Friday, February 24, 2012

Austin, TX marathon DONE!! 2 down 10 to go!!!

Sitting on the plane listening to jay - z blueprint 3 album. I just got it. I met jay once when i was working at virgin megastore in Hollywood. He was doing a signing and the employees got to meet him first. I made some silly joke about the marker he used to sign my cd being out of ink ( I asked if it was invisible ink?) he took a beat about to explain the marker was simply dried up, but realized I was kidding and started laughing. He said I was funny. That was pretty cool. I've been a fan of his ever since :) I like my rap with cursing, sorry Will Smith.


I had a rough flight in on Friday. In fact it was a rough few days leading up to it sleep wise. The anxiousness and stress of what I'm doing and trying to do may be taking a small toll on me. I'm having difficulty winding down at night and find myself waking up several times a night. My girlfriends been doing the same since I've known her, maybe she's just rubbing off on me. (that sounds dirty).

Deb had to drive me early in the morning and she had a long night at work the night before, so the two of us were zombied out. Before we left she wrote on my hats the state, city and date of my race. The hats are for me and for my guide. Or in this case guides.

At my gate before I boarded I got a great phone call from Liz telling me she was able to get me a meeting with lance Armstrong right before the marathon. I got pretty excited about that and I thought that was a good start to the weekend.

I took off On time but had an almost 2 hour lay over in el paso which turned into closer to 4 hours due to heavy winds in LA? Well that's what I heard. I was afraid of it getting worse because I had set up a fundraiser that night at an improv theater where I was going to perform for the first time in 8 months.

The last half of the short flight from el paso to Austin was turbulent. Thick dark saturated clouds made me feel how fast we were really going and hitting pockets on the way. Pockets of what? It feels like running over mini speed bumps.

It was raining alright. Soaked. And from what I hear the city needed it. Well that's fine but I didn't need it.

I got my checked Marlboro bag which I still mean to get rid of but I keep using it and it stands out on a carousel. (I use to smoke). Went out to find my ride. Two cars pulled up and out of one came my dad my cousin Katie, the other my mom and Katie's husband Jim. Katie and Jim moved to Austin about a year ago and Katie , by coincidence, was running the same marathon as me but just the first half with her friend, Alice from Canada. My parents have been traveling/vacationing for the last 6 weeks in Florida and south padre island, tx. Austin was there last stop before hopping a plane back to long island.

We didn't have too much time before my show. I needed some form of food and something to drink during my show, "shootin' the shit', a single scene long form improv show that takes place in a bar and I've been doing it on and off for about 8 years. Its a form I can easily invite guests to play in. And that's what I was doing this time.

After a quick soup and salad at chik fil a we headed over to the Institution Theater owned and run by Tom Booker. Tom was my first teacher at Second city almost 9 years ago in LA. He moved to Austin a few years back. And I knew Irene White from iO West in LA. She moved to Austin 2 years ago and is a fantastic improvisor and person. So those two were my guests for the show.

Liz works for CNN and was in touch with me about last months dr drew appearAnce. She was planning on having a crew at the Austin run and even being at my show. And sure enough there she was with her man Marcus. Really sweet couple.

My camera guys Patrick and John came into town the day before for other stuff and were able to get some root beers for the show that we were going to pretend was real beer. I got there plenty early and said hi to tom and Irene and Liz and whoever else I needed to say hi to. It was going to be a mild audience. The rain was probably going to keep some people away if they were planning on coming out. Didn't matter. I was pretty delirious and was really looking forward to sleeping.

We did a quick 25 min ish show for about 15 people. I had fun and Tom and Irene were great. Afterwards we said our goodbyes although I didn't get a pic with the three of us together and I've been kicking myself ever since.

I stayed with Katie and jim in driftwood where they have an outstanding house. My parents, and the guys got their own hotel rooms. Katie picked up Alice from the airport but by that time I was trying to wind down. It was about 1am or so Austin time that I got to sleep.


Up around 7 I think. Maybe 730. Katie was making breakfast for everybody. So everybody came over at 8am. I spent three hours a couple of nights earlier on the computer looking for Austin press to contact about my story. I sent out dozens of Emails and they were starting to pay off. I had two interviews that morning. One with a local school radio station and the other is a big newspaper called the Statesman. I was meeting both at the expo. The expo is where you go to get your bib number and there's hundreds or thousands of people shopping for running stuff.

I met with Erika. She was waiting for me with an intern named autumin. Both ladies were very sweet and fun to talk with. It was the radio interview. Erika talked with me for about 30 min but only about less than 2 minutes made it to the airwaves. I mentioned that I was going to meet lance Armstrong and she brought up apparent charges that had recently been dropped against him for enhancement performing drugs. I said that was the first I was hearing about it, but I don't think she believed me. But I didn't have enough info to give an accurate answer so that's what I told her and it was true. Don't harsh my buzz Erika.

Heres a link to that interview.....

My "entourage". Was huddled around a small table in the expo waiting for me. I felt bad because all this stuff took hours. Because my next interview was with Ciara with the statesman. She came with a photographer (jay). They brought me to an empty hallway of the expo, took some pics and Ciara talked with me on the floor of the hallway for a good while. She didn't have a recorder of any kind just her pad and pen. I was impressed by her quick shorthand.

Heres the Statesman interview....

Afterwards I went back to my group and Katie took me to get my bib and some clif bloks for the next days race. We had some time before Ryan and Maureen, his girlfriend, would get to the expo from the airport. They just landed and were renting a car. Ryan had hurt his foot, I forget the name, miniscus? Anyway he was originally going to run the whole thing with me. He ran my very first half marathon with me in August 2010 in Chicago. He's the one on a lot of the tv and even press I've gotten he's the one with me. But he was concerned about doing a full marathon with how his foot was feeling and we had already booked flight and registered under his name for the race, so Maureen was kind enough to volunteer to relay guide me.

When they showed up we talked about his foot. He said it still hurt a lot and was real concerned with it. Minutes earlier katie came up to me and volunteered herself for a future full marathon as long as I gave her time to train. Cut back, I turned to Katie and asked her if she could run with me the first half. Or more accurately the first 11 miles. That's where the halfers split off in the course. Without hesitation, she was on board. Great. So how it was going to work was Katie the first 11 miles, Maureen the next 11 and Ryan to swing in for the final 4.2 and "take all the glory" as he said. So this was going to be interesting. But I was excited for the support and love from everybody.

So everything was set and it was time to split off. I went with Katie to her house and we got ready for a big pasta filled meal that she was making that night. A couple hours later everybody was there. 10 people in total scarfing down pasta and garlic bread like there's no tomorrow. But there is a tomorrow. There most certainly is. And tomorrow was going to be a big deal.


Dammit! Another night of no sleep. Okay no sleep is an exaggeration but I only got about 4-5 hours. Took forever to settle my mind after I packed And set up just hours earlier. 3 am I woke up. And I was already slightly panicked.

Did I mention the rain hadn't stopped from the time I landed Friday til sometime during this past night? The weather report said no rain so I was fairly confident that wouldn't be an issue. Here's to hoping for an accurate weather report.

I layed in bed for a while and checked up on my social networking. Eventually I got up and just started to try to get my head straight. I decided not to tell anyone how little sleep I got so I wouldn't worry them and so they would cause me any extra worry.

We needed to meet lance Armstrong at 615 in a parking lot. Since Katie lives a bit far out we left her place at 530am. It was pitch black outside and DRY! The plan was that my three guides were going to meet lance as well. We got to the parking lot early and I was excited. Liz met with us with her camera crew and said he would show between 615 and 640. Uh... Ok... But I need to stretch! And all that's around is either concrete road or wet grass. Ok not as dry as I said earlier. I usually stretch on the ground and I was not quite sure what to do. It was cold out for sure. While getting dressed I wisely put on a long sleeve shirt under my short sleeve. Man did I need it. Probably in the 40s at that time.

I got word that only Katie and I were going to meet lance. I felt bad getting Ryan and Maureen's hopes up to meet him. That was a bit of a downer. But a van pulled up about ten yards away or so and two figures started jogging over my way. It was pretty dark out and without the light from the camera crew it would've been tough to make out lance. He shook hands and did greetings with Liz and the crew and then myself and Katie. It was a very pleasant exchange until the awkward silence. Was I suppose to say something? Or him? Actually I was waiting for questions to be asked to either lance or myself. And finally they started coming from the cameraman. Lance was talking about the livestrong foundation and run and was saying some really nice things about me. He had read my story and said he even tried to walk around his kitchen with his eyes closed. I'd like to believe that's true. But he was a real nice guy and I think it's really impressive the things he's done and I'm sure I don't know even half of what good he's done in the world. I wonder how much responsibility or pressure he feels. I wonder if he still wakes up two hours before his alarm goes off from a restless mind. I would've Like to ask him these questions but I didn't want to cross a line. But I was able to get a few jokes in there and make him laugh a bit. That was cool. He was going to run about 15 miles of the race. Turns out the course passes by his neighborhood so he was going to run home.

I got a couple pics with him and off we all went towards the starting line. I was trying to meet up with a guy that was trying to do a quick interview with me for tv and it was too chaotic and I ended up in a place I did'nt think I would be at so I missed that guy. I was brought to the beginning of the race line with my camera guy and Katie. I handed off my stuff to Ryan and said I'll see ya later. Lance went to make an announcement and say hi to the runners on mic. While I was brought to a spot on the course. I was suppose to wait for my coral. No problem because I still haven't stretched! And the race was about 2 minutes away from starting. I dropped to the ground and stretched as best as I could with limited room and even more limited comfort. Katie, alice and Patrick tried to block the runners that were heading toward the start from stepping all over me.

After as adequate a stretch as I could get I put my blindfold on and asked Katie to put suntan lotion on my exposed areas. Cuz I forgot about that too!! And the sun was coming up, even though there were some clouds still hanging out from the previous days.

Ok ready not it's time to run. And here go....

I heard 18,000 people were running that day. I knew it would be crowded the first 11 miles until the split. The majority of the people were running only half. And it's a really windy , crazy course from the map. So the first couple hours were going to be tricky. Little did I know how hilly the course was. Man!! That shit was murder on my calves and my butt. Alice voluntarily became my scout. Much like my cousin Jenny did for my full marathon Chicago, 10/10/10. She went ahead of us and asked people to move out of the way. That was invaluable.

It wasnt raining but I was freezing. It was windy and the sweat on my long sleeve shirt was cold against my body. That was making nervous. I needed less cold and less hills. We did the exchange at mile 11 and Maureen joined me. We had maybe the biggest hill yet after she started running with me. How I like to run the marathons is a light stride to the mile maker and then walk for a minute or so and take off to the next marker. Usually around mile 20 I need to take more walking breaks. well I kept that up until about mile 14, then we did run for 5 min and walking break, run for 5 min and walking break. I was afraid the whole course was going to be hilly, lucky most of the second half was flat or going down. Going down is better than going up but it has it's own discomfort. I'm landing on my feet harder and I can feel that on my joints. But I was making it. And it was getting warmer.

I could hear my family as I would pass cheering and others cheered along the way too. Some runners even ran up to me to talk about seeing me on tv or reading about me in the statesman that morning. Some really kind words were said and that was really great.

I had no idea how I was doing time wise. I figured pretty bad because of the hills and extra walking breaks. But I didn't care. My focus was to finish. That's it.

Mile 22 came up and the final exchange of the day with Ryan. 4.2 miles to go. I was going to make it. I knew it. No turning back. I can smell the finish line which was impressive considered how badly I smelled.

I ran almost the whole last mile without a break. I wanted that finish line and I wanted it now. I could hear the crowd and the announcer at the finish. In front of me was a woman who ran the whole thing in firemans garb. She was running for fallen firefighters I think. That's pretty crazy too. Lucky for her it wasn't hot out that day. She would've been in trouble I think. But look who's talking.

The announcer said something about me as I crossed the finish, I have no idea what he said. Ryan confirmed my finish and I gave him a big hug.

I was met at the finish by Liz and the dr drew crew. My parents were there too, but I couldn't see anybody still because I had my eyes closed even though I took off the blindfold. My mom gave me a big crying hug and she could barely get out any words through her sobs. And as Liz asked me questions I started getting pretty emotional myself. That'll make for good tv. :). And then Sara from fox 7 news was there too. We had set up trying to meet all weekend. I talked with her real brief but i was excited to be interviewed by her.

Heres that interview...

So that was it. After taking some pictures scarfing down a bagel and some water it was time to take a walk to the car. Oh great a walk.

Another guy wanted to interview me at my hotel. That night and the next I stayed at a hotel. I was brought to the hotel and John got me a subway sandwich. I showered finally after my brief interview and my meal. And after I put bags of ice on my thighs and knees.

I didn't really want to go out anywhere so I stayed in, Ryan and Maureen got me some ice cream and said their goodbyes. THey had an early flight the next morning. I was tired and really just wanted to go to sleep. I was able to catch myself on fox at 5pm and taped it on my phone. Maybe theres one online thats better.

Later I watched Celebrity Apprentice. Im rooting for Adam Corolla and Lisa Lampanelli. Lisa did my very first benefit show in 2004 in LA and Adam had me on his radio show when I was promoting the bike trip across country that my brother in law did and I went with him.

my final time was 5hrs 41min 12sec. Not bad. way better than i thought i would do. But i only had 2 pee breaks during the race and that probably helped my time.

The next day my parents and I went to the LBJ Library and swung by the capital so I could take a closer look at that. And had a nice dinner with Katie, Jim and Alice.

Tuesday morning was my flight and I squeezed in a quick interview with Texas University tv station. If I find the link I'll put it up here.

I would end up leaving some stuff in Patricks rental van and he would check it with a bag of his, which southwest then LOST! So im missing a camera and some clothes which SUCKS!!! Hopefully theyll pop up.

Im now finishing this blog at my house in LA. I taped the Dr Drew show yesterday and just watched it air today. Nice guy that Dr Drew and a great crew that works at the show. Everybodys really nice there. i like it there. :)

I guess thats it for now. I really need some more press for this year. My next marathon is Los Angeles. I have a fundraiser on MARCH 30th at 8pm at SECOND CITY on Hollywood Blvd. Im trying to get a celeb guest to improvise with.

Also i just signed up for the Hollywood Half Marathon April 7th. Yes Im crazy. But you may be crazier for reading this whole blog. Good on you!!

Please help spread the word and reTweet and rePost and donate and do whatever you can. Thanks so much!!! St Louis Marathon in APRIL!!!!


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