I originally decided to begin a blog that will track my training and corresponding life experiences while preparing for the 2010 – 2011 marathon season. The adventures continued in 2012, with my “12 in ’12 effort”. In 2015, I completed a multi-day endurance event called 500 Miles For SMA, where I ran approximately 23-28 miles a day for 18 days, starting at the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio of San Francisco on August 18th to the front gates of Disneyland on September 4th. The highlight for 2016 was my 11th consecutive New York City Marathon…followed by a low-light of my third failed attempt to finally conquer the NYC 60k.
2017 has been an awesome year, as I completed a few marathons, and I am finishing up with the Marine Corps Marathon, the TCS New York City Marathon (keeping the streak alive), finally finishing that darn New York City 60k, and wrapping things up with the California International Marathon in early December.
2018….well….2018 will be insane. I’ll just leave it at that. My race year will start off in April with the runDisney Half Marathon and then the New Jersey Marathon. May brings my first full Ironman in Santa Rosa as well as the Brooklyn Half Marathon. The summer will be spent preparing for the New York City Triathlon in July, August 19th’s IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant, and September 23rd’s IRONMAN 70.3 Atlantic City. October will include the Chicago Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon. November is a biggie, with the New York City Marathon and that darn NYC 60k. I’m planning to finish up the year in Sacramento, at the California Intentional Marathon
I’m tackling all of these races in order to chase even bigger goals: The Western States, Badwater, the JFK 50 Miler, The Western States Endurance Run, the Leadville 100, Badwater, and my ultimate unicorn: The Ironman World Championship in Kona. It just shows that it’s the journey that counts, and I plan to make this a long, ongoing one.
While this might sound a tad boring to some, I can assure you that I lead a rather full and interesting life. And its contents can be enjoyed by a broad spectrum of people, in my humble opinion:
For all of you avid runners out there that clock in 6-7-8 minute miles, this blog will allow you laugh hysterically as I attempt to train myself to make the leap from ridiculously slow to just plain…..well…..slow. For you see, I really am built for comfort – not speed. I’m 5’11″, and weigh over 200 pounds. I’ve lifted weights since high school, when I played QB for the Fordham Prep Rams. I was introduced to cardio-vascular workout (i.e., running…..yuck) during college, when I rowed for the Iona College Crew. After college….well….life simply got in the way of me actually maintaining my level of physical fitness. That, at least, is the politically correct version of the story. In reality, I fell in love with all things BAD FOR ME. I hit rock botttom and began to dig. Now those life stories aren’t going to be included in this blog; instead, they are the foundation of the novel that I am currently working on. I’ll make sure to let everyone know when it’s going to press. The title is going to be There’s Chicken Parm at the Finish…..and trust me, I was told that more than once on various marathon course (and none of these rumors proved to be true). My efforts, when seen through the eyes of an amateur comedian, can sound quite funny…… So all you speed demons out there, sit back and have some laughs at my expense – because the person I love to make fun of the most…..is….me.
For all of you fellow back-of-the-packers that have trained for / are training for a marathon, I think you’ll especially enjoy this one. Why? Because I have made every dumb distance running mistake in the book, and I’m sure there will be at least one or two that you’ll think to yourself “……huh, I remember doing that exact same thing…”. Knowing that other people make that – as well as many more – mistakes may help you put things in perspective. Being fast is a great goal. It takes a lot of hard work (and Lord knows I hate hard work. I try to avoid it like the plague), and improvement comes with time – so patience is key. Having goals, regardless of how silly or out-of-reach they may sound to others, are the carrots dangling in front of us back-of-the-packers (which I lovingly refer to as turtles) that will allow us to improve over time. My goal – and it might be your’s as well – is to graduate from the rank of turtle to the stature of hare. My friends may look at me when they hear this lofty goal and say “Sure Joe – that sounds great. Want an Oreo?” So this blog will help me stay focused on my goals….and maybe it can help you keep on track as well. So I ask you to follow me as I go through my training, and have a bunch of laughs along the way….maybe it can help keep you motivated as your own training gets tougher as the mileage increases.
For those of you that are thinking about running a marathon for the first time, this will be sound evidence that you CAN do it. Because if I can pull this off, ANYONE can. I am not a natural athlete. I’m not thin and lean. I’m not easily motivated. I lack focus. I don’t eat healthy 100% of the time. I complain A LOT. And…with all of those negative personality traits firmly in place within my pea-sized brain, I’ve managed to complete a pretty decent-sized number of marathons since November 2005. You’ll learn that the body will only carry you to a certain point along the marathon course, and then it hits The Wall. At that moment, the road forces you to look inside yourself and find the courage to keep moving forward. Either that – or quit. Now I may be slow….not in the greatest shape….and I may lack focus….HOWEVER, one thing I hate is failing at achieving a goal. I’ve run smack into The Wall – HARD – ten times. Each time I didn’t let the road get the best of me. And if I can do it….YOU CAN DO IT.
For those of you that simply like to laugh, you’ll have TONS of chuckles, multiple gaffaws, and numerous snickers purely at my expense. And I’m sure I’ll deserve every one of them.
For my friends and relatives, you’ll be able to keep tabs on how I’ve been spending my time outside of my office. And also laugh at my expense. Call me a few names under your breath. I’m sure I deserve it – Lord kows I never pick up the phone any more – I deserve to be bluggeoned over the head with a wet noodle 20 times.
So let the games (and the laughter) begin!
This effort is dedicated to the people closest to me – MY FAMIGLIA.
And a special shout-out to my running teams:
Do Away With SMA: my charity, founded with my friends in January 2014 for the purpose of raising money and awareness to fight Spinal Muscular Atrophy – the number one genetic killer of kids under the age of two in the world.
The Bad Man, Inc.: Brian Johnson is a BEAST, plain and simple. He’s a fantastic running coach who designed the training plan for my 500 Miles for SMA adventure (which he refers to as his “Opus”). As far as coaches go, he’s a great motivator, and one of the reasons why I was able to push through limits that I never thought were possible. Rock on, Bad Man.
The New York Road Runners Team for Kids. Helping over 200,000 New York city school kids fight childhood obesity every single day. Thank you teammates and coaches, for helping me stay motivated. 2016 will mark my 11th New York City Marathon – and 8th with the Team for Kids (simply referred to as ”TFK”)…and if you are ever thinking of running the NYC Marathon for the first time, this team is the WAY TO GO. In 2015, I took a year off from running the marathon with TFK so that I could train for my 500 mile odyssey. I’m back in 2016 and looking forward to working with a fun squad!
The Mickey Milers and the WDW Radio Running Teams: Through their running efforts, these teams raise money to benefit Give Kids the World and the Make a Wish Foundation by running RunDisney events…and a bunch of others as well!!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act….it is a habit.” – Artisotle