Run Life's Course

Run Life's Course
It's The Course and the Finish that Counts

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Without Adversity There is no Growth

I have breakfast with Lou in Montreal at the Queen E and of course, grab about 10 of those delicious French crepes (the real crepes).  Before we leave, Lou grabs about 4 croissants for his train ride back to Albany.  I walk him to le station du gare before I head to the airport for my quick trip to Quebec City.

A lovely two days with Father #2 in a very chilly Montreal for this time of year.  Quebec City must be freezing...and when we de-boarded the plane the cold air hit me like I was back in Albany in the middle of January.  My taxi ride to the hotel is quite depressing as the rain hit the windshield and the wind is blowing pretty hard.  The driver tells me that the weather will be like this tomorrow.

I check into into my hotel and head across the street to the Expo to pick up my bib.  What a small "expo"'s more like a meeting in a gym.  However I need to purchase a hat and a jacket with a hood.  I was not expecting this weather.  Sugoi to the rescue.

I brave the wind and take a taxi to have dinner at La Cremaillaire.  It is supposedly the best in Quebec City and I was not disappointed.  They were nice enough to make me a special pasta dish.

I finish dinner and they were gracious enough to call a taxi for me because the 40mph wind and rain was not my queue to walk back to the hotel.  After waiting another 35 minutes for a taxi, my mind is racing as the Maitre D tells me that this is the coldest summer night they have had in over 30 years.  I don't want to run tomorrow.   

The taxi driver informs me of the weather tomorrow before he drops me off in front of the hotel.  I pass other marathoners in the lobby and head to my room.

Will I really run in this weather?  I have not trained for that.  The weather channel did not say rain and wind and the temperature was supposed to be 20 degrees higher.  I get on Facebook and send my friend Marc a message.  His response - "Without adversity, there is no growth."  

I start preparing my running gear for tomorrow saying this phrase about 15 times.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mind Over Matter

Note to self:  What this knee wrap does not do for my ITB, my mind will have to overcome.  After your return trip over the Golden Gate Bridge, you are almost halfway done.  Be sure to take a picture with your Blackberry.
And we're off!
Mile 1 - No pain.
Mile 3 - A little pinch at the water stop. And here comes a hill, not elevation, but a mountain.  Yeah I am walking this.
Mile 5 - Fog and all, I can see the Golden Gate Bridge.  I take out my Blackberry and snap pictures because it is time to conquer.
Mile 7 - 11 - The adrenaline of running over the bridge is motivating me.  Scenic routes are everything.  Just don't look down and panic.  I don't feel any pain because I am on Cloud 9 or maybe FOG 9.  It is all good and I made it.
Mile 12 - 13 - A well-organized marathon is awesome.  Half-marathoners are on another path - FABULOUS!
Mile 16 - Our mile 16 is the finish line for the half marathoners.  Job well done guys!  That's the motivation we need to finish our last 10 miles.  Woohoo!!! Let's get it.
Mile 17...until I stopped for Cytomax (BTW is better than Gatorade on anyday).  As I began to run again I could not.  Every stop was painful.  It is taking me over 2 minutes for my leg to be able to bend to start running.  My leg is totally locking up.  Come on ITB - ease up, loosen up, let me finish.  And I slowly begin to jog in pain.  A man walks up behind me and places his hand on my back.  I turn around and he put his fist out for the "wonder-twin-powers activate" touch.
Mile 19 - I stop again and the leg just locks.  This is crazy!!! I have 7 more miles to go.  My wonder-twin-powers buddy is at the water stop.  In his Eastern European accent, he says "You've got it! Let's go!"
Mile 20 - 24 - He was right.  I do have it as long as I don't stop.  Keep going T!  You're almost done.
Mile 24 - I am dehydrated so I must stop for water.  A pacer is passing and I force myself to face the pain and start running.  I ran with the pacer and pacer followers to the finish line with the last strength in me.
Mile 26.2 - The Finish was the best!  It taught me that through every pain, you must endure.  It is about mind over matter.
Note to self:  Prepare for 4 days of pain.  Mind over matter that!!!

San Francisco Check-In

The ITB issue has moved from the left leg to the right leg.  I only signed up for this race because this evil manager at this project has me at my boiling point.  If I don't exercise I am going to lose my mind, cuss someone out at the office, make someone mad that does not deserve it, or have a mental breakdown.  None of these are options so I am going to run another marathon.
I land at SFO with a mindset of purchasing an ITB wrap to allow me to run.  If I can't buy it, I am not running because the pain is way way way way worse than post-26 mile runs.  The leg just locks up and you feel like you are going to break your leg if you bend it. 
I arrive at the expo and head straight to the vendors and bypass the bib pickup.  Every gimmick possible is on display and for sale.  After roaming around for 15 minutes, I see the wrap that I need and purchase it.  Feeling much better, I go pick up my bib and tech tee shirt.  Now off to Left Bank for a fabulous French brunch and a check-into the hotel.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Day Has Come

3:30AM - Wake up and stream service at my church.
5AM - Shutdown computer.  Pray again and place bib on shirt.  Throw on Powermax wristband because I was sold, yes sold, that this would give me strength.  Drink some orange juice.   Take shower and get dressed.  Place the energy jelly beans in the back pocket of my Under Armour capris.
5:30AM - Take taxi to the start.  Brave the drizzling rain and sit on sidewalk.  OMG I would never imagine rain on marathon day.  Note to self:  Pray the rain away!
6:00AM - When will this start?  The drizzle is now real rain.  Drums are sounding.  It must be hype time!  And now let's sing the Star Spangled Banner and wait for the announcer to give a thousand thank yous.
6:30AM - Finally the start!  As I start running I am wondering how all these people can group together to run 26.2 miles.  When will all these people drop off?  Oh Lord, people are just flying by me like I am not even walking.  Maybe they are late or started in the wrong corral.

Mile 1 - Water stop but I am not thirsty.  Am I supposed to stop at every water stop?  Is there a methodology that I am supposed to follow?  I am a scientific person and there should be a proven approach.  Okay maybe not for runners like me that don't like to carry water bottles for 26.2 miles.  I stop to get water and I am off and running again.
Mile 1.5 - Elvis is running next to me.  A band is playing.  I run two blocks and there is a reggae band playing some Bob Marley.  If marathons are always so supportive with music, I might run a couple a year. 
Mile 2 - 12 - Enjoying the sites. Intermittent stops for water and running by the bands.  Drizzle changes to mist and the weather lands on cloudy.  Balboa Park (check), Gaslight Village (check), and Grant Hill (check).
Mile 12 - Time to play a sermon on the iPod.  This will at least take an hour of my time and a word from the Lord would be great right now.
Mile 18 - It worked.  Okay another sermon it is.
Mile 22 - Note to Self:  I am 2 miles short.  Either the preacher decided to let everyone go home early that day or I am fading and have hit my wall.  No this preacher never preaches less than an hour.  How am I going to make it?
Listening to another sermon I don't think I can run anymore.  Who is going to tear down this wall?  Out of the blue, a lady walked beside me and complemented me on my shirt.  Note to self:  It's just a white Nike shirt. I hope she does not think that is a pickup line. I might be tired but I don't roll like that.
She asks me if can she walk with me because the words on my shirt were encouraging her along for the last 3 miles.  Oblivious to what she is talking about, it must have shown on my face.  She repeated the Bible verse on the back of the tee-shirt that was underneath my white long sleeve tee shirt.  "I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me".
That's amazing that I have been dragging along hitting a wall and someone has been motivated by a shirt I am wearing.  And that is my life, encouraging others unknowingly when I am going through things myself.  A timely angel - we walked together right when I needed the motivation.  She further talked about the Christian services they are having for runners that evening and the Christian athletic association she founded at her university employer.
Mile 24 - She says to me let's run and finish.
Mile 25 - She tells me to go ahead because she is going to have to walk.  I stopped with her until she caught her breath and she ran for about 5 minutes and told me to go ahead.  Instead I encouraged her to jog with me and that we were going to the finish line together.
Mile 25.7 - The marines were out with their "bootcamp" antics shouting words of encouragement.  If I ever felt sorry for those in the Armed Forces, I feel worse for them now.  God bless them for having to deal with this order-taking screaming.  Now I am telling my new running buddy that I can not make it and she points to the finish line.  My God my God - it is within reach.
Mile 26 - With tears on the verge I feel like that woman in the Bible that said "if I can just touch the hem of His garment".  The finish is almost here if I can just push along.  As shouts pour out from all the spectators, we approach the finish line and put our hands up.
Mile 26.2 - THE FINISH.  We hug each other as we cross the finish and thank each other for the motivation.  I am done with my newfound proof there is nothing I can not accomplish.  It may take me longer than others but I can get there.
Now how do I get out of this Finish Area.  Medal. Picture.  And now the pain in my hips, leg, and feet.  Where is the street so I can take a taxi back to the hotel.  It's been 30 minutes and I am still walking out of this barracks.  WTH! Don't the race organizers know we have just run 26 miles.  Are they on crack?
My feet are on fire and I am watching finishers walking slowly in even flip-flops.   Oh how quick the bliss of the finish line is OVER.  Let me out of here and get me to my hotel so I can sit down.  Finally I see an exit and a military employee tells me my hotel is about 3 miles away.  Lord hold my tongue because I am about to cuss.  THE PAIN!!!
Finally I cross the street at the light and there is a bicycle taxi.  There is another guy that wants to take it and we agree to share since his hotel was on the way to mine.  The cost was $20 but it could have been $120 that day and I would have paid it. Awww the seat feels so good.  Being off my feet feels fabulous.
I did not remember until I got to the door of the hotel the elevators were a million miles from the lobby.  Here I go again!  I make it to the elevator and these other "happy" fnishers tell me to take an ice cold bath for 15 minutes and I will be just like new.  Don't be all happy after 26 miles and walk around like nothing and tell me about an ice cold bath.  Don't they know that I just want to lie down.
I get to my room and the bed never looked so good.  Bending down to take off my sneakers, barefoot never felt so perfect but my feet were still on fire.  Thank goodness for Platinum status for late check-outs.  30 minutes after lying on the bed and calling my dad to tell him about the race, I head for a cold shower and an Epsom Salt bath.  Ice in the tub was not happening.  I get dressed, call for the car, and take what seems to be a million mile walk to the hotel lobby.
Valet pulls the car to the bottom of the driveway.  Is he kidding me?  Timeout:  The guy saw me limping and saw me raise my hand for him to stop the car and he kept going.  What is he - the devil?  I make it to the car and he says that he needed to move the car out of the way so someone could pass him.  Note to self:  Say nothing. Smile and just downsize his tip.
I get in the car and drive back to Los Angeles to spend the night before my flight out to my favorite hellish project.  I arrive in LA and head straight for the bed with two ice packs for my knees.  I go to sleep and was not braced for the after-effects the next three days of "Let the Pain Begin".

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Too Late To Turn Back

Had a good breakfast at the Luxe before my trek to San Diego.  OMG, these ladies at the table next to me are from San Diego.  Note to Self:  Say nothing and ignore them.  You're there for a purpose of running the marathon and not sight-seeing.
They are getting up from the table.  Whew! I made it.
I get to the rental car and map out the trip without 405. (Any thought process of 405 for 2 hours does not even compute in my inner being.)  Hertz Neverlost has me on my way.
2 hours later - I am here!  It pays to do road trips when there is no traffic. I even bypassed the lines at the hotel to check-in.  Convention center is next door.  Off to bib pick-up I go!
I walk into the Convention Center and am stunned by the EXPO.  INCREDIBLE!  Life size Oakley and Under Armour booths.  After picking up my bib and race chip, I walk around to see that EVERY VENDOR has something that will help me finish, run faster, regain energy and relax afterwards but nothing here says pain-free.   Walking around some more and here is Saucony and Under Armour - my absolute favorite workout gear.  Alright I have been here 2 hours, time to get a meal and go to bed.  Because I have no will power of the fun time at the marina, I ordered take-out at the restaurant overlooking the marina - NO PASTA just a burger and fries!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Reality Has Not Kicked In

On my connecting flight out of here through Dulles.  That was quite a long walk to the end of the C gates.  I pray I don't have to walk this far to get to my connecting flight on Monday morning after this marathon.  Well there is always requesting one of those carts to take me to my gate.  Wow.  How sad would I look?
Should I be nervous?  What am I to expect? Note to self: You ran 22 so you can walk 4 miles if necessary.  Relax and go to sleep until you arrive in LAX.  Then worry!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Ultimate Test

I wake up at 6AM and make some mental notes to myself.  (I rode around last night and am aware of 6 miles from Point A to Point B from the city to Westchester County.  If I run it once I am good and if I get to the last 4 miles, I can run a half-marathon.)

This is my long run so I will have some orange juice.  I did not read about what to eat so good old Tropicana will have to do the trick.

Mile 1 - 8:  I am cruising along listening to some sermons on my iPod.
Mile 9:  I think I am parched.  I need some water.  There is store on the right and I am going to get me 1 Liter of cold water.  I drink it as I walk and throw the empty bottle in the trash can outside of the hardware store.  Time to go!
Mile 14:  I can not believe I am still going.
Mile 18:  I am thirsty again.  It is time to stop at the store and get some more water.  This time 1 liter of Fiji is great.  I walk three blocks as I drink my Fiji.  All time to go.
Mile 20:  No turning back because I am in the middle of the run and the house.  I have to do a round-trip to get back to the house.  Legs you can do it.  And they did.
Mile 22 COMPLETE and MARATHON it is!!!

Now my legs feel like I did 3000 squats and my feet are on fire so can I crawl up the steps to my bedroom?  How will I put shoes on for church tomorrow?  Flip flops for the rest of the day and minimal movement.

Friday, May 22, 2009


It's Friday and I am working remotely in the comfort of sunny Southern California.  Now I must determine how I can make it through a marathon, having only ever run 6 miles.  It is time to take it to the streets and see if I can do 6 miles with no ESPN Sports News.  An hour and some change later, done!

Back on the Internet, all the research indicates that it takes 4 months to train for a marathon.  I have 2 weeks!

No need to panic.  It only cost me a hundred bucks.  One source reveals that a long run for preparation for a half marathon is 10 miles and 18 miles for a marathon.   In my comprehension that means if I get to 10 and feel like I am going to pass out, cancel my entry in the San Diego Rock and Roll marathon and  find a half-marathon to run.

A phone call results in me having to head back to the East Coast - emergency in New York.  Now panic!  Where am I going to run in NY to test out my endurance?  I guess I will have to ride around and set the odometer and mark 5 miles to get this right.  There goes sunny training and swollen ankles for the flight to JFK.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Excited if Only for a Half Day

Mental alarm clock goes off at 3:41AM.  I am alert and ready to get in my 6 miles.  ESPN hook me up for 6 miles.  Done. 

No matter what is said and what phone calls I get - I am going to be happy because I am on a flight up out of here this afternoon.  I pull into the Visitor's Lot and register the rental car.  (Name it and claim it!  I refuse to be labeled as a permanent employee in these environments.)    I walk in and I am numb to what UBCF has to say.  I am smiling because there is a flight with my name on it.

I get a phone call from my trainer. Stunned that it was him and the top of his morning, I ask him about marathons and whether I should run a half-marathon or the real shebang.  He says it really depends on what you feel like after trying a longer run.  Well since 6 miles was an accomplishment on a treadmill, that means nothing on the streets.  I have to do a real 6 miles on the streets.  After doing some more research I decided that the best thing to do is sign-up and if I am not ready, cancel it.  I only lose $100 and I can try it again at another time. 

San Diego Rock and Roll is coming up in two weeks.  Sign me up! 

Note to Self: Two weeks is impossible to be ready but why not try for the impossible.   Oh wait the email registration indicates it is the real 26.2 marathon.  They don't have a half.  Uh oh - this means all or nothing on the first time.

Excitement gone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What Can Be the Way Out?

It's 3:45AM.  Now this can not be a habit.  It kills my whole day to be up this early and work late.  Oh well can not work out with my trainer because he is on the West Coast and this schedule puts me home only on the weekends.  Not feeling this!  Guess I better run.

ESPN, let me know what is going on in a happy world.  The news is too close to home and too depressing.  Sports is motivational and recreational and I love it!  6 miles done.

I get back to the room and google marathons.  What a whirlwind of information on the Internet exists about marathon training.  Maybe I will run 6 miles three times/week, run a race for a sense of accomplishment, and relieve my stress from being on this assignment with this crazy chic all at the same time, and have some means of fitness in my life.  But how will I eat healthy here.  Do they know what that is here? This all sounds crazy.  It's much easier to find time to work out with my trainer on alternate weekends.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A New Goal to Survive

It's 3:30AM and I can't sleep.  The thought of having to see that crazy chic in meetings all day and deal with her abuse is just killing me. Why Lord, why have you put me here in the one of the most undesirable situations?  Of course, no answer!

I can't go back to sleep. Maybe I will run on that awful treadmill since there won't be any beach run or BH storefronts and fabulous houses to ease the boredom of a 5 mile run.  Okay I will get dressed and hit up the only treadmill that works.  Well the advantage - quiet, peace, privacy, and ESPN Sports News for an hour worked to my benefit because I did a whopping 6 miles - the most ever!  I am excited.

Head to the office and here comes the verbal lashing about a project plan that the UBCF created that is unreasonable even for the smartest and 90/hr work-week individuals.  She created the plan with unreasonable timeframes so why is she yelling at me - the person that told her the timeframes were off from the start.  Note to self: Look at her with a blank stare and ask her if she needs some help - not mental ward.
That worked for about an hour before she marched over for another verbal lashing.  I went to my laptop to add to my tithe.  I need credit with the Lord for my probable verbal slip-up with this chic.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Stress Build-Up

Flying to work onsite for a project 6 hours one-way no big deal.  Having to connect is another story.  As long as Dulles and Chicago cooperate I will make it through.  So far so good even in the midst of the end of the winter.

But up here in no man's land during the week, where is the sun in May?  No wonder this UBCF (undiagnosed bi-polar control freak) is going off pointing pens in people's faces, yelling at people on the project, acting like she is on a construction site (in fact, those men act better), banging on her desk to ask for an update, and telling me that I cost too much money.  Note to Self:  Don't let it stress you T, walk it off!  It's a recession and you're in New England.  You are working around the hidden reality.

Finally I made it through the day and drive to the hotel where the "manager" informs me that my discount has run out and they will be charging me an extra $59/night beginning next week.  Okay really for a Springhill Suites.  This is not the Ritz Carlton and I am not in any HOT location.  So what I expense it, that is unfair and a complete rip-off.  Note to Self:  Say nothing. Smile and go to your room and look for a better deal.

Get to the room and my handyman calls to tell me that there is a $3700 emergency repair that has to take place on the house.  What kind of emergency is that?  How long can the emergency be an emergency - like a month or two?  Isn't the purpose of a handyman to prevent $3700 emergencies from happening.  I am two seconds from telling off this unhandyman and firing him.  Note to Self: Be kind because he has the keys to the boiler room and the garage.  Pretend like you are going to work with him until you can get home and see what is really going on.

All this stress and no sunshine has got to go.  This hotel has this small compact "gym" with two treadmills and an elliptical.  I HATE running on a treadmill.  I HATE wanna-be gyms that are really half the size of the room with one mirror and three machines.  No scenery and unfamiliar territory in an Obama presidency in New England - I DARE not run outside after work.  Maybe I will get me a Billy Blanks Tae-Bo DVD.

Monday, May 11, 2009

How It All Began

I am sitting behind my desk in an old office building that reminds me of my elementary school,  Slouched in my chair, flying to this client every week, and working more than 60 hours/week is a health disaster in the making.  Eating once a day or at midnight was a routine.  The depression of the looming recession, constant grind to stay afloat and pay employees, and taking chances on projects in unappealing places has sent me right off the fitness track.
My friend (size 2) just complained about her pants not fitting with the magic phrase, TRP, - thigh rub prevention.  That was my cue to return to fitness routine normalcy.  However in no man's land without my trusted personal trainer in a bootleg hotel with only two some-timey treadmills, brisk and rainy spring weather, and an undiagnosed bi-polar control freak client project manager, what am I to do?