What can I say? I love to run. I've run 4 full marathons and 6 halfs. But I love God more and I'm determined to run this race of life for Him to receive the ultimate prize of Heaven. I'd like to share my thoughts with you. You can agree or disagree. Comment or don't. You can read or not read. But it's here if you want it. Enjoy! .

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Twenty Ten. Let It Begin. Goals for 2010.

9:20 PM

As tomorrow is New Year's Eve, I figured I'd better close out this year 2009 with one final post. And what better way to close it then to let you know some running goals I have for next year. 2010 will begin in a little over 24 hours and as I look back to what I've accomplished this year, I can't help but think about what I'd like to accomplish in the new year. So I submit below some running goals I've set for myself to be completed by this time next year. I tried to keep it at 10, but there were a couple left over that I couldn't just get rid of. So there are 12 goals instead. I'll comment about each. They are in no particular order:

1. Register for Goofy 2011. I really hope this works out. I've talked to Susan and I think I'm good to register but I won't believe it's real until I actually press that "confirm" button. I should know in less than 2 weeks. This will be a dream come true if it happens.

2. Improve my half-marathon time. I'm running the Country Music half in April and I'd really like to PR. I'll have to beat 1:34:44. It won't be easy but it'll be a goal. It'll all depend on how I'm feeling, the weather, etc. Stay tuned.

3. Register for a fall marathon, preferably Chicago. I don't know if Chicago will work out with my schedule and money, but I really want to do it some day. If I can't do it in 2010, I want to run some full marathon next fall.

4. Run at least two 5k's. I'm already registered for the Zoo 5K in January, but I'd like to do at least one more at some point, maybe the Cedar Hall one again on Halloween. That was a lot of fun, but it might be fun to try a new one.

5. Run my first 10k. I haven't done this distance yet in a race and I'd really like to. I'll have to do some internet searching to find one close by.

6. Run more with my wife. Susan has gotten into running a little more and the couple of times we've run together have been great. I'd also like to convince her to run/walk a half marathon. I thought she might do the CMM in April but it's gonna take some more convincing.

7. That surprise thing again. I made this #7 again like I did with my "look back" below. Can't talk about this one yet but I promise I will soon. It will definitely have a goal along with it for the new year.

8. Run 1300 miles. I think this is a very reasonable goal. I almost put 1400 but I'll play it safe. I'm pretty sure I've run 1300 this year, but I lost my log from before June so I can't be sure. I'll have to keep my long runs on Sunday pretty consistent to meet this one.

9. Run a 50 mile week. I came pretty close while training for this recent marathon. 45 is my record. This one will probably have to wait until I'm training for a fall marathon but I think I can do it.

10. Keep my weight in the 150's. This one is pretty important. Eating is so hard for me so I'm going to really try to watch it. I don't want to let myself go again. Gotta keep looking at that picture below.

11. Stay injury free. It could really make a lot of these goals difficult if I were to get injured so it's very important I stay healthy and watch my step.

12. Run at Disney. This one is pretty specific and kindof minor, but in all the trips we've taken to Disney, I've never gone for a morning run. Mostly because we are out so late and up so early that I need the sleep, but I'd like to do some exploring and go running at least once. So I plan to do that when we go this coming May.

So there they are. I'll put these over on the right soon and keep up with them throughout the year, letting you know when I've accomplished one. Happy New Year to everyone. Hope your 2010 is the best year yet!

Keep runnin',

Sunday, December 27, 2009

SCREECH on Mile 9!


First of all, I don't mean this Screech. Although I have to give a shout out to Samuel "Screech" Powers. I grew up on "Saved by the Bell." Great show. Extremely cheesy but I watched it. I'll admit it. Gotta love Screech - that crazy character. Don't get me wrong, he's a psycho now, but back in the day he was classic. But again - that's not the screech I meant. I actually heard a screech this morning and it WAS loud. Wanna hear the story? Too bad - here goes:

I'm in Athens, Georgia visiting my in-laws for the holidays. I knew I wanted to do a long run this morning. Just because we go out of town doesn't mean I get to skip my Sunday morning long run. It would be a good excuse, but I knew I wanted to do it. Plus, I kindof like running in new places. So I mapped out a course on Google Earth. It was basically a big loop that turned out to be 11.3 miles. I had no idea how the roads would be or how hilly they would be. But it turned out to be fine. There were a couple of huge hills, but the roads and traffic were fine. I started the run around 7AM so I could be back in time to go to church with the family at 9:30. Everything went well. I felt fine. I was listening to my IPod. This morning it was a podcast about the Disney marathon weekend coming up. So I was very interested. Even though I'm not planning to do it until next year, it was still a very interesting topic and they were going through the whole weekend detail by detail. I had just gotten to mile 9 when I heard the screech. I'll admit - I listen to my Ipod fairly loud especially when I'm listening to podcasts as opposed to music. I want to be able to hear the people talking even if a loud truck or something goes by me. So the fact that I heard the screech over my Ipod meant it was pretty loud. Plus, I was probably close to 1/2 mile away from the source. So I repeat - it was LOUD.

I remember that my first thought was a wreck. But then I quickly dismissed that as I looked toward the direction the screech came. I couldn't see anything because of the trees blocking the view. Plus, I was coming up a hill and the screech was out of my view. My 2nd thought was just someone braking hard or stepping on the gas pretty hard. I assumed it was one of the two. Some crazy person trying to show off I guess. That was what I assumed, but I should've stuck with my initial reaction.

As I turned on the next street just 30 seconds later, I could tell that something wasn't right. There were 3 people standing in the road looking at something in a yard. I ran a little faster and pushed pause on my Ipod. It hit me then that I was coming upon a wreck. But I had no idea how bad it was going to be. It was a single car wreck - a truck had swerved into a yard, cut a metal sign in half, and run into a large tree. The truck was totaled. The front of the hood was nearly touching the windshield if that gives any indication of how fast this man was going. I was the fifth person to come upon the scene. A couple driving the other way had watched it happen. He was a doctor luckily. The other couple out there was from a house close by. They had heard the screech too. They would later tell me that it was the 3rd wreck at that spot within a month. (In fact one person flipped their car into the brush and left the car there. The man found it while mowing. Yikes.) Anyways, I came upon them and asked if the man was okay. The doctor was tending to him, holding a rag on a pretty large gash in his forehead. The airbags had deployed. Not sure if he was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. It was off when I got there. Fluids were leaking out of the engine like crazy. The doctor's wife said he was swerving all over the road before he went into the yard and hit the tree. Nobody had any idea why. She said she didn't think he had been drinking. He was going to be okay, thankfully, but he was pretty out of it. I heard the doctor ask him what day it was and I don't think he knew. A few others stopped. A couple minutes later we heard the sirens. I actually had to direct the ambulance to the right spot because they were up on the other road, where I was when I heard the screech. I ran towards them waving my arms and they turned down the road. 2 police cars came and a firetruck. I stuck around for about 10-15 minutes and then decided to leave. As I ran off with a mile and a half to go, it hit me that if I had been there just two minutes earlier, he could've easily swerved and hit me. Glad I didn't leave earlier or run faster.

So that was my morning adventure. It just goes to show that you never know what you'll see out running. I've seen wrecks before but never that soon after it happened. I hope the guy will be okay. I may watch my back a little closer running on that road this week. Be careful out there.

By the way - our family made another video, kindof a post-Christmas adventure. Check it out on Youtube if you have the time. Click here.

Keep runnin',

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Somebody's Following Me So I'll Look Back

9:38 PM

Ok, nobody's following me. I just wanted to get your attention. But here's why I put that. I often run at night, which I enjoy doing b/c it's peaceful and the roads are clear. But the multiple street lights make several shadows of me on the road and I always think somebody is running right behind me. It actually scares me for a split second every time. I have to move my arms in some crazy way to make sure all the shadows are in fact me. And I'll often look back to make sure nobody is there. Happened again tonight. I'm paranoid. I know. Just another thing that makes me a little crazy.

But here's the real reason for the "look back" in the title. I thought I'd look back on 2009 and list the top 10 moments in my running or related to running. 2009 was a great year for running. In fact it was by far the best running year I've ever had. Listing 10 favorites was pretty easy. So here they are with a little comment about each:

10. Trek in June. Now technically this was not "running" but we sure did do a whole lot of walking. We walked many many miles to get to the top of Mt. Antora in Colorado. It was one of the best weeks of my life and I will never forget it. So it has to go on this list.

9. Losing a good bit of weight. I don't know how much I actually lost this year. But when I weighed myself the Sunday before the St. Jude marathon and saw 149, it was pretty exciting. I do like being semi-skinny again.

8. Co-hosting the Runners Round Table podcast last week. I know this just happened, but it was a lot of fun and it felt good to be a part of that. It just made me realize what a great group of runners are out there and it's so much fun to talk with them and share stories. I'm already in talks to do another show and am very excited.

7. It's a secret. I'm not at liberty to mention #7 yet, but I promise I will very soon. Let's just say something happened related to running that I'm very excited about but I have to wait a little longer to share it. Sorry. Soon, I promise.

6. Starting this blog. I have really enjoyed keeping up with this blog and it has enabled me to get in touch with a lot of runners out there. It helped me with #8 up there. It's a great way to keep track of what I'm doing and share with others who are interested as well. Plus, I really enjoy reading other blogs too.

5. The trip to Memphis. I'll mention the actual race in Memphis in a second, but just the trip was fantastic. It was my first "running trip" and it was a blast. It made me want to travel more to run races. It's fun and easy to run local races but there is something about traveling, exploring a new city, and being part of a new race that makes it really special.

4. Placing 2nd at the Cedar Hall School 5K on Halloween. I had no idea what to expect that day and the race conditions were less than favorable. But it ended up being a great day and I was pretty proud of my performance.

3. Finishing the one mile race with Carter in April. Carter and I ran 25.2 miles together, one mile at a time, before the one mile race downtown on the night before my first marathon. So together, we ran 26.2 miles and had a great time. He did so well that night and running with him, finishing with him, high-fiving Coach Jeff Fisher at the end, and seeing the smile on his face when we had a great time was awesome. I loved running with my son and am excited we're doing it again this year.

2. The marathon in Memphis. It was my 2nd marathon to finish but my first one to run completely and my best time with 3:38. It was such a great day. One of the best of 2009. I will never forget this marathon. It's almost a tie with #1. I absolutely loved running this race.

1. Finishing my first marathon ever. April 25. Country Music marathon here in Nashville. No, the race didn't go exactly as I'd hoped and the heat was brutal, but it was still my first. I did finish it and so it has to be on top. I never dreamed, even a couple years ago, that I would ever finish a marathon. And so to actually be able to say I did was such an unbelievable feeling. It filled me with so much happiness and self-confidence. It was a life-changing, once in a lifetime, experience.

So there they are. In my next post, I plan to list my 10 goals for running in 2010 so check that out. I'll try to post it over the weekend. I am having a little bit harder time getting motivated to run since my marathon. It's hard when my next big race is so far away. But I've still been doing pretty good. I ran 11 on Sunday and it felt good. Planning to do another long run this Sunday.

Since this is my last post before Christmas, let me say Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope everyone has an amazing holiday and a very happy new year!

Keep runnin',

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Co-Hosting Gig. The Runners Round Table.


Ok, I never thought I'd use the word "Gig." But anyways...

I was privileged to be a part of an awesome experience last night. I was invited to serve as co-host of the Runners Round Table podcast. Mike was the host and Lesley and I co-hosted. We interviewed Jan Seely and Joe Henderson from the magazine Marathon and Beyond. Jan is one of the owners and editors of the magazine and Joe is a regular contributor and has written many books himself. You can find, listen and download the show here at the Runners Round Table website or on iTunes. I'll be honest. I hadn't heard of "Marathon and Beyond" before I was asked to do this, but after reading about it in preparation for the show and talking with Jan and Joe, I would love to get this magazine. I think I am getting a free copy in the mail because of a special offer that was made on the show but this may be a late addition to my Christmas list. Their story about how the magazine got its start was amazing and the features inside sound very appealing. It is over 200 pages and is bound more like a book than a magazine. It is something you keep and refer back to. Not something you throw away like most magazines.

Anyways - I loved serving as the co-host and hope to do it again sometime. Yes, I was a little nervous before it began and I wasn't sure what to expect, but once it started, it was smooth sailing. I sat next to my computer with my cheesy mic headset, watched the chatroom, listened and threw a question in when I could. It was just like having a conversation around a table with a great group of people. Hence the name of the show I guess. Oh well - check it out if you have some time. This is a great podcast and I've listened to several other episodes while running.

Shout out to Mike and Lesley. Thanks to you both. It was an honor to work with you and I hope to do it again.

Keep runnin',

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Flight is Booked. Yee-haw.


Booked our flight to Disney today for our trip in May. I knew Southwest opened up their flight schedule through August today and so I was watching and waiting all morning for the dates to switch. Had to be first, you know.

We'll fly out at 8:35 AM. There was a 6:10AM flight and I really wanted to take it. Again - have to be first, you know. But then I thought, do we really want to get up and be at the airport at 5AM? Sure. But who is going to take us to the airport at 5AM. So for the sake of our driver (whoever it may be) I picked the slightly later flight even though it wasn't easy. You're welcome - whoever you are. We'll still get there around 11AM and hopefully be at our hotel by noon or so. We won't even be able to check in but that'll give us plenty of time to eat lunch, maybe take a swim that afternoon and get ready for dinner that night. No parks on that day. Our flight home is at 2:00PM. A little later than we wanted, but otherwise it was get to the airport really early or have to make a stop somewhere. I didn't want to have to stop and change planes. And I really didn't want to have to get up super early on our last day. That just makes it even more depressing to be leaving DW. 2:00 will give us time to eat a nice breakfast and have plenty of time to make it to the airport. We'll still get home around 3:00 with the time change.

So it's booked. Done. Official. Awesome. Can't wait. The countdown begins. Disney 2010!!

More to come.

Keep runnin',

Sunday, December 13, 2009

At Least I Made the Effort - Quick Update


Quick update from last night's post -

I got up at 4:30 this morning to run. I really did. I was going to do it. But it was pouring down rain. I guess I could've run in the rain but I really didn't want to get drenched for 10 miles this morning so I went back to bed. I can't lie. It felt so good to go back to bed. So I'll take this week off from my long run but I promise I'll do one next Sunday. Rain or shine.

Did I just promise? Can't back out now.

(Later note - I ended up running 5 miles today so that's not bad.)

Keep runnin',

Saturday, December 12, 2009

To Run or not To Run


That is the question. I'll tell you what I mean in a second.

First of all - I've discovered I have a strange habit. Whenever I'm listening to music while I run, I always try to beat the last song to my driveway. In other words, if the timing is right and I think a song is going to end before I get home, I'll sprint and try to beat the song home. I usually end up killing myself and am coughing up my lung when I get there but I feel so good when I beat the song. On the other hand, I am sad and feel like a loser if it beats me. Tonight, I ran three miles and beat the last song by 8 seconds. I was so proud I almost spiked my Ipod into the ground. I know - I have issues.

Ok, back to the title. I'm trying to decide if I should run a long run in the morning. I have run long runs every Sunday morning for the last 6 months with very few exceptions. The only exceptions have been when I was out of town and even then, I sometimes ran on Monday mornings. Tomorrow, I have no excuse not to run unless I use the 'marathon is over. I deserve a break' excuse. Part of me feels like I do deserve a break. "Take a Sunday off, dude. Sleep in. Enjoy the morning." But the other part of me is saying, "keep the streak alive. You'll feel good about yourself. Don't break the habit. You haven't eaten well this week. You need to run off a couple of pounds. Just do it." Which part do I listen to? If I do run, I'll probably do between 8-10 miles. I thought about not doing a long run again until January but I would hate to start my long runs back at 4 or 5 miles which is what I'd have to do.

I don't know what I'll decide. I really don't. I'm torn. Guess you'll know when you check my running log over there to the side.

I only ran 14 miles this week. That's the lowest in a long time but I was trying to let my body recover from the marathon. I think it's fine. No pains and running still feels good.

One more thing - I meant to put the link to our Youtube Christmas video on here in case anyone reading didn't see it on Facebook. Check it out if you want. Here's the link. Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

Keep Runnin',

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Post-Race Depression (But I'm just "Dimpled")

8:31 AM

First of all, don't let the title scare you. I'm not depressed. I'm not even sad. I'm actually quite happy. It's almost Christmas. I'm about to have a 2 week vacation. I just had a great time and race in Memphis. My family rocks. Lots of reasons to be happy. But I am just a little....what's the word...."nostalgic" maybe? Not sure if that's the right word. Maybe "dimpled" b/c a dimple is a slight depression. My depression is slight. It's small. It's low. It's wee. Ok, way too long of an intro.

The point is, I miss Memphis and the race. I have been preparing for this marathon since the beginning of summer. June. And now it's done. It's a little sad. I had such a great experience. Great trip. Great friends. Great basketball game with great dinner. Great hotel (ok, "Great" is a strong word but it was adequate and memorable). Great weather. And great, great race. Near perfect. And so I can't help but wonder - is that it? Will I ever again have a race that goes so well? Is that the best time I will ever have and it's downhill from here? It's just kindof a nostalgic feeling. Again, not sure if that's the right word but I looked it up and nostalgic means "a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life" and part of me wants to be back there doing it all over again. I'm sure I'll get over it, but just curious if any other runners out there have ever felt this way after a big race.

Ok, on to new things. I'm sure that's what I need to do is focus on a new race. And I have a couple on the horizon. I did decide to run the Zoo 5K on January 23. I'm looking forward to it. It was a fun race when I did it 2 years ago so I'll start preparing for that. I am going to take it easy this week and let my body fully recover from running 26.2 miles. So my mileage will be way down this week but it'll start picking up again.

I'm also registered to run the Country Music Half Marathon in April. I decided after last year not to do the full again. I think that's a marathon where once is enough. It's not the best of courses and my experience wasn't great, mainly b/c of the heat which I know is not the race's fault. But I decided I would go back to the half b/c I wanted to make a goal of improving my half time of 1:34:44. Granted, that will be tough to beat, but I'll try. I'll talk more about that race as it approaches in April.

As far as the future after that...who knows? I would love to run the Chicago marathon next fall. That is definitely a goal at some point in the future. I just have to see about funding and timing. But I've heard nothing but good about that race. I also am still planning to do the Goofy challenge in 2011. I will most likely register for that race in about a month. Again, funding and timing will be an issue that I'm still working out, but I'm very hopeful.

One new feature I'm adding to this blog. It's "What's on my IPOD?" My Ipod and music is vital to my running. I really enjoy listening to music, podcasts, and other things so I thought I'd share what's motivating me each week. It might be a podcast, a particular music artist, or just a specific song that gave me a running boost. I'll try to update it each week.

Ok, that's it. I ran my first 3 miles last night since the marathon. It was pouring rain and very windy so it was tough. It felt good, but I was completely drenched when I got home. I'll try to run again tonight. Thanks for all the positive comments from my race-post. I appreciate them all.

Keep runnin',

Saturday, December 5, 2009

2nd Marathon? Check. (The Report)


It's over. My 2nd marathon is in the books. It's hard to believe it's done. So here's the report in a lot of detail. If you want the "Cliff Notes," let me know.

I slept so good last night. I was in a run down motel in a scary part of Memphis, but I slept great. I was so tired. It was so cold outside but so warm in our room. It was a great sleep. Mark agreed. He slept good too. He said he hadn't gone to bed that early (11:00) since high school. I believe him. Our cell phone alarms went off at the exact same time. Exactly. No lie. It was freaky. 5:30AM. We got up, showered, put on our race stuff and checked out of the hotel. Went out to our cars, crossed our fingers that they would still be in one piece, they were, loaded up, and headed to the parking garage downtown. Oh yeah - it was stinkin' freezin'!!! I mean cold. In the 20's. It was 26 at the start of the race so it was even colder when we got there. We walked to the finish which was at the baseball stadium so I could check my bag. We had to shed our coats at that point because otherwise we would have to leave them when the race started. Now, Mark already had on shorts which I thought was crazy, but when he took off his jacket and had nothing but a t-shirt, I knew he was nuts. I had on long pants and 2 shirts (one long, one short). And I was freezing. How he didn't die on the spot of hypothermia I'll never know. We walked back to the Forum and thanked God when we saw it was open and warm inside. We just hung out there for a while and talked and watched people. They had bagles and water. I was a little unimpressed with the breakfast selection. Nashville is better in that regard but that's about it. Keep reading.

At 7:30 we decided to head toward the start line. We got in corral 4. You could choose your corral based on your projected pace. I decided I was going to try and stick with the 3:45 pace setter. I knew I was trying to break 4 hours so I figured sticking with him would give me a little cushion if I needed to slow down later in the race. It was very cold just standing out there. Everyone was jumping around, moving, and stretching to keep warm. I had my trusty socks on my hands since I forgot gloves. They weren't doing squat. I might as well have been holding ice cubes. But I guess it was better than no gloves. Sorry Mark. The race started right at 8. Our corral slowly moved up. They were letting a corral go every 1-2 minutes. Our corral got up to the start and the announcer said go. My 2nd marathon had begun.

I was excited that I was going to try and stay with a pace setter. I've never done that before. I don't know why. One of my biggest problems in my previous races has been going out too fast every time. This would force me to stay on pace the whole time. The start was great. The first few miles were great. Right after mile one, someone threw a knit hat into the bushes right in front of us. Mark did a spin move, stepped into the bushes and grabbed that hat. I told him I saw lice falling from the guy's head but he didn't care. He tried it on. Didn't fit well or something. He left it for someone else. Mark and I stayed together for the first 7 miles or so. Around mile 2 or 3, I guess we both realized that 3:45 pace setter was going a little too slow. We sped up and caught up to the 3:40 guy. I thought that still wouldn't be too fast but would build an even bigger cushion, plus I was starting to slightly fill the urge to go to the bathroom so I needed a little extra cushion when bathroom time hit.

It hit Mark around mile 7. He ran for a port-a-john and said he'd catch up to me. He never did but that was fine. I was happy we'd stayed together that long. He was doing great and I was very impressed, especially since 8 miles was the longest he'd run in his training. He would end up running the whole way and getting 1:50 in his first ever half-marathon. That's awesome and I'm extremely proud of him. He had to leave right after the race to go back to Harding, but we talked on the phone later. Let me just say here that it was so nice to have a friend there to room with, run with, and talk with. It made the trip 1000 times better. Ok, back to me.

I was having a great race. The weather was PERFECT!! It was cold for the first 3 miles but after that I wasn't cold anymore and the cold air felt great! I could've shed my sock gloves but I kindof didn't want to. My hands were still a little cold, plus they made a nice sweat and (sorry this is gross) runny nose rag. Only problem - I had worn those socks the night before so every time I wiped my forehead or nose, I had to smell them. They stunk. I would end up wearing them the entire race. They eventually didn't smell as bad or maybe I got used to it. But those socks were good to me. I hated to throw them out, so I didn't.

Around mile 10, I knew I would have to use the bathroom soon. I just can't go a whole marathon without going. I repeat what I said on my last marathon report - "anyone who can go a whole marathon without using it is a hero in my book, bladder of steel." I hated to stop for 2 reasons. One - sometimes when you stop, your legs will stiffen up and it's very hard to get going again. Two - I didn't want to lose my pace guy. So I sped up and got a little ahead of him. But I soon had to stop. I found a port-a-john at mile 12. I was done in 25 seconds. It would've been 15 but I couldn't get my pants untied. Stupid knot. I came out of the john running. I decided I just had to go for it and hope my legs wouldn't stiffen up. They didn't. When I came out, I could see the 3:40 guy up ahead. I would have to speed up a little to catch him but it wasn't too hard to do that. I caught him.

Now, mile 14 was where I had to stop on the last marathon. When I got to that and felt great I knew this race was going to be different. Let me just say here that I listened to my Ipod the entire time for this race and it really helped. I know it's "frowned upon" and "real racers don't need music" blah blah blah, but I don't care. It helps me. I find myself really listening to a podcast or singing along with songs and it's great. I don't care what anyone says. It helped and I'll probably do it the next race.

Miles 18-20 were probably the hardest but even then, they weren't that hard. This race just went really well. I love the course. I love the crowd. I love the spectators. I meant to say that from mile 5-6, we actually ran through the St. Jude campus and there were many kids cheering us on. That was awesome! But I loved this race. I would love to do it again some day.

22 miles is the longest I've ever run without stopping. When I got to 22 and still felt great, I knew I was going to run this entire race without walking. That made me feel really good. I felt so good that I sped up a little and moved ahead of the 3:40 pacer guy. I could see downtown approaching again and I knew the finish was getting closer. That was motivation to go a little faster. Now mile 25 seemed to last forever. I guess I was really anticipating the finish. Plus, at the end of mile 25, they make you go up this short but very steep hill. I, along with everyone around me was saying "what in the world???" But when you get to the top, you see the "mile 26" sign and it's all downhill from there into the baseball stadium. The stands were full of cheering spectators. The announcer was looking at numbers and calling out names. Not sure if he called mine or not. I was too busy listening to the cheers and screams. I crossed the line and stopped the timer on my Ipod. It said 3:38. I couldn't believe it. Not only did I beat four hours, I beat it bad.

They put the medal around my neck. It felt great. We were ushered to the food/drink area for runners. Very awesome. So much better than Nashville (which is granola bars and water basically). Memphis had pizza (!!!), doughnuts, cookies, fruit, soda (!!!- that was the best tasting Sprite I've ever had - I'm serious), hot chocolate, water, powerade and probably more. I pigged out. I felt I deserved it. I ran into Nate and Andrea again. They took the two pictures you are seeing. The small figure in black is me going through the finish line. I walked to my car and drove the three hours home. It went by fast because I was having that runner's high.

Needless to say, it was a great day and a great trip. I had an amazing time and I can't wait to run the next one. Who knows when the next full will be? I'm running the Nashville half in April but that's all I have on the calendar right now. My official time, after looking on the results webpage, was 3:38:55. I'm very pleased with that. It'll be hard to improve upon but we'll see. I was also very proud that I didn't walk like I had to back in April in Nashville.

In April, I finished my first marathon. Today, I ran my first marathon.

Keep runnin',

Friday, December 4, 2009

We're Here. We're in our Hotel. And We're Alive!


Well, we're here. I'm sitting in my Super 8 hotel room as I write this. Mark's sitting on his bed watching the movie "300" on TV. I've got to get to bed soon so this won't be too long, but so far, so good. I got here around 4PM and came straight to the hotel to check in. It's not that bad....yet... I realize we haven't left yet. No, it is not a luxury hotel and many would call it "dirty" or "run down" but it's your typical Super 8. Our room has heat, hot water, 2 beds, a TV, a fridge, a microwave, a safe, towels, etc. etc. It's fine. It's actually a lot better than I thought. The parking lot is well lit and there are security cameras all over the place. I'm feeling pretty good about it.

However, there is a slighty scary moment from today...
After I checked in and rested for just a few minutes, I drove downtown to the expo center to register. I found a free parking lot. Free. Yahoo! I found a spot pretty quick and pulled in. When I got out of my car, I just happened to look at the car parked next to mine and noticed something was different. Was it the dirt on the car? Was it the slightly old paint job? Or was it the busted window and glass all in the seat? Yes, that was it. It had been broken into. I mumbled under my breath, "you have got to be kidding me." About that time a lady came running up to me and said "Are you the police?". Did I look like the police? Yes, I have a white Honda but it's missing those things - what are they called - blue lights!! I told her, no I was not the police, but I immediately had a question for her. "Should I not park here?" It was an obvious one. The security guard came with her. He was old and didn't seem to care too much that a crime had occurred. I asked him the same question - "Should I not park here?" He said, "I got 4 levels and I can't watch them all." The lady informed me they were waiting for the police b/c obviously her car had been broken into. The police arrived about that time and I just decided to leave my car. I didn't want to find another spot. And what are the chances of them hitting 2 cars right next to each other? I said a prayer as I walked away and looked back one more time at my car. I thought it might be the last time we saw each other.

I went to the expo. It was good. I found Nate and Andrea. Met their friends. Called Mark. He was running a little late so I went with Nate and Andrea and friends to the Forum for the Grizzlies game. It was freezing outside. Still is. We had to wait for a trolley and I realized waiting in that cold that I don't have enough clothes for the race tomorrow. I don't even have gloves. I'm going to have to use my socks as gloves and then pitch them. Not kidding. The game was fine. I'm not a huge NBA fan, but they were winning when we left after 3 quarters and I think they were supposed to get beat. The all-you-can-eat pasta supper at the game was good. I probably ate too much. Mark finally showed up at the game. It was good to see him. Plus he said we could walk to his car which was close and then he'd drive me to mine which was far. That was good b/c I really didn't want to walk to scary lot by myself.

Moment of truth. Would my car be there? I was seriously nervous and had my doubts. I figured if it was there it would at least have some damage. When we got to the parking lot my car was THE ONLY ONE THERE. The only one. It had to be damaged. It was in the middle of a dimly lit garage and Oldy McCareless was nowhere to be seen. I slowly approached. I didn't see any glass. It had made it. God is good. My GPS was still in the console. Now, if it can just survive tonight.

So that's it. I'll write a race report either tomorrow night or Sunday and let you know how it went. I'm excited but anxious to get to bed and get this race started because I know I'll be freezing until it starts.

Ok, I'm off to bed. More to come.

Keep runnin',