Rolling With the Punches in 2014

If I could only use one word to describe the past 364 days of my life I could use either crazy or unexpected. Every year you want to become a better person, better at what you do and how you treat others, at least that is what I want. This year is hard to sum up in one blog with everything that happened but I will give it a try.

I feel thankful for most of the things that I got to accomplish this year. A year that was perfectly scripted the day it started but somewhere along the way that script got erased and life has not been the same. I wanted to keep my job, keep working in the United States, develop into a strong journalist and earn a reputation that could open me the doors more easily anywhere. I realized that sometimes no matter how good you are, your passport can hurt you.

I can’t complain of what I had to do to believe I was ready for any challenge. In the first half of my year, while I was still working at Telemundo in DFW. I covered the “Heart of Dallas Bowl” the first day of the year between my alma matter and the University of Nevada in Las Vegas where U.N.T. took the title. I had worked many games back at U.N.T. watching the program develop into what happened that first day of 2014 at the Cotton Bowl, so I was happy to be there.

Then came the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium, many Rangers games, a U.F.C. fight, Mavericks games including a playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs who would later win the championship. I was working on my own stories, I felt I was on my way to easily get a work visa once my student visa expired. I had gone through a lot of punches in my early career, I was starting to feel some stability in my life. Unfortunately that changed, after a great year and a half with Telemundo I had to say goodbye.

Before I knew it I was heading home not only after 18 months in Telemundo but almost six years living on my own in the United States. I wanted to say everything happens for a reason and more than six months after that happened that is still not so clear to me. I came back thinking my degree from a U.S. University would be my easy way in to a good job in Mexico. With the World Cup around the corner nothing mattered more for media corporations than what happened in Brazil.

i spent time at home thinking and trying to rebuild my life. Trying to find a meaning to whatever happened in this new era for me. It was and still is hard for me to understand why things happen the way it has. After half a year of sending resumes to many different places and not finding one full-time job many questions are raised.

Meanwhile I did have some nice experiences. I covered a triathlon, a marathon and to top it all off a Formula 1 Race. This last one was the best thing that could happen to me at any given moment, and after struggling with the job hunt, it was even better news. It was a one week job that I will remember for a lifetime. As a fan of the sport, having all the pilots, cars and celebrities (including Pam Anderson) walk right by me and stopping for pictures was like giving the key to a kid for a candy store. It felt surreal, but it could not be more real. At the end of the race I did not care about the outcome as much as I did not want it to end.

I like to say I went to heaven and came back the day after it ended and it is something that I believe truly adds to my curriculum. Since that trip I kept on traveling all over the place for almost two months. I was not staying in the same place for more than five days straight. I had a trip to shoot my first commercial, a project in which I am still working, and I was at home (Mexico City) to watch one of my favorite soccer teams win the national league championship.

After many weeks of being depressed by not finding a job I used travel to keep my busy and productive. I did everything including running a marathon where I had to sacrifice the will of qualifying for Boston due to an injury and now could only worry on finishing to remember how great that feels.

At the end of the year I am happy with most of the things that happened this 2014 but I am still seeking for that emotional, personal and professional stability. I know I’ve been through a lot and that this roller coaster will never end even if I want it to. That is how life goes, there are reasons to feel sad about 2014 but more to feel happy.

I started OscarSports.com to keep talking about sports, one of the things I love the most, and 2015 will be big for this project. This website will experience changes for the better early this new year. This is my new baby which I will keep feeding to make it grow. If work does not come to me I have to create it for myself and this is it.

I know I have to keep rolling with the punches, that is the only way to grow, to mature and to become a better version of yourself. I will not give up in the seek of better things and I hope that everyone that made it this far in this post does the same. Happy New Year everyone!

Last Week in Sports (December 22-28)

NFL

After 17 weeks of action the NFL regular season came to a close yesterday night with the game between the Cincinnati Bengals on their visit to Heinz Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a game where most of the scoring opportunities came from big mistakes by the opposition it was the Steelers who won the game 27 to 17 clinching the top spot on the AFC North. They will now face the Ravens as the Bengals will pay a visit to Indianapolis.

Dallas is back in the postseason for the first time since 2009. The Cowboys did not have to win this game but they sure wanted to end the season with a bang as they visited Washington, a division rival. DeMarco Murray who had some unfinished business last week trying to tie the record of most yards rushed in a single season finally achieved and surpassed that mark. His 1,845 rushing yards by the end of the game left the 1995 record set by Smith of 1,773 in the dust. Also Dez Bryant became the player with most touchdowns in a single season with 16, a record that belonged to Terrell Owens since 2007. At the end of the game the Cowboys won 44 to 17 and will host the Detroit Lions this upcoming weekend.

The other Wild Card matchup will be between the Cardinals and the Panthers. In the AFC the Patriots and the Denver Broncos have the week off while in the NFC the Packers and the Seahawks will be also watching next weekend’s games from home.

NBA

In some basketball action Toronto is making the most out of a great season and still holds the lead in the Eastern Conference after 31 games with a 24-7 record. The Chicago Bulls are right now one of the hottest team in the league having a six game winning streak. The Dallas Mavericks with Rajon Rondo as one of the new stars for the team are still in playoff contention while they stand in fifth place in the Western Conference. They finished last week beating the Lakers at home and as well as the OKC Thunder. This upcoming Friday Rondo will travel back to his basketball hometown of Boston as the Mavs will take on the Celtics. Golden State is atop of the Western Conference with a record of 24-5.

SOCCER

While most of the soccer action is taking a winter break before 2015, the English Premiere League does not stop. Boxing Day (December 26) and soccer in England is almost the equivalent to football and Thanksgiving in the U.S., both need to coexist at a certain occasion. Some of the most interesting scores include Chelsea’s victory over West Ham United by 2-0, Liverpool beating Burnley by 1-0, Manchester United scored three goals over Newcastle, team which only scored once, with that same score Manchester City earned three points over West Bromwich and Arsenal came out victorious over Queen Park Rangers by 1-0.

Now after 19 games so far this season it is Chelsea who leads the leaderboard with 46 points. Manchester City is in second with 43 points and Manchester United runs in third with 36 points. If the tournament ended today Crystal Palace, Burnley and Leicester City would be relegated from the competition for next season.

RUNNING

Doping was a strange word in the vocabulary of long distance running events, not until this year when the world heard about Rita Jeptoo’s scandal. The back to back winner at the Chicago Marathon and Boston Marathon winner in 2014 tested positive early this month, this time it was the “B” sample. The “A” sample was tested in September but the results of that test did not come out until after her win at the Chicago Marathon. Jeptoo requested further testing and still failed to show no signs of doping. The punishments by the International Association of Athletic Federations and Athletics Kenya are be a ban from any IAAF regulated competition for at least two years, forfeit any prize money plus her World Marathon Majors jackpot.

Postseason Cowboys

The accident waiting to happen has not happened this season for the Dallas Cowboys. Without Jerry Jones making the calls and letting his staff, lead by Jason Garrett do its job, after 16 weeks of football action this means the Cowboys are going to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Unlike the past three years, Dallas did not have to wait until the last game of the regular season to learn its faith. By winning all but three games up to this point last night at AT&T Stadium they clinched not just a ticket to the postseason but the NFC East division title.

America’s team has been unbeatable on the road but they have had their fair share of struggles when performing in front of a home crowd. They opened the season with a loss against the 49’ers and since then only the Arizona Cardinals, the Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles have made it clear that they do wanted to mess with Texas.

That did not matter much now, since after losing to the Eagles in Thanksgiving, Romo has been on beast mode and done everything he can to take his team to where it stands today. After the Eagles lost to the Redskins on Saturday it was only a matter of a win against the Colts to seal the deal. They obviously came out on top with a dominant 42-7 performance over Indianapolis.

It was a record-setting night in Jerry World and it had nothing to do with ticket sales. The over 90,000 spectators were in to see the boys #finishthefight. Emitt Smith was sitting in the V.I.P. box with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and “hoping” to see DeMarco Murray beat his record of rushing yards in a season. With having surgery done in his left hand just days before the game it was a surprise to see Murray on the field. At the end of the day he was 29 yards shy of it.

The one that did get a record was Tony Romo. The quarterback had just another one of those nights that are hard to believe from a QB that had been struggling with his games in December his whole career. He completed 90% of his passes (18-20), he did not throw a single interception while the Colts had two. He passed the ball for 218 yards which has him now as the franchise all-time leading passer with 32,971, putting him in the record books over legendary Troy Aikman.

At the end of the game there were many reasons to smile about in the locker room. The victory, the playoff spot, and being so close to getting their first shutout of the season and against a team that had scored in every regular season game since 1993.

It was also a special night for coach Jason Garrett who now has 40 victories with the team since he took charge in 2010. He is now showing why Jerry has kept him for a long time after losing decisive games against the Giants, Redskins and Eagles the past three seasons. For the man that once was a player and is now leading the organization to the spot in history it deserves, this is the reflection of the work done in all past three seasons and not only the past 15 games.

If the regular season ended today things would not look so nice for the Cowboys as they would most likely be playing the Cardinals  (11-4), one of the few teams that can brag about beating the boys this season. If the accident waiting to happen does not happen there is a big chance we could see the Dallas Cowboys back in the Super Bowl on February 1st at the University of Arizona

Rondo To Dallas

Just how big is the move of Rajon Rondo to Dallas? In a few words, it is huge, and here is why. Bringing in someone like Rajon to Dallas is a key ingredient to an already strong team. The former Boston Celtics has been as consistent as you can be in a league where every season you play 82 highly competitive games every season.

He has played 527 games in his career with a field goal percentage of .473 but that is not the area where he excels, his go-to weapon while playing the game he loves is passing. Rondo has been in the top two spots in this league the past four seasons when it comes to assists. Last year the Mavs found in players like José Calderón someone to help the position that Jason Kidd had vacated a couple of seasons ago.The trade that brings in the number nine Celtic is actually compared to the one that was used to bring Kidd into the team.

Rondo was a crucial part of a championship team in Boston back in 2008 who will also make the trip to Dallas with Dwight Powell. In exchange the Celtics get Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson and Brandan Wright plus two draft picks that would go to the Mavs in the 2015 and 2016 drafts. That just quantifies how big the move is and how much Mark Cuban wanted to have Rondo playing at the American Airlines Center.

This could hurt a Dallas team that was working quite well almost halfway through the season with 19 wins and eight losses. A team that is leading the league with the most points per game average (110.1) and currently third in the southwest standings with the San Antonio Spurs as their next rival.

Obviously Marc Cuban, Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle don’t want to hurt a team that is in serious playoff contention. They are bringing in someone who could help elevate the already strong game the Mavericks have shown this season. Giving J.J. Barea a strong competitor for his position. Barea is a good player that also has a good player with already a championship ring in his resumé. It is still one of the weakest positions in the Mavericks roster that with Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis up front have made the Dallas team one of the most fearless offensive teams in the NBA.

That is a reason this team did not need someone like Lebron James. Last season they suffered setting up big plays and getting rebounds, with Rondo in the picture things could change drastically. The 28 year is switching teams for the first time in his career, after 8 seasons in Boston, Dallas will represent a new challenge for the University of Kentucky alumni. But the guy has a tested ability and even though he is coming out of an injury the faith in the 3-time All Star is strong.

Because if Rondo can adapt his game to his new team I am certain the Dallas Mavericks should from now on be considered a Championship contender. Having Rondo in the roster is a vital part of that dream.

rondo celtics
Born in Louisville, became pro in Boston and now looks to solidify his career in Dallas. Rajon Rondo (masslive.com)

Afición vs Presión

Anoche en el Estadio Azteca se vivió una final nunca antes vista en la historia de los torneos cortos. Tigres visitó al América en el Coloso de Santa Ursula para intentar de callar a una afición que llegaba a la Calzada de Tlalpan con la ilusión de una 12va estrella en su escudo.

El equipo de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León arribó a la cita con la historia con un gol de ventaja. Eso era prácticamente todo lo que tenían a su favor. Para su director técnico, Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti eso parecía ser más que necesario. Antonio Mohammed, estratega de las Aguilas sabía que el panorama sería muy distinto en su casa.

La primera gran diferencia la marcó la afición. Mientras que en el Volcán sólo se vieron menos de 2,000 aficionados azulcremas, en el Azteca ese número llegó a aproximadamente 90,000. El público no dejaba de gritar desde el momento de que los equipos salieron a la cancha a calentar haciendo pesar la casa del ave.

Ya mientras se desarrollaba la gran final del fútbol mexicano, tal y como se esperaba Tigres metió a los 11 jugadores detrás de su media cancha. El América sabía que debía atacar desde el inicio y así lo hizo. Para el equipo visitante no existió la idea de atacar con claridad. En contra ahora tenían a la afición, al equipo local y la altura. Su mejor aliado, el reloj.

Pasaban los minutos y aunque el América se acercaba una y otra vez no metía el balón al fondo de las redes. Tigres se tomaba su tiempo para reanudar cualquier jugada que le favoreciera pero con el gol de Michael Arroyo en el minuto 36 del primer tiempo todo cambió. Si los decibeles del inmueble ya estaban bastante altos, cuando cayó el 1-0, estos aumentaron.

Ahora si Tigres intentó reaccionar pero sin claridad alguna. Adelantaron lineas y poco a poco empezaron a caer en la desesperación. Necesitaban un gol para retomar la ventaja y para intentar silenciar al jugador número 12 del América, que junto con su equipo quería el doceavo título.

Esa misma desesperación del visitante lo llevaron a perder la cabeza cuando su fútbol ya estaba perdido. Con el gol de Pablo Aguilar al minuto 61 el panorama ya era muy complicado para los felinos. Un minuto después, Burbano quedó como último defensa ante Miguel Layún y con una falta se hizo expulsar menos de 60 segundos después de su ingreso.

Tres minutos después Damian Álvarez soltó un puñetazo que le significó otra roja directa para los felinos. El conjunto de casa jugó con la desesperación del rival y mantuvo la pelota. Ellos sabían que era difícil pensar que con dos hombres menos Tigres volviera a la vida.

El portero felino, Nahuel Guzmán, que había estado muy sereno los primeros 30 minutos del partido explotó ante la presión y se hizo expulsar tirando una patada sobre Michael Arroyo en una jugada previamente invalidada por un fuera de lugar del americanista, que merecía la preventiva pero el arquero de Tigres no podía discutir con la roja.

Oribe Peralta cerró la fiesta con su primer gol de la liguilla al 77. Al 93 el árbitro Paul Delgadillo dio por terminadas las acciones de un partido que tuvo un justo vencedor pero catalogado ampliamente como polémico por las tres expulsiones que le mostró a Tigres.

Una buena final para un torneo mediocre, que busca alzar su imagen más por patrocinios que por el nivel que los equipos en la cancha. Un equipo que muchos (aficionados y analistas) consideraron inefectivo, con muchos problemas dentro y fuera de la cancha es hoy por hoy el que más ganador del fútbol mexicano.

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La Monumental junto con más de 85,000 aficionados apoyaron al América en la Gran Final contra     Tigres.

Last Week in Sports (Dec. 2- Dec. 7)

SOCCER

It was the farewell Landon Donovan wanted and most of the United States soccer fans though he deserved. The L.A. Galaxy, a team that had been Donovan´s home for many years with the exception of a short period when he went to play in England. On December 7th the captain of the team had the chance to step off the pitch on a high note and another championship on his impressive resumé. The game was as close as it was expected, New England Revolution made the trip to Carson to try and ruin a party they had already lost against the same team two other times. First half went by scoreless but in the second half the home team took the lead at the 70th minute while New England reacted quickly and tied it up before regulation time was over.

Even though the night was supposed to belong to captain America, his teammate Robbie Keane (named MLS MVP) had better plans for himself and scored the championship winning goal in overtime. That meant L.A. would earn their fifth championship trophy and Donovan his sixth MLS title.

In Mexico the final is now set between Club América and Tigres. Both teams took advantage of being better placed than their rivals in the general standings. America only needed a 3-0 win halfway through the week against Monterrey to pretty much clinch their championship ticket with a scoreless draw in the second game. Tigres did not score a single goal in the whole series and that was enough for them to leave Toluca buried in the semifinals. Now it will be the first time both teams face-off in the final series, but the third time America makes it to the final stage in the last four tournaments.

NFL

Coming into week 14 the Eagles were in a position that pretty had the Cowboys praying for a miracle to stay in the hunt for a playoff game. That miracle came pretty soon and the Seahawks tamed the Eagles on the road 24 to 14. Now both NFC East teams have a 9-4 record and will meet in Philly next Sunday Night for a game that could decide who makes it to the playoffs. The Cowboys will finally finish over .500 in the season after beating the Bears at Soldier Field on Thursday Night. It was a big game for SMU alum Cole Beasley that had two big touchdowns. 179 was the total yardage that DaMarco Murray covered during the game with one touchdown. That performance In a night where the Cowboys won 41-28 has #25 tied with legendary Emmitt Smith for 11 games in one season rushing for over 100 yards. Finally the San Francisco 49ers fell in the “Battle of the Bay” to the Oakland Raiders in Oakland by 24 to 13.

ALPINE SKI

With cooler temperatures some sports shut down for the winter but some others are just heating up. That is the case of Alpine Skiing and this week in Beaver Creek, Colorado some of the Giant Slalom greatest stars put their skills to the test. Even though the competition was done in American snow, that was not a reason for the Europeans to put their best foot forward in foreign ground. Out of the top ten athletes, eight came from overseas. The hopes of the home crowd not only rested on the American athletes but there was one that carried most of the pressure coming into the gates. Ted Ligety, who had four metal screws inserted into his hand after an accident in training just over two weeks ago had a performance nothing short of impressive.After staying within the top five after the first round, he took down Alexis Pinturault from France and Marcel Hirscher from Austria for a fifth win in the mountains of Colorado and his 23rd win in the World Cup Series.

FORMULA 1

Even though the season is over there are two stories to talk about here. The first one involving the future of Jenson Button with McLaren. While Fernando Alonso is coming into his old team, it is unknown who will be his teammate in the grid. After tests in Abu Dhabi, the high chairs of McLaren have not made a decision. They first said it would come at the beginning of December, then set the date for December 3rd and nothing happened, then nothing has been said and the speculation is even getting Jenson nervous. Meanwhile the decision could be taking some time after Kevin Magnussen proved to have great skills while driving for the British team and it could mean he is a better option if you are looking for years down the road.

Over 60 trophies were stolen from the Red Bull’s headquarters this past weekend by a group of six burglars. Christian Horner, the team’s sporting director reported that no one in the facility was injured but that the damage was not measured in the number of trophies stolen but the amount of work everyone in the factory had put in to make the drivers win those trophies. Until today there is no news about the whereabouts of the trophies or the people who committed the crime.

NBA

Hard to believe that one of the leagues best teams right now is the Golden State Warriors. After beating Chicago on the road last Sunday they reached a 12 game wining streak. They have only lost two games and even though the season is still young the team might be heating up for some big things no one expected them. Toronto Raptors are leading the Eastern Conference. The team has not been so consistent in racking up wins but lucky enough other teams in their conference have not found a rythm. Kevin Durant is back to play with the Thunder after healing from his injury, his team really needs him before its too late. Dallas had a busy week last week with four games and managed to win three of them. Miami lost all of its four games last week and sure hopes to bounce back this week.

Remember the Feeling

Once again it took guts, once again it took pain, but once again I reached for glory. It definitely never gets easier, you just start to believe in yourself a bit more every time you do it. I am now a six time marathoner and even though it was my slowest one, I can end the year having done something I had forgotten about in 2013, cross a marathon finish line.

When I ran my first 26.2 mile race back in 2009 I had no idea what I was gettig myself into. Exactly five years later I am fully aware of what it takes to do something like this. Different to the past five experiences, due to my long hours at work and school I had stayed away from running for a long time (on my standards). Running two-three times a week was a miracle and going over five miles was not that easy. With that being said, I had a lot to work on when I got back to running back in July aiming to run a marathon by the end of the year and dreaming of a Boston Qualifier performance.

I don’t choose race for their prestige, I come up with the decisions based on the weather, the altitude, the size of the field, if there are pacers and the type of course, hoping it is as least boring as possible. The California International Marathon met most of my requirements but what made it shine among other options was that is was considered one of the top B.Q. races in the country.

Little did I know about Sacramento except for it being the capital of California. When I watched the video of the course I saw rolling hills and a flat end. It would be my first point-to-point marathon so that would make it interesting. I tried to keep some element of surprise alive by the time I got there so I kept my research on the place once the decision was done to a bare minimum.

Training started well but it had an abrupt pause at the beginning of October when I tore my left hamstring and groin at the same time. That really put into question if I would be able to participate in what I considered my last big goal of 2014. Fortunately I was able to push through and declare myself ready but I did have to give up on my idea of going for Boston.

Once race weekend approached and I arrived to Sacramento I was happy I was there but really nervous of how my body would react to a big race after a very irregular training. I was not nervous about finishing, I was nervous about how I was going to finish. I liked the scenery, so I tried to feed off that and I also liked it that it felt like a small marathon. Going to San Francisco for a short visit two days before the race trying to make the most of my trip to the heart of California.

Race day came and for me it started at 4:20 am. At that moment I woke up, changed into my running gear and my extra layers to stay warm and headed out the door towards the bus stop that would take me to Folsom, where the race would start. I tried to sleep during the 30 minute ride but ended up just daydreaming about what was ahead. Once we got there you could feel the beginning of the end. This journey started even before I signed up, it began the same day training did.

The race started just a few seconds after it was scheduled but the distance ahead stayed the same. The first mile went by quickly and that was good news, the worst thing is to have the first mile feel like three or more. I clocked the first 13 miles within five seconds of each other. I was feeling good and enjoying the rolling hills. My injury did not bug me for the first third of the race. Once I reached the middle miles I was extremely confident I would finish and that I had a chance to run my fourth fastest time. I just had to keep pushing.

I believe it was around mile 18 when it sank in that I was running in a fast marathon. I had not seen many people walk or cramp as I had seen past the halfway mark in other races. It was just a matter of about an hour to get done. I passed mile 20 and halfway through I thought it would be a good idea to walk and recharge energy for the last five. Huge mistake!

It was impossible to regain a solid pace for the rest of the race, it took me forever to run again and when I did I cramped twice in the same leg. I now think I should have kept running even though I was already over the 8:00/mile mark. That would have saved me at least ten minutes and probably a sub 3:40 finish. 3:52 was my finish time. A race I was proud just like any other marathon to finish but upset I did not try my very best. I was glad my injury did not come into play as bad as I thought it would.

Just like any other race there are many lessons learned from this one that will help me for the next one. I now remember what it feels to run a marathon, to get to the halfway mark feeling good and to get to the wall still with some energy. Yes, the next one will be much harder. My halfway split needs to be ten minutes faster and my marathon time almost an hour faster. For now, enjoy the accomplishment, let my legs rest and get ready because in 81 days I will do it all over again. Maratón LALA 2015, you are next!

Just 26.2 to Go!

After miles and miles of training this (the title) seems to be an encouraging statement. It is and isn’t all at the same time. I have ran five marathons (Monterrey, Dallas, Lincoln, Houston, Chicago) and I kind of know what to expect of the distance. While that gives me some confidence that I can finish, each one has been different and tomorrow at the California International Marathon won’t be the exception.

I’ve ran a marathon without training, one with the flu, another one with really sore legs and only two where I can say I felt “good” most of the way. In all of them I had the goal to qualify to Boston and for one reason or another I have not achieved that. Here in Sacramento, that was the goal when I signed up back in August, in October an injury almost made me quit, during recovery I regained hope to accomplish the feat but to be honest the injury has not healed 100%.

You can dominate long runs, but I never run a marathon during training, so it is those miles that you don’t run during training which make this distance special. Your body is only meant to run 20, the last six are a huge mental test and an dangerous territory for the human body. I have not ran a marathon since October 2012 in Chicago.

With the injury (torn hamstring and groin) back in late september, my only focus is on finishing the next 26.2 miles here at the CIM.

Not having the pressure of Boston is letting me relax a bit, while it is also a bit frustrating since all I’ve heard about it is how fast it is, making it one of the top 5 marathons in the U.S. that get you to Boston.

I’ve never been to Sacramento before and so far I like it, tomorrow I might hate it or love it even more. The marathon does not seem to be such a big deal around here, even though you have people from all over the world coming in. It has that small town feel marathon to it that does not translate into an over hyped event, the opposite to what I felt in Chicago. Such high energy can really affect your own energy levels for race day.

Here in Sacramento, with barely over 10,000 runners expected you feel part of a tighter runners community. People are here to run an race, not too much about bragging of what they have done. I feel the same nerves I’ve felt in the previous five, but this time my goal is to feel good and not get hurt. A good finish time will come along by itself. Training in Mexico City has made preparations quite hard. Running 4 miles was hard for a long time and the last 19 mile run was a nightmare.

Lately I’ve been working and traveling a lot, which has made it harder to have energy to train and stick to some type of program. Since the end of september I have not been in the same place for more that five days with the exception of F1 week in Austin. But the finish line does not care about excuses. My main goal is to finish.

Here, it will be barely over sea-level and mostly downhill. My goal is to start at a conservative pace. Much slower than the 7:00/mile I was aiming when I signed-up. I will stick to the 3:25 pace group for as long as I can and if I feel good after mile 22-23 I might attempt to push the pace and get as close to 3:20 as possible. That would make it my third fastest marathon, not bad for what I have gone through during training. For marathon seven, hopefully in march it will really be “Boston or Burst” while looking for a sub three hour performance.

For now I will enjoy the ability to walk since tomorrow that might not be possible. The race starts at 7:00 am, I hope to be done before 11, and then hopefully share good news with all of you. A good way to close 2014, after all my troubles, I’m doing what I love the most.

Last Week in Sports (11/24 – 11/30)

NFL

Football got off to an early start for week 13 with three games on a Thursday. The Lions beat Chicago, the Seahawks on a Super Bowl rematch took control over the 49’ers and Mark Sanchez and the Eagles took care of business at Jerry World when they defeated the Cowboys. Both teams came into the annual Thanksgiving Day game with an 8-3 record and tied for the top spot of the NFC East. That same offensive line that provided great protection for Romo on the game against the Giants was no where to be seen in Week 13. Romo did not have a single TD pass, he struggled finding his targets and did not even reach the 200 yard passing mark. The difference was mostly made in the running game where DeMarco Murray just ran 73 yards while the Eagles running back LeSean McCoy got up to 159. The final score was 33-10 and there will be a rematch on week 15.

CENTRAL AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN GAMES

It was pretty much a complete domination by Mexico, the country which hosted the 2014 games in Veracruz, up until the last 70 hours of the competition. After being behind by over 20 gold medals in the medal count, the domination of Cuba in the Track and Field events including a win in the male marathon by Richer Pérez. The cubans got a total of 23 gold medals in these type of events while Mexico only managed to get eight. Two more in beach volleyball really sealed the deal for this delegation. While some may consider this result a failure for the host nation they can be proud of as it (Mexico) was awarded the most medals out of all the competition with 332. That way Cuba finished in first with 123 gold medals, Mexico second with 115 and Colombia was far back in third with 70.

SOCCER

The playoffs in the “Liga Bancomer MX”, got off to a weak start. Most of the games were decided by mistakes of the opponent than by good calls by the team that would end up winning. To make the story short between Pumas and America, the latter one advanced because of having finished at a higher spot during the regular season. Then Tigres and Pachuca was decided with the same argument benefiting Tigres. Toluca was no longer the team distinguished by its great playoff games and was lucky enough to eliminate Chiapas due to the same reasoning the last two games were decided with. Finally Monterrey was the only team to advance due to a positive goal differential after two games after losing the first by one but winning the second one by two. Now they will play America and Toluca will face Tigres.

In MLS action the final is set. Landon Donovan could not have a bigger stage to say farewell to his team and to the league that has seen him develop for many years. After a 2-2 tie in the aggregate with the Seattle Sounders, Galaxy advanced to the final due to the goal that L.A. scored as a visitor. They will play New England Revolution which eliminated the New York Red Bulls. Take into consideration that this was the last season New York only has one team, next year the New York Football Club will start competing and they have already signed international star David Villa to play for them. But the show must go on for now and both finalists will face each other on December 7th at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

NCAA Football

It is hard to recap what happened in a league that has over 50 games every weekend but here are some of the highlights. Texas Christian University took care of business on the road and defeated Texas at Austin on Thanksgiving Day 48-10. The Oregon Ducks defeated Oregon State by 47-19. Baylor and Texas Tech battled it out at AT&T Stadium in what turned out to be a great game. At the end even though the Red Raiders outscored the Bears by 19-3 in the fourth quarter, the team from Waco, Texas got the win by 48-46. Number one ranked Alabama also played a high-scoring game against number 15 Auburn. This time a second half comeback by Alabama was good enough to take the “W” 55 to 44.

CRICKET

Last week in a game of cricket in Australia fans and players witnessed a horrific scene. A hit to the bottom of the neck of the 25 year old player left him unconscious. James Sutherland “CEO of Cricket Australia”, considered him a hero for kids around the nation and a role-model player. Two days after suffering the hit, Hughes lost his battle and died. His number 64 shirt is now retired and a match he was supposed to play with his national team against India has now been postponed.