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! .

Saturday, April 24, 2010

An Incredible 24 Hours


OK, here goes. Very long race report ahead. You might want to go get a snack to enjoy while you read this one:

First of all - last night. The YMCA Country Music Kids Marathon. Carter had run 25 miles one at a time in the last couple of months and the final mile was at LP (Titans) Field. We (actually just me, he really didn't care too much) were hoping to get low 8 minute. We had run an 8:33 during our 5K so I thought if we pushed it for just one mile, we could get the low 8. I secretly had a hope of breaking 8 but I didn't want to push it. We lined up at the starting line at 6:30 when the 2nd grade boys were supposed to. There were 15 boys from Carter's school. They started us and 14 of the boys took off in full sprint. I knew we had to pace ourselves and not burn out too quick so we hung back. We had a good pace and I did have to really encourage Carter to keep up. He said he was fine but I could tell we were going pretty fast b/c he was having a little bit of trouble keeping up. He asked me to slow down at one point. We ended up passing all but 3 of the boys at his school. They all ran great and I saw some future Cross Country runners for my team. When we turned the corner and saw the finish line, I told Carter to sprint but he didn't have much left. To his credit, he was giving it everything he had and he ran a great race. I stopped my watch as we crossed the line. 7:25. Wow. We busted all hopes and were way under where I thought we'd be. I was so proud of Carter and he was certainly proud of the time. It was a great night and a very fun event.

Ok, now to today. My first half marathon in a year and a half. I wanted so much to break my PR of 1:34:44. That was my goal. It was one of my year goals as well. I woke up at 4AM, showered, ate breakfast (bagel, peanut butter, banana, water). I headed to LP field at 4:45. I got there a little after 5 and sat in my car debating. Do I take the Ipod or not? There was a storm on its way. They had already made the call that they weren't going to allow any marathoners to go past 4:30. If they weren't on 4:30 pace at mile 11.2, they would divert them to the 1/2 marathon course. I really didn't want to lose another Ipod, so I decided to go without. I never got rained on. I could've run with it. Not sure if it would have made a difference in my time.

I got in line to get on the shuttle bus to the start line. All of the sudden there was a tap on my shoulder. My sister. My older sister Allison was going to run/walk the 1/2 marathon as well. Her first. I had just been thinking in my car how cool it would be to see her but thought the chances were slim at best. But she found me and I'm so glad she did. We rode the bus together, and spent the next hour+ talking before the race. It really helped pass the time and I enjoyed being with her for a while. By the way, she ended up finishing strong and had a great first 1/2. Congrats Allison! When we were in line for the port-a-johns around 6:15, we heard the announcement that the race was going to start at 6:45 instead of 7. They were really trying to get everyone done before this storm. By the way, as I'm typing this, it's storming pretty bad. Hope everyone's done.

I went right to my corral and stretched really well. I saw Ryan from church. He would end up getting 5th in the whole thing. Congrats to Ryan as well. I was a little worried when the race was starting in 5 min. and the 1:30 pacer, Greg, was nowhere to be seen. I finally saw him hurrying to our corral with just a few minutes to spare. It was my plan to try and stay with him as long as I could. I would've loved to stay with him the whole time and get 1:30 but I didn't know if I could do it. I couldn't.

We started right at 6:45. I stayed with Greg really well at the start. We were hitting our 6:50's right on. I was still with him at the 5K where we were right over 21 min. Around mile 5, he started to get a little bit ahead of me, but I wasn't worried yet. The pace was good and I still knew that I didn't have to stay with him the whole time, just as long as I could. Right after mile 5, I saw my wife and boys. Always my favorite part of the race. I gave them 5 and enjoyed their smiles. Susan tried to take a picture of me. It was decent. Todd also took a picture. He's a friend from church and I know he'll read this so just wanted to give him a shout out. Miles 6-9 were tough. Greg was getting further and further away. I knew I had lost beating 1:30 which was fine but I was starting to doubt getting a PR. At mile 10, I started thinking what I would have to get on the last 3 miles to PR. I was going to have to run close to 7:30 min. miles to do it which was going to be tough. I was really slowing down. I don't know what it was. It was very humid. It wasn't super hot, but hot enough where I was sweating a lot. Also, my feet were starting to hurt and I could tell I was getting blisters. Not sure why. Haven't had any in a long time. I think my feet were just really hot. At mile 11, I started feeling pretty bad. Not nauseous, just light headed. I decided during mile 11 that I was going to visit the medical tent when I got to the finish line. If nothing else, to attend to the blisters that I knew I had. Free medical help - why not? Then it went from bad to much much worse.

At mile 12, I could tell I was in trouble. I was still running a good pace, but I was feeling very weird. I've never passed out before, but I'm 98% sure that I was very close to doing so. I could hear people cheering but it was hard to make them out. My vision was different. I was just hoping and praying that I wasn't going to pass out. I knew I was close so that was motivation to keep my pace but I was not feeling good at all. Now I know mile 12 was only a mile but I promise it seemed like 3. It seemed so long. I finally got near the finish line. I tried to speed up, but I honestly couldn't. I felt like I would fall if I did. I barely remember crossing the finish line. I had sense enough to stop my watch and look down. 1:33:06. I beat my PR by 1 minute 38 seconds. But I had no sooner looked at my watch then I was pulled to the side.

The medical people grabbed me. I later asked and they said they could tell I was close to passing out. They said I was extremely pale, I was walking funny, and my eyes were glazed over. They took me to a cot that was right by the finish line and had me lay down. They started asking me questions and I stayed conscious the whole time even though I felt terrible. I could barely move. What's weird is, I was talking a lot. I'm kindof a quiet guy but for some reason, I wanted to keep talking. I started asking them questions. I said some weird things also. I told them I was sorry for taking their time. Also, I thought one of the helpers was one of my former students so I called her "Leah". She looked at me kindof funny and said "I have no idea what you're talking about." I would later apologize and tell her that she looked just like a former student. She really did. I know a lot of what I said was just babbling, but I don't remember everything. They had me eat 2 packs of salt. They took blood to check my blood sugar. They looked at my feet which were indeed blistered. They propped up my feet. I lost all feeling in my hands which scared me. They told me to keep making fists with my hands. I ended up staying on that cot for about 15-20 minutes. I finally started feeling better and slowly sat up. When I finally stood up for the first time, I almost fell back over. I was still a little dizzy. They had me sit down again and I just watched them in action for a while. It was incredible watching so many people get medical treatment. I saw people passed out, vomiting, crying. It was a hectic place. I flagged down one of the guys who wasn't busy and asked who was in charge. He told me Matt. I found Matt and thanked him. The medical staff really did do an amazing job and made me feel so much better. They were so nice to me even though I was a babbling idiot. Matt seemed genuinely grateful for my thanks.

I was feeling close to normal again so I decided to leave. I walked through the finish chute and got my medal. I was still feeling a little weird so I walked pretty slowly. I got to the food section which was Heaven. I needed food. I ate a lot but it all tasted so good. I sat down on the curb and ate and watched people. I ran into another friend an we talked for a while. I finally left the finish section and very slowly walked to my car.

It was a weird day. I'm very happy with my time. My goal was to PR and I did. I don't know what happened to me or why I almost went down. It was just a very weird feeling. From miles 9-13 I swore off half marathons. I couldn't imagine ever running one again but of course now that I'm feeling better, I can start imagining it again. I would love to break 1:30 but I just don't know if I could. Maybe if the weather was a lot cooler and it was a slightly easier course. Maybe. Nashville's course is pretty hilly. We'll see what the future holds. For now, I'm looking toward a 5K on Memorial Day and my 2 marathons in the Fall/Winter.

I know this was long and I apologize but a lot has happened in the last 24 hours. It's been incredible. Not always great, but certainly incredible. Thanks for reading. You know, there were a couple of times today when I thought about walking. I can't help that thought when I'm hurting. But I'm proud to say I didn't. I stuck to my signoff and I encourage you to....

Keep runnin',

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Is It Even Possible?


I got a new Ipod!! As you'll remember, my old one went to Ipod Heaven the day I ran with it in the rain, even though it was INSIDE A ZIPLOC BAG IN MY POCKET! Stupid humid air inside the bag. I hated to spend the money, but I knew I needed something. It's tough to do those long runs with nothing to listen to. At least it is for me. I decided to not get the Ipod classic as I had. It's just too much space and too much $$. I don't need that much. I got the Nano instead and I love it. It's smaller, cheaper, and has many new features that my other one didn't like a voice recorder (could I do a podcast with it?), video camera, radio, and the list goes on. Yes, it's only 16GB instead of 80 like my old one, but I filled it up with everything I had and I still have 11 left. I think it'll be just fine. I also got an arm band and have been putting it on that instead of carrying it in my pocket. So much better. Now I can wear short shorts with no pockets and my pasty but beautiful legs can be the talk of the neighborhood again. I got purple. I don't know why. Color doesn't matter but I figured since they were offering that I wouldn't get just white or black. Boring. So I went for purple. Still dark and manly but pretty at the same time.

So this Saturday is my fourth half marathon. Yikes, gettin' close. I haven't run one since October of 2008. That was in 1:35. My fastest is April of 2008 in 1:34:44. I would love to beat that but I ask the title of this post again. Is it even possible? I mean I know it's possible but I have no idea if I'm in shape to do that. Most of my long runs lately have been done with 7:30-8:00 miles. and for 1:34:43 (a new PR), I would need to run 7:12 average for each mile. I know I can do a few at that pace, but 13??? I just don't know. I'm just going to stick with my plan to try and stay with the 1:30 pacer knowing I can drop off at the end if needed. We'll see. I'm cautiously optimistic but I'm not going to get my hopes too far up. Who knows what could happen.

The Boston marathon was yesterday. I watched the live feeds on the Boston marathon website. Oh to have been there watching (or dare I say running). If the qualifying times were just 10-15 min. slower, I think I would have a shot, but they seem to be out of reach at this point. I'll never say never, but it would take a lot. I was rooting for Ryan or Meb of course. They got 4th and 5th respectfully. Here is a video of Ryan Hall's post race interview:

I'll try to post one more time before the big race Saturday and then I'll post a race report Sat. night or Sunday. Have a great week!

Keep runnin',

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ouch - That Doesn't Feel Right


I'm really liking my new shoes. Nike Pegasus. So far they feel good and are holding up pretty well. I hope they last longer than my last pair. I know there are many runners that stick with the same brand every time, but I kindof like that I've tried several different ones. I've had Mizunos, Brooks, Saucony, New Balance, and now Nike. There may be more, but those are the ones I remember.

Carter and I are still running. He is participating in the Country Music Marathon program at his school. They run 25.2 miles in the 2 months before the Marathon and then run the last mile the night before which is next Friday evening. We will go down to LP Field (Titans' stadium) and meet up with the well over 100 runners from his school. At a certain time, all the 2nd graders in Nashville will run that last mile. Jeff Fisher (Titans' coach) will be waiting for a high five at the end. That's Carter's favorite part. I'll run it with him. We did it last year. I'm going to see if we can beat 8 min. but that may be asking too much. I know we can get low 8.

I said in my last post that he absolutely loved his 5k race last Saturday. His first words when we got to the finish line were "can we do this again?" So we are. We've signed up for another 5K on Memorial Day. I'll post more about it soon. I'm not even sure all the details yet. I know it starts at Greer Stadium where our minor league baseball team plays and goes through several downtown Nashville sites. I'm looking forward to that and so is Carter.

As far as the title of this post, I somehow hurt my back this week. The weird thing is I have NO idea how. I just woke up Wednesday morning and it hurt. It's a pain really low on my back and inside. I tried to stretch it out, but it's been lingering a couple of days. It was better yesterday and is better today but it's still there. Because of it, I didn't run Wednesday night. I decided to try running last night. I decided I would just start running and turn around if it hurt too much. It never hurt too much so I ran 5. But I could still feel it as I ran. Hope it gets better before my 1/2 marathon next Saturday. I'm shooting for a PR. It's one of my 2010 goals. It'll mean beating 1:34:44 so it won't be easy. I know the 1:30 pacer personally so I'm going to try and stay with him. I'll write more about that race next week.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Keep runnin',

Saturday, April 10, 2010

And Third Place Goes To....


I just realized that I have nearly 10,000 views on this page. That can't be right, can it? I could've sworn it only said three thousand something just a month ago. Maybe the counter broke or maybe someone just clicked on it 6,000 times to be nice. I can't believe it's been seen 10,000 times!! Maybe I just have thousands of fans and I'm just too humble to see it. Naaah, that can't be it.

Anyways, it was a great day!! One of the best ever. We woke up at 6:15, and I went to wake up Carter. He popped right up. I had told him last night that I would wake him up early and he needed to get on up and get ready. Apparently he took that to heart. I told him he didn't have to get up quite that fast. We went in the kitchen to eat a quick breakfast so it'd have plenty of time to digest. Bagels and bananas. Good runner breakfast. We jumped in the shower, got dressed, and headed out to the race. We wanted to get there early and get a good parking spot. We did.

The race was very well done. It was put on by Purity Dairies here in Nashville but there were lots of sponsors so there were a lot of activities and things to see. It was pretty crowded as they said it was a record number for the tenth running. We pinned on the bibs and put the chips on our shoes. This was all new to Carter and he was still very excited. I could tell he was getting a little nervous because he kept asking me if we could go to the start line even though we had 30-45 minutes. I told him we would get there soon. We ran into friends, Nate and Andrea who had biked down. Lauren and Ryan, new friends from church. Ryan was running (and would end up winning the whole thing in 15:2? - an amazing runner. Ryan was the Fleet Feet shoe guy. Read 2 posts down. We went to the start line about 15 min. before it was to start. We got towards the front even though the start chute was pretty narrow. But I wanted us to go ahead and get out even though I knew we'd be passed left and right. We were.

The gun sounded and we were off. We got out to a pretty good pace. I've never been really good at pacing. I knew we needed to run around 9 min. miles to get our goal time of 28 min. or less. So I just picked a pace that I thought was maybe a little faster than that and stuck with it. Carter was keeping up with me well so I went with it. We hit the first mile at 8:30, a little fast but a nice cushion if we slowed down. The only thing I was worried about was Carter's side hurting (see previous post) but it never did. The weather was PERFECT. Nice and cool. The course was unbelievable. By far, the flattest course I've ever run. There was one slight hill that was about 10 feet long but that was it. I kept talking to Carter every so often just asking how he was, reminding him to breathe deep, reminding him to stay away from the curb, etc. etc. etc. But I was so proud. He ran his race strong, never complained, and did amazing. We hit 2 miles at 17:10 so we slowed down a little but still we were ahead of our goal. We picked it up a little for the finish and I knew we were going to beat our time. It just felt great.

Now, we had told Carter that the main goal was just to finish. We told him not to expect a medal being his first race and that we didn't know how the competition would be. But you know deep down we were hoping. 1-3 place in each division gets a medal. He was in the 0-9 division. So it was pretty tough when a kid that had to be 6 or 7 passed us in the last tenth of a mile. I saw him passing us and told Carter to give it everything for the finish. He did sprint like crazy but he couldn't catch the boy. It was still a great finish. I stopped my watch and was shocked. 26:23! Over a minute and a half under our goal. I told Carter as we got the chips cut off and grabbed a water bottle. He couldn't believe it. Before we were out of the finish chute, he told me he wanted to do another 5K soon. We will. Maybe Memorial Day. I've got me a runner on my hands!

My wife Susan also ran her first. Her goal was also to finish although she said she'd like to beat 36 min. She thought she'd probably have to walk. 2 miles was about the furthest she'd run in her training. She ended up not walking at all and posting a 29:37. Not too bad for the old girl! I was very proud of her too.

We went to the finish area and got our free ice cream, spaghetti, rolls, etc. Like I said, the race was well done. We sat and ate and waited for the awards ceremony. I told Carter again not to expect anything but I was hoping deep down. The had door prizes. We won a pen. Better than nothing. The announcer was a local news & sportscaster - John Dwyer from News 2. Finally, after door prizes and other announcements, he got to the 5K results. Our division was first. "For the 0-9 division, in third place, Carter...." We didn't wait for the last name. We cheered and Carter got the biggest smile I've ever seen. He got third place and medaled. He was so excited. I was a very proud dad and it was a fun, awesome event.

Can't wait for the next one. Now on to the half marathon in 2 weeks!

Wow, that's close. Have a great new week!

Keep runnin',

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tough Boy


Yesterday in my Social Studies class, we were talking about the "Taiga" in Russia which are forests of evergreen trees. I told them that since another word for forests is "woods" that you could call them the Taiga Woods (Tiger Woods). One of my 6th graders then said "So are there cheetahs there?" I tried to keep my composure and just rolled my eyes as the kid nearly rolled on the floor laughing but I was laughing inside. I thought it was actually pretty clever and I'll remember that one.

Saturday is the big day. My son's first 5K. Hey Hey Hey. Sorry - got on another rhyming tangent. But he is excited. I was excited about 2 months ago when he came and asked us if he could do it. He has worked really hard and I think he's ready. Since it's his first, we're just going to take it easy and not push. Well, who am I kidding, I may push a little. That's my nature, but I really will be watching him and making sure he's okay. Secretly, I would love for him to place and get a medal or whatever the prize is. But I certainly haven't mentioned that to him. The only thing we've told him is to finish, whether walking or running, we want him to finish. And he will.

But I do have to tell of last Friday - his first ever attempt at 3 miles. We decided to do it early, right after breakfast when the weather was still cool. He was ready and pumped and I was too. We had a good, fairly flat route - 1.5 miles down, 1.5 miles back. We started out and the weather was good. It wasn't too hot yet and our first mile went great. However, right after we passed the mile marker, I started hearing a slight whimper. Not good. Personally, I think we should have gone before breakfast or waited a little longer. I don't think his breakfast was digested enough even though he hadn't eaten much. The whimper meant his side was hurting. He has struggled with that some. I used to as well. I can remember it being really bad, but it never bothers me anymore unless I have just eaten. Go figure. Now, I stretch out my side really well before I run which is something I stress with my cross country teams as well. We have stretched out my son's sides each time, but for some reason it didn't work on this day. We had gone about 1 1/4 miles when he asked if we could walk. I'll be honest. I hate to walk, but I knew he needed it so we did. We walked maybe 100 yards and then he said he could run again. He made it another 1/4 mile before he asked to walk again. We continued this pattern for the rest of the run. He was nearly in tears a couple of times as his side was really hurting. I told him we were almost home and that he was doing great. Then it happened.

As if things weren't bad enough already. He was already in pain and also upset b/c he knew our time was going to be slow from the walking. But things would get a little worse. When we were about 1/4 mile from home, his foot caught a vine sticking out into the road and he tripped. He fell hard. It happened so fast, but I saw it just in time to see him land right on his elbow. The amazing thing was that he jumped right back up and kept running through tears of pain. I told him we could stop but he said he wanted to finish. I could see blood running down his elbow as he ran. He finished in tears. Luckily, his mom was there to cheer him to the finish and console him at the same time. Our time was still 30:47 which I thought was great considering all he went through. He ended up with a bad elbow scrape and a bruised hip. It was a tough day.

We tried 3 miles again on Sunday with all food digested and new rules to stay on the road unless a car was coming - nowhere near the side and those deadly vines. He ran the whole time with no tripping and finished in 27:05, right on pace. Can't wait to see what we can do Saturday.

It's a flat course with ice cream waiting at the end. What could go wrong?

I'll post a race report Saturday or Sunday. Until then...

Keep runnin',


Friday, April 2, 2010

Fleet Feet = Perfection


So my Ipod has been in a bag of dry rice for about 4 days now. As noted in my previous post, mine got wet last Sunday on my long run and quit working. I called Best Buy to ask if they thought they could fix it. They said they couldn't touch it if I didn't buy it there. I didn't. It was a gift - from the school where I teach no less. An anonymous parent donor had given all the teachers Ipods a couple of years ago. Now that's a gift. Not that I don't love the 12 loaves of banana bread I get every Christmas, but if I ate everything I got from my students around the holidays, I would not be a runner. And I'd weigh about 30 pounds more. But the Ipods were nice. We were all thrilled, so I hated to see it go. It's been good to me. I did a little internet research and found that if it gets wet, you can try putting it in a bag of dry rice to dry it out. Someone on Twitter suggested the same, so I tried it. All I have is a dead Ipod on rice. New dish? I pulled it out night before last and plugged it into the computer. Hope. A picture showed on the screen. It was a red battery and said "charging - please wait". It was like it was completely dead and needed some life. I waited with new anticipation thinking maybe it wasn't dead after all. But when I came back after several hours, it still said the same. And when I unplugged it, nothing. Wouldn't come on and now I can't even get that picture back. I'll keep it on rice for another few days but then it'll be time to say goodbye. Luckily, I have an old MP3 player that I can use. It'll hold me over until I can get something else. Not sure what yet.

Fleet Feet. Love that place. I went today to get new shoes. I posted a little while back that my Mizunos weren't holding up. They lost the heel at about 200 miles which I thought was strange. I usually get a lot more miles than that. So I went to Fleet Feet today. That's where I've gotten my last 10 pair of running shoes. I love the personal service you get there and I've actually gotten to know a few of the workers. Today, I met Ryan. I had heard about him as he and his fiancee had started going to the church where we attend. It just so happened that I was his first customer of the day. He was great, so helpful. And when I told him that I had only had the Mizunos for a couple of months and had only run about 200 miles on them, he credited my account with the cost of them. So basically I got free shoes today and still had about $15 in credit. I did not go into that store expecting anything. When he told me he was going to give me the credit, I told him he didn't have to do that. After all, I did run 2 months and 200 miles in them. But he said they are supposed to get at least 400 miles and that he would just send them back to Mizuno. Now that's quality service. I appreciate that so much but I wouldn't expect anything else from Fleet Feet. It's just a great store. I ended up getting Nike Pegasus. I was a little reluctant to get Nike. I haven't run in Nike in many many years b/c I had a couple of bad experiences with them falling apart a long time ago and it kindof gave me a sour taste in my mouth for them. But I had heard they were making a comeback and Ryan said the same. So I decided to give them a try this time. I'm anxious to see how they do. I ran 5 miles in them tonight and they were good. They need a little more wearing in, but they look like they'll hold up well. And I'm not completely done with Mizuno. I've had too many good experiences with them, plus I like how light weight they are. I may try them again some day. I think I just got a bad pair.

Carter and I did his first 3 miler today. It didn't quite go as planned, but I'll save that story for next week as we approach his first 5K. Hope everyone has a happy Easter and a great new week!!

Keep runnin',