Thursday, December 10, 2009

He Still Has a Pulse

This is a start. I have updated my races for the year and will post about them when I have a bit of time. Perhaps over the Christmas holiday, or sooner, should time come available. Some really sad and really great things have transpired since my last post and all well-worthing sharing so... until then... enjoy this season that is Christmas. Blessings...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Brief Update

Thanks to the prompting of Karen from Mom on the Run, I felt I should do a quick update to the ole blog, which has been neglected of late. I just kinda feel like writing about the running stuff gets boring after a while and who really cares, but I guess there are a few of you out there in cyber space that do so... here goes.

Tammy and I have been doing pretty well in our half marathon training. She missed about 5 days or so about a week and a half ago due to the hospitalization of her mom up in Saginaw, MI. Long story short, her mom and dad were up at their cabin in Glennie, MI when her mom had a respiratory emergency, was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Tawas, MI about 40 minutes away (closest place to the middle of nowhere where the cabin is located). They could not care for her properly there due to her need for dialysis, so she was transported by ambulance down to ICU in Saginaw. She was in for 6 days, the first several of which Tammy was there. So, she lost maybe 2 or 3 days of running, but got right back into the swing on her return.

She has been nursing a sore right quad and I continue to walk a fine line with my right lower leg. We're both doing fairly well though and consistently getting in around 20 - 25 miles per week. We completed our longest long run to date in our half marathon training and Tammy's longest run ever this past Saturday going 9 miles in about 1:33:33. Tammy is doing AWESOME. She is like a machine and just keeps plugging right along on our long runs. I have no doubt she will do quite well in our half at Bayshore in Traverse City on the 23rd of May. She has amazing stamina and I often have to curb her desire to speed up during our runs.

We are not going to be running any of the Glass City Marathon races coming up on April 26th, but will be volunteering in some capacity for the Toledo Road Runners at the races. Not sure yet what our assignments are as yet though as we have not heard back from the race organizers. We are registering for a 5K in Bowling Green, Ohio, the Couch Potato 5K, on the day before, Saturday the 25th of April, and youngest daughter, Lindsey, will be joining us in that race. There are a couple of guys from RunningAHEAD that will be in that race as well, so hopefully we'll be able to hook up with them for a bit. It's kind of a race challenge for these two fellas. Should be fun.

Other than that, life has been good. I went with Chelsea last week as she registered for a summer college class and her fall semester classes for her freshman year of college. Sigh. She is doing well in her final trimester of high school while working diligently at her job. I am very proud of how responsible she has been this year. We have also started with preparations for Chelsea's graduation and open house. Lindsey has begun softball, although with the snow outside today, it is hard to believe softball season is upon us. We are attending a banquet tonight honoring all-A students at the junior high, which she has acheived for the second year in a row. So, there you have it, running and life in a nutshell of late in the Velich household.

Oh, couple things before I go for now. I am really trying to prepare my heart this week for Good Friday and the amazingly loving sacrifice that Jesus made that day for me and on behalf of ALL mankind to atone for all of OUR sins and to bridge the gap between our flawed humaness and a perfect God. It is my prayer for you that you would also take time to reflect on just how incredible this sacrificial gift of grace was for YOU and then rejoice in the risen Lord of Easter Sunday, Jesus Christ, that came to this world as Emmanuel, God with us, not to be served, but to serve ALL of mankind. For those of you who may be rolling your eyes about me speaking out about my faith and this Easter season, I am sorry, but as Penn Gillette, an avowed atheist, of Penn and Teller has said, "How much do you have to hate somebody (as a professed Christian) not to proselytize to them." I hate no one, though I do confess I struggle with my attitude toward some sects of our global society, but I would wish eternal damnation to hell on no one and seek to grow a loving heart to all as Jesus had and modeled for me.

One final thing... GO STATE!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Churchill's Half Marathon

We didn't run this race, but Tammy and I showed up in sleepy, little Monclova, Ohio yesterday afternoon after a great message by Pastor Dean on Restoring at church in the morning. It was the most beautiful day of 2009 to date as far as the weather went. It was brisk in the morning and by the time we left church around 10:30 a.m., it was warming nicely by the full blown sunshine on the eastern horizon. The sunrise was spectacular! We didn't have to be to the race till noon so, on our way down, we treated ourselves to a rare breakfast out together at IHop ~ Come hungry ~ Leave happy ~ We did.

We made our way south to Monclova and got to the race just before noon. There was some confusion early on with the coordination of the volunteers and water stations, but we soon had our assignment to man the first water station that would be hit twice due to a turn around in the course. We were paired with two other woman, Mary and Allison, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had worked with Mary a number of years ago at a local insurance agency she worked for till she and her husband relocated to South Carolina to live on a sailboat. She said they returned about 10 years ago and lived in the area again and she had recently joined the Toledo Roadrunner's just as we had.

The four of us headed to our water station post and were becoming quite anxious as it was about 12:25 and no one had delivered our table, water jugs, and cups yet and the race was beginning at 12:30 and we were less than a couple miles out from the start. Finally, one of the race administrators dropped off our supplies. As I said, it was a glorious day as far as the weather went. My face actually got sunburned!

I had a great time catching up with Mary and meeting and getting to know new fellow Roadrunners, Allison, and Rob, who eventually joined us to assist at our station as well. I also had the pleasure of seeing online running friend and one of my many marathon saving graces, Phil Mishka, at the finish of the race and catch up with him a bit. And, it is always a blessing to me to spend time with Tammy. I get whistful when I see how quickly our girls are growing up and in the knowledge that, all too soon, both of them will be off on their own, but I am also selfishly enjoying the alone time that I get to share more frequently with my beautiful wife. The race was awesome. Serving was awesome. Catching up with Mary and getting to know new running friends was awesome. Spending most of the beautiful day with Tammy was awesome.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Long Train Runnin'

This post has absolutely nothing to do with The Doobie Brothers, though I do love their stuff. Tammy and I did what was kind of our first long training run in preparation for the Bayshore Half Marathon we are running Memorial Day Weekend up in Traverse City, MI. I say kind of because we had done a run of just under 7 miles a couple of weeks ago. This morning, on a beautiful, crisp, sunny morning, Tammy and I headed out with the intentions of doing 7 or 8 miles. I had run the past 2 days and she a longish 6 miles yesterday, so I didn't know how our bodies would be feeling today.

Both of us felt pretty good so we did end up stretching this mornings run to 8 miles. This is her second longest run that I am aware of and my longest run since the grueling disaster that was my first marathon almost a year ago. I thought for sure I would have some leg pain, but had none! Yeah! She felt really good. We averaged about 10:13/mile, which was right in the ballpark of where I wanted us to be. It was a glorious, sunshiny, brisk morning, perfect for a long run. When I reflect on the longer runs I did last year in preparation for the marathon, I am really thankful to be running them now with Tammy. The run seemed to go by so much more quickly than they did last year. She's doing great too. Her stride and gait are so smooth and easy and she has great stamina. Most of the time I am pulling in the reigns on her to keep her from pushing the pace! I am so looking forward to running this half marathon with her.

Tomorrow we are volunteering at the Churchill's Half Marathon. Have some giving back to do. I think that will be possibly more fun than running the race. Looking forward to serving at the race.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wearing of the Green 7K

I participated in the 55th Wearing of the Green 7K race yesterday sponsored by the Toledo Roadrunner's Club out at Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon, Ohio. The weather conditions were very reminiscent of those I experienced in the last half of the Glass City Marathon last April with temps in the mid-30s and a wind driven rain. The race was 4.2 miles, but my Garmin logged it as 4.32. I was shooting for an 8 minute/mile pace, but was not able to maintain that. My splits were 8:09, 8:17, 8:21, and then 8:34 in the last full mile. The final .32 mile was at a dismal 9:06 pace. The cold coupled with the wind driven rain just sapped me in the final mile and a third of that race and the last half mile was along the open lakeshore of Lake Erie into the wind driven rain along the flooded asphalt path littered with floating goose poop that permeated ones nostrils like Vick's Vaporub. Was not a good finish to the race. My Garmin time for the race was 36:16, but I did not get an "official" race time yet. Should be very close to that. It was a lot of fun despite the lack of feeling in my legs at the end of the race and the TRRC does a very nice job on their race organization. Now if they could only do something about the weather on their selected race dates! When am I going to break down and invest in a good pair of running tights and rain proof pullover?!? Oh, and I was about the only one that dressed in green! What the heck? All in all, it was a ton of fun though and I am enjoying the challenge of racing on a regular basis. Next up will likely be a rematch with the Glass City Marathon, though as part of a 5 person relay team.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Get Luckey Revisited

Hey, I just checked out the Toledo Roadrunner's results for the Get Luckey 5K that Tammy and I ran two weeks ago and I DID get a PR by a second! Yep, that's right, I said one, 1, uno, second! Hey, a PR's a PR. My lungs were on fire and my heart about to burst at the end of that first mile so, I'll take it! Woot!

We're going to head down to Ottawa Park in Toledo to do a longish run this morning. It's chilly, probably about 20, and snowflurrying right now with moderate winds. Should make for a nice longish run around 6 to 7 miles. We are tired of running the same route up and down Lewis Avenue here. Change of scenary. Have a great weekend.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What's Been Happening

A week ago Monday after the Get Luckey 5K, Tammy and I ran an easy long run of about 7 miles together. Both of us felt really good during and after the run. We both did a shorter run the following day and both of us had some leg pain. Given that, coupled with event filled days for the remainder of the week and weekend, we did not get any more runs in. We both got out this morning independently, I had some work to finish up before I could get out and she had to get her day going, and both felt ok as far as the leg pain went. We had yet another snowfall over the weekend so, the running was not easy and the shoulders of the road narrow. One thing that I learned very quickly as a new runner is that traffic is not accomodating whatsoever to pedestrians or bicyclists. Traffic laws must have changed in the couple of decades or so since I got my license. I know courtesies certainly have. I signed up for a 7K race (4.2 miles) on March 8th at Maumee Bay State Park. It's the "Wearin' of the Green 7K" put on by the Toledo Road Runners. Tammy cannot make that race as she will be working the Bedford Business Association Trade Fair so, I will be runnin' solo that morning. Have a blessed week.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Get Luckey 5K

Tammy and I headed down to Luckey, Ohio yesterday morning in some freshly fallen and falling snow for the "Get Luckey 5k" put on by the Toledo Roadrunners Club, which we just joined last month as a family. A friend just pointed out to me that every time I do a race there seems to be less than ideal weather. It really wasn't bad at all though. Though we didn't have a lot of miles built up prior to this race, I was fairly confident I could beat my 25:03 pr (personal record). This was the second year for this race and it was Valentine's Day themed with the women getting a 3 minute head start and men and women finishing in the same age group categories then with the first 8 finishers in each age group receiving a wine glass. We got really cute t-shirts (which I will photo and display on here in a later post) and cute ribbons.

It was about 30 degrees with light falling snow and light winds when the race started. Tammy was off first. Three minutes later, I was off. I went out entirely too fast with the crowd of very fast men and my first mile split was 7:36. I didn't even know I could run a seven and a half minute mile! When my Garmin beeped to let me know I had my first mile split and I looked, I knew I would be struggling in the next couple miles left. My plan was to have gone out at 8:00 minute pace and try to pick up at the end. I gased myself that first mile and tried to hang on into the second mile, but actually had to walk for about 30 seconds to catch my breath. I'm sure if I had my heart rate monitor on, my heart rate would have been red-lining around 180 - 190 bpm! Oops. Second mile split was 8:38 or something like that. I picked up in my last mile, caught up to Tammy with about a half mile left in the race and was shouting encouragement to her as I approached. I had a hard time catching her and was still trying to hold on to my pace.

We approached the last turn to the last quarter mile or so shortly after I passed her. I checked my Garmin and saw I was somewhere around 23:40 and was shooting for under 25:00 for the race. I starting picking up my pace till I heard a guy say 100 meters to the finish at which point I started sprinting with all I had left. I ended up finishing in 25:07, 8 seconds off my goal and 5 seconds off a pr. Tammy held off other runners and ended up finishing right behind me in 28:06, a 49 second pr for her! She had an awesome race and looked really good in the final leg as I approached her. I am so proud of her! We hung out for a bit post race, got some food, Tammy won some running socks as a door prize, and listened to the different catergory and age group winners and headed home. It was a great way to spend the morning, running a fun and good race, and an awesome way to spend the early part of my Valentine's Day with the woman that means more to me than anything! Thanks, Honey!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rain Run

It was supposed to get super-duper windy this afternoon so, I cut out of working for a bit early around 9:30 to get a 5 miler in before the gales arrived. It was rainy and slightly windy, but nothing what they had been forecasting yet. I've been doing ok, I still have discomfort in my right lower leg when I run at times, but it isn't getting worse or disabling me like after the marathon. Tammy got out this evening when she got home from work and it had been pouring! I wish I woulda got a pic of her. We're slowly building miles and will start increasing long runs on the weekends. This weekend will be 6 miles, probably on Sunday since we have a 5K race on Saturday - The Get Luckey 5K in Luckey, Ohio. So appropriate for Valentine's Day, running a race with my honey. She (all the women in the race) gets a 3 minute head start so, I will have to see if I can catch up to her. Oh, the best part about todays run... it was 52 degrees!! Woot!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Above Freezing!

Given we've been experiencing actual temperatures dipping down into the negatives overnight with highs during the day in the single or low double digits, today's sunshine and 32 degree temps were a welcomed sign of things to come and, the first above freezing run I have had in about 2 1/2 months. It's been a bear of a winter with the brutal temperatures and excessive amount of snowfall - second snowiest January on record just below January of 1978 - aka "The Blizzard of '78".

I will get 4 runs in this week, which is the most consistency I have had in several weeks. Tamm and I are working on that so we can start building up our mileage. For those of you that do not know, we will be running our first half marathons together on May 23rd in Traverse City, The Bayshore Half Marathon. There are a number of people from RunningAHEAD, the online running community and log I utilize, that will be participating in either the half or full marathons as well so, we will get the opportunity to meet a number of them and hang out. It should be a great time hanging out with a bunch of sadistic, mental folks like ourselves. :D

Lindsey got to play in her first basketball games of the season this week. She had been injured for the first 4 or so. She's done well so far and is playing with greated assertiveness and confidence this year. Her team only has 1 loss so far this season. They went undefeated last year, so they were a little disappointed, but they will still end up having a great season. They're so fun to watch. Have a great weekend everyone and, if you are in the midwest area, enjoy the reprieve on the winter weather we are supposed to have in the coming week!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

10 Degrees + 25 mph Wind Gusts + Driving Snow =

quite the fun 5 mile run. It really wasn't all that bad. Well, at least when I was running with the wind and not against the wind driven snow. That had a tendency to make visibility a bit difficult as the sleet-like snow was pelting my eyeballs and freezing my eyelashes together. I really was never cold though, other than my bum when I was running half of the route with the wind. I am just glad to be getting out. The pic is post run when I got inside. All the liquid on me was ice when I was outside. I was getting some strange looks from traffic passing by... when I could actually see them that is. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Running Stuff

Well, I have been lightly getting back into training, as you can see by my training log on the right side of my blog, though my leg would think otherwise of the "lightly" bit. It's giving me some grief, so I am trying to keep mileage, pace, and goals modest. I signed our family up with The Toledo Roadrunners, a local running organization that puts on a bunch of local races, including the Glass City Marathon that I ran last year. Going to try and get more shorter distance races in this year. I also signed Tammy and I up for her first half marathon, the Bayshore Half Marathon, in Traverse City on May 23rd. This will actually be my first half marathon as well. I will run it with her, and me, to finish her first half marathon. There are a bunch of folks from my online running community, RunningAHEAD, who will also be there for the race that weekend so, we will be able to meet up with some of them and hang out, which I am really looking forward to as well. I just found out that one of them will be Phil Mishka, the guy on the bike that helped me get through to the finish of my marathon last year. That is awesome! I'm really excited about that! Kirsten, my online running buddy from RunningAHEAD and the blog, Zoomylicious, will also be there to lead the social charge. Tammy and I will be running our first Toledo Roadrunners race in February, on Valentine's Day, the "Get Luckey 5K" in Luckey, Ohio. The women get a 3 minute head start in the race and men and women placement are in the combined age groups for the finish. Should be a lot of fun. That's about it for now. Gotta head out for a run before the temps dump out like they are supposed to today. Going from about 34 right now down to a low of 2! Ugh. Gotta love Michigan winters! Have a wonderful day and week everyone!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

More on Resolutions and Responsiveness

I had an experience with a homeless individual down in Columbus a couple of weeks ago that left me both happy and heart-broken with myself. I resolved several years ago to not be a let down any longer. Let me explain.

A few years ago just before Christmas, I was at a nearby gas station fueling my car when an older Hispanic couple pulled up to the pump on the other side of me. I could clearly see that they could use a financial boost and was prompted, for me it was by the spirit, to pay for their gas, a whole tank. I failed to do so, coveting my families' money since it was the holidays and we obviously needed one more present under the tree and had bills to pay and blah, blah, blah. I had several opportunities to help this couple, who obviously had 3 of their grandkids in the back seat of their well-traveled, beat up, 1987 maroon Chevy Impala, but battled, reasoned, and justified in my mind why I needed the 30 to 40 bucks it would take to bless this family with a tank of flippin' gas more than they did!

Anyway, long story (which mine usually are) shorter, I failed to help this family, selfishly hanging on to my money cause Lord knows, it would have spun us into bankruptcy if I were to have been obedient to what the spirit was telling me to do! To make things worse, I had witnessed the couple digging into the front seats of their car for change and also noted that they had pumped a whopping $2.07 of gas into their car, which maybe got them to the Toledo, Ohio line 3 miles down the road. I drove away from that incident sobbing, praying for forgiveness, and for the Lord to give me a second chance to do the right thing when the opportunity arose again. I prayed for the discernment in the future to be more sensitive and responsive to when I am being called to help someone that sincerely needs the help. Fast forward.

I walk into a McDonald's on the west side of Columbus in not so nice a neighborhood to use the restroom and, ironically enough, to buy another coffee to continue the cycle. As I enter the restroom I note there is one person in there with his back to me just to the right of the hand dryer on the wall in front of me in a very soiled cartoon character coat with the hood up, in baggy jeans, wearing well worn work boats with no laces and no socks, as the horrible stench of excrement, like in someone's pants not from someone relieving themselves in the toilet, punches me in the nostrils like a right jab from Mohammed Ali. I walk past and go to the urinal to do my business. I hear the guy fumbling with some change behind me and think to myself, "here we go" as the guy asks me if I have any change. The hastiness and harshness of that thought quickly fades though as I get this clear leading in my heart that I am, in some way, supposed to help this guy.

So, I listen as he tells me he needs just a little more change to buy a coffee or something to eat. As I had left Toledo early that morning it had been snowing and freezing rain. It was a treacherous drive down to Columbus, but as I got closer, the snow and ice had changed to a cold, hard rain. He tells me he had slept out in the rain last night and could use something warm to drink or eat. The leading within me grows stronger. I tell the "guy", as I'm washing my hands, my back still to "him" and not yet having seen "him", to let me finish up and we'd go get him something to eat. He says he could use a couple of bucks for the bus to get across town as well. I turn to dry my hands on the wall before me, the pungent odor of excrement now fresh in my nostrils again, and see "him" for the first time. He's a younger guy, around 20 I'm guessin', with a long narrow, bearded face, blonde wirey hair, tall, and thin, but with bright, blue eyes. It bothers me that I only know "him" as "him" so, I look him directly in the face and ask, "What's your name." He tells me it's Jesse. I tell him my name is Rick and that it is nice to meet him and tell him, come on, let's go get you some food.

We step up to the counter and I tell him to go ahead and order whatever it is that he would like. He orders a meal and drink, I my coffee. I order the stuff to go. It comes to about 6 bucks and I give the woman at the counter a 10. She gives me my change back and I hand it over to Jesse. She brings our orders to us and I look Jesse in the eyes again and place my hand on his left shoulder telling him I have to move on with my day, but to "be well". Kinda trite and, I'm not sure what he thought of that, but in my head I was thinking for him to do his best to survive and praying in my head for him for the Lord to somehow bless his life. I exit McDonald's and get into my car and look up back into the restaurant to see Jesse sitting down in a booth by himself to eat.

I drive away back towards the entrance to the highway to head on to my next stop second guessing my actions, or the possible lack thereof. Did I do enough for him? Should I have sat and talked with him as he ate? Was there something else I was called to do for him in those moments that I had missed? Was there another need I could have taken care of? I take solice in the fact that I at least had done something for him, not the least of which was to offer him some dignity, which I wholeheartedly tried to do, and Jesus's words, "whatever you have done for the least of these, you have done for me" come to my mind. Yet, I still weep. I weep wondering if I should have taken a few more moments of my time, which I consider so precious, to get to know more about Jesse than just his name. I drive away crying, more for myself than Jesse, both happy and heart-broken with myself.

Please don't take this post as my boasting. It is far from that. I am as failed as they come, but humble and smart enough to admit it. What I am seeking to do in my own life is to have a greater awareness and sensitivity of those needs surrounding me in every day life and not to be passive about them. To stop and take the time to do something, whatever that may be, for someone in need, where I am able. If we all tried to do so, to be more sensitive to what is going on around us and actually care enough to intervene, when and were we are able, what a difference we could make for humanity. I pray I don't miss out on the opportunities I feel the Lord presents me with to make a difference in that fashion.

This is a great song by Brandon Heath, one of my current favorites, that really is at the heart of how I feel about myself and what prompted this post. I don't want to "keep missing". I pray you'll take the time to click on the link below to watch and listen.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Reservations on Resolutions

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? I'd have to say I don't really. I have goals in mind for the new year, but I find making "resolutions" just sets myself up for failure and disappointment in myself, which I don't need any more of. I was listening to a book on cd today in the car while working called, "The Life You've Always Wanted", by John Ortberg. One of the things the book brought up in bettering your life is to slow down and not be in such a hurry to get done whatever it is that you are doing in any given moment in order that you can be in the moment more. I'm always thinking of what I have to do next, or where I have to go next, or what's due next, instead of truly being in the moment that I am in. Running was much the same for me last year at times when I just "had to get a run in after work" to keep up with my training program and, instead of just enjoying the run in the moment, I was just running it to accomplish it and move on to the next thing or think about the next training run. So, I'm going to try and slow down my actions and thought process and appreciate and be more sensitive to the moment I'm in now more this year. I think I might find I've been missing out on a lot.

I have ran the past two days. Not feeling great, but part of that is from inactivity. There still is something going on with my right lower leg, but I'm just going to have to take it easy starting back this time. Tammy and I may be shooting for the Bayshore Half Marathon this spring. It would be both of our first half marathons the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend up in Traverse City. There are many of my online running community friends from RunningAhead registering for the half and full marathon races so we would be able to perhaps make some new friendships as well. We need to decide soon though as registration the races fill up fast and they are limited it is limited to like 1,500 runners. Problem is, that weekend is typically a camping weekend for us with friends from church and we have already made those reservations. Decisions, decisions.

Have a great weekend and again, Happy New Year!