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Sunday, December 28, 2014

What I've been up to....




Man... it's been a while hasn't it? My last post was back in September after my friends and I completed Spartan Beast. ... So what I have been up to? Where have I been?


It's been a busy couple months for me. My work schedule has been a little crazy as of late. Been traveling a lot more than I would like. So getting runs in have been interesting. I haven't been at 100% with my running either. Aches and pains have gotten the best of me. But I managed to train and whip out a marathon in Kansas City at the end of October. I ran the full as my wife ran the half.

This was an eventful race. Loved Kansas City!!


I rested up the month of November. My legs were telling me it was time to sit on the bench for a while. I was expecting to get a time waived entry to Boston through Central Mass Striders by Mid December (Which I got!!) ,... so the rest was needed before I started for that training. I'm still not 100% so I have been very careful about my pace and my mileage lately. I'm working my back slowly.


In my "downtime", I have been putting time and energy into our local running group, Tri-State Running (I have been doing a little blogging for the group). I posted about this group before. As one of the founding members of this group, I have been busy helping organize runs, meeting people and promoting this club. We still hold our weekly Tuesday night pub runs, we have had Halloween Runs, Thanksgiving Potluck Runs, a running clinic (with Rick Muhr) and we recently had a Ugly Sweater run... what an awesome time that was!!!

This will be an annual tradition guaranteed!! 


This once little group is not so little any more. The local towns have noticed us and they know who we are. Other running groups have come down to run with us to see what we are about. I've been told that we have sparked some interest and raised a few eyebrows in the local running community. It's been a lot of work, but soo worth it!

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2014 has been a good year for me. Two full marathon and three halfs were completed along with many other races and PRs. The running group has been a blessing. I have met a lot of people and made many friends. I can't wait to see what 2015 will bring!!

In the meantime, I'll try to update this blog while I train for Boston. I would like to blog once a week if possible.... 


Do you Instagram?? Follow me... my Instagram is all about running and has become more of my status update than any other social media venue. 


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Thought I would share a video that I made for Tri-State Running



enjoy!!
 til next time!!!







Monday, September 22, 2014

Conquering the Beast

This past weekend I made the three hour drive to Killington, Vt. to take on the Beast. The Spartan Beast! Now before this weekend I had only done one Spartan race ever. I really had no desire ever do one again. But back in January over a few beers with some friends, I apparently agreed to sign up as part of their team for this race. Yay for beer muscles!!
My friends Kristen & Jim


In a blink of an eye, September was here and there I was at the staring up at the Beast,
You cant see it, but there is more up in them clouds!!

then taking off at the starting line with a smile on my face.
*A nervous smile 

The biggest challenge of this race was the mountain itself. You went up and up and up and up. And when you were tired and thought you were done, you went up and up some more. Not sure how true this is, but someone mentioned we went up about 4000ft in elevation. If we didn't, it sure felt like it!!

The first few obstacles were the traditional Spartan obstacles., wall climbs, barbwire crawls, bucket carry,.. the fun stuff. But the one that took me off guard was the swim obstacle. You swam out to a bridge and then went up a rope ladder then swung across some ropes up the bridge, then you jumped off and swam across. Here is a video from last year that I found on YouTube to get the idea. Anyone that knows me, knows that I have a fear of swimming. But for some reason, I figured I would conquer this fear by proving I can do this. My friend Kristen decided on the burpees instead of the swim. Smart move on her part cause 30 seconds in my swim I new it was mistake. The water was 50 degrees and my arms were tired by the time I got to the ladder. I climbed the ladder but was only able to swing across two of the ropes. My arms were jelly! And I still had about 30 ft to swim to get to the end!!! At that time race officials were yelling at everyone to get out of the water. There was a CODE RED. Someone was missing and they were sending in the dive team. At that point another swimmer must have notice me struggling and asked if I needed help. Thank god! I don't know if they ever found the person that was missing.

After this event there was more mountain climbing but I was freezing this time around. If it was 70 degrees at the base of the mountain, it was 40 degrees at the top. I was miserable for a while just from being cold and wet.

I ran this race mostly with my friend Kristen. This race was important to her because it would  complete her trifecta of Spartan races. She is the real Spartan. I was just the dummy that singed up for it one drunk night :)  .... I wasn't doing it for me or for time. I was doing it to help her and to just do it.
The cool part about the race is that our spouses got to walk around parts of the course to meet us. Nothing like hearing their cheer and seeing their faces to brighten up our day. Plus they had food!! Killington offered free gondola rides for the spectators so they even met us at one of the bases at the top of the mountain.

Long story short (or just to cut it short)... 15 miles - 8hrs and 20mins after starting off with a smile, I crossed the finish line, wet, muddy, bloody and achy, but with an even bigger smile! Never have I wanted a race to be over like I wanted this to be over! I was ready for some beers and some food!! This is THE toughest thing I have ever done to date!!!

Tri-State Running members - runners and supporters!!

Thank goodness for our spouses for being there. Having them there made crossing that finish line that much sweeter! Couldn't have done it without their support.

I'm just glad that we got it done before the sun set. There was still people on the mountain when it got dark out!
Oh hell no!!! It was tough when it was light out. Can't even imagine it in the dark!!

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Final thoughts:

It was tough race. Like I said, THE hardest thing I've done to date! But I'm glad I got it done. I'm glad I didn't get hurt. I'm glad I didn't die. Besides the scary swim and some tough obstacles, I had fun chatting with my friend Kristen and with other runners. I use the term "runners" loosely. There was not a lot of people running this course. I know it's tough to actually run during some parts of the race, but there were plenty of sections that you could have. I ran when I could and I could have ran more than what I did. But I kept reminding myself that I wasn't doing it for time, I wasn't doing it for me. It was frustrating at times as my competitive nature kicked in and I wanted to just take off, but I didn't. I promised I would stick with my friend Kristen and that was what I did.

Would I do it again. I dont think so. I really don't care for these types of races. They are well organized and are very popular, but honestly, I enjoy running a lot more. I think I would rather do a marathon every weekend than to do this race again.


The medal they gave was sweet!! A lot bigger than their normal medals.

But then they also gave me this:
A third of the trifecta medals.
.......only a matter of time before my OCD kicks in.


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Next up:

20 miler this upcoming weekend
Harwich Cranberry Half the weekend after
KC Marathon is less than a month away!!


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Til next time!!













Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's been a while!!

Hi there... It's been a while. So this is what's been going on since the last time I blogged.

Still training for Kansas City Marathon. I'm coming up on week 14 of my 18 week training plan for this marathon. This up coming week is suppose to be a cut back week with a long run of only 12 miles. Unfortunately for me this weekend I am doing Spartan Beast in Killington, Vermont.


 A cut back in mileage, but not really a cut back work out. I'm honestly nervous about this event. I'm hoping to just finish it without getting injured and stay healthy for the marathon.


In the past few weeks, I have raced a few 10Ks, 5 milers and one 5k. PR'ing in each one of those races by a couple minutes from previous races. My favorite race being the Level Renner 10k which hosted top runners from all the local clubs in the area. There were some fast people at this event. I ended up 42nd over all with a PR of a couple minutes.


Scott Mason Photography snapped a wicked cool pic of me at that race:
This guy does an amazing job with his pictures!!



Two days later I ran Running with the Wolves 10k, with double the amount of people racing and I ended up 13th over all with a time of 43min. No PR, but right there with the last one. And a fun time with friends!

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What else?

Our running club (Tri-State Running) has exploded in members lately. Last count on Facebook, we have over 215 members. At our last Pub Run, we had Newton Running pay us a visit and let us try some of there shoes for our run.

That night we had over 50 runners running the streets of Webster, Ma!! The most ever!! 


I am overwhelmed at how many people showed up. What started out as just two people looking for company on a run has turned out to be much, much more.  Even the President of the Central Mass Striders, the states largest running club (which I am a member of), also showed up that night. 

I think we are starting to make a mark of the local running community ;)
We have huge plans coming up for this club!!


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Next up?

My next race, after Spartan Beast, is the Harwich Cranberry Harvest Half, on Oct 5th. I'll be tapering then, so it will be just an run versus a race for me. This is the last half of  the Cape Cod trilogy halfs that earns us a jacket for doing all three. So in reality, I'm just doing it for the jacket. The first one was the Hyannis half. The second was the John Kelly Half which was also my wife's first half.

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Looking forward to going to Kansas City. I'm more excited about visiting some friends than the actual race. It will be a good time no matter what the outcome of the race.


til next update!!!

:)











Sunday, August 3, 2014

It's Official - I Have Signed up for a Fall Marathon

After much thought,.. After much soul searching, I have finally decided that I'm doing a fall marathon and I have chosen which one I'm doing. If you follow me on my personal Facebook, or follow me on Instagram, you already know. I plan on running the Kansas City Marathon.

I will be running the full while my wife will run the half.

Why Kansas City? I wanted to do something different. I wanted a destination marathon. Plus, we've been meaning to visit some friends out in Kansas (about 25 miles away from the race), but never have been able to put something together. I figured this way we can finally get our butts out there and at the same time, we can spend some time with them. This marathon being on Saturday makes it perfect! We can go out there a few days before, Spend time with our friends, race Saturday, and then have the rest of the weekend to hang out with them.

I'm hoping for a great memorable weekend! 

I have yet to lay out my training plan, but I have been following friends plans that are running fall marathons. So I'm on the right track. As I type this, KS Marathon is 75 days away. I say bring it!!

KS or bust!! Follow me as I train for this marathon! Woot, woot!!! And yes... Marathon beard is already in progress!



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Have a great week!!










Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My New Plan

The other day I went out to lunch with my friend Sandy. We went to one my favorite places, Bill's Pizza, located at the start of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton.
Stock photo

Sandy is a 3 time marathoner, a Half Ironman finisher and has numerous other race finishes under her belt. In other words, she is one hardcore lady. But most importantly, she is my good friend.

Over lunch we were discussing races and running (what else). We discussed upcoming races including her 4th marathon, Chicago. Which she is running for TEAM PAWS by the way (donations are welcomed). I admitted to her that I want to do a fall marathon. I know I said I wouldn't do one. But as fall marathon training is picking up, I'm starting to feel left out. I still plan on running with those who are training, just was going to avoid anything over ten miles if possible.Which she then said I'm suffering from FOMOOM (fear of missing out on Marathon) or something like that ... LOL. It's funny, but not funny because it's true.

I feel lost without a goal. Without something to shoot for. Someone suggested to me I just do a couple of halfs. That's all good and dandy, but I feel like I can do a half any weekend, you know?.... It's not challenging enough.

Ok.... not that brilliant....


So I have come up with an idea. I have a couple marathons in mind that I would like to do. One, not all :) . My plan is to run with those who are doing a marathon. I will train with them. I want to feel it out. I want to see how my body, my feet hold of on some long runs before I actually decide on doing one. Not sure when I'll decide, but I guess I'll know when I know. Once I decide, then that will determine which one of the few I have in mind I'll do.

That way, ONE -  I'll have a goal to shoot for. TWO -  if I dont decide to do one, then at least I know that I gave it a try. I'll feel better trying than not. If anything, most of these marathons have a half option. I can always switch and still race if I need to.

So that's it. That's my plan. We'll see how it works out. Keeping those fingers crossed!


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Dont forget you can still vote for me to get on the cover of Runner's World Magazine:
Click HERE to vote! (you can vote everyday! wink, wink,..)
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Have a great week everyone!



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tri-State Running

I'm soo behind in my blogs... :(

Last Saturday, we debut our running club shirts at the Running with the Beavers trail race!

Some of us did the 5 miler, most of us did the 10 miler.

Tri-State Running for those that dont know, is a running club that was started by myself and my friend Joanna as a way to get local runners together. Through Facebook, it started out with 10 runners and has exploded to over 170 runners in less than 6 months. And growing!!

We had ordered our shirts a while ago, and they just happen to be ready the day before this race so we picked them up and distributed them the morning of this race. Since our inception back in October of 2013, this is the first time that we raced as a group at a race. The shirts just happen to be a plus! On July 12th 2014 Tri-State Running became official in the running world! We came in 3rd place as a group in this race!!

I am so proud of being part of Tri-State Running. It's a local running club that we started when there was none in of the surrounding towns. Not only has it benefited me, but others as well. No longer will runners from our community need to run alone. Through our FB page they can find other runners to run with or share training plans with. It's free to join and we plan to keep it that way.

I see a bright future for this club. We have many plans in the works. Stay tuned as we share our Journey with you!

If you happened to be from our local area (MA, CT or RI), please join us for our weekly Pub Run. It's a laid back easy 5k or 5 miler. The choice is yours. Its not a race and we leave no one behind. Then join us after for some socializing and some drinks afterwards. More info on our FB page.

Find us on Facebook!!


Hope to see you local runners at our runs!!





Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Runner's World Cover Contest

So I submitted an entry to get on the cover of Runner's World Magazine. How exciting would this be!!!??

I know there way more qualified people and way better stories out there than mine. But hey, what do I have to lose? How great would it be to end an already awesome year with my ugly mug on this cover for the world to see ... LOL


Please get your clicking fingers ready and vote for me!!!

photo by "Photos by Suzette"


*****Click on this Link to vote!!****





Friday, July 4, 2014

4th Of July Race




Today I, along with many from our running club, ran the Leonide J. Lemire 4.9 Road Race. The nations 2nd oldest road race (Boston being #1). It's the 3rd year I have run this race. Its the first time that it wasn't in the 90's hot and humid. It was probably in the upper 70's at race start, a bit humid but manageable.

I haven't "raced" a race in since before Boston. It was actually the 15k Boston Tuneup race early April the last time I did. I came into this race today with the mindset to have fun with my friends and have a good time. As any runner would, I quickly got into race mode right before the race. My right calf was feeling tight all morning, but that wasn't stopping me. I was sizing up the competition and planning my move.

Race started at 9am on the dot and I was off!!! I ran well the first 2 miles, all under 7min miles, but come mile 3, I was done. I had to walk at the infamous West St hill. Everyone that has done this race knows the West St hill. And if you do not know, you quickly get schooled on it. Its a tough 1/2 mile hill that does just about everyone in. I started questioning my training the past couple weeks on this hill. I really need to get healthy and really start training well before my next road race. I was really upset with myself at this point. I honestly believe this is the first time I really struggled at a race to the point where I was like "WTF is wrong with me?!" My body was not up to this race today. I knew it coming into it, but yet, I still went for it.

I honestly could not wait for this race to get done. I started out way to fast and died out towards the end. At the end I was so happy I was done.

I was hurting!!!

I came in 20th over all and 4th in my age group. Not bad honestly. But I still feel I could have done soo much better. I honestly saw 2nd in my age group doable. It just slipped away at West St.


After all was said and done, and I look back at it now... it wasn't a bad race. Yes, I could have done better. Yes, training could have been better. But I did not do bad at all. I'm my worst critic. I think most of us as runners are. Thats how we get better or faster. We challenge ourselves. That is the lesson I took home with me today. I need to get healthier so I can get better. Healthier being the key word. I need to get healthier first.

The best thing about this race is the raffle they have afterwards. The big joke is that you can walk away with toilet paper or laundry detergent at the end of the race. They raffle off just about anything you can think of that was donated to the race.

Many from our group won prizes from the raffle. 
I got a Webber Seasoning kit. Aw yeah!!

Overall, I was not happy with my time or performance of this race, but I'll take it for what it is. I know I'm not at 100%. My body is just not with it right now. But I gave it my all. Nothing more that I could do. I had a great time with my friends and that was originally my goal.

So it was a win, win...


Until next time... hopefully a better race.

- Jose





Thursday, June 26, 2014

Remember Me?

Oh, Hi there! Remember me?



Man I have been slacking in the blogging dept! It feels like life has been moving at 100mph lately and I haven't really had the time to sit down and catch my breath. So I'm taking a deep breath now and exhaling slowly....

So what's new with me?
Pic from my Instagram account

Still running but taking easy lately. I'm honestly still not 100% since Boston. Still have the case of the achy feets (foots?). Some days I'm fine and some days I can barely run 2 miles. The pain is not enough to keep me from running, but enough for me to be cautious about how much I run and how fast I run. Frustrating, but Its been working for me. Not pulling the doctor card yet. My insurance sucks and the deductible is outrageous. So that will be a last resort. Sad that the cost of outweighs the thought of seeing a doctor. But that's the price we pay for having a job and paying taxes and having bills. It's the way it is...

Anyways... I have some races lined up. 
- July 4th - a 4.9 mile race that has some great raffle prizes afterwards. Everything from toilet paper to toolboxes. Almost everyone gets something. Makes for some great laughs.
- July 12th -RTB 10 Mile trail race. The last time I did a trail race (2yrs ago) was a 10 miler also and I did horrible. Hoping to do better this time.
- August 13th - Running with the Wolves 10k. I've done this one the past 3 years and is one of my favorites. This year though, I will be driving back from Florida on the 12th (18+ hours) to arrive on the 13th and head straight to the race. This will be interesting!.
- August 17th - Falmouth Road Race. This a 7 mile race that is a huge event. I think mostly because its a lottery to get in. And a lot of big name elites run it. I signed up for and did not realize I got in til a friend told me I did. I had to check my bank account to confirm that I got billed.
- September 6th - Canal Diggers 5k. This a great race with free food and drinks afterwards. Its a great time! Plus this race is my current 5k PR (19:59)- If healthy enough, I'm looking to PR again this time!
- September 20th - Spartan Beast in Vermont - I'm gonna die

For now that's it. I'm sure a few more will be added. What I'm not doing this fall is a full marathon. As much as my mind (and ego) wants to do one, my body is telling me otherwise. I'll skip the fall and get healthy as I have plans to hopefully run Boston again in 2015. - Yes, Boston once again!

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So that's it for now. I'm hoping to blog again soon and more frequently.

Have a great week everyone!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Wife's First Half Marathon


The Johnny Kelly Half Marathon - My wife's first Half Marathon!!



She had been talking about doing a half for quite some time but hesitated signing up for one. Back in February while I was signing myself up for this race, I went ahead and signed her up too. The sh*t got real for her real quick!! LOL

It was funny watching her the night before getting her stuff ready. It was like watching her pack to go camping or for a trip :)  She was ready!! I think years of watching me prep for my races, she picked up a thing or two. Not only was she ready to go to the race, she was ready to run it. She had been training hard with a couple of  ladies from our group. Mileage wise, she had run more miles than me since Boston. I'm still beat up and haven't really been training for this half. So my plan was to just stick with her and run beside her.


At the start as the Star Spangled Banner played
8:15 start and we were off!!! 


A friend of mine told me that when he would run with his wife, he would run just a tad behind her so that she wouldn't feel the need to try to run at his pace. He would let her set the pace. So I did just the same. Stayed just a couple steps behind her holding her water bottle and snacks. I let her do her thing! She would let me know when she needed a drink when she would turn around to look for me.

I would be lying if I said that the masses of people passing me wasn't driving me mad. In my mind, I was like "no, no, no, no.... OH no! Not that guy too!!"  :(  ... LOL. I just put on my headphones and zoned it all out. My longest run since Boston had been only 5 miles. And not feeling at 100%,  it would be stupid of me to really push it. Plus this wasn't about me. 

Over all, my wife did great. The first couples miles she was moving right along. At mile 3.5 there was a random 1 mile marker on the side of the road and she gave me a look like WTF?! I giggled a bit, but convinced her that it was wrong. It wasn't til about the halfway point when she started to struggle a bit. I told her not to worry about to just walk it off. She did good picking it right up.

I tried to make her laugh at one point by pointing out that Mickey Mouse was ahead of us in the race:
Not sure if it helped her, but I laughed at it for a couple of miles.... LOL


As we got closer the end, I was running beside her. A couple of times holding her hand and helping her get past that mental part that wants to make you quit. I think she got her second wind that last half mile as the crowd was cheering her on. I felt her pace get faster as we approached the finish line. Her goal time was 2:30 and she ended up crossing the finish line at 2:28!! 



A PR no matter how you look at it!!!! Woot!!


She did awesome and I'm soo proud of her! She ran this race strong and did not give up! She was hurting after the race and could barely walk, but as a true runner was already saying she can't wait for the next one!! Yay!


A couple of our Tri-State Running team mates also ran this half
*My wife is already taking a nap... LOL


This race was perfect for her first half. It was mostly flat and the weather was mid 50's for most of the race. The course ran by some beautiful beaches and the wind from the ocean was refreshing. We couldn't ask for a better day!

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That's it for now. I haven't been blogging much lately. Life has just been happening, you know? A lot I want to say, but not enough time. But I'll still keep at it - stay tuned!



Monday, May 12, 2014

So What's Next?

Ok... so Boston 2014 is behind us. 


The beard crossed the finish line. 
The beard is now gone...
Having some fun while shaving :)

Though I miss the beard. I'm glad that it's gone. Way too much maintenance for me. One of the reasons I shave my head is because I like to get up and go. Ain't nobody got time for that!

So what now? Not sure. Been taking the time to rest my body. I have had achy feet for most of Boston training. Never really complained about it because there was NOTHING that was going to stop me from crossing that finish line! So I have been resting. I have done a couple runs here and there, but nothing crazy. Maybe a total of 15-20 miles in the past 3 weeks.

Races coming up? I signed up for the Johnny Kelly Half Marathon. It's actually my wife's fist half. Since I really haven't trained for it, my plans is stick with her to the finish. I am so excited for her! She's been training hard for this and will do great! Can't wait to see her cross the finish line!

I haven't signed up for any other races in the near future. I'm sure once I start feeling back to 100% that will change. Just don't want to think about it right now. I honestly don't even want to think about a fall marathon right now either. My heart was set on the NYC marathon, but then I didn't get selected in the lottery. I have no strong desire to do any other (right now).
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But....
Sometime back in February, after a few beers with some friends, I apparently agreed to and signed up for a Spartan Race in September. But not just any Spartan race like the one I did last year - a 5k sprint. 


Oh no... that's not manly enough to do. Especially after a few beers. I signed up for the Spartan Beast! A 12+ mile Obstacle Race from Hell in the hills of Killington Vermont (according to their website).  

Yay.... I'm gonna die.... 

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So that's it from the "And So it Burns" headquarters. I haven't been posting much lately and I have pretty much given up on posting on the And So it Burns Facebook page. Not that anyone has missed it. I just dont know how other people have time to post all the time on their Blog Facebook page. I dont even have time to post on my personal page. Eh... my posts will come in spurts. I believe in quality, not quantity :)

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Have a great week everyone!!





Friday, April 25, 2014

My Boston Marathon


video
The Beard has made it to Boston!!!!!!
 Short version - Finish time - 4:01:13. Not my fastest, but by far my most memorable race!


Five days later and I'm still on cloud nine about Boston. Nothing can change this for me. It will be a while before I come down :)
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What a fun filled marathon weekend it was! Started on Friday at Hopkinton with the family for dinner and pictures at the start line.
Notice we are wearing the official "Beard to Boston" T-shirts
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Saturday was the Expo at the Hynes Convention Center. 
My good friends Melissa, Sandy & Kristen


Are you taking the picture???
~My wife was our photographer for the day~

Not only did we experience the whole expo, we also worked it. We took on the second shift bib distribution. From 1pm to 7pm. It has to be the best job at the expo! We met so many people from around the world picking up their bib for Monday's race. It was awesome.
The wife and I  

Saturday was a LOOONG day.... 
~Sunday we rested. ~
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Monday,...  My wave didn't start 'til 11:25 that day but we had to in Worcester to take the bus to Hopkinton at 5:45. Because of the new BAA security measures, the bus needed to be at Hopkinton between 6:30 & 7:15.  It was going to be a long wait but we made the best of it. Here we are playing "horse shoes" with some running shoes and some bottles of water:
Yeah, we were red necking it..

Security was tighter than last year as you can imagine. You couldn't go anywhere in Athletes Village without your bib. Since running clubs were allowed to bring bags on our buses, every time we would walk from our bus to the village we would have to walk through a security check point. They would make sure our bib were visible, we would have to empty out our pockets, take off our hats and then we would have to "spread 'em" as they waved us down with hand held metal detectors.... felt like I was at an airport. Will this be standard from now on? Who knows. It was a pain in the ass, but at least it made us feel safe.

As it got closer to the start of the race, they would announce bib color and corral numbers to start heading down to the start line. Reds at 10am, Whites at 10:25, Blues at 11am and then us, the Yellow bibs at 11:25. When it was time for us to head to the start the streets were jammed packed. It was tough to get through the crowd of runners. By the time I got to the start, my wave had already started. Yikes!! No time to even think, just GO!! Saw my sister in law and her family at the start so I paused for a sec to let them take pictures:
Blew them a kiss to say "thanks for being there"

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I'm not going to go into every mile of the race. I honestly can't remember every single mile. It all went by so fast. All I know is that it was a very emotional race. At times my heart was in my throat and I had to calm myself down because it felt like I was hyperventilating. Temperature was about 65-68 degrees by mid race. A little to warm for my liking, since we had trained in such a cold winter. By mile 22 I was hot and could not drink enough water to satisfy the dryness in my mouth. But pushed through it.

The most memorable mile for me was the last mile. I remember passing the "1 Mile to Go" sign and at this point I was spent. The sun was beating me down and my feet were killing me. I remember thinking, "God please get me through this last mile". Then from the roaring of the crowd I thought I heard a chanting "Jose! Jose!, Jose! Jose!"..... I heard it, but it wasn't registering in my head. Huh? is that my name I hear? I looked to my left and there was my friend Chuck with like 15 other people cheering me on. Totally unexpected!! What perfect timing that was! That gave me that extra push I needed. Like minute later I see my wife, daughter and a group of friends on the same side yelling for me. I ran across and gave my wife a kiss and my friends a high five and continued on.

As I approach, Hereford St. emotions took over. I turned left on Boylston and and I see it once again. Memories of getting stopped right at that spot came rushing back. At that moment there was no one else there. Just me and the finish line. Nothing or no one between us and I was coming for it. As I approached it, it hit me that I should record this. I pulled out my phone pointed the camera towards me. That was the video posted above. I didn't know what to say so I just winged it. You can tell by my voice that I almost lost it for a second. Right before I crossed, I turned my camera around and took a quick snap shot. I made it!

Steps away from completing a life long dream!!!!

After crossing I saw my sister, her husband and my father not to far from the finish line. They took this picture of me after getting my medal. I was not expecting to see them there.


I had to walk three blocks to meet up with my wife and daughter at the commons. We just sat on the grass for about 30mins. I didn't want to go anywhere. I was where I wanted to be, right there with them.
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This blog does not do justice to the fun filled weekend this was. There was so much emotion, so many pictures, so many memories, so much more to this weekend that could never fit on this one page. I could write a book about this weekend and still leave stuff out. 

What's important to me is that it's finally done. Mission accomplished. I feel like I can finally put this past year behind me and move on.  

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I want to say a quick thanks to everyone that supported me this past year, through training and through the race itself. Many of you have reach out to me personally and said many kinds words to me. I can't express how deep this support hit me and how much it meant to me. I was overwhelmed. 

Thank you to Level Renner. Being part of Level Legion was an awesome experience. I met so many people because of their Boston Marathon articles of me. I felt like a celebrity at times! Ha!  It was truly awesome of them to choose me as one of the six runners for this project. And thank you for the singlet. It was perfect for marathon day!

Most importantly, a big "THANK YOU" to my wife. She sacrificed a lot to make sure I got my training in this winter. Many times after long runs she would be there at the end waiting with snacks and waters for me and the other runners. She made finishing a long run that more special and worthwhile. Everybody loved her. I'm lucky to have her by my side. 

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Til my next adventure!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Images from Boston - A Year Later

Living in the Boston area all you heard and read about the past couple of months is about the survivors, the volunteers, the runners, the bombings, the suspects.... it's been the Boston Marathon every day since the last Boston Marathon. There is no way to avoid it. The media has been all over this story. It's almost been the norm around here. I have been slowly getting used to the whole thing.

But now, with the anniversary of the bombings quickly approaching, the news reports about it have been way to much for me.  Memories from that day are starting to surface at times have been overwhelming. We are all familiar with the images from that day; Jeff Bauman being wheeled away with Carlos Arredondo by his side; the older runner, Bill Iffrig, collapsed when the bombs went off; and the pictures of the three precious lives that were lost that day - Krystle Campbell, Martin William Richard, Lingzi Lu..... God bless them all...

But to me, NO images touch me more than these few I'm about to post for the first time here on my blog:

My two older kids with their friends at the finish line

My youngest sitting patiently waiting for me

My beautiful wife

My parents; 
the first race they've ever come to see run (my nickname is Pete in case you're wondering)

All of them waiting waiting for me to fulfill a life long dream of crossing the Boston Marathon Finish line. All of them there to support  me.... All of them, thanks to the grace of god, safe and sound after the bombings. No one was physically hurt, but all suffered life long effects of sights and sounds witnessed that day.

When I took this picture of the runners stopped before the Mass Ave bridge

I turned around to see this:

This image will forever be in my mind as the moment my heart was broken. My daughter, my wife, my mom & dad in the back ground, my sister in law and my son.... Guilt struck me like a ton of bricks. I remember crying so much after this. I felt like I was to blame for all of this. It was all my fault. It was my fault this all happened to them......
.... as I write this, even a year later, it still makes me feel the same way. I have wiped away plenty of tears tonight. The pictures and emotions have really hit me in a way I knew they would. I'm not surprised. To this day, I still feel guilt for the things that happened that day. I know, I'm not to blame. But I can't help to feel this way.

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With the anniversary of the bombings just around the corner, I felt like like I had to get this out of the way. My blog has always been a great place for my crazy thoughts and this is no different. I needed to get this out there because this is how I felt.

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Only thing left to do now is to cross the finish line. That day will be here soon enough and we can all finally put it behind us and move on.

Counting down the days til Boston.