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Friday, December 21, 2012

Crown of Splendor

We have all been there before.  In a restaurant having a quiet meal lost in our own world.  Suddenly things change.  A family with four rowdy kids shows up and is seated near you.  You try to ignore it.  You want to rise above it all and think to yourself ‘It will be just fine, I can ignore it.’

The familiar scene happened to me earlier this week.  The kids were standing on their chairs jumping up and down.  Running around the table unable to be still.  I guess they gave these kids an extra large Pixy Stix and a Coke for the drive over.

I have three kids of my own.  While I’m sure they never acted this way in public when they were younger, I do understand that this is not uncommon.  Even average parenting is hard to find these days.  This is not a post about parenting…though I would love to pick apart all the things they were probably doing wrong.  No, I’m writing this because of a single comment.

Reluctantly, without intention, I glanced over at the bustling table and caught the eye of the mother.  As I quickly looked away, she turned to the kids and in a whispered voice said: “You guys settle down, you are bothering that older gentleman.”

Older Gentleman?  That hurts.  I’m in my mid-40’s.  I’ll give her an old gentleman…..

Ok, I have gray hair.  It started in college.  My dad has gray (almost white) hair.  I’ve known I was going to be gray and be gray early since I was a boy.  It never really bothered me.  In my 20’s and 30’s, it made me look more mature (notice I did not say “older”) and I believe helped in the board room more than I’ll ever know.  Now that the wrinkles are appearing and my wife looks almost half my age, I’m wondering if I maybe should have colored my hair.  You know, tried to keep that hot stud look (as if I EVER had it).

No way!  It is one thing if you have a little gray to cover up.  Once you go mostly gray, you can no longer hide it.  Just for Men couldn’t keep up and I have no interest in going to the salon twice a week to get the roots covered.  I’ve seen men that have tried…tried and failed.  No, not me.  Plus, I don’t mind it.  My wife claims not to mind it.  So Gray I’ll Stay!

And wouldn’t you know it, the good book has something to say about this as well.

From Proverbs 16:31:
Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.

Now ain’t that something!

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Neighborhood Grinch

I am a victim I tell you…a victim.  A few weeks ago I put out the Christmas lights.  Nothing fancy, just lights in the bushes and strings of larger bulbs on stakes outlining our elevated landscape beds.  This display is not impressive, far from what I did many years past, but it sufficiently puts one in the Christmas spirit driving up at night.

After returning from a run one evening last week, I noticed that some of the bulbs had gone out.  Not a huge surprise as eleven months in the attic would take the luster out of me as well.  The next morning while getting the paper, I realized that I was wrong.  The bulbs had not burned out.  In fact, there were four bulbs missing.  Missing completely.  Not shattered or broken or dead.  They were gone.

My first thought was that my daughter’s friends were goofing with me.  Teenage boys are terrorizing our house (well, actually just visiting and quite polite so far) seeking the flesh of my daughter like zombies.  Oh the kids these days!  I told my wife and daughter about my theory of the guys playing tricks on us or just being mean.  As usual, they told my I was overreacting and the boys being involved was highly unlikely.

I dropped the issue and went on a mission to find replacement bulbs.  They’re blue…not just any BLUE…they are called Pure Blue.  Why didn’t I just get white like every other light we own?  No Pure Blue at Lowe’s or Home Depot.  ‘I know, I’ll just order them.’  Amazon…no.  Google search…huh…no Pure Blue C7 5-watt GE bulbs…anywhere.

My theory began to change.  Maybe someone stole them.  Maybe someone with Pure Blue lights on their house needed to replace some bulbs.  Surely not.  Who would steal my light bulbs?  They ARE easy to get to and a quick drive or walk by late at night would allow one to pluck those suckers in no time at all.  Maybe the Grinch is back to being the Grinch.  Maybe Cindy Lou Who and the rest of Whoville kicked him out of town and now he is reeking havoc in Grapevine, Texas.  Maybe, just Maybe.

What a dirtbag!

Why? I can only surmise that they don’t make them anymore and some guy’s wife was giving him a hard time about replacing them with Aqua Blue, Ocean Blue or Sky Blue.  “It just doesn’t look right.  You need to….”  The only way to shut her up was to steal Pure Blue treasure from me.  Well, I feel your pain brother, but you could have at least asked. I would have surrendered them to a brother in need.  I wonder if he’ll return them after Christmas.

So as I run in the evening, I’m searching for Pure Blue lights.  So far, I haven’t found them, but I will and when I do…I’ll do absolutely nothing.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Marathon Race Weather

Our local ABC affiliate on Channel 8 had a nice 3 or 4 hour show centered around the Dallas Marathon during the race on Sunday morning.  I set the DVR, watched and want to firmly report that it was well done.  I do want to point out that one of the commentators mentioned that the weather was near perfect for the race at the beginning of the broadcast.  She later got news that the humidity was awful and being a runner herself acknowledged that is was a tough day out there.

I think I’m a curse to road racing.  I ran the San Antonio Marathon last month and it was way too warm and way too humid.  Sunday was better (mid-60’s to mid-70’s with 80-90% humidity), but still far from ideal.  My poor history dates back quite a ways.  Oklahoma City Marathon in early 2010.  Chicago in late 2010.  Both warm and not much fun.  There are others on the list, but since 2010 most of them are too warm.  Not sure I’ve ever had a race that was too cold…and I don’t want one.  I’d say global warming is responsible, but really…do we need to go there?

Just like we get silly questions like “how far is this marathon?” people assume the weather is perfect when it is really just a nice day for golf.  If I mention that it was warm or humid or both they look at me like I’m some pansy.  The response is usual ”yeah, I guess it was.” as they look away with a clear question mark over their head.

So much like I have reduced my accomplishments or race details to nearly zero, I think I’ll just lay off the weather report as well.  Folks think we’re crazy anyway.  No reason to confirm that by complaining about “perfect” weather.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Friday, October 12, 2012

How Big Is Your Barn?

More so than most, I have always struggled with what I was in relation to what I have become.  By all accounts, I was an awful young man.  Certainly the world was and remains littered with much worse, but that doesn’t help me sleep well at night.  For decades the guilt and shame of being such a crappy human being has been immense.  While I somewhat surfaced from the abyss in my early 20’s, the past two decades haven’t numbed or softened the memories.

My Mom and Dad will cringe at what I’m about to say.  I did not grow up in a devoted Christian home.  They would argue otherwise, but all I can say is that I was not part of whatever religious foundation they may have attempted to instill.  While I recall a longing or interest in God, it was largely just a concept to me.

The way most people deal with sin, shame and guilt is to hide it from view.  If nobody can see it, maybe they won’t know that it actually occurred.  It may even be possible that if they don’t see it then I won’t have to see it.  Shortly after Adam & Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the garden, God came sauntering along.  The couple dove into the bushes to hide from God.  I’m skipping a lot of details, but the point is that they committed this sin and had this sudden urge to hide.  This is when the human instinct of the cover-up first began.

My way of blurring the issues in my life was to put then in a box and shove them in a closet.  Soon, the closet was full so I bought a barn and started filling it up.  The more time passed the larger barn I had to have to store the boxes of sin, shame and guilt.  While I was adding to it much less in my 30’s and 40’s, the barn wasn’t shrinking.

With one eye on the barn, I went head first into the deep end of my faith.  The inner curiosity had led me to a commitment to Christ and a vow to live my life the right way.  I still struggle mightily, but I see constant improvement.  My desire to know more and get closer to God is pretty intense.

The one thing about becoming a Christian that never really synced with me is how Jesus died for our sins.  He died so that you and I could arrive blameless and without blemish in front of God at our prescribed hour.  Whoa.  That is a heavy concept.  One which I believed by faith was true.  I was especially happy for all you sinners who needed saving.  I didn’t, however, feel I was deserving of this gift of grace.  Nobody is deserving, that is why it is GRACE.

So I’m trucking along in my faith life, but still holding the key to this huge barn full of disgrace.  I was able share the Word with others.  Tell them who Jesus is, how this thing works and that they are forgiven.  Again, I believed that with all my heart.  I’m not going to say that I thought I was exempt from God’s salvation plan, but I couldn’t let go of the past.  It was there, haunting me.

Having teenage children didn’t help.  Each discussion about drinking, drugs, sex or anything else would result in me locating the key to that stupid barn to insure it was still locked.  Through all my efforts to shield it, they soon discovered generally what was in the barn.  I was only able to tell them that it was full of stuff from my past that I am ashamed of and that my wish for them was simply that they wouldn’t grow to be an adult and have such a large barn.

With all this growth in my faith, it had been puzzling to me why I still held so tightly to that key.

This is going to sound strange, but I had a dream the other night.  I rarely dream.  That is not the strange part.  In this dream, someone bought my barn and was sitting in front of me asking for the keys.  I didn’t understand at first, but through the haze of a dream it was clear that someone bought this imaginary barn and was asking, no demanding, the keys.

I surrendered the keys.  Sometime thereafter I awoke.  I recalled the dream in segments and was trying to put it together.

Many days later, all I know for sure is that I’m supposed to tell this story.

Since then I have felt lighter.  I wonder if this was a symbolic way of Jesus telling me to quit being such a baby.  Quit being so arrogant.  Why would my sins be so significant that they were unable to be covered up or taken away?  My sins were not too big nor were they too many.

Trying to visualize the barn and the keys has been a little eerie.  I can see them, but they don’t seem like they are mine…almost like they never were.  Could I have been dreaming about someone else’s barn?  Yes, I suppose so.  This is going to sound really hokey, but that must be Jesus’ barn and I’ll bet it is not for sale.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Friday, October 5, 2012

It Ain't Always Glamorous

It is always a thrill to complete a long training run.  Notice I said, “complete”.  The actually running part can vary greatly.  I’ve had miserable 14 mile long runs as well as brilliant 20 milers.  I wish I could tell you the exact formula, but it will, in some ways, always remain a mystery.

The goal is to minimize the bad ones and maximize the good ones.  This can be done through preparation.  Eating well, getting plenty of rest and mental attitude can go a long way.  It is probably best to treat them as you would treat a race.  By doing this you can dial in the right combination of food, water, equipment, etc.

I did just that this past Saturday.  With rain predicted I had a plan.  As long as it was reasonably light, I’d head out and take 5 to 10 mile loops and return to the house if things got bad or I just needed to change into something dryer (socks, shoes or whatever).

At the outset, there was just a light mist.  A bit humid, but generally I felt like the weather would hold off and I would enjoy the first hour or two.   At mile 7 I was fairly dry and had a decision to make.  Should I head toward the house or turn away and go toward my goal of 20 miles without a pit stop for dry clothes?  After insuring that my feet were dry, I went for it.  I could always back track if the heavier rain started.

I wear a fuel belt for extended training runs and my routes go by a water source every 3 to 5 miles.  I had packed enough Clif Shot Blocks & GU to support the full effort because I knew this would be a possibility.

About now you are expecting disaster to set it.  Heavy rain, lightning or something to make this decision completely stupid.

Well, nothing dramatic happened.  It rained harder at times, but never more that a light rain.  It wasn’t until the late miles did I get a little bit of a chill from being so damp.  This run went excellent.  I had slowed my pace a little from the beginning and decided to forget the planned race pace miles from 12-17.  I kept expecting to feel a cramp or some form of pain…but nothing, nada.

It was a glorious long run.  It proved that I should be able to get through San Antonio alive.  It proved that I can be really nuts.  The look on people’s faces as they drove by me was very telling…”you think we should give the poor guy a lift?”  I really had fun.

After throwing down a heavy breakfast, I headed for the shower.  As the water ran down my back and over my backside, I felt a sudden burn in the undercarriage.  Oh no, what…what?  It seems three hours with soggy pants can cause a problem.  For lack of a better term…I had diaper rash.  Bummer.  I’ve had this before.  Occasionally post race after an extended drive home.  This time it was just unexpected.

I needed Desitin.  My kids are now all in their teens and the need for this important product had long since past.  So I headed for my local grocery store and hit the baby isle.  Next, on to the beer isle.  Might as well cure this from the inside and out.  There is a funny product I noticed next to the Desitin.  Butt Paste…huh.  Not overly subtle, but interesting and appropriate I suppose.  I went with the known product, but snapped this photo.  Next time you’re in need of a backside rash cure…give it a whirl and let me know how it goes.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

No More Closet Training

As mentioned recently, I've been quietly following a training program for a few months that is geared toward a fall marathon.  No mention to family or friends why I had weekly hill training and tempo runs...just somewhat secretly seeing if I could get in good enough shape to make a formal commitment to run my 9th marathon.  By "good enough shape" I mean much better than my lumbering efforts back in 2010.

The back-up goal was a slew of half marathons.  Having run 7 or 8 of those in the past 12 was less appealing than the full distance.

Well, I put my money down.  I picked Rock n Roll San Antonio for my event.  I wanted something close to home that would allow a short and affordable stay.  I narrowed it down to San Antonio (Nov. 11) and Tulsa (Nov. 18).  While doing a race in early December would give me more time and provide a better chance of cooler weather, I simply couldn't bring myself to run Dallas yet again.

San Antonio fit relatively well in my secret training plan too.

Needless to say, I was ultra excited and told my wife that I was back!  That I had found the edge again and the sky was the limit.  Ok, not my personality.  I just told her I registered for the race.  I was pretty excited about it however.  It was certainly nice to have the self-inflicted secrecy removed.

After running a lethargic 16 mile long run this past Saturday, I'm at least on schedule for the training runs.  It is the "lethargic" part of the run that planted the first seed of doubt less than 12 hours after registering.

I'm hoping it was just one of those runs that came on a hot & humid morning after putting in a good amount of hard miles during the week (15).  Around mile two I realized my legs were already tired.  Besides my diet being terrible with family in town, the weather was downright nasty.  I lost three pounds.  Dehydration...I know...this is very unusual for me as I weigh fairly frequently before and after my long runs and seldom lose much weight.  I'm very careful with my hydration and fueling.  As I said, probably just one of those days.

As quoted in Chrissie Wellington's book, A Life Without Limits (credited to her coach early in her career) we get:

“Some sessions are stars and some sessions are stones, but in the end they are all rocks and we build upon them.”

When I read that yesterday, it summarized running week up perfectly and actually prompted this post.

So, off on another week of training.  Easier this week, but still a 14 miler on Saturday.  Should be quite challenging as I'm supposed to crank out the middle 5 miles at race pace.  I'll report back afterwards.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Friday, August 31, 2012

Had Fun on my Temp Run

Well, that workout yesterday was successful.  My 6 mile tempo run called for (3-2-1).  3 miles easy, 2 miles and 5K pace + 25-30 seconds, and 1 mile cool down.

I knocked out the "tempo" miles 4 & 5 in 8:33 & 8:25.  Since I have not run a 5K in over a decade, I honestly didn't know what pace to shoot for on this workout.  Actually, I haven't run a race shorter a half marathon in two or three years.  I know, I know...I've read a hundred times that one should race some shorter distances as part of training...even marathon training.  Oh well, one more thing I don't do.

Regardless of what pace I needed to run, it felt good and there was still some fuel left...which is still probably a tad fast since I read in a couple of places that 5K + 30 seconds should be somewhere between your 10K and half marathon paces.  Using this standard, it was probably a shade too fast.

The good news today is that I feel good today without any soreness.  After 15 miles this week already, that's a little shocking.  I mentioned my former training schedules in my previous post.  I should crack over 30 this week.  I honestly believe that in some years of marathon training I only surpassed 30 weekly miles for one or two weeks (these weeks included a 20 mile long run).  It sounds impossible, but there might have been a marathon or two in which I never hit 30 miles in a week.  Don't believe me?  20 mile long run, and two or three 3 milers during the week.  That is 29 miles.  No wonder I never got injured due to adding mileage too fast.  I simply took my Saturday morning runs slowly from 6 or so miles up to 20.

I don't recommend that version..clearly I'm not a coach.  If you think you've hit the wall hard at 18 or 20 miles, I certainly have some stories to match.

Downside of this week was dinner last night.  We went out with family to one of our favorite local mexican food joints.  I had dreaded it all day because I really didn't want to eat poorly.  My weight was just getting down to where I wanted it for the probable increase in training ahead.  I HAVE NO WILL POWER.  I shall spare the details, but somehow I couldn't find anything sorta healthy or even remotely portioned properly.  I had one huge, super honking plate of food and ate most of it.  I'm still full.

It was good, but was not worth it.

Big long run tomorrow... a test for what may lie ahead.  Should I pick a race and torcher myself again? Man, I just don't know.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tempo Run?

I have to do something tomorrow morning that I don't believe I've ever done before.

Twenty years of running. Intervals. A hand full of hill workouts. Fartleks....which I
don't dare say around my kids. My training schedule calls for a tempo run. A 6 (3-2-1). I had to do a Google search to make sure I really knew what that meant.

Oh, and yes...I'm following a training plan. One that is actually not my own concoction. It is hard to believe that I've completed 8 marathons with plans modified to fit my schedule and my running style. That means low mileage during the week and long runs up to 20 miles on Saturday morning. This was followed by an afternoon of drinking beer, eating pizza and watching college football. The result, not surprisingly, was slower and slower times.

When I struggled across the finish in Chicago on 10/10/10, I promised myself that if I ever ran another marathon (and this was a big if) that I would work harder and get faster before I even began training.

It is not that slow bothers me all that much. I was actually running with a great attitude and just enjoyed being out there. I just think that humid morning in Chicago broke me.

That I'm on a plan at all is odd. I have not even committed to a race. I guess I'm training in secret. It is probably because doing it this way allows me to back off at anytime without having to tell anyone. O.K., I have issues...maybe we will explore this another day.

Anyway, in the morning I rock a tempo run. 3 miles easy, 2 miles at 30 seconds slower than 5k pace and a 1 mile cool down. I've run workouts similar in the past...they just didn't have an official title.

Now, if I just knew what my 5k pace was....

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Conejos River Valley

Refresh, Renew, Rejoice

For nearly a decade now, I’ve spent one week a year in southern Colorado fly fishing, resting and running.  My family and I rent a series of cabins on the Conejos River.  From the porch you can hear the rush of the water day and night.  This place is special like no other.  I’ve traveled quite a bit in my life and this place just keeps drawing me back.
Conejos River

When I return from one of these trips, I’m often asked about the fishing.

“How was the fishing?”

“It was ok, not great.”

“Not great? Why do you keep going back?

And that my friends is a question I cannot completely answer.  It is quite complex, yet it is really quite simple.  Being around family.  Limited access to technology…heck, you have to drive 15 to 20 minutes to get a reliable cell phone signal.  Mostly home cooked meals save for the dinners we have the day we arrive at the local restaurant.  Cool air.  Afternoon showers. Nature….

I could go on seemingly forever if I sat here and just jotted down anything that came to mind.

My Fishin'  Porch
It takes a few days to slow down enough mentally to not feel guilty about sitting on the porch for extended periods of time staring off into space.  Maybe holding a book, but not turning a page.  Someone might ask what you’re doing.  You can confidently say “nothing” and then go back to doing it.

One of the things I love about this trip is running.  It is so nice to get away from the Texas heat.  After a day or two of adjusting to the altitude, the runs become comfortable…dare I say easy.  Except for the steep trail runs, I feel I could run the backroads for days on end without stopping.  In the end, you stop so you can get some vittels, clean up and get back to doing nothing.

Leaving this place is bitter sweet.  I know work is piling up at the office.  I know I have real life to tend to at home.  I know I’ll be back.

A Shot from the Run
I’ve been home for a week now.  Reflecting back on the trip is hard to do.  Not because I wish I were back there or can’t stand that I’m here.  The years just seem to meld together.  Sure, I could recount it day by day…but it is a little like sitting on the porch gazing at the river.  Why bother with all the details?  Just sit back and let the trip just be more than the details.  Let it be about the feeling you get when you are really relaxed.  Really renewed.  That’s called peace.

I think God leads me there because it may be the only place where I find peace.  It simply doesn’t happen on any other vacation.  Maybe I’m strung too tight, but I need to be alone in the river.  Alone on the trails.  Alone on the porch to find my peace.  A place where even the smallest whisper from God can be heard.  A place where even the smallest prayer might be answered.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Downtown Church

The miles often drift by with little observation of the surroundings. Zoned out with the iPod streaming tunes I regret some of the things I've missed.

While in Santa Fe last week, I ran some of my normal routes. Upper & Lower Canyon Road, Old Taos Highway and through the Plaza. At one time, these were all new and exciting. Yet, they have become like running at home. I thought I had seen everything worth seeing.

Then I ran by San Miguel Church. I've been by it a dozen times, but never "seen" it like it deserves to be seen. The oldest church structure in the US. It was erected in 1610.

It is really quite amazing. The cool thing is that there are other churches in the same area that are also worth a visit. I've attended services at one of them several years ago. It is high time I spend another Sunday morning in worship at one of these historic churches.

My run was fairly early in the morning so the photos are not great, but next time I'll visit at a better time of day to get the gorgeous details documented on film.

I want to encourage you to run with your eyes open. Both at home and away there are things to be seen that we take for granted. Snap a few photos...slow down and take it all in. The miles can wait.

This week I'm still on vacation running in Colorado. More to report on that in the entry.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dental Work

After 11 years of nothing but the 6-month cleanings, I had to go in to get a couple fillings today.  I forgot how much fun the whole program is from start to finish.  Here I am four hours later and am just beginning to get the feeling back in my upper lip and cheeks.

I wanted to write about this only because after I left the dentist’s office, I tried to take a drink out of a cup with a straw.  Now this was pure comedy.  I simply could not tell if my lips were closed and couldn’t generate and sucking power.  It is tragic that my wife and kids weren’t there to make fun of me dribbling water down my chin into my lap.

My dear wife just asked me if I wanted something for dinner.  I told her I needed to wait a bit because I am afraid I’ll chew off the inside of my cheeks.  You know what I’m talking about?  They call it mouth trauma.  We’ve all bit the inside of our cheek before.  Even worse is that it swells and you continue to accidentally bite it until it somehow miraculously heals…maybe overnight or something.  Citrus is a bad idea.

So, I’ll sit here and read some running blogs until I can maybe suck down some soup…oh, that is assuming my sucker returns to normal functionality.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Through the Eyes of My 17 Year Old

This is the last of the “Through the Eyes” series. I’m not overly comfortable with positive observations of me.

My 17 year old son chimes in to round things out.

We hauled our kids and a few of their friends down to Lake LBJ last weekend.  Everyone wanted to rent jet skis or a boat or a yacht.  I’m cheap so agreed that we’d go rent two jet skis for the day.  My son and I hit the rental shop.  After filling out the necessary paperwork (signing my life away or at minimum the maximum limit of my credit card) we were ready to get wet.

When putting on life jacket, I took off my shirt and tossed it in the car.  My son looked at me strangely.  I braced for the wise crack about my farmer tan or lack of muscle tone.  He simply said, “Gee Dad, you’re skinny.  Why do you always wear those big shirts?”

Um….speechless, I shrugged, strapped on the vest and headed to my watercraft.

Now, the reality is I’m not skinny.  Yet, I’m not really in the XL category that my wardrobe would lead you to believe.  I’ve been 10 pounds heavier at times, but running really stabilizes my weight when I stay consistent.  I’m be more consistent lately and it was before lunch.

I strutted around all day with my shirt off.  Sort of the “take a look at me” walk.

Ok, not really.  I kept covered up as usual.  Chubby or not, I’m still pale white and sorta droopy.  Yet, I appreciate my son saying that.  It was a pleasant reminder of the benefits of exercise.  My wife and I both exercise regularly.  I am proud of this.  We are setting a good example for the kids…something I can’t always say I do.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Through the Eyes of My 19 Year Old

While on vacation in Santa Fe a few weeks back, their minor league baseball team, Santa Fe Fuego, was in town.  They play in a small stadium just down the street from our place so our daughters and their friends decided to go check it out.  This was clearly a ploy to go check out the boy scene and just be out of direct adult supervision for a period of time.

Some of the players jokingly asked the girls their ages.  One signed a baseball and put his phone number on it with “Call Me”.  I guess I was not surprised when they wanted to go back the next night after dinner.  This time one young man actually did take notice of my oldest daughter.  She’s pretty shy, but my 14 year old is not.  She jotted down the oldest’s cell number, put “Call Me” on it and delivered it.  The oldest claimed to be livid, but I think it was an act.

The young man actually called her.  My wife and I were keeping close tabs on things and in on all the conversations.  He was first concerned that she was not actually 19 years old.  At least he wasn’t some pervert.  It turns out he was 24, which made me extremely uncomfortable of course.  They talked by phone a little and visited about family, where they were from and that type of thing.  Did I mention that I was not enjoying this?

Later in a conversation with my wife and me, our daughter told us that he lives with his dad and that he had a religious upbringing.  His dad is apparently a believer.  She apparently told him that her dad (me) was really into his faith and religion as well…like way into it.

I said, “Wait just a minute.  What about your mom? And is that a good thing or bad thing?”

My wife smiling chimes in with “Yeah, what about me?”

My daughter then said that my wife was religious, but that I was REALLY into it.

She never did answer my question about whether or not this is a good thing or bad thing in her eyes.  My guess is that for a teenager it is probably a little of both.  They see how committed you are to Jesus, yet with that comes certain restrictions and expectations on their end.  A little like…”it’s neat that you like God and all, but I don’t think that should make me have to be home by 10.”

Anyway, the two decided a long distance relationship should be nothing more than a long distance friendship.  I don’t think they’ve talked again since we got home.  Yes, this makes me happy.

For me, I found out something new.  My kids view me as a devoted Christian and probably a little goofy.  Goofy because I’m me, but also because I am really into God.  I’m still an expert sinner, but I really want to be different…for Him.  In our bible study this past year we discussed how being considered “one of those people” was really a good thing.  It meant you were holding yourself out there and being accountable and maybe even being bold in sharing your faith.  I remember a time when I thought people like that were a little weird too.  Then I got to know them.  Then I got to thinking I would never be someone willing to be considered strange for God.  Well, maybe, just maybe I’m getting there.  My kids think so.  That’s a start.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wounded Warrior Half Marathon 2012

On Sunday, June 10th, I ran in the Wounded Warrior Half Marathon in nearby Las Colinas.  I signed up for this in early May thinking I would squeeze in one more event before the heat of the summer.  It was in the mid-to-upper 70’s at 7:00 AM.  Humidity was normal (pretty high) with little or no wind.  About what I expected when signing up.

My plan was simple.  Survive.  I really struggled in my last race with heat.  I did not want to be near death at the finish; running aimlessly without any ability to control the pace.  This plan called for going out with a 9:45 or so pace and hold that for the first half at least.  At mile 6, I would adjust based on feel.  Walk for a minute during EVERY water stop.  Take a lot of fluids and supplement it with gatorade and gels.  I’d run this distance a lot in the past three years and my fluid and fueling is pretty routine.

I only have one complaint about this race.  The paved paths we ran were simply too narrow for the number of runners.  The first three or four miles were way too crowded.  I think the solution is a much narrower starting shoot rather than a street three times as wide for the first half mile.  Folks are getting comfortable being released in waves.  The race would have benefitted from this certainly.

I’ve run literally a hundred or more road races in DFW.  This is the first time I’ve been on these paths.  Really cool.  It seems like they go on forever.  I wish I lived a little closer.  I’d run these a lot…except having no visible water fountains it would be a great place to run or ride.  If I ever actually follow through on my vow to start cycling, I’m headed to these paths.

I followed the plan for the most part.  Actually, I was slower with the early congestion and had to really slow down or stop at a few water stops to get enough water.  Since when did they start filling 8 .oz cups with 2 ounces?  It is so common lately.  Could it be they don’t want folks wasting it?  I feel like a hog taking two or three, but in these temps you cannot skimp on fluids.  It is deadly.

Miles 8 & 9 were 10:00 minute miles.  I don’t think I was in trouble, but the heat was apparent and I could not get any rhythm.  In all honestly, I was still a little worried I could crash hard like at A2A.  The next four miles went 9:48, 9:32, 9:34 & 9:00 flat on mile 13.  I was clearly feeling ok and pushing slightly toward the end.  Nothing like 8:30’s I pulled in my PR effort 8 months earlier, but I ran fairly hard.  I do know that when I crossed the finish 45 seconds later I was sufficiently gassed.  I might have been left a minute out there, but I was perfectly happy with my 2:06.52 finish.

That being said, this was my slowest time in a half marathon EVER.  I looked back and found a 2:06 in Waco (January 2011) at the Miracle Match, but that bad boy had some serious hills that zapped my legs.  This dude was totally flat.  

Regardless, I’m glad I ran the race and will probably do it again next year.  The event was well organized.  Had a great band at the finish and plenty of volunteers braving the heat to hand out goodies during and after the race.  The money raised benefited the wounded warrior fund and I like that there is a worthy cause behind it.  Takes some of the sting out of my slow time.  Heck, I have to run it again next year.  It is a great gauge to my fitness level given the heat.  One needs to race in that weather occasionally so that you can be prepared on how to adjust.  Excellent event and good experience.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Friday, May 18, 2012

Through the Eyes of My 14 Year Old

Sometimes what you think your kids think about you is completely wrong.

I was preparing a presentation at home a few nights ago for several hours. This wasn’t a normal presentation, it was a really important one. It concerned the future of my employment in sort of a loose way. If I blew it, there would be no immediate consequences. Yet, it would present our business in a less than positive light and could ultimately lead to me and most of my employees getting the boot. The pressure of the employees future concerned me most. So this was pretty big.

In addition to preparation, I prayed about it often with the minimum hope that I could deliver it with confidence and not pass out or projectile vomit on my audience.

My youngest daughter, now all of fourteen years, came in to say goodnight. She asked what I was doing.

“Getting ready for an important presentation on Thursday.”

“Is this for your work?” she asked

“Yes, it is sort of important so I’m going over it until I know it really good. Kinda like you do with your routines. You guys practice those what, a million times?” I said as if she needed me to relate it to her life to get the enormity of this thing.

“Well, don’t worry. You’re a good talker. You’ll do good.”

I told her ‘thank you’ and gave her a big hug. She didn’t mean it as a pep talk, she simply meant it. I’m not sure exactly whether being a “good talker” is actually a compliment (I would normally lean toward NO), but in her world it probably would be.

All this time, I thought my kids considered me just a dorky dad who dresses funny, lectures way too much and falls asleep on the couch a lot. Little did I know that they thought I had a talent. As simple as it sounds, being a good talker is probably pretty accurate. While I’d be talking in a structured format, it was still just talking. If I treated it as such, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Actually, maybe it would be at least…dare I say it…. average.

I also realized that this type of response or encouragement from her comes pretty naturally. My wife and I encourage the kids in everything they do. Not unlike most parents, we are always telling them the can when they think the can’t. Well, within reason mind you. She was just repeating something that she has heard all her life. Sort of makes me think I haven’t messed up this parenting thing after all.

Oh, and that presentation..she was right; I did good.

Rest in Peace, Run in Grace.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

One Happy Papa

I had the pleasure of playing golf with my son and two of his buddies yesterday in our annual church golf tournament.  These young men have grown so much.  They will soon be finishing up their junior year of high school.  It is so hard to believe that they’ll be preparing for college in another short twelve months.

But hey, enough of the mushy stuff…let’s get back to the golf.  Did I mention these guys play for the high school golf team?  A low handicap combined with raw power is a perfect combination for a golf partner in one of these scramble tournaments.  It is even better when you have three of them on your team.

These guys are playing a game that I am not familiar with at all.  They are fearless.  The sound of the ball off the club is like poetry.  Distance, pure distance.  Their soft touch around the green is shocking given the violence of the rest of their games.  It is hard to imagine how much more they will improve with another year of playing golf nearly every day.  I was clearly holding them back.

In last year’s tournament, these guys fielded their own team with four high schooler golfers.  At 16 years old, they finished second.  They were not accused of cheating, but I imagine some in the crowd wondered how a bunch of kids who could barely drive could score so well.

Going in this year, finishing near the top was not even considered since I was on the team.  Oh well, the boys could mow down a lot of groceries and show off for the volunteers.  I’d just sit back, knock in a putt or two and enjoy the day.

After birdies on six of the first seven holes, you could not hold back the competitive beast.  These boys wanted to win.  We hit a lull for a few holes and it became clear that the young men needed fuel.  I loaded them down with hot dogs and sports drink at the turn in hopes of recovering their prior form.  It worked.  We were off on another birdie binge and finished eagle, birdie, birdie.  

The final score tally was 58 (14-under par).  Not incredible for a golf scramble, but excellent for a church golf scramble.  Nothing against us Christians, but church tournaments don’t tend to bring out a lot of scratch golfers seeking prizes.  It’s a fundraiser for gosh sakes.

We’ve come a long way since the boys and I played several years ago in this event and finished last.  Instead of the booby prize, we received a set of golf wedges.  Only real golfers get good gear.  I got to tag along for the ride.

I'm the short one
On the way home the boys were already planning for next year.  What mistakes were made this year and how those could be corrected.  It was also suggested that I merely be a manager and they recruit another ringer for finish out their foursome.  Should I be offended?  I mean, I paid for this thing…geeze…a little respect is in order don’t ya think?  Ok, maybe not.  But, I don’t think I’ll allow it.  It simply isn’t fair is it?  It isn’t about winning…you can’t even use the “It’s about winning for God” argument.  That is way too convenient and down right silly.

No, We’ll field our team just like everyone else and enjoy the day outdoors chasing a little white ball.  It’s about fellowship with other believers.  Ok, headed to the range to start practicing.  Someone’s got to win…right?

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Saved by a Sponge

On April 1, 2012, I ran in the Half Marathon at A2A (Arbuckels to Ardmore).  I am writing this three weeks later because it has taken me that long to recover.  I’m disappointed.  Without looking back to my 2010 race report, I can already tell you it was one of my all-time favorite races.  I ran well and the entire event was excellent.

The problem this year had ZERO to do with the organization, the course or the people.  First class all the way.  I love this race…I really do.  The volunteers remain the best crew I’ve ever experienced.  The two hour drive from home is easy to pull off race morning with an 8:00 start time (even though you have to be there to get on the bus by 7:00 AM).  There is no reason I shouldn’t run this every year if my race schedule allows.

As a refresher, they bus you up to the Arbuckle Mountains due north of the finish at Noble Stadium in Ardmore, Oklahoma.  The first half of the race is downhill and then it is just gradual rolling hills the rest of the way.  

In 2010, it was chilly with a strong wind out of the north (ie. tailwind).  This year…well, how about warm…really warm.  Humid and in the high 70’s - low 80’s during the race.  It was soupy and the visibility was limited.  Add the southern (head) wind at 10-12 MPH and you’ve got a tough conditions on your hands.

I have to admit that I started out a little too fast with the downhill portion of the course.  I ran so well a month earlier at Cowtown, I figured I’d be able to hit the finish at 2 hours and figured I’d better take a little bit of the time early.  Always a bad strategy.  It NEVER works and the weather was just another reason to throttle back instead of throttle up.  To put it simply, I ran stupid.

By the 6 mile mark, I could tell I was not fairing very well in the heat.  While I had almost doubled up on the fluids, I was sweating like crazy.  By mile 8, folks around me were walking a lot and the body quit responding to requests for more speed.  You know you’re in trouble when you decide to pick things up and cross the next mile marker slower than the previous mile.  It basically kept happening.  I’m trying to speed up and my body is doing the exact opposite.  Rarely have I dialed up speed and failed to respond.  

Since I had plenty of fluids, I wasn’t too worried about dehydration or heat stroke…though I did get a chill at one point.  Running in Texas, this isn’t completely uncommon and you learn to slow a bit and triple up on the fluids for a few miles.  Nevertheless, if you are new to running or feeling this experience for the first time, please seek medical attention or at least start walking.  When your race is shot, there is no reason to push it.

My run was saved when at mile 9 or 10, a lady handed me a sponge soaked in cold water.  I squeezed some of the water on my head…then rather than throw it to the ground, I put it under my shirt on top of my shoulder.  At remaining water stations, I’d give it new life with fresh water and then moved it over to the other shoulder.  

I kept moving it from shoulder to shoulder and it somehow made me feel cooler.  It was like magic.  I’ve seen it used in Ironman events, but never had I thought to put it into practice until that morning.  Brilliant.

Most folks around me were really struggling.  They’d try to hang with me when I passed, but routinely fell off the pace.  Don’t be impressed, it took all I had and I was still moving at near crawl speed.

In case the above is not clear, it was brutal.  Clearly some of the most difficult conditions I’ve run for a half marathon.  White Rock in December was in the cold rain…I seem to recall that sucking pretty bad, but that was months ago.  It is always the most recent torture that is the worst.

I crossed the line in 2:04.  Slow for me considering I ran a PR in October on a hilly course and ran a really tough course a month early for a 2 hour finish.  Nevertheless, I came away thrilled with how I was able to adjust and hang on.  Once I got my act together and ate some food (including an amazing warm cinnamon roll), I was very content.  The time simply didn’t matter.
It is a great reminder that you can’t always judge a race by the finishing time.  Sometimes the slowest races are the most memorable.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Fort Worth Cowtown Half Marathon

This past weekend (February 24-26), The Fort Worth Cowtown races were held.  I probably biased, but my adopted hometown nailed it is year!  Well done; well done indeed.

A few years back, I ran in the Half and recall slamming the entire race here on this blog.  It was too many races (5k, 10k, Half, Full & Ultra Marathons) with too many people going different directions.  It was a disaster and I didn’t return because of it.  They finally got it right by splitting the races up to utilize both Saturday and Sunday as well as returning for a second year to the Cultural District.  

With the 5k’s and 10k Saturday morning, I waited to hit the Expo on Saturday afternoon.  With more than half the 25,000 runners having completed their event already, I was surprised at the great turn-out.  Not too busy, but a healthy buzz inside Amon G. Carter Exhibit Hall at Will Rogers Memorial Center.  Hassle free pick-up and a nice variety of vendors.

Taking a welcome detour from my running mindset, I decided to take advantage of the locale and hit one of my favorite museums.  The Amen Carter Museum is a real treasure.  Not only because it is FREE, but it always has some wonderful exhibits.  I found myself spending way too much time in their feature exhibit (through May 13th) Romance Maker, the watercolors of Charles M. Russell.  The photography areas are always a treat for me as well.

Ok, back to the Report...Cowtown Half.

For a mere $5, participants and spectators were able to park extremely close to the start/finish by the Cattle Barns.  This allowed one to stay in the car until close to the gun in order to stay warm on this semi-chilly 41° morning. Porta potties were nearby if needed (always needed) and fairly ample..though one must always realize a race simply can’t provide one per person. 

The only danger of hanging in the car too long is getting in place at your starting corral in time for the start.  Bravo to Cowtown.  They didn’t make it so exclusive to enter and there was more than one way in and out of each corral.  They were spaced far apart and with entries on both sides of the street, spectators didn’t make it impossible to gain access.  Whether your in the car or waiting in line to use the restroom, getting to the proper corral at the last minute has been terrible at many of my previous events.  Easy access to the corrals gets people to be honest because they don’t feel stuck.  When it is jammed up, people simply don’t want to risk getting out of the corrals and moving to the right location for fear of not getting back in before the gun goes off.

The race start was smoother than ever.  Other than a poor young gal who tripped around the quarter mile mark, the first miles were clean and not too cramped.  I actually had to be careful not too go out too fast because one could run fairly freely.  I was in corral #2, probably a little aggressive for me so I started near the rear of the group.

After 4 days of skiing and a few days battling a virus leading up to the race, my goal was to finish a minute or two over two hours.  I wanted to break 2 hours, but knew that would be unlikely.  I clocked the first mile too fast due to the free flowing crowd and downhill topography.  Unfortunately, I didn’t slow down much and was going out faster than I had ever done before.  I knew this was a mistake, but kept saying to myself “what if you’ve been too conservative in the past and your PR is just waiting for you to quit being a pansy in the first half.”  I am a stickler for negative splits at every distance.  It is not unusual for me to run my second half of the HALF two or three minutes faster that the first half.

Finally, I couldn’t throttle it back enough to make a different and decided I’d clock 9:10-9:25 minute miles until “the beast.”

I love this race.  The Cowtown 10k was my first ever road race some 19 years ago.  I was in love with the City and the Event from that day forward.  In the original days, you started and ended in the Stockyards.  They talk about races like New York and Chicago being a great way to get a taste for a town.  I will say that this race gives a great flavor of Fort Worth.  Tour the Cultural District, Neighborhoods, Stockyards, Downtown, Trinity River and much more for the marathon competitors.  Now that they have the logistics and site perfected, I can’t see how anyone in the DFW area would miss this event.

“The Beast” is my term for the long uphill trek to Downtown Fort Worth headed south on Main Street.  I love pain so I love this hill.  Great memories from races past with buddies crashing and burning only later to admit they didn’t handle the beast properly.  My effort was steady, but my training was clearly inadequate to simulate the climb.  Fairly steep and it just keeps coming.

After plowing on through a flat downtown we got to some downhill portions that I decided I needed to take advantage of to break 2 hours.  A PR was out of the question given the course, but I thought I could still muster 2 hours if I could hold on the last three miles.  During my 11th mile, I started getting some pain in my left knee.  ITBS is something I haven’t experienced in many years, but this felt eerily familiar.  Just then, the strangest thing happened.  A police officer stopped the race at an intersection...everyone was totally confused until an ambulance went by in front of us.  I didn’t hear of any major issues with any of the runners, but the stop did wonders for my knee (not so much for my time).

It was time to get moving again.  This was a goofy part of the course that winds through many streets.  I clearly didn’t do a very good job of cutting the corners because we hit the Mile 11 marker and I had somehow added .2 of a mile to the race.  I had been about .03 long on my Garmin up to that point, but I was really down when my watch said 11.33 at the marker.  So much for breaking 2 hours....

You’ve been there.  Fairly spent and trying to do the math on 2.1 miles and what pace you’d need to run to hit a certain time.  As soon as you think you’ve calculated it, you remember that there is no guarantee that the next 2.1 is actually 2.1 the way you’ll run it.  It might be 2.3 or 2.0...

At this point, I quit doing math and decided I’d just let go.  A lengthy downhill stretch during mile 12 helped me drop my pace into the low 8’s.  I was passing people like I was actually fresh wondering when I was going to completely crater.  8:10 for Mile 12 and suddenly the math made sense again.  I thought that I could run a mid to high 8 minute mile and change to get long as I ran smart and the course and my Garmin were tracking a similar distance.

8:20 for Mile 13 and I was gassed.  Not wanting to look like death in sneakers, I quasi-sprinted to the finish in front of a huge crowd to finish with 1:59.14.  Boom!  I haven’t had time to go back and calculate my splits, but I’d guess that I maintained my negative split streak due to some solid closing miles.

I did log the time in my Race History chart and realized that this was my second fastest half marathon.  While still 1.5 minutes slower than my PR last October, I was thrilled with that discovery.  Great motivation to make this spring one of my best racing springs ever.

My knee is still a little tender and my quads are screaming from the downhill pounding, but I’m truly thrilled with the event.  It helps that I ran well...yet, I’m most thrilled with the way the Cowtown has transformed into the best large running event I’ve ever participated in during my 19 years of running.  I hope nobody reads this because it would be nice to keep this my “little” secret for the next few years.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Friday, February 24, 2012

Godly Sorrow

Regret & Repentance

“Godly sorry brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
- 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NIV)

Discovered this verse while doing my bible study last night and I wondered why it had never clicked for me personally in the past.  Heck, I’ve had more than my share of sins and excel at it today.  The Godly sorrow in the verse speaks not of God’s sorrow when we fail, it speaks of our sorrow for falling short of what we know we should do.

When we sin, we feel some level of regret.  I find the more I understand God’s desire for my life, the deeper I regret behavior that is disrespectful to God.  Deep regret should ultimately lead to repentance...not only asking for forgiveness, but altering our actions or circumstances so as not to repeat the sin.

Getting from Regret to Repentance can be extremely difficult.  It certainly may seem impossible for someone stuck deep repetitive in the sin.  Let’s face it, some sins just seem too fun to leave behind today when we believe we can do so tomorrow.  I don’t need to tell anyone about sin.

The good news is that we are given the strength to make that change and live true heartfelt repentance.

The second portion of the verse stating “worldly sorrow brings death” is more challenging.  If we fail to move from regret to repentance, the worldly sorrow and shame associated with sin remains in us.  This is an encouragement wrapped in a warning.  God is urging us to seek true repentance and not to dwell in regret and sorrow.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Say Goodnight Gracie

Yesterday was a day every pet owner hopes to avoid or choses to ignore.  When a sick pet has reached the end and you have to tell your Vet to go ahead.  “Put her down.”

Our dog of ten years, Gracie, developed some form of cancer many months ago.  A miniature schnauzer, she had become less than half her healthy weight at just over six pounds.  She was bones covered with a hairy skin.  Sad eyes and a balding nose.  Each test showed her white blood cell count increasing at an accelerating rate. 

She never really showed signs of suffering which made the decision so tough and why it probably wasn’t made soon enough.  Her only issues were her weight and well...chronic runny messes from her back side that were WAY too frequent.  Sadly, at times I would feel more sorry for myself having to clean up the nasty mess than for the poor dog who simply couldn’t help it.  Gracie, for this I am extremely sorry...but you have to admit it was pretty nasty.

In the end, it was clear that she would not make a miraculous recovery.  Her path was headed downward at an unknown rate.  It is possible that she might have hung on another few weeks or months, but at what point would her suffering finally become apparent?

My poor wife was at the Vet when the decision was made and she held Gracie one last time.  After numerous pets in our household, this wasn’t the first one to die.  Yet, you just never know how sad it is until they are in your arms for the last time.  

When I got up this morning, I attempted to do my normal routine.  I realized when I opened the door to the “pet wing” to let her outside that she wasn’t going to be there.  Her bed was empty and so was I.  This dog that I had cussed for months on end was no longer there.  I’m not going to miss the morning mess, but I will miss the dog.

We live life and see death.  It never gets or person.  It never gets easy.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Year's Double

Allen, Texas - The New Year’s Double.  An inaugural event that was just too tempting to pass up when I first heard about it in early fall of last year.  I was likely getting ready for a half marathon and starting to feel a little cocky.  Surely, I could run a race on back to back days.  The real question was what distance those races would need to be for me to survive.  You could mix and match 5k, Half Marathon and Marathon as you wish on the morning of New Year’s Eve followed by the race New Year’s Day.

While I was tempted to throw in a full marathon as one of them, that seemed like much more than I could handle given my training history.  In my decades of running, I simply don’t do well after Thanksgiving.  I’ve held on to run the White Rock Marathon in early December, but that’s taper time and I like food and beverage way too much to take the month seriously.  It was decided.  Half Marathon on both mornings.  With registration completed, I was fully committed to do something I had not done in 18 years of running races.

Training seemed pretty obvious; back to back longer runs.  The second day would gradually build up from a short recover run to approx. 80% of the previous days mileage.  So, when I ran 10 on Saturday, Sunday would ultimately be 8 miles.  As with a lot of my training...I didn’t really stick to it very closely and only run the above combo a few times.  One thing I did do for a few months was increase my overall weekly mileage by about 30% by adding an extra run or two in during the week.

A few days before the event I was both excited and a bit nervous.  I knew the first leg was going to be fine and just blocked day two out of my mind.  My lack of ideal training was a little worrisome, but my plan was to forget a PR and just save plenty for the second race.

New Year’s Eve - Warm at 8:00 AM and I was slightly overdressed.  Walking the water stops and shooting for mid-9:00 pace the first half was comfortable.  Clearly many of the other runners were participating both days and the group was wonderfully friendly during a race.

How much to speed up on the second half was the question.  I opted to drop it to around 9:00 and then creep into the mid-8’s toward the end if I felt good.  Well, the warmth of a bright sun got to me a bit and I realized I was exerting much more effort than I wanted given the next day’s requirement.  I still finished with negative splits and a total of 2:02.21.  It was almost 5 minutes off my PR set back at the end of October.  I shouldn’t have been disappointed because I planned to be several minutes slower than a PR.   Yet, part of me thought I could nail 2 hours even with hopes to match it on day two.

Now the tough part.  New Year’s Eve with a race the following morning made for a great excuse to avoid any major social outings.  Unfortunately, we throw a fondue party for our teenage kids and their friends.  Lots of cheeses, fried meats and veggies, melted chocolate and adult beverages for...well...the adults.  I helped prepare everything as the primary cook in the house and got the kids rolling in fondue land.  I retired to my bedroom to read and nod off to sleep well before midnight.

New Year’s Day - North winds and 41F at race time.  This was significantly different from the previous day.  I wore similar layers and it turned out to be perfect.  Same basic plan with what I thought was a similar pace.  Ended up more than a minute slower on the first half this day out of pure caution I suppose.  Then, around mile seven, I realized that I felt fantastic.  How could it be so?  I still held back afraid I might bonk and this elation was simply a hallucination before death.  Finally, at mile 10 I cut loose and tried to get the rest paced in the mid-to-low 8:00 range and see how close I could get to yesterday’s time.  2:03.04 final time.  43 seconds.  43 seconds that I knew I could have shaved off if given the chance.  

I was obviously thrilled with the whole thing.  Two half marathons in two days!  My family had already deemed me as insane, but now it was official.  

A great metal each day and if you ran both days a commemorative plate to display them both in...great touch.  Support on the course was great each day.  It helps that it was a looped course, but having enough volunteers to cover those running the full marathon one or both days says a lot about great race organization.

I really only have one last thing to say on the whole thing:  Where do I sign up for next year?

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace