Wednesday, September 18, 2013

NYC Marathon Training Table: Sea Urchin

Today I am letting everyone else have their fun with National Cheeseburger Day, and I am thinking weight loss and Omega 3s. I went downstairs at Chelsea Market, our HQ, and headed for the Lobster Place. Right away I spotted live wild Sea Urchin from California and my curiosity won the day. They pluck the needles for you, then they cut off the top, and then serve it to you chilled and you eat the roe inside. It is a gourmet delicacy.

I was told that each sea urchin is about a pound. He then took the urchin and began plucking away at all the needles, a rather painstaking process. Better him than me. Eventually two other employees came over to watch him pluck needles.

It was wrapped on ice so I could take it upstairs at our cafeteria. I then started scooping out the roe, and I also had sushi on the side. I put some sesame sauce over the roe for a little extra flavor. Great green tea, too. Great lunch!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Inspiration = Fuel

Runners need inspiration. It is our fuel. It is like GU, a new supply always available and constantly ripping off the top and squeezing it into our beings to push us somehow through more hard miles ahead.

I am reminded of this again now as I see the ING New York City Marathon website just posted its 26.2 Miles of Marathon Stories. This is really a must-read for all runners. It is a trip to wherever you get your gels, it is the carbohydrates you are crushing 72 hours before your race.

I challenge you to make it through all of those stories without wiping away tears. It is because you probably can relate to every single one of them. It reminds you why you started running. Sometimes you need that reminder.

It occurred to me that most of my newer followers probably don't know why I am running. My story goes back to 2006. That year my Dad died of multiple myeloma. I was smoking for several years at the time, for silly reasons. On Dec. 1, 2006, a new apartment opened on NYC's Upper West Side, 112 73rd Ave., right next to Columbus. Freshly painted, I moved in that morning and said goodbye to the movers. I did not want to ruin the new-home smell. I walked outside to smoke. My moment happened right then and it will always be the moment.

I was standing on the corner of that intersection at 73rd and Columbus, in front of Starbucks. I had a full box of KOOLS in my hand. I looked at them. I broke the box in half and threw it away. Two women next to me looked at me funny. I took the subway down to Times Square, walked into Foot Locker and bought a pair of ASICS running shoes. I literally traded a box of KOOLS for a box of ASICS.

I went online and bought a two-year membership in the New York Road Runners organization. I began carrying around a gallon jug of water each day, and I constantly ate celery, carrots, nuts and whatever would solve crave of hand to mouth.

By far, the single biggest thing that allowed me to immediately quit smoking was the simple act of running. My first race was the Joe Kleinerman 10K on a freezing day at Central Park, and the race pics will attest that I was a giant blob rolling around the running path. The next month, I ran the Manhattan Half-Marathon, two laps around Central Park. It was bitterly cold again. Toward the end of the first lap, I stopped at a portapotty, and was bent over catching my breath as I waited in line. A woman next to me asked how I was doing, and I said, "I think I'll just call it good. One lap isn't bad." She told me: "Just go back out and try to keep running, before you know it you'll have finished."

It was that single woman's confidence in me, her expression of support, that made me realize I was not alone but part of a community. To this day, I support other runners because of her.

I went out and ran the next loop, and I have not stopped. This Sunday I will run the NYC Marathon 18-Mile Tuneup at Central Park, and it will be my 75th NYRR race and my 87th overall since that first Joe Kleinerman 10K. The November 3 NYC Marathon will be my 12th of at least 26.2 miles, having run around the world. Along the way, my fuel has been the inspiration of other runners around me, and really the inspiration of humanity. I am inspired by my three sons, Matt, Ben and Josh, who give their dad health and fitness advice and practice what they preach. My goal is to live for them, as well as my wife Lisa and her daughter Rachel, for longer than I could ever have imagined.

My goal is to pay forward that vote of confidence that I received from that woman during that cold Half Marathon. It is why I have my @Marathoner account on Twitter. Since I started, it sometimes seems that the running population has boomed by 100fold, so I am unsure who can hear me but I will always offer support. It is what I am here for, because every runner needs fuel to keep running.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Words without thoughts never to heaven go

Because THIS LIFE IS MOST JOLLY, I couldn't let #Shakespeare450th pass by without a nod of respect from a Central Park runner such as myself. If you run the world's greatest 10K running track there, then you know how much the Bard means in your world. Two days ago, I ran my Run For Boston Marathon there and around mile 10 I made a beeline from the reservoir to the Delacorte Theater, where they not only stage "Shakespeare in the Park" but where you also will find the best bathrooms in the entire park. I mean, how many times have we run the bridle path there right past the loooooong summer lines of people in chairs, waiting for their tickets to the plays? I thought this was a good time to re-air this below entry, which I posted last summer after discovering the Shakespeare Garden and the bronze plaques featuring so many of his best passages. Enjoy, and make sure you look for Shakespeare next time you run Central Park . . .

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Originally posted on Sept. 3, 2013

This is the seventh year that I have been regularly training at Central Park, and to give you an idea of the park's magnitude, I still discover new features along the way. During yesterday's 15-mile long run, I bailed off West Drive to use the bathroom at the Shakespeare in the Park area. I suddenly noticed for the first time a bronze plaque with Shakespeare verse. Then I took a few moments to waltz through "Shakespeare in the Garden," where I encountered these plaques, usually of a flora theme due to their location, and thought I would keep them here, not to thine ownself, but truly to you.

And may I add my own favorite Shakespeare Training Run quote:

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."