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.