Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston Marathon 2013 - My Story

Holy crap!  Where do I start?  I'll start with an apology.  An apology to the people that support me, to the people who have donated money to my marathon run and to myself.  This year has been different.  I have been lazy and apathetic when it come to anything that had to do with this year's Boston Marathon campaign.  I did not fund raise anywhere near as much as I should have.  I did not post to this blog with updates on how my training was going or with thanks to the people who had donated.   I also did not train as hard or as often as I should have.  Oh, I had every excuse in the book, the weather was bad this winter, I was sick for a couple of weeks, I had to travel for work, I had rehearsals twice a week, blah, blah, blah.  At the end of the day I just wasn't into it this year.  I had times when I felt motivated and I thought OK, Now I am going to get rolling.  Those feeling would last for a day or two and then I would fall back into apathy.  For that I apologize to everyone.  You deserve better and so does Max.

Then came marathon day.  In the days leading up to the marathon I didn't feel the same buildup of excitement that I have in the past.  Normally I am really into it to the point of obsession.  I am constantly monitoring my water intake to make sure that I am staying properly hydrated, I will have a plan for how often and how far I am going to run in the two weeks leading up to marathon Monday.  I will obsessively monitor the weather and spend far too many hours thinking about what I am going to wear.  This year, however, there was none of that.  I woke on Monday morning with only a small amount of nervous excitement.  I really felt like I was going through the motions.  Kristen drove me to Hopkinton around 8:30 AM.  This year I was walking to athlete's village alone.  I did not have Katie O'Connell to keep me company on the trip to the starting line this year as she decided not to run.  So everything was different this year.  As I reached the starting area I felt like my lack of training was going to turn this into a very ugly day for me.  Little did I know how the day would end.

I started off the race OK.  I took my normal pee break at about the 1/2 mile point and I continued through Hopkinton into Ashland.  I ran into a guy that I met, and ran with, last year.  We traded pleasantries and this year, we went our separate ways.  I had a lot of other racers wish me good luck and comment on how handsome my son Max is.  (My wife did another fantastic job on my shirt this year.  It featured a great picture of Max on the back)  As I made my way from Hopkinton to Ashland and then to Framingham I still felt pretty good.  I was trying to remember all of the great things that were said to me and all the great things that I saw on the trip as these are the memories that make this day special.  One moment I always remember is coming into the center of Natick where my family is waiting for me.  They cheer so loud and are so great that it always gives me a lift and, thankfully, this year that was no different.  After the traditional pictures in Natick I headed off towards Wellesley.   After a brief lift from the girls at Wellesley College I found my self thinking the worst possible thought I have so far to go and I don't know how I am going to make it.  There really was a time that I thought I might not be able to make it.  I had half of the race to go and I was sooo tired.  But I kept going and thankfully I seemed to get a second wind.  As I made my way past Newton-Wellesley Hospital I felt OK.  Not great but better than I did in downtown Wellesley. 

I made the turn onto route 30 and I knew the hills were in front of me.  I had my IPod on (this is the first marathon that I have ever used my IPod) and it helped keep my mind occupied.  As I was about halfway through the stretch between the firehouse and the top of Heartbreak Hill I started to notice something.  Police motorcycles were starting up the hill with unusual frequency.  You always see an ambulance or a police vehicle go up the street but there was something different going on this year.  There were motorcycles, state police cruisers, Suffolk county sheriff department vans and various other emergency vehicles heading up the street, not at the normal cautious pace that I was used to seeing, but at high rate of speed with sirens blaring.  I knew something was up but I never could have guessed what was unfolding in front of me.

As I approached the top of Heartbreak Hill I noticed that there were course officials and medical tent workers ushering the runners off the road.  The runners, exhausted from the 20+ miles they had already run, looked confused but were otherwise very cooperative.  When I reached the top I was told that the race had been temporarily stopped and I needed to get off the road.  When I asked why I was simply told "there is an emergency at the finish line".  I had not been there on the side of the road for more than 5 or 10 minutes when my phone rang.  It was my wife telling me that there had been 2 explosions at the finish line and that they were on the train heading away from Boston.  Everyone was safe including my two nephews Jeremy and Sam who were going to meet with my family on Boyalston Street to watch me cross the finish line.  My family would have arrived in Boston earlier but through a series of karmic events they were delayed getting on to the train and therefore never made off the train.  They were turned around at the Fenway T-Stop.  (The sobering part of all of this is that my family, had they made it into Boston would have been standing within 50 or so yards of where the 2nd bomb went off.)

I was still on the side of the road waiting for news on what would be done with us.  The people in charge at the location I was at were great.  They kept us informed and calm.  My wife would call me periodically trying to find a way to get to me to pick me up.  Unfortunately, the roads in Newton were mostly closed.  She, with our neighbor and close friend Luigi driving, made their way as far as the fire station at the corner of route 16 and route 30.  The next time she called I told her to just go home as I had no idea how long it would take to get us to somewhere where I could be picked up.  I had finally got here to agree to that when they announced that they would take us by bus to the Newton City Hall.  That was a location that my family could get to.

I climbed out of the van at city hall in Newton and scanned the immediate area for my family.  After a few moments I saw my wife, at first slowly making her way towards me.  I started to walk slowly in her direction and then as I saw the agonizing mixture of happiness, relief and barely contained tears on her face we moved faster towards each other and we ended in a hug that will forever be the moment that I will remember most about this marathon.  The feeling of relief was indescribable.  We held each other and cried.  I asked if everyone was OK and she nodded.  More relief.  We broke apart and headed towards the car where I was met by more hugs and tears of relief by my three boys, Max, Anthony and Noah.  I was also given a huge hug by one of my "daughters" Julia, who said to me "don't ever do this again.  I was really scared."

I was texted and voice mailed and facebooked by so many people.  I never realized just how many people cared about me and my family until this happened.

So that was it.  My race ended about 5 1/2 miles short but more importantly I was able to go home and have dinner with my family.  Some people weren't so lucky.  I was contacted by a reporter for the Metrowest Daily News who wanted to know my reactions to Monday's events.  When he asked if I would ever consider running in the Boston Marathon again I immediately said absolutely and my family will be at the finish line cheering me on!!!  I refuse to let this be the last marathon I run!  Those bastards stole from me one of my favorite moments.  It is the moment my I am coming down Boyalston Street and I see my boy running out to meet me and then we run, hand in hand, across the finish line of the greatest marathon in the world.  I will be back as will most of the runners.  When I started running in this marathon I didn't know what to expect and now that I have seen it I never want to let it go.

I let this year slip past me and I learned that that is unacceptable!  Life is too short and too fragile.  Next year will be the best year ever!  I will run it faster and I will raise more money for NF Inc. NE than I ever have! 

And I will see all of you there because that is who we are!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Live Oscars Blog

This is my live Academy Awards Blog. It starts about a half hour into the show because I just thought of it...

By the way I am publishing it before I actually proofread it so there will be plenty of spelling and grammer mistakes that I will correct later...or maybe I wont.


8:55 - Paul Rudd and Melissa Mcarthy come out and do something that looked like it should have been funny but honest to god I have no idea what they said.

8:56 - My wife actually says "Why is she so fat?"  That's nice honey.

8:59 - Reese Witherspoon's boobs look like they are trying to eat her dress.

9:00 - The clamoring in my house for Les Miserables to win every Oscar including Best Animated Short, Best foreign documentary and the Cecil B DeMille Award reaches a fever pitch.

9:04 - Cinematography.....Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...Oh Thank God one of the Doobie Brothers won.

9:07 - Visual Effects goes to......More people nobody knows or cares about!!  Hooray!!

9:10  - That guy really didn't get that his time was done did he??  Dude, That music means Shut the f' Up

9:14 - The Costume Design winner looked like she had to walk in from the parking lot.

9:20 - What the hell is Halle Berry wearing???  That looks like a costume that people in movies about the future wear.

9:24 - Did I need to hear Goldfinger?  Let me answer that for you...No.  No I didn't.

9:30 - Live Action Short goes to.... Les Miserables!!!  Wow! I did not see that coming.

9:40 - 10:10 - I had to get my clothes ready and take a shower so I missed whatever minor awards were given out and, apparently, a big  musical montage....  I feel all empty inside.

10:11 - Mark Walberg has to stand up there and pretend he is enjoying interacting with a teddy bear.  It always surprises me that the directors of the show think that will be funny.

10:14 - Did he just say there is a tie????  I would be pissed if I was one of those two.  That is kind of like getting "Participation Tropy"  You didn't actually win because everyone got one.

10:18 - Christopher Plummer looks like a corpse.

10:19 - My wife just said about Anne Hathaway "Look how her dress does the nipple thing"  What does that mean?

10:21 - Anne Hathaway and her nipple dress won!!!!

10:32 - The editing guy apparently had a seat in the parking lot next to the Costume Designer chick.
(as a side note how cool would it be to be handed your oscar by Sandra Bullock?)

10:34 - I hate hate hate the song Skyfall.  So boring.

10:43 - I didn't realize how many freakin pictures were nominated for Best Picture.  Nicole Kidman was the 10th person to announce 3 films that were nominated.  That can't be right.  Can it??

10:46 - Kristen Stewart bravely limps on stage and then sounds like she's stoned. 

10:47 - Oh My God!  Nice wig on the guy who just won for doing something for Lincoln.  He looks like if he took off his glasses the hair would come with it.

10:52 - The two old men from the Muppets balcony brought two of their friends with them and they all decided to carry an Oscar.

10:56 - Ah...the In Memoriam portion of the show.  We always love this part. A lot of sound editors and production designers this year.  Too bad more famous people didn't die.

11:00 - Barbara Streisand.  She annoys the living crap out of me.

11:02 - My wife and I think that if Cher and Jennifer Anniston had a kid it would be the 2013 version of Barbara Streisand.

11:03 - Bunny

11:04 - Our Bunny comes to feast on human flesh.

11:07 - Catherine Zeta Jones is going to be my 3rd wife. (after my current wife and Diane Lane)

11:12 - OK. What the hell is Life of PI about??  I am tired of thinking it of it as the tiger on a raft movie

11:15 - Skyfall wins best son......Zzzzzzzzz

11:23 - OK.  The time has come for the big ones

11:24 - Tarrantino wins for screenplay.  I am going to come right out and say what an insufferable douche bag I think he is. 

11:25 - ...aaannnnnddd he proves it again.

11:27 - Two awards and another commercial.  No wonder these things last longer than a Yankees/Red Sox game

11:32 - I just realized the combined age of Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda is 412.

11:33  - Ang Lee wins Best Director for the tiger on a raft movie. 

11:35 - Two awards and another commercial.  Oh My God!!  This is an excersise in torture.

11:42 - Jennifer Lawrence Takes Best Actress and promptly falls going up the stairs.  What a bittersweet moment that must be.

11:44 - "Meryl Streep's dress looks like it is made out of cement".  ...Kristen Day

11:47 - Meryl apparently doesn't beleive in suspense. 

11:50 - Jack Nicholson ladies and gentlemen!!

11:51 - Why oh why are we listening to Michelle Obama and her stupid hair??  And what was the point of her ramblings??

11:55 - Argo takes the big one.  I stongly feel that anyone who looks as good as George Clooney should not be as rich  as he is.  You get one or the other.  Not both.

That's it.  The damn thing is finally over.  Remind me to never do this again.  I am going to hate myself in the morning.

Til next time.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Motivation...or lack thereof

So I clicked on the BAA website and I got a sobering slap in the face.  There are 64 days until the marathon.  64 DAYS!!!  Holy crap!!  I have just over 2 months to train and raise money for this year's race!  After regaining my senses I wondered to myself how the hell did I let it get this late without getting some donations or getting really serious about my training???  One of the things I hate about myself is that I have a tendency to get complacent and lazy.  Just ask my wife...she'll tell you.  I go through times in my life when I am motivated and a man of action.  ...and then....well...right now I am in one of those other moods.  I have lacked any kind of motivation to get things done.  I have no idea why this is the case.  I don't know whether it is the stress at work, the Patriots loss in the AFC Championship game (to Ray Lewis no less), the fact that I am getting older and more crotchety with each passing day, the debt ceiling, my continued inability to create cold fusion or my hatred of sweet gherkins but I can't seem to get going with anything around this year's marathon run.  I have had a hard time getting out running this time of year because the only time that I can run during the week is after dinner and it is dark and cold. (and yes, I will have some delicious smoked Gouda cheese with that whine)

So I need help.  My wife does what she can to motivate me (which mostly consists of telling me to get off my fat, lazy ass and go for a run) but I think this year I am going to need more.  So I am asking anyone that reads this post to take a minute to post a comment urging me to get going.  I don't care if it is inspirational and uplifting or slightly mean or downright offensive and insulting.  I just need to have a fire lit under me.  I need to be motivated to get out on the street and I need to be motivated to do more fundraising.  As of right now I have raised exactly...well, let me check the big board....oh yeah...the tally right now is a big fat ZERO.  That won't do.  Not for Max and not for NF Inc Northeast.

I will try my best to do my part.  I hope to post here more often and really start to get the word out to get donations.  So you should get used to hearing my shameless plugs for money.  I will be more annoying than PBS during the 475th airing of the 25th anniversary concert of Les Miserables (by the way, how GOOD was that concert???)  I am going to be the Jerry Lewis of NF fundraising, I will be more cloying than Sally Struthers trying to get you to throw a sandwich at some poor Ugandan kid or Sarah McLaughlin mewling about a mangy dog that looks like it just spent a coke filled weekend at Michael Vick's house.

It will start today!  After I shovel the 214 feet of snow in and around my driveway..side rant here...My frickin snow blower broke!!!  The biggest snowstorm in 20 years and my God forsaken  snow blower breaks!!!  I'm out last night at 10:00 doing the first pass at the snow and I run over something in the driveway that gets stuck in the auger and I think it ended up either breaking or dislodging a belt.  Why does God hate me so????...end rant.  Anyway after I shovel a million pounds of snow I am going to run on the treadmill for at least an hour.  By the way if you read my last post I included a list of things that were the Devil's Work.  I count treadmills among them now.

Help me...Motivate me and let's kick this thing's ass together.  Remember I need to raise $4,000 and I want to finish in less than 5 hours.  Not much time to do either but let's give it a shot.

Til next time...

*****UPDATE *****

I did it!!!  I cleared about 250 tons of snow from my driveway (by the way my snow blower only had a hunk if wood jammed in the auger.  Once I got it out everything worked like a champ)  I cleared some of the snow off the roof and I got on the treadmill and ran for an hour.  The treadmill said I did a little over 5 miles but it seemed like it should have been longer than that.  My thanks to Jason Bourne for keeping me company for that excruciatingly looooong hour. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I Have Nothing to Say

It is my understanding that the purpose of writing this blog is to get people to read it and as a result they will learn about NF and Max and as a direct result of THAT they will donate a few shekels to NF Inc Northeast and help to make Max's, and every other person afflicted with this indiscriminate disorder's, life better.

It sounds simple enough, right?  All I have to do is sit down once a day and bang out a few hundred words filled with humor and intelligence and witty observation and people will say to themselves "My what a smart and funny young man.  His cause seems worthy of some of my hard earned money". The problem is that I really have nothing to say.  Since starting this blog I have developed a real admiration and respect for the people that write blogs everyday.  Everyday they have something to write about, some opinion to express or some story to tell.  I got nuthin'

Don't get me wrong I think about it everyday but the thought of stringing together enough coherent sentences to make it worthwhile for anyone to read seems way harder than running a marathon.  I think about all the different blogs that I see and it seems like I am not even smart enough to rip off their ideas. 

I could go on a rant about how tired I am of hearing about Lance Armstrong and as disgusting as I find him I also find Oprah Winfrey equally as reprehensible for trying to turn her interview with him into a two part extravaganza that will get people to watch her network. (by the way, has anyone told her that she is no longer relevant?)   I could opine about Notre Dame's Manti Te'o and how I could care less of whether he had a girlfriend or not.  Somebody should tell him that most people stop claiming to have imaginary girlfriends sometime around the 10th grade.  ("She's from Canada.  You wouldn't know her")

Maybe I could breakdown the AFC Championship game and what the Patriots have to do to get past the Ravens. Here's my analysis.  If the Patriot's offense can score more points than Baltimore I can virtually guarantee you that they will return to the Super Bowl.  That is my mortal lock.  Go right now and bet the house on that.

If sports isn't you thing, maybe you would want to read my reviews of current movies.  Well, I have been to the movies exactly once in the last 6 months.  A couple of weeks ago I went to see Les Miserables and I loved it.  I sobbed like a 12 year old school girl and I will NOT apologize for it!  Anyone who doesn't get at least a little misty when Anne Hathaway sings "I Dreamed a Dream" has no soul.  My advice to you though, don't expect a real uplifting film.  This is a beautiful but long and very very sad film.  By the way Sasha Baron Cohen was badly cast in this.

If sports or cinema doesn't float your boat then maybe a list.  I see a lot of blogs with lists.  Best this or worst that.  I think it has something to do with lists being easy and quick to read.  OK.  I'll give that a shot.  Anyone who has spent anytime around me has heard me refer to many things as "The Devil's Work"  These are things so heinous and such a blight on human existence that they could only have come from the Satan himself.  So here is a top ten list of things that are the Devil's Work:

10 Speed Bumps
 9 The Real Housewives of Anywhere
 8 Microbrewery Beer
 7 The Beatles ( C'mon...The most overrated band in the history of music)
 6 The Westboro Baptist Church
 5 Pumpkin Flavored Anything
 4 Twitter
 3 Grapes with Seeds
 2 Brownies with Nuts
 1 There's Something About Mary

Or maybe I just ask for donations.  Please donate to NF Inc. Northeast.  If you do you will feel better about yourself and good things will come to you.  You will feel better, your family will love you more, your friends will respect you, you will be regular and all of your hopes and dreams will be within your grasp.  How can you pass that up??? I said...I got nuthin' to say.

Til next time...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A New Beginning

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends...

It is January of 2013 and I have officially begun training for this years exercise in pain, agony and stupidity.  I am of course talking about the Boston Marathon and I have sent in my application and received confirmation from my good friends at the BAA that, yes, in fact they are going to let me run this year despite my less than ideal body type.

I have fully recovered from last year's ungodly hot run and I am looking forward to making this year the best one yet from not only a time but also from a fundraising standpoint.  Last year I was overwhelmed by the donations that I received.  I set a goal of raising $3,000 and I was thrilled to receive over $3,700.  This year I am going raise the stakes and see how people respond.  This year the goal will be $4,000 and I am confident that it can be reached and surpassed.

As far as  time goes...well...I think we all know where this is going (or at least you would if had read this blog over the last couple of years) My goal this year is to break the ever elusive 5 hour mark.  For some perspective the first year I ran I finished in 5:55:21.  That was followed by times of 5:21:29, 5:33:20 and last years brutal 6:03:42.  To shave 22 minutes off of my best time is, at best daunting, and sometimes, it seems downright impossible.  However, I am going to work harder than I ever have and I WILL break that 5 hour mark.  It is up to you to break the $4,000 mark.

Now I want to say a little bit about why I am doing this at all, my son Max.  As a lot of you already know my oldest son was born with a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis.  It has caused him a wide variety of problems including a number of tumors that have grown on the surface of his skin, a larger, more complex tumor that has grown on his elbow, some learning disabilities, some fine and gross motor skills problems and an inoperable brain tumor.  He has done remarkably, inspirationally well despite all of the things going against him.  He is now 16 years old and a junior in high school.  He gets pretty good grades (much better than I did in high school) and he is now a licensed driver. (Yikes!)  He is very heavily into the FIRST Alarm Robotics team (and now he can drive himself to the lab...Yay!!!)  He is now looking at (gulp!) colleges.  He originally wanted to go to WPI for video game development but we are also looking at Fitchburg State for the same discipline.  He continues to surprise us every day.  He is a smart, funny, weird and always inspirational figure in our family. 

I know every parent thinks this but I truly believe Max is destined to do great things and by raising money for NF Inc, Northeast I think we can all make that happen.

As always ANY amount of money is greatly appreciated and you can donate in one of two ways:

  • First - Go to my CrowdRise Fund Raising page here and leave your inspirational words of encouragement (or scathing insults) along with your generous donation.
  • Second - Make out a check to NFNE and send it to NF Northeast - 9 Bedford Street - Burlington, MA 01803

If you want to visit NF Inc. Northeast you can visit them here.

Also take a look around this blog for some surveys and other fun stuff that I will post over the next couple of months.  Take a read of the book that I am writing and feel free to let me know your thoughts and opinions. I have posted the first several chapters on this blog.

Thanks for listening and please come back and visit often.

Til next time...