Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thanks Everybody!

I'd like to thank everyone for their congratulations on my performance this past Sunday. I know some of you out there might still think how crazy a person needs to be in order to do 26 miles plus, and in some ways I have to admit your right. Guess I can't help myself :-)

Tuesdays after the Marathon are always physically tougher for me than Mondays. I tend to think that perhaps my muscles are still in shock on Monday and the reality of pain does not set in right away. I feel better today, and unlike yesterday, it did not take me 2 minutes to get up off the toilet seat, or spend 3 minutes to go down a flight of stairs either.

My kitchen is still fairly loaded with high carb, and some bad foods. Once I am done with it, I plan on replacing it with good food. One thing that was mentioned to me in the office today, which I agree with, is how bread adds weight. And I agree. Unless we're talking a sandwich, I plan to cut back bread. No more bread with dinner.

I'm also going back to egg whites only too. Hearing about that poor man who died in the Marathon on Sunday from a heart attack, makes me wonder about my cholesterol. My last visit to the docs was back in Feb of this year. My count was 219. He said it was "ok". I thought anything over 200 was not okay. Either way, I have a doctors appointment in less than 2 weeks. They will be taking blood, and we'll see how I am doing.

Actually there were two men who passed away on Sunday. One of them was not only in my wave/corral, but he finished less than 4 minutes after I did. For all I know, I might have been running alongside him for quite some time.

Anthony Rieber from Newsday (a local paper in Long Island, NY) had some scathing words about the absence of what seemed like some proper respect for these two poor souls who have lost their lives. It was so interesting to me, that I have block quoted the article below. Enjoy:

Why does Marathon get a pass after deaths?
by Anthony Rieber
November 4, 2008

It's one of the great myths in all of New York sports: There are no
losers in the New York City Marathon. If you finish, you're a winner. If you walk across the finish line because you're too tired to run anymore, you're a winner. If you
can't finish, but you try, you're a winner. Except there were two losers Sunday: Carlos Jose Gomes and "unidentified man."

Gomes and another man died Sunday after running the 26.2 miles of the marathon course. The New York Road Runners, the organizer of the event, said they were the first marathon-related fatalities since 1994, even though two runners died last year.

Technically, Ryan Shay died the day before the 2007 New York City Marathon during the U.S. Olympic trials, and a 50-year-old man died the day after running the event. So they aren't counted by the Road Runners as marathon-related deaths.

How comforting.

Apparently, two dead out of the 37,899 who finished Sunday is some sort of acceptable loss.

How nice it must be for road running to have a place in the sports world so exalted that death - whether by highly trained athletes such as Shay or amateurs such as Gomes, 58, who went into cardiac arrest Sunday in Central Park after completing the race and died at Lenox Hill Hospital a few hours later - cannot spoil the good vibes.

How nice it must be for a sport to have two people die at the end of its signature event and not have the working media - TV, newspapers, radio - let that pre-empt the gushing coverage that always accompanies the marathon.

As if a negative word somehow would bring the marathon down to the level of those other sports in which the death of participants is always a possibility.

We can think of two: auto racing and boxing. And those sports don't bring in the same, shall we say, demographic as the marathon. Those sports sell beer and trucks to Joe the Plumber, not fine wine and Lexuses to Joseph the CEO.

Can you imagine the outcry today from marathon sponsors such as Ch. 4 in New York and The New York Times if a big boxing match in the city ended with participants dying?

There would be the usual calls for the sport to be banned. The government would be asked to intervene, as if that would solve anything. We would see the usual hand-wringing about how a civilized society can allow such barbarism. How people can be allowed to die for something so inconsequential as sports.

The marathon, of course, is not merely allowed. It is celebrated, especially by the news organizations that have a direct financial stake in its success.

As a sports fan, if you dare say a negative word about it, you are consigned to the ranks of the knuckle-draggers who care about only football and baseball and basketball and hockey. You know, the popular sports, the ones in which people care about the outcomes.

The marathon? It's a nice event, a nice showcase for regular people who like to push themselves, as my good friend and Newsday colleague Jim Baumbach did Sunday.

Baumbach ran his first marathon and chronicled it in the pages of Newsday. It was inspirational to see him achieve this goal and listen to him talk about doing it again someday.

When I went to the official NYC Marathon Web site yesterday, I didn't expect to see a tribute to Baumbach and the other first-timers. I did see tributes to women's winner Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain and men's winner Marilson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil.

What I didn't see was a mention of another Brazilian - the late Carlos Jose Gomes, who was from Sao Paulo. Nor was there a story about the other man, who had not been identified as of yesterday afternoon.

Apparently, when the book is written about the 2008 New York City Marathon, those two men will just be sad footnotes.

Oh, and if you go to the official Marathon Web site, you can see a countdown clock
to the 2009 New York City Marathon.

Let's hope next year, there really are only winners.

Almost inflammatory wouldn't you agree? And yet, I agree with him too. Everytime someone dies in my sport, it feels like its treated as hush-hush, unless you are already famous, like Jim Fixx or more recently, Ryan Shay.

If it was never obvious before, then let this serve notice to everyone...Marathoning is an incredible sport, which can be also incredibly dangerous for people who do not train properly, or for whom are genetic deficiencies which can put them for serious risk of death, such as was the case with Ryan Shay.

We all have to sign on the line indicating our reality of the risk of undertaking such a powerful challenge.

However, and while no one wants to die before their time (assuming anyone of us even knew what that time really was), these people died doing what they wanted to do. I know that sounds kinda schmaltzy, but we do all have to die eventually. Immortality is not an option. But doing something that is enjoyable to you is.

Live Passionately. Laugh Uncontrollably. Love Unconditionally.

Here is some additional information from the race of races....

  1. Women's race winner Paula Radcliffe referred to her disappointing losses at the Athens and Beijing Olympics, which were then followed by NYC Marathon wins, "It does make it frustrating, You think, 'Why can I get it right in New York and can't get it right there? But you have to take what life gives you."
  2. Men's race winner Marilson Gomes dos Santos discussed his unexpected 2006 win, "I proved it wasn't a fluke last year. I've seen many races decided in the last minute. I didn't lose hope. I kept pushing: That's why I won. In the marathon, you know you've won when you cross the finish line, not before."
  3. Besides the two runners that had died, other runners collapsed, one on the 59th Street Bridge and another at Fifth Avenue and 107th Street.
  4. Cabdrivers suffered through the day, which they think is the worst day of the year for driving, what with chunks of all boroughs shut off.
  5. Howard Stern's wife Beth Ostrosky finished the race in four hours 15 minutes, raising $300,000 for the North Shore Animal League in the process. Actor Ryan Reynolds ran the race, too, raising $79,000 for Parkinson's disease research; he vowed to the Daily News' Joe Piazza that he would eat his body weight in raw dough.
  6. Firefighter Matthew Long, injured when riding his bike to work and a bus hit him during the 2005 transit strike (he was hospitalized for half a year, had surgeries and many blood transfusions), finished the race in seven hours and 21 minutes.

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