Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cherry Blossom Run

I did it.

I really did.

There are honestly few things that I have worked for as long and as hard as I did in training to run this race.  A year ago, I could not only not run 10 miles, but I couldn't even fathom the possibility. I want to thank my family and my friends for being so incredibly supportive with my endeavor.  I could not have done this without your help.  I mean that.  I also want to thank those who donated to help me enter into this race.

The race itself had its ups and downs.  I cruised pretty easily through the first four miles.  I had expected to walk for a minute every two miles, but I felt good so I kept going.  I eventually walked for the first time around 4.5 miles, but walking hurt my knees worse than running, so I just kept going.  Just after the fifth mile, coming around a slight corner, I saw a sign in the distance that said "You're Amazing."  This reminded me of a particularly brutal day of running about six months ago, when a similar sign taped to a tree inspired me to keep going when I wanted to quit.  As I got closer, I saw that it actually said "Al Caniglia: You're Amazing" and my girlfriend Sara was holding it.  It was a real pick-me-up when I needed it.

The last five miles were more brutal.  The course ran down Haines Point, along the river, with the wind whipping at my face and legs.  My right knee began to hurt and I couldn't help thinking that we were still running AWAY from the finish line.  After we made the turn at Haines Point, I still struggled to keep going, but since my knee hurt worse walking than running, I kept going.  After passing the 9 mile mark, I soon got a tap on my shoulder from a friend running the race.  She recognized me by my very sweaty back.  We ran together for a minute before she took off for the finish.  Approaching the finish, I saw my sign again, but had so little left in my tank I couldn't even surge for the finish.

But I did it.  I really did.

I am a goal oriented person, so I am already trying to figure out what next.  I am thinking perhaps a half-marathon somewhere in Europe in the late Summer or early Fall.

No, Sara - you're amazing.
Shelley and I after the race

The Fighting 151st was well represented in the race.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Horrible News

One of my A-100 classmates was murdered today by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.  Her name has not yet been released to the media, so I will not post it here.  My thoughts are with her and her family.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Date Night

About a week ago, I told Sara I wanted to take her out for a special date night.  I would do all the planning and all she had to do was show up.  There was no particularly special reason for the romantic evening.  I ran through a few possibilities, but finally settled on starting the evening with a cruise up the Potomac River from Alexandria to Georgetown.

The logistics of this resulted in Sara receiving a few odd instructions for the night.  We would leave from my house in a cab at 5:00 in the evening.  She should wear "something nice", but with comfortable shoes and a warm jacket.  When she arrived, we got into the cab and I handed him a piece of paper with the location written on it in order to keep the plans a secret a little while longer.  The best way to get from my apartment to the Alexandria Harbor is taking the GW Parkway, which requires us to go through the airport.  As we took the airport exit, Sara turned to me wide-eyed and asked, "Are we going to the airport?  Are we flying somewhere?"  I immediately laughed and told her my plans weren't quite that elaborate.  The river cruise was quite lovely, but unfortunately the Cherry Blossoms had not bloomed yet.
My tie would not cooperate the whole evening

After disembarking in Georgetown, we had a few drinks while watching the sun set from the Georgetown waterfront.  After drinks, we made our way up the hill towards M St.  I made reservations at a lovely romantic Italian restaurant.  They seated us in a quiet corner overlooking the street.  The food was fantastic, the wine was delicious, and we even had a violinist serenade us.  We held the table for close to three hours, just talking and enjoying our time together.

Next week is the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  I am both looking forward to it and dreading it horribly.  Meanwhile, here are my stats.

Weight - 237 lbs (down 48 lbs).
Pant size - 38x 29 (Advantage of dropping below a 40 in the waist is that they make 29 length, which is a more accurate size.
Longest run without stopping: 32:54 (My long runs generally go for a total of about an hour, but they include periods of running and walking, so I have not yet bested my longest time in the last 5K)
Longest run: 10 miles (I ran ten miles last weekend with a friend in prep for the Cherry Blossom race)