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2014 or Bust

November 3, 2013 3 comments

The 2013 ING NYC Marathon came and went. And needless to say, I was jealous. But then again my jealousy began the moment I entered the Marathon Health Expo at the Javitz Center earlier this week.

The NYRR organization welcomes all the participants to the Marathon Health Expo.

The NYRR organization welcomes all the participants to the Marathon Health Expo.

I should have ran in my first marathon today. What would have been three years in the making has to be put on hold until next year. The final chapter in my 100 pound weight loss is to run in the NYC Marathon. Unfortunately, two congenital hip conditions postponed those aspirations. Two years and two hip surgeries later I am healthy and ready to begin my journey.

I have come a long way to just stop and permanently end this dream. Truth be told the NYC Marathon has been my obsession since 2010. And no medical condition or any obstacle will come in my way. I have overcome a lot before undergoing two hip surgeries, so what is one more year…right? Patience is a virtue. And my body is a temple.

At the start of the new year I will begin my training. I am giving myself 10 months to prepare for the race. Through the grace of God and the support of my family and friends, this destiny I will share with them. My glory will be there glory.

I race not to finish first or last. I race because I am happy and able. I do not take one thing for granted.

With that said between now and next years NYC Marathon be prepared for blog entries about my training and some surprise entries.

By the way if you are wondering how I am sure about running in the 2014 NYC Marathon well let me give you a crash course on guaranteed acceptance:

  1. 9+1 — A member of the New York Road Runner’s (NYRR) organization must participate in 9 NYRR qualified events and volunteer in one event in one calendar year.
  2. Joining an NYRR sponsored charity.
  3. Entering the general lottery. Registration for the general application process will take place on December 2, 2013. Winners are generally notified late spring.
  4. Winning one of 44 spots in an NYRR contest. I entered the contest earlier this afternoon. 22 winners will be notified on November 5, 2013. And on November 22, 2013 another 22 winners will be notified.

I immediately crossed item #1 off my list. There is no way I am joining NYRR in 2014. The chances I win either #3 or #4 are slim. I would be surprised if I won either. My best bet is to join a charity. Ideally I would like to join a charity that supports our military.

My off season started after the Rock N Roll 10K last month. But that does not mean I am not working out.

My goal...my motivation. 2014 or Bust!

My goal…my motivation. 2014 or Bust!

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A Personal Best

July 14, 2013 6 comments

More than 30 hours have passed since I participated in the MLB All Star 5K Run. And while I am sore all over, I feel great. After having hip surgery last December, I re-joined the competitive realm of running.

The MLB All Star 5K Run was a treat.

As I made my way to my assigned “heat”, I noticed the stage was filled with baseball greats and representatives from the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Club. Mascots from the baseball world greeted runners with high fives and photo opportunities. Sadly, I did not get the opportunity to get a photo opp with Mr. Met. Oh well there is always Citi Field.

Prior to the horn, a young girl was chosen to sing the National Anthem. The girl had a beautiful voice; however, she was nervous. She stumbled. Despite that she continued. As she continued to be nervous, all of us (runners), joined in the singing. We helped her through it. After she sang, “…And the home of the brave”, we all cheered her on. She did a great job. And that is one moment I will never forget.

Once John Franco blew the horn, we were underway. I crossed the start line and ran with the crowd. Getting out of the gate I felt great. After one mile I ran a surprising 7:55.

With one mile down I felt motivated to keep up the pace. Unfortunately, that was short lived. With humidity rising, my lungs began to tighten. I was short on breath. Nevertheless, I continued. My biggest mistake, similar to any of my previous races, I did too much too soon. I am in a race and not in a sprint. Hopefully, I will eventually pace myself as I train for the NYC Marathon in 2014.

Struggling and wanting to stop, I carried on. What motivated me to go on was the long road I took to get to the present. I did not have two hip surgeries to prematurely end this 5K. Then as I continued I began to observe the crowd. They were there to root for their runner. That motivated me to continue on.

After reaching the final mile I smiled and proceeded to the finish line. Funny when you hear people cheering that makes you want to finish on top. And once again as I saw the finish line up ahead, I gather whatever adrenaline I had left and crossed the finish line. I thanked the heavens for allowing me to not only run but to complete the race.

Unofficially I completed the race with a new personal best of 25:30. I was proud of the results…unofficially. I met up with my father and brother, both of whom have supported me from the very beginning. With sweat running down my face and my shirt drenched in my sweat I high fived both of them. And began to stretch. Now that was the way to celebrate. Stretching has been a key cog since my second surgery.

Later that day, I logged on to the NYRR website and found my official results. I officially finished the race with a time of 25:34. That’s right I set a new personal best. I beat my old personal best by 31 seconds, which was set last September at the Tunnel to Towers event.

Here are the results:

– Out of 4,754 runners, I finished 1,151st.

– Out of 2,434 men, I finished 876th.

– Between the ages of 30 and 34 a total of  500 men completed the race. I finished 207th.

Overall that was not too shabby. Thoughts?

Heading into the event I expected to complete the race between 26 and 28 minutes. To set a new personal best my first race back is a humbling and amazing accomplishment.

I am already looking forward to my next race. Damon Runyon 5K you have been put on notice. Unlike last year, I will complete the race.

For those wondering, I woke up sore from head to toe. But I still managed to get to the gym this morning and do some cardio. Afterwards, I stretched like never before. It was all fun.

Race Season

July 4, 2012 3 comments

I last posted an entry back on June 10. In that time a lot has happened. Let’s see, on July 2, I celebrated my 32nd birthday. I completed my sixth year at my current place of employment. My New Jersey Devils came close to making a historic run in the Stanley Cup Final. I continue to make strides in my health. But right now I am happy to announce that in the time I last submitted a blog I registered for three races.

That’s right. I registered for 2-5K’s and one-10K. Each race will be one month apart beginning in August. I look forward to the challenge. Seven months ago I had arthroscopic hip surgery to correct my abnormal right hip. While I do not have the ideal look that I want, quite frankly, I feel great. I have even lost the post-surgery weight. But as I prepare for my next surgery (December 17), I want to run.

I enjoy the treadmill. But quite frankly I want to competitively run. I have no expectations on winning. I just want to start and cross the finish line in a reasonable time.  By crossing the finish line I will win. It will show me that no one obstacle can stop me. I overcame weight and health issues. Neither of which slowed me down. They may have temporarily prevented me from being active, but I take all adversity head on.

Here I am on the Fourth of July, preparing for three races and preparing myself mentally on the challenges that lie ahead.

With that said I would like to discuss why I am running each race.

On August 12, I am running at Yankee Stadium (yes, this is coming from a Mets fan). While the venue is great, the reason why I am running is why I selected that race. The race: The Runyon 5K: Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium Run/Walk for Cancer Research.

To me this race was a no brainer. Each of us at some time in our live have known someone who was affected by cancer. In 1946, journalist and playwright author, Damon Runyon, passed away from throat cancer. Upon his death media personality and colleague, Walter Winchell, established the Damon Runyon Cancer Memorial Fund in Runyon’s honor. For you NY Yankees fans, the team has a long and storied history with foundation. “Joe DiMaggio was a member of the Board in the 1950’s and Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle were supporters.” Runyon himself began his career as a baseball journalist.

I am running this event to raise money for cancer research. While running the course at Yankee Stadium be a once in a lifetime thrill, I want to run for those that have been affected by cancer. I ask you, my fellow readers, to please donate whatever you can to this charity. Please click here to donate.

After the Damon Runyon race, I will prepare for my second 5K. On Sunday September 30 I will run The Tunnel to Towers 5K. The run will begin at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and conclude at the World Trade Center site. This event was created to honor the life of Stephen Siller who passed away on 9-11-01. On that day, Mr. Siller, an FDNY fire fighter, took 60 pounds of equipment from the tunnel to the World Trade Center after the city closed the tunnel in response to the terrorist attacks. With 60 pounds in tow he ran from the tunnel to site and unfortunately passed away. His act of heroism will never be forgotten.

Last year as I prepared for my first surgery, I remember watching WCBS tv covering the event on a rainy Sunday morning. I vowed to myself to run this event. I never expected to run this event this year. Living in the NY/NJ area, 9/11 affected everyone. In a way we all knew the victims. It hurt us to see the area closed off. It hurt to see families look for their loved ones. It hurt me to see the families hurt.

This year I will do my part to honor those who lost their lives on that day. Most importantly we honor the responders who gave their all to search for victims. The event raises money to support our everyday heroes. Funds raised go to help fire, police, and military heroes. I am honored and privileged to run for this cause. Can you help? Please donate by clicking here.

I would greatly appreciate all the support and donations. Remember I am not doing this for me. I am doing this for cancer research and our everyday heroes. God bless them all.

My last race will take place on Saturday October 13. This event will be held in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY. On that day I will run called the Rock N Roll : New York 10K. I am looking forward to the event. Autumn will hit the air. Cooler temps will probably mean a better running time. I would like to run the course a few times before the event. Have I run 6+ miles before? Well of course. I ran the loop around Central Park twice, with the most recent coming yesterday. Yesterday I ran the 6+ mile loop in 58 minutes and 6 seconds. I will talk more about this race in later entries.

For now I am focused on training for the 2-5K races. But most importantly I want to raise enough money for the charities. Please help.

Thank you for your time. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

Jorge

 

The Week That Was

As another week has come to an end I must share with you the insights to my life, in particular health.

Heading into Monday, I ran on an emotional high as I ran the equivalent of a 5K in 28+ minutes. If you were to tell me if that would be my best for a while I would have been content. But as I soon would find out 28 minutes was just the beginning.

The next day (Sunday) I met up with Mitch for my weekly personal training session. On this day we were doing two things. The very first item on the agenda were measurements. He took down the measurements, unfortunately, I do not have the measurements in front of me. But rest assured I will hound them from Mitch and dedicate the results in a future entry. After the measurements, we focused on a lower body workout. Compared to an upper body workout my lower body is my strongest area.

Mitch had me working with the leg press, lunges and squats. I broke into a sweat during each workout and set. The most challenging workout that day were lunges. Why are lunges challenging? Well there is a form and technique to lunges. Plus it’s also a matter of balancing. Unfortunately one of my biggest weaknesses in staying fit is maintaining a good core system. Lunges are challenging but they can also be fun. When I have my core at a strong level they will be fun.

As for the week itself, well I had my six months consultation with Dr. Bryan Kelly on Tuesday. After meeting with Dr. Kelly he was once again impressed and surprised at my recovery. His amazement came in the form of what I did over the weekend. Running the equivalent to a 5K six months after hip surgery is not common. Let me rephrase that, considering the amount of inflammation in my labrum, running in six months seemed to be out of the question. But without tooting my own horn, and I am not, I defied those odds. And as I have written in previous entries, I thank Dr. Kelly, Jeremy, his assistant, and of course my physical therapist, Jeremy Crow and Amanda Wohl for their time and support in getting me back into shape.

That was the good news, the bad news, we discussed the options of my left hip. Dr. Kelly mentioned some numbers and jargon at both Jeremy’s and while I had no idea what they were saying, I knew it was not good. And to my dismay his comments confirmed my concerns but at the same time they were not too bad. He did say surgery is inevitable, the inflammation in my left hip may not be in bad condition. To me that sounds like a plus.

But with all that said, I scheduled the surgery. On December 17, I am going under the knife. Quite frankly I am not concerned nor afraid. I have been there and done that. For the interim I plan on dealing with the discomfort of having an abnormal femoral head. At some point this summer I will request the hip injection. The injection will buy me time as I would like to run at least two 5K races.

Despite the news I left his office with my head high and with a smile. I am feeling great and healthy.

On Wednesday I debated as to whether visiting the gym or going for an impromptu run in Central Park. Okay in hindsight I do not think the run would have been an impromptu. The day before I read on twitter through the New York Road Runners official page June sixth would be “National Running Day”. In a way I had motivation to partake in national running day.

By the end of the day I decided to go for a run instead of going to the gym. I changed into my workout clothes and left the office for my very first run along Central Park Drive. I was excited and elated all in one. In a way I was about to fulfill an item off my “bucket list”.

As I arrived to the stretch of road on East 59th Street, I had no expectations. To top that since I decided to run at the last minute I forgot my Garmin watch. I decided to use the timer on my pedometer to time my journey. I figured the run would end quickly since I have never completed a task of that nature. I hit the button on my pedometer, the clock was ticking, and I was now off.

The difference between Central Park and the track is the elevation. Running through Central Park Drive I realized there a number uphill peaks. As I ran uphill I realized I needed to pace myself and slow down a bit. It took me some time to adjust and continue  through my run. Halfway through I did not feel exhausted. But I was concerned about my time. My pedometer was fastened on my shorts – I had no intention on stopping or slowing down to check my time.

Running along unfamiliar areas in Central Park allowed me to take in the sights. Tourists taking pictures. Runners running in opposite directions. Skaters and cyclists trying to beat one another. But then I started to take in the sights of the park itself. I discovered some new areas. I found a wooded area with a pond. The minute I saw that I told myself to visit the area and photograph the serene setting.

I then entered areas I was familiar with. I ran across the NYC Marathon finish line, albeit the opposite way. I imagined how I would react to completing the marathon. Yes that sounded cheesy but my biggest dream is to complete the marathon. It will happen but until then running in Central Park will be my inspiration.

I was nearing my end. All of a sudden a shot of adrenaline kicked in. As I approached the finish line I had to fight back my emotions. The time soon became irrelevant. I was overcome with joy and emotion. I overcame weight issues by 2009. In 2011 I had hip surgery. Six months later I ran Central Park Drive.

I crossed the finish line. As I slowed down and made a complete stop, I stopped the pedometer. In 57 minutes and 16 seconds I ran the course of Central Park Drive. At that point I had no idea the distance. In due time I would calculate the mileage, at that time I wanted to enjoy the moment.

After stretching I walked back to the office. As I walked back I held my head high. Smiling from ear to ear, I knew nothing nor anyone could take what I had accomplished away from me.

I arrived at the office. Instead of quickly gathering my belongings I turned my computer on. I logged on to mapmyrun.com to track my run. After calculating the distance it turns out I ran the equivalent of a 10K (6.23 miles). I was in awe. The completion of the run was great but seeing the distance was the icing on the cake.

6.23 miles anyone?

Now that I have that out of the way, I am exhausted. But quite frankly I am still elated days after the run. I cannot wait to do it again. Wanna join?

Have a great one folks.

 

Four Ways To Run in the NYC Marathon

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment

As a runner (novice or experienced) how does one gain a guaranteed spot in the biggest marathon of them all? Simple. The New York Road Runners (NYRR) have designated a few options for runners from all over the world to select. While some of the options may or may not be to one’s liking they do offer choices.

To gain a guaranteed spot one would have to do the following:

  • Join the NYRR’s club the year before the race. Thousands get denied due to limited space. Joining the NYRR’s is fairly inexpensive ($40/year). Upon joining he/she will need to participate in 9+1 NYRR’s sponsored races. What does “9+1” mean? To automatically receive a guaranteed spot in the race one has to run in “nine NYRR scored-qualifying race”, which needs to be completed within the calendar year. And the “1” refers to participating as a volunteer at events affiliated with the NYRR’s. By completing the “9+1”, the requirements will be fulfilled, thus guaranteeing a spot in the 2012 marathon.  **Deadline for the 2012 marathon expired on January 31st 2011.
  • If the “9+1” does not fit one’s needs then he/she could take a gamble by applying for the NYC Marathon lottery.  According to the ING NYC Marathon website, applicants for the 2010 marathon grew 25% from the previous year. That number is expected to increase as the lottery for 2011 marathon inches closer. To apply for the lottery applications must be submitted by April 19th, 2011. Mind you this race will attract not only people residing in the NY/NJ area but from the US and around the World. Chances are low but no harm in trying.
  • So the first two options did not meet one’s approval. Okay. Why not raise money? Yes indeed. The NYRR’s have partnered up with selected charities. These charities have limited space but once the runner is a member he/she will need to raise a specific amount of money. Each financial goal varies by the charity. Some of the charity partners that participated in past marathons have included:  The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Boomer Esiason and the American Cancer Society.
  • For experienced runners who ran the NYC Marathon on multiple occasions: a guaranteed spot is gained by: (a) running and completing in 15 marathons, (b) or by completing the NYC Marathon or Half Marathon at a specified designated time (designated by the NYRR’s).

Not including the fourth option, if I had to select from the top three, I will select option 3. Obviously, I have made it known in the past. But running for a cause will add on added motivation to start and finish the race. Yes-the charity receives the money regardless if I finish or not, but I will race for a cause.