Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: From Boston To Chicago Through Fort Wayne

I entered 2014 with a couple important athletic goals. I wanted to repeat as the USA Triathlon Paratriathlon National Champion in the category for blind and visually impaired men. I wanted to run my final marathon by breaking three hours and thirty minutes. Along the way I would make more memories than I even dreamed possible. As it turned out, I made plenty of memories with some of the most wonderful individuals. As for achieving those goals? 2014 proved to be a year to expect the unexpected.

The lovely Jen Pfaff insisted she and I travel to Boston to run the marathon. What better year to do so than this one. Two months before race day, I suffered one of the first major injuries I have ever had to endure which made training difficult until one month prior to Boston Marathon. Still, my friend and coach, pro triathlete, model, and actress, Jenna Parker insisted I should go. Thank you to Jen Pfaff for being my eyes all weekend long. We had the joy of running with former New Kids On The Block members Joe McIntyre and Danny Wood who encouraged me while back slapping Jen. I met and had lunch with the lovely, Sarah Koenig. I qualified for Boston for the fourth consecutive time. It was not the time goal I had hoped, but it was a race to remember.

In June, I attended the Dare2Tri Triathlon Camp where I met some tremendous individuals who have gone on to be some of my dearest friends. A week before I was to race in the ITU Worlds Chicago Open Wave I learned that I had been moved to the Elite Wave and would represent the USA once more in an international race. Daniel Tun guided me as I struggled in the water and on the technical bike course, however the highlight of the day was when fabulous announcer, Dave Kappas, told the spectators, “Coming out of T2 is Chicagoan Israel Antonio. Israel dominates these streets every year in the marathon so he knows these streets like the back of his hand. I’ll be interested to see his mile splits because he is fast so keep an eye on him.”

In July, I had one of my best bike performances at the Wauconda Triathlon. It was hilly, but my guide, Todd Nelson said I was like the little engine that could where I just kept coming. It was a tough race because a few days prior I had fallen down the stairs then was later injured when my arm smashed into a gate. I managed to get through the race and was set for a return trip to the Mideast Regional Championships.

In August, I raced in fort Wayne for the first time at the Fox Island Triathlon host of the Paratriathlon Mideast Regional. I had won my division in 2013 when the race was part of the Chicago Triathlon. Daniel Tun once again agreed to be my eyes. I met and spent time with the beautiful, Amanda. for the first time ever in the swim, I stayed on my stomach the entire time never resorting to the back stroke. It was the most satisfying swim leg I had ever experienced on route to my second consecutive championship. Before August came to an end, I appeared on a segment of the ABC Chicago news. The second time I had appeared as in June, I was interviewed after the ITU Worlds race. this time it was for the Chicago Triathlon at the end of the month.

In September, I was set to race at Paratriathlon Nationals for the second straight year. Could I repeat as a Nationals Champion? Could I improve on my time from a year ago? A week before Life Time Tempe, I warmed up with my guide, Todd Smith by tackling North Shore Triathlon. 400 meters from the finish, I took a tumble bruising my ribs and forearm. For days I could not run. Three days before Life Time Triathlon in Tempe, I made the tough choice to back out of the National Championship. I hoped doing so would allow me to heal for my next shot at 3:30:00 at the Chicago Marathon. A third segment featuring me air on ABC7 Chicago at the end of September.

In October, Wendy Jaehn and Erica Alansari volunteered to be my eyes for the Chicago Marathon. These beautiful and fast women helped me qualify for Boston for the fifth consecutive time, but my ribs were still so injured that I could only run my third fastest 26.2.

The athletic season concluded having not seen me achieve the goals I set out. I did repeat at the Mideast Regionals, but the other two goals of nationals and marathon eluded me. Injuries and other circumstances prevented me from my goals, but there is always 2015. There is more to do, but I want to thank all those who helped make this year very wonderful. Special thanks to Jenna Parker for always being the fabulous amazing leader who prepares me. Thank you Pinnacle Performance Company for your continued sponsorship. Dare2Tri and Base Performance provided great support too. Thank you to those wonderful friends who guided me during races. There are big things in store for my racing in 2015. There are also pending big announcements for my plays, screenplays, and entrepreneurial ventures which I will share early in January. for now, thank you for reading this post. I hope you will join me for my adventures next year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Life Time Tempe: Paratriathlon US Nationals

An overdue post on how my 2014 triathlon season concluded the week of September 14-21.

After completing the North Shore Triathlon along side Ironman triathlete, Todd Smith, I took my bruised ribs home to recover. In seven days, I would toe the start line at Paratriathlon US Nationals at Life Time Triathlon Tempe. Breathing, laughing, and coughing were tough. I struggled even more to find my breath in the pool. I could not even run. I warmed up at a ten minute per mile pace. Sharp pain traveled from my foot up to my shoulder. I could not handle the pain for more than one minute. I tried 6:30 pace. For a moment, the pain was less, but soon it proved to be too much. How would I expect to run that fast for 3.1 miles? Would I even make it through 750 meters in the water?

I reached out to Jenna Parker to inform her of my condition. She was understanding and supportive. Still, I felt that I would let down Dare2Tri, Pinnacle Performance, Base Performance, Todd Smith, and Jenna Parker. I could fly to Tempe and see how I felt race morning. I could race and go as far as my bruised ribs and broken body would allow. I could opt to not get on the plane and set my sights on healing up for the Chicago Marathon which I would run in three weeks for Children’s Oncology Team One Step. I wrestled with my emotions. I listened to what Jenna, Todd, and others said as to why I should go or why I should not go. I wanted to defend my title from 2013. I owed it to myself. I could not even jog in place without pain bringing me to the verge of tears. I was stressed out. Thursday morning. One day before I would have to board a plane. I followed Jenna’s instructions. I knew I had her support no matter my choice. Several friends attempted to shame me into “manning up” and racing. After days of pushing and pulling, I informed Jenna that I would not race in Tempe. Even after I told her, I continued debating. I told Todd and the folks at Dare2Tri. I told Paratriathlon Program Manager at USA Triathlon, Amanda Duke Boulet. I was at peace. I was empty.

I woke up in my bed on race morning. I was in plenty of pain. I knew instantly that I had made the correct decision. I could not help, but still think that I let people down by not even trying to race. Yet, I knew in my heart, I was content with pulling out of the race. I had not an ounce of regret. I had Jenna’s full support. In the end, outside of my own opinion, hers was the only other which mattered. It did help that Todd, while disappointed he would not guide me, fully agreed with my decision.

My 2014 triathlon season began abruptly when I was moved from the open wave to the elite start wave for ITU Worlds Chicago in June and it concluded similarly when I was injured at North Shore Triathlon thus unable to compete against the best of the best in the USA. The year’s memories were filled with great highs and with disheartening lows. I am honored that I was able to experience all of them while having Jenna Parker, Dare2Tri, Pinnacle Performance Company, Base Performance, and Team USA on my side. Here is hoping 2015 will bring more special memories of swim, bike, run moments.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

North Shore Triathlon 2014

Fresh off my second Paratriathlon Mideast Regional Championships win, I was excited to team up with Todd Smith for my next two races. As a warmup for his XTERRA World Championship in Hawaii, Todd offered to guide me for the Paratriathlon US Nationals Championships in Tempe, Arizona. Having not raced together in a couple years, we agreed to race the North Shore Triathlon on September 14.

Cold temperatures in the high thirties greeted me race morning. If I could freestyle 750 meters at Fox island, I could swim 500 meters at North Shore. Todd and I agreed to treat this as a training session. Water temperature was in the low forties. Rumor was the swim would be cancelled. I was happy yet, I needed the swim. Todd needed to see how I react in the open water as preparation for Tempe. Water temperature was in the low fifties. Swim was a go.

Wearing my XTERRA wet suit, I walked to the swim start where Todd and I jogged back and forth on the beach as a warmup. We performed pushups. I dip my face in the water and let some of it fill my wet suit. We were the first wave. Horn sounded. Todd and I began. It was cold. I was scared. My heart rate was fast. I could not breathe. Todd said I could stand. I stayed horizontal. Off to my left, a female volunteer moved with us. I slowed down my breathing. I started to relax. “There he goes. He’s fine.” I only had to get through 500 meters. I swallowed water. I could not breathe. Todd had me hold on to him. “You got this, buddy. All day every day. You’re the national champion.” I kept swimming. Within a few meters, I gasped. I screamed for Todd. I wanted out. “However long it takes, we’re getting through this together.” Every so often, as I would take a breath, a wave would swallow me. I would panic and scream for Todd. I would clutch to his arm, relax, then resume. “Halfway home, Is.” My arms, chest, and legs hurt. I could not find my motorboat rhythm as in Fort Wayne. “We’re turning, Is.” Loud screams. “Fifty meters to go!” I powered my way to the finish. Todd and volunteers lifted me up.

I put on my bike shoes. Stacee Seay of Dare2Tri and Todd agreed we should wear our XTERRA wet suits for warmth. We mounted. “Don’t be a hero, Is. On a scale of one to a hundred, give me seventy-five to start.” Wind howled. I buried my head behind Todd. Although not maximum effort, we were flying. First loop complete. “You are much stronger than I remember. One loop. give me eighty on the scale.” Soon the bike was done.

I put on my Brooks Running shoes, run tether, Pinnacle Performance hat, and Dare2Tri jacket. “You don’t need to prove how fast you are today. Save it for Tempe.” I found a comfortable pace. Ground felt slippery. “Israel, you’ve made up plenty of time on the bike and run,” said Nicole Williams Keston as she ran ahead of me. Footing changed under me. From concrete to marvel and back to stone. It was slippery. One mile left. Cold, wind, and rain made it a rough day. We ran a pickup. Half a mile, I shut it down and coasted. 400 meters to the finish. Forty-five degree turn. I slipped. I fell. To avoid face planting, I put out my forearm and twisted my body. I landed on my ribs. Female spectator yelled, “Oh my God, he fell!” I bounced up. Todd asked if I was okay? I nodded. We jogged. Same woman, “Way to bounce up. You’re a warrior.” We finished.

So much pain. I needed to recover in seven days for Paratriathlon US Nationals at Life Time Triathlon Tempe. Nicole said I finished first in my division. Thank you Todd. Thank you Jenna Parker. Thank you Pinnacle Performance Company, Dare2Tri, and Base Performance. Thank you Amanda Leibovitz for my doing the race. Thank you North Shore Triathlon for a para friendly course.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2014 Paratriathlon Mideast Regionals

One mile. “Is, if you have a six thirty mile in you, now is the time to run it,” encouraged Don Reichelt, my race guide. I had never met Don until two hours prior to the race. Daniel Tun, my original guide, had been injured one day prior. He posted a Facebook status that an athlete required a last minute replacement guide. His friend, Lore, asked Ironman triathlete, Don Reichelt, working the Newton Running booth at the Chicago Triathlon Expo, if he wished to guide. Don said yes. Don raced me to my first Paratriathlon Mideast Regional Championship.

In 2014, the Paratriathlon Mideast Regional Championships moved to the Fox Island Triathlon in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Daniel Tun would guide me. I arrived in Fort Wayne where I had the privilege to meet Amanda, the beautiful young woman working the front desk. She helped me make my way to the eating area for breakfast. Afterwards, I had the joy of spending the rest of the morning and afternoon with her. It was the highlight of my day. In the afternoon, Dan and I went for an easy ride on our racing tandem. We did not push hard staying at about nineteen miles per hour throughout. We did some pickups reaching thirty miles per hour, but we held it for only a bit before slowing back down. That evening, the members of Dare2Tri went out to dinner at a location recommended by lovely Amanda.

A quarter to five o-clock. Time to prepare. Dan and I had breakfast. Based on some of the drills provided by Jenna parker as well as the work I had been doing with Stacee Seay, I was more confident than I had ever been heading into the swim portion of a triathlon. I was nervous since I am never confident about my aquatics, but I knew that the preparation could help me avoid needing to rely on flipping to my back and resorting to the back stroke as I have always done in every triathlon since I began racing many years ago. I was my usual shivering self as we prepared in the race transition area. I put on my XTERRA wet suit and we made our way to the swim start. A heavy fog rolled in. It was impossible for spectators, athletes, and race officials to see beyond a few feet. Altering to a duathlon was considered, however, the fog was so thick that the bike course would not be safe either. We waited. I forced down some food. Word came that the race would soon begin. Dare2Tri athletes would be the first wave. Dan and I put on our tether and walked into the water. One minute away.

Horn sounded. I put my face in the water. I wanted to vomit. Fear combined with expectations. I was better prepared. I could make it without resorting to the back stroke. Yet, my chest muscles tightened, and doubt settled in. Dan had me take deep breaths. I stroked, but my mind wandered to that point when I would want to flip. I tried relaxing. I wanted to flip. I knew I could not. I should not. I stroked my arms and kicked my legs. “You got it. All day buddy. We can do this all day.” I had a long way to go. that frightened me. The first turn. One third of the way done. I smiled. Each time I exhaled I sounded like a little motorboat. I used that sound and rhythm to my advantage. Dan encouraged me. “You’re halfway to the final turn.” Just then, my chest sank. My legs were tired. I was short of breath. My confidence was gone. Dan grabbed me. “You’re fine. Keep breathing. Keep kicking.” I did not think I could do it. “If you need, flip to your back.” I treaded water for a few seconds. I considered turning to my back. I needed to swim on my stomach. I resumed. The next turn. Just a few hundred meters. A burst of energy lifted my legs. With more confidence and strength than I can ever remember, I powered towards shore. Dan grabbed me. “You just killed it, buddy!”

We jumped out of the water and moved to transition. Stacee cheered us as we prepared for the bike. She and Dan agreed I had finished fifteen to twenty minutes faster than at ITU Worlds Chicago. It was my second fastest swim ever. For the first time ever, I had gone the distance on my stomach. We jumped on the bike. We rolled at twenty-four miles per hour. We pressed by the halfway point of the twenty kilometer course. We pushed hard. the sun beat down. Only minutes away from my favorite discipline. I cramped. We reached a turn. As we made the turn, we stopped pedaling. I flexed my leg and foot. We resumed pedaling after the turn. Feeling better, I pressed hard. Dan told me it was time to pull back as we neared transition. We coasted home.

I put on my Brooks Running shoes, tether, and Pinnacle Performance hat. Run course was hot. My legs hurt. Dan and I rolled through the opening mile. We reached the turn-around. We took liquids. A few steps after the aid station, I cramped up very badly. I ran through the pain. I stumbled to a job almost a skip. I walked for about two steps. I ran. Dan said I was on pace for a triathlon personal best. I needed to go. One mile. We raced home. Fans cheered. I was the 2014 Paratriathlon Mideast Regional Champion!

Thank you Daniel Tun. Thank you Jenna Parker for being my friend and coach. Thank you Dare2Tri, Pinnacle Performance, and Base Performance. Thank you Amanda for being the highlight of my weekend. Thank you Fox Island Triathlon.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Exceptions Journal Interview

Recently, I had the great privilege of being interviewed by the talented, Craig Pearson at Exceptions Journal. A week ago, the finished product was posted on the publication's website. Please take a moment to read it as we discuss writing, athletics, and friendships. Special thanks to my friend, Ashley, who first put me in contact with Craig which lead to this piece. Also, thank you to Pinnacle Performance, Jenna Parker, Paula Radcliffe, Lokelani McMichael, Aaron Sorkin, and Jen Pfaff each of whom is mentioned in this post.

I hope you enjoy it. Maybe you will learn something new about me.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Team One Step Camp Fundraising Deadline

Happy Halloween!! I hope your costume was a smash hit. I hope the tricks and treats you received were to your liking. As you sort through the fun or before you set out for the night's festivities, I turn to you, my reader, to request help so that together, we may send a boy or girl with cancer to the One Step Camp. Children's Oncology yearly summer camp is a place where a boy or girl with cancer can be a child. Doctors cure the disease. Children's Oncology cures the spirit! As part of my running the Chicago Marathon this year, I registered as a charity runner in the hopes I could make a difference for this splendid organization. The deadline to reach my $1,000 minimum is tonight. I am still in need of a large amount to help me achieve the desired goal. Would you be so kind as to donate? Would you please pass along to others who may have interest in offering a donation to assist this amazing non profit?

To donate or to read more, please log on to the following website. Thank you for your time.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wauconda Triathlon 2014

This is the first of a couple overdue posts recapping a few races from this past season. This is my experience at the Wauconda Triathlon.

There was a chill in the air for the last weekend in July. The sun had not yet risen. The mosquitos were out in force. Left side of my body still hurt from falling down the stairs days prior. Hours later, I met up with my guide-to-be, Todd Nelson. When Todd and I made our way out of the parking lot at the Dare2Tri Thursday afternoon practice to test out our racing tandem for the Wauconda Triathlon, Todd cleared the gate, but I smashed my already injured left forearm into it.

Todd arrived. Sun illuminated the sky. I stripped down to my Pinnacle Performance gear. Todd insisted I relax for the swim. He would get me through it. I knew I had the ability to crush the bike and run. Time to trek over to the swim start. We would be in the first wave.

Starting gun sounded. Todd was excited. I tried to feed off that. Spectators cheered. I took deep breaths. I was nervous. I flipped to my back and started to settle down in the back crawl. It settles me down when my guides give me praise during the swim. Trying to talk, sight, and swim can be tough, but I appreciate that my guides always do this. Todd was not speaking. I tried to remain calm. Why was he not speaking? I needed to hear his voice. After some time, I noticed Todd was side stroking while having one hand on my leg holding on to the tether which was around my thigh. I realized I did not need to hear him constantly talk so long as I found comfort in feeling his hand. Every so often, Todd would express his joy. Todd estimated I was about one hundred fifty meters from the finish. My legs were tired. My arms were too. Because it always takes me so long to get through the 750 meter swim, I usually experience anxiety at some point late in the swim. My legs drag. I question whether I can finish. My guides settle me down. With about one hundred meters to go, I was thrilled that for one of the few times, I had not yet experienced a late swim anxiety.

Volunteers tapped me. Swim was done. We transitioned from swim to bike gear. Energized that the swim was over, I pushed hard. I did not realize the course had so many rolling hills. It hurt. I thought of my friend, pro Ironman triathlete, Kimberly Shah, who once yelled at me late during one of the Chicago Marathons in which she guided me, “I know it hurts. It’s suppose to hurt! Now, run!” I could feel the hills hurting my quads. I thought, “This is why I race.” We hit the midway point. The hills kept coming. Todd laughed, “Is, you’re like the little engine that could back there. You just keep coming and coming pumping those legs. You just don’t quit.” Just then, Todd said to pull back because it was time to coast into transition.

A few days prior to the race, Todd warned me, due to injury, he might not be able to keep up with my running pace. Daniel Tun said he could step in for the run. Todd and I switched into our run gear. “Is, I’m here if you need,” said Daniel. I had mulled it over while on the bike. Todd was enjoying this experience. He kept me calm in the water. We just crushed the bike. I owed it to him to finish what we started.

Hills had done a number on my legs. I started cramping. I had taken fluids while in T2, but that did not help. I ran through it. The cramping soon stopped. I tried pushing through this unexpectedly hilly run course. The sun beat down. We reached the first mile marker. People were passing me. I tried using that as motivation, but my legs did not respond. Finally, I heard someone nearing fast. I decided I would not let that person pass. I picked it up. He kept coming. I pulled away. He kept it up. I did too. We reached the second mile marker. One more to go. Todd and I pushed. That other runner found an opening and raced by me. I tried to respond. We reached a hill. I could not go. I was moving faster than at any point in the run, but it was not enough to make up the gap. Todd said, “Half a mile left. I want to experience your famous speed. Sprint to the finish.” Do I have anything left? It was time to find out. I pressed the pace. todd rejoiced. I kept pressing. I slowed down to make the final turn. Once we straightened out, I resumed turning it on. Todd cheered. We sprinted at a sub six minute pace down the home stretch across the finish line.

Wauconda Triathlon was fun. Thank you Dare2Tri for connecting me with Todd Nelson. Thank you Todd for guiding. Thank you Pinnacle Performance Company for sponsoring me. thank you Base Performance for the nutrition. Thank you Jenna Parker for coaching me!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chicago Marathon 2014

Jen Pfaff and I turned on to fame Boylston Street. It took every last bit of energy to churn my legs to cross that finish line. Two months prior, I suffered an injury which put my Boston Marathon debut performance in doubt. I was overwhelmed by the hills. Jen was physically beaten from having to drag me twenty-six miles. As pro triathletes Jenna Parker, Jake Shoemaker, and others tracked my run on this day, I had delivered an underwhelming performance. In six months I would run a stronger race at the Chicago Marathon. Having set my personal record at 3:50, I wanted to beat that time in Boston. It did not pan out, however in October, I would run a sub 3:30:00.

My triathlon season never fell into place. My highlight was the Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Camp during the first weekend in June. My swim was good. My bike was so strong, people’s eyes bugged out to see how fast I raced into T2. Less than a mile from the finish line, my friend, Dan Tun voiced his joy that I might actually cross the finish line first. A few weeks later at ITU Worlds Chicago, ITU forced me to wear ridiculous Blackout Goggles for the run portion of the sprint triathlon causing my equilibrium to be off the entire time. In July I was injured again. By the time I defended my Mideast Regional Championship in Fort Wayne, I was more confident in the swim, but my run legs still did not show up on race day. I won my division for the second consecutive year, but I was searching for the performance I knew I could deliver. At a warmup race one week before Paratriathlon USA National Championships, I took a fall bruising my ribs and arm just a few hundred meters from the finish line. The pain so hurt my ribs, I literally could not run for a week. I had to pull out preventing me from defending my USA Nationals title.

A season of heartbreaks came down to one final race. One final marathon. A sub 3:30:00 would be a perfect coda to my marathon career. Erica Alansari, one of Jen Pfaff’s friends, agreed to be one of my guides. My second guide backed out. Jen reached out to another of her friends, Wendy Jaehn, who said yes. When Wendy and Erica agreed to guide me, my goal was a sub 3:30. Yet due to my injury, that would not be a possibility. They deserved me being at my best racing my heart out during my favorite athletic discipline. I was worried that what awaited Wendy and Erica was a performance like the one Jen had to endure from me in Boston.

At race expo, I spent time with Wendy and Jen. I met the lovely Meg Sullivan. I saw friends from Newton Running, Don Reichelt and TJ Luby.

Sunday, october 12. Adding to the chill in the air was my lack of sleep heading into race day. Four o’clock. Time to awake. Five o’clock. Wendy arrived and he drove to the race. The first person we saw was Randy Egge. I enjoyed meeting many of Wendy’s friends. Wendy lead me to the Athletes With Disabilities tent where I ran into friends such as; Mike Casey, Daniel Tun, Lisa Krejcik, and Tommy Cornille. The highlight was seeing the beautiful and talented, Caroline Gaynor. I first met Caroline six years ago. She is one of the most intelligent, wonderful, and inspiring people I know. Almost time. Wendy sounded excited. We were about to go off minutes ahead of the pros.

Wendy lead me across the start line. 26.2 miles to go. She was in awe. We were leading the Chicago Marathon. How many people get to say that? Fans were loud. Six, seven, and ten deep. All for us. I promised to live in the moment. Listen to the fans, embrace other runners’ comments, and take note of how happy Wendy and Erica were. Miles one, two, and three. Here come the pros. The police escort. The helicopters. The TV trucks. Wendy had a front row seat as the pros flew by.

Mile five. Then seven and eight. We reached mile ten. We were slightly under ninety minutes. I would hold 8:40 pace then drop to nine minute pace. Just before Erica joined us, I was swept away by the fans that I ran at an eight minute pace. I pulled back. The midway point. The exchange.

Wendy moved to my right. Erica slid in on my left. It is always tough for me at this point of the race. Charity mile comes quickly and the noise is so deafening that I can never hear my guide even if she is shouting. Mile fourteen. I settled in with Erica. Mile sixteen. Ten more to go. I slowed down. I was leery of running faster. I did not want to find myself miles from the finish with nothing left. I did not want to ruin Erica’s and Wendy’s experience. Mile marker twenty. The beautiful world champion triathlete and marathoner, Hailey Danisewicz spotted me and yelled out my legs were looking sexy. Last year, I went for it at mile twenty-four. Could I do that again. Could I go sooner? I tried. I could not sustain. Only two miles remained.

The buildings were getting bigger. We were getting closer. Timing mat. Two kilometers from the finish. Erica kept me informed at the number of people we were passing throughout this backend of the race. It was time to now start sprinting by them. Wendy said I pushed significantly. Less than one mile. Fans grew louder. Erica and Wendy rejoiced. A half mile left. I kept digging. We turned for home. One final straight-away. Erica and Wendy demanded I push till I had nothing left. As we crossed the finish, the three of us lifted our arms triumphantly. I hugged both women. I was honored that two fast and beautiful women had just taken me through Chicago.

It was my third fastest time fast enough to be a Boston qualifying time for the Blind/Visually Impaired category making me a five time Boston qualifier. I owe Wendy and Erica a better performance. I hope they will guide me when I am healthy so I can show them of what I am capable. Not only do I want a sub 3:30, but now, I want to smash it.

Thank you Jen Pfaff, Wendy Jaehn, and Erica Alansari. Thank you Children’s Oncology Team One Step Camp for allowing me to fundraise to send a child with cancer to camp. Thank you to my sponsor, Pinnacle Performance Company. Thank you nutrition provider, Base Performance. Thank you Jenna Parker for coaching me and for your friendship.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Night Before Chicago Marathon 2014

There were so many words I wanted to write the night before the Chicago Marathon, but in the end, the best I can do is to say thank you to my friends who have supported me throughout this year. Whatever I do on the course tomorrow, I want you to know I will be thinking of you.

Special thank you to pro triathlete, model, actress, Jenna Parker for being a rock star coach, amazing friend, and superstar human being. Than you to the men and women who have guided me on training runs, practice tandem rides, and races throughout the year. As I prepare to toe the start line at my fifth Chicago Marathon, I express all forms of gratitude to Jen Pfaff who stepped up to ensure I had race guides for this 26.2 mile experience by volunteering her friends. I am beyond lucky and privileged that two rock star, beautiful, and fast women will be my eyes. Wendy Jaen and Erica Alansari. Over the years, I have heard so much about both women and their greatness. I would have been thrilled just to meet them eventually, but to think that they will guide me is out of this world spectacular.

For this marathon, I have been lucky enough to be a member of Children's Oncology Team One Step Camp as I have been raising funds to send a boy or girl with cancer to summer camp where he or she can forget about the disease and just be a kid. I have to raise $1,000 to meet my goal and hope others consider donating or passing along the link for others who may wish to donate. I am proud to have been a part of this team and hope to make everyone associated with Children's Oncology proud tomorrow.

Big thanks to Pinnacle Performance Company for sponsoring me this season as well as Base Performance for the nutrition I was able to enjoy throughout the year when training and racing.

It began in 2002 for me when Paula Radcliffe raced into the world record books in Chicago only to step up her game by shattering her own record months later in London. She inspired me to run my first 26.2 and now I am set to run my fifth Chicago and sixth overall.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

ABC Chicago Appearance For Chicago Marathon 2014

This morning, ABC7 Chicago's Karen Meyer retired off into the sunset. Before departing, she filed one final piece for the station. It so happens to have been a piece on athletes running the Chicago Marathon in two weeks. One of those individuals featured in the piece was me. Please take a moment to watch the piece by activating the link I provide. Special thanks to Karen as well as the lovely, Jen Pfaff who appears in the piece with me. Special thanks to Jenna Parker and Pinnacle Performance Company for their continued help and support. Here is the ABC piece.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Karen Meyer's Final ABC7 Segment Features Me

A quick reminder to those in the Chicagoland area. The award winning journalist, teacher, speaker, Karen Meyer is retiring after an accomplished distinguished career. Her final report will air on ABC7 Chicago during the 8:00a.m. news on Sunday, September 28, 2014. At about 8:20, Karen will introduce her final segment on the news which features me. My friend, Jen Pfaff joined me to record a piece for Karen's final report. The piece will be in regards to the Chicago Marathon set to be held on Sunday, October 12. Please make a note of it and tune in to watch the interview as well as the action shots filmed for the segment.

Special thanks to Jenna Parker, Pinnacle Performance, and Base Performance for their continued guidance, help, and support this season.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dare2Tri Volunteer, Lisa Krejcik

In June 2011, I decided to do my first race with the new paratriathlon club based in Chicago called Dare2Tri. The Executive Director assigned Ironman triathlete, Todd Smith, to guide me for the race. He guided me for the duathlon portion of the event. I had the choice of racing the triathlon or duathlon. After the race, I walked around meeting various athletes and volunteers. One of the ones who stood out to me was the fabulous, talented, and beautiful Lisa Krejcik. She was so nice, warm, and welcoming. She left quite an impression on me and I never forgot her. It tickles me endlessly when I think that as time has continued, I have had the great privilege to see Lisa at many more events. On top of being beautiful and talented, she has a big heart of gold.

Dare2Tri frequently features athletes, volunteers, and supporters on their web site. Today's featured person is Lisa Krejcik. Please take a moment to get to know her by activating the following link. She is quite simply, amazing!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Another ABC7 Chicago Segment

Last week Friday, I had the great privilege of meeting up with the lovely Jen Pfaff to film another segment for ABC7 Chicago news which will air on Sunday, September 28 at 8:23a.m. This piece features Karen Meyer interviewing me along with camera man, Rich, filming Jen guiding me on a run. The piece will feature discussion on my preparation for this year's Chicago Marathon including my coach and friend, the beautiful, talented, amazing, Jenna Parker, Pinnacle Performance Company, Base Performance, my love of running, and that I am raising funds for Children's Oncology as a member of Team One Step Camp to send a child with cancer to summer camp so he or she can focus on being a kid and have fun.

I wish to thank Jen for agreeing to be a part of the segment. She is one of my favorite people in the world who has guided me for more races than anyone else. I also thank Jessica Lang from ABC7 who did a wonderful job coordinating the interview. I hope people get a chance to watch the piece and enjoy it as much as people enjoyed the one Karen Meyer did on me in July which aired a few weeks ago.

For those interested, the Chicago Marathon is just under five weeks away and I can truly use a strong push from family and friends to reach my goal of $1,000 by next month. Here is the link:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Team One Step Camp Fundraising Page

With just about six weeks to go before I toe the start line at this year's Chicago Marathon, I wish to post this link for the non profit for which I am racing and fundraising this year. Children's Oncology Team One Step Camp. I am attempting to raise enough money to send a boy or girl to summer camp. Every day these kids have to face, fight, and live with cancer. For a short time, they can forget about treatment and the pain of the disease to focus on being a child running, playing, and laughing. The amount it costs to send a boy or girl to camp is $1,000. Please help me reach that goal in the coming weeks so together we can put a smile on a young person's face.

Here is the link to my page for the 2014 Chicago Marathon Team One Step Camp squad

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Appearance on ABC7 Chicago

For those who may have interest, but were not able to watch the segment which aired on Chicago's ABC7 on Saturday morning featuring my friends Dan Tun, Jenn Spencer, and Jen Pfaff, I provide you a link to the piece.

I wish to thank Karen Meyer for taking the time to interview me. I also wish to thank cameraman, Jim, for ensuring some splendid action shots. Thank you to the always fabulous pro triathlete, actress, model, Jenna Parker for her friendship and guidance in making me a faster and stronger triathlete.

I receive great support from Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club, C Different Foundation, Pinnacle Performance Company, and Base Performance for which I am grateful.

Here is a link to the segment of the Saturday morning ABC7 news:

Friday, August 22, 2014

ABC 7 Chicago To Air Israel Antonio Segment

A quick reminder to you, my reader. On Saturday, August 23, ABC 7 in Chicago will air a segment on me at 8:00a.m. The piece will also feature three of my favorite friends in the world. Jenn Spencer who is one of the most wonderful athletes, entrepreneurs I know will make an appearance. Jen Pfaff who has been my guide for more races than anyone else by over twice as many as the next closest person was interviewed and filmed guiding me on a run. Dan Tun, one of the co-founders of the Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club, an Ironman triathlete, and a dear friend who has guided me for several races and training sessions will be a part of the segment too.

Special thanks to Jen, Jenn, and Dan for being a part of the the feature and more important, being a part of my life. Thank you Jenna Parker for continuing to work to help get the best out of me. My gratitude also goes to Pinnacle Performance Company, Base Performance, and C Different Foundation for continued support for my athletic ventures.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Triathlete Israel To Be Featured On ABC7

On Saturday, August 23, at 8:00a.m. ABC7 in Chicago will air a segment featuring interviews performed by the talented, Karen Meyers and footage recorded by the wonderful cameraman, Jim. The piece will include me discussing my racing triathlons, what inspired me to do triathlons, and who enables me to do what I do. Two of those individuals will also be featured. Ironman triathlete and co-founder of the Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club, Dan "Top Shelf" Tun and elite marathoner, Jen Pfaff were interviewed for the piece. Dan then piloted a tandem bicycle for me and Jen guided me for a run. Jen has guided me for more races than any other friend while Dan has done some bike and run training sessions with me as well as guiding me for portions of the Dare2Tri triathlon camp and for ITU Chicago Worlds event in June. I am so grateful that they were both able to attend and be a part of this segment.

I also take this moment to say a heart felt thank you to the beautiful and talented, Jenn Spencer who reached out to media outlets with a story idea. ABC7 responded and Jenn worked tirelessly to make this day a reality. She is such a wonderful triathlete, philanthropist, and entrepreneur.

Thank you to some organizations and companies who support me and helped out with this soon to air story. Dare2Tri, C Different Foundation, Chris Lieto's More Than Sport, Pinnacle Performance Company, Base Performance. I made sure to mention a very special friend who deserves so much credit too, but I will make mention of her here too because without her friendship and especially her guidance, I would not be in a position for opportunities like this one. The fabulous, beautiful, and talented, pro triathlete, actress, and model, Jenna Parker!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Jenna Parker 5K Tips Part One

The fabulous, talented, beautiful, Jenna Parker is proud to represent Hyundai Hope On Wheels. I am proud to share this youtube video with you as Jenna gives you information about various 5K races to take place all over the country in the hopes to end childhood cancer. More videos will come your way. for now, here is Part One.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

ITU Worlds Chicago Presented By Dare2Tri

It was race week! The first time I would be toeing the start line to race since the Boston Marathon in April. It would be the first time I would race in a triathlon since the Paratriathlon World Championship at the ITU Worlds Grand Final in London last season. There were aspects of my swim, bike, and run, on which I would work, but I did my best to not place any added pressure on myself. At the beginning of the month, I learned that I was not good enough to be included on Team USA. Last season, there were two divisions for blind and visually impaired triathletes. Tri6A for those who were completely blind and Tri6B for those individuals who were visually impaired, but had functional use of sight. This year, the triathlon governing body reworked the various paratriathlon categories so now there were only five categories. PT5 includes all blind and visually impaired athletes regardless of level of disability. When combining the two former divisions into one, I was not considered one of the three fastest ones based on race results. I was informed I would be placed in the Physically Challenged Open Wave for ITU World Chicago weekend. Upon learning that I was not on the start line for the elite race, I was not angry or hurt. Some friends were upset wondering how could the 2013 USA National Champion and Mideast Regional Champion not be good enough to be on the start line, but I knew that if those in power felt I was not deserving, then I was not deserving. I knew I would show up on Sunday morning and race my heart out to the best of my ability. I was excited and anxious as Monday of race week was upon me. I opened up my Mail program to discover that USA Triathlon Paratriathlon Manager has sent me a note informing me that I had been added to Team USA and would be on the start line for the ITU Worlds Elite Wave. Suddenly, I was scared. I would race against the best in the world while representing the United States Of America!

I immediately called my friend who would be my guide to inform me that our race had been switched from Sunday to Saturday morning. This would also mean athlete meetings, equipment rules and regulations which we would have to follow, and other responsibilities which come with representing the USA and competing on a global stage. My friend and I sent messages back and forth unable to connect. Finally, Tuesday morning, I heard from him that he had been injured would not be able to guide me for Saturday. I immediately reached out to Ironman triathlete and co-founder of the Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club, Daniel Tun. Before I finished explaining what had happened, Dan said, “I’ll do it.” I had not even asked him, but he knew the purpose for my call and had already volunteered. The drawback was that Dan was already set to be the handler for the beautiful and talented reigning world champion, Hailey Danisewicz. I told Dan I did not want to take him away from that responsibility, but he assured me it would be okay and Hailey would understand. After some time, I reached out to Hailey to apologize, but she insisted there was no reason for me to apologize. Beautiful, talented, and classy.

The next step was getting my medical forms filled out by an eye specialist which I was required to give to the good folks of the International Triathlon Union. It took some time to hear back from my doctor’s office, but thankfully, my doctor and one of his fabulous receptionists, Samantha helped me.

I lucked out that I was able to do a couple workout sessions with Dan in preparation for the race. We got into the open water where Dan saw me front crawl. He was excited. Once I found a comfort level with him, I was cruising as I knifed through the water. Dan was more confident than I was for my ability to front crawl the swim at the race. Dan and I test out the tandem bike we would ride for the race. I first felt a little uncomfortable, but after several miles, I felt right at home on the bike. At a Dare2Tri afternoon practice, I met TJ of Newton Running who let me try out the latest Newton kicks. I felt at ease with those shoes on my feet.

I spent most of Friday at the Dare2Tri expo booth or with Dan. At high noon, we were able to mount the tandem and ride the course. As we made our way off the course at the end of the session, a police officer came up to me and said, “Hey, nice shoes. Sweet color. Now ride this bike like you own it not like you stole it.” We laughed. We made our way back towards the expo booth where I learned Dare2Tri was situated next to Fitness Formula Clubs. Some of the folks from FFC remembered me as Israel, Jenn Spencer’s friend. Cameron, Dare2Tri mechanic, did some work on my tandem. Later, Dan and I took it out for another spin. That time, it was smooth. We headed over to the Chicago Hilton were we posed for the official Team USA photo. Then Amanda, USA Triathlon Paratriathlon Program manager, gave Dan and me our official uniforms. We headed into the athlete meeting which was quick and lively. It was at that meeting that I learned as a completely blind athlete categorized as a B1 triathlete, I would be made to wear blackout goggles on the run. ITU insists this rules helps level out the playing field. It use to be all blind athletes had to wear them, then the blackout goggles rule went away, but this season, it has returned only that now, those who are classified as completely blind are the only ones required to wear them.

Friday night, for many athletic and personal reasons, I did not sleep a wink. If I managed five minutes of sleep all night, then that was a victory. I tossed and turned telling myself I would be fine in the water. I needed to just keep pushing water behind me and keep moving forward. I could power through the bike. I knew once I reached the run, I could put on a show with 6:45 mile pace. Even if I did not hit that target, under seven minutes per mile was certainly within my ability.

Shortly after 5:00a.m., Dan arrived. We headed to the race. He had taken a pair of sunglasses and put a layer of black electrical tape on the inside to block out any light. although I can not see anything, it felt strange when I placed the glasses on my eyes. I figured I better wear the glasses around just to get comfortable with them. We set up transition one and transition two. We still had over an hour before the start of the race. I met some new athletes and greeted old friends. I was nervous and tired. Dan was pumped and excited. The announcement came over the loud speaker that athletes should make their way to the swim start. Dan, “Is, you ready? Let’s do this.”

I put on my Xterra wet suit, swim cap, and Aquasphere swim goggles. I took my place in line. One-by-one we were introduced to the crowd. Announcer, Dave Kappas stated, “Number eighteen, from the USA, accomplished marathoner, Israel Antonio!” I walked out to cheers and an ovation. Dan tried to put me at ease. We slid into the water and made our way towards the actual swim start. Dan would keep me away from the rush. Horn sounded! Cheers rang out. I took a deep breath and put my face in the water. I was calm. My body floated to the surface. I started to front crawl. After a few strokes, I took a breath. I could feel anxiety creep in. More strokes and breath. Dan expressed excitement. Suddenly, I missed a breath. I did not take in water, but I felt out of sorts. My heart raced my breaths were short. My body went vertical. Dan said it was okay to rest and regroup. I tried. I could not relax. I flipped to my back and kept pressing ahead hoping I would relax enough to flip back to the front crawl. For the time being, I would make my way through the swim using the back stroke.

I moved through the water. At times, I felt like I was powering through quickly. At other times, I felt like I was not moving. Dan was by me every stroke encouraging me and praising me for my effort. A couple times my legs dragged and I felt I was sinking. I yelled out, “Dan, I can’t do this. I want out.” Dan immediately jumped into action. “You’re fine Is. You’re almost done. Just relax.” He had me take deep breaths, allow my legs to float back up, then continue the press froward. Each time I felt like I could not go any further and should be pulled out, Dan insisted I needed to trust in my abilities. I relaxed long enough to press ahead. Then, I felt someone reach out and touch my shoulder and head. Dan, “You can stand, Is. Those are volunteers.” I stood. Volunteers grabbed me. I was done with the swim. People in all directions yelled out my name congratulating me for getting through the toughest discipline of the race. Dan and I worked our way up a very steep incline out of the water and we jogged to the first transition.

Off with the wet suit and goggles. On came the race belt, bike shoes, and helmet. Within minutes we were on the bike and the race had begun. It was technical course with many 180 degree turns which for a tandem is especially difficult. We had to slow down and take those corners slowly. Once by them Dan yelled for me to pedal and we would crank it up. After one loop of the course, Dan told me we were averaging twenty-four miles per hour. Coming out of the water, I could not get my legs to fire, yet Dan had informed me that we were moving at a faster pace than I had ever averaged for a bike portion. I was once timed at thirty-five miles per hour and just recently in Pleasant Prairie, I hit twenty-eight uphill, but could I maintain this pace for the entire way? I tried, but the turns prevented me. Not to mention the heat and humidity which beat me down. Lap after lap, I would hear men and women yelling out Dan’s name. Many would scream out my name too. Some of the voices were recognizable, but others were not. We pushed on. Dan told me we had one more lap to go to complete 12.4 miles. The fun was truly about to start on the run.

After the final bike lap, we rolled into the transition area. Out of my helmet and bike shoes and into my Brooks Running shoes and Pinnacle Performance Company cap. I slid on my running tether. Dan and I were ready. I threw on the ridiculous blackout goggles and we made our way out of T2. that is when I heard Dave Kappas telling the audience, “Coming out of transition is Chicagoan, Israel Antonio. He dominates these streets yearly in the marathon. He knows these streets like the back of his hand. I’ll be interested to see his mile splits. I’d advise you to keep an eye on him because Israel is fast.” It did not matter how beaten down the heat and sun had made me, it was time to run. After that kind of buildup through the loud speakers, I could not go slow. I had to push. Dan and I were on the run. “Is, get your legs under you.” Something felt strange. I felt like I was tilting over to one side. I needed to find a comfort level. As Dan guide me, I could feel I was flinching. I felt like I was in a dark tunnel and that I was going to run into a wall. I kept bracing myself for impact. I tried shaking the feeling, but I could not. I tried pushing the pace, but each time, I felt like I was going to run into something or fall. I wondered to myself, why do I feel like it is dark? Why do I feel like it is night time? I wanted to stay under seven minutes per mile. I did not think I was anywhere near it. I could not get my body to respond. Then it hit me. It is this stupid blackout glasses. I have never run in them. Although I do not have sight, I must get comfort in feeling the air and sun in my face. My body must respond to those signals because now that these glasses are on my face, I am mentally lost and unable to function. I thought of pro triathlete, model, actress, Jenna Parker. I thought to myself, she had coached me to perform better than this. She had taught me to fight more than I was doing. I needed to do my best to block out the issues and run. I move ahead. The sun and heat beat me down. The goggles made me feel like I was out of sorts. I opened my stride and said these sexy legs have received such glowing compliments lately and I am not about to disappoint all those who came to watch me run. I moved hard. I decided to flip my hat to my signature backwards look in hopes that would light a fire under me to run hard. I was trying to overcome the goggles. I needed to show myself I was not going to let ITU’s ridiculous rule prevent me from racing my best. I finished one loop. Then quickly raced around a second time. I hit the final U-turn and it was time to race home. Dan and I pushed hard. I knew we were nearing the end. I heard voices of Dare2Tri folks cheering me home. I tried digging for more, but I was already at max effort. I crossed the finish and was happy because I knew I had given it all and I had nothing left.

My finishing time was not to my liking, but Jenna was proud. The more I gave thought to the events leading up to the weekend and what I had to endure on race day, I found myself smiling and proud that I had given my all. There are places were I can improved, but I am satisfied especially after my friend, Jen informed me I had finished thirty-seventh overall and eighth in my division. On to the next race. Major thanks to the people who support and help me get to the start line and through to the finish. Jenna Parker, Daniel Tun, Dare2Tri, and Base Performance. I am honored to have been selected to Team USA and to have raced in the ITU Paratriathlon World Chicago!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Melissa Stockwell on WGN TV

This weekend, some of the best paratriathletes in the world will come to Chicago to race in the ITU Worlds Chicago event. Many age group competitors and pro elites will also be on display. One of the sponsors for the weekend's festivities is Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club. One of its founding members is USA Army veteran, Melissa Stockwell.

For more on Melissa, ITU Worlds, and Dare2Tri, please activate the following link which takes you to a piece filed by WGN TV's Julian Crews:

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dare2Tri Paralympic Hopefulls

This morning on ABC7 Chicago, viewers were treated to a segment on Chicago's Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club founded four years ago by Keri Serota, Melissa Stockwell, and Daniel Tun. Today's segmented featured two athletes from the Dare2Tri club who also happen to be talented athletes and splendid individuals, Mary Kate Callahan and Kendall Gretsch. For more, please follow the below link to a story by reporter, Karen Meyer.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club Camp Volunteer Request

Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club has been a Chicago based organization helping paratriathletes of various ages and abilities get to the start line and through the finish line of triathlons since 2011. Military veterans with physical disabilities and individuals with various degrees of visual impairments or blindness have benefited from the work Dare2Tri does in Chicago. Over time, members of the club have included those in other parts of the country. In fact, this year, many of those who have been selected to the Elite Team live outside of Illinois. Each year, Dare2Tri organizes a weekend training camp for newcomers and experienced advanced athletes alike. Dare2Tri is hosting said camp this weekend in Pleasant Prairie, Wi. At the end of the camp, a Tri It Triathlon takes place for campers to show off what they learned throughout the camp. Again, people with different levels of experience in the swim, bike, run disciplines take part in the camp and race. Dare2Tri is still in need of volunteers for the camp and Sunday closing race. If you wish to volunteer, please log on to the following link and register or pass it along to others who may have interest in joining the good folks at Dare2Tri for a weekend of rewarding inspiring fun!

Monday, June 2, 2014

An Evening With Ironman Chris Lieto

Tonight, Monday, June 2, 2014, C Different Foundation, Base Performance, Do More Than Sport, Fitness Formula Clubs, and others welcome Ironman Triathlon champion, Chris Lieto to Chicago. He will offer stories on nutrition, training, and racing. There will also be a question and answer section as well as auction and dinner. All proceeds will benefit C Different Foundation founded by Matt Miller and Do More Than Sport, a Chris Lieto production. It will be a great opportunity to meet an Ironman as well as hear stories of how Chris believes strongly in finding a higher purpose or cause for which to race. Chris is a champion on and off the course.

One of the highlights of the evening will be 2013 Mideast Regional Paratriathlon Champion and 2013 USA National Champion, Israel Antonio sharing his journey with all those present. It will be a night to remember. I hope you will take the time to read more about at the following link. I hope to see you there tonight.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Amazing Amanda Updates Her Site

There are many web sites I visit on a daily basis. From news, to sports, to the financial pages, I try my best to stay informed. My favorite sites though are the ones featuring my friends. Whether they are writing race reports or filling readers in on latest projects, I get the biggest kick from pals doing what they do best. My favorite site to visit features the beautiful, talented, amazing, gifted, and sexy, Amanda Marcheschi! She is such a splendid actress, model, singer, dancer, friend, and woman. She just updated her page and I hope you take the time to check it out at the following link. Make sure to buy copies of the movies in which she stars. Keep an eye out for her on your television sets as she has often appeared on many commercials which air nationally in prime time.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Israel Antonio Eager To Shine In Home Paratriathlon

On Thursday, May 15, I had the great privilege of joining some national and world champion triathletes such as; Melissa Stockwell, Diana Helt, Hailey Daniswicz, Megan O'Neil, and Levi Kane as the city of Chicago and Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club had a press conference and training session to promote the ITU Worlds Chicago triathlon race to be held the weekend of June 27-29, 2014. After speaking at the press conference, I had the chance to ride a tandem bicycle piloted by Ironman triathlete, Daniel Tun. I have the privilege of being interviewed by Brian Sandalow who then posted this piece. I share it with you now.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Nicole Williams Kesten Interviews Israel Antonio

Earlier this week, I had the great privilege of answering some questions posed by the lovely and talented, Nicole Williams Kesten. The interview has now been posted. Please take a moment to read it at the link I provide at the end of this post.

A quick thank you to Nicole for taking the time to ask me the questions. Thank you Jenna Parker for putting me in a position to get interviews. Thank you C Different Foundation and founder, Matt Miller. Thank you Base Performance for supporting me in 2014. Thank you Dare2Tri and Pinnacle Performance Company for always being there too.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day 2014!

To you, my wonderful reader, I dedicate this post. I wish you, your mother, and all the wonderful mothers in the world, a very Happy Mother's Day! From my own mother to the countless mothers I am lucky to know, I hope each one of you is having a tremendous day filled with an outpouring of love and gratitude. I feel so blessed to know so many mothers. I thank you for being the splendid individuals you are on this and every day!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

From Jenna To Jen Through Streets Of Boston

Over 36,000 individuals toed the start at this year's Boston Marathon. Each with a different story. Each with a different journey. From Meb Keflezighi attempting to be the first American man to win in several decades to hometown darling, Shalane Flanagan with an eye towards running 2:22:00 and hoping that would be in enough to wear the wreath. Countless others wanted to take back the streets of Boston in their own unique personal way. There were those running for charity. There were those wishing to fulfill a dream of crossing the finish line after unable to due so in 2013. In the sea of runners at the start line on Monday morning stood a beautiful and talented elite runner named Jen Pfaff. She has run a double digit number of marathons. Each time she runs, she qualifies for Boston. She has run this famed course a couple times and was set to run it once more. This time was different. This time she was not doing so as an elite runner in the field, but as the eyes of her friend. This time she was volunteering to be a race guide for a man who had come a long way from his first marathon. He was a man who walked towards the start line wondering if he deserved to be in the field. That man was me. Having lost my sight as a teen, I could qualify for Boston as a blind or visually impaired runner. to do so I had to run a marathon in under five hours. After crossing the finish in 4:50 one year, I had qualified, but did not feel I should take a spot from someone more deserving who truly ran a faster time. I turned to pro triathlete, model, actress, Jenna Parker to teach me to train and race. With her help, I ran my next marathon fifty-two minutes faster getting my personal best in under four hours. My next 26.2 mile run saw me take that time even lower. It was finally time to take my spot in Boston.

In the middle of February, I suffered a similar injury to Chicago Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler. It hampered my training well into March. I gave serious consideration to back out of Boston, but I ultimately decided I needed to be there on Patriot Day. Jen and I travelled to Boston. I was still hopeful that I could run a personal best, but aware that if I did not, I should not be disappointed and instead appreciate the experience for what it would be. Of course, that is easier said than done.

The day before the marathon was packed with plenty of activities. It was erie standing at the exact place the bombs had gone off a year ago especially as church bells rang out in the distance. Highlights included sitting in a room listening to the fabulous and talented Peter Sagal from National Public Radio who for the second consecutive year was a race guide. I had the great privilege of meeting the beautiful and inspiring, Sarah Koenig.

At 4:55a.m. on Monday morning, I woke up ready to face the events of the day. Surrounded by some of the nicest, warmest, friendliest people I had ever met all of whom were Jen's teammates, I jumped on the bus provided by Chicago Area Runner's Association. We made the drive 26.2 miles down the road to the start line in Hopkinton. From there, if I wanted to make it back to the hotel room, I would have to run twenty-six miles to get there. Can I do this? Am I ready? Jenna had done everything she could to get me to the start line. Now it was time to trust Jen to take me the distance to the finish line. As Jen and I walked to the start, I was my usual nervous smart mouth self. Jen said if I kept it up, she would consider leaving me at all women's Wellesley College and their famous Scream Tunnel at the marathon midpoint. A woman walking next to us laughed and said, "I graduated from Wellesley. We'd take him. Sure we will. We'd take good care of him too." Slowly we made our way across the start line. Jen said we could start running. As I took a step, chills ran up my spine. I was running the Boston Marathon!

I had been warned about the opening miles. I had been warned about the various up and down hills throughout the course. As the saying states, experience is the best teacher. In fact all the research I did could not prepare me for what awaited me. Only experience could teach me. Jen gave me my mile splits. I was doing well. In fact, I was doing better than I anticipated. I tried to relax which is always a chore for me. I took deep breaths. I tried my best to take in the experience. From the opening steps, it was clear that this would be a special time in my life. The crowd was amazing. The amount of support is unlike anything I have ever enjoyed. 5K complete. Before long, 10K in the books. I was feeling good. Still nervous, but good. Suddenly, ten miles were in the books. Only sixteen more to go. Slowly, I started to panic. I knew I could not keep the pace. I would have to slow down. I did not want to, but my body was beating my mind. It was around this time when I began to realize that my Jay Cutler type injury had prevented me from being in the best possible shape for a best. I was scared of failing Jen. As is always the case, my first thoughts are always for my friends who guide me. Sure, when I do not perform to my capabilities, I am disappointed in myself, however I am more angry at myself for letting down my guides or for making their job more difficult than it should be. I never want their experiences to be miserable and I was starting to worry that I was heading down that path by how I was feeling. We reached the Scream Tunnel. The women were crazy! I soaked it in. We pressed on with half a marathon still to go.

The hills piled up and began to wear me down. When we reached mile sixteen, I took a deep breath. Ten more to go. My pace had slowed. There was a slight chance to still set a personal best, but it would require gathering myself and running through pain and misery. Still, there was no guarantee that would be enough to get the job done. The way the hills and pressure of failing Jen had weighed on me, I was mentally gassed. We entered single digits remaining. I was close yet so far away from the finish. Jen continued to encourage me to push. I could tell I was already fading. As we ran up yet another hill and the fans cheered loudly, I heard the words, "Congratulations! You've made it to the top of Heartbreak Hill!" Really? I had done it? I thought that famed hill came later in the race. Apparently not. I was so happy. There were still another six miles to go. So close yet so far. A personal record was no longer in the cards so my goal became run the entire distance. I did not want to walk. I wanted to say I had run the entire way. As the miles piled up and the sun beat down, even that became less and less of a possibility. The hills had crushed my spirit. Five miles out and I wanted to walk. Jen would not let me. I was in pain. I was inching closer. Other runners cheered. Fans shouted encouragement. We crossed the 35K mark. Only 7K to go. Just a few hours ago, we had 42K to run. As I called upon any higher power or other worldly being to help, I head Jen demanding I push. Others ran by yelling encouragement. Even Danny Wood and Joe McIntyre of New Kids On The Block fame ran by offering support, back slaps, and high fives. I wanted to walk. Jen made it clear walking would not be an option. As I struggled to churn my little legs, she offered one of the most impassioned pleas I have ever heard. "Think of the people who didn't get to finish last year. Think of those who lost their limbs or lives. You owe it to them to not walk. You owe it to them to be Boston Strong!" As she screamed these words to me, Jen choked up. At that point I started to choke up. It was clear, Jen wanted this for me more than I wanted for myself. I needed to change that. I needed to do everything within my power to not walk. I needed to run it in. Three miles away and I kept telling myself to put one foot in front of the other. With every step, I was getting to my destination. As we reached mile twenty-four, I thought to myself, no more thoughts about walking. I am running this entire distance. Sure enough, I did not consider walking anymore. In fact, I ran that mile in what seemed to be faster than I had run in several miles. Somehow, it felt easier. I may not have picked up the pace, but it felt as though I had. With that I had reach mile twenty-five. The finish line was within range. I was going to run the distance!

The crowd was even louder than ever which is saying something because they had roared the entire time. As we moved forward, Jen informed me we had one kilometer left. Only minutes remained between me and the finish. Jen had me wave to the crowd. Each time I pumped my fist or waved, the fans erupted. The more I did it the more they responded. It was fun. Jen had me make the turn on to Boylston Street. I wanted to push. Jen wanted me to push. Both of us wanted me to sprint home. I tried, but I had nothing left. There was no gear shift remaining. I kept telling myself it was almost over. I stepped over the finish and Jen coasted to a walk. It was over. I had gone from Hopkinton to Boston.

It was not as fast as I would have like and I was angry with myself for that. I was upset that I had put Jen through this. She deserved better as my guide. Yet, I also found that I was satisfied that I had learned plenty on that day. Boston is even tougher than I ever imagined. Boston is challenging and it almost ripped my heart out. Thanks to Jen and the way Jenna prepared me, it had not completely disheartened me. In fact, it motivated me. Now that I have experienced the course, I am ready to go back to the drawing board to work on returning to Boston. I do not know if it will be next year or the following or when, but now that I have learned what it takes to go the distance, I want to return with a purpose.

I can not thank Jen Pfaff enough for giving me a weekend of a lifetime in Boston. Thank you to Jenna Parker for supporting, training, and preparing me. Thank you Pinnacle Performance Company for their continued support and sponsorship. Thank you Base Performance for the products which have been aiding in my recovery this week. Thank you to the city of Boston. I hope I was a wonderful guest and you will consider welcoming me back in the future.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Do I Deserve To Run Boston?

There is only one Boston Marathon. So many runners spend a lifetime attempting to qualify for the field. so many achieve their dreams on a yearly basis. So many individuals spend a lifetime chasing said dream yet never realize the dream to be fast enough for the field.

If one is a blind or visually impaired runner, one need only finish a Boston Marathon qualifying event in under five hours. As such, when I ran ten minutes faster than the standard, people congratulated me. I did not feel I deserved those congratulatory remarks. After all, what had I truly achieved? Friends who are sighted must fight, crawl, and sprint to the finish in much faster times. Many ran over an hour faster than I did yet did not make it into the field for Boston. I had made it, but only because of the standard set by the governing association. I did not deserve to go so I did not. In my next marathon, I ran faster by fifty-two minutes breaking the four hour barrier for the first time ever. I was a two time Boston Qualifier. I felt a bit more deserving. Once more, I did not join the Boston field as I wished to improve my time some more. In my next 26.2, I set a new personal best by crossing the finish in 3:50.

My long time dear friend, Jen Pfaff, said it was time to give Boston a try. I was still a bit nervous about taking up a spot, but she insisted. I debated for a short time then agreed to run the Boston Marathon in 2014! As I set to run in my first ever Boston Marathon, I wish to thank Jen for agreeing to guide me. Given the choice, I would have wanted Jen Pfaff and Kimberly Shah to be my eyes as these two fabulous women helped me the first two times I successfully qualified. I felt that they had helped me get a spot so they deserved to guide me when I would run it. As luck would have it Jen was ready and able to guide.

Another very special individual who deserves so much credit for helping me get to Boston is the amazing, Jenna Parker. she has been a tremendous influence and leader in my life helping me improving race in and race out. My ability to get faster and stronger is a result of Jenna's guidance.

Special thanks to Pinnacle Performance Company which has supported me during the last couple seasons I have raced in marathons and triathlons. they are once again supporting me for the 2014 season. They took a chance on me a couple years ago and now I get to take the Pinnacle orange to Boston.

I am excited at how my body will perform and how it will recover after the race. My excitement comes from becoming a brand ambassador for Base Performance. Founder, Chris Lieto, Ironman Triathlon champion, and President, Matt Miller have given me a chance to represent Base Performance for the 2014 season. How great it is that I will kick off my year by racing the Boston Marathon.

The Boston Marathon will be an emotional experience. I will do my best to run my heart out. I am nervous and scared for I do not want to let down Jen, Jenna, Pinnacle, Base, and all those who support me. I want to do well for all. I want to do well for me so that I can prove to myself that after qualifying for three times, I am in fact deserving of being a runner in the field for the Boston Marathon.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Kick Off The Season Play For A Reason

On Sunday, April 6, the Dare2Tri Chicago Paratriathlon Club will kick off the 2014 season with an annual fundraiser called Kick Off The Season Play For A Reason. For those in the Chicagoland area, Dave And Busters will once again serve as the place to be between 2p.m. and 5p.m. Donated items will be auctioned off with proceeds going to Dare2Tri. Plenty of food, drinks, and prizes will be available for all who attend. Dare2Tri enables athletes of various ages and abilities to participate in the sport of triathlon. For many, they experience the joys of swimming, biking, and running for the first time through their association with Dare2Tri. For others, they unlock their potential as a result of working with Dare2Tri coaches and volunteers. For several others, they take the step from middle of the pack participants to national and world champions as a result of the support and assistance they receive from Dare2Tri. If you ever get the chance to attend a camp, fundraiser, or race with Dare2Tri, you get the pleasure of meeting some special individuals. Many of these individuals are wounded military veterans who served as members of the United States military often in combat and are now discovering a new way to represent the US while wearing the colors of the stars and stripes when racing as members of Dare2Tri during international competition. Many of these wounded veterans have been given a second chance to realize athletic dreams which did not seem possible prior to the formation of the Dare2Tri organization.

Please take a moment to log on to the following site to learn more about the organization as well as to purchase tickets for this coming Sunday's event. If you are unsure whether you will be able to make it, you can rest assured knowing you can buy tickets at the door. That said, you might as well place your order now to ensure all is set. Again, a wonderful time will be had by all so the more people who can make it, the greater the amount of fun which can be had by all.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Haunting At Hill House

A great way to celebrate the wonderful weather in Chicago today and close out the month of March is to attend the opening of The Haunting At Hill House. The lovely and talented, Julia Kessler stars in this piece at City Lit Theater located at 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue. Curtain rises at 7:00p.m. central time.

For more information so you can see the beautiful Julia who is one of the most magnificent women I am lucky to know, please log on to the City Lit Theater site at:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Growing Up Monstrochika

In high school, I was a drama nerd. Good thing I was because it enabled me the thrill of a lifetime to meet a beautiful talented actress and amazing artist named Naomi Martinez. When I speak about my high school years, one of the first name I will always bring up is Naomi Martinez. I love her friendship and all that she has accomplished over the years.

Please take a moment to read this one-on-one interview with the artist known across the country as Montrochika.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Slow Twitch Spotlights The Extraordinary Caroline Gaynor

Six years ago, I met the fabulous, talented, and beautiful, Caroline Gaynor. I went to New York for the first time to race in my first ever triathlon. I am not a confident swimmer so of course, I pick the New York City Triathlon and its one mile in the Hudson river as my first ever race. A month after that experience, I saw Caroline in Chicago the night before the Chicago Triathlon. Caroline mentioned how nice it was to see that I could smile and that I actually had teeth. The month before, she had tried speaking to me several different times throughout the weekend, but I had apparently ignored her attempts. Someone told her that it probably had to do with the fact that I was so anxious about the swim. I was so in my head worried that I did not even realize Caroline had tried striking up a conversation with me on several different occasions.

Readers to this blog have probably seen my past posts highlighting some of Caroline's athletic achievements. She has been part of a group racing across the country. Cyclists started in San Francisco and finished on the east coast one week later. Caroline became the first woman in history to guide a blind woman through 140.6 miles of the Ironman Triathlon. She has since accomplished that a few more times. Caroline is a gifted rower, cyclist, swimmer, runner, and guide. Caroline is one of those who jumps at the chance to guide blind and visually impaired athletes in any race. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, I believe when she has been a race guide in an event where regional or national titles are on the line for the blind or athlete with a disability of any kind, Caroline and her given athlete have never finished lower than second place and often finish well ahead of the field comfortably in first place.

For more on the fabulous, Caroline, please take a moment to read an interview Slow Twitch did with her. On a personal note, thank you Caroline for being the magnificent you. It is an honor to know you and be your friend. My dream is that one day I will be fast enough that Caroline will consider to be my eyes for an event.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Don't Tease The Elephants

Jen Knox is a talented, amazing, beautiful writer and educator. Jen has an eye for providing the right guidance to bring out the best in talented writers. Jen is the type of writer I aspire to be. she is open, honest, and raw. Whether a short story, novel, or blog post, Jen has an ability to make readers feel.

Jen's latest project has been published. Don't Tease The Elephants is her latest book made up of a collection of short stories. Please take the time to check out the book on amazon and download a copy. You will be overjoyed by the magnificence Jen displays in this book.

For more information, please log on to the following site:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hailey Danisewicz Ten Year Triumph

In May 2013, Hailey Danisewicz raced home to a second place finish at the Paratriathlon US Nationals Championship. Several months later, Hailey once again raced across the finish line in second place at the Paratriathlon Mideast Regional Championships. Once more, she lost out to the four time US Nationals champion and three time defending world champion, the great, Melissa Stockwell. One thing was apparent. Hailey was improving and it would not be long before she would challenge and beat Melissa for a title. Melissa was not slipping, rather Hailey was improving that much that fast. In September, all eyes focussed on famed Hyde Park in London as these two beautiful, inspiring, talented championship level women squared off at the World Grand Finals. Melissa and Hailey were teammates and friends. they were also competitors. Melissa attempted to race home towards a fourth consecutive world title. Only, Hailey had her own world championship designs. She fended off a hard charging great champion and became a top flight world champion herself as Hailey stormed home to the crown.

Ten years ago today, Hailey Danisewicz charged home across a different finish line. It symbolized the conclusion of a difficult race and chapter in her life. It marked the beginning of the rest of Hailey's life. It was the day Hailey officially beat cancer. It marked the start the journey which brings Hailey to today. On the ten year anniversary of when Hailey cross a different real life finish line, I wish to share with you her reflection on this decade long journey by offering you a link to Hailey's site. Please take a moment to read her words.

Thank you Hailey. Thank you for being the beautiful, amazing, inspiring, talented, and passionate woman you are. It is an honor to know you.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

At Water's Edge Reading Starring Eileen Vorbach

Eileen Vorbach is one of the most talented, beautiful, and gifted individuals I have ever been privileged to know. Eileen is a writer, director, actress, teacher, and mentor. She has trained, developed, and encouraged some talented people over the years. Tonight, Eileen can be seen taking part in national reading series called Latino 30/30. At Water's Edge written by Elaine Davila and is directed by Kay Martinovich. It stars Eileen Vorbach, Eliza Shin, and Juan Villa. I have the great privilege to take several acting classes with the talented Juan who is an award winning gifted artist.

Reading of At Water's Edge. 4001 N. Ravenswood in Chicago. 7:00p.m. Admission: FREE!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Outdoor Buzz Gets To Know Jenna Parker

In 2013 I won the US National Championship crown for Paratriathlon Tri6A. In 2013, I won the Mideast Regional Championship for Paratriathlon Tri6A. For the first time ever, I was selected to the Dare2Tri Chicago Elite Team where I was lucky to join some amazing talented individuals including several beautiful women whom I have admired from afar as they won their multiple national and world titles. Maybe it can be stated that I arrived on the elite paratriathlon scene last season. The arrival occurred last summer, but the journey began many years ago. It began when I reached out to the fabulous, beautiful, and talented model, actress, and professional triathlete, Jenna Parker. From the very first article about her I read, I was intrigued by this beautiful and talented individual whose goal was to be the first woman in history to win both a gold medal while representing her country in the Olympics and a golden statue named Oscar for being recognized by the Academy as delivering the best role of the year in a given category for which she would be nominated. From that moment, it has been such a joy beyond anything I could have ever imagined to get to know the fabulous Jenna. My journey has taken me from intrigued reader to a fan to a friend. Where my friendship with her has paid off most for the world to see has been with my marathon and triathlon performances. Under her guiding hands, I have been able to travel from way back of the pack fighting to not be the last one to finish a marathon or triathlon to throwing my fists in the air, raising my arms triumphantly, and crossing the finish line at the CapTex Triathlon as the US National Champion. I have gone from participating in races where police officers are reopening the roads to traffic and I am still limping my way to the finish line to where I am now able to race in events where I am entering the final mile of my race just as the elite are crossing the finish line. I have certainly travelled a great distance in my personal athletic journey and it is in large part due to the amazing Jenna who opened her arms out and extended her hands out in friendship which has enabled me to learn from one of the best professional athletes in the world!!

Please take the time to read a wonderful piece about Jenna Parker at the following link. It is certainly worth the time to get to know this spectacular woman, athlete, actress, person, and friend.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Childrens Oncology Team One Step

This October, I will run my fifth consecutive Chicago Marathon. Each time I toe the start line I feel nervous and scared. One would think that each time I run the marathon distance, it gets easier. I am one who has a fear of the unknown, but a greater fear of the known. After running and completing my first 26.2 race, I was anxious heading into my second because I understood the pain and misery throughout the race. Having written those last few sentences, I will now state that the more I run marathons, the easier it also gets because I become more confident each time I can run that distance knowing I am in better shape than I was in my previous attempt at the distance. It is also easier due to the fact that I am running for others. each time I run a marathon I do it for a non profit. that helps give me the motivation during those difficult miles late in the race. I am running towards a personal goal. More important, I am running for someone else. The most emotional experience was my second marathon when I was motivated to run 26.2 miles to honor a friend's memory. She was a dear friend from college who had unfortunately lost her fight with cancer at a very young age. I was guided by the fabulous Kimberly Shah and Jen Pfaff for that event. I could not have asked for two more amazing, talented, beautiful professional elite women to guide me for such an emotional experience.

For several years, I have listened to my friend, Dan Bernstein, afternoon host on CBS Chicago radio's WSCR 670AM, discussing his involvement on the board of directors for Childrens Oncology. I have heard of the ways the organization and its volunteers have changed lives giving boys and girls fighting through cancer a chance to be boys and girls enjoying life. The constant struggles, treatment, medical bills, and all that comes with enduring cancer does not always afford boys and girls the opportunity to stop and smell the roses, enjoy the beauty of a sunset, or run around playing tag like everyone else their age. Childrens Oncology attempts to change that by raising funds and organizing events where these kids can be kids. They get to spend a week at camp fishing, swimming, and playing. they get to go on a ski trip. They can experience the nation's capital in Washington D.C. There are so many programs and activities in which they can take part. Of course, in order for these options to become reality, funds must be raised. I have wanted to do my small part, but I have not been in a position to do so until now. For years I have heard Dan discuss the impact Childrens Oncology has had on lives, but I was not able to wrap my head around it until I was able to put a couple faces to those names and stories when I learned that several friends and friends' relatives are former attendees of Childrens Oncology One Step Camp. Upon learning that I was even more inspired to do my part.

This year, I am joining Team One Step to run and raise funds for Childrens Oncology. I want to do what I can to send at least one boy or girl to camp. I want to be able to say I helped Childrens Oncology in its mission to enable kids to be kids. I am excited about this pending journey towards my fifth consecutive Chicago Marathon. If all plays out well this racing season, I will conclude the year in Grant Park having run my fifth consecutive Boston Marathon Qualifying time. If I do what is expected of me, I will deliver an experience of a lifetime for one lucky child who for a short period of time will not have to worry about cancer. He or she can focus on being a boy or girl.

Here is a link so that readers can learn more about Childrens Oncology and Team One Step.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dare2Tri Kick Off The Season 2014

The Dare2Tri Chicago Paratriathlon Club enters its fourth season of competition, education, and inspiration. The club was formed in 2011 in an attempt to give paratriathletes of various ages a chance to race in triathlons. Over the years, Dare2Tri has enabled so many young boys and girls to learn about the sport of triathlon. Many of them train under the watchful eyes of Dare2Tri coaches and volunteers. Many of those boys and girls then participate in their first ever race. There are adults who have spent their lives having never participating in a race, but Dare2Tri helps them do just that. The members of the Dare2Tri Elite Team have won many US Nationals championships and several have gone on to win world championships. Many of them are current defending world title holders in their division. In fact, it is a common sight to see Dar2Tri Elite Team members taking first, second, and third places at Nationals and Worlds. As talented at Dare2Tri athletes and coaches are, their hearts are even bigger. They give back to the community all the time. They can often be seen on local and national news programs and talk shows. They are featured in magazines, newspapers, and internet articles. Dare2Tri paratriathletes inspire so many other athletes as well as people from all walks of life.

On Sunday, April 6, 2014, Dare2Tri will host Kick Off The Season Play For A Reason. This fundraiser, occurring between the hours of 2:00p to 5:00p, is a great opportunity to support a splendid organization which has done so much to grow the sport of triathlon. If you attend, you will get a thrill of a lifetime to meet all the wonderful people associated with Dare2Tri Chicago Paratriathlon Club. For more information and to purchase your tickets, please visit the following site:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Patricia Walsh: World Class Woman

Patricia Walsh is a great athlete. She is a world class world champion record holder in the Ironman Triathlon. Patricia is beautiful, talented, and amazing. Anyone who meets or knows her can not stop from raving about Patricia's magnificence. Most people will make it a point to include that Patricia is blind having lost her sight many years ago. Many will argue that is why Patricia is amazing. She does not let her disability stop her from achieving at the highest level. Truth be told, to make that statement would be an insult to Patricia. Her lack of sight does not add to her greatness. Patricia is tremendous simply because she is beautiful, talented, and accomplished. It just so happens that she lost her sight. It has been and remains a privilege to know this talented athlete, accomplished person, and fabulous woman named Patricia. If you wish to get to know her, please check out the latest piece written about this top flight woman at the following link.

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Beautiful Woman For All Four Seasons

Each of the four season brings its own kind of beauty, tranquility, and relaxation. It matters not what the weather is like for there is magnificence all around in nature or other people. The same can be stated for a new film set for release this spring. Four Season's by Christopher Nolen will bring beauty and magnificence in the form of the talented and amazing, Amanda Marcheschi!! She defines beauty and magnificence in everything she does. If you have never had the great privilege to see the beautiful Amanda display her talent on the big screen then you will be in for a treat when you see her in this film beginning on April 1, 2014. As you experience the wonderful writing, directing, and acting in this movie, you will see the lovely Amanda being the splendid talented artist she is. Why wait until April? Here is a link to the trailer for this Christopher Nolen project which features my favorite actress of all time, amanda Marcheschi.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cynthia In Fillet Of solo Festival

Starting on Friday, January 3, 2014 and running for three weekends is the 17th annual Lifeline Theatre's Fillet Of solo Festival. This features some of the best writers, directors, actors, costume designers, and makeup artists doing what they do best to provide splendid entertainment for those in the Chicago area who love live performances. One of the talented individuals starring in the festival is my long time friend, Cynthia. You can see her be the amazing beautiful her when you purchase tickets at the following link. It is a great opportunity to see some wonderful live performances to start off 2014. Lifeline Theatre and Heartland Studios Theatre are home to this long time running event.

For more information and to buy tickets at fifty percent off, please visit: