Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014, coming in with the wheels off!!!

Man, 2014 was a mess. Not entirely just physically on my end.

So many great things happened in 2014, started out with the Polar Bear Plunge on Jan. 1st 2014.

Lots of fun in the beginning of 2014 than a twinge pain emerged on the inside of my left knee.

This began a long, slow,  slide into uncertainty. Left knee, heel, shin. where is this all coming from.

The year progressed, I participated in my first play, the Shakespeare "As You Like It" I played Charles the wrestler, a pivotal role. I enjoyed this process very much but this led me down another even more frustrating road, dental issues.

On the last performance I landed on my face a bit hard and must of cracked one of my front teeth, at the after party I bit into a sandwich and the tooth popped right off. That took a while to get fixed and then two back molars started acting up and they both had to have a root canal this process started in July and here I am December 31st and i finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Lastly, my left elbow and shoulder also seem to be out of whack, why? I have no idea. All I know is that i'm sitting here wondering what the hell went wrong so 2015 doesn't mimic 2014.

Anywho, Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

SIAC 2014 Christmas Party review

About 6 months ago I called up my good friend, and personal tailor Mr. Tommy Fontana from Beverly Hills California and told him that the big night, the one where all the stars were going to be at was December 13, at the Staaten for the Staten Island Athletic Club's Christmas Party.

I flew there, first class of course and got fitted for a one of a kind, custom made piece of excellence.
Everything about it is top of the line from my virgin, baby Ostrich shoes to my silk shirt made from the finest worms kept hidden in a cave deep in the Orient guarded by the finest Shaolin Monks.

MY scarf, because in 2014 if your still wearing a tie, Corey Ferretti and everyone else who made that mistake I don't know what to tell you, was created by the finest textile artisans money can buy.

Body sculpting, hair, a Gentleman's shave all done by Ms. Theresa on the Upper East Side of Manhattan I had her bump the Sultan of Brunei  so I could look as good as I did last night.

Nothing, and I mean nothing that wear comes from a rack. The only racks I touch are from today's leading ladies nothing else will do.

15,000.00 worth of jewelry, a suit that costs more than more that the car that you drove in on, Hollywood starlets dripping off of my arm that is how you enjoy yourself at the 2014 SIAC Christmas Party.

The Staaten once again did a top notch job, food, wine, service was head and shoulders above everyone else.

To everyone who won an award, congratulations, It was well deserved, you've earned a place with the immortals.

To all of you ham and eggers who didn't, better luck next year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hey Hoka's it's not me it's you.

I was planning on doing a long blog about how, in my opinion switching to Hoka One One shoes really screwed me up this year but I think i'll just sum it up Quickly.

Hey Hokas go fuck yourself.

These stupid shoes led me down a road of numerous leg issues throughout the year and after eliminating all other possibilities I realize it is there giant, puffy, heavy, boxy, clumsy, stupid design that
basically had me throw away most of 2014.

The idea was to run a lot of 50Ks in 2014. I did my first one last December, enjoyed it and planned on doing more so i thought why not get the shoe that is designed for endurance runs.


In May I abandoned my 2nd 50K attempt halfway through due to a nagging knee pain, guess what shoe I was wearing, yep Hokas.

Btw. last year I ran all of my runs in Saucony Kinarva trail. A pretty basic shoe and I felt great all year.

I eased into the Hokas mileage wise and at first they did feel great but they stink, they are dumb. I hate them.

Anyway, i'm back to a basic shoe nothing fancy yet I'm still feeling the residual effects of the dumb Hokas things are out of whack, muscles that should be strong are catching up causing an imbalance. This will work itself out but I know I can't do the 50K this year but as of right now even the 25K is in question. I wonder how that 10K will feel?????

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Time keeps on ticking ticking ticking into the future.

These past few weeks I have officially felt the heavy hand of time for the first time in my life.

There's an old adage that age is just a number, what a bunch of bullshit.

It's as if every second is a grain of sand and as time progresses those grains of sand begin to stick to your body.

At first its such a minute amount that you don't feel it, Your young, strong, growing, in fact for the first 20 some years your impervious to the sticking sand.

But, one day you trip, just a slight stumble, you probably don't even notice it but that stumble allows some more sand to stick, and that sand attracts more sand, clumping, building.

Life is still great, the sticky sand is just a slight annoyance, some extra weight on your belly, your eyes getting weaker, some things could be a lot more serious obviously.

For me, I just had my first root canal. In the past I had some fillings, but no big deal. This year, I broke a tooth right out of my face and had a molar blow out leading to the said root canal. Somewhere I stumbled, and the sand collected, and now I feel it, and it feels heavy.

So not only are we being burdened with my sand metaphors but there is also the constant dodging of unending shrapnel.

We have to keep swimming just like that adorable Dori from finding Nemo told us, but it isn't that simple, we have to keep moving forward and ducking, weaving from sharp, shards, of shit that are trying to impale us at every turn.

Right now two people I loosely know didn't dodge fast enough. Maybe the sand got to heavy and they couldn't get out of the way fast enough or there was simply just to much thrown at them at once that it wasn't humanly possibly to get out of the way.

This is not a pity party post. It's a reminder to myself and others to grab at the things you want, push the small stuff aside, it's meaningless anyway and live.

We all get one life, no more, no less it's up to you what you do with it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


This day really stinks. No real shocker there.
I was lucky in that no one I personally knew died. My old roommate in Brooklyn was on the train under the towers during it all and took off before they fell but all of my friends and family went home that night.

Why does my title say 2006 you might ask. Well, it doesn't have anything to do with it being the 5 year anniversary. It has to do with how an event in my personal life made me forget all about 9-11-01.

Danielle was strapped to a hospital bed with miles of wires stuck to her. The squishy heart beat of a yet to appear Thira keeping her company.

I was walking into SIUH and basically walked right through a 9-11 ceremony. I had totally forgotten what day it was. At that time every day blurred together. I stopped and looked at the ceremony but in all honesty I couldn't care less about it that day. With Danielle and Thira both in Limbo that was all I cared about.

3 weeks later Thira would show up, 12 weeks early mind you but there she was.

So now when we reach this date I think about 9-11-01 and the months that followed, but I also think about 9-11-06 which thankfully had a happier ending.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Assateaque 2014 review.

Very dusty around here.

Lots of white sheets on top of furniture and a crusty old servant hobbling around with a pretty worn down candle in a thread bare uniform mumbling to himself.

So, Where do we begin.

The july camping trip to Deep Creek Lake State Park in Maryland, not the Md. I am used to btw. the hilly, hilly western Md. right next to the West Virginia border. A gorgeous but taxing drive that pushed my little truck to the edge. That experience plus last years fiasco where I developed Pneumonia had me sweating this trip right up until we hitched up and left on Sunday.

The week before our trip I tied up almost every lose end on the camper to the point where I was cautiously optimistic. First step was getting to the Cape May Ferry and crossing over the bay to Delaware. Last year the Ferry ride was so choppy that some safety switch in the trick was tripped so when I started the car I got some crazy clicking noise, the ferry crew was busy jumping various cars and didn't seem to concerned, I on the other hand was a wreck, you have to realize that unbeknowest to me pneumonia was settled into my lungs ready to strike.

This years ferry ride to Delaware was footloose and fancy free! I had a very stiff bloody mary that I shared with Danielle and we both were really into it and feeling the buzz.

We pulled into Assateaque State Park, signed in, pulled into our spot and set up. Things went very smoothly until………. nothing really everything went very smoothly, if you are looking for the dramatic crash you're not going to find it here.

What you will find is a list of some of the wackiest campers we have ever camped with, ever.

As we were setting up there was a lot of other campers doing the same. Directly across from us was a  couple of sights setting up tents and we could tell right away they were going to be fun to watch. One sight had an old station wagon filled with stuff and out came Gandolf the Grey. This man was tall, at least my height, 6'3", very slim with long, long grey hair where he still had some and a matching beard or equal length.  He had an entire troop of odd balls with him, all very nice mind you but odd nonetheless. On the adjoining site was a very old, and kinda crappy looking camper van that held and older guy with a very monk like look to him with his old lady. That thing looked like it was going to fall apart at any second, like all 4 wheels pop off, windshield crack and all the doors fall off if the wind blew to hard.

As we were driving to our spot we passed a really beat up pickup truck with a camper top on it, This truck had more bondo and primer paint that metal at this point. The kicker that really set this truck apart was the two gigantic paintings on either side of the camper. Both were large paintings, not painted directly on the camper mind you but painted on panels that are mounted to the camper. The scenes were of some badly painted lady near hot spring or some babbling brook some complete and utter dreck like that. This guy is probably in his 60s his trucks plates are from Hawaii and he just bounced around from site to site the entire time we were there. I saw him most of the time sitting on top of his truck in a chair watching the sun rise. I bet his story is pretty fascinating.

Quiet hours at Assateaque are 10pm to 7am during this time you turn off your generator, keep it to a dull roar and chill. The mornings are quiet as you can imagine but around 8am you hear some people stirring, maybe some bike riders, perhaps the braying of the ponies. On Friday morning I was awoken from a very nice sleep to the sounds of the oddest Euro trash pop. It was 7:30am and this music was being pumped out of a rented motorhome. Outside of the motorhome was a handful of 20 somethings. They were dancing around, smoking a lot of cigarettes and running back and forth to the beach. It was an odd sight, made stranger by the continual emergence of people coming from the RV. They were Eastern European I don't know exactly where, they were an attractive group seemingly having a terrific time.

At 8:30 they all headed into the motorhome and they left, the music gently fading away.

I thought this was it. A loop of misfits that were a blast to watch. Then over the weekend a family pulled into a neighboring spot and out pops a girl i'll say around 15years old. Her main outfit was thigh high cowgirl boots something black top and bottom, painted on whiskers and a painted nose and clipped to her hod die was a little fox tail. This is what she wore on the beach or not. A lot of work to go sit on the beach.

This trip was make or break for me regarding the camper. Last year was such a cluster fuck that I didn't want to go this year but I knew from the beginning that this trip was something special. Overall this trip was fantastic the girls have grown up and are veterans at the beach so much so that Thira has earned free reign. Lucia has grown up and no longer needs any special attention. We are entering a great phase of trip with the girls.

Great quotes from this year.
Lucia: "There is sand in my buns."
Lucia, after the water hit her chest: "Oh, so cold, my boobies are cold."
Lucia, while I'm holding her in the surf nervously saying: "Let's get out of here!"

Thursday, April 3, 2014

my first real run in my Hokas, so, my first review.

Alright, alright, alright.

First off i'd like to admit that I like shoes. All styles, casual, fancy, sandals, flip flops, running shoes, shoes with toes, etc. etc. I loves them I do.

So When I read "Born to Run" a long time ago I eagerly bought a pair of Five Fingers. I enjoyed them but I quickly decided i'd rather run in close toe'd shoes and use the Five Fingers while I cross train. Besides at this time the minimalist shoe craze was in full effect.

Any banana I first read about the super puffy Hokas a yer or so ago and i didn't think much of them. They were designed by and for elite ultra runners. Neither of which I am so I ignored them. Well, after finishing my first 50k last December I was all kinds of tore up. My ankles were especially sore but the experience was fantastic and i knew I was going to do a lot more 50ks especially this year.

A chance encounter in the trails led myself and true ultra runner Amy Lenza to a park in Queens to run a 6 hour race. You do a 5k loop as many times as you can for the 6 hours. I looked at this day as a training day for my first 50k of the year which is closely approaching. So I decided to use this opportunity to grab a pair of these puffy clouds they call Hoka One One. These guys here, Hoka One One Stinson Trail.

The six hour run was grueling, but I achieved my goal and I got to wear my Hokas. The problem though is that the 6 hour race was on paved paths so although the shoes were nice I didn't feel that they were truly tested.

This leads us to today. A gorgeous day, filled with wonder and joy. It was also filled with a 6 mile jaunt through the Greenbelt in my puffy, fluffy Hokas. As I headed into the wood behind the Nature Center I slowly started to listen to my feet. Whaaa? Yes, listening to what my feet were telling me as I began my first official Hoka trail run.

My absolute first thought was that these things are ridiculously cushioned, but not squishy. The ground was very soft from the yards of snow and buckets of rain that have been dumped on us this year. So I'm wearing an ultra cushioned shoe running on very soft dirt. The shoes were responsive, I felt the ground beneath my feet, yes it was a little muted compared to my "minimal" shoes but I could feel it. The shoes are stable. When I first put them on I imagine I'm in Kiss and this is 1977. I feel way up there. It doesn't take long to adjust though.

Hitting the crushed Gravel Multi use Trail felt great. the Hokas bounced right along, dug right in. It felt great. I ran over the long plank covered section along the white trail to see how the Hokas would do on slippery planks. The boards were dry, and not slick at all so that will leave to be tried again at a later date. How did the Hokas do in puddles of mud you ask. Actually awesome. I trudged right through digging into the ridiculously sloppy sections but I felt extremely stable and as powered through the muck. I also was pleasantly pleased with how well the Hokas drained. Good shoe, weird but good.

Here's where they lag a bit. Response. Look, a cheetah is able to do things on the plains that a water buffalo isn't going to be able to do. That's the nature of the beast. Digging in and pushing off through a series of switchbacks I didn't snap off I kinda mushed off. Negotiating rocky terrain was also a bit challenging. Here is where the Hokas cushioning was a negative. I felt unsure over the few loose rocks I ran over.

Overall I'm glad i decided to buy them i think they will be a great benefit for my 50ks but anything form a 25k and under and I will stick my "minimal" shoes.

Oh yeah, when bought the Hokas i also bought a new model of Saucony Peregrine 4s. A completely different shoe. Once I get some runs in them I'll review them as well.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snowy balls. A tale about a 10k romp through the snowy Greenbelt.

As anyone who lives on the East Coast knows we have been assaulted by snow this winter. Tons of it and it seems like there's even more to follow.  Today was the annual Cold Feat 10k, a trail race through the Greenbelt.

Since I lead the trail training runs for the Staten Island Athletic Club I knew that the trails were snow covered so when we lined up for todays race I knew what was coming. The snow covered ground, and the grey skies generously gave us an additional snow fall right as the race began. It was the prettiest race I ever ran in. Snow covered everything, a gentle snowfall, the temps were very pleasant actually low 30's. Excellent running weather except for the 12 inches already on the ground obviously.

My goal for the race was to run smart and not burn out early because the wet, heavy snow made every step a challenge. As I hit every downhill I planned on bombing it but here is where my strategy failed. even with the added spikes I put on my shoes I could not get traction. As I sped up I started sliding out. I like to set my sights on a runner ahead of me and try to catch them but every time I tried I skidded out. Like a car that is on a patch of ice and instead of slowly going over it they gun it and spin there wheels going nowhere.

As I was finishing up the last two miles I looked back and at one point I had a little choo choo train of runners behind me and every now and then one would pass but I eventually overtook them. That is until the last mile when three runners did pass me and as they skipped down the hill like little snow bunnies I knew that they were gone. Usually I would use this as incentive to go get them but I knew that was foolhardy today.

At certain areas there are volunteers to guide us on the correct path. Today a few of the Staten Island Athletic Clubs Finest were there to help us. Stephanie, and Corey Ferretti, and big, bad Bob Wisner. On the top of the hill called "the steps" was Mrs. Ferretti diligently guiding us weary runners down the path passing the Nature Center and back into the snowy breech. As we travelled up one of the few hill i see two snowy figures, Corey and Bob. I must say I was a little disgusted. Poor Stephanie was all by herself but Corey and Bob were in their spot, thick as thieves, they had hot chocolate, warm soup, and somehow a space heater to keep them warm. Stephanie, she had a ragged tank top and some flip flops to keep her warm…..Chivalry is indeed dead.

As I finished up the race I knew that I pushed hard the entire I could have pushed harder but then I would have just stumbled and collapsed into a snow bank and who knows when I would be found.

Races like today, in these circumstances are tests of wills. To finish is victory enough,but to finish knowing that you gave it everything you had makes it that much sweeter.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Why would you want to do that?!

Here's the thing. As one gets older there is a few different paths they can take.

After Thira was born Danielle and I both chunked up.Mainly due to stress on my end and bed rest on hers. We took charge of the situation and got back to a sexier shape. This led to a rebirth of sorts. Why get older, slower, chunkier, start wearing a cpap machine, lose sex drive, wheeze climbing a set of stairs, etc. etc. you get what I am saying.

Everyone gets one life, no more, no less. What you do with it is up to you. Reincarnation believers aside obviously.

So as I get older and what hair I have left starts to show flecks of grey (fuck you grey) I push harder to stay young physically, and mentally.

This is why I do silly things like run a 5k nude, or wear incredibly sexy swimwear at the July 4th 5 miler. It is what attracted me to the High Rock Challenge in 2007 way before the Obstacle Course Craze blossomed.

Humility is an afterthought for me anymore. I do not care one bit how I look when I run a 5k or how long it took me to finish my first 50K this December. I ran 31 miles, on the trails in one shot and I loved every second of it. A 22 year old me would not have done that. He would have smoked a stupid Marlboro light and made a sarcastic comment about the event instead of thinking about actually trying it myself.

Yesterday I joined the ranks of those who jumped into the freezing Atlantic Ocean on New Years Day. The Polar Plunge. Started by the Coney Island Polar Bear Club
The annual event has grown much like the popular mud runs. All part of a growing current of reliving our youth, and seizing the day I believe. For me it's also about being more positive, less cynical, and continually saying yes when it's easier to say no.

When I met up with the Staten Island Athletic Club yesterday in Clove Lakes Park the sun was shining, the wind was nil and I thought "A quick strip down, run in, run out, change, fin." Walikng to the famed Parachute jump in the Coney Island boardwalk the sky darkened, the wind churned, and my outlook dimmed. "What a stupid idea. "I thought to myself, and probably expressed it out loud as well. A group about 15 strong including my two lovely, but unhappy daughters Thira, and Lucia claimed a spot much like Columbus did all those years ago but for SIAC not Spain and then we stood there.

A bit of confusion set in until we realized that we had to sign a waiver. Okay, so we shuffled up to the boardwalk, which looks great btw. stood in line and signed our lives away. Again, just like most events I sign up for lately the chance for harm is hanging around like a specter waiting to claim its prize.

We were up in a few minutes so the strip down began. Brutal is the best word for this. The more you take off the harder the wind whipped your skin. I defrocked in segments thinking it would sting less. It might of. The worst part was the sand. I think it was sand, it could have been frozen thumb tacks thats what it felt like anyway. We get the call to go and were off. A mighty troupe of warriors, male, female young, and well seasoned charge into surf. the waves were crashing down as if the ocean was trying to slap us back onto the shore but we valiant SIAC polar Bears would not be denied. We plowed through, pushing past bundled up spectators, using their cheers encourage us on as out feet meet the surf.

"Do not stop!" was my mantra. Once I stripped down, and ladies I looked good. Anywho, Once I was only wearing my swimsuit I decided to stay mobil and thats how I met Posideon yesterday. I charged in  weaving through those who have stalled "Keep moving". I ran, knee deep in the salty, frozen sea all around me I start to see my comrades disappear. Paying homage to the sea god by baptizing them selves. I see a clearing and I go for it. I dive in and like a frozen mallet the cold water smashes my face. I pop up, let out a victory yelp and keep moving. We're all in a mixed state of euphoria, and shock.

A departure seems prudent but as I head out I dive under one more time and this time the water feels inviting, like it was beckoning me to stay but I already feel like I overstayed my welcome so I continue to run out. As we leave we are corralled through more huddled masses yearning to cheer us on. The route into the water was quick. The route back to base camp was long, and quite cruel. Every out of the way step meant that my body was exposed to the wind, and the unforgiving sand was bitter cold. Why were we forced to run on piles of scorpion stingers?

Once I reached home base I toweled off and put a hat on.  I kept drying off and putting on my post plunge clothes. Each new layer brought splendid warmth, and comfort. But by the time I got to my sock my feet were screaming. I had nice, soft, wool socks to put on but the felt like they were made out of concrete when I slipped them on. Eventually I changed everything and I began to think back on this experience. I immediately thought that it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, in fact it was a lot of fun.

The worst past of the entire day was the traffic getting back onto the Belt Parkway heading home.

So to get back to my original point. You can sit back and be someone who poopoos everything or you could get off your duff and try something new. Something that you never thought you'd do in your life. When you get to the stage of your life that you start looking back don't you want to think about the things that seemed "crazy", or even better seemed impossible at the time?

I do.