January got off to a very emotional and streessful start. Sure the beauty of Christmas carried over into the new year, but with the load of learning a new POS system at work, the drive to begin training with structure again, and the heavy heart carried by the illness of my Dad in NY with pancreatic cancer, all was difficult to manage emotionally each day without losing the focus to get what had to get done that day. After one week in January, my Dad finally passed and we went quickly back to NY for 3 days. I think we had about 10 hours of good sleep over those 3 days. From all of the family services, trying to get some time in with her parents and some relatives, then just being able to try and slow down each night to rest, forget it. The weather there got colder, but it was warm with love during the wake as the whole hood of Greenpoint came out to pay respects to my Dad. I was happy to see everyone from our childhood again, friends, family, people from old jobs, who’s who in Greenpoint was there. I shook so many hands, hugged so many people (as Gina said with the “Bro Hug”), and drank more glasses of wine in a 3 day span as a toast to Pops. It was comforting to be able to hang with my sisters and brothers, share an 11pm Italian meal with our friends Dawn and Paul (who opened their home to us at any notice during this time), then even get to see Gina’s sisters Susie and Chris on the last day of our visit where it actually felt like resting.  Of course nothing took away from why we were there. My Pops was a great father, teaching the 5 of us through “tough love”, a long leash of freedom to let us take risks, make mistakes, learn from them, forge on with our goals, made us pay our way for schooling through work (and most of what we did), and instill the stubborn, but confident independance each of us needed to get where we are today. Mind you my Mom died when I was not even five years old, so as we grew up, you can imagine the stories we can share with all of our experiences when we gather around the table together – which until that weekend probably hasn’t happend in over 10 years. As my brother-in-law Jingles best described it over one of his Mom’s dinners – “It’s scary, you each are all the same, yet each one of you show it different in your own way.” He’s right.

As we returned to a warm sunny day here in Charlotte, we got to use a Sunday to unwind and get things back to somewhat normal. I cherish each memory of my Dad, and know that he is now wining and dining with Mom, Aunt Josie, Uncle Tony, Grandma, Uncle Smokey, Aunt Irene, man would I love to be able to serve that table!!! But just as my Mom’s spirit currently does, I know that now I got a double shot with my Pops now, to charge the engine and tackle each day. The focus is more dialed in. I though about taking some time off work to get a better grip on things I wanted to handle, things I have in plan, a strategy to implement which would take me to the closest of my “ideal situations.” The whole experience has let me see things that I am in control of to change. The timing is there. It’s generated a “buzz” that has Gina’s support (and the rock that she always is), and I will really consider in the coming months to make happen. Thanks Pops.

The past 2 weeks have been heavy. I mean I feel like I was all over the place and the warm weather certainly didn’t help in forcing a slow down. I am training well with my base build up, using my Polars in good rotation, my often pink colored sneakers pounding the pavement, and messing with different forms of the ancillary aspects that shape my day. It’s still sometimes tough to get out of bed before 6am, but Gina and I have started walking a few days each week, and nothing beats the serenity of a 5am workout. I entered a 50K with my boy Brad, who has been doing really well in getting himself in shape to attain yet another running goal. Thom over at EPEC joined forces with MetroFitness and was able to get my membership transferred without hasstle, which will enable me to use a top fitness facility and we’ve talked over a few runs together about training me a few days “old school” with my strength conditioning into the summer. Work brings long hours with it, and sure enough after 2 weeks of big time stressing the system on all fronts, it starts with a sneeze. Then a chill. Then a fuzzy head. And sure enough by Friday I was slammed. Yesterday brought with it a marathon day that capped it off:  a long 5am run to an event I was volunteering for, having fun with people at the race including everyone at the Charlotte Running Club who hosted the event, (running a few more miles with Brad), then heading back to work where it was a steady zoo, and finally off to a four hour award banquet we were invited to by one of Gina’s co-workers, whose daughter won an award as one of the top softball players in the Charlotte area. By the time we got home, it was close to 11. Done. I promised Gina a total day off. She made sure it was. I am implementing all the tools I use when I get a cold like this and the good thing is that its just a headcold. I slept in the Sock Monkey Pullup PJ’s to stay extra warm (don’t knock it till you wear it), and the Vicks, tea steams, and naps feel good. The occassional “hot toddy” too. We both needed a forced slowdown and rested up.

February brings with it the anticipation of spring, tax filing, and Lent! I am sure the usual Super Bowl festivities will take over this week, and though I only have the 50K scheduled for next week as a training race to run through (and sharpen the mental game), my race calendar has some races in it, but am awaiting word from Active regarding possible sponsorships which could influence which races I target. However, we agreed to keep things local here in Charlotte for now and into the late spring. As the card recently sent to us from Dawn perfectly sums up: KEEP CALM but CARRY ON.







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