Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 - A Look Back

2013 will be a year that will be engraved in my mind for the rest of my life. So much happened this past year. It was a year of many highs, many lows and many surprises.

I can say that this journey really started for me back in Dec of 2012, when I first got the news that I was selected as one of the lucky few to get a Boston number through our running club. To say I was excited was an understatement! Years and years of watching runners from the sidelines run in this event, I never dreamed that I, one day would be one of them. It was a childhood dream come true!  For the next couple weeks\months, that's all I talked about!

This about sums it up...LOL

Training for it didn't go as planned. Two weeks into training I started having bad knee issues. I was ready to give up on my dream of running Boston. After doctor visits, some X-rays and some MRIs, it was determined that it was my IT bands causing the problems. I was sent to PT for a couple of weeks and had to take a couple weeks off from running. But I worked hard at my PT program and reorganized my training plan and was back at it again. I wasn't running where I wanted to be, but at least I was running.

Boston came, and Boston went. We all know what happened that day. Personally for me (and my family), it was a day we will never forget. Physically we were all safe, but this day left a permanent mark in our lives. Not all bad though.

"There is always something good that comes out of something bad." - I never understood this saying.


~ Because of this event I have met many people that went through similar experiences that day. I have gotten to know a lot more people from our running club and have become real good friends with many of them. I feel blessed because of this.

Here is a few of us from this past Friday's "Deep Fried Turkey Run"


~ My wife who never ran before, has left the world of the "normies" and has crossed into the dark side. As of last month she is officially a member of the Central Mass Striders! Woot!!! She has raced a handful 5Ks this year and completed her first 10K last month. She has also been taking part of the free weekly hill workouts that our club offers to the members. There are also talks of doing a half soon...I see a great future in running for her!

With friends getting ready for a 5k


~ This year I was more focused on my training and on my diet more so than I have ever been. A month after Boston I ran the Providence Marathon (cause it was free) and then set a high goal of running two fall marathons (#5 and #6). Completed them both and was really happy with their outcome. PR'd by 14min in the first one. Training had paid off tremendously!


~ Apart from being a CMS member, a few of us locally have started a running club of our own. Thanks in part to my friend Joanne. Through Facebook, a few of us got together and planned afternoon runs once or twice a week. Joanne one day told me that the local news paper wanted to do a story on our "running club".

Full article HERE 

With that story, our Facebook running group page (Tri-State Running) went from 8 members to 30 members overnight. At last check we are at about 51 members! The newspaper story was a great idea. So many times I wished of getting together with local runners but never really knew how to reach out to them. At the moment planned runs are usually Tuesday nights and Thursday nights, and now with a few of us in marathon training, we are planning long runs on Saturday mornings. The goal, hopefully, is to get other runners to post when they are running and invite others to join them. CMS is a great running club (the best in all of MA) but it covers all of Central MA, something like 60 towns. With our group, we are just hoping to build a local running community where we get to know each other and get some runs together without having to travel far.


~ All of the sudden I've become an expert. I have become that person that people go to when they have a question about running. Friends, coworkers and even complete strangers have approached me for advice on topics such as "What sneakers to buy?", "what to eat?" to even health questions like, "Why do my knees hurt?" or "why does my foot hurt?.." huh?... On my personal Facebook page I had posted that I had placed my Boston marathon training schedule on my calendar and within minutes I got about 7 messages from other runners (that I consider great runners by the way) asking me what training plan I was following because they were interested. I was flattered.

Expert? Me? Far from it. Everyone that knows me knows that I am passionate about my running and I am more than happy to give back in any way I can. I will always try to help out as much as I can or at least point them in the right direction. I only share what others have taught me.


~ So something good out of something bad - I think I get it now


~ Looking forward ....

2014 will bring on its own adventures, its own challenges, its own obstacles, but I'm ready to face them. What 2013 has taught me is that life throws things at you to get you going in the right direction., to get you where you need to be. At no other time in my life have I felt like I was heading in the right direction. Things seem to be falling into place. Life is good.

So I say to you 2014,... Bring it!! I'm ready....  I'm running right at ya!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Back on the Plan

It's been nice NOT training for anything the past two months. It's been fun just running for the love of it versus for the need of it. These past couple of weeks I have been low key and have only run when I felt like running, how long I felt like running and raced only one race. I even signed up for a half that took place this weekend and then decided not to run it. Mostly for personal reasons, but honestly I just wasn't feeling it.

So what is wrong with me you may ask? Has Jose lost his passion for running? Is the fire from "And so it Burns" burning out?....

..... Far from it my friends, far from it.

I needed to take a step back. A step back from all the craziness of training. A step back from trying to figure out how to get my runs in. It felt like I was juggling back and forth between my normal life and my running life constantly. Sounds crazy, but it's true. I said I would take this break after my last marathon and I did. I have run many times these past couple of week, and they have all been stress free enjoyable runs. Running just because and for nothing else. The break has been good for me physically, which I needed, but most importantly, mentally.

 That being all said..., It's mid December. Approximately 18 weeks from the 2014 Boston Marathon.
My next marathon.

I plan on following the same training plan I did for the last two marathons - Hal Higdon's Marathon Intermediate 2. It's an 18 week program. Which means training starts this week!! It's been a fun, well deserved break, but it's time to get back to the grind.

The only thing different this time around is that I know a about 40-50 other people that are also running Boston this upcoming April. Most through the running club and some through social media.There are already plans on getting together with a handful of them to do long runs with. There is no way that I'll be doing any long runs solo. I have a feeling that this time around training will be more about getting together, getting the runs in, making friends, making memories and having fun. That's what I plan on making it anyways.

I don't plan on breaking any PRs in Boston. I have a feeling that this marathon will be a circus of an event. The media coverage of this race will be something nuts this year. I'm sure the BAA will have something planned to honor the victims of last year's tragedy. It will be an emotional event that's for sure. I want to be able to take it all in, I want to enjoy the moment, I want to run strong and most importantly, I want to finish strong!

I want to fulfill my dream of finally crossing the finish line on Boylston St. I want to finish what I couldn't finish last time. This time I will not be denied.

Let's do this!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

This and That

Been slacking in my blog lately. I'm sure most of you didn't even notice :)  That's OK. Life, like always, gets in the way. And other times, I just don't want to sit in front of a computer after dealing with them all day at work.

Ran a 10k last Sunday with the wife and a couple of friends. 

Adam, Kristen, Sandy, the wife - Michelle and me
Picture courtesy of Adam's wife Monica 

It was my wife's first attempt at a 10k and she kicked its ass! Finishing strong with an hour and four mins! Not once did she stop or walk the course. She battled through it all the way to the finish line! I'm soo proud of her. It wasn't a real tough course, but boy was it cold that morning! 10-15 degrees with a wind chill in the single digits! But she was all ready for it. I was suppose to run "with her" in this race, but my competitive side took over as soon as I got there and she knew it. "You just have to show off don't you?" she says.... I didn't know how well I would do, but surprisingly I came in 3rd in my age group :)


Today I had plans to run a 10 mile race. Entry fee was just 15 canned good that would donated to a local food bank. But on Wednesday I was feeling a bit under the weather. Not sure what was going on. Mid afternoon I went out for a quick run and when I got back I really felt like crap. I was dizzy and nauseous. I took a shower and was couch bound with a fever all night. Thanksgiving day, I felt a bit better but 100%. I did make it out to family dinner we had planned.  Left early to visit my parents and it went down hill from there. I was back home early with a fever, back on the couch. Friday, I thought it was a great idea to go out for a quick run. Just a quick one. As soon as I left the house, I knew that I shouldn't have. I was cold and I was shivering. I turned right around. Back on the couch I went.

Now my family says that I'm just a miserable bastard when I'm sick. That I'm grumpy and not fun to be around with. I have no clue what they are talking about. I can't recall one single grumpy thing I do.

But my daughter put it best - "It's not that your grumpy cause you're sick. It's that you're grumpy cause you can't do your normal routine. Can't move around, can't sleep, can't eat, and worst of all, you can't run!"

She's right. I don't get sick that often. But when I do, my mind does not accepts the fact that I am. I want to continue living life like I'm not. It wasn't til Friday afternoon, when I finally gave in and didn't leave the house 'til Sunday morning. I was done. Needless to say, I also accepted the fact that I wasn't going to run the 10 miler today.

I'm feeling much better today. Maybe not at 100%, but better. Which is good because I need to travel for work tomorrow.


What's next for me? Not sure. The only thing I know I'm sure of is that I need to start training for Boston at the end of this month. It's been nice running without any goals. Running just for running. But I can't wait to start doing long runs with the many friends that are also doing Boston. This training schedule will be one of the best ones ever.


Well, that's it for now.... til next time. Have a great week everyone!