Tim OBrien
November 2008
 One of the nice things about being on Drawger is getting to receive gifts from fellow Drawgers.  One particular generous soul is Stephen Kroninger.  He's not only an enormously talented illustrator, he is a human encyclopedia, or, if I want to seem more current, a human wikipedia.  Stephen is a collector of music and ephemera and doesn't horde it (much) but enjoys sharing it.  My music collection is more complete because of his generocity and obsessions.
Stephen recently used Marc Burckhardt as a mule to deliver a package to me.  In it was a copy of Sports Illustrated from October 13th, 1975.  The  cover story was of the fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in Manila, their epic third fight.

I received my first copy of this when I was 10.  A year and a half earlier my father had died and my mother and 2 brothers and I were still trying to sort things out.  I still have no idea just what was in their heads at the time, but I recall what I was going through.  I was forever angry and feeling put-upon.  I also missed having a father around.  Our beloved Uncle Eddie O'Neal surprised the boys with a subscription to Sports Illustrated.  It may seem like nothing today, but for us it was a real magazine and it was grown up and intended for us.  We could read about all sports and see the most amazing images.  We all were sports fans; my brother baseball and football and I loved boxing.  My younger brother would become a hockey player but was 7 at the time.

Sports Illustrated was so great.  I would get all the boxing stories and pour over them, ingest the information then carefully cut out the photographs and glue them onto sheet or cardboard that started to move across my bedroom wall.  I loved the photography and in the issue that Stephen sent, all were shot by the great NeilLeifer, article by Mark Kram.  

Ali was a marvelous figure in my early world.  He was everywhere and I have all kinds of memories of him.  With this fight the photographs were different though.  Something was not pretty anymore.  The opener is stunning with both heads side-by-side showing the damage that 15 rounds in 100 degree heat can do.


So, it's appropriate that I give thanks to several figures here.  First, thanks Stephen for the magazine and all the gifts all year long.  Thanks to my late Uncle Eddie who suddenly saw that he was a shadow father to a bunch of boys he never thought he'd have to be.  HE continued that subscription for about 10 years.

Thanks to my family for allowing me to work out who I would be.  Fist holes circled the room and these posters would move to cover the evidence.  Finally to the great ghost himself, Muhammad Ali.  I should have latched onto Picasso or Degas but artists are built in funny ways.


Have a great Thanksgiving everyone.



This spread was amazing to me and shocking too. Both me gave so much in this fight and the choice to show them side-by-side was a brilliant one.
Quite surprisingly, AI and their jurors chose this really traditional illustration for the book this year.
I'm thrilled.
See you all there.
Before the moment passes...
I shot this photo this morning on my iPhone at the supermarket. Caught me by surprise.
In a rare royal flush, 3 Drawgers illustrated the covers of 3 major magazines in the same week.
Brian Stauffer on the cover of the New Yorker, me on the cover of Time and Gary Taxali on the cover of Newsweek. 
Proud to be in such good company.  Illustration is alive and well and we have to keep it up in 2009.  Many Drawgers had their work out front this year and while print is still around, we are still in the game.
Give magazines away as gifts this season.
For a few weeks now, most people I know have watched the polls and heard the pundits predict an Obama victory.  Still, we have all been there before.  Watching states that were close show surprising strength for the opponent in the late hours of the evening on election night.  
This was the first election my son watched and followed.  On election night he and his friends stayed up late and waited until it was called a victory for Barack Obama.  Cassius saw his mother weep and his father stand up and howl and pump his fist.  The kids went nuts, partly because it's fun, and partly because they liked this man, this modern American man.  
Congratulations to all of you who dontated and made calls and talked your parents into voting for a real change for America.
Congratulations Cassius!
Martinelli's Apple juice. No need to call the police.
Marathon 2008
Weary but happy
What a race.  What a summer of training.

After my disaster race of 2007 I had to find out why I passed out at the end and blew that one so bad.  Initially I pinned my poor performance on dehydration as that was what the first aid folks said.  It seemed probable.  All year I certainly was more careful about fluid intake.  In late summer, and into the fall I had some reoccurrence of dizziness and rapid heart rate.  This year I began to wear a hear rate monitor.  I noticed that in some of my long runs my rate would go up and not come down, even after stopping and breathing normally.  This was scary for me.

My father died at 35 of a sudden heart attack.  I wondered just how stupid I was to do this running with that history and for a while felt down and confused.  I went to an amazing Doctor in Manhattan whose specialty is cardiology.  She was so great and thoughtful and concerned.  I had every test I could have, ran with event monitors to see if I could re-create the symptoms.  She also put me on blood pressure medication to finally deal with my high blood pressure.  That might have in the end been the cause of my rapid heart rate last year and this fall.  I felt great on the medication with no side effects.  But that wasn't all.  There then was a question about me having an enlarged heart.  This caused concern and as a result I saw another cardiologist.  He felt that the size was due to being an athlete and not due to damage from the blood pressure.  Still, HE wouldn't give me a go ahead until I got a magnetic resonance test.  This is one of those great color 3D images that can show everything.  I got the all clear the day I had to start the Time cover.  That was a good day.

So, I got ready to race.  I trained all year to run slower and steady, so no more going out fast.  My desire and goal was to HOLD BACK.  I repeated this mantra to myself all race..."hold back!"  When runners inched past me I resisted the sprinter in me and let them go by, even if that meant looking at my feet.  I actually spent much of my time scanning the faces of the spectators, slapping kid's hands.  Amazing experience.

I went out slow and tried to just run and not get winded.  I never did and never hit any wall.  I'm amazed!  I ate goo all day but also feasted on spectator bananas and oranges, water and more gatorade than you want to drink in a year.

For those that know this race, it ended like this.  As I entered the Bronx I pulled off my earphones and took in the sounds.  The music in the Bronx was loud and fun this year.  I waited for the sudden and upsetting wall to wash over me and then I was on the bridge to leave the Bronx.  Out of that borough and into Manhattan and I could feel that the last 5 miles would be easy.  Still, I held back.  I passed my family cheering section at 93rd and smiled this year to let them know I was fine.   It was now time to push.  I started opening my stride and felt fine.  Now I entered the park and looked for Dave Flaherty who said he was there to watch bleeding nipples on the hill.  I scanned the folks but missed him if he was there.  Soon, I could see ahead, the place where I fell out of the race last year; mile 25.  I burst past it and headed for the finish line.  With the lights and crowd in view and sprinted.  I raised my arms in victory and crossed the finish line with a smile.  It was perfect.

I heard from so many people pre-race and that day and I have to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.  It meant a ton.

Now what?

I used the NYRR service that alerts a few friends of certain times along the race.  I must have been annoying to recieve because they send a million e-mails to these victims...I'm sorry folks.
The thing is, they were NOT accurate.  I checked the site myself and then checked my Garmin GPS I wear and my late race sprint is recorded accurately.
I stopped 3 times.  Once to say hello to Elizabeth in Brookly and I accidentally shut off my iPod.  DAMN.  So, I had to turn it back on and select the same music and then start up again.  4 stinkin' minutes!  I stopped 2 more times for a quick pee break.  Why not?
So, here are the times and info from Garmin on my race.
This is shot in Staten Island at 8 am as the sun starts to remove the 42 degree chill.
Fussing with my iPod messed up my flow!
my cheering section
No 'Wall' and in a good mood at 23 miles
Post race, covered in salt.
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