Thursday, September 27, 2012

Spartan Race "Beast" - Killington, VT- Sept 21, 2012

Let me start by saying "Thank you Amazon Local" for giving me the chance to take on this race for half the price :-)... 

This has been by far the craziest and toughest thing I've ever done in my life. Why did I decide to do this race? Besides the unbeatable price from AmazonLocal? I need to keep myself busy and active to keep my head clear. That and the TRIFECTA Medal. This medal is only given to those brave enough to do 3 Spartan Races in a calendar year (Sprint, Super & Beast). I wanted to prove something to myself and I surprised myself at Vermont. 

My parents and Jocelyn came with me.. We did not get on the road to VT 'till around 10pm. It was late so I had to drive, and even though I was punching that Equinox at 90-100mph, we made it to VT at 2AM.. 

My race STATS are as follow, and I may add, "NOT TOO SHAVY" for a first timer : 

- 545th overall (2500 male and female) runners
- 486th out of all 1817 male runners
- 98th out of 377 in my age group

We went straight to bed but 2hr later, a symphony of snores woke me up.. My goodness.. Both my parents and Jocelyn were snoring.. I could not believe a 5 year old could snore that loud... I could not go back to sleep.  My dad woke up at 7AM saying how little sleep he got. I was saying to myself.. (Really?) . They do not believe they were snoring, (Denial).. 

We got to Killington and it was cold, but I fell in love with the mountain, it was beautiful up there.. It was 57 but felt like 53 according to the weather app. I did not hear any announcements about the race being longer than 13 miles so that was good. Next thing I know we were off. The plan was to use NJ's strategy to keep moving and keep from injury. I'll be honest, I was scared of what was to come but thrilled at the same time that I had the guts to still be there moving along toward the unknown. 

They were not kidding when they said that by mile 3 you may consider quitting. A lot of people left the race, they made sure to brake you on the first 4 miles. There was a lot of trail to run and all uphill at first. "Thank you LifeProof case" for allowing me to bring my iPhone with me.. I was texting back every 2-3 miles.. it was a mother's request.. The first obstacle "Ditch Jumps" was pretty easy, but some managed to get in trouble with it. What was so hard about jumping over a hole in the ground? Oh yeah, it was muddy, and chances were that if you landed near the edge you ended up in the water. 

Next on the list a common one in all Spartan Races, "Over/Under", no problem there except there was  bit of a congestion at the wall climbs. Right after those you had yet another well known obstacle "Water Pits" It required you to go through water waist high.. I'm telling you, my bones felt like they wanted to crack,, that water was so freaking cold it was no joke, there were at least 3 of them in a row.. I remember seeing a set of 3 walls after the pits and right before heading into the woods which took us for a long uphill trip to then come back to the starting line but not before going through "Vertical Cargo", a "High Barbed Wire Crawl" on this one the wire was set much higher so you had to docked to go through it. After this "7foot Walls" I may be missing one more but trust me, this alone got me tired in addition to all the trail we were covering. 

1st Barbed Wire Crawl
1st Barbed Wire Crawl
Over and under
Over/Under/Thru it
 The weather got warmer about an hour after we took off, so I took off my long-sleeve and later on, the bib to make sure I would not loose it.  Right after the Walls, came the Pain in the ass "Barbed Wire/Mud Crawl #1" Which reminds me.. "To the SOB who was loving his job of getting us wet while crawling" WTF man?, I'm sure they said GET THEM WET, not DROWN THEM". Got another set of "Walls" to finally reach the "Monkey Bars". Those suckers were hard. My gloves and the bars were wet and slippery. The bars were also set in a way that a few bars were much higher and further than others. Once those were over there was a small "Trench Crawl" and finally we had gone back to where started. 

Thats me with the yellow pack

Traverse Wall
My legs and arms had already started to feel tired and my legs were shaky. I came back out to the starting line were "The Traverse Wall" and the "Rope Climb" were waiting. I tackled and completed the wall but took my time, both my arms and legs wanted to give in . As I got close to the rope I hear "Daddy" and my little monkey had a first row view at the action.. It was so nice to see her. I gave my long sleeve and bib to my parents. There was a bit of congestion at the rope so I kept moving around to stay warm. Finally my turn and REDEMPTION.. My daughter got to see daddy climb that rope and ring the bell.. The look on her face was priceless, she was happy and so was I. 

After this the race seemed to ease a bit. We made a quick turn after the rope and there it was, "The Lake" and the "Tarzan Swing".. 40 degree if not colder swim. There were life vests but not enough and you had to wait for them. Some of us decided to hit the 50 burpees to save some time and having to swallow some lake water. I meet a girl who I'm going to call "Fellow Spartan", she was not only beautiful but had the heart to go get water at the water station and come back for another runner who was tripping from exhaustion. She was also from NYC, we walked and talked a bit. We were debating on who will be able to finish the 50 burpees first. Well, turns out we were having such a nice conversation that we didn't stop and blended right in with others and kept going. When we realized it, we laughed and started running, "oh well".     

She stopped for water and I kept going (sorry but I had a 5 year old monkey to go see after the run), but call me! :-D. There was a lot and I mean, a lot of trail to cover. After a lot of running we got to a "Memorization Poster" yup, that was a challenge. I had to memorize the phrase and #s next to the last two digits of my bib# posted on wall (Alpha 100-8361). Yes we were going to have a test later on. I kept singing that phrase even after I crossed the finish line. Just in case, I didn't know what to expect at this race. 

Atlas Carry
"The Hercules Hoist" was next, this was surprisingly not much of a challenge. We did a bit more trail and reached the "Atlas Carry". I am not sure how heavy this cement block was but it was heavy. Pick one up, carry it over to the flag without dropping it, put it down and pick up the other one and bring it back to where you got the first one. Drop any of them and its 30 burpees. This is where the Hercules Hoist said HAHA Suckers! because your arms felt it. Right after this came the "Barbed Wire Mud Crawl #2" This was shorted than the first one. I was glad that this time all crawls had actual mud, unlike the ones at NY, MA and NJ, they were over concrete and rocks.. it was a killer. 

Right after the crawl we had another set of "7" Walls". Some people were real team players, others were plain jerks. They ask you for help at the wall and then they just kept on going and left you behind, yeah thats real sportsmanship you JERK. After more trail, we reached a set of "Log Walls with a Rope". The "Tractor Pull" was not too far from them. This one was different, at least for me. This time the track was longer and uphill. However, I was able to get it done fairly fast. 

I had cut serious time by taking advantage of every flat stretch and downhill, but what was to come made that effort for nothing. It all pointed to a 4:30 - 4:45hr race for me, but some one forgot to mention that we were going to be "Hiking to Mount Olympus" that day.. Seriously, It was the never ending mountain hike. After 45 min I stopped looking up because it was discouraging to see that there was no end to it. I saw people sitting taking breaks, some injured, some with asthma (not kidding). After about 1hr, we reached the top and tada! another "Rope Climb" I did not stop at the hike trying to reach the top so my legs were half way done. I still don't know how I rang that bell. I was running down hill and singing my now favorite son (Alpha 100-8361) when the "Sandbag" appeared. 

The Sandbag was a bit longer than the one at Spartan Sprint in MA. Getting it done without stopping was a big challenge, but I managed to do it without stopping. I dropped my bag back on the pile and continued singing my song.. Long behold "The Test" I got stopped byt two staff members (hey there son, what's your phrase?) I kid you not, I gave it to the guy as a song.. they were cracking up, they confirmed it was correct and sent me off to the "Sled Pull".

It may be simple, but it's not easy. My feeling is that it was loaded with a bit more than 50 lbs. of sand. The weight and the box collecting rocks at the bottom as you pulled it made this challenge very challenging. Not to mention the smoke not helping at all. At the end of this challenge a lady was asking.. Do you know how to swim?  Ha, the "Tyrolean Traverse" was next. 
Again I had to wait for a life vest so I headed to do my 30 burpees. This time they counted them. 

You had a few "Dirt Mounds with Water" right after that and by then the weather had gotten colder, so we were back to bone chilling water. From here on it was torture. After the Mounds, we had more hills and I had already put my legs trough so much stress on the hike and the sandbags that half way up that hill my legs began to shake and cramps began. Serious cramps both thighs and calves at the same time. Try taking one step like that. I managed to reach for a stick and began to roll my legs and tried to relax the muscle. I lost at least 3-5 minutes doing this. 

After finally overcoming this, I began to walk but the legs were not the same at this point, I was scared to move too fast or make certain movements that would trigger another one. As I got to the top of this hill, "The Log Hop" came up. I have failed this obstacle on every Spartan Race I've done and with my legs the way they felt, I was for sure to fail it again. I Was having a hard time getting on the first one. The logs were higher than usual. A fellow racer was kind enough to help me get on the first one. One step at a time and next thing I know I nailed the log-hop. The guy that helped me was right behind me so no need to go back and assist.

After the log hop, BAM! more uphill. WTH? I was under the impression that the last hike was the peek of the mountain. Silly me, it was  tease. Luckily the remaining hike was not as bad and I didn't have a problem with it. After a few turns we reached the "Vertical Cargo Net #2". This was easy, the net was laid over a wall of rocks and at the top, big surprise, more hills. FINALLY! the freaking top. I could see my house from there, 5+ hrs and 4,000ft later I have finally reached the top, Oh glorious day.. I have spent all that time and sweat to get here just to tackle two "9' Walls", Awesome!

Everyone was a team player so we all got them done without a problem. Wait! Like the law of physics says (what goes up has to come down) remember those 4K+ ft of elevation you just finished hiking.. well, you had to get off the mountain somehow.It would have been really cool if we were zip-lining down. That would have been so cool. but nope.. You were on your own. Some were rolling down, others tumbling down, crab-walking, One way or another people were coming down. The trail was muddy, and made it almost impossible for you to run or walk without slipping.. 

20 min into "The Descend", my left IT began to complain. I could not slow down.. I was praying it would not fail me at this point because it would have been all over. This is the same IT that went out on me 3 years ago on my marathon. I got to stretch at a small congestion of runners towards the end of the trail and that helped.. from this point it was everyone for themselves.. I ran as fast as I could passing people left and right to find the "Hobie Hop".Wrap your feet with a big rubber band and walk or hop over logs and go under the rope. Sounds silly but you try doing this after 5+ hrs of trail, hills and a shit load of obstacles then come back and tell me how easy it was. Got it done and back to running.   

Slippery Wall- "Water, Sand & Soap"
The temperature had dropped significantly and running was not helping keep you warm. Your clothes were soaked in sweat, water, mud and for all you know bear shit. Then Sweet music, a loud crowd cheering, YES! the finish line. SOB, you still had to prove yourself.. I got to the "Spear Trow" (Epic Fail) my arms were too tired, I hit the mark, but didn't stick. I got some burpees done (I didn't count). 

The final "Barbed Wire Crawl" was next. Bless you Lord, it was a tinny one. This was followed but the "Slippery Wall", and finally, time to face the "Gladiators" Two guys who love their job way too much, but not before setting your ass on fire on the "Fire Jump".  I could not avoid getting hit by the gladiators at the finish line, but managed to remain standing. Got my medal, and a kiss from Jocelyn.

 I checked my time on the computer, ate my banana (hey, I earned that banana) and ran to the tent to get my Trifecta medal. Oh yes, I was not going home without it. The Trifecta Medal was the only reason why I did the Beast, well, that and staying sane :-). The weather app said 54 feeling like 48 (it was cold due to the windchill) and I still had to shower outdoors with cold water.. But that cold water felt so good on the legs.. 

Yes I framed it already :-)
 Got my free beer, a burger and to the car for another 4+hr drive back to NYC. Oh yeah.. It was a long day.. but on the way home, my daughter kept talking about the race and how she liked that she saw me complete the rope climb. The words "Daddy, I am proud of you" from my 5 year old simply cannot match getting 2 medal on this race.. It was just priceless. 

Am I done for the year? well, I have a 1 mile race at work this Thursday.. LOL it's an annual thing.. I may not beat my 5:45 time from last year, but you bet your ass I will be running it trying to beat the Cross Country team again.. :-) 

This year has been an eventful year for me, good and bad alike but nothing else to do but keep moving forward and make the best out of any situation. I love running and I love pushing myself to the limit. The lesson I learned at Vermont this Saturday has given me a different perspective and showed me that I can still surprise myself. In an effort to teach my daughter that one can do anything in this life, I also thought myself the same lesson. Now lets put it into practice. 

The question now is, Am I going to do this again? The answer is very simple. YES.. even though I do not plan on beating my time at Vermont, I do plan on beating my time at the NJ Super and once again, claim a Trifecta Medal. Thank you Spartan team for making this races possible and giving every one the chance to overcome our own limitations and strive to go the distance. I will see you all again next year.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Super Spartan Race - Vernon, NJ - Sept 8 2012

Let me start by saying this.. "You gotta love these guys.." I was expecting a 9 mile run, but right before we took off the following announcement was made "How many of you thought you had signed up for a 8 mile race? Well, you signed up for 11 miles and 30 obstacles instead of the 22" "Oh, and there is a 25' cliff jump too" Huh? That's one way to get your money worth.. Im only going to mention the obstacles I remember..There were a lot more obstacles.

The setup was awesome.. As soon as you come up to the race site, you see 4 familiar obstacles.. (The Spear Toss, The Traverse Wall, The Rope Climb and The Barb Wire Crawl) All right next to each other and right before the finish line.. This gives you a hint that you will be doing A LOT of trail running and some hills. My Dad (56y/o) and I were in the first open wave and every one was excited. Some were ready to go to war, I mean really, there were people that over packed for this one.. Me included. Prior to the race, there was a note saying that the race had only one water station. My dad and I decided to bring the water pack I got for the Spartan Beast which was 2 weeks later. The pack holds 70 oz of water. I trained for a while doing long distance runs with it and never bothered me and didn't feel the weight. Well, a 10-13 mile run is not quite the same as a Spartan run (I should've known this).

Right from the start you got punished with a "Hill" that was at least 1+ miles. I mean, this was a ridiculously long hill. Everyone began to walk 2 minutes into the hill. Just when you thought you had reached the end of it, SURPRISE! the hill turns left and it gets even harder. Everyone was either cussing or complaining. We overheard someone say that there was only 1 more hill in the race so we thought the next one was going to be about the same. Well, there were a lot and I mean A LOT of hills.. VERY STEEP freaking hills. We did the smart thing to do.. (walk the hills and run when flat at a moderate pace). The goal was to get back fast, in one peace and NEVER Stop. The "Over/Under/Through it" were at the top of this hill.

 We kept meeting the same people along the trail. Some would leave us behind while running the trails, but we would catch them at the obstacles and leave them behind. The walls were not a problem, at least for my dad, I was carrying the pack and it made the higher walls a real challenge. I had good balance on the "Log Hop" challenge but my pack betrayed me and fell down on the 4th one. My dad almost made it but fell off trying to reach the last one. 30 burpees later we continued.
The weather was great for a race... but you can't help getting hot and the "Lake Swim" was a surprise and a gift from heaven. We felt so refreshed after that. The challenge was to swim across and go under a boat. I was so happy to know I was not the only gown ass men to ask for a life-vest. It is impossible to go under a boat while wearing the vest, so we had to around it. At the other side an Aid and water station was waiting for us.

This was afeter the swim.
The LifeProof case for my iPhone proved to worth the $$. People kept looking at us taking pictures and texting our wating party (my mom and my 5 year old daughter). There was a lot of trail running on this one and I didn't have a problem with this. 2 miles later we see another water station.. hmmm. okay.. We got to a water park in the resort and long behold.... "The 25' Cliff Jump".. There was a staff member stopping everyone asking "Do you know how to swim?" if you said no, you were sent automatically to do 50 burpees. Several of them said YES and after seeing the jump said.. "F*# No" and off to do 50 burpees.  
We got to the "Sandbags" and "Tire Flip",, Wait, a water station? WTH? I have been carrying this thing for nothing and we haven't even taken a sip.. Right after finishing the challenge, I told my dad that my arms and shoulders were getting tired.. but I wasn't sure if there would be more water stations further up. I told him that I was now a bit worried about the rope climb. He asked to help, but he had been complaining about his knees on the hills so I wasn't going to ask him to help me with it. After doing the tire flip, we headed back uphill.. a 2 mile long hill. Again, right when you thought you reached the top TADA! Holly Mountain Goats Batman.. it was like a scene from the movie Cliffhanger. The hill was a mix of nets and rocks some twice my hight, steep and not easy to tackle. Somewhere across the world a freaking Mnt Goat was laughing at me takle this thing.

At the top the "Tractor Pull" and "Hercules Pull" were waiting for you. I took my time with the tractor pull and handled the Hercules challenge pretty good. My Dad and I were talking about how we didnt get that many walls on this race and it seemed like we were not going to see my dad's nemesis (The Monkey Bars). We had not finish with that sentence when the "Monkeybars" popped up. I had to take my pack off and my dad went first. He namaged to make it.. I went up and started pretty good but somehow I picked up speed and by the time I got to the end I missed the step and literally kept going and went flying.. Landed on my ass but made it through the challenge. Right after that "9' Walls" and a challenge I was never expecting.. "Tyrolean Traverse" this one didn't want you to cross over, but reach the bell at the center and then drop to the pond.  My arms were tired and I got as close as one more stretch and my arms could not go any further and the weight from the pack betrayed me as well. I dropped like a sack of potatoes. Got my burpees done and kept on going.

After completing the "Vertical Cargo Net", we saw the kids race course and we knew we were home. We still had the spear trow, traverse wall, the rope climb and the PAIN IN THE ASS mud crawl.. I took my pack off and gave it to my mom who was waiting for us at the "Spear Trow". My arms were not in the game at this point and my spear didn't even come close to scratching the target. My dad failed too. We got our burpees done and headed to the "Traverse Wall". My dad went first.. I was waiting for him to finish so I could catch some rest. He failed this one too. I got on the wall and kept moving.. My legs and arms were shaking and I was having a hard time holding on. I took my time but I made it. By the time I was done with it, my dad was done with his burpees. Next, the "Rope Climb".


You could tell I didn't want to do the rope. I had been telling my dad miles before that I was going to fail this one. So he went on first. I stood still looking at this thing for at least a minute, contemplating the idea of going straight for the burpees. Finally I figure, what the hell, lets give it a shot. Got on, kept going and as I got to the top my arms could not pull me any more. I was within one more stretch from reaching the bell, but my arms could not go any further. It was "try to ring the bell and drop at least 12' to the mud or gracefully try to come down and do the burpees". I began my descend and right before I reached the floor I slipped and went down hard. After that, I looked like a new born pony trying to walk. My legs could not carry me, but I got my burpees done. My dad was long gone at this point and I got stuck in the "Barbed Wire Mud Crawl" due to some people stopping to sit and talk to each other.. "I mean, Come on dude, I have places to go, why don't you call hubby here and give him tips on how to do the crawl later?"

I crossed the finish line 4 min behind my dad but still made it in really good time and place. The challenge now is to beat that time next year. Now that I know I don't have to carry that stupid water pack. Overall, we both had an amazing time doing this and knowing that you pushed yourself to the limit to cross that finish line where others gave up, gives you such a great feeling that no one can take away from you. Yes, I will do this one again next year. :-)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Spartan Sprint, New England 2012

This race does not compare to the Spartan Sprint of Toxedo, NY. New England kicked ass. !!! Aroo, Aroo.

Now with that said. My dad signed us up for this race as and made a bet, "Whoever has the slowest time, pays for Lunch. Whatever the winner wants, no restrictions". Well I had lobster for lunch after the race.. :-)

It is a 5 1/2hr drive from The Bronx, NY up to Amesbury, MA. We turned this into a 4:15hr drive on Saturday night. We stayed in a hotel in NH, 10 min away from the parking lot used for the race.. We arrived around 10is and crashed in bed.. My daughter who came with us slept with me on the 2nd bed.. for some reason,  my daughter decided to take a trip on the bed that night and traveled the entire bed.. It was 2:30am and I was still awake trying to get her to stay still but it was just impossible. Woke up at 5am since our race was at 8am.. we had to be at the race site 1hr before the race, so we had a small b-fast at 6am and headed out. 

As soon as we got on the bus that was going to take us to the race site back in MA, the heavens opened up and it began to pour. Everyones face in that bus changed from excited to "WTH? face" the race has mud and water obstacles, did we really need more mud? 10-15 min later, the rain stopped but it did wonders to the course. So every one is back to excited and hyped about the race 'till we arrive at the site and we see the "mountain" I mean, this was no hill, the freaking race site greets every one with an over 225ft hill/mountain.. My dad asked me; "is the race taking place all the way up there?" I said "HA, I think that is part of the race, look at the dividers".. he looked worried.

We got to the number listing boards and to our surprise our wave had been moved to 9am, this was  to make room for the competitive wave" This worked better,, gave us time to walk around, take some pictures, let our breakfast settle and check out some of the merchandise. Well, in our little tour we confirmed that indeed the monster hill is part of the race.. not only do you go through it round trip with a 40lb sand bag, but you go through it 5 freaking times (2 coming down, and 3 going up)... "Guess where the race starts?" yup, you got it.. you start your race running up a "225ft hill"

Every one, and I mean every one started running up the hill, and every one ended up walking at least half of it.. "Try running a steep muddy hill".. As you get to the top, you find yourself immediately wet and muddy. "Five water pits" chest high are waiting for you. Nope you cannot ease your way in, you have to jump in or its 30 burpees. Those are followed by the "under, over & through it" walls. This race had a lot more trail running than the one in Toxedo, NY.

I made several attempts to run the trail, but I twisted my ankle a few times so I opted to walk most of the trail to avoid injury, it was way too muddy... I have 2 more Spartan Races this coming Sept and didn't want to take any chances. I failed the "Log Hop".. "AGAIN". My dad caught up to me while I was doing my 30 burpees. He failed too. The trail took us through a crazy "Mud Trap".. I mean, I went in with shoes, and came out with boots.. I had mud up to my knees. All that mud was washed out in a Pound that not only was deep, but had vines.. People were tripping and getting tangled in them. There was no way you could stay dry for more than 10 minutes.. right after the pound Hello, hello, here comes the "Monkey Bars".

You come out of the water, drenched. The bars are wet and muddy. I made the mistake of trying to dry my hands with sand. This made it worse, I couldn't get it off. My shorts and shirt were soaked and there was no way to dry my hands. My dad caught up to me again at the bars and he tried going first trying to beat me.. Sadly he fell off trying to reach the 2nd bar. I managed to pass the bars but not without a struggle. I almost fell a few times but managed to stay and cleared them. This was mile 1.

I didn't get to see my dad until we reached the Hercules Pull. He was jogging, I was mainly walking the trails. I was just finishing the obstacle when he showed up. I did not see him after this until we reached the sandbag. Before getting there, you go up a "Steep Hill" after clearing the Hercules Pull. People were literally sitting at the edge because it was so steep and people were tired. Some people were crawling. I went up helping myself with branches. Once you get to the top you see the rope climb on a distance. There were "2 more Water Pits" where you had to climb and then ease your way down.

Traverse Wall
You would think the rope was next.. HAHA there was another mile trail run and after the trail you found yourself at the top of that 225ft hill you ran at the start. you had to go up a "Cargo Net", then run down the hill to do the "Traverse Wall". My body was tired and this one was not easy but managed to complete it. As soon as you cleared the wall you are to pick up that 40lb "Sand Bag", go up that hill as fast as you can while carrying that bag and come back down without falling your ass.. Drop the bag back where you picked it up and head back up the hill to the next obstacle.

Well, to my surprise there was more trail running after that hill, go figure. Finally got to the "Rope Climb". The rope was over a water pit that was as dee as my chin with me tiptoeing. I cleared the rope with no problem. This was followed by "9' Walls". I managed to cleared the first one by running and jumping. I tried to do the same thing on the second one and couldn't. Two guys way taller than me were having issues trying to climb it. One of them was whining and saying that he couldn't. They asked if I could help give them a boost, so I did thinking that they will come around and boost me up too. Nope, both jerks took off and left me there. I wasted at least 3 minutes trying to get over the wall untill finally some one helped me. The guy who helped me was right next to me on the wall so off we went.

Next was the "Spear Trow".. I failed this at Toxedo and was my 2nd and final set of burpees for that race. I walked to the challenge knowing I was going to fail and ready to do 30 burpees. I took the spear, got in position and threw it. HOLY SHIT, I hit the target.. not only did I hit the target but it stuck.. You can hit the target but it the spear does not stick, you failed the obstacle. My spear was the 3rd one of the non-competitive waves.. I was so excited and there wasn't a single camera on sight to capture it..

 Next was the "Tractor Pull" which wasn't a big deal.. This was followed by more "Water Pits", the "Truck Tire Flip" and the long ass "Barbed Wire Mud Crawl". This one was much better, there was actual mud on this one unlike Toxedo that was pure rocks. Well, at least for the first half of it. The second half had a crap load of rocks. I was coming out of the crawl when I saw my dad about to start his.. I knew it was going to take him a while to finish this one.. Once you get out of this one you are sort of home free to the finish line. Well, first you need to do the "Fire Jump". The fire was big and high and the smoke from it made it hard to tell how far or close you were from the fire before jumping.  I swear my ass felt on fire because I jumped so closed to it.  After clearing this out you gotta rush down the initial hill and climb the "Slippery Wall" so that you can then fight your way through two "Gladiators" that won't hesitate to beat the shit out of you before you cross the line.

I proudly picked up my medal after finishing in 1:15hr. Over an 1hr and 15 min less than the one in Toxedo. My dad came in 5 minutes later.. May not seem like a lot but in a race a tenth of a second will cost you the championship... just ask the Olympians :-).. Nevertheless he did a mazing at his age. Got to clean up and headed out for lunch.. Lobster Rolls baby.. Went to the beach for a bit and then headed straight back to NYC.

This race was amazing and challenging, a nice warm up for The Super Spartan in NJ on Sept 9th. Definitely looking forward to those two..  

Monday, May 7, 2012

2012 Long Island 1/2 Marathon

IMG_1432I have to start by saying that I went to this race terrified. For the past 2 weeks, my left knee and calf had been showing sings of discomfort. Things really looked bad the day before the race when I was forced to take Advil twice and iced the knee at least 3 times throughout the day. I have no one but myself to blame for that. I decided to test the legs and see where I was in terms of Speed on my last two long runs, but I couldn’t just withdraw.

The day and weather could not be any better. Joyce and I got there with plenty of time and took our time walking to the start line. We placed ourselves at the 8 min/mile group… “we felt daring”. I brought the IT brace with me, I didn’t want to leave anything to chance, and as the hr got closer so did the fear of injury. The plan was to start off at a slow pace and sort of test the knee and increase the speed if I felt ok. The gun went off and in the middle of fireworks, we took off. Joyce and I wished each other good luck and we lost each other in the crowd.

I started slow and gradually increased the speed on the first mile.. next thing I know I reached mile 3 and my pace was in the low 8’s. This was a big boost of confidence. So the plan changed… now it was all about taking advantage of every flat and downhill stretch. I’ve always fix my eyes on a faster runner and follow right behind, this time I was some one’s pacer for a change. I notice 2 guys following me from mile 4.. If I went right, they did too… if I went left, they went left.. so I had a little fun with it.. Sadly I left them behind after mile 9.

I used two water stops to stretch the legs. Mile 5 and mile 11. Took advantage of every single flat stretch.. Took my time without compromising speed on the hills.”I have to say that having 2 mile hills on my routine runs made a BIG difference on this race.. I didn’t have a problem with the hills this time.”  But I think I should’ve slow down a bit more on the hills.. by mile 10 my left calf started to feel as if it was getting a cramp.. so I had to slow down for a bit. By the time I was on my way to mile 13 I had very little left and I was starting to slow down. I had pushed hard to keep the fastest pace for that distance I have even done.. This forced me to take 3 quick walks.. I counted 1,2,3,4,5 and resumed running on each one.. I began to sprint when I saw 12.75 miles on my Garmin.. I was going so fast evading other runners that the announcer at the finish line calling out names called out mine adding “people, move to the left because this one is coming in fast” while laughing. The Garmin has me at 1:46:14 with a pace of 8:02. The official time has me at 1:46:15 with a pace of 8:10.. eh. I’m still happy, that’s an 8 minute Improvement over last year’s

At the finish line, I picked up my medal, took my picture and while waitingIMG_1535 for Joyce, I wanted to take a pic of myself with my iPhone to post.. and I couldn’t get a good angle.. A guy noticed and said; “would you like me to take a picture of you? you look like you are about to twist like a pretzel trying to take that picture”. Once Joyce finished, we got our goodie bags, and went to get a cold beer.. I don’t like beer, but I was hungry and dehydrated.. so that beer felt so good. I had an amazing time at the race.. we met my parents and Jocelyn at the diner for brunch and then went for a walk to Glen Island. The knee is holding up but the legs are very sore. Trust me.. I take soreness over an IT injury any day..

‘Till next year Long Island.. Looking forward to yet another PR…

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Desperate need for $$ or a Legit Case???

When I heard this news I was shocked. A NYC mother is suing an expensive preschool because after 3 weeks of classes it jeopardized the kid's chances of getting into an elite private school or, one day, the Ivy League. WOW!!

The law suit claims that all the kid learned were colors and shapes?.. The mother claims that her kid is very smart.. if you ask me, she did not get it from the mother. Maybe, just maybe the kid was not as smart as she claims and they had to take the kid back to basics? who knows, but She paid $19,000 based on the schools rep and she didn't bother to check out a few classes before making a large payment like that?
According to the news the kid only attended 3 weeks of classes. If you ask me, three weeks is a bit to rushed to determine how the rest of the school year will be like.

Sounds to me like my $6,000 a year daycare/Pre-school is giving my 4 year old a rich kid's education, teaching her way more than that fancy school is teaching rich kids in Manhattan. My kid is way passed the colors and shapes. She now knows what basic colors to mix to get other colors, she knows how to count to 75 in English and Spanish without any help. She's now reading and writing in both English and Spanish, and more. Shit my kid knows how to put a computer together, I have the picture to prove it ----------->

... Seems to me like this lady needs my daycare.. LOL

In the mother's defense I have to say that as a parent we all want the best for our kids. If paying outrageous amounts of $$ for your kid's education tells you that you are doing the best for them, then so be it. I know that if I had money like that, I might pay as well... Ok ok. maybe not that much money.. seriously $19,000? Maybe the colors and shapes were "Special" colors and shapes,  lol... I am sorry but that's just crazy...

Comment as you see fit..  :-)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Breakfast with Strangers

We came to Main St, Flushing, Queens. While Joyce was doing her hair, Jocelyn and I went for a mini adventure. While trying to get Jocelyn to decide what to have for breakfast, we went to Tai-pan. A great well known in the area Asian cafe.

The place is always packed, but Jocelyn wanted to eat on a table. We had to wait for a bit, but from all the way at the back I heard a "hey, amigo" lol a table with 3 Asian people, two old ladies and a guy. They called me over and said, "come come please sit here. Lol

The table barely fit 3 trays not to mention 4.. Jocelyn was all shy, but behaved.. All three people were complete strangers to each other, but there they were, eating and sharing a table like they were family.

The guy's name was Jimmy, the oldest lady maybe in her 80s was Lin and she said she like young men..and had the courage to ask me if I was single.. Lmao.. I am a tough cookie to crack, but this lady made me blush...she even said,, "oh, it's ok, don't be shy... I don't bite, I don't even have teeth any more.. See" yes she showed me that she had no teeth... The other lady was I think Kim.. Hope I am spelling them correctly, then again, I always hope I spelled my notes correctly.

To my surprise, all of them spoke Spanish. Lol the oldest lady spoke almost perfectly. They spoke better spanish than English. Lol.. And suddenly we were 5 complete strangers enjoying breakfast and old stories from the old lady.

I said it before and I'll say it again.. I love the Asian culture. Fun fun morning.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:38th Ave,,United States

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Run That Almost Didn't Happen 2.28 mil (23:48 min)

This run almost didn't happen. Towards the end of the day, 3 people decided to show up with wireless problems. Our policy prevents us from doing any work other than network related on personal laptops. This includes OS updates and so on.. Since our network uses Bradford and their machines were out of date, they failed. Of curse they were not going to just let it go and go home to update their machine. Luckily they were only missing one update and I was able to get them running.

As I was closing the work order a 4th person walked in saying "Oh thank God you are still open, I think I have a virus can you fix it?" I said, Sorry, you'll have to leave it or bring it back monday for a scan, to make it short, it was already 5:10 and I was still trying to explain to her that there was no way to know if she really had something without scanning the dam machine, and a scan would not take 5 minutes.. Finally convinced her to leave the dam thing so I could scan it Monday morning.