Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflecting On 2011

As this year comes to a close, I wanted to say thank you to all who have read this blog in 2011. A special thank you to those who follow my blog. Jori, Kimberly, Robert, Jen, Brendan, Todd, Michele, Denver Triathlon, Courtney, Elvia, Marrielle, Sara, and Jani. If I could I would send individual expressions of gratitude to each of you. My hope is that you will read this and know how grateful I am that you follow me.

This year was filled with fun memories running Soldier Field 10 again with Michael Crissie. There was the joy of flying to Denver for the first time to participate in the Denver Triathlon. I had the great thrill of racing the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon doing the duathlon portion where Todd Smith and I pounded out the bike. It was the first time I went about thirty miles per hour on a bike. Ensuring that speed was not a fluke, I raced through Denver with Clark Bishop. Matt Miller drove up in his car and timed us. He said we were pushing thirty-two miles per hour based on his gage. I enjoyed meeting and running with Liz Bilitz for the first half of the CARA 20 Miler. Jennifer Pfaff took me the second half in cold rainy conditions. Then of course, my crowning moment when it comes to athletics. Chicago Marathon! Kimberly Shah and Jenny Pfaff took me the 26.2 distance in an emotionally charged experience which saw Kimberly and I start the race ten minutes before the pro elites, Kimberly and I reached the ten mile mark in what to me was a stunning one hour and thirty minutes, Jenny and I receive a thunderous ovation from the Imerman Angels cheering section at mile fourteen, I hit the physical wall with nine miles to go, but found the strength to push myself down the the home stretch, and of course, cross the finish line live on NBC 5 Chicago in a time fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon for 2013!

I had the privilege to represent C Different Foundation, Dare2TriChicago, and imerman Angels. I look forward to representing all three again in the coming year as well as hopefully racing on behalf of some other organizations. One of my favorite moments came during a training run with Kimberly Shah one week prior to the marathon. We were running along the lakefront in Chicago when she suggested we run on the beach in the sand. I had never done that so I was excited to try. Once I got the hang of it, we started moving. Usually, the person who guides me tells me about my surroundings. The person informs me of any obstacles in the path of travel or warns me of others. On this day at this moment, Kimberly did not say a word. At first I was nervous, but I quickly became comfortable with it. Soon we picked up speed and the only sounds I heard were of the waves crashing in from Lake Michigan. All barking dogs, birds, or people went silent. The more we ran the more I embraced it. The only other sound I would hear would be Kimberly breathing from time to time. That experience was so powerful and moving because neither of us spoke yet the entire time it felt as though she and I were communicating! It was better than a runner's high. It was other worldly.

Another great thrill was flipping on TNT to watch NBA playoffs and then see a commercial featuring my dear friend, actress, model, Amanda Grace. My friend Michelle Amor's film, Of Boys And Men was released on Warner Bros Home Video and recently aired on BET. Several film festivals featured World's Largest: A Documentary About Small Towns With Big Things which one of the filmmakers, Lizzy Donius, happens to be a tremendous woman who came into my life six years ago when she was Executive Director of Chicago IFP. She was the number one reason I joined the group. I have met some amazing people and have been able to get my screenplays in front of industry people because of my involvement with IFP. All thanks to Lizzy. Some of the other talented actors, actresses, models, producers, and directors I have been able to highlight this year on this site were Brendan Hermes, Matt Miller, Laura Shatkus, Kate Bergeron, Julia Kessler, and Laura Sturm. More recently, I wrote about Wanda Cobar. I have written about one of my favorite writers, Jen Knox. She is simply amazing and I am so privileged to know her. A great thrill for me has been to follow the career of pro triathlete Jenna Parker as she attempts to become the first person to ever win Olympic gold medal and Academy Award. Besides being one of the top three triathletes in the US and top fifty in the world, she is also a wonderful actress and model. One of my goals and hopes is that one day I can write a character and screenplay which is so powerful and evokes such a strong response that it not only gets produced, but possibly stars Jenna. If she does not have her Oscar by then, maybe the role I write can at the very least be so great that it gets her a nomination if not even the award.

It has been a tremendous year filled with joyous memories and achievements far beyond my wildest dreams. It has also been a year filled with disappointment, goals unfulfilled, and broken hearts forced to mend on the fly to move on to the next experience. I could play the what if game or I can simply embrace what is and move on to the next year knowing that I am better prepared for the challenges which are ahead in the new year. I have had a small tasted of athletic greatness and a small sampling of Hollywood interest this year. The best way to approach 2012 is to place myself in a position to fully take advantage of what comes next with both athletics and artistic ventures. By this time next year I will have new stories and friends about whom I will reflect. I am excited about what I do not even know and who I do not even know. I hope you will continue to read my thoughts as I give you a glimpse into my life. People often tell me I am inspirational. I do not live my life to be inspiring. I merely try to make the best of a situation in front of me. I also do my best to be honest to myself and to you, my audience. For example, this year was the twenty year anniversary of when I lost my eyesight over night when I was a teenager. I shared my successes, disappointments, and regrets with you. I felt it was important for me to be real and express reasons I am still hurt that I do not have my sight while also sharing reasons I am so lucky that such amazing people surround me in this journey. I try to express those very emotions with every post, screenplay, theater piece I give the world. I hope you will continue to receive it.

Happy New Year!! Sexy Isra!


  1. Thank you H to the Lizzo, B to the Bizzay! Much love back! I hope you have a tremendous 2012 and you visit the blog frequently and comment. Love hearing from people who take time to read and post.

  2. Hi Israel. Just wanted you to know that I shared your blogspot with some folks you know from your Reliv past: Deadre, Mary Ellen, Maria and Edith. Have a wonderful 2012 and keep on keepin' on. Pat Lux