Thursday, November 30, 2006

Har Har Har

In response to the e-mail below, a friend o' mine sent me this. Quite the cut-up:

HOLY #$%^&( cow!

That may be impressive but I had an accomplishing day too.

Here is my breakdown :

8:00 a.m. :why the heck does the radio keep talking about a marathon. There are no teams, no innings, no quaters, no periods, no NL, no AL, no NFC, no AFC. Its not a sport - its a 26-mile-long torture chanber for suicidal NYers ( or in your case, former NYers)

9:00 a.m.
:ran to the refridgerator, grabbed milk, jogged to the pantry and grabbed cereal, skipped over to the cabinet to grab a bowl.

9:02 a.m. :blacked out from exhaustion - only to find I spilled the milk - so I do the safe thing and drive over to the local bagel shop with a drive in window so I don't have to get out of my car.

9:25 a.m. :breakfast is over. Countdown to Giants game commences

9:28 a.m. :started to get hungry again. Tried to resist - but I failed.

9:30 a.m. :screaming at my kids thats its a beautiful day, they have to go outside and play - Totty needs to nap

10:00 a.m. :put my feet up on the couch

6:00 a.m. :Wake up in a daze - and sooo charley horse

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Know what? Maybe I'll put all my non-published work here for posterity. I'll place the e-mail I sent out to friends about my recent NYC Marathon run. Here it is:

As you may know, yesterday I ran my 7th consecutive NYC Marathon, 9th NYC overall and 11th Marathon overall. I set a personal best at 4:24:49 and dedicated the race for a refuah for David Yifrach ben Frida.


Pre-race: My car service was 40 minutes late, which did not please me, but it got me to the Continental Airlines Arena where I hopped on a bus to the start in Staten Island. I hung around at the minyan, re-made some acquaintances, shepped naches from a Sea Gate fellow who keeps recruiting more heimishe runners. After davening, I hung out with my 4:30 pace team. A german couple was talking about the signs on my back (1. "If I'm walking, pat my back, thanks!", 2. Refuah sheleimah to David, 3., 4. My pace bib) Didn't they see my yarmulka? Don't they understand I pretty much understood 4/5th of what they were talking about? Silly Germans.

Start: The walk up to the start is fun. There's a big sign showing you the finish line, volunteers screaming for you, and one oddity: We walk through columns of rumbling buses, which act like barricades to guide us toward the start in an orderly fashion. I'd like to paraphrase my thoughts about this: "I love the smell of carbon monoxide in the morning." :-)
The Canon fires, and echoes all around, and we're off, and Sinatra's singing "New York, New York" and the speakers malfunction for about 20 seconds and everyone knows the lyrics anyway.

Start line: It took me and my pace team over 5 minutes to get to the start, that's about average. Also, no matter how many times I do this, I simply cannot and will not ever get used to the Verrazano bridge bouncing up and hitting me in the heels. Every year this startles the runners around me too. It's quite alarming

Mile 1: Feeling good, keeping up with my team, not liking helicopters hovering directly over the runners. It bothers me a little.

Mile 2: Another sight I'll never get used to. Female runners ummm, shall we say, answering the call of nature.

Mile 3: Brooklyn! Ahhhh, my old home town. There's nothing as geshmak as a clunky-sounding cowbell to rev up the runners. More cowbell! (two points for the first 5 people who get the reference)

Mile 4: Something odd is going on with my pace team, they're going way too slow for me. If I dial it back a notch, I'd be walking, so I dial it up just a notch, and suddenly they're eating my dust! So I lose 'em.

Mile 4.7: I meet my two of my sisters, my niece, my stepdad, my old Brooklyn mailman, snap some pictures, get a bagel, and off I go!

Mile 5.1: I meet my dad and two more of my sisters, get/give hugs and kisses, and off I go!

Mile 6-9: I can't even see the bobbing balloons of my pace team, they're history, and I'm feeling good, real good. I suck a salt packet (yuk!) to manage my sodium levels.

Mile 10: Williamsburg! Home of the people who just have to cross the street because even though this race has run through their neighborhood for 30 plus years, they can't manage their street-crossing schedules around it. From now on, citizens of Williamsburg, the lead women will be coming through at 10:30. The lead men, followed by 37,000 runners who can't stop running because you have to cross the street with your 13 kids will be coming through at 11:00. Make your crossing before 10:30 and after 2:00 when the back of the pack starts filtering through. Either that or build some tunnels.

Mile 11-14: Feeling good, real good, the weather is perfect, my water intake is perfect, I have a Marathon power bar at the right time, I'm psyched, I'm about 8 minutes ahead of schedule.

Mile 15: The Queensboro Bridge, or as I refer to it, The Queensboro %$@!!#@ Bridge, so named because it has broken me for the last decade. I just could not get over it because of the mile incline. Absolute torture, but I prepared myself with a mental technique for getting over. Great assistance came just before I turned onto the bridge. I spotted a cadre of marine reservists and yelled "HOO-HA!" I got a big "HOO-HA!" right back and began my hike up the bridge. I put my head down and began yelling at myself inside my head, and halfway through the mile, I began yelling it literally. So what if people are looking at me funny? Over and over, I muttered "up and over, up and over, what are you made of? Who are you? You can do this, you trained for this, you can make it, you can break the bridge, HOO-HA! HOO-HA! HOO-HA!" Over and over I repeated this to myself for a mile, until I looked up and suddenly I realized I was past the mid-point, on the decline, I had done it! Woohoo!

Mile 15.8: I saw something I've never seen before. A pregnant woman running. How do I know she's pregnant? Because women with beer bellies usually don't run marathons. This woman must have signed up six months ago, discovered she was pregnant a month later and decided that her pregnancy couldn't stop her. Her undertaking is 90% psychotic and 10% admirable.

Mile 16-17: The crowd here is incredible, they're loud, they're energetic, they're 10 deep. My left hip starting hurting me a bit, so needing chizzuk I ran to the sidelines, got some high-fives from kids (well, that would be low-fives) and tons of "Go Superman!" cheers. (I've worn the same Superman t-shirt, red shorts, blue gloves outfit for 9 years)

Mile 17.7: I met my brother-in-law and my nephew, got a bagel, spent two minutes chatting because I was 11 minutes ahead of schedule and off I went!

Mile 18-19: My quads started hurting me, I shifted the pain by correcting my posture and running on the balls of my feet, that made it more manageable, but it takes a lot of concentration.

Mile 20: My bathroom. For some reason my bladder has shall we say, excused me to the sidelines at the same exact spot for nearly all of my NYC marathons. Just before the end of Harlem is a series of highways and overpasses and off to the side is a spot where I can answer nature's call without too much embarrassing scrutiny. I am wearing a yarmulka after all, so I have to represent responsibly.

Mile 21-22: My thighs explode in agony. It literally feels like someone dug his fingers into the tops of my thighs and spread the muscles apart. I suck another salt packet, I correct my posture, I keep telling myself an old Sumo mantra, "body here, pain elsewhere." It works a little, but not much. But I'm still running, I am really still running, and I can't believe it.

Mile 23: I meet my wife and my adorable daughter, they're waiting for me with a "Go Dad-ee" sign, I get a bagel and chat for a minute because despite my hip and thigh pain, I'm still running and I'm about 9 minutes ahead of schedule at this point. Off I go!

Mile 24: My thighs are burning, my hips aren't, as if my thighs have absorbed all the pain from the surrounding area, but I'm still running.

Mile 25: My thighs have a five-alarm fire, but I've got a mile to go, and I can't stop now, no way. Nothing can stop me, nothing. I haven't come this far to hobble.

Mile 26: The excitement from the crowd is incomparable, the pain is unbearable, the smell of the finish line is palpable.

Finish line: 4:24:29! A new personal best! I ran wire-to-wire! I get my medal and my heat blanket. I feel good enough to walk a few blocks, where I meet up with my wife and daughter.

Post-race: I have my traditional 2 KD burgers and my epsom salt bath. Both are geshmak. It's now nothing but junk-food for the next two weeks. Hey, I've earned it. :-)

How I broke my record:

1) I dropped 10 pounds from my frame since last year's race by eliminating sugared drinks and sodas from my diet and keeping junk food to a minimum and healthy food to a maximum.
2) I did a lot of uphill training. For those familiar with my Passaic neighborhood, on my longest runs, I ran to the top of Van Houten, then uphill into Paterson, an about face and an uphill into Montclair, before giving myself a reprieve with a downhill back down Van Houten or through Brookdale. My last training run was uphill into Garret Mountain and a loop around the park.
3) I ran the marathon with proper posture and by running on the balls of my feet as much as possible. Both take concentration, but it's worth it.
4) Good intra-race nutrition. I had my salt-packets, Marathon bars and bagels at perfectly strategic points, so I never hit any wall.
5) By preparing for and blasting through the Queensboro Bridge with my mantras. Doing so gave me the will and the strength to complete the rest of the race, which is beans in comparison to what the bridge has done to me.

So I'll take a running break until January - when I start running some sporadic races - and a training break until May. I intend to lose 5 more pounds, find more uphills, correct my posture to the point where I don't need concentration and take a zero-tolerance policy to junk food. I'm hoping I can break 4:20.

-Mordechi Bodek

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Post, Part Deux

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with this ol' blog o' mine. I just like the title. My life's kinda busy with ya know, life stuff and all, so for now I'll just leave this dormant and as soon as this site has some direction or focus, I'll be sure to post regularly. Tata for now!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My First Post

Fine, I give in. Countless people have told me I should have a blog. Little did I realize how simple it was to create one! So here it is. Ummmm, now what? Guess I'll just have to wait and see. So...happy everyone? My first blog post and it's boring as heck. <--- (durn tootin' censors!)