Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Beginnings Challenge Group

If you are feeling it is time to do something, it's probably time to do something.

Email me or visit the Facebook Event Page to learn more at!/events/429892553744204/?fref=ts


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Over 7 Billion Gifts Given by Santa

Santa and his team worked hard last night delivering over 7 Billion Gifts to all around the world.  Let's help Santa through out next year to continue to give! 

The following is a proof from NORAD of his achievement!

Santa Norad 2012


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Be Thankful and I am going to Nationals!

With the craziness that Super storm Sandy created for many people in the Northeast, we have plenty to thank. The little inconvenience of no power or hot water that we dealt with for two weeks does not compare to those who lost their entire home, vehicles and a few lost loved ones. Well last week, I got some great news, a friend was able to donate his kidney to his brother. We are very lucky and have a lot to be thankful for!

Almost two weeks after Sandy hit our shores of Long Island, I looked forward for a sense of normalcy at the AAU Regional Cross Country Qualifier for Nationals. However I wasn’t expecting something so great this day.

As I drove up, my eyes squinted and as I approached one of the cross country parents whose hands were flailing around guiding me so that my truck would be perfectly position in the empty spot next to the minivan. Eventually, the thumbs came out signaling me to slide my SUV closer to the vehicle to my right. Finally, all of the fingers were shown and my truck came to a stop on the grassy field located in St. James, NY. Funny I thought I was getting to close enough to get the single finger, not the thumbs up kind.

As the family filed out of the truck, the 100 cars that surrounded my SUV appeared to be organized in an orderly fashion. They did a great job, I thought to myself and I was quickly recruited to marshal part of the course. Having never done it before, part of my job was to make sure the racers would stay on the course. In Cross Country, the course sometimes crisscrosses back and forth across a field which can be confusing for the runner. I wasn’t running and I was confused. (Open for comments now!) Having given that short definition, I believe my career as a course marshal will be short lived. Suffice it to say, this part of the story warrants an extended entry. Just know that eating a snack during a race is not a good idea! No matter how hungry you are!

All the groups ran their races under blue skies and perfect temps for running. Both boys ran along side with about 50-75 kids in their appropriate age group event. Elijah looked happy and relaxed as a Primary. Zachary was slower than usual running on a sore right leg as a Bantam. I hope his tender calf will be ready for Nationals in South Carolina.

Eventually, the Midget group of children ranging in ages between 11 and 12 lined up for their race. Midget seems kind of derogatory, however that is the label given to that age group. With a pop from the starting gun, a few runners made it to the front, while many were swallowed up in the mass as they made the first left turn of the race. A few minutes later the lead pack rushed by my patrol area.

A few more minutes ticked past and a young lady, named Kate, donning a huge Smile came near. It was the kind of Smile that out shined the sun. That amazing Smile had no clue of the illness that she had to struggle with a few months ago leaving her with temporarily with thinned hair. That incredible Smile would have been a frown for many stroke victims, but not her. Well that Smile made my hand raise up to wipe my eyes that welled up with tears.

I felt overwhelmingly proud to be part of her “comeback.” I know so many who give up so easy, make excuses, or don’t believe they can do anything even with a tenth of her challenges. As she past, my thoughts turned to my kids. What if my kids were struck with a sickness that would render them powerless or if something happened to me, what would have been my last words said to them. It better be, “I love you.” Most likely it will be a stupid joke that we made and couldn’t stop laughing. Hopefully, the last words will never come from anger. So I am reminded to be very thankful for every opportunity with them, because you never know. I am truly blessed!

Kate was determined to finish the race, and her legs pushed her towards the back tree line of the 3000 meter course. She rounded the last 1000 meters, and I could hear father scream in the megaphone amplifier, “Runner on the course, clear the course!”

As her final 150 meters drew near, she had a gathering running with her. The scene reminded me the famous running scene in the movie, “Forrest Gump” as the group ran past my post. In fact, that was the scene that got me off my butt to do the 2008 NYC Marathon! Her 50 kid entourage ran along side of her and cheered her on to the finish. It was an amazing sight to behold.

The day was coming to a conclusion and we readied ourselves for the final races. I waited by Coach Joe and Kate walked back to my section of the course. Her Smile stretched ear to ear, as she gave him a high five and said, “Coach Joe, I’m going to Nationals!”

I have a lot to be thankful for and I wish you an awesome Thanksgiving as you take time to reflect on the important people in your life.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Frankenstein’s Experimentation or Taser

As I handed the Doctor my MRI’s, he asked me if my pants were loose enough to be rolled up. I said that I have a pair of shorts. He then closed the door behind him and I got out of my dress pants to switch to the shorts that exposed my unshaven hairy legs. A couple of minutes passed and a knock came to the door. The voice asked if I was ready for the EMG (Electromyography) test.

An EMG evaluates, records and detects electrical potential medical abnormalities that are being generated by the electrical activity in the skeletal muscle cells that are being fired neurologically or electrically. I think that is what it does.

The Doctor asked me to lie face up on the table and explained what he was about to do. He began the first test by swabbing areas of my lower part of my leg with alcohol, attached a couple electrodes to my leg, and then pushed a two pronged probe into another part of the leg. Next, he pulled a trigger that shot pulses of electricity into my leg which made my leg jump and spasm that lasted about a half second. Did I mention the Doctor’s last name was Frankenstein! I swear, I heard him whisper, “It’s alive. It’s alive! It’s Alive!!!! He might have done some testing for Taser as well!

After he shocked my bum leg several times, he shocked the good leg for a base line. He removed all of all of the electrodes and readied me for the next test. Before doing the next round, I asked him what would happen if he did the test to someone’s head. “Is it like electroshock therapy?” He grinned and I thought to myself maybe I should not distract him as he stuck a needle into my leg. I flexed my legs when he asked, and the monitor started to make a clicking sound. The harder I tensed my leg, the quicker the clicks came. Then he asked me to relax and you can still hear the clicks, this signified an abnormality because the muscle was firing when the nerves told it to stay at rest.

The next day with the EMG results faxed and my MRI in my hand, I walked into the Neurosurgeon’s office. He was tapped to be the second opinion. I met with the Physicians Assistant (PA) first, who was astonished with the size of the bulge. He then started with a series of strength test and said that my right leg was 4 out of 5. I thought at least it was a passing grade. However an 80% is not good here! In fact, it’s really bad.

The PA walked out to get the Surgeon. As I waited, I looked at the walls of the exam room and noticed his diploma and certificates from Harvard. Not sure if that means he was book smart or a really good surgeon. I emailed a few friends to check into this Doctor and his outcomes.

Immediately, the Surgeon walked in and did similar strength tests. With measured words, he strongly suggested a Laminectomy / Diskectomy. A Laminectomy is the removal of the bone covering the spinal canal. The Diskectomy removes the herniated part of the disk to relieve pressure that is pushing up against the nerve. The removal of the hernia doesn’t scare me, it’s the bone removal. It would leave a section of my back exposed. The doctor explained that there is a lot of muscle to cushion any blows should someone take a bat to my lower back. However, a knife stabbing would be a different story. I am pretty sure if I got into a knife fight, I would bring my Sig Sauer to that knife fight! Well, I usually don’t find myself walking down dark alleys.

He made it sound very urgent since it involved neurology, which can go bad very quickly. So, I should do it ASAP! In any case, he assured me that after the surgery, rest, and rehab, my running should resume. That was music to my ears J.

In the back of my mind, I thought that since he is a surgeon, and he makes a living doing surgery, of course I should expect a recommendation of surgery, as my Wellness Doctor friend suggested. He normally would recommend shots or therapy for a hernia. However the muscle weakness puts my injury into a different ballpark. He said that less than 10% have my type of injury.

Prior to going under the knife, I will be getting additional opinions and start alternative medicine. My Dad insists that I go to this Chinese Doctor in Flushing. I will make an appointment soon and do other non invasive procedures.

Let’s rewind to last week, in preparation to the 2012 NYC Marathon, Irene got her 22 mile training run in by completing the Hartford Marathon. We drove up the night before to pick up our bibs in a somewhat sparse Expo. I was disappointed at the variety of vendors. I did find an interesting 0.0 magnet for my car. And, Yes OUR bibs. Since I could not defer my entry, I might as well enjoy the streets of Hartford, CT as much as possible and enjoy the goody bag that I paid for. However, I have not earned the cool long sleeved orange tech shirt, so I will probably donate it.

After enjoying a carb up dinner with some old friends in a converted movie theater turned nice Italian restaurant located in Middletown. The next morning, we walked over to the start, which happened to be a stones throw away. We were lucky to get accommodations so close to the festivities.

The masses gathered by the start line and waited. The race announcer, tried to motivate the crowd and we interjected accordingly with cheers when appropriate. It was so great to see many hands raised when he asked who was about to do their first marathon. I am so glad I made NYC my first race, because if Hartford was my first, I might not be running right now and probably blown my back out a lot sooner or have a heart attack!

A minute before the starting shot popped, I kissed Irene and moved to the side so that I would not impede anyone’s stride that was behind me. A sense of disappointment came over me as the shot rang out. Everyone lurched forward with a slow walk, then a jog across the start line. With a sigh, I shuffled my feet as more and more runners past me by.

By the half mile mark, I looked back and noticed that I was probably the last person, or at least if felt like that. About a mile into the course, the racers must decide if they will go straight for another 25.2 miles or take a right and run another 12.1 miles.

There was no way I can go any further, so I looked for the first race official and made a gesture with my hand, motioning the fingers just below my chin signifying I am done. She said to make a right to go back to the park. The second race official noticed my orange bib and looked in horror thinking that I was on the wrong course. I assured her that I was going in the right direction by heading back to the park. She nodded and said, “Ok.”

I headed back to the finish line to let them know that I am out, and the medical tent personnel ask if I was hurt. I said no and they said ok. The least they could have acted a little more supportive. I swapped out my singlet pinned bib and put on my jacket to become a spectator. No longer am I a participant. Now, time to cheer on the runners.

It would be a while before I see Irene, so I headed back to the room. The hotel television provided great race coverage, and I watched the winners break the finish line. As soon as the credits scrolled on the screen, I headed back outside to eventually cheer Irene on and catch her near the finish. With plenty of time, I walked the last part of the course and waited for her to arrive at Mile 25 checkpoint. I actually limped my way to mile 23.5 as I held out my phone to take some snaps. She was surprised to see me out one the course and was happy!

Irene pauses for a moment then continues on to complete the race, and off she went raising her arms across the finish line. Again, I am so proud of her!

Next stop in 2 weeks is the finish line at Central Park. While I will not be raising my arms this year, I asked Team for Kids for a volunteer position by the finish line so I can still be part of the action. I am so excited to see those who achieve PR’s and especially excited to be part of someone’s first marathon experience.

There is something special about achieving your first marathon medallion, and to be part of someone’s achievement is going to be an amazing experience. 5 years ago, you would not have caught me leaving my air conditioned home. Now I have 9 marathons under my belt and looking forward to many more.

By supporting Team for Kids, many more may experience the thrill of doing a marathon. While Team for Kids has deferred my race entry to 2013, you can still support me and Team for Kids by visiting

Thank you for everyone’s thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery. I look forward to having full strength in my legs and running with you all!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

She Passes me at Mile 4, the MRI and Possibly My Last Run

Around 6:30am, we arrived at the Springs School in East Hampton, NY early enough to park about 1000 yards from the marathon festivities. Surprisingly, the road was not closed off yet, so I made a u-turn and grabbed the next spot on the side of the road leaving a car length behind a minivan and the puddle. Irene said to pull up, and my chivalry act was shot down. Let the next person step in the puddle instead of my wife, I told Irene! Of course she shook her head in amazement. Actually, it was more like “how in the world did I marry this man in the first place” kind of amazing head shake, not the good amazing.

You have to love the feel of a small town race organization doing their best to accommodate 1650 runners, many of whom are strangers to these parts. Even people who live on Long Island are considered foreigners, called Up-Islanders. The fall –winter-spring season brings a sense of normalcy and calmness to the neighborhood, unlike when the town swells to the hundreds of thousands fighting for a parking spot on the side roads from Main Street. I guess if we lived out there, you would become accustomed to the changes that occur on the first weekend of Memorial Day. We have not ventured out east during the summer time knowing that the traffic would greatly impact our Hamptons enjoyment.

I struggled up the short flight of stairs into the gym (read further down if you want to find out about the struggling), where there were 3 table sections for the 5k, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon races. With a spring in her step, Irene arrived at the table few seconds ahead of me and already told the volunteer our names. As I reached the table and searched for my driver’s license, the cheerful person slid the number 1814 imprinted on the light blue bib. We thanked the person on the other side of the folding table, and she replied with “Have a great race!”

We shuffled off to the side to get our goodies! First came the simple and plain white tech shirts which were embossed on the front vertically “Hamptons Marathon and Half 2012” on the front and on the back came the sponsors, Equinox and JetBlue. We slid over to the right to the table with a bunch of teens manning a pile of really nice canvas duffle bags. The bags would look good enough to carry your stuff to the famous East Hampton Beaches. Well the teens look frazzled as more and more people started to swarm them. So I pointed to the navy blue towel, and they stuffed our bags with them. I pointed to the JetBlue sweat bands, and they placed them into our bags. A young lady at the end of the table asked if we wanted some scented candles, and I said, “Of Course.”

We pinned our bibs on our shirts, and walked back to the truck to drop off the goody bags. On the way back, I was still concerned that my leg still felt asleep, so I made a simple agreement with Irene. If I was keeled over on my hands and knees crying, she would continue on without me and finish strong. She and I knew the NYC Marathon was around the corner and these runs were important. I don’t think she acknowledge my request, so I said, “You must go and I will find someone to bring me back to the finish line for my DNF (Did Not Finish) status.”

Well, the numbness to my right leg started on Tuesday night before the Half. It was a busy day at the office so I decided to do some P90X2 Plyocide instead of running. Half way through, my back started to feel funny. My brain and will was still thinking “Bring it!” As I was about to do my first Burpee Frog Hop, a pain stabbed the lower back and left me screaming. Lying on the ground, I looked up at the ceiling thinking I wonder if I can run in the Hamptons Half, Hartford Marathon in 2 weeks and the NYC Marathon in a month.

And I wonder why my friend, Rich called me “overzealous.” I dragged my leg to the start line hoping a normal sensation would return to my leg. I figured the run would loosen my muscles. As we started our stride past the start line, we gave each other a peck and off we went to keep up with the masses.

Ignoring my leg was a step behind, my pace dropped around mile 3. At mile 4, I felt a slap on my behind, and Irene caught up to me and asked if I was ok. She knew something was really wrong, if she was able to catch me. I told her to keep going and as promised she pulled further and further away. The pink shirt disappeared in the crowd in front of me.

This past Monday, I saw my primary care physician and he sent me to a neurologist. He ordered me to get an MRI. With a few moments of clicking and clacking inside a gigantic magnet, I hobbled out to my car with a huge envelope with 5 sheets of images printed on large plastic sheets. While I am not a doctor and I did not sleep in a Holiday Inn Express, the blob shadow next to my spine should not be there.

A couple days later, the neurologist called and asked me to come in. He looked at my images, and even called his colleague to look at the pathology. He explained that the hernia was probably there for a long time, and a simple movement pushed it over the edge. When I weighed 245, my back would feel horrible everyday. As I dropped the weight the pain went away, however the injury was always there. Maybe it was from the college Judo, climbing Mount Everest or was sparing with Bruce Lee, not a simple leaning over.

The whole time he was explaining the hernia, degenerative disease, medicines and possible surgery to my spine, I kept on trying to figure out how I can keep running. I still have 44 more States to go! The doctor alluded to the fact that I will have to adjust my lifestyle, not sure what that really means. He was careful not to say that I could not run anymore, however I could hear it in his tonality with this carefully rehearse bedside manners. Running was going to be on hiatus for the indefinite time. Eventually, I will make a final decision must after a few more opinions.

This weekend, I will be cheering my boys in their cross country races and a friend that is doing her first and hopefully not last half marathon. I believe she will catch the running bug as I did!

With 7 more days until the Hartford Marathon, I am waiting for some reduced swelling to maybe walk the course instead of dragging my leg all over Hartford. We will see. If not, I will still cheer on the 15,000 runners including my wife.

Unfortunately, the 3:50 time that I predicted and posted on my bathroom mirror for the 2012 New York City Marathon will need to be postponed. I felt really disappointed to let the kids down over at Team for Kids. Instead of running, I requested to volunteer at the finish line to drape medallions of the finishers.

I am really grateful for the gift that running has given me, my family and friends. I’ve met so many incredible people that I would not have meet before. While this pause is quite an inconvenience, I will try to figure out what I will be doing to keep my sanity and blood pressure down that has less impact on my spine. As soon as I get clearance, I will probably modify P90X (less jumping), tune up the bike, and find a place to swim.

This bulge will not stop my support of Team for Kids. They are the ones that got me to start running and healthy lifestyle. I will continue to invite you to support our efforts to give all kids a running head start to health and wellness by visiting

Stay tuned for the next adventure! Please email me with suggestions. All I want is something with a shiny metal objects when I finish the race J

Enjoy the journey and the recovery!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

2012 XC (Cross Country) Season Kickoff Classic at Flowerfield in St. James, NY

Our family has never been to a XC (Cross Country) meet, so we were excited to attend this year’s Season Kickoff Classic in St. James, NY at the 90 acre training field for Team Sports Center. As we drove up and parked our SUV along with the other 100 SUV’s, Minivans and other family vehicles. I noticed the field lined with neon pink warning tape fencing the course for the races. I was amazed that the entire field left to right was marked off and ready to run!

Occasionally, I would run the perimeter of this plot of land called Flowerfield, which is about a mile around. I would do my best to keep up with 10 year olds, and end up telling them to keep going as I huff and puff around on the tree lined grassy field. I am not sure why it is called Flowerfield because there are no flowers there now. I will find out the history about the flowers later. Now it’s an industrial park with different offices and warehouse spaces on the property.

The boys started with a winter clinic designed to get kids interested in running. Lots of fun doing running drills that are designed to create speed and agility needed to run faster and stronger, yet the boys did not realize they were getting prepared to run. It was plain fun, at the end they had an Olympics where the boys brought home a lot of medals, and we signed them up for Spring Track and Field. They seemed to enjoy that.

Fast forward to yesterday, Cross Country seems more up our ally because Irene and I enjoy long distance running that we started to do a few years back. Both of our fast twitch muscles that are needed to increase speed have long disappeared, so doing marathons is something we do now. I think it is translating to the kids running. During the spring, while track was fun, going to the meets was a difficult. We would sit around for hours between events!

So far it looks like between heats, there is less down time and more kids are running at the same time. Which made the event move quicker, and we could not ask for more! If the Cross Country events continue to be shorter in time, Irene and I will be very happy

Our youngest was in the 2K and the middle one was in the 3K. Both distances are doable and still challenging enough to get them to focus and do their best running against some of the best runners in the Northeast. There were about 40 kids in each event that toed the line and waited for the words, “Runners on your mark!” and the blast of the horn.

At the each of the 4 events, a massive wave would move down the course and eventually the faster kids would start breaking away, and at the end you can hear some of the time and be astonished at sub 6 and sub 5 min miles. Totally incredible, I know that I could never achieve that type of speed in my legs. I know that the boys are faster than Irene and I and they are a quarter of our age.

What I enjoyed was being able to cross the field several times to cheer on the runners as they zigged zagged across the field. I was able to see my boys’ pass me 3 to 4 times, get snap shots and see them have a happy or an indifferent look at the finish line.

Our head coach, Grant Stanis is a gentle giant of a man. Having been a champion himself, he is the most patient person that I know. He is determined that each child in the program improve. He knows that not everyone can come in first. He wants them to do their best. That is all he asks, and as parents that’s all we should ask as well.

At the end of the meet, the rest of the family went home, and I headed off to do a 15 mile training run. If it was a track and field event, we might not have gotten home until dinner time! We are very happy with Cross Country!

Click here for the results

Friday, July 20, 2012

High Heels and Crying!

A few weeks ago, I ran a 5K hill, basically 1 mile down hill and 2 miles up. While my Achilles felt tight, I continued my normal routine of warming up and stretching thinking it would be ok. And I ran an 8:40 pace, one of my fastest especially going up a hill!
A week later, part of my training for the New York City Marathon, a 5K time trial was scheduled. As I started around Stony Brook University, my first mile came in around 9:00 minute mile, that was kind of slow. I could fell my right Achilles was not feeling quite right. The second mile, I started to struggle and slowing to an 11:00 minute mile. I called it quits for the first time. The throbbing from my right ankle was a little too much. The good thing is that the Achilles Tendonitis is not as bad as my sprained left ankle, right before my first marathon in 2008.

So for the past few weeks, I biked, pressed play on my DVD and worked out with Tony Horton and the P90X friends, cried like a baby at the massage therapist, cried some more using the foam roller, and sobbed as I did self massage on the Achilles. My friend suggested high heels to relieve the stress on the tendon. Does anyone have a size 10 ½ men’s stilettos?

Finally this week, the slow easy 1 mile run last Sunday was great. I’ve been doing my best to keep it slow. So far the most I have run is 4 miles and planning on 5 miles tomorrow. While I am really behind on mileage, it is so important that I do not rush. Most of the mileage has come from the track, and everyone knows how much I hate running on that oval loop. Yet, the track is a great place to get regain strength and prep the joints for the miles to come on the road. Funny, I have come to enjoy the track for this past week. In order for me to bare the incredible boredom from lack of scenery, I have really forced my mind to concentrate, and make my mind go blank to listen to my body. Before I know it, my legs will be logging those necessary marathon miles, and I look forward to running with my boys on the field where they have been training this year.

Elijah has been very productive by bringing home some track medals. Zachary is coming off of his Sever’s disease. It’s a common heel injury in kids due to inflammation of the growth plate in the heel. Without his boot, he brought home a 4th place medal in the 4x100 relay at regionals. Actually it’s his first track medal!

Coming soon, the traveling for cross country running is about to begin. I do not know anything about it, so it will be an adventure!

Here is one of the kids I run for.
Throughout the next four months you will have the opportunity to meet some of our young runners. Kids like Erick, an eighth-grader in our Young Runners program. Erick is pre-diabetic and has behavioral and learning issues. He used to watch the other kids run laps during their Young Runners practice but was too scared to join. The Young Runner's coach, Nancy Landau-Gahres, encouraged him to join the team. “Erick is just an incredible kid,” says Landau-Gahres. “It’s difficult for him to focus and he struggles not to be last, but he doesn’t care. He just loves being part of a team.” In Young Runners, Erick found a family who accepts him and doesn’t make fun of him. “I want to do my best for my teammates,” says Erick. “I know I have to lose weight and learn to eat better which is really difficult, but I am gaining confidence every day and I have my teammates to thank for that.” Think of Erick as you begin to feel tired on a long run, and remember that your fundraising efforts will continue to help Erick learn to cope with his learning and health issues long after you have crossed the finish line.

Visit my Team for Kids Fund Raising page at
And Give Kids a Running Head Start to Health and Fitness!


Join me for some 2012 race that Irene and I will be doing!
July 28. 2012 - AHRC 5K Run/Walk - Southampton, NY
• This will be Elijah’s 1st 5K!
July 29, 2012 - Cystic Fibrosis 4 Miler - West Sayville, NY
August 12, 2012 - Warrior Dash - Windom, NY
September 15, 2012 - Cow Harbor 10K -Northport, NY
September 29, 2012 - Hamptons Half - Easthampton, NY
October 13, 2012 – Hartford Marathon – Hartford, CT
November 4, 2012 – New York City Marathon – New York, NY
November 30, 2012 – St. John the Baptist Turkey Trot 4K – West Islip, NY

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Don’t you give up Elijah at the USA Track and Field Long Island Championships.

Today, for Father’s Day, I was looking forward to watching my youngest take on the 4x100m relay, 800m and 1500m at the USA Track and Field Long Island Championships. I was especially excited to see how my little one would do in the 1500m. He’s only been training for the past 4 months at The Sports Center, and I’ve been amazed with his toughness on certain occasions.

They do plenty of interval training that includes a bunch of 200m, 400m and some hill work in a 90 acres grassy field of Flowerfield in St. James. On occasion I get to run with the kids, and each time I go to train with them, they all zip right by like I was standing still. It’s helped me stay the course as I train for my third NYC Marathon.

Apparently, I have lost all of my fast twitch muscles at my age, because I never really used them over the years. So my dreams of running a 3:15 to qualify for the Boston Marathon will be extra tough to achieve. Thank goodness as I get older, they raise the qualifying time. So I am excited that the kids are putting those muscles to work so they have less of a chance to lose them. They will be able to be fast when they get to my age!

On the far side of the WC Mepham High School track in Bellmore, Elijah starts running after the starting gun popped under cloudy skies. I see him in last place as he comes across the finish line for the first time, and a few of his teammates cheer him on. He has 3 more laps to go.

As he was about to pass his coach by the start, Elijah hesitates. With a little tough love, Coach Grant says, “Don’t you give up!” I think most kids would have cried, stopped and walked off. As Elijah, came around again, you could see his eyes welling up with tears, and he kept on going. More of his teammates, yelled, “Let’s go Elijah!”

Around the bend, the few of the female shot-put contestants say this little boy run pass their event and they cheered for him to keep going. He kept this turnover going, as he was about to pass us for the third time. This time more teammates cheered for him and even the people in the stands were cheering for this little boy whose singlet reaches his knees, and all you can see is his ankles in motion. Being that cute has its advantages!

This time the shot-put event was temporarily paused, as all the contestants cheered on Elijah. As he made his final kick, with the agony shown in his face, the little boy gathered a roar of the crowd. The race official stopped what he was doing and leaned over to tell him that he did a great job. Coach Grant walked over to him to tell him he did great and Zachary handed him a Gatorade.

I am so proud of him for staying in the race and toughing it out. Seeing him cry is not easy.  I know he does not like coming in last. He needs to know that he is running with older kids. Someday soon, he will be leading the pack, and wooing girls all around the track!

He opted out of running in the 800m, which gave him enough time to gather his composure to run with his team to come home with the Gold in the 400m relay!

We gathered our cooler, chairs and tent at the end of the day, and loaded the SUV. I bent over to tell Elijah how awesome he did, and he says, can we go get my medal. I smiled and said sure. As I walked over to the officials table, I noticed they were still downloading the results. I asked Elijah if he wanted to wait or get his medal from Coach Grant tomorrow. First he said he would wait, then I was surprised when he said, “That’s okay, I will get it tomorrow.”

There will be more accolades to come.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sunset 5K in Kings Park 2012

My friend Erik invited me to run with him at the 2012 Nissequogue River State Park Foundation 5K Sunset Run in the Park. I immediately created Facebook event and I invited all of my friends. It’s so cool to see the usual band of friends, and those from High School. I really get excited when new runners join our group. This time new runners, John and his wife, Lisa were included in the fun. My kids decided to watch Captain America in the truck, oh well!

The William T Rodgers Middle School temporary race village was manned by many volunteers in yellow shirts, swarming with kids getting ready for the 1K fun run, and many runners talking to friends and warming up for their 3.2 mile race. Mike Taylor was signing some great classic rock songs, as the sun came out from behind the clouds raising the temperature that worried me. Its tough running in warm weather, but the clouds came back and cooled the start of the race.

Around 15 minutes to the start, we headed down to the start somewhere on Old Dock Road. The downhill slope looked inviting; however I anxiously anticipated the uphill workout somewhere waiting for all of us to climb. Erik and I talked about our injuries as we waited.

Around 5:30, there was a little jingle sound and everyone rushed forward to follow the police escort in front of us. As I let gravity help me down the hill, I caught up to Irene. I said, “You’re doing great!” and I passed her. For about 3 minutes, I was doing my best and Erik came running past me. It was great that he was running in front of me, because I was working harder to keep up with him.

That first mile, I clock a 7:39 pace, and we entered the park. I could feel my lungs breathing harder, and my quads began to strain! I am not sure where I lost Erik, because I put on the blinders and concentrated on each peak as they came into sight. It was a challenge not to pause and walk a little bit, but “Do your best!” was being repeated in the back of my head. I did not think too much about anything else.

The trail was lined by trees. However, the park is home of the abandoned Kings Park Psychiatric Center. It's kind of erie running past those huge empty buildings that were once filled with unusual and often misunderstood people. Erik and I were thinking they should have a Halloween Run or a Zombie Run to go with the scary buildings.

As I neared the finish, I could hear the race announcer rattling off names as they crossed the finish line. As I made the left into the parking lot of the school, I ran up next to this guy and he looked at me and started quickening his pace, as I started to out kick him. He could not catch up as I noticed the clock read 26:30, I have a good chance to make it under 27:00. I finished with a 26:52 and it felt really good to run an 8:39 pace!

I turned around to cheer on the other runners, and I cheered on all of my friends. Erik PR’d! And John and Lisa completed their first race. They were looking forward to their next race which is the JP Morgan Chase Challenge in Central Park! I gave Nancy a high five as I walked further down the course for Irene. As I saw Irene make the turn, I ran next to her, so we can include additional finish line photos in our album!

A few of us headed to Napper Tandy’s to celebrate and catch up!


Monday, May 28, 2012

My First Track Meet – Rolling Thunder Invitational

Rolling Thunder Invitational
As I drove up to Hauppauge High School for the Rolling Thunder Invitational, I was excited to participate in my first track meet along with Elijah. I would have loved to participate with Zachary as well, but his growing pains have him in an immobilization boot until his tendons and ligaments catch up with his growth.
I run in different 5K’s and noticed the Green Singlets of Rolling Thunder Track Club. They have an incredible club which includes many nationally rank runners and many run in the Special Olympics. Each member of their club has so much heart and we can all learn so much from them.

Elijah brought home a silver medal in the Long Jump, silver in the 400m and gold in the 200m. As for me, that is an entirely different story!

As I waited for my 400m race, I noticed 2 guys that were older than me. Ok, maybe I will come home with something, but then 2 other people handed in their stickers to run. Maybe I can come home with something now? A few minutes later, I lined up in lane 6 and waited for the starting gun to fire. The official says, “On your marks” and I hear a pop. I ankle tried to hold but, but after 25m, the horrified look on my face was seen by all, especially by the others on our Track Team! All I could do was shake my head as 4 other runners pass me with ease, about 75m, the person in lane 5 stopped and I passed him, but I still was so far back. There was no way my legs could move that fast! During the final stretch, I noticed Zachary up in the stands cheering me on and watch me come in 4th by default. By the time I got to the finish, I think my heart was about to jump out of my chest.

My next race was the 1500m, which had me line up with Coach Brian and another parent, along with other Rolling Thunder runners. After 2 laps, 2 Rolling Thunder Runners lap me. After 4 laps, I was again crossing the finish line last with my lungs about to explode. I probably had my fastest mile, but I will check out the results as they are posted.

While I ran about 4.5 miles in the morning with Irene, I don’t think any amount of running would have helped me gain entry to the podium. It was a learning experience, and I know I will be doing more intervals with Elijah at the running club!

More importantly, Elijah is having so much fun and becoming very comfortable with running and competition. Zachary is anxious to get running and catching up the medal count with his brother!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wow, My Daughter Actually Pays Attention!

Delaware Marathon 2012
The other day, Emily surprised me with an email. It was a personality profile that she took for school. I thought it was interesting to see how a test would analyze her answers. After reading it, I felt it was accurate. My biggest concern was that she would lock herself into this personality and use it to blame everything that happens because of a few electronic responses.

I called her and ask, “What do you think of the test?” “Is this who you are?” I really did not give her a chance to answer because I wanted to get to this question. “Emily, do you believe you can change?” Her reply was, “Yes.” That was interesting because she tends to be a drama queen at times blaming the world for her woos and whoas. So I ask, “Why do you believe that?” The next sentences surprised my slightly cynical self.

She says, “Because you changed.” I was totally caught off guard and asked for clarity, “What do you mean?” Emily’s reply, “You run now and don’t keep cans of soda or bags of Doritos in the house anymore.” Leading up to my decision to run, I am probably the last person to be the poster child to health, and I am glad that she noticed the changes in me when I didn’t even realize it myself. I will continue to do my best to lead her and her brothers in making the best choices for health and their future as long as I can.

If I did not sign up for the NYC Marathon 4 and half years ago, I probably would not have had the opportunity to give the gift of running to my kids. Both Zachary and Elijah are part of Sports Center Athletic Training Track & Field Club in St. James. Unfortunately, Zachary is going through some growing pains and has been on the side lines for the past month, and is anxious to out run his peers. Elijah is a little rabbit and is running with kids 2 years older and having a boatload of fun! Emily continues to surprise me when she decides to go for a run. I think she is running to pass a boy’s house that she likes in the neighborhood.

I am still caught off guard when someone acknowledges my running. In fact, I still look around thinking they are congratulating someone next to me. Last month, Irene and I celebrated our 15th Wedding Anniversary, by doing the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee. It was suppose to be a “fun run” but I wanted to get State #6 under my belt. I am a lucky guy because she agreed to do the race together! Two weeks later, I took on my 9th Marathon and State #7 in Wilmington, Delaware. Details on both races will be added to my blog at as I still have 43 more states to run before I am 50!

Lately, many of my friends have been signing up for 5K’s or even signing up for marathons, because of me. Again, I am still surprised to be the person to motivate anyone. I am just a guy going through a mid life crisis. Instead of buying a Porsche, I happen to do marathons instead. I am really humbled that my 2 legs are able to inspire anyone, and if I am able to help someone lose some weight, lower blood pressure, kick the use of BP or cholesterol meds, or do something they never thought they could do before. I am glad that I put a little spark in their step, but it’s really them who deserve the credit.

Team for Kids
Well, 4 years later, we are returning to the New York City Marathon for the 43rd running of the 5 boroughs. Again, I have the privilege of giving the gift of running to hundreds of kids. Our Team for Kids fund raising helps kids around the world with opportunities to run, who otherwise have little or no access to regular physical activity. It’s amazing that 1/3 of all children in the United States is obese! Please take a moment to help me reach my goal to give the gift of running to 300 children. Please visit our Personal Donation Page at

Also if you want to start running your first 5k or even want to do a marathon, give me a call! I really get excited and motivate each time someone tells me that they did a race for the first time!

Have a Great Memorial Day and Bring it!!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

St. Patrick's, NYC Half Marathon and now I am an Uncle!

I’ve run a few races since my last running post, and I plan on posting a few updates from my last 2 races shortly. The month of March had me run in a St. Patrick’s Day 5K run and the NYC Half Marathon. Both will be great stories, especially the NYC Half, and I am excited to finish both entries.

The past several months have been very busy. Work, business, running, and now I can add a new title of Uncle. Yes, my sister gave birth of a bundle of joy today, after starting her day at the hospital at 5:30am the day before.

I am anxious to get back home after traveling to Alexandria (Olde Town) and hold that little boy in my hands. I wonder if holding him, will want me to have another one. That will be a discussion; Irene and I will probably have after our visit with the new parents and new life that has entered our lives. I know my kids are excited to finally have a 1st cousin to play with.

Turning in early in my hotel room tonight will help me get up early and run for about an hour so I can enjoy my time along the Potomac. Hopefully, the run will squeeze out the soreness I feel after changing my running form from the past few weeks.

The kids joined a sports training center for track and field. They really enjoy it. The great part is that we get to join them for the runs, and learn good running form as well. The new techniques will help me run faster without pain. At least, that is the idea!

So far, the heel and knee pain that I have been experiencing for the past 4 years has gone away. Now, my muscles, especially my calves are going through an adjustment. I hope they adjust fast, because they are on fire!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Just Call Me Amanda-St. Patrick's Day 5K

I woke up a little later than expected for my 5K in Smithtown to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this morning, and for that you can call me Amanda! As part of my marathon training or lack there of, I schedule myself to run 7 miles to the course, grab a bagel, get my bid, run with a few friends from high school and a couple new friends that I made along my journeys, run the 5K at an easy pace, break bread with my friends, and eventually run 7 miles home.

I put on my running and headed out. Of course, I noted all the down hills, and enjoyed the pull of gravity as I made my way towards Smithtown. As I got toward the Rt 25 an Rt 111 intersection, I looked behind me and said, “Damn!” I am going to have to run up that incline for about 2 miles, why!!!!!!

Eventually, I made it to the gym and waited on line to receive my bib. It’s a simple bib with the RFID tag built glued on the backside! I headed back towards the hallway to meet up with my friends and pinned the bib to my right leg. We all headed outside to brave the 32 degree clear weather. We watch the fun run kids dash for the finish, as we gathered by the starting line.

I glanced over to one of my friends bibs and notice their name printed on their bib, so I looked down toward my right leg trying to make out the name. Guess what! Call me Amanda L 18 year old Female. Sorry Amanda for the slow sub 10 minute mile, but I just ran 7 miles to the race and will be running home for another 7 miles.

I am always proud to accomplish a goal for myself, like a 5K. What makes me really happy is when someone else is able to accomplish a goal that they set, especially a friend. When the dream becomes reality, that’s real magic! Today, I saw 3 friends run a 5K for the first time. The great thing is that they plan to continue. Keep it up!

Next race is the NYC Half Marathon with Irene!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring Forward this Sunday

Here is a reminder to Spring Forward this Sunday March 11, 2012 for Day Light Savings!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Too Many Wings Last Night

Watching the Giants earn another Super Bowl Championship was a treat.  I also had my share of wings and other goodies.  Moderation of course! Now I am getting ready for the newest Shakology Flavor, Tropical Strawberry arriving February 14, 2012, in time for Valentines Day.  This version will actually be vegan, which means no dairy!  It is a welcome addition to the popular Chocolate and Greenberry.  For more information visit


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chicken Wings are a Very Healthy Food for your Super Bowl Party

It’s Super Bowl Sunday! You vacuum the house, dust the lamps, and clean off the big screen television in the living room, and position the sofa to get the best view and celebrate the New York Giants bringing home another Super Bowl. The cooler is full of ice with bottles of soda and beer that are ready to be opened and guzzled down to quench your thirst as we cheer each 1st down, one handed catch and especially each point added to the score board by Big Blue. The fryer is filled to the right level with peanut oil for the chicken wings to take an 8-9 minute bath before being drowned in butter and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or any other hot sauce of your choice) for the perfect Buffalo Wing. The napkins are laid down next to the plates on the 8ft folding table to wipe your face and fingers with.

Eating nutritionally dense super foods like Kale, Chia Seeds, Acai, Wheat Grass, and plenty other things that are good for me and the family have been a great behavior I do for 99.9% of the year. While on most days including Sunday, I enjoy getting my super foods with Shakeology. On Super Bowl Sunday, I will be enjoying the day with my family and enjoying something that I have eaten way back when my father had a Chinese Restaurant, the Chicken Wing. Actaully, I did not learn about Buffalo Wings until I went to college. Now on special occasions like the National Football League’s Championship Game, I remember the insightful words of the Wing King, Drew Cerza, “Psychologically, chicken wings are a very “healthy food”, physically you have to do it in moderation.”

My 2 boys now have started to enjoy wings, and this year we plan to pay homage to the city that created the Buffalo Wing, Buffalo, NY, for the National Wing Festival. Here is the spot from Food Network’s Unwrapped.

As you dunk your wings in blue cheese sauce, about to suck the meat off the bone and wash it down with the beverage of choice.

WARNING: STOP reading if you don’t want to be horrified and spoil the rest of the day.
Six pieces of Buffalo Wings – 480 calories
1 Tablespoon of Blue Cheese Sauce - 79 calories
12 oz of Beer – 50 calories for Light Beer all the way to 300 calories
8oz of Coca Cola – 97 calories
6-8 Nachos with Cheese- 346 calories
4oz Chili – 269 calories

I am going to stop here. Enough said. All I can say, “Moderation!”

Here is a basic sauce recipe for 50 Buffalo Wings:

• 2 tablespoon butter
• 1 large shallot
• 3 garlic cloves
• 2 oz. dark beer (or bourbon your choice)
• 1 cup chili sauce
• 1 cup BBQ sauce
• 1 ½ teaspoon Ancho chili pepper
• ½ cup brown sugar
• ½ cup honey
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 4 oz. cayenne pepper sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot)

Fry the chicken based on your Frying Machine, and as you drop the chicken, you can prep the sauce.

Prepping the Sauce
• Chop up and sauté:
• Butter, shallot & garlic cloves
• Add & stir for 1 minute:
• Dark beer, chili sauce & BBQ sauce
• Add & stir for 2 minutes:
• Ancho chili pepper, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper sauce
• Put the sauce in a big bowl

Once the chicken is done cooking, place in the bowl with the sauce and toss. Place the wings on a plate with carrots, celery and blue cheese dressing. Enjoy

Just keep in mind to eat in moderation, drink plenty of water and cheer on your favorite team. If your favorite team is other than the Giants, I predict that you will have heartburn Sunday night! Always check with your healthcare team to make sure you are healthy, exercise and eat right. It’s about doing the right things most of the time, and enjoying special treats when appropriate.

By the way, nevermind the 10 miles I will run in the morning and the P90X2 workout I will be doing after the game.  Enjoy the game, family and friends.  Go Giants!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy Year of the Dragon

Depending on the exact date of the Chinese calendar, Dragons were born in 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988 or 2000. If you met a Dragon you might find them innovative, enterprising, flexible, self-assured, brave, passionate, conceited, tactless, scrutinizing, unanticipated, quick-tempered, and driven. Some occupations you might find a Dragon take on would be as an inventor, manager, computer analyst, lawyer, engineer, architect, broker, or sales person.