Sunday, September 28, 2008

Race for the Cure

I ran the race with Tammy and girls this morning in downtown Toledo with 17,500 of our closest friends. It was a great morning for the race, cool and clear. There were 17,500 registered runners and walkers. Started out about a 9:00 min/mile pace with Tammy and Lindsey. Chelsea took off from the start once we got across the timing mat. I wanted to hang with Tammy to help pace her to a PR and not over-do myself and end up regretting it by stressing my leg too much. Lindsey ended up leaving us about 3/4 mile into the race too. Went out a little too hard for Tammy at 9:11 first mile, she was able to maintain and, in fact, speed up a bit the next mile, which was 8:59 and phenomenal for her! She struggled a bit in the final mile of the race. I tried to get her to walk through a water stop, get a good drink, and catch her breath, but she wouldn't listen. We ended up walking a little bit later for just 20 or 30 seconds because she was having a pain in her right side. I was trying to pull her along and encourage her as best I could without pushing her too hard. We ended up the last mile at 9:23 and finished the race in 28:55 by my Garmin (running GPS), which was a PR (personal record) for her by almost a minute and about a 9:10 min/mile average pace! Her prior PR was a 29:49! WOOT! The girls smoked us both. The almost as neat thing as pacing Tammy to a huge PR is, I felt as though I could have busted one in this race as well. Patience, Grasshopper... patience. And... we got over $200.00 in donations for the cause! Thanks to all who contributed to our team!

We got some of the post race food and took a stroll around the inside of 5/3 Field and got some goodies to bring home. It was so cool being able to run a race with my whole family. Very cool. I'll post all our official results when they have them up on the internet.

Back to Columbus this afternoon to assist with the high volume of claims they had from the severe winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ike on September 14. I should be back either Thursday night or Friday afternoon and, that should wrap up that tour of duty.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Home Away From Home

I'm down in Columbus this week for work. I had planned to come down to do some inspection work for my regular job this week, but central and southern Ohio were hit very badly with the remnants of Hurricane Ike last week and there is widespread wind damage down here so my department has been enlisted by our claims department to help out with scoping the damages of our customers down here in the Columbus and Cincinnati areas. I will be going home for the weekend as Lindsey has a CC invitational and family picnic following on Saturday and we are all running the 5K Race for the Cure on Sunday. Thank you to everyone that has donated to our family's team fundraising goal for the race. We truly appreciate it and you! I'll come back down to Columbus Sunday afternoon to work in the area again if needed.

I got a 6.5 mile run in last evening, heading from my hotel to Blacklick Metro Park, which is about 1.25 miles from my hotel, and then did a 4.1 mile loop through the park. It was a really nice run and the park part of it was awesome. I was a bit sore today and also had work to do so, I didn't go out today. I'll try and get a run in tomorrow evening. If not, the rest will do me good too.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Great Morning Run

I had an awesome morning run this morning, 5.1 miles, my furthest since the marathon back on 4/13/08! Yea! The morning was perfect, partly sunny, cool around 54F, light breeze, quiet back roads, and mist lifting off the fields and golf course. The only way it could have been any better is if Tammy had been with me spitting on herself during the course of the run! BAH! She's not a very accomplished spitter. Sorry, Honey, but it's the truth.

Our local highschool won their football game last night 33 - 7 against a school they were supposed to get buried by. This is quite exciting as Bedford has a losing history in football. When I say history, I mean they have had like 5 winning seasons in the past 50 years. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. Lindsey (and her 8th grade band-mates) got to play with the marching band during the half time program. She thought it was going to be *lame*, but I think ended up having a good time with it.

Our church is having its annual (12th, I think?) Classic Car and Motorcycle Show tomorrow. It's our biggest event of the year and we usually draw about 300 vehicles to the show. Cars, motorcycles, music (our worship band is doing a set at 1:00 with tunes from Brown-Eyed Girl and Pretty Woman to Huey Lewis, Chicago, and the Doobie Brothers), food, friends, and fun. If you're in the area, stop by and check it out. It doesn't cost anything, unless you want to eat, then it's only $9.00 for a home made bbq chicken or pulled pork dinner. If you have a strong stomach, you can hear me singing and playing with the band at 1:00.

Have a great weekend and... GO STATE!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Below is just a shot I took of the twilight sky on my way back to rehearsal at church Tuesday evening from our Bedford Running Club meeting at the school. I just thought it was very beautiful, as many of the past few days and evenings have been. Of course, the photos never do the *real thing* justice. Don't tell my boss I'm taking pictures while driving either! Shhhhhhhh.
Lindsey's XC team competed at Michigan State University last Friday and placed first as a team! It's a very large invitational, so that's awesome. She's been dealing with shin splints, so is off her best game right now and, realistically, probably for the rest of the season, but she keeps plugging away. Below she's running in their first league jamboree (multi-school XC meet), at Saline last evening at Mill Pond Park. Very nice venue for a race. Again, her team placed first in the league meet out of 6 teams and Lindsey was right in that 16 - 17 minute range, placing 46th out of a field of over 100, even with her sore legs! She's doing great as far as I'm concerned and, of course I am proud of her regardless. I was amazed she even finished at MSU, she looked to be in such misery during her race.

I can't forget Chels in giving props either. She got an 82 on her first Anatomy quiz/test and is taking a dual enrollment English class at the community college for which she receives college credits this semester. Keep up the good work, Chels! I'm proud of how hard you are working so far this year.

On the running front, I took yesterday off, didn't want to, but my leg was sore from my tempo run the other day, which I won't attempt for awhile again, and went for a 4 miler this morning and felt much better. Hopefully I'll be able to go out tomorrow morning with Tammy for an early run. Our 5K Race for the Cure is a week from Sunday. In case I haven't mentioned it *cough*, we are fundraising for this race for the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation. If you would like to donate/pledge via our team, you may do so by clicking on this link. We've raised $150.00 of our $400.00 goal, so any contributions would be most appreciated toward this very worthy cause. Each of us are running on behalf of someone we know that has battled, or is battling, breast cancer. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


So I'm driving home from my inspection rounds on Monday and I'm behind THIS car. Fortunately she didn't decide to pursue her passion while she was in front of me. Note the "Rest Area" sign on the upcoming overpass! How ironic. Anyway, I found this quite funny and, hopefully you got a chuckle out of it as well.

Lindsey has a league XC meet in Saline this afternoon that Tam and I and my folks will be heading up to. She didn't do real well at MSU last Friday (and my camera was being obstinate, so I didn't get any pictures) as her shins and a calf were bothering her. She still was only like 8 seconds off her slowest race and was still in eight and a half minute per mile pace range, which is pretty darn good running with pain. She was actually in tears early on in that race and I was amazed she even finished.

I cut short my intended 5 mile run yesterday as my right leg was sore. I did just under 3.5 and am not sure if I should try today or not. Actually, I DO know that I should not, but the morning is so beautiful. Best to err on the side of caution though. I've been getting in some pretty consistent running being conservative and I don't want to ruin that. Besides, I'm sure I'll be running around the XC course this afternoon cheering on the kids.

Make it a great day everyone.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tempo Run

I actually ran a 4 mile tempo run this morning just to see how I would tolerate it. A tempo run is a sustained faster-paced run, slightly under a race pace, which is done to increase speed and stamina. In my case, I was just kind of "testing the waters" with how my leg would stand up to a faster-paced run. I ran 8:35 min/mile average pace for the 4 mile run and felt pretty good, though somewhat winded at times, which I should have been. My leg feels fine tonight, no pain. Hopefully that will continue tomorrow.

Extreme Makeover, Home Edition

Extreme Makeover, Home Edition was in town last week to do a build for a Toledo, Ohio family. The couple have 11 children, 3 of which are their own and the rest are adopted. The husband is a paramedic with the Toledo Fire Department. The show and goings on, about 7 miles or so from my house, literally captivated and constricted the area for the past week. They had the reveal shooting yesterday and the family took possession of the home today. Chelsea went down to the build site on Saturday afternoon with a friend, Tony, in the pic below, to join in the excitement and festivities. Below is a pic of the two of them with newer designer Didi. And one of her personal favorites below, Rib.
Then there is of course, the star of the show, Ty Pennington.

Below Toledo Firefighters are moving in the furnishings in the finished home.

Below, the crew, Ty, Paulie, Didi, & Rib rev up the crowd for the furniture move in.

"The Bus."

The family's finished home below. They were in a 3 bedroom ranch with 1 bathroom prior.

This episode will air sometime in late November I had heard. So, if you happen to catch this episode and have seen this, you'll already know what to expect and that it was very close to where I live. In fact, my friend, Frank Johnston, the guy who went fishing with me in Ludington and to Florida last spring for spring break vacation, works with the husband of the family and has known him for quite some time. A very deserving fellow from what he says. Kinda neat, but it was crazy around here for the past week or so. We went to a Sanctus Real concert a week ago Sunday which benefitted the family so, some of our money went towards this family. : )

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday Morning Soaker

Actually, the last two mornings now, Tammy and I have headed out the door in the rain for a lovely rain run. We did 4.1 miles yesterday in a light rain, with near perfect running conditions, and 3.1 this morning in a soaking rain, which was just an absolute blast. Looks like we'll need to get used to it too because the forecast for the next week is for rain. This was my highest mileage week since getting back to running at 19.4 miles. I can't express how happy I am to be getting back out there. I am really looking forward to running the Komen 5K Race for the Cure with my whole family at the end of this month! Did you know you can contribute/donate to the cause by pledging us in our race through our family's fundraising page?

Tammy's aunt saw us running by this morning and came out on her porch to editorialize on our *passion* for running given the monsoon conditions we were running in this morning. Something like "Ok, your exercising has truly gone over the top now." Apparently she hasn't read about my first marathon race experience? Compared to that, this mornings run was divine! Have a great balance of your weekend!

Karen, thank you for the very kind comment on my last post. I really appreciate it. It's an honor and a blessing to be able to serve in that capacity.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Will Never Forget

Seven years ago today I came very close to leaving for NYC following the attacks on the World Trade Center. Ironically enough, as a firefighter/EMT, I was responding to a call in my own community from work at home when my assistant chief told me that a plane had flown into the first WTC building. We had no idea what was going on at that time and just thought it was an accident. Our call was cancelled and we started watching the news coverage of the event as it unfolded. I returned home in time to see the second plane collide with the second tower. I watched as flames and smoke bellowed out of the giant structures and as emergency teams responded to the scene thinking, "Ok, this is big, but FDNY is trained for stuff like this and, they'll get a handle on it, it's just going to take some time." As I watched the situation unfold and the commentary by the media speculating as to what had just happened, the first tower collapsed. My mind just could not process what just happened. Then, a while later, the second tower collapsed. Again, I could not believe what I was seeing and just wept knowing that there were a lot of civilians in those buildings and firefighters and others coming to help. I was so moved by what I was seeing, I emotionally considered driving out there at that moment to do anything, whatever I could, to help. When I was able to think rationally, I knew that I would just be adding to the problems if I, and so many others in the country that were likely feeling the same way, were to act on those feelings. I stayed at home, prayed, and wept, like most of the rest of the country, and hugged and kissed my wife and daughters when they got home thanking God for His provision of our safety. I see jet airplanes in a different light now and, as much as I pray about it and try to be forgiving, I know in the deep recess of my heart, I have a disdain for a radical culture of people that were at the heart of the evil actions of that day. May He work through this black spot on my heart. I pray the Lord gives comfort and peace to the families of all 2,974 victims in the attacks that day, 343 of which were firefighters, including one chaplain. May God rest their souls and continue to bring healing to the hearts of our country, mine included. I will never forget.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I'll Take Potpourri for $1,000, Alex...

I haven't been real good about updating, a lot of which simply has to do with the lack of time, so I thought I'd just touch on some of several happenings in the past week, or several. Since I haven't posted anything about my running lately, primarily since there hadn't been any, I thought I'd start there. I am actually into my third week of doing some consistent running. Yeah!! You can follow my workouts on the right sidebar below, but basically, I started out with some easy 5K jogs about 3 weeks ago. I have purposely not taken a watch or my Garmin, just simply gone out and ran/jogged easily without regard to time or pace. I have progressed up to 4.1 miles a run and have been going out 4 or 5 days a week, and could do more, but won't as I want to build my mileage slowly and not aggravate my right lower leg (RLL), which so far has not given me too much grief over my re-introduction to running. I have had some post run pain in my RLL, usually the following day or two, which is my sign not to run on those days. So far, so good.

I even picked up a new pair of running shoes pictured below, Saucony ProGrid Guide, which I found at Dick's on sale for $69.99 and I had a $10.00 coupon so, I got them for $64.04 after tax! I just love getting good shoes for a good price. I've like them very well so far. We had gotten Lindsey the same pair in women's at Dave's for her cross country season, which I didn't realize when I got mine. We have very similar feet, though she has a much flatter arch than I.
I've ran with Tammy and Lindsey on more than a few occassions which has been awesome. It keeps me from going at too fast a pace and it's just nice running with people you adore and love being with. Ask me who spits the worst out of the 3 of us. Heh! I'm trying to get Lindsey to perfect the snot-rocket, but she won't have anything to do with it. Her loss. So, with all of us running, I thought I would sign us up as a family for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K at the end of this month and have done so. Chelsea's in as well so, Team Velich will be running the 5K Race for the Cure on September 28th in downtown Toledo. How cool is that!?! I am so excited! We're each running on behalf of someone that is battling or has battled breast cancer. I am running in honor of my friend's mother, Helen Deal; Tammy is running in honor of her Aunt Katie Hiller; Chelsea is running in honor of her best friend's grandma, Sixta Contreras, and Lindsey is running in honor of my parents' old neighbor, Kathy Feik. We know so many more people that this cancer has affected, like our former pastor's wife, Mary Cryderman, and you all will be on our hearts in that race. We do have a fund raising goal for the Komen Race for the Cure foundation of $400.00 as a family. If you would like to donate to this awesome cause through our family team, you can do so via the internet or a printable donation page at our family's team website by clicking HERE.

As I posted previously about our annual Ludington trip, my dad was not able to make the trip, which has typically been a father and son camping and fishing gig since the late 70's and early 80's, and I really missed having him and his neighbor, Walt, another stalwart crew member, there with us when we went with the Johnstons last month. So, we booked a charter last week on Catchin', with Captain Myron Gilbert, who also charters for walleye earlier in the summer out of my dad's marina, Luna Pier Harbor Club. I also asked my friend, Vicki's (who's mother I am running on behalf of in the Race for the Cure) husband, Rob, if he would like to join us since I knew of his love of fishing and just being out on the water. We zipped up to Ludington last Wednesday afternoon and headed out on our charter with Captain Myron Thursday morning at 5:15 a.m. As I was assisting the captain in setting the second line out of 14 after reaching our starting destination about a mile north of Big Point Sable, I inquisitively asked him if he ever had a fish take a line while it was being set. He had barely finished his affirmative answer when a fish hit the line I was putting out. That was the start to a fishing melee that lasted about 2 hours, during which time I don't think we even got all 14 lines out. It was an absolute blast and some of the best fishing we have ever enjoyed. Below are pics of my dad with a couple of the largest fish we caught that morning, the largest being 20 pounds, and then our entire limit catch of 15 fish, most of which were between 15 and 20 pounds!

Rob and I with our fantastic catch. I don't think I stopped grinning that whole day! We had such a blast!
Lindsey had her first cross country invitational this past Saturday. It was in Tiffin, Ohio, the Tiffin Carnival, and is one of the largest, if not the largest, cross country invitationals in the Midwest, if not the country, boasting 553 junior high and high school teams from the Midwest and 6,585 runners! Lindsey ran in the Junior High open race, finishing 78th out of a field of 332 in her race and her team placed 6th out of 26! She ran a personal record (PR) of 15:47 for the two mile cross country course, nearly a full minute faster than her previous race! Great job, Linds! She's pictured below just after the 1 mile mark of the race attacking one of the several hills on the 2 mile course. Notice the sea of runners behind her!

The girls are in their first full week back to school. Chelsea is a senior this year and was accepted to dual-enroll, which means she gets to take a college course through the local community college, for which she receives college credit and the school district pays for the course. She is taking an english class this first semester. This will be a good taste of what is to come if she chooses to go on to college next year and, she'll already have some credits under her belt!

We had a massive structure fire this past weekend at a local golf course where the clubhouse caught fire. The building was completely involved in fire before we were even dispatched to the scene so, we were behind the eight ball from the start on this fire. You can see a clip on the fire from a local news station here. Unfortunatley, I don't have any video or photos to direct you to of the fire as it was when we approached the scene. If I do get one, I'll post it as it was a pretty wicked sight. One of the largest structure fires I have been on scene on in my nearly 15 years on the department. We were dispatched about 11:40 p.m. on Saturday night and I didn't get home from the call and to bed until 9:45 a.m. Sunday. Um, I missed church... sorry Pastor Dean. I didn't think he would appreciate someone snoring in the middle of his message, no matter how compelling his sermon.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Off to Tiffin, Ohio

There's a new runner in the making this year in the Velich household, and her name is Lindsey! Lindsey decided to pass on volleyball tryouts at Bedford and run XC this year, her 8th grade year. She is a very natural looking runner so, I think she will be quite good in no time. Below is a pic from her first race, a *scrimmage* about a week and a half ago in Sylvania, Ohio. The junior high XC course is 2 miles and she had a time of 16:37. Not bad for a first race. She'll get much better as she figures out pacing and racing and what it should feel like. Today we are headed down to Tiffin, Ohio for the Tiffin Carnival XC races. It is one of the largest XC events in the Midwest with 553 school teams, middle school and high school, represented there and 6,585 runners this year. There are typically 200 - 300 runners in each race and teams from schools all over the Midwest. Tammy and I have been going to it for 4 years now since Chelsea has ran in it since her 8th grade year. Sadly though, she is passing on running XC her senior year of high school. It would have been cool to have seen them both running at the same event. Gotta get ready to hit the road. Have a great weekend! I'll post how Lindsey did and some pics later.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Chelsea!

Just wanted to give a shout-out to my, now 17 year old, oldest daughter, Chelsea on her birthday! Happy Birthday, Chels! I love you and pray you have an awesome Senior year of high school!

You get more beautiful with each passing year, but no more so to me than your first.



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Long Week

From the prior post that is. Ok, so I enjoyed the remainder of my summer without much regard for my blog, so sue me. I probably shouldn't say that in this day and age as someone just might, though I don't think they would have much of a case as NOT having my blog to read probably actually relieves a lot of pain and suffering on your part!
As you might guess, a lot has transpired since my last post. I'm not going to detail everything, but I would like to share some things, such as some of the awesome pics I got while we vacationed in Ludington. That place is my personal utopia and combined with being there to share it with my lovely wife, Tammy, and dear friends, Frank and Dianna Johnston, and life just doesn't get any better. The first picture is of the sunrise the first morning Frank and I were out on Lake Michigan fishing. We'd get up at 4:00 a.m. and get out on the water and set up about 5:00 a.m. (I'll get up early to fish, but I won't get up that early to run!) so we were able to take in some incredible sunrises above the shoreline. Out of the 5 days that we fished, this was as wavy as the lake got in this picture. It was amazing!
The first couple of mornings we were out there were intermittent fog banks that would roll in and out across the water giving a surreal look to the lake like the next couple of pics, the second of which is the lighthouse on Big Point Sable, which is about 10 miles north up the shoreline from the Ludington harbor that we put in at.

The following pic is shortly after the one above was taken after the sun had risen above the horizon of the shoreline and started burning some of the fog off of Lake Michigan.

Lines set and ready for action before sun-up and the spoils of our efforts.

The mornings while we were out fishing, the girls would run or bike and explore new areas around the campground, like Hamlin Lake, then in the afternoons we would all go do something together like hang out at the beach, take the boat to Hamlin Lake, and explore the town of Pentwater, which is absolutely beautiful as well.

Thursday evening, our last night there, we all took a walk down to the beach to catch our last sunset of the week.

I was trying to get the sunset behind us, but didn't have any success.

But, just like a beautiful summer day on Lake Michigan in Ludington, all good things must come to an end. Or, do they... the moon rising that same evening and then setting on the west side of the lake Friday morning, our last morning out fishing.

Ludington is an amazing, magical place to me and I hope you were able to enjoy some of its beauty that I tried to capture.