Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Out With the Old, In With the New

To all those who check this blog I have finally shifted to my own webspace., once a dream, is now a reality.

Visit my new training blog at:

I'll keep the old blog up as an archive of 2008.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's coming......

There will be a major announcement regarding the blog in the near future. For anyone still checking in on me, thanks for caring. No news to report at the current time, still injured.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On the run, but not literally

The Bad News:

After almost four weeks of physical therapy I am still experiencing some tightness/soreness/pain in my left hamstring.

The Good News:

I have made progress. Recently some strengthening work on my hamstring and hips has changed how things feel. On Sunday I was convinced for a period of five hours that the injury had disappeared. Those chunks of time have since been happening more frequently. It is becoming more difficult to find the spot that hurts, however when isolated it is still pretty sharp. My PT person says that the spot is likely getting smaller and that my leg is getting stronger. That is all great stuff. Once I feel like this thing is under control I will start running again. The time off has been good, but I am ready to get back at it. This phantom hamstring spot is on the run and soon I will be too.

AU plays Villanova on Thursday night in the NCAA tournament, for one day in 2009 I will be attending a sports school. Time to get pumped!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No pain means a gain for this guy

Today was a good day.

No pain during my run (3 miles) and for most of the day. My leg was a little sore early in the day, but feels great post run and stretching. I have been to physical therapy and hope to continue for the next few weeks.

My priority is to run one week without any pain before even thinking about setting any goals. This was the request of my new training-adviser/coach Matt Centrowitz. I'll write more about coach Centrowitz in another post.

So therapy, stretching, icing, and short runs are the name of the game right now. I'm just glad today was a good day.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hold on tight to your dreams

I turned the final corner towards the finish line, only 600m to go. My legs were sore and my body was tired. With close to 13 miles of running completed I wanted to be done. I was disappointed and hurt. The streets of Houston seemed quiet, but there were people all over. I exited the shadows of downtown to feel the sun on my face. I squinted and wiped the sweat from eyes. With 400m to go I could feel someone catching me, but I didn’t care. I glanced at my watch one last time, a mistake. With 300m to go I could clearly hear an announcer saying people’s names as they crossed the line. Would he say mine? Would it matter? People lined both sides of the finishing straight-away. They were cheering, but not for me. At 200m I could see a large monitor at the finish; the camera was following the lead woman. At 100m I could hear music, and as I got closer to the finish line it became clearer. It was the Electric Light Orchestra, “hold on tight to your dreams, hold on tight to your dreams.” After blocking out sounds most of the race, I heard every word of that song’s beginning. One more runner passed by me before I crossed the line, I gave no response. 1:10:18 for the 2009 Houston Half Marathon. My disillusionment turned to anger, frustration, and more disappointment as I was ushered indoors by USATF and race volunteers. I had seen this movie before, but it didn’t feel any better this time. Before the race I held out hope that it would be the end of my journey, but as it turns out, it was only the beginning.

Hold on tight to your dreams indeed; hold on tight to your dreams.


A lot has changed since November, December, and even early January. Without getting too philosophical and deep I will say that life is moving fast, and frankly, at times I am struggling to keep up. Sure, it's a cheesy metaphor, one often overused in the world of (apparent) narcissistic bloggers like myself. Unfortunately it's all too true. At some point we all have to move forward in various areas of our lives, and for me, it seems that everything is coinciding at once. I don't mean to be melodramatic, but it sucks. How many cross-roads can one come to in a day, week, month, or even a year? I don't know, but I feel like I am finding out.

Here is a short recap of everything since November. If you want more details you'll have to e-mail me.

I got in nasty shape. I got engaged. I finished my third semester at AU. I went home for Christmas. I felt like garbage on my runs. I got my first massage. I had a fantastic New Year's eve. I PR'd for 3k (8:31). I returned to DC. I got sick. I finished a short film project. I got sort of hurt. I raced terribly in Houston. I got sick again. I continued to be sort of injured. I shot video at the USATF XC Champsionships. I realized that my sort of injury is a real hamstring problem.

Welcome to today. All I could do was take a hot shower and stretch for 25 minutes, then ice for 15. Tomorrow I am setting up a doctor's appointment, thus signaling the beginning of the end for this injury. Stay tuned for more updates on that.


I remember everything I was feeling that last 1/2 mile of Houston. I can close my eyes and see the finish. After two weeks of a weird running schedule following it, I visited my fiancee Emily in Baltimore. While there I went out for a run to this private school in full winter gear (pants, under armour top, hat gloves), as the temperature was hovering between 15-20 degrees. It is about 2.5 miles out to the school and as I got to the football field I stopped. I instinctively went over to the bleachers and sat down. The campus was so quiet and the air so crisp. The sun was shining bright, but at 4:00 in the afternoon it was beginning to set. I hung my head trying to make some sense of everything. I felt uncomfortable with the silence around me. I started whispering/singing to myself. "Hold on tight to your dreams, hold on tight to your dreams." For some reason I just couldn't shake that song from my head. With it I kept reliving the finish, the emotions still hitting me hard. It still hurt. After about five minutes I got up and finished the run. I felt defeated and that feeling wasn't going away.

I know that in reality finish-line DJ's have a playlist of songs for big races. The list probably includes tracks like "Don't Stop Believing", "Living on a Prayer", "Break My Stride", and other such hits. It's an 80's pop-fan's dream, and a cliche festival for those finishing a big event. However, I see the moment I crossed that line in Houston as a sign, and I refuse to let go of it. Any song could have been playing. It could have been Bon Jovi, it could have been Whitney Houston, hell, it could have been Kenny G. Instead it was, "Hold on tight to your dreams." It doesn't get any clearer than that.

So, I will hold on tight to my dreams, and better yet, I won't give up on them either.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Yeah, it was ugly.

Honestly, I am embarrassed by my performance last weekend. I never expected for my predicted champion to be out this early. Now what to I do? Well, I guess I could pick the games for this weekend.

First, let me make a few comments about last weekend's debacle of a playoff lineup.

-Miami sucks. So for all of the Baltimore bandwagon fans getting really pumped about their victory over the Dolphins, chill out.

-On that note, Baltimore is pretty good. Their defense is peaking at the right time and the offense is good enough to win on most days. However, I still like the Pats over them any day.

-If Atlanta had stopped Arizona from picking up that freak first down on 3rd and 16, then Matty Ice would have led the winning drive. It almost came true. Maybe next year.

-Arizona is not good. Trust me.

-The Colts had that game but insisted on giving it to the Chargers. It's too bad, because the Colts were actually pretty good.

-San Diego can win it all, but probably won't.

-Go Eagles.

Here are the "NEW" predictions.

-Eagles 21 Giants 15

-Steelers 34 Chargers 14

-Panthers 28 Cardinals 24

-Ravens 24 Titans 17

Friday, January 2, 2009

Playoff Predictions 2008-2009

Oh hello. I'll just be a second. I have to get a glass of water. The taste of vomit is still in my mouth after watching Brett Favre throw the game away against the Dolphins. That second pick really threw me over the edge.


Ahhh, that feels better. Wait, wait, the Chargers came back from a three game deficit and made the playoffs at 8-8? Hold on a second. You mean to tell me that the second most talented team in the league (behind the Cowboys), took half the season off, then decided to care when they realized that their division was a joke? Oh no, throwing up again. Hold on…..

Ok, ok, ok, I think I have it under control now.

That was the 2008 NFL season? Holy crap, it went by fast. It seems like just yesterday we were six minutes into the first game and Tom Brady was upright. Matt Cassel was a backup, Matt Ryan was a doomed rookie, and the Miami Dolphins were hoping to win more than one game. Surprise, the NFL is crazy! It turns out you can't predict anything in this league. Anyone who had the Falcons and Ravens making the playoffs was probably drunk when they came up with that idea.

So, as I do every year, I’ll remind readers of my history. I have been writing a playoff predictions “column” since the 2001-2002 NFL season. In the last seven years I have predicted four Super Bowl champions. If not for a few freak things (like last year’s ridiculous helmet catch by David Tyree of the Giants and Reche Caldwell dropping a sure touchdown against the Colts two years ago) I would have six correct predictions in that span. Out of the last seven years I have predicted the Patriots six times and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once. I might be a hometown-team-guy, but my hometown-team is pretty good. You do the math.

Like in 2002-2003, I am in a tough spot. The Patriots finished with the best record in their division, but thanks to Brett Favre (again), they are on the outside looking in. However, this year’s Pats won 11 games (instead of nine) and the Dolphins took home the division title (instead of the Jets, ridiculous). (FYI: The Dolphins won only one game last year. Not two, not three, one.) The natural question at this point is: Who’s it going to be? Good question. The last time this happened I went with Tampa over Oakland, and I was right. Maybe this will be my finest hour once again.

Over the years it’s been easy for me to pick the Pats. It’s funny, because even though I don’t think they are the best team this year, I still would have picked them to win it all. I refuse to bet against Bill Belichick at this point. (If you think that the video tape thing was his magical formula, guess what…….you’re an idiot. He proved this year that he can take anybody and turn them in to a top 10 QB in this league. Bill has done it twice now, so maybe, just maybe, he is decent football coach.) Consistency wins playoff games in the NFL, and Belichick is as consistent as they come. However, this year he’s at home on January 2nd, so he isn’t perfect.
Ok, let’s get on with the show. Not much has changed in the league this year. Things looked a little weird at the beginning of the season, as the NFC appeared to have closed the talent/coaching gap. However, a 16 game season has a way of working those things out. Although the NFC has made a few a strides and has produced a higher quality playoff field than last year, the AFC is still better from top to bottom. The Chargers did make the playoffs at 8-8, but they are by far the most talented 8-8 team in league history. (Little Known Chargers FACT #1: they are bunch of babies). I look at the five and six seeds for both conferences and I feel this tells you everything you need to know. In the AFC the Colts and Ravens were 12-4 and 11-5 respectively. In the NFC the Falcons and Eagles (both birds) were 11-5 and 9-6-1 respectively. Records don’t tell the whole story though, it comes down to consistency. I’ll give Falcons credit, they are going to be a force for the next few years and they are a legitimate threat. The thing to remember is that while everyone in the AFC was fighting for their playoff lives (except Brett and the Jets), half of the NFC was imploding. The Bucs tanked, the Bears fell asleep, and I can’t begin to explain what the Cowboys did (although the Redskins might be my favorite disaster of the season). The Colts (on a down year) and Ravens did not sneak in, they fought in. Yeah, the AFC west is terrible, but still better than the NFC west. It’s like off-setting penalties; they cancel each other out. (Little Known Chargers FACT #2: they took half of the season off)

Before I finally predict the this thing like I’m Miss Cleo circa 1999, let me hand out a couple of awards.

Life Time Achievement Award: Eric Mangini, (former) New York Jets Head Coach. Great job Eric, you had a team at 8-3 and successfully finished 9-7. Must be a New York thing, blowing big leads that is.

Best Player You Have Never Heard Of: Brett Favre, New York Jets QB
Wow! Where did this guy come from? Before this year I had never heard of the guy. Apparently he played in Green Bay for a few seasons. He was by far the best player for the Dolphins at the end of this season. (I really hope you are picking up what I am putting down)

Slam Dunk of the Year: The Firing of Rod Marinelli, Detroit Lions Head Coach. I mean, the team went 0-16. I love how ESPN didn’t even talk about him with like six weeks to go. I can imagine someone sitting in a conference room saying, “hey do you think we should lead with a story about Marinelli on the coaching hot seat?” Then someone responds, “yeah, right after we announce that dinosaurs are extinct.”

Trade of the Year: Cowboys trade three draft picks (including a 1st rounder) to Detroit for Roy Williams (WR). Detroit is awful, 98% of the time they make the wrong decision, but somehow they opened a Wonka Bar with the last Golden Ticket. Two things that definitely happened while this trade went down were: 1) Jerry Jones panicked, drank a ton, and then had one of his grandkids come up with this deal using “Franchise Mode” in Madden 09. 2) The Detroit Front office, in complete disarray and surprised that they are offered a trade, had a couple of interns test the deal out using “Franchise Mode” in Madden 09. When the league office approved the deal, it was at that moment, they knew it was legit. You have to love EA Sports, they make everything so easy. I can’t wait till Wall Street 09 comes out, the stock market comes to life with EA Sports, it’s in the game!

Best Former USC Quarterback in 2008: Matt Cassel, New England Patriots. So here is the competition: Carson Palmer, injured. Matt Leinart, soft. John David Booty, an idiot rookie. When you consider that Cassel never started a game in college and two of the aforementioned guys were Heisman Trophy winners, this is a pretty big goof on Peter Carroll’s part. In August Cassel could not make an “NFL throw”, now he’s about to get a fat contract. Well done Matt, you deserve it; we wish you could stick around. Good luck in Detroit.

Best Gag-Job in 2008: The Tennessee Titans on Vince Young. Think about it for a second, then remember the Rose Bowl where he beat the USC Trojans, ok now think about the suicide rumors, ok you should have it figured out now. Vince Young is probably locked in a closet somewhere.

Biggest Joke of 2008: The San Diego Chargers. Ron Burgundy told me all about San Diego once. True Story.

Biggest Loser of 2008: Tom Brady, New England Patriots. He’s not a “loser”, but he definitely lost the most this year. Yeah, he put a ring on Gisele’s finger, but football-wise things have changed. Once viewed as the savior, the best QB in the league, clutch, and a first ballot hall of fame guy, he is now expendable. Today on WEEI in Boston people were calling in and talking about how the Pats should ship Brady off to first bidder. One caller referred to his knee “as Mickey Mouse.” (whatever that means?) Cassel, winner of 11 games and a mirror image of Tom Terrific is the new hotness. I love Cassel, and he is apparently an above-average QB, but don’t forget folks, Tom is money. Time to get sidetracked for a second. Here is what Cassel brings to the table that Brady doesn’t: the ability to run, more meat on his bones, and two non-surgically repaired knees. Tom brings the following: playoff pressure-experience, the ability to throw the deep ball accurately (this takes years to develop, Matt doesn’t have it down yet), the ability to sense the location of the pass-rush (Cassell’s biggest flaw), and three Super Bowl rings (not gonna happen for Cassel, sorry band-wagoners). In the end the Pats will make the best decision for the football team, and that decision will be Tom Brady and his Mickey Mouse knee.

Ok, I’ll make quick work on this now.


Wild Card Round:

Philadelphia Eagles (6) over Minnesota Vikings (3) 28-13. The fact that Minnesota can’t sell out a playoff game should tell you something. Eagles are lucky to be in the playoffs, but are riding the high of last week’s blowout. Wait till Tavaris Jackson meets Jim Johnson’s defense. I just think experience wins this game and these guys don’t have it.

Atlanta Falcons (5) over Arizona Cardinals (4) 24-21. Arizona too can’t sell out their home playoff game. I think Matty Ice leads the Falcons down the field in the fourth quarter for a miracle road victory.

Divisional Round:

Philadelphia Eagles (6) over NY Giants (1) 20-7. Call me crazy, but I think the Giants lay an egg in this game. I think they are a good team, but I like Eli to make a few good mistakes to make up for last year. Donovan holds on to his lunch just long enough.

Carolina Panthers (2) over Atlanta Falcons (5) 31-24. Love the Falcons, but not two weeks in a row with a rookie QB. Big Game Jake has been waiting for this since losing the Super Bowl to the Pats. Carolina is legit.

NFC Championship:

Carolina Panthers (2) over Philadelphia Eagles (6) 21-0. The dream ends here for Philly. It would have been awesome to see a rematch with the Giants, but this will have to do. Carolina’s clear advantage in the running game makes the difference. Philly can’t do anything right this week.


Wildcard Round

Miami Dolphins (3) over Baltimore Ravens (6) 17-13. It’s tempting to pick the Ravens, but I think the Dolphins can grind it out. The Ravens play great defense, but it won’t be enough in the face of the wildcat formation. Interestingly enough the Dolphins only win last year came over the Ravens.

Indianapolis Colts (5) over San Diego Chargers (4) 35-17. If the Chargers win this game they are going to win the Super Bowl. I just don’t think they will. Peyton makes it easy for me and takes care of business. LT cries on the sidelines.

Divisional Round

Pittsburgh Steelers (2) over Miami Dolphins (3) 28-10. The Steelers are probably the best team in the league. The Dolphins are a worthy feast.

Indianapolis Colts (5) over Tennessee Titans (1) 24-21. The old guard rises up! I think the Colts are better and have been since week seven. Vince Young breaks out of the closet.

AFC Championship

Indianapolis Colts (5) over Pittsburgh Steelers (2) 27-21 [OT]. Miracle touchdown run in overtime shocks the Steelers at home. Revenge for the Colts is sweet, even though they didn’t have to use their golden footed kicker.

Superbowl XLIII

Indianapolis Colts (AFC) over Carolina Panthers (NFC) 28-24. Peyton Manning MVP.

So there you have it folks. This is the only circumstance I have the Colts winning another Super Bowl in the Bill Belichick era of NFL football, so enjoy it Peyton.