Race bib and medal display

My father made me this great Uptown Gentlefriends (my race team) display for all of my race bibs and medals. It’s pretty damn sweet. Thanks dad!!!

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Race Schedule

I started running in October of 2011 and I’ve done a bunch of races since. Here’s a list of my past races and finishing times as well as upcoming races that I will be attempting.

Upcoming Races:
8/6/2013 Flying Pig, Pennington NJ, 5k, trails
8/16/2014 Bradley Beach 5k, Bradley Beach NJ, 5k
9/1/2014 Hot Diggity Dog, Mercer County Park NJ, 10k, trails
9/6/2014
Super Spartan, Vernon NJ, 9+ miles, mud run obstacle course
9/20/2014
Spartan Beast, Killington VT, 14+ miles, mud run obstacle course
10/11/2014
Parx Octoberfest 5k, Bensalem PA, 5k
10/19/2014
Atlantic City Marathon, Atlantic City NJ, marathon
11/8/2014
Trenton Half Marathon, Trenton NJ, half marathon

Past Races:
7/19/2014 Running With The Devil, Vernon NJ, 12 hour endurance trail race; 30 miles, 11:25:23, 19 of 33
7/13/2014 Spartan Sprint, Palmerton PA, 5 miles, mud run obstacle course; 3:06:56, 2303 of 4445
5/18/2014 Hair of the Dog, Working Dog Winery NJ, 5k; 21:51, 42 of 1123
5/10/2014 Washington Crossing 5k, Washington Crossing Park NJ, 5k, trails; 20:40 (course mismeasured), 9 of 117
5/4/2014 Bucks County 10 Miler, Washington Crossing Park PA, 10 miles; 1:16:29, 25 of 246
4/26/2014 Asbury Park Half Marathon, Asbury Park NJ, half marathon; 1:47:37, 129 of 1131
4/13/2014 Donor Dash, Philadelphia PA, 10k; 47:08, 98 of 1011
4/5/2014 IAS Woods Run, Princeton NJ, 6k, trails; 26:45, 7 of 78
3/22/2014 Phillies 5k, Citizens Bank Park PA, 5k; 22:08, 138 of 4747
3/15/2014 Looney Leprechaun, Tyler State Park PA, 10k, trails; 52:58, 23 of 159
2/8/2014 Cupid's Chase, Princeton NJ, 5k; 23:39, 15 of 154
1/1/2014 Hamilton Hangover, Veterans Park NJ, 5 miles; 37:46, 81 of 495
12/14/2013 Mistletoe 5k, Mercerville NJ, 5k; 23:19, 15 of 153
12/7/2013 IAS Woods Winter Wonder Run, Princeton NJ, 6k, trails; 27:59, 16 of 106
11/28/2013 Hopewell Valley Turkey Trot, Pennington NJ, 5k, trails; 23:45, 124 of 667
11/9/2013 Trenton Half Marathon, Trenton NJ, half marathon; 1:48:38, 261 of 1476
11/3/2013 Cooper Norcross Run The Bridge, Camden NJ, 10k; 48:46, 529 of 3400
10/26/2013 Spooky Tails & Trails, Washington’s Crossing NJ, 5k; 22:40, 22 of 162
10/20/2013 Seaside Half Marathon, Seaside Park NJ, half marathon; 1:57:15, 235 of 678
10/12/2013 Tomm May 5k, Robbinsville NJ, 5k; 22:32, 16 of 105
9/28/2013 Spartan Sprint, Citizens Bank Park PA, 3+ miles, obstacle course; 1:01:42, 865 of 4383
9/21/2013 Spartan Beast/World Championship, Killington VT, 14+ miles, mud run obstacle course; 9:29:29, 2651 of 3124
9/15/2013 Rock N Roll Half Marathon, Philadelphia PA, half marathon; 2:07:26, 8657 of 24295
9/7/2013 Super Spartan, Vernon NJ, 9+ miles, mud run obstacle course; 3:10:42, 2722 of 5269
9/2/2013 Hot Diggity Dog, Mercer County Park NJ, 10k, trails; 1:00:41, 42 of 129
8/25/2013 George Wah Memorial, Veterans Park NJ, 5k, trails; 23:11, 102 of 228
8/7/2013 Flying Pig, Pennington NJ, 5k, trails; 23:08, 44 of 97
7/13/2013
Spartan Sprint, Palmerton PA, 5+ miles, mud run obstacle course; 1:56:32, 1875 of 5624
7/4/2013 Revolutionary Run, Washington’s Crossing PA, 10k; 54:53
6/25/2013 ETS Firecracker 5k, Princeton NJ, 5k; 23:36, 61 of 460
6/9/2013
Princeton Healthcare 10k, Princeton NJ, 10k; 49:48, 100 of 551
6/8/2013
Run For Your Lives, Medford NJ, 5k, mud run obstacle course; untimed/non competitive event
5/23/2013
CYO Memorial Day, Veterans Park NJ, 5k; 22:15, 8 of 38
5/19/2013
Hair of the Dog, Silver Decoy Winery NJ, 5k; 22:05, 37 of 930
5/4/2013 Miles for Isles, Mercer County Park NJ, 5k; 22:09, 17 of 96
4/20/2013 Asbury Park Half Marathon, Asbury Park NJ, half marathon; 1:52:27, 273 of 1204
4/13/2013
Spartan Sprint, Citi Field NYC, 3+ miles, obstacle course; 1:19:47, 2300 of 9663
3/16/2013 St. Patty’s Day 5k, Bordentown NJ, 5k; 22:37, 37 of 507
1/1/2013 Hamilton Hangover, Veterans Park NJ, 5 miles; 40:22, 140 of 459
12/15/2012
Mistletoe 5k, Mercerville NJ, 5k; 22:34, 19 of 199
11/22/2012 Hopewell Valley Turkey Trot, Pennington NJ, 5k, trails; 22:46, 83 of 591
11/10/2012
Trenton Half Marathon, Trenton NJ, half marathon; 2:00:03, 596 of 1400
10/27/2012 Spooky Tails & Trails, Veterans Park NJ, 5k; 22:41, 22 of 197
10/13/2012
Race to Restore, Ewing NJ, 5k; 22:45, 9 of 57
9/22/2012
Carnegie Center, Princeton NJ, 5k; 23:51, 107 of 546
8/12/2012
Runyon at Yankee Stadium, Yankee Stadium NYC, 5k; 28:31, 241 of 2944
8/8/2012
Flying Pig, Pennington NJ, 5k, trails; 24:29, 55 of 149.
7/15/2012
Spartan Sprint, Palmerton PA, 5+ miles, mud run obstacle course; 2:38:58, 701 of 2011
7/12/2012
Strides for Stroke, Veterans Park NJ, 5k: 23:28, 40 of 203
7/8/2012
The Color Run, Philadelphia PA, 5k: untimed/non competitive event
7/4/2012
Revolutionary Run, Washington’s Crossing PA, 5k: 23:50, 41 of 412
6/17/2012
Run for Dad, Mercer County Park NJ, 5k: 24:43, 144 of 516
5/24/2012
CYO Memorial Day, Veterans Park NJ, 5k: 25:07, 21 of 72
5/20/2012
Hair of the Dog, Silver Decoy Winery NJ, 5k: 25:14, 110 of 934
4/29/2012
Run the Vineyards, Heritage Winery NJ, 2.5 miles: 22:40, 6 of 90
1/1/2012
Hamilton Hangover, Veterans Park NJ, 5 miles: 45:26, 224 of 470
11/24/2011
Turkey Trot, Newtown PA, 5 miles: 53:48, 651 of 781
10/2/2011
Sowebo Landmark, Baltimore MD, 5k: 37:08, 97 of 182

I will update this page as races are finished or added.
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Bucks County 10 Miler: May the Fourth Be With You

Got this in my email yesterday from the Star Wars themed Bucks County Ten Miler, May the Fourth Be With You.

2014-BC10Miler - 41 - John - Beck
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SNL Digital Short: When Will The Bass Drop?



SNL Digital Short: When Will The Bass Drop?
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SNL Digital Short: Hugs



SNL Digital Short - Hugs
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Happy Mother's Day

Happy mother's day to all the mothers out there. My grandmother recently found this old photo of my mother during Halloween. I found this picture interesting and had to share it. My mom is the one on the right, the hobo.

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Earth, Air, Fire, Water

2 opening receptions at Artworks Trenton this Saturday, May 10th 2014, 6 to 8pm.

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A forest of large painted and individually collaged prisms will be literally hanging throughout ARTWORKS in Trenton May 10 to June 7.

This massive interactive installation is the centerpiece of a one man show featuring local artist Alan Goldstein. The show features work relating to 4 natural elements; Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Goldstein has based much of his life’s work on nature’s inventions and processes.

The forest was inspired by the trees the artist has studied for over 30 years walking to his Bucks County studio. “ My trees are a part of my life and I see them age and die like my friends, like myself.  Slowly they loose twigs, branches, leaves and bark until they stand like ghosts waiting to fall.”

Goldstein spent most of the 1960s in New Jersey.  He taught at St Bernard’s School for Boys, the Summit Art Center and the Morris County Art Association in Morristown.  An invited artist to the International Summer Seminar at Fairleigh Dickenson, Goldstein has been shown at the NJ Visual Arts Center and the Newark Museum.

His work was regularly shown at the Lacework Gallery in Lambertville, New Jersey and he has many works in the permanent collection of the Michener Museum in Doylestown Pennsylvania.


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“Alpha Genesis” will be the first official exhibition for Allegory Lab Art Collective.

Allegory Lab Art Collective is comprised of four, self-representing artists: Melody Saccone, John A. Saccone, Bobby Bates, and Addison Vincent. The four artists decided to collaborate and form the collective in March of 2013.

“Alpha Genesis” is the first exhibition in a four year, four part series of works which will culminate into a massive body of works by 2017.
“Alpha Genesis” will showcase 5 works by each artist, and their personal styles for the 2014 season.
“Beta Genesis”, 2015 season, will showcase collaborative works as the artists pair off to create 8 works per pair.
“Omega Genesis”, 2016 season, will showcase 8 collaborative, large scale works of all four artists.
“The Genesis Series”, 2017 season, will be the culmination of the past three years, and will showcase a total of 36 works, ranging from personal works, to full collaborative works.

The purpose of working in yearly segments is to foster growth as artists through both personal and collaborative exploration and experimentation. Since each of the artist’s work in their own style and medium, the outcome of the collaborative works should be nothing short of spectacular.

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Help Artworks Trenton

Artworks Trenton, the amazing place where I work, has a matching fund challenge. Can you help us reach our goal of $5,000 by donating WHATEVER you are able using this link? Then message me to let me know (we've got some Board member and Staff competition going on here and you know how competitive I am). In return you will get the comfort of knowing that you're helping an incredible small roots arts organization and possibly a foot massage from me.

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The Knife

Last night I saw the Knife at Terminal 5 in NYC. It was one of the stranger shows that I've been too. They took the idea of a concert and then took the concert out of that idea. It was a strange abstract dance performance. I enjoyed every minute of it. Though I didn't like it as much as Fever Ray, my favorite show of all time, this show still is one of my favorite and most memorable performances.

Here are some pictures and video that I took. In order of appearance in the performance.

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Young Galaxy: Fresh Works from the College of New Jersey

Opening reception at Artworks Trenton this Friday, April 11th, 2014!

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Artworks Trenton presents an exhibition of fresh work by advanced students from The College of New Jersey.  Entitled, “young galaxy,” this show will run from April 11 to May 3, 2014.  Meet the artists at the reception on April 11th, 6-8pm.

“young galaxy” is a free-wheeling, jostling, exuberant, compelling, and wild collection of fresh works.  As this cohort of advanced visual arts students at The College of New Jersey moves into artistic maturity, the results are a cocktail of newfound creative independence stirred with technical acumen. ‘young galaxy’ asks questions of how a young artist perceives the world around him/her and how do those perceptions become art.
 
The exhibition is a mash-up of drawing, painting, video, installation, sculpture and large-scale murals.  In each work, the young artist has taken on the task of creating something ‘new’, often by excavating the past or by exposing personal experience to the world.  To witness this point of creation is like witnessing the birth of a galaxy; it is explosive, and rapidly expands to fill the space around it.
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The False Mirror – Surrealism Forward and Back

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The False Mirror – Surrealism Forward and Back
Curated by Frances Heinrich

Exhibiting in the Artworks Main Gallery from January 11, 2013 through February 22, 2014
An opening reception will be held on January 11, 2014  6-8pm (Snowdate Jan 18)


Almost a hundred years have passed since classical Surrealist works were first shown, and their irrational “snapshots” of the impossible were surely quite shocking back then.  Today, however, we appear increasingly attracted to similar oddities:  computer-altered talking babies, life-sized combative tacos, and flying cars probably now seem both plausible and trendy.

The False Mirror will present a wide variety of top works by a group of highly professional artists; Tom Bendtsen, John Goodyear, Benjamin S. Jones, Alan Kesselhaut, Paul Leibow, Jim and Lynn Lemyre, Adam Niklewicz, Sarah Petruziello, Frank Rivera, Anita Thacher, and Andrew Wilkinson.

Drawing, painting, sculpture, video, and installation will all be on display.  Some of these artists might deny being Surrealists, but their work demonstrates, for curator Frances Heinrich, the ideas, sensibilities, and visual freedoms originally granted by historical Surrealists and Dadaists.

At 6pm on the night of the opening reception, curator Frances Heinrich will also present a short Powerpoint talk which relates famous historical works to the current “special effects” now surrounding us in film, tv, advertising, and fashion. This will truly be an engaging event for anyone interested in their media environment.

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Top 50 albums of 2013

My favorite albums of 2013 in order from most favorite.

1. Kanye West - Yeezus
2. Forest Swords - Engravings
3. Darkside - Psychic
4. Dirty Beaches - Drifters/Love Is The Devil
5. Oneohtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven
6. Tim Hecker - Virgins
7. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
8. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
9. Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
10. Savages - Silence Yourself
11. Holy Ghost! - Dynamics
12. David Lynch - The Big Dream
13. Majical Cloudz - Impersonator
14. Austra - Olympia
15. Katie Gately - Katie Gately
16. Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus
17. Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol 3: See More Light
18. Deafheaven - Sunbather
19. Zomby - With Love
20. Burial - Rival Dealer
21. Haim - Days Are Gone
22. The Haxan Cloak - Excavation
23. Four Tet - Beautiful Rewind
24. Gesaffelstein - Aleph
25. Kavinsky - Outrun
26. James Blake - Overgrown
27. Autechre - Exai
28. London Grammar - If You Wait
29. Matmos - The Marriage of True Minds
30. William Basinski - Nocturnes
31. M.I.A. - Matangi
32. Arcade Fire - Reflektor
33. The Knife - Shaking the Habitual
34. Factory Floor - Factory Floor
35. Jon Hopkins - Immunity
36. The Field - Cupid's Head
37. Matt Elliott - Only Myocardial Infarction Can Break Your Heart
38. Suuns - Images Du Futur
39. Foetus - Soak
40. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
41. oOoOO - Without Your Love
42. Sleigh Bells - Bitter Rivals
43. Phosphorescent - Muchacho
44. Charli XCX - True Romance
45. Au Revoir Simone - Move In Spectrums
46. Grouper - The Man Who Died in His Boat
47. Lorde - Pure Heroine
48. Adult. - The Way Things Fall
49. Atoms for Peace - Amok
50. Depeche Mode - Delta Machine

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Treme: Mardi Gras Indians

I started watching the HBO show Treme not too long ago. It's about post-Katrina New Orleans and it's culture and inhabitants. What I'm most amazed about is the whole Mardi Gras Indian culture. The tribes take the entire year to make these elaborate costumes and then on Mardi Gras they "battle" other Indian tribes. I find this scene from Treme absolutely beautiful and I had to watch it 4 or 5 times before I finally got it. It's hard to understand what they say with their pseudo-African language but you get it. It's all quite beautiful and the fact that the battles are non-violent and really based on creativity and art makes it that much more wonderful.



There is footage of real Mardi Gras Indian battles on YouTube and it's not much different than the depiction in Treme.
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Spartan Race World Championship on NBC!

In September a few members of my team and I competed in the Spartan Race World Championship at Mount Killington, Vermont. NBC was there filming a special documentary that airs tomorrow, December 7th 4pm on NBC Sports. I hope you all tune in to watch!

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Thousands of top-ranked Reebok Spartan Race athletes, Olympians, and amateur athletes alike from around the world converged on Killington Mountain, VT in September 2013 to compete for $250,000 in cash and prizes. NBC Sports filmed the athletes as they competed side-by-side. Catch the action on December 7, 2013 at 4 – 5 pm EST on NBC Sports.
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Favorite tracks of 2013

There is still plenty of time in this year for me to change my mind but here are my favorite music tracks of 2013, starting with my most favorite:























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10x10 Benefit Art Exhibit & Sale

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Artworks Announces the Third Annual

10×10 Red Dot Benefit
Art Exhibit & Sale
December 7 – 28, 2013

Reception and Benefit, Saturday, December 7, 2013  5 – 8pm

Red Dot + Artwork = Support. The Red Dot shows support of Community Arts in Trenton. Come to the Artworks Red Dot Fundraiser and put your red dot on the art that you love.
Over 100 Trenton area artists created artworks on 10″ x 10″ canvas. The work is dynamic, diverse and all created especially for Artworks. Professional, teacher and student artists created works in oil, acrylic, mixed media, photography, pastel, watercolor and more.
Each artwork sells for $100 with the funds raised going to support Artworks.
It is a chance for the novice to test the waters of the world of original art and an opportunity for the collector to build their art collection.
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Art All Day 2013

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Art All Day 
November 9, 2013  Noon – 5pm
 
Art lovers from around the region are invited to take a self-guided tour of the capital city’s artist studios, gallery spaces, grass roots art collectives, workshops, public art, and a host of breathtaking creative spaces largely unknown to the public. Special Art All Day trolley and guided bicycle tours will also take place.
Over 65 artists will participate, at open studios and creative venues throughout the city. This is an opportunity to not only see art, but to also talk to the artist about his or her creative process, watch them work, and see their workspace. Artworks is proud to offer an event that showcases the remarkable creative diversity of Trenton.”
How does it all work? Art All Day is FREE to attend and open to the public. The self-guided tour begins at
Artworks Trenton (19 Everett Alley, Trenton, NJ), where guests can pick up a map/brochure and view a group exhibit featuring participating artists on the tour. Following the self-guided tour attendees are invited back to Artworks’ expansive gallery space for a celebratory reception.
Interested in participating as an artist, group studio or community partner ? 
Click Here
 
Art All Day schedule on Nov. 9
Noon  to 8 p.m. – Exhibits (FREE)
Artworks Main Gallery: Participating Artists Show,
Community Gallery : To be announced
ARTLab: “Just For Kicks: Sneaker Art Exhibit”
Noon to 5 p.m. – Trenton self-guided open studios/public art tour (free)
All Day – Trenton Art Trolley Rides ($10 suggested donation)
12 noon and 3 p.m. – Special edition OnaRoll BikeCarts bicycle tour (free)
5 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Artworks Exhibits Reception (free)
 
Free parking is available all day and evening at Artworks, 19 Everett Alley, Trenton (off South Stockton Street, across from NJ Motor Vehicle Commission building)
 
Public Art is accessible in Trenton all year round!
 
2012 Map (2013 will be available on November 9)
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Download the Art All Day Public Art Map! or pick one up Free at Artworks.
Keep up with the latest news!
LIKE Art All Day on Facebook.
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Monster's Ball 2013


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Monsters Ball – October 26, 2013
8pm – ’til the wolves howl
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“Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
Quoth the Raven “Party On!”"

Art of Darkness Art Exhibit: 
Everything from the spooky to the spoofy, scary to hairy, funny to ghastly, humorous to ‘dead’ serious (you get the idea).

Live Music & Entertainment
Charles Laurita & the Mischief and Ghost Box Orchestra

Costume Contest with cash prizes:
(Come As You Aren’t!)

Creepy Creation Station:
foul frippery, repulsive and unfortunate baubles. Handmade stuff, using real hands in some cases. Monsters, join us as we have fun for the feebleminded…..and take home an extra body part or two…

Silent Horror Flicks
Portrait Photographs
Beer, Wine and Hors D’Oeuvres
 
Monsters Ball – Ticketing
Tier 1 (Premium):  Includes food, free drinks*, activities and special Poe CD**.  Costume optional but encouraged.
$75  Non-member, $65 Artworks Members
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Tier 2: Includes food, free drinks*, one activity ticket. Costume optional but encouraged
$45 Non-members, $35  Artworks Members
 
Tier 3:  $10 – Includes food and one free drink*.  Costume Required.
One entrance per ticket.   * ID required
 
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POEshorts
** For Tier 1 ticket holders only.  Poe! A two disc CD of Poe’s creepy classic tales read by renown actors, including: “The Masque of the Red Death,” performed by Fionnula Flanagan (Transamerica); “The Pit and the Pendulum,”, performed by Stephen Lang (Avatar); “The Black Cat,” performed by Tony winner Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal). Plus haunting readings of Poe’s best-loved poems, “The Bells,” “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee.”
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A View from the Back, Sometimes from the Front, but Mostly from the Back.

Saturday, September 29th, Citizens Bank Park, the last Spartan Race of the year for my racing team, The Uptown Gentlefriends.  John, Mike, and I decide on a gentlemanly agreement to not assist one another, rather we will compete to the best of our abilities (in the past we have tried to stick together based on difficulty/danger).  Now I have to say this is probably a bit of a joke, especially between John and Mike.  They generally leave me in the dust within 15 minutes, I cry mercy, and wave them off.  They just perform at a higher level than I.  Simple fact.  Even still, I was going to do my best to put on a show.  I trained my ass off this year.  I put the work in.  And now it was time to collect on that investment.

I arrived nice and early with my family to register and get my oldest son Giovanni signed up for his first race ever, a half mile Spartan Kids obstacle course. I am beside myself with pride.  More on that later.  Our heat begins at 11:00 and the kids go off at 12:00, so I am highly motivated to complete the course in an hour.  Just in time to cheer him on.  The last time I did a course like this I clocked in around 1 hour 20 minutes.  I am confident I can get it done.  Why not?

We line up, the announcer gets us pumped up, and we are off!  First up is a series of concourse ramps with bungee mazes and O-U-T walls.  No biggy.  Mike and John are right with me.  Now we move onto the fun stuff.  Stairs, stairs, and more stairs.  John and Mike pass me pretty quickly.  Shit, here we go.  Actually, I felt fine strength-wise, but I’m just not a very coordinated stair climber.  Something I will rectify for next season.

Next up we hit a nice series of obstacles: 25lb ball slam, O-U-T walls, more damn stairs, and the Hercules hoist.  Mike and I had an earlier conversation on our unpredictable success rate with this particular obstacle.  As luck would have it we dive in right next to each other and both complete it flawlessly. We yell “AROO” as we sometimes do. I have no idea where John is, which is not looking good for me already.  Back to the stairs for a bit, and then the monkey bars.  I know for a fact this particular set has some tricky spots to mess everyone up.  I fly across with no drama.  I didn’t know it at the time, but John slipped, had to do his burpees, and I passed him.

We may have done more stairs, then the rowing machines. 500m in 2 minutes.  Killed this previously, and it wasn’t a problem again.  At this point I see John and Mike.  It’s basically a tie!  First water station is ahead, pffft, I ain’t got time for water.  I’m now feeling more comfortable with the course and I’m sprinting every damn chance I get.  I know for a fact I pass both my teammates here, but doubt it will last.  Honestly I’m thinking more about completing in an hour to see my boy race.  More concourses with bungee mazes, a few 6 ft walls, and more sprinting past everyone.  I’m slaying every dragon in my path.  Now we need to do two concourse ramps worth of Hobie-Bands.  I am loving this.  The thousands upon thousands of jump rope reps over the past few months are about to disappoint all those around me.  I get to the top and still no sign of John or Mike. Wow, I think I may have a sizable lead!  More stairs, then a series of 8 ft walls.  Ok, I’m coming back down to earth.  I’ve never completed these on my own; I’ve always had my team or other Spartans boost me over.  I look around and no one seems too friendly, and they are all just standing around.  No one wants to go.  Fuck it, I sprint in, grab the top of the wall, and pull myself up and over.  Holy shit.  I do it again 3 more times, on my own.  Still no sign of the Gentlefriends.  Hello adrenaline, nice to meet you.

The course now leads us out of the stadium and I know exactly the hell that is waiting for me.  Spear toss, my feared nemesis the rope-climb, and the atlas carry.  I’m 33% on the spear toss, which is actually good, but I’m feeling major pressure.  On one hand, if I miss I will have to take the burpee penalty and Mike and John will most likely pass me.  On the other hand, if I nail it, they might miss and I’ll open a huge lead.  I think this is about halfway through the course, so I actually allow myself a few sips from the chalice of glory.  I launch a deadly toss.  Beautiful, level, powerful.  It skips 2 inches off the top. 30 god damn burpees.  I get it done ASAP, and move onto my most feared obstacle, the rope climb.  I have never ever ever even come close to completing this, and it embarrasses the shit out of me.  I’m a grown man… technically.  I raise children, I pay bills and stuff, but I can’t climb a rope?  As I get close, the volunteer yells, “Women – ropes with knots; Men – grab a rope with no knots!”  What???  Fine.  I grab a rope, take a mental second to remember my training, my improvement, and all my hours at physical therapy.  I climb up about 1/4 of the way and think, “Hey that’s not too bad if I fail now, but let’s keep going.” Then I’m 1/2 way up, then 3/4.  Am I finally going to conquer this?  Two more pulls.  I ring the bell at the top as loud as I possibly can, letting my competition know I came to play.  I hear a few cheers.  Oh hello again adrenaline.  Then, out of nowhere, I hear John… “Whoa, Chris!!!”  He’s genuinely surprised and proud.  I am genuinely happy to hear him say that and sad that he caught up.  I start to ease my way down and disaster strikes.  I lose all grip strength and slip.  I grab on the best I can with my left hand, but I end up sliding down about halfway and fall safely into a hay bale.  No time to lose, John has caught up so I sprint to the atlas carry, but something is seriously wrong.  My hands are on god damn fire!  I look at them and there are massive blisters everywhere within seconds.  Oh my god, the pain is immense.  I get to the atlas carry and try to pick up the stone, but I’m having a hard time because my hands are shaking.  They won’t stop shaking.  I finally lift the stone and carry it across the course.  It could have been made of magma.  Now I’m starting to lose it, I seriously almost cry.  John runs over to check on me, but I wave him off to keep our gentlemanly agreement intact.  The burning!  I hear a volunteer telling me he’s calling for medical assistance.  I must have looked terrible.  I say no and belt out my burpees to prove to him I’m OK.  Medical assistance means I’m out of the race.  Hell no.  I somehow pick the stone back up, scream something obscene, and carry it back across the course.  John is gone and I never see him again.  It made sense at the time but I tell myself to sprint and the pain will go away…

Jump rope next.  Felt like I was using Satan’s tail, but whatever.  Sandbag carry through bleachers, no problem.  I would have sprinted if I didn’t get stuck behind a slow group.  Then Jerry-Can carry.  This was the worst for me.  The grip was just unforgiving.  My hands starting shaking uncontrollably again and I’m forced to stop a few times.  So disappointing.

The last stretch was a ton of stairs.  Great.  I really want to sprint now.  Opportunity given and taken.  Then we get into the locker room for hand-release pushups, which I think I do well until the beautiful baby across from me knocks them out like an animal.  I fully understand at this point I’m not winning but I will continue to push to see my son’s race.  More stairs.  I love it.  Somehow the burn in my legs and lungs is like sweet relief.  Then I hear an announcement that the kid’s race is pushed back to 12:50.  I’m mad because now my tired body has an excuse to go over an hour.  I’m happy I won’t miss it, but still I wished I hadn’t heard that…

Now I’m out on the field.  The finish line is right there.  Box jumps.  I rule at these. I knock em out, and as soon as I’m about to move on Mike shows up.  I smack him on the ass (because that’s what you do when you look upon this mammal) and he looks surprised.  We nod.  Full confirmation that Spartachris is taking care of business.  Next were a few walls.  My hands were calming, so no problems.  Next was my other nemesis the traverse wall.  I just can’t figure this obstacle out, but if I can rise to the challenge, I beat Mike.  I try my best, but fail.  I don’t waste any time, I just get right into the burpees.  Right around #20 I see Mike ring the bell.  Game over for me.  I climb the cargo net, then blast through the gladiators.  I yell something unacceptable at them partially because of my hands, partially because they weren't hitting anyone hard, but mostly because I came so close to shocking my mates and came up short.

No time to really dwell on anything. My only priority is to get to my son and see his race. I find them quickly, and go over the mantra I taught Giovanni earlier that week, “The secret to racing is NEVER GIVE UP!”  He yells it and gives me thumbs up.  They run, he finishes, gets his medal, and gives me a huge hug.  We compare medals and take a few photos.  Mike nudges me and asks, “How proud are you?”  I seriously choke back some tears.  Giovanni is a sensitive guy.  I won’t/can’t shield him from adversity, but I can set a good example for him, and try to teach him how to deal with it.  He keeps smiling and we keep hugging.  Amazing.

So the smoke clears and John finishes in 1:01, Mike is 7 minutes behind that, and I am 1 minute behind Mike.  I get some huge compliments from my teammates.  They are equally surprised and impressed with my improvement.  I honestly don’t think they thought I could compete. I am really proud and I’m loving the comradery, but I feel like I’m just getting started.

So what do I take from this?  1 - I love my little boy and I’m beyond proud of him.  2 – Conquered a few obstacles that I couldn't handle in the past.  3 – I still have two fingertips with absolutely no feeling. That’s not really great, but it is freaky baby.  4 – I made a game of it with runners beyond my abilities.  5 – I fell short more than a few times, yet I saw massive improvement.

But that is exactly what this journey for the past two years has been… A giant pile of disappointment with a very few sweet victories.  A view from the back, sometimes from the front.

Christopher Lucania
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Spartan Sprint at Citizens Bank Park

Finished my 5th Spartan Race of 2013 today. Today was a relatively simple course, I only say simple because last week was the Spartan World Championship in Killington VT. That race was the hardest and most brutal challenge that I’ve ever done. Today’s Spartan Sprint at Citizens Bank Park was literally a walk in the park! Now, with every Spartan Race I’ve done, from the Sprints to the Super to the Beast, I’ve always stuck with my team. However, today was the day that we unleashed hell on both the course and each other. Today was a competition between Mike, Chris and myself. The prize would be bragging rights. I’m going to do a play by play from my point of view.

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Our heat started at 11 AM. We lined up on the starting grid and the countdown started, GO!!! I started off with a slow jog, slow and steady wins the race. Mike and Chris did the same. First up were the cords along up and down the ramps at CBP. Over and under a countless number of a tangled mess of bungee cords while making your way to the upper deck. At this point we’re all racing together, Chris and Mike passed me. Once we got to the top we started running stairs and across the upper deck bleachers. This is where I took the lead, they may have taken a wrong turn and I was really good on the steps. I was moving well and had a pretty good lead at this point while going through the concourses and opened it up even more when tackling the 25lb slam ball and going through the O-U-T (over, under, through) walls. Again, more steps, more running. I really opened it up. The Hercules hoist, lifting a large cement stone to the top of a pulley and then slowly back down, Chris was right next to me. Next up, monkey bars, was moving really good though them, however, the monkey bars are designed to be tough, I went reaching for the next bar but it was maybe 3 or 4 inches higher than what it should have been, I missed it and fell, 30 burpees! I start them immediately, around burpee 15 I see Mike easily make it though then I see Chris easily make it though. I’m now in 3rd.

Immediately after were the rowing machines. 500m in 2 minutes. No problem. I quickly found a free machine (right next to Chris). Didn’t see Mike (must have been doing it already). I begin rowing and Chris finishes his as I’m doing mine. Aroo. I got it and moved on, water station, had a cup of water, Mike was there also with water. Chris must have kept going, didn’t see him. Up next was a 6 ft wall. No challenge for Mike and I. More running to the top and more of those bungee cords. And then the Hobie band. A rubber band we put around our ankles and then we have to go up 2 more ramps with this band. Mike is in sight but it’s tough to move with this band. More running through the concourses and up and down the stands. I could be wrong but I think the 7 and 8 foot walls were after this. Mike was right in front of me and he gets over both walls before me but I’m not far behind. No sign of Chris, we must have passed him at this point.

Not sure if there are more obstacles in between but I finally catch up with Mike again at the next water station. Had a couple of cups and the spear throw is next. I GOT IT! I had a perfect throw and it stuck, I throw up my arms, pure adrenaline took over at this point. I take off, I look back and I see Mike miss the spear toss! He had to do burpees. This was my chance to open it up but it’s time for the rope climb. I quickly grabbed a rope and began pulling myself up. I don’t want to say it was easy but to be honest I don’t know how I did it but I made it to the top and slapped that bell. Still pumped up from the spear toss. I lower myself off the rope and look back for Mike and I see Chris on the rope right as he’s about to hit the bell!!! He must have been so far ahead of us and I caught up with him. He was exhausted as he fell off the rope but sprinted to the next obstacle, the Atlas Carry, I slowly jog.

The Atlas Carry is a large cement stone that you pick up off the ground and bring it from one side to the other and do 5 burpees. Chris was already on the other side and then I got to the other side and he was in pain. I asked if he needed any help and said his hands were hurting him, possibly from the rope climb just before that. I do my burpees and move on, asking him again if he needed help. He waved me off. At this point I was locked in and nothing was going to slow me down. I had the lead, Chris was in second and Mike in third. 40 jump ropes next with a big heavy rope. Done. Sandbags up and down the bleachers. Done. 2 giant water jugs up and down the bleachers. Done. I was moving as fast as I could.

Easily running through more bleachers, more steps, more concourses, down into the locker room. 20 hand release pushups. Easily done. Running outside onto the field, the race is almost over. 20 box jumps. Not easy but finished pretty quickly (fell and almost hurt myself due to going too fast). Military walls next, 4 5’ in succession which I easily leaped over. Sprinting around the warning track now, my sister, Giovanni and my Dad cheering me on, I see Mike’s brother cheering me on. Traverse wall next. I leaped up onto the wall, I moved quickly but took my time (does that make sense?). I slammed that bell at the end. Cargo net. the camera man was right there but I got up and over that so quickly that he might not have gotten the picture off. At that point it was just the gladiators. I was in a full sprint, throwing my arms in the air trying to egg on the gladiators. Still nothing but pure adrenaline after that spear toss. The gladiators hit me like a bunch of girls (nothing like those physical freaks at Killington). From what I hear Mike passed Chris on the field coming to the finish line. It was a close race!

Final results are:
Me: 1:01:42
Mike: 1:08:37
Chris: 1:09:44


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