Thursday, April 24, 2014

The best things that happened during the Boston Marathon

1. The sign that said "Go Dad?"

2. Walking to the starting line there was a group of guys with a sign that said "Cigarettes, Donuts and Beer." Everyone ignored them but I asked for a beer, chugged half of it and then walked with a distinct swagger to the start. I overheard a runner behind me mutter "That guy walks like he owns this city"

3. A family had camped out on the route and the Mom just pointed at me and yelled "GO RYAN!" so I yelled back "YOU RULE!" and then she yelled "YOU RULE!" and then I yelled "WE RULE!" then a woman running in front of me asked if she ruled and I said she did.

4. Turning onto Comm Ave and feeling dead and seeing my best friends Pat and Casey with a sign that said "Harnedy How Are your Nipples?" I kinda freaked and felt AWESOME.

5. About halfway up Heartbreak Hill I heard a SURGE of cheering and thought "man, I must really be killing it!" I looked up and saw the Hoyts about 20 feet in front of me inspiring everyone to do everything they ever aspired to do.

6. Going underneath the bridge at mile 25 and seeing everyone start to walk. I wanted to walk more than ANYTHING in the world but I kept jogging. When I emerged from the tunnel I heard "YEAH RY!" and my folks were right at the end of the tunnel and I vividly remember thinking "Man think how bad it would look if I'd stopped there."

7. As I turned onto Boylston St. in my head all I could think of was the classic conversation between Coach Taylor and Matt Saracen before the last play of the last game of the first season

Coach Taylor: "You got 1 more in you?"
Matt: "I always got 1 more Coach."

8. Seeing my friend Bryan for the first time and the first thing he said was "Dude, you beat Tedy Bruschi!"

Thursday, April 17, 2014


(N) : A person who attempts to fill up extra space, pretend to be asleep, drool or take any action to discourage seatmates on public transit; similar to the way a pufferfish will enlarge itself with air to discourage predators.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

There's Another Kind of Hero By Bill Lyon, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1979.

A cold wind blew the golden leaves across the hard ground. They made a rasping sound, like a death rattle. It was a sound that matched his breathing. Harsh and grating and painful.
The sweat was frozen in crystal crusts at the end of his hair that flopped each time he took another stride and his feet fell heavily, jarringly, on the ground.
He wore sneakers that were tattered and shredded from the shrapnel of a thousand small pebbles over which he had run. His sweatpants were
gray. It was a color that matched his complexion.
His arms drooped with exhaustion, like the flowers bending to give way to winter, and his was a lost, hopeless cause. For the winner was already across the finish line, far ahead, out of sight. And the
other runners had long ago left him behind.
His legs screamed at him to stop. His lungs pleaded for rest. Even his socks seemed to fly at half-mast around his ankles, soiled flags of surrender.
In the autumn of our dreams, we are all quarterbacks. We are cunning and graceful and when we step into the huddle everyone bends forward eagerly and the crowd rises expectantly because it knows we will
deliver the bomb just as the clock blinks down to zero.
Ah, but that is in the autumn of our dreams, not the winter of our reality.
You want to know about reality? Then go watch the other autumn sport. It is called cross-country. Watch it and you will know what they mean when they speak of the loneliness of the long distance runner.
Cross-country runners don’t get scholarships. Or no-cut contracts. Or offers to endorse deodorant or panty hose or coffee or cars.
Cross-country runners get shin splints and blisters on their feet and runny noses and watery eyes. One thing more. They get a special kind of self-satisfaction that few of us are ever privileged to experience.
Oh, it is not from winning. It is merely from finishing, from ever going out there in the first place and running through puddles and briar patches and up hills and down hills and telling lies to your legs, and running on even when the others pass you, one-by-one, and geez, don’t they ever get tired, don’t they have a chest that’s on fire, don’t they ever get the dry heaves, and who cares anyway because there’s no crowd, no cheerleaders, just hard ground and ugly ol’ trees with no leaves and some guy driving by in a car, honking his horn and grinning like an idiot, and oh God why don’t I just slow down and walk for a little ways? That, friends, is reality.
Oh, us silly damn sports writers, we get all caught up in downs-and-outs and slam-dunks and power-play goals and a frost-bitten World Series ... So we tend to dismiss things like cross-country as “minor” sports, and besides, who the hell knows how to read a stopwatch past the 4-minute mark anyway?
So in our jock fantasies, the hero is the guy who scores the winning touchdown. But that is not reality. Reality is the kid you’ll see when you’re driving through a park or past a golf course, the kid with the stocking cap and the sweat-stained sneakers, loping along way behind the field, his eyes rolling wildly, this hypnotic trance of pain and puzzlement contorting his face.
Maybe he will not be able to put into words exactly why he runs. Maybe he will mention something about “gutting it out” or pushing through the pain barrier or running on because he has this curiosity that drives him to discover just how much he is capable of… or not capable of. That can be the harshest kind of reality and anyone who is willing to confront it, then he is, in the truest, purest sense, an athlete.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sidewalks Saved Me

So I used to be really fat

Like seriously...fat. Not healthy (newly fat) not dumpy (fat but still shopping at the Gap) or husky (fat but you're talking to your Mom). 

At one point in college I was 240lbs. For those playing the home game that is 4 Golden Retrievers, 2 Horse jockeys or half a rhinoceros (or a quarter depending on the rhino).

Picture for illustration (tragically the hair was on purpose) :

Being unhealthy super sucks. I'm not talking about being big or having a large build I'm talking about eating 3 sandwiches for lunch, consuming Mountain Dew instead of water and counting walking up the escalator as "earning your dinner" (which was also 3 sandwiches but with a sundae because hey, treat yourself). 

So the summer after my junior year I decided to do something about it. I started to run. ok...jog...ok run a little and then walk most of the way. Then more running...followed by walking. Basically I would run as far as I could go and then walk back. I carried this little strategy throughout senior year, after graduation and into unemployment (It was 2007...recession...Gov know...)

Sidewalks saved me. Running and walking not only helped me get my weight under control but it kept me sane during those AWFUL months after graduation where you're sending out resumes for jobs you'll never get. I couldn't control that 200 people also applied for that temp admin job, I could control that every day I got outside and exercised. 

So when I learned that there was a charity that's looking to improve the way Bostonians used sidewalks I jumped at the chance to run the Boston marathon for them. WalkBoston seeks to improve Boston for walking and running. They help fix sidewalks, organize walks and runs and encourage people to take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle: the step that gets them out of the house.

I'm running the Boston Marathon for WalkBoston and am raising money to help make Boston, and the entire state of Massachusetts a better place to walk and a better place to run. I'd really appreciate it if you could donate to my campaign: