Hi. That’s from yesterday. It’s pretty!
This is an excercise in soul cleansing. My entire life, until the middle of college, I was an athlete. I wasn’t exceptionally good, but I LOVE COMPETING. To quote a discription of the venerable Don Shula “Take his n’ beat your best, n’ take yours n beat his best.”Give it all you got, lay it on the line, see how it shakes out. That’s fun to me. I am a high motor guy when I play anything. That’s just the way I am. This happens in other facets of my life, but it’s most pronounced any time I can compete against a friend, rival, or even myself.
The facts are this: I played basketball for two years and was a diminuitive but tenacious defender. I could not shoot for shit. But I could go after the ball with abandon and I would hammer you if it was warranted. I was among the league leaders in steals… and fouls.
I went on to soccer, where the constant hurry up and wait of a midfielder tore at my A.D.D. addled soul. Then on to baseball, where again, I was awful, but I was fast and I played hard and talked harder. That would never change. I then wrestled for 4 years. Interspered throughout these, I practiced Shoto-Kan and played street hockey. My Hockey skillset has never been high end, but I’ve always played hard and according to some who i call friends… dirty. That’s fine. I can live with that.
When I got to college, teams went out the window other than bar league softball. God, was that fun. I had nowhere to go when that team dissolved, I was a man without a country.
I graduated and became a civil servant. The lack of any physical activity took it’s toll. I blew up.
This became a thing. I lost any fire and became a jolly fat guy. Secretly, I missed being a hyper-competitive asshole.
I thought that guy was dead, I really did. Then a series of fortunate… then hilariously unfortunate things happened.
I became very close with Kat, the Hockey Mom. She got me playing again. I missed it. I had the gumption to step on the ice, which I had only done a handful of times before. I found that my instincts were still there, as were the skills and tenacity. What wasn’t there was the wheels or the stamina. I was blowing up left and right. Kathy would lean in and tell me “You need to build your core strength.” I would dismiss her because I didn’t want her to be right. I WAS JUST RUSTY!
Then, the wheels fell out. I threw my back out, sitting at an assembly. Leaned one way in a chair, and pop. I couldn’t move. I’m a young guy. This shouldn’t happen. So, I went to see my doctor. Bad muscle pull. Why? “You’re fat.” Oh. Ohh. I guess. Yeah.
I began playing softball again, and to my surprise, had become a better (read: more patient) hitter over the years. I wait for my pitch and do what I can with it. If it doesn’t come, I take the free pass. Now, understand, when I pitch, I’m neurotic. I don’t like to run the bases because it distracts me. I like a controlled environment. It’s why I get flustered when there’s an error behind me or when I disagree with a strike too many or I get caklled off for a ball I think was mine. Like I said, I’m high motor.
But I knew my physical limitations, so I’d play it conservatively on the bases. THe one place anyone that’s played can tell you this falls to shit is down the first baseline trying to reach on an infield single. It’s balls out or sit down. 2nd game of the season, I dribble one down the third base line, and there third baseman comes up firing. I’m motoring all the way. I beat it out. However, my stride was going to take me OVER the bag, I wouldn’t have touched it. I wouldve been out. So in mid air at full gallop, I plunge my heel down and tear my plantar fasciitis.
The back injury and this heel injury were sandwiched around a transition to an active lifestyle. One was a wake up call to how far I’ve fallen. The other pointed out how long the road back would be. They served to remind me what I used to be, and what I could be again. At the behest of my friend Stephanie, I took up running to initially get better at hockey and softball. It worked. The team, and I, found our form and came within an eyelash of the championship game. I batted a hair under .500. If I was in the shape I was at the end of the season to start the year, I would’ve. Well, that and if I didn’t argue with half the umpires in the league about them being equal parts blind and terrible. It’s not my fault they are terrible.
I’ve gone down a shirt size. My spilts are improving with every race I compete in. As is my stamina. There are pacing goals. There are my favorite, DISTANCE GOALS! I see them. I can accomplish them. I’m starting to believe in myself again. I’m even growing fond of myself. It’s nice to get called out because the umpire assumed you couldn’t beat it out and be able to reply “No fucking way, Blue.” I missed being that guy. I am soon to be him again.
I no longer run to get better at sports. I run… because I enjoy it. I run to escape. I run to live. I run to relax. I run to run.
I run. It’s the best. Try it!
June 29th: Brooklyn (Coney Island) Take Your Base 5K – 47:47
July 13th: Brooklyn (Prospect): MLB AllStar 5k: 47:33
August 4th: Brooklyn ( Brooklyn Bridge): 43:40
September 14th: Brooklyn (Coney Island) Great Irish Fair 5K: 42:56
October 19th (Aquaduct Racetrack) Roc Race: Un-timed Fun Run / Obstacle Course. Fun little asskicking!
November 28th: Prospect Park Turkey Trot 5 Miler: 1 hr 9mins 1 second! YAAYYYYYYYY.
December 15th: https://nycruns.com/races/?race=nycruns-hot-chocolate-5k-and-10k This is the big one. My first 10K, I can do it (see below).
December 31st I’ll be back in Prospect for midnight 5k: http://nycruns.com/races/?race=Brooklyn-New-Year-s-Eve-5k-Run
January 12th: This is the ALL SYSTEMS GO check for my Half. A Ten Miler. http://nycruns.com/races/?race=nycruns-central-park-hot-chocolate
2014 Tentpole Events: These are the big tickets. These are the ones I want to nail. I’m ticking the days down towards these and ramping up the training.
Feb 23rd (Central Park, Manhattan) 1/2 Marathon. Using this as a dry run for the Brooklyn 1/2. https://nycruns.com/races/?race=nycruns-central-park-marathon-and-half-marathon
Late May: Brooklyn Half Marathon. There it is. That’s the goal. The initial target time is 2:45. We’ll see if I adjust that as we get closer. My pit crew of Kat and Stephanie are going to run it with me.
Oct. 11 / Oct 12: Tri-State Tough Mudder. This will be the ‘do it or die trying moment’. That’s the one. http://toughmudder.com/events/tri-state-2014/#event_day