Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2012 Boston Marathon

Well, the weekend had finally arrived.  After weeks of anticipation, it was upon us and the speculation over the last few days of a warm weather marathon was becoming a reality.  I'd always said I preferred the heat to the cold and I guess now I was getting what I wished for, sorta anyway, but not really.

Let's go back a three weeks to my 1/2 marathon tune-up race, the Dallas Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 on March 25th, another warm day. I was somewhat nervous heading into it because I truly didn't feel that I was in the shape that I was two years prior when I ran it, but maybe close.  On a day that was humid and the temps at the start hovering around 62 or 63, I was happy to walk away with a 1:19:09.  With the heat factor and what I felt was as tactical error going out too fast, I felt like I was really in 1:18:00 shape.  Very satisfied with the way the day turned out.  Going into Boston I decided to target a sub 2:45 goal.

Back to the present, Sunday night runners received an email from the Boston Athletic Association with strong advisory warnings of the heat including the following language....

"Advisory From Boston Marathon MEDICAL DIRECTORS to Entrants in the 2012 Boston Marathon

Sunday, April 15, 2012 as of 4:30 p.m.
The weather situation continues to be a significant concern for Boston Marathoners. We have determined that the race will occur in a "red zone" which is considered an increased risk but acceptable for high-level elite runners.  However, it is not considered safe for unfit and novice runners.

We strongly recommend that unless you have met qualifying times for this race that you accept the deferment option from the B.A.A.
Anyone who has not run a qualifying time should also very strongly consider the deferment option.

Again, if you have any medical problems or if you under-trained, then please do not run this marathon.

Those who are running the race should run much slower, adding several minutes to your per mile pace."

There was much more, but this was the gist of it, be careful.  Saturday evening among runners all of the talk was the weather and how it would affect one's race strategy.  Some had decided to turn it into a training run by backing off, others were considering the deferral option being offered by the BAA.  But there were several including myself that were set on "racing" it. I had no issues with any ones strategy, that was their choice.  Personally, I hadn't trained for 12 weeks and got myself into position for a great race to take the day off.  I knew it wouldn't be the sub 2:45, but I still had a goal of top 30 in my age group, 40-44 and I felt that my chances against the field had improved with the heat being a factor. Living in west Texas, we don't have hills to train on, but we get heat.  What it would take to get a top 30 was anyones' guess, but racing it hard was the only way it was going to happen.  Making that decision, I also knew blowing up was a good possibility and I was ready to accept that should it happen.
As luck would have it, I forgot to bring my 2:44:55 GMaclin pace sheet with me from home, but I had a 2:49:55 sheet and decided to go with that to start it and then adjust if necessary.  I hadn't studied the mile splits, but sitting in Athletes' Village Monday morning I wrote the 10K, 1/2 and 21 mile split on my forearm.  Heartbreak Hill, one of my two favorite spots on the course, crests at mile 21 and the goal would be to drop the hammer there as it had been the previous two years.

Hanging out with friends in AV. Check out Jeff's Speedo

Unlike in prior years, sitting in AV was comfortable, but that wasn't a good sign for the weather to follow.  About 9:15 I made my way out of the Village and headed down to the park on Main Street.  There I could find a little solitude, stretch a little and gather my final thoughts before the start.  Eventually I made my way into Corral 2 and tried to decide if the last few ounces of water I had would be better used by drinking them or dumping them on my head.  I had already soaked myself a couple times as temps had reached the mid 70's at this point. 

Sitting in Athletes' Village pre-race
And as always, the moment I had been waiting for was here and we were off and running.  I like the far right side of this course and Monday was no different.  Cross the start matts and before long I would be hearing Eye of the Tiger, the theme song from Rocky.  It didn't take long to settle into a groove and while I felt like I was trying to hold back a bit, the first few miles came pretty easy.

6:18 (5K 20:25)
6:22(5K 19:57)


BQ attempt in '09.  After that day I swore I would never drink too much during a race. I was miserable. So Monday, while making sure I drank, I knew I had hyrated well during the week and my goal on the course was to drink to thirst, not over do it.  I skipped about every other station pretty regularly as far as drinking and alternated between Gatorade and water each time, but I usually grabbed a water cup from the last person and poured it over my head.  Keeping cool was more important in my mind than drinking it down.  In addition, I started early with orange quarters from the crowd, sucking on them and discarding the peel.

It was somewhere in the 7th mile that I saw and passed Mini-Mouse this time around. Last year it was in the 10th mile that I finally passed him for good, but unfortunately ran with him for a few miles.  The problem being that I had to endure the screams for Mini-Mouse for a few miles.  This year, it didn't last long and I never saw him again after passing him. 
DSC_0302.jpg  (131.8 Kb)
Photo courtesy of
6:28(5K - 20:10)
6:26(5K 20:16)

I hit the 1/2 way point at 1:25:10, just 10 seconds behind my pace and felt okay from a fitness standpoint, but I was now battling two issues.  The first had been with me for 2-3 miles now, the need to go to the bathroom.  And not where I could just let it go on the run, or even dart behind a tree.  I was in some need of a porta john.  I thought I'd continue to run for a while to see if the urge would subside.  The second was a sore shoulder.  Going through Wellesley I slapped a few hands along the fence as the energy was incredible, however I caught a male high five along the way that sent a shock through me to my back and already bad left shoulder, what the hell?  I was irritated with myself for having veered over to the right side of the road and immediately went to the center stripe away from the crowd.

7:23 15th mile (5K split 21:07)

I was losing too much energy focusing on my GI issue and second guessing myself with each bathroom passed as well as a right shoestring that was now coming loose.  I saw a guy ahead of me run out of a porta john so I knew it was unoccupied.  I hit it and was in and out in about 1 minute.  It was so hot inside that when I leaned over to re-tie my shoe, I felt like that was as close as I came to passing out all day. It was crazy hot in there. After fumbling with the shoestring for a bit, I had it retied and burst out of there like Superman from a telephone booth, except I don't think he ever uh, you know, leaves anything behind.

6:20 Scheduled as 2nd fastest mile on my pace chart
6:49 The Newton Hills start here
6:43 (5K 21:02)
6:59 Heartbreak Hill

I hit the top of Heartbreak at 2:18:24, a full 2 minutes of goal pace and for the first time I realized a sub 2:50 wasn't going to happen.  My concern now was to attack the last 5.2 miles and finish strong.  I'd done it before and this should be no different.  While I told myself that, in the back of my head I still had a fear that the wheels would come off somewhere in the next 5 miles.  From the bottom of HHH, for some reason I made the decision to try to count the number of runners that I passed.  In my mind it gave me some sort of energy.  Pass one, go after the next, pass him, go after the next.  By the time I hit the top I had counted 25 and passed by none.  At the place where I felt like I should drop the hammer something happened.  I didn't have the hammer.  It was weird, but I felt like I just didn't have it to drop.

6:16 (5K 20:49)
6:31  (5K 20:12)

I don't recall being passed by anyone during that stretch of 5 miles, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen, I just don't remember.  And I gave up counting passed runners as it became two, three and four at a time. It was hundreds I'm certain by the time I finished. My focus now was just getting to Boylston.  I was hurting, bad.

Turning onto Hereford

Coming up Hereford I felt a rush as I knew I was approaching the area where Gina would be.  I scanned the crowd at the top of the hill for her where I knew she would be, but never saw her before making the turn onto Boylston. As it turned out, she couldn't get to where we discussed and ended up on Hereford screaming her head off at me.  My bust.  If it's any consolation, some of my friends were around mile 25.5 in bikini tops screaming as well and I never saw them.  This may give you some idea as to either how focused or how "out of it" I was. 

Turning on to Boylston, there it was off in the distance, the finishline.  So close, yet so damn far away.  Just get there before the wheels fall off. Somewhere in the last one-third of that stretch I see a guy come up along side me out of the corner of my eye on my left and pass me.  Holy shit, no way.  I must have relaxed or something, but it wasn't going to happen, not today.  It was a footrace and in the process we passed a couple other guys as well as him.  I don't know why I can't just give it up, but I can't and I wasn't about to potentially give up a spot in the standings if I could help it.  I beat him to the matt and that was it, done at 2:52:38.  Just a little under 3 minutes over my adjusted goal but I was satisfied, very satisfied. I honestly had no idea back in Hopkinton what the day would bring, but there was only one way to find out.  Not a PR, but definitely one of my most better races other than the mile 15 blunder.  273rd overall and 29th AG, by the skin of my teeth I made one goal.  Based on the winning times and those of the rest of the field, I have a pretty good feeling that I was in sub 2:45 shape, it just wasn't going to happen in those conditions.

Last .39 miles, 2:06, 5:24 pace 
Racing to the finish line

A couple of points worth noting from the race: First, I did minimal uphill training and was a bit concerned before the race, but I ran all of my tempo runs on a decline setting on a treadmill.   In the end, I don't think it hurt me one bit as I ran the hills fairly strong.  In addition, I also did all of my VO2 workouts on a treadmill this cycle. No speedwork done on the road.  I visited with another runner that had success on Monday, Tom  and he too also did the majority of his speedwork on the treadmill.  So, as for all the purists out there that have made comments regarding the road vs. the treadmill, well I couldn't care less.  I will continue to do mine on the TM in an environment where I can control more of the elements.  Whatever happens on race day, well that's a different story.

As I sit here finishing this up, I'm already looking forward to 2013.  Big hopes of adding mileage next cycle, maybe more stretching and flexibility work and dropping a few more pounds.  From the looks of my pictures, maybe more than a few.

Thanks for dropping in and taking the time to read this, your support along the way and especially Monday if you followed the race.  I appreciate it very much.  Also, a special shoutout to Gina, my wife for being there Monday and for all that she puts up with because of my training.  And lastly to my boys and the inspiration they give me through their work ethic in their sports.  I would never expect anything less out of myself than I expect out of them and I think they feel the same.


Monday, December 12, 2011

The Hangover

As I sit here ready to put into words the experience of my San Francisco to Sin City Challenge weekend, I don't even know how to start or where to go with it.  I was thinking something along the lines of The Hangover and opening the scene with a disaster of a room, but I failed to take pictures and besides, what happens in Vegas blah, blah, blah.  The more I think about it and the meaning of the whole weekend in general, the more I want to cherish the runs themselves and the ability to run rather than too much of the details and silliness that I'm capable spewing.  After all, this was a fundraiser for the Lupus Foundation of America in honor of a friend, Beth Waldrip Urrea and I'd prefer to focus on the what I walked away with from this weekend.  And you'll still get some detail, hopefully just not as much as usual.

Since finding out back in April that Beth had Lupus and then actually reuniting with her in May, Beth has been a huge source of inspiration for me.  In turn, I've hoped that I could pass that along to others and that somehow we could both have a positive affect on people's lives.

So here's the down and dirty...........

Travel Day.........

Left Midland on 6:40 a.m. flight Friday morning, a brief stop in Albuquerque and then a plane change in Los Angeles.  Landed in San Francisco at 11:35 and was getting into my rental, a surprisingly nice small SUV, a GMC Arcadia and on my way to meet two friends at Tony's Pizza Napoletana by 12:20.

I met Jay and Pam who were waiting in the bar for me and then we had some of the best pizza.  Internally I was struggling with it because I don't normally eat pizza until after a race, but I knew I need the calories and carbs so I tried not to stress.  After the first bite that nonsense all went out the window.  I practically licked my plate clean.  During lunch we discussed my sub 9hr goal and Jay toyed with the idea of running the 50 mile race as he had originally registered.  Pam, returning from a stress fracture was racing the full marathon. 

After lunch, we made our way to the North Face store and officially checked-in.  It was there that Jay made it official, he would pace me for the 50 miler.  Jay ran Boston earlier in the year in 2:29:xx and was coming off of a 4th place overall in the Vermont 50. Stud to say the least. He opted not to "race" the 50 as his training hadn't been the quality he wanted going into the race.  I was obviously pumped about this as now I had a "crew" on the course and a pacer, both of which I didn't have for the 2010 race.  At the same time, I was honestly a bit nervous because the last thing I wanted was for this to turn into some kind of death march out there and have not only myself suffer through it, but Jay as well.  We parted ways from the store and it was time to find my hotel.

I arrived in Corte Madera, about 11 miles from the race start and found my hotel, The Marin Suites.  Not nearly as nice on the outside as the internet pictures, but it didn't really matter, it was a place to sleep.  When I stepped in the room it was like stepping into a 1970's apartment, but it was huge compared to the place I stayed in last year so I had plenty of space in the living room to lay out my gear and pack my drop bags.  Got that done and it was time to hit the sack.  I'll leave out the frantic drive around town to find my specific protein bars which I eventually found.

Race Day......

I finally rolled out of bed at 2:30 a.m. after hitting the snooze buttons a couple of times.  I turned on the coffee and made a quick bowl of oatmeal.   While it was in the microwave, I was getting dressed and still trying to decided exactly what to wear based on the weather and the forecast.  For gear/clothing I went with the following:

Shoes:  Brooks Pure Grit
Socks: DryMax
Shorts: North Face Better than Naked
Shirt:  North Face Flight Series fitted technical shirt
Jacked: North Face Better Than Naked Jacket (love this jacket - 2010 model)
I would also go with the Nathan HPL 28 vest to carry nutrition and a single North FAce E50 handheld water bottle.

Jay and I met up in the designated parking lot in the Fort Barry area and caught the short shuttle ride to the start.  Dropped our gear bags and got set for the start.  As it seems is the case before all of my big races, I find myself not quite prepared until the last minute before the start.  We make out way up to the front of the chute and Jay calmly points out a few of the big dogs running.  Among them I see Dakota Jones, Ian Sharman and Michael Wardian.  There are others all around including several top females, but it was not time for star gazing, it was time to run.

Looking back at the goal I made just after last year's event, it was sub 9 or bust.  As I noted earlier in the year, my plan was to be Goode Through December, the theme of my son's football team's season.  I was still wearing my Goode Through December wristband and it was now December. Time to deliver.

As we took off and made our way out of Fort Barry, I tried to contain my adrenaline and run a steady pace.  I didn't want to make the mistake of going out too fast, a mistake I've made on more than one occasion in ultras.  However, as we came to each aid station we were ahead of schedule.  Tennessee Valley by about 11 minutes, then Cardiac by the same, and then increased it to about a 40 minute lead by the time we entered Cardiac aid station the second time at mile 32.9. 

It was from Cardiac on that Jay's pacing was priceless.  While keeping it positive and reminding me we were ahead of schedule, he also kept me moving through the climbs.  And it seems we climbed and climbed and climbed.  When I would fall off pace, he kept moving and that made me keep moving even if at times I felt like I was crawling.  I have no doubt that just his presence and the fear of letting him down kept me moving.  It's crazy what motivates you at times. Today it was a real fear of letting people down.  Jay being right there for one, but my family as well  and Beth.  I didn't want to come up short today.

As we got closer to the finish I was having some doubts at points, the stair climbs in particular.  I would wonder when it was all going to come to a halt.  As with last year, the math was becoming difficult and calculating the required pace to cover 12, 10 however many miles wasn't easy.  Jay would throw out some distances and time and I would get a level of comfort that sub 9 was within reach, but the doubt would come creeping back in.  I didn't want to get too comfortable until I crossed the finishline.

Working uphill.........hard.
Coming out of Tennessee Valley aid station for the 2nd time I had about 1:20 left to cover just over 5.5 miles and break 9 hours.  I was filling pretty good about it, but had one last major climb.  The "$10,000 hill" as I later heard it was called in reference to the prize money at stake for 1st place.  It was a pretty lengthy climb by my standards and I told Jay we would power walk the whole thing and then hammer what was left afterwards. That was the plan and that was what we did. 

It all seemed so familiar at this point even though it had been a year since I had last seen the course.  I knew that once we crested the final hill we could run a solid final 3 miles.  Jay threw out the ridiculous possibility of running a sub 8:30 and I said "let's do it".  Mile 49 was a sub 8 minute mile and 50 and 51 were 7:16 and 7:14 respectively. 22:26 to cover the last three miles.  At one point I had looked at my Garmin to see 6:33 pace, but eventually mentioned to Jay that I was dying.  He wisely said "then back off and enjoy it" which I did.  Once the finishline was in sight I knew we had achieved my goal and when we ran under the finishline it was an 8:28:xx, far exceeding my expectations at the beginning of the day. The exact opposite of 2010.
2010 - the agony of defeat..........

2011 - the thrill of victory.
Jay and me crossing the finish line, an unreal feeling.
 Soon after crossing the finishline we found Pam. She had finished 10th overall, 3rd place female and 1st in her age group.  What a great run for someone returning from a stress fracture.  A successful day all around for our group.  While we were checking the official results she commented that more than the placement itself, she was just happy to be back racing.  That comment to me was one I reflected on throughout the weekend and which I'll address later.

Me, Pam and Jay after the finish.
I ended up 58th, 51st male and 8th out of 70 in the 40-49 age group with an official chip time of 8:28:01, just over 1:47 faster than last year's 10:15:24.  I can't tell you how excited I was and what a great success this was to me.  After what I considered a truly disappointing finish at the Jemez Mountains Trail Run 50 miler in May, I really wanted to redeem myself for no other reason than to prove to myself I was better than that mediocre performance.   After a Diet Coke that I was dying for and lying around for a while, I decided I need to get up and make that drive to Sacramento. I really wanted to hang around for Pam's podium appearance, but I had 6:00 dinner reservations after all with about 15 friends that would be running CIM (California International Marathon) the next morning.

Travel Day......

I gathered my bags and headed to the shuttle for a ride to the car. I knew I must get some food in me soon, anything.  I had just burned over 6,000 calories and I had a full marathon to run in less than 24 hours.  I told myself I would pull into the first place I saw and of course it was a McDonald's. Not exactly what I wanted, but it would work. Two grilled chicken sandwiches and a double cheeseburger for the road.  Walking back to the car was painful.  My feet hurt and for the first time I realized how crazy the whole double idea was.  For the first time I had doubt that I could do it.  Up until then when someone brought up how crazy it was I would respond "Well, they let you register for anything. I haven't run it yet".  Well, it was getting damn close to time to run it. 

I pulled into Sacramento about 5:40, got to the hotel, unloaded and showered.  I had just missed Kevin (whom I was rooming with) and Matt, both looking for PR's at CIM.  I was late getting to dinner, but by 6:30 I was seated and not much later I was eating a nice plate of lasagna. Boy did I need that.  Several runners there including a couple of friends that I saw earlier in the year at Boston, James and Jim as well as Barb and others that I had never met before including Matt and Kevin.  We all post on the Runners World forums as well as FaceBook and have numerous mutual friends, but this was our first actual meeting.  Sort of strange, because it was as if we knew each other pretty well already. We eventually finished up dinner and headed back to the hotel.  It would be an early start for the runners and I was already looking forward to breakfast. 

Race Day........

Kevin was up and out of their early.  I was dragging, but overall felt well. I got my bags packed and delivered them and Kevin's to the concierge to place in the rental car.  We made the decision that us three guys along with the two others making the trip to Vegas would take the rental to the airport.  The plan was to have it loaded and ready to go by 10:20 right in front of the hotel.  CIM's finishline was one block down and one block over. 

I had breakfast in the hotel and kept an eye on the course that ran right in front of the hotel.  I walked out front just in time to see the mens' leaders go by, then the womens' and eventually a few of our runners including Matt, Rachel and Holly.  I missed James, Jim and Kevin in between going back and forth to the finish and the hotel street.  Agh!

Eventually everyone made their way to the front of the hotel by about 10:30, we snapped a couple of pictures and jetted out of there for the airport.  A quick stop to let everyone out, drop off the rental and a shuttle back to the airport had me going through security exactly as planned.  We all made it to the gate about 10 minutes before boarding, no sweat!

James, Erin, Pam, me, Matt, Holly & Kevin moments before boarding the rental car.

A quick flight to Vegas, beer for everyone, land, grab luggage and a ride to Mandalay Bay was going as smooth as expected.  Then, that's where smooth ended.  From that point on through the rest of the night it was basically a glorious disaster on every level, yet it was so much fun to be a part of.  Most disappointing and weighing on me far several miles was the fact that I was unable to hook up with Beth and Rick before the start of the race.  Due to various issues and the crowdedness of the whole event, I eventually found myself running through the Mandalay Bay casino to drop my gear bag and to the starting line to meet up with the other runners.  A couple of attempts to connect with Beth were unsuccessful due to bad cell phone connections.  Once to the start area, not a single familiar face, seriously. 

I eventually found James and his head of perfect silver hair and then within the minute we were off and running.  Less than two miles into the run we found Holly and Jay.  Yes, THE Jay.  He had come in from San Francisco that morning and decided to run the full as well. I won't repeat his exact words, but they were something about peer pressure being a %#*&!  You think?  More on that in my next post.

Anyway, we made our way through the back streets of Las Vegas for 13.1 miles and then eventually the strip and what seemed more like 440,000 runner for another 13.1.  For the most part it was rather enjoyable with the company of the other three until at some point around mile 16 or so I ran ahead to find a bathroom.  Ended up in a McDonald's (should have ordered fries) and then I never found them once I hit the street again just a couple of minutes later.  I ended up picking up the pace in effort to catch up and finished in 4:22:53, a mere 1:31:34 slower than my most recent marathon, but no biggie.  Turns out the others actually stopped off at a liquor store for some carbs and came in just over 5 hours.  Great idea if you ask me.

From the finish until the time we reunited in Kevin's suite at Mandalay along with several other running friends including the Urreas, Carrie who I had been waiting forever to meet,  it was a blur.  We had a few drinks and eventually made our way out into the casino for what turned out to be a 2:30 a.m. dinner and topped it off with some BlackJack in the Mandalay Bay casino until about 5:00 a.m..  I had said I was going to do it, wasn't sure it was possible, but it ended just as I hoped, well almost.  What a night!  What a wild 48 hours!

On a sidenote, I want to congratulate my wife Gina on her first half marathon.  An awesome job out there and I think she amazed herself with what a great run she had.  Two of her friends, Katy and Melissa also ran their first half and were equally impressive.  Great job ladies, I'm very proud of you. 

Are we there yet?

Katy, Gina, Flo and Melissa
Over the course of the weekend, one common thought kept coming back to me.  How lucky I was to be able to run.  Not necessarily compete and run both of those races, but just run.  What started out as a weekend to honor Beth turned into a constant reminder to not take life and our health for granted.  There were more than a handful of runners over the weekend that I came across that were so thrilled to be recovering from injury of some sort.  Pam running TNF, Barb hanging out at CIM, Flo in Vegas, Paul had recovered from a brief stint off as well and we had other friends battling issues.  Another friend, Kevin was still in the process of being properly diagnosed with what appears some type of autoimmune disease and finally a friend back home, Ricardo that had come within a day of lining up for Boston in April and then found himself on the edge of death by early fall due to a various medical issues.  It appears now as if he will fully recover, but not before some serious challenges in his life. 

As I wrap this up, I feel like it's all over the place, a little late being delivered and not the crazy stuff you want to read about a weekend in Vegas, but if you take anything from this, let it be a reminder to value our health and our lives.  Make the most of it and do what you love while you can, not everyone has that option.  Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something and be an inspiration to someone somewhere.  In some cases it doesn't take much and you may already be doing it. And if someone inspires you, let them know, they will appreciate it I promise. 

I want to thank everyone that supported me in this challenge, especially those that contributed to the Lupus Foundation of America.  If you haven't already, you still may do so by clicking on the logo in the upper right hand corner. They can always use your support.  And if not them, maybe another organization that is close to your heart.  I want to thank my wife and family for putting up with my training, crazy diet and everything else that comes along with running.  I couldn't do it without you.  I want to thank Jay for pacing me at the TNF 50 as well as Chris and Kristen for crewing me out on the course.  There's no way I would have reached my goal without you guys being there.  And lastly, I want to thank Beth for her courage, strength and the beauty that she brings out in life.  I know she touches so many people in a positive way.  If  we lived by her example what a difference we could make. Thank you guys and thanks to those of you that took the time to read this ramble, I really appreciate you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gaining Momentum

Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper than other times to find the positive.  Seems like the last couple of weeks that has been where I am.  Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining or claiming any injustice in my life, it's just been busy.  I've got plenty of positives in my life and certainly happy with the cards I've been dealt, but the running has been a bit stale.  Mainly because I have felt so tired and constantly rushed all the time. 
As expected, football with the 3 boys has taken some time, but traveling out of town for 4 out of 5 games in the past couple of weeks proved to be taxing.  You can only get home at Midnight or 1:00 a.m. in the morning so many times before it starts to take it's toll.  Add to the the final few weeks of "tax season" and I am flat wore out! My mileage is falling a bit short of what I had projected for training, but not enough that I'm really concerned.  It's definitely ahead of where I was last year at this time so that's a positive for sure.

Last Saturday I told Gina that I was going to run to the mall for a training run.  The mall in Odessa.  About 35-36 miles was my estimation.  She just looked and me and told me I was crazy.  Well, Sunday morning I got up, a bit later than planned albeit, loaded my Camelback Octane XCT with G2, gels and protein bars and headed out the door.  A little over 5 1/2 hours later I was walking back in the front door, done.  The last 10 miles were pretty much a struggle, but in looking back I attribute it to the temps getting up pretty high.  If I had got my lazy butt up early and left the house when it was still dark, I would have got back in a couple hours earlier I think I would have been fine.

This past Saturday I volunteered myself to pace a friend in a local marathon.  He was wanting to run a 3:30, about 8:00 minute mile pace so I figured I could help him and get in a nice run as well. As luck would have it, the weather was great.  My stomach, not so much.  I battled some GI issues between miles 7-14 and had to take a couple of pitstops, both times ended up running some 6:20-6:30 pace miles to catch back up with him.  Finally by mile 17 I had caught back up with him and we settled in for the remainder of the marathon.  Just under 27 miles for the run @ 7:49 average pace and when it was all said and done I was feeling very fresh.  The next morning I got in an easy 15 miler and if I would have had more time I would have considered running a full 26.2 just because.  I was feeling quite fine.  Mentally this was nice and to think that I put up a 36 miler the weekend before made me think that things were looking good. 

Overall for the 8 day stretch from Sunday through Sunday, I ran just over 103 miles with two days completely off and a 4 mile day.  That means I averaged just under 20 miles a day on the remaining 5 days.  While that doesn't really mean much as it is the whole 8 days (and really the entire training cycle) that matters, I feel like I'm gaining some momentum heading into my last 9 weeks of training.  Seven of those should be some fairly high mileage (70, 80, 80, 90, 90 90, 90) and the last two will be my taper where I hope to get the legs rested up.

So for now, I'm putting the shovel away as I have dug up a positive note for the training.  An to add to it, I've had a few more contributions come in to the foundation so that has been nice to see that number creep up a little as well.  Maybe I can finish the last nine weeks hard in both departments. 

Thanks and take care!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Goode Through December

The theme for the 2011 football season for the Midland High Bulldogs is "Goode through December" in memory of former Bulldog football coach Don Goode.  The 2011 senior football class holds a special bond and place in their hearts for Coach Goode as this was the last group of players he coached before he passed away from cancer in 2009. The 2011 football team has dedicated the season to Coach Goode and his wife Beverly for their wonderful support and dedication to the Bulldog football family over the years. The hope is that the spirit and memory of Coach Goode and the fight and dedication he instilled in the players' lives will be an ongoing force in the hearts of the 2011 Bulldog football team.

Purple wristbands with the phrase  "2011 Bulldogs - Goode through December" have been made similar to Lance Armstrong's "Livestrong" popular band.  They are being worn by players, students, parents and fans following the Bulldogs this year.  December of course in reference to the time of year when the state championship game will be played. To win it all, you must play and win in December.  This past week I picked up a wristband for myself and joined in with the theme.  The thought being not only for support of  the team, but as a reminder to me that I too must be Goode through December.  I communicated this fact with Corbin and being the young man of many words that he is, his response was simply "sweet".  I told him it would serve as a reminder for him as well as me that it meant it would take hard work by both of  us to reach our goals.  Success doesn't come without sacrifice and I want him to understand that he has to be willing to work harder than the next guy.  I want him to buy in to the dedication and hard work that it takes and hopefully, along with his teammates they will be Goode through December. At the same time, I need to lead the way by setting an example.

Yesterday, after just a few day of wearing the wristband myself, it served its purpose.  Saturday I got in a 20 miler and was looking for the same on Sunday, back-to-back 20's for the weekend.  My running partner on Saturday, Kevin F., with whom I ran a number of my 20 milers with over the past two years in training for Boston, was only going 15 miles.  We met at one of our usual spots and got started at 6:00 a.m..  After a few loops around Midland neighborhoods, we eventually made our way back to our cars right at 15 miles. All the while, I felt like I had some pretty tired legs and was reasoning in my head that the 15 was enough.  I had also hit the weights pretty heavy Saturday afternoon and they felt dead.  I was contemplating calling it a day and being satisfied with a 20/15 instead.

During the run I thought about the prior year's North Face race and my goal of doing much better in 2011.  I thought about Beth and what she must feel like some days when Lupus has taken it's toll on her.  Was doing "enough" going to be good enough to be better?  No, not for me, not what I would expect from my son and not what I expected from myself.  As we approached the cars I told myself "get back out there and get it done, Goode through December, no excuses". A quick fist pump with Kevin, a "nice run, thanks", sip of Gatorade and I was headed back out to finish up my 20. Don't even think about quitting.

So another source of motivation has been found.  Not only in Coach Goode and the Bulldog football team, but in what I expect from my own son as he works throughout the season towards playing in December.  Not expecting anything less than 100% dedication and a "never give-up" attitude, I must expect the same from myself.  A little less than 40 more minutes out on the road and my back-to-back 20's were in the books.  I could get in my car and drive home feeling good about myself, Goode about myself.  While just 67 miles for the week, it put me at 104 miles for the last 6 days of running with 3 days off tossed in there due to recovery from last weekend's race.

With the September 15th tax deadline rapidly approaching, the midnight oil will certainly be burning this week, but so will my desire to deliver in December.  Goode through December!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Shoe 60K

Well, where do I start?  How about I start by saying that while I wasn't expecting the glass slipper this year, I certainly wasn't expecting a steel toe boot either.  Excuse me for saying it, but this race kicked my ass!  Okay, got that out of the way so that you don't have the same delusions of grandeur I had as you read through the is rambling piece of work.

In the days leading up to the race, I had pulled up my training log from the previous year to see what my mileage looked like.  In my favor was that my mileage was up over last year's, but working against me was the fact that I only had one run of 30+ miles since mid May.  Somehow, I felt that not having run the first two races in the series would serve me well in the since that I would be a little better rested.  And in reality, I think it I was better off for it as I stood at the starting line.  What I was unable to compensate for was the heat.  I don't know the exact temperature at 7:00 pm, the start time, but the Weather Channel had a forecast of 103 just a couple hours earlier.  I've read from other runners anywhere from "over 100" to "108".  So I'm sticking with 103.  Does it even matter once it gets over 100?

The race itself starts with an out-and-back of .84 on a dirt road which brings the runners back to the trail and into the hill country.  After that it is four 9.09 mile loops of this.............

This course is crazy because it wanders all over the place back and forth with several little loops.  This is the second year I've ran this and I will tell you that while I know fairly well where I am in the course and what's coming up next, I have no idea of where I am on the map.  The course plays tricks with your mind when you come within very close range of runners that you know are behind you, yet you wonder why they are so close.  Is it possible you took a wrong turn?  Overall the course is marked pretty good, but there are a few sections with a lot of rock outcroppings in which there is no actual trail, but just the rock.  At that point you go from "confidence marker" to "confidence marker", fluorescent ribbons tied to branches or tree limbs.  Once it's dark, there are also glow sticks to help along the way and they do.  I thought the marking this year was better than last's and never felt at any point that I was really lost, but still gave it some consideration a couple of times.

Okay, on with the the race. Three friends that had run the Jemez 50 with me had made the trip down from Dallas to experience their first Captain Karl's race. Nick, Shaheen and Edgar. Notably missing where our two other friends that ran Jemez Mountains Trail Run with us, Amy and Jayna, the remainder of Team Endurasoak, also know as "the purple team"  at Jemez.  We got to the race about an hour before it started and ended up with a parking spot right across a dirt road from the start/finish.  We couldn't have been any better positioned in my opinion.  We unloaded all of our stuff and spread it out so that it would serve as our own aid station.  I filled eight handheld bottles, placed six of them in an ice chest, two for the first loop and set out my gels and Cliff bars that I would eat for each lap.  I was all set.  I had already turned on my Garmin and put fresh batteries in my Black Diamond headlamp. The only thing I was missing was my Lenny & Larry's Muscle Brownies that I failed to buy at home.  Hence, the Cliff bars instead, but I would be alright.

After a brief runner's meeting, we were off.  As always a ton of runners shot out of their pretty quick.  My adrenaline was going and I wanted to chase after them, but told myself to be patient.  Thirty-seven miles in 100+ temperature was going to make for a long night (I just didn't know how long at that point).   The out-and-back was quick and before I knew it we were entering back into the start-finish area and then heading into the trails.  We were immediately greeted by the race photographer before getting to the top of the hill and out of sight of the camp.  Great idea, get some pictures of everyone while they are still smiling and not yet within the grip of death.  Of course they get those as well so there's no escaping it. 

Early, very early into the race
I quickly settled into a nice pace and tucked in right behind three other runners.  Because of the twisting and turning of the course, the trees and hills, I had no idea how many people were ahead of me.  I figured 10, maybe 15 at most.  I wasn't really concerned at this point as I wanted to focus on sticking to my game plan and run a steady race.  Those up front that I could beat, well I'd catch them. If I couldn't, well then I wouldn't. Easy enough strategy for me.  I really wanted to break 6 hours no matter where that put me. 

I followed behind the 3 guys for a few miles until one of them stopped to relieve himself and the other two with him stopped to wait on him.  They too had been talking about the some of the front runners going out too fast and that they would come back to the pack. I was thinking the same thoughts.  Sorry, I don't know you guys and I'm not stopping for you to take a leak.  I probably won't even stop if I need to take one. Three down just like

Before long I came up on two more runners that I had caught glimpses through the trees.  I passed one fairly quickly and then got on the tail of the next, camelbak guy, and followed him for a bit before passing him.  Along the way, I passed two more runners, but got caught and passed by camelbak.  What in the hell just happened I thought, I just got passed.  Rather than try to start racing this guy, I decided to just hang with him.  About one mile from the finish area he turned on his headlamp and I decided to do the same.  It was getting dark and footing on the loose rocks of the trails was a bit tricky.  When I turned mine on, it went off within seconds.  Turned it back on and it did the same thing. I continued this a number of times until eventually the F word started freely flowing from that opening just below my nose.  What in the hell, I put new batteries in it and it tuned on back at car.  Of course, I turned it on and then turned it off there.  Oh well, the only other AAA batteries I had were the ones I tossed in a gear bag that came out of the lamp.  I followed the runner in to the start-finish aid station, crossed the timing matt and turned to run over to my "stuff".  I dug through the bag, found the batteries and replaced them.  Replaced my two handheld bottles and headed back out to the trails.  Camelbak guy was gone. He left me in the dust while I screwed with my batteries, nice!

About 100 yards out I realized I forgot to grab a replacement gel for the one that I took 40 minutes into the race as planned. Gels every 40 minutes for the first 18 miles then switch to a Cliff Bar for each of the last two laps.  I had one left on me and about 90 minutes of running ahead before I was back to my gels. It was already time to take the second one being about 1:30 into the race.  I opted not to go back for more, but just suck it up, maybe grab something at the other fully stocked aid station on the course, about six miles away. 
Oh hell. I had also forgot to down a couple of  Succeed S Caps.  I was making all the mistake of a newbie on the course.  What in the world was I doing? Trying to sabotage my own race?  I had to blame it on the fact that I had got in from traveling at 4:45 a.m. the night before, a 300 mile drive to Marble Falls for the race and the one hundred friggin' whatever temperature that it was.  Stay calm, don't freak about it and just improvise. 

On the way in from the first loop (there is a small section that runners going both directions travel) I passed Edgar going out on loop 2.  He must have been 5 minutes ahead, maybe less if I had been more efficient in the station.  Edgar was coming off a July victory of Ft. Worth's El Scorcho 50K.  I had thought that if I could hang close to him it would give me some confidence in my fitness and endurance early in my TNF 50 training.  He had gone out faster than I cared to run early and knowing how strong he ran El Scorcho I figured he would just open the gap as the night went on. 

For the second loop I don't think I passed one single 60K runner, but I didn't get passed either. No good news, but no bad news.  I realized pretty quickly in this loop that I needed to go ahead and walk anything uphill and I did.  I downed 22 ozs of G2 by the time I got to the unmanned water station that was 3 miles from the start.  That didn't take long.  I decided to stop and fill the bottle with water and started using the strategy of one bottle for water on my head, one for G2 to drink.  I actually dumped the cold water on my head and the back of my neck, shoulders, pretty much everywhere.  Six more miles and lap two was in the books.  On the short two-way section I again passed Edgar going back out.  I also passed camelbak guy going out.  Whoever was ahead of them I had no idea, they were long gone. Neal Lucas and Steven Moore, the 1st and 2nd place finishers respectively in the first two races of the Capt'n Karls' Series for sure and if there was anyone else, I wouldn't know.  Too many people going in and out at this time and it was basically just a bunch of headlamps out there running around. 

As I got into the 3rd lap I actually found myself feeling better.  I was listening to some music fairly loud on my iPod that I had picked up after the first loop and I was trying to convince myself to keep it up, keep moving.  As long as I was running I figured I wasn't giving up ground to anyone behind me and quite possibly could be gaining ground on those in front of me.  For some reason, the halfway point of any run is always a mental hurdle for me.  Whether it be an easy 6 mile recovery run, or a 25 miler, once I pass the halfway mark I know I've got less distance to travel than what I've already done and at that point I'm good.  Saturday night was no different. Where I found myself struggling in the 2nd loop, probably the most difficult for me, once into the 3rd I knew finishing was going to happen, it was just a matter of how long would it take. 

I can't even remember exactly where, maybe halfway through the 3rd loop, I come up on camelbak guy walking.  I stopped and walk with him and asked if he is okay.  He responded yes, just bad cramping in his calves.  I feel your pain buddy, me too in the right calf, but I don't have any S caps. He didn't either, not on him, but back at the start.  Actually, I was given some by a very nice female 30k'er at the water station because once again I failed to take any when I completed loop two.  For whatever reason, I must have looked bad coming in, but she offered some up and I gladly took them. Not Succeed, but Hammer Endurolytes instead and they seemed to do the job.  Well, other than cramping he was fine so I needed to get going.  In doing so, I picked up the pace and sped out of there quicker that what I would have, but I wanted him to think I was kicking it pretty good.  For all I know he didn't give a damn, but if he did, I had no problem trying to break his spirit by hauling ass out of there and trying to send the message "don't even bother coming after me".  I may not have been on pace for my sub 6, but I wasn't dead and my competitive spirit was alive and well.

Before long in the same loop I came up on another walker......Edgar. "Edgar, you alright?"  I was surprised to see him there. He responded "yeah, just tired."  Okay, he was okay and I was feeling fine so I needed to keep going.  I know he wouldn't be walking for long so I wanted to open the gap if I could and maybe catch the next guy. I decided to run fairly hard (which was a relative term at that time) and hold it.  It wasn't supposed to be comfortable out there and I reminded myself of that.  While I may have felt like I was flying and running pretty fast, in reality I was hitting paces of 9:00 at top speed, maybe closer to 10 minute miles most of the time.  The end of the 3rd lap was coming.  I could see the gate that we ran through and then a short downhill run would send me into the scream tunnel of fans....about 20 maybe....okay, maybe the finish line.  However, before I could get there I lost focus and I found myself smacking the ground pretty hard for the first time of the night.  On a good note, it was on pure dirt and not the rocks found throughout the majority of the course.  The worst part was that I was now covered in dirt similar to when you take a chicken breast and roll it in flour.  It was not a comfortable feeling.  I picked myself up, gathered my water bottles and headed in to the finish. 

A quick drop off of the dirt covered handhelds and I grabbed just one clean one out of the ice chest.  I thought I would carry a small flashlight as well since the batteries on my headlamp were fading.  My light had become very dim.  The problem with the flashlight was that it had old batteries in it. I never planned on using it for the race so who knew how long it would last.  I grabbed a couple pieces of banana and I was off on my 4th loop.  On the way out I passed Edgar coming in about the same place that he had previously passed me going out.  I also passed camelbak guy.  Geez, they were closer than I expected, but still a little ways behind me, maybe the same 5 minutes I estimated earlier in the night?

I got moving as best I could, but there was some walking involved in the early section of the loop due to some uphill sections in loose dirt.  That's okay, I decided to stick to the strategy, walk it and run everything else that I could.  I was really feeling decent (all things considered) and told myself again, as long as I was running they weren't gaining ground on me.  I went into my "running scared" mode, most often used in speedwork for marathon training, I was able to kick it in on the 4th loop.  Almost as if I were an escaped convict running for freedom in the woods at night.  Not that I would have earthly idea what that really feels like, but I can only imagine.  I even had the barking dogs. Seriously, my feet were killing me.

Loop 4 was going pretty good other than the concern of being caught and a new fear of my batteries dying.  My headlamp was getting very dim and the small flashlight started flickering. My thinking was that I would ask someone along the way if they had any spare batteries. Really, that was my plan?  "Hey would you happen to have some batteries on ya?" How about just run faster and be done with it.  Well, I tried and I even had myself convinced that I was running faster, but splits don't lie and as I finally looked at them today, wow, I had dropped off quite a bit as I progressed through each loop.  More on that later.

I continued to run best I could, almost wiping out a few times in some of the knarly rock sections and I finally convinced myself to slow it down.  The fatigue was taking it's toll as well as the weak lighting and I had found myself running like a drunk stumbling around in the dark, getting off balance and leaning one way and then the other until I recovered.  While the 10-12 minute miles at this point were not exactly burning up the trail, I didn't care to smack a tree or a rock with my face.  Walk when I had to through the difficult sections, run everything else. 

Eventually I pulled into the second aid station on the course and now I had a mere 3 miles remaining, if that.  Out of desperation I asked the two guys there manning the station if they had any batteries by chance, AA or AAA as I could replace the flashlight or headlamp.  To my surprise and first stroke of good luck for the night, one said "yes", he had AAA's.  Yes!!!  I replaced the headlamp batteries and turned it on.  I felt like I was standing outside of the Griswald's house all of a sudden.  What a difference that made.  The final miles went by rather quickly and I never had the threat of another runner passing me.  Per the results, the next runner was over 11 minutes behind so I guess I actually gained ground on that last loop.

6:43:13 total time and 4th overall.  My splits for the 9.09 mile loops were roughly 1:27, 1:37, 1:44 and 1:49.  I was disappointed during the run that I wasn't going sub 6, but in the end I was just happy to be done and it didn't really bother me that I missed my goal.  The heat was a huge factor and my nutrition errors didn't help me the least bit. I ended up taking in only 3 gels, less than 1/2 of a Cliff Bar and random pieces of banana.  I really believe that being mentally fatigued before the race even started affected me more than I realized.  I know that for my goal race in December I will need to be much more focused or else be ready to accept similar results. A few thing's are for certain, I won't be getting to bed at 5:00 a.m. the morning before, I won't have a 300 mile drive the day of the race and it won't be 100+ degrees in December in the Muir Woods.

Thanks for your time and take care!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday Night Lights

As I draft this, I'm on the Midland High booster club's chartered bus heading north to Amarillo for the first football game of the season. Friday night lights, uncharted territory for me as it is our first taste of varsity football. Being west Texas, football doesn't get any bigger than this. My freshman son Chandler is with me and he will get to watch his older brother Corbin, a sophomore, play for the first time since probably the 5th grade. Being a football player as well, he's always had games or practice when his brother was playing. While I miss the rest of our family not being here with us, this will be a bonus spending some quality time with Chandler watching Corbin and the rest of Bulldogs play.

With The North Face Endurance Championship just over 3 months away, tonight's game made me think a little about what Corbin most likely might be going through. Thoughts of the unknown. He's on the team bus right now loaded with older boys with varsity experience and he's probably about ready to puke from nerves. If he's not yet, he will be tonight when he steps on the field for the first time in front of a huge crowd under those Friday night lights. Maybe some of the same feelings I had when I boarded the runners' bus last year to head to the start of the TNF Championship. I wasn't sure I belonged there. I wasn't sure I was ready for such a challenge, my first 50 miler, but I was there and I just told myself "have confidence and act like you know what you are doing".

When it was all said and done, I was a bit disappointed in my time, but glad I did it, and better yet I walked away ready to tackle it again in 2011 with a vengeance. This morning before he let the house, I repeated some of those same thoughts to Corbin, "have confidence in yourself. You're there for a reason. Make the most out of your opportunities and make something happen out there when you get your chance." I feel like last year's race set me up for a great 2011 race because of the experience I gained. My hopes are that tonight and for the remainder of the season the disappointments are kept to a minimum and that the experience will be setting him up for a great 2012 and even better 2013 Senior season. Good luck tonight Son, you'll do great when you get your shot, I have no doubt.

Post-game post: We won 24-17 in double overtime played similar to NCAA overtime. If Corbin wasn't nervous out there tonight, I certainly picked up the slack. Not sure I can stomach many games like tonight's......unless we're on the winning side of course.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Finding balance

As training starts to ramp up for the San Francisco to Sin City Challenge I am already realizing that the most difficult challenge, at least for now, may be finding some balance in my life.  As a CPA with a public accounting practice and a wife that has her own career, three boys playing high school and junior high sports, as well as a 1st grade daughter, finding the right mix of work, family time and training is a trick.

Individually, I can handle the demands of public accounting, shuttling boys around town for practice and games while taking orders from a six year old daughter and the demands of training for an ultra marathon, but putting them all together and managing them at the same time can be rough.  Maybe impossible???

To add to it, for the first time ever, I'm not the only one in our house training for an endurance event.  Gina is in the middle of training for her very first half marathon and will be running the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 along with a couple of her friends in December.  While this may add a little more to the mix in terms of scheduling activities, I am super pumped about it because she has all of a sudden taken to running like a fish to water.  To hear her make comments such as "I can't wait until my run tonight" and to see her work through injuries with patience and diligence is awesome.  I've never cared if she ran or not, but I have always wanted her to do something for herself that she enjoyed.  Now she is and while the verdict's not out yet, she appears to be approaching the point where one becomes hooked on the sport.

On top of the awesome job that G is doing with her own training, she does an equally and unselfish job in allowing me to get my workouts in.  The last two weeks included 6 Core Performance workouts and 10 runs.  My runs the last two weeks started at the following times 12:06 p.m., 5:30 a.m., 5:28 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 9:51 p.m., 7:50 p.m., 5:17 a.m., 6:22a.m., 6:09 a.m. and 5:42 a.m..  The longest one, a 31 mile long run, finished just before midnight on a Sunday night.  My Core Performance workouts which last right at an hour were at 5:30 a.m., noon and 5:30 a.m. and then 3 more nooners respectively. So pretty much getting them done whenever possible.  In between workouts and work, we had "Meet the Teacher", a scrimmage in Pecos, TX and a booster club meeting for the football team. And to top it off, I furthered my training by "enduring" The Smurfs Sunday afternoon with the 6yr old and her friend. Quite possibly the worst movie I've ever seen in my life.

We've been through two weeks of two-a-days now for the two oldest boys and with school starting today, the youngest, and 8th grader will start football as well. It's just a matter of a couple of weeks before we will have football games on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, not to mention the 1st grader having cheer practice on Wednesday evenings.  While I absolutely love it, it sure make for a busy schedule. 

Now figuring out how to get everything in while the miles increase each week is the challenge.  High hopes of building up to 4-5 weeks of 100 miles/week at the peak of training may not come as easy as it was to sit down and pencil it out on a calendar (as I was doing this morning while waiting to see if I got picked for Grand Jury service), but that's going to be me goal until I decide otherwise.  The last 4 weeks while not entirely pain-free, have been comfortable at 70 miles a week with a mere 41 in the last for the taper week.  Some of the nagging injuries seem to be subsiding and I feel like I'm only dealing with some minor plantar faciitis for the meantime.  Paying more attention to stretching and foam rolling the body and a little less time to the weights has also been a new balance issue.  I recently asked my physical therapist if I should lay off the heavy weights and cut back for a while and his response was "yeah, like for the rest of your life". Ouch, that hurt, but I know where he is coming from.  It was his way of telling me politely that I'm getting old.

Anticipation for this weekend's The Shoe 60K in Marble Falls is building. The third and final race in the Tejas Trails Capt'n Karl's series.  Last year I survived the heat and managed to run a 6:33:01, good enough for 2nd place.  This year, I'm not as concerned about the placement, but honestly would like to run a sub 6-hour race. I can live with wherever that puts me on the results page if I get it.  It's a very technical course run at night and the majority of it in the dark by the light of a headlamp.   Not only will this be a great training run for TNF 50, but it will give me a decent idea of where I stand 14 weeks out from my goal race. Obviously there is a lot of time between now and then, but to start off early with a good race would be nice.

A little more taste of the balancing act before I leave you.  In addition to the Grand Jury summons for this morning and a looming corporate and partnership tax deadline of September 15th, my oldest son has his first game of the season Friday night in Amarillo.  I opted to take the booster club's charter bus along with my freshman son so that I could get some sleep on the drive home of our anticipated 3:00 a.m. arrival.  That might give me a slight reprieve just in time for the 290 mile drive I'll make Saturday morning to the race so that I can be somewhat rested to run 37.2 miles at 7:00 p.m., hopefully finish by 1:00 a.m. and then head back the next morning in hopes of still getting in 4-5 hours in the office Sunday evening.  Yeah, getting through the next couple of months is going to be a trick, but if it was easy it wouldn't be worth doing right?

Thanks for stopping by and take care!