Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fall Break

Every month, there is one day that feels like Christmas. When I look at my pile of mail and see that the latest issue of "Runner's World" has arrived. This month was extremely special because when I picked it up Kara Goucher, who is one of my favorite athletes in the sport, is the feature article. I quickly remove the magazine from the pile and bring it up to my "reading room" . I like to read it from cover to cover, not skip any of the articles. From the beginning it is clear to me that this issue is focused on making your Fall running plans.

I really don't have any, and that is OK.

In 2009 after I finished my first marathon , I remember having a conversation with my wife. We were talking about all of the things that I have tried to do to change my life for the better that have gone by the waste side. Due to fact that I had a lack of persistence to keep whatever that thing was going. ( I work a lot , usually long hours , so it is hard sometimes to keep things up) . I asked her if she thought running would go away too, I did try to run before this , but it never stuck. She said that no, she thinks that this will stay, it is a part of your life now.

She is right, it is.

Finishing the Olivia's Wish Run 5k
Since that conversation I have been in non stop training for some big event. Especially the last two years where I have run 3 marathons, 4 half marathons and countless 8k's and 5k's . On October 5th of this year I ran a 5k . The Friday before the race I woke up in a lot of pain, my knees were hurting, so were my feet and back. I was thinking that I would have to drop out of the race, but I didn't want to , because a friend of mine is the race director and I wanted to support him .

I ended up resting and feeling better on race day, even though I was not at my best , I ran it anyway. I finished 12th overall and 3rd in my age group, but my time was nothing to brag about. After the race I knew I had to take some time off.

So as I am reading advice on how you should attack the fall races and your plans, my plan is simple , I am going to rest, reflect and plan.

I am on the second week of a self imposed two week running ban. As my body heals , It is quite apparent to me that I have changed as a runner. For the most part , my days of winning races and getting personal bests (P.R.) are long gone. I have also put to bed the dream that I will make Boston as my times in the marathon have gotten slower and slower. In it's place is a new goal , a new reason to run.

My son at a recent Cross Country meet
I have always tried to set a good example for my kids , and running has been a part of that. But lately I have noticed more how much my kids copy my actions more than they do my words. My son is starting to excel at cross country and my daughter is developing a strong desire to run as well. I think this stems from my training and completing the races I train for.

My Daughter finishing the Olivia's Wish Run 5k
So this is my new purpose , to try to inspire my kids and hopefully anyone else that needs inspiring . I think this is why God has placed running in my life, it has made me a better person and maybe it will pave the path for my kids and others to do the same.

Monday, September 15, 2014

My Thoughts on Ray Rice

Above is a video of the commentary that ESPN Anchor Hannah Storm made about talking to her daughters about the video of Ray Rice (former running back of the Baltimore Ravens) hitting his then girlfriend in an elevator at a now closed casino in Atlantic City. Most of us have either seen the video or have heard about what was on it. it is horrific to say the least . I think Hannah Storm hit the nail on the head with her comments , especially about the fact that the National Football league decided to institute a harsher punishment to Rice after seeing this video . Everyone knew what happened on the elevator, we did not need to see the video to confirm our suspicions. 

The N.F.L. has a program called "Play 60 " , it is a wonderful program that the league has started to fight childhood obesity . The program uses the stars of it's league as role models to help kids get out and be more active , also to make healthier decisions in their lives. I love this program, I love the fact that they use the stars of this league to promote the program One of those stars was Ray Rice.

No one can say that these athletes are not role models, they are. I grew up idolizing athletes and so do the kids today. When one of these athletes do something wrong , the league NEEDS to come down on the athlete. A 2 game suspension was not enough, everyone knew it. I don't know what the correct punishment should have been and I am not in a position to have to make that call.

One good that has come from this is that we are now having a discussion about domestic violence . Particularly how we see the victim of the violence.

 Why didn't she leave him?  Why did she marry him? Why does she protect him? She is in it for the money. She is going to leave him , write a book and profit off of it. 

These are just some of the things that I have heard about the victim in the Ray Rice case this week. It almost turns out that we are blaming the victim and not placing our anger with who is really to blame, the abuser , Ray Rice. I know that I have never been in an abusive relationship , I do not have a degree in psychology that makes me an expert in why victims of domestic violence stay and protect their abuser. I don't know, so I shouldn't judge. I can only pray that the victim gets the help that they need and that the abuser gets the help that they need and stops abusing people. 

A good friend of mine posted an article on her Facebook page this morning . I hope you read it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Some Thoughts on a Monday Morning

The sun is just starting to peak out as I start typing this. After a long winter and a very wet spring any time the sun comes out it is a welcomed sight. It is funny how everyone's mood improves once the sun comes out. I hope this lasts a while !

Here's my Monday morning thoughts:

  • I have really cut down on my coffee consumption the past couple weeks. I have to say that it has made me feel better, both physically and mentally . I am less on edge  and my stomach has felt better as well. One or two cups a day is all I allow myself now. 
  • I have another week until I have to buckle down and start training for the Erie Marathon. I have enjoyed my runs the past couple weeks , I have just gone out and ran with no real goal in mind, but to run. This is my time to myself, time to reflect on what is going in my life, time to run off any stress that has been in my life. It is also my church, time to give thanks for all that I have in my life that is good. I have said this before , it is when I feel closer to God.
  • I have to say that a part of me is starting to get excited about Johnny Manziel being on the Cleveland Browns. I still think our best chance at success this year is with Brian Hoyer at quarterback , but there is a level of excitement that Manziel brings that my fellow Browns fans haven't felt in a VERY long time. 

  • Staying with NFL draft reaction , I am also interested in the Michael Sam . For those of you living under a rock for the past few months he is the first openly gay player to play in the NFL. I hope he is successful, but what makes me curious is why did he drop so far in the draft? Before he came out and said he was gay , he was projected as a 3rd or 4th round draft pick, then he had a bad performance at the NFL combine and he dropped on most people's draft boards. My curiosity about this is did he drop that far because of the combine or was it another reason . I think it was because of the media attention that was given to Sam. I think most NFL teams decided not to invite the media storm that follows Sam into their locker room. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, if he makes the team or not. He is listed as a defensive lineman , and the ST. Louis Rams have a lot of depth at that position already . 
  •  I really am sick of politics. I would love to live in a country where people can discuss their differences in opinion in a respectful manner, but unfortunately we don't. Politics is a place where people's hate truly comes out.

I think that is for today. Need to get out and mow my lawn and do some other things around the house (like nap)

Feel free to comment below or send an email

me if you want to respond to anything I have said.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Draft Day - 1st Round thoughts on the Browns

I really wanted Sammy Watkins, the wide receiver out of Clemson. I wanted Derrick Carr , quarterback out of Fresno State.

I did not get my wish and I am trying to wrap my head around what the Browns did in the 1st round yesterday.After sleeping on it I am much more calm now about it and see the plan. Here are my thoughts.

  • Trading the number 4 pick to the Bills- Sammy Watkins was there for the taking , he would have looked great next to Josh Gordon, but in the end the Browns won this trade in my mind. The draft is deep on receivers and with the signing of Nate Burleson and Andrew Hawkins, our receiving corp is better than last year. Now having Buffalo's first round pick next year (which I believe will be a top 10 pick) will give us 2 first rounders again. This team is building to win right now and in the future.

  • Picking Justin Gilbert , cornerback from Oklahoma St.- We moved up 1 spot to get him and I am OK with that, we didn't really give away too much. This gives us 2 really good cornerbacks for the long term (if we can sign Joe Haden to a long term deal) . 

  • Johnny Manziel- The one player I did not want was Manziel, quarterback from Texas A&M . He is a small, scrambling quarterback that is bound to get hurt in the N.F.L. Plus he is a head case and could be a huge distraction for a rookie coach and a rookie G.M. The media will be all over the Browns , very much like they were all over Tebow when he played in the league. To make this work the Browns need to put Manziel 3rd on their depth chart behind Brian Hoyer and Vince Young. They need to fight the pressure from the media and fans to play him and have him learn about the N.F.L game. Next year you promote him to the # 2 position and in year 3 give him a shot at the starting job. Hopefully by then he will have the maturity and knowledge to be an effective QB in the N.F.L.
Overall I am ok with what the Browns did yesterday and am excited to see what today's pick will bring. Hopefully a weapon for the Browns offense . One thing for sure, it will be hard to top the excitement that the Browns gave us yesterday!

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Here is something I wrote on a wall on a local radio station Facebook page in response to a statement Rush Limbaugh made:

"Rush, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck say these things to get you to listen to them. They are first and foremost entertainers. What expertise do they have on these matters? It is the same as liberal talk show hosts. They say things to get people hot so they can tune in. People do and the repeat this stuff as fact. Stop being sheep people, God gave you a brain use it."

"Rush is right"- No, he is not
These hosts do not have political backgrounds, they come from things other than politics. Rush Limbaugh used to work with the Kansas City Royals, Sean Hannity (based on what he says on his show) has a background in serving tables, bar tending, construction and being a chef, Glenn Beck is a Comedian. I am not saying that you shouldn't listen to them, but don't take their words as the complete truth. They are not the news (even the news is not the news anymore), they are entertainers that need listeners to increase their ratings so they can get bigger and better sponsors, so they can make more money.

I do listen to Hannity on occasion, but I have started listening more and more objectively. If I were a liberal that was invited to come on that show, I would refuse. You will get bullied, your words twisted around and mocked.

If you listen to these programs, do yourself a favor, be your own fact checker. Look up the facts that these hosts or liberal hosts are stating for yourself and form your own opinion. If you take these things they say and repeat them without checking it for yourself, you are just sheep following the herd.

I know, I was a sheep following the herd.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why I Run

Today is the day before they announce the people who will make this years New York City Marathon. Once again I have entered the lottery, but I don't expect that lightning to strike twice( I got in last year). While I wait ( for some reason I am a bit nervous, not sure why), I thought I would share some of the reason why I run.I know I have written about this before , but sometimes it is good to revisit it.

A couple days ago  a server at a local restaurant that my family frequently visit came and asked me if I was running "The Color Run" that is coming to Buffalo in August. I told her most likely not, although those types of races look like a lot of fun , they always seem to land while I am training for something else and I am afraid that I will get injured .She then said to me that she always tells the story about how I got back into running
Back in May of 2009 after a night of heavy drinking my sister called and said she signed up for the Wineglass Marathon in Corning N.Y. She convinced me that I should run it too and in my drunken condition , it was pretty easy to convince me to do pretty much anything, so I signed up. I forgot about it until the next morning when I saw the confirmation email and saw there was no refunds, I believe the first words out of my my mouth were "oh crap".

Picture of me during a night of drinking,
no that is not my real hair
At that time I was turning more and more frequently to alcohol to help relieve the stress and increasing depression that I was feeling. I was allowing the stress of life beat me and turned to drinking to help ease that stress. I was becoming less and less like the person that I used to be. People wanted "the old D.J.back" and I couldn't figure out how to get him back, so I drank.

I started to train, it was not easy . Although I was a pretty good runner back in high school ,20 years had passed and  I was not in the best of shape . A funny thing happened , I started to make better decisions in my life, my marriage and the old D.J. started to come back. I finished that marathon and became hooked on running. Now 5 years later I have run 6 marathons , and countless other races . I have not heard " I want the old D.J. back " in a very long time . I do not rely on alcohol anymore to relieve the stress of life, I rely on my family, running , my friends and my own attitude to get through things. I do like to have a drink ( or drinks) once in a while, but I do not let it control me like I used too.
My brother and I after the 2013 NYC Marathon, it was always my dream to run this race.
It was even better running it with the Wouk!

So I run to be me.

I run so I can be the person that my wife and kids say they can be proud of .

I run to show that no matter how far you fall from who you really are , you can , with effort, get yourself back .

I run to try to inspire others, it is the only way you can truly repay those have inspired you.

I run to feel healthy , both mentally and physically .

I run to make new friends, I am so thankful for the ones I have made.

I run to honor those who can't run for whatever reason

I run to give thanks to God for giving me another chance at a happy life

If I don't get into New York , I will return to the Wineglass Marathon to celebrate 5 years of the best decision I have ever made while I was drunk!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Here is something that I wrote on a friends wall on Facebook. about people's relationships with God. Please let me know what you think.

 I think everybody's relationship with God is different and how they show it is different. I don't think there is a cookie cutter way to be God's servant. Some people feel closer to God in a Church setting , while others feel closer at home with their family. I feel closest while I am running . Some people are very open about their relationship , while others are quiet and let their actions speak for themselves. I think one's relationship with God is their own and should be left that way unless that person needs help . Too many Christians have a way of expressing their way on to people and sometimes that ends up pushing people away.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Review of "14 Minutes: A Running Legend's Life and Death and Life " by Alberto Salazar

14 Minutes: A Running Legend's Life and Death and Life14 Minutes: A Running Legend's Life and Death and Life by Alberto Salazar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love to get into successful runners heads and see what makes them tick, what is the edge that makes them succeed . This is why I bought this book. in 1985 I was a freshman in high school and was just getting into running. My brother Tom , who was a star runner at the school I went to always talked about Salazar. I graduated high school in 1989 and that is also when my running career faded.

Fast forward 20 years to 2009, I started to run again and have been very interested in the mental aspect of running. I recently ran the New York City Marathon and did not fair to well. I have been questioning my mental toughness and have been looking for answers, and "14 Minutes: A Running Legend's Life and Death and Life " definitely helped. I bought it because my brother used to rave about Salazar's toughness and I thought it would give me some clue to what i was missing.

Throughout this book, Salazar gives many examples of his grit, his confidence and his faith. All things in which I have been lacking lately . I will try to use what i learned from this book to help me succeed as a runner and to better myself personally.

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