Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jim and Kathryn's Excellent Adventure

With apologies to Bill and Ted, Kathryn and I had a most excellent two-night trip to the Big South Fork National Park. Back home, Dori and Will enjoyed equivalent quality time, sans scenery and fresh air.

Kathryn and I stayed at Charit Creek Lodge, a converted hunting lodge that services hikers and horse riders. It's remote, to say the least, smack dab in the middle of 123,000 acres of the most pristine forest on the Cumberland Plateau.

Staying at Charit Creek is semi-roughin' it, a notch easier than camping. We had nice beds, meals and a wood stove to keep our cabin warm. With our long johns, we were comfortable the entire time, with temperatures between 25 and 40.

We relaxed on our porch, listening to the sweet serenading sound from the convergence of Charit and Station Camp creeks. Yesterday, Kathryn and Pepper led me on a 10-mile hike from the lodge to the proud Big South Fork River. We didn't see a soul, save a woodpecker or two. The conversation on the hike and before bedtime was memorable.

I hope these photos do the excursion justice. We'll be back, Dori and Will in tow.

Charit Creek Lodge

Puffin' and Bluffin'

Dad, Daughter and Dog

Best Friends

Screw Rest Period!

Let's Wait For Kathryn

The North Arch at Twin Arches

Advanced Geology

Best Friends 2

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snow Plow

Here's how you celebrate Christmas. This dog looks like Pepper's twin.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jingle, Jingle

PR Pepper cranked out six miles this morning, taking me through Percy Warner Park's hills with the understandable exuberance a four-year-old pound survivor can muster. One happy dog.

Blog Friends, Friday Night Flashbacks is coming to you two days early, commercial free and hopefully getting your toes tappin' in rhthym with the bells on Santa's sled. Merry, Merry!

R.E.M.'s The End of the World As We Know It
The Woodentops' Give It Time (give it 20 seconds)
Queen's Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Dori and I saw Chrissie and The Pretenders live a few years ago. It was this good.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Son and His Mother

It turns out I did run a fair amount last week ... five times, 24 miles total. All of it was good running.

Yesterday, our Team in Training crew took off into the cold and light rain. We ran 4.5, with Lymphoma Survivor Jim and I going 6.5. The conversation was good, so it felt like we ran half the distance. You don't feel the cold and rain when you're on a mission.

We typically have a mission moment before the run. Yesterday, Team Captain Sara talked about a four-year-old girl she knows who is battling leukemia. I mentioned Chuck Hendry and his ongoing battle with AML, asking for prayers. Several in our group know Chuck from his run in the most recent Country Music Half.

After the run, I headed to the gym to watch Kathryn's team play basketball and co-coach Will's team, which continues to make great progress. Last week, Will's team lost by two points because of shoddy rebounding and swiss cheese defense. After some good practices, the boys showed up against a team with a good scorer. They shut him down, leading 14-1 at the half and winning 28-17.

Will played his best game in three years, playing as hard as I can recall. After the game, Dori looked like she'd won the lottery. That was great to see, of course, fighting through so much to witness her son's improvement and hard effort.

Will and I talk a fair amount about teamwork and the importance of handling both success and failure. It was good to see him stay humble after the game. How you play and how you react to events are more important than how many points you score.

His composure and his Mom's smile were the highlights of my day.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Who Hash

That's what's on the FNF menu. Starting with Boris and Cindy Lou.

Here's a clip from my favorite movie of George Bailey, Lover of "Garlic Eaters," versus Mr. Potter, Lover of Nothing.

Two of my favorite Christmas songs are from Mannheim Steamroller ... For any young-uns, you're about to see a turntable.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Prayers For Chuck

Please keep Chuck Hendry, his wife Abbie and his precious family in your prayers. He's having a rough go in Round 2 versus AML. Not many of us could endure such hell, but I know a few RFD followers/survivors who have. I take great comfort in that for Chuck.

Things are quiet around here. I've been on the road some, Dori is doing the Christmas thing, and I need to buy a tree. I've never bought one this late. I love the smell of a Christmas tree. Tomorrow night looks good.

I'm looking forward to some vacation time, including hiking, camping and fishing. It's time to get in touch with Inner Jim again. Running Jim can come back January 1.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

He's A Runner

Last week, I was a slouch. I ran three times for a total of 10 miles, with Pepper joining me on each run. He seems to be on a better training path than me these days.

Today, Pepper led the way at Radnor Lake, shooting for a PR. He's never gone beyond four miles, which he's done twice, most recently Friday morning. Today, he ran 4.5 and looked like he had another mile in him. I think I'll submit him for "I'm a Runner," one of my favorite features in Runner's World magazine.

As usual, he ran the first mile with gusto. I tried to slow him down, but he's so determined. One lady asked, as I was being dragged down the street, "Who's in charge here?" Not me, at least at that moment.

Once Pepper settles in to a rhythm, we have good runs. Today, we took a few hills at a reasonable clip, then coasted on flats and downhills. He sniffed every dog and walker in the park, much to my chagrin. He thinks everyone wants to see him and often doesn't take "no" for an answer.

That said, I'm glad I have such a good running friend. Otis, our deceased lab, was a thoroughbread racehorse, a great athlete and strong runner. Pepper is different, still strong but not quite as athletic. But he can run better than most.

Dori asked me today my favorite thing about Pepper. "His heart," I said without hesitation. I admire his heart and his passion for running.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Water of Love

I finally found a version of one of my favorites by Dire Straits, but first some good stuff from the Stones, Toots and his buddies, and Genesis.

Genesis: Follow You, Follow Me

Perfection on the guitar, especially Song No. 2, Water of Love.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Healthy Skepticism

Things are never as bad or as good as they seem.

H1N1 in April

H1N1 in December

We should be skeptical of everything the U.S. media and government serve up. Can I get a "Y2K is here!"?

Winter Is Here

What do you do when it's 22 degrees outside with a "feels like" of 14 degrees?

You run, if you're coaching Team In Training and want to look your folks in the eye on Saturday when you ask, "Did y'all do your runs this week?"

It was cold at the beginning, but Pepper loved it, heavy fur coat and all. After 15 minutes, I felt fine. The last 2.5 felt great. It was also the most beautiful morning. No clouds, beaming stars and moon, and a peacefulness you only get at 5:30 in the morning.

Our friend, Chuck, is in complete remission. He's over another major hurdle, and we're happy for him, Abbie and his wonderful family.

Off to work ... feeling refreshed and grateful. This running thing didn't seem like a good idea under cozy covers 90 minutes ago. But experience trumps complacency again.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Last Tuesday, Will's basketball team played the Lakers, I mean, a very good basketball team. Our boys were humbled in the scrimmage. At Friday night's practice, we had their attention ... They had blown off pretty much everything we had taught them and suffered the consequences Tuesday. They really got after it at Friday's practice.

The next morning, our boys followed the plan and played a near-perfect first game. They won, 35-8, and it could have been worse had we not backed off. Their opponent wasn't very good, but we executed. Good stuff.

I caught the first half of Kathryn's game. She scored two buckets, including a put back off a missed free throw at the first-half buzzer. Her team won by two points. Kathryn has gone from an after-thought on her first team to a role player the next two years to apparently a team leader. She's fast and aggressive on defense, getting more skilled each day. Mom and Dad are proud of her desire to improve.

Our Team In Training group met early Saturday morning for a three-miler. Jim, Sara and I ran three beforehand, then three with the group. It was cold, about 29 degrees, but quite comfortable after you got going. One guy in our group told me he lost his grandmother in October to AML. She was diagnosed on a Wednesday and died that Saturday.

Please keep our friend in Chuck in your prayers. He has a biopsy scheduled today, and everyone is obviously eager for good news.

Friday, December 4, 2009

One-Hit Wonders

Earlier this week, VH1 ran their Top 100 One-Hit Wonders, causing Dori to boogie shamelessly in front of her startled children. Here are a few that caused the commotion.

Your Love, Outfield

The following sparked discussion about the limited pros and many cons of the mullet.

Harden My Heart, Quarterflash

And here's some fun from Boyd, Gray, Crabtree and Parks, aka The White Animals. Looks like their stuff is finally hitting You Tube. Oh me, oh my. Old people unite.

A Bug

I didn't feel great this week. It could have been the H1N1 (here little piggy). I slept most of Monday and Tuesday, and felt 80% on Wednesday. Yesterday was much better, so I decided to run this morning, the first time since Sunday.

Yowser. It wasn't pretty. I had to head back home, if you know what I mean, after a mile. Regrouped, I took Pepper out for another two, and that wasn't easy.

But, hey, I finished. And my dog is happy.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


All I can say before you watch this is "good luck not crying."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Love and Loyalty

This morning's Sportscenter had a powerful story about former UCLA Coach John Wooden and his everlasting love for his deceased wife.

I hope Kathryn finds someone like John Wooden one day.

Here's more about Wooden and his Pyramid of Success.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dinner Prep

This morning's Boulevard Bolt, a five-miler down scenic Belle Meade Boulevard, was exhilarating in several ways.

First, running pal Meredith showed she's a strong runner. I expected we would finish in about 50 minutes, staying on 10-minute miles. We ran the first mile in 10:30, dodging the crowd and avoiding a turned ankle. As the crowd spaced, we ran the next mile at about 9:20. She felt great so we kept up the trend in perfect weather - 38 degrees and very low dewpoint. The last three miles, we averaged about 8:40/miles. Final time ... an impressive 45:40. Great job, ML!

I felt like I ran at 85% or so. It was a good workout and just terrific fun. I saw 15 TNT-ers dressed as reindeer, with the lead TNT-er dressed as grandma. She was not run over, I am told, by the herd. I also saw about 20 friends and acquaintances, including Cousin Becky, Jarron the marathoner and Dori's former nurse practioner Carey.

After an apple and some fluids, I cleaned up and visited Chuck at Vanderbilt Hospital. Chuck, Dori's AML soulmate, relapsed last week. The whole thing has been difficult for him and his family, to say the least. Dori also has been impacted, as have I. Cancer just pisses me off. I enjoyed the time with Chuck and his family, and am keeping them in my constant thoughts and saying special prayers.

We're off to Nana's in a few. The entire menu, which I'll probably describe later, has been set. This is my favorite holiday, by far, but my excitement has been tempered by the recent news. I expect I'll light up when I smell the food.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Saying Grace

Tomorrow, I'll run five miles in the Boulevard Bolt with our good friend Meredith. Then, a little rest and then some turkey and fixings at Chez Rachel with assistance from Sous Chef Anne. I'm told cornbread with pablano peppers, green beans with caramelized onions and spicy sausage stuffing are on the menu.

Flashbacks are making an appearance two days early. I hope you all enjoy your rest and join our family in giving thanks for what we have in our country, including these great American sounds.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Gift of Life

Dori sent me an e-mail today, stating she had run "very hard." I liked getting that e-mail!

She also sent me a link to a gripping story about a bone marrow donor and her recipient. It's a great rehash on many levels, with great insight on the donor process.

Here's The Today Show's take:

Somewhere, I hope Hans is smiling. I know I am.

Now it's your turn to spread the word and be sure you're on deck.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Humble Meb

Humility in sports seems to be a rarity these days. That's why I enjoyed this article about Meb Keflezghi, winner of the NYC Marathon.

I cross-trained today, walking with my sister Anne and her husband Stephen at Radnor Lake. Then I headed to the finish line of the Flying Monkey Marathon. With my good friend Ann, a Boston marathoner, I watched three of her girls hand out finisher's medals to exhausted runners.

I enjoyed watching my friend Jarron finish. He almost fell over at the end, finishing the very hilly couse in 4:20, a great run. I gave him a well-deserved hug for his super effort.

The Flying Monkey is a very unique race. Ann calls it a run for "fringe" marathoners. Whatever you call it, we both were excited enough to consider running it one day. The bug will bite you. She's planning on racing in Huntsville in a year, and I may join her.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Good Start

I read a great phrase on a runner's board last night:

Pain is just weakness leaving the body.

Tomorrow morning, a few hundred runners will run the Flying Monkey Marathon in hilly Percy Warner Park. The athletes will have few flat stretches, and rain is in the forecast. I'll be there to cheer on some folks I know.

This morning, our Team In Training group kicked off with a goal to finish the Country Music Half Marathon and raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We have 108 signed up so far, and I've got 12 in my group.

After attending nutrition, safety and strength programs, we went out for a two-miler. Our group looks good. We ran some 11-minute miles, and most stayed on the pace and picked it up the last mile.

I ran another three afterward, and felt great! I ran the last mile under eight minutes, reeling in a runner ahead of me for motivation. When the burn started, I thought of the phrase above. It worked. It also was nice to bag 20 miles, the most since Cape Cod.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Simple Minds

Running pain free for the first time in three weeks, I finished 5.5 miles in just over 50 minutes. What a great feeling to run with no back or leg discomfort. Tomorrow, I rise early to start my coaching duties for Team In Training. In less than an hour, it's off to the gym to co-coach Will's basketball team. Rarely a slow moment!

One of my favorite bands is Simple Minds. I've embedded a few on this blog in the past. Here are a few more good ones.

Here's a wonderful unknown song, Rivers of Ice.

All The Things She Said
Sanctify Yourself
Alive and Kicking
New Gold Dream
Theme for Great Cities

I believe I've posted this one before, but it's so good ... a blend of creativity from a YouTuber and a great song.

Tough to Hear

Our friend, Chuck Hendry, has relapsed. The news was hard to process, to say the least. Dori, who spoke with Chuck yesterday, bonded with him during the summer 2007 during their mutual battles against AML. We'll be there for him and his precious family and have started with prayer.

I updated Dori's photo on the site. Her smile says it all: "I'm just so happy to be here. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Running buddy Jim Asker, one of my training partners this summer and fall, made an appearance earlier this week on a local early afternoon show. Check it out. Well done, Jim.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Night Pickin'

This morning, I ran before dawn and saw a spectacular shooting star. Four-and-a-half miles later, I walked up our driveway to a pink, yello and orange sunrise. That's how you start a day.

Here's how you end one. Breaking out the guitar, or lettin' someone else do it for you.

Vintage Guitar: Dire Straits

The entire song, if you're so inclined

Paying homage to MK ...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Basketball Great Has CML

Kareen Abdul-Jabbar, the UCLA and Los Angeles Laker great, is battling leukemia. Here's the story. He has CML.

Just more proof this disease will go after anyone. KAJ is probably very grateful of all the TNT-ers and LLS-ers who helped make Gleevec possible.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Spread the Word

Dori is volunteering next Saturday morning at a Bone Marrow Registry Drive scheduled around Emmit Martin's inaugural Nashville 1/2 Marathon. Emmit has already donated twice for the same patient.

This is your chance, Middle Tennesseans, to potentially help save someone's life! Get on the Registry, good people.

More info on Emmit's race and Saturday's marrow drive
Get on the Registry, wherever you live


I've enjoyed the break from training the last two weeks.

A few days ago, Dori brought some delicious cookies home from Gilda's Club. I wish she hadn't. It's a bad combo - tasty cookies in the house and a small sense of entitlement after completing 26.2.

Yesterday morning, I ran five difficult miles. The first two went fine, then I had to work and the last one hurt. An old nemesis, my left achilles, and my knees and calves weren't agreeable. Total weekly mileage was 13 over four runs.

This afternoon, I ran four miles. It's 75 degrees today, and the last mile uphill into the sun was good work. I felt much better today, with nothing hurting. I don't have a smooth stride yet, however. It's hard to describe, but it's like having 90% power and something in the stride is uneven. If my body were a car, I'd be in for a tune-up.

Someone told me today Dori looks like she's had a makeover, that she looks great. When I shared this compliment with Dori, she said, "I have had a makeover!" She spent the weekend in the yard raking and bagging leaves, smiling the whole time. What used to be a boring chore is now a great time to get exercise.

Perspective is a good thing.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lady's Night

It's Dori Night, Friday Night Flashback-style. She already cut a rug to a few of these tonight during previews. Here are some favs.

Aunt Kathy, you don't know what you're missing!

And We Danced, The Hooters

Some B-52s, the most fun band ever and one of the best concerts I ever saw, circa 1983. Starting under The Strobe Light!

And one that makes both of us holler ... L'il Penny! "Hey, Tyra, you left your toothbrush at my house!" Thank you, Chris Rock.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Slow Down!

Out the door at 5:45 a.m., Kathryn asks, "Can we run nine-minute miles?" Before I could say, "Let's start out slow," she bolted. We probably ran closer to an 8:30 first mile, which our dog Pepper, who drafted off Kathryn, loved. I'm sure Born Free played loudly in his spotted head.

When Pepper stopped to conduct some business, my teammate didn't stop. Instead, she stretched her lead. Nice! So that's how it's going to be. I think I even heard giggles. I had to work to regroup with my sassy pacesetter.

At 1.5 miles, we hit our first hill. I know Kathryn doesn't like hills, so I decided to catch her and see if she could keep her pace. She started it, folks! She fell back some. I felt not a shred of guilt, blog followers. I'm within months of getting dusted by my daughter.

On the way to school, I asked, "So why do we have to run that hard so early?" She said, "Because jogging is boring. I like running."

So now I have a new speedwork partner.

Tonight, I spoke to another Team In Training group. More than 20 people showed up; about four have been impacted by blood cancer. One guy came up to tell me his wife is battling breast cancer, and one young woman asked if she should sign up for a full or half marathon (I suggested a half since she's never run more than three miles).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


On Sunday, Kathryn and I went to Radnor Lake for a three-miler, her longest run ever. With Pepper as our lead, we ran easy 10-minute miles on a picture-perfect day with the leaves turning along the crystal-clear lake. Kathryn did great. I felt ok, sore in the knees and calf muscles.

Tuesday morning, this time just with Pepper, I ran three more. I ran the first half-mile as gingerly as I've ever run. My tires had no air. But at least I got the blood moving.

Today was the first day I didn't feel sore somewhere. That's a 10-day recovery, about what I expected. The hardest part was still the walk from the finish line to the car.

I was impressed by the performance of American runners in the New York Marathon. Six placed in the top 10, with Meb Keflezighi winning and Ryan Hall finishing fourth.

What a great story and profile of courage, honor and persistence.

Kathryn wants to run early tomorrow morning. One of my favorite parts of the Cape Cod Marathon was watching a father and his daughter race together. They were on my pace, so I saw them often. Maybe Kathryn and I will run a long race together one day.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

School On Hold

Dori resigned from school and said goodbye to her students and fellow teachers this week. Nothing about her farewells was awkward. She's good with it, and I'm glad.

Dori saw her 4th graders Thursday, determined not to cry. But all of them cried, so that was the end of that story. Yesterday, she went to lunch with co-workers at a diner where macaroni and cheese is considered a vegetable. They had a good time.

Dori will continue to pursue her master's in education, likely volunteer to help her old school co-workers with projects and look around for temp jobs while her immune system continues to mature.

Yesterday, Dori went to Vanderbilt to receive her annual osteoporosis medicine and receive her MMR shots.

I am enjoying seeing Dori not looking completely fatigued. Things have slowed down for a spell, and we're gonna enjoy it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Old School

Time for that timeless tour. FNFs ...

This YouTube comment was unnecessary, however: "i started liking 80's rock and roll and hip hop and rap cause of my grandpa."

A great 5K song ... not for the kiddies.

Sensing a theme?

And one for the kiddies ... and another for the people who mind them.

The Beat to Beat Cancer Continues

From a presser:

Erie, Pennsylvania - The Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation announced today that Steven Curley M.D., primary investigator of the Kanzius Non-invasive Radio Wave Cancer Treatment at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been awarded a $2.1 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This grant, to be paid over the next five years, will be used for continuing research on the Kanzius Treatment which seeks to kill human cancer cells treated with gold nanoparticles without damaging healthy cells.

“This is incredibly exciting and encouraging news for the Kanzius Foundation,” said Mark A. Neidig Sr., Executive Director of the Erie, Pennsylvania based Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation. “An NCI grant positions our research work with a stronger base; one which makes a very loud statement regarding the credibility and validity of both our preliminary findings and future studies.”

The work of the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation is far from complete. The added funding to Dr. Curley’s research is but one aspect of funding needed to advance the multiple research venues utilizing the Kanzius technology and to secure FDA approval.

“The NCI grant was sorely needed and advances our work with vigor,” said Neidig. “However, the total pre-human clinical trial cost is upwards to $12 million so our work continues.”

To read more about the NCI grant, please visit now.

On the home front against cancer, I attended a Team In Training meeting last night, having agreed to be a Coach. I met two people impacted by blood cancer. One young lady's 34-year-old brother-in-law is a Hodgkins' Lymphoma survivor (18 months), while another man recently lost his grandmother three days after she was diagnosed with AML.

I will be coaching activist runners like these as we train for the Country Music Half Marathon in April.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cape Cod Visuals

It's hard not to smile in Cape Cod. Some photos from the trip ...

Lucky Couple

The Smile I Married

Sea Observers

Two Beacons

Nobska Lighthouse

The English Settlement at Plimouth Plantation

Windy in Woods Hole

Great Hosts

Starting Line with a Slice of Ham


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Say Again?

I gave Dori a little ribbing this morning over a question she asked me within minutes of finishing Sunday's race.

"Do you think you'll run a marathon again?"

Ehhhh. Errrr. I certainly didn't want to field that question at that point.

This morning, Dori said something very interesting. She said I had the same look after this race that I had after my first half marathon in 2006. I was a bit shellshocked, for a brief spell, after both. In Sunday's race, I watched people drop out, cramp up, groan, and question and admonish themselves for entering the race. I cramped and pulled up twice, but wasn't going to partake in the rest.

For the uninitiated, the marathon is a beatdown. Going in, I respected the distance, but probably didn't give it full respect. How that's changed!

My only raceday downer was Miles 21-24. Leg cramps almost ruined the day. I've been e-mailing friend Chuck, an experienced marathoner, about what happened. I think the massive amount of salt loss tells me I was dehydrated, despite a good pre-race diet and plenty of fluids and energy supplements. By race's end, the temperature was 65 degrees under a full sun. I was bummed I had to walk a few stretches, but I had no choice after going out too fast. If I charged those late-mile hills, I would have been in one of those "Tired Runner Vans" that scoured the course for roadkill.

Yesterday, my legs hurt, especially my left achilles. Walking through airports took time. Today, the soreness has subsided significantly. I'm already thinking about a run later this week!

Which leads me back to Dori's question, now that I'm coherent enough to process it. Sunday, I answered, "I'm not going to answer that right now. I need to wait."

I'll likely tackle 26.2 again. My early parameters will be a flat course in the winter. I know I can do better than 4:53, just like I knew 2:06 in my first half wasn't an A+. The effort was there Sunday, so no beat-me-ups. I just need to be smarter. Savvy only comes with experience.

Great Running Article

Are we built for marathons and such? Yes, according to this NY Times article. Thanks to Laura at Fixin' Supper for sharing.

The Human Body Is Built For Distance

Monday, October 26, 2009

How It Went Down

I slept very little the night before the race, maybe three hours. Pre-race anxiety and a howling storm kept me up most of the night. At 5 a.m., I headed downstairs for breakfast - two Clif bars, a banana, some dried mango and lots of Gatorade. My body felt good. No pains anywhere. That would change in a few hours.

Dori, her Uncle Tim and Aunt Jean, the kids and I arrived in the town of Falmouth about 45 minutes before the race. The local bank said it was 57 degrees, and the sky was clearing. We had a great running day for the 32nd annual Cape Cod Marathon.

A start cannon boomed and sent us on our way at 8:30. I ran my first mile in 10:20. I was in discomfort, hoping for a port-a-potty. I soon found one, losing only 30 seconds. A light NW breeze pushed us down the flat road, as we meandered along the the coast. My plan was to run 10:45/mile, but I wound up going faster. I felt great, like I was hardly working.

Through Mile 8, when we arrived at the cranberry bog, I was feeling strong. The course from Miles 8 through 15 rolls gently. I felt very good through this part, talking occasionally with fellow competitors. I passed the 13.1 mark in 2:15. Wow, I thought: If I hold this together, I might break 4:40.

At a water station at Mile 15, I looked at my Garmin, which said I was on a 10:12/mile pace. Too fast, a voice said, right before the first hill appeared. The hill at 15.5 was a long one before the turn to Sippiwissett. The course now was all bumps and big rolls, with three or four impressive hills. I didn't stop once, save for the bathroom break, until Mile 17. I walked very briefly here and again at a big hill at the Woods Hole Golf Course. I arrived in Woods Hole, where the ferry takes residents and tourists to Martha's Vineyard, feeling rough.

From here at Mile 21 to Mile 24, it was a battle. I guess I hit what folks call the wall. I had taken gels every 2.5 miles or so since Mile 4, but could not summon the energy to blast up hills. My biggest concern was the calf seizures I was having on climbs, a precursor to a cramp I could not let happen. That would have made finishing more than difficult.

I alternated running eleven-minute miles and walking up hills, including one at Nobska Light. I would say 80% of fellow racers were doing the same. Maybe they went out too fast, too. At Mile 24, the course flattened along the coast, with a view of Martha's Vineyard to the right. I told myself I was going to run the last two miles to the finish without stopping, attentive to the calf issue and despite the screaming pain. Where did it hurt? All over, but the things I'll remember are my back, knees, left achilles (which hurts today) and right side of my abdomen. I felt cramps, too, in the latter area.

Heading up Walker Street for the Green in Falmouth, I took a left at Main Street, where I sighted Uncle Tim. All excited, he yelled, "He's here!" He sprinted up the street to alert the kids, who bolted onto the course to run with me. Kathryn laughed with joy and Will said, "Dad, they're going to announce your name on the speaker!" I crossed in 4:53. Unbeknownst to me, Dori was near the finish line asking an official my whereabouts. She never saw me, but found me seconds later. She came up to me as I was hunched over, told me how proud she was, and watched me choke up briefly.

I enjoyed crossing the finish line, but not the next 25 minutes. Everything hurt. Stretching didn't help. The walk to the car was brutal. I could barely do that. This told me two things. I needed to train a little harder than I did ... probably more miles and hills, but not much more. It also told me I had left everything on that course.

In the car with Dori, the pain started to subside finally as I lifted my legs. I looked at my knees, which were caked in salt. Weird. Dori said my eyes were bloodshot. At the house, I took a brief ice bath to get the swelling down. This helped my legs significantly. Dori and the kids headed to Providence for their flight, while I catnapped. When Tim and Jean returned from the airport, they found me with some Old World French wine in hand watching the chickadees bathing in the birdbath. We had a great dinner and conversation. They're great hosts.

I learned a lot yesterday. If I ever run 26.2 again, I have some lessons, both training and race-day. I certainly would have benefitted from having a running buddy, especially for the hills. And I went out too quickly, 10:12/mile on the inner half, which led to a 12:03/mile on the home leg. Without the mistakes, I believe I would have run 4:40 or better. On a flat course, maybe closer to 4:30 or better. But 4:53 is a finish, and that was my goal.

The Cape Cod Marathon was the best organized race I've experienced. The race director and his team have it down pat. I love the size - 1,200 runners and the relay teams. I'll never forget the scenic course and the day God gave us to run it.

Cape Cod Times: Race Report and Photos
Marathon results 628 out of 791 finishers, about 1,200 entrants
This sounds familiar Thankfully I avoided the DNF
A very good account

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In The Bank

I finished today's Cape Cod Marathon, my first 26.2, in four hours, 53 minutes. Interestingly, my Garmin said 26.6. On my watch, that's an 11:03/mile pace. On theirs, an 11:10.

The course was tough from Miles 15 to 24. I paid for going out too fast. I'll blog later about the experience, which was both humbling and exhilarating.

Lots of highlights, but the kids running the last few hundred yards with me on the course was cool. So was Dori's beaming face.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Course

We drove most of the rest of the course today. Amazing, simply amazing. It's breathtaking.

It's super-flat the first eight miles with one small hill, then starts to roll gently until Mile 13, then gets bumpy and quite hilly to Mile 22. The last three miles are flat. The preview guide quotes some veterans who say this marathon is tougher than Boston.

I'm feeling better and my energy is building. I was a little concerned last night and this morning. No longer, knock on wood.

Winds are gusting to 40 MPH right now and the rains have started. I'd like to see it blow through as predicted. The winds and rain look like they'll subside right before the race. At the 8:30 a.m. EST start gun, it looks partly cloudy and 55 degrees with WNW winds at 10 MPH. Through noon, the temperature is supposed to stay constant as winds switch from the NW and pick up to 18 MPH.

This looks like good running weather!

24 Hours Away

We're in Cape Cod, enjoying some wonderful family time before tomorrow's race. I'll share some highlights and offer a preview of the race, having seen some of the course yesterday.

First, Dori received some great news Thursday. Her platelets are at 180, a new high. Her cough is almost gone and we seem to have emerged from our plane ride (passengers a-hackin').

Yesterday, Dori, the kids and I went to Plimouth Plantation in Plymouth, then toured the Mayflower II. What a great time for kids and adults. We toured the English settlement circa 1627, where actors went about their business as they would have at that time. Three plantation residents ate a rooster over broth and bread with beets and talked about their day's expectations. Herb and vegetable gardens, livestock and chickens were all about the settlement, which overlooked Cape Cod Bay. It was marvelous ... photos later.

We also toured a Wampanoag settlement and talked with some of the Native People. Very interesting. Will loved the canoes. The Mayflower II, built in England in the mid-1950s, is an impressive replica. We toured the ship after a hearty meal in picturesque Plymouth. The town is lovely and the waterfront reminds us of parts of San Francisco.

Before dinner with Dori's relatives - Uncle Tim, Aunt Jean and Aunt Pru - the kids and I went to Falmouth, Woods Hole and the surrounding area to tour some of the Cape Cod Marathon course. I caught a glimpse of the first 10 miles and Miles 20-23. The first 10 are relatively flat, with some bumps, not unlike our Grassland-Harpeth River training run in Williamson County. The run along Sam Turner Road is gorgeous ... wow! We are in peak season right now, and the trees are lit up in color!

I showed the kids Woods Hole, gateway to Martha's Vineyard. Woods Hole is hilly. We'll take a look today at Sippiwissett, which is supposed to be challenging, and Nobska Light.

Today's weather is very windy and rain is in the forecast. Tomorrow morning, the winds are supposed to die down a little and the rain should end right before the race. Temps should be 50-55, with humidity in the 60-80 range.

How am I feeling? Physically, I'm 95%. I'm a tad tired, perhaps from fighting a minor cold. I've been scratchy in the throat and slightly sore. But it's not a big bug. I slept 10 hours last night and have been stretching my back and legs. Is this what I would like? Yes, it's better than I was before the Nike Half a year ago ... bronchitis and all.

My mind is in a good place. I'm a little anxious, but mostly eager to get at it. I have trained well. It is time to trust it all and give it my best.

Monday, October 19, 2009

In Case You Missed It

The news with the Kanzius Machine continues to be positive.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ready For Cape Cod

I essentially wrapped up marathon training with two good runs this weekend - eight steady miles early Friday morning and today's five miler at Radnor Lake. On the latter, I ran a 9:40/mile pace (one three-quarter mile hill) in cool, dry conditions. I'll run two, maybe three, short runs the next few days and shut down.

I am ready to run.

I know what's coming - a new barrier. My focus will be on pushing through that wall. On the other side is achievement, joining an elite few in our nation. Maybe 1% of Americans, if that, have completed a marathon.

I am running for many reasons. First, I am running for Dori. Hey, that's what this blog - and a big part of my life - is about. I am running for our children. Dori and I are trying to teach them, through example, there is no quit in us. Like Yoda said, there is no try, only do.

I am running for many people who inspire me. Like people who don't have the opportunity to do something like this, for whatever reason. I see them every day.

I am running for people who have accomplished or sacrificed far more than completing a marathon - like cancer survivors and fighters and people who died for our country. I will honor their courage.

Definitely, I am running for myself. I have conquered doubts before. Running a marathon has been over my head for a long time, maybe 20 years. I've thought of doing this, but didn't proceed for different reasons - an unhealthy lifestyle 15 years ago, lacking toughness at certain times, listening to doubters. I'm not interested in following anyone or anything anymore.

To complete the Cape Cod Marathon, I will need indomitable will, peace and focus on the morning of October 25. I will visualize pushing through pain, something Lance has taught many of us. Through experience, I know pain is temporary. I will need some luck, like avoiding any serious injury.

The last few days, I will be going through some progressions to be ready on race day. Eating well and hydrating, taking Vitamin C to keep away the bugs, reviewing the race course, stretching and resting, and such things.

Here are some facts and links of interest.

Elevation change is 2,118 feet, with half of that 1,058 feet of climb. See why I ran up Beersheba Mountain?
There are 1,041 entrants as of today, and this is the 32nd running.
The course has been rated in the Top 10 Most Scenic by Runner's World.

I've been asked by friends about race goals. Finishing is the goal. I'm interested in a respectable time, but I'm not putting one out there until I know raceday conditions.

It's almost time to chop wood!

Friday, October 16, 2009

FNF Returns

After a few weeks' hiatus, it's time to relight the Friday Night Flashback candle. If for nothing else, as a sign that some order has been restored over in this neck of the Web.

In this flu season, everyone needs The Fixx and The Cure.

Related remedies:

Red Skies
Just Like Heaven
Saved By Zero

In the same genre from others:

Here Comes The Rain Again
How Soon Is Now?
I Send A Message
The One I Love

Happy Friday!

Watch 60 Minutes This Sunday Night

A release from the folks at the Kanzius Foundation:

60 Minutes to Feature Kanzius Update

Sunday, October 18, 2009: For the third time in less than two years, Lesley Stahl will cover the progress and status of the Kanzius Non-invasive Radio Wave Cancer Treatment which has shown so much promise in the early stages of research.

60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl will revisit the cancer treatment she introduced in 2008 with interviews and video from Houston, Texas, Erie, Pennsylvania and Fort Myers, Florida.

CBS will broadcast Stahl's report this Sunday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. For more details, go to our web site at

I hope you will consider donating to this cause that has so much promise to cure all cancers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Lowdown

I drafted a pretty heavy post last night, pouring out my heart about the last two months. I never posted, respecting my wonderful wife. Some things are not meant for the worldwide web.

What I will say is the last two months have been tough for everyone. I am glad Dori continues to get better, slowly but surely. I did not enjoy the recent scare.

As they said on Wayne's World, "Let's move on."

I'm in the middle of this tapering thing. Tapering is hard, because it's a big shift from the ramp-up the previous four months. You can feel the energy building. One counter force is a small cold I've had since Sunday night. I'm eating wheat pasta, beans, chicken and hummus for dinners, Irish oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, and peanut butter sandwiches and the like for lunches. I'm hammering Vitamin C like a college freshman drinks beer.

I ran a few miles on the treadmill last night, staying out of a steady rain. Tonight, I ran six miles in the mist, a decent run. I'm really glad I ran the three miles up Beersheba Mountain. I'm still a tad sore in the quads, but the hill training will hopefully pay dividends October 25th. I certainly took hills with ease tonight. I only have a few more runs before Cape Cod, including an eight-miler Saturday.

Today, I saw Tim, who ran the Chicago Marathon. He recorded an impressive 4:24, despite a blister at Mile 6 and intense knee pain at Mile 23. Also impressive, he raised $7,200 for research for SCID, which his son has. Well done, Tim.

Will and I went to the Athlete's House today, a running store I like. I bought a new pair of Defyance shoes from Brooks for the race, along with a pair of running shorts, a case of lemon-lime GU and Body Glide. Will asked about the latter, which I described without ever using the word "chafing." Maureen, the very nice saleslady and a stellar marathoner (18 marathons and a PR of 2:53), chimed in where needed.

The shoes felt great tonight. I love new running shoes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Up the Mountain

I have lots to talk about, but will hit the heavy stuff on another post. For now, the focus is on running.

Our family, mother and sister in tow, went to the Cumberland Plateau this weekend to our little hideaway in Beersheba Springs. Normally, the overlook of nearly 1,000 feet is breathtaking. This weekend, it was rainy and foggy. We had a nice fire and great food, but no view.

I left the cabin at 8:30 Saturday morning to hit my last double-digit training run before the Cape Cod Marathon. Hard to believe it's two weeks away. Humidity was 100% and the temp was around 58 degrees. I ran on top of the plateau for the first 1.8 miles and then headed down the mountain. The elevation change was more than 900 feet down three winding miles. The grade was an average 6%, as high as 8% in spots.

My plan was to run back up the mountain on the return. My reasoning was twofold. I needed some climbs before Cape Cod, and I always wanted to run up a mountain like this.

At the base, the five-mile mark, I tacked on a mile out and back. The valley view was stunning, even in the mist. On the return, I started my ascend at seven miles. I went into a zone, just focused on working up the hill. After 1.2 miles, I did a brisk walking fuel and stretch, maybe for a minute. I renewed the run, getting in another mile before another brief stretch. With a mile to go to the peak, I told myself the work I was doing now would pay huge dividends in two weeks. I scaled Beersheba Mountain, averaging an 11:30/mile pace.

I had to take a real break at the top. I was spent. For a few minutes, I just walked. When my legs came back, I started running to compete the 12-miler. Around a bend, I saw five noticeable figures - my Mom, sister, Dori and the kids. They were headed to Beersheba Porcelain, a three-mile walk for them. The kids call it Pug Pottery because of the small dog that greets them at the door.

Speaking of the kids, they recorded personal bests at the final cross country meet yesterday afternoon. Will ran a 7:40 mile, finishing in the Top 20 for the first time this year (18th), while Kathryn ran a 7:35 mile, finishing 8th, a best by three spots. They looked strong.

I needed to run again last night, so I headed to Radnor Lake at dusk. I ran easy the first half, getting loose from Saturday's run. On the return, I floored it, running eight-minute miles, hardly feeling like I was working. I finished the 3.8 miles in 33:45, an 8:52/mile pace. Weekly mileage was 28.5. I'll taper this week into the low 20s, then almost shut down next week.

I am ready to run a marathon.

Congratulations, by the way, to my training friends who finished the Chicago Marathon yesterday. I saw finishing times for Sara, Jim, Joelle, Kathy, Erin and Rosemary. Way to go, gang.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

'Hans Lives Here'

Dori is home, and that's really cool. Pepper has been obsessing about her since she returned. He's treating her like the Alpha, which is fine with me.

The news below is uncool. Funny how little talk there is about personal responsibility in the healthcare debate.

OK, back to blog basics. Dori's sister Kathy sent her a great package today to celebrate her two-year transplant "birthday," which officially is Saturday. Kathy's note was heartfelt and perfect, only as sisters can write. I also loved the "Hans Lives Here" t-shirt. We will celebrate D-Girl's birthday more this weekend in style.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Home Tomorrow

Dori is scheduled to be discharged from the hospital tomorrow. I visited her at lunch today, and she looks very good. Her cough has gone from persistent a few days ago to semi-nagging today.

The kids have been fine, and I have been, too. It's just so damned quiet around here. Last night, I spent the night alone after a day trip for my job. My super-Mom kept the kids. Our deaf dog Pepper is a great companion, but he doesn't make much noise unless he's being rustled by the kids. The dryer tried to fein activity the last few days, but the house has been Serenity City.

For Dori, her respite has been a good thing. She's enjoyed it, in fact. We agree it's allowed her to review her insane schedule the past two months and reflect peacefully on life's priorities. Dori has asked my opinion during some brainstorming sessions. I'm encouraging only one thing ... that she ask a lot of questions of different leaders in her life before making any decisions about altering her schedule. What I do know is the current system isn't working for my favorite leukemia survivor.

Mom's help enabled me to get in my second run this week - a five-miler this morning. It took every bit of effort to get out of bed today. But I did it. The first mile was about blocking out how sleepy I felt. After that, I started moving better.

Isn't that what overcoming any challenge is? The beginning. Just address your fears, concerns and anxiety up front, and voila, the rest isn't nearly as challenging. I may revisit that thought at Mile 23 in three weeks.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

In the Hospital

With a still-fragile new immune system, Dori has been diagnosed with RSV, aka respiratory syncytial virus. RSV is common in very young children.

Due to this setback, she has been admitted to Vanderbilt. The doctors want to be sure the virus doesn't result in pneumonia. She could be there another four days, the staff has told her.

This is Dori's second setback in a month. The first was likely catching the H1N1. We're quite sure she caught that and the RSV through exposure at her school.

Dori knows I have been quite concerned she is working almost around the clock less than two years after her transplant. The RSV diagnosis could be a blessing. Dori is reflecting on how much of the apple she should be biting and chewing at this point.

My advice to her has been to gather all the information, then think about it. She may be able to postpone getting her Master's in Education, which would free up 15 hours a week.

For now, it's all about getting better at VUMC. At night, Dori sleeps under a tent and breathes special air. The kids and I brought her lunch today; we had to wear masks. Dori looks fine, just run down like you and I would after a long month. Her blood counts Friday looked excellent. We just need them to stay up there. With rest, a lighter schedule and some good blessings, I'm confident we'll be ok.

I am fortunate I have great family to support us, as well as some very good friends. The kids were at my Mom's Friday and Saturday, allowing me to catch up with some college buddies Friday night and tailgate before the Vanderbilt-Ole Miss game last night.

Dori actually called me at the tailgate yesterday afternoon to tell me she was on her way to VUMC. She insisted I stay with my friends. I did. At the game, I thought of three things - Dori's condition, the ineptitude of Vanderbilt's offense, and being sure not to let this news ruin my friends' weekend. I should add that Will asked some frank questions about his Mom's condition. I thought about Will's query a lot, too. The positive is he isn't internalizing this. But it sucks he has to ask what could happen.

Positively, I ran well early this morning, despite little sleep, in 48 degree weather. I completed the 13.3 in 2 hours, 19 minutes, a 10:28/mile pace. I did good work on some hills and simulated the race with shorter fuel and stretch breaks. It's easier to run through pain when you're processing tough news. It's almost like the running pain doesn't equate to the pain one experiences during significant setbacks and challenges in life.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Ground

Date Night was a total blast, as was sleeping in Saturday. I woke up at 4:30 to a lightning show and heavy rain. I hoped my running buddies bagged their run.

They did, and rescheduled for 6:00 this morning. Under clear skies and 57 degrees, Eddie, Jim and I were joined by Heather, Sara, Joelle and Kristen. The ladies were sniping about the cold ... Go figure! Team Chicago's plan was to run 13, as they are two weeks from their 26.2 in the Windy City. I hoped to run at least 19.

At Mile Two, a runner in his late 50s, looking fitter than Lance Armstrong, joined us. We could tell he was looking for company. So Mike joined us. Mike the Slacker has run 170 marathons and nearly 90 ultra marathons. I told him the only Ultra this group would ever do with him was a Michelob Ultra.

At Mile 10, Eddie, the only runner not signed up for a marathon, started talking like he wanted to run 20. We branched off, heading back on the Grassland course along Old Natchez Road and the Harpeth River, which was high from all the rain. The rest of the fun, feisty group, which included Jim, a lymphoma survivor, and Kristen, who had three heart surgeries when she was young, headed back to Grassland Elementary, our starting point.

Eddie and I found a rhythm. But around Mile 14 in some hills in the Montpier subdivision, Eddie's knee started to bother him. We settled on 10:15s, the pace Eddie and his swollen knee seemed to prefer.

At Mile 16, we hit the famed Old Natchez hill for the second time before turning right on Moran Road. I felt decent through 17.5. Eddie was hurting but showing guts. At 18.5, I started to feel it in my back. In fact, I was now feeling it all over. Eddie and I kept encouraging each other, finishing 19.6 miles in 3 hours, 30 minutes, a 10:44/mile pace. We made five pit stops, averaging five minutes at each. I won't have that luxury October 25th.

19.6 is a new milestone for me (by 3.6 miles) and for tough Eddie. The run was great preparation for the big kahuna in less than a month. I'm sore and have a mild headache. Otherwise, all is well. I will run one more long one soon and then start tapering.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Date Night

Running this week has been challenging. I think it's a combination of oppressive humidity, the cumulative effect of training and a minor cold.

Tonight is Date Night for Dori and me. Tomorrow, I won't be running in 72 degree dewpoint. Sunday looks better weather-wise.

Let the weekend begin, FNF-style. As a teenager, I stayed up late to watch The Avengers, a British series with Patrick Macnee and sorta Dori-look-alike, Diana Rigg (aka Emma Peel). Cool chick, cool series and a cool tune.

Musical project, The Traveling Wilburys, produced a super album circa 1988. Tom Petty, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan ... It's pretty hard to blow that up, proof positive here and here.

In the spirit of Date Night, some offerings that should resonate - Dori tunes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chased By Lightning

I woke up at 5, wanting very much to sleep in and certainly not run. But Hal Higdon's marathon training schedule said otherwise.

In my own early morning fog, I checked Heavy rain was approaching from the south. Using plotting skills perfected through many watches on the bridge of a naval warship - and too much coffee-induced analysis with quartermasters and boatswain's mates - I deducted the storm would arrive around 6 sharp, enough time for a four-miler.

At Mile Two, the lightning looked too close for comfort. Naval plotter was now running faster. Prudently, I veered on a side street, cutting off a half mile. At Mile Three, the thunder started. Lightning was closer. I wasn't happy. My body wasn't either. Running fast at 5:35 with sore muscles from a 16-miler over the weekend wasn't the equation I needed.

I cruised into the house, perspiring heavily. It's still muggy here. It's rained eight straight days, too, in spots. After a muggy weekend, the long-term forecast calls for fall-like temps. Bout da**ed time.

A reminder of what this is all about: Cape Cod Marathon preview

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nice Run!

Kathryn made a statement today in cross country.

After Will ran a 7:40/mile, an improvement from last week, Kathryn's group lined up for their run. Will noticed Kathryn jump out quickly from the pack of about 70 girls. "Look at Kathryn!" he yelled. "Wow," I agreed. "She looks determined."

As the group charged to the top of a hill at a quarter mile, I counted Kathryn in 13th place. Hope she stays up there, I thought. She's always been around the Top 20, but never in the Top 15. The girls disappeared, to return at about the .6 mile point.

Two or three fluid runners appeared, then a few more, then Kathryn. She was now 11th, with several girls right behind her. Powerfully, Dori yelled, "GO KATHRYN!!!" I noticed Kathryn running with purpose for the first time in her young life. Her posture was perfect, a slightly forward lean. Her breathing looked relaxed. Her arms and legs were in sync. Will and Dori noticed it, too.

"You look great! Keep it up!" we yelled. Pepper, showing school spirit decked in a red shirt, wagged his tail agreeingly.

As Dori and I jogged to the finish line, Dori asked, "Where is this coming from? Where did she get this?" I said, "Us." But it really is more than that. Kathryn has learned to battle, I said to myself. She has taken it upon herself to do this.

I wondered if she'd fade the last quarter mile. When I looked out on the course, I saw her staying near the front pack, which then disappeared around a bend.

The first three girls came in between 6:30 and 6:50. Then four more arrived. In the next pack, Kathryn was in a sprint, trying to catch a few girls. They held on, but so did she. She finished 11th (was it 10th?) in 7:35 on a very muggy day. Will stood at the exit to congratulate his sister. Dori beamed. I hung out with Pepper and focused on not getting too high from the performance. Kathryn has had some rough runs, and I'd made sure not to get down on her or let her mope. This was a new challenge.

When she saw me, she smiled. I smiled back, and gave her a knuckle-to-knuckle high five. "Awesome run, Kathryn." "Thanks, Dad," she said. Then she shared what her goal had been.

"I didn't want to lose sight of Mackenzie," her friend who finished third and one of the best 11-year-old athletes in Nashville.

Leaving the course, all I could think of was how delightful this was to share as a family. I thought of Dori's battle to get to this point and all the people who supported her. Kathryn performed well today. And Dori was here to see it.

Positive Trends

The kind of trends we like to see, in large part due to your charity and giving:

Cancer deaths among young declining
Young blood cancer patients living longer

Also positive: I'm not very sore today. Kathryn and I walked a ways to watch the Vanderbilt game last night. I think that helped.

Watching the Dores get smoked 15-3 didn't. We endured gross incompetence from Vandy's offensive coordinator, who acted like he never planned for blitz packages. Ever hear of a screen pass? Sheesh. Run it, dude.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wet One

Training for a marathon, obviously, eats up serious time. I woke up at 4:45, left the house at 5:40 and returned at 10:20. The run went well. I had planned to run 19, but settled on 16 for reasons to be described.

Our crew of 11 started at River Park in Brentwood, just south of Nashville. It's basically a mish-mash of greenway and sidewalks through nice neighborhoods. Conditions weren't optimal for a long run ... very humid and dewpoint in the low 70 range ... but we did have cloud cover (and a good chance of rain).

We lost our teammate Jim, who was having calf trouble, at Mile One. We saw deer in the dawn, the first of three sightings. At Mile Four, I was soaked. At Mile Six, my shoes were soggy from the sweat. At Mile Seven, the hills started. At Mile 11, the skies opened. It rained hard most of the last five miles. Funny, you don't notice it as much when you're already drenched.

Our pace was very conservative the first half ... averaging 11:35/mile. We mostly stuck together today, with few groups branching. Around Mile Nine, Sara picked it up, and Eddie and I followed. Kristen and Joelle stayed close. When the deluge began, Eddie wondered how many folks in passing cars thought we were crazy. "All of them," everyone said in unison.

At Mile 13, some decided to head back, while Eddie, Joelle and I decided to turn right to add miles. I wasn't interested in a 14-miler, nor was Eddie. The rains pounded, while the water ponded. Good-natured Eddie just laughed. I just ran. I decided to finish with Eddie, who was set on 16, rather than run 19. My feet were starting to feel like blistering was possible, and I reasoned 16 in soup is like 19 or 20 in drier conditions.

Final pace was 11:15/mile. I'm happy with it and the weekly mileage - 35.5. The group has 22 on their schedule next Saturday. Should be challenging.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Timeless Stones

I have that feeling I'm fighting a bug. Not much strength, but not too weak, either. C'mon, white blood cells. With another 8.5 miles in the bag (two runs), I'm at 19.5 going into the last run tomorrow.

It's that time. My weekly escape I present to you. Friday Night Flashbacks.

Excellent rendition of a classic, before Ann Wilson went Crazy on Potato Chips and the boys in the band decided tight pants weren't so comfy.

Some zombie coolness circa 1985 from an underrated Philly band, a good one and another from the Stones, and your knight in shining armor and some shelter ...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trader Joe's to the Rescue

About a year ago, a running friend told me Trader Joe's was going to open a store in Nashville. She was jazzed, almost disturbingly so. I filed it away, promising myself I would pay a visit after the grand opening.

Before our neighborhood TJ's opened, Dori, the kids and I visited a TJ's in Sante Fe. Nice store, I thought, as we breezed through to pick up a few things. But nothing to write home about.

Today, my eyes get as wide as my running friend's when I start talking about Trader Joe's. The food? Well, it's Wonka-scrumpdeli-icious and mostly healthy. The service? Quite good. The convenience? With Dori's new job and hectic schedule, we don't have the time for making home-cooked meals, but we still have the time to eat them! We've had some great Indian and Italian the last couple of nights.

What's in a running boy's diet from such a fine establishment? Italian-style deli turkey and asiago cheese sandwiches, hummus and lots of it, chocolate milk for recovery after long runs, the best chile pepper sauce I've ever had, Irish oatmeal and dried blueberries (o-my-god), dry roasted almonds, Greek-style yogurt, and the list goes on.

On this good fuel, I've started the week with a so-so solo eight-miler and a three-miler with Mighty Pepper. I had to stretch twice on the longer run and fuel with a GU energy gel. I'm pretty sure I was still asleep the first few miles. This morning's run with Peps was easy, even in 100% humidity. Rain is supposed to linger through Friday. Saturday is a big training day.