A nasty chest cold at JFK, tooth pain that resulted in a root canal in Costa Rica for La Ruta Run, & now a DNS (Did not Start) in San Francisco for TNF50 due to a bad ankle I twisted covering UTMB for iRunFar.com and sprained again the other day.
2013 will not go down in the record books for me as a successful racing year, but I am grateful for the people and places I have visited and encountered. Two Team USA appearances, in retrospect, in Poland & Wales were an incredible honor even if scoring fourth, first non medal / podium team, at both still resonates in my soul and soles.
Yesterday afternoon the sun was shinning and the weather was warm in Connecticut. I suggested to my sister a family hike with her three kids, golden retriever, and her husband. I was tired and a bit bummed out that I would not get to race healthy and injury free in California with all my friends.
As we were hiking up to the waterfall my nieces began to run, to trail run! They were laughing and smiling! The joy was contagious!
Kate, the smallest of the twin three years olds, fell a few times but got up and laughed it off. She was trying her best to keep up with her big sister Emma who was running with me. Sara was following behind with her parents hollering “trail marker” at ever blaze on the Michael Ciaiola Conservation Putnam Country nature trail in Patterson, New York.. When we reached the waterfalls the frozen ice from earlier in the week had melted off leaving a glistening turn around point. Emma rock hopped across to the other side with her dad and I carried Kate over. Sara and her mom feasted on animal crackers.
Old Buddy boy was with us too. He went for a swim. I tied my fluorescent yellow Achilles NYC Marathon Guide shirt to his collar to make him visible to potential lost hunters. Buddy has been in Chrissy & Nick’s family since the beginning. He was a puppy destined for a life as a nursing home service dog at the Jewish Home for the Elderly when I took him for his first trail run. I lost him that day on the trails of Fairfield, Connecticut’s Mohegan Lake. Hours later I would find him across the lake playing with a pack of dogs but happy to return to run more miles with me. Run we did! Buddy would become my main training partner until late 2009 when I left Connecticut for Medical School on St. Kitts.
Buddy’s first newspaper appearance wasn’t in the article with me in December of 2008 but with Nick in 2005. Buddy taught me how to properly run trails by living in the moment responding to the environment before us. The day after his first newspaper appearance Buddy went back out on that ice to retrieve Nick’s sneaker from the bottom of the lake. Now that is loyalty! We managed to avoid another Fairfield Fire Department rescue by having Buddy swim back toward the stream that fed the lake. Buddy, Nick, and Chrissy continue to be among my best friends. They helped me get through a lot of emotional baggage when Jennifer passed away. I am #soblessed to get to spend time with their family now.
Some mornings the simple act of lacing up my sneakers to run Buddy was all I could manage as I processed my grief. 2005 was a year I hardly remember. I ran and worked. I worked and ran.
Without running I don’t think I would have survived. Peter Zander will tell this story in his film soon. I thought it was important to open my soul to him so people would know that obstacles in life are temporary.
Yesterday, Emma would run as hard as she could trying to surge ahead until she was out of breath. She looked back at me and said: “I need a little break uncle Davey.” I told her I could relate :) Within days of her birth in 2008 I signed my letter of intent to return to finish my degree and run for The University of Bridgeport’s Purple Knights’ Cross Country Team. That decision would be my break from a career I didn’t envision for myself long term and mark the moment of my breakout as a runner.
I am super excited to get to go participate in my good friend’s trail running festival next weekend in sunny warm south west Florida but I will be training for my early 2014 races these next few weeks in the area I was raised on the NY / CT boarder. I love to share my passion for and experience with trail running with others so please if you are around let’s get together either here or South West Florida and run a little. No distance is to short for me and no pace is to slow.
My sister and I ran this morning in heavy fog along Candlewood Lake laughing about the fun times we had line dancing with Team RWB the other night and remembering my father’s love for Christmas lights.
Earlier this week I got to share a couple pleasantly refreshing runs with an old friend who dates back to my Shenorock Shore Club days.
As we ran through the Blackrock section of Bridgeport ducking bullets and listening to the seagulls on the Long Island Sound overlooking Seaside Park I got excited for my return to Connecticut in 2015.
I love the holidays and I am thankful for my incredible family, great sponsors, and wonderful friends that have made this wild ride possible. Run Strong!