Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: The Running Year In Review

"2007: A Day At The Races".


2007: A Running Year In Review:
What a Year 2007 was!

January.
The year starts slowly with plenty of walks out in the cold. Goldmine Discovery #1: http://www.runningahead.com/. And from this moment on all my running logs are going to be entered in there.

February.
Goldmine Discovery # 2: www.blogger.com . It is here where I decided to start journalizing my running life, and what a better way to do it than by advertising it on the world wide web? My first entry was dated January 1, 2007 entitled, “Welcome To My Running Biography”, but in reality it was created on February 7th. My first blogs took me as far as my insane run down and up a tremendous hill in Vancouver, some 3000 miles away to as close as my own backyard when I re-discovered Forest Park, and all it’s charm.

March.
I discover Forest Park, located less than a mile from me, and take full advantage of its trails, and wonderful athletic oval. In fact, I ran around that oval 30 times in recognition of my sister Vanessa, who also turned 30 as well. The LA Fitness Gym became part of my regimen as well for those cold days, or just for cross-training. I successfully introduce my first “You Tube” video on March 30th and travel again, to Cleveland on a work related assignment.

April.
Having learned painful lessons from years gone by with many an injury, I decided to adopt a new philosophy about running, and realized that gradual increases in distances, coupled with gradual speeed increases is the best recipe for not getting hurt. Although, I would still get hurt this year, I do finally embrace something that I should have embraced long ago…”EZ Does It”.

My first embedded MP3 makes it way onto my blog on Easter Sunday, April 8. At this point I’ve also joined the 1000 Kilometer Mileage Club off of RunningAhead.Com, and issued dire warning to its pace bunny. Shelby Siegel becomes my real & imaginary challenger all at once with a gutsy back n’ forth battle during the Brooklyn Half Marathon race on April 14. I lost to her, but got a PR in the process posting a record 1:45:39 finish in the first Grand Prix of the season.

The Boston Marathon is nearly cancelled for the first time in its 111th year due to storms. And my diet is cancelled for the 111th time as well. It is confirmed, I am an Eating Ho.
On April 22, I connected with my past, by running the JFK Runway Run, a race I had not done since 1985. Not only did I connect nostalgically, but I really connected! I finished that run with a pace of 6 minutes and 41 seconds per mile!!!

April also marked my ending of training at the gym and instead went all outside. I had another race, the Thomas Labrecque Run on April 29th, and boom, the 4 miles was done at a pace of 7 minutes 20 seconds, another PR.


May.
May was a tumultous month for me. Full of intensity. I ran my second Long Island Half-Marathon. Not only did I do well, but I finished 1 hour 45 minutes and 39 seconds, making it the first time I have ever run a race of that length under 8 minutes a mile. A new PR. The very next day was the six month countdown to the New York City Marathon. It also marked the first time I ever drove my grandmother in my car. Long Story. On May 20, I finally race in Forest Park, and do great. I finish third amongst my age group of 40-44 and was poised to win a trophy. Too bad, the age group was actually 40-49, which landed me in 4th place and out of trophy contention. This would be as close as it would come. Two days later, and I was back at it again. Another race. This one down on Wall Street in the Big Apple. I do great again finishing with a pace of 7:20 per mile. But Shelby, who had lined up in the front line (when should not have) did even better and posted a finish of last than 7 minutes a mile. Tumultous usually means a high variety of outcomes. May proved it. The last race only 5 days later, proved to be too much for me to handle. Having 4 races in 1 month, and three in one week, took its toll on me. The last of the four races was the Long Beach 10 Miler. I had every intention on overcoming the normal nausea and headwind I usually battle on this course. But again, it proved to be too much. Whereas I was doing great in the front 5 miles, I totally collapsed, and walked most of the last few miles. I also had a major spat with my girlfriend over something stupid right before the start of the race, and that did not help matters at all.

June.
As it turned out, I was more than out of gas when I ran in Long Beach. I was at my physical limitation between running and injury. And now the injury was taking over.
My left tibia which had been fractured two years ago, was acting up again, although this time it was my upper tibia that was doing the talking. All the racing that I did, coupled with tempo runs and long runs which were done at excessive speeds counted for all of the mishap. I guess I wasn’t ready to lay down my bad habits just yet after all. As such June was a lousy month for me. I wound up cancelling all my races, and I didn’t run once between June 20th and July 10th. 30 days off. Ugh.

July.
I started the “run machine” back up mid way through this month with much more planning this time around. I built new courses, and put together new regimens to ensure that I would not injure myself again. My first run on July 15th took me all the way to Brooklyn, where I ran along Shore Parkway. It was a magnificent run. Six days later and after an incedible display by Mother Nature, where the roads were so badly flooded that my senior manager’s car was totalled in the parking lot at work, I was at it again. This time my “long” run had me run around Port Washington, New York. I did a nice job mixing it up between concrete, asphalt, trail, and even beachsand running. I did another new run the very next day, exploring the northern side of Forest Hills and Kew Gardens, north of Queens Boulevard and the County courthouse. I continued my month of exploration with another interesting twist of running through different parts of Forest Hills. 4 days later on July 28, I ran would I would describe as a brutal run along Metropolitan Avenue. It took me through some of the worst parts of New York. Between the burnt down buildings, the desolated areas, the truckers mowing down the roads, and the dangerous people lurking everywhere, none of that was as bad as the foul smells that eminated from an area called The English Kills. The run was brutal but the very next day, I made it up by doing another inaugural run that took me through the very heart of the Forest Hills Gardens section of Queens, a run that would be repeated quite often since. At that time I had been posting my weekly runs on the web, and had instituted the “Speedy Gonzalez” logo. Finally, I capped a comeback of sorts with my first race on the last day of the month. It was the Workplace Challenge 5K run in Jones Beach. The race went well, as I came in 3rd in my company.

August.
Nothing could have stopped me this month. It was one of my better months this year. Following the advice of “trishierunner” a RunningAhead.Com member, I followed her advice and did an 18 mile out and back run along a abandoned railroad trail. It was beautiful. Of course, with every Ying there is a Yang too. A few days later, back in New York, I was sucker punched by a low-life punk and his gang as I was running through Forest Park. My glasses were all screwed up after I found them an hour later or so, but I never let that get my spirits down. In fact, it only propelled me. Just a few days later, I did a another long run through all of Queens, and then went back to Forest Park, with a stick in my hand this time, and re-did my route there. I hit 50 miles that week. The first time I had ever done that in a week (and it would not be the last for sure). And there was more. A 21 mile run. From my house all the way to Flower Hill and back to LA Fitness. Insane right?

September.
I got off to a good start again doing another “new” route along Utopia Avenue and headed north to the residential areas of Flushing (like 199th street….ahh the memories…)
On Labor day, I ran with a pair of screwdrivers from my place to my grandmother’s apartment. It was hot as heck. A few days later and just before we left for Spain, I did another long run. This time it was from my girlfriend’s job in Long Island City, over the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan, and then a full loop around Central Park. It was a great run. Unfortunately, my vacation was not so great both weather-wise and health-wise. I got sick with a real bad cold and not soon after we got back, I had to jump on another plane to head off for sunny Mexico. Guadalajara to be exact. By then I started feeling better however, and was able to pull off what was then, the longest run I had ever done on a treadmill in one day, 16.7 miles. I am beginning to realize that I am doing more and more long runs, and that I am adjusting nicely and not injuring myself anymore. Thank heavens!

October.
Thank God that I did not decide to do the Chicago Marathon. What a fiasco it was. Besides the heat and the poor planning by the race marshalls, it’s amazing that more people didn’t die. This is the month were I needed to stop tapering, but with the recent cold and the sore upper tibia in June, I still needed a few long runs in to insure an improvement in time. Nearly three weeks prior to my BIG race, I ran around Central Park. And then I ran around it again. And again. All in all with the different loops I did, it all measured out to 17.2 miles. My tapering began on Oct. 21st, when my long run became 12 miles long (only). Then, and finally, I did another race on the 24th. It was the Poland Springs race. Now all that stood between me and GOLIATH of GOTHAM was time….

November.
During this month I had a blast with my blog. I put a countdown showing pictures for each day. I was all “Madison Avenue” with my damn self, and really enjoying the hype. And in the immortal words of Broadway Joe, I guess I was just getting my “cool” on. And as for the race itself, well, what can I say? I would like to keep stats out of this, but I really can’t. I improved at this years’ NYC Marathon by almost a full half-hour over last year. And it was the second fastest marathon I have ever done, even beating my time when I was 19 years old. I was extremely proud of myself. The race was handled excellently, except at the end when they packed too many of us after the finish and some of us wanted to just die.

After a much deserved rest, I began to run again in earnest. On November 17th, I did a half marathon training run between LA Fitness and Flower Hill, Port Washington. And then the insanity began….. 61.3 miles between Nov 19-25…..another 60 the following week…. Suddenly the idea of possibly breaking the 1500 mile mark threshold was a remote, remote possibility. By the end of the month I had racked up 185 miles, most ever by me in a month. But I would need even more to reach my goal…….

December.
It is December 1 and with a daunting 201.8 miles standing between me and in the way of my reaching my goal, I did everything known to man to run, have fun, and not be done…by injuries. The week of Dec 3-9th was a let down. I did only 39.5 miles (a letdown???), but the following week (Dec 10th – Dec 16), I really buckled down and achieved a 69 mile week. Another record. With 14 days, I now had 83.3 miles to go. And although averaging 6 miles a day seemed an easily attainable, I did not want to go to my father’s for New Year’s having to worry about this goal. So beginning on December 18th and running through December 22, I ran 9 times. On the 19th and 21st I ran over 20 miles in total. My legs are dead, but no sign of injury thankfully…

Overall this has been a very memorable year. I did not race as much as I did in either 2005, or 2006, but I got faster at the shorter runs, and was more durable on the longer runs. My training regimen, compared to previous years has really improved, but there still is a lot of room for improvement. My dieting was atrocious, so I hope to do better next year. Of course, more time spent on the road means less time spent with loved ones, so I will need to be a bit more judicious as to when I decide to run, but having adopted lunch hours to sneak in 3-5 miles, is a great way to stay in shape and not sacrifice time with anyone that is important.


And now for junkies like me……THE STATS

Easy Runs: 69 runs 310.7 Miles 48hrs 48min 01.9seconds
Fartlek: 13 runs 74.2 Miles 11hrs 01min 36.0seconds
Hill Work 6 runs 33.2 Miles 4hrs 54min 10.9seconds
Injury: 3 runs 8.0 Miles 1hrs 30min 29.0seconds
Interval: 18 runs 90.4 Miles 14hrs 04min 53.0seconds
Long: 49 runs 529.2 Miles 77hrs 11min 35.7seconds
Race: 15 runs 116.4 Miles 16hrs 47min 28.3seconds
Tempo: 31 runs 143.4 Miles 20hrs 46min 24.5seconds
Very Easy: 17 runs 84.3 Miles 15hrs 07min 43.0seconds
Walk: 31 runs 112.0 Miles 5hrs 57min 39.0seconds

Most Miles, Day: November 04, 2007 = 30.2 Miles
Most Miles, Week: Week 51: Dec 17 – 23 = 81.7 Miles
Most Miles, Month: December, 2007 = 203.5 Miles
Most Consecutive Days Running: = 8 days
Fastest Mile, Race:
JFK Runway Race April 22, 2007 = 6min 27sec
Lowest Weight: May 20, 2007 = 152.2 Pds.
Daily Performances, 2007

Weekly Performances, 2007

Yearly Performances, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas...I DID IT!! 1500 MILES!!!!

After a few days off with much needed rest, I finally set the wheels in motion and finished up my remaining 1.6 miles and surpassed my 1500 mile mark. There were a lot of things that I accomplished this year, and I will be reminiscing all of it in an upcoming year-en, tell-all, blog.

And speaking of blogs, if you are a runner like myself, and truly love to read good advice on running, there is a website by Blaine Moore called www.runtowin.com. Not only is he an accomplished runner (20,000 miles plus to prove it), but his website is truly great. I even signed up for his frequent newsletters. Just the other day for instance, he wrote a great article about how to avoid getting hit by a car, when running. What I love about his writing is that he writes from his own experiences, and his personalized method really helps people like me to learn about a sport that I love.

Christmas was memorable this year. I spent a lot of time with my kids, who were with me for the long weekend. I took them to New York, and with Ileana we walked around Manhattan.

We saw the window displays at Saks 5th Ave., entered the American Girl, and Build A Bear toy stores. We first started by going to Bryant Park to see the ice skating, and the same at Rockefeller Center too.


The tree was very nice, but what caught our eye was a display called "Common Cents". Throw in pennies, or any currency into this long football sized money pit, for charitable causes for children. I made my wish and threw in about a dollars worth. Nothing like wishing for that home that we saw in New Hyde Park. Only time will tell now.

Although I did not have the money to be able to take Ileana and the children to see all the glory of the Rockettes at Radio City, it made no difference. We had a great time at the "Top O' The Rock", which is a 360 degree view of New York from the 70th story observatory tower of the main Rockefeller Building, home to Saturday Night Live.

After we came back down we stopped by St. Patrick's Cathedral. We also went to lunch too. I was craving Chipotle's, while my kids wanted McDonalds. So we did both.

Later on I found out and much to my surprise that Bravo aired that 75th Anniversary celebration show yesterday. My kids and I saw it! So we missed nothing!!

Funny sidebar: My Uncle Antonio dated a Rockette back in the 60's. I think her name was Marilyn. I never found out what actually happened, but I surmised that by a Rockette's beauty, that she probably used her long legs to kick my Uncle straight in the booty hole.

Anyway, later on in the evening, I altered my original plans, and rather than walking around too too much, I opted to pick up my car from the Hippodrome on 44th, and drove us out to Port Washington, for dinner and TWO movies. The Golden Compass was decent, but somewhat devoid of what I guess I would call the "Christian" element. In this movie, getting rid of a kid's daemon was a bad thing. The second movie was a nice surprise however. "Alvin & The Chipmunks". Not only did my children like it, but Ileana was truly immersed in it and enjoyed it very much....Too much, almost.

Yesterday, and for Christmas Eve, Ileana had her son, girlfriend, and kids come over. My daughter, Stephanie, gets along well with their daughter, Marileidy. They played Monopoly and watched "Bratz", one of Santa's presents to Steffie.

For dinner, Ileana made a modified version of paella, and it was very good too. I think we will be using the Kew Gardens Fish Market a bit more often now. However, that Tradefair supermarked was a nightmare, and even Ily got into a fight with this idiot who basically parked so close to my car, that neither her nor my kids could even get out. She got back at him though....HA HA HA HA

Today, was interesting too. Not only did I bring my kids back to their mom, for yet another Santa sighting (boy oh boy, I hope we are not spoiling them), but I even picked up their grandma (MeMe) along the way.

After that, and after watching parts of "A Christmas Story" which was insanely being played by TBS for 24 straight hours, I finally did my record-breaking run. The weather was nice too. In fact, the weather has been mild of late, and I can STILL even see leaves on the trees. What ever happened to the fall foliage anyway?

Got home, cleaned house, and mopped floors, and hence, here I am. I am still planning on seeing my grandma before it gets much later, so for now, it's toodle-doo and cheeri-ohhh to everyone.

Happy Christmas everyone....

Here's The Picture of the Season. Look for the irony and post your comments if you can see what it is. Can you find it? Take a look! Hahahahaha!!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

HA! HA! YOU ARE A LOSER!!!

Thought that all those long runs would do me in..... Didn'tcha?
Thought I was going to lay down let you get ahead...... Didn'tcha?
Believed that once I was close to 1500 that I would slow down, huh?
NO.

You Lose.

And I Win.

I'm talking about.................the "rabbit"........................of course.


The "pace" rabbit that is. The one that's in the 1500 Mile Club that I am in.
For 353 days that rabbit was ahead of me.


NOT!

NO!

MO!

Hey rabbit! I don't care what MAGICIAN you are running with these days...

You're dead meat dude! Because I found what hat your hiding in..


And now it's time for me to...

STOMP!
The clock is ticking...... Tick. Tock. You. Suck. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Who will get to 1,500 miles first?

And who will finish with more miles at the end of this year?

The answers are one and the same:











Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Run....Run....Run Again....

Coming back off an off-day where I was feelin' completely off.....I ran.....not once or twice, but thrice. Sixteen point two miles. And I am here, and I am strong. My 1500 mile goal for the year is going to fall. I will see to that. And the "pace bunny" in that group that I am in that dictates that I should be at 1446 miles? Well, I am at 1432, and closing fast.

In the morning? 6.5 miles all around Queens. At lunch? Another 10km. At night? A short 3.5 mile through Forest Hills Gardens. Granite. Steel. Titanium. I am amazed at how well my body is holding up. I feel as if I am at the fringe of entering perhaps the next stage in my metamorphosis. I am both nervous and excited at the same time.

My last goal for this year is Fifteen-Hundred Miles. To some, the distance is like going driving from New York to the North Carolina outerbanks, and back to New York....and then back again.... To others, it's like driving to work and back for ONE. SOLID. YEAR.

And For me?

It's just a run in the park....many, many, many times over.

I will not relent.
I shall not weaken.
I will achieve my objective.

And next year? I've got a LOT in store.......

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Not sure how much more my legs can take...


Tomorrow is definitely going to be a rest day (at least it feels that way for now).
I did two workouts today. I was going to do 2 5ks, But I was feeling so good during my first, that I upped it to 10k. Then, and on the second workout, I had no intention on going more than 5k. Again, though I wasn't feeling too bad (probably because I never upped my treadmill to more than 6mph). By the time I was done, I was truly DONE.

I nearly felt like sleeping in the car. That is a BIG NO-NO. Of course, I am now at home, and barely able to move around. The only thing that keeps me awake is the smell of chicken cutlet and french fries in the distance. Yah, I know. Not the healthiest food choice. I had called Ileana while I was at the gym, craving for it. I hadn't had this in over a year.

The more you read my blog the more you will see that the more I do for my health in running, the more I seem to take back in eating. Somehow though, I feel that if I don't eat enough, I will get injured. Truth is, I could be eating a lot healthier, and of course, that is probably my biggest marathon challenge of them all....To lose weight.

I'm not fat, but at 161 pounds for a 5'7.5" inch frame, I am not what you call your typical runner!

Anyway, I obliterated my single week record with 69 miles (see above). My leg muscles look like they are going to explode through my skin (eeeeooooohhhh!). Tomorrow will most likely be a welcomed day of rest....or ......... not???????

PS..... 83.3 miles to go to FULFILL MY GOAL OBJECTIVE in the 1500 MILE CLUB! YES!!!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Distance Records, Temperatures Falling.

Hi Everybody!

It's been made evidently clear that I've created junkies out of all of you who read my blog. I was unaware of how many people actually read my inner-machinations until I went on a blog hiatus. Well, there's nothing to fear. I'm just resting up for what will be an even busier season for both running AND blogging. After all.....I am the BLOGRUNNER...

Since tomorrow's weather is going to suck, I headed out this morning to do my 2nd long run this week. After insanely running 15.5 miles 5a Mon, I figured today's run to be simple.

I ran with my gloves the whole way today, as the breath was visible to me. I did not see anyone else running today, so I guess I am indeed a "running ho" after all. I wasn't trying to run fast at all today, one because if I did, I would not reach my maximum distance capability, two, I needed to burn off the 1200+ calories I had at Wendy's yesterday (my weight sucks by the way-despite the mileage-I am still at around 161-162), and three, my tempo run at LA Fitness yesterday afternoon before my office Christmas party was painful, and I was still very sore - even after all the wine I downed (ugh all calories burned? recovered! boo). However, I feel better now after having run 12 miles .... go figure.

Not too much in the way of highlights about today's run iteself. I think there was some kind of football game about to be played over at St. John's, as I noticed a lot of kids with helmets and uniforms on near the campus. As I continued, making the left turn onto Franny Lew Blvd, was quite windy and chilly. There were a lot of chaotic xmas shoppers making things a mess for me as I ran along the Fresh Meadows Shopping Center, but clear sailing pretty much after that (I think I tore ass down Union ---and for those not in NY that haven't got a clue about what I just said...."tore ass" signifies running fast. lol!)

However, statistically there is a lot to cheer about. For one, I am on pace to breaking my all-time mileage record that I had achieved last month. I am also less than 100 miles now from completing my coveted goal of 1,500 miles this year, something that I thought I had no shot in achieving back in October. In fact, with today's dozen-spot, I now need only to average slightly less than 6 miles per day (or 42 miles) for the next 16 days to achieve my goal. I am actually looking to see if I can actually do it before Ileana and I leave for Florida on the 28th. This way I can rest and relax down there, something I sorely, sorely, sorely need.


And speaking of Florida.....


I am now about to enter Long Point Key. Long Point Key is the last "inhabited" key before getting to one of my favorite keys, which is get this, "Marathon Key". LOL. Marathon Key has an airport, which I am sure gets shut down like every other day during hurricane season. LOL.

Next year, If think I can muster it, I might just decide to virtually run all the way to California.
I better start planning now, for what the best routes might be. heehee.

TED CORBITT

Finally, I learned that Ted Corbitt passed away back on December 12th. Who is Ted Corbitt you asked? Please read this article which I scooped up from my club's website:

Ted Corbitt, 1919-2007: A Man Who Set the Standards
New York, December 12, 2007—Theodore (Ted) Corbitt, the founding president of New York Road Runners, a 1952 Olympian, a champion ultrarunner, and a pioneer in the field of course measurement and certification, died today at age 88. A longtime resident of Upper Manhattan, he had been ill with cancer, and he died peacefully, surrounded by loving friends and family members. NYRR mourns the loss of this extraordinary man and extends our condolences to Corbitt's family.


"It is with heavy hearts that we share that the first-ever president of NYRR and a 1952 Olympian passed away this morning," said NYRR president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. "But it is also with added inspiration that we forge ahead with our important work at NYRR. Ted was a quiet yet tremendous force at NYRR and in our sport. As pioneer, leader, and our first president he set the tone and tempo of making a positive difference for so many that we continue to promote today."


Corbitt was born on a cotton farm in South Carolina, the grandson of slaves. In his early childhood, he spent many hours listening to stories of his grandfather's running
accomplishments. When Corbitt himself started running competitively in high
school, in Cincinnati, his mother warned him not to run in the streets. No
one—and especially no African-American man—ran through the streets in 1938. He
later ran track for the University of Cincinnati, but he was sometimes barred
from competing in track meets when white athletes refused to compete against a
black man. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Corbitt earned a
graduate degree in physical therapy from New York University.


Despite discrimination and segregation, Corbitt won multiple American and Canadian championships, set numerous American track records, and finished the Boston
Marathon in under three hours an incredible 21 times, a record that still
stands. He represented the United States in the marathon at the 1952 Olympic
Games in Helsinki. Through these and other accomplishments, he is considered to
have played a crucial role in breaking down race barriers in the
sport.


Ted Corbitt racing in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx in 1957.

Corbitt's greatest running achievements, though, were at ultramarathon
distances (beyond the 26.2 miles of the marathon). When training for ultras,
he sometimes ran up to 300 miles per week, including 62-mile double-loops
runs around Manhattan. When his body broke down, he took ice baths,
practiced self-massage, and used experimental taping methods—all unusual
practices at the time. Wherever he saw a need, he worked toward fulfilling
it. "I tested theories and techniques on myself," he said. "If they worked,
I'd pass them on to my friends. If they didn't, it was back to the drawing
board." His running life was one long experiment to see how far and how fast
the human body could go. He competed internationally in ultradistance events
into his 80s.

Corbitt made revolutionary contributions toward professionalizing road racing
as a sport, particularly by establishing standards for measuring and certifying
courses. Frustrated by courses that were either too long or too short, he
improved upon a calibration system that he imported from England that used a
bicycle, not a car, as the measurement tool. In 1964, Corbitt's enhanced
system was adopted by the national governing bodies of road racing and track
and field, and it is still used today to sanction courses.

In 1958 the newly formed Road Runners Club-New York Association, which
later became New York Road Runners, elected Corbitt as its first president. The
organization numbered 40-odd members and had its first meeting at Macombs Dam
Park in the Bronx. On the eve of its 50th anniversary, NYRR now has more than
45,000 members and is one of the world's foremost running organizations.

Despite his wide range of extraordinary accomplishments, Corbitt was a
humble, quiet man who seemed almost embarrassed to attract attention. To him,
his groundbreaking runs were something he did to see if they were possible. He
also expressed surprise that the sport of running grew to such popularity. "To
be honest, I was never that optimistic that running would grow the way it has to
become our nation's favorite pastime," he said.

Racing Right Around The Corner!

It's that time where I start to see what races I can and can't fit into my schedule.

Without knowing yet what weekend (either 18th or 25th) I am going to Cleveland next month, there is at least a 50% chance that I will not be able to participate in the Manhattan Half-Marathon Grand Prix. Darn!!!!

It looks like the Fred Lebow Classic will be my first "On Your Mark" for 2008. Stay Tuned.

However, it does appear that I will make it for the Half-Marathon in the Bronx on the 10th.

I remembered both times when I ran this one in the dead of summer. This should be a interesting change. I expect The Grand Concourse will be wickedly windy and cold, so I better be ready for Mr. Frosty.

The NYRR Gridiron Classic is always a stress-free race for me. My company never schedules any off-hours work on SuperBowl weekend.

Let's see....What else? Oh yes. The Empire State Run up is definitely NOT for me. I can run 20 miles in a day, but I cannot run up 20 steps without losing my breath. If there is a 'doctor' or 'NURSE' in the house that could explain to me why this is, I'd gladly appreciate your input now.

The other race that is always fun is the NYRR Al Gordon Snowflake. That's because it always seems that it actually snows when it is held !

Well, that's it for now. Waiting for my gal pal to get back here so that we can go watch Will the Thrill become a "Legend" at a theatre near us!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'm In The Keys, Baby!


Well no, not literally. But after reaching another 30 miles this week, if I were to calculate from my house and go south, I would have been in the Florida Keys several days ago. Right now, I am in the Key of Islamorada, about 6 miles south of the Key Of Plantation, in Florida.


With 19 days left in the year, I have an outside chance of reaching my goal of 1500 miles. I have logged in 1377.2 miles. With 122.8 miles to go, I would need to average 6.5 miles per day. Can I continue this insanity? My job, my life, and my legs, are all pushing me to the brink. But....WHY CAN'T I ?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

An Epiphany. To Be Happy.

I was going to start writing about my 2nd week of 60+ Miles, but I decided to forego that, and will attempt to write about something a bit more philosophical and perhaps (Oh My)even meaningful..

Tonight, I saw a cute and often silly movie, "Evan Almighty". I was raised a Roman- Catholic christian, but like many of you (Christian or not), I have questioned the people behind the robes, who preach of the good words on one end, while marring the sanctity of morality on the other. Of course, I hope the vast majority of clergy, in all religions, are by and largely made up of good people, and not as the media portrays them out to be. But that's not what this non-running blog tonight is going to be about.

This blog tonight is going to be about the one thing that seems to elude mankind more and more as each complicated day goes by. It is a simple word in the English language. And the word is "Happiness".

While I am most fortunate to have some great things happen to my life (which can always change-that's the skeptic in me I guess), like my girlfriend and my job, and of course my family, there are other things. Things I worry about. Things I feel hopeless about, and things for which society might even judge me as a "failure".

I am not financially rich. In fact I am financially poor compared to what "society" says I should be by now in life. I also may not have children who are going to be doctors either. I may not have that 5 foot 11 model with the blonde hair and the blue eyes. And I may not own a house after 42 years on this planet. Heck, I may never own my own home. But...Do I have the right to have to feel that I am a failure because of it? The answer is a resounding "No."

Life is not easy. For those who ARE rich, and for those who HAVE those beautiful houses in beautiful neighborhoods, it might be easy. My girlfriend, upset over an ongoing situation (not with me though-whew!), had asked God tonight "Why do the bad people always win?". Now I am not equating rich people with bad people, but all of us have at one point or another, questioned why it is that some achieve their goals and others don't, regardless of the effort, or of the person's moral fiber.
And regarding the "rich", I am sure that most of these fortunate people paid a dear price to achieve their goals. I know of many that did this through hard work and sacrifice, but in some cases, I am sure that some sacrificed the wrong things, like the sacrificing of other values that should have been far more important than the almighty buck. Like being close to your family.

When I think about it this way, I'm no longer jealous. In fact, I feel sad for people who have accomplished personal goals this way, for they have missed far greater rewards that they could have achieved simply by loving and spending time with the people that brought them here, built them up, or with the children that they themselves have brought into this world.

In tonight's silly movie for which I gave it a 5 (out of 10), "Evan", played by funny-man Steve Carroll, learns several lessons, and above that, an all too familiar lesson - that spending time with your family is better than anything any sums of money could possibly hope to offer. Of course, a job puts food on your table, for you, AND for your family. So the answer, really,is to balance the two just right, so that you don't neglect either too much.

My life on this multicolored ball of rocks and water is going to be short. Perhaps I'll live to be as old or even older than my 91 year old grandmother. Or perhaps not. I don't know about you, but there are times when I get real down on myself because of things that turn out poorly. And sometimes these poor results came from events that were beyond my control. You have all read the famous quote, and seen them on magnets stuck for years on your refridgerator, to even as bumper stickers on cars. The quote that says, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."

Well, that is all good, but I had an epiphany tonight. One that goes even BEYOND that quote. Because, whereas that quote tries to rationalize how some unpleasant events are sometimes beyond your control, and therefore you should not be upset over it, the catchy offering also sounds like it's resigned to the fact that wrong things happen and that you are going to be upset. Like as if it has acknowledged that a problem did occur, and now the passage is trying to pacify you, or trying to prevent you from getting upset over it.

Well, my epiphany was, "What if everything that happens in life that is seemingly unpleasant, is not unpleasant after all? What if we hold the key to determine at the very moment of acknowledging that something had gone wrong...that it is actually more wrong to feel bad, then the wrongness of the event itself? What if the events happened not by accident, but is rather some form of predetermined destiny and or of divine intervention, as if it were a test? A test to see if we actually GET IT?

I know that I am really sounding like I am 1 McDonald's French Fry away from a Happy Meal, but please hear me out. Because in tonight's share of sad events, I came across something wonderful.

There have recently been some sad events in my life and in my girlfriend's life that for the sake of privacy, I wont completely share. But let's just say that we both have family, and we want our family (be it children, parents, siblings or just loved ones) to succeed. And like any good person would, we are willing and do whatever we feel we must, in order to give our family the right paths to the right opportunities to excel in life. But what if things don't exactly go as planned? What if for example, our family was meant to suffer (ie. like our children)?

Must we suffer along with them? Does our suffering help our children any? And if they knew we suffered, would that help them any?

I have concluded that suffering, for all that it may be an elemental human emotion, is not good, It should be hoisted and sent to the Staten Island landfill or carted to some garbage barge headed to North Carolina along with the other garbages in life (like anger, rage, greed, and other sinister dwarfs that I can't think of for the moment)

.... Well..DUH! Tell you something you didn't know, right??? OF COURSE SUFFERING IS BAD! But yet for as simple as it sounds, I bet anyone who reads this, has created their own private little hell at least once today, or at least three times in the past week.

Why must it be this way? If there is such an entity as "God", which I personally believe there is, why does he let us suffer? Does he want us to feel like we are failures when things in our lives don't go as planned? I think the answer is No. But perhaps we are still completely missing the point....

Perhaps all of the things that happen that are not good to us are not actually bad. Perhaps it is instead, just a challenge. A challenge to smile, when all looks gloomy, an opportunity to just feel happy, when all you want to think is that this situation sucks. Remember I how mentioned before about how sometimes we feel like others have it easier than us (that was when I said that my girlfriend questioned why it is that the 'bad' people always win). Well, let me ask you this? Did you ever feel good about anything that you ever did, that required little or no effort?

Perhaps.

But now ask yourself this question...Do I feel even better about the things that I was able to achieve, that were tough to achieve, more than those that were easy? I bet you said Yes! For all we know, my friends, failure is not FAILURE. Perhaps failure is a WONDERFUL challenge to us. An opportunity to feel good about ourselves no matter what the outcome. And if you can achieve this, as tough as the situation you might be, is, then you should feel great about yourself for being able to triumph over the inherited adversity, especially in today's world. It should prove to yourself, that you can love yourself, just as much as you can love your neighbor, even if your current social structure and/or society in general, had dictated otherwise.

Want an example of a tough situation, where feeling happy is next to impossible? There are many. How about those of us who have had people they loved and have died? How about people we love that are aging poorly? Why must we feel so upset for them? If they love us, the last thing they want for us to be, is to be upset. If anything, they want you to be happy, right? Let's move on...

What about a love that never was allowed to grow because of "society's rules". Or a love that prematurely ended even. Even tougher perhaps are examples that come next. Read on...

What about an unforseen death? A tragic death in fact. Like murder or an accident at the wrong time (as if there was ever a right time). Right now, my words might not be of great console to those who have lost loved ones in any way, tragically or otherwise. Trying to tell someone to be "cheer up" when their loved one died in the World Trade Center, or whose 8-year old daughter succumbed to leukemia, or who sister just hopeed on an airplane to see her brother for the first time in 10 years, just to die in a needless plane crash, is virtually i-m-p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e. Even if they could understand the epiphany about how important it is to be ALWAYS be "happy", no matter what the circumstance, I would think that the dark clouds of sadness and despair they would have, would be, in one word, impenetrable. You can't deny sadness either, and I am not suggesting that it be completely eliminated from the equation either. Sadness is still an important part of any healing process. You can't just say you are happy all of the time, regardless of what happens! However, as unfair as they may feel for having tragic events happening to them and not to others, it is even more tragic, when the person who is hurting, cannot get over it either.

When a person fails to see that they are endlessly continuing to suffer, then that is the real tragedy. That person that they may be mourning, has died and we must presume that they are in peace. But what if they are not in peace? Perhaps they cannot be in peace, because perhaps in the after-life (which I do believe in) they see you from above, and watch you suffer. Always keep in mind that whether your loved ones are alive or deceased, it would always be their wish, their undying wish, in fact, to want you to be happy.

Perhaps the devil is not some red dude with pointy ears and a pitchfork, after all, that lives somewhere in a very, very, very, hot climate. No. Perhaps both God and the devil is instead on this planet. Or perhaps even within ourselves? If that's true, then giving into suffering is giving into the devil, wouldn't it. And if so, then allowing yourselves to be happy, no matter what the situation, is to allow yourself to breath in sunshine, and be open to God.

Accept all that is, and love all that is for what it is. No matter how fucked up all that it is, may be.

As you can see, I've been really exhausting the word "perhaps". Perhaps it's because if I don't say perhaps, then I may come off too righteous, like some kind of crazy born-again, something or the other, you know? LOL.

However, the time for me in saying perhaps is finally over. If you got anything of what I have been rambling about, fantastic. Try to apply it to everyday life. With all of the shit that one is exposed to, it shouldn't take very long before you come across one of these "moments", that permit YOU the control to decide how to emotionally act.

But if you are DENSE, and cannot understand anything that I wrote above. Then let me spell it out for you:

Life is Short! Do not waste it on the negative! Everything has an upside. Life itself is a gift. Be proud of who you are, and if you have parents and children, be even more proud of them and let them know! And remember....Acts of Random Kindness (ARK) can also go a long way too. Love everyone, and hate no one.

My sermon is over. Go in peace....Or in my case...Run In Peace. LOL.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Paco Lopez (1944-2007)

(picture to follow)

Paco Lopez grew up in the blessed city of Malaga, Spain. Unlike perhaps some of his friends, Paco loved the United States of America, and all of its offerings, and came here a long time ago to fulfill his dream. He called the Cleveland area his home, but never be fooled....In Paco's heart, I doubt that a day would go by where he didn't long for those beautiful Andulusian sunsets, and the laid back and peaceful surroundings of the Costa.

In many ways, Paco reminded me of the late and great Jackie Gleason. He always had a great command of his appreciative audience, and was liked incredibly well by all. Physically he was a big man, with even a bigger heart. I would like to try and avoid cliches, but Paco was a rare breed that truly possessed a heart of gold that could fill an entire room.

Paco Lopez passed to join the angels today. He was 64.

Paco was one of the very few people that continued to be a true friend after my father retired from Iberia Airlines. Where many of his "so-called" friends were by his side during all of the good times, Paco was there during all of his times, good and bad.

To say he was just one of my father's best friends however, would be like giving you just one ingredient in a Paella. I can remember on numerous occasion Paco keeping my grandfather close company, talking wonderful stories about Spain to him. All my Uncles knew him well too, and love him as such. I personally knew Paco Lopez too. All I can say is that I was left wanting to know him even more. I guess that's true of anyone who was as good and down-to-earth guy as he was. Paco was not just a good and close friend of my father's. He was a good and close friend of our family.

His absence from today onward will be sorely missed by all of us who loved him so, and his infectious smile, wonderful sense of humor, and his ability to roar and rule the jungle like no other, will forever be lovingly etched in our precious memories of him.

Paco Lopez, we love you and wish you all the best.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm Running To Cuba!

I've got a lot to say tonight. I fell asleep last night at 9pm, and did not run a second time yesterday. This morning, I woke up this morning feeling dead to the world. Being on a diet doesn't help much either.

As the day progressed, I felt my opportunities to run slipping away. It was very busy in the office, but I had to call my grandmother because she was sick.

My grandmother is 91 years young (God Bless her). She lives all alone, and likes it that way, but every so often needs a hand from time to time. For all that she has been in my life, I could and would never deny her a request.

So now, I was leaving my office to go to and get her Ensure and a pack of bananas (lol) since she (like I) has issues with potassium.

Running tonight looked all but over, until and on my way, I realized that I needed to run at least 7 miles tonight to keep pace with journey to 1500. I ran 7 miles last night, and only needed one more to virtually get to my father's house in Florida.

But I felt that it was time to go out and R&R instead. Plus the Cowboys were playing the Packers tonight, so I figured it was time to throw the diet away for a day, and head over to the Kew Club (great bar) for some dog food (ie. wings) and beer. Ileana was feeling under the weather though, and mentioned to me that she just wanted to sleep.

And now comes the moment.

I am a very competitive person, but more than that, I am fair and just and believe in doing things the right way. There is a certain someone, I wont mention names but
I will tell you that he is a fellow member my RunningAhead club that has absolutely no business belonging in a particular club within the community. The club is called the 1000km club. The club goal is to reach an annual total of 1000km in running/walking, etal. And while there are no rules that require him to do so, it is only (I think) proper etiquette, to leave the group once you have reached that goal, to allow others the ability to lead the group themselves, as they get closer to that goal. 1000km translates to 621 miles. This individual had run 1213 miles.
As I was leaving my poor grandmother (at least with a smile on her face), I noticed that this individual (who lives across the pond from me) tacked on another 15 miles. Wow. Not too shabby. But do you think that you STILL need to be in the 1000km group?

Therefore my DISHONORABLE MENTION goes to that individual who likes to play hardball, but refuses to give the little guy the ability to lead in the smaller mileage groups. Oh, and by the way, this is the report that I am referring to:


And now for the HONORABLE MENTION. Not to toot my own horn, but after seeing what I saw on my Blackberry tonight, I was given new life. Suddenly, my legs were feeling golden again, my lungs clear, my heart strong. I cruised over to the LA Fitness gym
as fast as I could to put on what some would call, a "clinic".

Tonight my friends, I did 15 miles on the treadmill.

LifeStyle treadmills are great, but like the others, they suck at one thing. After an hour, they start to go into warm-down mode. You have to stop the treadmill completely (which really sucks on my knees especially) and start all over again. Plus you lose a little bit of time if you are not careful. I had to do this twice, because my 15 mile run lasted 2 hours 11 minutes 26 seconds (for an 8:47 pace).

This run was faster than my half way mark at the New York City Marathon. Whereas I was conserving my energy in that run for the second half, I was letting my hair down some tonight. I will tell you that I am feeling great even know as I write to you, and plan on running running running, especially because I refuse to lose to pathetic people who love to stay in groups that they have no business in being in. If you are still unsure as to who I am talking about, just follow the link above, or perhaps better still, take a look at the picture at the top of my blog.

I really should be thanking him actually. He gives me a lot of added inspiration to the lots that I have already. As for why I haven't been running outside, the answer is simple: Living in New York is tough enough to run in the streets, but add darkness, and it becomes dangerous. If you're running through the traffic, you have the cars to worry about, and if you are running through trails or parks, you got even more things to worry about, and for those of you fellow New Yorkers who love the Big Apple as much as I, you unfortunately know what I am talking about.

My run tonight on the treadmill was the second longest run to the run I did on the treadmill in Mexico on October 1.

Tonight also marked a new record for most miles ran in one month, 177.3 which bested my previous mark of 165.1 back in August (and I still have tomorrow to tack on some more-AND I WILL)

I know it sounds silly but something about this identity has actually made me feel more carefree and more responsible about my running.

Finally, and regarding the "Cuba" title. I ran past my Dad's house today. If I can hit the cherised 1500 mile mark, then that would be like going to Cuba!
Beware of the Blog...Runner!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A new identity

I was getting pretty bored with "AlexGonzalez0709" as my name on www.runningahead.com. Everyone has great names, Thunder, Bonkin, Zoom-Zoom, LifesABeach, etc. So I figured it was time to get a new identity.

Feeling a little bit unsure, I IM'd with my father, friend, and spiritual advisor.
There were a lot of names that did not make the list:

1 feets of fury
2 somebody stop me
3 the asphalt warrior
4 the concrete warrior
5 tar stomper
6 unbreakable
7 feets of fury
8 accumileator
9 BlogRunner
10 The StompMaster
11 The Flying Gonzini
12 TrueFeet
13 The White Comet
14 The Black Ajax
15 The Accumulator
16 Devourmiles
17 BloodRunner
18 Mile Eater

As you can see, some of these names were absolutely silly (like the Black Ajax. lol), but in the end it came down to 2 choices, The Asphalt Warrior or BLOGRUNNER.

The envelope please.....

BLOGRUNNER.

My new identity. And it should work well, after all I post blogs nearly as much as I post miles. Also, I like how it sounds so much like Blade Runner too.

I need to get a logo now to go with the new identity. If anyone has any ideas, or would like to send me a logo, just leave me a comment and I'll be happy to reach out to you.

I ran twice today. At lunch and after dinner tonight. I have not let up. On a tear. Don't know how long this power surge will last, but I am keeping a close watch on all used body parts, and so far, so good.

This is BLOGRUNNER signing off.
Goodnight.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

SIXTY-ONE point THREE!!!!! (and no steroids either!)

Today, I achieved something, that I did not think I was going to do this year...or next.
I broke the sixty mile barrier for the week. Roger Maris hit 61 homers. But I did 61.3. (Spoken like a true Met fan!)

Now, I'm not too sure how else to say this, but in the humblest of terms, I think I am on a tear right now. I have run 10 or more miles for three consecutive days now. In fact, if you discount Thanksgiving, I have run 10 or more miles five days in a row, and six of my last seven runs have been for 10 miles or more.

So why the sudden madness?

I could attribute this to a few reasons. For one, I knew this would be a heavy eating week. And it has shown to be true. Although I was at 160 pounds earlier today (before the pizza and the ice cream), I had tipped the scale as high as 163 just a couple of days ago. So, even with all my long runs, my caloric intake has toppled my long-distanced progress.

Another reason is this goal I have. I had joined a wonderful online group called http://www.runningahead.com/ for runners like myself. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes to run and share their experiences. It has a killer app for logging your runs and other exercises too. In this club, there are user groups that one can join. In the beginning, I had joined a 1000 kilometer group. The goal was simple. Get to 1000km before the "pace bunny" did. The "pace bunny" goes an exact distance each day, based on the 1000km divided by the 365 days in the year. Well, I easily accomplished this feat, and moved onto another group the 1000 mile group.

The 1,000 mile group proved to be a doable feat as well. However, with all the travel I did in September, and my nagging injuries in July, I did not accomplish that goal as fast I wanted to.
So, as such, the 1,500 mile user group was out of the realm of possibilities. Although, I did join that one anyway.

I am currently a little more than halfway between 1200 and 1300 miles. So far the most mileage I have ever done in one month was 171 miles back in August. However, I am at 135 miles this month, and I seem to be really doing well. No pains, no worries. Just full steam ahead. Whereas, I been convincing myself all along that I had absolutely no chance to entertain the possibility of accomplishing this goal, I am not so sure anymore. To get to this goal, I have 36 days left this year to run 251.8 miles. If I could continue doing 10 miles per day, I'd reach this goal by December 20th. Only time and willpower will tell, right?

The third goal, is the goofy comparison regarding the distance that it would take to get to my Dad's house in Florida. One of the things I loved the most about Forrest Gump, was always what a running fool he had been. Running back 'n' forth across the country. I actually admired it. So, in comparison to my false idol, I have ran 1,248.3 miles so far this year. And if you want to know how that rates, well, let me put it to you this way:My father lives in Tamarac, Florida. If I go to Google Maps and do a point to point direction from where I am right now to his home, the total distance to his front door from mine is 1,276 miles. I am barely a marathon away from reaching his house. At this point I would be physically in Delray Beach. Aqua socks, anybody?

The fourth and final goal (you thought I'd stop at three, didnt'cha?) is that I am desperately trying to improve one of my three weaknesses, my endurance. I need to run more often and run longer each time. My per minute miles are suffering right now, so I am also careful to throw in some tempo runs here and there not to slip in pace. My other two weaknesses right now, is my overeating, and my flexibility. It was my hamstrings that finally went on me in last month's NYC Marathon. My right leg especially. I had pulled a hamstring in my right leg, during a practice softball game playing for Avon Products. That was 9 years ago in 1998.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fifty Sense!

After not having had a 40+ mile week since the beginning of September, I busted the fifty mile mark for just the third time in my life today.

I was going to do some Christmas shopping today with the kids, but figured I'd instead try and give back some of that 17 pound turkey I partook in over the past few days. I have to admit...I am a bit alarmed. I weighed in at 162.2 today and this is after having run another 10+ miles yesterday. Either my body is becoming tremendously efficient at not having to burn calories during a workout, or I am just having too much pie with the cherry pie and ice cream that was left over from the holidays too.

After dropping the kids at the childcare center of LA Fitness, I proceeded with my assault of my mileage this week by pounding in another 12 miles. I hate that treadmills stop after an hour, because I actually have to reset and start again, and the last thing I need is to slow down when I'm halfway. I felt I did a nice performance, even though I wasn't looking to break any kind of speed records. LOL.

I still have one more day left in me for the week. Whether or not I try to go and push the envelope further will all depend on whether or not I get a good night's rest and if I am in the mood to go for it again tomorrow. Time will tell....