Friday, July 7, 2017

June Numbers, and my First Race in over Four Years

June was a busy and memorable month. I continued to slightly increase my running mileage, I went to L.A., ran my first race in more than four years, and I met several celebrities.

First things first, the numbers:

Runs:     13
Miles:    75.2
Races: 1 (Summertime 10k, Santa Monica, CA - 46:19. 4th/50 overall, 1/3 AG)
Bike Rides: 5
Miles:     143.8

I took a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles the weekend of June 24/25th to attend an event I was invited to (more about that, below). I was fortunate to have a running & riding friend who lives in Redondo Beach, who invited me to stay with him and his wife. He retired young, and now trains daily (multiple times per day, usually), so needless to say, he's in amazing shape. The day I arrived there, he took me on a bike ride into the Palos Verdes area. We stuck with moderate climbs and avoided the intense hills. The next morning, we ran a small, casual race in Santa Monica. He ran the half marathon, while I chose the 10k.

Tom (left), with yours truly. Tom killed the half, with a 1:34!
It was a flat, fast course (out and back; twice for me, 3x for the half runners) on a paved trail next to the beach. My goal was to break 48 minutes. Much to my surprise, I came in at 46:19 (7:28 pace), good for fourth place overall. As I finished, someone handed me a 3rd place medal. I didn't learn I actually finished 4th until later in the day. My condolences to the man who missed out on his 3rd place medal ;-)

I smiled in nearly every race photo! I'm demented, obviously.
On Monday, Tom took me on a beach tour bike ride, up the South Bay. We ended up riding 40 miles.

It was a fun, active weekend, and Tom and his wife were very gracious to have me stay with them.

Now, to backtrack a little. An event that took place Sunday afternoon was the reason I flew to L.A. in the first place.

I have a side business, doing people and pet portraits (…in case you know anyone who might be interested ;-)

A few weeks after Don Rickles died, I decided to draw his portrait, on a whim.

It turned out well, so I sent a message through the Don Rickles website with a link to the portrait, thinking I’d probably never hear back. Well, I did get a reply from his publicist, who showed the portrait to Don’s wife Barbara. She loved it and wanted a copy. Then, she decided to display the portrait as a tribute at his private memorial service in LA, and she invited me. There’s no way I could turn that down.

There were many celebs there. Several of them were admiring the portrait, taking pictures of it, and having their pics taken with it. At the reception, I felt a little lost, but eventually Barbara invited me to her personal table (with her family & close friends), and she would make a point to introduce me to each celebrity that would come up to talk to her. I handed out several promo booklets to them, too.

Don’s manager, Tony Oppedisano (“Tony O”) was also Frank Sinatra’s manager (and his best friend). He regaled me with crazy Sinatra stories more than once. I’m also now in business with him, selling prints of the portrait, with 50% of the proceeds going to their charity. He’s a riot and quite a character! Very NY/Italian Showbiz Manager stereotype, but a good guy. Every time he came up to me, I had just finished a glass of wine, and he'd say "What's the matter? Every time I see you, you're dry!"

With the lovely & gracious Barbara Rickles

With Don's manager, Tony Oppedisano ("Tony O")

Some of the celebs I either saw or met: Bob Newhart, Regis Philbin, Al Roker, Kathy Griffin, Sharon Lawrence, Jeff Ross, Tony Danza, Suzanne Somers, John McEnroe, Steve Lawrence, Al Michaels, Elliott Gould, Bob Saget, John Stamos, and more.

It was a surreal experience. Barbara went out of her way to be gracious to me. It’s a weekend I’ll never forget. She's commissioning me to draw her French bulldog, Chauncey, along with their daughter's dog and, Bob Newhart's dog, as a Christmas present from her to his family.

So, a crazy month, indeed!

As I write this, July is well underway, and I'm trying to increase the running miles even more. My left knee is feeling a bit squishy, so I'll be monitoring that closely.

We're pushing 100°f here in Spokane this weekend, so all runs and rides have been early, out of necessity. Here's hoping everyone avoids heat exhaustion the rest of the summer!