Friday, February 29, 2008

Lady Broncos 8 - 0!

girls basketball
The girls hosted Tecumseh yesterday at home and barely kept their unbeaten streak intact, defeating their pesky opponent 15 - 13 in a nail-biter of a game. The girls' defense was solid as usual however, they just could not get the shots to go down. They must have missed 9 out of every 10 shots they put up and Tecumseh played well, but not well enough against the tenacious defense of the Lady Broncos. Great game girls! Way to hang in there for the win. Linds didn't score, but played well defensively, had an assist or two, and several rebounds against an opposing player that outweighed her at least 2 - 1! Lindsey wasn't intimidated at all and played a great game. Great job Lindsey!

Happy Leap Day!

Just want to wish everyone a Happy Leap Day! Wouldn't it be strange to be born on this day. We know a couple from church that have twins that were born on leap day. To only have a birthday once every 4 years as a child would be a major bummer! So, Happy Birthday Hagedorn boys! Enjoy it!

This Bible verse was in my devotional reading this morning and, is one of my very favorites, it's John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." I am just blown away by this verse when I really think about it. Would you be willing to go to such sacrifice for your friends? Jesus did.

Have a terrific Friday!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Magnet in Waiting

Tammy and I got this nice Thank You card in the mail this past week from my running "dotcomrade", Marion, as we had flowers delivered to her hotel room at Myrtle Beach as a surprise which were waiting for her when she and her husband, Todd, checked into their room the day before her first marathon, the Myrtle Beach Marathon, on 02/16/08 (which she rocked at like 4 hours and 9 minutes!). I thought it would be a neat thing to do to encourage her and to try to get her mind off the race and the anxiety just a wee-bit, if that was possible. She also included a very cool 26.2 vehicle magnet for me in the card to have ready after I completed my marathon in April. Well, I'm not certain that it will be in April or not at this point, but Mar, there will come a day my running friend and, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your very thoughtful gift.

Now, before I benched myself this week, I had my highest weekly running mileage total last week of like 51 miles. That represents over 8 hours outside in the elements running, many of which last week were on sunny (yea), but cold, days. Since they were cold, I wore a hat on all of the runs... can you tell?!? LOOOOOser tanline on the forehead. DOH!

Prayer Request for the Zachrich Family

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know of the plight that Bettyjo Zachrich, my bosse's wife, has undergone following a cervical spine surgery. If not, you can read about her trials since the surgery here to get the details.

She is right now, as far as I know, at this moment, in surgery to have an esophagus "built" in her neck at the Cleveland Clinic. This is following a long ordeal of a non-healing lesion in her esophagus and infection complications following the cervical spine surgery she had prior to LAST Easter. This has been such a long, arduous, and hope diminishing experience for Bettyjo, Bob, and their girls, Brenda and Emily.

Would you please take a moment to lift Bettyjo up in prayer that this surgery will be successful, without complications, and that her healing would be complete once she recovers from it. Also, please pray for peace and comfort for Bob and the girls. If you'd like to, you can leave some encouraging comments, words, or prayer directly at the Zachrich Family Times blog. Just click on the highlighted link to the blog. I know they sure would appreciate the encouragement.

May God bless you all Zachrich family and this surgery be the end to this long ordeal.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'm Benching Myself Temporarily

As much as I don't want to and, as well as my runs have been going, especially my 20 mile long run this past Saturday, I really must bench myself for the rest of this week #12 in my training program. After my 20 mile run on Saturday I felt pretty good physically, better than the prior Saturday's 19 miler, though my left knee and right lower leg did hurt.

The pain in my right lower leg worsened Saturday evening into night as we were at the Grease program at the high school. I couldn't get comfortable in my auditorium seat and my leg was pretty much throbbing the whole night. Sunday, after a night's rest and some vitamin I, and not doing much of anything other than going to church, it felt a bit better. Tammy made a fabulous pork roast with potatoes and carrots and gravy, along with Yorkshire pudding (typically made accompanying a beef roast however, her mom had a hankering for it) which we were to have her parents down for. Her mom was not feeling well so, we had to pork out on the delicious dinner ourselves with her dad coming down to fix himself a take home plate. I basically had to add the dinner note to brag about Tammy's cooking. Yum! She's so awesome!

Monday I got my inspections uploaded and, at the end of the day felt well enough to do my scheduled 5 mile run. I headed out around 4:00 on a very slow pace for a shorter run and the first mile or two I was just about hobbling due to the pain in my right lower leg. I would rate it as an 8/10 with 10 being the worst pain you have ever experienced in your life (childbirth-severity pain for you mothers out there - to which I know you're all saying to me in your heads, "you have no IDEA pal!"). It did get slightly better into my run, but there was still a significant amount of pain by the time I was done as well.

I thought, as has been my experience for about the last 2 weeks, that the pain would subside with rest overnight however, today it feels about as bad as it did when I stopped running last evening and was so bad last night that it kept me awake. It feels as though someone has struck me with a sledgehammer in the lower leg just above the inside part of my ankle without shattering the bone.

So, I have benched myself for the rest of the week and will be resting it, icing it, elevating it when I can, in an effort to heal up to perhaps start up my training program again next Monday. I really hate to do this, but this is probably one of the best weeks to do so in that it is a step down mileage week and I won't be missing out on a lot of miles and I fear that should I try to continue to train I will be out of service indefinitely. In fact, at this point, I'm not sure what will come of this. If I feel as though my leg is healed up well enough to start running again next week and it starts acting up right away again, I may have to see a doc to see what's really up with the leg and plan on a fall race or even later.

A lot of uncertainty right now. While it would be disappointing if I had to bail on this race now with all the training I have put in already to date (in bitter cold temps, with blustery winds, in snow and ice, and rain and...), I know there is still a marathon in my future at some point so, I'm ok with whatever happens. I've already accomplished WAY MORE than I ever thought I could with my running training and I'm grateful for that. I know God's in control and He knows what's best for me. Not that I won't be praying for a miracle. ;-)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pics from the Road Yesterday

I got a kick out of these. The first I was getting gas in Warren or Sterling Heights or somewhere up there and I hear talking at the pump. I just thought it was piped in recorded ads like you hear through a speaker until I was cleaning the salt off the windows and took a look at the pump and saw there were television monitors on top of every pump on both sides and there were weather reports and forecasts and news and stuff going on. I'm thinkin' we're getting a little too electronic that we need to entertain ourselves with tv while we're pumping gas now?!? Just my thoughts.

Then the next is from a wee-little town called Waltz, just off I-275, that I have been by several times, and everytime I do go by this I first of all bust out laughing and then think, "I need to take a picture of this and send it in to Leno or Letterman!" Well, I finally stopped and snapped the pic yesterday. Anyone else find this next picture amusing?

"Yea, I'll just be taking these here Huggies, bread, milk, bologna, and pudding and, do you think you could give my Ford a hook and tow it over to BJ's Automotive and Produce Stand for some work on the transmission? Oh, and also, I have a flat tire that needs plugged in the trunk of my Dodge out in the parking lot. Gimmee that thar pack of Juicy Fruit, too. Thanks."



Miles: 20
Duration: 3:18:00
Avg. Pace: 9:54 minute/mile
Calories burned: 2,789

I had the first of three 20 mile runs scheduled for today. After the fiasco that was my long 19 mile run last Saturday I was not looking forward to this run. Also, as I've said in a couple of recent posts, for the past couple of weeks my right lower leg has been killing me on runs and I have been having knee pain as well. It's nothing that's keeps me from running, I am just running in pain. Not the zen running experience anyone would care for.

I kinda slept in cause we attended a wine tasting party at our friend's, Jeremy and Cindy's, home last evening which was an absolute marvelous time. There were I think 7 couples there, each of which brought a bottle of wine, either a favorite or one that caught their eye, for everyone to try without the knowledge of what it was. There was also an array of appetizers that would make any restaurant chef's heart swoon. Everything was delicious, a few gems of wines that I liked, and just a great time of fellowship with some awesome people and hosts! Thanks, Jeremy and Cindy!

Anyway, I got up about 8:15, got the coffee going and made a bowl of oatmeal. Swirled that with some honey, had my coffee and oatmeal, and got dressed and ready to head out. Had a bit of water and, off I went. It was an absolutely beautiful morning starting out about 14 degrees, but bright sunshiny and clear skies and very little wind to speak of. Absolutely perfect for running. I took with me a 10 oz. bottle of water and three gel packs. I left my bottle of water at the print shop that Tammy works at on my way out, picked it up around mile 6 after having a gel at mile 5, and carried it with me the rest of the way on my run. I had another gel at miles 10 and 15, both followed by some water with a couple ounces left for the tail end of my run.

The first 5 miles were very smooth and I had no issues whatsoever. I was maintaining a 10:00 minute-ish/mile pace which I had intended to do. I went out entirely too fast early in my run last week which killed me toward the end. Miles 5 - 10 my left knee and right lower legs were hurting a bit, but nothing like what I have experienced in the past week or so. I would attribute this to my slower pace and just trying to take it easier. Miles 10 - 15 I could tell I was beginning to tire, as in my leg muscles. This fatigue, I thought, was a by-product of having run a 10 miler just yesterday afternoon. I just tried to maintain my pace. Miles 15 - 20 were pretty tough. I got progressively more fatigued and my low back and hips were starting to hurt as well. I just again focused on maintaining my pace and on the mile countdown to the finish. It's so encouraging when you get inside 5 miles to go and you know you can finish your run ok at that point. Not that you aren't hurting or anything, but you know that barring a major catastrophe, you're good to go to finish. Your legs just kind of go on auto-pilot and, at times, I feel like I really can't even feel them after all that running.

I tried to do the ice bath thing after stretching and hydrating when I got home, but I am a major wussy when it comes to stuff like that. Come on people, I'm a firefighter, not an Artic-Explorer for gosh sakes! For the few minutes that I could tolerate it, I think it did help, but my feet were so cold they were hurting. It did feel good on my legs, knees, and hips though... not so much on my tush or other parts! :-X So, I only managed to sit in the frigid water for like 3 minutes and I think it is recommended to stay in for 10 -15. Yea... NO.

So, overall a good long run and, once again... my longest run EVER to date! Woohoo! I have two more scheduled runs of this length before the marathon, but nothing longer, unless I decide to stretch one of them a bit, which is not likely. And this ends my highest weekly mileage week ever as well at 50 miles!

Here's the split times for those that are interested and my log entry should anyone care to peek.


1: 9:52
2: 9:58
3: 10:04
4: 10:02
5: 10:03
6: 9:55
7: 9:58
8: 10:02
9: 10:02
10: 10:10
11: 9:57
12: 9:56
13: 9:52
14: 9:53
15: 9:49
16: 9:46
17: 9:57
18: 9:50
19: 9:38
20: 9:15

Heading out to our local highschool's production of Grease this evening. They usually put on some great productions for a highschool program and Lindsey was in the one they put on last year, Seussical, The Musical. It was awesome so, I expect this one will be as well.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Catchin' Up Catch-All

First things first, Lindsey's basketball team won their away game yesterday afternoon against Saline, 20 - 8, so the 7th grade Lady Broncos are STILL undefeated with a record of 7 - 0!! Woohoo! Way to go girls. Linds's (I'm always confuzed on the plural possessive things, perhaps and English major could help me out here) scoring streak was broken in this game, but she still played well contributing under the basket in rebounding and did well defensively. Congrats girls!

Yesterday was a day of rest for me from running, though I had considered doing my 10 miler so that I didn't have it back to back with my 20 miler on Saturday. I ran out of time in the day yesterday though and also figured that Hal Higdon, the running guru who's training plan I am following, has it scheduled that way for a reason so, I got the 10 miler in a little while ago.

I felt pretty good, though my right lower leg is still hurting, and my left knee feels like someone is sticking a knife into the joint. Both are just pain issues and not debilitating, it's just a painful nuisance and, both pains lighten up a bit more into my runs. My lower leg feels like someone has taken a hammer to, so there is quite a bit of discomfort there when I first start out running. Anyway, it was a beautiful afternoon, sunny with light winds, and the run was great! I set out to do a 9:30 minute per mile average pace, but when I checked my first mile I was at 9:00 minutes per mile and felt good so, I just tried to stay consistent at that pace and was, quite well I might add. Here's the splits, which I am thrilled with:


1: 9:07
2: 8:57
3: 9:03
4: 9:01
5: 8:53
6: 9:01
7: 9:03
8: 9:03
9: 8:57
10: 8:42

Now, if I can just keep that up for another 16.2 miles, I'll get my sub-4 hour marathon time! HA!

Heading out to a wine tasting party at our friends', Jeremy & Cindy's home now, with some other couples from church (I know... SINNERS!), and appetizers. We, yea right, what the heck am I talking about... I mean, Tammy, made an artichoke dip that is warming in the oven right now. Smells wonderful! Anyway, each couple is bringing a bottle of their favorite wine and we're covering the labels to see if anyone can figure out what kind it is.

I'll have to drink lots of water too cause I have my first 20 mile long run tomorrow! AHHHHHHHHH! I just have to remember, Phillipians 4:13, my life verse from when I was baptized (look it up).

I took some pictures today on the road of a couple of things that caught my eye that I'll post later. Have a GREAT weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In Case You Missed It

I got a few photos of the lunar eclipse earlier this evening. Pretty cool.

Second 5 Miler of the Week

This was supposed to be a simple, easy, nothing fancy, 5 mile run according to my training plan. I went out this afternoon with that completely in mind. As I got through the first mile of the run, I was feeling pretty good so, I just kept pushing the tempo. Mind you, my right lower leg is still not feeling *good*, but it got better longer into my run and, oddly enough, the faster I went. Must be the endorphines I've heard and read about, but never experienced myself! HA! So, while I am still feeling a bit battered physically, primarily my right lower leg, I was still able to bust these mile split times (which are exceptionally fast for me on a training run):

1: 8:56
2: 8:37
3: 8:21
4: 8:15
5: 7:47

I think that the last mile is the first sub-8 minute mile pace I have ran since I began running in January 2006.

On to the Vitamin I and ice now. (C;

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

7th Grade Bronco Girls Remain Unbeaten!

The 7th grade Lady Broncos did it again, chalking up another victory against Adrian, 21 - 13! The girls stalwart defense shut down and frustrated their opponent. Lindsey had a steal and fast break for her one basket of the game and is playing better and better with every game. She is getting more aggressive under the basket and would not succumb to the Adrian defenders trying to beat her out for position under the basket. They tried their best to push her around down low, but she would have none of it! Way to go Lindsey and great job on your continued scoring streak as well. Congrats Lady Broncos, undefeated at 6 - 0! (nice job by Lindsey boxing out in the pic below)

First 10 Miler of the Week Down

One down, one to go... along with a 5 miler, and then a 20 miler on Saturday. This training week repeats itself twice. The run today went pretty well. If you'd care to see how that run went specifically and my splits, you can click on my log here. It was brutally cold and windy, as usual, but at least we didn't get the dumping of snow that the west side of the state received. After the run, I dropped into my chiro's office, Dr. Daryl Lajiness at Lifestyle Chiropractic, and he tuned up my low back and left hip, left shoulder and neck, and right ankle, which have been bothering me since my long 19 mile run this past Saturday. I feel much, much better. He's da man! His wife, Dr. Reyna, is also a D.C., and was a collegiate diver at the University of Toledo and I believe an Olympic diver for Team Canada. Cool, huh?!? Or, I should say - cool, eh?!?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lots O'Miles This Week

This is the first of my heaviest mileage weeks in my training program and, comes at a time that I am physically feeling my worst so far in the course of this training. I have runs of 5 miles, 10 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles, and then 20 miles on Saturday for a total of 50 miles for the week. There will be 3 such weeks as this in this training program. Bizarre, just a scant 5 months ago and that was my monthly total for September, 53.9 miles. Cassy, we've come a long way baby!

I did my first 5 mile run, the first 1.4 of it with Tammy, this evening in about 25 mph winds gusting to Lord knows what. It was so strong it literally blew me sideways a few times when it was a cross wind. Crazy. It's funny, though I was having some pain issues with my legs, a 5 mile run doesn't tire me out in the least bit any more, not even in the conditions I ran it in this evening. It's amazing how far along I have progressed when I reflect back on my early on running.

Tomorrow is a 10 miler. I think the winds are supposed to die down, but temps are to get colder in the low 20's. I'm pretty used to that though. I am so looking forward to running comfortably in shorts and a light tech shirt. I promise I won't complain about it being too hot. Yea, right.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Major Race-Finish Shout-Outs!

I mentioned in my long run post a couple back of my online running buddie's awesome race finishes 02/16/08. First off, Tim's incredible first half marathon finish at the Run the Reagan half marathon race in 1:55:46, which is amazing for a first time half. Way to go Tim! Here's a pic of him coming to the finish line in black and white in the pic below.

Then, there is the awesome first marathon finish of Marion who ran an official time of 4:09:45 in her inaugural marathon at the Myrtle Beach Marathon. That's an average pace of 9:32 minutes/mile for 26.2 miles! I can only hope to do nearly as well as her in my first marathon and will be grateful to simply finish! Amazing race, Mar! Here's a pic of Marion nearing the finish line of her marathon. I am so proud of you my running friend!

So much time and training went in to both of these individual's races and they are both such awesome stories of determination and dedication! Congratulations to both of you! Enjoy your well-deserved time of rest and revel in what you have just accomplished!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'd Like to Introduce You To...

...the newest member of our family, Mijael. He is 7 years old and lives in Bolivia in South America, with his mother and father and one sister. One of the sponsors of Casting Crowns tour is World Vision, an organization that goes into the poorest areas of the poorest nations in the world and does mission work to help the children of the areas by getting sponsors for them from other wealthier parts of the world. This is something that has been on my heart for a long time and was apparently on Tammy's as well. Just before the intermission of the concert last night, lead singer, Mark Hall, was describing some of the children he had from their information sheets and seeking sponsors. Tammy said she has thought for some time that we should do this, I said the same thing, so her and I and Lindsey went out to the lobby and picked Mijael out of stacks and stacks of children packets up for sponsorship. It only costs $30.00 a month and our support will ensure that Mijael will get food and water, clothing, and an education in World Vision mission schools. Our deciding factor for Mijael was his countenance in his picture on his information sheet below. He just looked so incredibly sad and well, worried or fearful. I pray that he has the start of a new and better life now. Welcome to the family Mijael.

Today's Long Run

It definitely qualified as that... LONG. I had a 19 miler scheduled today. Quite an eye-opener of a run. I got up a bit late at 8:00 a.m. after our evening out last night. I had actually awaken at 5:33 a.m and said a quick prayer for Marion who would be gearing up to run her Myrtle Beach Marathon in less than an hour from that time. I fell back asleep and awoke again at 6:10 a.m. and again, said a quick prayer for Marion, who was likely lining up for her race at that point. When I got out of bed at 8, I made some coffee and toasted a cinnamon raisin bagel and said a prayer for Tim who was under way in his Run the Reagan half marathon down in Georgia. Both of them did marvelously, Marion finishing her first marathon (26.2 miles) in a remarkable time of 4:06:00, and Tim shattering his sub-2 hour first time half marathon (13.1 miles) goal at 1:55:46! Way to go guys! I knew you'd both do well!

So, back to my 19 mile long run. I haven't had the best of weeks running and missed my 9 mile run on Friday because of having to head up for the concert right after work and a couple of my prior runs just felt miserable and left me feeling miserable, both physically and mentally. I didn't consider missing the 9 mile run a bad thing as I've been questioning the training value of having a mid-long run, often pace or tempo runs, the day before a long run. They have seemed to me to serve to just wear me out. I dunno.

I waited until I had gotten texted by Marion confirmation of her finish at her marathon before I headed out for my run. The first quarter of the run was going better than expected and physically, I felt better than I had anticipated so, I was quite optomistic starting out. The day was beautiful, temp about 24* with bright, sunshiny, clear blue skies, and minimal winds. I'll just copy my notes and my splits here (with peanut gallery comments to myself) from my running log:

Length: 19 miles
Duration: 3:04:58
Avg. Pace/Mile: 9:45
Calories Burned: 2,633 according to Garmin
Weight starting run: 170
Weight at finish: 164.5 (after hydrating and eating)

Not a particularly good long run. Started out ok, maybe too fast for the distance which is why I suffered in the end of the "run" - I say that because the last 4 - 5 miles where more like a falling forward shuffle, hence the poor quality rating of the run overall. I basically utilized the Galloway run/walk method a couple of times in this run and I also stopped at the fire station at mile 16.20 to pee, ate some mini candy coated kisses left over from movie night the night before (they did not sit very well), and got some water. Everything from my abdomen down hurts. My knees are throbbing, my low back is all jambed up, my left hip is a mess, and my legs and feet are just generally trashed. By far the hardest run I have had to date. I hope the quality of these runs improve or I would think I am in serious trouble.

1: 9:12 - entirely too fast dummy!
2: 9:21 - more in the realm of reality, but still too fast
3: 9:26 - starting to realize I have a LONG way to go
4: 9:33 - yea, you ain't as tough as you think
5: 9:38 - getting there
6: 9:41 - now you're about where you should have started, doofus
7: 9:39 - good consistent pacing
8: 9:32 - ooh, that gel was good, thinkin' you're all tough again
9: 9:42 - this is a long run
10: 9:44 - should have tried to have this as consistent pacing for the run from the start
11: 9:52 - see, I told you you went out too fast
12: 10:32 - had to walk a bit now did we?
13: 9:50 - took another gel and water on this mile
14: 9:38 - gel make um feel better, I cans run faster
15: 9:45 - that didn't last long
16: 9:59 - maybe you ought to think about this range for consistent pacing next long run
17: 10:21 - feelin' hammered again, eh? Thank goodness the fire station was on this mile
18: 9:50 - just finish
19: 9:43 - pass Kathy runnin' Meeka on her first mile of 4, she's all fresh and crap asking brightly and cheerfully how many I have to go as I feebly raise one finger and mutter "one", she gives me the rock as I shuffle by her springy-steppin' self

The upsides: 1. I finished! Thought about bagging the run at mile 9 - the first time I passed by our road and, 2. It was an absolutely gorgeous day - clear blue sky, sunny, and cool, with light winds and no better way to spend it since the rest of the fam was doin' other things.

Casting Crowns Concert

I had gotten tickets to the Castings Crowns concert a couple months ago for Tammy, Chelsea, and Lindsey's Valentine's Day presents and the concert was last night up at Eastern Michigan University's Convocation Center. They're Lindsey's favorite Christian band and a favorite of our whole family. We've seen once before. The concert was awesome and we had a great time! Here's a few more pics of the concert. The pic of the image on the screen with Mark Hall, the lead singer for the group, was painted by a guy during the course of the song, "Voice of Truth", and they split screened it on the video screen with Mark toward the end of the song. Very powerful!

One of my dates for the evening. Isn't she lovely! :-)

The band doing the song, "Praise you in the Storm".

My girls enjoying the concert. I am so blessed!

Casting Crowns drummer going gonzo in about a 5 minute solo-spot. This guy is HUGE! He reminds me of Uncle Fester on steroids. And... he totally rocks!

The concert was awesome and I hope the girls had a good time. I know I did just being with all of them. Love you girls!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Good Luck Marion and Tim!

My online running "dotcomrades" (term as stolen, err, borrowed from Kooky on RA) from RunningAHEAD (RA) and fellow running bloggers, Marion and Tim, will be running two big races this weekend. Marion will be lacing up for her first marathon, the Myrtle Beach Marathon, which the gun will go off for bright and early Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. I wrote about what an inspiration she has been to me in my own running, and life, and her incredible weight loss road that she has paved for herself, not traveled, in a prior post here. She's a remarkable story of heart and fiery determination. If you have a moment, I encourage you to head over to her site, Shut it and Run, and leave her a note to wish her well in her race. As I said, she has been a huge inspiration to me and one of the driving factors the Lord put in my life to set a goal of running a marathon myself. It's been said that the marathon is simply the victory lap for all the exhaustive miles and training you run preparing for it. Mar, you've trained hard and well, my running friend... now go out and enjoy the whole experience of your victory lap!

Tim is an incredible story as well and only began running just a year ago in January and, at that, had only really started walking at that time. He has lost 80 pounds since, run numerous races, many of which were 5k's in which he has shattered his PR (personal record) in them time after time, and is now gearing up to run his first half-marathon, the Run the Reagan, down in the Atlanta-area of Georgia tomorrow. His story of determination to get himself healthier and the incredible strides he has made in doing so have been an inspiration to me as well. You can head over to his blog, 26.2 Quest, and cheer him on in as well.

There are some amazing people all around us, that do amazing things, under amazing circumstances and, these are just two of them. May the Lord bless you both in your races tomorrow, with peace of mind, strength, endurance, and physical health. You're both amazing individuals! I can't wait to hear about your races. Good luck and... have a BLAST!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lady Broncos Go To 5 and 0 on the Season!

The Lady Broncos continued in their winning ways improving their unbeaten record to 5 - 0 earlier this afternoon walloping Lincoln, 41 - 17. The Broncos defense was inpenetrable and accrued countless steals creating fast break opportunities on which they capitalized. Everyone on the team played well! Lindsey continued in her game scoring streak scoring a bucket in the final period of the game and was a force under the basket racking up several offensive and defensive rebounds. Their next game is Tuesday, February 19th at Adrian. Go Lady Broncos!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day! Hope y'all have a loved one to share it with and cherish.

I have a surprise outing lined up for the ladies in my life tomorrow. I'll let you know what that was after the surprise. I did get them all flowers today too though, cause they're all special, beautiful, and the loves of my life.

Happy Valentine's Day!

No Wonder I Came in About Last Place...

...I was going the wrong way! Just kidding. This was my warm up before the Dave's 10 Mile Shoe Run I ran about a month ago. I just looked at it recently and saw the runners going the other way and thought, no wonder I came in at the back of the pack!

Well, I missed my 9 mile run a couple of days ago on Tuesday due to a little snowstorm we had. I ran that last night after Lindsey and I got back from her game at Dexter where she and her Lady Bronco teamates posted another "W" to go 4 - 0 on the season. While my pace, just slightly over 9 min/mile was ok and total time, 1:21:27 was ok, the run was horrible. I felt horrible, I felt like my legs and body were "heavy", I had to go up and down the same road (Lewis Avenue) because the side streets were still too snow covered, my legs hurt, my right knee was killing me even with my brace on, right lower leg felt like it would snap at any moment, and I wanted to quit about 4 - 5 miles into it. Oh, and then in the last 2.5 miles mother nature was knocking at the door, if you know what I mean. Sorry, I know, too much information (tmi) as usual, but hey, this is the life of a runner training for a marathon and these things have to be reckoned with. Anyway, I made it home "safely", but (no pun intended), barely.

Anyway, needless to say I had some serious doubts in my head about enduring the rest of the training and completing this marathon after that run last night. The questions and self-doubt festered in my head as I lay in bed awaiting slumber last night. I knew I would have to go out earlier this morning, which was a scheduled rest day, for my 4 mile run that I was to have been done yesterday. I was nervous about getting back out on the pavement today. I showered, took some vitamin I (ibuprophen) and went to bed last night with a pillow under my knee.

I woke up this morning and the pain in my knee and side of it was pretty well gone. I still wasn't confident about running. I got out about 7:45 and got the 4 miles in. I felt much better this morning, not good, but much better than last night and didn't have any residual pain after the run. Whew. I completed the run in 35:21 at an average pace of 8:51 min/mile in the 10 degree temps of the morn. So, a redemptive (is that a word?) run in which I gained some confidence back. I've found running is like that though, one day you feel as though you could run across the state of Michigan and the next, like you couldn't run across the street to get the mail. It's as much a mind game as it is physical at times.

Lindsey has a home game this afternoon against Lincoln. She scored one basket last night and they ended up eeking out the win against Dexter 21 - 15 after leading them 17 - 3 in the last period! Kinda fell apart a bit at the end. Hopefully they will play good consistently throughout this afternoon's game. I'll post the results later.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My Dad is my role model and hero. Always has been, even when I was a young and dumb, unruly punk. I know some of you are questioning whether any of that has actually changed. I hope the answer is yes. He is the gentle, quiet-strength-type. Never says a bad word about anybody. That is THE one quality that I have always admired about him the most. I have NEVER, and I honestly mean NEVER, heard him utter a negative word about anyone. I certainly can't come even CLOSE to boasting that. He has always been calm under pressure, smartly and wisely thinks things through before coming to any conclusions or decisions, and has the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job, and the heart of David.

He and my Mom have wintered down in southern Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, Alamo to be exact, since his retirement in 2000. They're having the time of their life with new friends they've made over the years down there, which I think I am probably more tickled for them than they are themselves.

I have a multitude of great memories of camping, fishing, and hunting trips from their sacrifices when my sister and I were younger. I have images of the Titan Mountains reflecting off the placid mirror-like waters of Jackson Lake at sunrise just after the morning mist has burned off seared in my mind, black bear in the Great Smokey Mountains, the repetitive view of the Lincoln Memorial from the highway we were trying to get off of to get to it to see it up close, my girls seeing Mickey Mouse for the first time at Disney World, my first taste of salt water from the Atlantic Ocean, the taste of freshly caught smelt, salmon, walleye, and perch after another great fish outing with the best fishing buddy ANYONE could ever have, and many have, and SO many more memories.

So, here's to you, Dad, on your birthday and every day! Thanks for all the great experiences and memories, and those yet to come. I admire, respect, and love you more than you'll ever know! Cheers!

Happy birthday!

Sadly, today also marks the one year anniversary of the death of Tammy's last living grandma, Grandma Lane, aka to us Gene, Gene, the Dancing Machine. We think of you often Grandma and, are happy you are resting and rejoicing in Heaven with Grandpa for eternity now. Have a shot and a beer for us with him. We miss you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Last Sunday's Message - It's All from God

The picture at the right I took Saturday evening coming out of our church as I was leaving rehearsal around 5:45 p.m. The sunset was stunning on that brisk winter evening. I took it with my cell phone, but wish I'd had my camera. Actually, most of the pics you see on my blog have been taken by me, or taken (like stolen, as Lindsey would protest) by me. Hehehe.

I sang a tune called "Take Away" (links to the lyrics and synopsis of the song by the artist) by the band, Mainstay last Sunday during service. The message was essentially that everything we have has come from God and nothing here belongs to us, so we shouldn't get so attached to our "stuff", but rather focus on the good that we can do with it and to be content with what we have, avoiding the whole "keeping up with the Joneses" coveting that so many of us get wrapped up in, myself and family included at one time, and still at times.

It's not that "stuff" isn't ok to have, provided we are thankful for what we do have, are not focused on what we don't have, and are willing to give as we can to those not as fortunate as us. We are so much more blessed than the VAST majority of the world. Our team that just got back from Haiti on a short term mission trip to provide eye exams and eyeglasses to as many Haitians as we could will attest to this. The poverty there is indescribable and beyond anyone's comprehension reading this blog (or writing it) unless you have been there or to similarly poor countries or even areas of our own country for that matter. I know I often need these reminders of how fortunate I truly am.

So, the next time your looking at your neighbor's brand new, shiny, whatever it is, and you find yourself longing for it, or the bigger, better, faster, stronger version of the whatever it is... think of those that have no place to sleep tonight or nothing to eat tonight and be grateful for the blessings that you do have.

One final thought, one of my own actually, on this. When I first became a Christian, I would often contemplate the needs of people around the world, or in my own backyard, and I would get overwhelmed thinking, "Lord, what can I do? The needs are so great all around. Where do I focus my attention and limited resources because I can't help everywhere?" He gave me the answer in Galatians 6:10 which says, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

We need to keep our eyes, ears, and heart open to the opportunities to "do good to all people" and act on them when they arise. We can't help everyone, everywhere, all the time. None of us have those kind of resources... not even Oprah. But, we can fill the gas tank of a less fortunate family when they pull up to the pump next to us when we're getting gas and, are prompted to do so by something inside. We can be on the way back from a run along a boardwalk and overhear a conversation where a homeless man is in need of a pair of shoes, stop and take off our shoes, which are miraculously the same size the man needs, and give them to the man in need, as we are prompted to do so by something inside. We can give our no longer used eyeglasses to our church to send to Haiti along with a team of people to vision test, fit, and prescribe to impoverished individuals going blind that would continue to do so without them, as we are prompted to do so by something inside. Everyone feels these promptings inside to "do something" I believe and for me, I believe that prompting inside is the Spirit of Christ that dwells in my heart. I need to be in tune to that Spirit prompting me and act on it more often letting go of the "stuff" that I hang on too tightly to, because frankly, that family needed that tank of gas more than I did.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ran 4 this Afternoon

The run was cold, 14 degrees with a slight wind for a "real feel" (don'tcha just love meteorology-speak) of 9, but the running company was hot, both literally and figuratively, as I did my run with Tammy. She doesn't regulate body temp well, so she gets easily over-heated and rather likes this weather to run in. I am a normal warm blooded mammal and hence, my face and fingers were frozen at the end of our run. Our average pace was 10:30/mile and very consistent, within 7 seconds for the 4 miles. I like that. She's my favorite running buddy.

Tomorrow I have to try and squeeze in 9 at some point during the day. Maybe an early run, but we are supposed to get 2 - 4 inches of snow overnight. If that is the case, I may bag the run for the day as Lindsey has an away basketball game at 4:00. I've been very good about getting my miles in so, it doesn't bother me if I miss a day here and there.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Roller Coaster Weather Continues

This is a picture of the corner of our street and Lewis Avenue (the "Main Street" of our town), which I always begin my runs on one way or another from yesterday (Friday) morning as I was heading out to do my inspections for the day for work. The new blanketing of snow brings a refreshing look to the scenary, but the snow on the shoulders makes for a pain in the hoohaa of a run. But, again, I am not going to complain because winter/snowfall could be much worse than it has been so far this winter.

Fortunately, today the shoulders were relatively clear for my long run, which was a scheduled 12 miler that I stretched to 13. It was a fairly nice day to run, temp was 34, the winds were slightly high, but out of the south/southwest so, since I was primarily running most of my mileage east to west, it wasn't that much of a factor. Ole sol even tried peeking out a couple of times toward the end of my run. Tomorrow the roller coaster takes another plunge as we are to have very high winds and a high of 9 degrees. Glad tomorrow is a day of rest. :-)

The 13 mile run was more difficult than I was anticipating it being. I think this was probably due to having done a medium-long tempo run (a faster-paced run) just last evening of 9 miles. My legs were pretty well trashed at the end of today's run and I had some pretty serious aches and pains. I'm thinking this is just making me stronger though and I'm not currently feeling any residual effects from this morning's run so, I don't think I am doing any damage to my body, other than short term muscle damage which will heal and strengthen my body.

Here's the specs on this mornings run for those interested:

Miles: 13

Duration: 2:03:33

Avg. Pace: 9:31/mile

Calories burned: 1,662

Mile splits:

1: 10:41

2: 10:12

3: 9:35

4: 9:35

5: 9:29

6: 9:25

7: 9:25

8: 9:17

9: 9:21

10: 9:18

11: 9:15

12: 9:04

13: 8:56

I ran the first mile and a half with Tammy who did 3.1 miles this morning. I love having her company running, even if it was just for a short while, it makes the rest of the run seem to go better. Although, today's was an unexpected and unanticipated physical struggle. That which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger though, eh? (the eh is the Yooper in me comin' out eh)

Today's run marks the completion of the 9th week of my training plan, which is the halfway point of my 18 week program and also, the highest weekly running mileage (41) I have run to date. I have some serious weekly mileage on the horizon in my training plan, which you can look at here if you wish.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Broncos Post Third Victory!

The 7th grade Lady Broncos posted their third victory of the season against the Saline - Gold Team this afternoon, 26 - 6. The girls were tenacious on defense! Lindsey scored 6 points in her time on the hardwood. The girls were a little out of sorts on offense, but their vicious defense more than made up for their, at times, disorganized offense. Way to go girls... 3 and 0!

Bipolar Winter Weather Continues

Yesterday I did my inspections in an assortment of weather conditions ranging from rain, to sleet and freezing rain, to snow in the northern most reaches of my territory. When I got home in the afternoon, a 4 mile run was on the agenda according to my training program. It was raining like crazy when I got home and hovering just above freezing. I decided I didn't need to earn a medal for a 4 mile run and would make it up. Instead I uploaded my inspections on the computer while Tammy and Lindsey went to dinner at Maggie's, the restaurant where Chelsea works in town. By the time they got back, we had about two inches of snow as the rain changed over and it was coming down quite hard. I finished up my inspections and headed to our monthly business meeting at the fire station.

I got the 4 miles in around lunchtime today on the freshly covered snowy roads. It's much like running in loose sand. I am not complaining because our winter could be much worse than it has been in not allowing me to get outside to get my runs in at all. But, I am really tired of running in the snow, and not from the standpoint of simply running in the snow, but sharing the roads with traffic that really don't care what the road conditions are like or that there is an approaching runner/pedestrian that in their minds has no right to be out on the roads in weather like this! GAH!

Today, I even had a local school bus driver not budge an inch from their lane, and I was running on the shoulder in the snow mind you, and they just about took my head off with their ginormous bus mirror by not moving over at all. And, it ain't like I'm not HIGHLY visible because I either wear a hunter orange snow cap, a neon reflective front and back vest, or both. Apparently they work as attractants though. Enough whining.

I have 9 miles scheduled for tomorrow. Hopefully the roads/shoulders will be cleared up a bit my tomorrow afternoon. Then Saturday is a lower mileage long run of 12 miles before things start ramping up for my long runs in the coming weeks on Saturdays (19, then 20, then 12, then 20, then 12, then 20... whew). If that series of long runs don't whoop me into shape for this marathon, I may as well call it quits!

Lindsey's basketball team has a home game this afternoon. I'll let you know how they do later.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I Love You!

Just want to take a moment to wish my Mom a most Happy Birthday! I'm so thankful for you Mom and that you and Dad are enjoying your retirement years together doing what you want to do. She is 6 days older than my Dad, who used to revel in those 6 days, until they turned 50. Not a word since.

May the Lord bless you on your birthday and always, Mom, as He did me when He gave me to you to raise. Thanks for your love and patience, especially through the difficult years. I love you, Mom! Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Hilarity Ensues

OK, I'm sure this was a very serious matter for this west Michigan woman, having her Jesus statue kidnapped and being held for ransom, but look on to see exactly why He was kidnapped and is being ransomed...

This was posted in a thread on RunningAHEAD and cracked me up so, I just thought I'd share. Hope y'all got a good belly laugh out this as well!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

7th Grade Bronco Ladies Win Second Game

The girls traveled to Tecumseh for an away game this afternoon against the Indians and were victorious in their second outing toppling Tecumseh 24 - 5. Lindsey had a good game and scored two baskets, the second of which came just before the final buzzer of the game. The team looked good and much improved over their home season-opener last week. Great job Lady Broncos! Next up is Saline Gold this Thursday.

Random Pics from Lindsey's Birthday

Just some random pictures from Lindsey's birthday Saturday.

Her lit birthday cake as we sang Happy Birthday to her. (She didn't get all her candles out in one blow)

Older sister, Chelsea, being, well... Chelsea.

Mom looking threatening toward the picture-taker, which was fortunately not me as you can see. :-)
The embroidered duffle bag Linds got for basketball and whatever else from Mom and Dad. She wanted a bunny, but I would not relent.
Happy 13th Birthday again, Lindsey! I can't believe 13 years have gone by since you came into this world. You are a blessing my dear daughter.

Today vs. Yesterday

The saying is apparently true... "What a difference a day makes." This is what our road was like yesterday when I went for my four and a half mile run:
It was a nice mix of packed ice and ice base with slush in the traveled areas of the road and then the main road, Lewis Avenue, had plowed snow on the shoulders allowing me to run dangerously close to traffic, all of which was bigger and faster than me. As I said, I wore my homemade winter trainers, which are simply an old pair of ASICS Gel Nimbus shoes with over 400 miles on them to which I screwed 1/2" sheet metal screws into the soles for traction on surfaces like that above. They (pictured below) work like a charm.

So last night it progressively got warmer and we actually had a thunderstorm in the middle of the night as some point. The thunder actually woke me up. Most of the snow melted away and the roads and shoulders were clear this morning for my 9 mile run. I completed the run in 1:19:25 for an average pace of 8:50 minutes per mile. My target pace for the marathon is right around 9:00 minutes per mile. After today's run, I know right now I am not capable of sustaining that pace for three times the distance I ran today.

The good news is that by Saturday, I will only be halfway through my training program so, I have a lot more running to strengthen myself with. My optimal goal for this marathon is to run it in any time under 4 hours. I would be happy with 3:59:59. Any time beginning with a 3 will be awesome. I don't know that I am capable of it though and, there are soooo many things that can happen to derail one's race plans. The weather will be a big determinant of IF I will even have a time goal come race time at the starting line. We shall see.

Things are going well so far and I am feeling pretty good. I pray that continues.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Well Done, Jennifer!

I just wanted to give a shout out to my RA (RunningAHEAD) running friend, Jennifer, from San Diego, CA, on her awesome performance in the Surf City Marathon she ran yesterday in very tough windy and rainy conditions along the Pacific Coast Highway that you can read about here on her blog. Great race report, Jennifer!

You're an inspiration to me Jennifer and thanks for all the encouragement and support you have given me here. I truly appreciate it and... you! Congratulations on an awesome race and... on to Boston! :-)

Now I can lace up my sheet metal studded homemade winter trainers and head out for my scheduled 4 miles on the newly iced-over southeast Michigan roads. The kids had another two hour school delay due to the weather so, as soon as they head off to school I will head out in the ice/slush for my run, then on to some inspections. Did that rodent see his shadow Saturday? Cause I am about DONE with winter weather! :-D

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tickled to Near-Death

I just got back from my long run. Before I go into that, I should announce that Lindsey and Sami got a "1" rating, the highest rating, on their duet at Solo & Ensemble today and earned a blue medal! WAY TO GO GIRLS! YOU DID AWESOME! Sami also got a "1" rating on her solo she performed as well so, earned a second blue medal. Congratulations, Sami! We're very proud of both of you and all your hard work and brilliant perfomances! ;-)

I'm whipped and have to stretch yet and shower and head out to rehearsal at church and then meet the family at Texas Roadhouse for Lindsey's 13th birthday dinner so, I'm just posting my notes from my log on RunningAHEAD here on my long run of 17 miles today. Another new furthest milestone for me. I felt really strong on this run and am very thankful for that confidence boost. :-)

Summary details:

Miles ran: 17
Total time: 2:42:37
Avg. pace/mile: 9:34
Calories burned: 2,355

Here's the notes I put on my log:

Very good long run in crappy conditions given the snowfall we had yesterday and the road shoulders having about 6 - 8 inches of plowed snow on them so, I had no choice but to run on the roads, which made me nervous since vehicle traffic isn't very accommodating even when I'm on the shoulders. Everyone was pretty cool though with the exception of a couple of vehicles which did not give way at all.

Anyway, overall, I felt pretty darn good especially given the fact that I physically felt beat up even before going on the run. I shoveled a lot of snow yesterday and my low back was killing me and my neck and shoulders. NONE of this bothered me during my run however! I was amazed. I'm sure I'll be feeling it tomorrow, but I'm tickled at how good I felt during my run. My knees got to aching around mile 5 or 6, but held up quite well and probably due to running on all pavement. I did wear my brace on my right knee and before I put it on I put body glide on the side where it rubbed last week and I had no issues this week. Garmin says I burned 2,355 calories.

Took a gel at mile 7 and 12 with water after each, a total of one 16.9 oz. bottle. That was fine. I do have some blisters on the bottom of my feet from them getting wet and rubbing at the very end of my run, like the last 2 miles. Here's the mile split times:

1: 9:27

2: 9:40
3: 9:46
4: 9:54
5: 9:55
6: 9:54
7: 9:48
8: 9:51
9: 9:36
10: 9:50
11: 9:46
12: 9:39
13: 9:24
14: 9:14
15: 9:10
16: 9:02
17: 8:39

Pretty happy with that. In fact, I am tickled... to near death. :-)

Focker... out.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Happy 13th Birthday Lindsey!

Tomorrow is Ground Hog Day and... Lindsey's 13th Birthday! Happy Birthday Lindsey! You're growing into a remarkable young woman and Mom and I are so proud of you! Keep it up!
She had wanted Mom to make this cake for her (and was yelling at me for stealing the picture from her blog), but will be settling for Pillsbury Funfetti instead.

First thing tomorrow morning however, we will be traveling to Livonia, Michigan for her Solo & Ensemble competition. She and friend, Sami, will be performing a saxophone duet in front of judges in the competition. They just got done practicing a little while ago and from what I heard, should do quite well tomorrow.

I have to get a long run in, 17 or 18 miles, when we get back and then have rehearsal at the church myself at 4:30 for Sunday's services. Then, we'll be going to Texas Roadhouse for Lindsey's birthday dinner. YeeeHawwwww! Then home for cake (not the one above), ice cream, and 13 birthday spankins!

Happy Birthday Wooby! I love you so much!

p.s. - No run today due to the snowfall.