Thursday, January 31, 2008

January 2008 Down, 2 1/2 Months To Go

This is the graph of my training runs for January from the site I log my runs on, RunningAHEAD. This is the highest monthly milage total I have EVER ran. Did you know you can spell milage either as that or, mileage? I had to look it up. I had a nice even total of 170.0 miles for a total run time (not including warm ups and cool downs) of 26 hours 16 minutes and 27 second (26:16.27). I'm stunned. Not that long ago I would have never envisioned myself doing this kind of milage in a month. I keep this up (which I have to for the next 2 1/2 more months) and I'll have to change shoes more frequently than I change oil in my car.

Today I got in 8.30 miles to get my 8 miler in for tomorrow that I don't think I will be able to due to the incoming winter storm and then the 0.30 was to keep tied with Marion in our pace groups. Our street is conveniently three tenths of a mile long so, when I finished up my run I just kept running to the end of the street and then jogged and walked back to the house for a cool down (or coo-down if your from the Columbus-area and don't pronounce your "l's").

So far, I'm fairing pretty well too. I've been having some minor aches with my right knee and the tendon behind it on the right, and a little bit with the inside part of my right lower leg going down to my ankle. Most of the bothersome aches go away during the course of a run though and have not gotten worse. For an older guy, I think I am doing/holding up pretty well though, and am thankful for that. I think if I could somehow find the time to add in some high rep light weight training that would help my right knee issues tremendously. I just can't seem to get to it though.

Thanks to everyone for cheering me on so far! I sincerely appreciate it! You help to keep me motivated! Keep it up! ;-)

Hopeful News for the Zachrich Family

Bob Zachrich is my manager at Grange Insurance and I related the story of his wife, Bettyjo, and her trials since cervical spine surgery 10 months ago a couple of posts ago here. They recently traveled to The Cleveland Clinic to see if a surgeon there could help them with the wound in her esophagus. Bob just posted the results of Bettyjo's consultation and course of action for Bettyjo on the Zachrich Family Times blog. You can read of what transpired by clicking on that link.

Bob, Bettyjo, Brenda, and Emily, rest assured that many folks are thinking about and praying for you and that this procedure will put an end to this trial you have endured for so long. God be with you all. ;-)

End of January

It's the last day of the month, wow! I didn't run 4 yesterday like I was supposed to. The wind was just too much and it was brutally cold all day. I think it only got up to 19, but the wind chills were in the sub-0 range all day with 20+ mph winds gusting even higher all day. It was just out and out nasty! I got my work done, did some homework (lovely CPCU stuff, ugh), had a D.C. appointment, then took Linds to her foot doc appointment, then to b-ball practice.

So I'll try and get a run in today when I get back from being on the road today, though today is a scheduled day off. I can't let Marion get too far ahead of me. Although, the way I felt yesterday, I didn't really care. I feel better today though so, we'll see if the turtle can pull a rabbit out of his hat today. I will end up with the most monthly mileage I have ever done whether I run today or not though, and I am guessing Marion will have too. You've been doing awesome in your running Marion! She's in the home stretch to her Myrtle Beach marathon now, which is only 14 days away! How exciting!

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Both a Blessing and a Curse

So, here's a pic of Chels and the little purple BarneyMobile Neon that she drives. The kids were on a 2 hour delay this morning due to the bitterly cold freezing temps, the high winds, and patchy-icy road conditions. Chels drives to school everyday and takes Linds with her. So, they leave around 8:55 a.m. and head off to school, after I had gotten her frozen car doors opened, started and warmed up the car, kissed them both goodbye, and warned Chels to be extra-cautious as the roads had patchy spots of ice on them. She gives the customary acknowledgement and... off they go to school.

Well, as most of you know, I am a Firefighter/EMT in our township which is both a blessing and a curse in knowing what tragic things are going on in the community, and... about 5 minutes after Chels and Linds had pulled out of the driveway, my pager goes off for a two vehicle auto accident at the intersection of Temperance and Jackman Roads with at least two victims. My pulse quickens and my mind starts racing... "didn't Linds tell me one time that they ALWAYS go up Temperance Road to go to school", "they didn't give any vehicle descriptions of the vehicles involved in the accident when they dispatched us, did they?!?", "how many victims did they say there were... two?!?", "Oh my gosh! What if this is Chels and Linds". My heart instantly is racing faster than it ever does even after the hardest of runs and uncontrollably so as adrenaline is pulsed throughout my body and my breaths are ever-increasing.

I snatch up wallet and cell phone in case I should need to call their mother from the scene, put my hat and coat on, and head to the garage to head to the fire station. It's like everything is in slow motion, my actions, the garage door going up, getting to the end of our road, the vehicle in front of me that won't get out of the way. Finally, I get to the station and bolt to my gear rack as I'm shouting to my house officer that Chels and Linds just left for school 5 minutes before this call came in and he shouts back that his son, Justin, had just left as well, and goes the same way to school. I snatch my gear off the rack as others are filing in and donning theirs' and heading to appartus to respond to this call. I jump aboard our rescue unit and gear up enroute to the scene.

As we approach the scene I'm nervously straining to see out of the windshield from the back of the rig and can see that it is not exactly at the intersection we were dispatched to, but a side street intersection west of it! No purple Neon! WHEW!!! I collect myself, thank God for sparing my girls and Justin, we arrive on scene, and I begin to attend to one of the victims pinned in her vehicle in the bitter cold with another firefighter, shifting my relieved concern from my own kids, to someone else's now.

Thanks, Lord, for protecting my girls this morning.

Lindsey's Game Yesterday

This is the best picture I got of Lindsey in her first basketball game. The lighting wasn't very good in the gym. She's actually getting double-teamed in the pic here. She was a bit nervous, but did really well in the peripheral apsects of the game, like rebounding, defense, and assists. I think now that the first game jitters are out, she and her teamates will only improve. Their team won the game 13 - 5. Congratulations Lindsey and teamates on a solid first game!

Bettyjo Zachrich

My manager's wife, Bettyjo, was to have had a cervical spine vertebral fusion before Easter last year. There were complications in the surgery in which a metal disc that was placed in her neck ended up eroding a hole in her esophagus allowing ingested matter to leak out her neck. Several weeks after the surgery they finally found what had happened and she has essentially been on a feeding tube ever since. She has battled infection and had one or two subsequent surgeries on her neck and even underwent hyperbaric chamber treatments recently in order to try and get the still existing wound in her neck/espophagus to heal. Everything has failed to date.

Bob, my manager, and Bettyjo traveled to Cleveland yesterday and are to see an ENT surgical specialist at the Cleveland Clinic who specializes in rebuilding the esophagus of esophagial cancer patients for either evaluation or pre-op examination for possible reconstruction of her esophagus. The Zachrich family, Bob and Bettyjo, and daughters, Brenda and Emily (who are very close in age to my girls), have understatedly been through a mountain of trials over the past 10 months or so. I just wanted to let them know that I, and many of my friends and family in the Toledo-area and more, are thinking about them and their family today and praying that this surgeon will be able to help Bettyjo in her recovery. May God bless you Zachrich family and restore you, Bettyjo. You are in my prayers.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Caution - Rick, Err, I Mean Turtle Crossing

I actually took this pic today when I was out on inspections. I was heading to Shelby Township from Clinton Township in Macomb County (north of Detroit) driving kind of along/parallel to the Lake St. Clair lakeshore, when I drove by the Metro Beach Metropark entrance drive and saw this sign! I couldn't believe it! I actually turned around to drive into the park to get a picture of it for Marion, who is fast like a hare, and me... the prodding turtle. So Mar, I finally found a place where I can run and be protected from the traffic and fast little hares. Metro Beach Park... here me and my turtle runnin' shoes come! WOOT!

It was an awesome day. My 8 mile run this morning was done in 45 degree temps and went very well. I probably could have ran in shorts had I thought to do so. It was beautiful running this morning, the shoulders were clear of snow and mostly clear of ice, and SOFT, and the wind, while substantial, was not a factor for me given the directions I was traveling. My hips felt much better today than yesterday after Saturdays long run which did them in a bit, and I had no other "physical" issues.

I got pretty much everything I wanted to accomplish inspection-wise done, got a return phone call from my college roomate - I've only left him two voice mails in the last two months! - so it was great hearing from him and catching up on what he was up to and how his family was doing, and got home in time to see Lindsey play her first league basketball game. She didn't score I don't think, had several shot opportunities that didn't go, but she did very well otherwise on defense, rebounding, and had a couple of assists. Went from her game to church for a vocal rehearsal and then home for pizza and greek salad. Yum! Then, finished off the evening watching the goofy folks on American Idol with the family and helped Linds with some homework.

So, there you have it... the summary of an awesome day. I hear the wind howling outside right now though and the temps are a-dropping. Supposed to storm overnight, winds gusts to 40 mph, and dropping temps to 12 degrees with windchills down to -20 they're (the brilliant meteorologists) saying. The one day winter reprieve was nice while it lasted. Tomorrow is a 4 mile day. If the winds are what they say they are to be, I may not get out. We'll see.

Lindsey's First Game!

Lindsey's basketball team has their first game this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. against Saline at home. She and her teamates had to dress up today for school for their game. She was pretty calm and collected about this first game and I just pray she continues to be. She should be, she works VERY hard at everything she does, and is always well-prepared for the challenges she faces. Nonetheless, I will be praying for her throughout the day to do her best and, most importantly, have fun playing. If you think of it, keep her in your thoughts and prayers as well today too... especially come 4:00 p.m.!

Linds, you're awesome and you're gonna do just great! Remember to follow your shot, box out, keep the person you're defending in front of you, and stay between the player you're guarding and the ball. Most importantly, always remember that I love you NO MATTER WHAT!! <3


Monday, January 28, 2008

Scheduled 4 Miles In

I got my scheduled 4 miles in this morning and my hips were none too happy with me from Saturday's 16 mile run. At the moment, I am a SCANT 2 tenths, that's 2/10 or 0.20, of a mile ahead of my running pal, Marion, in our monthly mileage! It's neck and neck. She completed her 20 mile run this past Saturday in preparation for her Bi Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon coming up on February 16, 2008 and did an awesome job of it! She rocked her 20 miler! Way to go Mar!

Other running pal, Sara, ran a half marathon race down in St. Louis in prep for her St. Louis marathon on April 6, 2008 and rocked that race to a 2:09:50 personal record (PR in running lingo) in a race that she thought she was doing terrible in! Way to go Sara!

It was 19 degrees when I ran this morning. This afternoon it got to 43. Tomorrow we have a chance of thunderstorms!?! Wacky weather. It's supposed to be in the 40's again tomorrow and then in the 20's the following day.

I've also developed a cold in the last day or so, which was inevitable since everyone around me seems to be sick. So, I'll be dealing with that for the next week or so.

I have 8 miles scheduled for tomorrow. Looks like I may be runnin' in the rain. Beats trying to run in the snow. Have a good night and great Tuesday everyone!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

No Run Today... I Don't Think

The day's not over, but I don't think that I will do any kind of a run today. Amazingly, I am not as sore as I thought I may have been from completion of yesterday's 16 mile long run. Early on my thighs were a bit sore, right knee and tendon behind it on the right were as well. My hips have gotten a bit sore too, but nothing like what I thought I may be feeling like today. I had considered doing a 3 - 4 mile very easy recovery run, just to loosen up a bit, but I kinda think just resting may be best for me today. I have 4 miles scheduled for tomorrow on my training plan, then 8 on Tuesday.

I really thought I might be feeling like this today after my run yesterday:

I know... I'm going a little crazy with this "YouTube" stuff. Sorry, I can't help myself!

"I Love You"

This was the final message in Pastor Mark's series, "The World's Most Powerful Phrases" today in church. Did you know that everyone has a primary love language? This is the thing that speaks most into their life. According to Dr. Gary Chapman there are 5 categories of primary love languages:

1. Words of Affirmation (my number 1 or 2 love language)
2. Quality Time (Tammy's number 1 or 2 love language)
3. Receiving Gifts (on neither of our lists)
4. Acts of Service (high in Tammy's list as well)
5. Physical Touch (both my and Tammy's other number 1 or 2 love language)

Now, let me explain each just a bit. Words of affirmation is pretty self-explanatory, but essentially means that you are noticing things about someone else and affirming them. It's saying to them, "I believe in you."

Quality time, while appearing simple on the surface, requires that one give undivided attention to the person whom this speaks most highly to. This is something that I struggle with... I listen, but I don't hear. There is no multi-tasking when it comes to quality time, it is simply leaning into the other person and really hearing what they or their heart is saying to you.

Receiving gifts is just that simple. Some people feel valued by receiving gifts. The neat thing is, it doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive, just meaningful. It shows to the person that this is the evidence of your love for them.

Acts of service is pretty simplistic as well in that it is just that, doing something for someone. Even if it is against your nature (like cleaning the bathroom, doing the dishes, or doing the laundry), you do it for the other person non-begrudgingly (is that a word... any English majors out there?) as a display of love for someone.

Ahh, and last, but certainly not least, physical touch. I would have to think that this would be relatively high on most of the guys' lists of love languages, but here's the deal guys... it isn't just about sex. It's being emotionally connected through touch. It's physical displays of affection like a loving kiss on your wife's forehead, rubbing her shoulders as she's standing at the kitchen sink, holding her hand on a walk, kissing the nap of her neck, caressing her back, or stroking her hair. I would think if you are physically tender with your wife, and this speaks to her love language, that the more intimate l'amour may be around the corner as well. Nudge, nudge.

Pastor Mark pointed out that "the language of the listener is the only language that matters" in our relationships with people. You have to set aside the thoughts of your own primary love languages and "speak" the language that is most meaningful to the other person, even when it is not in your nature to do so.

He also said that people need to hear the words, "I love you." Your husband, wife, kids, family, and friends need to hear this from you. I have to honestly say, and I think my family would agree, that I am very good about this. Where I may stumble however, is in the second aspect of saying I love you in affirming it with my actions.

I don't always, ok I fail miserably and often, hear what Tammy or the girls are saying to me because I have my mind on a thousand other things at the time, or I don't spend the time that they would want to spend with me because I am too busy serving other interests or people. Shame on me. I have gotten better over the years, but I still have to work on loving through my actions and not just through my words. Which brings up a great verse from the Bible in 1 John 3:18 which says, "Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions." Or, my favorite version of this verse from another Bible translation, which states the verse this way, "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth."

Finally Pastor Mark concluded the message by reiterating that everyone close to us, spouse, children, family, dear friends, has a primary love language. It's our duty in loving them properly to find it and speak it to them. I've been blessed to discover what my wife and kids' primary love languages are, I just need to do a better job of speaking it to them.

Thanks for the great messages on "The World's Most Powerful Phrases" series these past several weeks, Pastor Mark. They certainly have spoken into my life.

An awesome resource for today's message, and one that Tammy and I both read together, is the book "The Five Love Languages", by Gary Chapman, PhD. It will work wonders in your relationships.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"The Face of Love"

I'm part of the worship team at CrossRoads Community Church in Ottawa Lake, MI and have the privilege of doing the song "The Face of Love", by the band Sanctus Real, tomorrow as part of our services. Pastor Mark's continuing his series on "The World's Most Powerful Phrases" and tomorrow the phrase is, "I Love You." It is such an honor and a blessing to me to be a part of this team at CrossRoads. Some very God-gifted folks there that never cease to astonish me with their abilities. Have a listen to the tune I'm doin' and wish me luck or pray for me if so inclined. Thanks!

Team Cassy Completes 16 Miler!

WOOOHOOOOO! I just ran the furthest I have EVER run! We did it Cass! WOOT! I got up around 6:50 a.m., got the coffee going, went to my office to get a little work done while I "woke up" and got the kinks out. Got a bowl of oatmeal made and drizzled it with honey. Snagged my cup of coffee, read my Daily Bread for the day as I ate my oatmeal and drank my coffee.

It had snowed overnight, not a lot, just enough to cover the roads, about an inch or so, which I wasn't too keen on as it would make the footing bad for my run. I had somewhat of a route mapped out in my head last night. It was 21 degrees with light snow and light winds when I headed out. Tammy was going to meet me at the fire station at about mile 8.5 - 9 to give me some water. When I left, I had forgot my gels, which are nutritional supplements for energy in a little foil packet kind of the consistency of yogurt. They have carbs and electrolytes in them to help fuel your muscles. So, I altered my route a hair and went to the fire station right away, which is about a half mile from our house and called Tammy and asked her to bring the two gel packs I had forgotten with her as well, which she agreed to do.

The first 5 miles were pretty uneventful, just trying to loosen up and keep a steady pace and not get hit by any sliding vehicles driving entirely too fast on the slippery roads. Fortunately there was not a lot of traffic for the first half of my run. I did have to dodge a couple of snow plows on the street side of the road. Had I not and gone left of them toward the shoulders, I would have been sprayed with snow and salt.

The next several miles my legs were getting a little tired from running in the snow I think. I was looking forward to meeting Tammy at the firehall and was ready for a gel and some water. About mile 6.5 I was thinking about Cassy and thought that when I run the marathon, I will have on my shirt, "Team Cassy", to kind of "take her along with me." Of course, everytime I start thinking about her on my runs, I start balling like a child that got his favorite toy taken away and can't breath right until I calm myself down and get back focused again. Oh, and WXKR played "Every Breath You Take" again today by The Police. What the heck?!? How do they think that is classic ROCK?!? All I can think about is making out with Tammy in highschool or dancing with her, not kickin' some butt while running, when I hear that. I'm gonna have to call or e-mail that radio station.

So, miles 9 through 12 of the run were pretty brutal in that I was out in the countryside, Crabb Road from Temperance to Sterns for those of you who know the area, which is largely open, fields and rural lot homes, and I could definitely feel the difference in the temp and winds. This was the "hunker down and get through it" part of the run. When I got to 12 and could "see the light at the end of the tunnel" and was still feeling pretty good, other than my legs getting tired, I was pretty optimistic. Miles 12 to 14 were pretty steady and I was just kind of "in a zone" or "zoning out" as it may have been and just kinda felt like I was on auto-pilot, as I couldn't really even feel my legs moving at times. The last two miles, I still had gas in the tank, so I tried to kick it up a notch to finish strong and burn off some of the lactic acid which builds up in your muscles after prolonged or strained activity. WXKR did have some redemption in that the song I finished my run to was "Living on the Edge" by Aerosmith. Just slightly ironic.

Here are my pace per mile split times, which I am VERY happy about with respect to the consistency given I was running in snow:

1: 9:50
2: 9:58
3: 10:12
4: 10:08
5: 10:05
6: 10:09
7: 10:12
8: 10:13
9: 10:07
10: 9:59
11: 10:06
12: 9:57
13: 10:00
14: 9:49
15: 9:43
16: 8:58

Total running time: 2:39:23
Average pace per mile: 9:59

Tammy had done a 5 mile run (so Team Cassy actually did 21 miles today, since she is VERY much a part of the team) and was shoveling the driveway for me when I got back. She rocks! I finished off with a light jog down our road of about a half mile and then walked for a bit, stretched, Gatorade, and now here doing this. So, there you have it folks... 16 miles. Only 9 more long runs to go before the race.

Have a great day and weekend everyone! :-)

Friday, January 25, 2008

More Inspiration

In case the former post wasn't enough, I thought of Dick Hoyt and his son, Rick, who also developed cerebral palsy after birth. Dick, at the request of Rick, entered a benefit race sometime in the middle stages of his life. They have since gone on to run more than 600 races, including countless marathons and several Ironman Triathalons in which Dick swims 2.5 miles with Rick in tow in a boat, then bikes 110 miles with Rick is a special seat on the front of the bike, and then, Dick pushes Rick while running a marathon, 26.2 miles, to finish the triathalon. I first heard and saw the inspirational story of Team Hoyt at a "Promise Keepers" weekend in Columbus back in 2003. Truly an inspiration and the epitome of sacrificial love for a child. Please have a look at this.

Keep on Rollin'

My longest run to date, 16 miles, is scheduled for tomorrow. Cassy, you'll be on my mind a lot tomorrow morning! :-)

I've done two runs of 14 miles to date in my training, one of which was good and I felt pretty confident from, and one, not so good, causing the self-doubts and anxiety to creep in and the confidence to wane. So, I was sitting here contemplating what tune I could listen to to kind of psyche myself up. I listen to classic rock when I run and got to thinking about some of the songs that I like to hear that inspire me to run and came up with this classic by REO Speedwagon, a great tune to run by:

I'm hoping to get up early, do some work, eat some oatmeal with honey, have a cup of coffee and some water, make sure mother nature has been taken care of (I know, tmi, but these things have to be taken care of before you're 10 miles out into a run!), and then lace up and head out by 8 or 9. I'm estimating that I will be running somewhere around 2 hours and 40 minutes (hopefully), which is probably about the same amount of time my running friend, Marion, will be running on her 20 mile run tomorrow morning in final preparations for her Myrtle Beach Marathon on 02/16/08! Our other running friend, Sara, is running a half marathon (13.1 miles) race tomorrow in prep for her St. Louis Marathon on 04/06, one week ahead of mine. Running friend, Tim, is also doing a long run of 12 miles tomorrow in prep for his half marathon. Good luck everyone in your races/runs tomorrow and... Keep on Rollin'!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon

Just got back a little while ago from this film. It was very well done and I think captured a lot of the essence of what the marathon means to an average person attempting it like myself in the stories of at least 3 of the individuals followed. It was inspirational, but at the same time, my stomach was just rolling over with anxiety as well. That's what this thing does to you. I got all nervous just watching the lead up to the start for the people in the film. I can't imagine what I will be feeling like the day and night before, the morning off, at the starting line. My head just swirls contemplating it.

I really enjoyed being out with Tammy and glad she accompanied me to the movie. Well, gonna haunt a couple other blogs and get to bed. No run tomorrow, it will be a rest day. I may go down to the training room at the fire department and start some light weight training. I could use some strengthening, especially after seeing that movie and how hard the people trained and still struggled. We'll see.

Oh, my favorite part of the film that made my eyes swell with teardrops was in the middle of the marathon some spectators on the side of the street had a sign that read, "You're our hero, Dad! We love you!" I wanna be my kids' hero... not just for running this race, but for them knowing that I am a caring man of integrity that loves them with all my heart.

Good night.

8 Miles, Dinner, and a Movie

Got my 8 miles in today that I was supposed to do tomorrow, but I wanted to have a day of rest before Saturday's long run, which is a 16 miler. I did this afternoon's run as a tempo run, which is a fast paced run, or at least fast for me. I think my average pace per mile was 8:57. My last mile was 8:15, which is good, cause I had some gas left in the tank after sustaining a fairly good pace over 7 miles.

Chels had a friend over when I got back and they had just gotten Subway. The kids LOVE Subway. I don't see what the fascination is with a sandwhich, but oh well. Tammy and Linds got home from her b-ball practice shortly after I did and had stopped at BP and picked up frozen cokes. I didn't want it. I couldn't believe it (because normally I LOVE them), but it didn't sound good at all. Perhaps it was because my upper lip was still frozen from the 19 degree run with the wind chill at 10? I warmed some leftover beef barley vegetable soup up, just finished that, now I have to go and hit the shower and Tammy and I are off to see the The Spirit of the Marathon movie.

Her mom's outpatient surgery for placement for her dialysis port went ok. She's home and Tammy is checking on her right now before we head out. Thanks to those of you who were keeping her in your thoughts and prayers today.

On Tap Today - No This is NOT About Beer

Tammy and I have a date tonight to go see this movie. It tells the story of 5 runners and their reasons and preparation to run the Chicago Marathon. Should be inspiring for both of us. Ironically enough, the theater we will be going to see this movie is probably within a quarter mile of the marathon course that I will be running in April. Well, at least hopefully I will pass by this point as it will be about 18 miles into the marathon. Just about the time I will be hitting the infamous marathon "wall". This is the point in the race where your body has expended all of its glycogen stores and just wants to physically shut down on you. I've actually hit a mini-wall once in a run last year that I talked about in my Preface and Purpose first post where my legs just could not go any further. I hope I am able to push through it in April though.

Chelsea's been sick, sore throat, fever, and came home from school yesterday. Checking her temp right now to see if she should go to school or not today. Tale of the thermometer coming up shortly here. No fever... off to suffer through a day at school. I remember those horrible days feeling like you wanted to die, but having to get through a school or work day. It's been a while though. Knock on wood.

Tammy, her Aunt Rose, and mom and dad, headed up to the hospital about 5:20 a.m. for her dialysis port procedure. If it goes well she should be able to come home today. If not, she will have to stay overnight.

Lindsey played very well in her scrimmage last night. Remarkably so considering this is her first year of playing truly organized basketball. I was really quite amazed by her ability. She's very active on the court and had several baskets off offensive rebounds, which is awesome. A few things to work on, but I think she has the potential to be a very good player. (scholarship, scholarship!) HA!

I'll be hanging around here today, getting my inspection reports uploaded for the last couple of days I was on the road, getting my expense account done, paying bills, and getting in an 8 or so mile run at some point in the day. Today should be the last day of our brutally cold weather (temps in the teens and windchills in the single digits) for a while and then more to seasonable temps in the 20's and 30's. A welcomed change.

Well, I think I will snag a second cup of coffee and get my inspections uploaded. Here's the trailer for the marathon movie Tam and I are going to see tonight if you're interested.

"Hold On"

Tammy's Mom has been through a lot in the last 6 months including the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), major circulatory problems which required drastic by-pass surgery for her descending aorta and both femoral arteries back in September that kept her in the hospital for an unexpected 8 weeks, and now, has left her only kidney not functioning so, she has had to undergo dialysis 3 days a week since. She's also had a stroke in her right eye which has left her without vision in that eye and undergone carotid artery surgery/cleaning. This morning she goes in to have a permanent dialysis port put in place in her arm. I know this has been a most difficult and trying time for her and I just wanted to offer her this song by the band 33 Miles for encouragement this morning. I know it's one of her favorites. The video's cheesey, but the song is awesome.

I'll be praying for you Mom and will continue to do so that your kidney will be restored.

One of the main reasons why I run being an ex-smoker myself and looking to get on a road to better health and perhaps prevent some of these issues in me in the future.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Living in "The Miracle of the Moment"

It seems everyday, in some way, God reminds me how precious our lives are and, in so doing, has been working a miracle in me not to be so selfish or to take things for granted. Four years ago on this date, on a snowy, wintery stormy Friday evening, two young friends ventured out on a trip to the mall, but didn't come home. One of them was the just-17 year old daughter, Vanessa, of a woman I've known since I have had a memory, Carol. Carol lived across the street from me when I was a kid and I watched her grow into adulthood and eventually leave the nest on Pickard Road. I talked with Carol earlier this week because I wanted to ask her permission to talk about Vanessa on my blog, which she graciously agreed to allow me to do, and, to just let her know that I think about their family and Vanessa's loss, not just on this anniversary date every year, but almost daily, as God's reminder to me to not take my blessings for granted and to live in "The Miracle of the Moment" every day.

The last 2 to 3 years have been a struggle in my relationship with my oldest daughter Chelsea, who is now 16. Not because of anything I've done, other than parenting her, or anything she's done, other than going through adolescence and all the growing pains that go along with it in beginning to "break away" from mom and dad and discovering how to be independent. She's a great young woman, but we have had our share of discouraging moments in our father/daughter relationship over the past couple years or so where she doesn't like me much I'm sure, nor I her. That's not to say we ever stop loving each other. I have been to the point where I was so exasperated by her or her actions that I feel like giving in and giving up and not fighting the good fight on her behalf, which she will never understand until she is older. I'm her father... her protector, the lover of her soul, the shaper of her character... I cannot ever give up on her because there is no one that can take my place.

I've talked to Carol on a couple of occasions about my relationship with Chelsea at this stage of our lives and she could relate well. Vanessa had gone through very similar "growing pains" and just prior to her accident and death, had been coming around and living for the miracle of the moment with Carol again. Carol said they had a rocky relationship the couple years prior, much like Chelsea and I, but that something was working in and changing Vanessa before her death which gave Carol the hope, joy, and peace that everything would be alright. She said Vanessa was beginning to rise above her mistakes and getting on a good path and was not ashamed to admit it and be an example to her friends. Of course, we believe this was the spirit of God working in Vanessa as she was an active part of our church and served lovingly on KidsStreet, our childrens' ministry, and was adored by the young children there.

Carol told me that 3 weeks prior to Vanessa's death, she would get up early around 5:30 a.m. as she had been used to it for early school which had discontinued at that point, and would slip into bed in front of Carol and sidle up to her and Carol would just stroke her hair. She was more clingy, to the extent that Carol had the urge to push her away because of her clinginess, but thankfully didn't. Carol reminded me in our discussion that, no matter what your kids do, just love them and, don't stop, but above all, NEVER give in or give up on them. As much as I have been frustrated in parenting, I will NEVER give in or give up on my girls and with the Lord's daily help I pray I will never take for granted my daily blessings and I pray that you do not either. "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." James 4:14

Pirrones and Mr. and Mrs. W., I think of your families almost daily throughout the year, I pray God has brought healing to your hearts and given you comfort in the knowledge that one day you will be reunited with your children. Please, have a listen to this, let it speak to your heart and work in your life so you don't miss "The Miracle of the Moment."

Thank you, Carol, for allowing me to speak of this very personal matter here. You have been, and continue to be, a blessing in my life.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Walking Through the Park... and Reminiscing

Ok, so there was no park, I was driving and not walking, and it was snowy and blustery, but I did do some reminiscing following my meeting with Bob. I'm a Michigan State University grad and the campus was right around the corner from my meeting location with Bob and since Bob did not take me to lunch at Cracker Barrel (I wonder if Sharon will read this), I decided to take a little tour of campus since I haven't really done so since... ahhh... graduating in 1989. The first place I went by was The Breslin Center, which is where the basketball games are played and was completed in late 1989 after I had graduated. Of course the next place I had to check out, which has been remodeled and added on to as far as additional press box and sky box seats, was Spartan Stadium, where the football games are played and, shamefully I was carried out of on probably more than one occasion in the mid to late 80's. Nuff said. Here she is: Spartan Stadium.
The next stop on the campus tour was by Abrams Planetarium. I had never actually been in the planetarium when I was in college, but always thought it was pretty cool and would have liked to. One of those things that, if you could go back in time, you would do. And one has to have a place to live whilst getting edumacated. My first two years on campus I lived in a dormitory in Brody Complex, off Harrison Drive, called Rather (long "a") Hall. I actually lived on the first floor at the near end of the building in the photo on the backside of the building facing the courtyard where we would throw our shoulders and elbows out in the springtime playing catch (softball or baseball) for the first time since the end of the prior summer and where the outdoor basketball court was located for our complex where the one and only time I dunked a basketball occurred. Here was my home for two years. Then there is Munn Ice Arena where Michigan State went on to a couple of National Titles in hockey while I attended school there. Of course, I never went to a hockey game there. About the only thing that I did there was stay outside of it overnight in February in the brutal cold with some dorm-mates waiting in line for Eddie Murphy tickets for a March or April show he was doing on campus. I don't even remember where it was at, but would have to assume it was at the Wharton Center which is the performing arts center on campus. Anyway, it was like the temps have been here lately and I think (again) bad judgement and alcohol were involved. Kids, if you're reading this, I do not condone this kind of behavior having lived it, survived it, and grown out of it! We did end up getting tickets and did see Eddie Murphy a couple months later and, were almost thawed out then too. Bonus. One place that I did walk by pretty much every day on my way to classes and did frequent for basketball games in the "Spartan Spirit" section was Jennison Fieldhouse. This was the basketball facility at the time I was there and where Judd Heathcote (coach) would beat both his clenched fists against the sides his balding head in frustration when the guys weren't performing to his standards. It's also where Bobby Knight would go on his rants and tyrades and spew venom at the referees although, I don't think he ever actually threw a chair or choked a player in this venue. I could be wrong though. Jennison is also the place where Ervin "Magic" Johnson played his college ball and took the Spartans to a National Championship in basketball in 1979. And, last, but certainly not least, no re-visit to campus would ever be complete without going to see "Sparty". This is the statue in the center of campus of Michigan State's beloved mascot, The Spartan. This is my favorite rendition of Sparty. There are others, like the dorky mascot they have at the football and basketball games that is like a big ole dufus caracature. So, this is my favorite. Seeing the students all bundled up and looking miserable going to and from classes brought back a lot of memories. It's a beautiful campus and I don't think I will wait as long again to revisit it.

I am a MET+

I had my first performance review for Grange with Bob this late morning in Lansing. The drive up was slightly dicey from our snowfall overnight. There were a fair share of vehicles who disregarded the conditions and paid the price, either in the medians or ditches of US-23 and I-96. Hopefully none of them were Grange customers (a little insurance humor - I know, I know, VERY little). I was rated on my job standards and objectives, our company's core values, and professional development and came out with a MET+. This will somehow relate to some pay matrix for my pay grade/classification and... with any luck... I won't owe Grange any money. :-D

Gotta love human resources. Do two MET-'s equal a MET+? Hmmm... interesting.

Another Inspiration

I hocked this video from Tim's running blog. The video, the story of Ben Comen, a runner with cerebral palsy, is kinda long at just over 7 minutes, but worth watching. It makes me thankful, but then again, it made me cry for Cassy because even though Ben, the subject of the video, has his difficulties... he is at least able to run, for now. Cassy will never know the feeling like the exhausted dead-out sprint in the blustery cold on my snowy road that I finished my run with tonight. Be thankful. I know I am.

I Don't Want a Medal of Valor...

...I just want to have a run one of these days in which I am not running into a 20 - 25 mph headwind for part of the run with 20 degree temps and 0ish windchills. I wore my homemade winter trainer shoes on this run cause I was tired of running Lewis Avenue and the subdivisions off of it on pavement so I ventured out into the countryside on the snowy shoulders and icy roadways. They work like a charm. I'll post a picture on here to go with this when I get a chance. Ended up doing 9 miles on a scheduled 8 mile day at an average pace of 9:19/mile.

My work review went well, and I had a nice time reminiscing in East Lansing for a bit before I went home. I'll post some pictures I took there later as well. I have to eat and head to church for a vocal rehearsal at 6:00. Warm beef barley soup was waiting for me when I got home. YUM! I luvs my wife and her awesome cooking! This is the perfect thing to thaw me out right now. :-)

Hope you had a good day.

The Best Laid Plans

I was going to get up early, which I did, get my inspections from yesterday uploaded on the computer, then do my run for the day, and then shower and head up to Lansing to meet with my boss, Bob, for my performance review. Not so much. It snowed overnight and we have a couple of new inches of snow. I didn't get the inspections in as quickly as I thought I would and didn't want to run on the uncleared roads so, since I just finished uploading my inspections, I'm just going to get ready and head up to Lansing. I'm listening to all the fire departments in the county on my pager going out on accidents on the expressways so, the roads must not be that great yet. The extra time I will have leaving early will be beneficial I think. Anyway, I'm one who gets a little frazzled (ok, that's an understatement, I'm more like a child who doesn't get his way) when "my plans" get derailed, but I think God does this purposefully to continually remind me who is in control and.... it's NOT me. Have a great, and safe, day everyone! :-)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fine Dining by Lindsey

Chelsea and Lindsey had the day off school today for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so Lindsey insisted on making dinner for us. Chels had to work so, she wasn't able to partake in the fine dining in our home this evening. Linds had gotten a Rachel Ray, one of her favorite cooks, cookbook from family friend, Carol, her surrogate Nana, as a late Christmas present. Being the eager beaver that she is, she wanted to get right on trying out some of the recipes. She made Tammy and I Penne Pasta with Big Belly Portobello Sauce which consisted of penne pasta (ya think, Rick?!?), garlic, crushed red pepper, portobello mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, chopped parsley, and parmigiano reggiano cheese. She served a lovely home made Caesar salad, along with a white zinfandel wine along with the main dish. I thought it was fabulous! Lindsey didn't care for it as she didn't like the parsley in it. We did decide that it would probably be better to substitute basil for the parsley and add a bit of sugar to cut the bite and tartness of the crushed tomatoes a hair. Thanks for the great meal Linds and your thoughtfulness. I know mom appreciated the evening off from preparing a meal and I thought it was just great! ;-)

Introducing - at Forward - #20 - Lindsey V

Lindsey got her basketball uniforms today. They have their first scrimmage this Wednesday and then their first real game on Monday, January 29th, at home against Saline. The red uniforms are their away game uniforms and they have white ones with red lettering for their home games. Congratulations on stepping out and making the team, Linds, and good luck in your season! I know you'll do a fine job at power forward. Just don't be breakin' any backboards on power-dunks!

Fire Dog

It's been so cold here lately that even Carsen has taken to wearing extra clothing. He musta slipped into one of my dresser drawers yesterday and found himself one of my old fire department shirts to throw on for some extra warmth. It didn't stay on long though as our fire dog felt a bit confined in his owner's clothing and kept biting at it. Move over Dalmations... there's a new fire dog in town.

4 Miles in the Cold

Kind of getting to be a routine around here, but I know I am not the only one running in bitter cold these days. Got 4 miles in this morning before I headed out for inspections. It was 12 degrees when I left with a wind chill of 4. I thought I was cruising along on a tempo run (a fast-paced run, but not quite race pace), but I was much slower than what I thought I was going. Go figure. Speed's not what counts right now anyway. I actually stuck to my training mileage too today. I think that is because I am looking ahead to the 16 mile long run I have coming up this Saturday. I'm barely keeping ahead of Marion in the Pace Groups. She's killin' me! LOL

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"I Need You"

Are you fiercely independent? Do you rely on your own abilities in almost all circumstances, even when they aren't enough? Do you find it a weakness to seek the help of others? Does foolish pride get in the way of your asking for assistance when you need it? Boy, I certainly could answer affirmatively to most of these questions almost unequivocally in my recent past. Thankfully, God has been changing my heart with respect to seeking help in my weaknesses.

Pastor Mark did a great job again this morning in continuing his series on "The World's Most Powerful Phrases" with his message titled "I Need You". He reminded us that God has created all of us with weaknesses that we cannot fully overcome by ourselves. Think this was by chance? Not a chance! God is God, He created everything and could have made us perfect if He so chose, but He didn't. Why is that?

God wants us to rely on Him in our weaknesses, for one. Pastor Mark pointed out Psalm 121:1 - 2, which states, "I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Who better to come to our aid than the Maker of heaven and earth. I can't think of any better ally in my times of need. What does that help look like? Well, Pastor Mark said that God's help almost always comes in the form of another person. Makes sense as I can't think of recent times, other than in the Old Testament, where God has directly intervened in our lives, other than perhaps the 6 Day War the Israeli's had back in the 60's.

Anyway, this makes total sense to me in that I know with certainty this has been my experience in my life. I have many personal testimonies, the greatest of which is the salvation of my marriage, where God has placed people or groups of people in my life, or my family's, that have made ALL the difference in times of difficulty. The key? Letting those closest to you know that you are experiencing difficulty or need help and let them help as they will be inclined to do so. Being transparent, setting aside your foolish pride, and being authentic are the keys to allow God to work through others to help you.

Pastor Mark's two main points are to: 1. Identify where you are strong (God gifts everyone with some ability or strength) and... SERVE in that capacity and, 2. Identify where you are weak and... ASK. It's hard to humble one's self, take a hard, realistic look at yourselve, identify your weaknesses, and then ASK for help. Kind of a counter-cultural thought in this self-help, self-sufficiency, self-seeking day and age where everyone turns inward and inside.

So, you may be saying to yourself again, well Rick, what the heck does this have to do with running and training for a marathon? Well... I'm glad that you asked! Even if you didn't I'm going to give you my answer anyway cause, heck, it's MY blog! My answer is: I created this blog because to train, prepare for, and run this marathon is daunting and I need you! I need you to post comments, I need you to tell me I am not nutz (even if you want to lie to me in doing so), I need you to support and encourage me. Just thinking about running the marathon makes my stomach flip. All kinds of questions of physical and mental self-doubt surface. I'm just being transparent here. It kinda scares the daylights out of me whether or not I will be tough enough to finish this marathon. So, why do it? To that I say please read my Preface and Purpose for that answer.

So, there you have it, I need you! I'm not too proud to say so and know from experience that when I do ask for help, God will put people in my life that will see me through. I will be relying on the strength of the Lord and my family and friends who will be encouraging me along the way, which I know you will do because... I have asked you to.

Thanks for the great message, Pastor Mark. I'm learning.

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" Ecclesiastes 4:10 - 11.

Jennifer, Marion, Tim, Sara, Zoomy, Mike, and anyone else ramping up for a marathon this year, especially a first... you're gonna ROCK your races! You're all training hard and I KNOW you will ALL succeed!

Sunday Mornings and Belgium Waffles by Barb

Lindsey got a digital camera from Santa this past Christmas. She got a couple of shots of Tammy, my MOST beautiful wife, and me - my most goofball self brushing my teeth - before church this morning.

Then, after chuch, we stopped over to my in-laws for Belgium Waffles by Barb. Thanks for the yummie breakfast, Mom! Dad was painting the fruit cellar in the basement... yeehaa. In case you don't know, Barb is my FAVORITE mother-in-law! Lindsey wouldn't smile for me though... Grumplestiltskin!

Then, for moronic kicks, I thought I would try on a gigantic hoop earring that my niece, Page, had left at my in-laws. I once donned an earring (back in the 80's when it wasn't hip like it is these days) for those of you who don't know and my hole has never closed up. Stylin' ain't I... NOT. Um, Page, you may want to clean your earrings REAL GOOD before you wear them again... I'm not sure what kind of ickies Uncle Rick has in his ear hole. Blech!

Ooooh Baby... It's Cold Outside!

It is currently 5F outside with a windchill of -14F. Minus 95 more degrees and we can make dry ice here according to the comparative thermometers above! That's all, just thought I'd share that for those of you southerners and Winter-Texans that think temps in the 40's is cold. "We can't get in the pool it's been so cold. Waaaa." Hopefully I can retire and travel to warm places in the winter someday too. The upside here is... I should be able to go ice-fishing um... today as the lakes probably all froze over overnight! :-)

Off to church... stay warm everybody.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

This Time... The Humans Won

Let me apologize upfront to any animal activists, PETA people, Greenpeace, vegetarians, pescatarians, liberatarians, green party, republicans, democrats, independents or any one else that this post may offend, but I am an omnivore and I do eat animals. Funny, Marion had just post on her blog, Shut it and Run, about encountering road kill on runs and commented about Tammy whipping up some tasties with the flattened critters (jokingly people!). Funny she should have mentioned road kill though, which we have a lot of here in Bedford Township, as I went to a wild game dinner at the Erie Fire Department this evening with my friend, Jeremy, as a guest of his dad. Jeremy had smoked a couple of turkeys for the dinner - I know, you're wondering where did he get big enough wrappers and... how do you keep them lit? - which were excellent as usual! So I had a variety of game for dinner including salmon, venison, caribou, elk, buffalo, duck, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, alligator, turtle, ostrich, and yes, even kangaroo - which was quite tasty I should add. I may have ingested some other animals that I am not aware of too. The food was very well prepared and this is the best game dinner that I have ever attended as far as the food preparation goes. It was a great evening with a great friend and his family and friends. Heard a couple of cool successful elk hunt stories in northern Michigan this past fall from a local woman and man and also Jimmy Gretzinger, from Michigan Out-Of-Doors, was a special guest who related some humorous stories from his adventures in the field. So, thanks Mr. Floyds (both of you) for the great evening, I really appreciate you guys thinking of me for this dinner!

Brisk 10 Miles

This was on my way out the door for my 10 miler this morning. It was a wee bit chilly this morning so I bundled up pretty good with a tech t, long sleeved tech t, turtle neck, and fleece pullover, and with long johns under my nylon, lined running pants. It was 16F with a wind chill of 2F when I headed out. It really wasn't that bad starting out. I went north on Lewis and was going to head west on Erie, but the blasted 18 mph wind was out of the west and I was not going to battle that in these frigid of temps. So, I continued on up to M151 and turned around heading back south on Lewis and into Lewiston Estates where I made my way to Sterns. I was really getting gased and wondering where this elusive "runner's high" was and when the endorphins would kick in at this point and just before mile 6 had to stop and walk, so I took this opportunity to down a Shot Block to try and help out my fatigue. I looped my way through the subdivision over to Jackman Road and back to Lewis for the home stretch. The last mile seemed like 10. It was a tough run and the only "runner's high" I had was at the finish of it. So, here I am coming in from my run with a bit of frostiness notable on my hat and forehead and my upper lip as numb as the dentist has ever gotten it. :-)

From Dread to Awe

I did not want to run when I got home from my travels yesterday. In fact, I was dreading it. I was hoping to have finished up my inspections and get home about 4:00 so I could get my run in before dark. I didn't get home till around 5:35 so, that didn't happen. I thought about blowing it off, but then I thought that the 26.2 miles I will be running in April does not care who's running it or if they blew off some runs during their training. The 26.2 miles will simply be tough. Then I thought, I can't let Marion get too far ahead of me in mileage in the pace groups either. So, after lovin' on my beautiful wife for a bit and irritating my girls, I changed into my running gear and headed out. It was a bit of drudgery initially, but then something happened. The earpieces to our awesome $10 GPX am/fm stereo were hurting my right ear, not to mention not working in that ear, so I took it off and turned off the radio. It was a marvelous night, not too cold, winds calmed substantially, and it was peaceful and quiet. I was also treated to running under a blanket of stars and a bright moon, like that above, that I gazed at a bit too long at one point and found myself on the front lawn of the Bedford Library. My dread had been transformed into awe. I'm glad I went.

Focus, Grasshopper, Focus

I was on my way back from my inspections yesterday afternoon, the last having been north of Detroit and was heading south down I-75 about 4:40 p.m., not the place you want to be on a Friday afternoon with the North American International Auto Show going on in the City of Detroit and every auto enthusiast from Germany to Sweden to Japan and every car manufacturer in the U.S., etc. in town for the dang thing. Oh, I should say at this point, Bob (my boss) and Chelsea (my driving 16 year old with a cell phone addiction whom I have warned not to use whilst driving) should quit reading here. Anyway, so I decide to give our family friend, Amy, a call to thank her for an encouraging note and a couple of timely articles on parenting teens she sent me ealier in the week following a great dinner conversation we had the Friday before. As I am having this great phone conversation with her and thanking her for her thoughtfulness, I somehow missed staying on the freeway in the heavy rush hour traffic and ended up SMACK DAB in downtown Detroit! AHHHH! The traffic, the people, the craziness! Needless to say I excused myself from the conversation with Amy (sorry Amy for the abrupt stop to the call) to try and extricate myself from downtown Detroit. The upsides (2 of them actually) was I was stopped at a red light waiting to make a u-turn right in front of the Renaissance Center (GM World Headquarters for you non-Michiganders) and got this cool shot of it from my windshield. The other upside was that when the light turned green, I missed hitting two vehicles and two pedestrians, one of which gave me some sort of a hand signal(?), while making my u-turn and got right back on the freeway within about 5 minutes of my little blunder. Yippee! So, that was my drive home yesterday, the rest of which was uneventful, other than a nice conversation with my sis, Vicky, whom I hadn't really talked to since Christmas.

Trappings of Expectations and First Impressions

My birthday is in November, the 11th in case you want to send me gifts, and this past birthday, my oldest daughter, and my original running inspiration, Chelsea, very thoughtfully had gotten me the new Eagles double cd. I was tremendously excited about this gift as I am a HUGE Eagles fan. Perhaps being so, I had higher than normal expectations for the tracks on the cd and, after my initial listening in the car on my way down to Columbus back in November, I was thoroughly unimpressed and sadly disappointed with the cd.
Well, I have listened to the cd's on several more occassions since then, the last time being yesterday while driving around on my inspections, and I have changed my opinion. The songs are growing on me and, what I had initially judged as mundane music from this group, I am now growing to love. This experience has been a valuable reminder for me of something I am all-too-often guilty of, which is judging on first impressions and personal expectations. First impressions are important, and oftentimes can be accurate, however, don't "bank on it/them" and in so doing, possibly miss out on some sort of a blessing. In this case for me, awesome music by an awesome band that I love. I also need to temper my expectations of others, especially those most near and dear to me. Chels, you've done an awesome job this year in XC, school, and your new responsibilities with driving and your first job and I pray you keep it up. Thank you for the GREAT gift and especially the reminders that came with it!
You make me proud! ;-)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Today's Agenda - Not That You Care

I'll be on the road today for work for most of the day doing inspections. Today's route is to the left. The body of water on the bottom of the map is Lake Erie and above is Lake St. Clair for those not familiar with Michigan. I am working Bob. :-) Bob's my boss, and a good one, and hopefully looks in on this inanity every once in a while. His blog is in my right sidebar, which updates the condition of his wife, Bettyjo, who has had a nightmare, to put it mildly, of an experience following what should have been a "routine" cervical fusion surgery prior to Easter last year, the severe complications of which continue to this day. So, if you pray, please keep the Zachrich family in your prayers as they really could use the uplifting and encouragement through this. When I get home I have a medium long run to do, hopefully not in the dark. I am SO glad the days are getting longer. Tammy and the girls are going to a "Body Shop" party this evening hosted by our friend, Tami, not to be confused with Tammy, soooo.... I borrowed the whole Bourne movie series from Tammy's cousin, Seth, last night and am having a guy's movie night at home tonight with Carsen, our dog. Although, I kinda think Carsen will probably sleep through most of the movies. Speaking of last night, we had a great dinner made by Tammy's Aunt Rose with her and Seth, and Tammy's Mom and Dad. Thanks again so much, Aunt Rose, the dinner was awesome! That should have been obvious though by how much I ate! GAH! I wish I would stop doing that! Beat you to the punch, Uncle Jeff! See, he was going to comment on my blog here on what a pig I made of myself at dinner and how I am breaking one of my 2008 Goals (previously posted) to "quit eating when I am full." Nice try though, just like Marion, who keeps trying to get past me in running mileage for the year and may, temporarily, today. Well, lots to do today, so I best get at it. Have a great day everyone! :-)

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Today is a day of rest. As much as I am itchin' to lace 'em up and get out there to get some miles in (and stay ahead of Marion and the pace bunny), I have to resist the urge. With race training, rest is as vitally important as getting runs in are. The body needs time to heal, restore, renew, and refresh, which this time of rest allows. My good friend and kind of a "running mentor" to me, Dianna, reminded me of this yesterday. She kinda felt that I may have been slower in my 10 mile race last Sunday because I had run too much prior to it and not properly rested my body as a runner should. I think she is probably right and, since she has been running for like 20+ years, I think I will heed her advice and fight the urge to go out today. Darn you Marion! I hope it's icy as can be in South Carolina today and you can't get out to run! Sorry, I digressed into a little competitiveness.
Heck, even Jesus called us to rest at times saying, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. Anyway, I am a bit weary today and my right leg a little sore, so like our most loved family dog in the pic above, Carsen, I will be physically resting today, and everyday in Jesus.
ps - Dad does not condone Carsen's sloth on the couch in the family room. He has his OWN bed and... he is not at his pappa and grandma's who let him sleep wherever he wants!

Busy Evenings

Yesterday was kind of a typical evening in our family. Tammy was going to go to coffee with her girlfriends (which is a-typical as she does not get enough time for herself and never has) from church round 5:00, which I am always thankful she gets to do... gets to vent about me and all offer support for each other for the knuckleheads their husbands can be. Hey! I'm a realist and I know I am a knucklehead when it comes to being a husband and father... on RARE ocassions. Seriously, I'm sure that is not ALL that they talk about... I hope.

So, Lindsey had to be picked up from b-ball practice (she made the 7th grade team this year) at 5:00, then I had to run her over to the foot doc for continued assault on a nasty wart on her left foot that just won't go away. We got back home a little before 6:00. I whipped up some spaghetti and garlic toast for her and I (Chelsea was working at 5:00). Scarfed down the dinner and cleaned up the kitchen as best as I could. I grabbed my horn, kissed Linds goodbye, and headed over to my awesome friend and CrossRoads worship brass team leader, Jeremy's, house to meet with the rest of the team (Leo, Vicki, Barry, and Marky-Mark) around 6:30 to listen to and select some music to start working on for this year. His oldest son, Jarred, had just fractured his ankle a couple of days ago sliding down the basement stairs in a box! Didn't surprise me as his boys are very much boys! :-)

We finished up there around 9:00 and I headed home to dump off my horn and music and let Tammy know I had to run up to the fire station to clean my area for the week (it has to be done by Wednesday night at midnight... see, I've said before and I'll say it again, I am the KING of procrastinators!). Missed the second new season show of American Idol, but got my area cleaned and was getting ready to head out when my station house officer, Jim, showed up to do his area around 10:30 (Ok, so maybe I am NOT the king of procrastination, but most certainly a court jester at least!). Had a great conversation with Jim for quite a time. It was good to talk with him like that as I haven't in awhile. He's a great husband, father, and fire department officer, even if he does have issues with timeliness. HA! Pot calling the kettle black! I was glad to get a chance to remind him though that I respected the husband, father, and officer he is.

Left the fire station and got home round 11:40, showered and asleep by midnight. A busy, but good and well-rounded evening, other than not being able to see enough of my family. Thank you Tammy, Lindsey, and Chelsea for your tolerance of all my "busyness". I love you all more than you know! Muah!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lovely 5 Mile Run With Lovely Company

Had a great 5 mile run on a beautiful winter day perfect for running with a beautiful woman this afternoon. It was brisk, about 32, but sunny, light winds and just gorgeous outside. A great afternoon to run with my best friend and honey! She's so tough too, after about a mile and a half she was down to runnin' in a t-shirt! GAH! Here I am in a hoodie, with a hat and gloves on and she's runnin' next to me in a t-shirt. I probably looked like a candidate for Wuss of the Year! I run a lot by myself so, it's always great to be able to run with Tammy. I appreciate the blessing of being able to be with her in moments like this afternoon more and more every day. She's quite simply, awesome and I am crazy about her. :-)

The Tortoise and the Hare

I may be slow like the tortoise, but I am steady. Marion thought she and her little hare of a running self was going to catch up to this turtle in mileage today. This tortoise had different plans. Keep on keepin' on, Marion... see you on the other side of 1,000! ;-)
See my Pace Groups on the right sidebar and Marion's (user name JustMarion) futile attempts, along with her hare-friend, to try and catch this tortoise (user name rvelich).

Marathon Tapering

Marathon tapering occurs in the final 3 weeks before the marathon in which you gradually decrease your miles run each week in preparation for the marathon, just as you slowly increase your mileage when you start your training program. A lot of wacky things go on with runners during this "taper" period, both mentally and physically. A couple of my friends from RA, Jennifer (On Your Left), and Marion (Shut it and Run), are either in or will be going into their taper weeks in their training for their upcoming marathons and I found this article, "Taper Traps", from an old Runner's World and I thought they might get a thing or two out of the article to combat the "tapering madness" that many runners experience. I know I will be relying heavily on any support leading up to my first marathon. Good luck ladies!


I was paid a most high compliment by my running friend, Marion, over at her blog, Shut it and Run, in her Monday, January 14th post. She was saying what a great job I had done in the 10 mile race I had run the day before which was cool and everything, but the comment I appreciated the most was at the end of her post when she said, "Pop over to his blog. He's really a great inspiration for anyone, runner or not. Makes ya wanna be a better person all around, not just on the running trail:)" It brought tears to my eyes. You see, my life goal is to become more Christ-like everyday and to be a servant and encourager to others as He is to us... there is no greater goal or model for me to conform to. I want to reflect His character to those around me and Mar's comment provided me with some affirmation that I am on the right path so, thanks SO much Mar! I read this from 1 Corinthians 10:23&24 this morning where the apostle Paul says, "'Everything is permissible' - but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible' - but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." It is fallen human nature to be selfish and self-serving. It is my prayer this morning that God continues to change the nature of who I am to speak and to act for the good of others and reflect His character and not my own. Amen.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Is It Spring Already?

While I was out doing inspections for work today, I heard a familiar bird song from the back yard of the home I was inspecting. I was pretty sure I knew what it was, but it didn't make any sense that I was hearing it in the dead of winter. Sure enough, there were a whole bunch of Robins in an oak tree in the people's back yard. I came around front and found this one in a small tree all puffed up trying to stay warm. I always get excited seeing the first Robins in late February or early March as a sign that spring is right around the corner. I think we have a ways to go yet though. Talked to Dad today and he said it's been too cold to play volleyball in the pool down in southern Texas. It's only supposed to be in the mid-60's this week. Poor retirees...

Seven Snowy Miles of Joy

Yesterday I took off as a day of rest after unsuccessfully chasing after a bunch of much faster runners the day before! GAH! I felt good when I got up yesterday, but then I went to sit down at my desk and got this stabbing pain in my right low back just above my hip. Fortunately I already had a chiro appointment with the awesome Dr. Daryl Lajiness at Lifestyle Chiropratic who tuned me up that afternoon. No more zingers since then. Yea!

We had a light snow this morning that I headed out in for a 7 miler. I simply went out and back on Temperance Road reveling in the beauty of the morning, the falling snow, the new clean blanketing of my surroundings, the serenity. I was a little sore from the race, but I just had a cool peace about me on the run and was filled with joy. I love runs like that. Was thinking about you a lot too, Cassy. Gonna need some of your determination for this marathon girl! Oh, I finished my run down the dead end of our snow covered street, which was a good packing snow. By the time I got to the end of my run I was like 6'4" from the snow build up on the soles of my shoes!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dave's 10 Mile Shoe Run Race Report

It's all fun and games at the start until you've run your second Ohio Turnpike overpass in the race at mile 4.5 out of the 4 overpass crossings in the race with the last being at mile 8.5! Ok, individually the race went well and I exceeded my expectations for myself. As far as me in relation to the rest of the field of runners... let's just say 79.07% I only saw from the rear by the time I finished. These Toledo RoadRunners really take their running seriously and... are seriously fast! We left for Delta, Ohio about 12:15, after Tammy pulled her homemade apple pie out of the oven. Lindsey and Tammy accompanied me, which I was SO grateful for! I ate a PB&J on the drive there and downed a bottle of water. Got to Delta about 1:00ish. The race setup was great in that we were able to use the Pike-Delta-York High School cafeteria for a staging area and there were several available restrooms in adjacent halls (which I frequented like 3 times before the race!) and we had access to the locker rooms off the gym. I did a warm up jog and stretched and decided on what I would run in clothing-wise. It was about 39 and light drizzle, perfect for running a race. The race started on time at 2:00 p.m. There were like 172 runners, 135 of which pulled away from me immediately! My intentions for this race was to go out at like a 9:00 min/mile pace for the first couple of miles and then ramp it up to about 8:30/mile for the remainder if possible, but NOOOOO.... the other runners just had to be so freakin' fast that they made me go out at 8:30/mile. Through the first couple of miles I just focused on holding that pace and getting into a comfortable (yea right) stride at it. People were passing me periodically, although there weren't too many folks left behind me other than those running the race with walkers! We went over the Ohio Turnpike a total of 4 times. The first time was only about a mile into the race. Not so bad. The second time was starting at about 4.25 miles. I started getting a pretty bad sub-sternal pain at this point which then moved to my right upper quad in my abdomen. GAH! I NEVER get stitches like this! It was so bad that once I crested the overpass and started on my way down, I was considering bailing on the race. WOULD NOT! Thankfully there was a water station at mile 5 which saved my life AND my race. I walked through the station and slowly drank the cup of water to make sure I didn't upset any contents to air ratio in my tummy which would cause me to lose my PB&J and water. I started back up again and tried pacing 8:30 - 8:45 for the rest of the race. I was tired, but getting increasingly optimistic after getting through that race hiccup at mile 4 - 5. When I got to 7, I felt pretty good and was actually picking up my pacing and passed a few of the fine folks that had been showing me their bums for most of the race. Mile 9 to the finish was tough, and seemed long, but I just focused on finishing strong at this point. I passed one or two other runners and then saw Tammy at about 9.75 miles and started hammering it home as best as I could with what would lamely be called "my kick" telling her "I need help!". Lindsey was right at the finish cheering me through and taking my pic - the one in the sidebar at the right, which is in stark contrast to the one above! I finished in 1:26:23, about an 8:39 min/mile pace and better than my goal time of 1:30:00. I was happy with my effort, but astonished at the speed out there in the field today. I finished 136/172 runners and probably last in my age group, but that was a long and fast race for me and I don't think I could have run it any faster. They had some great eats, ham and turkey sammiches, chicken noodle soup, and apples afterward and we chatted with the Calhoun family (the girls all ran and kicked MY butt - and many others' too though - Kate 1:08 something, Kelsey 1:16 something, Errin 1:20 something), I changed into dry clothes and we headed back home. Thanks Tammy and Lindsey for going with me... it meant the world to me! I love you guys!