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Friday, August 6, 2010

"Who says you can't go home?"

I know that P Diddy says, "it's all about the Benjamins" but for Spada it's all about the family!

Last week I had the annual good fortune of taking the kids up to Florham Park, New Jersey (my hometown) for a week of family, food and fun, and of course...running. I come from a very large German/Italian/American (and sometimes I wish African (see Kenya/Ethiopia)) family and watching my kids interact with all of their cousins is priceless.

We drove up right after the Run For Your Life 4 Miler. My wife stocked us with a bag of goodies from Dean & Deluca. Although I was disappointed with my race, that feeling was gone once I hit 77 North, and looked in my rear view mirror and saw 2 kids in the back seat with earphones on their heads and smiles on their faces.

Record time was made on our ride up as we pulled into my parents driveway 9 hours after we departed Charlotte. My mother was so surprised at our early arrival that she decided to take us out to La Piazza for pizza and calzones (imagine that AND what a great way to kick off the trip).

Sunday morning came and that meant it was time for me to head down to Bedminster for a 13 mile run with my old friend and running buddy Gary Rosenberg (who is now working for Garmin). Well Gary brings with him a who's who of past New Jersey state champions in XC and track...what a group! It was hotter than Hiati and I lost it with 5 to go. Oh well...

Breakfast, Church and then all of the family came over for a wonderful meal and good conversation...

Before I left for New Jersey, I made it a point to set up runs with various people/former training partners, etc. So Monday came and my dad and I drove to Loantaka park to meet Filipo (a nice guy originally from Manchester) who my dad had befriended a year ago. We had a wonderful 8 mile run together and we both discussed our New York City marathon experiences. This run was performed at a very generous pace as I knew that I had a big one the following night...

"Phil" drove me back to the house and came inside to break bread with the Spada family...good stuff! He left and we decided to do it again on Friday...

Monday afternoon was a calzone lunch and ping pong at my sisters house a short drive up in Booonton Twp. and I was treated to a jam session by my nephews which for this rocker was a treat (my kids thought it was too loud).

No run on Tuesday morning since I would be meeting my old club mates from the Sneaker Factory that night in Morristown. Tuesday was reserved by my brother for a day in spectacular NYC! My daughters #1 focus for New York was Dylan's Candy Bar (Dylan is the daughter of Ralph Lauren) and when my brother informed her that we would spending most of the day in southern Manhattan island (i.e.- Chinatown/Little Italy) she was not too happy. However, my bro rallied and we ended up spending 45 minutes at a place that would have made Gene Wilder gush! Great shrimp ceasar salad at a nice Italian restaurant for lunch in Little Italy and good conversation followed.

After dropping my kids off at my other sisters house, I headed over to the South Street entrance to Loantaka Park in M'town for my annual 8 mile progression run with the Sneaker Factory. One of the highlights for me is the drive over when I get to listen to WABC's Mark Levin (author of Liberty and Tyranny). My goal for the run was to chill for the first 4 miles, which I did at 7:30 pace. Then I wanted to hit 24 minutes on the way back (it hit 23:30 and felt reasonably well), and then another easy 2 mile cool down. Over to my brothers for pizza...

Wednesday was my lone solo run which consisted of an old 8 mile Florham Park/Madison loop that makes you do a lot of reminiscing. After a great breakfast it was off to the Jersey Shore which for us would be Spring Lake. To get to the shore, you have to take the Garden State Parkway which is in pristine condition...a beautiful ride. On a side note, there is a little question that people will ask you if they hear that you are from New Jersey...what exit? So anyway, I had my friend (actually my cousin's cousin) drop off a surf board at the hotel for my son which was greatly appreciated. A long day at the beach was followed by dinner at Vic's in Bradley Beach with my friend who lives in Manasquan and then it was on to Jenkinson's boardwalk in Point Pleasant where my son won his sister that big teddy bear (it was actually a pink pig). As we're leaving the boardwalk there were batting cages and my son asked me if I was going to hit. I use to always do the batting cages with my friends when I was a kid and pretend I was Don Mattingly (crouched over the plate). Some munchies and off to bed...

Thursday morning came and my cousin's cousin met me outside the hotel at the crack of ba- Jesus for an easy 8 miler that would take us on the boardwalk and thru the towns of Avon, Belmar, Wall, Manasquan and Spring Lake Heights...beautiful! We said our goodbyes and he said that he would be yelling for me on 1st Ave. come November 7th! Then it was a nice breakfast on the porch at the B & B that we were staying at followed by some more beach time. Thursday night let the kids sleep over at another set of cousin's and they had a big time.

Friday morning had me running with Phil again for another easy 8 miler (He seemed surprised at how easy a pace we started out) at the park. After Sunday's heat furnace, the weather the rest of the week backed off which was nice. Side note, those of us running Blu Points...it's gonna be hot! Friday afternoon I took the kids to my Aunts house (the house was built in 1789) and she gave us a nice tour and it was the house that my father grew up in...

Visited with some more family and friends the rest of Friday and I managed to have my nephew set up a 10 miler with me and the local running stud in town for Saturday morning. After about 10 open ended questions, he finally opened up and revealed to me that he is a fan of Bernard Lagat. To breakfast at the Florham Park Diner (why are there no diner's in Charlotte?) and we said our goodbyes to everyone (not before my kids got their 30th scratch off game!) and it was on the road.

I'll be back on the 6th of November to go to the Javit's Center to pick up my packet for the marathon...

Question: Who sang duet with Jon Bongiovi on today's post title (good luck Danielle)?


  1. You're right! And her name is?

    See ya at the race...

  2. Jennifer Nettles, and I didn't have to google it. Good race this morning Spada!
    - Stan

  3. Stan...you nailed it! Always great to run with you at Miner's...see 'ya Tuesday!

  4. That was impressive Stan. My computer died so no internet for me until I got to work today, but I doubt I would have thought of the answer before Stan. Glad to hear you had a fabulous trip to NJ Steve! Although all that talk of calzones and pizza is making me hungry.

  5. Portofino's, Brooklyn or Hawthorne's...plenty to choose from in Charlotte! Nice race on Saturday. Your husband left me in the dust at the 2 mile mark...oh well!