As we all know, we may have our personal plans, but life does not always work out the way we plan. A couple weeks into January I suffered a inexplicable severe back injury which lingered until the middle of March. I was not able to work out. Often, I was in so much pain that I would cry from the inability to stand, walk, or lay down. As suddenly as it came, it left and I was able to resume training. The biggest difference I was hoping for entering 2010 would be that I would not train for the purposes of competing in races. I instead wanted to be committed to a regular routine which would put me in the best possible shape at all times so when races would present themselves, the only concern would be to find a guide who would be my eyes through the courses. Unfortunately, the back problems forced me to abandon that plan and find a way to get in shape quickly for my race season which kicked off in May with three races on three consecutive weekends. Michael and Brian Crissie escorted me through the Chicago Spring Half Marathon and while I was not in the best shape, I shattered my half marathon personal record by thirty-three minutes. Next came Warrior Dash. The obstacle course challenge which included swimming through swamps, crawling under barbed wires, and jumping over fires. Arica Ebersold was the amazing saint who guided me through that crazy insane yet so much fun event. Then Michael Crissie and I rolled through the Soldier Field 10 crossing the finish line at the fifty yard line inside the stadium. A special thanks to Justine Boney for ensuring we ran in the race.
As many already know, I lost my eyesight over night when I was fourteen years old, but I have never considered myself a blind person. I have never categorized myself as a disability and do not ever feel the need to take up a cause simply because it benefits blind, visually impaired, disabled groups. I care about individuals not labels so when the opportunity came about to race with and for the C Different Foundation at the New York City Triathlon as a form of silent protest in response to a then new rule which discriminated against blind and visually impaired triathletes, I agreed because I wanted to help out a good cause and great people. I was not quite confident in my swimming ability and was still scared from my NYC Triathlon debut two years ago when I completed the race, but struggled mightily in the Hudson River. Everything works out in perfect order with the universal plan. Brendan Hermes was tapped as my sighted guide. I could not have ask for a better person with whom to spend the weekend and guide me in the Hudson. With his calming influence, I floated through the one mile swim and cut my time by sixty-six percent. To have CDF founder, Matt Miller saying "Way to go Bruce Lee." as I changed into my bike gear was priceless. Then to hear how proud he was of me later on as I began the run portion of the race brought tears to my eyes. To hear the joy in Brendan's voice as we headed for the home stretch was such a joy. In fact, Brendan's excitement through every phase of the race was such a moving experience that just typing this and remembering those moments is making me cry. Thanks Brendan!
Being guided by an Ironman, Brett Peterson, at the GLASA Twilight 5K on September 11 was another thrill. Then to measure my readiness for my marathon debut by running in the Chicago Area Runners Association's Ready To Run 20 Miler escorted by Rich Karnia and Jennifer Pfaff who each took me ten miles was so special because twenty miles was the longest run I had ever run and the pace Rich and Jen kept me at throughout the entire event was the fastest I had ever run in any race. Then came 10-10-10. I never had a dream of running a marathon until Paula Radcliffe set a world record in Chicago and followed it up with one in London. Rich Karnia and Peter Mullen each guided me for thirteen.1 miles as I completed the 26.2 miles in my first attempt. I sprained my ankle 3.5 miles into the race. For about half a mile afterwards, the pain was so much that I seriously debated whether the smart thing would be to drop out, but this was my marathon debut in my home town race and I was not about to let down the sixteen year old twins on whose behalf I was running. Emily who is blind and Elizabeth who has Cerebral Palsy. Yes, the moment you cross that finish line in a marathon, it changes your life forever.
There were other races I had planned to run, but this marathon injury prevented me from closing the year in a spectacular display of Sexy Isra at his finest. One of the greatest lessons I learned this year was to continue to stay motivated and dedicated to my daily training routine. Another lesson is that in fact it is true that if I take my racing more seriously from here on out that competing at the highest level will not only bring good things for me as far as athletics go, but so many doors will open up for me in TV, theater, and film. I had been given that advice before this year, but I had never seen it until 2010. In fact, as wonderful as the opportunities were for my athletics this year, there were many opportunities to meet TV, film, and theater folks at races and elsewhere. Of course, throughout the year, readers have been checking out posts featuring my friends who conquered Ironman Triathlons, appeared in national commercial spots, featured in highly profiled films, made guests appearances TV shows, starred in plays all around Chicago, and those who were highlighted in various magazines. In 2011, you will continue to read about my ventures and my friends' successes. As always, I encourage friends to pass along information about races, projects, and causes which the Sexy Isra Experience can highlight.
It was an incredible year! Did I meet personal expectations? Not quite especially not with my physique at this point, but I surpassed my expectations in many respects too. As I previously wrote, life does not work out the way we plan. For me, 2010 worked out better than I could have imagined. I know 2011 will bring some disappointments with goals not reached and levels not achieved, but it will bring with it many new friends whom I have not begun to realize I will meet and emotional moments which will reduce me to tears overwhelmed by how special it is to live!
Sexy Isra out.