Saturday, May 25, 2013

I'm not a runner

I'm not....I'm a guy that happens to run.

I don't know how many times I have repeated that statement.
I guess we all have our own visions or expectations of what statements like that mean.
What does it mean to be "A Runner", "A Baker", "A Doctor" ?

They each how there own set of criterium.  Does one have to classically be trained to be a Chef?  I don't think so.  Does one have to be educated and trained to be a Doctor?  I sure hope so.  So how does one become a runner??

As kids we are all runners.  I don't know one child that does run to some degree.  So are all kids runners or are all adults former runners or is there a runner inside of each of us.  All we have to do is increase the number of strides we take as compared to walking and there you have it....we are running.

As a younger man and child, I was not a fan of running.  I did it. I did it often.  But I did it because it was required of the sport I was playing at the time.  It would be tough to play baseball if after I hit the ball I walked to first base.  Not quite sure I ever saw a rugby player walk down the pitch with the ball in hand as 15 opponents ran after him /her to make a hit.  I certainly would not have been a good defender in Football if I walked after the running back to tackle them.  So running was required.  Did that make me a runner?

I used to have to wear special plates in my shoes otherwise my feet and legs would ache.  I recall my podiatrist telling me....."You'll never be a runner" as I sat there with needles in my feet.  Then about 3 years ago while at the Expo of the NYC Marathon, I was like....."Wow, this is out of control.  I want to experience this."  People of all walks of life joining together to do one common event.  Run and run together.  They were short and tall, black and white, slender and portly, old and young.  They each had their own story and tale of what it took for them to get to the starting line and why.  Fascinating

I was soo proud of my ex fiancee as she crossed the finish line just at 3 hours and she was a little bummed she didn't break it as she was expecting.   Huh???  Phenominal, I thought to myself.  Afterwards we promised each other that we would do marathons all over the country and world together as a way to travel and see and experience it all.  I joked that she could cross the line, go get a few beers and some food and then come back to the finish line and have it all ready for me by the time I reached the tape.  It wasn't about time for me.  It was about the experience.

Well, Jen and I never got to travel the world together but that didn't stop me from wanting to be a part of this universal thing called running.  One day I woke up one morning in late October and thought...."Why not?" Although she is no longer in my life, why can't I have that feeling of being part of something that less than 1% of the population ever does.   I signed up for Arizona Full Marathon 10 weeks later in January.  I had no clue what I was getting myself into or where this path would lead me.

Since that Arizona race 2.5 years later  I have completed 3 marathons, 8 1/2 marathons and a few 10ks thrown in there. I have special shoes I wear when running on the road compared to trails.  I use a specific watch to take note of my pace and distance and download all of this information.  I have created music playlists of certain lengths depending on how long my race or training run is going to be. I have a ton of skin lube laying around and "running" shorts and socks that have an L or R sewn on them so I know which foot it was made for to get the best feel and comfort and prevention of blisters. I've got these little octagon shaped donut pad called Nip Guards that I wear for any run over 8 miles otherwise "ouch".  I have spent hours mapping out trails and where would be the next ideal place to get 8 or 10 or 16 mies in.  I travel with my running shoes, socks, shorts, visor, sunglasses, ipod, tech shirt no matter where I go.   So does that make me a runner?  Most of my friends and people I have this discussion with seem to think so.  2.5 years out of 46 of doing something organized makes me a runner??

The other day, I was talking with my coach and we were discussing work outs and upcoming schedule.  This weekend I am supposed to run the Bolder Boulder 10 K and next weekend I am to run in San Diego.  Originally the full and it was requested that I run the 1/2 instead.  Too much time to recover from a full and it'll take away from my Ironman training.  I was/am a little dissapointed with that.  I then brought up the fact that I am used to running 25 to 35 miles a week or about 125 miles a month and I noticed in May I have only logged about 35 miles thus far and the month is over in 8 days.  I was feeling down about that.  Eric then turned to me and said...."Marty, you are not a runner, you are a triathlete."  So there you have it........I am not a runner.  Just a guy who runs. 

But a triathlete???????  Nah, I'm just a guy who swims, bikes and runs.

Monday, May 20, 2013

It's a Girl !!!!!!!!

Life is whacky...........
...........Just one year later

Weird to believe that just a year ago I was experiencing a life as a potential expecting father. The 1% club that my mother, sister and I used to say we belong to in case that female who was claiming to be carrying my child was actually telling the truth.  For that 1% we held true.  For that 1% she was actually pregnant and carrying my life inside of her.  With all of our doubts and all of the lies she told us and everyone else that would give her the time of day, we held true.  True for that 1% of there being an addition to "our family".  No words ring stronger or carry more weight in my life that that of my family.

I was blessed to go back to NY this past weekend and take part in the innaguration of my Dad as the New York State President of the Elks Association.  I was honored to be asked to second the nomination on the convention floor and I was blessed to spend a few days with my family.

It was my grandmother "Nanny" who I believe installed that sense of cherishing each moment of life.  I recall as a young child her telling me that one day she would not be around and that I should cherish each and every moment that I had with her.  I like to think I have learned that lesson of life well and although time flies and things get in the way and at times I seem to have forgotten that lesson, I like to think it is a centering point for me and I always come back.

Last entry, I addressed the WHY?? a little bit.  The why of how I live my life, the why of doing an Ironman when I have never even entered a triathlon before.  To me it is all about cherishing each moment of life.  Of putting myself in the position of experiencing something new.  Of seeing life from a different angle.  It is something that I have become.  It is who I am.  It is life.

 My family, my religion and my philosophies have also taught to feel compassion and to have forgiveness in my heart.  So I look at my scenario of a year ago with humor, laughter, compassion and forgiveness.  I forgive the sick individual who lives a life of lies, deceit and cruelty of what they attempted to do to me and my family/friends.  I have compassion for her for I could not even imagine what would bring someone to the brink of what she has done and how she lives her life and that I have spent many hours praying for someone to be able to help her and mend her distorted mind and soul.  I like to think I have sense of humor, although a bit odd at times, by almost a year later introducing a new Baby Girl "Bella Nera" into the world.  My beautiful Cannondale Slice 5 was brought home just last week.  I was as giddy as a school girl going to pick her up.  Seriously, I was laughing out loud and at myself for the feeling I had inside, the anticipation, the excitement.  I was a 5 year old on Christmas morning.

As family, I was taught you always look out for one another.  I know in my heart she will take good care of me and protect me on my rides.  Long or short, uphill or down, I will spend a huge amount of time with her over the course of the next few months as I prepare for Cozumel.  I expect many a funny stories to be made while atop of her saddle.  I welcome and am overjoyed to have Bella Nera in my life.

sempre famiglia

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Why ???

Since I have taken on this journey of signing up for an Ironman I have been asked a ton of questions but none as simple as "Why?" Each time I think about answering with a quote from George Mallory with "Because it is there."  But I refrain.  I typically respond with an equally simple question....."why not?"

Seriously, why not??

The list of responses I get in return is's crazy, I'm too old, I'm out of shape, I don't have the time, what is the fun of killing yourself, I don't know how to swim, it costs to much, i'm not inspired to do such a thing....on and on and on. 

Too old?????  What about  Lew Hollander who did his 20th consecutive Ironman World Championship when he was 80, you are never too old!

Need inspiration?? Check out Team Hoyt’s story, which inspired me when I first decided to run  my first marathon 2.5 years ago. Team Hoyt is a true story about a father who races with his physically and mentally disabled son who cannot walk or talk. Together, they have raced in over 1000 races, more than 65 marathons, and competed in six Ironman Triathlon, including the world championship in Hawaii. Their YouTube video can be found here:

Lessons learned as a child...I remember hearing that with hard work, discipline, willpower, courage, and being optimistic, you can achieve almost anything!

My simple story began with the question...What next?  I joined the running community and began road running 2.5 years ago at the age of 43.  That was 3 marathons and about 8 ~ 1/2 marathons ago.  I run, visit beautiful communites, constantly am inspired by people around me.  I still struggle with the idea that people call me a runner.  I am not.  I am a guy that runs.  There is a difference in my mind.  But what next?????  If one was to look in my garage they would see a litany of what nexts in my life.  Climbing Ropes and harnesses, Paddle & Snowboards, Mountain Bikes, Golf Clubs, Softball Bats, Volley Ball Nets, Rugby Balls, Kayaks, Backpacks & Tents...get the picture.  But Why??

I guess for the same reason why I don't have a TV hooked up.  We all were given an incredible opportunity.  I choose not to sit in front of that box.   I choose to live this life that I have been given.  

So what's next????  I was thinking an ultra marathon.  Heck what's a 50 to 100 mile run??  I've done 5 to 7 day races so what's 100 miles??  I was also thinking after my recent trip to Aspen for Ruggerfest.  What a beautiful drive and what a scenic view Independance Pass has.  How cool would it be to bike passes this summer?  Ultra marathons?  Ride Passes?? What's next?  Well, my recent knee woes helped to answer that question.  Should I continue to pound and pound doing the same activity on my knee or run 26.2 miles.  That of which I have done before but I can add that bike element and hell, throw in the swimming.  And there you have it, an Ironman.  Yeah I'll do some sprints, Olympic Distances and perhaps a half but all as training runs for the Full 140.6 miles in Cozumel in December.

This journey has already offered me a ton of laughs, smiles and comradery.  I hope to share many of them with you in this Ironman Chapter of my life.

You ask why???  Look at my cool new tri bike could I not??

What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.”
― George Mallory

Monday, May 6, 2013


Here I go.......I've been toying with the idea of creating a blog of what I think is my own whacky wonderful blessed life and as I gave great thought to signing up for an Ironman, I thought what a better way to celebrate my journey with family and friends than this blog.  That was a few weeks ago but I couldn't start the blog until I had a title for this adventure.  I was inspired to name this blog after something my physical therapist mentioned to me when trying to convice me to do a half marathon rather than the full.  I had just gotten done doing Dallas 1/2 and was feeling real good about myself.  It was the best I have felt running in a while.  When I asked Heather her opinion on the distance and training for Nashville just 4 weeks later she suggested I do the half there as well.  Not something I wanted to hear.  She asked me when was the last time I had felt good with running and my injuries.  The answer was just over a year.  I dealt with hamstring and hip and knees troubles.  She went on to say that I just completed a chapter or two in my getting back to healthy running and it was up to me to write the next chapter or start all over.  I heeded her advice against my own stubburn wishes and had a real nice training 1/2 in Nashville.  After viewing my results Heather contacted me and let me know I can now begin Chapter 3.  So here I am.......writing Chapters.