My Blessing and My Curse
Sunday, October 18, 2015

Drive.  It’s the only word I can come up with to describe the absolute insanity; no, stupidity of today.  I’m one week away from the Marine Corps Marathon and I decided it was a good idea to skate three hockey games today.  The first game was a college game, followed by a middle school game and finally an adult A-league game.  I spent the better part of six hours on the ice today beating the crap out of my feet and putting myself at risk and in harm’s way.

As much as I hate to admit it, I thought all day yesterday and this morning about how dumb it was to go and skate those games.  After 15 weeks of training to put myself in the position I’m in to be able to complete my 10th marathon, injury is always a possibility when you’re on the ice.  Especially when you’re doing higher level games.  Not that I would classify Georgetown vs. Salisbury University as “high level,” but it’s still faster than a peewee game with much more movement and bigger bodies on the ice.  Truthfully, when I’m skating games I never think about injury, because you just go about your business.  But when I have so much riding on next Sunday I really went into today a little tentative and hoping I would come out on the other side unscathed.  So how did it go today?  All in all, other than some sore feet, which should really be a non-issue I would say I only had two close calls all day.  One puck fired off the glass that successfully ducked and one that was thrown hard down the boards that caught my in the skate, but was along the ice so it only rattled my blade.  It scared me a little because I never saw it, but those things happen all the time.  The last thing I needed was to break my foot, or blow out my knee today.  Injuries that I have suffered and known others to suffer.  I am happy to report that I’m glad today is over.

It made me ponder the question though.  Why?  The only thing I can come up with is drive.  It is the drive that I have to continue to push myself at the things I choose to do because I love them.  If I’m being completely honest I questioned how much I loved what I was doing today, but as I’ve already mentioned, I was skating tentatively.  My heart probably wasn’t 100% into what I was doing today.  You go through those ebbs and flows over the course of a season.  I won’t put too much on it for now.  I’ll get through the marathon and see how November treats me before I make any drastic decisions.  But back to drive.  I am driven.  Plain and simple.  I’m driven to do my best and to try and be the best at whatever I am doing.  I’ve always had it in me.  Some people think it’s crazy.  I think it’s crazy.  But it is who I am.  It’s that same drive that will push me at some point a week from now, to finish what I started and to get myself across the finish line.  So I guess you could say that it’s the drive in me that is both my blessing and my curse.

Run on…

Less than a week to go...

Less than a week to go…

First of many checks of the forecast this week...

First of many checks of the forecast this week…

Speaks for Itself
Saturday, October 17, 2015

So a quick change of plans for the weekend forced me to switch back to doing my “long run” today.  Originally scheduled to work two hockey games tomorrow, I picked up a third game because  of a cancellation.  I don’t particularly like skating three in a row any more, but I figured what the heck.  I haven’t skated much so far this season.  As a result I moved tomorrow’s 8-miler to today and I couldn’t have asked for better weather.  The weird thing about the run was the distance.  I realized when I started out that I haven’t really run that distance here yet.  I’ve done 4, 5, 5 1/2, 7, 7 1/2 and 10, but not 8.  So I ran my usual 10-mile route and cut out the extra piece that extended it by a little over 2-miles.  I knew it would be fairly close to getting me back to where I started from, but wasn’t sure.  As it turned out I had a short walk when I finished to get back home.  And as I walked along I came up with the idea to do a live blog post for tonight.  So here it is.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

So a quick change of plans for the weekend forced me to switch back to doing my “long run” today.  Originally scheduled to work two hockey games tomorrow, I picked up a third game because  of a cancellation.  I don’t particularly like skating three in a row any more, but I figured what the heck.  I haven’t skated much so far this season.  As a result I moved tomorrow’s 8-miler to today and I couldn’t have asked for better weather.  The weird thing about the run was the distance.  I realized when I started out that I haven’t really run that distance here yet.  I’ve done 4, 5, 5 1/2, 7, 7 1/2 and 10, but not 8.  So I ran my usual 10-mile route and cut out the extra piece that extended it by a little over 2-miles.  I knew it would be fairly close to getting me back to where I started from, but wasn’t sure.  As it turned out I had a short walk when I finished to get back home.  And as I walked along I came up with the idea to do a live blog post for tonight.  So here it is.

How Did I Do This?
Friday, October 16, 2015

I’m a superstitious person by nature.  I don’t deviate much from habits I’ve formed or from doing things a certain way because I fear that bad karma will follow any change to something that “works” for me.  I know it’s ridiculous, but I’ve always been that way.  When I played sports, and now officiate, I use the same combinations of clothes, the same types of accessories and dress in a particular order because of this superstitious nature.  Sometimes it drives me nuts.  Like when I’m watching one of my favorite sports teams on television and I notice that I’m sitting a certain way, I feel as though I need to sit in the same position, lining my remote controls up on the coffee table in ascending order of height and length or only getting up when there are commercials on.  My poor dog Jasmine was forced to sit on the couch with me for a few weeks after my Oakland Raiders won their first game of the year this year and she happened to be on the couch with me for the winning drive.  Call me nuts.  I’m o.k. with it.

I tell you that to tell you this.  I’m a little unsure about speaking as though I’m finished with training or that I’ve reached the starting line because my reality is that I still have 8 workouts remaining before I reach the starting line.  So without making any assumptions, I’ve asked myself the past few days how I have done this?  By this, I am speaking about getting through training, but moreover, how I maintained the discipline to not only stick to my training, but doing so while working my regular job which requires a lot of hours, and then coming home with very little time to do much else but eat and post on this blog.  If I’m being completely honest I questioned whether or not I would be able to stick to my commitment of blogging every day throughout training.  I based this doubt on two things.  1.  There are only so many topics (or so I thought) that I could write about.  2.  Sixteen weeks; 112 days is a long time.  Surely I would not be able to consistently ensure that I would have the time to post on this blog every single day.

Well, in truth, I did miss three or so days, where I posted that I was taking the night off, or missed posting altogether (I think that only happened once).  Again, I still have 8 days remaining plus race day so I don’t want to speak as though I’ve already not only completed my runs, but my blog posts.  That statement counters my superstition so I’m good.  Back to my question.  How did i do this?  While I ran my 2-miler on the treadmill this morning (for reasons not related at all to my friend from yesterday, I came up with one of the easiest answers because I didn’t really have to think about it much.  It’s passion.  I believe that when you are fully committed to something and you decide in your mind that you are going to do something you become passionate about it, and it is passion that gets you to do things you might not otherwise do.  It’s a mindset.  I write often about the connection between one’s mind and body and it is my belief that your mind is your passion meter.  It’s the oldest cliche’s in the book, but if you put your mind to it, there isn’t much you can’t do.

As I look back at the past, now almost fifteen weeks, I realize that I set my mind to it, and then I really didn’t think about it.  I just created a habitual pattern that I have followed for this period of time.  It makes me wonder what to do with this blog when it’s all over in 9 days.  I haven’t really decided yet, but I know that given my propensity for forming habits and superstitions I wouldn’t be surprised if I kept it going, at least until the spell is broken.  Perhaps the spell is passion?

Run on…

An Interesting Morning and a Throwback
Thursday, October 15, 2015

Who knew I could jam so much into a 26:07 run before work?  Not only did I get 3.25 miles in during that time, but I also snapped an amazing photo of the sunrise, continued to battle with my hamstring that is improving ever so slightly day by day, and almost got run over by a van.  That’s where the story takes a twist.  I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write about this, but with only ten days remaining, what would marathon training be without some excitement?

Somewhere between miles 2 and 3 the darkness had not yet given way to daylight and the rising sun.  That’s a very complicated way to say that it was still fairly dark out.  On mornings like today I am very acutely aware of my surroundings because you have to take extra care to ensure your footfalls land on something stable and solid.  You also have to assume that nobody who is behind the wheel of an approaching vehicle (either from in front of you or behind you) can see you.  So it was between miles 2 and 3.  A van was approaching at a “faster than the speed limit” speed.  Which is normally an irritant for me to begin with, but I get it.  I have a lead foot and I rarely follow the speed limit.  What was equally, if not more, troubling was the trajectory that this van was taking as it approached me from in front of me.  My best description is that the van was drifting.  Drifting ever so slightly toward me and off the road.  When the vehicle got within 20-30 feet of me I was forced to jump off the solid pavement and into a yard and around some bushes.  At around that same time this particular driver realized he was “drifting” and veered back on course.  Irritated I loudly exclaimed something I would rather not repeat, but it was something in the neighborhood of “Are you [freakin’] kidding me?”  Evidently the driver had his windows down or had excellent hearing, because a few seconds later the van stopped and I could hear the driver yelling back in my direction.  He was asking me to “look here.”  Along with some other few choice words I would rather not repeat.

I have to admit that for a few split seconds when he was asking me to “look here” I wondered if he was going to shoot me.  Ridiculous as that may sound, we do live in a time where anger seems to engulf most of our society in one way or another, and I’m not sure why, but that’s where my thoughts went immediately.  I also wondered if I shouldn’t have said anything, but I reacted very quickly.  I truly felt as though I was in danger, so I didn’t regret saying what I said.  As I’ve had time to review it after the fact, I don’t think I could really change much of anything about what took place.  At the moment of fear of getting hit by a car (van) I reacted.  Plain and simple.  My heart was racing.  It reminded me of the danger that lurks when there is a lack of daylight.

Shortly after hearing him call for my attention, the van pulled up along side me on the road and the driver yelled out his window, “What did you say?”  I momentarily stopped running and repeated what I said.  I then explained that I thought he was going to run me over, and I reacted.  But he didn’t want to hear that.  This older gentleman decided he was going to get out of his vehicle, challenge me and proceeded to share with me that I should be wearing a light.  You should know that I have a light.  I chose not to wear it.  I do have a bright orange reflective shirt.  My hat and my shoes all have reflectors on them.  Honestly, the guy was probably right about that, but at that moment, I didn’t really think it was his place to tell me what I should and should not be wearing.  I wondered if he was going to continue walking toward me aggressively as I stood on the sidewalk facing him.  I was prepared to defend myself, but I wasn’t going anywhere.  As he continued to yell, thankfully he stopped in the middle of the street.  I was thankful because at that moment I wondered if I would have to lay this guy out, and whether or not I would be arrested for doing so, and what affect that might have on my job.  Honestly, that’s what I was thinking at that moment.  That, and “maybe I should have had a light on, but there’s nothing I can do about that now.”

I decided that the best course of action was to say, “You’re right, I should get a light.  My bad dude.  Thanks for the tip.”  I then started to run again.  And as I did, this guy called me something that I won’t repeat on here, but it made me and Becky laugh later when I told her what he said.  All in all, a pretty crazy Thursday morning on an otherwise uneventful day of running.  But it’s days like today that end up making the whole process interesting and creates memories that we will have for years to come.  Nobody said they were all fun or positive memories.  Totally unrelated, but this morning kept reminding me of another incident that happened back in 2007 when I was recuperating from plantar fasciitis.  I wrote about it on my old blog right here.  Completely different and yet similar in so many ways.

Run on…







In the Dark Here
Wednesday, October 14, 2015

This one is really going to drive my wife crazy.  She absolutely cannot stand the performance of Al Pacino in the movie Scent of a Woman.  On the other hand, I love the movie.  If I see it on television while flipping the channels I will stop and watch whatever is left of the movie every single time.  Not to worry, this movie also has a running theme, at least as far as I’m concerned.

For the past few weeks I’ve been heading outside for my daily runs (weekends excluded) and have been faced with an ever increasing amount of darkness.  There will be a time, very soon, when my runs will be started and completed in darkness.  In fact, I think that time is getting pretty close right now.  At this time of year, which I can remind you, is my favorite time of year, invariably I think of one particular line from that movie.  I may have thought about the line prior to today, but I’m not 100% positive.  Since I cannot recall thinking about it before I will say that today was the day that it came to me for the first time this year.

In actuality, it’s really kind of a silly thing.  I probably wouldn’t make much of a big deal out of it, if not for Becky’s hatred of the line.  When I exit the door and enter what seems to be complete and total darkness I utter this line.  In my mind I repeat it often as I await the daylight that fairly soon will not come.  Here is the line:

Today, in the dark, I went outside for my second to last speed session and wasn’t sure about my right hamstring.  Although it felt better last evening I was curious to see how it would respond.  During the 1-1/2 mile warm-up it seems to be a bit more loose than yesterday so I decided to push it a bit and start my intervals.  If it wasn’t cooperating or if I felt I was hurting myself further I would back off.  I definitely took myself right to the edge and challenged the limits of the hamstring, but other than cutting the workout down to just 4-Yasso 800’s (workout called for 6-8), I can report that my hamstring cooperated and I think I’m on my way to full recovery.  It may be another few days before I’ll declare it 100% but today it was probably at 80%.  The times, although really kind of irrelevant, were fast, but slower than my recent 800’s have been.  That is to be expected, given the state of my hamstring.  At times it felt like I was running on one leg.

I’ll take it easy the rest of the week and try to limit the amount of total damage to my body as I am nearly into “singles.”  Just 10 days remain before marathon #10.  Just 10 more workouts remain before I toe the starting line, with the first of those coming tomorrow morning…….in the dark!!!

Run on…

A Whole Lotta Random
Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On this, the second-to-last Tuesday of training I have a bunch of seemingly unrelated randomness to share.  Perhaps it’s writer’s block, after coming up with topics for the better part of 100 consecutive days, or perhaps it’s just that I have a whole lot of random to share.  No sense in putting more random, so let’s get to it:

  • Yesterday I posted directions on how to order a personalized copy of my book, and mentioned that you need a Paypal account.  Not true.  If you are interested in ordering a signed copy or just a clean copy from me, it will cost you 14.99 (which includes shipping).  All I need is an email address and your mailing address, and if you have a credit card or a Paypal account, you can pay with either once I send you an invoice via email.  Sorry for any confusion.

  • Based on the slow start to sales, I decided to put together a teaser/trailer.  Got a minute and a half?  Check this out:

  • Injury update:  Tweaked my right hammy during yesterday’s run.  Probably shouldn’t have run this morning, but I’m in the midst of a streak that is now up to 144 consecutive days, so that wasn’t going to happen.  Although it was sore, I worked through it and slowed down about 45 seconds to a minute slower than I would normally run.  It’s better tonight than it was last night.  The test comes tomorrow when the workout calls for 8 Yasso 800’s in one of my final two speed workouts.  Stay tuned.  Hopefully I’ll be smart in the a.m.

  • I was curious to see how much mileage I’ve logged during “the streak” and I was amazed to see that I’ve done 644.55 miles since it started on May 23.  For comparison purposes, I ran a total of 549.2 all of 2014.

  • While I’m counting miles, my total “in training” miles for the Marine Corps has now reached 480.8 miles. Overall, some staggering numbers.

I thought I’d also share some pictures.  One of the “official” race photos (a rare action photo) from this past Sunday and a look at my special delivery yesterday.

Tonight is the Pittsburgh Penguins home opener, so back to hockey.

Run on…

Greene Turtle 5k Action Shot

Greene Turtle 5k Action Shot

My "stock" has arrived

My “stock” has arrived

Random Beard selfie (future post on "the Beard" coming)

Random Beard selfie (future post on “the Beard” coming)

What’s in a Book?
Monday, October 12, 2015

Under thirteen days to go until the running of the Marine Corps Marathon, and on my run this morning I tweaked my hamstring.  I was probably running too hard for running on the coldest morning of training and on the heels of yesterday’s hard race run.  For some reason I just never seem to learn.  Fortunately there are still almost two weeks to go, so plenty of time to work the kinks out.

I also received a special delivery today.  I placed a large quantity order of my book to use for re-sale and for at least one book signing that is the process of being scheduled.  I am hoping to get another one on my schedule in the next couple of weeks/months as I continue to find ways to market the book and get it into the hands of readers.  If you are interested in obtaining a personalized and signed copy, contact me at  You will need a Paypal account and a mailing address.

I thought I might spend a few moments tonight recognizing all of the people who I mentioned throughout the book, since I became aware recently from at least one Facebook post that someone named in the book didn’t even know I was publishing a book.  It was at that moment I realized I should probably go ahead and find a way to at least let those people know they are mentioned in my book.  It’s not something I really thought much about, but after giving it some thought, who wouldn’t want to know that they’ve been mentioned in a book?  Even if it’s not destined to become a New York Times Bestseller, let alone just a “seller.”

So without further delay, here is a semi-comprehensive list of people named in my book, and whom I know.  This is actually in the order of appearance:

Linda Flanagan
Ruth Malone
Dr. Cathy Townsend
Ron Pavic
Kathy Pavic
Rick Pavic
Tom Marshall
Indiana Road Runner’s Club
Ann Reckner Barron
Ron Mock
Lindsay Mock
R.J. Semelsberger
Todd Euen
Mike Prozialeck
Charlie Barron
Rick Speicher
Jason Kaminsky
Dave Roman
Matt Wincer
Missy Wincer
Francis Truscello, Sr.
Tom Pavic
Dr. Spiro Papas
Sam Poloyac
Kris Newcomb Poloyac
Rachel Salsbury
Kylan Turner
Don Pavic
Marianne Pavic
Carolyn Zambanini
Shari Zeigler
Jaime Pavic Borden
Mike Borden
Alecia Pavic Heidt
Brett Shaffer
Kyle Shaffer
Tracy Shaffer Price
Dr. John Flanagan
Joe Shetler
Brad Cober
Tom Mishler
Mike Bennese
Mike Hodack

It is important to remember that when I was writing this book over the 9+ years, I never gave it much thought as to who I was putting in the book or not including in the book.  I was simply writing a story, almost in real time as it was happening.  There are a lot of people I wish I would have included in the book, but the writing didn’t take me there, and I didn’t want to include someone just for the sake of getting them into the book.  Some people might be bothered by that, but I hope that isn’t the case.  It was interesting to me, as I looked back and re-read the book and picked out individual names, how many people I did mention.  There were others I didn’t include here, but mostly because I don’t know them personally.  For instance, I mention Ben Affleck (you’ll have to buy the book to find out why) and Andrew Stockey from Channel 4 News in Pittsburgh.  I high-fived at least one NFL mascot (buy the book to find out), and spoke to and met at least one other actor not named Ben Affleck.

For those that made it, and even those who didn’t, now you know the answer to the question– a story and a whole lot of names!

Run on…