Richard Doron Johnson

October 1, 2007

Toronto Half-Marathon 13.1 miles

Filed under: Life on the Road — rjjazz @ 1:01 pm

The Toronto Half- Marathon (13.1 miles) was a great race for me considering that I had a few issues during the race. The morning of the race for some reason I could not digest all of the pasta I had eaten the night before so I knew running on an upset stomach would be rough. Also I had been going back and forth all week between these new Brooks running flats I had gotten to try out and I decided after two training runs to race in them. This was a bad decision because after mile 7 the shoes did not have enough support for me and my I felt like I was running on my bare feet. Even with having to stop to go to the bathroom at mile 5, I still managed to run pretty decent splits and at the 10k mark and the 10 mile mark I was ahead of any previous time I had ever done in a race. By the time the race was over mentally I could not believe it because it felt like the shortest 13 miles I had ever run. I guess doing all the mileage I have done this summer can make a long 13 mile race turn into a short one. During the race I was not huffing and puffing at all so this race was basically a tempo run that I do every week once I looked at my heart rate and the overall time. Like I said earlier I am happy with the race because later that day I went out and did another 7 miles to make it an even 20 miles for the day. Right now I am in the best shape of my life and I am running great! The Toronto course and weather was awesome and I recommend it to any one out there who wants to run or walk.

Mile one of the marathon course in Toronto!


September 21, 2007

Love Found!

Filed under: 1, Life on the Road — rjjazz @ 9:03 pm

Today my journeys have taken me to Montego Bay Jamaica. The reason for traveling to this destination is my cousins Gordon’s wedding. For the past 7 months he and his fiancée have been planning this occasion to begin the rest of their lives together. They have chosen this location because it is out of the United States but still close enough for friends and family to get to. I have been to this island four times total now for music related reasons and it is a great place to visit. The resort we are staying at is called “Half Moon” It is your typical resort meaning nothing under the top and nothing over the top. What I do like about it is that is not far from the airport and is very easy to get to.

Since arriving this past Thursday afternoon I am finding the humidity to be very similar to the Dominican Republic. I am not a fan of the humidity but my love for my family out weighs my dislike of three days of humid weather. Let me be one of the first to say “ Congratulations to Gordon for making the big leap.” I used to think that making the big leap was a scary venture. Although it can be, I am seeing that once you encounter your better half making the leap becomes a lot easier since you have two sets of legs to land on instead of one!

Here are a few photos from this weeks location. I hope you can enjoy them from your computer screen.

The Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay!

The fountain in the lobby of the Half Moon!

The arrival at the hotel.

This is where the real love is shown!

Gordon and I chilling on the beach.

Three hours before he says ” I do!”

Life and beyond!

Me wondering is my time coming soon???????????????????

July 4, 2007

Crossed the line!

Filed under: Life on the Road — rjjazz @ 4:20 pm

Today we went across the border that separates Europe from Asia.

The journey this past weeks has been interesting because one minute we are in really bad hotels with no running water and then the next night we are in 4 star hotels. So just when you think it is getting no better it does about every 3 days. So it makes everything worth it.

This trip has really been a learning experience for me about what you need in life and what you don’t. Three days ago we spent about an hour just looking for running water in the town we were in so William could wash him self off from all the bugs that got on him during his ten mile run. I have seen the biggest Mosquitos in my life here while sitting in the van and running.

My runs have been going good so far. Im not fast but I always arrive in the time i am supposed to. A few people have had issues on the team from stomach problems to injuries but I am holding up so far. I think tonight though I might have to run real long because Melissa’s stomach is bothering her and Victor can only run 5 miles due to his leg. So William and I will have to cover the other 35 miles or so. I am not going to go on too long about what else is happening since a picture is worth a thousand words.

Happy 4th of July for those of you from the United States!

Me in Belarus at a huge Monument on my day off!

Just the Head!

Moscow Red Square!

Me at Red Square!

The Kremlin!

Home away from Home in Kazam, Russia!

Me making a wish by throwing my rubel in the fountain!

The subway in Moscow!

The team Van while we wait for Will to finish his 57:30min 10 miler!

The bathroom 4 days ago, hummmmmmm!

Another View of the same!

Victor and I running 1 mile together in Moscow. This traffic was the worst and the fumes will kill you. Notice all the police escorts for us. We had five total stopping traffic.

The Kremlin in Kazan!

Me, Myself and I

A wedding at the Kremlin. I thought they looked smashingly romantic!

I am not sure what this is but it looked cool! I will have to ask William or Doogy as we call him!

2 days ago this was the facilities!

Notice how you step up to the toilet!

The shower!

March 16, 2007

Up and Down

Filed under: Life on the Road — rjjazz @ 4:16 pm

These past few weeks have been a roller coaster. I mean that literally too because I have had some flights that have been up and down (I crack myself up!).

First I went to Minneapolis for four days and had the most enjoyable time there due to the enormous amounts of snow that graced our presence.

Then I went to Germany for 2.5 days to hang out with Kareem. Feb 25th

Then I went to New York for about 14 hours. March 1st 2007

Then I went to Atlanta, Ga for about 5 hours. March 3rd 2007

Then I drove to Albany GA which was 3 hours away March 2nd 2007

Then I ran my fastest 13.1 half marathon the next morning. March 3rd 2007

Then back to New York city  March 7th-9th

Then to Augusta, Ga to perform March 10th

Then back to New York March 11th-13th

Then off to Los Angeles, CA March 13th-March 18th 2007

November 28, 2006

The Mother Land!

Filed under: Life on the Road — rjjazz @ 7:21 pm

Today is the day we finally board the plane for Africa. This tour has been a nine month process from start to finish. From getting all the band members applications, personal information, doctors shoots, travel plans, routing numbers, etc, I know they thought it would never come, but here we are on the plane flying to Africa. After having talked to the other three members through out the first leg (from Atlanta to Amsterdamn) I found out this past week for them has been a complete sleeping nightmare. You ask why, like I did? It is due to all the excitement that has built up with this international tour happening with friends all going to a new place for the first time ever. I can understand how being in any creation from the ground up gives the initial members a since of gratitude knowing that all the hard work over the past 3 years has paid off if everyone has stuck together through the thick and thin.
It all started in June of 2002 when I went out looking for the best musicians that I could work with in Atlanta,GA. Once I found these guys after a 3 month search of going out 4 nights a week and listening to who was on the scene performing I finally made some calls and invited those who I thought would be a good fit for the band I had in mind to come to my house and meet and discuss what my vision was for the future of “AFAR.” I can only imagine that when they showed up to my house and I had a detailed outline put together that was about 12 pages thick that they looked at me like I was some type of stockbrocker trying to predict the future. After meeting for about 4 hours and talking over everyones personal goals as well as band goals I thought this collaboration could work if we stuck together. My main thing to express to them was it is not going to happen over night and it may take some serious time, but the end result will be worth it.
Over the past three years we have done numerous shows at all kinds of venues which include no paying concerts to well educational benefits. Some of the highlights were in 2004 being the first live band chosen for the NBA to play during in game play for the Atlanta Hawks, Performing for the Atlanta Braves right before one of their baseball games, and “The Rhythm and Rims” performance in Centinial Park Atlanta, GA. All of these performances and rehearsals of our music and classics have led us to this journey. Now it wasn’t all glorious either. Their were numerous points were nothing was happening for the band. I do think all of this does go into play when looking at the history of making band. To think doing a domestic tour is one great achievement but going straight to Africa is unheard of for a band that is not domestically well known.
This is my first time too to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Tanzania so this journey is uncharted territory for myself as well. I always try and make sure to document every tour I do because you never know if you will make it back to some of these countries during your life time. Therefore, I try to convey little pieces of knowledge on to the band members that I have learned from some of the masters because most people will only read about Africa in a history book or on the internet. You must document everything because in a flash the current tour will all be completed!
As I type this blog and look out the window and see how huge this continent is it really makes you say, HUMMMM? There is so many places to go in this world that has such a rich heritage. To not expand your horizons by going to experience as much as you can is a major bridge never crossed in ones life when making certain realizations about yourself as well as others. I really believe this will be a great experience for every member of “AFAR” and we will create life lasting memories on this 4 week journey.

For the next four weeks when ever some e-mails me, calls, or wonders where I am at, I will be very clear to let them know I am in Africa!”

October 3, 2006

The Best Urban Marathon in the Country

Filed under: Life on the Road — rjjazz @ 3:45 am

When I first heard this I was like “Whatever.” I read these same type of quotes all the time in Running magazines. This past weekend I spent three days in the Twin Cities, maily St. Paul, MN. I went there to run my fastest time covering 26.2 miles and that is exactly what I did. Upon arriving there I felt like I was in a movie or something. Everything was so pretty it looked fake with all the leaves on the trees turning colors, wonderful running and biking parks, and Truman story like people. I fell in love with this city immediately. I began to wonder if I could live here it was so nice. Then one of the natives reminded me to come back in 3 weeks and see if I would still be thinking the same thing. Any way, back to the real reason I am writing about this adventure. I came to run the Twin Cities marathon. I had heard a lot about it from friends of mine who had run but I had to see it for myself. When I got to the city I remembered one of my running buddies was flying in from atlanta,ga to run so I called her and we meet up at the expo to pick up our numbers. She is a veteran runner and this would be her 16 marathon and I was just trying to learn from her. After getting our numbers a group of us went out to drive the course and see what we were going to be dealing with in the morning. We were all shocked at how beautiful the course was. The majority of it was flat except for the long 1.5mile hill at mile 21 that I had heard about from everyone. Fortunatly, when I hit that part of the race I started to pick up speed when everyone else was walking. This was a true indication that all the 20mile runs I did over the past 4 months paid off. This was my best time ever and I feel I can go faster if I train for it again. By the end of the day I was pleased with the job I had done. Let me give a shout out to Harry Brull for hooking me up with a place to stay right on the course at mile 22.5. You know, it is funny about all the things you think about during a 3:32hr run. After all that running and thinking, when I crossed the finish line the first thought I had was ” I want to go fast!(Ricky Bobby)”

Virgin Festival

Filed under: Life on the Road, Who I Am — rjjazz @ 3:09 am

Virgin festival on the 23rd of September was great. I have participated in numerous events but this one took the cake in Baltimore,MD. This festival was like a circus, music party, and a riot all rolled up in one. First of all let me start off by saying that 40,000 people showed up and most of them were already drunk upon arrival. The other half got drunk there listening to the great line up of bands they had. To name a few there was “Cnarles Barkley, The Killers, The Who, Red Hot chille Peppers, The brazillion Girls, etc.” I really enjoyed seeing people enjoy themselves since Baltimore,MD does not get this type of traffic every day or every year. I really enjoyed doing the Virgin Penny truck tour with the road team I was involved with. Over the past two months I learned alot more about touring and the production side of things. I would love to do this tour again if they called. I just hope Virgin Mobile does not send me 1 million spam e-mails since I am a member of their staff,well kind off!

September 19, 2006

Exciting life!

Filed under: Life on the Road — rjjazz @ 1:14 pm

I was made aware the other day that I have an exciting life. This is something that I have always realized but it is always good to be reminded. On September 13th 2006 I woke up and it was raining and I had to get my 10 mile run in for the morning so I decided to go to Bally’s gym. Upon arrival I new I could go for free if I took the special tour they offered in hopes that I would join. Well I had got there so early that all the tour staff was still home sleeping. Thankfully the lady at the front door let me workout if I agreed to talk to a staff member on the way out. After running my 10 miles by 8am one of the tour staff had arrived. On my way out the tour staff member greeted me and decided to not show me around since I had already used the gym but they did try and persuade me to join. The first question they asked was ” What do you do for a living?” I told him “I play piano with Wynton Marsalis, had a Hip hop band going over seas to play music, and I am currently the MC for the Virgin mobile tour.” He stopped writing and looked up and said tell me about the Virgin tour (since he had heard about it coming to Baltimore). After about 15 minutes of talking about touring and the bands I told him I have to go so I won’t be late for my dentist appointment. He stood up and said “Man you lead an exciting life” he then gave me a high five and said how can I get tickets to the concert. I knew he was going to bring the tickets up, so I told him to text 68405 and write the word transl8 and you could win. He got excited and said thanks see you later. This is a pretty normal day for me but like I said earlier it is always good to know you have an exciting life!

September 14, 2006

The Traveling Show Man

Filed under: Life on the Road — rjjazz @ 9:29 am

These past few weeks have been a roller coaster for me. I have been to the Jersey Shore, done the MTV VMA awards in New York, Been to Baltimore, MD 5 times, Richmond Virginia, Berlin Germany, and now off to Washington D.C. I often get asked ” Don’t you ever get tired of traveling?” I often reply with the answer “If you got paid to do something you love would you stop doing it to start doing something you would regret having done later in life?” I travel because I love seeing the world. We live in a big place and to not move around in it would be such a loss for me. Most people desire to do another job or led another life other than what they are currently doing and are always in limbo about wether they should or should not do something. I figure life is to short to be in pondering mode for more than a few hours, so I make a decision and go even if it seems like it wasn’t well thought out (trust me it was!). For me the vehicle I chose to make this happen was through music. Since my father introduced me to playing the piano, it has opened the door for me to do and see numerous places. I never would have thought it would have led to me walking across the United States this summer and MC ing a tour for Virgin mobile (via the MTV awards). Who knows what is going to happen next in my life because I sure never know exactly. It seems when I ever I have plan that s greater force has its on plan and it seems to trump mine and things workout even better than I could have imagined. On September 25th 2006 I will begin my next journey which will be to drive west starting from Baltimore,MD to all the cities I have never been in the United States. When my friends hear that I am doing this they often say “Where have you not been?” Well actually there are a lot of places I have not been yet out west like Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, etc. I have been looking forward to making this trip happen for about 13 months and now it is time to make it happen. I have set aside about 2 months total time to make this trip happen even though it all won’t be contious due to my performance schedule (I do still play the piano with Wynton Marsalis Septet and the Hip Hop band AFAR). So as the days count down to the beginning of my next adventure and my 6th marathon on October 1st, lets see how my personal plans will links up with what will actually happen this time!

August 22, 2006


Filed under: Life on the Road — rjjazz @ 10:10 pm

Wow! It is finally here.  Did you ever think I would have my own blog to write in.  I have had tons of request about doing it since I am hardly ever in one place for more than three days with all my adventures, and I do mean adventures!  This is the first to come in a serious of journals about my life on the road and how things really go down wether I am playing jazz, hip hop, walking across America or MCing a Virgin Mobile tour like I am now.  Please any comments you have please post and I will check them out so we can share our thoughts together, because as I was told once as I walked across the country “Sharing is Caring.”  

   The past five days I spent them in Philadelphia “The city of brotherly love.”  I was there doing this Virgin mobile tour I am part of and it is beyond crazy.  We have this penny truck that people have to guess how many pennies are on it.  It is an Armored truck with no air condition and the breaks hardly work but the truck brings a lot of attention. Imagine what you would think if you were driving down the street and pulled up to an armored bank truck and saw all pennies glued to the sides!  Yeah it is weird but it causes great laughs when people realize it and trip over themselves or the curb trying to do a double take and see if they are real pennies.  During one of my days adventures a little old lady came up to the truck and sang a penny song.  This was hilarious because she was dead serious about saving the penny and singing her song. 

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