061 Sharkfest Alcatraz Swim: 59:46

My friend Todd wanted me to swim from Alcatraz to the mainland, ‘Escaping Alcatraz’ in ‘shark infested waters’ essentially. I of course, signed up immediately. SIDENOTE: This story is all about Adventure! We left for San Francisco Wednesday night at 4:30PM out of JFK. I shot a picture of my company representing with a number of our wall clocks. We were flying Virgin America and I was instantly sold (being the digital master mind that I am) on their touch screen ordering system. You can order movies, TV shows, snacks, and yes… booze. You can actually start a tab and when you order a flight attendant quickly arrives procuring your ordered beverage. Amazing! Todd and I took full advantage of everything they had to offer and by the time we landed and our friend Buerkle (Kris Buerkle, but we call him Buerkle much like everyone calls me Baker) picked us up we were quite a handful. Never having been to San Fran, my eyes were a gaze at the beautiful scenery. Our first stop (after dropping our things off in Buerkle’s apartment in the Mission) was to get some Mexican. It did not disappoint. One thing I noted was the temperature. It was like 55 degrees! Wasn’t it summer? Isn’t this Cali -forn-I-A? Waking up at 6AM, the 3 of us set off for a white water rafting adventure. It was 2-3 hour drive out East (weird saying that being from the East Coast) to Coloma. Gold was first discovered there along the river at the famous Sutter’s Mill. I was taking in all the scenery, especially the mountains and all the different variety of trees! We are really missing out over here. Arriving late to the white water rafting instruction seminar we had to quickly get in gear. We made a fantastic decision to rent wetsuits (since the American River’s water temperature was around 45 degrees.) Our raft guide would be Taylor, a very experienced 24 year old native. After some basic WWR instruction, helmet and life jacket checks, we set off down the river which normally outputs 1,200 cu ft/s of water was pushing 6,000 cu f/s! It was moving so fast! I was half excited and half fearful of this knowledge. There were 7 of us in our raft… me, Todd, Buerkle, Taylor, Mike (55), his girlfriend Kate (50?) and daughter Michaela (12). We would come to learn that Michaela kicked some serious ass for being... read more

First annual ‘Run for Bruce’

Following the death of my father a few weeks ago, I have been overwhelmed with the amount of love that has come my way. It’s really quite amazing. One gesture, made by Samantha with the help of Abbe, was to have a run in honor of my Dad. It was in this way that ‘Run for Bruce’ was born. — The night before the run Abbe, Samantha and I went to Sweet Revenge to indulge a little bit. They serve wine and cupcake pairings. I know what you’re thinking, ‘Awesome!’ It was a great way to end the week and I recommend it to any lover of sweets. Saturday was beautiful. I set off at 10:30AM to run a quick 3 miles before the Run for Bruce which would add another 5.5 miles to the equation. Arriving at Columbus Circle (our starting point) I was greeted with numerous friends and family, 35 in all! SIDENOTE: My step mom Christine and step bro Patrick were also running, but in Virginia. We set off along 59th Street, making a bee line for the West Side Greenway. My brother Jeff and Joey D took off, leading the way. Unfortunately, starting a run at 11AM in the middle of June means HEAT! We were all sweating like crazy and stopping at water fountains where ever they were available. I was bouncing around talking to everyone as I ran, it was really great. Eventually, I set into pace with my cousin Cat and friend Anna. We were trucking pretty good for the last 2 miles for sure. The run ended at PJ Clarkes in Battery Park for lunch and beers. Jeff ended up being first with Joey D right behind. Slowly all the runners trickled in. PJ’s gave us a whole section so our loud-stinky-runner-ness didn’t disturb the normal people. We all ate, drank and were very merry  from 12-3PM. SIDENOTE: Claire left and ran another 4 miles! Go Runner Army! To be straight-up and honest, it was awesome. The amount of people who showed up, and the fun we had running in memory of my Dad was really fantastic. Thanks to all my friends and family who came out for the run, it really meant a lot. “All you need is love.” I leave you with Alice, my friends Anna and Danny’s adorable little girl. She says she is going to run it next... read more

060 Lavaman Triathlon: 1:13:17

The Lavaman Sprint Triathlon would mark my first triathlon for the 2011 season. I was very excited. Friday night right after work I met Mike and Ed of the ‘Dad Posse’ by Penn Station and we hopped a train to Little Silver, NJ. We popped a few Coronas and caught up on life. After a brief stint at Mike’s place in Little Silver we headed south to Belmar. We were meeting Jim (he was driving down with our bikes) at a place called Klein’s Fish Market. Klein’s ‘wowed’ all of us with their dockside seating, fresh fish and beach vibe. Personally, I was having a little slice of heaven, a.k.a…. steamed clams. SIDENOTE: The waitress was cracking us up. She kept forgetting to bring us things (like forks) and proceeded to drop an entire beer in my lap. As it went down it also took some clam butter with it. We all just laughed and made the best of it. Yes, those jeans are in the laundry now. We made it to Granny’s house (Jim’s grandma) by 11PM. Her house literally sits right on the bike course, it’ so perfect! RACE DAY Waking up at 5:30AM is never easy, especially on a Saturday morning. After a quick cup of Cafe Bustelo, we set out on our bikes to ride the 1/8th of a mile to the start. After check-in and setting up transition we all walked the beach to get to the swim start which was half a mile from transition. We jumped in the bay with 15 minutes until start. The water was perfect! The 3 of us bobbed around close to the start, but not too close as I couldn’t stand in the deeper water… Ed and Jim have a couple inches of height on me. A fist bump and then the start sounded. The men start was about 200 people and it was pretty rough swimming. For some reason, I was enjoying it. I was pushing legs out of my face and getting my feet tickled by countless other swimmers. SIDENOTE: Although it has only been 2 weeks since the Great Hudson River Swim, I felt 1 million times stronger, more confident and happy to be in the water swimming. I really dug in and was focused on my form, stretching my body’s length and pulling the water. Running out of the bay, I unzipped my suit and was doing a good job of undressing while... read more

In Memory of My Dad

On May 21st, my Dad passed away at age 59 after a 2 year battle with Lymphoma. I questioned whether this was an appropriate place to write about such a heavy topic. My Dad was a huge inspiration for me in all of my races. He loved tracking my progress and hearing all the details afterward. He was also running way before I could. Aside from all of that, his story needs to be told. — Thanksgiving was my Dad’s favorite holiday. He always compared it to Christmas, but without the pressure of buying or receiving gifts, you simply just ate and drank with your loved ones, plain and simple. My five brother’s and I (2 blood, 3 step) always looked forward to going back to Virginia to be there for that holiday because it was always a classy, no expenses spared event. Dad and my Bonus-Mom Christine were also very insistent that we join them. On Thanksgiving 2008, we noticed my Dad acting mysterious, sneaking off to appointments. My family has no secrets and are quite in your face and so this was a red flag for us. My brothers and I just decided to call him out when he got back and sure enough he confessed to being at the doctors. He was going to wait to tell us. He had been diagnosed with Lymphoma, or more specifically for those interested B-Cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, ‘CLL.’  In lay men’s terms, it disables the body from producing antibodies, therefore the patient cannot fight off infection. We were saddened by this but did not despair. My Dad has always seemed invincible and health problems were of little concern to him for all his life. He would just get treatment and fight. For those readers who didn’t personally know my Dad, just imagine an older, wiser version of me or my brothers. He was 100 percent optimistic and totally outgoing, befriending anyone. He had few enemies or people he disliked, so we knew if you fell into that category you must be truly evil. He ran, played piano, loved music, golf and his family. We had no doubt that he would crush this disease. For the first half of 2009 he received treatment from John Hopkins. He had fantastic doctors and by mid-summer the Cancer was in remission. To celebrate my brothers and I set up a ‘Dudes Weekend’ with Dad down at Bethany Beach, Maryland. We had a blast... read more