Monday, May 14, 2012

I Love a Rainy Night...

Wow...it’s been a long time since I’ve been blogged and a lot has happened: I’ve run a marathon, had biceps transfer (thank you Dr. Dreamy Eyes!) and went on my first seven day vacation in 5 years! Now I'm finally getting back to what keeps me “sane” – “running” and “writing.”

Here in the Tri-State area, we’ve had the most glorious winter and spring that lacked the usual snow and bitter cold temps. In a nutshell, it's been a runner’s dream and I felt like I was missing out BIG TIME! I’d been chomping at the bit since surgery on February 28th to hit the pavement; and finally, the green light came just a few short weeks ago. As luck would have it,the thermometer took a bit of a plunge and well, let me put it this way - I wasn't too worried we'd have a drought situation any time soon with the raging downpours. Truth be told, the colder temps are a real turnoff to me, but, I really do enjoy running in the rain...shhhh...


It's difficult for me to articulate exactly what it is about running in the rain that inspires me, invigorates me and liberates me. Maybe it’s the splash splash of my sneakers with each step; or the child-like enjoyment of hurdling (ok, leaping) over the puddles; or, maybe it’s the way the rain hits my face keeping me cool and refreshed. One thing I guess do know is that a run in the rain proves to be more cathartic for me than a run in the sunshine.

So, a couple of Sundays ago when it was raining buckets, I seized the opportunity hit the streets. I laced up my sneakers, threw on my kicks and an old Man U windbreaker (or in this case should I say “rainbreaker"); and began to wind through the streets of my neighborhood. So many thoughts and emotions from the last few months were ping ponging through my head ranging from pure bliss and elation to frustration and finally to serenity, as my feet pitter pattered through the puddles. When I reached my destination, through my labored breathing and the falling raindrops, I smiled and thought to myself, "I’m back...”


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Breathe Me...

I hit a road bump of sort in my training about 6 weeks ago. A nagging sinus and ear infection came upon me like a bat out of Hell. And, I did what I do best when I get sick - I became frustrated and was convinced I was never going to get better. Even the doctor wouldn't put up with my bullshit and said, "Annie, you're sick and it's a bad one, but it's not cancer."

What the doctor said was like a slap across the face that woke me from a deep sleep of self pity. Not only was it not cancer, it's not Cystic Fibrosis. Here I was feeling sorry for myself and pissed that I couldn't train, but the reality was, I would feel better and before I knew it, I'd catch up with my training.

After a few weeks, I had the luxury to breathe better, my energy was at 100% and I continued life where I left it before getting sick. Looking at the big picture, I saw that it wasn't a big deal and I took the time to recognize that people with CF have to work at breathing every day of their lives. The more I learn about CF, the more it becomes clear to me as to why I'm running for Team Boomer . I contine to be inspired by one man's quest to single handedly bring awareness to CF and not only find a cure, but help those now living with it.

Anyway...below is this week's song that inspires me. It's actually a song I played during Mile 24 when I ran the marathon in 2009. Now, the title, "Breathe Me" has taken on such a different meaning....



Stay tuned for more blog postings and training ancedotes...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Priceless! The E-mail response from my Irish Twin...

This was too hilarious for me to keep filed away in my E-mail saved folder. I have to share with all of you my Irish Twin's response to the last blog posting. She is the preggers one who can't run the marathon - wimp, right?! HA!

Warning: You may need some Depends after reading.

Hi-

It was my morning reading at 5am. Of course I am definitely upset that I am not your “Apollo” or the very least “the wind beneath your wings.” I mean without me, where would this dream be? And to think that I could not successfully train you from computer might be insulting. I mean I feel I could be a running nazi if I had to be (whoops that would be your title – lol!). All kidding aside, I liked the blog post and don’t worry my “eat my dust” competitive edge will be alive and well when I run it in 2012. I will just be running against your time – so you better make it good!

I am still working out to keep in “labor” ready shape instead of marathon shape. Of course, some would say, labor is worth more than a marathon but having done both I will have to say labor has been a piece of cake compared to the marathon! Every single labor was in way less time than the marathon!

I hope at the very least to inspire you to have creative blog entries!

I have also spent the last 11 days trying to explain to my children how we are the same age for 11 days. No need to explain the birds and bees - that will come at a much later time!

Sincerely,

Your Irish Twin

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Apollo to My Rocky Balboa

We all need an Apollo to our Rocky Balboa. And, if you have no idea who I’m referencing here, or what exactly I mean, you’re probably too young to be reading this blog, or I’m too old to be writing it.

Ok, so let's get this out of the way first...it’s been awhile, but I’m back to blogging, because I’m back to running…so here it goes!

The last time I was training for the marathon, I said to my mom the night before a long training run, “Mom, next time I tell you I’m running the NYC Marathon, please talk me out of it.” A month ago I said to her, “Guess what? I’m running the NYC Marathon.” Like a good mom, she tried for about 30 seconds to talk me out of it. And, like a good mom, she then acquiesced and promised to support me.

Truth be told, the only reason I threw my name in for the lottery was my Irish Twin sister (who officially today is no longer the same age as me!) sold me on it: “C’mon, we can run it again 10 years after we first ran it together.” Sister code for this sentence: “C’mon let’s run it so I can have you eat my dust. See ya at the Finish Line sucka!” Reverting back to my younger days and the fear of flying Pepsi cans (inside joke for a select few) I was in. The Plan B for not getting in by way of lottery was we’d run it for Team Boomer. It’s a perfect fit – my sister, one step away from a face painting Jets fan – worshipped Boomer Esiason in the 90’s; I share the halls with him at WFAN; and most importantly he started a phenomenal Foundation that aggressively supports research and solutions for Cystic Fibrosis.

Well, neither of us made it into the lottery, so Plan B was in full effect. When I delivered the Plan B news to my Irish Twin, she replied, “I’m having back issues and the dr. doesn’t want me running.” Sisters have ESP. What I really heard was, “I’m preggers with my 5th kid and just don’t want to tell you right now.” And yup, weeks later she fessed up. I was right! And the due date? Exactly one week before the marathon. What a wimp she is - you mean she can't give birth and run? Sheesh!

So, “to run or not to run?” - that was the question. Would I do this alone? Could I do this alone? Quite frankly, the long training runs scare the hell out of me and I knew my summer activities would be limited drastically. (I know what you’re thinking – what summer activities? Don’t worry, I’m still asking myself this too.) And, the big question was, would I be able to run a respectable time? For me, that means Sub 5 hours.

I decided I had to do this and to cement the decision, I contacted Boomer's Foundation, filled out the paperwork, was interviewed and they gave me a number! Next step - I had to call in the BIG GUN. I feverishly started dialing one of TBDRPTLNM (The Best Damn Running Partners That Live Nowhere Near Me), Jess. The other one, Kerry, is in the middle of a career change (more on that in future blog postings) so she’ll come in to play towards later training runs...

I called Jess and she was supportive and practical and showed the utmost confidence in me. And, within 24 hours, a Run Less, Run Faster 16 week training program showed up in my e-mail in box. She then became my official virtual coach. She might be in Texas, but I can hear her as if she's running right next to me(or in her case, usually in front of me!)

So, Jess is the Apollo to my Rocky. She’ll have me punching the meat, doing my chin-ups, sit-ups and yelling things like, “RUN FASTER!” Ok, so not exactly, but if she did live in the same state, I could TOTALLY see her racing me down a beach at the crack ass of dawn and yelling at me when I start to feel inept about this whole journey.

So, here it goes. Week 16 begins now…

Thanks Apollo.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Only ONE MORE Week Until...

....NYC Marathon! (The picture to the left is the start of about 30,000 people crossing the Verrazano Bridge!)

Between the marathon training, work and lending some help on a fantastic all soccer film festival, Kicking & Screening, which recently wrapped in Washington, D.C., I have let the blog slip. Yikes! Last week my dad asked, "What's going on with the blog?" I had no idea he was such a fan and a good reminder that I needed to get to it!
For now, it's back to the top of my list and a priority. Even if my postings are limited to a quick snapshot of some life observations, my goal is to update it once every few days with the hope of transitioning it over to http://www.annievinton.com/ before the end of the year.

Admittedly, there's no real witty repertoire this posting, just some meanderings and thoughts that have invaded my brain over the last few weeks.

Marathon Training
(A) I blame it on Ethan's Cancer: Training's been tough but one week out and I feel good and couldn’t be happier to be doing it for Grassroot Soccer (http://www.grassrootsoccer.com/) The reason I'm running too, I blame it on Ethan's cancer. One of the founders of GRS, Ethan Zohn, constructed a site for anyone to blame anything on his cancer, which he was diagnosed with this past Spring. It only seemed natural for me to blame his cancer for being crazy enough to run 26.2 miles. Check it out - you can blame him too for anything: a crying kid; a fight with your boyfriend; a husband who won't serenade you and lavish you with gifts on important occasions. You get the "gist' of it! It's fun to do and free for you, but $1 will be donated to a charity every time you blame Ethan's cancer. To get to Blaming Ethan's Cancer as well as read some of the hilarious "blames", click here.

(B) I am in pain, but grateful: During training, when my legs began to lock somewhere around Mile 14 and I all could think about was the ice cold Coors Light I’d be having after limping up the stairs to my apartment, I remembered to be grateful that I can indeed run. It’s a gift. But, please, please someone remind me of this when I’m in the last 5 miles of the November 1st Extravaganza.

(C) Skinny thighs, where art thou? All of this running and training unfortunately for me does not = skinny thighs. I had fantasies of snuggling into super skinny jeans for the big post marathon suarre, but it’s a pipe dream. I only hit my Phase One Skinny Jeans – that’ll do – I like to eat.

Dating


Sadly the above was not intentionally left blank. I keep running (pun intended) into guys who are more interested in Super Models than me - go figure. Refer to (C) under Observations of Marathon Training that reiterates my non-model status.

Music/Movies
I’ve become obsessed with the following recently:

Makingof.com – amazing behind the scenes movie site. One of my fave interviews now is the press junket for Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut – "Whip It."

The following songs, in no particular order: Jay Z’s "Empire State of Mind"; Train’s “Hey Soul Sister”; Beyonce’s “Halo.”

To All You Ladies Out There – Touch Your Boobies
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month – do a self breast exam. And, if you’re not touching ‘em, have someone else. Early detection is key. If you need some guidance, click here for an instructional link.

Before I wrap this up, a BIG shout out to all fellow marathoners in D.C. (Schneider and Verrone) this weekend and to all in this final week's preparation for NYC!

And, enjoy the video below - - it's one of the tunes that'll be pumping through my iPod as I trek up First Avenue next Sunday!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chasing Men Through Central Park

All right, this headline isn't exactly what it seems, but I was technically chasing men through Central Park. But, these aren't just any guys -they're in my marathon team training group. A couple of Thursdays ago we did three 1.7 interval laps around the inside track of the Central Park and well, while the guys paced a very fast 1.7 miles (along with fast gal Sandy) I basically chased and sadly, no, I didn't catch 'em. (Funny - it was like this run was imitating my life!) But hey, give me a few months and let's see if I can get 'em chasing me!

Here's the deal:
After crossing/crawling across the 2001 NYC Marathon Finish Line, I swore I'd never run another one and since have kept my maximum race distances at 13.1miles. But, life happens and things change along the way and I'm training once again for the coveted 26.2. In addition to chasing guys through the park, I've been wearing out the soles of my shoes while huffing and puffing along JFK Boulevard and River Road in New Jersey with amazing views of the glorious Manhattan skyline to distract myself from belabored breathing and tight leg muscles.

What changed my mind?
A few months ago, I had the privilege of meeting an inspiring young man, Ethan Zohn who once played pro soccer in Africa. While he was there he experienced the real culture of the continent and saw first hand the impact of AIDS/HIV especially when a friend of his succumbed to AIDS.

When he returned to the United States, he secured a spot on the show Survivor and it happened to be the one based in Africa. When he was there, he won one of his challenges by communicating through soccer and at some time during his stay there decided that if he won, he would use the money to help educate the young people of Africa about HIV/AIDS.


Well, that's just what he and a few of his very intelligent and ambitious buddies did. Fast forward 7 years later and Grassroot Soccer is flourishing with over 300,000 kids having been through the program in Africa. It's been nothing short of amazing.

It doesn't stop there - he continues to inspire. Soon after after I met Ethan he was diagnosed with cancer, but he's not letting this stop his marathon training! (Check out his updates with People by clicking here.)

Yes, I said I'd never run another marathon - it takes much dedication, stamina and a lot of "mind over matter" thinking. So, I find myself busting through my fear, completely inspired by Ethan and a quite a few other amazing runners!

In addition to the running part of this, I'm also working on a $3000 fundraising goal for Grassroot Soccer that I'm hoping to blow right past! I've started my campaign by asking 100 people to donate $30 each; and slowly but surely, I'm getting there. I do know times are tough so if you can't donate, I'd love to see you along the route that day! For info on donations and to check out my personal marathon page, click here.

And, yes, yes, I'll be blogging right here as I plow through the training!

Thanks all for reading and I appreciate your support!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Battle of NYC's Finest...On Stage

Sometimes life gets in the way of our dreams but, when given a chance, dreams really can some true. This happened on Monday evening when Long Walk Entertainment in association with Live Nation gave seven bands with at least one member of the NYPD or PBA a shot at stardom, while raising money for the NYPD Widow's and Children's Fund. It’s the second in a series with this one following the Battle of the Bravest held in March, a benefit that pitted NYC Firemen head-to head in a battle of the bands.

The event was the brainchild of Long Walk Entertainment’s founder, Andrew Gerardi. Living in a neighborhood with many friends who are cops and firemen, Gerardi's no stranger to understanding the psyche of many of them who turn to music as a creative outlet after what really is a "tough day." His goal was to give back to these guys and provide an opportunity to fulfill a dream that seems so out of reach.

This inaugural event held at the Gramercy Park Theater had just the right mixture of celebrities like hosts Marky Ramone and New York's 104.3 radio talent Maria Milito; legendary concert promoter (and my former boss from the 90's) Ron Delesener; execs from the big labels and management; and among the fans, model and actress Paulina Porizkova, whose brother Kym took the stage as lead singer for one of the particpating bands Sweet As Ether.

Old school tactics were used in the selection process for participating bands - promotional flyers were hung in precincts throughout the five boroughs and a selected committee from Live Nation and Long Walk Entertainment narrowed the submissions to the lucky seven: The Bel Airs; Buck Pryor;Clubbin Eddie , Rattlin Hum ; Sweet As Ether; Tiger Uppercut; and Voxhound. Rules for the evening were each band was to play one cover and two originals and the winner decided by in-audience paper ballot, as well as weigh-in from selected judges within the music industry.

All seven bands were more than worthy of being there, but Voxhound was a standout from the first note played. The band's charisma along with a very marketable package of talent and good looks complemented their Pearl Jam and Velvet Revolver influences evident in original songs, but most impressive was their interpretation of Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer. Bass player and police officer from Manhattan's 20th Precinct Charlie Grimm said, “For the band, reworking Sledgehammer was more difficult than writing original music.” And, in the fifteen minutes they were on the stage, this band comprised of a cop, a plumber, a teacher and a litigation specialist, raised the bar significantly at this competition.

Overall, the line-up was well rounded and included a wide variety of musical genres from the rock funk sounds of The Bel Airs to the hard rock of Tiger Uppercut and Clubbin Eddie to the Allman-esque sounds of Buck Pryor. Voxhound’s steepest competition was Sweet As Ether. When introducing the band, Maria Molito drew attention to the drummer saying, "Hey, doesn't he look just like Kevin Bacon?" After a few nods and laughs from the crowd, the lights dimmed and Sweet As Ether jump started their set with an injection of energy into a version of the 80's pop song hit Strength by the Alarm. The band, together for four years, is comprised of two current cops, one retired cop and a "civilian" with a corporate day job. Thier seamless transitions and comfortable stage presence illuminated off the stage.

At the end of the evening, just after Marky Ramone performed I Wanna Be Sedated, Voxhound was declared the winner, which was well deserved and we should expect to hear and see more of them in the future.

Gerardi has created a real diamond in the rough with this event and hopefully it will snowball, taking on a life of its own in the future, continuing to give our New York City Heroes a shot at making their dreams come true.

For more information on this event or Long Walk Entertainment, please visit http://www.longwalkentertainment.com/