A Father’s Day Run in Central Park


So I made a very unorthodox decision yesterday.  Since I was too sick to run the Lake Placid Marathon last Sunday, and I really want to keep my promise and run one full marathon a month to benefit The Dream Team Project, I decided to run a full marathon by myself early next Sunday morning, June 24th.  There are some pros and cons to this endeavor:

 

Pros:

  • I keep my streak, and my      promise, going
  • I get my long run in for      the week (ha…ha…ha)
  • Since I’m getting my long      run in for the week, and I’m probably going to burn 4,000 calories, I CAN      EAT WHATEVER I WANT WHEN I COME HOME AS A TREAT!  Oh yeah – a double chocolate cookie from      Levain Bakery on 74th and Amsterdam (that, folks, it chocolate      HEAVEN)
  • Running this solo means      that I will need some new gear.  Oh      yeah.  Break out the VISA and      purchase a new hydration pack.  I      just ordered one from Salomon, and it’s gonna make me really look like I      know what I’m going.
  • I’m psyched about playing      the part of a “running tourist”.       During my run I will take pictures from all around town and share      them in this blog and on my other social networking outlets.  Hoping to spin by the Intrepid, the      space shuttle, Ground Zero (I want to pay my respects), The Statue of      Liberty, Battery Park, The Staten Island Ferry, South Street Seaport, The      Brooklyn Bridge, and lots more!
  • Part of my route will take      me along the last 10 miles of November’s ING New York City Marathon      course.

 

Cons:

  • Since I am running solo,      there won’t be any peer pressure to keep moving forward.  As a result, the ability to shut it down      and begin walking at any point is much easier.  I cannot allow that to happen.  I need to give my absolute best.  But – I know me – I lack focus.  This will be a challenge.
  • Another issue stems from      the fact that I’ll need to provide all of my own fluids and fuel.  That means I’m carrying it with me for      26.2.  I am not used to that.  The closest I’ve come to this is when I      ran the marathon in February in sweat pants and a huge sweatshirt.  The bulkiness was hard to deal      with.  I hope I can deal with the      distraction that comes with wearing a hydration pack.
  • There are no mile markers      to use as targets as motivation to keep moving forward.
  • Lots of traffic lights      will make this long run a very slow go.
  • Possible heat and humidity      – oh joy.

 

The way I’m looking at this challenge is that it will be another pure running test.  Me versus myself.  Me against The Tool.  May the best man win.

 

So before I sign off today, I wanted to share something that I noticed whilst running in the park this morning.  The benches all through the park are dedicated to people from friends and family that wanted to memorialize them.  As I came around the lower loop, I usually go really slow and read a few of them – and they never disappoint.  I had to take a picture of the one I have attached to this blog entry.  Louise Buckley.  I have no idea who she was – but she lived to the ripe old age of 93, had 9 children and 30 grandchildren.  Talk about being surrounded by love. Let’s face it: I’m betting she lived a very full and interesting life.  So – here’s to you, Louise.  I know it’s Father’s Day…but every day is Mother’s Day.

 

Yet another reason why, in my opinion, Central Park is a truly special place to run.

 

Well, I have to sign off for now, since my daughter’s dance recital is scheduled to begin in just a couple of hours.  For all of you out there: double knot your shoe laces, throw on some shorts and a t shirt, and enjoy your day.  Sweat a little bit.  Try to log a run today – I don’t care whether it’s a marathon or to your corner and back.  All that matters is the effort.  You don’t get this day back – so make the most of it.

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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

 

 

April Showers Bring…..A Bout With Chaos Theory


I returned home on the bus from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Manhattan’s Upper West Side sore and dealing with mixed emotions.  My pace during the Ocean Drive Marathon was exactly what I wanted.  I didn’t take the first five kilometers too fast.  I focused on my breathing and controlling the swinging motion of my arms.  My legs felt fresh.  I had prepared as well as I could.  The course was flat – although the head wind was going to add a few minutes to my time, I felt supremely confident as I toed the starting line.

But, as in any sport: one odd bounce of the ball – one errant swing of the bat – a shot that sails just over the crossbar – or, in my case, one instance of taking in fuel a third of the way into the race resulting in a lost tooth – adjusted the course of the outcome.  It was a firm case of Marathon Running meets Chaos Theory.

Now before you actually begin thinking that I understand higher mathematics, let me clarify: everything I ever knew about Chaos Theory I learned from watching Jurassic Park.  I….am…not…kidding.  Jeff Goldblum explains it perfectly: two drops of water placed on the exact same spot on a person’s hand resulted in different outcomes: each drop of water moved in a different direction.  Why?  Could have been the small hairs on the hand.  Or the person’s pores.  Or the wind.  Or simple gravity.  Who knows.  Bottom line: even when you think a result is rather predicable due to your understanding of most of the important variables built in to its calculation, there is always something within the equation which cannot be controlled or accounted for which effects the outcome.

For me: losing a tooth at mile nine.  THAT was Chaos Theory at its best. There was no message sent to me in the days prior from my mouth to my brain, saying the following:

Mouth: “OK folks – we’ve got an issue.  Loose crown.  Right side of your jaw.  Fix it before race day, or else you’re liable to swallow the darn thing.”

Brain: “Understood – thanks for the head’s up.  Now where the hell did I leave the Crazy Glue?”

In the days that followed Ocean Drive, I went on a roller coaster ride of emotions.  Up and down.  High and low.  I kept thinking about the fact that, even after feeling so confident and ready for 26.2 miles of running – something as freak as losing a tooth could disrupt my focus on the matter at hand.  The inability to fuel during the race caused me to crash before mile 19.  The last 12 kilometers went by in a dull haze.  The Tool perched himself on my shoulder with a tiny bag of popcorn and a crap-eating grin on his weathered face, enjoying my misery.  To the victor went the spoils.

The emotional roller coaster ride lasted through the third week in April.  Not good.  Not good at all.  The timing of this distraction was incredibly poor as well, for on April 29th I would run the race that I had circled on my calendar as the one I was most nervous about: Gettysburg.  In order for me to build momentum for the remainder of the year, I needed to bounce back from this doldrums I had fallen into.  Quickly.  The Tool had sensed his opening and was really making the most of it, playing on my confidence like Yo-Yo Ma plays the cello.  He made the most of this opportunity.  He was, indeed, winning.

Gettysburg was a marathon that I both looked forward to as well as feared.  The smallest field of runners that I planned to run with all year long: 500 marathoners.  The most hills of any race I have ever encountered: 16 miles of them, beginning within a half of a mile from the starting line.  Very few spectators: this provides The Tool with a valuable edge later in the race – his constant message of pain and discouragement comes through clearly without the strong noise of spectators to drown him out.  Water stations every 3 miles instead of every 1-2 miles.  And lastly: the weather reports predicted crystal clear skies and 75-80 degrees – without shade, this last factor could make the day go from bad to worse in an awful hurry.  In a field of just 500 marathoners, there was no pack to hide within.  No pack to draw energy from.  I would be alone at some point, and would need to look within to get myself to the finish.  Gettysburg would be a pure test….but I didn’t feel like I was ready for such a challenge.

The Friday before Gettysburg, I sat in my firm’s New York City office right near Times Square.  I looked west from a high office window, and stared at the New Year’s Ball that sits perched atop the southernmost point of the square.  Then I looked down at all of the people, scurrying around like ants.  Things look much different 40 stories above the ground than they do whilst standing on the corner of 42nd and Broadway.  At that moment, it hit me: success is all about perspective.

I spent more than three weeks contemplating the things that I needed to address or think about before Gettysburg.  I racked my brain in a vain effort to mitigate the possibility of Chaos Theory coming into play once more.  But this entire time I was looking at my last marathon experience from ground level.  Taking a different perspective: I had finished a marathon running constantly into a headwind, losing a tooth and finishing without fueling during the race.  If I could do that – why couldn’t I handle hills?  Why couldn’t I handle running 26.2 miles in basic solitude?  From 40 stories up, life appeared a bit clearer.

From now on, I’m going to stop asking myself “Why?” and begin saying to myself “Why not?”  Success in completing a marathon is one part physical and one part mental.  And both the physical and the mental need constant training.  The physical gets you through the first 20 miles.  The mental gets you home.

As I packed my bag for Gettysburg, I felt my nerves tingle.  16 miles of hills.  Nervous.  Excited.  Focused.  And now mentally ready.  The fields of Gettysburg would witness another battle: myself versus The Tool.  And there was no way he was going to win the day.

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