Sunday, March 13, 2011

Another Tom King

While Dori was training for her upcoming half marathon yesterday morning, I ran the Tom King Half Marathon.

I almost didn't run, since my step aunt passed away a few days ago. I wanted to be with my mom, who was close to her, at yesterday's funeral. Mom and Anne told me I should run, so I joined Mom at Friday evening's visitation, while Anne accompanied Mom to the funeral.

At the start line, I saw a running buddy, Jack, who is very good friends with Jim, the lymphoma survivor I've mentioned before. Jack and Jim are running the Dublin, Ireland marathon later this year. I had planned to run easy at the start, a 10:30/mile pace the first six miles, so I could negative split. But we ran 9:50s the first four miles. With my lack of serious training, I knew I would pay later.

Under bright sunny skies and with a brisk southerly wind, the course warmed quickly. Too warm for me in fact. Jack pressed forward as I dropped my pace slightly. Before the 10K turnaround, I saw friends Joel, who coaches our kids in cross country, and Donna, whose husband is my best friend from high school. Both ran stellar times.

I felt fine through eight miles, a litle winded at 9 and tired at 10. I took a two-minute bathroom break and rehydrated, then pressed on at a slower pace. Since I had no goal except a respectable finish, I didn't wig. I felt anything between 2:15 and 2:20 would be acceptable. Heck, I ate french fries and fried green beans Wednesday at lunch. See what I mean when I said I didn't train hard?

At Miles 11 and 12, the latter of which had a water station, I walked very briefly. At the end, I felt good enough to kick the last quarter mile, finishing in 2:19. My Garmin said I ran 13.3 miles, a 10:29 pace. The race was a reminder of how respectable 13.1 is and how awesome it is to complete 26.2.

Will and I went to the Predators hockey game last night, and hot chicken and beer never tasted so good. We arrived home at 10, and it took me no more than five minutes to fall asleep. A day well spent.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Beautiful Getaway

Dori and I spent last weekend in Walland at the elegant and comforting Blackberry Farm, nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. The resort is way out of our price range, but fortunately two dear friends gifted the weekend to us. TG and MBG, you guys are amazing to share that farm with us! You can probably tell Dori had a grand time from the photo.

The getaway couldn't have come at a better time. We needed a break and time to be a couple. Not a parent or an employee, but a couple. No phones, computers, or complaints. Just the two of us, talking, listening and smiling.

The dinners were beyond fabulous. We've never had better service in our lives. Dori had a world-class facial and pedicure. I caught 10 rainbow trout, including a stout 22-incher, and hiked the steepest mountain I've ever scaled. My heartbeat was racing on the arduous ascent, but descending was the greatest challenge. For about 300 yards, I had to take two steps and catch a tree to avoid falling down the mountain. My feet burned, but I loved the thrill and challenge.

Dori asked me the highlight of the weekend, and honestly, riding in our golf cart (they take away your car) to dinner at their elegant barn was a great memory. The best part was being with my wife, a survivor. Last summer was a horrible nightmare. I prefer the other side of this dream.

I hope these photos capture the beauty and tranquility of this East Tennessee property. God is indeed good.