Run Life's Course

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

Saturday, December 4, 2010

And The Reason Is

TIMEOUT: The garage gate still does not close automatically and there are different contractors coming in and out of this building. The "new" homeless is wandering the streets and our garage gate is wide open in the middle of the night. Can someone say SAFETY CONCERN?
What's with the people in the building being too lazy to manually close the gate after they park their car? You wait until I drop off my Under Armour shopping bag. Oh yes...nothing but the best for my running quest! Oh yes back to me and my rampage.
I drop off my bag and head to the building manager but I see an elderly lady that I believe lives on this floor. (I have no idea who lives here. I am rarely here but I mind my business, work, sleep, run, and return home to NYC.) She has three bags in a cart and is dragging another bag on the floor. I ask her if I can help her and she JOYFULLY accepted. I could not help but to notice her bandaged ear. As I help her get the bags into her place, she tells me that she had surgery and they removed the cancer from her ear. She further added that she needs surgery in the upcoming week - two days on her nose to remove the skin cancer. I AM DEVASTATED! 
She invites me into her place and we began to talk after she told me about her pain. I made her laugh with all my stories. It's funny how after we go through pain, we can tell the story and laugh about it later. It is our testimony of what we have gone through in our lives that can uplift others.
After 4 hours of great conversation, I retired for the evening and she thanked me for taking time with her because it made the pain bearable. And that was the reason...

Friday, December 3, 2010

An Executive Decision Made for Me

There is way too much work to do for me to go run a marathon and be away for 2 days. I just arrived in LA so Vegas may be a better choice to run a marathon. Palm Beach is out. I check the weather report and it looks like the high might be 40 degrees. Not a good luck either way! I have meetings and deadlines right up until 8 tonight.

Checking the flights to Palm Beach, Miami, and Vegas and all are either sold-out or available only after I need to register for the marathon.

And there is my answer...I am not going! I am not stressed because this is a nicety and there is a reason for everything.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10-10-10 The Date to Motivate

It's 6:30AM and time to go to the starting line. Okay hopefully elite status at Hilton lands me a late check out at the Palmer House ( A FABULOUS HOTEL) and it did! 
Walking down Michigan Avenue and there a thousands of people heading to the start. OMG! This is a lot of people. They did not lie about 45,000 participants.

7AM and the elite runners have started. Rock on! There are over 150 women in line for the bathroom still and we have 20 minutes to the first start. Glad I used the restroom in my hotel room. I am in my corral and now people are climbing the fence to get to their respective corrals. We're starting and the alert is still green.

It's very humid. We're off and running. The new meaning of clustrophobic or not being a "people-person"- running with people in front, behind, and beside you with less than an inch distance and no way to move away from the people. Timeout - I can not get into a rhythm. People are EVERYWHERE!

Someone just stopped suddenly and now we are all bumping into each other.

1 mile down and 26 to go and I am completely drenched. This is a problem at 7:40 in the morning.
6MI - The alert is still green. How can this be? I am drenched and it is humid as hell. Now we need sprinkler systems to run through, wet sponges to hold over our head, and extra water. Event organizers are screaming at us to get water, water, water, and more water! Note to self - Didn't you just run in a hot as hell marathon at the end of August? Why are you putting yourself through this?
10MI - No one should ever ask me where I ran because there are too many people around me to know my surroundings. Medics are called and there are two people on the ground panting. 11MI - Water, water, water, and more water! No gel, no banana, no orange, but WATER! People are taking off there pace wristbands and bibs with their desired completion time. It's hot as hell!
12MI - Alert is now YELLOW! Finally!!! Timeout - Why are there so many people around me? There is no breaking point where I have space. I am a NYer but I still need space.
13MI - 19MI - This is the marathon that 3 participants died at or near the finish line because of the heat.  Lord, please forgive me for running in this heat and humidity.  Don't take me out!  And thank God for churches. Three churches passing out water, orange juice, and ice in between our water stops. And this is why I tithe! You never know when you might need help from a church.
20MI - Alert is now RED! Medics coming to the rescue again. 6 more people down within the last mile right in front of me. This is scary! People are passing out like flies. Timeout: Is it worth trying to reach a time by dying or being hospitalized? HELL TO THE NO!!! I hear my mother in my ear saying USE COMMON SENSE! I am going to run slow and walk in between. 5 more miles using common sense and being able to walk away is the smart way to go.
24MI - Now I get space because people are walking all around me. Pace wristbands are on the ground everywhere. People are out of breath and profusely sweating. The sun is beaming and the humidity is off the chain.
25.5MI - A guy just went down and here comes the medics. Timeout: Dude you were 700M away from the finish. You could have walked it in and finished the marathon with a medal. Probably book smart with no common sense.
FINISH - I could not be more happier that this is over. Two people just requested a wheelchair at the finish. WTH! NEVER AGAIN IN HOT AND HUMID WEATHER unless I start training in Zimbabwe.

Volunteers are walking us from the finish line to keep us moving. Next set of volunteers are placing cold towels on our necks as we are walking out of the finish area. Another set of volunteers are passing out ice and ice water. Okay so I am not the only one that realizes its hot. Finally after a lot of walking we are at the exit. Now how do I get back to the Palmer House? Information booth on the left and this volunteer is informationless. Next information booth and they say 6 blocks to the hotel.

City bus city bus city bus! Take me there. Oh what a feeling to sit down. Some African American passengers congratulate me and not the other finishers on the bus.  I think they were just happy to see someone of color.  I"ll take it but I congratulated the other runners.  Here's my stop.  Step lightly off the bus and walk two blocks east to the hotel. I had a hard enough time motivating myself today so I guess that is the true meaning of the Date to Motivate.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

That's What Friends Are For

Landed at 7:30am at O'hare. Take cab to the Convention Center and wait until Expo opens at 9 to pick up my bib. Get bib after waiting in the long lines. Get back in cab to be at the gate at airport by 10:30AM for an 11AM flight. Arrive at the gate at 10:25AM thanks to a pretty fast cab driver. Land at Newark at 2:20PM and arrive at funeral at 3:15PM to show my respects. My friend sees me and he smiles.
Jump back in car service and head for Long Island. My normal driver sends this IDIOT to pick me up because he is out of town. TIMEOUT - Going through the Lincoln Tunnel from Montclair, New Jersey to take me to Long Island is ludicrous and he tells me that a Saturday afternoon in Manhattan has no traffic. Note to self: Say nothing and pray that I make it with at least 30 minutes to sit with my friend and her fabulous mother. Lord have mercy, could he drive any slower and go down any more of the MOST trafficked streets trying to get from the West side to the East side for the Midtown Tunnel? IDIOT! Okay pulling up at 4:35 and walk in. The look on her face was rewarding. I surprised her, but most importantly, I showed up for her important celebration.
Back in the car. I might make the 6:30PM flight. Arrive at Laguardia at 5:55PM and breeze right through security. Flight is on time. Board and thank God for a beautifully timed day where it was not about me. Job done!
Land in Chicago. It's hot as hell. Why is it 78 degrees? It better be cooler tomorrow. Head to Michigan Avenue and grab liters of water and something to eat from Sweetwater. Geezzzz I am exhausted!

Friday, October 8, 2010

What to Do...What to Do?

10-10-10 is the #2 World Major Marathon in the US behind Boston. I am sitting in my meetings at the office and I received two messages indicating that the alert level is GREEN for the day of the marathon. This means great running conditions - not hot and not cold --just perfect.
Maybe I should not run this because I have a good friend's family member in need and I should probably show up for the funeral of his daughter on Saturday. How am I going to get from LA to NY and be there in time for a 1pm Funeral in New Jersey?  Probably not possible.
I also have a friend whose bridal shower is on Saturday in Long Island. (Although she is a relatively new friend - considering I don't consider anyone a friend I have met within two years unless they really prove the solidarity of the character. Judge me later because discernment is everything.) I have already taken her to dinner and told her I would not be able to make it.  Better yet, as a friend, she gave me a pass to miss it because she knew I had the marathon to run the next day. Now that's a friend and I can vouch that she is by far the BOMB!!!
Okay what will I do?  What can I do?  If anyone can make this happen is United Airlines and me. And United did not fail me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The H-Town Comeback

With two hours of sleep I am up and ready to get it done.  Nervous but ready!  I walk over to the start hype.  Ultra Lite has a major display and the people working there are nice.  No beer for me, EVER, but I am not judging those who are whooping one down for the carb-load right now.

Off to the starting corral and this is a lively bunch.  I will not run with my iPod today unless I feel like I can not make it.

And we're off!

Mile 1 - Here we go with the mix of the half and the full marathoners making for tight quarters. And my Lord - men you are right - women do talk a lot.  I have to shake this group of women who just won't shut up!

Mile 2 - Where are we?  I have never been in these parts before.  People are hanging clothes on a clothestring on their porch.  I have not seen that in ages.  Nice friendly people cheering us on though.  

Mile 6 - Going steady and going strong.  No worries.  Not bad for someone who has not run in 2 months.

Mile 12 - The breaking point for the half-marathoners.  You're almost there - best of luck!

Mile 16 - Oh yes the Galleria.  Something about knowing there is a mall nearby with the best mix of discount, luxury, and quality is helping me to run.

Mile 20 - Okay I am almost to Memorial Drive and this is my ULTIMATE stopping ground and I have hit an early wall.  Time to stretch because I have to take this on in to the finish.  Let me run a little and walk a little.  And there is the Ultra Lite group handing out beers.  Wonder if that works.  I will try these Sports Beans instead.

Mile 21 - 25 And now it's time for the iPod.  Some strength came from somewhere as I am running through River Oaks.  Timeout:  I get my strength by running through the expensive residential areas. Evaluate that later!
I am running past Otto's and wishing I had a turkey barbecue sandwich on a wheat bun.  Wow! The last time I will pass this place.  I am sad that they are closing tomorrow and I stop and walk and take it in.

Mile 26 - Downtown I see you.  The finish is on the way.  I am doing a lot of waving and thank yous to the volunteers.  Let me just smile.  I need all the energy I can get.

FINISH - I did it. I can't believe this - under 5. Wow!  Take 2 months off and perform the best. And here's my medal for my Houston comeback.  BUT I have to walk to the farthest end of the convention center to get my finisher's shirt and mug.  SAY WHAT!!!!  

Timeout:  I just ran 26 miles and I have to walk the equivalent of 3/4 mile to get my well-deserved Under Armour shirt.  Hell keep the mug but the shirts should have been given with the medal.  Lord have mercy!

I brave the walk like a little old lady with a walker afraid to walk after a fall. I return outside of the Convention Center and there is a bike taxi - just like in San Diego.  Price is not a worry - take me to the hotel!

Cold bath for 15 minutes - NO ICE! Not an athlete yet!

Pack up and head to the airport.

Continental hold me down.  Oh wait, no legrests!

H-Town - Be Prepared

It's my first 26.2 this year and also the first one I have run in two months.  It's also the first time I have even run in 2 months.  I am running on behalf of two organizations - Bereavement and the Houston Parkinson Society.  The Bereavement one has a special meaning because having experienced the sudden death of my grandparents and mother within six months, I know the exorbitant expenses of funerals all too well.  You always want to show the appreciation to the ones you love while they are alive but you SURE want to make sure that they are sent off in a very decent matter.  

I complete my return trip from Raleigh to LA at 11:45pm Friday evening with my routine layover at Dulles.
Pack my running gear and head back to the airport for a 6AM flight to Houston.
Now you may ask why didn't I go directly from Raleigh to Houston - quicker trip and all?  Good question.  Round-trips to Raleigh were for a particular client and I like my expenses to be clean-cut so there is no question what the client owes me.

I land in Houston and am off to the Convention Center to pick up my race bib.  I walk in and WHOA!!!!  This was bigger, better, and just ridiculously INCREDIBLE!  It was so incredible that I was there two hours just taking it in.  Chevron is the main sponsor.  Hmm!!! High Gas prices and elaborately sponsored events.  Well at least I get to participate in one.

Check into this hotel which is close to the start but 2 miles from the finish.  It is the proximity to the finish that really matters.  Timeout - I am allowed luxury over convenience.  For God's sake, I have been commuting to Raleigh for the last 4 weeks and staying at a not-so-nice Courtyard to save the client money every week. 

I take a 2 hour nap and wake up because I am in my stomping grounds.  I know Houston well.  Time to get it in - Galleria, Pappadeaux, Luby's and just OD on some real sweet tea.  Houston, let's go!

Let's see race day tomorrow and I am in Pappadeux's at the bar ordering the old-school Colossal Pepper Shrimp the chef made for me and sweet tea.   No pasta - the sweet tea will sugar me out.  I must have had 8 tall glasses of this sweet tea and 5 glasses of water while people watching and talking to every one around me at the bar.  I am at the Black Pappadeux's and brothers are sitting here talking all kinds of game to these women.  Women do not be so desperate.  A few men have not ordered any food - just bread and water. Is that something new? I did not know that made you a good catch because you were taking communion in the restaurant. lol 

It's now 12:30am.  My mind is on the race but this was some good relaxation.  Time to head back to the hotel.