My 2021 New York City Marathon

NOTE – This article can also be found at Start Spreading the News.

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Let me begin by saying that New York City, all five boroughs, are amazing, awesome, inspirational, supportive, and, just plain wonderfully great. I love all of it. Every person, every borough, every street… All of it.

New York is the greatest city in the world.

It just is.

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Continue reading “My 2021 New York City Marathon”

A Host of Numbers With One Week To Go…

In one week, exactly, from right now (as I write this), I’ll be on the streets of New York City running my favorite marathon, the one race that I often feel defines who I am. Somehow, a long time ago, I realized that the New York City Marathon is part of me, part of who I am at my core.

I cannot wait for next week to arrive, to be there, on the streets of New York, running, struggling, laughing, pushing, persevering, high-fiving, and probably even crying, as I push over the greatest 26.2 miles there are.

I love the noise, the crowds, the energy, the passion, the people, the police and firefighters. I love the volunteers. I love the Gatorade. The love the quiet of thousands of steps and the noise of the bands and sirens and cheers.

I love all of it.

My heart is racing just thinking of next week.

I love preaching at the religious services tent before the race, inspiring others. I love the smiles and the hugs and the “best wishes.”

I love Sinatra’s “New York, New York…”

I love it all.

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I just finished what will be my last hard miles outside in advance of the marathon. I did four miles in 35:20. My last mile (yes, it was mostly downhill) was a blistering fast 8:06.

As I looked at these numbers I thought to so many other numbers that helped define my training and quest to get back to the streets of the greatest city in the world.

Here are some of the numbers:

662 – That’s how many days it has been since my Achilles Surgery on January 8, 2020

318.27 – The miles I have run the last 12 weeks since ramping up my training.

26.52 – My average weekly mileage the last 12 weeks.

2 – Number of 40+ mile weeks in my training

2 – Number of 20-mile runs I did this training cycle

843.57 – The number of miles I have run in 2021

30 – The amount of pounds I have lost since December 26, 2020

21 – The number of previous marathons I have run

7 – The number of NYC Marathons I have run

2002- The year I ran my first marathon (NYC in 4:20:47)

3:25:16 – My fastest marathon (Chicago, 2006)

4:47:47 – My slowest marathon (NYC 2018, Hey, I was injured…)

12 – The number of years since I last broke 4-hours in the marathon (yikes, I used to be fast)

13 – The number of years it’ll be after this year. (I’m stronger than I’ve been in more than a decade, maybe ever, but I’m not 4-hour marathon fast…yet!)

4:26:00 (approx.) – The average time I have run for my last seven marathons (dating back to 2011)

4:30:00 – The slowest I want my 2021 NYC Marathon to be

4:20:00 – The fastest I think I can be next week if everything goes right

10:18 – That’s the mile pace I’ll have to keep to reach a 4:30:00 marathon. I think I can do this.

5 – The number of boroughs in NYC. I love them all.

1,000,000 – The number of miles and marathons I plan to run before I tire of this crazy sport

1,000,000,000 – The amount of consecutive hours I’ll be smiling after I finish the race.

371 – The number of days until the 2022 NYC Marathon!!!

Thanks to my many readers and friends for all the inspiration and positivity you’ve shared with me. Your good words and optimism help me to keep moving forward. I hope I’ve inspired you back in some ways as well.

Never quit.

Never stop trying to be your best.

“It’s not about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

Absolutely!

I Did It Again! Another 20-Miler.

Today I am announcing that I am officially ready for the NYC Marathon.

The race is in three weeks.

This morning I did my last long (long, long) run. I banged out another 20-miler.

Two weeks ago I did my first 20-miler. I wanted one more under my belt before race day.

It’s now under my belt.

***

The best part is that I feel great and felt great throughout the run.

I was a little concerned about this one.

I have been busy really 24/7. The demands on my time from so many different areas have been legion. I have always kept myself busy, but the demands right now have been relentless. I headed into the weekend exhausted. I woke up yesterday still exhausted. I didn’t know if I could pull off a 20-miler today.

But I did… and I was even much fast than two weeks ago.

To boot:

On October 2, I ran 20 miles in 3:43:12. That was 11:09 mile pace.

Today I did the 20 in 3:31:23. That was 10:34 mile pace.

Yeah baby! I KILLED IT!

On October 2, I ran only two of the miles in under 10-minute mile pace.

Today, I ran seven of them that fast.

My fastest mile on October 2 was 9:58.

Today it was 9:17.

My slowest mile on October 2 was 13:03

Today it was 12:32.

I had ten miles on October 2 that were over 11:00 mile pace.

Today I had only seven.

***

As I have recovered from Achilles surgery, I never lost the hope and belief that I would run well and far again, but as I struggled and toiled in my recovery and training, many doubts came deep inside my head.

These last few weeks have shattered those doubts.

I’m not fast like I once was.

But I am strong again.

I feel ten years younger.

I feel great.

***

The marathon is in three weeks.

I cannot wait!

If I Can, So Can You!

I was never a gifted athlete.

I was often picked last for the sports teams on the playgrounds and even in gym class.

I never played varsity baseball (my favorite sport.)

I got cut from the freshman soccer team.

The only skill I really have is the ability to focus on a task, stay committed, and get the job done.

Continue reading “If I Can, So Can You!”

23,753

Twenty three thousand, seven hundred fifty three.

That’s the number, for all intents and purposes, give or take a few…

23,753.

It seems kind of silly.

But that’s what it is.

***

Continue reading “23,753”

SWEET 15.85 (Not Quite 16)

I always feel the need to preface these posts with, “I wasn’t fast.”

And, it wasn’t fast, but today I ran great and good and far and wonderfully.

With my oldest son, and his wonderful wife, we set out from our beach house to do one of my favorite long runs – to the Point Pleasant Inlet and back – a solid 16(+) miler.

This is one of my favorite long runs. When I can do this run, I know I am (just about) marathon ready.

Continue reading “SWEET 15.85 (Not Quite 16)”

My Field of Dreams (Cooperstown, NY)

(I also published this story on my Yankees site: Start Spreading the News as part of the series “One Last Shot” as I document my return to playing baseball after 34 years away from the game as a player.)

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How often have I dreamed of playing baseball professionally?

I don’t know… it probably hasn’t been every day of my life, but it’s been most days and probably multiple times on most days.

Oh, who am I kidding. It’s ALL I think about!

As of the writing of this post, I have been alive about 19,400 days.

That’s a lot of dreaming.

***

Before August 11, 2021, I had never played baseball on a field other than a recreation or high school field.

I never played in a real ballpark or in a stadium.

But, on August 11, the dream, came true, at least a little.

On August 11, I arrived in Cooperstown, New York.

On August 11, I pitched, in a tournament game, on Doubleday Field, in Cooperstown, New York.

As the Yankees prepared to play on the Field of Dreams in Iowa, I played on a field of dreams of my own in baseball’s most special village.

Continue reading “My Field of Dreams (Cooperstown, NY)”

Running “With” Meb (Keep Moving Forward)

August 3, 2021

I knew this would happen.

I was being very smart, and have been smart, but I had a feeling that I’d have a set back or two along the way to the NYC Marathon this November.

After my first 30-mile week, things started to go south a bit.

Continue reading “Running “With” Meb (Keep Moving Forward)”

“The Least Among Them” Earns New Praise!

My new book on the history of the Yankees, The Least Among Them, is getting some great early reviews.

This book is available for pre-order now and will be released in early October 2021.

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The Manhattan Book Review gave the book a glowing writeup which read in part:

The Least Among Them by Paul Russell Semendinger tells the story – covering twenty-nine players in their unique Yankees history when they were given one chance to shine..

Semendinger does a truly fantastic job of setting the scene.

The book is also filled with pictures of baseball cards, historic photos, score sheets, and more…

The Least Among Them is a special book that shines a light on a number of Yankees who have probably not been talked about since their brief moments of fame..

It is a true gem of a piece of baseball history.

***

The following is the latest press release from my publisher, Artemesia Publishing:

“(The Least Among Them) is the ultimate insider book.” – Marty Appel

“This charming and meticulously researched book will remind you of baseball’s power to change and enrich lives far beyond the diamond.” – Jonathan Eig

Continue reading ““The Least Among Them” Earns New Praise!”