Sunday, April 21, 2013

A dream come true!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):)

September 2, 2003 was the first day of school for my Senior year of high school!!!!!! And this day would forever change me!!!! For the first day of school was my first time doing the morning announcements over the loud speakers!!!!!! And let's just say I had the most fun EVER!!!!! Started off every morning with GOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING SHAKOPEE SENIOR HIGH!!!!!!!!!!! One of my teachers told me that I had a great radio voice and should look into radio sometime!!!!  I told them OH I will one day try and be on radio!!!!!  It is a dream I have!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 17th 2013 will be a day I will remember forever!!!!  It was the day I went live for radio!!!!  A month ago I e-mailed some of the ICT and AV crew staff at school asking if it was possible to do a live radio broadcast, since last year we tried the video streaming and failed horribly!!!  2 weeks before Win Mumby Mike Pesavento (which I'll get to him later) said he has found this site and it looks like it will be possible to do a live stream!!!  At that time Mulan (our 7-9th grade Spring drama) was in full force so I didn't want to overload Mike and cause him a mental breakdown so we would work with this after Mulan was over!!  Well Mulan finished and sure enough he had Spreaker, the same link on the bottom of this post, up and ready to try out!!! Only problem is we had NO games to try it out on before Win Mumby!!! So our first LIVE broadcast would be WIN MUMBY!!!!!

Wednesday night!!!!!! Woodstock Girls vs. Lawrence School, my first live broadcast and a game I would never forget!!!!!!! I was SO freakin nervous!!!  Not sure how I would sound, if I would talk to loud, fast, mumbley, etc.!!!!!!  The great thing about Spreaker is you not only get to go live BUT it gives you the option to record all of your broadcasts as well!!!! So I knew, okay let's get through tonight and I could go back and listen to them and analyze and change things if I needed to!! And man were there things to change!!!! However, first night went AWESOME!!!!!!! It was SO much fun!!!!!! The games seems a THOUSAND times faster when you try and call out every single play!!! I'll get to that part at the end!!!!!;) During the first 3 games that night we were also unsure if anyone would even listen or comment!!! But sure enough we saw listener after listener log on live, AND we even had comments!!!!!  One of the girl basketball player's moms was AWESOME over the 3 1/2 days!!! She would be the first one to comment and would comment multiple times with such inspiring and positive words!!!!!!!:):):)  So I did 3 games on Wednesday night, that was the easy part of the entire tourney looking back!!!!!!!:):):):)

Thursday!!!!!!!!! And I do mean THURSDAY!!!!!!! 7:30am Mike and I set up for a LONG day of basketball!!!!!!!!:):):) Listening the night before I talk with Mike about the things I heard, and both he and I were up until 1am listening, editing, taking notes, etc.!!!! I'll talk about Mike later as well!!:):) So 8am the first of 10 games for the day!!!  Games 1-4 in the morning and 5-10 in the afternoon/evening!!!:):) And between the morning and afternoon there was about a 2 hour break!!!! So really Mike and I were sitting on that freakin wooden bleacher from 7:30am to 9:30pm with a 2 hour break, broadcasting BASKETBALL!!!:):):) You REALLY have to enjoy what you do to do that!!! Which we did!!!!!!!!:):):):)

Friday!!!!!!!!!!! And again I do mean FRIDAY!!!!!!! Same thing, 7:30am Mike and I were there, and 9:30pm we were done!!!!!!:):):)  We had 11 games that day 5 before lunch and 6 after lunch, so break that day was only an hour or so!!!!  And this is where I could tell, okay you best start being smart about your voice, because it was fading a little bit!!!!:):) Of course though, the BIGGEST games of the tournament were that night!!! Both Woodstock teams were undefeated (2-0) at this point and Friday's games would decide if they were #1 or 2 seed in the Saturday fixtures!! So I knew it would be a full house and energy would be high!! No boring broadcasts coming up that night!!!!!!!:):):) Woodstock ladies played Modern School (future Win Mumby champs) and lost, followed by a great victory by the Woodstock boys team over Doon School!!!!!!!!:):):):) After the games my voice was in trouble!!!!:)  It wasn't gone, BUT it wasn't strong either!!! I knew Saturday was going to be 50/50 getting through it!!!!!!!

Saturday!!!!!!!!!! Again got to school at 7:30am ready to go with Mike!!!!!!:):):) Voice took a while to warm-up, but once it did it was decent!!! Not great, but not bad either!!!:):) Decided after the first 5 minutes of the first semi-final game that this was going to be a blow out so would save the voice for the next two games, which happened to be back-to-back Woodstock games!!!!! And being bias towards Woodstock, those two games were FAR more important!!!!!!!!!!!  Ladies played Welham Girls, and let's just say you need to listen to that one to see what the crap happened there!!!! The most bizaar and childish event ever by a visiting coach!!!!!  And sadly that coach was the Chief Official of the entire tournament!!!! So Woodstock unfortunately lost that game vs. Welhams!  But then Woodstock Boys played Modern School and THAT to me personally WAS the Championship game!!!! Back and forth all game, winning score was 83-79!!! Only in the last 1 1/2 minutes was the lead more than 2!!!!!!!!:):):):) And got some EXCITING comments from listeners!!!!!!:):):):)  However then we had a break after 1:30pm and that is when the voice went sour!!! And when I mean sour, I mean like NON-EXISTENT!!!!!!!! I drank some hot tea, an entire liter of water, sat down for the girls game, practiced talking a little bit and thought it might work out!!! Mike gave me the thumbs up and BAM...................... nothing was coming out except some squeaks!! Instantly I knew that the 2 Championships game would not happen!!!! I saw David (another Woodstock staff member) sitting in the far bleachers and we had talked a couple days before how he used to sit at home and commentate during basketball games to his wife!!! So I immediately stood up, tried to wave him down, mimed with my hands to get over here ASAP, and take over!!! My heart sunk!!!! The entire tournament lead up to these two games, the most important games that people want to listen to, annnnnnnnnnnnd I can't even say a simple sentence at this point!!! I wanted to struggle and try it, but didn't want to do that because the listeners would have a tough time!!! So David took over for me and I just filled out my stat sheet for him!!!! Woodstock won the Championship and all was well with Woodstock!!!!:):):):)

Now back to the things I said I would get to!!! Listening to the growth from Wednesday night to Saturday morning was so much fun!!!! From a frozen deer in the headlights with everything moving so fast on Wednesday night, to the feeling of the Matrix when they slow everything down was awesome!!!! I went from saying the visiting teams players numbers only on Wednesday to saying both numbers and names, while writing down the stats of the game!!!:):)  It got to a point I could watch a part of the game, memorize that part, replay the part via radio while writing down the stats!!! It was truly an awesome feeling!!!:):):) And during Win Mumby and my breaks I would listen to different play-by-play broadcasts and memorize their descriptive terminology and use that to paint a better picture on the court!!!:):):) Oh it was the BEST time ever and would not have changed a single moment!!! And holy crap the experience within 3 days was MIND BLOWING!!!!!!:):):):)

Now back to Mike!!!!!!!!!! I don't even know where to begin!!!! The silent hero of it all you could say!!! Even before Win Mumby started Mike was working on this and trying to get EVERYTHING ready to go so once we went "On Air" it would be perfect!! WHICH IT WAS!!!!!!!:):):):) And the fact that Mike sat with me at my side for EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF EVERY SINGLE GAME was a blessing!!!!!:):):):) Without Mike, my dream of doing this was impossible!!! I didn't even know where to start and without his equipment I could have never done it!!!!!  Also, the fact that we got so comfortable as the games went on was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! I still remember the first couple of games where we were both trying to communicate what was going on, how we had to quickly cut off air to fix things or pause something!! And by the end it was a simple gesture of a thumbs up, or a single finger in the air (without a single word mentioned) and Mike knew EXACTLY what that meant!!! And I could give him cues over the air and he knew what to do right at that moment!!! I would say things and now we have a 1 minute time-up and we'll be back in 45 seconds, which he knew and took that cue as play a song for 45 seconds!!! Then once the timeout would be up I would give a thumbs and I knew he knew what that meant!! He would lower the volume of the song and within 2 seconds I would be in broadcasting again!!! Like I said we were a well oiled machine!!!! And cannot wait for next year!!!!!!!!!:):):):) I would have had no one else except Mike sitting next to me!!!!:):):):)

And of course Shubhra!!!!!!!!!!:):):):) Who when I got home finally on Saturday said, watching you doing the broadcasts and interacting with the crowd like you do makes me think how much I would have regretted not marrying you if something were to go wrong before!!!!  Love is as simple as that!!! I responded by saying "............................................" :):):) Yeah I had no voice to respond!! Just kissed her!! But again without her at my side through all of this, there is no way I could have made it!! Just like when I run my marathons!! Without her, family and friends there, what is the point!!!:):) She is my rock!!!!!:):)

This was such a dream come true that the moment this entire weekend and tournament was over I just burst into tears!!!!!! It was the same feeling as finishing a marathon within my goal time it was THAT amazing!!!! Reasons for bursting into tears, exhaustion!!! Emotions ALWAYS run higher when exhausted!! The boys winning Win Mumby and coming over to me and giving me a big group hug saying thank you!!!  Seeing the girls emotionally shattered after there game hit hard as well!!! And then being so thankful for everything, Mike, the broadcast, my wife, just added as well!!!!!!:):):):)  Which again I have to say to always go after your dreams no matter how hard or easy that will be!!!!:):)

If you would like to check out the broadcasts please check out this link, I did every game except #'s 29 and 30!!!:):)

That is all for now!!!! HAPPY SMILING AND TALKING!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

26.2 Miles of Sadness

Where to even begin with this blog.  If you have not heard already about the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks, and that's exactly what it is absolute terror, the finish line of the Boston Marathon had two back-to-back explosions (within 15 seconds of each other), killing 2 on the spot and injuring more than 130 fans.

It is no secret that the Boston Marathon has been my life's ambition for running, which is why I have taken this horrible event to heart.  To have finished so many times, and to think what the runners and fans must have been going through is unimaginable.  Why Boston?  Why running?  Just why?  What the hell has running done to any political, environmental, military topic (the usual cause for terrorist bombing)?  Why did these runners and fans today deserve to die and get injured?

It was the same reaction I had when a close friend passes and I didn't even know anyone involved this year in Boston.  It was shock for a good hour, followed by an emotional 2nd period.  Again just can't get over this and how for so long I have dreamed to run THE Boston Marathon, and to hear something like this happen is disgusting and makes me literally sick to my stomach.

My heart and prayers go out for all the families and the city of Boston with this horrific event.

From a running perspective I, and all other runners who are aiming for Boston, have NEVER been more determined now than ever to qualify and run Boston! THOSE RESPONSIBLE WILL BURN/HANG FOR THIS, BUT THEY WILL NEVER TAKE THE FIRE AND PASSION OUT OF THE RUNNING COMMUNITY!!!!!!  THIS EVENT HAS GIVEN ME EVEN MORE MOTIVATION AND PASSION TO QUALIFY IN JANUARY!!!!!!!!!!

Rest in peace those who lost runners and fans today.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Never ever thought it would happen!!

There are thoughts that come to mind of my days back in middle school and Jr. High when we had to do the mile run in PE, and of course I was one of the slowest students and had to run/walk almost every 2 minutes it seemed!!  Mile time was never better than 11 minutes and until college my thoughts of ever winning a race was 1 in a billion/non-existent!!!!

Then last weekend something of the unimaginable happened!!!! I WON A MARATHON!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):)  We went to Corbett National Park where RunningandLiving hosts the Corbett Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km, and 5km races!!!!  Having just finished Mumbai 2 months prior, I basically maintained for the last 2 months and signed up for the full, goal time of 3:15 (record time for the course is 3:16:35)!!!  So I thought since I ran a 3:06 in Mumbai, a 3:15 would be quite doable without putting too much strenuous training!!! Coming off 6 straight months of strenuous training for Mumbai, I didn't want another 2 additional!!!  Needed to give my mind and body a little break!!!!:):):)

Now this Corbett Marathon to me is something special and something of a chip on my shoulder!!!  Last year we went to Corbett and I ran the full marathon and had to quit at mile 22!!!  The heat was too much and I know I wasn't as prepared as I could have been!!!  So finishing Corbett was my ultimate goal, just to say "yeah I dominated it"!!!!  Placing top 3 in Corbett was somewhat in the back of my mind, but more of a bonus to finishing!!!:):)

Day before the race we went to pick up our race packets and of course I looked at the number of runners running the full marathon, and there were roughly 60-70 runners signed up!!  So about 10 more than last year, meaning the field should be a little more competitive!!!  Now between 2009-2011 I really didn't compete to seriously in any marathons so even though I've been running for 7 years, there was a gap that I took off from serious competition (at least in fulls, did many half's)!!!  So establishing a race week and pre-race day routine was something I wanted to do for Mumbai, which I think I have established now!!!:):)  Running the exact same distances and time that I did the week of Mumbai and having almost the exact same meals the day before AND morning of, I was feeling  a LOT more confident mentally than I was last year at this time!!!  It's amazing how much a routine can help settle the nerves of an athlete!!! You don't have to worry about what will negatively effect you because you've done it so many times!!!  Even though this is the second time I did this routine, with my time in Mumbai I know I did something right!!!:):):)

Morning of the race had my granola bars, snicker bar, cup of straight black tea, gatorade, and 2 bananas (my marathon morning meal)!!!!  Arriving to the starting line was a little more hectic than I imagined since they moved the starting line 1.5km's and that meant taxi's had trouble getting to the starting line!!  The guards wouldn't let the taxi past the 1.5 point so I did my begging and pleading, which in India I have found out if you stay persistent enough they will soon bend the rules!! So it worked, we got our taxi (of few) to drive all the way to the start!!! Like heck I and my runners were going to walk 1.5km to the start THEN run an entire full or half marathon too!!!;):):)  Gotta look after Woodstock of course!!!

The race started and there was one runner out in front of me: BENDIX!!!! That made me feel good!!!  Knowing that Bendix was on his way to winning and his pace was slightly faster than mine!!!!:):):)  The course was a down and back (for half), down and back, soooooo pretty much saw the same thing the second time out!!!!  I don't like these types of courses, but hey what can you do!!!:):)  On the way out to the first turn-around I kept pace with these 2 guys from Delhi!!!!  Ironically enough we started talking and one of them graduated from Doon School (the town down the valley from Mussoorie) and I told him I was the CC coach for Woodstock and he said that being an alumni he knows the CC coach for Doon and they were looking for teams to run against!!! I said GIVE WOODSTOCK A CALL!!!!  Having this conversation with these two guys made me solidify my theory that running is by far the MOST competitive-friendly sport out there!!!!  What other sport can you be competing but have friendly conversations, cheering on other runners, and still stay in motion/keep the heart rate up the entire time (said that last part to eliminate golf!)!!!!  I mean the friendly competition you have in running gets beat no where else!!!!  You are mainly competing against yourself, WHILE competing against others!!!  But it's the personal goals that make you bond with the other runners and make you want them to succeed just as badly as you do!!!!  IT'S AWESOME!!!!!!

After finishing my first down and back, things got very quiet!! The two guys I was talking to and Bendix had now finished their half and it was basically me and mother nature!!!!!  Picture a road with trees and bush on both sides, and a small village every 3-4 miles, with NOTHING else!! THAT is what this marathon consisted of!!! There were water stations with some volunteers every 5km, but other than that it was deserted!!!  No groups of people cheering with cowbells and signs, no other runners to give you hope and reminders of why you are this crazy to run a full marathon in the middle of no where!!!!  There was nothing!!! So this was by far the HARDEST mentally full marathon you could do!! You don't have the distractions to make time go by faster, or get that small boost of energy from the crowds!! It is YOU and the sounds of nature!!!

On the final turnaround (31.5km) I was in the home stretch!! The same spot I was in last year, but this time feeling energized and a LOT better and less exhausted!!!  After turning around I made sure I checked my watch and looked for the 2nd place runner!!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeah he didn't show up until 11 minutes after I turned around, which means I had a comfortable lead of around 22-25 minutes, assuming he was slowing down!!!  I couldn't believe it at that point!! That is when it hit me that not only am I going to finish this race, but I am in a very good position to actually win it!!! HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):) I got to my spot I quit last year and took a nice big gulp of water and spit it out on that spot, basically gesturing NOT THIS YEAR!!!!!  That alone gave me a huge energy boost!!!  With only 1.5km left of the race, I took my right hand turn into the final and by far HARDEST (literally hardest) part of the race!!! Picture a narrow, single lane, dirt, rock, and puddled road, THEN multiply that by 10 because you have just ran 25.2 miles at that point!! THAT is the pain level my feet were fighting against!!!!

I took a deep breath, sucked it in, told myself SCREW YOU 1.5KM TO FINISH, I'M GOING TO DOMINATE YOU!!!!!!!!!!  I picked up the pace, basically leaping at some points over puddles and rock patches, and got to the Woodstock cheer squad!!!!  There was Owen and Tara about .5km away, THEN my row of high fives about 500mts from the finish, and then Judy and the rest waiting at the finish line!!! WHAT A WAY TO FINISH RIGHT THERE!!!!!  Feeling so pumped and full of life, the feet were not even a factor anymore!!! Finished acrossed the line with a ginormous "YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and flexing double arm fist pump and then quickly sat down exhausted!!!!!!!:):):)  Immediately I was surrounded by my Woodstock running family, and felt a feeling I have NEVER experienced before: winner!!!!!!!:):)

I didn't know what to feel, all that was going through my head at that time was I KICKED THIS MARATHONS BUTT AND I FINISHED FOR MY WIFE, FUTURE KID, FAMILY BACK HOME, ALL OF WOODSTOCK, AND ME!!!!!!!!  First place was a distant second!!!!  With 2 miles to go that is all I was thinking about: wife, future kid, family, and Woodstock!!! There was no way I was quitting that race!!!:):):)  Not after all the talks about never quitting and giving it your all, always!!!  2 failures in a row was NOT happening!!! Winning was not expected either!!!!!!! SOOOOOOOOOO BONUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):)

Looking back at Corbett and the FUN we had, I think it's these life experiences that only running can bring!!!!  People so often see running as pointless!! Why run from one point to another!! Not even thinking of WHERE running can take you!! Literally!!:):)  With races on every continent, every country, world travelers are made because of running!!!  I would have never seriously considered Finland as quickly as I did if it wasn't for the Turku Marathon!! I wouldn't be talking to people I met in Mumbai, Delhi, and Corbett because of the races!!!  There is SO much more than running from Point A to Point B!!  Friendships, personal goals, connections, world exposure are one of the many reasons why I love running so much!!!!!:):):)

Overall Corbett was ANOTHER lifetime experience I will cherish forever!!!!:):):)  And the students/staff I went with will all have a common bond for the rest of our lives!!!!!:):):) CORBETT 2013 FOREVER!!!!:):)

HAPPY SMILING AND RUNNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):)