Archive for March, 2012


My Birthday Weekend

March 26, 2012

First of all… it’s kinda weird writing that title because honestly I feel like a hypocrite.  For YEARS while I was in Virginia, I:

a) didn’t really have a ‘birthday’ per se, and
b) told everyone who would listen “Jesus, have one friggin’ birthday celebration… when you have SEVEN over a 2 week period, people are gonna pick one, fulfill their birthday commitment to you, and all you’re gonna have is disappointment due to a bunch of poorly attended birthday parties.”

Now, there were a few exceptions (80’s Hip-Hop Throwback Party, anyone?!?!), but for the most part, this was the rule.

My, how times have changed.

I’m not sure how it happened to be honest, but it just kinda ‘happened’.  This weekend turned into a big ol’ “Gach’s Birthday Extravaganza” and, as much as I tried to fight it, I kinda liked it.  Actually, I KNOW it has to do with the fact that I’m home… there’s no question it’s a comfort thing – as well as a BIG ol’ long story.  But my family/ friends were amazing this weekend – starting with a very special Thursday night dinner made by the best li’l 6 year-old entrepreneur I know (my goddaughter), to my regularly scheduled bi-weekly dinner on Friday w/ my friends, onto Saturday in the city at the 9/11 Memorial and South Street Seaport and all the way to…

My first ever 10K race!

Yup, I did it.  In preparation for my first half-marathon IN LESS THAN A FRIGGIN’ MONTH, I ran my first 10K race – the ‘Run Away From Winter 10K’ out at Duke Island Park in Bridgewater.  The running team came out IN FORCE for this one, as myself, Courtney, Mai, Nancy, Brian and Martin all ran it.  Funny thing too… for all six of us this was our first 10K race – even though 3 of them have already run half-marathons!

So, my plan for this race was as it always is:  Finish behind everyone so I get the most cheers at the end. 🙂  But seriously, the plan was to finish at 1:33:40, which is a perfect 15:00/ mile pace (or, the pace I’m training at and trying to keep for the half.)

Well… that didn’t quite work out.

Gun goes off and everyone takes off.  And I mean TAKES OFF.  Cloud of dust, and I’m right now 3rd to last out of everyone.  That’s OK though… 15 minute miles is the goal, not to win.  I put my head down to stay focused so I’m not dejected by seeing everyone run away.  I get to Mile 1 – “12:35… 12:40!” the spotter yells out.  I LOL… I mean I literally laugh out loud.  They are clearly kidding, or lying simply to keep runners spirits up, because there’s no way in God’s green Earth I’m ALL THE WAY BACK HERE and just busted out a sub-13:00 mile.  NO WAY.  Mile 2 – “25:25!”  Seriously… y’all ain’t foolin’ me. I’m not going this fast.

Mile 3 – the turnaround. “38 frumphnrumph!” Now… I have NO idea what the seconds were because, as soon as he said “38” the words (apologies in advance to my Mother and Father) “you have GOT to be f**king kidding me!” came out of my mouth.  I’m 3 miles in running sub 13:00 minute miles.


Mile 4 comes us and the split is 50:50.  I’m literally outta my mind at this point – these are essentially 12:45 miles for 4 straight miles.  I seriously have NO idea what the hell is going on.  And that’s what did me in.  I started over-thinking:

“I can’t keep up this pace.”
“I’m gonna hurt myself if I keep doing this”
“Don’t get caught up in this… 15 minutes/ mile is the goal”

Now everything starts to hurt, because I’m thinking about it all too much, and I decide to walk a little bit.  I catch my breath and start back up again.  Then, ahead in the distance, I see my boy Joe standing at one of the parking lots – dude showed up to support everyone and brought an entire cooler of Gatorade and water for us (and I heard a rumor of PBR for Martin, but that’s unconfirmed as of this posting) in case we needed any hydration… but we literally had our own personal Water Station (I need to start bringing a camera of some kind when I run b/c I needed a pic of this and couldn’t get it!)

So we chat for a few seconds as I’m running and I get back in the woods, out of the sight of any people again.  I get to Mile 5 (1:05:35) and I walk a second time, just for a few minutes to catch my breath.  At this point the final clearing comes up, so I gotta finish strong… I do just that and, with all my friends around at the finish cheering me on (see… the plans works EVERY SINGLE TIME) I finish at 1:20:50, approximately 13:00 minutes/ mile.

For me? That’s is some fast runnin’… and check out how fast my peeps we’re cruisin’:

Mai – 1:02:40
Courtney – 1:07:09
Brian – 1:07:55
Nancy – 1:13:58
Martin – 1:15:40

I’m so overwhelmingly happy with how this entire weekend turned out.  I said to Mai at brunch after the race that every single day lately I realize more and more that moving back to Jersey was the right decision. This weekend was simply 3 more days reinforcing of that very fact.

This train is movin’, people… and right now, not even Denzel Washington and Chris Pine can stop it.  Less than a month till the Rutgers half-marathon and dammit if I’m not RIGHT on track to be ready to make that happen.  Thank you to EVERYONE who made this weekend fantastic and continue to support me – from both near and far… y’all are amazing.


Upcoming Definites and Prospects!

March 18, 2012
(My Marriott friends are getting a kick outta the title for sure…)

Hello, everybody… 🙂

Been a minute so I wanted to kinda catch everyone up on what’s been goin’ on – which is A LOT.  Mainly what’s happened  – and what’s gonna be happening in the near and not-so-near future!
So my last weigh-in I hit another milestone… 50 lbs lost.  Pretty big deal for me; I JUST missed it (by .6 pounds) at my previous weigh-in so I’m now at 52.2 total pounds which is awesome.  I just keeeeep on shrinking – and apparently I have a CHIN!  🙂
I kid… kinda.  But seriously, that was pretty cool to see – and just like with breaking 300 lbs the previous week, I have y’all to thank.  So once again:
Now, as I’m sitting here relaxing after completing my first ever 10 mile run :), I kinda wanted to to tell yas what I have coming up.  I’m seriously doing this for 1 reason only – because if you wanna come out and run with us you TOTALLY should do it.  We’re kind of a fun bunch, the group I run with, and we have 2 major reasons for running:
1)  The free gifts (we LOVE us some T-shirts!), and 
2)  The brunch afterwards, which has some of the best conversations ever.
It’s pretty neat too, because it definitely cross-pollinates people from different parts of my life.  Now, I make NO secret of how… wait for it… “uncomfortable” 🙂 this normally makes me – but not in this case.  I actually kinda like it.  I think it’s because we all have one thing in common (running) when at other times, the only common denominator was me.  But, it’s a great way to make some new friends and find some new running peeps to get outside with.  This is great because – I don’t know about y’all – but I HATE running alone.
Sunday, March 25th – Duke Island Park in Bridgewater, NJRun From Winter 10K: there’s 6 of us running this one, but the more the merrier.  I know it’s next week but just know that even if you haven’t run in a while you’ll still beat me and my ‘smooth and relaxed’ pace.
This is a mock-up of the actual medal for this years
Unite Half Marathon.
Sunday, April 22nd – Rutgers University, East Brunswick, NJRutgers University Unite Half Marathon: This is gonna be a fun day… and a day I will probably cry when I finish because I’m a big (literally and figuratively) pile of mush and this is a huge goal of mine. If you think you can knock out a half (13.1 miles) and wanna join us BY ALL MEANS come on out.  We’re gonna run in a paced group (between 14-15min miles) and just enjoy the experience of doing something so big – together!
Actual cover of the local paper in 2010 after Relay…
Not gonna lie – was pretty cool to see.
Saturday May 12th – Sunday May 13th – South Lakes HS in Reston, VA Relay For Life Reston: this is less of a race and more of a cause.  I am once again representing The Pineapple Avengers as we walk to fight cancer at this truly life-changing event.  My mother is a survivior, several of my teammates are survivors… plus we have the #1 fundraising team AND the #1 individual fundraiser right now.

We have an amazing group of people doing amazing things to fight this disease, and to be a co-creator of this team knowing, between the last Relay and so far for this one, we’ve raised – just a group of friends doing something good – over $20,000 for cancer research is honestly one of the greatest accomplishments in my entire life.

** If you are unable to participate but you’d still like to donate please CLICK HERE or if you’d like to join, hit me up! **
Sunday, May 20th – Tamaques Park in Westfield, NJWestfield’s 5K and Fun Run/ Walk: So this is just a random 5K the week before Memorial Day just for fun.  But to me this might be the COOLEST RACE EVER.  Why?  It’s gonna be my Mom’s FIRST 5K EVER! Ever since I’ve been home she’s been saying she wants to do a 5K – so I found her one. 🙂 I just think it would be awesome to see all these people cheering her on – may be another one of those mushy moments for me… not gonna lie… but anyway if you wanna just do a 5K and don’t wanna do it alone – THIS is your race!
So that’s the ‘DEFINITE’ schedule.  What I am going to give now is the ‘PROSPECT’ schedule; these are the events that I (and in most cases already several friends) are planning on doing, but haven’t committed to 100% – mostly because they haven’t set them up yet OR we just haven’t gotten around to it.  But, if there’s anything you’d like to do with us, LET ME KNOW and I’ll totally keep you in the loop!
*  Cranford Jaycees Firecracker 4-Miler (7/4/12) – I mean seriously… I grew up here, live here now, and saw/ heard about it just about every 4th of July.  Of course we’re gonna run it… we just haven’t signed up yet!
Like I said… from 1 end of the island to the other!  🙂
*  LBI 18-Mile Run (Date TBD) – this is done every year, usually on Columbus Day weekend, and you run from 1 end of the island to the other… all 18 miles of it!  2012 details have yet to be released so I don’t have exact dates on it yet (the hyperlink is for the FB page)
*  Tough Mudder Tri-State (10/22-23/12) – no big fanfare from me on this, but I said I’m gonna do this at some point – and I plan on it.  My friend Naveed and I are in, but we wanna get a team together so if you’re up for it HIT ME UP and we’ll get rolling on a plan.  Before you do that, please look at website for course info as well as cost because both may be prohibitive!
*  The Las Vegas Marathon (12/2/12) – nope, not kidding… it’s totally on the radar.  It’s the 1st weekend in December and – GET THIS – you run it AT NIGHT.  Seriously how freakin’ amazing is THAT?!?!  Depending on how the Rutgers Half goes, my running friends and I are gonna sit down, probably sometime in mid-May, and decide if we really wanna move forward with this.  I’d say right now it’s about a 75% ‘yes’… or you can just come to hang out w/ us, cheer us on and hit Vegas 🙂
So this posts long enough – thank you all for reading… I do appreciate it.  🙂



My Oscar Speech

March 9, 2012

Today was a very big day for me… or, depending on how you look at it, a ‘much smaller’ day.  I’m seeing something I haven’t seen on my scale in a very VERY long time:

A ‘2’.

Not just any old ‘2’… a very specific ‘2’.  As in, a ‘2’ in the beginning of my weight.

BTW – that week in mid-February where I “lost” 9 pounds?  Didn’t happen… it was an entry error at the center – I only lost 4 🙂

This is a huge day for me… it’s a milestone in a journey that is littered with them, all equally significant in their own way.  But this one’s pretty special.  I can say that I’m no longer 300 pounds… just think about that for a second, I AM NO LONGER 300 POUNDS.

There’s a bunch of people I need to thank for this:

* My mother, for getting me back on Weight Watchers the minute I got back to New Jersey – and has continued to lose weight with me (she’s doing equally amazing, BTW)
* My father, who’s not only been supportive of what I have been doing but after seeing how well my mother and I have done has taken Lent to also jump on the bandwagon… and is doing extremely well thus far.
* My brother, who calls me every single week to check up on me after weigh-ins and gives me advice on what I can do better with diet/ exercise – and even drags me to his uber-gym every so often to work out with him in the lap of luxury. 🙂
* Team Immediates – Amanda, for bringing her sunny disposition to the gym w/ me at 5a ;); Martin, for keeping the rock alive in every single long run we do; Reilly, for leaving ‘no man behind’ on the long runs, even if that means an extra half-mile of turning around and running back to me; Joe, for finding the time to develop ‘Sidsanity’ for us as we add weight-training to our half-marathon training; and Nancy, for being the single best coach one could ask for – and whose daily motivation and commitment has been literally life-changing for me.

And last, but CERTAINLY not least… YOU.  Yes, you reading this right now.  Even if you don’t comment, share, like, etc. I know you read this.  It’s part of he beauty of the interwebs I guess… but when I look at the stats and see how many people read these posts every time I share them it’s stunning to me.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I love everyone that comments and shares their tips, experiences, etc – it’s great to hear and extra-motivating – and there are dozens of you that have done so.  But for even those that don’t, I want you to know I appreciate you taking this journey with me.

So… THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.  The journey’s far from over… I’m about 90 pounds away from my goal at this point – so that means a lotta posts still to come!

Have a great weekend, everyone 🙂


Lonely Road Of Faith

March 5, 2012

“Up and down that lonely road of faith,

I have been there,
Unprepared for the storms and the tides that rise.”

~Lonely Road Of Faith, Kid Rock
So it’s no secret that I gain clarity in my life when I can find a song to relate to (and conversely, help me understand) times in my life that lend to be confusing.  It was literally a ‘Come To Jesus’ moment when, driving down Fairfax County Parkway one afternoon over a year after my wife left, I heard “Slam” by Minutes to Midnight… it literally said everything I wanted to say but didn’t.  
And suddenly I could move on.
Actually… this is from Labor Day, 2010 and I’m the
same weight I am today.
Well, with my training now at a point where people quit, fake injuries, etc. I’m confused again.  I’m 38 years old this month, I ache for days not hours, and I’m putting my body through things even young fit people don’t think is the smartest thing to do right now.  No matter how great my weight loss will be come 4/22, I’m looking at about 275-280lbs by the time the gun goes off that morning.  That’s a lot of f**king weight to carry around.
So I find myself alone.  I don’t mean no one is around – coming home to Jersey has afforded me a luxury I haven’t had since I was in my early 20’s… a support system of people who want to see me succeed and are willing to actually help me do it.  No, I mean I’m alone because I’m having a hard time finding someone who can relate to what I’m going through.  Not in the weight loss – seriously, I have a ton of people I have never even met that keep me motivated, let alone close friends and family.  Not in the running either – have a bunch of people in that area as well.  
I’m having a hard time finding people who have run half-marathons heavy.

I don’t even know if that makes any sense, so I’ll try to explain.  Take my brother who is far and away the best conditioned athlete I know – I mean, you don’t win bodybuilding competitions at 5’10” and 155lbs unless you look ridiculous, and he was an amazing runner in HS and college (I believe he still has at least one record at East Stroudburg).  He’s a HUGE support, but he’s always been small, he definitley didn’t get the chubby gene.  Now, take some of the bloggers I read – they’ve all lost a shit-ton of weight… and then started running ridiculous amounts of half, full and ultra-marathons.  But they never did it heavy. I feel like I have no one that can TRULY understand what I am going through.
Seriously – WHERE THE HELL MY PEEPS AT?!?!?!
Which leads me to Kid Rock.  I mean… he’s not my peep or anything, although 1 drunk Vegas night I did cross paths with him (with only a blurry picture – and a blurry memory to match – as proof) but, with the 7,000 song iPod on full shuffle, ‘Lonely Road Of Faith’ came on. And for some reason – and even though it’s a love song per se – it really cleared up this little problem for me.
Faith really IS a lonely road.  No matter how much support I get from anyone (which is amazing if I haven’t clarified that enough… keep it coming) it really is:
(“So THAT is why it’s his new profile picture on FB…”)  🙂
And anyone who knows me knows that this battle is really, REALLY hard for me.  I overthink EVERYTHING.  It’s very entertaining at times… it’s even very helpful at times, especially when people want to know various perspectives on things (‘cuz I gotta LOT of different perspectives…) but, as much as it can be of assistance or humorous, it can be extremely debilitating.

I need to get slapped around a little (No, you can’t… I mean slapped around verbally.  And yes, I’m talking to you….) I need to KNOW that it really doesnt matter if anyone else has done this before as heavy as I am, or if I know this person or not, it just matters that I have the faith that I can do it… that I believe I can run 13.1 miles on 4/22… that I trust in my training and it will all come to pass. To be honest, I have my doubts.  But as La Diabla tells us every time we’re out running:

First 1/3 of the race is with your legs,
Second 1/3 of the race is with your head, 
Last 1/3 of the race is with your heart.
Ironically, I completed my 1st 9-mile run earlier in the day I’m typing this… which, when broken down, is the tail end of the 2nd 1/3 of a half-marathon (or the ‘head’ part).

It’s in my head, so now it’s up to me to get it out.  

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