|October 27, 2002: Marine Corp Marathon
Another fantastic Team In Training event running the 27th Annual
Marine Corp Marathon. After months of training and a couple of
other completed marathons in 2002 (London, Vermont City, San Diego, 20
miles of Hartford), I was in our nation's capital with more than
14,000 other runners from all over the world. The New York
City Team In Training group of sixty or so were a mix of first time
marathoners hoping to finish and seasoned veterans trying to set a
Click for Enlarged Picture
The 26 mile, 385 yard, USATF certified course was relatively flat,
winding through Arlington, Georgetown and the District of Columbia. It
passed many of the area's tourist attractions, including the Capitol, Union
Station, the Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR Memorials, the Pentagon a couple
of times, the
Smithsonian Museums and the Kennedy Center. It was truly a beautiful course
that has been aptly nicknamed the "Marathon of the Monuments"
because of all of the sites you get to see.
||For some silly reason, I thought it would be fun to
run the marathon in a costume - and what better super hero to be
than the Man of Steel himself -- "Superman". The
marathon was a few days before Halloween so I figured if
running in a heavy, clunky costume turned out to be a bad idea, I
could always use it for trick-or-treating. After a couple of
alterations which included cutting of the legs, I was suited up and
ready to "fly" through the race.
It was a hot costume but the cheers from the spectators made it
worth the discomfort. it was great to see a mom or dad lean
over to their toddler and say, "Look! There's
Superman". During part of the race when I was slowing
down a bit people would cheer out encouragement and say I should
just fly to the finish. I complained someone must have slipped
Kryponite into my shorts.
The suit became a bit hot - and a bit
wet - so I discarded the cape around mile 15. I wanted to take
off the rest of the costume but I was warned it was going to get
colder in the afternoon (which it did) so I should keep it on.
Good decision because it did get chilly and I was glad for the extra
warmth. The costume didn't rub or chaff which was a
concern. And the crowd loved it - who then provided me a lot
of support through the latter parts.
One of the great things about running
marathons with Team in Training is the support you get. Our coaches
- Ramon Bermo, Michael Conlon, and Catherine
Roberto - we at multiple points along the course. They would run
part of the race with TNT participants, checking to make sure everyone was
o.k., providing support and encouragement, getting a big smile from you no
matter how tired you were.
| Then there is the Leukemia &
Lymphoma Society staff, who take care
of everything! Emily Meyer was just wonderful, handling travel,
hotels, meals, etc. Then she's along the course yelling and waving
and making sure everyone is doing great. And you can't forget the
mentors, who have been providing months of support to mostly first time
marathoners. A crew of mentors who are running the NYC Marathon -
Rachel Cohen, Eliana Agudelo, Erin Farrell, Meredith Shirey - all trekked
to DC to cheer for their friends and mentees (and even to do a little bit
of running themselves). It's hard to watch a marathon when you are a
runner and these guys jumped in to provide support to numerous first time
I met this guy from the Air Force stationed in
Germany around mile 22. We made a pact to drag each other to
the finish, chatting about running, the military, and life in
general. It's a scary time to be a US soldiers stationed
anywhere - especially in Germany with its Arab population and being
a hotbed for terrorist training. We talked about how
great the Marine Corp Marathon is, demonstrating to a lot of folks
one side of the armed forces that doesn't get a lot of publicity
(volunteerism) and have people meet soldiers who aren't just images
Not my faster marathon but a complete one.
My medal looks exactly the same as the guy that won the race in
2:25:01 (Christopher Juarez from Las Vegas).
October 23, 2002: Carbo-loading with Coach Ramon
& Company. The Marine Corp Marathon is only three days away!!!
|October 20, 2002: Participated
in the Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour with my friend Neeta Kantu.
We were part of Team American Express (where she works) and rode
with her co-worker Marie DiMato and Marie's friend Elizabeth Radler.
Pictured at right are me, Elizabeth, and Neeta just before entering
the Lincoln Tunnel. The ride's route started at the South
Street Seaport, up the FDR Drive and down the West Side Highway
(both closed to traffic for the ride), through a traffic-free
Lincoln Tunnel, and up the Hudson River on the New Jersey side
before biking over the George Washington Bridge and down the West
Side to the finish at the Seaport. Sixty miles in total, lots
of fun - and a change of pace from all of the running
October 19, 2002: Last TNT group run before the
marathon. Quick loop around Central Park with Esther and Kerri at a
leisurely pace. We are in serious "tapering" mode, cutting
down the mileage before next weekend's marathon. Now is the time to
make sure the legs muscles work but it's not necessary to overwork them.
The long runs are complete and now we get to prepare for the 26.2 mile
distance mentally after being trained physically. Part of the
"mental" preparation was a group brunch with a dozen or so
fellow runners - another benefit of training with TNT.
October 14, 2002: Finally back to a yoga
class and did my body need it. All of this running takes away the
limited flexibility that I had. And running the Hartford Marathon in
the rain (even though I only ran 20) left me extremely sore. Only
two weeks until the Marine Corp Marathon and I hope to squeeze in a half
of a dozen yoga classes before then. I've also made sure to do a
little weight lifting (all leg stuff) to balance out the muscle
development from running. I was having knee trouble that my doctor
said was treatable by doing leg lifts. Less knee pain now as
compared to this summer. But I've been doing less running so who
knows. I think it's time to switch to triathlons and take a break
from all of this distance running.
||October 12, 2002: Ran the
Hartford Marathon as a team relay with my friend Alyssa Gelbard.
She completed the first two legs (13 miles) at a blistering
7:45/mile pace while I ran the last three legs (20 miles) at a
respectable 8:45/mile clip. It poured the entire time adding
to the fun. I think I was so water logged I forgot I was wet - sort
of like fish (they don't think they're wet; they're always in
water). I was suppose to meet Alyssa at the first relay
exchange but I totally blew it. She raced by faster than I
anticipated so we didn't run the 2nd leg together. Good thing
for me - she was chugging along and would have run me into the
ground. There would have been no way for me to continue
running if I ran my first 6 miles at her pace. When I didn't
see her at the 10K marker after an hour and then after an hour
fifteen, I knew she had come and gone. So off I went for my
run, figuring I would see her along the course (which I did).
The disappointing fact is that when I checked the results online, I
realized that had I started running when she reached the 10K mark
(the way we were suppose to do things), our team - "Swinging in
the Rain" - would have placed 4th in the Mixed Open
group. Because I started 25 minutes after she reached the
exchange point, we placed 13th. I totally messed things up but
we had a good (and wet) time. I think I'll be o.k. for the
Marine Corp. marathon in two weeks. I know I'm not going to
set the course record, but I'll finish.
September 28, 2002: Beautiful day to run in
Central Park. A quick 6 mile loop with Keri and Rick (fellow TNTers
who are running the Marine Corp Marathon with me). I think we're all
about a 3:45-4:00 finish time so it's nice to run with them during
training runs. Didn't get a lot of sleep the night before the race
and my nutrition was terrible (too much drinking and fatty foods!) so I
struggled a bit through the run. It is amazing what a good night's
sleep and some appropriate foods can do to improve one's running. I
guess this is advice I need to take to heart come Marathon Sunday in one
September 21, 2002: Today was a great day
of running in Central Park. The New
York Road Runner's Club organizes training runs (in addition to the
dozens of races that it holds) leading up to the New York Marathon.
Pacers lead groups of running around the Central Park loop at
different mile paces. I ran with a group at 9:00 minutes per mile
for 20 miles (the marathon is quickly approaching so I have to get in some
long runs). I monitored my heart rate the whole time (in range) and
felt great. We actually sang the final 3-4 miles - our lead pacer
from the New York Flyers track team was our choral director. Tack on
another 10K at the end and I would have finished my marathon. The
run gave me the confidence that I'll be o.k. come October 27th for the
Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, DC.
August 27, 2002: I finally made it back to a TNT
group training session tonight in Central Park. We did "fartlek"
training - nothing to do with intestinal problems but is a form of
interval training in which there are work-rest intervals. "Fartlek"
is Swedish for "speed play" and can help you avoid injuries that
often accompany non-stop, repetitive activity. It provides the opportunity
to increase your intensity without burning yourself out in a matter of
We did loops around the lower section of Central Park
and I felt pretty good for having taken a break from running for a while.
I need to get my lungs ready for distance again. The Marine Corp Marathon
is exactly 2 months away and I want to make sure I don't kill myself
running it. There is the Philadelphia Distance Run (half marathon) in two
weeks and the Hartford Marathon (which I'm running as a relay with my
friend Alyssa) in mid-October. Add a little strength training, some yoga
and a dash of cross-training and I should be all set for the Washington,
August 20, 2002: I'm didn't let the weather deter
me from running to the gym this morning. A little rain isn't going
to kill me. Plus, on my birthday - I have to battle back against
Father Time (that bastard!) who has been playing tricks on me. A
little tightness here. A little creaking there. I'm trying to
age gracefully but I can't decide if running is aiding or hindering the
process. Plus today is "Recommitment Day" for the Marine
Corp. Marathon October 27th. My papers are signed and credit card
submitted. Only 68 more days to get into race shape!
August 15, 2002: Running is becoming habit
forming - and it adds some structure to my day. Again, up and out
and running to the gym near the train station. I'm not sure if my
morning run is to reduce my commute time or to improve my physical
fitness. Since my knees still ache a bit and my insteps are
bothering me a bit, I'm leaning towards these morning runs are for
transportation and not for conditioning. I hope I can keep this up -
for both a stress release, faster commute, and fitness builder.
Disaster News Network
August 14, 2002
New York’s Central Park registered a 98-degree day Tuesday,
breaking a record of 96 degrees for the same day in 1988.
Tuesday was the hottest day of the summer in several states, and
Wednesday was expected to be a close second. Heat indexes – a
measure of what it feels like outside – shot up to 103. In metro
areas, the extreme heat was causing manhole covers to pop off. On
Ninth Ave. in New York City Tuesday, the heat caused an underground
fire that sparked an explosion and blew a manhole cover high into
the air, frightening witnesses.
As a Bermuda high-pressure system pumped hot and humid air into
the region, many states were experiencing the hottest overall summer
since 1995. In New York City, this summer could rank among the 15
hottest since the National Weather Service started keeping track in
The heat wave should ease sometime Thursday, forecasters said,
with temperatures in the comparatively cooler low 90s.
|The city office also offered personal
health and safety tips to help people protect themselves against the
effects of heat:
- Stay out of the sun - avoid extreme
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors reflect
some of the sun's energy.
- Drink fluids—particularly water—even if you do not feel
thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. (Those on
fluid-restricted diets or taking diuretics should first consult
- Avoid beverages containing alcohol and/or caffeine.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun's peak
hours—11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- If possible, go to an air-conditioned building for several
hours during the hottest parts of the day. Participate in
activities that will keep you cool, such as going to the movies,
shopping at a mall or swimming at a pool or beach.
- Never leave your children or pets unattended in the car.
- Check on your elderly neighbors, and those with special needs.
- Remember: Improperly opened hydrants waste thousands gallons
of water, and can lower water pressure to dangerous levels,
hampering the fire department’s ability to fight fires and
endangering the lives of your family and neighbors. If you want
to use a hydrant to cool off, obtain a spray cap at your local
- Do not call 9-1-1 except in case of an emergency.
August 14, 2002: Another morning of running to
the gym and showering to cut my commute time (and to try and get my
fitness level back to where it should be). If I'm really going to
run a fall marathon, I need to step up my training. I'm getting too
old to just wake up and run. Time to build in some stretching into
my daily routine (I hate this part of the aging process).
Gabe is spending the week with brothers in San Francisco
(where the Judah - oldest of the clan - lives). His "last"
day of chemo is in less than two weeks - after more than 25 months of
treatment. I'm not really sure what that means in terms of his
prognosis - or the potential for a relapse. I struggle with the
question from friends of "How's Gabe doing?" I know he
struggles with the similar question of "How do you feel?"
August 13, 2002: Started the day the right way by
running to the gym that is close to the train station. Shower and shave
there and instead of at home saved my 20-30 minutes in commuting time
plus I was able to work out. If I can just remember to schedule some
sleep time. I have to work out in the morning if I am going to
survive my commute - bus to subway to train was taking an hour and a half
from my apartment door to my office desk. With the run-to-the-gym-and-workout
"commute", it's only a 5-10 minute walk to the train and 35
minutes on NJ Transit. Much more manageable. Maybe I can be a
City Slicker and work in Suburbia. Only time will tell.
August 4, 2002: Manhattan Half Marathon, Central
Park, New York City.
Hot and humid summer day - oppressively hot and humid.
||August 3, 2002: River to Sea Relay, Milford, New
Jersey to Manasquawn, New Jersey
The R2C7 -- the seventh annual river to see relay -- was a very
special event. Forget the 92 miles of running (broken into 14 legs,
completed by the 7 person team). Forget about the 90+ degree
sweltering heat with the oppressive humidity. Forget about waking up
at 5:00 AM to drive a couple of hours before running a couple of
hours. It was an amazing day.
The TOG team (from left) - Christine Daigle,
Wayne Vanaken, Catherine Roberto, Peter Klein, Laurel Naversen,
Ramon Bermo and Michael Conlon.
The race start...
At 5:50 AM, as the first rays of sun peeked over the
Delaware River in Milford, NJ – the first of 59 teams began the 91.8
mile trek to the Atlantic Ocean (we started at 7:55 AM). The relay is one
of the most unique running events of its kind consisting of teams of seven
runners each of which run various legs and distances. The team starts are
precisely calculated to allow the slower teams to start first and the
faster teams last and the first team to Manasquan and the finish line at
the Atlantic Ocean wins. This year 59 teams toed the starting line, the
first setting off at 5:00 AM and the last departing at 10:00 AM.
Me and Michael with our un-official
team mascot - a bird who flew into our van grill
My team - Team TOG (for Thinking of Gabby) - was running
in honor of a friend who is recovering from a terrible bike
accident. Gabby was my primary training partner for my first
marathon of the year - the London
Marathon in April - and she and I spent many a cold Saturday morning
training in January, February and March. Team TOG was comprised of
(from left) Laurel (Gabby's co-worker and training partner),
Michael (one of the TNT assistant running coaches, Ramon
(the head TNT running coach), Wayne (Gabby's boyfriend), Christine
(Gabby's triathlon training
partner), Catherine (the other assistant coach) and me.
|At the finish on the beach in Manesquan, New
Jersey. The team is wet after a well-deserved dip in the
Atlantic Ocean after the 90+ mile relay race.
July 19-26, 2002: Happiness
Is Camping, Blairstown, New Jersey
|There are lots of ways of "giving
back" and "making a difference." My friend -
and my cousin Gabe's primary nurse Catherine does it every
day. She's a pediatric oncology nurse at Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, providing care for kids battling
lethal diseases. Spending time in the hospital with my cousin
showed me how these nurses are life savers - and are giving of their
time and their souls to these kids who either get healthy and go
home or pass away.
In addition to giving at her job, Catherine also
volunteers one week during the summer at a camp for children who
have (or had) cancer.
And this year, I joined her for the week - she was
one of the nurses and I was a volunteer counselor for the 11 and 12
|All the campers have survived similar
experiences and are eager to assist one another, to ease any visible
discomfort with ready friendship and supportive smiles.
Kids aren't treated as a sick kid - he or she is
treated like a kid. And that's what makes this camp so wonderful;
it's just that - a camp for kids.
Happiness Is Camping counselors (from left)
Tommer, me, Steve, Alex
(in front) and Scott plus campers Mo and Frankie.
Alex, Scott and Steve are all
former campers back as counselors. They provide a great model
for the campers to emulate
|So it wasn't all hard work. The
counselors and volunteers enjoyed the interaction with the campers,
marveled at the courage these 9-16 year olds demonstrated, applauded
their victories, and encouraged them during the
Eat a little. Sang some songs. Played
Capture the Counselor (a very cool hide-and-seek game).
Am I seeing double?!? Counselor Mollie (left) looks a
lot like my friend Catherine (right). Every camper's dream
|July 16, 2002: Hills in Central Park!
Sprint up and recover down. Who dreamed up this torture? Oh,
yeah - my coach Ramon. It's actually good
to add some speed work and hills to training. Breaks up the monotony
of the long runs. Plus come Marathon Day, it's important to have
confidence to power up the hills that seem to appear just when your legs
are threatening to give out. My knees felt better for the first time
in a long time. Maybe I can run another marathon this year after
all. Today was Recommitment Day for the Marui Marathon (we
have to guarantee our place with a credit card). I decided
that the $4,900 fundraising goal is a bit beyond my reach for this
September, and changed my marathon from Maui to the October Marine
Corp Marathon. I'll miss the beach and the surf of Hawaii, but
the marathon in Washington, DC is going to be a lot of fun.
With my Maui
marathoners Kim Wanat (left), Sharon
July 15, 2002: I am a Weekend Warrior. One
of those exercise enthusiasts on Saturdays and Sundays who limp to work after
a weekend of over-exertion. My recent adventures this past weekend included a
leisurely Saturday run around Central Park with the TNT Team (it was suppose to be 13 miles but
I stopped after 6 since my knees were killing me) and a road-trip to Bear
Mountain to bike ride 40+ miles. The Weekend Warrior normally
ignores aches and pains. I'm trying to be responsible (don't want to
limb for the rest of my life) so when the knees say "stop
running", I cross-train. There is this crazy idea that I have
about completing an Ironman
Triathlon (2.4 mile swim / 112 mile bike / 26.2 mile run). But I
have to get in a pool first.
Had dinner with Gabe and his brother Dan on Sunday
night. He is counting down the days until the scheduled end of his
chemo. Then the plans seem to include bartending school, maybe
moving to San Francisco. I just hope he can get back on track after
the two year diversion.
||July 11, 2002: The Leukemia &
Lymphoma Society hosted at party for the TNT Honorees at Gilda's
Club, non-residential cancer support community named for
comedian Gilda Radner. Attending included the current TNT
participants from the running, walking and triathlon teams, staff
from the Society, and the cancer survivors who serve as honorees for
the TNT teams (the Maui Marathon honoree is Stela
Patron who was there at the beginning). I find it moving
each time I hear stories about survivors and their battles with
cancer. Fundraising for the Society is easier knowing that it
is helping and making a difference. I only hope Gabe finds a
way to become involved when he's up to it. I think it could
provide him strength and support - and I know that he will provide
July 8, 2002: I don't think I would make a very
good drug dealer. I picked up Gabe's medication from Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center today to save my aunt a trip and didn't
think about the street value of the meds, how to get refills, etc.
I'm usually pretty good about seeing business opportunities. My
heart just wasn't in it.
Gabe is on some serious narcotics. Roxicet
(a.k.a. Percocet) is a combination of Oxycodone (related to
codeine - in a class of drugs called narcotic analgesics) and Acetaminophen
(a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of Oxycodone); it
is used to relieve moderate-to-severe pain. Dilaudid
is another narcotic analgesic used for relieving moderate-to-severe pain
I know he's sitting at home in bed right now in some
serious pain. It's not the disease that gets to him - it's the
treatment. Hopefully the end is near. We
"celebrated" two years of leukemia on July 6th (no party or
anything) and two years of chemotherapy. A target end date is August
8th - one month - but I don't know if it's going to happen. I hope
|July 7, 2002: Beautiful day for
the Bronx Half Marathon, but unfortunately my knees held me to a
shortened six mile run. The TNT team did great, with mostly
happy runners at the finish line. It's amazing to be a cheering
section for our teammates when they run (or walk/waddle/etc.)
towards the end; big smiles when they hear us yelling their
name. This was the first race for a lot of our fall team -
including my mentees Gary, Theresa and Ruth. I was able to run
the last few yards with each of them, providing (I hope)
encouragement and support. It is a very different experience
training with a team that provides instruction and camaraderie.
I remember how much easier it was training for my first NYC marathon
in the mid-1990s with a training partner (NYU B-school roommate Rob
Moore) vs. training along. And now training with over 100
people is great. Irrespective of an individual's time,
everyone supports everyone else. Our coaches - Ramon, Michael
and Catherine - set the tone, the mentors reinforce it, and everyone
seems to embrace it. Being involved with TNT (even on days when I
don't run the whole distance) has been a rewarding experience.
Some of the TNT Team at the
Bronx Half Marathon - Rachels (Cohen and Salzman), Rick, Ann, Rich,
Dustin, Jen, Coach Ramon, Rick, Leslie, Heather, Asst. Coach
Catherine, Ainsley; (front) Kerry, Meredith, Vilda, Brad, Assistant
Coach Mike, Peter
||July 6, 2002: Cross-training
(again) on the bike, trying to let my knees rest. I hate the
fact that I can't run in the beautiful weather - and today was
beautiful. My friend Neeta and I trekked around the boroughs
of New York. Upper West Side to the Upper East Side, Up the
East River, over a bridge to Randall's/Ward Island, over the Tri-Boro
Bridge to Queens, along the East River and over the Queensborough/59th
Street Bridge, down First Avenue to the East River greenway, over
the Brooklyn Bridge (pictured left) - with a lunch break at the Boro
Hall Greenmarket - and back, and then up the West Side
greenway. Biking is the best way to see the city and as the
biking/running lanes are improved, it is easier to travel
Saturday night was a TNT team carbo-loading
dinner. Fourteen of us dined on pasta preparing for the Bronx
| June 30-July 1, 2002: Spent some time
Park, Fire Island (off Long Island, New York in the Atlantic)
with Gabe and his family. It was a celebration of my uncle
Harold's 60th birthday - and a great excuse for everyone to get
together for a weekend of sun and drinking & eating. Would
have been a good place to run along the beach, but I'm still letting
my knees rest for right now. Need to see a doctor soon if it
The long weekend with Gabe provided us a chance to
talk one-on-one about having cancer, planning for the future,
interacting with friends. While he very much doesn't want to
be different than other kids (and young adults since that is what he
is becoming), he is different. He said that he has matured
faster in some areas and not as fast in others compared to his
peers. We talked about how hard it is to be left out when
friends make plans and assume he's too sick to tag along. He
has missed two years of high school (being home-schooled) and two
summers of hanging out. We talked about how isolated he
feels. How former friends have drifted away. Initially,
he had visitors to the hospital, back during the summer of
2000. But the visits have ended and he said if he doesn't make
the effort to get in touch, he's forgotten. He doesn't have
the energy to go out all of the time. Missing school bonding
time and not having other means of connecting with friends means
he's a bit of a lone wolf.
The absence (or scarcity) of friends have been
filled in with an abundance of experiences with his brothers.
Road trips to Hartford to visit with Noah. Hanging with Judah
before the eldest's departure for San Francisco in April.
Having Dan (the youngest) always tagging along and hanging
around. It provides some needed social interaction with the
decrease of peers and strengthens the family bond. I still
worry. And then worry about Dan, who isn't as social at school
but leans on his relationship with Gabe as a substitute. What
happens to Dan when Gabe moves out (he's planning on moving to San
Francisco to live with his brother Judah in the Fall/Winter)?
Cancer has its impact on whole families.
Gabe (middle, back) flanked by this brothers Dan
(left), Noah (front), and Judah (right - eating)
June 23, 2002: Cross training on the bike (and
taking a needed break from running). Much less pain in my knees
pedaling - and pedaling we did. My friend Alyssa and I started in
Central Park, biked along the Hudson River from the 90s to the Staten
Island Ferry, up the East River path to the Brooklyn Bridge, to the
Promenade in Brooklyn Heights and then up to Prospect Park. Then it
was the challenge of getting home after our 2 hour ride. So back to
Brooklyn Heights (with a bathroom and water break at my friend Frannie's),
over the Brooklyn Bridge and back up the East Side to home.
There is such a difference between running and biking
Spent the evening with Gabe's family - mom and dad,
brothers Noah and Dan. We went to see the family friend's Dan
Carlton in Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern Are Dead. Gabe is back from a week in London
and is exhausted. He traveled with three friends (sans parents),
celebrating his 18th birthday in an English pub.
June 22, 2002: Another miserable day of running
for me. Perfect weather. Perfect route along the Hudson River.
Imperfect knees causing me pain. Was able to run between 4-5 miles
before my knees felt like they were locking up. Unfortunately, I was
4-5 miles from where the team started (Central Park) so I had to run/walk
back. Starting to get a little worried about the pain which I've had
on and off for three weeks or so. I'm going to lay off road running
for another week (stick with biking, blading and working out in the gym)
and see if the knees feel better. If not, time to think about seeing
||June 19, 2002: Just a little activism against
TeamWorks, the for-profit corporation that owns the AIDS Vaccine
Three-Day walk and AIDS Ride events. I know a lot of people
are aware of the events produced by Pallotta (I attended the start
and finish of the California AIDS Ride 7 last summer in San
Francisco and Los Angeles) and I know a lot of people find the event
moving and heart-warming. Unfortunately, it looks like this
business is being exposed by the charities it is suppose to be
supporting as a profit seeking enterprise that is not benefiting its
Last year the beneficiaries of Pallotta's biggest
and oldest event, the California AIDS Ride, severed ties with the
company due to lower returns, despite an increase in overall
donations. The two agencies, San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the
Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, decided to start their own ride,
AIDS LifeCycle, which PTW tried to stop by filing a lawsuit.
June 18, 2002: Tuesday night of speed
work/interval training in Central Park - and my knees felt better (at
least after a warm-up loop of the bottom of the park). Ran a quick 5
mile miles of lamp posts alternating speeds (3 fast, 2 slow then 5 fast, 2
slow). I've never trained for a marathon with the right amount of
speed training, which is so needed if one wants to run a "PR"
(or personal record). If I'm going to put in the time, I might as
well try the hills/speed work/fartleks/etc. Plus any change from
just running long is welcomed.
I also mailed out a dozen or so letters to professional
athletes today asking for donations. The plan is to collect sports memorabilia
and then auction it on eBay (donating the proceeds to the Leukemia &
Lymphoma Society). Seems like a promising alternative to just
hitting up friends and family for cash. Have anything you think we
can auction? Fill out the form.
June 15, 2002: A bad day of running for me.
Scheduled for 10 miles, my knees sort of locked up after 6. Had to
limp around like an old man (which some people say I am quickly
becoming!). It happened once before - and went away. I'm
hoping that it is from a week of inactivity - no yoga, no running, no
stretching (nothing but one day of easy biking). I do need to get
back to the yoga studio - my antidote for the lack of flexibility I have
naturally and due to running. And maybe some weight training would
help to strengthen the muscles around my knees that don't get a great
workout running. But then I made up for the bad day in Central Park
with a great brunch with a bunch of fellow runners - including my
mentee Ruth. I forget that there is a whole camaraderie aspect
as we train and eat and complain together. Training for a marathon
solo must be much harder without the support of others going through the
same process. Glad I'm doing it with TNT.
June 12, 2002: Fun social night with the folks
from Team-in-Training - part reunion from the Vermont City,
Montana and San
Diego marathons and part birthday celebration for our coach
Ramon. About a hundred of us met at Helena's
Tapas Bar to exchange pictures from the latest races and to make
sure we could all walk again after the 26.2 mile adventure. Many of
us still haven't started running again after San Diego (less than two
weeks removed), but I think I'm going to try and hit the pavement
again this weekend. On top of the recent marathoners, TNT-ers
from the Spring season (London/New Jersey) and the current Fall Season
(Maui/Hartford/Marine Corp) joined the Summer folks in bringing birthday
cheer to Ramon. He has taken our assistant coach's biking
accident to heart - partly because of his close relationship with
Gabby and partly because he was biking when she injured herself.
The guy has such a huge heart - a God sent for all of the first time
(and experienced) marathoners participating in the program. I'm
glad we could help him smile - and show his wife Juana how much we
appreciate Ramon's dedication and commitment to the Leukemia &
Boy Ramon wears some of his cake on his face while Peter
looks on and smiles
||Party go-ers included Ramon's wife Juana and
his assistant running coach Catherine (pictured at left with
Peter), TNT runners from all three seasons coached by Ramon -
Spring (London and New Jersey Shore marathons), Summer (San
Diego, Montana, and Vermont City marathons), and Fall (Maui,
Marine Corp and Hartford marathons), and other friends.
||Leading the Campaign for a Car-Free Central
Transportation Alternatives seeks an end to car traffic on
Central Park’s loop drive — 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
(but are not trying to block traffic from the four
east-west transverses, which were intended to carry
through-traffic as part of the park’s original design.).
June 10, 2002: Met up with Gabe at Memorial
Sloan-Kettering to review some things for the upcoming eBay
auction we're planning. Gabe was getting a blood check to
make sure his "numbers" were o.k for his trip to
England. He leaves tomorrow for a week with three buddies -- a
parent-free European Adventure. Sort of scary that this leukemia
patient still undergoing serious chemotherapy will pack up and go
across the pond to the Old World - especially when the patient is a
young 17 years old (but take note: Gabe does turn 18 on the 13th of
June). My aunt and uncle (and Gabe's doctor) trust Gabe to gauge
how he feels. He can push himself as much as he wants - and
knows the ramifications. He's lived nearly two years with
leukemia, knows all of the drug interactions, meaning of his blood
counts, physical limitation, etc. We went to Great
Adventure last week and he pushed himself - and rested when
needed I respect the fact that Gabe continues to live his life -
in between hospital visits for chemo or admissions for a variety of
adventures (infections, shingles, etc.). Leukemia has taken away
some things in his life, but it hasn't totally de-railed him.
And then I cross-trained. Two hours on the bike
riding around New York City. I still don't feel like I get as
strenuous a workout on the bike (my heart rate doesn't get much above
120 beats per minute vs. 150+ running) but if I ever want to do a
triathlon, I need to spend some time riding and swimming (I bought
swim goggles today just to motivate me to start swimming). The
diversity of the City is amazing. I rode up the East Side
esplanade, over the East River to Wards and Randalls Islands, over the
Tri-Borough Bridge to Queens, through Astoria, over to Roosevelt
Island, back to Queens and over the Queensborough/59th Street Bridge
before heading back up to the East Side. Probably not that far
of a ride (15-20 miles) but through different neighborhoods, parks,
and preserves. I saw rabbits and wild turkeys -- in New York
City! There are rarely explored parts of New York that us
Manhattanites never see.
||June 8, 2002: A beautiful
day for exercising and working out in Central Park. The
team ran while I biked (I need to rest the knees a little from
all of the running). But to watch the team gain
confidence in themselves - after running for more than an hour
non-stop - is great. At its basic level, running is a
pretty simple sport. You start out running - and keep
going. But to believe in yourself (especially to believe
that you can run 26.2 miles) takes some time. I know my
first marathon was quite an adventure - starting too
quickly and running out of steam at mile #20. The great
thing about Team-in-Training
is our coach Ramon conditions us - both physically and
mentally - for the entire race. When a TNT runner starts
their marathon, they know about all of the challenges that lay
ahead of them - and how to conquer each one. And so far,
all 158 TNT runners that Ramon has coached who started their
marathon finished it!
|June 6, 2002:A great birthday
outing with Gabe and two of his favorite nurses from Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center - Catherine and
Rebecca. I was able to tag along to Six Flags Great
Adventure theme park, where the goal was to conquer every
roller coaster and thrill ride. Nitro,
American Scream Machine,Batman
the Ride -- we rode them all. Gabe turns 18 next
week and will hit two years of chemotherapy in a month.
Seeing him be just another thrill seeker (like me, Catherine,
Rebecca, brothers Noah and Dan, plus friend Ariana) was
extremely satisfying. The hardest thing for me to see is
Gabe's disease isolate him from friends. He's been
home-schooled for the past two years (and unfortunately won't
graduate on time). He's not going to his prom. His
stable of friends has been dramatically reduced over the past
two years. The disease not only steals his energy, makes
him feel nausea, and hospitalizes him -- it is taking away
years of being a teenage that he'll never get back.
Totally unfair. At least we had a good day atGreat
Adventure. He's fighting hard - and still
trying to live a normal life. Next week (God willing)
he's off to London for a week with some of his friends.
A parent-free adventure like graduating high schoolers are
suppose to go on.
Rebecca, Peter, Noah
and Catherine in the back. Ariana, Gabe and Dan in
the front during a photo shoot at Great Adventure.
June 2, 2002: Marathon Day for
my brother Geoffrey. We both decided to participate in the
Team-in-Training program in honor of our cousin Gabe - who was
diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia ("ALL")
in July 2000 - in late 2001. I ran the London Marathon in April (read
my training journal) and Geoffrey was participating in the San
Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon (read
his training journal). Running a marathon was a different
challenge for Geoffrey than it was for me. He's a better athlete than
I am - and always has been - but he is not a runner while I have
been for a long time. This was his first marathon (while I had
already ran three prior to London) and his training had a lot more
"challenges" than mine -- tendon pulls in his foot, a
throat infection, etc. Plus he had never run more than a half of a
dozen miles or so prior to joining Team-in-Training. I'm not sure I would have stuck it out with
all of the bumps in the road he encountered.
Trained and ready, Geoffrey headed off to the
start line at 4:00 AM while his cheering section (me, cousin Judah
and fiancée Nita) stayed in bed - we didn't have to make it to
the 6:45 AM start. For those readers who have never watched a
marathon, it is a lot like watching a bike or car race or any other
event where the participants race by. Spectators get to see
runners for a few seconds longer than in NASCAR - and really
adventuresome folks can hop into the race with a few for a few yards
(or even miles) to chat with a friend. The trick is to be at
the finish with smiles and water, ready to direct the finisher to
where ever they have to be. Most people at the end of running
26.2 miles just want to sit down and can't think much beyond that.
Geoffrey finished smiling and happy to be
done. He said he ran his race like all of the long training
runs he completed - a comfortable pace throughout the whole
thing. He talked about all of the cheers of encouragement he
received along the route (it helps to have your name on your shirt -
which I recommend for all marathoners). He also doubts that he
will ever run another one. Something to do in life - check it
off the list.
Geoffrey and I didn't run marathons to win the
race. Instead, we raised over $7,000 towards finding a cure
for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and to improve the
quality of life of patients and their families who are battling one of the
diseases. We ran in honor of our cousin Gabe - who just wants
to be a "normal" high schooler attending proms and parties
instead of struggling through chemotherapy and fighting infections
with antibiotics. It was pretty powerful watching Geoffrey and
3,500 other TNT-ers running, walking, and sometimes limping through
26.2 miles, all knowing that they were helping find a cure for these
June 1, 2002: The
Suzuki Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is the Team-in-Training
event. Over 3,500 participating runners raise $12 million (or
more than $3500 per person) for the Leukemia
& Lymphoma Society. My brother Geoffrey was running
with the Greater Los Angeles team - and he had his own personal
cheering section that he brought with him to San Diego (me, his fiancé
Nita, and Gabe's older brother Judah). We went to the marathon
expo - which was a lot like every other marathon expo (registration
plus a bunch of booths selling running gear, giving away samples of
nutrition drinks, and hawking other things to the race
participants). But then we went to the TNT Pasta Party - which
was unlike every other pre-race dinner I've been attended.
Sixty-five hundred diners listened to the TNT story - from a
motivational video to a speech by Dr. Brian Drucker who discovered
the Gleevec leukemia drug with funding provided by the L&L
Society. We were able to see where the millions of dollars TNT
funds go - for research, patient services, etc. It was quite
moving - listening to the cheers of the thousands of runners and
their family and friends applauding the work of the Society.
May 31, 2002: Flew to Los Angeles to
surprise my brother Geoffrey - he's running with Team-in-Training in
the Rock 'n'
Marathon in San Diego. Gabe's brother Judah drove down
from San Francisco and picked me up from the airport. We
arrived at Geoff and his fiancé (Nita) apartment for dinner.
May 30, 2002: Fun morning
workout with the team - 6:30 AM start! At least that early
there isn't the New York summer heat and humidity -- I know that
it's coming. We ran some loops of the Great Lawn and then did
some stretching and strengthening work. The variety of
exercise is definitely good. Ramon (the coach) said if you can
just increase your stride 1 inch from the exercises, you can cut 4-5
minutes off your time (1 inch x 160 strides per minute x 210 minutes
[a 3:30 marathon] is a savings of 33,600 inches - or 2,800 feet - or
933 yards -- which is more than a half of a mile! Met another
one of my mentees today (Sharon Michel) - and Kim and Gary were both
there. Now I just have to track down the rest of the crew and
make sure everyone is staying on schedule for finishing Maui.
May 28, 2002: Training in
Central Park's reservoir with the team. Several of my mentees
were present and accounted for (Ruth, Gary and Kim looked great
running; Theresa and Sharon had work conflicts; I need to track down
the rest of the crew). I ran with a little stiffness from the
weekend's marathon but running still felt pretty good. The
group is excited about the training, with the Maui Marathon 115 days
away. That should be plenty of time to fundraise enough money
and train enough to have a great run in September.
2002: I spent the
weekend with a group of Team-in-Training runners who ran
the Vermont City
Marathon in Burlington, Vermont. Of the 17 runners,
I think almost all of them were first time marathoners.
The Pasta Dinner the night before the race was quite moving,
listening to a mother talk about her family's fight with
leukemia. Her 4 year old daughter Meredith was diagnosed
with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia ("ALL") last year, and the whole family become involved with
the Leukemia Society's TNT program. Meredith was bald
(from chemo) and busy running around with her siblings and
cousins. Saw the family after the race as well. Puts a
lot of things in perspective - about what is really important
Then I ran the thing - with the purple wig like in
the London Marathon - and
had a great time. It was like a "training run"
- not pushing the time and just enjoying the experience.
A respectable finish time (3:49:42 - about an 8:46 per mile
pace) and then back to the course to cheer in the rest of the
time. My friend Emily (who works for the Leukemia &
Lymphoma Society) and I camped out with a boom box blasting dance music, encouraging runners for the
final half of a mile.
It's a great race because it loops through the
downtown area of Burlington several times - allowing a runner
to see their friends and family easily. So despite being
a small marathon (3,000 or so) it has a bigger feel because of
the centralized crowds.
|A big part of Marathon
Weekend for all Team-in-Training events is the camaraderie
that develops between all of the participants. We
train together for 4-5 months, but a lot of time people
don't meet until the weekend. Because
everyone trains at different speeds, you might not know
the runners who are at workout sessions with you if they
are running faster or slower than you do. The
Weekend is a chance to hang out together, dine together,
stress about the race together, and then celebrate
together when it's all over. The group from
Vermont City (below) became good friends by the end -
and I felt fortunate that I was able to spend Memorial
Day weekend with them. Plus, I was able to
practice my hair styling skills on Coach Ramon's
daughter Amanda (right). Isn't she the
cutest? Too bad I have no idea what I'm doing to
||Back: Mathew &
Jennifer, ?, Dawn Marie, Rahima, Chris, Elka,
Randy, Coach Ramon.
Front: Emily, me, Michael, Lucia, Ruth-Anne, Leigh
& her boyfriend.
May 23, 2002: Spent the
afternoon in Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with Gabe and his mom.
Just a quick blood check post-infection from last week but
with his counts really low he was exhausted. So he
received a pint of blood (his own pick-me-up "drug")
and then the two of us (sans my aunt) headed back to
Greenwich, Connecticut for dinner. The drive home gave
us a chance to talk about life. He really just wants to
be a normal kid again - and he's not really a kid
anymore. Gabe turns 18 next month and he's missing out
on some of the things that his peers are doing. His high
school senior year isn't full of partying, proms and preparing
for college. But he has kept a positive attitude about
all of it. We talked about how much closer his family is
because of his leukemia. He was very appreciated of the
support that I've provided to him. I had to remind him
that he has provided me a lot of new perspective in my life
(what's important, what priorities should be, etc.).
From the bad comes some good.
May 22, 2002: The TNT
Staff held a Fundraising Clinic to discuss ideas and
strategies for reaching the dollars goals set for the
program. There were lots of good suggestions - with the
key to start early with solicitation of friends and family
(getting those letters written and into the mail). There
was also some discussion of Corporate Matching - where an
employee's company matches donations (check out the partial
listing of corporations that match).
- Hold a Bake Sale - or Garage Sale
- Email friends who haven't sent in a
- Provide a service (babysitting, dog
walking, house cleaning, etc.) in exchange for a
- Ask a restaurant or bar to donate a
portion of one day's income - or hold a party at the
- Ask vendors who you do business
with for a donation
- Ask your employer to donate a day
- Organize a dress down day at work -
those who donate can dress casually on the day
- Organize a presentation at a club
or organization and ask for a donation
- Hold a dinner party at your home in
exchange for donations
- Publicize your efforts in a college
alumni magazine or office newsletter
- Return bottles and cans and donate
- ASK a stranger a day for a donation
May 21, 2002: Tuesday training
on the reservoir in Central Park. We did "intervals"
where we ran sets of "fast run / slow run" (counting light
the reservoir 2 or 3 times. Relatively short run (4.5 miles or
so) but a good chance for the team to see that they can run the
distance comfortably. In 120 days, the Maui runners are going
to complete 26.2 miles. A big part of completion is each
person having self-confidence regarding finishing the
marathon. They're going to do great. Met Derek (one of my
mentees) for the first time - briefly - and Ruth and Gary were both
May 18: 2002: First day of
training with the Team-in-Training Fall team -- and it poured!
So everyone wasn't there for our 8:00 AM start (I would have loved
to have slept in) but a respectable sized group showed up for some
soggy running. Lots of excitement from those present. I
did see Ruth and Gary (some of my mentees) but didn't meet any of
the others (who might have been there but trying to stay dry or run
and go home). Gary did call me at 7:15 AM to make sure we were
still running. Rain or shine. Snow or sleet. Our
coach Ramon is going to be at training getting everyone prepared for
their races. Only 127 days until the September 22nd Maui
May 17, 2002: Back to running and
cross-training. I did a loop of Central
Park (6.1 miles) plus yoga at the gym. All of this running
tightens the muscles so yoga is the antidote. I ran much of
the loop with some guy from London -- the conversation started
because I was wearing my London
Marathon t-shirt (which I completed in April 2002). He
pushed me a little bit - speed was o.k. but my heart rate was a
little high. I try to run in a 155-165 beats per minute range
(long runs a little lower, short runs or races a little
faster). It's a long way to my Fall marathon event(s) - Maui
and NYC, Chicago or Marine Corp - so there is no need to burn out
My friends and fellow
Maui mentors Rachel Cohen and Eliana Agudelo
|May 14, 2002: I spent the day - and night -
with Gabe in the hospital. He was running a fever on Friday
and checked into Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with an infection. A day of
antibiotics cleared it up but an admission gets him a week or so of
in-patient care. I was able to relieve his parents for a day
-- people forget that a disease has an impact on the whole
family. Gabe's younger brother Dan is a freshman in high
school and is home alone when Gabe is hospitalized (my aunt stays in
the hospital and my uncle works in Ohio Tuesdays and
Wednesdays). By hanging out with Gabe playing video games and
watching television, I'm able to let my aunt go back to work and
spend time with Dan. The only way I was able to beat Gabe
in NHL '98 (Playstation) was to use "narcotics" (that is,
Gabe's on pain killers, drifting in and out while I sneak a goal or
two past him). It's also good for Gabe to be with a non-parent
sometimes. My friends Rachel and Amy stopped by to visit which
provided Gabe a chance to be a relatively normal kid talking about Kirsten
Dunst and other celebrities instead of prednisone, vincristine,
methotrexate, and other chemotherapy
treatments. He's gotten a bit isolated from friends (not
going to school and not having a lot of energy to do a lot of
anything) so I'm glad we were able to cheer him up a bit.
|May 11, 2002: The Kick-Off meeting for the
Fall TNT season was held at the YMCA in Mid-Town Manhattan.
Participants training for marathons (Maui,
Tropical Island Century Ride, and triathlons (New
York City and Walt
Disney World) received all of there final instructions before
beginning their journeys. I met some of runners that I'm going
to mentor -- Staci, Ruth, Gary and Theresa. They all seemed
excited about the challenge that lays in front of them.