Marathon #7: The 2012 San Francisco Marathon…PART 2


The first 3-4 miles were spent running through Fisherman’s Wharf.  A very touristy area, it included a great view of Alcatraz Island.  It was within these first couple of miles that linked up with the 4 hour, 45 minute pace group.  The early miles of every marathon always feel the best for me (as I am sure it does for most any marathoner), because normally it is this stage of the race where the only thoughts passing through my head are positive in nature.  This theory held true this morning.  As I began to make simple introductions to the pace group, I easily fell into their established rhythm.  By mile 4, we had entered the Presidio and were closing in on the Golden Gate Bridge.  Fog had made the span of the bridge barely visible – but that was no matter.  I planned to take a couple of pictures as I waddled in traffic along it – hopefully I’d be able to see more than a few feet in front of me! 

 

As we approached the mile 5 marker, the course provided its first hint of how it earned its reputation as being a true test.  As the bridge grew closer, we were provided a long, steep hill to climb – it felt like the toll we’d have to pay to waddle across the span of the Golden Gate.  It was tiring and I caused the entire pace group to break their collective strides…but it was worth it.  Before you knew it, we were on the bridge and it was a really enjoyable experience.  Unfortunately, the view was handicapped by the fog – but no one seemed to care.  Once we got to the other side, we made a tight U turn in Vista Point…and then ran back over the bridge toward the Presidio.  As we exited off of the bridge, we were already closing in on Mile 10.  Knowing that the hills were most assuredly in front of me, I decided to let the 4:45 pace group go and begin running my own race.

I slowed my pace down and began to take in the sights. The Presidio is absolutely beautiful.  Since I am a huge Disney geek, I had made my way to The Disney Family Museum which is located within this gorgeous government-owned park area the day before the race.  So the marathon simply gave me a different view of this lovely part of the city.

 

The next several miles were spent running through the park’s tree-saturated roadways, with very little crowd support.  A year ago, this lack of verbal support during the race by spectators would have made miles 8-20 extremely difficult for me; however, after running several very small races in 2012, I was accustomed to being my own cheering section.  As one person once told me (who shall remain nameless): “Joe, you have several odd personalities…so you really are your own entourage”.  Good – because I began to need my own portable cheering section as we closed in on the half-way point of the race.

 

Near mile 12, I was running down 27th street when all of a sudden, in front of me, a couple of police officers halted runner traffic in order to permit cars to cross the street.  I had never seen this before.  Runners alongside me actually looked puzzled as we stopped in front of a long orange chord held by two volunteers.  This was a first.  Within moments, we were permitted to continue – but the damage was done.  I had stopped completely. And once I stop during a marathon – all of my positive momentum was lost.

 

As I entered Golden Gate Park and crossed the half-way point of the race, I desperately attempted to get my motor running smoothly again.  It took a good mile to find renewed rhythm to quasi-succeed.  And then…at mile 15…I began to smell something amazing in the air.  No – it was not the sweet smell of success.  No – it was not the decedent aroma of potential personal best time.  Nope.  None of those things.  So what did I smell?  Bacon.

 

Dailymile supported an actual bacon stop at mile 15. Unreal.  And oh how I love bacon.  However, I chose to ignore my urge to order six slices extra crispy because I had no idea what they would do to my stomach in the coming miles.  I actually used my head for something other than a hat rack.  Go figure.   And I waddled on.

 

Miles 17-23 were extremely tough.  I hit the wall hard, was stopped one more time for crossing car traffic, and began to feel dehydrated.   The one highlight: BEER at mile 19! 

 

As the final miles were reeled in and I passed right in front of AT&T Park, I knew I would finish strong – but would not PR.  That was OK – those hills throughout the course presented a challenge…but not as tough as Gettysburg.

As I ran past the ballpark, I thought of that routine performed by Lewis Black:

 

“I love my Iphone.  It’s a fantastic little computer.  It’s a computer – NOT a phone.  It’s not a real phone because I have AT&T as my carrier.  And AT&T is a cellular carrier in much the same way that a mosquito carries malaria.  I would be better off with a Dixie cup and a strong…”

 

…I actually laughed as I waddled along the first base side of the edifice.  Out loud.  For all to see.

 

The final mile felt great.  Spectators were finally around and that gave me the jolt to sprint across the tape.  Soon after I was given a medal, I had my bag as well as some fantastic food and drinks in the finisher’s village.  I even got to hang out with the Rabbit from Quik chocolate milk.  Ahhhh yes – a good way to end the event.

 

This is one race I would definitely run again, and would recommend to my buddies out there.

 

I waddled back to my hotel room slowly, with three slices of greasy pizza in a rapidly deteriorating white paper bag in one hand and a huge bottle of water in the other.  When I finally arrived back at the Hotel Nikko, I took a moment to do the mental math…..yup: it was definitely worth the hurt.

 

I gave myself 24 hours to enjoy the fruits of my labor and heal from the event.  Then it was time to focus on August’s race: 9 laps around in 3 mile lake in Rye, New York.  The Self Transcendence Marathon.

 

7 Down.  5 to go.

 

______________________________________

 

If you’d like some information on The Dream Team Project or would like to make a donation to their amazing cause, please stop by the website:  www.wdwradio.com/the-dream-team-project  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really believe in what The Dream Team Project stands for.  It raises money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, helping to grant the wishes of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses.  Being s former wish-granter for the NYC Chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, I can tell you first-hand just how much of an impact this organization makes in the lives of children.  Please consider donating to this worthy cause.  Thanks!

 

…and if you’d like a bit more information on the WDW Radio Running Team, please check out the Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/WDW-Radio-Running-Team/163606410344409

Marathon #7: The 2012 San Francisco Marathon…PART 1


I went to bed the night before the marathon feeling like I had done the best I could to prepare for the morning.  I ate well.  I even stretched (OK – I waved to my toes while slightly bending from my waist…who am I kidding).  As the sun came up, I really felt like I was in a positive frame of mind – as my grandfather once put it, I “woke up ready to bite the ass off a bear”.  (NOTE: I have no idea what that really meant – I’m guessing it was an old saying that he learned on the streets in Hell’s Kitchen back in the 1920’s).  As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I was nervous about this race.  It’s San Francisco – a marathon whose mottos include “The Race That All Marathoners Fear” and “Worth The Hurt”.  Since I usually lack much backbone at all (let’s face it: if it wasn’t for the extra starch in my dress shirts I’d be unable to walk upright), this race played with my psyche since the beginning of the month.  So this gung-ho feeling was….well…odd.

 

I took in a decent breakfast (translate that into 2 Smores-flavored PopTarts) and properly hydrated.  I went through my usual marathon morning preparation and, by the time I left the hotel and began my expedition to the starting line, I felt like I was ready for the day’s hazards.  Once outside, I couldn’t get over how chilly it was!  50 degrees and windy.  On July 29th!  As a New Yorker, needing a jacket on July 29th just seems WEIRD!

 

I had no idea how to get to the starting line from the hotel, so I figured I’d just grab a cab.  HA.  Good luck with that.  None of the cabbies wanted to pick up the marathon runners and drive them to the starting line unless they were paid the amount of money that would be the equivalent of taking us to the AIRPORT.  No thanks – I’ll walk first.  And so I did.

 

And…..the starting line was in simple walking distance after all.

 

Everything was EXTEREMELY well organized.  UPS trucks were very close to the Start and Finish Lines.  The Starting Line was well attended and it was very clear that the race organizers really orchestrated a first-rate event.  It was the kind of starting area that a runner can simply show up to 30-45 minutes before his/her scheduled starting time and still not feel rushed.

 

Bart Yasso (if you don’t know who he is, here’s a link:  http://www.bartyasso.com  I just consider him to be one of the Godfathers of marathoning’s Five Families) was on hand to kick off the race and provide color commentary as one starting wave of runners after another began their 26.2 mile trek.  I read his book and, as a result, I identified several things that I needed to work on in order to become a better distance runner – so naturally I thought that his participation in this race was…to use a technical term…COOL.  Some people look for famous sports athletes or actors within the starting areas or in their starting waves.  For example: I once heard a young runner – in a high-pitched scream – blurt out “OH…MY….GOD!  That’s Roger from Season 6 of The Real World!!”  While sightings of illustrious celebrities such as Roger (whoever the hell he is – no offense to all you Roger-lovers out there…) are assuredly key moments in a distance runner’s life (insert a sarcastic chuckle here), star-gazing doesn’t quite do it for me.  To me, dudes like Bart Yasso, John “The Penguin” Bingham (http://www.waddle-on.com), Amby Burfoot (http://www.ambyburfoot.com) and, of course, Jeff Galloway (http://www.jeffgalloway.com) are the ones that I like to listen to during marathon Expos or on marathon mornings.

 

I enjoyed listening to the color commentary and watching as the first couple of waves began their journey around the city.  As the time for my wave’s departure approached and I headed toward my corral, I hoped – albeit in vain – for an Elvis sighting.  THAT would be a great omen.  But alas, I had no luck.  It appeared that my goal of running once more with The King was dashed.  But the fates had something interesting in store for me as I sauntered past a long line of port-o-crappers.  I noticed someone close by that appeared to be a hippie.  Brown, shaggy beard.  Weatherbeaten red 1980’s style mesh hat.  White athletic socks circa 1978 that were pulled up almost to the knees.  Then it hit me.  The light bulb went off in my head.  I couldn’t resist the urge…and I blurted out “GUMP!”

 

His name was Forrest.  Forrest Gump.  And if he was going to show up to this marathon, he….was…running!  Talk about a good omen.

 

Minutes later I was standing in my corral.  We moved forward slowly to the starting line, listened to a few quick recommendations from Don Yasso, Capo of the Marathon Addicts, and off we went.

 

Another 26.2.  Let’s hope this is worth the hurt.

______________________________________

 

If you’d like some information on The Dream Team Project or would like to make a donation to their amazing cause, please stop by the website:  www.wdwradio.com/the-dream-team-project  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really believe in what The Dream Team Project stands for.  It raises money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, helping to grant the wishes of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses.  Being s former wish-granter for the NYC Chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, I can tell you first-hand just how much of an impact this organization makes in the lives of children.  Please consider donating to this worthy cause.  Thanks!

 

…and if you’d like a bit more information on the WDW Radio Running Team, please check out the Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/WDW-Radio-Running-Team/163606410344409

Monday Morning Motivation


There are no limits to what you can accomplish.  I know – you’ve heard all this tons of times before from much better sources than I.  However, I am an ordinary, run-of-the-mill guy that just made one simple decision: to take all of the negative thoughts in my head and chuck them right out the mental window.  If I can do it – you can do it.

 

No limits.  None.

 

You don’t get today back – so make it count.

 

Monday Morning Motivation


This week, flip your switch to Beast Mode.  Make a plan for this week – set a goal or two.  Then decide to be an absolute BEAST and exceed the goals you establish.  It’s not overly-difficult.  Just make a decision to achieve something and then GET…IT….DONE.  All it takes is some focus.

 

You don’t get today back – so make it count.

 

Monday Morning Motivation


OK – I promise – last poem I’ll share on a Monday morning.

Have an awesome week!  Remember: you don’t get today back – so make it count.

“IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, ‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch, if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”

– Rudyard Kipling