Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hummin' a slow tune

Been a couple of pretty ho-hum days 'round these parts, with a lotta bit o' work and a little bit of running mixed in to keep things somewhat interesting. Training has been pretty unspectacular since Sunday night's post, with an easy 4/4 double yesterday followed by a 6/6 split bill today.

This morning I made the most of limited time and fartleked 2 minutes on, 2 minutes off for the last 28 minutes of my run, just enough to keep the wheels spinning before I race in the World Championship of Maine, otherwise known as the Beach 2 Beacon 10K, on Saturday morning. After work, I took a leisurely 49 minute tour of Westboro with Rich, and along with discussing business matters, contemplated the Meaning of Life. OK, so that second part's a lie, but we did have a short, yet productive chat about life at the store, so short in fact that we had to finish it up afterward over a meal for the mighty, ie burritos and beer.

And that's about it. All I've got on tap for the rest of the week is a couple more days of work, some easy runnin' and bagging as much sleep in between as my schedule allows. Then it's off to Vacationland on Friday for a couple of days of fun in the sun. Oh yeah, and that little 10K road race on Saturday morning, almost forgot.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Take it back

Take back everything I wrote in that last post. The race got canceled on account of inclement weather. No big win, no heartbreaking loss, no cool prizes, nothing. Maybe next year.

I left Holden Center disappointed, dejected and above all, hungry. So I did what any good Italian kid with nothing better to do on a Sunday night would do - visit his Nana for a meal of macaroni and meatballs. Who needs to spend 10 bucks on a road race when you can get fed...for free!

And like when Frank saw Blue, it was glorrrrrrious. Well, until I got home about an hour later and decided on a whim it would be a bright idea to go out and attempt my tempo run. Good idea in theory, bad practice on a full stomach. It was anything but glorious.

Downright disgusting, in fact. Luckily I didn't hurl, but 28:05 for 5 miles is pretty ugly. My legs felt good, but 5:30 pace for the last couple miles was as fast as my ready-to-spew stomach would allow me to go.

Worst. Idea. Ever.

Eye on the prize(s)

I'm racing tonight, sort of.

In a few hours I'll be heading to the hilly town of Holden for the 45th running of the Fred S. Warren 5.5 Mile Road Race. This will be the fourth time I've contested this mid-summer Central Mass. classic, and for the record, the course is no longer than 5.3 miles, so if you're checking results tomorrow and it looks like I blazed the sucker, trust me, I didn't.

And believe me, I'm not going to try to, either. My goal for tonight's "race" is to get in a steady, solid effort, and if the cards fall in my favor (to be read: if Mike Smith or Mike Banks decide not to show up), win the thing. The idea is to not blow out the tubes before Beach 2 Beacon next weekend, where the stage will be a little bigger and the competition a little stiffer.

So why worry about winning at all then? Well, my reason is two-fold. First, and quite simply, I don't like losing. Second, I'll have first dibs at one of the dozens of brilliant merchandise prizes this race is known for dishing out afterward. Last year, I won a handy hand mixer after finishing sixth in a rather unspectacular 30:58. Since I'm a little more fit this summer - I think - I figure I'll be a few places and a couple minutes ahead of that tonight, which should open up a world of possibilities - perhaps a toaster, set of gas cans, extra-large lawn blanket or that charcoal grill I had my eye on last year. Stay tuned to see how I make out.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Routine maintenance

Alright, alright, I'll update my blog. Not that I didn't want to earlier this week, but time, as usual, is the major roadblock standing between my trigger finger and the PUBLISH POST button.

Since Papa Billy's wedding last Saturday, I haven't been up to anything worth writing about, other than reintegrating myself back into a regular routine with work, running and the like. The transition back to work has been seemless, running, not so much. I took last Sunday off to give my body a break and followed suit similarly today by electing to catch a few extra Z's rather than run a few extra miles. That's two days off within the same seven-day period and no, I'm not gonna lose any extra sleep over it. Just the opposite in fact.

Starting Sunday, however, I've got to get my ass in gear whether I like it or not. Two days from now marks the magical 12-week starting point of my Bay State buildup. Time to get the miles back up, stretch the long runs out a bit, work out twice a week again with regularity and sleep enough in between to recover from it all. Just found out the other day that this guy is officially on board and we'll be riding the train together all the way to Lowell.

So clear the tracks, we'll be comin' atcha full steam ahead.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Weddin' pikshaz

Bill and Bernie, happy as can be.

Papa Billy and the Fraioli boys.

Between Mr. and Mrs. Kirwin. Eyes closed, of course.

And yes, there was even an ice cream truck.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pre-weekend update

OK, since I was giving this guy a load of shit for not updating his blog, I figure it's about time I bring my own similar-looking site back up to speed now that said guy as upped the ante with an Olympic Trials recap of epic proportions never before seen in the Blogosphere.

This paltry post won't be nearly as in depth, as there's not much to report since my last entry other than accumulating fatigue and a few uninspired jogs, which included a sidewalk face plant on Thursday and the always embarrassing getting passed from behind by a girl on Wednesday. No, I'm not making this stuff up. It's been that kind of week.

Luckily, there's been plenty to look forward today and heading into the weekend, including a visit this afternoon with my adopted niece Danielle Frances Kinney, who was born to two of my very best friends less than 24 hours after Mom died, along with my grandfather's wedding tomorrow morning. Yep, Circle of Life in full effect right there. You better believe it.

And yes, you read that second part above correctly. My grandfather, almost 80 years old, is tying the knot with his fantastic fiance, Bernice Stone, a wonderful woman he met after my Nana passed away a few years ago. Go Papa Billy!

After a tough couple weeks for me and my family, we're all very much looking forward to tomorrow's festivities. The ceremony will be a low-key affair in the woods of rural Charlton, followed by an awesome afternoon of fun, food and more fun and more food. To see the sadness in Papa Billy's eyes the last few weeks turn to sparkle upon mention of the wedding was enough to put a smile on anyone's face. It's gonna be a great time, chock full of fun, laughter and celebration, which is exactly what this family needs right now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back on track

It's no first person Olympic Trials recap (still waitin' on it JC!), but here's the rough data from tonight's track workout, my first in three weeks.

5 x 1K @ 3:08.62, 3:07.80, 3:08.44, 3:07.16, 3:05.63 w/200m jog recovery in 1:10-1:30, 2 x 800m in 2:25.77, 2:21.56 w/1:00 recovery.

Since everyone else's season is pretty much over I flew solo on this one, and all things considered it went pretty well. I felt strong and Kevin said I looked smooth, so I'll take it. Basically I'm in maintenance mode right now until Beach 2 Beacon on August 2nd, then I'll shut it down for a week and then it's full steam ahead to Bay State on October 19. Heard rumor that this guy might possibly be joining me for a scenic 26.2-mile tour of Lowell. Boy, that would be just swell.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Routine update

Finally starting to get back into a regular life routine, and hopefully I'll be back into the blogging routine - however sporadic it may be - by the end of the week. Perhaps by then this guy and maybe even this guy will be back at it as well.

Yep, I just called you suckas out. Somebody has to try and keep it real 'round here.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Mom's Eulogy

A few people have asked me for a copy of Mom's eulogy from earlier today, but since I only had the original written version, I decided that typing it up and posting it here would be the easiest way to get it out, and the best way to leave a lasting tribute for Mom.

When I was a little kid, whenever my Mom would drive me somewhere - and she drove me everywhere - whether it was basketball practice, summer camp, a friend's house, wherever, when the song, "Here Comes The Sun" by the Beatles would come on the radio, Mom would remind me every time, without fail, that when I was a baby she would sing this song to me.

"It was your favorite song," she used to say. "You loved it."

Whatever, Mom. At the time, I didn't know who the Beatles were, and I sure didn't remember ever liking that song, but I just took her word for it. Years later, when I would finally develop a taste for good music, I remembered that song. I actually grew to like it - still do, in fact. It became one of my favorites. Maybe Mom was right, then again, Mom was always right.

"Mothers know everything bud," she would remind me at least once a week.

Well, a little less than a week ago, I don't think anyone knew that Mom was gonna be taken from us, not even her.

When I arrived at the Emergency Room of St. Vincent's Hospital last Tuesday, in the middle of a nasty thunderstorm, my own world quickly turned as dark and gray as the one outside.

"They...think...she's...dead...Mario," my brother Matt finally spit out to me. One look at my crying father told me this was no terrible nightmare. This was a horrific reality. Mom had passed on from this life.

There was nothing we, or anyone else, could do about it, so we gathered together, as a family, in the waiting room at the hospital.

We cried, as a family.

We hugged, as a family.

We told each other we were gonna stay stay strong and get through this tough time. Again, as a family.

We needed each other, but we all also needed a moment to ourselves. I needed to get out of that room, I needed some fresh air. So I took a walk outside.

As I stepped out onto the sidewalk, the sun was shining bright and Mom started singing my favorite song to me.

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it's alright.

Well Ma, it might take a little while but it's gonna be alright. And since you know everything, I'll just take your word for it. In the meantime, we'll remember you for the wonderful woman you were - wife, mother, daughter, aunt, friend.

Mom was a giver in the truest sense of the word. She gave herself to my Dad as his devoted wife of 27 years. As a mother, she gave life to me and my three beautiful siblings, not to mention hundreds of car rides to camps, practices, recitals, friend's houses and everywhere else under the sun. She gave generously to her family and friends, baking dozens and dozens of cookies during the month of December so everyone could have a full tin for Christmas. Jay, she still needs yours back by the way.

Mom gave and gave and gave some more and never asked for anything in return, except maybe for a medium iced caramel swirl latte with skim milk, no sugar, whipped cream and extra caramel if you just happened to be going by Dunkin' Donuts on your way home.

Well, Mom's not gonna be at home anymore, but that's OK because Nana has some company in heaven now. The two of them will always be with us, always watching over us.

I miss you Mom.

We all miss you.

And as Sean and Alicia told you every time they saw you or talked to you on the phone, "Auntie, we love you."

Mom, we all love you.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Mom, 3/25/58-7/1/08

Shirley M. (Kirwin) Fraioli, 50, of Auburn, died unexpectedly Tuesday, July 1, 2008, at home.

Shirley is survived by her loving family; her husband, Mario Fraioli; two sons, Mario Fraioli, Jr. of Worcester, Matthew K. Fraioli of Auburn; two daughters, Jayme L. Fraioli and Lisa M. Fraioli, both of Auburn; her father, William Kirwin, Sr. of Millbury; three brothers, Michael Kirwin and his wife Frances of Worcester, William Kirwin, Jr. and Anthony Kirwin both of Millbury; four sisters, Jane-Marie Mrazik and her husband David of Oxford, Denise Dalpe and her husband James of Millbury, Christine Godbout and her husband Roger of Worcester, Patricia Kirwin and her companion Jay West of Millbury, as well as many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Shirley was born in Worcester and lived here most of her life before moving to Millbury. Her mother was the late Patricia (VanAlstyne) Kirwin. She was a graduate of North High School. Shirley enjoyed being a homemaker and loved being with her family, especially her niece, Alicia and nephew, Sean. Among her many interests she enjoyed sewing, baking, walking, and camping. She loved to read, and enjoyed spending time with her close friends. Shirley was a devoted wife and mother whose time spent with her family was precious to her. She will be missed dearly by her family and friends. Shirley was a former member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel-St Ann Church, and was a long time volunteer for the American Cancer Society.

Shirley's funeral will be held Monday from the MERCADANTE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 370 Plantation St. with a Mass of Christian burial at 11:00AM in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel-St Ann Church, 24 Mulberry St. Calling hours in the funeral home will be 4-7PM on Sunday. Burial will be in Notre Dame Cemetery. Flowers may be sent or contributions made to the Susan G. Komen For The Cure, 5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250, Dallas, TX. 75244.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Tragic Tuesday

I never made it to my chiropractic appointment in Natick on Tuesday, or my track workout in Waltham for that matter. Heck, I never even made it past the 495 exit on the Mass Pike in Hopkinton. About 50 minutes after I published my last post and hit the highway, I ended up back in Worcester, at the Emergency Room of St. Vincent's Hospital, where my world was flipped upside down.

I'd rather I was there because my car had flipped upside down, but no, I didn't get in an accident. That I could have lived with, even if it killed me.

What transpired in the minutes after I parked my car and found my family is a scary scene I'm having trouble trying to close the curtains on, and one that I'm still having a hard time believing happened altogether.

"They...think...she's...dead...Mario," my brother Matt finally choked out in the hallway outside of the waiting room. Opening the door to that waiting room to see my usually stoic Dad sobbing hysterically made this surreal nightmare a morbid reality.

She - Shirley Marie Kirwin Fraioli - Mom to me, my brother and two sisters, husband of 27 years to my Dad, daughter of 50 years to my Papa Billy, sister to her seven siblings, Auntie Shirley to her dozens of nieces and nephews and Shirl to a countless many friends, had passed away unexpectedly at home about an hour earlier. She was 50 years too young.

It's hard to believe all of this transpired in the last 36 hours, and as I said before it's hard to believe that any of this has happened at all. Mom's sudden death is a shock to all of us and a day later it still just doesn't seem real, but the fact of the matter is it's a shocking reality, not just the bad dream we're all hoping to wake up from tomorrow morning.

As a family, I hesitate to say we're doing OK, but we're doing the best we can right now. The Fraioli Family and the Kirwin Klan are a tight-knit bunch, and together we're gonna get through this - we always do. Plus, we've had a little help from our fantastic friends, and as I and the rest of my family have come to find out in the last day or so, there are many of them. To all of you out there, your support means a lot, just as my Mom means a lot to all of us.

So keep my Mom in your thoughts and prayers, and be sure tell your own Mom, Dad, or whoever it may be that you love 'em. They'll love you for it, believe me.

I love you, Mom, and already miss you more than I can put into words.

Auntie Shirley, with her other two favorite "kids", Sean & Alicia.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Homegrown inspiration

Let me say this. Amy Begley's furious finish in the women's 10,000 on Friday night might have been the most inspiring piece of running I've ever witnessed in my 26 years of existence, even if I wasn't there to see it firsthand.

That said, last night's injection of inspiration hit a bit closer to home, as from the comfort of my couch I watched New Balance Boston teammate and native Central Masser, Rebecca Donaghue, earn her spot in the 5,000-meter final Thursday night with a fifth-place, 15:38.95 finish in her qualifying heat.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, this was a 17-second PR - 17 seconds! - at the Olympic Trials no less!

It was both an incredible and inspiring performance, incredibly inspiring, in fact. I'll have more to add later, as well as my take on all the other action, but first I gotta go get my flimsy frame realigned before hitting the track tonight myself. Catch you clowns later.