Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. I have some thoughts about this special day:

1. It is a big day for me. After proposing to Lisa at the finish line of the 2009 New Jersey Marathon, we were married on Valentine's Day of 2010. We married at our church at the intersection of Valentine & Union. Our street is Valentine. We have 4 hanging hearts on the front of our house representing the beating hearts inside. That includes our English Bulldog King Bingley.

2. Running gave me the confidence to go out and discover true love. Finishing marathons made me strong and fit and made me feel that I could do anything. I was working the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing for MLB, and one day I went to the Ba-Da-Ling section of the Great Wall of China for a training run. I decided to sit on one step of the Wall, looking out over miles and the impossible expanse of the Wall before me into the mountains, and I spent an hour right there contemplating how it was constructed.

Then I went to see the Giant Pandas at the national zoo. And I began thinking: This is amazing,  but I am appreciating cool things like this alone too often. I decided then that when I returned to the States, I was going to find someone. So I got on, and a week or two later (after a few fails) I met Lisa for our first date at the Ocean Grill on Columbus on NYC's Upper West Side. I pretty much knew the minute she started eating from my plate and sharing a dessert that it was game on and now is happily ever after.

3. I believe there is someone for everyone, and I believe that if you are single you should thrive in your independence and completely know about yourself and who you are and who you want to be. Do things to improve yourself every day, and along the way -- if you so desire -- you will find suddenly and unexpectedly find someone who is perfect for you and your best friend.

4. Tonight I will take Lisa out for our anniversary dinner, and of course I had to make reservations at an Italian restaurant because I need PASTA before tomorrow's 19-mile training run at Central Park. It will be my last long run before starting my taper for the March 9 ASICS LA Marathon. The run will be broken up into four loops -- 3 5-milers (excluding the big north hill), then the inner 4-mile loop. I will do my best to simulate the pattern of fluid and GU and carbs taken during the marathon.

5. I am married to Lisa but I am not married to a finish time. At least not at the LA Marathon. This morning I had a great chat with Coach Andrew Kastor, whose expertise I relayed in my previous post here. He has been reaching out to the dozen ASICS LA Marathon Blogger Team members this week as part of the ongoing and invaluable coaching he has provided us as part of this incredible gig. Coach Kastor trains elite runners in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., and he told me the same thing he has told his elites who will run LA -- have an optimum time in the back of your head, but don't be married to it. It could be torrential rain, crazy winds, hot...or it could be sensational weather like last year. But brace for anything, and most importantly "train for supreme fitness" and then run your best based on what the climate will allow. It might be a day for PRs and it might be a day for survival...who knows?

6. I Love ASICS. I love my wife, but before our anniversary dinner I just wanted to say that. I started my running days on December 1, 2006, when I traded a full box of KOOLS for a box of ASICS in NYC, electing to change my life and become a runner instead of a smoker. I have amassed an insane amount of ASICS gear over the years and miles since, and I am usually in ASICS these days. I associate ASICS with running. And to survive this winter in NYC to train for LA, my ASICS gear has been indescribably important. It's not just about being a tough runner, it's about dressing right. Here was my Marathon de Paris gear the night before my 2012 race, as an example of how it usually goes down:

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