Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bib # 51121

PHILADELPHIA -- The ING New York City Marathon is Sunday morning, and I go off at about 10:20 a.m. I expect to finish in around five hours, and more than anything I expect to finish and have a great time. There will be 2 milion spectators and 100 bands. There will be pain and perseverance, there will be Glycerins and glory. I am ready. But it almost never happened . . .

Wow. How do you describe what this week has been like. My profession is Major League Baseball, and I work the postseason from city to city. The World Series was thrown into a state of uncertainty in the fifth inning of Game 5, and after the game was suspended for the first time in the history of the 104th Fall Classic, it struck me that I may have just lost my marathon.

Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, had to fall into place. I need some breaks. Then the news got worse. Tuesday came and went, and we had to wait another day because the weather was so bad in Philadelphia -- where I am blogging from now. I knew there was a good chance I was toast. I envisioned a Game 7 Saturday night at Tampa Bay, with no hope of getting home in time. Then some breaks finally started to go my way.

The main one was when I found out before the general public that if there was a Game 6 in Tampa Bay, it would have been on Thursday and we would have canceled the usual travel day off. We would have flown there and played the same day. That assured me of a Game 6 on Thursday and a possible Game 7 on Friday, and since it's a dome there, no problem. The only remaining issue was whether the weather would let us resume Game 5 on Wednesday, and then finally, after a 46-hour delay, the action resumed and I was in the clear.

Then I got another break: The Phillies won. I have no rooting interest in a World Series, because I work for 30 clubs. I am on the phone with a VP of the Rays one minute, and talking with senior management of the Phillies the next. It is my life and I love it. My job is to promote the greatest game on Earth. But I have to say that I'm pretty happy Philly won. It means no more near-all-nighters this week. I will have some semblance of rest for this 26.2 when I go back. First I will be working the big parade, on Friday at midday and into early afternoon in Philly. Then I go home, hit the Expo on Saturday at the Javits, and then enjoy the Barilla Marathon Eve Pasta Dinner, and then hopefully I will be prepared and get up at about 3:30 or 4 and head for the NY Public Library area to catch my 6 p.m. bus to Staten Island and the start.

It has been a blur ever since I got on a plane to Beijing at the beginning of August. I feel like I have lived out of a bag ever since. I have trained for the NYC Marathon on official Olympic venues; along the shores of Lake Michigan; on Hermosa Beach and Seal Beach in Southern California; twice on St. Petersburg (Fla.) Beach with my dreamy hammock there waiting for me; in this Philly airport hotel's health club treadmill; and back home at Central Park wherever I was able to have some home time. I am healthy, whereas one year ago I went into my marathon debut with wicked plantar fasciitis and limped the last 14 miles for a 6:08 finish. I remember the pure joy and pride of just finishing, my Dad looking down on me and carrying me home. I will again dedicate this one to my late father and to my three awesome boys. They are my world, and I started distance running to show them -- and me -- that anything is possible.

I am bib # 51121 if you want to track me on Sunday. http://www.nycmarathon.com

Congratulations to the Phillies, the world champions of 2008. Congratulations to the Rays for a special season and a great run. Now it's my time for a major sporting event -- the only major sporting event in the world where anyone can sign up and participate with the elite. I am ready. I will be rested thanks to the running gods and Brad Lidge. It's time to run.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hello from my Hammock







I love the World Series and I love my resort hotel and my hammock.

That is the view from my room at our MLB crew's St. Petersburg Beach resort during this Tampa portion of the 104th Fall Classic. And that is a BBerry pic I took of myself in the hammock on our beach during a brief rest following a 5.5-mile run on the beach.

The New York City Marathon is 11 days away. It is serious stuff, a hard 26.2-mile run. I am determined to get in my training until the very end because this year I am going to enjoy it after being injured in my 2007 debut. I don't need much now since I'm tapered down, but I have to keep my fitness level up. I am psyched, I have new powerjam training music thanks to Matt and Josh's suggestions, and I am still psyched about Ben's Play of the Century.

Off to Tropicana Field. Good luck to the Phillies and Rays. May the best team win. When you're done, it's my turn to be in a major sporting event!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Play of the Century

Look at this video I took of No. 32 tonight. It's Ben, my awesome high school junior, who made a pivotal play in his school's 28-18 victory. I got to break away from the MLB playoffs for 2 days and see all three of my boys back in St. Louis, and tonight I was able to see this amazing outside linebacker in a football game for the first time this season. That was all that mattered, but this was the bonus:

video

This was late in the third quarter. The teams had been trading touchdowns to that point, and this return set up a quick touchdown in the ensuing possession. That made it a two-score lead for Ben's team, and it was never close again. So it was maybe the Play of the Game. Congratulations to Ben's team and coaches on their winning streak -- keep it going, you guys!

For me, it was the Play of the Century.

It was just being there with my guys, more than anything. We all do the best we can in this life, such as it is now with a long-distance Dad, and I am so proud of my boys for what great young men they have grown into. I always tell them that they have three great parents now, and that makes them luckier than most people. We're doing just fine. Matt was home from college over the weekend so I got to see him and our sweetheart Amanda on Sunday, along with her cool family. Then Josh stayed at the hotel with me while I worked during and after Game 7 of the ALCS, I took him to school in the morning, and then we went to Ben's game after school, and then hung out afterwards. Now it's on to Tampa and covering the World Series, and that will be immediately followed by me running the New York City Marathon on Nov. 2.

PICS

"The Play of the Century" picture below is from Ben's school's website.

Ben next to No. 59 as they walked out to the field with game-faces on:



Here is Josh in front of his favorite cheerleaders, and at the very bottom you can see the Amazing Flying Bulldog Winthorpe:
















Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm So Paid

Best running powersong I have downloaded all year. I replayed it about six times while running 7 miles/intervals today around Central Park. Maybe best song ever, because right now I am definitely driving 90 in a sixty-fi.

15 days to NYC Marathon...me 'n Akon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New shoes: Brooks Glycerins Yellow

Now introducing: My shoes that will fly me for 26.2 miles through five New York City boroughs and into the clouds on November 2.







Biggest thank-you in the world to my great friend Carmen, who works at the Super Runner Shop on the Upper East Side. She is in the NYC Marathon field as well, always gives me training advice, and I call her coach. I walked into the store today before work, told her that my Li Nings from China didn't work out being a half-size too big, and that my green Brooks Glycerines I was wearing into the store had been absolutely perfect in a healthy running year. She went into the back room, and came out with exactly the same shoe, only yellow instead of green.

I returned my gel inserts that I had bought at the store for those Li Nings, thinking they might help. That knocked off $30, so the shoes cost me $99. Fastest, most perfect shoe-buying experience in the history of civilized footwear, and I wore my new shoes onto the 4 train, then on the L over to Chelsea and our outrageously awesome MLB HQ.

Since I will be here late-late again tonight working Game 4 of the American League Championship Series (will travel to World Series next week), I just ran from 5:30 to 6:30 along the waterfront on the West Side of Manhattan, starting around Chelsea Pier and going down by World Trade Center and then back up again. It was just enough to give them a first breaking-in. By November 2, they will be good to go. Yeah we fly high, jus' my Brooks and I.

Monday, October 13, 2008

WHATEVER IT TAKES - Heart of a Champion

Game 2 of the ALCS was a 5:27 thriller in Florida, and I worked all night in our MLB.com offices in Manhattan. I was planning to run the Staten Island Half Marathon in the morning, making it 5-of-5 in running each borough of the year-long New York Road Runners Half-Marathon Grand Prix series. I had my stuff laid out and set the alarm for 6:30 with plans to get to the Staten Island Ferry and same-day registration. Alas, at 6:30 I got up, fell asleep standing up after 2 hours sleep, and decided to listen to my body and not be tough guy. I went back to sleep, woke up at 11 and ran my own Half Marathon at Central Park, relaxed pace in about 2:27. I did the bottom 5 loop, then the full 6-mile loop including Harlem Hill, and then I tacked on the lower (1.7 mile) loop. Throw in the short run from my place, and it's 13.1 miles, a makeup Half.

Now it's time to taper. No more heavy fuel belts for me. No injuries, 100-percent healthy and strong. Inside of three weeks until participation in a real, major sporting event. A great baseball postseason, and an in-progress, MLBAM-record consecutive streak of nightly big-picture articles for the MLB.com homepage. The World's Greatest Marathon, with an untouchable 2 million spectators and 100 bands ready to be part of the show. Reading "Double Cross" by James Patterson, unputdownable. A great MLBlogging community that's growing like crazy. My own book up my sleeve. A certain someone. Things are pretty cool.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

GO BABY GO

24 DAYS TO GO
JUST RAN 7 STRONG
PARKBENCH PUSHUPS
PUNCH THE SKY
CAGED LION NOW
WAITING WAITING
STRONGER STRONGER
IT'S THE HEART OF A
IT'S THE HEART OF A







That's my theme song when I'm training for a marathon. No doubt about it. Nelly time. I will play that over and over on my Nano in my Nike sportband while I run. "Free Bird" over and over, too. These are amazing times. My total focus is on my position with MLB, working an October that is the greatest month of the year bar none. In the morning I'll be off to Philly by train, and then work Games 1 and 2 vs. the Dodgers and then fly back to LA for the second time in a week. I may be there up to five nights, and I have scheduled my final LONG RUN for Sunday morning on an LA beach TBA -- probably Huntington Beach.

The ING New York City Marathon is on November 2. It is so close now I can feel it. I am visualizing the race route on a frequent basis. I know the areas where I will battle myself, and I will push myself over the Queensboro Bridge at Mile 16 and then up the long First Avenue straightaway to get to The Bronx for Mile 20. I will do whatever it takes, I will keep thinking about my form, I will have the HEART OF A CHAMPION with me the whole way.

And I have to give some major props to my high school junior who is sacking quarterbacks like they are going out of style. He literally threw one kid (term used loosely; these are big, strong, corn-fed Midwest dudes) off the field and over to the sideline on a tackle. When he was just learning to walk, he used to brace himself against my leg and open his mouth so I'd give him scoops of my ice cream. Ha! I smell a college football scholarship now! Gotta brag about these guys when I can. My oldest is on the Dean's List as a finance major in college, learning golf, and my youngest is kicking butt as a freshman and about to try out for freshman basketball. They rock. Dad is trying to show them how it's done, and my playlist is definitely better, but honestly I am getting training tips from them. :)

Next stop Philly. Tapering my training and on course for a 4:50 marathon time and constant and never-ending improvement in life. That's what it's all about!