A Visit from St. Sebastian (DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon – Pittsburgh, PA)

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‘Twas the night before race day, when all ‘round this Hyatt

Drunken debauchery abound, but in my hotel room there’s quiet

I don’t really know what to expect in the race

How my ankle will feel, the crowd support, my pace

This training cycle has been rather unique

Not having enough time in my day is my only critique

Even my injury popped up during my taper

And if I wasn’t more careful, my dreams would’ve evaporated like vapor

I ran three twenty milers and was feeling great all training

I’m upset at what happened, but I want to avoid complaining

I’ve done my part to get ready, this is as good as I’ll feel

And I need to show toughness in the City of Steel

As I look back at these last eighteen weeks

I get emotional thinking of all the valleys and peaks

My running has been the thing holding me steady

But perhaps the unplanned events have helped me get ready

I sit down and ponder at the things that’ve transpired

The experiences that’ve changed me, the knowledge I acquired

I flip through my journal and read through my musings

None of it on my blog, well except for a few things

I stopped updating as much since the race in New Hampshire

Putting out weekly posts didn’t make me a happy camper

But reading my notes leave me encouraged, restored

I now have an itch to write this chapter that can’t be ignored

I look over the clothes I’ve decided to bring

But first the cherry on top: let’s run this damn thing

The days leading up have felt like a dream

Spent some time working with the race social media team

And though the actual work was rather ho-hum

I must confess, in the media center was where I wrote this poem

We left for Pittsburgh late because of a slowpoke mechanic

And when my girlfriend told me the total, I almost went into a panic

But without those repairs we might’ve not gotten here at all

Left stranded on the road with no one to call

(And now if you’ll allow me this very quick aside

There’s something I’ve been feeling I can’t quite shake or hide

Everyone at the center has been warm and full of smiles

But it’s weird meeting people who know you through your online profiles)

The night before we left I got a much needed massage

And spent time with my kitties, named Carson and Taj

At work I spent my time as a test proctor

Played Flash games with a student, she sucked, and I mocked her

(It’s safe to say that I’m completely checked out

I’m leaving this year, I don’t have a doubt)

Not spending time with my students, that’s the part I will miss

But leaving the rest will be my own version of bliss

Part of me wonders if I’m letting them down

I feel like a con man about to fuck over a town

“Here’s this guy from Jersey with a great education

But when the going gets tough, he decides to take a vacation”

Abandoning them makes my insides feel hollow

And knowing what awaits them is a hard pill to swallow

The odds are against them, a rose in concrete

And it’s why I chose teaching: to get them on their feet

Have I failed all my kids?  Have I failed at my task?

Has it been three years hiding behind yet another mask?

If I was granted three wishes from a magic genie

The first is to give them a teacher like Mr. Feeny

It’s what I wanted to be when I decided to teach

But with the system in place, the dream’s out of my reach

The second is for a future to provide for my girlfriend and cats

And our future kids too, can’t forget about that

The plan as of now is she provides the money and wealth

While my main focus is on our happiness and health

But part of me worries about what lies on the horizon

If we can afford our bills: car, gas, and Verizon

Yes, genie I know that this may be a cliche

But I need to know things will turn out OK

The third wish is tricky, I don’t know what to choose

For a third wish is not something that you want to lose

A book deal would be nice and to win a few races

But I feel with the first two, I’ve covered my bases

I don’t know what else I could possibly desire

All the goals that I have, I just have to keep reaching higher

At the risk of sounding sentimental and kind of sappy

The only thing I want is to just end up happy

Maybe the answer has always been in front of my eyes

There’s a way to solve life’s puzzles and win the grand prize

To get the three things that I want doesn’t require a complicated scheme

Just one simple notion: I have to follow my dreams

By focusing all my attention on running and writing

Everyday will be purposeful, every moment exciting

In a world full of people who compromise their morals

Maybe I can teach my students never to rest on your laurels

I wanted to motivate each and every student, big or small

And following my dream may the greatest teacher of all

And if I work half as hard as I did in restaurants or school

I know I can make it running and writing, and that would be pretty cool

I’ll pitch in whatever money I have I can spare

Though for awhile we’ll resemble the couple from “Livin’ On A Prayer”

Typical that a guy from Jersey all along

Turns out to be a character from a Bruce or Bon Jovi song

By pursuing my dreams I can check off my three wishes

But I’ll never forget the nights where I spent cleaning dishes

That’s been my secret weapon: never forgetting my past

It’s given me purpose while I’m having a blast

By putting my focus on my goals and my hopes

My three wishes will be earned and we’ll become movie tropes

It’s been hard juggling these things while balancing on a wire

But in the words of The Boss: first the spark, then the fire

So I’ll run for my kids and I’ll run for my girl

I’ll try my best and I’ll give it a whirl

But I’ve learned the only way to truly run free

Is that at the end of the day, I gotta run for me

I hope you never let your deeper purpose out of your sight

Happy race day to all, and to all a good night!

(I have just one more thing I’d like to say

So another aside if I may:

I had promised myself this poem would be brief

But the other part of me rolled its eyes and says “You got it, chief”)




2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Loved the poem and enjoyed the writings

    So how’d you do? Did you finish in the top two Or ten Or twenty Or thirty or forty or fifty or sixty Or top seven thousand eight hundred and sixty?

    Or with Eva whence was eight, and she told me she had come in twelfth in a twelve person race I had to think of what fatherly wisdom to cast

    And I responded quite wisely, “Well, somebody had to come in last.”



    • Thanks! I did OK, a pretty average time of four fours flat. Top third in the overall field and top half in my age group. Honestly, I’m always so impressed with the people finishing at the back of the pack. The mental fortitude to stick with it for five, six, seven hours! So you’re definitely onto something with your sage-like advice haha.

      Thought of you guys during the race this weekend – hope all is well!


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