Sunday, September 25, 2016

Today was a great day

Since I stopped using the ankle foot orthotics I have fallen three times. The first two times were probably a result of not wearing the orthotics. I say probably because those two times I stubbed my toe on a piece of raised sidewalk. The purpose of the orthotic was to prevent foot drop. Both of those times I was helped up by the people around me and hardly had a scratch. Today, while looking for goats with my daughter in the Vale of Cashmir I turned my right ankle on some very busted up asphalt.

I folded like a guy with bad cards. My left knee took most of the force and my right ankle is little swollen. While I was hobbling back home I stopped to take this picture while my daughter was looking at some art.

Yeah, I got home, put my ankle on ice, put my knee on Facebook and almost began to feel sorry for myself. Then, one of the many Michael rings that I became Facebook friends with posted this amazing comment "The Secret to life is get up one more time then you fall and you will always be a winner. You might have some scabby knees though." I had totally forgotten about the thing I did right after I fell. I GOT UP! 

Last week, when I was at mile 15 of 18 in Central Park as soon as I fell my friend Larry and a variety of tourist just lifted me into the air and onto the stone chair. Back in July, after walking a 5K in Brooklyn Bridge Park my friend Sheldon didn't give me a chance to stand up. Today I was with my lovely 16-year-old daughter, and I'm not saying she couldn't to pick me up. I'm just saying I want to give it a shot on my own. 

It is been two years, four months, two weeks and four days since I walked into my doctor's office and she told me I had Guillain-Barré syndrome and sent me to the hospital. It hasn't been since before May 7, 2014 that I was able to get myself up off the ground without the help of an occupational therapist, a friend or a stable object like a chair. 

So falling down ain't nothing. Cause I got up. 



Anyway, I have an occupational therapy appointment tomorrow just a few blocks away from an ER where they wont think I'm walking in with a stroke when I just want them to look at my ankle.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

On today's date, two years ago I decided it was time to check out of a nursing home because it ONLY took one person to transfer me between a bed and a wheelchair

Today, I walked out of my house at 5 AM, took the subway to Central Park and walked 18 miles without stopping. Three loops. That's what you gotta be able to do if you're going to do 26.2 miles in six weeks. A few years ago I was always shooting for about three hours at this distance. This morning I was very happy to come in right at my goal time of 7 1/2 hours. Then I took the subway home.

I was a little disappointed in myself for forgetting some of the things I've learned while training for over 30 marathons. Like that cotton socks are stupid and spandex underwear is very necessary. I also forgot to bring some salt with me. I also forgot to bring some Advil with me. I even tripped and then got up at mile 15. But I survived.

Before the race I actually went to the medical tent and introduced myself. I told them I have a neurological condition and this is how I walk. So if they suddenly noticed me at mile 12 they wouldn't try to yank me off the course for looking dehydrated or drunk.

Finishing an 18 mile race that is three loops of Central Park in 7 1/2 hours is kind of interesting. Besides my friend Larry who walk the whole thing with me, the next slowest runner behind me was my friend and teammate Aaron Koffler. His time was 5:10. The winner finished in 1:44. There's a lot of interesting and irrelevant math there. But it was an interesting race for me. I started last, behind about 5000 people. Almost all of them passed me twice during my first loop of Central Park. On my third loop there were no mile markers or water stations. But there were plenty of water fountains and I'm not to get lost in Central Park. I also didn't have a problem stopping and buying a Gatorade from a guy selling dirty water dogs. I just thought it would've been cool if he would've discounted the $3 price when I told him I was not a tourist.

Yesterday, I helped organize a GBS fundraiser walk. When they were no kids around I asked the nice person donating her time to do face painting to give me a temporary tattoo.


To get 80,000 pictures my friend Larry took about 80,000 pictures while he was walking with me. Below are the last 50 or so speeded up to make it look like I'm moving quickly

Friday, September 16, 2016

YO B!TCHES!! I'M BACK

Until two years, four months, two weeks and two days ago, when a rare neurological disorder literally knocked the legs out from under me, whenever I came across a publication or website that included a photograph of random runners the first thing I would do was try to figure out if I could be in the picture.

Yesterday I took my kids for a checkup and sitting in the waiting room I picked up the latest edition of Timeout New York. Flipping pages of useless or obsolete information and adds that look like articles and articles that look like ads I stopped on this page.It is page 34 of the September 14 – 20 edition of Timeout New York.I couldn't help but study the picture.

I needed to look for clues. Where was it taken? When was it taken? Was I there?

First I noticed the obvious. This is a New York Road Runners Club event because it's an ad for their organization. That was obvious. But then I noticed the strips of paper and everyone shirt. I know that recently their open run program has been doing that to keep track of finish times.I've recently been to a few of those. Some in Marine Park, but where we started Marine park the trees are not this dense.

Then I noticed this guy to the left. He's not me, I don't know (yet) who he is but he is wearing my team uniform.

Then off to the right I found my friend Larry. That made me think this was the Brooklyn Bridge Park Open Run, Every time I've been there I've been there with him. But that doesn't mean he didn't go without me.



I tried to play what Where's Waldo but I couldn't find myself in the crowd. But I didn't give up. When my son came out I explained to him that I might be in that crowd and that my old eyes and dirty eyeglasses were not being very useful. I told him that if I was there I was probably in the back and wearing a yellow hat.




It took him no time to find me.

On the left side of the picture in the back of the crowd.

That's me, in my yellow SpongeBob hat and red PPTC technical T-shirt.

In a couple of days I'm going to participate in the 18 mile New York City Marathon tuneup race. I say participate, because for now I'd rather become much more efficient walker than continue to try to run. This summer I tried to run a couple of 5K's and my time wasn't any faster than when I walked. But I finished completely exhausted and hurting in all sorts of places. So I think until after I finish the New York City Marathon on November 6 I'll focus on walking as far and as fast as I can.

In my opinion The New York City Marathon Tuneup is one of the most important and challenging races that NYRR puts on. It might be eight less miles than the New York City Marathon, but it is three full loops of Central Park. Three times up the hills in Harlem. Three times up that hill pasted that damn cat. You are also not in the best shape of your life like you are on Marathon Sunday. It's also a little too warm for 18 miles. And the one big thing it's missing is the 2 million the people cheering for you as you run. But it's not really a tuneup, it's a gut check. If you can do these 18 miles at marathon pace you'll be ready for 26.2 six weeks later. That's what I'm gonna find out this Sunday.

And click here for my past results. But they're not really that accurate. I handful of times I added a loop of the reservoir as I was doing the loop of the park because I didn't think 18 miles was enough but I like having mile markers and water stations for the run. But for 18 miles I was pretty happy to get close to three hours. On Sunday I hope to keep it under seven hours

Watch this place for further results







Sunday, September 11, 2016

Don't worry, I won't forget. That's my left elbow in the picture

I had the impossible job of trying to keep my students calm. I gave up, and just helped them try to figure out how to get home.

The drug store on the corner quickly sold out of disposable cameras.

I found this photo on my desk in the middle of September 2001.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Lucky Man

Some say I'm lucky to be alive. I never thought so. As I've said before, surviving has been part of a long-term plan. Before I got GBS I lived a relatively easy life. But I knew the pendulum was going to eventually swing the other way and I knew I might not have been able to avoid letting it hit me in the head. I didn't know if I was going to get hit by a bus, or get a terrible infection, or cancer, or a rare autoimmune condition. But I knew if I was fit it wouldn't be the end of me. So I'm not lucky to be alive, I was prepared for this.Well, maybe living in the greatest city in the world, that attracts the smartest doctors who all compete for my business helped a little.

Yeah, I am lucky to have been born and raised in New York City.  I'm also lucky to have friends who will take this walk with me and share these pictures at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Open Run.



This....




This...

.

This....



Lucky enough to appreciate the fact that when I finish last I get to be greeted like this



 Usain Bolt celebrates with fans in Rio
after winning the 200m final at the Olympic
 Stadium on Thursday.
Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Here's something I've been struggling with.... I didn't know why people are cheering for me. But then I watched the Olympics and I was really happy when Usain Bolt won the triple triple. I don't know why, but it was joyous to watch someone achieve their goals.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not comparing myself to the fastest man ever. I'm just saying that maybe neither one of us would be achieving our goals if there was no one waiting at the finish line to cheer for us.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hands of Stone

This is not about the movie. I imagine it in the movie having hands of stone is a good thing. Not for me. This blog post will be about the contraptions I use to get through my day having hands of stone.

Yeah, I've been literally climbing to the tops of mountains and virtually pounding my chest like Tarzan when I get there. But those accomplishments have all been about my lower limbs. My upper limbs have not been healing that fast.

To get through my day I need a little help. The thing that's been helping me for a long time I can't show you a picture of. I couldn't write this blog without the help of Dragon. It's the software that allows my PC to take dictation for me. I don't use all its features because I can awkwardly use a mouse, but for more than a few sentences the keyboard really doesn't work for me. I used to need a joystick mouse to move the cursor around and a big pushbutton mouse to click. But now I can use a regular mouse.









I get a lot of help in the gym from a active hands (to the right) and a cock up split (left). The splint simply keeps my wrist from stepping back when I work out on the resistance machines that I have to push. But most of the upper body workout machines are bars that you pull. And using the active hands I am able to slide my hands over the bars and get a grate upper body workout. I need to use these on both hands and cannot put them on myself. But if I get some help putting on the active hands at the beginning of my workout and then switch to the splints in the middle I can handle everything else by myself. When I started going to the gym I couldn't handle adjusting the seats or moving the pins around on the weights. I can do that now

In order to hold an eating tool or a pen I have what is called a universal cuff.  I keep the one to the left with me when I go out so if I wind up in a restaurant I can have something to hold my fork or spoon with. The slot that the utensil goes into rotates 360°, so it is also good for a pen if someone insists that I actually sign my name. I use it on my right hand and I can get up there without any assistance from someone else. I can also get the fork into it if I start with the fork in my mouth. The universal grip at right works much better because it supports my wrist. I keep it at home because it's so bulky.

To the right is a device I just discovered and I wish I found a long time ago. Most people don't think of how many times they need to open a package or a baggie. Until I got this is a sealed bag was a stopper for me. Now I can open the mail or bag of chips without asking for help.

It is called a push down tabletop scissor, I call it independence








Thanks eBay vendor McDonald832.










To the left is a handy device I also should've got a long time ago. For a while now I've been able to go out of the house and walk around the park or the neighborhood. But I couldn't get back into my apartment in less someone was there to open the door. With this I could lock or unlock the door. I also looped some TheraBands around the knob so I can pull the door shut. Without them I had to use two hands to pull the knob closed and would inevitably shut the door on my own thumb.




The front door of my apartment building is part of a landmarked block, and changing the doorknob or even the lock would require lawyers. One of my occupational therapists told me that I could sue my building to get them to install something so I can get in and out. I told her that I'm on the board of my co-op and I can just get a pushbutton lock and a lever installed on the back door.

That was easy







I can put my socks on with the help of this...





















And my shoes on with this

















And they stay laced up with these















I can cut my fingernails with these. I'm still working on the toenails though....

I can take a shower and wash all my parts with this loofa. I actually recommended to all people. ($1.49 shipped all the way from China!)









I'm sure I'll be getting a few more contraptions to help me through my daily life. I really have just one barrier to complete independence and that is as my friend Josh put it the Holy Grail of contraptions. Soon, I'll be able to climb the mountain and pound my chest with joy.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Perfect timing (a little update because it's been only six days)

The New York City's Summer Streets program is really special. For  three Saturday mornings in a row every summer the street is closed to traffic from the Brooklyn Bridge all the way to the 72nd St. entrance at Central Park. Before Guillain-Barré syndrome attempted to steal my life away I either ran this or biked it with my kids almost every time it happened.

Click here for interactive map. But I'm calling it 9 miles because 
we walked from the curb at Park Avenue to the fanciest bathrooms
 in New York City in the Waldorf-Astoria
This morning was the last Saturday it was gonna happen this year and a couple of days ago the weather forecast made it look like it was gonna be the least unpleasant day of August so far. So I put it out there that I was looking for any friends who wanted to walk from Prospect Park to Central Park. Janet walked from beginning to end with me and Mary joined us for the chunk from downtown Brooklyn to the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge.

This 9 mile walk took us about four hours. When we made it to Central Park I felt like I had the energy to walk back home, but I didn't need to. But there will other long walks in the future, runs also.

Towards the end of the walk, Janet mention this was taking her a little longer than she had planned and suggested that maybe instead of walking to Central Park when we got the 72nd St. we go right towards the subway. I agreed, but she understood later why I reneged on that because I wanted to be able to say that I walked from Prospect Park to Central Park. So then to save time I suggested we jump on a city bus on to get to the subway a little quicker. The bus was right there and without any warning a thunderstorm erupted just as we got into the bus. So instead of getting off the bus at 59th St. we stayed on the nice dry air-conditioned bus down to 23rd St. where we were still able to jump on the train. It was kinda funny to watch the tourists panic when the driver announced the last stop would be 26th Street. That was exactly where we wanted to go. I knew they were tourists because I made some scatological joke when we passed Trump Tower and they looked at me like I was a terrorist. So I made them happy a few minutes later by making sure they all knew we were driving by the Empire State building. Then we got to Madison Sq., Park and the rain was done and we step right into the subway.. We made quick connections and it was nice to look out the window of the train as we crossed the Manhattan Bridge. I always thought the views from there were underrated because you get to look back at the Brooklyn Bridge.

I've been set spending the second half of my day thinking about the first half. I take for granted that without going out of my way or giving it much thought I can travel across the Brooklyn Bridge and visit Central Park. For reasons of convenience I can take a bus passed Trump Tower and the Empire State building. Yesterday, I had to take care of some business in office that happened to be a few feet where George Washington took the oath of office for the first time. Then I went to visit my wife for lunch, to do that I walked past the New York Stock Exchange building and then had to wind my way through the tourists that were lined up to rub the gonads of that bull at the south end of Broadway. I hailed a cab home in front of the building where people had bought tickets for the Titanic's return trip and a wife and a and in wow and in will and you and and and and and the across the street from Bowling Green Park. The fence around that patch of grass has a fence that used to have crowns on it. They were removed by patriotic soldiers and turned into cannonballs that were fired at the Redcoats. As a lifetime New Yorker I take all this crap for granted.


Add caption
But I can tell you what I don't take for granted anymore. The FACT that I am now preparing to begin and complete my 30th 26.2 mile marathon. Yes, on November 6, 2016 I'll be running the New York City Marathon again. I used to take this for granted that every year I would run the New York City Marathon. Not so much anymore. Two years ago nurses had to roll me over on a schedule to keep me from getting bedsores. A year ago, I was hobbling around with a cane. Today I just woke up and walked 9 miles. I might take it for granted that it's fun to debate which bridge is better to cross the East River with. But I'm not going to take for granted the fact that I can have that choice.


Every Friday night in the summer there are fireworks and Coney Island. My teammates from the Prospect Park Track Club meet in Prospect Park and run down there for beer on the boardwalk. They left at 8 o'clock to see the fireworks at 9:30. I left at 4:30 in the afternoon. I altered my route a little to avoid the sun and got to travel down Coney Island Avenue. This New York Times article was written over 12 years ago but it still the truth.

My friend Larry accompanied me on my walk there but he had a leave early and while I was waiting for my teammates to run down there I got to enjoy a beer all by myself, it was really nice to sit there sipping on a extra-large Coney Island logger and think of how far I've come in the past two years, three months three weeks and five days.

Then all my running buddy showed up and I got to make up stories of what it was like to grow up in that half of Brooklyn.

I gave myself an extra treat and took the subway home. Living in this gentrified section of New York City sometimes I forget what a diverse and wonderful city I live in. For my 45 minute subway ride I shared the car with a handful of families all speaking different languages. I honestly don't know what many of the languages were but they were two common denominators. There were lots of little kids bouncing around because of all the sugar they just ate and they were just as many little kids passed out in their parents laps.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

New Shoes

When I walked into my doctor's office on May 7, 2014 I figured there was something wrong with my feet because I kept tripping over stuff. Not knowing what was going to come next I thought it would be best to wear one of my old beat up pairs of shoes. I used the spray chalk on roads so people knew where to put the mile markers and arrows for races. So my old shoes were hiking boots covered in spray chalk.

For the first time in two years, two months and 26 days I put on a pair of running shoes. Just to see how they felt.....


video

HOLY FUCKITY FUCK

I can do that

Tomorrow, tomorrow I'm going to go run a 5K. Run.A.FIVE.K.

Monday, August 1, 2016

It's always been one of my favorite races

I got into running so I could avoid athletics. Really.

Back in high school there wasn't anything less pleasant than gym class. Balls, mats, ropes and more balls. They were all reminders that I was just a spaz. But a couple weeks into September the gym was filled with tables. All the coaches were there recruiting for their teams and I found out that if I got onto any team I would't have to go to gym anymore. In fact, they would make Jim my last period class and without going I would get a 95.

Baseball, football, basketball, soccerball, wrestling, gymnastics they all didn't want me. I was going to drop the ball get pinned or quickly fall on my face. Then I got to the track coach, I asked him what I had to do to get on the team. It was almost 40 years ago but I can remember what he said, "Show up. Do your best." I can do that! For three seasons a year for four years I showed up to every practice and competed in every meet. I never scored a point, but that didn't hurt the team, And I did learn to enjoy running.

I probably ran about 10 times in my 10 years of college, but when I moved back to Brooklyn I decided to start running again. One of the things that inspired me to run again was the fact that I now lived a block from Prospect Park. Prospect Park became my place to train for my goal of finishing the New York City Marathon.  To read about what it was like to attempt to run the New York City Marathon as a 17-year-old and then to finish it as an adult read this blog post I wrote for the Prospect Park Track Club.

I didn't join the Prospect Park Track Club because I wanted to be part of the team. I joined because I heard they could pull some strings to get me into the race and had a bus to get me to the start of the race, But it quickly became my team. I was accepted without regard to my mediocre race times. Because, just like back in high school if I wasn't one of the first five finishers for my team I was just listed as an "also ran".

So when you're on a team where everyone is your friend being confident that you will only be an also-ran has its privileges. When I race for the Prospect Park track club I know that my best is never ever going to score any points so I might as well maximize my fun. On what is always the most humid day of the summer the New York Road. Runners club puts on a race that is the most fun. Because in order to register you must be a member of a local club and they encourage all the local clubs to have a picnic/cheering zone for their teammates. Second, the race is not coed. Men and women run separately, that makes it so each gender can cheer for the other.

According to NYRR I ran the club team championship race 15 times.The times in those results are meaningless numbers representing 5 miles. Because sometimes I tag along with the women before the men's race and other times I ran all the way to the start so I can get in some extra miles. That always made it more fun.

On May 7, 2014 I stumbled into my doctor's office, kind of hoping she was gonna give me a prescription or something and I was gonna go home. Not so much. She said me to the emergency room, and I still thought I was gonna go home. Not so much. They sent me to intensive care and then I started canceling races that I had paid for. But I was really hoping to be out of the hospital in time for the club team championship race, in August. Again, not so much. A month before the race we were picking out rehab centers for long-term recovery. I knew that's where I would be and a little piece of me was hoping to get the second best rehab center because it would've been pushing distance to Central Park. That didn't happen, and the race went on without me in 2014.  In 2015 most of my teammates didn't realize that just showing up at the race holding onto a forearm crutch was a big accomplishment for me. I shouldn't say that. They probably did realize how big deal it was, and follow my lead by not making a big deal of it.

This year I was so ready for a 5 mile race. If the men were starting an hour before the women, I
would stand a chance of finishing while people were still cheering for the women. But this year the women was starting first, so I asked the nice people at the New York Road Runners club if I could start in the back of the pack behind the women. At first, I think they thought I was asking to compete against the women. But then I referred to my recent race times and they agreed.

Nobody even noticed me standing about 50 feet behind the last woman lined up to start the race. When the horn went off everyone walked forward to the starting line and then started to run. I did the same and made a mental note that the clock already said 1:40.

Then I ran. I ran over the starting line that and I just figured I'd keep running until I had to walk. That lasted about a quarter mile, but it was a good quarter-mile because there I passed some people who recognized me and figured out what I was doing. Janelle  even took this picture of me. I was about 100 yards into a 5 mile race and already I was unable to see the back of the woman's race. [Insert sexist joke here]

For the next 4 miles I was running my own race. The course marshalls was still out there, but they were just waiting for the men's race to start. Most were sitting in the shade or busy playing with their phones. I didn't mind, I knew the route. Then, just as I expected just before I got to mile 4 the fast men started passing me. I yelled to them what I always yell out when I'm being lapped or when I'm a spectator and I get to see the lead pack. "YOU INSPIRE ME!" I was not acknowledged, but I know my words reached their ears.

In the 4th of the 5 miles of this race, most of the rest of the men passed me. There were many familiar voices personally cheering me on. Many familiar faces. There are also people I didn't even know; maybe they knew me from this blog, or Facebook or whatever. But, strangers were cheering for me. Look at the picture below. With a half a mile to go my friend Gary said he would just walk it in with me. For the last few hundred yards of the race I changed my stride so I would be running again. It was a good thing I was running... Putting on a show because in those last few hundred yards all my teammates and all the other teams were watching me finish. And they were all cheering. (I have often joked that my favorite part of the New York City Marathon is running up First Avenue. Because everyone is cheering and the winner is already in the shower so they must be cheering for me.)  I knew they were cheering for me, because they were calling my name.

But you see the kid drinking a cup of water... He had finished the race a long time ago and came back just to tell me that I inspired him to lose some weight and come back into racing.  I inspired him? 

No, I never wanted to inspire these people. I never really wanted people to cheer for me. I just wanted to needed to show my kids how a person can get up after they've been knocked down.... That sometimes you have to work extra hard just to get up.  I never wanted to inspire strangers. I was always happy to be that mediocre runner going by unnoticed. 










But as I've said before, this feedback helps. I'm really keep getting better and you can keep cheering. Because, I rather be the daddy who got up and inspires people than the daddy who fell down. So when you cheer for me, just make sure it's loud enough so my kids can hear you




Monday, July 25, 2016

If I can, I will.

There's been some big progress the last few weeks.

First, with a little bit of planning, we took a family road trip. We spent four days and three nights in a very nice hotel just outside of the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. We enjoyed the southern tips of the Finger Lakes. I have to admit, that I was a little nervous about all the traveling we all did. Everything turned out fine, and I did a few things that I took for granted in my life before acute motor axonal neuropathy.

At Robert Treman State Park in Ithaca I managed to walk barefoot on gravel and then sit with my feet dipping in the natural pool.

Sitting there, there were a few things going through my mind. Mainly,
I was trying to be in the moment. Trying to enjoy the view of my kids playing in the freshwater.

I wasn't thinking about the path I recently took, the uneven surfaces, sharp rocks. Nor was I thinking about the last two years, intensive care, blood transfusions, chemotherapy and wheelchairs and canes.


I wasn't thinking of the fact that I had no idea how I was going to stand up, or even if I could. But I did, and I don't think any of the strangers around me knew how much of a big deal that was.

I was just a guy watching his kids jump off a diving board into a pond in front of a waterfall.
video
And hang out in the waterfall

video



The next day, we went to Watkins Glen State Park. Way before the kids were born my wife and I spent half a day there. I knew we weren't far, so I suggested we go back there with the kids. Back in the 90s when it was just the wife and I we parked at the top and walked to town and back along the waterfalls. Here we were, 20 years later with our kids. I thought that was kind of cool. This time we parked at the bottom and were going to walk to the top and back. However, my plan was a little ambitious and I wisely let the rest of the family go to the top and back without me. Yeah, going up was challenging especially because there wasn't a rail to hold onto. You can Google Watkins Glen for tons of great pictures but below is one I took with my shaky hands of the stairs that I managed to get back down with some significant help from my wife.

(By the way, holding a phone and taking a picture is another thing that most of you take for granted. I consider it one of my recent accomplishments.)


Another one of my recent re-accomplishments is the fact that yesterday I managed to go to the Park Slope Food Coop and shop by myself. You might not think that's a big deal, but that place is super crowded on most days but on a Sunday afternoon did sometimes wonder why the fire department doesn't show up and clear the place out. So, getting around the aisles and filling my cart with vegan and politically correct merchandise was a great challenge. And then waiting online to find out how much everything cost, then a second line to pay, and yes a third line just to get out the door was pretty much a big deal.. The fact that I successfully did all this without falling or even dropping anything maked me think they should name that store after me. But there's probably a rule against that.

And on a similar note last week I walked out of my house and then down to the barbershop, got my haircut and came back home. All by myself. Like a grown-up.

Thanks Randy
And I'm racing again, if you want to call it that. Saturday evening I joined some of my old friends from the ultra running community in a six hour race. I first did this race back in 2012. Then, I was very happy to finish 27.44 miles in six hours. I wanted to run more than 26.2 miles that day so that it was count as an ultramarathon. And I did. This time, I really didn't have a special goal. I knew that two months ago it took me 4 hours and 40 minutes to run the 13.1 mile Brooklyn half Marathon. I figured I might be able to do 15 or 16 miles in six hours.  But I didn't figure on the fact that it was 97° when we started the race at 5 PM. The temperature actually got tolerable by 7 PM when the sun got lower. But nothing flattened the hills that we had to go up and down. In the end, I was very pleased with myself. I walked continually for six hours. About halfway through the race I was tempted to take a break on a park bench. Looking back, I'm grateful to all the mosquitoes that were there because they kept me from staying there for more than five seconds.

To the left is a picture that was snapped of me passing the buffet table. I was probably three or four loops into the ten that t that I completed.

I also have to sum it up here by saying how good it felt to be back in the community of ultra marathon runners. Just by being around them I remembered that sometimes goals are very far away and you get there just one step at a time.

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