Sunday, February 27, 2011

When Bad Is Good

Dori walked seven miles yesterday with her friend Renee. She's continuing her Saturday morning half-marathon training for Gilda's Club, and thanks to many of you, is the number three fundraiser out of 100-plus teammates. Dori and Renee said they realized yesterday that seven miles really is a respectable distance, wondering how some folks even run that far.

I was wondering the same thing at the seven-mile mark of my 11-mile run yesterday. I struggled almost the whole run, even though conditions were good - sunny and 45-50 degrees. Part of it was lack of sleep the night before and stress ... work and home activities are as busy as they've ever been. Finding time to relax and recharge right now is difficult, though Dori and I are planning a get-away.

I think that's why I'm taking the positive approach about yesterday's underperformance. I walked briefly at Mile 10 up a steep hill, then finished the run. It took me two hours to run 11 miles, which is slow for me. But I finished realizing I had managed to run 11 miles. That's a long way.

Am I ready to run a good half marathon in two weeks? Probably not, but I'm going to run it, unless the weather is awful. As hard as the last month has been, training has helped me. I'm not running for accomplishment these days. Running is helping me chase away anxiety, stress and negativity. That's what my next race is about.

Will and I did manage to enjoy some college baseball yesterday afternoon, watching Vanderbilt rally to beat Stanford 8-7. We love being together at the ballpark. We're heading over there again, weather permitting, and then I'll work tonight in preparation for a busy week.

Last night, we joined Anne and her husband for some fine food Mom prepared from Emeril Lagasse's Farm to Fork cookbook - bay, thyme and rosemary roasted potatoes with smoked paprika, roasted brussel sprouts with garlic, lemon zest and fresh parm-reggiano, tuscan kale with white beans and tomatoes, a tender chicken with zucchini and carrots that melted in our mouths, and grilled French bread. I sipped on a Spanish rose and then a French red from the Ventoux region, good paring choices.

It took me three breaths and two winks to fall asleep last night. It's easy to be grateful for days like yesterday.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Out of the Gates

Dori and I are talking about money, so I'd rather blog about something else. She did laugh, when I just read that to her. Dori reminded me our daughter is going to college in five years, as we're planning a summer vacation. I want to spend a couple of hundred extra dollars for a nicer cabin, but I think I'm going to lose. Maybe I'll remember this moment when we stroke a check to Vanderbilt or Stanford in 2016.

So let's talk about winning. Dori has raised more than $2,000 in her first serious week of fundraising for Gilda's Club for her half marathon. She scoffed when I suggested her initial $750 goal was too low. I thought, "Man, if I wasn't your husband and knew you otherwise, I'd stroke a $100 check pronto, knowing what you've been through and what you're now doing."

I like the bar high. Especially for great causes like Gilda's. They do a great job helping families deal with cancer's devastating effects. We should know, and do. Here's the link again, if you're so inclined.

Work is crazy busy, but fun right now. The challenge is maintaining balance and coping with stress. I've only run once this week so far, a five miler at 5 a.m. with Pepper. It was cool and quiet, and we watched a stunning red-orange-pink sunrise. I think even Pepper knew it was special.

To run a half in two weeks, I'll need to run a really long one Saturday. I might do 12 or 14 miles, depending on the mood.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dori's Walk

My girl posted a little message on CaringBridge tonight. She would appreciate any support!

Hello dear friends!

I’m continuing to recover and improve from last summer’s relapse. I’m enjoying work again, appreciating my family and daily routine, and making physical strides, so much so that I’m planning to walk a half marathon.

After getting a “go for it” from my doctor, I decided to begin training to walk the Music City Half Marathon April 30. I am training with Gilda’s Club and fundraising for them. Founded by Gilda Radner, Gilda’s Club provides support and resources to those affected by cancer. Nashville is one of 21 cities that are fortunate to have this phenomenal organization.

I have read many stories of cancer survivors that partake in marathons and half marathons. Why is this common amongst survivors? I have been mulling over that question and asking myself why I’m doing this. These are some of my reasons:

~ I am no longer attached to an IV pole and restricted to where I can walk.
~ My leg muscles are coming back after being assaulted by steroids. I remember when I returned home this past August and it was a feat to walk on the treadmill for a mere five minutes.
~ I am honoring my special friends who have travelled this journey with me, such as Chuck and Sarah, who are cheering for me from heaven.
~ I absolutely love Gilda’s Club. All of its services are free, which is extremely helpful to those of us who receive a new medical bill every week or so. The programs are top-notch and worthwhile; my entire family has benefited from our time spent there.
~ I am hoping that by raising funds for Gilda’s Club, the dollars help some family that gets blindsided by cancer this year.

If you would like to donate any amount of money to this fabulous organization, please click on the following link:

Thank you for the support that you have given me!

Love, Dori


Parents are the teachers of children, but sometimes we learn as much, if not more, from our children.

My life seems to go very well, even during chaotic times, if I keep my priorities straight - God-Family-Job-Eveything Else. If I jumble them, I seem to wander, even struggle. I recall how my teenage years were like wandering through wilderness and wasteland.

I'm watching it all unfold before my eyes again. It's not only a teaching moment for the pupil, but also a strong reminder for the teacher.

I have shared some very personal moments with my loved ones, even telling them I've been afraid at times. But unlike my earlier years, I know what to do, or at least what I'm supposed to do.

I've shared that as much as I love my wife, loving God is more important. I've shared my belief I must acknowledge, thank and seek comfort from God's grace and peace as often as possible. And I know I can do it better than I am. There's always room for improvement.

Now is always the time to make good things happen. There may be no "later."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

On the Road Again

Running this week went well. After last Sunday's five-miler, I ran three early Wednesday and five late Thursday, much of it on icy roads with Pepper. We took our time on slick spots.

With a half marathon on next month's calendar, I decided it was time for a long run, 10 miles. I need about three of these to be able to complete 13.1 respectably. Yesterday's weather was perfect, high 30s and a slight breeze. The first 3.5 went well. I stretched, hydrated and ran another 3, before repeating break activities and taking an energy gel. Paced by iPod selections, I continued to feel good, almost like I've been training seriously, which I haven't been.

At nine miles, I reached a steep hill that gradually abates over a half mile. I took it slow, coming off my 10-minute pace. I wobbled home, realizing 13.1 is going to be the challenge it almost always is. But 23 miles this week is a good effort, and this week's weather is supposed to be great.

Dori walked five miles yesterday. She is making tremendous progress now. Her hair is getting thicker, and her early morning vibrancy and improved stamina are daily gifts. She went to the Vanderbilt-Kentucky game yesterday with her good friend Liz (good guys won 81-77), and then joined me at the school gym for back-to-back games.

Kathryn's game was noteworthy in that her group almost upset the first place team by playing tenacious defense. They lost by four, but are getting more competitive each week. With some improved scoring and better ball-handling against the press, her team, which was getting run off the floor in early December, could surprise a good team in the upcoming tournament. We're proud of her toughness and scrap, and her desire to learn and get better.

Here's a photo from last week's Super Bowl party at our church. I told you she looks great! That plate of BBQ will not be on the training table the next few weeks.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Repair Job

One of the more popular verses in scripture, especially around hospitals, is Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Several times the last few years, Dori came across this verse randomly. John, our good friend from Ohio, loves the verse; a few years ago, he sent Dori a colorful plate with the words inscribed. She liked the gift very much and hung it on our kitchen wall. It's been there since, until a few days ago when Dori, a bit groggy from a week's worth of vidaza treatments, clipped the plate as she was putting on her robe. I heard it crash and break.

I'm generally not superstitious, but tossing the shattered plate wasn't an option. This weekend, I've been working patiently with Gorilla Glue to assemble the broken pieces. It isn't going to fit perfectly, but it will be on our wall again soon, an important symbol of hopeful words that have helped carry Dori this far. She thanked me this morning, recognizing the meaning of what I was doing.

Like the plate, we've been slowly reassembling the pieces of our lives. We will never be the same, but in many ways, better. Just like the plate. It may not look like something you'd buy now in a store. But it's our plate, and we love it where it is.

I played Friday in the annual parent-student basketball game at our kids' school. It's an event I enjoy very much, especially with Kathryn now old enough to play for the girls' team. She played well against the moms. This was the first year the 7th-8th grade boys' team gave the dads a game. We had to work to hang with them, with mixed results in two quarters of play.

My lack of conditioning showed toward the end of play. Early on, I scored three baskets and pulled some rebounds, but at the end of the last quarter threw up an airball and dropped a pass for an easy lay-up. My legs felt like rubber when I tried to set my feet.

Kathryn came up to me after the game, and said, "Daddy!" I knew what she was saying. "What was that?" I encouraged her to remember the earlier plays, but knew she wouldn't. Thankfully, I recovered enough to run five miles this morning. At age 45, I accept I'm not what I used to be on a basketball court, but I'm in good enough shape to enjoy this time in my life, which is important to me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Quotes of the Week

Dori made two statements last weekend that have remained in my mind.

"Oh. yes I do." - Dori's response to a statement by an arthritic old lady, once she was out of earshot, who said we didn't want to become old like her.

"I love a lot of people." - Her response to my statement: "A lot of people love you." She said this after we left a wine tasting, where Dori was a big hit at a very fun gathering of friends we hadn't seen in a spell.

Dori's vidaza treatments are going fine. She will receive more today and tomorrow, and then one more round in three weeks. She's a little tired but side effects are minimal.