Monday, November 26, 2012

An Eye Towards Houston

In January of this year, I flew down to Houston, TX to participate in the Houston Half Marathon. It was the first time I had ever run that race. I had participated in a 5K and 30K in one weekend in nearby, Sugar Land, but I had never run in Houston. It was a splendid time. What made it most thrilling was that it took place the weekend of the Olympic Trials. I have the chance to see the best US men and women running as fast as can be to earn spots to the London Games. I was excited that the amazing and talented elite marathoner, Jennifer Pfaff, had volunteered to fly to Houston to run in the event with me. We had the opportunity to see the best in the country on one day, then run the Houston streets the next day. I am so lucky to have become friends with Jen. Readers to this blog have read various race reports and entries on the spectacular Jen. I have learned so much from her. I have achieved so much because of her. It was such a joy to hear Jen say that she was interested in returning to Houston in 2013. Truth be told, I was not sure if I wanted to return to run in the event. That January weekend was so special as I experienced breaking my half marathon personal record by twenty-seven minutes on route to my first ever under two hours race. I was in awe of how I not only improved my personal record, but my finish time was one hour faster than my finish time in my first ever 13.1 miles race in 2008 at the AIA Half Marathon. Jen and I had the great privilege to spend a few days in Houston with a tremendous person, Christopher, who opened his home and heart to us. Within hours, it was as though the three of us were life long friends. Here and there I would hear questions about whether I was returning to Houston, but was not sure because I was not certain Jen would be able to do so. If I would go back, I would love to run the Houston Half and break my personal record, but only if I could do so with Jen. She is on that short list of wonderful individuals whom I am lucky to know who are great friends and tremendous athletes and just happen to know how to push the proper buttons to get the best out of me. Running Houston with someone else especially someone not on that short list, would be tough. There would be a sense of emptiness in some ways. Then came the day when Jen and I were asked if we would return to Houston. I did not commit immediately waiting to hear Jen's response. She said yes almost instantly. Without hesitation, I knew that meant she and I would return to race the Houston Half Marathon in January 2013. The icing on the cake is when Christopher insisted he would open his home and heart to us again.

Today, I received my confirmation that I am officially registered to race the Houston Half Marathon. Jen will fly to Houston to be my guide. We have a goal to break my personal record by at least thirteen minutes. I would have to take one minute off each mile in order to achieve this. I believe that is possible. The work, my coach, Jenna Parker has me doing in recent weeks in preparations for 2013 has me confident that Jen and I will achieve my goal. I must continue to dedicate myself to Jenna's plan and let the chips fall where they will on race day. I am just so over the moon knowing I will once again run along side Jen Pfaff!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thank You 2012

Thank you!! To you who follow my blog, thank you. There are seventeen of you who follow me. For that I am grateful. I look forward to your comments and feedback. As always, I hope you take the time to reach out to me to express any thoughts you ever have on any of my entries. Thank you to those who will drop in from time-to-time and catch up on my posts.

I am grateful that so many individuals have come into my life as a result of Facebook, Twitter, and social media. In fact, I believe every single person who has been my guide for the marathons, half marathons, triathlons, ten milers, and duathlons I have done came into my life as a result of Facebook and Twitter. I thank those who have volunteered to be my guides. Without you, I can not do what I do. I have experienced very special moments because of each of you.

Thank you to the tremendously talented screenwriters, authors, actors, actresses, directors, and producers who are my friends. There are many of you who have provided me such valuable feedback on my plays and screenplays. I have been able to use your advice to improve my work which I put out into the world. I will continue to improve as an artist because of you. I also have to express special thanks to the amazing Jen Knox who motivated and inspired me to recently take on the challenge of writing short stories. It has been a while since I last wrote them, but I am finding them to be fun. A bit challenging, but exciting. Before I ever started sharing my plays and screenplays with people, I wrote several short films. I figured I could become a filmmaker by writing these scripts then getting them made. I would use them as a way to gain experience. Those scripts never went anywhere, but they enabled me to get experience in writing and telling stories. Some days, I do attempt to write shorts just as an exercise. In many respects, I can argue that when writing shorts, it is similar to writing short stories. I must develop characters and story immediately and tell my audience and reader what I want in a short period. In some respects, while I have not written short stories in a while, I guess I can say that in some way that is not completely true since I have been writing short stories all along. I just happen to be doing so as short films. Either way, thanks to Jen for encouraging me. I will keep you updated on my progress.

I hope your day has been a splendid one. I thank you for reading this post. As always, please know that you have an open invite to reach out to me any day or time you wish.

I hope the rest of your week is a wonderful one. I hope this holiday season is a joyous one for you and all your loved ones. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Erupted Love Video

A month ago, Chicago celebrated Fashion Week. This is the annual celebration where up and coming fashion designers, established designers, and students get a chance to network, learn, and teach each other about the industry. Many talented individuals get the opportunity to show off their skills. One such person was my friend, the lovely and talented, Wanda Cobar. Her latest clothing line was unveiled last month in Chicago. If you missed it, but want a look at Wanda's latest work, please take the time to watch the video featuring Cobar Collection's Erupted Love. As always, you too can order these outfits from her directly. Stay tuned over the next few weeks to this blog as I will do my best to provide you updates and links on what she is selling.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Black And White Art Nouveau Inspired Boned Corsets

If you enjoy handmade or vintage items then you will love the following link to my friend, Wanda Cobar's page. Made to order Black and White Art Nouveau Inspired Boned Corsets. If you wish, this is an item you can purchase and have in two to three weeks in time for any holiday parties you wish to attend. It will go well with several outfits. Wanda explains which ones go well with the corset. She also offers some modifications or additions to personalize your request. Feel free to buy from such a tremendous and beautiful designer.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sarah To Join Marathon Club

The week leading up to my first ever attempt at the marathon distance, I spent plenty of time watching the documentary film, The Spirit Of The Marathon. I watched the film at least once day each day of the week. A couple times, I made sure to check it out twice. There were so many wonderful moments. I think the one which sticks with me most is a line from the legend, Dick Beardsley who stated, "When you cross the finish line of the marathon, no matter how fast or slow, it will change your life forever." I found that to be the case after completing my first event. People, from family to friends, to strangers, viewed me differently. They treated me differently when they heard I made the 26,2 mile journey across that finish line. , For some, I earned their respect when they learned I had run the final twenty-two miles on a severely sprained ankle which took almost six months to finally heal. I have since run a couple more marathons. That first one remains quite special. You only have one chance to make it your first. Is that not the case? Tomorrow, in the city of brotherly love, a friend will step to the start line with the goal of going the distance in her first ever 26.2 mile race. I wish Sarah Koenig all the love and best wishes in the world as she stares down the challenge. I hope she will enjoy the experience and take it all in because she will never have another chance to experience her first one. The long journey and whatever demons she has had to face down along the way now take a back seat to the celebration of arriving to that point in time. When Sarah completes the race, she will join the exclusive club of marathoners! I wish I could be at the end to cheer her home to her personal victory. I wish I could be there to say, Welcome to the club, Sarah. From this moment forward no one can ever take away the fact that you are forever a marathoner! It was a year ago that my friend, the elite marathon champion, Jen P, took aim at a personal best in Philadelphia. What resulted from her race was to elevate her standing even more as a champion with plenty of heart who proved why she is one of the best runners in the world. Now on that exact same course, another pal will prove why she is one of the most inspiring people in the world. Go get it, Sarah. Become a marathoner forever! Sarah, you are a rock star.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

If Tonight: Four Years Later

Today, people have expressed their voices by voting in this year's presidential election. Many have also spoken on a local and state level. I am excited about the coverage which I will find on TV, radio, and internet. This is one of those days where I am so excited to be in a country where this process unfolds before our eyes. I get such joy over evaluating the information being shared by some of the best journalists in the world. The thrill of breaking news and covering breaking news is something over which I will never get. This promises to be a special night. As I prepare to fully take in the election night returns, I wish to take time to look back to the presidential election of four years ago. It was a historical night. I was so moved at what transpired four years ago. Hearing that Barack Obama had been elected then watching the way people who had gathered in Chicago's Grant Park reacted to the news was one of the moments I will never forget. I was in awe of this country. I was in tears as I watched history unfold. Tonight, this country may decide to close the chapter on Barack Obama's term and elect Mitt Romney. This country might decide four more years of President Obama is what is needed. Either way, I hope you will enjoy the following essay which I wrote four years ago prior to the results being reported.

Tuesday November 4, 2008

"In Barack Obama, we get more than a president like Bill Clinton, we get a statesman like Abraham Lincoln." - Cornel West

Where is it born? The vision of a pioneer. The heart of a champion. For Joe, it comes from being a public servant over forty years. For Sara, it is leading the state of Alaska. For John, it is from fighting for his country even as a prisoner of war. For Barack, from being the voice of the under served mostly African American and latino population of Chicago. From the ashes of the primaries come these four ready to take their place in history. This country decides whether it wishes to elect its first African American president or first female vice president.

For a country which says it's one of the leaders of the globe, it has taken a long time to get here. Instead of praising our pioneers, we shut them up. John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Abraham Lincoln. Often, we read about them in our history books. Betsy Ross, Molly Pitcher, Susan B Anthony, and Cesar Chavez. Now, we are trusted to make history.

If the polls can be trusted then tonight is the night Barack Obama steps forward to take his place in history. As Isaac Newton once stated, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Obama will stand on the shoulders of generations past. He will also stand along side those giants. If tonight is the night as most expect then his mother and grandmother, both who died of cancer, will smile for they had major influences on him to make history. If tonight is the night, then all hands on deck as more than five million people are believed to travel from all parts of the country to converge on Grant Park to celebrate with Barack. If tonight is the night, then we will finally have someone in charge who is an expert in constitutional law so we can once again be a free nation. If tonight is the night then maybe our next challenge is to find a woman to elect down the line. If tonight is the night this country makes history and elects its first African American president, then those past pioneers; JFK, RFK, MLK, and Abe will enjoy a measure of satisfaction as well.

Thank you for lending me your readership. What gets lost on the conservative right is that being American and loving your country is the ability to agree, disagree, support, and criticize. You and I, we are the real America! There is only one. It is all real.

Israel Antonio