Thinking Out Loud Mile After Mile

Over the last month I’ve begun training to run The 2013 LA Marathon. This will be my second marathon, I ran it for the first time in March with a strained muscle that forced me to walk the last seven miles. I didn’t strain the muscle during the race, I started the race with it and just kept going. I was unable to run after mile 19 but I had gone too far to give up; I wrote about it at the time here.  This year I want to run the whole thing and hopefully finish in under 5 hours.

The actual race details don’t really matter. The main thing that I learned from running it the first time is that for me a marathon isn’t about the race, it’s about building up to run the race. It’s about going out 4 days a week and running until I can run farther than I ever thought possible when I was a kid in physical therapy learning to simply walk. I have come so far from being a kid in physical therapy, and a kid who needed surgery to help me walk properly that I forget that kid ever existed.

A few days ago I found myself ready to quit halfway through a Spartan Race. I finished (so did my wife who wrote about it) but I was disappointed that I didn’t finish stronger. I know I should be happy that I finished but I wanted to do better. This morning I got back on the road for the first time since the Spartan Race and slowly made my way across several miles until I felt better. It’s not that I want to run away from my younger self, I just want to know that I’m still going forward.

As long as I’m going forward I feel as if I am building towards something that once felt impossible.

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The Other Important Thing About Election Day

As you already know it is Election Day here in the US.; if you can vote, I hope that you have. I’m not here to say anything about politics. I’ve already had my say and cast my ballot. Like the rest of America I am now awaiting the results. Instead of adding to the political noise I’d like to share something that is important to me.

You may not know this, but my wife Nina and I met for the very first time on Election Day in 2006. I was a different person then but thankfully she was the same wonderful person than that she is today. I was in the process of rebuilding a broken life when we met but I must have done something right because we obviously saw each other again.

Here are four facts about that first meeting:

1. It was a planned meeting and I gave myself an hour to drive 6 miles to meet her. I did not want to get caught in any Election Day traffic jams.

2. Because Election Day traffic is not a thing I was very early, a fact that made me very self conscious, so…in a moment of questionable thinking I decided to hide in the bathroom until after scheduled meeting time. This means I made a fashionably late dramatic appearance…from the bathroom. Nothing says this guys a keeper quite like “I was just hanging out in the bathroom for 20 minutes.”

3. We had fun but she made it 100% clear that we were not on a date. I knew this and was fine with this fact.

4. We got engaged 53 days later.

This morning we celebrated our first meeting by going on a voting date.

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A Commentary on Selected Lyrics to the Ghostbusters Theme

If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call?

*Can you be more specific, why would you assume that the something strange in your neighborhood is a ghost?  There’s a lot of strange things in my neighborhood, should I be tying up phone lines?

If it’s somethin’ weird an’ it don’t look good
Who ya gonna call?

*What if it’s just a rash? I bet the Ghostbusters got a lot of calls that turned out to be infected spider bites.

If you’re seein’ things runnin’ through your head
Who can you call?

*Conversely you could also call a mental health professional. Ascribing visions to spirits is medieval thinking.

An invisible man sleepin’ in your bed
Oh who ya gonna call?

*Again, not a ghost, it’s right there in the lyrics that it’s a sleepy invisible man. Alanis Morrisette has taken a lot of heat for the fact that nothing in the song “Ironic” is in fact ironic but everybody except Huey Lewis (look it up) has given Ray Parker Jr. a pass for the last 3 decades despite the fact that there has been no signs of ghosts in this song.

If you’re all alone, pick up the phone
And call

*Again this seems like bad advice from Ray first it’s wasting valuable ghostbusting resources and second you’re better off doing other things if you need to meet people.

Mmm, if you’ve had a dose
Of a freaky ghost baby
You better call

*Okay finally we have an actual ghost or at least a small portion of a ghost. This is a start.

When he comes through your door
Unless you just a want some more
I think you better call

*And now where off track again. This describes a home invasion and assault. Call the police. DO NOT CALL GHOSTBUSTERS!

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The Things I Leave Behind

Someone offered me an ice cream in a cup, the kind that comes with the little wooden spoon. First this reminded me of my father and the time he beat up the ice cream man. Then I realized that it’s been nearly three years since he passed away.

It’s weird to say that I’m over someone’s death because it feels too much like being over someone’s life. I’m over my ex girlfriend, I’m over the Mets collapsing in 2007 and 2008 but I’m not over one of my parents being gone. Instead of saying I’m over it, I say I’ve gotten past it. It’s still there in the past, I just look back less frequently now.

Every now and then some unexpected pops up, like today when an ice cream cup reminds me that just before my father’s death he called me. Our conversation was cut short but before he hung up he said: “I need to tell you something, but I’ll call you later.” The follow up call never happened. I realize now that he was going to tell me that he wasn’t well but sometimes I imagine that he was trying to tell me about a treasure map or a secret pile of magical pornography (this is more likely).

One of my most useless skills is the ability to remember every phone number that I had growing up as well as the phone numbers for family members and local businesses near my hometown. Occasionally I will pick up the phone to make an business call and instead I will impulsively dial one of these numbers. Today I dialed my father’s number and when it rang I hung up so that I didn’t have to hear an unfamiliar voice on the other end. I’m past it, but not over it.


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Me, Doing Stuff On The Radio

So remember a few weeks ago when i said i was going to be blogging regularly again? I meant that but out in the world events conspired against me, in a positive way. Basically my side project A Year of Billy Joel blew up, in a good way, and it’s been taking up all of my spare time.

Last night I was on WGN Radio discussing that project and you can listen to what I had to say here.

Thanks to host Bill Leff, his producer Dan and WGN for having me on. More to come here soon.

P.S. – My wife has something to say about what happened after the show.

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Well This Is Cool

My ongoing project A Year of Billy Joel is on NBC

The good people at NBC have also reached out Billy’s PR people to ask if he’s be willing to talk to me about what I’ve been doing.

Fingers crossed.


Filed under General Tomfoolery

5 Days

For the last five days I’ve been on my own. Nina has been in Chicago leaving Daisy and I home alone to fend for ourselves.

Since late last week, without any help, I’ve managed to eat like a grown up, follow my normal workout schedule and more importantly not fall into terrible depression when left alone. Basically I’ve been getting work done and spending quality time with my dog.

For those of you who have known me for a while this is a nice change of pace compared to the way I used to fall apart when left alone. This feels like a nice, like I’ve accidentally stumbled into not feeling or acting like a dope.  I’m not sure exactly how this happened but I’ve been trying to enjoy it.


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