Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” So, to avoid more agony in my life and at the urging of friends, colleagues, and my agent, I’ve started a blog to tell my untold stories. Welcome. This blog will be a potpourri of thoughts on running and fitness, some of which will be controversial. My first untold story is about to unfold in Israel, as I prepare to compete in the World Maccabiah Games. It’s not a controversial story at all, just a humble story of a Jewish runner who, at age 40 and with a few gray hairs, has the opportunity to do something he never thought he’d have the opportunity to do.
I grew up in the Jewish capital of the United States—Brooklyn, New York. I attended Yeshiva as a kid with my twin brother. I walked to Temple with my family on the holidays. I played baseball in the street with the other Jewish kids. I chased Jewish girls around the playground. Perhaps that’s where my love of running really began (and my love of girls). My Jewish mother worried about me every time I walked out the door to run.
I’ve never been to Israel. When my twin brother and I had our Bar Mitzvah, our mother gave us the choice to have a party or go to Israel. We chose the party. So now, 28 years later, I have the chance to go to Israel and see it the way I never thought I would… by running.
My journey to the World Maccabiah Games has been a difficult one. Last year, I got pneumonia for the first time in my life. Two months later, I started having severe back and chest pain, which lasted through November, 2012. After first being diagnosed with another infection in my right lung, I was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism in January, 2013 and spent the first 3 months of this year taking an anticoagulant. I didn’t run much at all between September and December, 2012, waiting for my lungs to heal. I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to go to Israel to compete. I didn’t tell many people, because I don’t like to make excuses. I guess someone above has been watching over me and I am now healthy and training to compete.
Running this race and being a part of this opportunity in Israel is a big deal for me. I can’t wait to experience the Opening Ceremonies wearing a Team USA uniform and marching into the stadium as a proud American with the other members of the United States team. I’m sure it will be one of the highlights of my life. I get emotional just thinking about it, and wish my parents were alive to share this experience with me. I was able to give my twin brother just enough Jewish guilt to convince him to join me in Israel. I’m so happy he’ll be there with me and I know our parents would be thrilled that their twin boys are together in Israel.
Here’s a video timeline of the World Maccabiah Games, starting from when they were first held in 1932:
As part of my participation, I’m raising $6,000 to help sponsor the Maccabi USA Team. Donations may be made at https://friendraising.towercare.com/Markslist/campaign/display/profile.do?campaignId=11821
To follow the athletes of Team USA at the 2013 World Maccabiah Games, check out http://www.maccabiah.com.