Sunday, January 25, 2015

Week 11 - Mile HIGH training

Monday, January 19, 2015 / 1 mile / 9:46 / Pace :9:46
Waking up after a long a day after flying, is difficult.  But being two houes behind didn't hurt, as I was able to get in about a mile in the trail behind the hotel.  I wasn't feeling it, and it was colder than I anticipated, and I wasn't dressed properly. So I hung up the laces quickly today, and got to work.  Afterwards, there is happy hour at the Embassy Suites for 2 hours, which I capitalized instead of going to the Colorado Athletic Club.
And there you have it.  The power of co-workers, wine and the general sense of  traveling, can have detrimental effects on running, if you let it.  And yeah, I did. :(

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 / 7.7 miles / 1:03:58 / Pace  8:14 per mile
Nothing says interesting, quite like getting cheers and visuals from your running buddies on NikePlus.  Remove the outdoor environment, remove the indoor treadmill, add a running track, put carpet on that track, and make it so that it is 20 feet above a full length basketball court, and then it gets really, really interesting.  Such that when you put it all together, it can lead to things like almost running into a window, or tripping on the carpet and doing all possible not to face plant, while looking absolutely ridiculous to those on the treadmills below.   Aha!  So there IS a reason after all, why those people below are on the treadmills.

Wednesday and Thursday  (REST - as if I needed it).
No, I didn't weigh myself!  And no, I don't want to know either.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"  Where work=my job  and play=running.

Friday, January 23, 2015 (TRAVEL DAY)
Spent the majority of the day in the air and the majority of the evening.exhausted!

Saturday, January 24, 2015 / 3.11 Miles / 28:57 / Pace: 9:18
Made it to the gym in the morning and was able to put down a 5k, nice and easy for my big race tomorrow. Nice to be back in a routine-like environment.  It had snowed on Friday and Saturday, so I was keeping my eye out to see if there would even be a race, but it got sunny by mid-afternoon, so all looked good.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Week 10 - Crush It Like Gonzo.

These antibiotics that my dentist gave me, suck shit.  I was out of it.  I'm going to stop them, because I woke up Mon into Tuesday night with a mighty tummy ache.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 / 11 Miles / 1:28:03 / Pace 8:00
11 Miles in 88 minutes.  Some days I don't have it.  Tonight was not one of those nights!
After having a sluggish start, a random mix of music, followed up with a well-behaved wifi connection at the gym, which allowed me to watch a moving course of the Chicago Marathon, made me run with joy and energy as I kept getting faster and faster.

Some dudes on treadmills alongside me competed with me ( I know this to be true).  Sure, they would speed up their dreadmill to beat my speed, but they were all wannabes, as they couldn't keep it up for more than a minute or two.  Me? Steady and progressively faster mile over mile.  Sort of like what I did last Saturday only faster.

While I admit that I have temporarily abandoned my Run Smart training program (which I will revisit next week), I will say that had I run this way during the Lehigh Valley Marathon, that I would have easily slipped into Easton in record fashion, easily busting her 4 hour time that she and her elements had imposed upon me.  I'm still pissed about that.  In fact, even if I do get into Chicago in October, I might tempt fate and do Lehigh again.  3 marathons in 8 weeks.  Possible?  Sure why not.

I would have kept running, but because there is a possibility that I might be filling in for an injured teammate at work and flying to Denver, I decided to come home to spend time with Karen instead. However, with her insane work schedule, she was long gone in bed before I even left my home office after the gym.

Wednesday. January 14, 2015 /  2 Runs:
3.1 Miles  / 28:51 / Pace: 9:17 
7 Miles / 50:24  / Pace 7:12 

After a completely stressed out and lackluster lunchtime run at the gym in the Maxess office, and feeling completely UN-satisfied, I went back for seconds now that the day was over.  I also drank a RedBull too, because I wanted to crush it like Gonzo.  Sometimes it's the drink, but in this case it was the encouragement I was getting from my running comrades to fight the status quo, and just GO FOR IT!   After the first two miles looking something like that of the first run, I started entering my 'zone'.  From that point forward, I would progressively, methodically, and absolutely slaughter the miles.  I did the last two miles in under a 7 minute pace, hence the overall 7:12 pace.  And while my Garmin footpod had died on me before the start of my first run (part of my stress), I had tested the accelerometer feature of the NikePlus app on my iPhone against the treadmill readout, and realized that I was pretty much on the money.

This was one of my fastest runs ever, training or otherwise.  I'd have to go back to my race in Toronto to find something that could compare, and I was really happy with my second effort and overall achievement for the day!


Thursday, January 15, 2015 / 17.2 Miles / 2:26:05 / Pace: 8:29
I had been wanting, no wait, ITCHING for a big run outdoors and in New York City.  The precursor for this was my office who sent me to the Chrysler Building to oversee an important video conference between top brass.  
What an amazing view of the sunrise from my Chrysler Building office.
I was there before 8am and by the time the meeting was over at twelve, I was thanked for my servitude.  In addition to this, I was also told what a great day it was outside (as our chief is a big time NYC lover), I echoed his sentiment by stating that I might go for a run.  To which he said, "MAY go for a run?  No. No. No.  You had BETTER go for a run!  Look at it outside, it's beautiful!" 
Hell Yeah!

THAT was the kind of blessing that this crazy person needed to go full overboard and exact my plan.  For such a run, I actually had to put a cutsheet together detailing all the twists and turns around the Big Apple. However, it was pretty silly, because I know New York City, and especially Manhattan better than most of the non-English speak cab-fright-drivers around.  I left the building and headed south on Lexington Avenue.
The air was cold but inviting.  It was a dare, actually.  "C'mon, you punk!" I could almost hear it challenge me;  
"Your wimpy treadmill training over this winter is about to get a come-upping and soon!".                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Did my alter ego tell me this?  Or were there hallucinogenic ingredients in my two slices of pizza at the Two Boots eatery?  And yep, wouldn't and couldn't go for an epic run, without some epic food in belly.  Again, unless this were a real race, I feel comfort in running with food in my stomach.   Weird, right?
Before I even started to run south on Lexington Avenue, I already knew what a challenge I had before me.  With multitudes of people, and cars, I had to put on my thinking cap and assume the role of Neo from the Matrix.  Every single moving part, whether it be human or not, along with their direction of movement, and speed had to be tabulated, so as to make sure that when I ran, that I would minimize stopping as much as possible.  

Now I can't account for how people could stop at a moment's notice, start moving in a different angle suddenly, or speed up, but I've done this so often in my life, that it is some kind of freakish gift, that I hardly ever bump into anyone.  My wife would call me crazy, and rightfully so, as sometimes it might involve running on the street close to the sidewalk, but again, I'm looking at everything frontwards and sometimes behind me as well.  

Here are some of the things one must continually watch for, when running through the streets of a city as busy as NYC (Manhattan) is:

Hundreds of people always all around you.
Red Lights, 
Green Lights,
Handsome Cabs (Horse and Carriage)
Construction Scaffolding (do I run inside the poles or out)
US Postal Mailboxes
Street signs
Fire Hydrants
Hot Dog vendors
Stores with doors swinging out
Sewer grates
Subway grates
Uneven/broken pavement
Sidewalk-closed detours
Dogs on long leashes
Owners talking on cell phones not having a clue about where they are about to walk into
Delivery people riding their bikes to deliver lunch
Swinging handbags
Bouncing pocketbooks
Shopping bags
People stopped to talk to one another.
Other runners!
Crazy people
Homeless people
and Cabs.  (and I say "Cabs" again because these drivers are absolutely reckless!)
God Bless all brave enough to work in this beautiful effigy of freedom!
Now to some, they will talk about doing Tough Mudders or Spartan Races as a badge of courage.
I have respect for those that do it, but honestly, that's nothing to me.  There is no real danger other than whether or not your body is ready for the physical rigors that those nicely orchestrated race courses provide.  In what I did today, not only do I physically have to be fit, and not only do I have to use ALL of my senses in addition to my 'equipment' to run, but there is always an element of danger.  The possibility that a Bus might cross an intersection when they weren't supposed to, forcing a cab to swerve and jump the curb behind me, and.....voila....I 've just become the human version of road pizza.    Tough Mudders?  Spartan Races?

Yeah okay.  
Try running through the city once or twice like this.  And tell me what was easier! 

Bobbing, Weaving, Zigging, Zagging, Stopping, then Sprinting to make up the stopping, Cutting, Button Hooking.  Honestly, I felt like I was playing the role of a running back instead of doing a long distance run.

After several miles where I had reached the Freedom Tower ( I will always call it that), I headed back north on West Broadway.  It wasn't as densely populated, but it had it share of uneven red lights that would force me to run to the other side of the road to just keep moving.

Running north on West Broadway, I came upon Washington Square Park. I had me some interesting memories here in my past "lives" and thought of my Sister and Karen as well, since they both attended NYU just a block away.

The wind around the Flatiron Building was really whipping around.  But that would be nothing to the highest density of packed people coming ahead rapidly...It all starts with Elmo and Spiderman, and ends with tens of thousands of people walking in all directions.  After getting out of the nightmare of Times Square, I finally make it past the CBS Theatre, which tells my NY instincts that I was only a long stone's throw away from the end of the insanity portion of the run.  For once I reached Columbus Circle, it was finally into the runner's "Mecca", Central Park!

Close to the first place I had lived when in NYC
Photos above.  The covered wooden walk path along West Drive.  The Northwest side of Jackie Onassis Reservoir and finally the last place that Karen and I lived near to when we lived on 102nd and 1st Avenue (where the babies had first lived at).  The picture below that was that of 90th street, though I had already exited the park at 96th and ran down to where I first to which was 96th and Park!

Running through the park was and will always be glorious.  There are fellow runners, and nothing of the insanity of running through streets like I did.  It was why, knowing that I had a long run in me, that I would do the 'streets' first while I was fresh and focused.

I exited the park not as one does in the NYC Marathon but further on in the south loop and out through Center Drive and onto 6th Avenue.  Having realized that I started having problems with my batter in the park, the use of photography went down considerably.  I also changed the cell service from LTE to 4G, and lowered the screen resolution brightness.  However, and even though I had a Mophie juice pack that was COMPLETELY charged.  It was all for naught.  For as I was heading south on 6th Avenue, my iphone decided to die right after my last shot of the 57th street subway station!  Thank God that I had my Garmin tracking me as well, or I would have statistically lost this run completely!

I got back to the office all sweaty and in need of a quick wardrobe change as I needed to get back to work. Beautiful views of the city as the earlier sunset of a winter's day finally begins to prevail...

The above are views of Northeast, Due East, and South East captions of the City, the East River, Long Island City (Queens) and Brooklyn.

At the end of it all, I had my best and longest run since probably my NYC Marathon back in November.  Nothing says EPIC quite like seeing a map created by Nike that is so big that an entire city is covered by it!  A big shout out to my running friends online, my job for giving me the opportunity to work in this great city of ours, and to the abilities that I still have and cherish and never take for granted.  God bless!

Found this hanging in a bathroom wall of a restaurant. Awesome shot of 42nd street looking east from 5th Avenue!

Friday, January 16, 2015 / 3.12 Miles / 27:55 / Pace: 8:57 
Though not tired, I nonetheless took it extremely careful, putting down any miles today after my big run outdoors yesterday.  No cheering squad at work today.  Just me, the 'mill, and the miles, babe. :-)

Saturday, January 17, 2015 / 12 Miles / 1:43:27 / Pace 8:37
I so didn't want to go run today.  I couldn't seem to find the strength or will.  I always say to try it anyway, and if you can't run at least you tried.  Today, it took my friends from the running groups on FB to push me to do what I needed to do.  And, I'm so glad, because 12 miles later, all sweatied up and all, I am feeling great right now.  Inspiration = Perspiration.    
Another reason I can withstand the boredom of a treadmill, is because I prepare a little more than most and really show up to the 'belt'  completely accessorized.  One thing I love to do, is watch course videos of the different big races around the US and worldwide,

Brought Karen's Microsoft Surface tablet, and played many marathon and half-marathon courses while I ran on the dreadmill.  In typical fashion, the Surface died long before I finished running.  It probably wasn't charged all the way, but it always seems like I'm the only Machine that outlasts all my other peers. LOL.  
So, in addition to the Surface going belly up, I'm now having to get a new battery for my Garmin footpod (which also died today)... lol....
Another day, another 10+ output.  Need to watch my distance.  Last week I did 51 miles, which far exceeded my previous week of 30+.  This week I'm already at 53, and still have tomorrow.  I will probably do a short run in the morning on my own treadmill, and call it a successful week!

Sunday, January 18, 2015 / 4 Miles / 34:28 / Pace: 8:37 
With a short day in that it's travel day.  I did my miles quickly and early to spend the morning with my family before heading off to Denver.
Next week should be an interesting week, especially training wise where all my miles, whether they be indoors or out, will be at an elevation of 5 to 7 thousand feet above sea level.  This should really help me for my first race of the year next Sunday, The Fred Lebow Manhattan Half Marathon,  in Central Park.  As they say....We're off to the races!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Week 9 - Crack a Fitty!

Before I begin, I want to wish my Dad the best.  He's getting a kidney stone operation tomorrow.
He's had one before, but it was a loooooong time ago (1967, I think to be exact).
I'm sure he will do just fine, and my love and prayers go out to him.
Love ya, Dad!

Been a busy month so far.
First the chart, then the 'dirty'.


Monday, January 5, 2015  / 3.1 miles / 30:30 / Pace: 9:50 / Weight 169.6
Busy day at work and busy day working on my year in review blog as well.  I didn't get to start my workout until 8pm, and I was exhausted.  The treadmill I used was an old one, and my landings were hard and lumbersome.  Also I've been eating less (on purpose), and this is the first day in over a month where I am under 170.  That's good in the weight department, but my body needs a little adjustment in the energy sector.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015 / (REST) /  Weight 169.0
Machine was too busy writing his end of year about the machine the night before.  So he powered himself down to let his mental engine cool off.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015 / 10.01 Miles / 1:33:35 / Pace 9:21 / Weight 168.8
Ran the first 7 at the Retro Gym, then paused the run to drive home to make sure I would be there after Maria Elena put kids to bed, and then ran on treadmill downstairs for 3 miles to complete 10. in 1:33:34 for a pace of 9:22

Thursday, January 8, 2015 / 11 Miles / 1:37:21 /  Pace: 8:51 / Weight  168

Feets don't fail me now!  But shorts?  Yep, they did.  Remind me not to where my red and black shorty shorts that kept a creepin' until the road rash was well set in .  I had to cake several layers of talcon powder on to be able to walk around the house afterwards.  Ran at the Y tonight, and did spectacular in the last 3-4 miles.  Energized by the cheers of many on NikePlus, I was able to improve pace, do a negative split, and run with a smile on my face the entire time.

Friday, January 9, 2015 / (REST) / Weight 166.8
Working from home does not necessarily mean extra time to run.  In fact, it's usually the opposite as I find myself far more dedicated to my job here then I am anywhere else.  The creature comforts make way for the most productive employee.  Oh, that and digging out 3 cars from the snow and ice this morning.  Oh, that and going to the dentist during lunch to be told I might lose another tooth in the upper right quadrant, as they did "exploratory" work to save the tooth for the crown that was on it's way out.  That now makes 1 possible and 1 definite implant for this year. Yikes.  Oh well, more metal.  More Machine.

Saturday, January 10, 2015 / 13.1 Miles / 1:50:22 / Pace: 8:25  / Weight: 167.2

So yeah, it sucks I gained, although it wasn't much thankfully. Slept more hours last night (went to bed at 11:00 after watching American Horror Story  S:3 E:3), but woke up this morning feeling tired and listless.  Made pancakes for the twinkies (their favorite).  The energy from the cakes and my Nestle's Quik-infused coffee, has me rarin' for another epic session on the, ugh, dreadmill, lol.
The run at the gym was beyond epic, it was pretty funny. About 4 miles into it, I experienced the need to do something that I have never experienced before, even during a race. I paused my watch, took the things off my treadmill, and ran to a stall where I did my business.
What I had forgotten about was that I also had the Nike app on as well. And here's the best part of all. The moment I flushed the toilet, I got a cheer from the Nike app. It was timed perfectly, and what was even better was that I had taken my headphones off so the sound came through the speaker . I can only imagine what people in the bathroom must've been thinking at the time! LMFAOOO!!!

Discounting the 6 minute pause to run into the stall and hop back on the treadmill, I was almost perfect in accomplishing a progressive negative per mile split in almost every mile.  It felt pretty great.   I definitely had a lot of energy yesterday, but even still, it's nice to surprise yourself once in a while.  The last mile was pure adrenaline!

Once done, I took a quick shower and went to get the kids to take them to Children's Museum of Long Island. We're members there and they always have a blast whenever I take them there. I met Karen there after she had finished getting her facial.

Sunday, January 11, 2015 / 14 Miles / 2:05:15 / Pace: 8:57 / Weight: 166.8

After going to bed at a decent hour, I woke up at 9:30am and felt like shit.  I was tired, and didn't feel like getting out of bed, let alone take care of the kids while Karen was at the gym.  Even later on in the day, as I was watching the Cowboys/Packers game, I was still lethargic.

I've had days like this.  Days where the mind had designs, but the body had other plans.  Ever have those days?  Well, I have.  I dragged myself to the gym, but not before an indiscretion of eating 10 chicken nuggest at Burger King for a buck forty-nine and a small onion rings at Burger King.  Hey, I have to be honest with you.  I wish I could be as committed to eating the right foods as I do when I commit to run.  Maybe, morbidly, the eating of the processed junk, forced me to have to run.  You know, just to burn off that crap.   One thing I have learned about exercise, is that you need to always give it a shot (unless you are really sick , of course). Even if you think you're tired, try to run anyway. Start slow and steady. You may need to stop, but at least you didn't give in without trying. As for the "sick" part.  No, I am not sick (well maybe in the head a little, ;-) ).  However, I was at the Dentist on Friday, and today was Day 3 of my Antibiotic.  Do you know what an antibiotic does to you, besides kill any possible bacteria?  It kills, period.  Makes you tired, sluggish, downright weak, Thus, the 27 miles I've done in the last two days, was pretty inspiring.  A huge tip to anyone registered to enter a race....DO NOT BE ON ANTIBIOTICS FOR AT LEAST WEEK BEFORE YOU CROSS THE STARTING LINE OR YOU WILL BE SORRY!

I've had this happen to me, and the results were ugly.   Make sure to schedule anything that might require the use of antibiotics, properly so that it does not interfere with your running. And of course, this is coming from a madman, because only a madman would suggest you not giving up your race times but rather risk your health overall, right?  Well, you know what I mean.  Don't mix!

It took a little bit over 4 1/2 miles to start to "wake" up.  I ran pretty well after that, but made sure not to try anything too heroic like yesterday.

And.....WHAT THE HELL?   The Garmin to NikePlus converter was broken.  I went to NikePlus somehow has my run from today!  How is that possible???

I've been involved in a few Nike Challenges, so I am grateful that A.W. (Smithson) was able to fix his code today to allow me to continue converting my Garmin logs over to my Nike Plus account!!!

I never realized what a great group of runners I'm blessed to be in with, and doubly blessed to be doing so well so far.

Here is the overall list of the top 50:

That is an impressive roster!

Speaking of impressive roster, Joy, one of my running friends on Facebook Runners, invited me on Twitter to join #earthrun.  I signed up , but I am totally lost as to what I'm supposed to do.  I'm not a big Twitter user, in fact I still don't even know what I am doing.  Or rather hastag, I don't know what I am doing.  LOL.  Joy, if you or any of your teammates read this, then PLEEEZE let me know what I need to do to log miles for that challenge!  Thanks.

Lastly, I guess I am wearing my age well....

A few notes for the week:

  1. I cracked a 'fitty'. And it feels good to finally have a 50+ mile week after quite a while.
  2. My body is getting smart to burning off calories.  And that's not good.  I only lost 4/10ths of a pound after running a half marathon on Saturday.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll see a better result.
  3. A little concerned about all my treadmill running, but I think the strategy will pay off when I race on the 25th in Central Park.  Let's face it, I love to run in the cold anyway, it's no secret.  What I need is to make my lungs strong, lose weight, and build stamina.  The only way to guarantee that without having Mother Nature intervene, is the dreaded dreadmill.  I'm itching to get out and run, but not being a morning person, and with little light outside in the morning, there is no safety net to run outdoors at night, and by myself.  This hadn't stopped me before, but there is a place and time for everything.
  4. Off to a flying, if not meteoric start.  For the first 11 days of the new year, I've run 81 miles.  This is topped only by last year when I already had 104.  However it took me 14 runs to achieve that whereas, my 8 runs this year means a high mile per average training run (10.125 mpr  vs. 7.43mpr last year). The 229 miles last year January was not even the most.  That distinction belongs to the January 2013, when I posted the most miles I ever have for any month, any time at 266.  Both years previously are tall orders to fill.  But let's see how I do. :-)
Lastly, I figured it was time to break away for a moment from my "intense" music.  Thus, a little fun with a 60 minute workout throwback mix from the 90's.  Enjoy it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2014 - A Year In Review

When anyone writes a blog, the first thing you gotta ask yourself is, "Am I that much into myself to think anyone really gives a fuck about what I want to write about?"  This is especially true if the subject matter is about yourself, and not someone or something else.  Some may be blind to the reason for wanting to crave attention.  We all want to be loved, and we all want people to tell us that we're doing great in some form or another.   While this is true for me as well, I like to blog about the things that I amaze myself with for more than just self hero-worship.  To some who read this it might be nothing, or to others, they might even think that I'm wasting my time, much the same way that Oedipus did as he kept looking at himself in the reflecting pool.  As you know, Oedipus loved himself so much, that he fell into that water in search for pure love.  What he got in return, were two lungs full of water and a toe-tag.

I don't just like to write to pat myself on the back.  I know I am great.  I do a shit load in the running scene, and even more at work.  And even more than I do at both, I'd like to think that I'm a pretty damn good husband, and an amazing father....of FIVE.

But it's of no use for a human to keep all this confidence and proof of amazing abilities to his or herself.  Mankind strives to always improve.  Mankind looks for heroes to help lead them to accomplish their goals, and to be better than they ever thought they could.

I took to blog writing, not to just cyber-beat my chest to say, "I Rock."  I also took to blogging to inspire others.  Perspiration is Inspiration.  Nothing in life that is of any significance, comes without hard work and sacrifice.  But when that hard work is put forward, and rewards are receieved, it is recommended, no better yet, it should be a MANDATE, that we share with others our secret.  Being selfish by keeping our successes to ourselves serve only to one's self.  And if we're ever to advance as a society, then we must bring the other person up and help show them the way to success as well.

And with that...


After all that 2013 was and mostly wasn't,  I had really looked forward to changing things around for 2014.  2013, in comparison to 2012 was an off year.  Seems like I do better on the even years, for some weird reason.

My year started with getting all crazy doing these "step" challenges, thanks to this wellness program in my office.  The fastest way to accumulate steps, was to wear this stepper, and use the treadmill during what would be the worst winter, weather-wise, that I or any New Yorker had ever seen.
The treadmill I have in the basement is shitty compared to what was in the gym, but it did the trick and how.

Race #235 : NYRR 5-Boro Series : Fred Lebow Manhattan Half Marathon 
Sunday, January 26, 2014 (Central Park, NYC, NY)

It had been nearly two months since my last race (Oyster Bay Turkey Trot).  And while I wasn't feeling it, I always knew how poorly I do in this race.  Despite the second coldest race I had ever ran in (coldest if you count this being the longer distance), I ached my way to the finish line, for a course record of 1:47:47 and a pace of 8:04

Race #236 : Electric Zombie Race - 5k
Sunday, February 15, 2014  8:00pm (Fort Worth, Texas)

With the suckass reality that I wasn't going to be home to spend Valentine's Day with my wife, I decided to make the best of it in advance, by signing up for a glow-in-the-dark, zombie race around one of the largest raceways in the US, the Texas Motor Speedway.  Located near Fort Worth, Texas, we ran a 5k race, and while it was largely a "fun" run, I started close to the front, never let up, and got to the point where I could count the people who finished in front of me with just the fingers of my two hands.  My power rating of 289 was one of my all-time best.  And not one zombie touched me, though one did leap at me right before I entered the speedway.  Scary!

Despite the brutality of the cold weather in NY, Texas was quite the contrary, with mild temps and surprisingly dry temps.  It was a great trip to run.  In addition to Zombie, I ran to a "haunted" park a few miles from my hotel, and did an amazing marathon run in and around Dallas.

Dallas Marathon Run - THE BIG ONE!
Sunday, February 15, 2014  8:00pm (Dallas, Texas)
And in a hotel bathroom.  How shameless!


Not even 12 hours after I had just done a race in Fort Worth, was I at it again.  This time in Dallas, Texas.  Where would I begin?  Where it all ended for John F. Kennedy.  Where would it all end?  Some 26.3 miles later.  My first marathon for the year, and while there was no medal waiting for me at the end, the sense of JOY and ACCOMPLISHMENT over tackling such a run in an area that I never had been to before in my life, was beyond amazing!

Since blogging was not something that I was doing in the first half of last year, here are the "snipets" as told to my Facebook Runner's family online...

When it was all over, it was 26.4 miles.  It was dark, and suprisingly, It was COLD!

THE STREAK (January 28, 2014 thru February 24, 2014)
Read all about it.  Machine forgets the off switch.  And yet, I've read in Runner's World people who have run every day....FOR YEARS.  I cannot comprehend that, and perhaps with so many other things to cherish in life, I'm not sure why I would want that sort of monogamous lifestyle of running anyway.  But, for a solid month, I was just that.  A faithful runner who would stop at nothing. NOT EVEN traveling to Texas, from my runs.  Some of them were easy, and some were races, some were quickies, while others were as difficult as a self-imposed marathon.  All in all, 28 days later (and no, not the apocalyptic movie about zombies either) I would be the holder of a new personal record, obliterating the previous record of 22 days.  Herewith, is a listing of that insanity:

I wish the streak could have gone on forever, but I didn't want to risk injury and after pounding out 27 miles over 2 runs on the 23rd, and then insanely enough, another 15.5 miles the following day (which is 42.5 miles and another personal record for a 2-day total unto itself), I just needed to chill.  Who knows how much longer I could have lasted had I not push it that hard those last 2 days.

Race # 237 : Frozen Penguin Half Marathon 
Saturday, March 01, 2014  (Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY)
From Arlington, Texas all-l-l-l-l the way to Brooklyn, USA!

I will admit it.  The year before, Karen had me drive her down to Bay Ridge to do a race, and when I immediately saw the course I got jealous right away.  I still remember doing a few runs here when I lived with Ileana.  Kew Gardens had nothing to do with Brooklyn, mind you. But back then, and still now, I always get the idea to try a completely different course.  I will actually drive out of my way to find something new, lace up and go.

My first 4 miles were sub-8.  Only to be ruined by the next 10k where I could not post up even one Sub-8.  However, my grittiness, and feeling of a second-wind, helped me to finish the last three miles in sub-8 each, and I finished my first ever run there in a respectable 1:45, besting my previous half (Lebow).

Race #238:Washington Heights Salsa, Blues, & Shamrocks 5k 
Sunday, March 2, 2014 (Washington Heights, NY)
It wasn't even 24 hours since I had driven to Brooklyn, and now I would be driving to Washington Heights.  Formerly known as "Coogan's Race" it is the 2nd most frequently visited race for me, after the NYC Marathon.  Parking here is always a bitch, but I always find miracles.  I found a spot that I waited and waited when this car came out of nowhere honking his horn saying that it was his spot.  We fought until they finally gave up.  As I pulled in, a passerby proved to me how this spot was not a valid spot after all.  Running late for the start, Karen dropped me off, to find parking for the her and the kids. I did see her before   Karen brought the kids and watched them as I decided to go full throttle.
And I blasted away.   A 6:49 for Mile 1, and a 7:02 for Mile 3, ensured that I would kill the course, and FINALLY get a course record, which had eluded me, and even deceived me a couple of years ago.  It would be my 3rd fastest 5k in modern times.

Race # 239 :  The New York City Half Marathon 
Sunday, March 16, 2014 (New York City, NY) 

By the time February had rolled around, I was desperate to get my Machine clothing in time for the NYC Half Marathon.  I'd been on the phone with the fabric maker in NY, LA, and the Chinese seamstress who put it all together for me in the Fashion District.  When it arrived at my doorstop, and when I opened the package, I realized that my running meant so much more than just putting one step in front of the other.  It felt awesome to put it on, and run with it.  And best of all, I had just gotten it 3 days before the start of the NYC Half.  PERFECT.

Does a clothes make a runner?  In perhaps the greatest race I've ever ran, the MACHINE destroyed New York.  Barely missing his personal best of 1:39:59 on what was then an all flat course, the Machine never did any mile in over 8 minutes.  He never did anything even as high as 7:30 from Miles 7 onward.  An amazing negative split and I smiled the whole way to the finish line.  What a great race this was.  I have a tall order to fill in 2015, but until then, I will continue to bask in this amazing feat.  After the race, and for the 2nd straight year, my bud Doug and I had the sloppiest and most wonderful breakfast at an eatery nearby.

Race # 240 : Michelob Ultra 13.1 Marathon of New York
Saturday, March 22, 2014 
(Flushing Meadow/Corona Park, Flushing, NY) 

Here was a race that I was and wasn't looking forward to.  I was looking forward to it, because in the past I have sucked at it, with one weather-related problem or another, and I wanted revenge.  I was not looking forward to it, because again, the weather always sucked.

This year the Gods smiled upon me for most of the way, and I was able to finish with my 5th fastest Half Marathon ever.  You'd think that this almost all-flat course would be a great place to set a PR, but running around Flushing SWAMP bay just flattens your sails out.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 (My Basement in Glen Cove) 

REPOSTED FROM A FACEBOOK PAGE (original story missing)
My office HR and insurance company introduced a wellness program consisting of a stepper. We all signed up and challenged others. Now let me preface with the fact that I hate to lose...especially to someone at work who kept boasting about his abilities. Long story short. He started posting ridiculous numbers with only like a day left. So, and with a treadmill at home, I hopped aboard last year, and ran 27.5 miles (more than a marathon) and over 4 hours. Almost didn't get to post my steps as I only had like 30 seconds left to post the 56,585 steps i took. So yes, I have issues.... 
And yes, I did crush it.  But, I had no choice! I knew I needed at least 50k steps to over take him and not knowing whether or not he was also adding steps in the end made it an insane scramble to the finish! My best marathon ever was in Chicago, when i did a 3:39:28. So this was a pretty remarkable night. Even funnier was that this was a work night. AND i had a 15k race 2 days later which I crushed for a PR. Sometimes I can do no right, but then there are stretches like these where the opposite is true. Insane how physiology works at times!

Race # 241 : Kings Park 15k  
Sunday, March 29, 2014 (Kings Park, New York) 

I always like putting creepy images whenever I speak about the Kings Park 15k.  Then again, how often does one get to run to the middle of nowhere, just to come face to face with several abandoned state psychiatric ward complexes?   This race which is loaded with hills, include a real killer called Kohr Road, is a twisted and twisting ascent spanning nearly 300 feet and one of the highest elevations in all of Long Island.  Two years ago, I had come so close to setting my 15k PR, only to be denied in the final miles, missing the mark by a scant 23 seconds.  But I would not be denied this time, and broke my record by over a minute.  This race did not come without adversity as there were some issues involving another department at work, and I was on call.  Let's just say that the testosterone flowed in more than just one (running) direction...

Race # 242 - Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run
Sunday, April 6, 2014 (Washington, DC) 

For years I had wanted to scratch this race off my running "bucket" list.  Initially, I was to run this one on my own, but Karen wanted in, and luckily the race director was able to accommodate both of us. The weather for this run was brisk but good.  The winter had been so rotten that the Cherry Blossoms were no where to be found. As for my race, it was one of those battles that went right down to the wire. I had been well on my way, clocking a 7:03 for Mile 4. But I started posting more than 7:30 in each of my remaining miles including a disastrous 7:46 in Mile 9.  I only had to make up 29 seconds, but the best I could do in my tenth mile was to make up 14 of those 29 seconds, as I was just running on fumes by the time I crossed that finish line.  This was definitely one of those Prefontaine-style races, where I left it all on the road.  When I looked at the video of me crossing the finish line, I even had to put my arm on a runner in front of me to not fall.

Race # 243 :  Long Island Half Marathon 
Sunday, May 4, 2014 (East Meadow, NY) 
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This wasn't a race that I was particularly looking to do, especially since I had a work-related flight to catch later on that afternoon, but after being injured the year previously,  and running as horribly as I did in last year's Half (it was a 2:20, my worst half marathon result ever), I needed to make a statement.  Last year I made another statement too, as I ran with Karen to keep her company and we finished almost at precisely the same moment (though she yelled at me to run ahead near the end).
What followed the gun going off at the start was pure strength and will. I went from running my worst Long Island Half to my best Long Island Half, setting a course record by nearly a full minute.

Race # 244 : Sporting Life 10k 
Sunday, May 11, 2014 (Toronto, Ontario) 

In yet another amazing example of what I year I had, this is one of those races that has to be read to be believed, or not...How else can I account for the fact that I would shatter my personal best in the 10k, after flying into Toronto for a stressful project....and only sleeping about 90 minutes the night before which included a lot of drinking (not that I'm proud of it either).

After having a really long Wed, Thu and Fri, I finally had the opportunity to kick back and have some fun on Saturday.  Everyone was telling me Saturday night to forget the race, and just hang out and party.  Which I did.  And then as the party had ended and I was back in my bed, my internal alarm clock woke me up at 6am.  The decision to not let my entry fee go to waste was a quick one.  As I was in my car all dressed in machine garb before I even had totally woken up.  Getting to Toronto was a challenge however, as not only was I in Mississauga, about a 30 minute drive away, but there were several roads closed, none of which my TomTom GPS knew about.  I had to actually make some calculated guesses.  Guesses from a man, who was actually still probably legally drunk.  This race reminded me of Ted Corbitt Race of 2008 when I dressed up as Santa with sunglasses on to hide the only other race in which I was inebriated.

What happened at the race however, is something that will forever separate the way I used to think about race preparation from the way I think about it now.

The course was flat and downhill.  You basically run down Yonge street heading south east the whole way until you reach the shore.  I didn't have time to study the course at all, and only came to learn about this advantageous decline after my race.  There was also the wind at my back the entire way and about about 20,000 runners in front of me blocking whatever headwind too.  Finally, and as you may expect if you've ever imbibed yourself, the tolerance for pain becomes much higher.  I didn't feel fatigue or shortness of breath, or body pains anywhere.
I did my last mile in 7:05.

After the race, I had to sneak on the transport bus, as I never had bought a ticket for it and it was too late to do so at the registration race before the start.  I got to a subway, took it, and got off. Only to find myself having gotten off a couple of miles from where I parked my car.  As I walked to my rental, I saw a bunch of places selling roses.  :-(  That's what happens when you're an IT engineer... Sometimes you get sent for projects...even over Mother's Day.

Finally, my time was 44:42. That's a pace of 7:13 per mile.  I came in 1,114th place out of 21,750 runners, for a top 5% finish.  It was the first time I hit a 'gold' power ranking for a legitimate (discounting the Zombie run) since I was 19. Incredible.... :-)

Race # 245 : NYRR 5-Boro Series: Brooklyn Half Marathon 
Saturday, May 17, 2014  
(Prospect Park to Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY) 

The toughest part about running the Brooklyn Half Marathon is the parking situation. Even after leaving extra early this year, we parked on Eastern Parkway and thought we had a good spot until we learned of some stupid temporary work zone sign.  With barely any time left, I had to do a mad sprint to baggage check where....

An insane bum rush to the last truck collecting baggage.

The race was good, but I hadn't run as much leading up to the race due to a lot of different projects going on at work at the time.  I didn't see too many familiar faces, until Wilton Tejada tapped me from behind around Mile 9 to say hello.  He was definitely on a mission and took no prisoners at this race.    I finished in a respectable 1:45:32, but was not able to crack a sub-8 possibly due to going out to quickly and all of the stress in trying to get to the starting line on time.  A starting line, which, was delayed by 10 minutes.  25,600 runners may have had something to do with that.

Baggage pickup was a complete nightmare.  I waited 45 minutes, along with others to get my bag.
Overall, I love this race, but the recent increase in field, requires that this race be handled like the NYC Half.

Race # 246 : Sid Jacobson JCC 5k  (Roslyn, NY)
Sunday, June 8, 2014

I'll always remember this race as the one that almost got away.  It was 2013, and I was gunning for the finish line, except I couldn't find it, and went into the finishers area.  I was so disoriented that I didn't even notice the finish line staring me right in the face.  Still I came in 2nd in my age group.  Well this year, I would finish even better overall.  Tenth place to be exact out of 205 runners!  I still finished in 2nd about a minute behind 1st and about 1 minute ahead of 3rd.  Karen came in 2nd as well.  It was a good team effort!

Race # 247 : NYRR 5-Boro Series: Queens 10k 
Sunday, June 22, 2014  
(Flushing Meadow/Corona Park, Flushing, NY) 

I missed this race last year due to work-related events, and the year before I totally bombed out with no help from a typically hot and humid day.  However, the temperatures have been cooler than normal this summer (reprucussions from a devastatingly cold winter and spring).  So with a temp of 67 degrees, I was able to easily ride to the finish with a course record and a sub-8 run.  It was also two years ago and at this very race where I had my iPhone stolen at the park.  So this was a much better outcome in every way imaginable.

Race # 248 : Achilles Hope & Possibility 5M 
Sunday, June 29, 2014  

Another race, another course record. I'd need to go back to 2011 and when the temperature was actually cooler to get a better clock at this run.  New York Road Runners usually host the Gay Pride run on Saturday, and Hope on Sunday.  And I usually switch between races from year to year, except when I did both (also in 2011).  
Not much to say about this race except that I got to meet Jon Stewart in person which was pretty cool.
Then I came home, and jogged while pushing the double-stroller for another mile or so.  Nuts, right? 

Race # 249 : NYRR Long Training Run#1 (Central Park, NY)
Saturday, July 26, 2014  
Overweight and undertrained and uninspired.  I knew that the party would have to end at some point.  You see it on TV.  The stock market goes up.  The stock market goes down.  A business profiting from record revenues quarter after quarter, suddenly can't buy its way out of a paper bag.  There was a reason for that corny adage, "Two steps forward, one step back."  

Nevermore was that a true phrase as it was for me during my first of two long training runs.  In addition to it all, I was out partying a bit, as I probably thought that I could pull off what I pulled off in Toronto.  Sadly, it was not to be.  I knew I was in for a long day right after my first six miles were done.  Cocky me.  I even had lined up behind the pace guy holding the 8 minute per mile flag.  What exactly was I thinking?  Fellow readers, if you wanted a sanity check, then this race is it.  You can cheat on your training a little bit of the time, imbibe here and there, be in the wrong state of mind the night before, and assume other nefariously toxic behaviors.  Eventually, the running Gods will catch up to you, and stomp on you like an unwanted house pest.  

All I kept thinking of during Lap 1 was. 'Uh-oh.  What's going on?"  Lap 2 was more like, 'C'mon Alex, pull it together, you can overcome anything!"  Lap 3 was more like, 'Okay.  It appears I can't overcome this.  Well, wait till my next Long Training Run.  I will kick ass!" and finally Lap 4 which was something incorrigible, followed by 'Holy Fuck of Fuckstein Incorporated! When will the Fuckin' Race Fuckin' End??'  This was followed by cursing, more grunts, complaints from the leg, lungs and heart category, and lastly....more incorrigible language.

Race # 250 : NYRR Long Training Run#2 (Central Park, NY)
Sunday, August 17, 2014  
My second Long Training Run race started off badly.  We got there late and I had to piss and poop.  My stomach was feeling too good, but it wasn't anything I ate (like the first LTR, where I forgot to mention I had mexican food at some unknown establishment, no less).   Yet, I had been training and had a good sleep actually.  

In fact, I was feeling so good, that while I missed the first several corrals, and wound up leaving with the 10:30 per mile group, I would wind up passing SEVEN corrals along the way.  I was feeling pretty energized and never stopped at the optional Lap Pit Stops that they had after each loop, except to get my own Diet Red Bulls after Laps 1 and 2 (yeah, ok, I admit it.  I had Red Bulls after Laps 1 and 2, okay???  ;-) ), 

My finish time of 2:53:49 with a pace of 8:41 was my 2nd best ever for this 20 Mile effort.  I had accomplished my best back in 2012, with a time of 2:49:19 and a pace of 8:28.  Not bad, right?

I should have stopped here before my Marathon in Lehigh Valley on the 7th.  But .... no.

Race # 251 : Manhattan 14.2 Training Run (New York, NY)
Sunday, August 31, 2014  

This has to be one of my favorite races, that isn't even truly a race.  While there is a clock at the finish line, there are no stats produced.  While there is a starting line, there are no mats to cross it.  The race is organized by PAL (Police Athletic League).  According to their race director, there is a possibility that this might be the last one, or that the course might change.  Hopefully not, as the course is the gem of this race.  Starting at the most northern point in all of Manhattan Island, the race takes you along the western edge of Manhattan as you travel south (obviously), until you get to Battery Park, hence the most southern area of the Island.   I love the energy of this race.  From the touching of the steel girder emphasizing the last piece of structure before crossing over into the Bronx, to the ex-con-turned-Police-lovin'-rapper, who has the largest PA amp one could stick in the back of an open minivan, as disco music from the 70's is blasting through, and as he is yelling the corniest of expressions through a megaphone.  All while someone is driving the minivan.  He then gets to the finish line, where there is more megaphone as you cross the finish line.  It almost sounds like it could be annoying, but trust me, it isn't.  It's New York.  And it's perfect.

Perhaps the greatest and now most-recent attribute to this race, was what I was able to accomplish here back in 2012.  2012 was a lot like 2014, in that there were a lot of records broken then too.  But for the first time, since I had broken the tape at an indoor relay race back in 1979 as a Freshman at St. Francis Prep, I nearly experienced the absolute nirvana in racing, when, after 17 miles, I actually passed the leader, and literally was #1, if just for a few minutes.  What an amazing head trip that was just thinking about it as I write to all of you.  If any of you are close enough to win anything race related, then do ALL POSSIBLE to go the extra effort and make it happen.  

I did 2012's race in 1:56:20.  In this year's rendition however, I did not want to go out fast at all.  In fact, I told Karen (who ran it with me) that I would run with her.  She kept warning me not to, telling me that I would get frustrated being near the last of the pack rather than the first.  But I disregarded her advice, and hung in close to her.

That lasted 2 miles.

I tried.  I really tried.  People tell me that I'm one of the nicest gentlemen on Earth, but they also tell me that I have an amazing split persona once my testosterone takes over and the challenge begins to take hold.  True to what she warned me of, I started getting frustrated as people started passing her (us).  At one point someone pushing a stroller past us, then two very old people passed us.  I was like, "What the fuck?", and I say it now, because Karen realized what was going thru my head, but at the moment, I just kept it all in and when we got to the top of that killer hill near 195th street, I bid her farewell.  Now, like a star going supernova, I went out into an all out sprint.  My legs were strong, hard, and ripping asphalt like some out of control Machine ( heh ).  I kept passing people continuously, and I kept records of this in my head too.  I passed 240 people, when there was only a field of 276 total runners, and when there were only 11 people (including Karen) behind me.  These merciliess takeovers continued all the way to the end.  I remembered how sad I was to relinquish the lead back in '12, and even got more incensed around Mile 12, getting into sprint wars with others, and winning every battle.  

Unfortunately, the finish line ended for 24 runners before I could catch up and over take them. But I came in what had to be 25th.  Again, most took this training run as just that and not a race.  Yeah, right.  Tell that to the people I went toe-to-toe with.  The more I climbed in the charts the less the folks I was passing were as giving.  This is what I love about running.  We all support one another and share in the camradarie, and yet we all go out there to challenge others and ourselves too.

Race # 252 : Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon
(Allentown to Easton, PA)
Sunday, September 7, 2014  

These were some huge medals
For a few months, I had been training for this race, but I didn't give it enough "ummmf".  Not sure what was the dilly-o.  Part of it was work.  It was getting crazier and crazier in my office.  But the other part was that I was beginning to feel burned out.  Between December of 2013 and August of 2014, I had knocked out 200 or more miles, in 7 of those months. This isn't to say that a person can't hack it, but it is to say that I really pushed myself too hard in one year.  I was actually feeling sick of running.  Like as if I wanted to do something else entirely different.   That feeling, as I've had in the past, would pass as it always does.  And also as always, it would be replaced with a sense of urgency.  One, which came upon me about a month before the race.  That sense of urgency can be a dangerous thing.  Thus, perhaps, I shouldn't have run in the 14.2 race.  However, I felt inadequate, like as if I hadn't trained enough.  This is always an issue that runners face at times. Handling it requires removal of emotion, and focus on the physical.  What I was not aware of was how much of this flat course was on trails, I honestly did not do my "homework" at all.  The course map was there for me to see and I barely looked at it until it was nearly too late.
I have very little experience in running trails.  

Karen and the kids wanted to come with me.  Initially, I didn't want anyone to come.  I wasn't being selfish perse'.  Okay, I was.  But I really wanted to ace this race, by having maximum quiet time where the kids wouldn't scream and yell as if the Manson family came to town.  I finally relented, and Karen wound up running a half marathon, as we brought our Au Pair to watch over David and Kayla at the hotel.  

The morning of the race, Karen dropped me off at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown.  She then continued to drive to Bethlehem, which is where the start of her race was, while for me, it would be the half-way point.   What laid before me was the finish line, some 26.2 miles ahead in a town called EASTON.  Easton, is in Pennsylvania as well, but only separated from New Jersey by a skinny little iron bridge. Very cute iron bridge, I might add.

Going back to Allentown... Well that place didn't do much for me, but we had picked up our race materials the day before in Bethlehem and it was a really cool town.  
LOL.  That's David on the bottom center walking over towards me to see what on Earth I was up to.
The expo-center-converted-steel-plant was awesome, as was this little dive in the hole restaurant called, Sal's Brick Oven Pizza.
Kayla acting all cute (after she had a temper tantrum, oy!)
This is about as Hole-In-The-Wall as it gets! Food was great!

Prior to the start of the race, I met Pauline Tang, previously of the Forest Park Road Runners.  She and I had both won Male and Female Runner of the Year Awards in 2009.  For me, it was a repeat win too!

Nice and clean before anyone lined up for it!
For the first 5 miles of the race we ran through the neighborhood of Allentown.  One guy, young too, did not handle the heat so well.  Poor guy collapsed at around Mile 4.  I passed by as fellow runners alongside him, picked him up right away, but he didn't let them grab him, and tried to keep running. He clearly was not in his right mind.  Poor dude.

But was I clearly in my right mind?

I enter into the beautifully gravel paved wooded trails.  It was really a beautiful course, one that I would recommend to anyone.  And true, they do tout that it has the 4th highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the nation (main reason why I signed up for it). However, I wasn't prepped for trails.  I nearly tripped and fell over broken tree limbs a couple of times, and almost wiped out on some mud patches, because yes, it rained like hell the night before.

By the time I got to Mile 16.  I knew it was over.  By the time I got to Mile 22, Pauline who usually is a few minutes slower than me, passed me as well.  The fatigue had gotten hold of me even more as we no longer were in the shade.  You had to be a little tougher than when doing bigger races like NY and Chicago.  There were no Gatorade stations, or GU or Power Gel handouts every other mile.  
By the time I got to Mile 24, all I wanted to do was to break 4 hours.  I tried, really really hard.  I grunted and yelled, tried to get my legs into some faster cyclical pattern.  The last mile was torture as we ran on one side of the river towards the finish line which was on the other side.  Meaning?  We had to back track up over a ramp, and then cross a tressle, to finally finish out.  I had such amazing cramps since Mile 15 (really early on), but by now, everything was in complete auto-lock.  Yet, I grimaced and yelped my way as fast as I could, pushing me through that finish line.

Not fast enough.  4 hours 2 minutes.

It was still a great run nonetheless.  I really had a great time.  The scenery was beautiful.

Karen had already driven back to the hotel to check out, so after I finished I headed over to a nice fancy place in Easton to eat her foods a plenty.
I was talking to the party of 4 at the next table.  They too did the marathon.
Fortunately, driving home our engine didn't seize the way that it did on the way down to Penn and as we were on the George Washington Bridge of all place.  Kia would later on fix this issue for me.

In the end, my new friend from Facebook Craig Adler who also ran the race, qualified for the Boston Marathon, while I could not.  Perhaps I had bitten off more than I could chew.  It was a flat course, yes.  But 20 of the 26 miles were on trails.  And while that's typically easy on the knees, and while previous runners of the race would say that the weather was cooler than in most years....I probably should not have run 14.2 miles just one week earlier.  The german male (whose name escapes me now) coach at NYRR told me back in 2010, that I was crazy for running 13.1 miles, TWO weeks prior to the Chicago Marathon.  So I must commit to not doing this again. 

Race # 253 : NYRR 5-Boro Series: Bronx 10 Miler 
(Bronx, NY)
Sunday, September 28, 2014  
Here's another place where parking is always a bitch.  Though this time we got a spot inside the Yankee Stadium parking lot.  As for the race itself, it is predominantly an out and back over the Grand Concourse.  And despite the horrible life I once lived in the Bronx, I actually like this course quite a bit.  My time this year was faster than last year.  I came in the top 15% overally, and was able to eek out yet another sub-8 time. 

Race # 254 : Memorial Sloan Kettering's Fred's Team Presents Grete's Great Gallop Half Marathon
(Central Park, New York, NY)
Sunday, October 5, 2014  

Here was a race, where I really didn't care how well or poorly I did.  I just wanted to have fun.  And with that mind set in mind (mind you), I was able to play the role of champion-wanna-be.  Just take a look at those ridiculous finish line antics up above.  If I could yell any louder, I might accidentally swallow a small commuter plane!  Thor ran the race.  He's done it before.  Thus, Machine needed to have an action shot with Thor.  Super heroes unite!

One of my more favorite post race photos with Karen.

Scott sent me this after my race, and I nearly puked from laughing so hard.

Race # 255: NYRR 5-Boro Series:Staten Island Half-Marathon 
(Staten Island, NY)
Sunday, October 12, 2014  
Here was another borough race, with another usual fucked up parking sitch, but this time, I was able to find a spot just a few blocks away.  Karen complained again about what bad shape she was in, and yet I reminded her that she competed in more races this year than I did.  

The race was one where I felt really good. And it showed.  I was running faster mile after mile.  I garnered a negative split which is really hard to do over long distances like a half, and finished just under 8 minutes a mile.  This gave me a lot of confidence for the Marathon, and confidence is the thing one needs to avoid thinking that they need to train more and too close to the Marathon (like I did for Lehigh).

(Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan, NY)
Sunday, November 2, 2014  

Just as with the 2010 Chicago Marathon, where I kept checking the weather incessantly, knowing that Mother Nature was going to deny me big time (and she did - 92 degrees for that race).  Mother Nature was back with a vengeance.

Did I mention earlier that I love marathons that start in one place and end in another? Well, the NYC Marathon is the pinnacle of just such a course.  No sense in explaining the course at everyone knows what it's all about.  But what I will explain is how one runs 21 miles due north, before exiting the Bronx to head south.  I will also explain how the winds were at 35mph out of the north north west, with gusts up to 50 mph.  No joke when I tell you that I saw two people blown away on the Verazzano Bridge at the start in Staten Island.  And I nearly crossed up my legs a couple of times.  The head wind was the most brutal I've ever encountered race, or otherwise.  

I knew that with the wind, that any chance for the personal record, or even breaking 4 hours was going to be out of the question.  So I finally did something in the New York City Marathon, that I had not done in a long time, and that was to finally just ENJOY the race,   So, despite the winds and the 1:52 at the half, a lot of cramping came on earlier than expected.  I ditched some of the clothing (literally) in Brooklyn, and even went SHIRTLESS and BARE CHESTED for almost a mile after passing the Williamsburg Savings Bank, wind and all!  Then I turned of the music, and started having FUN with the crowds in Manhattan in both directions. It felt good to finally run a marathon where I didn't feel I had to gun for any goal in particular and to tell the truth, it's something I should have done a while ago. Sometimes even machines can be human. I loved the fact that this was the 30th anniversary of the 1st time that I ran the NYC marathon (1984) and even had an emotionally uplifting moment over it as a ran through Central Park roaring at the crowds as they roared back to me. It was amazing. 
And speaking of amazing.... What a medal!  Just take a look at my collage above.

As you can see EVEN WITH A 35 MPH HEADWIND , I was absolutely rocking it through 15k. The wind would take over eventually, but not over my spirit, as I decided to go into FULL FUN mode!

The following day I decided to come back to Central Park to have my medal engraved.  It wasn't my best time at this course, in fact it was one of the worst, but the significance to dealing with the wind was such, that it was well earned.  In fact, the average finish time was 18 minutes slower this year than last.  With a finish time of 4:17, subtract 18 minutes, and there you are....sub 4 hour race.

Race # 257 - Port Washington Turkey Trot
(Port Washington, NY)
Thursday, November 27, 2014  

I'll spare you all the repeat as I blogged about this race already ( ) however I will tell you that I finished in the top 9 percent overall, and earned a Silver power ranking.   My 7th this year, which is not recorded in my "Hall of Records" but certainly is one. 

In the end, I cut back on my races, and really took no prisoners until July rolled around.  Work became beyond intense, and despite my love for the sport, I wouldn't be where I am today if not for the support of my family and my job.  So, concessions sometimes have to be made in order to accommodate every aspect of my life, to keep a healthy balance alive.

I suffered in the end, and that NYC Marathon, despite how much I enjoyed myself, was beyond brutal with those headwinds.

Still, I garned EIGHTEEN (18) medals for all my achievements, and gave myself the best Age/Gender placement percentage.  This is a TALL feat, when you realize that I am the oldest in my category of 45-49.  All I can say is one thing.... MACHINE.

But medals weren't the only thing I grabbed hold of...

Records were another...

And now that all that I've gone over analyzing all of those records that I've smashed (48 of them, to be exact) at the age of 49.  It's time I show you what I've been doing all those other years...

How many years did Derek Jeter play?  How many people get better with age?  In fact, how many athletes are doing at age 39, what I am still doing at 49?  Am I ageless?  NO.  Is Running as difficult as being a linebacker, a right wing, or a shortstop?  Heck no, and I will always admire and respect other sports for the pain that they endure.  But that said, let's see who at the age of 39, wakes up one morning to decide, "I think I'm going to go for a run", and then proceeds to do this 2,155 times covering over half of the Earth's circumference spanning nearly 2100 football games.

2014 was my most prolific year in the way of mileage.  I cut back on my races, but I destroyed the pavement and the treadmill, safely and securely.  In doing so, I avoided a lot of injury and heartache.
The 2,112 miles that I accomplished was 497 more than any other year.  The 311 hours of running was 71 more hours than any other year..  My overall pace of 8:52 was my fastest ever.  And imagine, that is over the entire 2,112 miles.

Colin Powell said that, "Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence."   The 2014 campaign has had so much of everything, that it seemed like it was many years rolled into one.  But if to apply that quote to just this year, then I would have lost sight of everything that I've accomplished since my 2nd and painful divorce.  The stress-relieving task of going for a jog during my lunch hour on my treadmill at Avon, was the embarkment of what would arguably be my most driving and tenancious effort of my entire life.  How naive I must have been when I stepped foot into that little gym at Avon's office at 601 Midland Avenue that February 21st day of the year 2004 to think it was just a little something to do.  What happened since then, the events, the stresses and challenges of my life, the rebirth and magical revolutions that have shaped and reshaped me over time in the last 11 years are incalculable by any mathematical means.  Perhaps the reason why I lean on stats for running as much as I do, is because it is the one thing that I can grab onto, keep track, and measure.

My friend, Ben, who at one point was a co-worker out in my California office, was the one who said that I was a machine.  But we've been down that road before, and while I get a kick out of calling myself a "machine", the ultimate honor to that term is whenever someone else calls me that.  I don't believe in doing anything without earning it.  So if you call me a machine, I will lift my head for a moment, stop what I'm doing, say "thanks", and return to the task of kicking ass for as long as this body, the Cosmos, and God will allow me to.

Finally, and despite a long absence from blogging.  Especially from the time of the Boston Marathon bombings, to just a month or so ago, how about the fact that this is my 750th blogpost.  There are many who write better than me, but I bet I was one of the first people to actual blog about my running.  Over the years, and since I've taking up my cyber journalism in the sport for which I love so much, I have seen so many take up the same reporting.  There is little in life that is as honorable as to be imitated, or even perfected.  Just as I could not have imagined running non-stop now.

Last and most, I am truly blessed.  How else could I explain being on this planet for almost half a century.  Living life is a victory.  Living well is beyond amazing.  I am grateful that I still have the ability to run whenever I can, that I can love, play, and do a good job.  That I have five beautiful children, and one beautiful granddaughter.  I am blessed to feel good whenever I help others, and I like to help others very often.  If it all ended tomorrow, I could look back and feel like despite many poor choices I made early on in life, that I worked hard to overcome these poor choices.  And, maybe perhaps it's my instinct of survival that has made me tenacious in my never ending quest to be happy.  Living happy is better than anything else I can think of.  And for now, and since 2004, running makes me happy.  God bless and Godspeed to all.  And to all of you, thank you for being a part of my life and I look forward to many more happy moments with everyone on and off line!!!