Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Requiem for a Heavyweight

It's been a while since my last post and I apologize for that.  Given the fact that this blog is called Running for Max it seem like I should actually be running before I start posting again.  Yeah...wellll....since the marathon I haven't ran a single step.  Now in my defense life around here has not exactly been a barrel of laughs.  We lost a man that has left a huge hole in our lives.  My father-in law died on May 2nd after a relatively short illness.  It has been every bit as bad as I had always imagined it would be and my heart breaks every day seeing the people that I love in pain and knowing there is nothing that I can do about it. 

While it would be easy to focus on his death and how sad it has been and how much we all miss him, instead I am going to celebrate the man's life from my perspective.  I think that everybody should know about Larry and how he affected my life and how I saw him affect the lives of other people around him.

My life with Larry started in the summer of 1992.  I had started seeing a beautiful young girl from Natick and one day I was invited to her house. The reason why is lost in my memory but it really isn't relevant.  I was introduced to her father who greeted me with a smile and a warm handshake.  Luckily for me my handshake was firm because Larry always said that the way a person shook your hand would tell you a lot about them.  A weak, limp wristed handshake indicated a weak, self concious person while a strong handshake spoke of a self assured and strong person.  I passed test #1.  How do I know that I passed this first test?  Well before I said my goodbyes that day, Larry presented me with a coupon.  What store do you suppose that coupon was for???  That's right, a coupon to Condom World.  This is the father of the girls I was dating!  Not only that but, although I didn't know it at the time, Kristen was his baby...his little girl...I had no idea at the time how close a relationship that they had.

As time went on and Kristen and I became more serious, I was welcomed into the Maletta family with open arms.  I kind of think that this had more to do with the guy I was replacing more than anything special that I had done.  It was kind of like getting a new job and everybody praises you for how great you are doing but the fact of the matter is that the last guy who had the job was such a complete f*** up that anyone else would be a genious by comparison. 

From day one Larry treated me like a son.  He offered help whenever he thought it was needed.  He offered advice (even when it wasn't asked for ) and he offered support even though it was sometimes turned down.  And all of these things were done with love and without strings attached.  He wanted nothing in return except for me to be a good father and a good husband.  I was, after all, responsible for his daughter and his grandchildren.  I didn't always meet the expectations that I had for myself but as long as I was out there trying, he never made me feel like I was inadequate or that I wasn't good enough.

Larry was not without his quirks, however.  You see, he had such a big heart and such a big sense of responsibility that he wanted to fix everything.  When he couldn't, he would often times assign blame first.  One of my favorite quintissential Larry stories had to do with my sister-in-law Beth who was carrying my niece Jenny through Larry's yard in Natick when she tripped over a drain pipe and laned in the driveway.  Both her and Jenny were hurt and Jenny was crying pretty loudly.  When they made it in the house did Larry rush to see if everyone was ok?  No.  He said to Beth "What are you doing walking in the driveway?!?"  As if walking in the driveway was the most dangerous and irresponsible thing she could have been doing.  Of course, once the shock wore off, he would help to bandage the wounds and offer comfort.

His generosity was beyond question.  I have had some of the best times of my life because he was there to pay.  He took his whole family to Ogunquit, Maine and put us all up in a hotel for HIS anniversary.  That was the year that we sat outside in a jacuzzi while it was snowing out.  It was also the year that some of us embarrassed ourselves singing karaoke at the Ogunquit Bar and Grill.  Larry wasn't with us at the bar that night but if it wasn't for him none of us would have been and we wouldn't have that memory.

I look back with a smile on my face and think about going to Red Sox games with Larry and my brother-in-law Jim.  I would get the tickets from a contact at work and I would invite Larry.  He would more often than not refuse to go because he had always had a bad back and the thought of spending 4 or so hours in one of those seats at Fenway would make anyones back hurt.  He would, however, accept once in a while and it was around this time that Jim and I came up with the "Three Refusal Rule".  You see, Larry wanted to pay for EVERYTHING.  Parking, food, souveniers...whatever.  If it cost money he wanted it to be his money.  While Jim and I always appreciated his generosity, we didn't think it was fair for Larry to pay all the time.  However, as anyone who knew him could attest, Larry was a VERY stubborn man and when he dug his heels in you really had no shot.  So Jim and I came up with this rule that we would refuse Larry's money three time and then ultimately accept it.  When Larry wanted to pay for parking a typical conversation would go like this:

Larry: "Here...Let me get the parking"

Me (or Jim):  "No, Larry I got this"

Larry: "No... Here...Take this."   **he holds out the money**

Me (or Jim): "No No No I got this. It's OK"

Larry : **still holding out the money**  "You drove...Please let me pay for the parking"

Me (or Jim) : "Really, Larry...I already planned on paying for this.  Put your money away"

Larry : **now beginning to get a little angry** "I am paying for this so take it"

Me (or Jim):  "Ok fine" **and we take his money**

Now keep in mind neither Jim nor I would ever make any kind of effort to pull out our own wallets during this exchange.  We refused him 3 times and then, because we knew he would never give up, we would let him pay.  The funny thing about this is that Larry knew what we were doing and he LOVED it.  He liked spending time with us and we loved spending time with him.  He was a father figure to both of us but he was also a friend.  How many people can say that about their father-in-law?

I know that he loved his immediate family more than he loved anything else.  I saw evidence of that everyday.  He couldn't help looking out for his kids even though they were adults and could make their own decisions.  He worried about them like every father does but Larry always took it just a little  bit farther.  When a big snowstorm was coming you could always count on an e-mail coming that reminded you to make sure that you had gas in your snowblower.  When daylight savings time rolled around there was another e-mail that reminded you to change your clocks.  Oh...and while you are at it, you better change the batteries in your smoke detector too.  He loved me but it was my wife that was his baby.  You couldn't be in the room with the two of them for more than a few minutes without seeing the bond that they shared.  It was often times annoying but in the end I was jealous.  I wasn't jealous that she loved him as much as she did but because, although I loved my own father very much, we never had the kind of bond that they did.  I'm not sure that I have ever met anyone that did.

Whether he was hosting the Fourth of July party or cooking lobsters at Lobsterfest, Larry was bigger than life.  He was a force in any room that he was in.  He wasn't loud or self serving.  He bore his own demons quietly and without complaint.  He was a patriot, a husband, a brother, an uncle, a grandfather and to more than just his own kids, a father.  He held all of these titles with pride.  I know that I am a better man for having known him and I will miss him everyday.

Rest in peace Larry.  I will try to make you proud.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Tale of Two Marathons - Part 2

So here we are...we have just passed the girls at Wellesley College and I feel OK.  Sure my feet and legs are starting to hurt but that's normal...right.  Besides I only have...WHAT!!...I still have 1/2 of the race left.  Ahhhh...crap.  I knew at this point that things were going to get bad...really bad.  I have only run 2 prior marathons so I am not really an expert but I do know my own body and I knew at about the halfway point that things were going to go downhill rather quickly and I still have to make it over the hills of Newton.

As I crossed route 128 in Wellesley my quad muscles were starting to get really sore so, in my infinate wisdom, decided to take a moment and stretch out those muscles.  Well being the picture of physical fitness that I am and given the fact that I had already run 16 or so miles and ALL my muscles were stiff and sore, when I tried to do this I ended up pulling a muscle in my neck that hurt SO bad that I honestly thought that I was going to pass out.  I abandoned the idea of stretching my legs and focused solely on not colapsing in the middle of the street and writhing in pain until the sweet relief of unconciousness overtook me.  I am happy to say that after a few minutes of a shambling zombie-like walk, the cramp in my neck slowly released and I was able to resume my race to glory.  At this point I still had an outside shot of meeting my goal of finishing in under 5 hours. 

Now, the neck cramp happened, as I said, on the bridge over 128 in Wellesley and I had hoped that that would be the worse thing that happened to me for the rest of the race.  However,  as I passed Newton-Wellesley Hospital (only a few hundred yards later) a new problem popped up.  The muscle that is just above and a little toward the inside of my left knee began to spasm.  I got so bad that I had to stop and try to massage it out.  When that didn't really work I began to limp forward and think about what to do next.  I discovered that after a few minutes of walking the cramp worked its way out and I could resume running.  This lasted for maybe a mile or so when  the same muscle began to cramp again but this time it was joined  
by the same muscle on my right leg. ~awesome~

So for the next 10 miles both of my knees would spasm, painfully, on and off.  Along with this delightful annoyance I was also dealing with increasingly painful quad muscles as well as  feet that were starting to hurt as bad as I have ever felt.  The fact that I had to stop so often to try to rub out the cramps essentially ended whatever remote shot I had in finishing in under 5 hours.  Now don't get me wrong, the second half of the race wasn't all bad.  You still run into some great spectators who really push you along and help you get through the tough miles.  After you crest Heartbreak hill at mile 20 the rest of the race is downhill and it takes you through Brighton and it is in this area where you see the bulk of the college kids come out.  Now, when you are running near the back of the pack (as I am) you don't get past the Newton hills until about 4 hours after the start.  By this time the students from some of the countries best colleges and universities are...oh, how should I put it...ah what the hell...they are drunk...very drunk and they are having a good time.  It is one of the things that takes your mind off the pain,  They still shout out encouragement to you but it is not always the most coherent of platitudes.  I'm not judging them, I'm just jealous because they are having a MUCH better time than I am at that point.

So as the last few miles s l o w l y pass by I can't help thinking "are they moving the mile markers further and further apart?"  'cuz it seem like each mile is 6 miles long.  When I hit mile 23 or so I start to have conflicting emotions.  On the one hand I am excited that I am only 3 miles away from the finish but on the other hand I feel like there is nothing that I want to do less than run another step.  It is hard, at this point, to not think about how far you have left to go and for me that is the worst possible thought to have.  To be constantly looking for the next mile marker and not see it fills me with something like despair.

However,  once I cross the Mass Pike and I see the road dip below a bridge, I know that the six greatest words in the english language are coming up.  ***Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston***  I want to tell you, there is nothing sweeter than coming up the hill from under that bridger and seeing the turn for Hereford Street.  It is at this point, two years ago in my first marathon that I actually said to myself "Holy Shit! I just ran the Boston Marathon"  This year it was more of a feeling of surviving the marathon rather than just running it. 

And then comes the turn onto Boylston Street...The finish line looks so close and so far away at the same time.  Of course the first order of business is to find my family who are always waiting for me there and for Max to come running out onto the road to meet me.  This year Max brought out a phone with him and I was able to talk to my mother as I was crossing the finish line.  My favorite moment is when Max and I raise our arms in celebratuion as we cross that bright blue line.  It. is. AWESOME.

Here I am with Max in one hand and my mother on the phone in the other.

 Before I forget, I want to send a shout out to Chris Welch, a fellow runner that was running in his first marathon.  Thanks, Chris, for keeping me company and sharing my misery near the end.  Congratulations on finishing Boston.

So another Boston Marathon is in the books.  I didn't finish first and I didn't finish last.  It was the hardest of the three marathons that I have run but in a way the most rewarding.   This year I saw a lot more examples of how grueling the marathon can be as I watched several people being tended to by medical staff along the course.  I watched a poor young women writhing in pain as searing leg cramps overtook her.  I watched paramedics rushing to a man that had collapsed on the side of the road in Newton.  Boston has beaten better men than me so I am proud that I finshed even though I didn't reach my goal. 

Thanks to everyone who supported me and donated to NF, you are the real heroes.  But most of all thanks to Max who inspires me every day.

Althought the marathon is over for this year that doesn't mean that I am going to stop writing in this blog.  I will continue to run for Max and maybe have some thoughts about some other things too.

Til Next time....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

5:33:20 - A Tale of Two Marathons - Part 1

The 114th running of the Boston Marathon is in the books and I am proud to say that I finished it.  I am not happy to report, though, that I did not meet my goal of finishing in under 5 hours.  I wish I could say that the weather was to blame for my time or that there were some other factor beyond my control that contributed to a slower pace than I wanted, but the fact is that I have no one to blame but mysef.  The weather was fine.  It was a little warm when the sun was out and a little cool when the clouds took over but over all it was good running weather.  No, the problem was me (cuz let's face it, running is not exactly a team sport).  My lack of training in the two months leading up to the marathon are what did me in.  For me, this year was a tale of two marathons.  The first half and the second half.

The day started out good.  The weather was sunny but cool when my cousin Scotty arrived at my house for the trip into Hopkinton.  He was as excited as a kid on Christmas.  You see, Scotty grew up in Natick AND he is a real runner, so running in The Boston Marathon was beyond exciting for him.  We took a couple of pictures on our deck and I want you to notice the difference in outfits between he and I.

Aren't you digging Scotty's short shorts
...and I'm dressed for running the Iditarod

We were pumped and ready!  Kristen dropped us off as close to the starting line as we could get but that still means that we had to walk for a mile and a half or so to get to athletes villiage.  Once there we took in the sights and drank in the palpable excitement that hangs all over that area.

We also did the goofy things that everyone does.

Then it was time to head to the starting line.  Where we would wait in a sea of runners for the 10:30 start of wave 2.

I know the picture quality sucks but this is a shot looking down Rt 135 toward the starting line.

10:30 came and we took off like a shot...oh we didn't we walked, slowly, toward the starting line for about 10 minutes.  THEN, we were off like a shot. I am proud to say that I beat Scotty to the starting line.  However that would be the last that I saw of him as he got into his stride and quickly pulled away from me as I searched frantically for a quiet spot on the side of the road to pee.  By the way, you really haven't lived until you have peed off the side of the road while you hear cheering from spectators and the din of several thousand runners going past you.  Very surreal.

After, my obligitory early race bathroom break I settled into my stride.  I felt pretty good and as the miles ticked away I noticed that I was averaging about a ten and a half minute mile which was faster than the 11 1/2 minute mile pace that I needed to reach my 5 hour goal.  Everything was feeling good and I was having a great time with the spectators.  There are not many times in your life (unless you are lucky enough to be a professional athlete) when you can hear a group of strangers chant your name but that is exactly what happens about a dozen or more times during the race.  The high fives, the shouts of ecouragement and updates of the score of the Red Sox game are all part of the great experience that is the Boston Marathon.  It really is fun.

What is also fun is seeing people you know along the route and especially seeing your family who have fought road closures and crowds to see you for about 10 seconds.  My family is always in Natick center and it always makes me smile to see them as I head throught the intersection of Rt 135 and Rt 27.

Heading toward the family

I don't know what's going on with my face here

I gotta go.  I have a race to run

Shortly after I left my family a man sitting on the side of the road called out my name and when I looked up at him this rather stout, older gentleman said to me "Scott!...You look great but could you pick up the pace a little?"  I smiled and looked back at him and asked if he would be willing to show me what my pace should be.  He laughed and gestured toward his prodigious belly and said "What...are you kidding?  Look at me. "  Like I said, I was having fun.

One of the things that I look forward to most during the marathon is what they call "The Scream Tunnel".  This, of course, refers to the girls of Wellsely College that turn out in huge numbers to cheer on the runners.  You hear them long before you can see them and there is a certain amount of anticipation that the runners get as they approach the tunnel.  When you get there the sound is deafening.  A solid mile of high fives and signs offering kisses to any runner that would like one.  I can't tell who has more fun the girls or the runners.

Unfortunately, for me, this was about where things started to come apart and I will delve into the second half of the race in part 2 of this post.

Til then...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

People Who Rock III

$2,000 BABY!!!  Goal #1 has been reached!!!  Tomorrow is the marathon and I have reached the first of the two goals that I set for myself this year.  The second goal is to finish the race in under 5 hours.  That goal I can rely on no one but myself but the 1st goal could not have been reached without the help of many, many people.  I have mentioned a number of people that have helped me reach this goal and now it is time to recognize some more people who rock.

Before I forget, I want to make sure that I mention the people who donated but not on the firstgiving website.  First off there is another of my Theatre Group friends, Ed Quinlan, who is a lawyer who rocks.

Then there is the strange case of a donation that I received from un-named people from Studio 109 in Millis.  Their haircuts rock and now we all know that they rock as well.

Charles Gobron is an old friend of my wife that I have met only a handful of times but he gave very generously so it is obvious that he rocks.

There is Jonathan Steeves who is a REAL runner that is the epitome of rock-i-tude.

How about my old boss from Gillette Stadium, Bret Hartley.  Does he rock?  Well I'll give you three guesses but you're only gonna need one.

There is my favorite oldest sister Jean who has rocked since I came home from the hospital after I was born and she would rush into the bedroom and look at me. (That one's for you Jean)

As I have said before, I was recently in a production of a play called Two Into One and I played opposite of a man named Bob O'Neil.  He rocked in that play and he rocks in general.

I have an old friend that, through the miracle that is Facebook, I have recently got back in touch with.  His name is Pat Sibley and he has a beautiful wife named Erin.  I knew when I was in their wedding over 20 years ago that they rocked and I am happy to report that they still do.

I have mentioned before that our old Eden Street neighbors, Terri, Dom and Vito rock and because they donated twice I think it is clear that they rock twice as hard.

There is a girl from my past name Pam Devin (well when I knew her her last name wasn't Devin but that kind of thing happens when you don't see a person for a couple of decades) anyway she rocked then and she rocks now.

As if I haven't mentioned enough of my theatre group friends, here is another one.  The ever beautiful and ever vivacious Donna Cabibo ; if you live in and around Millis you know Donna and you are aware of how much she and her whole family rocks.

At the risk of being repetitive...ah screw it... I'll be as repetitive as I want about just how much my sister-in law Julie Parsons ROCKS!

And mother-in-law Caryl who continues to rock even though she is not having the best of springs.  Keep the faith Caryl.  We are all right there with you. last thing about people who rock.  If there were an award show for people who rock (Maybe we'll call them The Rockies) there would be one name that would be mentioned more than any other.  She would win Rocker of the Year..hell  they would even name the  Rock Lifetime Acheivement Award after her and then give it to her every year.  This remarkable person is my wife, Kristen.  She has had a lousy year and a half and yet she still finds the time to support me every step of the way during my marathon training, fundraising and run.  Believe me when I tell you, when it comes to the race of who has the most rock-someness, we are all just trying for second place.  Thank you Kristen...YOU ROCK!!

 Now it is time to try to get some sleep because it seems to me that I have something to do tomorrow.  I can't quite remeber what it is but I'm sure it will come to me.

Til next time...

Number Pick-up Day

Yesterday was number pick up day at the Hynes convention Center in Boston so Kristen, the boys and I along with the Christensens all climbed aboard the green line and headed into the big city.  The Hynes on the weekend before the marathon is always an adventure.  Along with 25,000 runners picking up their numbers and shirts there is a sporting goods expo that can only be described as complete chaos.  Being the geniuses that we are we decided that it would be a good idea to wander through the expo with 5 kids who have dressed for the walk from t-stop to the Hynes (cold and drizzly).  When you get about 10,000 people in a single enclosed room it tends to be a tad warm so all of the sweatshirts that we made them where now are making them miserable. (and this doesn't even take into consideration the stress of having to keep track of 5 kids in that crowd) 

Now having said all of that I have to say that I love number pick up day.  I love going into Boston with the whole family and seeing the throngs of runners, all excited to be this close to the marathon and all excited to be taking a tangible step toward race day.  I can't really descibe or explain the charge I get out of the simple act of picking up my number.  It somehow just seems so....I don't know...exclusive?  I know that is a little counter intuitive because how can something that is done every year by 25,000 other people be an exclusive thing.  I don't know...maybe I'm just a dork.  Anyway...although this looks like it was taken at a police station here is a picture of Scotty, Max and I at the Hynes.

Not the best picture of any of us but what do you want for nothin'

Normally we would take the day to go to the swan boats or take in some other sights around Boston but yesterday was just a little too crappy, weather-wise.  But, we did take a walk down to the finish line as we always do only to find that Boyalston Street was still open and we couldn't get right at the finish line but we did get these pics.

The Days

                                                                      The Christensens

...and my personal favorite

How you Doin'?

Many, Many thanks to the Christensens for a fantastic day and a fantastic spaghetti dinner afterwords.  You guys are AWESOME.

There will probably be another post later today to update everyone on my fundraising goal.  You won't want to miss it.

Til next time...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Three Days to Go...

Three days to go...

The training is done and all that is left is the waiting.  I am not as ready as I would like to be.  I wanted to come into this week feeling good about my training and without any worries about any part of my body.  Well, I have run exactly twice in the last 3 weeks and every time I run my left foot gives me trouble. I am fond of saying...No guts, No glory.  So you can bet that I am going to show up in Hopkinton on Monday give it everything I got.  This year I have a little extra incentive going for me.  While my main inspiration is, and will always be, my oldest son, Max and his daily battle with NF, I want to also run this for another strong individual that is in the midst of the battle of his life.  As you may or may not know my father-in-law Larry Maletta has been in the hospital for the last month recovering from  bleeding in his brain.  Two weeks ago he was transferred to a rehab facility in Natick and he has made amazing strides in his recovery.  One might say inspirational strides.  He is lucky to be alive and we are all lucky to have him in our lives.  I know he would be insanely aggrevated that I am saying this but too bad Larry, there is nothing you can do about it except get better and yell at me later.

The weather on Monday looks like it will be OK.  My girl, JC Monahan, says that it will be partly cloudy and in the low 50's with a slight N-NW wind.  So now is the time that I begin to obsess about how to dress  for the race.  Real runners never have this problem.  It is always shorts and a tank top or t-shirt.  But for me, I am such a pussy about being too cold or too hot that, unless it is 30 degrees or 80 degrees , I never know what to wear.  You have no idea how many times between now and Monday morning I will change what I plan on wearing.  Even when Monday rolls around I will probably end up bringing half of my entire running wardrobe to Hopkinton, you know...just in case.  But, before you judge me for this particular personality quirk, keep in mind that last year at the finish line my temperature was 92 degrees.  Now I never attended any kind of medical school but I am pretty sure that I heard somewhere that 92 is not an ideal body temp.  So I am a little gun shy of under dressing.

I am looking forward to heading out tomorrow to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston to pick up my number.  This year, along with my wife Kristen and our boys, we are going to go in with our cousins Scotty and Jeanette and their two boys.  Scotty is running in his first Boston Marathon but make no mistake about it he is no rookie.  Scotty is one of those people that I consider a REAL runner.  He has run in 5K's, 10K,s triathalons, firefighter challenges, you name it he has done it.  He's one of those looneys that you see out running at 4:30 in the morning when the temperature is in single digits and he is wearing shorts.  Scotty is also running to raise money and awarness of NF and for that we are very, very grateful.  Good luck Scotty.  While I wont see you at the finish line (as he will be back home, showered and have his third beer in his hand by the time I cross the finish line) I will see you back at the house.  I hope to have pictures from tomorrow's trip that I can post here before monday.

As always don't forget to DONATE DONATE DONATE.  Your generosity means more that you will ever understand.  I WILL aknowledge more people who rock  before Monday so be on the lookout for that.

Til next time...

Friday, April 9, 2010

More Randomness

It is only 10 days until the marathon and I must admit I am a little bit worried.  No, strike that, I am A LOT worried.  The cosmos seem to be conspiring against me when it comes to my training.  Due to a variety of reasons I haven't been able (or willing, if we are being honest) to get out and get some miles in.  I have been sick for the better part of the last two weeks and the last time I ran I think that I may have done some damage to my left knee.  I don't think there is anything that will keep me out of the race but I am afraid that I may not be able to reach my goal of finishing in under 5 hours.  I guess we will see in a week and a half.


On Wednesday my lovely wife, Kristen, and I (along with our cousins Scottie and Jeanette) were lucky enough to spend the evening (without kids!) at the annual NF Inc. Northeast Table for Ten benefit dinner in Boston.  We ate at the Caliterra Restaurant with some awesome people that have been affected in some way shape or form by NF.  The company, as well as the food, were great and I want to thank Karen Peluso for inviting us again.


Have you donated yet?  NO?  You really should.  It will make you feel good and besides, all the cool kids are doing it.  Also, while I offer no guarantees, I am pretty sure that if you donate at least $25 you will be granted the power of flight (results may vary).  I am still about $700 short of my fundraising goal of $2,000 and I badly want to meet this goal so please, if you haven't already, donate.  It will mean the world to me and let's face it, how cool would it be to be able to fly? (again, your results may vary)


My FIL is doing much better (knock on wood) and he continues to make progress every day.  Thanks to everyone who sent out their prayers and good thoughts.  It seems to be working.  He wont be able to spray me with seltzer water (he says that champagne is too expensive) after the marathon this year but with any luck at all he will be dowsing me next year and I am already looking forward to that.

I hope to post more often but no one told me that I would have to come up with all of this crap on my own. 

Til next time...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The sun and something numb (TMI? You be the judge)

It certainly will be nice to see (and run in) the sun.  I plan on going out today to get in 10 miles or so.  It is April 1st so I only have 19 days until the marathon and I must admit I am a little worried.  In years past the one thing that I was always thankful for were my feet.  I had shoes that never gave me any problems and I never had to think about my feet.  This year, however, I have had a strange and worrisome problem with my left foot.  When I start out running everything is fine and my feet and shoes feel pretty good.  However, after about 4 or 5 miles the toes on my left foot start to go numb.  If I stop and walk for a few minutes they go back to feeling normal.  But after I start running again they will eventually go numb.  Now I have two different pairs of sneakers that I have tried and this happens no matter which pair I wear.  It is not necessarily something that will prevent me from running but I would rather not have to deal with it for 26 miles.  So if any runners read this please post a comment and let me know if you have any advice.

On another note I have neglected to mention that I now have an official number for the marathon.  It is 27427.  If you want to follow my progress on marathon monday then you can go to the BAA website and enter that number.

On Tuesday I got a call from a lovely young woman from the Boston Globe West who is doing a story on runners from the Millis/Medway/Medfield area and we had a nice long chat about why I am running for Neurofibromatosis and about my oldest son Max and his struggles with this disorder.  We spoke for a good 1/2 hour and she told me that the story should be in this Sunday's Boston Globe, so keep an eye out for that. 

Don't forget to DONATE DONATE DONATE.  I am only about $800 short of my fundraising goal and sooo badly want to meet it this year.  I can't do it without your help.  If you need a reason to donate here is one.

This is Max's 7th grade school picture.

Now I ask you...How can you look at this handsome dude and NOT want to donate???

I am still looking for reviews on chapter one of my epic saga so give it a read and post a comment on what you think.  Don't worry I can take it. 

I would also like some more votes on my marathon finishing time which you can do on the left side of this page.  My goal is to finish in under 5 hours and that would be about 21 minutes faster than last year.  Let me know if you think I can do it or if I'm just kidding myself. (always a possibility)

One last thing...I am happy to report that my father-in-law is doing better.  In case you missed it he was admitted to the hospital with an AVM.  I won't go into details about what that is (if you really want to know then Google it) but let's just say he had bleeding in his brain.  He has been asleep for several days now but he is breathing on his own and he has been moved out of ICU and to a rehab facility in Natick.  The doctors seem pretty optomistic that he will make a full recovery but he still has along way to go.  Send out good thoughts for him and his family.  Get better soon, Larry.  We all miss you.

Til next time...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A quick update and more people who rock

I was happy to finally get out today and put in a fast eight mile run.  I feel pretty good but I would be happier if I had been able to train a little harder over Ithe last two weeks.  As I have mentioned before my family life is in a bit of turmoil so it has taken most of my strength just to keep from curling up in the fetal position and sobbing like a 6 year old girl.

I hesitate to say it but I think that things may be starting to improve (slightly) so maybe the last 3 weeks will be productive.  I still hope to get in my 16 mile run before it gets too late.

One thing that is going a little better is my fund raising.  Donations have been coming in fairly steadily and that means it is time to acknowledge some people who rock.

First off, I need to make a couple of corrections to the last list of people who rock.  Number one I erroneously spelled my niece's name wrong.  It's Jenny not Jennie.  It is important to point out here that she said nothing to me about this.  I just realized that I am an idiot and I need the whole world to know about it.  Secondly, I said that Pattie Corbin was a friend of my wife from high school.  They actually knew each other from college.. You may ask who gives a crap and to that I will say ...meh...I don 't know and I don't care.

Now do you know who rocks?  Well I have a cousin and her name is Karen Wright and she is married to Jeff, the biggest Boston Celtic fan that I have ever met and here is how much Karen rocks.  Not only did she donate to my run but due to her inability to properly post  a comment on facebook she was able to turn a cryptic status update into a plea for donations.  The plea worked and I received donations from her friends Carrie Kerpen, Jenna Lebel and the last name-less Christine.  Do realize what this means?  That's right these people rock!

Next up is an old business collegue named Eric Ferguson and his wife Cindy.  I've never met Cindy but I do know that Eric rocks so I am sure that Cindy does as well.

I was recently in a play called Two Into One and I had a co-star named Pamela PinterParsons and as it turns out, she rocks.

And while we are talking about co-stars, I was once in a production of Plaza Suite with a lovely woman named Rose-Marie Lyon and coincidently she rocks as well.

Another theater group friend that rocks is the ever beautiful Ilene Hamm.

There is a family in my home town named the Farringtons.  That would be Geoff and Amy and they most definately rock.

Two of my closest friends are Angie and Joe (or is it still Joey) Correia and I knew that they rocked a long time ago and now you know too.

I mentioned my niece Jenny earlier and because she donated to my run I am going to mention her again and I am going to mention that she (and her alter ego Toothpick Girl) rocks.

Finally, although my sister-in-law Julie has stated, on my donation page, that I rock I feel it is my responsibility to point out that she is wrong.  It is not me who rocks but it is her.  And make no mistake about it she ROCKS!

Thanks to all of these people who donated.  I do really appreciate it and they really do ROCK.

If you would like to donate please do so here and you will rock as well.

Til next time...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Random Things

It has been a difficult week for me and for alot of the people I care most about.  My father-in-law is in the hospital for a pretty serious reason and it has thrown my already ridiculous life into even more turmoil.

But I'm not going to talk about that today.

I am going to talk about some more mundane things.  I forgot to mention in my last post that I was able to get in another 6.5 mile run that I was pretty happy with. I ran pretty fast (for me) and I felt really good afterwords.  I do have a 16 mile run mapped out but I'm not sure that I am going to find the time to try it. 

I do want to ask (beg, cajole and plead) you to donate ANY amount of money that you can to help us find a cure for Neurofibromatosis (NF).  My oldest son Max suffers from this indescriminate disorder and I would love to be able to wipe it out in his lifetime.(Of course I'm not the one who will actually find the cure but maybe you already understood what I meant)  If you want to learn a little about Max and the affect NF has had on our family please read this speech that I gave at a fundraising dinner a few years ago. 

You can donate at my donation page (that's convenient) or you can visit the NF Inc. NE website and it will tell you where you can send a check if you're afraid of the interwebs stealing your bank account.

...and now some other random thoughts.

I am writing a book.  Well sort of.  To say that I am writing a book would indicate that I am actively writing on a regular basis.  That is not entirely true.  I started writing this thing a number of years ago and I have written the first 8 - 10 chapters but I haven't had the oomph to continue.  If you want a taste you can read chapter 1 and let me know what you think.  If you like it I will link to more chapters in the future.

I would like to see some more votes (on the left here) on how long it will take me to complete the marathon.  Be brutally honest.  I can take it.

I need a job...badly.  If you know of one let me know.  Here is my resume.  Send it out to whomever you like.  Like I said...I need a job.

My twin boys were AWESOME in their first on stage performance.  They are workhouse boys in the Millis High/middle/elementary school production of Oliver.  They sang "Food Glorious Food" and chased Oliver around the stage.  They are complete Hams.  I have no idea where they get that from.

Well it is Sunday and it is going to be the last nice day for a while so I better not waste it on the computer.  I'll have more random thoughts soon.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Another whine...Sorry

Let me ask you a question.  How much can the human mind actually take?  I mean, at what point do you just finally say "screw it, I'm done!"  I imagine that the answer is different for different people.  Some people have the patience of Job and handle every nasty little indignity that comes their way with a smile on their face and a song in their heart.  While others find themselves either at the bottom of a bottle or at the top of building.

It remains unclear where I am at the moment.  I feel like at the end of my rope.  It is never a good sign when you wake up in the morning and, instead of thinking I hope something good happens today, you think to yourself I hope nothing bad happens today.  Now, contrary to what you may have observed in this blog or on my facebook page, I am generally a happy guy.  I'm not blessed with tremendous wealth or a big house or athletically gifted children that will one day be able to buy me a mansion with their endorsement deal money from Nike or Gatorade.  But I really don't care about that.  I like the house I'm in and my kids are AWESOME.  I don't need anything more than a happy and healthy family and enough money to provide for them, to be happy.

The problem is that, as you may have read in an earlier post here, nothing seems to be going right for us and lately it has taken a turn for the worse.  Last week I thought that we were turning a corner.  I had, what seemed to be, a sure lock on a good job, the kids were finally over the seemingly endless coughs and colds, and it felt as if we were going to get our lives back.  Kristen could go back to doing what she wants to do which is be a stay at home mom and I could go back to providing for my family.  Then, on Thursday of last week, the twins caught a throw up bug.  Max followed suit on Sunday night and if that weren't enough my father-in-law was sent to the hospital with bleeding in his brain.  This is a condition called an AVM and it is so rare in a 79 year old man that there may be medical papers written about him. 

Now, any of you that know my wife Kristen know how close she is to her father.  She, already had the weight of the world on her shoulders and now this is more than she should be able to take.  She is handling things as best she can but put yorself in her place.  How do you think you would hold up?  So it has been very difficult to watch the woman that I love carry the wait of this on her already over burdened back.

Now, in case you are wondering, I love my father-in-law.  He is the most caring and generous man that I know.  Sure he is a pain in the ass but that is part of his charm.  I am very worried about him and I want nothing more than for him to be back to his old self.  Whether it be warning me to put new batteries in my smoke detectors or reminding me to get the oil in my car changed, I want him to get well. 

So I'll ask again, how much can the human mind actually take? 

If you figure it out will you let me know?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Dirty Little Secret

I was very happy with my eight mile run today.  It was a little cold and a little wet but I did run the fastest mile that I have ever run.  I ran one of the eight miles in less than eight minutes and I was pretty proud of myself for that.


I have a secret.  I am not proud of this secret but I'm afraid it is something that can't be helped.  I know that there are some people out there who will want to turn their back on me but I hope that you will all forgive me.  Ok here it is.  I don't really like running.  It's true.  I usually find it to be, at best, tiresome and uncomfortable and at worst, something just short of torture. 

When I started running in January of 2007 I did it in hopes that I would shed an inch of two of the man-boobs that I had developed.  I would talk to people that ran and they would look whistfully into the air and say how much they liked getting out at the crack of dawn and running for miles with just the sound of the early morning birds and the steady whap whap whap of their sneakers on the solitary pavement.  They told me that after I ran for a while that I would catch the fever.  I would fall in love with running.  My life would become all about getting out on the road.

Yeah, That didn't happen.

When I ran the marathon last year I was somewhere around mile 22 or 23 and I distinctly remeber saying to myself I am NEVER putting myself through this again.  Worse than that, I have been on runs this winter of eight miles or less and thought This Sucks!  I'm cold, I'm tired, I'm Bored and my feet hurt. 

Now, the wierd part is that I look forward to running and I am always happy with myself and satisfied when I am finished but the physical act of just sucks.

So that's my dirty little secret.  What's yours??

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

People who Rock!

Before I get to my list of people who rock, I want to say that yesterday was among the top 10 of wierd days for me.  I won't go into the specifics just yet but I might have more details next week.

Now...I wanted to take a moment to recognize several people who absolutely rock.  As you know I am running in the Boston Marathon this year to raise money for NF Inc. Northeast.  I am suppose to raise $3,000 dollars in return for NF Inc NE getting me a number and paying my entrance fee.  This is always a difficult task because, quite frankly, I don't have a lot of rich friends.  This year has proven to me more difficult because, let's face it, nobody has a lot of extra cash lying around.

Which is why I want to recognize some people for reaching into their wallets, their purses, under their mattresses or into that jar buried in the back yard and donating.  Their generosity means so much to Kristen and I and I never really get a chance to thank them to here goes.

First off the are the local friends:

The Fischers
The Lanes - Dawn and Dave (Dawn, I will be expecting that shrimp casserole)
The Berminghams - Matthew and Patti
Sally Madison
and our old Eden Street friends Terri and Dominic Rizzo (and I haven't forgot about Vito either)

You guys ROCK!!

Next are our families

My mom who always rocks
as do my mother and father-in-law who rock harder than almost anyone I know
My sister-in-law Bethie and her husband Mark who have rocked as long as I have known them
My brother Jim who can't help but rock
My sister Mindy and her bongo playing boyfriend Bill who do nothing but rock
My other sister-in-law Julie, her husband Jim and their two rockin' kids Maddelini and Toothpick Girl Jennie. This is a whole family that rocks.

..and finally here are some random people who also rock

Dawn Anderson who is a talented director that rocks
Jesse Stearns - An old friend from my Gillette Stadium days (you guessed it...he rocks)
Eric Harrop - One of the few co-workers that I still keep in touch with (and I'm glad I do because he rocks)
My old collegue Mark Warsofsky from one of the best trucking companies around, M & M Transport Services
Cheryl Skeates who is a friend from a million years ago when we were both in high school and she rocks so much that even the fact that we haven't seen each other in 17 years she still donated.
Patti Corbin who is a person that I don't know and she doesn't know me but she was a friend of my wife from high school.  Now that rocks!

I can't thank these people enough for their support and their generosity.  I am going to continue to thank people as we get closer and closer to the marathon. (and hopefully get more and more donations)

If you are a person who rocks and you would like everyone to know about it please donate to my marathon run.  You can donate by credit card online by going here.  Or you can donate by a check made payable to the following:

NF Inc. Northeast
9 Bedford Street
Burlington, MA 01803

Please note on your check that it is for my marathon run.  You can send it to another person that rocks so much that it's ridiculous, Karen Peluso who is the Executive Director of NF Inc NE.

Thanks for your support and for listening...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Let me take a break to whine...

I realize that I am a pretty lucky guy.  I have 3 great kids who are relatively healthy and happy.  I have a beautiful and amazing wife who puts up with my crap on a daily basis (no small feat) and is a fantastic cook to boot.  I am really thankful for all of that. 


My family and I have been wading hip deep in crap for the last 14 months.  You see, I have been unemployed for that stretch of time.  I was an economy related casualty at my last job.  I have been on several interviews in the last 14 months where I honestly thought that I was going to get the job only to find out that the job had been put on hold (happened twice) or that the company decided to fill the position internally. (also happened twice) The  most recent example was with a compnay in Foxboro (Nice and close) that when they called to give me the news they told me that I was the one that they wanted to hire but because of the economy they decided to combine two jobs into one and give that job to someone that already worked there.

So everytime I saw the light at the end of the tunnel it turned out to be a train.  To go along with this, we also have had a car die as well as a pet.  We have had plumbing problems and a rodent infestation.  We were collecting food stamps for a while which was great but then they decided that I was getting too much money from unemployment (yeah, they were really showering me with money) so they pulled the plug on that.  I was working part time at Gillette Stadium to pick up a couple extra bucks but there is no work in the off season so that income stopped. 

Now, because I have been collecting my massive unemployment checks for a year I was told that I had to re-file for unemployment benefits.  So they have stopped paying me until they can contact the company that I worked for last year and verify that I am unemployed.  You read that right.  They have to make sure that a guy that has been collecting unemployment for a year, because he was laid off, is still unemployed from the company that laid him off.  So that leaves me with absolutely no income for an undetermined period of time. 

Honest to God...I don't know how much more I can take.  This has put a strain on everyone in the family from my wife (who wants nothing more than to be home for the kids) to every last one of the kids (who are so disappointed that we can't go on vacation or even get take out once in a while.

It's just not fair.

Sorry for the whine but thanks for listening...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Today's training run and the people in your neighborhood

Today I decided to be a bit ambitious.  After running 6 miles yesterday I decided that I would put in a long slow run today.  So I headed out at about 12:30 this afternoon for a 14 mile run.  I decided that I would run relatively slow so that when I hit the last mile that I would have some legs left.  For the most part my strategy worked.  I felt pretty good for the entire run.  Although, on the last mile I felt and looked about 75 years old.

I did run into a good friend and a REAL runner, Jonathan Steeves.  Jonathan was in the middle of a 16 mile run and he slowed down so that we could talk for a couple of minutes.  We discussed our runs and then because I was slowing him down he wished me luck and went on his way.  As I watched him fade into the distance in front of me I started to think about the people that I run across when I'm out on my runs.  First of all, because I am an unrepentant attention whore, I love it when cars honk at me.  It gives me a little charge.  I can't really explain why but it does. 

There are three categories of people that you come across (that are not in cars) when you are out on a run.  First there are the dog walkers.  These are usually pretty nice people that are friendly and curteous and will hold onto their pets a little tighter as you run by.  This still wont keep me from crossing to the other side of the road when the woman with the two dobermans is out.  Some may call me chicken but I like to think of it as self preservation.

The second type of people are other runners.  These folks are you brothers in arms.  You share a mutul respect and admiration.  They will always say hi and you might even get a look that silently says I feel your pain

The last group is the cyclists.  For the most part, these people will not acknowledge your exisitance.  With their ridiculous day-glo spandex and wrap around sunglasses, the look at you with thinly veiled contempt.  As if the fact that you are out on the road without wheels is an offense so egregious as to make you less than human in their eyes.  Now I don't know why this is the case but I ran across no fewer than 8 people on bicycles on my run today and I smiled, waved and said hi to each one of them and not one smiled back or spoke a single word to me.  As George Costanza once said "We're living in a SOCIETY"

I don't get it.  But what do I know?

Til next time...

...and now a shameless plug for donations

One of the reasons that I started this blog is because I am raising money to benefit NF Inc Northeast.  They are a wonderful group of people headed by the remarkable and tireless Karen Peluso.  Karen is the one who makes sure that I get a number for the marathon each year.  NF Inc NE pays the entrance fee and all they ask in return is that each runner raises $3,000 in donations.

Kristen and I (and when I say Kristen and I, I mean mostly Kristen) have tried to come up with different ways to raise money.  Last year I set up a booth at the Millis Fireman's Muster and raffled off gift   certificates.  We ended up raising over $600 that day which we were both pretty happy with.  We have also held a few dinners that we called the "Faces of NF" dinner in which we had large raffles and silent auctions.   During these dinners we always had a family member give a speech about what is was like to have a family member with NF.  The first year we had the dinner I was the one who gave the speech and you can see that speech here .

Please take a few minutes and read this speech.  It will give you an idea of how NF has affected our family.  When you are done, if you can, please make a donation.  Any amount will be appreciated more than you will ever know.  You can donate using the link on the left or you can send a check directly to NF Inc NE.  The address can be found at there website which is also linked at left.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What's so great about The Boston Marathon?

When I was growing up in the small, southern Worcester county town of Oxford I never thought much about the Boston Marathon.  I, of course, knew when it was on because it seemed like every one of the 5 TV channels we got were covering it from beginning to end.  I never understood why so much time was spent talking about people running.  The newscasters seemed to be so excited about, not only the elite runners, but also the tens of thousands of other runners, all of which had absolutely no chance of winning.  Now keep in mind I'm talking about when I was between the ages of 10 and 18.

Now let's flash forward several years.  I met and started dating a lovely young lady from Natick, MA.  She would get, what I considered, disproportionately excited when the marathon came around.  She would always drag me to Natick center to stand and cheer on the runners. 

I thought this was ridiculous.  But there we were every year. Standing and cheering. I just didn't get it.

And then I made the decision to run in the marathon.  The people standing and cheering were amazing.  They lined the streets from Hopkinton to Boston and they never stopped cheering.  The first year that I ran I was near the back of the pack so I didn't get to Heartbreak Hill until about 4 hours after the start.  But there were still people on the side of the road calling out my name and urging me up the hill, telling me it was all down hill and that I could do it.  Now I should mention that at this time I was in absolute agony.  Everything on my body hurt.  Every step was pure torture.  But those people kept me going.  One of my favorite stories that first year, is when I was at about mile 22 or so  I was walking with my head down and feeling generally miserable I heard someone call out my name.  I looked over and I saw a group of about 4 or five college aged kids.  The guy that called out to me stretched out his arms and said   "Scott...I got a hug for you."  I looked at him, shrugged my shoulders and ambled over.  As I got there the whole group hugged me, patted me on the back and shouted encouragement to me.  It was a very surreal experience.  After all these were strangers and I was a sweaty old guy.  But the fact is that when I got there I was walking and when I left I was running again.  THAT is what is so great about the Boston Marathon.

Well I think it is time for me to get off my ass and put in a couple of miles.  Please see the poll to the left and let me know how long you think it will take me.

Til next time...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Here is where it starts

Welcome to day one.

I have always been one of those holier than thou boneheads who mocked people who blogged saying that they were self involved d-bags who think that every thought that races through their attention starved minds needs to be heard by the entire world.  I am still going to mock those people but I am also going to spend some time in their world.

I'm starting this blog because we (and by we I mean my wife who is infinately more technologically savy than me) thought that this would be a good way to educate people about the neurological disorder Neurofibromatosis or NF and to publicize the fact that I am running the Boston Marathon to raise money to help fight this disorder.

Why am I raising money for this particular disorder?  I'm glad you asked.  My oldest son Max, who is almost 14 years old, suffers from this indisciminant affliction.  He is a remarkable young man that has been dealt a difficult hand.  He suffers from some learning disabilities, small tumors that have grown on top of his skin, a more complex tumor (called a plexiform neurofibroma) that has grown underneath his skin on his elbow, gross motor skill problems, fine motor skill problems and a level one astrocytoma on his brain.  The brain tumor caused a back up of fluid on his brain that had to be corrected with surgery.  So you see life hasn't been easy for him. 

So that is why I am running the Boston Marathon.  If Max can live his entire life dealing with his problems then I think I should be able to abuse my body for 26.2 miles.

So join me for the next 6 weeks while I train to beat last years time (5 Hours 21 Minutes and 29 Seconds).  I'll try to make it at least a little interesting.

Oh and before I forget if you want to learn more about the charity that I am raising money for you can visit them here  or if you want to learn a little more about Max you vsist this site that Kristen created.

Thanks for listening.