th street again. It was VERY slippery on the east side and well I also ran through STY town and finally back home...

It was the final run for the year...more to come for the final numbers for the year of 2008.

12/30/08

Newsletter complete…

"Running well is a matter of having the patience to persevere when we are tired and not expecting instant results." ROBERT DE CASTELLA

So a year has passed and 12 issues later as my reign of secretary has been complete. JM was a major help within my reign and she was the greatest supporting role I could ask for…not supporting role, but main role.

JM came to my office after her surprisingly 8 mile run (which I was even surprised about) and in good spirits of that great accomplishment. I mean after a certain amount of time that she had been out of it, she got in and back in action…with high goals and remarks. I was very surprised about her initiative and it’s good to hear…but yes, I passed along the last of the newsletters and after the final editing, we would be complete and done.

JM left, and I resumed work. She came back at 7pm to finish it off as we banged it out. We had a certain system to our madness and it took a while to get use to throughout the year to realize which was the best way to our madness. Secretary is no easy cookie to swallow, as I pass my reign to another fellow flyer. I wish them the best of luck and it will surely take me about a year to recover for the next board to elect me to do something for this club. It’s not the fact that I don’t love doing things for this club, just the burnt out factor that evolves with putting everything you got into the office.

We rushed to finish the end of our last articles and there are minor touch ups that need to be done, but everything seems to be in order. We left it for tomorrow as we can fight it for another day. We met up with ES, who was the past Secretary as we ranted off stories of what had happened this year and talked about many different issues, stories and how things were. It was pretty funny listening and observing the fruits of labor going into every single issue and every single aspect of expectations for a secretary.

My last newsletter…how free it feels to say that I am “done”.

12/29/08

Last Monday night for the year...

"Recognize your victories." JOAN BENOIT SAMUELSON

So tonight was the last Monday night run for the year…and what a year it has been. It has been an awkward year though, the 4 in which has started it all together were dwindling at times. James, Big J and Rocket man are those who made the Monday group run from when it all started 2 years ago. We tried to attend almost every single Monday group run and felt bad otherwise if we did not.

We had a family sort of feeling to our group runs, although in many ways as the group got larger we all chatted and talked to many others in the group to get to know them…it’s just really funny how other people gather, meet and greet everyone else and the group gets larger and more renown and just keeps growing.
2 years, going on 3…wow, has it been that long? That means pretty much that when I started to become a flyer, this group started. Anyways, enough nostalgia, and on with the run…


CD did not attend tonight, as he told Rocket man and I that he was unable to make it due to dinner with his fiancé, EB. EB is also a runner, which is amazing that EB beats CD because they just are an amazing running couple, a power running couple. So, CD is very much missed as I decided to step it up a notch anyways due to the marathon being a month away.


The night was brisk, although I was in shorts, which didn’t make much of a great setting due to the fact that it was DECEMBER or the end of DECEMBER and it was pretty warm, chilly, windy and brisk night. I decided to head out quickly so the group would be catching me, but quickly caught up to me at the stop lights as I was caught in the middle…and didn’t want to be like FROGGER and hop across the moving speeding traffic.
As the lights turned, I darted off, the group behind tried to catch me (I assume) but I tried to focus at the task…which was to be at a comfortable pace at about 75% of my race pace. It felt as though I was racing and I was putting a little more effort into it…so say 80-85% as I strolled along and onto the piers. I got through one and see the group as I swing out and back onto the longer one. As I focus ahead, the group passes me and I am left alone to do “my pier” I see this yellow shirt tall guy on my shoulder. He was zooming and I thought it was JS trying to keep up, but it wasn’t him. The yellow shirt guy just strolls on by and never looks back. Wow, I am never left in the dust on these runs and I do have a huge problem with that. Although he is much taller than I, I try to catch up. He is way too fast, but still keep my pace as I see the group straight ahead.
I see the next new pier coming up, and the yellow shirt guy just passes it on by. What? Your not going to do it Mr. Yellow Shirt guy? Please! Anyways, I take the challenge and it sets me back as the group and mr. yellow shirt leaves me. I exert more energy and try to catch the group. I see Mr. Yellow Shirt pass me as he goes back uptown and I stroll around Battery Park looking for my group. I see Rocket Man and LG chatting to one another, as I know they are talking about E-board stuff. I shout out, “do I have to be the arbitrator in this discussion?” they shoo me on, so I go on ahead to catch the front pack. I am going at a reasonable pace and at mile 3-4 I feel comfortable. It takes quite a longer time to feel comfortable and run with confidence and ease, during a marathon this takes about the first 6 miles or even the first 12 miles to feel at ease and the jog pace is a run pace.


But yes, I catch up with JS, Peanut Butter & Jelly and JS…as I pass JA along the way. I am trying to maintain top speed and conditioning to assimilate what I will be doing during my marathon and reach marathon pace. It’s a good feeling when you have a good workout and about a month away from my marathon, the group knows when I am serious when I do this kind of running antics.


I stroll around Battery park, then back around the Westside highway and back uptown. I run around the piers again and feel totally in control, but a bit tired as I try to balance myself on the curbs and run in a straight line. This is a good feeling and a good confidence builder. Although one exception, my IT band in my right knee is bothering me slightly. Some running awkwardness where at times I felt my stride was at a bobble, but everything went ok. I finished up with a sprint and made it back to 13th in less than an hour’s time.
It was a good fast paced run…


No sign of finish line for Haile Gebrselassie
By Simon Hart Last Updated: 8:17PM GMT 20 Dec 2008

Haile Gebrselassie, destroyer of athletics records in one half of his life and employer of more than 500 people in a burgeoning business empire in the other, is sitting behind his desk in downtown Addis Ababa shaking with laughter. On top of the world: Haile Gebrselassie is thinking about running the marathon at London 2012 - despite being aged 39.

He has been asked for the secret of a running career that has brought him 26 world records, including his latest milestone in becoming the first man to break the two hours, four minutes barrier for the marathon, and he is recalling an incident when he and his Ethiopian team-mates had an overnight stopover in London en route to America.

"We had to stay in the Sheraton next to Heathrow but when we arrived it was about 11 o'clock in the evening and the middle of the winter. It was impossible to train outside.

"I started to think about how I could train and then I noticed that my hotel corridor was very long. I put on my shoes and started to run up and down it, and then some of my friends joined me.
"By that time it was close to midnight and people started to come out of their rooms to look at us. Do you know what happened? They all thought it was an emergency and started following us. One old woman was shouting and running down the corridor in her pyjamas."

The memory brings forth a loud guffaw before Gebrselassie's eyes narrow and he gets to the moral of his story.
"The reason I'm telling you this is that I didn't want to miss a day's training. I always tell young athletes the same thing, 'Wherever you go, whatever you do, what must your top priority be? Running'.

"In my life I do a lot of things but I never forget my training. Athletics is in my blood. The top priority must always be training, training. This is a discipline. You have to do it."

It is a philosophy that defines the 5ft 5in African who, like Usain Bolt in Beijing, took athletics into a new age of boundless possibility by winning the Berlin Marathon in September in 2hrs 3min 59sec –27 seconds inside his own previous world record.

What is all more remarkable is that he achieved it at the age of 35 while juggling athletics with his competing life as the owner of a growing property development company with assets that include commercial buildings across Ethiopia, a cinema, a soon-to-be-opened 120-bedroom hotel (he's toying with the idea of naming it 'Haile Hotel' to make it easy to find on the internet) and plans to build a complex of upmarket apartments and villas.

Oh, and he has also just a signed an exclusive deal to import Hyundai vehicles into Ethiopia. He already sells Isuzu trucks.

How does he do it? That word discipline. His daily routine begins with a 5.30am run of anything up to 30km on the high-altitude trails above Addis Ababa followed by a full day's work at the office, then another training session before returning home at 8pm just in time, if he is lucky, to kiss his four young children goodnight.
It is a treadmill that never stops. His only concession to rest is that on Sundays he has one training session, not two.

"Sometimes my life looks as if it's too much," he admits. "You're training in the morning, going to your office and doing a lot of work. It looks too much, but I've no choice and I accept that. Running is always my top priority. I'm a runner first before anything else. Everything that I have now is because of running."
We are now sitting in the garden of his home in Addis, where the fruits of his labour are manifest in a three-storey mansion built four years ago in mock-Palladian style that would be the envy of many a Premiership footballer. On one side is the family swimming pool, on the other a panoramic view of the city.
Inside, there are two giant, floor-to-ceiling glass cabinets stuffed with hundreds of medals and trophies from a 16-year international career – so many that his wife, Alem, has had to devise a complex indexing system just to keep track of them.

The only ones missing are the Olympic 10,000 metres gold medals he won in Atlanta and Sydney. He gave them to his local church to display in its museum.

He is immensely wealthy by Ethiopian standards, a fact brought home by the humble shacks just a stroll from his house, but he has made it a point of principle to invest his money in his home country.

"Why am I investing all my money here? Because this is my home town," he says. "Of course I have the opportunity to invest my money in Europe or America or wherever, but why not here?"

Not everything he does is motivated by profit. He has built and runs two schools attended by around 2,000 pupils. One of them is in his birthplace of Assela, in southern Ethiopia, where his life of running began, pounding out the 10km from home to school and the 10km back again with a stack of books wedged under his arm.

His passion for education extends to sport and he is currently mentoring 14 young athletes from developing countries as part of a project called G4S 4teen organised by the G4S security company. One of them, 20-year-old Kenyan runner Pauline Korikwiang, was in town last week to learn from the master.

As for his own racing plans, he will be competing next month in the Dubai Marathon, a race he won last year and which could do wonders for his cash flow. A world record will earn a $1 million bonus and Gebrselassie has every intention of going after it.

While he puts his own physical limit at around two hours, three minutes, he is in no doubt that the ultimate barrier, a marathon in under two hours, will one day be breached.

"Believe me, in the future someone will run under two hours. This is not just about the strength of the athlete but the technology.

"When Abebe Bikila won in Rome in 1960, he won in two hours, 15 minutes and something, and that was a world record. After 48 years, Haile Gebrselassie runs more than 10 minutes faster, but what do you expect after 48 years? I believe that in just 20 years' time someone will run under two hours."

The one blot, or rather three blots, on his marathon record are his three defeats in London, including the 2007 race when he pulled out after 18 miles with breathing difficulties.

His doctor put it down to hay fever, which means London in pollen-heavy April is now off limits, though there is one race in the capital that is definitely in his sights.

"The marathon in 2012 will be in August, which will be perfect for me," he says.

He will be 39 by then, but you wouldn't put it past him adding another Olympic gold medal to the display in his church museum. Haile Gebrselassie has no intention of slowing down.

12/27/08

The Armory…

"The more I train, the more I realize I have more speed in me." LEROY BURRELL

So, on Friday I get this message (on Facebook of course) from one of the former High School track coaches, TF. TF was not the coach at the period of time when I was in school, although we have a former track alumnus who did very well in the long distance events. He was simply in charge of running the web information systems for the track meet that takes place in the Armory on the west side at 186th street.

So, on Friday I was about to go home for the weekend and just lounge around in Westchester for most of the holiday weekend, but since I have an opportunity to work, then I would take that aspect and work to just get a little more cash since these “Friday” off’s are taking quite a toll.

I wake up early on Saturday morning, setting my alarm at 6 but not truly getting up until 7am. I get up thinking about the task at hand. The Armory was at 186th Street and I had packed up my backpack the day before with a change of clothing to change, but was it possible to make it to the Armory in an hour and a half? Starting at 18th street, going up from the east side to the west side and then making it all the way up to the upper Westside in an hour and a half?

I start to freak out a little and every minute is a minute per mile lost. I really don’t think I will be able to make it, so I set out my ways and start to go. My usual run up to Central Park was usually not this stressful as I made it to 23, 34, 42nd…then up 5th Avenue and across 59th street to Columbus Circle. OK, this wasn’t too bad, I made it here in about 15 minutes or was that 30 minutes for 3 miles (but that was on a stop and go basis) So, I figured that since I am at 59th right now, I will be at 118th street for another 3 miles (20 blocks per mile) and then make it up to 168th street in about an hour and a half perfectly… right? I tried to keep my mind off of the time as I was a little freaked. In essence it was good, so the urgency was there and I was speeding up my training pace time. I have been pretty lax about my training pace as it has been at a mere 7:45 pace or even 8 minute pace. (yes, it is fast, although the average that I would like to accomplish this is a slow training pace…I don’t want to discourage anyone and don’t like putting pace times or race numbers in my blogs, because everyone has a different goal, time, place, age group, etc.)

Anyways, it was interesting trying to make the effort to make it up to the meet. I passed Lincoln Center, reassuring myself that the park was at my right and the streets were so much faster than going into the park due to the hills and terrain. Since it was Christmas weekend, the streets were dead and it was a Saturday morning, so not many people were out. In my mind, I wanted to make it up to 110th Street, where Columbia University was, then after that 125th Street, and then after that it was all in the bag.

What I didn’t know was that after you pass 125th street, it jumps from 125th to 129th street, where did the 4 streets go? Also, there are monster hills that are in that area, so inclines galore, where if you wanted to find a good Boston training run, do about 9 miles before and then hit these hills…it would be good for you to do and matches Heart break hills. But got to about 160th street and checked into a grocery store to look for some kind of sports drink, I had seen that they had Powerade, although no Gatorade? Ok…I bought two containers as I chugged one down while looking for the armory.

I finally found it and then went inside, looking around as there were tons of high schoolers around. I made my way up to the track and to the booth to look for TF. I changed out of my clothes and set my ways to start work. He had me imputing data of teams and times and it was good while it lasted…but typing up all these things for hours was brutal. It was harsh and cruel in some ways, but it was a job and it was fun, where you see the other sides of how things went when you were a high schooler at a meet. It was interesting. I got out when the meet ended and we put the final touches to the end points. Very interesting.

Ahh…long day, but we’ll see if I do this again…most likely this will not be the only time I do this…

12/26/08

Small run…

"If you set your aim too high and don't fulfill it, then your enthusiasm turns to bitterness. Try for a goal that's reasonable, and then gradually raise it." EMIL ZATOPEK

After the run yesterday, I wasn’t sure if it was the long list of runs that I have had in the freezing cold or was it just yesterday. But after I returned from the long 13 mile run, my left pinky feels funny. I feel as though I have had frost bite from it and it never recovered. I may have nerve damage in the pinky although I can feel somewhat of a sensation at times, at other times it’s a numbness feeling. I didn’t really feel anything so serious as of yet last night.
Today the numbness has decreased although there is still a spot that is sort of numb. I was suppose to go home and work on my quilt tonight, although change of plans happened when I found out that one of my high school buddies from track needed people to work for him at the armory tomorrow. I guess I will be doing that now…so stay tuned.
I ran up to AC’s place, where I had seen her in last weeks race and we chatted. I needed to pick up my shorts that she had during the Nike half marathon, where she was at the starting corals and she had taken my shorts since I had forgotten to take my second pair off…she gracefully obliged and she has had them ever since…so since I had seen her at last weeks race, we scheduled a time to pick them up…or rather she told me that it would be with her doorman.
I needed to pick them up asap, so I went out this morning to do a small run and ran up to 56th street and the west side. It was a place that I have never really been to on Sutton Street and it was a good experience. I tried to speed up my workout to just see my endurance and speed. Man am I totally off the mark. I tried to go as fast as I could for a long duration of time, 42nd street, 34th street, 23rd street…I didn’t fail much, although I faltered…failure is not the issue, it’s sustaining and in my mind it’s practice and conformability. I did faltered though, but its learning and getting to the point of being comfortable.
I know deep down that I may not be at the right place and time for readiness in breaking my goal, although we need to accomplish one thing at a time. That is to Boston Qualify first, and then move onto the next goal. I have not raced in such a long time as well (competitively) since my last marathon which was back in October…3 months ago.
We’ll see how we do!

12/25/08

Christmas Day run…

"The Truth is that Running Hurts. No one gets faster without meeting their personal pain barrier straight on." MANCIATA, http://www.10ktruth.com/

So deciding what route I should take today since it is Christmas and after all not many people are in the city during Christmas time. So I decide what everyone else in the city will decide to go to since all the stores are closed and it symbolizes Christmas to the finest…want to take a guess?
Rockefeller Center – where the infamous Christmas tree stands.
It looked like it was a gorgeous day from the inside although I really did not know how cold it was and from weather.com it indicated that it was 43 degrees, although it felt as thought it was 35 degrees. So I decided what every runner would decide and that would be to wear shorts in the dead middle of December. Ahh, we runners are crazy people and a strange breed.

So I headed up 2nd avenue and cut across 42nd street past Grand Central and onto 5th Avenue. I felt as though I was slalom skiing due to the people that were in the way, although it was not as packed, since the holiday was amongst us. I made it up to the Rock and there were a done of vending carts all around. They even knew that people were going to be around this area all day long today due to the amount of stores that were open and the only real things to see today for the tourists are out in the open. I went my ways towards the tree so I can take a picture with it, snapped a shot and was out of there. There were people, although it was not PACKED as it usually is.

I made my ways towards 8th avenue and was going to go towards the Westside highway, although questioned who was in the park today. I took a turn into the park and decided to extend my approximated 10 mile run to more mileage. I questioned me even making it to 10 miles because my original plan had about 6-8 miles 2nd ave to 42nd to rock to Westside, down to Canal street then back across up to 2nd again…but I needed to expend my base due to the lack of running that I did yesterday and base training has pretty much been very relaxed due to the winter wind chill in the previous few days.

So decided to take a loop around the park, there were a whole lot of people out due to the fine sunny weather and everyone was in good spirits. I rounded my way from the Westside of the park towards the east and I was sure to be bound to meet someone that I knew…right? I see JL on his bike, that’s one flyer as he spots me first. As I made it up towards Harlem Hill, I was sure to let DM and JJ know that if you wanted to train for Boston, I was guessing that you run 17 miles before and then head towards these hills and do repeats (about 4 of them) to get the same feeling. Maybe Harlem Hills was even tougher than the dreaded Heartbreak Hills, but as I rounded my way up and then down, I saw a familiar face (EF, who is usually with SD and I had thought he was running with SD, but then remembered that she had told me previously that she was going back to Wisconsin for the winter break.) so I don’t know who EF was running with…but I waved and wished him a Merry Christmas. I also saw FR running as well who was not far from him and zoomed up the hill to see who else I can run into. I wandered a while and then found my grove once again. At the Boathouse, I saw AH, another flyer who I have not seen in a while, then after that I ran some more and saw NYFLYGIRL, small world huh? Lots of flyers in the park…also one of my warren street friends, Chang, who has been a long time buddy since the Scotland run.

Anyways, so I exit the park, head down 8th ave passed 42, passed 34, passed 23, passed 14th, towards canal street…I figure that I need to do some mileage so I have almost completed my run. I head towards the grocery stores and check in and check out…but end up buying more than I really wanted to. I end up with 3 bags (as I put one in my backpack) and then have two more. It started getting chilly as I have been out for quite a long while, so then I started running with some bags in hand. Umm what was I doing?
I end up getting home and looking like a fool in shorts, on a cold winters day…wheew…

Merry Christmas!

12/24/08

Christmas Eve

"Nothing's better than the wind to your back, the sun in front of you, and your friends beside you." AARON DOUGLAS TRIMBLE

Nothing special about this day for me, although I do remember when I was little the joys and wonders of Christmas time and time of splendor the holidays bring. Now, all grown up, the holiday spirit doesn’t take me far, but it is more of a time for reflection than anything else.
Well, gosh I guess I was the only one in the holiday spirit at work because I got to work and put on my Santa hat. What is up with that…we got out early anyways and it was more of day to catch up or rather get ahead of work scheduled. But really no one was in the office, so I stayed in and did some drawings to catch up with work since I had been at meetings all week.
As we got out of work, I finally had also time to catch up on some NY Flyers stuff with finalizing some items with the newsletter. It was good to just get some stuff done and this way when JM comes back with all the corrections, I will have a better turnaround time and hopefully not many corrections for her to correct. Also adding in JM’s editor note which made me cry during work because it was pretty heartfelt and I never expected that (but for all you flyers out there, you will have to wait to read the newsletter which hopefully will come out on the first of next year.)
I made a quick book stop at Barnes and Nobles doing some research on Dyslexia and then filed on home. It was about to rain and the thought of running was on my mind, although I went on my couch and turned on the TV. Uh! My roommates were both out for the holidays, which left me no modivation at all to get up and out…the rain drops started and that were the deal breaker for me. No running in the rain.
I cooked dinner and then at 10:45ish I decided to get up and out to go to Midnight Mass. I usually do this for some reason just to hear what the sermon was talking about and what the reverend had to say and just being in churches allow me to gather my thoughts and a good place to reflect. I am not religious, although I believe and believe in my own moral that I set for myself.
As I walked to the church and sat by myself at the pew, the sermon went on as this:
The reverend was rather confused, but I get the point, he explained about how people are these days, what you see is what you get, but sometimes what you see is not really what you get. People in NYC perceive as though they are strong, carefree, nothing is bothering them and in the strongest sense, that we are strong people. Models walk around like they own the city, they have the best bodies and they are gorgeous. NYC is perceived to having an ego, a larger aspect to life that you are better than anyone else out there and you have no weakness.
The strong character façade foreshadows what is untrue or un-natural talents or weaknesses (which we all have)...and those tend to go on your good and bad days...where everyone has their weaknesses. For me, I may be great a running, but I am aweful in other aspects of reading, writing and grammar. I know that and in some ways it as I look at it in hindsight, I may even have grown up with Dyslexia. If you read my blog, you will know that I have an unusual way of writing and it’s the main stream of thoughts that run through my head. I find that writing soothes me though, as though I hated writing before when I was little and never even could think about writing a paper for book reports. I always felt that it was hard to get my thoughts across. But running has helped me write about something that I love so dearly and I have accepted my flaws. I cried during the reading of JM’s editor note because I know my flaws and weaknesses, I know that I would not have existed as Secretary for the NY Flyers without her help. In actuality, we should have shared the role as Secretary and I have appreciated her stature of helping me every step of the way with these newsletter pieces and editing them out with me. That is why I would be forever grateful and in her dept for the longest time. But in many ways, I appreciated the sentiment of her friendship with all of this, I do view some of the 3 greatest friends to run with as my crew. These people are the greatest thing that has happened to me in this Flyer organization and they have shown me the compassion, the future and every aspect of life that they have encountered.
Which brings me to the third or second thing that the sermon entailed: Embrace what you have, work on your weaknesses and know that you have friends that will support you…
Running to me is my strongest aspect in life, that is why I pursue it with a passion, I embrace my strong points of my NATURAL talent. I know that it is natural and I know that I was born with speed, but I embrace it. I know that I also have limits, I don’t think I will ever be able to reach a 2:45 marathon, but I am a natural born sprinter, not a long distance runner. I have yet to know the depths of running distance and am still a beginner.
I know my weaknesses and try to embrace that as well. I know deep down that you have to work on everything that you have in life. You are only born once, so you have to be confident in what you have. Live life without regrets, but be sympathetic with all the feelings that you have around you. No one is perfect in life, not even those supermodels. Everyone lives in insecurity in some aspect that you have in life and you need to live with your strengths, weaknesses and enjoy the simplicities of life.
As church wrapped up with silent night, I strolled around the city afterwards just walking the streets of NYC. It’s the only time of the year where you have a clear view of the city as you own it. Embrace it for what you have and it was so peaceful and quiet. My thoughts were to my grandfather last night as the holidays of Christmas is not what it use to be and my family not getting together was a harder deal for me…but as all years, Thanksgiving is my family time.

12/23/08

Visiting Big J

"Motivation is a skill. It can be learned and practiced." AMBY BURFOOT

OK, let’s just get this straight here, Big J is not called Big J because he’s big…well he is due to his massive size and strength that he can probably kick my butt, but I usually call him J. JM is called James for short and Davey boy is Rocket man. There is all these connotations to my 3 great running friends that I talk so often about. Anyways…
So since J got his surgery yesterday, we didn’t want to disturb his slumber and rest or (R&R) rest and relaxation – although I feel that R&R is Rock and Roll! So, after work I jet over to J’s place while meeting rocket man’s wife in the lobby. We ride the elevator together and catch up, and knock on the door of J’s apartment where CW opens up the door with a smiling face.
We see J and he seems in good spirits as Rocket man had beat me to the punch. We chat a while, see how he is doing and how the surgery went. He was in good spirits as he showed us the pictures of the telegraph and told us the whole story of the play by play action.
I then gave him a jade plant and the card. The card has a history though, I bought the card 2 weeks before where many of the Monday night group could sign the get well card for J. We brought it out on the two cold group runs as it traveled 6 miles, two trips = 12 miles. Then I headed up to a Thursday group run in the freezing cold rain, 4 miles up, getting two signatures of GW and BS then back down and dropping it off at Rocket man’s place. Another 3 miles with a total of 18 miles. Rocket man took over for me then as he brought it over discretely to the Holiday Party to get signatures ( I donno, but it could have been anyone to get signatures from, not just the Monday group run, but I think rocket man was looking only for the Monday night crew)
Rocket man did most of the work though and I give him the most credit…in all it was a good gesture from the Monday night crew. J thought it was great, he had a tear in his eye and it meant a whole lot to him. I knew that it would hit hard…since he misses running and knows that everyone is backing him up and is behind him 100% and waiting for his recovery to get his presence back.
It’ll be good to have Big J back…good times all over again…and the 4 will ride into the sunset together.
Ahh! It starts again...the infamous Boston Marathon e-mails. Although first before Boston I must be ready for Miami. Thinking about the Boston Marathon prematurely can be a mistake, although it's the brutal training during the winter times that really make the race difficult...
Welcome to the 113th Boston Marathon!
This is the first of a series of emails that you'll be receiving over the course of the coming months, featuring up-to-date information about race week and race day, as well as promotional offers from some of our sponsors.
Best of luck with your training and we look forward to seeing you in April.
Boston Athletic Association

12/22/08

Monday Group Run – Crazies #2

"There comes a time late in the afternoon when the light is just so and my circadian rhythms are at exactly a certain point, when the only solid thought in my mind is to run." ALISON TOWNSEND

Ok, freezing temperatures tend to ward off runners as this Monday night brought temperatures into the teens. Who showed up? Rocketman, JS, AE, JA…and I think that was it. Yes, we are crazy for running although it wasn’t as bad as the first year we had these Monday group runs and I could remember there was one night that was SO COLD. We ran towards the Westside highway as the wind started to pick up, we decided too on the bike path to rid us free from the icy paths and prevent everyone from falling.
We decided to all stick together, since I had already done my longer mileage from the week on the weekends and needed some time to rest. I could deal with a slower pace tonight since I have been busting my butt for marathon training. So it was good clean running and that’s all really running during the winter time is all about. It’s great to have such a group come out and run and have a good conversation. JS and I ran most of it together as we chatted just about Christmas and how she was doing.
We ended all together running up the Westside highway as we saw a crazy guy with shorts, wobbling around…then Rocket man tells me why on earth am I not in shorts as well? Haha, I tell him that I did my time in my skimmies for the Santa Speedo run in Boston.
Rocketman and I end the run gathering and talking, while others go stretch at the gym or on the subway. We talk about Big J and how he is doing, with his surgery going on today. He’s doing well though after a long day…the knee is well and the 4 will be four once again.

12/20/08

Ted Corbitt 15k

"In the 30 years I've been a runner I've run more than 150,000 miles. Still, some of the hardest steps I take are those first few getting out the door for daily runs." BILL RODGERS' Lifetime Running Plan

Uh! Freezing cold and a fun run?

Checked the NYRR website last night to check out the race course and know where the race had began...it has been so long since I have done a race and where sometimes I don't even know where it starts since I am always taking pictures.

So the website says due to weather related instances, the race may be called in as a "fun run"...Last fun run that I had done was due to extreme heat and that was a marathon: yes, the dreadful Chicago marathon that I had just written up after two years of the incident burning in my head...although I had not really been effected by the incident (not as bad as many others because I worked myself to the front of the pack and was not effected by the lack of water)

But back to the Ted Corbit 15k, which use to be called the hot chocolate 15k.

So I wake up early in the morning, feeling a little chilly and not knowing exactly what to wear. Did I even want to go to this race? I checked the website and it confirmed that it was a "fun run" but they were going to have the time clocks out. Ok, since they were going to have the time clocks out then I will sort of race it and see where I am at. After all I did run 20 miles yesterday and I am a bit sore, but it is a good way to see where you are at during race periods before and it's a good indication of what you will do during race day.

So I set out, rode the train up towards the Upper East Side, got to the race start and they were collecting the time chips!!!

WHAT!!!!????

I couldn't believe it!

The website said that it would be timed! Argg! Anyways, I look around to see if I knew any flyers out there that were doing the race...I knew that rocket man was doing it because Big J told me yesterday when I ran into him. I saw fellow flyer and bloggers KM and JD. JD was a friend of a friend and we kept in touch from marathoning and running, where he signed up to our team, the NYF.

I got out of my warm gear and looked around some more; saw another captain, tri-athlete, photographer and blogger, BC. He was taking pictures and he and I switch on and off where I usually take the bottom half and he takes the top half. We can probably take close to 300 pictures easily amongst a 15k on a warm day.But it was cold and he just stayed for the start and for the first loop...then went home. I wouldn't blame him!So, saw fellow captain, DM and JJ at the start, and then made my way toward the front. As I was stretching I saw fellow captain for the women's 20-29 OPEN team Runner26, why I call her this is unknown: Runner__ is her blog, so why not Runner26...anyways she said hello and kept on running right past me...I asked her where she was going and she told me that she was going to look for another fellow blogger PB&J, which she ran the Joe Kleinerman 10k with...where I saw them and snapped a picture. A few seconds later I got out of the corral and started looking for her, but I lost her! The race started and then I just filed in with the rest of the crew.WOW! Major congestion...I have never started any race so far back behind and just getting your barring to even start moving was tough. I was so glad that I have a preferred starting bib and straight off from the gun you pretty much are in full stride. With this, I am so surprised about how people can PR when they start out so slow...give you all much credit.

Anyways, I finally caught up to JJ and DM, where we chatted most of the time about how things were going and different personalities amongst the club, going to BOSTON! Yes these guys deserve much credit for getting into the Boston Marathon and they deserve the Congratulations on much hard effort and years in qualifying for the marathon. We chatted and I gave them some heads up on the course and some tips such as going up to Boston to see the course beforehand. It really helped me visualizing every aspect of where things were and going up there for your fist time is very difficult, because the hills (yes, the infamous heartbreak hills) are located at 17 to 21 on the course and knowing how to strategize toward this really helps. Anyways, Boston is actually quite an easy course; the energy, the day, the weather, the crowd and runners all around you, the support really helped me, but maybe it was beginners luck? Anyways, we chatted for a bit and about 3 miles into the race I was having fun! They were having fun as well and when we got to the bottom near Tavern on the Green, I decided to go my merry ways to look for Runner26.

I speed along and about a mile more near the carousel, I found her.
I did the old tap on the shoulder trick and she fell for it! We ran more together and I asked about PB&J...she told me a whole speal about how the weather was and how she knew he wouldn't come if the roads and conditions were bad.

We chatted, talked about many different things and we saw BC along the way as he snapped a photo of us together. We went on...caught up on lots of different things and had a great time. I am guessing I made her go quicker than she had expected...but we finished together.

After the race there was NO HOT CHOCOlATE!!!! What is up with that? Changing the hot chocolate run and making it to a fun run and no hot chocolate at the end??? Come on! That's poor form NYRR!!!

Anyways, afterwards, I met up with another fellow flyer, AC who I have not seen in the longest time. I mean I remember PB&J and I dong the Urbanathlon together with AC and getting her to join the Flyers. Anyways, we caught up and she told me that I could pick up my shorts which she had ever since the Nike half, where I had forgotten to take off my second pair of shorts and saw her at the starting corrals.

Anyways, it was a good day of a "fun run" and I went home and curled into my bed with a nice warm/hot cup of hot chocolate.

12/19/08

First Snow Fall

"If you train hard, you'll not only be hard, you'll be hard to beat." HERSCHEL WALKER

So this is my third Friday off, excluding thanksgiving weekend. It's been quite interesting where I have found that these times are rather relaxing rather than stressful. I mean the 4 day work week is stressful, where you are trying to fit 5 days of work into 4, especially when you have deadlines, which means early mornings, lunch that interferes with work and late nights...which was this week, where granted I went to the awards committee meeting on Monday night and Thursday night my office had a holiday party...so therefore I had not ran all week. Crazy huh? So not good for my training for Miami. One month to go and I have yet to hit a good week of 50+ miles...I have done my 19 miles though and well...today I set to go out and do a long loop that may equal out to being 20 miles...whatever, if it's 20 miles or 19 miles, it's all the same...close enough.

Anyways, running gives me peace and after coming back from TJ's grocery shopping...it was somewhat gearing ready to snow...

So I quickly got dressed and went out. It started...I tried to capture all the moments of the downfall at first and the festiveness of Christmas and holiday season that keeps New York City...a great city! My route? Apartment on 18th and 2nd sown towards 14th, down east towards the east side, on along the east side park down towards the Staten island ferry...back around on the Westside highway on the promenade and doing piers (of course!) And then stopping at the office to pick up this coupon (which will come later in the story)... (At this point the snow was coming down in big gulps) and when the win caught it and blew it in my mouth (choke!) Or hitting me in the head and face (ouch! Stinging sensations!) But yes, it was a very bitter run especially if you don't like pain...which I am starting to feel that I am masochist.

So by this point my fingers were numb and in much need for a break from the cold - which was perfect that I had to go up to my office to get the coupon. Shoot out of the office, now semi-warmed up which is not such a good idea, but I wasn't soaking from sweat though, that is bad when that happens because you can automatically get hypothermia from that.
So...went back on the west side and only see a very sparse amount of people everywhere. It's getting colder but the snow is still falling...make it up to 59th street, crossing over Lincoln square and then over to the park...
There I see a small snowman, which of course I photograph...then make it to central park which the plows were thundering flying by so quickly, but I see a few more crazies out there with me.
Make it on the west side of the park where I had many moments that I wanted to cross over (72nd, great lawn, reservoir) but thought I would just thought it out and run up to the 107th transverse...did that and willed myself to engineers gate where the wintery wonderland was beautiful...cold but beautiful!
People were making snowmen along the side and kids were having snowball fights. Ahh! This is the city!
I worked my way towards the NYRR headquarters and went in to ask them about this refund ticket or coupon where I wanted to sign up for next year’s race. But they had no clue about it at all…I asked the front lady, she told me to go upstairs, I went upstairs and then they told me that I couldn’t use it for next year’s race and it expired by the end of this year…which meant, I had to sign up for a race…which left me with two choices, this weekend’s 15K race or the midnight run. Huge predicament here, not going to lie at all. So I signed up for this weekend’s race, even though I said to myself that I was not going to be running in any December races…it’s too cold!

Anyways, I turned in my registration application and my refund ticket, the guy there saw that I had a very low number on my pace per average time. He asked me when my last race was…I shuddered thinking back when my last NYRR race was…it had been a while, that is why I couldn’t use my ticket! I told him that I couldn’t really remember and he went to the lady to verify that I could run this time. Unfortunately, the time was right and I knew that because every time you enter a race online it tells you your average time. I guess he really didn’t want me to be in the blue start.

So I left…wasn’t too happy at all and had a bunch of stuff in my hands as well (which I picked up a few items for some gifts for some people that I will be staying with during the Boston marathon…hint hint! SC and PP) anyways, they are small tokens of my appreciation for staying at their place during the Boston Marathon weekend. Anyways, I was crazy enough to run home with my stuff instead of taking the subway and calling it a night, since now I will be running extra mileage during the “race”.

By the time I got home, I was soaked, frozen and needed to de-thaw…it was a cold day, although memorable, but cold…and hit exactly close to 20 miles.

12/18/08

52 words...

"When the desire strikes, simply put on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, lace up your running shoes, and head down the road, up a trail, or through an open field." CLAIRE KOWALCHIK, The Complete Book of Running for Women

Ok ok…so all the rest of the bloggers are doing it, so why not me?
Runner Lounge’s Year in review in 52 words or less:

5 marathons AGAIN: Austin, Boston, Steamboat Springs, San Francisco & Hartford,
4 great friends to run with,
3 hours and not two. Boston Marathon first time EVER and a PR,
2 months off for tight calf and IT band
1 year: 324.35 race miles, with 9 NYRR & 18 out of town…

12/16/08

Hawaii anyone?

"There are few instincts more natural than the body in full motion as it races across a field or through the trees." NEAL BASCOMB, The Perfect Mile

Ahh!!! Deadlines this week has brought me to early morning wake ups and late nights working through my lunch hours and just non-stop work! It’s been a killer although I push ahead just thinking when this week will end and when my deadline for this project will subside. As we finally finalize our design for this exterior cladding for this mini-school, I try to keep my nerves from breaking and just produce. Understand and produce, no type of thinking involved and just keep persuading myself to do this because I do that in running. I don’t run a race and think about things. I run a race and keep my mind relaxed, just letting my body go and run the pace that it wants to. I don’t go by times, paces or push myself to the limits, I do, but not mentally. I am in control though of how fast my body runs, what pace it figures out to be and the very extremes of pushing myself. Many people have told me that life should come at ease, as with my running, I am learning about that and trying hard to figure this out. Running to me is the calm, peaceful relaxation that I don’t have to think to much about…it just comes.

One thing though about today was that my sister, who resided in San Diego, California for 6 months is moving back to Charleston, South Carolina…for the shortest while. I had just found out that she will be going to HAWAII due to her boyfriend, SF getting a job out there. So…meaning to the regular person that you can go out there on vacation and relax and enjoy yourself, but in running terminology for me…Yup, you got it folks, I’ll be happy to say that I’ll be making my ways to Hawaii this year to cross that one off my list of states in the marathon of course. May it be the Maui marathon in September or the Honolulu Marathon in December or Kona in the end of July…so many to choose from…I’ve already staked out the dates…trying to work it into my running schedule. Which means if I do the Honolulu one, I will have to sacrifice the trip to Las Vegas and LH’s annual Flyer event (which I was also planning on doing)…hmm…so much to choose from.

12/15/08

Awards nominations...

"Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running." SARAH CONDOR

Being a Flyer’s captain (men’s open 20-29 and below team) has brought many small responsibilities, compared to the large responsibility that I have with being on the executive board and being secretary of the NY Flyers. The work load is smaller as I have to write an e-mail to the team members each month reminding those about various event activities, point’s races and encouraging runners to get one another. But really, who reads these e-mails? Well, I try at least to write to the team and help the communication amongst my team members at the very least.

Anyways, enough about that, tonight I had to skip my weekly Monday night run to join up with all the rest of the captains including bloggers like runner26, nyflygirl, and bobcowin. We all met up on the upper east side at BC’s place (very nice place!) anyways, all the captains were there already as I was late, which I had informed nyflygirl that I would be due to some work issues. GW had said he knew what to get me for a Christmas gift and that was a watch…haha! Very funny…but yes, it was my first time at these “awards committee meetings” for the NY Flyers as they do this every year at the end of the year to commemorate people who did well (based on times, performances and head to head races) in each age group.

Wait, am I allowed to share this information? Anyways, we went down the list of each age group, which went fairly easy due to many of the captains doing their homework and going head to head on various people. My group: the open men’s division was fairly easy due to just 4 people doing 4 points races (as a requirement) and I was one of the contenders (same as last year). Although there is still the controversy of what rules:
CW and I had won this award last year as the difficult decision was made between distance running and short distance running. CW does not run marathons and his races are the short distance sprints (5K, 4 & 5 milers, 10K) and yet while I do these races, I am no where even close to compare against him. He far exceeds what I am even capable of doing at his speed…(his average time, I can’t possibly do for even a mile!) Then comes the longer distance (15K, Halves and Full marathons) which are not points races, although exceeding this distance I think CW can do (which he has told me that he may be training for: which he can kick my butt in anyways) although it’s the training, time and diligence that is involved with this aspect. How do you compare apples to oranges? This is the case with how you compare long distance to shorter distances.

There was one person that could have beaten us both, which was DF who is a natural talent in running and far exceeded both long and short distance running. He still is in my age group and If he fairs well next year with his medical schooling and injure free performances, he will definitely beat me for this award next year…by far! Although JE is also coming on strong, which rounds out the 4 men in my age group…that did all the races required (although DF did not finish his 4 points races…)

As CW is my training partner on Monday night group runs, we are very good friends and have a whole lot of similarities: we both run, architects, and belong to the same club…ha! Umm…yes, we chat during our Monday night group runs as he helps me get faster and faster along the piers to chase down the group as we are left behind. In essence, I rather have our friendship, teammate, comradery and good times rather than compete for an award for all the controversies in the world.

Anyways, I made it very simple this year that since we went head to head and I am captain for the team, and he is getting out of my age group, it would be one last time for him to win this award. He’ll have a much harder time next year with all the sub-master runners.

We ended the meeting with various conversations about other awards that will be found out at the awards dinner celebration at the end of January…our NY Flyer formal, as I like to say.

12/14/08

Somerville Jingle Bell Run

"This is what really matters: running. This is where I know where I am." STEVE JONES

Let me apologize for writing this over again, which I had written on my blackberry and probably sent it to the wrong place…arg!

So after the speedo run, AD and I were suppose to go home. Ok, my Alzheimer’s teammate, JK, he told me during the run that his friend had an extra bib for the Somerville Jingle Bell run which was the on Sunday. Since AD and TJL was doing it and I was suppose to take pictures along the course for them, I was just up to have a run with my Alzheimer’s group and the Santa Speedo thing was just a last minute jump in.

So…now that I was going to get a bib, this whole weekend revolved around running…absolutely crazy. So we went over to JK’s place to pick up the bib and shirt. Then we grabbed dinner along the way and went home, ate grub and washed up. We were so tired from the long day that we just pooped and watched a movie…then called it a night and went to bed.

We woke up the next morning, not as early as yesterday, so we got to sleep in. TJL called as she said she was not going to make it and PP had secured a number from AD’s friend. PP had already called us as she was on her way by T to the starting line. We left AD’s place, still chilly this morning, although nothing compared to yesterday. We walked and chatted to the start talking about life learned lessons and goofing around. We met up with PP as we saw some ridiculous costumes and very festive people.

We waited a while as the sun was shining on us, the wind was not blowing which was a plus and then the buildings blocked the sun, so then it got chilly. I offered my jacket to PP as she looked really cold, she had not brought her winter running gear since she was riding the T and didn’t want to carry anything along the run, so I had offered and it actually worked out pretty well since I didn’t have to carry my jacket during the race. I promised to AD and PP that I would take it easy and run with them. They did not believe me, but I stayed with them the whole entire time!

Hard to believe huh? Well, in my mind, racing was done in October and I have had a month to re-evaluate my habits and also I have had a long season. Give my body a break and rest, because next year’s races are soon to come early and hopefully end early, but probably not since the NY Marathon is in November and maybe eyeing on a distance race as well…

But the Jingle Bell run was great, stuck with PP and AD for the entire race as it was friends just running together. It was pretty congested though at the beginning and throughout the race as we were weaving back and forth going fast and slow, but at a moderate pace. I was just having fun, taking pictures of them running and enjoying my Sunday morning in Somerville. As we finished up, PP just darts ahead and zooms past everyone as she sets her sights on the finish line. I was impressed and did not expect that at all. We see AD’s roommate, KC at the finish line as we removed our chips and decided what else to do. It was chilly and we decided to either get breakfast or lunch, as we strolled around town we decided we were starving and lunch was in action. Burritos yet again!

We ate, then said our goodbye to PP and then strolled back to AD’s place, visited TJL in her fantastic new place…washed up, ready to head back to NYC. What a great weekend it had been.

12/13/08

Santa Speedo Run…

"It hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse." ANN TRASON

OK…so we make it down to the city of Boston and back down towards Boylston Street. We park near my friend, SC’s place so we can meet up with her later. I arrive at the bar only to find some college friends that are doing it. You see all these people in Speedo’s and swimwear and if you were wearing clothes, you were pretty much the minority. I registered upstairs, which they had a bunch of items for free: Santa hat, baggie and Santa bells…it was great! The lady at the desk asked me for my donations or other contributions for the race and I was like…umm nope. She asked me for a minimum $50 dollar donation and I told them that I had a $20 instead. I did not know! Opps! I felt bad, but they saw that I was from New York and they let me go, without a clothing bag….so I was screwed. I went to my college friends, KY, LN and KS, who were already drinking up and they showed me where they had put their items of clothing and the bar was PACKED. I had to elbow my way around to strip down and then just throw my items right on their bags. UH! So AD was still outside, since they had a huge line and the people that were doing the race got in first, so I had to give my hat to AD. It was FREEZING OUTSIDE and KY and LN went out to go to the bathroom as I told KS that I was going to be right back. I gave AD my hat and was going to get liquored up for this run…or at least have one beer…BUT THEN people started coming out! UH! I didn’t even have time to get warm as I was shivering already…we must have been out there for at least 10 minutes waiting for people to file out and I roamed around to find KY and LN… the gusts of wind were cold, so you tried to go around and warm up by jumping with the crowd, finding people to huddle around with and just stay…warm?

Ahh the public humiliation was the not the big deal, it was just getting it over, having fun and just trying not to get sick. It was freezing and putting my body through a ton of shock was not good…first a 12 mile run, then this…and it was somewhat funny! It was as I call…and experience, so I’ll just leave it to that.

We finally started and then ran through the streets as most people were drunk. I was sober though and it was COLD! People were jumping up and down, running, hooting and hollering..it was pure mayhem! We stopped for a few minutes at different points, where people did jumping jacks and push ups and just the craziness…I was running by myself and was looking for LN and KY…where were they?


I went from front to back and then just finally resorting to just stop on the side to see where they were…I had thought they maybe they didn’t do it. But it was not like them to do something like this…they were there as they rang up the rear and had all the attention…ahh these gals! It was pretty funny though, but in the end I was cold, couldn’t feel my fingers and tried to brave it out when LN was interviewed by a news anchor. KS finally saw that I was shivering, so she offered me her scarf…but then I tried to make it back into the bar…but there were so many people just wanting to get in…it was pretty stupid that they were not letting in the crazy people who were running the race at 24 degrees and were FREEZING now that they were just standing around and people in jackets were trying to get into the bars…duh people…let the stupid runners with no clothes on in first!

As I went into the bar, I just wanted to gather all my stuff, change and then get out quickly to regroup with AD…I wanted to catch up and just chat with KY, LN and KS, but I didn’t know where they were, I went to the main floor and the bottom floor…no where, so I left. It was a crazy experience and I guess I will definitely consider it again…

As we walked back we went to see SC, who was also a long time High school friend, whom I usually stay with during the Boston Marathon. Her roommate, PP, was also a runner and she finished her first New York City Marathon this fall…who is good friends with my best friend from college, DS who I went on a backpacking adventure for one month and would probably never have that experience ever again.

Anyways…in all we recouped with a nice chat at the BU café with a bagel and hot chocolate…it was a fun day…

Boston Weekend – Alzheimer's Group Run

"To exercise at or near capacity is the best way I know of reaching a true introspective state. If you do it right, it can open all kinds of inner doors." AL OERTER, won Olympic Gold in Discus four times

Woke up this morning at 7am to get ready with AD, who is a great sport in waking up with me to go to a group run that I had been planning on attending. It was cold in the morning and I didn’t know how I was going to make it out and dress appropriately. We made it to our destination, and all I am thinking is why did I promise so many people that I was going to make it out? UH! Why am I up this early? It was good though. I met up with LC, BG and JC...CH went to the pool and literally had her speedo on…as I had joked around while coming up on the bus talking over e-mails about a speedo run in Boston. I had my speedo on underneath my tights and I was ready to go. OK first thing is first, we were goin to be going 12 miles this morning and I wanted AD to be secure and knew that LC was running a short distance as well due to her injury. I kept with LC and AD as I wanted to be reassured that AD was ok and felt comfortable. I also wanted to catch up with LC, as I think she’s a very cool chick and we go back and forth with the whole Boston Red Sox and Yankee’s rivalry, we throw our punches in, but nothing is too brutal.

So we all meet up at the Alzheimer’s headquarters parking lot, we meet up with RL and take a picture and then we are off. We shoot up towards BC as we go backwards along the course of the Boston marathon. Gosh, it really felt good to be back on the course again and Ice had been forming on the roads. So stayed with AD and LC for quite a bit, then as I felt they were meshing, I went ahead to catch the boys. The guys really had a good handle on things as JC, EC, MA, and __ was out there. We talked about upcoming races, to goals to performances, we caught up and chatted. It felt good to be on this team….it was a small group and it is very important now that we can Boston Qualify to retain the numbers within this program. The Boston Chapter is a great group of people and I, along with many other people that are newly getting involved in NYC, will be attempting to gather a great team and pretty much combine the Boston and New York City marathons.

Anyways, after a good cold run, we made it back and our hands and bodies were frozen. We went to Panara bread company and got some good food and hot chocolate to reward our bodies. There we met up with CH and KK? Who were swimming in the pool…but chatted with us as we ate…by the time we were done, it was time for our next destination…the Santa Speedo Run…

12/12/08

arrival

"Top results are reached only through pain. But eventually you like this pain. You'll find the more difficulties you have along the way, the more you will enjoy your success." JUHA VAATAINEN

After arriving from the Bolt Bus late (I swear that I get the most random bus stories EVER!) I know how to pick them due to an hour delay from the amount of traffic that was in Jersey...i know! But we arrived at the rest stop with 2 other Bolt Buses that were later buses...

Strolled around Chinatown for a while and walked all around the area taking pictures and just wasting a little time...it was good to just stroll around. I met up with BZ and we had an amazing time, where I had not seen her in 5 years and she let me go up to her office and hang out a bit. We then went to a small cozy café and drank and ate dinner until AD came to pick me up and sat down to have a drink with us.

We made it back to AD’s place and bed time for an early wake up call for the Alzheimer’s run.

Another trip to Boston…

"You train best where you are the happiest." FRANK SHORTER

In slew of making it out to Boston many multiple times in May of last year, I had many different incidents with the various ways I have transported myself to and from, most of all the very bus incidents that I have endured.


Well the reason of going to Boston this time around? Well certainly to visit my friend, AD (whom many of you guys had met and I talk about frequently because she is very much part of my life in running) but, yes I had missed her party in Boston the weekend that my grandfather had passed away and this was to chill and enjoy.
Another reason was to visit my Alzheimer’s team in Boston. Every weekend they have a group run which I had adamantly heard about last year though all of their e-mails. The group was a great group to know and even though I was only there for a small amount of time with them and at the Boston Marathon, I have felt that I knew these people forever. We all shared something in common…that is two things: Running and the pursuit of finding a cure for the Alzheimer’s disease. I am again running for this organization in the Boston Marathon this year and hope to bring a team to the New York City marathon, as we had applied for an application…hopefully the third time is the charm. The connections you have and the people you become so closely tied as each of our families are stricken by this disease is one of the things I adamantly will never give up.

Another reason is just to get away…time to just relax and get away from all that is left in NYC. This has been my third week off on Friday, so I had decided to travel during the day. We got stuck in traffic, hope to meet up with a bunch of old high school and college friends and laugh, be carefree and enjoy what life has to offer.


A Moving 40th Birthday Gift Michael Chambers, left, received a morning run with the world-class Kenyan racer Richard Kiplagat for his 40th birthday on Thursday.

By JOHN BRANCH
Published: December 11, 2008

For an avid runner, perhaps a synthetic running shirt would be a welcome gift. Maybe a heart-rate monitor, or an iPod.
But for a truly one-of-a-kind gift, nothing could beat what Michael Chambers received for his 40th birthday on Thursday: a world-class runner from Kenya for a day.

“What a birthday present,” a stunned Chambers said as Richard Kiplagat, 27, entered his SoHo apartment, ready to run.

It was like a take-home fantasy camp, akin to hiring a Brazilian soccer star to kick the ball around in the backyard, or a Chinese table-tennis champion to play a few games in the basement.

Kiplagat was paid $400 to run with Chambers and have lunch with his family. A driver in a Lincoln Town Car picked him up at dawn at his home in New Milford, N.J., and returned him late in the afternoon.

“When it comes to running, I’m always ready to do it,” said Kiplagat, wearing New Balance clothes and shoes and an effervescent smile that seemingly comes without a dim switch.

He admitted to being surprised when his manager called last week, saying an odd request had been made through the New York Road Runners: someone wanted to hire a Kenyan runner. Kiplagat, a former 10-time All-American distance runner at Iona who is now one of the top road racers in the world, splits time between the United States and his home in Marakwet, Kenya. He did not hesitate to say yes.

“I said, ‘Wow, it’s unusual to do something like this,’ ” Kiplagat said. “Especially for a Kenyan.”
It is unusual for anyone, even a wealthy New Yorker. Chambers runs about 40 or 50 miles each week and has completed three marathons, including the New York City Marathon last month. He finished in 4 hours 8 minutes after reaching the 20-mile mark in three hours.

“The last six miles were just awful,” Chambers said.

About 8:30 a.m. Thursday, he was about to embark on his daily run when his wife, Tina, stopped him. She wanted to present a birthday gift from her and Michael’s parents, Ray and Patricia Chambers. They attended lunch with Kiplagat later in the day.

Ray Chambers is a former part-owner of the Nets, the Devils and the Yankees, and a long-time philanthropist. He now serves as a United Nations envoy for the fight against malaria.

Michael Chambers, an investor in various Web and media companies, and his wife have made a habit of inventive, if expensive, gift-giving. The two took a trip to Africa in 2000. A couple of years later, he had a wing of a school built in her name in Tanzania. Last year, he adopted an elephant in her name through a wildlife federation.

Chambers had become enamored with the strength of the Kenyan runners, and the stories of poverty and perseverance behind them. He recently read Toby Tanser’s book “More Fire: How to Run the Kenyan Way.”
Tina Chambers presented her husband a DVD of “Marathon Man,” the 1976 movie starring Dustin Hoffman; a compass; and an atlas marked to the page for Kenya. And there was a folder. The front page read: “Happy birthday, baby. Let’s go to Kenya and run with the Kenyans.”

The folder included information about a training center in Iten, Kenya, run by Lornah Kiplagat — a world-record holder in several distances, and Kiplagat’s older sister. A trip to the center in February is the main part of the birthday present.

But the family wanted to give Chambers something to experience on his actual birthday. A call was placed to the New York Road Runners about two weeks ago. The request was a first, and it was specific.

“No knock on Ethiopians, who have been amazing,” Tina Chambers said. “But to find Richard, it couldn’t get better.”

Sam Grotewold, manager of professional athletes for the Road Runners, made the connection with Kiplagat’s manager. Kiplagat was game. Not having a precedent for such a gift, they decided on the rather arbitrary figure of $400. The Chambers family said yes.
When the surprise was revealed, Kipligat and Chambers posed for pictures — Tina had hired a photographer — and stepped out into the cold drizzle on Greene Street. They walked up to Prince Street and jogged west. Side by side, talking mostly about the differences between life in the United States and life in Kenya, they ran north through Hudson River Park, turning back after a few miles.

They ran eight miles, at a sturdy 7-minute-per-mile pace. It was quick for Chambers, but Kiplagat usually trains by running 10 or more miles at a 5:45-per-mile pace.

“We’re back,” Chambers said as the two entered the apartment again. “I won.”

Chambers was drenched in rain and sweat. Kiplagat looked as if he had done little more than climb a flight of stairs.

“I was pushing him a little bit,” Kiplagat said. “I wanted to see how fast he was. I was listening to his breathing. He was not breathing as hard as I thought. He looked very strong.”

Chambers noted just how quietly Kiplagat moves. His breath and his footsteps never got heavy, he said.
“It’s literally like running next to a cheetah,” Chambers aid.

The conversation in the apartment turned to Kenya and Kiplagat’s childhood, which involved running five miles to and from school in bare feet. With Michael and Tina Chambers in another room preparing to go to lunch, Kiplagat ran his bare toes through a lush shag rug.

“Wow,” he said. “It’s the American dream.”

12/11/08

How to get sick…real fast!

"It's not about speed and gold medals. It's about refusing to be stopped." AMBY BURFOOT

Let’s see: down pouring rain + cold weather and stoppages along the way to certain people and places…yes, definitely a mixture to how to get sick real fast! The night before I get a IM message from one of my college friends, DS, who in reality is one of my two best friends from college. She got a message from one of her friends, who right now is friends with my high school friend and is rooming with her in Boston. Yes, that is SC, whom I stayed with during the Boston marathon and she is living with PP, Well PP told DS that there is a Santa Speedo run this weekend on Saturday in Boston.

BUT I needed a speedo + Santa Hat to get! So I was going to go during my lunch break, although work had tied me up. I decided to go straight after work and make I up to the Thursday night group run afterwards. So I went to Ricky’s and bought a Santa hat, went into Paragon Sports and bought a red speedo…and then up I went to the group run. Umm…a little information there, all this was in the down pouring ran…now many other people would stop, but for me, I guess I am the crazy and had something to prove…stupidity really! I really thought that it was just a mere drizzle like last Thursday night and I could make it out. Down pouring rain has not stopped me before, but add the ingredient of the cold weather and then you have a mixture bad news and trouble in the end.

I don’t think very hard and just do when I am set to go running, so I went up towards Central Park and made my rounds towards 89th street. I would stop to say hello to GW along the way and get him to sign off on something, chatted with him a bit and saw that BS had called me to tell me that he wouldn’t be at the group run. I went to his place afterwards and the constant in/out really killed me, where it was constant hot/cold weather and just the wetness…it was bad.

I was going to enter the park, but thought otherwise and headed on back to work. I probably did around 7 miles tonight in the rain and probably the stupidest thing I have ever done…the street corners were all puddle up, some were even as massive as ponds…step in one of those and you have got yourself one soaked shoe.

Anyways, got into work and stripped down and back into my dry clothes…what a trip!

12/10/08

No Yoga

"Every time I fail I assume I will be a stronger person for it." JOAN BENOIT SAMUELSON

Suppose to go to Yoga tonight, but yoga had to take the back seat and work in the office was the driver of all evils. Oh well...have to finish up what I am doing. 2 warm days and no running, but tomorrow I will be back in action right in time for the cold weather to be back in place. How weird huh? My sister asked me, gosh why don't you run on the warmer days...I told her that it didn't work within my schedule. She asked, what schedule...and then I told her that I don't run every day like she does...although she said to me that she does doubles, but only runs like 3 miles a day...

maybe I should start doing that...hmm....

Every Race Organizer's (and Runner's) Nightmare
On their pre-race course inspection, Race Organizers of the Luton Marathon found a car - upside down - blocking part of the course. Apparently, in the early morning, the vehicle had hit black ice and overturned. Police were brought in, but the combination of ice and location made it difficult to remove the car. The race was initially postponed, but as time dragged on, race organizers realized there would not be enough daylight left to complete a full race and the event was canceled.

12/8/08

The Crazies...

"A starting line is the best, most exciting place I can imagine." AMBY BURFOOT, The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life

Brrr…ok, why am I running if it is so darn cold out? My gosh, it’s like 20 degrees without the wind and with the wind it’s FREEZING! No one will be out tonight. Rocket man is in Atlanta probably warmer than here, JM has not ran in 3 weeks and is boggled by work, but she may show up…and JG, well he’s on the injured list, soon to be on the recovery to greatness or rehab…sooner the better. I just saw JG last night and he was in ok spirits and ready to Rock and Roll! (or in his words for another thing: R&R)

So, left work and ouch! It was cold. Yup, really didn’t warm up at all during the day, well it was night now, from this morning while walking to work. It was FREEZING and cheeks were definitely frozen, red and even frost bitten when I got to work this morning. I would have to say that tonight, even in tights, vest, long sleeved and short sleeved tech wear and gloves/hat…it was cold. Maybe I didn’t wear enough clothes, but soon enough I would warm up and get a little hot even.

I saw JA was the group leader today and it was just me and him…I thought it was just going to be me and him and no other crazies that will show up…then others showed up to my surprise. JT showed up in her winter gear and reflective gear at the same time. Ahh! Can wrap her up in a ball…JS, showed up without her usual running mate AE, but I ended up running with her. And LG showed…which JT had ran with and wanted to speak to anyways. But it was COLD! We waited a while to see if anyone else…NOPE and we were gone!

We ran along the west side highway, gusty winds swirled across. No piers for me today as I ran with JS and how she gets faster and faster each time. It was a good run, had some good laughs where she told me about her office Christmas party that she was having and Billy Jean King was showing up. Wait…wasn’t she the first African American women that played tennis and broke the barrier? Opps! Yeah, she’s white. My bad. I felt so stupid after I said that, but I knew at least that the US Open stadium was named after her…wheew! Ok ok, yes I say the darnest stupidest things!

We ended out run exactly one hour…as we saw JM waiting for us at the end. GOSH she must have been cold standing outside there waiting. JT and LG left as they were smart. JA finished up and we all went on our separate ways…because we were cold!

Yes, we are: THE CRAZIES!

although...not as crazy as this guy...and no, I'm not going to even try...

Marathoner attempts world record at Las Vegas event: Runner now at 103 marathons for 2008

Courtesy of Leanne Davis, Dublin Associates
By Cydney Cappello
Sun, Dec 7, 2008 (6:13 p.m.)

As of Sunday, 63-year-old Larry Macon will have run 103 marathons this year. That’s nearly 2,700 miles and the distance it would take to make a round trip from his home in San Antonio, Texas, to Las Vegas.
The Aiken Gump lawyer often runs more than one marathon in a weekend in his attempt to beat the world record for the most number of races in a calendar year. In order to be considered for a Guinness World Record, Macon had to run at least 100 races, with the Dallas White Rock Marathon on Dec. 14 marking his 105th and final race for 2008.

Not only has Macon run multiple races in a weekend, but multiple races in a day. Just this year, he ran the Darkside Marathon in Georgia and the Vermont City Marathon — both on May 25. While he’s been a serious runner for only the last seven years, he has made up for lost time by accumulating 506 races to his name.
Just after his Memphis race on Saturday, Macon spoke about his quest for a world record and his crazy marathon stories.

Q: Why are you going for the record?
I didn’t set out to go for the record. Two or three years ago, I ran 79 marathons each year and this last year I ran 93, and when I hit 93 someone said, “that’s pretty close to a record!” So, we checked around and contacted Guinness and they said the record was 99, so I thought, “What the heck! Let’s see how next year goes.” This year has been very lucky and once I got to the halfway point and I got 50, I thought, “Why not, why not go for it!” I run marathons because I want to and because its fun, so the record is sort of a surprise.

Q: Why start now?
My first marathon was at 49, I’m now 63 about to turn 64, and you’ll find if you ask most people who do a marathon just before a “0” year, either 30, 40, 50 or 60, they all just do it because all of sudden they have a fear of getting old or whatever. And so, I did it before my 50th birthday, just sort of a hallmark, and all of sudden, boom, I got addicted and I thought “this is not so hard.”

Q: What does your family think?
My wife, who is a lawyer, and whose real application is she’s a rancher on weekends. So we see each other during the week, but then on weekends she goes out to the ranch and she raises 600 miniature horses and so she has her hands full, full of horse manure. And I have zero-minus interest in that and so this just works out great. In fact on the rare occasion that I’m around on the weekend, she says, “isn’t there some place you could run?” We’ve been married for 40 years, so it seems to work, it’s a pretty good thing.

Q: What was your favorite race?
The Las Vegas Marathon is one of my favorites, the new one, the old one was horrible …
but this one is neat, you run through the Strip, you run through a little parking lot, a casino shopping center you run through, but my favorite, is the one I’m doing that day – wherever it is, whenever it is.

Q: I heard that you once took a conference call during the Boston Marathon, do you have any other weird marathon stories?
Forty-nine states in the country are silly enough not to close down for Patriot’s Day, which is when Boston has its marathon. And so, you know I’m supposed to be practicing law at this time and it's hard to tell your clients, “well, you know hey, I know we have some important business, but I have to go run a marathon.” So last year we had a big conference call scheduled and I took the call for an hour during the marathon. I don’t say that I spoke very much, I tried to keep my comments quiet. When I told them later, they said, “We didn’t know that!” Thank God, these phones have mute buttons on them.

Q: How do you prepare for a race? Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions?
Absolutely. I go through this elaborate work in the way I tie my shoes; I won’t do it unless I get my shoelaces tied this specific way, that’s just strange. They have to be tied in bunny ears. What happened was I had a really good run doing that and you never know, maybe that’s what caused it, but you never know so why tempt fate. That was six years ago.
Macon said that his obsession with tying his shoelaces a specific way has lead him to the endless hobby of finding discontinued New Balance sneakers. And with so many marathons, he’s gone through 10 pairs of shoes already this year, buying them six pair at a time. He uses them for a little more than a month, or about every 10 races.

Proudly wearing his bright yellow “Marathon Maniac” jacket, Macon finished the Las Vegas Marathon at 5:43:46 — and just a day after running a marathon in Memphis at 5:15:22.

12/5/08

Short run…

"Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance." BILL BARTON

Well no school today, as in no work on Fridays, since my company has given me a 20% pay cut. It hurts, really hurts because now I am trying to do anything really to stay alive…well, I have cut most of my luxuries out in place for my future big luxury of my trip in January to Miami. Sacrifice is everything. Anyways, since I don’t have to go to work early today, I got up at a normal hour, since I am so accustomed to waking up early now…Stayed in bed for a little while, but got up and thought about a morning run. The sun was out and I usually run during the nights, so daytime running only happens during the weekends. Why not?

I set out with my shorts, a long sleeved tech shirt and a tech t-shirt inside, had my leg wrap and gloves and of course a bandana. I was fearing that I was going to get cold, but really could not tell if it was that cold or not…I was going to bring my vest and thought, if I get hot, then I am going to have to carry it…but once out the door it was no coming back. I stepped outside and a cold gust blew…boy it was cold. The frigid air really did pick up and it was colder than last night.


I ran for a few blocks, wanted to go back and get my vest…but I am stubborn and wouldn’t go back. I would warm up. It took a while though and people were everywhere as I ran on the sidewalks. Man this is different than at night where you can zoom on the road and take the chance of getting hit by a car. Zig zag, zig zag…in and out of people and slowing down for lights…that’s the hard part about running during the day and in the city streets…the stoplights at every block.

Small route today where I only ran like 4 miles, starting at 18th up on 2nd avenue to 42nd street over across to Times Square and back down 6th avenue and back across on 14th Street, what a rush. It was cold, but I endured the weather and winter has finally arrived. Brrr…time for the winter gear again.


Work out time again:
58 Push
68 Sits