Book Reviews

The Name of All Things Wrap-up: A chorus of success

Terrible subtitle but you know what, if you can’t tell by my lack of blogs lately I am a little rusty. No excuses though.

So what we have is the followup to Jenn Lyons The Ruin of Kings, which if you may recall, I loved. Usually the second book in any series is the worst one, especially if it is following up a book that has initial success. Not to say they all suck, but there is usually a drop off in quality as the author seems to struggle to create another unique story and tie it in to whatever shit happens in the first book while setting up for a longer plot line. That being said, another method to take is to just not continue the story until the end, and tell a backstory of another character entirely. That is kind of what George R.R. Martin does with books 4 and 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire. If you couldn’t guess, that is the method Lyons takes.

The Name of All Things is another wild attempt to throw every fantasy element and trope into one book and hope it succeeds. And just like the first one, I found it a blast. Not as good as the first book but I would call it a grand addition to what is turning out to be an awesome series. I feel like this series is a great introduction to adult fantasy, and if I was in high school I would have thought this was the greatest thing I ever read. Not saying it is Young Adult, because it definitely has more sexually charged elements and grim brutality that wouldn’t fly in Hunger Games or some other corny shit. I more mean that the constant adventure and bloody action that isn’t bogged down by political machinations and talking about trees in vivid detail are perfect for someone who reads at an adult level but has the attention span of, well me.

Our main character in this book is Janel, who apparently is one of the four warriors or something of some prophecy. We are treated to her backstory, where she has been cursed by that demon Xaltorath so that she has super strength and every night when she falls asleep she goes to the afterlife and fights demons. Pretty cool shit. She of course runs into Relos Var and gets into some shenanigans including also fighting a dragon, meeting gods, learning bad-ass magic, and fucking people of all sexes or no sexes, this book has a lot of stuff on gender.

I found the Joratese people to have a cool culture that is based on respect and dismisses gender norms. I think Jenn Lyons kinds of beats us over the head with the gender stuff, but I learned a little bit about it so I guess it achieved it’s purpose. Eventually there is a huge battle at the end where Kihrin, Janel and gang fight a mega dragon made of swords, where they are . . . well read the book and find out I don’t feel like spoiling this one.

In the end I gotta say, I am thoroughly enjoying these books and can’t wait for the next one, which fortunately seems like I will get the chance to read next year. Lyons has an impressive work ethic. I love that she once again used the footnotes thing, this time much more for comedic relief then for filling in knowledge gaps. Some of those footnotes were funny as fuck. As for the rating, total chad book. The irony being I think Jenn Lyons would absolutely hate to see her book rated on a scale of wimpy male to alpha male but there is no denying its place.

To end this thing I just want to comment, I actually read the hardcover version of this, which is extremely rare because I normally only read e-books. The book is missing a reference mark in the text to call out the 7th footnote in one of the chapters. If anyone else notices it please take a picture and comment. It drove me god damn crazy.

Final Notes: I am debating doing a mega blog recapping everything I read this year and highlighting things I really enjoyed and really hated but it seems like a lot of work so I don’t know yet. It is a good way to seem like I am so smart for reading a lot, but does that weigh out the corniness of writing a year end roundup. O the struggles of being a blogger that no one reads. I promise this week an audiobook recap is coming. Maybe.

Race Reviews

9th Annual Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute Fort Lauderdale Turkey Trot Race Review

Date: Thursday, November 28th, 2019

Distance: 3.1 Miles

Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Time: Who cares?

Every time I run a turkey trot I always think about that stupid meme that shames people just trying to better themselves and give back to great causes. What do you hate fitness? Do you hate charity? Don’t fit shame me.

For real though as someone whose blog is 50% about his own runs it is obvious that I would be a participant in a turkey trot. What I was pleasantly surprised with this year was that I was joined by my two sisters. For my older sister this was her first race, and she specifically started running just for it. This shows that I am slowly morphing the people around me into doing the things that I enjoy. Or that my sister took on an awesome challenge and did a great job. Either way I ran it.

Lets talk about the gear briefly. In short, I am unimpressed. The t-shirt is ass. Why anyone gives a white t-shirt for anything always blows my mind but as a running shirt there could not be a lower effort more useless piece of swag. I mean the race is in fucking Florida, if I wore that shirt for 15 seconds outside you would see every follicle of nipple hair on my masculine, animalistic (gross) chest. Though cartoon turkeys make me laugh so I guess it isn’t all bad. As I write this I am also realizing that for like 5 more dollars I could have gotten a dri-fit shirt and then maybe I would not be complaining. That’s on me dog.

I have lamented in the past about the misery that is Florida running but in this case the race was so early that it really wasn’t an issue. It also helps that it was a short run but whatever. What was hot in both the heat sense and the sexually attractive sense were these fire ass turkey hats we wore.

As you can see from the lovely picture above I have a hella ugly family. Also that the race took place on the street that is right on the beach, so we were treated to a great view. The race itself was solidly organized, they had day of registration and had water at the 1 mile and 2.5 mile marks. The race was willlllld packed, if you look at the picture below you can see where the race was supposed to start, and how many people were just swarming the start line. I actually thought that was kind of funny.

To wrap up this semi boring review I will say that I had a blast running this thing. I was on vacation in Florida and traded 30 degree shit weather for 80 degree glory so no matter what that was a win. The race itself, while a little on the disorganized side was a nice relaxing run with excellent energy that didn’t take itself serious at all. I mean its a fucking turkey trot, if you can’t have fun doing that your friends prob hate you. Shout out to Jenna for running this thing, she literally started running just to do this with me and my younger sister. My younger sister finishing the whole thing with that fucking hat on was equal parts impressive and possible serial killer. That was pretty cool.

Final Notes: Got into the American Airlines Half-Marathon so expect a revival of the (Half) Marathon Mondays blog series.

Uncategorized

The Shadow Rising Audiobook Update 4: Reminiscing about Rhuidean

I have been so focused on having the blog catch up to my progress in the audiobook that I actually think I overshot it. The plan was to write about the entire Rhuidean adventure, buttttttt I have not even got close to finishing it. So I guess this leaves me no choice but to work with what I got.

I think to many it may be obvious, but I am not sure that Rand is all there mentally. I am not ready to call him the r word, as I still have a professional job and no way to sustain myself, but the dude is certainly not the brightest. So this jabroni is with our hero of the tale and they are heading into ghost town just dying of thirst when he realizes he can just magic them some water. When he finally does get some water he barely even realizes he needs to drink the stuff. I mean this guy is a grade A idiot. A Pat Shurmer type guy.

Shoutout to Mat. No surprise here but when him and Rand are on the border of entering the creepy ass fog ridden Rhuidean he says that they should go in together. Rand pulls some nasty trick where he makes the coin flip the way he wants, basically barring Mat from really being there for his friend. Mat decides that it might be nice to take a little stroll through another ter’angreal (I abhor typing that word out, I have to look it up everytime) door since he has some time to kill and gets himself back in another world, this time with some fox homies instead of I quote “snaky people.”

Instead of answering questions though, they ignore him until he asks for the holes in his memory to be filled. Then they ignore him until he asks for a way to be free of Aes Sedai and the Power. Last he asks to be away from the fox homies and get back to Rueidien. They just go “done” and start chirping him for being a fool. Those fox homies are annoying as shit.

Listen I do not think Mat handled the fox homies too well, he left a lot on the table. To be fair he didn’t exactly know the rules but I remember him actually coming out pretty ahead in the exchange. That end quote is pretty dope though. To end off this much delayed blog, a little excerpt from Chapter 24.

“Wise to ask leavetaking, when you set no price, no terms.”

“Yet fool not to first agree on price.”

I have no idea what the fuck that means but it sounds cool.

Book Reviews

The Darkness that Comes Before Wrap-up: A prophetic title

A series that always, always, always pops up on any list of top fantasy, whether it is epic, political, dark, or grimdark, is The Prince of Nothing series by R. Scott Bakker. This series never appears on the top of any of those lists, it is more like a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope series, meaning that you need enough players/books to fill up a roster so there ya go. From what I understand there is a rapid fanbase for this series, as I am sure there are people who think Kentavious is ready to take a leap or is the perfect guy to take your team to the next level, but those people are dumb. But like his name is fucking Kentavious. I actually came back to this paragraph after finishing this blog just to say that.

Now that is not to say The Darkness That Comes Before is a trash book, it had a lot of positives and got significantly better towards the end, hence the subtitle referring to the prophetic title of the book. The prologue was a little dense, but I got real hyped thinking I was about to read something great. The book is supposed to be about this holy war that mirrors some visions this sect of wizards have about a time of some earlier apocalyptic war and how we are about to have another apocalypse, but what it really is about is this one dude named Anasûrimbor Kellhus.

Lets make no mistake, the books success and allllll my enjoyment of it is entirely based on Anasûrimbor Kellhus. He is a fucking awesome character, my guess is if you don’t like him you hate this book. The book starts off with his kind of origin story, he has some dream about his dad and leaves this kind of monastery that raised him to be some super warrior/monk/psychologist. I am positive you have 897 characters in your head that already fit this description so I will do my best to explain why he is so awesome. His superness doesn’t come from having great fighting skills (which he does have), or some magical powers (which he doesn’t have), but rather from his ability to understand and manipulate the human psyche.

From the beginning he does things like observe the muscles in the mouth twitching to ascertain whether someone is being truthful, or links something someone said to some trauma that happened in their past to predict future behavior. The monkness part comes from his crew that preach the “Logos” which essentially means take the shortest path to success. He uses his abilities to manipulate a woman into loving him, an intelligent barbarian into joining him, and an entire noble class into accepting him as a prophet. As an aside, I really am tired of the intelligent, thoughtful barbarian character, but this version of it isn’t terrible.

All of this sounds very trope-y but in this case Bakker succeeds mightily. There are a lot of other story lines, the main two follow this guy Drusas Achamian, a wizard that belongs to a school known as The Mandate and the second the Emperor with his nephew Conphas. The magic dudes all belong to different schools, The Mandate is the school that has visions of the last Holy War which of course are being played out again. Conphas is some genius commandeer who is also a master politician. Both these things pale in comparison to Kellhus.

It is hard to imagine that a book which really has pretty lame action, a predictable story line, and a run-of-the-mill plot can be enjoyable, but Bakker’s special skill is creating these incredible characters. It is the depth and the creativeness of the characters that really leave you wanting more. I was dying to get more of Kellhus because I just found him to be such a fun read. His journey across the various stages of the holy war were must read, the other parts, especially the beggining shit with Achamian were pretty standard and actually leaned on boring, but if you could put up with that stuff the gold comes towards the end. It seemed like at some point Bakker knew he had something special with Kellhus and rode him to success.

Did this review tell you anything about the book? I don’t know, it was kind of just some ramblings. It is legitimately a good book, nothing special. I didn’t know this until I literally just added the cover into the blog, but my guy Steve Erikson endorsed it with that quote on the front. If that gets you to buy it then the marketing team has done their job well, if not then these fantasy book review blogs are prob not for you. I rate this as neither virgin nor chad, which seems like a very virgin thing to do. Thems the breaks when you are in the blogging game. Gotta keep yourself honest.

R Scott Bakker is an alllllll time fantasy author name. Easily top five no cap. Shout out to me for finally understanding basic photo editing and making a somewhat readable rating chart.

Journey around the Wheel of Time

The Shadow Rising Audiobook Update 3: Aiel, Aiel, and more . . . Aiel

After the lovely trip into the world of weirdo snakes the gang decides that some decisions have to be made. Fuckboy Rand makes a bunch of pointless proclamations but the main point is finally everybody gets to split up and go there own separate ways. Unfortunately Rand accompanies the hero of our story to lovely top vacation destination theeeeee Aiel Waste!

In other news, the Perrin possee make their way over to the Two Rivers to deal with the Whitecloaks, with Faile naturally bitching. There has never been a character in all of time that nags their man more then Faile Bashere. I mean this dude Perrin is yokkkkked and quite frankly a big pussy, I mean a nice guy, and all this girl does is get mad at him. Granted she found him shirtless in a room with smokeshow Berelain, which in most instances would be the end of any solid relationship so she kind of has some ground to stand on, but in typical whiny girl fashion instead of taking action she just nags him to death. That was a massive sentence. She also tricks my homie Loial into scheming to accompany Perrin, whatever they are doing shit in The Ways.

The queen of mean, Nynaeve, and her lackey ol’ Elayne decide to go to Tanchico based on some crackpot dream Egwene has. Shit pops off for them eventually, but right now we get bored to death with Elayne and Thom’s rekindling of their semi-parental relationship. To be honest that whole thing gets pretty weird.

But lets talk Mat and Moiraine. Listen say what you want about Moiraine but I am more and more thinking that she might be a top female character in all of fantasy. She is fucking hardddddd.

So an illustrious crew of Rand, Mat, Lan, Egwene, Aviendha, and some other Aiel all take the stone thing to teleport to the Aiel waste. Apparently everyone has to go to Rhuidean and become clan chiefs and wise women and stuff. But the Aiel Waste does not lack for entertainment, instantly we get a scene where Mat, and I guess Rand, get threatned by some loser wannabe Aiel Chief and Mat is ready to lay down the law.

I am going to save the trip into Rhuidean for next week, mainly because we haven’t got there, but I wanted to mention one thing. Robert Jordan is the most subtle horndog in the world. At this point the amount of women who have had to strip down and get naked to go do some task or other is crazy. In this part not only does Aviendha get naked to go run to Rhuidean, but Moiraine also whips em out. I don’t think WoT actually has any sex scenes, but Jordan sure does talk about titties a whole bunch, without ever actually saying tits. He is a master of his craft.

To be fair this did not have much talk of the Aiel, so I guess the subtitle was a little misleading. Fuck you. But also have a great weekend!

Final Notes: Say what you want about Miles Garret but him getting kicked on the ground was hysterical. All that matters is they crushed the spread.

Journey around the Wheel of Time

The Shadow Rising Audiobook Update 2: An attempted catch up

Man I have really let this weekly series fall to the wayside. As a no self blame blog, I refuse to blame myself for this, so I am forced to blame external factors. Either way, I am going to try and cover some of the wild ass events that have occurred. Try and keep in mind, much like the entire Giants season, I am coming at this from a deficit so some stuff has to be glossed over.

The battle of the Stone of Tear is something that is worthy of it’s own blog, as I believe while the battle itself is actually pretty boring, the stuff surrounding it was way more interesting. Lanfear, which I am now realizing that clearly Jordan just ran out of character names and took Lan’s name and added fear, tries once again to unsuccessfully fuck Rand. Since Rand is mostly into children, Lanfear being immortal and shit was never going to succeed. Apparently she can change her form, so if she really wanted to succeed maybe she should change her appearance to a teenager and sing some Billie Eilish while crying about her self-diagnosed depression. See I get what kids are into these days.

Whatever she doesn’t, instead she basically ruins the whole surprise attack on the Stone. What a narc. If you are team trolloc, which for the record I am not as I find them pretty boring, you would hate this move. She basically is Leonard Williams, but unlike Leonard Williams her giving away of her old team secrets didn’t lead to getting carved up by a QB who still is suffering from PTSD after watching the remake of Ghostbusters. Instead the trollocs get zapped to death by Rand. We are now approaching the part of the series where every major confrontation with trolloc’s end with them getting murked by the one power. Kinda like when a dude playing COD on a PC in commie china is going up against us free folk on xbox. The most interesting part of this was that this surprise attack might have worked, if Lanfear didn’t actively use her trolloc’s to save everyone than Rand would hopefully be dead.

Like I said, I really wanted to go into all this stuff but I am way too behind at this point so I have to pick a few things to go over. I promise to right this ship by Friday’s edition.

To end it I want to talk about Mat’s wild ride in the doorway ter’angreal. So Mat is craving for some answers to life’s biggest questions and goes into weirdo world to get some answers. The guy knows he only gets to ask three questions, so he has to play it cool. But he is NOT happy with the shit this Aelfinn pull. Here is how the thing basically goes:

  1. “Should I go home to help my people?” “You must go to Rhuidean.”
  2. “Why should I [go to Rhuidean]?” “If you do not go to Rhuidean, you will die.”
  3. “Why will I die if I do not go to Rhuidean?” “You will have sidestepped the thread of fate, left your fate to drift on the winds of time, and you will be killed by those who do not want that fate fulfilled.”

So Mat starts flipping out that they are trying to get him out of there and start rapid fires questions at them. This for some reason proves an effective strategy, as this losers actually answer him. It continues:

“What fate are you talking about? (…) What fate?” “To marry the Daughter of the Nine Moons!”

“To die and live again, and live once more a part of what was!” “To give up half the light of the world to save the world!”

“Go to Rhuidean, son of battles! Go to Rhuidean, trickster! Go, gambler! Go!”

Possible book review coming this week as well.

Marathon Mike, Race Reviews

2019 TCS New York City Marathon Race Review

Date: Sunday, November 4th, 2019

Distance: 26.2 Miles

Location: New York, NY

Time: 4:40:02

Well if you couldn’t tell by the title of this blog and the accompanying information, I finished the marathon! Though I think it would be hilarious to write a race review for a race I dropped out of, unfortunately for my perverse sense of humor that is not the case. It seems almost to minimize the event to have my entire experience documented in one simple review but I don’t feel like breaking it down into parts so one blog is all this is getting.

I think for the sake of cohesiveness and readability I am going to do this whole thing chronologically. That would mean starting with the race expo. I went to the expo the day before the race, meaning that on a day I wasn’t already in the city I lugged my ass to the Javits Center, which to you might seem like a minor complaint but I really don’t like having to go somewhere to pick up something to go do something else. Whatever.

The expo was surprisingly both organized and awesome. Walking in all the volunteers are applauding and cheering you and stuff. Really a cool way to make an entrance. You go to the booth that corresponds with your number and pick up your bib. If you have any questions, which due to lack of preparation I had several, there is a whole set up of race support. With bib in hand you go get your shirt, which I of course have a terrible picture of for the purposes of showing the full experience. They tell you to not fuck up picking the size of your shirt since they will not exchange it, this is not true they will if you complain enough. They have a whole shirt try-on area to make sure you don’t screw up this decision. They ran out of women’s mediums, which as a man doesn’t impact me at all but it almost screwed over my girlfriend. As I mentioned if you go full Karen you can get anything done. If feet are your thing my girlfriend’s toes are in the bottom of this picture. Sorry babe.

Hard to tell from the picture but that shirt is a long sleeve. Okay moving on. The expo itself was huge, first you go through their New Balance sponsored store, where they have a masssssive amount of gear to spend all your money on. I got a workout shirt, a finisher hoodie, a quarter zip and credit card debt. Worth it. After spending your hard earned money you go through to the expo part. It was all these different booths with their sponosers and other things. If you have ever been to any expo it was pretty much the same thing, but for runners. They had all kinds of backdrops to take pictures at, a million booths promoting massagers (please Hypervolt send me one of those little pieces of heaven, no free ads though) gels, bars and other consumables, and for some reason mattresses. The Honey Stinger booth gave out samples of their waffles and I had a million. I really actually had a great time at this thing and not just because I got to massage myself. That sounded weird.

That was all on Saturday. Saturday night we ate a nice delicious and nutritious meal which for me meant a giant cheeseburger and some mac-and-cheese bites. Got all my stuff together, which included a full sweatsuit, hat, and gloves that I planned on donating at the race start as well as what I was bringing. I brought two packets of Biofreeze to rub on the ol’ knees, not that I really needed it more that I had them lying around so why not. I brought two gel packets, some hand warmers, my Bose Soundsports, my Garmin Forerunner 235, my Birddogs shorts, race belt and my Mizuno Waverider 22’s. No free ads of course. With that all laid out and ready to go it was on to the event.

So for anyone not familiar with the marathon you run through all five boroughs. The race starts in Staten Island, a little shit hole that hangs off of Brooklyn, where their is a massive pre-race town they basically set up. Living in Hoboken it was like a 35-minute Uber to the start. Only time living in Hoboken made getting to a NYRR race easy. Apparently the transportation they provide would have taken way longer. O well not my problem.

Depending on your group, their are villages set up that correspond to your color. These villages are huge and contain all kinds of amenities, which is good because regardless of what mode of transportation you take, you are going to be waiting around for 4ish hours before the start of the race. Yes that is for real. They close the bridges at 7am so you are forced to go super early. To make up for this, they have booths that offer Dunkin’ coffee, Honey Stinger waffles and gels, bananas, bagels and for some odd reason therapy dogs. Also 50 million porta potties that all manage to have a line.

People did different things while they waited like read, talk, stretch, try to capture the perfect Instagram picture, but what everyone unequivocally did was freeze. Not that it was terrible out, actually the weather was perfect. It started out high 40’s and moved into the low 50’s during the race with absolutely no wind. Easily the luckiest weather situation one could imagine. It was more that you were just waiting around while the sun wasn’t up, which is chilling regardless of what you wear. That is why they recommend you buy a bunch of throw away layers, and encourage this by having donation bins all over the place to get rid of the clothes as it gets closer to race time.

About 30 minutes out they tell you to make your way to your corral, which once again I was surprised by just how organize this was. They kind of move you into this walled up pens, a little prisionish but whatever, and you wait it out until you start walking. It was here that I finally shed my layers, keeping just the Dunkin’ hat and gloves on. There are more porta potties in the corrals in case you panic that you never got the chance to go.

My wave started at 10:10am, so around 10ish you start walking to the beginning of the Verrazano Bridge. Different groups are on different parts of the bridge, but either way there are a billion people all around. The announcer did a great job of pumping up the crowd. I thought I would be more nervous at this point, but I was actually so jacked up that I was doing that thing that would-be-athletes do before intramural games and was like pumping myself up. I was really excited at this point, I am sure I could go into a whole “wow my whole journey led me to this point thing” but that is fucking corny. But for real though I did spend some time getting ready for this, you can see in the previous 16 blogs about training for it if you really care too.

So some, I think Frank Sinatra, song about New York played and the race began. I think I am going to break up this review by borough, so without further ado, the actual race!

STATEN ISLAND (Miles 0 to 1ish)

So you are in Staten Island for a total of like 10 minutes. You literally just run across the Verrazano Bridge into Brooklyn. Starting a race on a massive incline has the advantage of tiring you out right from the get-go and making you really work without proper ally warming up. They don’t call this an easy marathon. After the 2 seconds, 2 seconds too many in my opinion, you are in Staten Island, its on to Brooklyn. Also I don’t have any pictures of anything borough specific after this one, so enjoy. Every week I posted as the feature image to my training blogs an overview of the runners on the bridge, this time I am posting a picture of my actually on it.

BROOKLYN (Miles 2 to 13)

At this point I had just run down the bridge and was feeling pretty damn good. Brooklyn was amazing, the energy was great with live music every mile or so and people packed along the streets cheering on the runners. I was so enjoying it that I didn’t even throw on my music until mile 9. Brooklyn is also flat, which made it an easy enough section. There were all kinds of signs, my favorite was one that said “Don’t Trust the Fart,” because I am immature. Also for real don’t trust it. At this point of the race we were cruising, Nathalie (that is my girlfriend in case that wasn’t obvious) and I were keeping a solid pace, we were doing a good job of spacing out hydration, and feeling overall solid. The crowd was just so lively and vivacious that it was hard to feel pumped. The areas of Brooklyn you run through are really pretty, so it is an enjoyable way to look at things. Right before the halfway point we stopped real quick to pee, and then got on another bridge to enter Queens.

QUEENS (Miles 13 to 16)

A quick popover in Queens to see a bunch of parking lots and factories made this part of the run pretty forgettable. After the bridge our pace started to drop a little bit, but it never got out of hand. Queens had some places with good energy, but it was not really a pretty area so I wasn’t terribly entertained. But of course at the end of Queens is the dreaded Queensboro Bridge, which might be the most unfair obstacle to throw into a marathon ever. SO the Queensboro Bridge fucking sucks, you are in the bottom part of it so there is no sun, it is a steady incline for what feels like at least 5 miles but is actually 1, and at the end it is a steep decline that doesn’t even feel like a break because you have to bend your legs in order to avoid them snapping. I repeat, fuck that bridge. On to Manhattan.

MANHATTAN PART 1 (Miles 16 to 20ish)

This part of the race takes you all the way up First Avenue, which is a cool enough street, if devoid of anything that really stand out to look at. At this point of the race we started to fall off a steady pace a little more. That dreaded 18th mile wall never really smacked me in the face, fortunately seeing a bunch of family and friends helped out a lot here. Around mile 16 I started to feel great, the idea of only having single digit miles to go I think mentally made this whole thing seem doable. I honestly felt fantastic at this point, that changed later on but whatever switch got flipped, it stayed flipped up until like mile 24. We started to hydrate a little more frequently, about ever 2 miles or so. I had also had 2 gel packets at this point (they gave packets out at miles 11 and 18). Another bridge, another borough.

BRONX (Miles 20ish to 22ish)

The Bronx stunk. Not like actually, well a little, but it just was ugly. This could have been because it felt like a tease until the final part of the race, but also there really wasn’t much to look at. There were still a ton of people, and the energy was solid, I just didn’t like this part of the race. Fortunately it was back to Manhattan.

MANHATTAN PART 2 (Miles 22ish to 26.2)

So the last part of the race is quite the interesting little adventure. From an actual running stand-point, mile 23 is basically a giant hill, which is something you always want at the end of a race. You travel down 5th Avenue until you do a quick popover into Central Park, where you go downhill for about another mile or so until it flattens out until the end. This part of the race is brutal, at that point I was starting to lose my little feeling of elation and the constant smacking of the concrete was starting to take its toll. At mile 24 I felt my outer right calf starting to tighten. This lead to my right quad tightening, and it became hard to bend my leg. I was forced to kind of high step it every quarter mile or so for a bit in order to keep the leg from tightening up completely. There was like a good 30 seconds where I wondered what would happen if the thing locked up on me and I couldn’t run, but then I thought there was no way I was stopping at this point so it didn’t matter.

I attribute this to a few things, the first is obvious exhaustion. I had been running for 4+ hours at this point and my body was feeling it. Next was that for the second half of the race, we had taken much more water breaks, as well as gave quick hugs and high fives to people who came to see us. This kind of stop-and-go style led to lactic acid build up. It’s not like we walked at any point, it was more that the change of pace and grabbing water and shit disrupts the run. We were running slower, at the pace we were going it was not the most optimal running motion for me or Nat. The last thing is that it was a god damn marathon and shit hurts. If I ran the whole thing without any type of pain or exhaustion than it wouldn’t be a challenge. Eat shit haters.

Going up and hill and down a hill, the TCS New York City Marathon finish line was finally in sight. The crowd for the second part of Manhattan, and really the whole race, was absolutely going nuts. It was crazy motivational and inspiring and while I don’t really ever feel moved by that kind of stuff, I honestly was blown away by the crowd. New York may be a cesspool of grime and filth and the worst kind of people, but it is still the best place on earth and nothing shows that more then being cheered on by millions of people. The people in Central Park were cheering their hearts out, and it actually did help push us too the end.

Sure enough we crossed the finish line, so ending our adventure. Well not really, they make you walk another mile as a sick, sadistic way to torture you before you are allowed to exit the park. If you selected a post-race poncho you got out of the park a little earlier. I did not. For real though I am not even kidding you actually have to walk a mile out of the park. It takes 45ish minutes and is absolutely horrible. They do give you a post-race bag with an apple some snacks and some drinks. I guess that is cool.

So to wrap up this monster blog, I have a few last thoughts on the race. This is going to be super sappy so if that is not your thing stop reading. You probably have already.

First off a humongous thank you to everyone who came out to support me. Seeing my family and friends during and after the race was something that helped push me to achieve a life long dream and I will forever be thankful. I feel truly blessed to have such great people in my life who are willing to freeze their asses off just to see me for two seconds and cheer me on.

Thank you to everyone who supported me throughout this whole process. So many of you reached out during and after the race and it meant a lot. Nobody, I repeat nobody, wants to hear someone talk about running and training for a marathon, yet my family and friends were always willing to put up with me blabbing on and on about pace, mile splits, tempo runs and all other running related things. They also listened to me complain about how much time this was taking up, how I had to get up early all the time to get in a run, and how I was constantly sore and exhausted, with nothing but patience and understanding. I apologize for whining and promise I will continue to.

But I could not possibly end this blog without talking about my girlfriend Nathalie. About two years ago, Nathalie set this whole thing in motion based on me mentioning that it was a life goal to run a marathon. She carefully researched how exactly to get into the marathon and got me a NYRR membership so that I could begin the journey. She decided to embark on the journey with me and we began the process of the making the dream happen.

She was with me grinding out the 9+1, meticulously planning our runs, making sure we signed up at the right times, and constantly getting on my case about planning things better. Without her I would never have been able to sign up, get too, and meet the prerequisites to even get into this.

This year we began training for the marathon, and throughout the process she continued to encourage me to push myself in order to put myself in the best position to succeed. Her tireless efforts in her own training were inspiring. She worked her fucking ass off and it showed. She facilitated rearranging our social lives to accommodate our training schedules, she was there every time I needed to bitch about being too exhausted, and her incredible toughness and resiliency motivated me to keep working. She is a warrior.

This was one of the best experiences of my life and I could not be happier to have experienced it with her. We had an absolute blast, and through all the tough times, the fights, the whining, the pain, we always kept the goal in mind and when we both crossed the finish line it was incredible. I am so beyond proud of her and grateful we got to do this together. Thank you Nat. I love you.

While that would have been the perfect place to end this, I want to say that this is not it for me, I will continue to post about training and running and events. I am not positive what comes next, but when I do know I will be sure to write extensively, perhaps to extensively, about it. Thank you all for reading along. O yea here is what the medal looks like.