Monday, July 2, 2007
Women are crazy.
ps: I figured an incendiary statement like that would get some of you to comment.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
On Sunday, June 3rd, 2007 at approximately 10:40 A.M. PST in the city of San Diego yours truly officially became a marathoner with a finishing time of 4:09:05 (didn't start until 2:07 into race). This means I beat both Diddy and Oprah's marathon times which is really what it's all about!
To all of you who have pushed me from my "I'm running a marathon" email 3 months ago to those who dealt with my last minute freak out sessions 5 days ago, I can only say thank you. I felt like I was running out there with all of you. It may sound cheesy, but I found strength in knowing I had so many people back home cheering me on.
I will write more about the specifics of marathon day soon, but for now I just wanted to let you know that I did survive and actually finished in a pretty decent time for a novice who had never run more than 2 miles a few months ago - the human body and mind continues to surprise me!
I was cruising until mile 20 and on pace to run a 3:57:00, but it was not to be. I hit "the wall" and felt destroyed, physically, mentally and emotionally. In the last hour that I struggled to finish the remaining 6.2 miles I experienced every single human emotion. I lived an entire life in sixty minutes. Luckily, I survived and even have a shiny medal to prove it.
Emil Zatopek was a famous runner who said "If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon." Damn you Zatopek, but you were right. It has changed my life.
Miles ran: 26.2
Finished: 3,605 of ~20,000
First Marathons: Only One
Emotions experienced: way too f' many
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Whatup homies? It's been a couple of weeks, so here goes. I am officially in the freakin' state of California. I'll be in LA until Friday afternoon, then off to San Diego where I do that whole marathon thing. Now is the time to send the good thoughts, encouraging emails, awesome text messages, funny notes, etc etc. Although I feel confident and ready to do this, I must admit I am somewhat nervous. It's been ten days since my longest run ever of over 20 miles in the trails of southern Jersey. I ran 6 on Sunday in the gross heat in Central Park and now it's just "chillin time." Very little running, lots of resting. Lots of pasta and carbs, little to no booze, sleep and water, lots of it. I will try to hit up Santa Monica tomorrow and hopefully work on my tan. One thing I definitely need to work off is the In N Out I had for dinner! My god, that place is amazing! First time too.
So kids, to reiterate, I'm in Cali and I'm feeling good. By about 10:30 Sunday morning PST, yours truly will be able to call himself a "marathoner." I like the sound of that - you?
ps: My proof's above - I visited UCLA today. What a beautiful campus, almost bucolic. I'm guessing...lots'o rich kids. Like Cali's NYU perhaps?
pps: The problems with the environment I now officially claim begin and end here. You don't even want to know how many single person occupancy cars I saw today. That's not American, just simply pathetic. Freakin' car pool, people!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Because of your support, I was able to raise over $1,000 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and am happy to report that I will be surpassing my goal very soon. This is not to say that contributions aren't still welcome; of course they are, even up to a week or so after the marathon.
Speaking of which, the marathon is just about two weeks away. I'm getting a little nervous which is expected, but I feel confident. I had had this ridiculous idea of breaking four hours, but this being my first ever marathon and having issues with my right foot, I will be happy to just finish. Obviously, if I'm feeling good on race day, I'll toy with the idea of a goal time.
Saturday at 7am (God!), I'm off to boondocks Jersey to some state park for what will be my last long run before the big one in San Diego. I'm aiming for 20 miles. If that sounds terrible, it's because it kind of is. Only nice part is that it'll be on grass which is kind on the knees. Oh yeah, and we have a picnic following. I plan on retiring to my apartment that afternoon where I will cry and shudder whilst popping Aleve like pez - my only comfort will be watching my Mets take care of those Bronx guys - it's on!
I'm off to Cali on the 29th spending three days in la la land because that's how I role and then training it down to San Diego. 2 days of chilling and worrying in SD and then on Sunday, June 3rd I do what 3 months ago I never thought possible. I run a marathon and you'll all be there with me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
ps: Anyone know anything about Saint Diego? He must have done something pretty awesome to get a gorgeous city named after him. In Argentina, San Diego would be none other than Diego Maradona, el 10.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
This Thursday night, May 10th will be my Happy Hour Extravaganza at Double Happiness in downtown Manhattan, located at 173 Mott Street just south of Grand. Closest subways are the J,M,Z to Bowery or B,D to Grand. There's others, but those are close. Just Google Map it already!
The deal is as follows: Starting at 7pm, $20 bones at the door gets you at least 2 hours of free drinking. Could be longer depending on supply, but we have a lot so we should be good for longer - I just don't want to overpromise. I say free drinking bc the $20 goes straight to my charity, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The free drinking includes Svedka vodka, Sky 90 vodka, Cuervo 1800 (good) Tequila, and wine. There is no word yet on beer, but I'm working on it. Regardless, you can't complain. Why? Because, first, it's for charity and second, what the hell does $20 in NYC get you anymore - maybe 2 drinks. It's very fitting to do this at a bar named Double Happiness, you'll get drunk and happy and you'll make people dealing with cancer happy.
I'm running a freakin marathon for the love of God! The least you can do is come get wasted with me to show your "support"/love of cheap booze. If I don't see you on Thursday night, it's over...like for serious.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it's been a long time and I am truly sorry for that. To my 3 dedicated readers (1 in prison), your prayers have been answered for now is the time to get out your comfy chairs, big cups of coffee, reading glasses and yes, read away.
Since I can't even remember specifics about runs/training, I'll give you a quick mileage breakdown of the last few weeks.
4/3: 2 miles ran (treadmill)
4/4: 4 miles ran (hill training in Central Park)
4/7: 12.8 miles ran ( 2+ full loops in Central Park)
4/10: 2 miles ran(treadmill)
4/11: 4.5 miles ran (hill training again)
4/14: 13.1 miles ran (Brooklyn Half-Marathon, yeah baby!)
4/18: 6 miles ran (f' hill training yet again in CP - I hate you, Cat Hill)
The Hill Training has definitely been the least fun, but probably the most beneficial. If you don't know Central Park well, Cat Hill is on the east side right around the mid 70s. It's a long incline with this one real bitch of a climb followed by more little hills. A few weeks back we did this training in the rain when it was 30 degrees out - that was by far my least favorite training ever. It was so bad that about 75% of the team stayed home - slackers!
Ok, on to marathoning biz. So, yes, technically it's not a full marathon, but hey, it still has the word marathon in it - I completed my first Half-Marathon in Brooklyn last Saturday. 13.1 miles of "why am I doing this?" followed by hours of feeling very satisfied along with a sense of accomplishment.
The day started off quite rough - my f' alarm clock going off at 4:45. Yes, you read that right, as in the time I used to get home on a Friday night. Struggled with that for a bit, had some crap breakfast, put on all my sexy gear (see nut hugger pants), put on more Body Glide that probably allowed by law and off it was (still pitch black by the way) to the Road Runners Head Quarters on E. 89th. They had buses set up to take runners all the way to Coney Island, the starting point. Even though I was 3/4 asleep at 5:45, I still could not fail to notice that these buses were of the cheese variety. Yup, public school, kidney buster buses. Oh well, take a nap and forget about it I thought; that was until our driver got lost. How do you get lost when it's your job to get people to a certain place? Me, snotty know-it-all New Yorker had to give this guy directions on how to get to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. There must have been a reason I sat up front I thought. After that snafu, we were on our way - arrival time 7am, 1 hour before start time.
I made a very wise decision at this point to get rid of any excessive fluids (yes, pee) in one of the many gorgeous porta potties. Luckily, I did this at 7 and not 7:30 when the lines were about 30 deep. I met up with the team, bitched about how it was cold and I was tired and after Roxie decided to award me the "whiny" award, it was time to really get ready. To the starting gate.
To say there were a lot of people there is an understatement. I have never run before with that many people. If you have claustrophobia, avoid starting lines. And all of these people, smiling at 8 in the morning, with an ocean breeze cooling your you know whats off right before they were about to put their bodies through an abnormally long run - what the hell is wrong with runners? Are they drinking the Kool Aid - they all must be in some secret cult-like society I have not been made privy to...yet. I digress, 3...2...1... go and we're off, but not really because the real runners are ahead of you and it's gonna be a while before you even get past the staring line (3 minutes to be exact). I lined up with the 9 minute milers as I thought it'd be more fun to pass than to get passed - this def worked, especially once we had some room to breathe. It was 8:03 and I had just started my very first Half Marathon. There would be another hour and fifty-five minutes to come.
To be continued...
Friday, April 13, 2007
Just got "The Internet" at my new place. Please forgive the lack of posts (to the 3 of you who read this).
Listen kiddies, I have my first half Marathon tomorrow in Brooklyn - that's right 13.1 miles of sheer fughetaboutit. After I finish it (going for sub 2 hrs) I will be dedicating a few hours to blogging (ya think funny takes only a few minutes?). Check back tomorrow night to see if I did, in fact, not die on mile 12...and keep the good vibes and donations coming.
ps: Leave some comments, goddamnit! Let me know you exist, even if you want to be anonymous. I have a frail ego - I need the vailidation.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
There are a few things in life that by themselves are great, but when mixed with another element, can only lead to trouble. Saturday night/Sunday morning proved this to me in a most unfun way. Saturday night, to celebrate my 10 mile run I went to see one of my favorite newish bands, Bloc Party. I was lucky to get a last minute ticket from my friend, Amy - thanks kid. Bloc Party was really great - lots of energy and made the people who took the hike up to Washington Heights feel like it was well worth it. Albert Hammond, Jr. of Strokes fame, was a surprisingly decent opener as well. During and after the show a few beers were had and then decision time came. To continue or to call it a night. At 11:30 on the night before a 9:30 race, the latter would have been the more prudent decision, but I ain't no prude...to the bar hommies. It was my friend, Kajan's birthday and she was awash in beer and karaoke at Keat's in midtown. Kajan was quite excited to see me - people are surprised when I come out now bc of this whole marathon thing - hello, I'm still fun! This was midnight. Before I knew it, I had run into an old acquaintance of mine and established rapport with the bar staff. Big shoutouts to Dan for keeping the Guiness flowing and to Dawn for being, well, hot and Irish (not in any particular order). After a few more drinks and a drunken rendition of "To All The Girls I've Loved Before" ala Julio Iglesias it was finally time to catch a cab. Arrival time at new home: 4 AM.
Five hours later, the sound of my awful alarm clock shocked me into a frenzied "oh shit" state. I was sure I had overslept and missed the Scotland Run race in Central Park. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty happy, thinking "oh well, at least I can sleep through this headache," but it was not to be because I then noticed that it was in fact only 9, which still gave me time to haul ass over to the Park. One month ago, I would have said "f it" and gone back to bed, but something's changed in me and I stumbled to my feet, brushed my teeth almost threw up not once, but twice, and made it to the starting line as the fast runners were starting. This was a 10K, or 6.2 miles and I was suppose to pace myself. In theory, my time should have been slower than the 4 mile race I did a few weeks back. I felt so sick from the beginning that I did the opposite. I noticed that my first mile was just over 7 minutes which for me is ridiculous, so I had to slow down. The next 2 miles were a little more normal at around 9 minutes. Mile 4 is where it became mental. I had my water and literally (and this is gross) burped the taste of Guiness. I thought about walking a mile, but I saw this 70 year old woman doing that and thought, "no way." Put the shuffle on 10 and blasted whatever upbeat song I could find. The last 2 miles were a complete blur. I really felt fatigued at the end and surprise, surprise I still somehow managaed to pull off my fastest NYRR mile pace to date - 8:42. I had a bagel, looked at people in kilts, and decided to go home and die. Guiness and running...bad. Nap and chicken parm for lunch...good. Lesson learned.
Miles Ran: 6.2
Weekend Miles: 16
Dawn: call me
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Saturday was redemption time. Feeling still a little shaky with the quad, but much better overall, we decided to go out for 10. Roxie and I were thinking 12, but we both had a race the following day and wanted to save something for it. Good call. We did one full loop, then followed it up with a middle loop to finish the 10. Second trip around sucked and we were both feeling it. I was worried about the quad, but I shortened my stride to avoid the stretch on it and kept to a very manageable pace, about 10 minute miles. I now know the trails in CP like a pro. I know when the hills are coming and when there's stretches of grass to run along as well so I'm better mentally prepared for those longer runs.
Afterwards, we were invited to a TNT event called "Connection to the Cause." After chowing down on some bagels, we were invited to the auditorium where we were pretty much thanked for being awesome (duh!) and raising all of this money. We were also shown a video dealing with a leukemia survivor who benefited from the L & L Society's help and how he was giving back by volunteering at a hospital with another kid battling leukemia. I'm not gonna lie, when you combine cheesy music (see Coldplay) and images of little kids going through chemotherapy, it's kind of impossible to not be touched. I was in the company of a lot of women (as I always am at TNT events) and I cried, but hid it damn well. Just a drop, but damnit that video moved me.
I have doubts about this marathon thing - I've said that since day one. Can I do it? Will I do it? Can I raise the money I've committed to raise? Will people hate me if I bug them to donate? etc etc, but seeing that kid smile after years of chemo and dealing with a life no child deserves made me feel good that I'm doing something that's not about me. I guess I've grown up a bit. Life's too short to only worry about your own shit. Ya gotta do your part - I hope this marathon thing is only the beginning of me doing "my part." It's hard, but so is sitting on your ass and accepting complacency.
ps: I ran 3 miles the night before injuring myself from the East Village to the U.N. and back.
Miles Ran: 3+1+10=14
Tears Spilt: 0 (I caught them in my hand)
Friday, March 30, 2007
Last Saturday I ran 10 miles in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. It was long, there were hills I ran up, then turned around and did them again. I had my first energy Goo ( I didn't name them) which basically tasted like really bad frosting and swore to never have them again. I am now trying Cliff Shot Bloks - consistency is kinda like gummy bears. These are necessary evils when running long distance. After every hour of running, your'e ideally supposed to consume 100 calories to keep you going strong. The goos and energy type things have that perfect balance of carbs, sodium and even caffeine to convince your body that this really isn't that insane and that 26.2 miles is totally doable.....or something like that.
The only bad, no scratch that, terrible thing about Saturday's run was how my knees felt that evening and following day. Basically as if someone had been stabbing me repeatedly with an ice pick in my patella. Ice did little good and I therefore resigned myself to drinking Guiness Saturday night to at least get the discomfort off my mind. (note: Guiness works well at making you get your mind off of most things, like when to wake up the following morning and what borough you're in - for the record, I was in Manhattan). I learned Saturday that the natural beauty of a Park can make you feel much better about running when you don't want to (nice weather helps too) and that Prospect Park West is a smaller scale CPW and in my opinion, even more beautiful. You go, Brooklyn!
Miles Ran: 10
Guinesses to numb the pain: censored
Wake up time Sunday: noon(ish)
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Dear Friends & Supporters:
Almost 1/2 way there, and I'm not freaking out quite yet...although in a couple of weeks I think I'll be having a minor panic attack. You see, part of Marathon prep is different races throughout our 3 months of training. My first major test will be the Brooklyn Half Marathon. 13.1 miles. Me. Not a runner. I don't even run away from things in my dreams. Ugh. Can I do it? Seriously? Am I ready? If I make it, will I be able to walk for the next few days? That's just a sampling of the self-doubt inducing questions that will be running through my head in the upcoming weeks.
I'm sure once the freaking out subsides, I'll be fine and that I'll finish. My hope is about a 9 minute mile pace and to look damn good doing it – style points, people!
And I am certain that with the last two months of training and your support, I will only get faster. If you want to read the very very long (and even more self-deprecating) version of the story, visit http://thebloodynipple.blogspot.com
We are about to begin hill training. This Saturday morning (in the rain probably) we'll be running all over Prospect Park in Brooklyn. I hope to reach a new personal best of 11 miles tomorrow morning (that's without stopping folks…in a row). Then, next Wednesday we'll start running a variety of drills on various hills in lovely Central Park. Well, not always lovely. In the last two weeks, we've had all kinds of weather from rain, snow, 25 degree nights and one great 55 degree one. Saturdays are our long runs where we put all our learning to the test and get accustomed (both mentally and physically) to running for long periods of time. I think from here on out, all our long runs will be at least 11 miles (he says with a quiver of fear in his voice). I am now officially grounded to low-key activities on Friday nights, and if anyone would like to join me for a movie or board game, you just let me know. The occasional Friday beer is had for those who think I've completely lost all sanity.
Now a progress report. Over the last 3 weeks I've: run 41.4 miles, registered to be a bone marrow donor, ran my first long race, started a runner's blog, drank countless amounts of Red Gatorade, bought ugly running sneakers, injured my knee then got better, learned the benefits of Vaseline and band-aids when it comes to chafing and 12 people have contributed $ 885 towards my goal of $ 4,000.
A huge thank you to those that have contributed so far!
Here's how you can contribute:
1) Visit my fundraising website:
http://www.active.com/donate/tntnyc/JohnnyC - there you can donate on-line using all major credit cards.
2) Print out, fill in the attached form (I've already filled out the event info) and send your donation using a credit card, or check/money order made out to 'The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society' and mail them to:
485 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Remember: all donations are 100% tax deductible! :) And remember to tap in to your companies matching program - many companies will match at least 50%! If you need any sort of "proof" of charity, etc. we've got all the information you need. I've also attached my original fundraising letter for reference.
For up-to-the-minute-news in fundraising, miles and to see if I still truly hate running, visit
Thank you for all your support, running playlist song suggestions (keep 'em coming), calls, cheering and inspiration. You know how to keep this running hater going and going and going. 26.2 baby, 'till I drop at that finish line!
I love you all. Yes, even you.
Friday, March 23, 2007
We did level 4 effort running Wednesday night in the Park. For those of you not in the know, that basically means, sprinting. Going all out for about .2 of a mile, then recovering (slow jog) for same distance, then repeat...and repeat....and then for good measure a few more times. Plus, the bonus round, cross training where we got to do my favorite: squats and lunges. If you ever want to know what your groin should not feel like, just do these about 50 times one night. Good luck with stairs and moving in general after that.
I am surprisingly fast when it comes to short distance sprinting. Fast being a relative term, of course. I didn't see any real runners looking too worried, but passing people is a damn good feeling. The flip side is that by the third or fourth go at it, I had greatly reduced my sprinting speed. I found a new partner to shadow/make fun of (it was reciprocal) and that kept me focused. She also wouldn't let me walk in between sprints. I got yelled at a lot,with "no walking!" being her choice reprimand. My defense was that my fast walk was faster than my slow jog, but she wouldn't budge and thus, I caved...women!
Yesterday, I felt a little tender, but today I am really enjoying stairs(remember opposites day?). Tomorrow it's a 8am trip to Prospect Park in far off Brooklyn (ewwwww). I'm shooting for 11+ miles and a fun filled day of playing tour guide to some out of town friends and apartment insanity. On a side note, anyone need a room in the East Village?
Miles Ran: 4.5 approx
People Passed during Sprints: I can't count that high
Quads yelling in Spanish, "Ayudame": 2
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Last night I visited my local gym after yet another riveting episode of 24 (Jack Bauer for President). Since the running craziness started, I have barely gone - I haven't needed to. I actually started noticing some tightening around the mid-section - ladies beware. I did my usual free weights workout - dumbbells for a quick chest workout as well as a little benching. You know, light stuff, like 425 lbs, or something....so, after the weights I headed over to the cardio machines, also known as "the only place the girls are." I decided that due to a St. Patty's Day setback (ie: Guiness out the wahzoo) I was going to do 6 miles to get over the guilt.
I settled on 10 minute miles which is sort of slow for me, but my coaches have been telling me to slow it down if I expect to make it through 26.2. At that rate, I'd be finished in an hour. I figured two episodes of whatever and I'd be out. Well, about ten minutes into my run , or towards the end of Seinfeld, my right knee or as I call it, my Muthaf!$#in knee started hurting. I dug deep and worked on breathing and shortening my stride, thereby reducing the impact - that kind of helped, but not really. By mile 3, I wanted off and based on how I feel today, I should have stopped. Scrubs was a good one - the episode with Colin Farrell - and it helped deflect the attention off of my bitch-ass knee. Mile 4 was bad, mile 5 was terrible and mile 6 was god-awful terrible. Those last three miles drained me. The whole time I was hoping for something to look at to get my mind off of my knee, but nothing. No trees, no people, no rich people apartments, nothing but flat screen tvs with commercials and news. I actually for the first time ever, missed running in Central Park. I had one mile to go when Scrubs finished and I was determined to finish this damn run. I turned to my backup, QB's finest, better known simply as Nas. One of the greatest all-time rappers and def one of the best of my generation. I turned the volume all the way up, actually raised the speed to 7mph bc I'm an idiot and mile 6 was conquered, barely. I was drenched in sweat and beat.
The second I stepped off the treadmill I knew it wasn't going to be a good next day. It hasn't, but it's not just because of the running. Oh....life.
Miles Ran: 6
Nas song to make you move your ass: "Made You Look"
For me, a neophyte runner, a run used to mean a few blocks to maybe a mile. It wasn't until I started training for this whole marathon thing, that I started noticing something. If you are ever in Central Park, look at what runners wear, especially men. If you notice, the more "serious/hard-core" they look, it is likely you will see them wearing something made of a material that is not cotton. Something meshy, and breathable, kind of like a basketball jersey. Ya see folks (this might get graphic), when I had my first 6 mile run which at that point was my longest run ever, I felt ok for the most part. Obviously, I was tired and my legs were a little sore, but surprisingly I hadn't died. The next day I awoke to a pain that I, as a man had never expected. Yes, you guessed it, my freakin' nipples! They hurt, like a lot and they were chafed and one even had dried blood (too much info? sorry).
Later that day I did some research (googling) to find out that it was very common especially amongst men and that there were all kinds of ways around this. Basically, when you run long distances, your shirt is rubbing up and down for miles against your skin and nipples. Cotton is the worst offender and only makes it a quicker and more painful death. I tried band-aids, vaseline and even the mesh shirts. From the time of my first and only bloody nipple, I have relied on vaseline and I continuously pray to Bill Clinton. It seems to be working so far. So that's the story of The Bloody Nipple. Isn't running so sexy and glamorous? Why am I doing this again?
Friday, March 16, 2007
ps:Congrats to Mark & Jen! Welcome to the world, Owen - enjoy the ride.
Ramon, for those of you not in the know (why aren't you reading my blog) is the coach of our team. He is one funny and overall good natured Spaniard. He likes to poke fun at me considering we can wax poetic in Spanish and because he knows I kinda hate running. He always begins our practices with a layout of the course and techniques. We were starting at E90th, up to 102, then a loop all the way to the bottom of the park around 59th, around to the west side, back up to 72nd and then back across town and finish at E90th. If you're really into it, here's the course:
I don't know if it's a psychological thing or because I felt ready, but I opted for the first time to run with the intermediate group. I don't know, I thought beginner wasn't doing it for me and there were cute girls aplenty in intermediate. We were doing intervals for the first time - basically running at different effort levels. We would run at a fastish pace for 6 light posts, then our normal pace/conversational pace for 2 light posts. I started the run off with Roxie and Beck and it was looking good, but I kept finding myself having to slow down. This is not because I am faster then them, but because I have a longer stride. So, as hard as it was to depart their company, I left them to their girl talk.
I really don't know what got into me, but I started hauling ass. Like the fastest I've ever run outside of a gym. I kept passing groups and the whole intervals thing went out the window, until about half way...when I died. Newbie runner and that late afternoon coffee I had finally caught up to me and I slooowed down, thankfully. Surprisingly, I still kept a normal pace. I did get two side stitches, but was able to quickly get rid of them thanks to a trick Roxie taught me and by praying to Bill Clinton. I did miss the company of my girls and didn't feel like striking up conversations with new peeps in the now dark Park. Most of my team probably wouldn't have recognized me - there's a lot of us - and would have just thought I was another cheesy running dude in CP trying to score some ladies. That's what the internet is for I say. Anyhoo, the run, oh yeah. I was missing my music badly at this point and was longing for "Sunday, Bloody Sunday," which really gets my ass going. That and "Banquet" by Bloc Party should be on anyone's run playlist. I kept thinking about stuff. How it wasn't cold, how I had a cold egg roll waiting for me in my bag for after the run, but most importantly, I saw my uncle's face and his smile. I saw him sharing a whiskey with me and watching his favorite soccer team lose again on yet another lazy Sunday. I saw him laugh at me when I was hospitalized (dehydration, I swear) after a non-stop week of partying and no sleep in Buenos Aires. We both joked about my nurse with whom at 18, I thought I would marry because I had decided that I was in love. Mercedes, from Hospital San Fernando, where have you gone? Holla. That took my mind off the fact that there was still 2 miles to go and then I chilled. I followed a group of girls who were still following the drills guidelines which was good because it got me to do them. Fast for about 2 minutes, normal for about 45 seconds. And then, it was over. I was drenched in sweat. I had busted my ass, finishing with the first group of intermediates. Ramon asked me about my knee (the problem one) and I told him it felt fine and it really did. We stretched a good 15 minutes, got back to home base and there it was, waiting for me. Damn it, where's the duck sauce?
Miles Ran: 5.2
MG of Msg consumed: who freakin' cares!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
On Tuesday, I visited my mom to be fed and because the next morning I had booked a gig in the vicinity. To be exact, I was picked out of many many qualified literate people to read stories to my mom's pre-k class. Needless to say, it was fun, yet exhausting. Those 4 yr olds can play with blocks like you don't even know! The night before I decided to run through my old hood and to my surprise, I did not encounter a single running soul in my 25 minute run - not a one! I ran in shorts for the first time this year and man did it feel good. I also had it with my video iPod and decided that it just doesn't cut it for running - I bought a used shuffle the next day. The run felt good and quick. I ran thinking about the steak and potatoes that were waiting for me back at mom's and that made the last mile fly. Not bad for a lazy Monday night.
Miles ran: 3
Steaks consumed: 1
New friends made: 17 pre-k kids
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Teammate Randy was awesome enough to offer a ride up to the park. Needless to say, sarcasm and bitchy whining consumed the 10 minute trip. Roxie brings it out in me, but only because she tolerates my "moments of f this." We met up with one of the coaches as we entered the Park at 72nd and walked towards the Bethesda meeting point. I must say, I don't "get" runners. Coach was saying how we were lucky it was a nice day. Nice day? It was cold, about 35, damp and absolutely grey. Oh well, they're a special breed.
The beginners group was going to do a full loop of the park, or about 6 miles. I consider myself a beginner, but I did 6 last week and wanted to best that. Roxie was going for two middle loops of 4 each so that sounded like a plan. I hate running alone - I lose motivation very fast and it feels like forever so even though I'd be running with a "remedial advanced" runner/past marathoner like Roxie, it sounded better than doing a full loop by myself...and I wasn't in the mood to make new friends.
We started off at what I thought was a slowish pace, but soon enough my breath was getting shorter and the talking died down between the two of us. One of my biggest problems as a newbie is pacing. I'm used to 2 miles on a treadmill with hot girls flanking my sides. Do you think I'm going to do 10 minute miles when I'm on a treadmill? No, I'm a man - I'm stupid, I want to show the ladies how much of a running stud I am, so, I do 7-8 minute miles. Yeah, well, that crap doesn't work in Central Park and it definitely won't work over 26.2 miles. As much as my legs wanted to go faster, I kept telling myself, we're doing 8 and there's hills and concrete and tomorrow to think about. The first loop overall felt ok, especially once we passed the transverse at 102nd Street (the halfway point of the 4 mile loop). Looking at multi-million dollar apartments on both 5th avenue and Central Park West is a little annoying, but spring is around the corner and hopefully the leaves will soon cover up that view. Yes, I am that guy. When we finished our first loop, we stopped for a quick water break. I was initially opposed because I don't like what my legs do after I've run a few miles and then stop, but "f it," I thought, I was thirsty and had 4 more to go.
The beginning of the 2nd loop around sucked. I actually lied to Roxie at one point and told her that I was fine. My knees were starting to hurt and I wanted home. I actually sped up again, which Roxie responded to with a "go ahead." But, I stayed back. I was only speeding up because the thought of over 3 miles to go was just making me mad. Also, and I kid you not, some woman with what seemed like a soft cast on her lower leg/ankle passed me and that definitely didn't help. As she did her best impersonation of Verbal Kint from The Usual Suspects, I had to laugh because on the inside I was sobbing. I knew I needed the company to get through it so I decided to keep the same pace as loop 1. Halfway through I said how I thought I could do a marathon at the pace we were going at because even though it was uncomfortable, it wasn't overly painful (yet). I think I was getting a little ahead of myself saying that I could run 5 hours without stopping - I was obviously high. When we headed down CPW I could feel the end of my running morning and completion of my new personal best (many more to come). I was also craving a Red Gatorade and therefore was happy we had done that water break in between. With 100 yards to go, I started smiling and thanking God/Bill Clinton/Allah/Buddah/Vishnu etc. that I had once again made it. We stretched, shared some banana bread, joked and back home it was. I've been icing my knees ever since, but a hint of that post-run smile remains.
Miles Ran: 8 and change
Episodes of South Park watched to numb the pain: 2
Planned hours of strenuous activity for Sunday: 0
Friday, March 9, 2007
This picture has nothing to do with running, but celebrities seem to be good at getting people to give to charity. So, for a minute, pretend that I'm not asking you to donate to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, but Academy Award Winner Al Pacino is - how badly do you want to reach for your credit cards now? Think of how much I, Al Pacino, have made you laugh and cry and perhaps even gasp over the years. C'mon, time's a wasting - click on that "Donate Now" Link. Don't make me, Al Pacino, sad. Leukemia sucks. Hoo-ah.
It was two weeks ago, but The Bloody Nipple didn't exist then, so here's the proof. My profile pic is further proof. Sub 9 minute mile with 2,000 people in my way was not too bad considering it was ass cold and barely 8am....on a Saturday, uggghhhh.
Miles Ran: 4
Curses Mumbled Under Breath: 87
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Miles ran: 4.5
Beers consumed: 5
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
For lack of a better word, this is bullshit. It was 50 when we ran Saturday morning. Practice has never been canceled, not even during snowstorms, so tomorrow night should be tons of fun. I think it's going to be a balmy 25. If you're in Central Park at around 6:45 tomorrow, you can point and laugh at me. I'll be wearing my trademark pom-pom skully and being sarcastic as ever.
Sunday, March 4, 2007
For yours truly, this time came and passed about two years ago. My friend Robin was training for a half marathon which she eventually ran and then months later did the full 26.2 mile NYC one as well. Let me start off by saying, I am not a runner nor do I pretend to be one. I still don't even have the "right sneakers." I was a fat-ass in high school and thought track was a mindless and overall boring sport. I probably didn't even consider it a sport. In my teenage years, I ran to the F train when I overslept, the Q23 when I wanted to get home and yes, I've even run for a few girls in my life. I did it out of necessity. As of today, I still cannot say I like running, but it is slowly becoming more tolerable.
So, back to the topic at hand - the marathon question. I thought my friend was crazy, absolutely cukoo bananas. Just think about it folks: 26.2 miles! From where I live in Manhattan that would get me pretty deep into Westchester County, not to mention Long Island and New Jersey. That is insane and not human. But then, Robin did it and so did freakin' Puff Daddy, or just Diddy whichever you prefer. I was happy for her, but also happy for myself. I slept in on Marathon Sunday and drank on First Avenue cheering on the crazy runners around mile 20. I was able to walk that week with no problem as opposed to my friend and concluded that I had chosen wisely, like in that Indiana Jones flick. That was two years ago.
Months back, I received a forward from a friend that wasn't of a cat jumping into a wall or of a good luck nature. It was about this girl (read about her from my links) who had lost a great friend to cancer and who wanted to do something in his memory. He was only 29. She decided to run a marathon with Team in Training - one of the largest fund raisers in the world that helps those fighting leukemia and other forms of cancer. What made her case even more appealing to me was that she wasn't a runner. Just like me, she had never before run more than a couple of miles at a time. Just like me, she hated it. She started her blog to spread the word and so that her friends and family could follow her progress throughout her training. I became a fan. I read her blog every so often and cheered for this person I had never met. It was like keeping up with your favorite show. There were ups and downs and then the grand finale came and it was sweet. This non-runner who had a willing heart finished her first marathon in January. I had to meet her; if anything to at least congratulate her.
That was about two months ago and my god can a lot happen in two months if you allow a persuasive, sweet-talking, fireball of a woman talk you into it. So here I am now, taking a page from a new friend, announcing to all of my friends and family, "I am going to run a marathon." To be more specific, The Rock 'N' Roll San Diego Marathon on June 3rd, 2007. I have been training for about three weeks now and have officially joined Team in Training just this past week. I need the structure of a team and that support system considering I'm new to this running thing. I also am a big fan of their mission and their cause. Did I also mention that it's about a 10 to 1 girls to guys ratio. Yeah, life sucks.
I am running for a few different reasons: because I never thought I could do this; because I think Cancer is a terrible thing that affects everyone in some way. If not directly, we all know someone who has had their lives forever changed because of this illness and because if I can raise some money so that some poor guy or girl gets the help they need, then why not. Lastly, I am running in memory of my uncle, Jorge Gagliardi. He went from alive and "healthy" to a shell of his former self in the matter of a month. His was not detected in time and his passing is one that still deeply saddens me. He had a huge heart and always made me laugh. That is my motivation. When I am training these next three months, there's going to be times when I want to quit, when I want to say "I made a mistake, this isn't for me." I would be naive not to think that. It's then when I can think about "mi tio Jorge" and all of the asados (bbq's) we had together in Buenos Aires and push to get that extra mile or two or ten until I get to that finish line. 26.2 baby. Welcome to my journey.