Monday, March 4, 2013

Loss of a Friend

I run because it reminds me that I am alive.  Because it reminds me of what is truly important, to not worry so much about the destination, but to focus on the journey.  To have peace within, so that we can love those around us and those who we care about.  I run for the exhilaration of freedom, escaping into the mountains or even the sidewalks reminds me of all the beauty that God has put into His creation.  The fact that I get to witness it everyday is a miracle in itself.

Yesterday I found out that a good childhood friend and his wife were killed in a car accident, leaving behind three young boys.  As I ran this morning the memories of him flooded my head, from the first time we met in fourth grade; to when we were playing Little League together and into High School.

I still remember the conversation he and I had the night before I decided to join the Army.  I was working a dead end job, trying to go to Junior College and I ran into him at the Mobile Station across from the Arnot Mall.  He had just enlisted in the Marines and suggested I go and talk to them.  The next  day I went to speak with the Marines, but they weren't there, an Army recruiter was.  The rest of that story is how my life has turned out from there. But I have R. to thank for that push towards a career in the Military.  I am sure he doesn't have any idea how much influence that one conversation had on my entire life, and I will be forever grateful.

Over the years, R. and I were not very close; we would hang out when we were home together, but time and distance does what it does and it has honestly been years since I have thought about him.  That doesn't make this tragedy hurt any less, in fact it may hurt more because of it.  I never met his wife or his boys, except through facebook photos, and that makes his loss that much harder.

I spent time in prayer with God as I ran today, he took me to the Roller Coaster for 10 miles with over 1,000 ft of climbing and it was here that I learned a small lesson in life: we all have an expiration date, but just because we will all die and we will all lose people we care about does not give us an excuse to wallow in misery.  Life is for the living, mourn for those we lose, but live your life that much harder and love people more because we never know when our time will come.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Off My Rocker: Or How a Snow Day Caused Me to Sign Up for a Hundo!

It had to have been the left over endorphins from Run Rabbit Run.  Or maybe I had looked at the pictures of that event too recently.  Or it could have been 30 hours of steady facebook updates as I waited for news of Friends from Loopville run around Huntsville at Rocky Raccoon.  I am not sure, but whatever it was got me thinking that I could do it too. 

So yesterday, as the snow was falling, Sarah told me to go ahead and plan my race schedule for the year and do you know what the first race I signed up for was?  Thats right....a 100 miler, a Hundo, the Big Shibang...The Virgil Crest 100 Mile Trail Race, September 21-22 in Virgil NY (Running up and over Greek Peak ski resort....TWICE)

Stinkin Crazy, Right?  I know...

Sarah gave me some reasuring words tonight though, as Miss K asked what the word average meant, Sarah answered that it is when people settle for what they have and stop trying to pursue more, when someone stops reaching for excellence and just settles.  Not necessarily happy, but not unhappy either...just living. 

Then Sarah turned and said to Keira "but your daddy is anything but average...he is eccentric, and always going further and yes after signing up for a 100 mile race, proved that he is off his rocker...he is many things, but not average" 

To this Keira says, "Oh, well I love my daddy too"

Maybe I am off my rocker, a little bit insane, and possibly eccentric...but I dont want to live my life any other way.  So here is too 100 miles in 30, it is not your average weekend run.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The End of a Marathon...

...means training starts for the next.

After this marathon of a year that has tested my limits and emotions many times, I can proudly say I crossed the finish line with my head held high.  I am sure that I learned a ton this last year, about myself and about my family and hopefully I will actually take the time to reflect on it and take the lessons to heart.

But when one race ends another immediately takes it's place.

Being a husband and father again comes with it's own challenges, such as my schedule and free time are no longer my own,  I have to take into consideration the feelings of the three amazing girls in my house,  Wrestling some of the control back from my wife, (including the remote).  I forgot how stressful being a father is, and while it is a good stress, it is stressful none the less.

Above all though, I am grateful to God for answering all our prayers in this last year.  He gave us the opportunity to be financially stable for the first time in our married lives, and he brought me home to a loving wife and daughters with nary a scratch.  He remained faithful to me through some very tough times and I have not lost sight or focus of the fact that God's grace is the reason I continue to be able to come home from my deployments to my family.

I am looking forward to what is in store for my amazing family in the immediate and long term future and cant wait to experience all that God has to offer me and my family.

Oh...and I am also looking forward to lacing up some new trail shoes and putting in some serious miles...

Excuse me I have a tea date with a pretty blonde, that I am late for.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Night Running in Afghanistan

It was too hot to run yesterday afternoon, I only got 3 miles before I had to call it quits.  I was pretty bummed and dejected last night, so I decided to give it a try....yep, I threw on my headlamp, grabbed a water bottle and took to my trail at night. 

WOW, what fun...though it is eerily creepy running in Taliban country in the middle of the night, with only a headlamp on..and every noise made my heart jump.  In the distance I could hear wild dogs howling, and getting a bit closer all the time.  Maybe they saw my light, or could smell my sweat, but whatever..I wasnt too concerned as I had a chain link fence between me and the wilderness. 

After 5.5 miles I decided to call it a night, it was slow going, running with a headlamp.  The tunnel vision makes it difficult to run quickly and I was barely staying under a 12 minute was a good lesson for me though, and I can't wait to do another one, though I think next time will be stateside.

Oh, and here is a pic of the Change of Command ceremony from today.  I am the one on the right.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Month of April, On to the Future

The month of April is in the books, and even though I had a rough week of training last week, I still managed to put up 135 miles for the month.  That is the most I have ever ran in a single month....and I am proud to say that I did it all on a .2 mile section of trail.  That is a lot of back and 

May is starting out on fire!! I have had a solid week of running so far and the last month or so of strength training is starting to pay off as well, as my upper body is beginning to feel fit and firm again.  I have always been one of those "Fat but Fit" types, and I am trying to get to a "no butts about it, Fit" level. 

My racing calandar is pretty much finalized, and I cant wait to get started!  I kick off the season on June 10th at Garden of the God's with a 10 mile run.  I will be going hard, as this is my first taste of racing and I want to know where I am truly at, fitness wise.  Goal: 1:12:00 or better.

July 8th is the Summer Round-up 12k, and I will be meeting up with some friends from around Colorado that day to run 12k of trails and just enjoy all that life has to offer.  After that, there are a couple more trail races available, but my focus (training wise) will be completely on September and October. 

My amazing daughters are coming to visit during the month of August and we may do a Mud Run together, because that just looks like fun!

September is where it is all going to happen, the 15th I have my first Triathlon:  Xterra Pueblo- 1.5k swim, 14 mile mountain bike, 4 mile run.  I cant begin to explain how stoked I am to finally be racing a triathlon, and the outcome of this race will help me forecast if it is something I want to focus more on in the future.

September 22nd is my biggest and furthest race of the year, the Run Rabbit Run 50 miler in Steamboat Springs.  This is also the only race that I will be traveling to, as everything else is within 45 miles of home.  I have no expectations for this race, other than to finish it.  Sub 10hrs would be amazing, but if it takes me 14 hours, then I am good with that as well. 

I then take two weeks off and return to Colorado Springs for the Xterra Marathon of Trail Races on Cheyenne Mountain.  This is my goal race for the entire year, heck for the last 2 years.  I am running the full marathon, with the goal of my first sub 4 hour marathon ever, and at least an age group win.  Call it delusions of granduer, but everything leading up to this day is for a purpose and that is to compete and actually race this one! 

To top off everything I will be running for a great charity called Global Action, who's work spreads the love of Jesus Christ to impoverished men, women and children around the world; not just by telling people they need Jesus, but by actually putting roofs over their heads, giving them an education and helping them become self sufficient members of society....our hearts are shown in our actions, as words have very little lasting meaning.  I hope that all of my readers (all 4 of you) will join me in this effort to spread some love around the world.  Go to for more info.  (there will be a donation page and a page from me up soon)

"I will run with endurance the race set before me..." Hebrews 12:1a

Sunday, April 15, 2012

LOST: Motivation

So running the same 2 tenth of a mile strip of trail back and forth, over and over again has now drained all my motivation to put in any serious miles. All our treadmills are again broken, and I just cant bring myself to use an eliptical.
Lets couple this with I have officially ran a hole through the sole of my NB905's ...yes, I can stick my whole finger through this hole....and legs that dont seem to want to run fast anymore...I just dont know how to get kick started.
What makes the whole thing worse is that this funk couldnt come at a worse time! My training plan for Run Rabbit Run starts this of 48-52 miles... that is 250 trips back and forth on my .2 mile piece of trail. I know this type of tediousness should be building mental toughness, and maybe in part it has, as I have ran 360 miles on this trail so far this year. But I just dont know how much more of it I can take.
The good news is I only have 3 weeks left in this country and I start heading home. back to Colorado; back to Sarah, Miss K and Miss C; back to cold beer and hot tubs; back to the land of chiropractors and massage therapists.
I will dutifully continue to put in the miles and train as hard as I can...but somedays the three year old inside wants to throw an "I DONWANNA" temper tantrum, throw myself on the floor and kick, scream and cry until I fall asleep sucking my thumb.
But One does not simply show up to a 50 mile trail race un run I will, because run I must only because soon, when I am home, I want to run amok. Thanks for listening to me rant faithful readers...other than quiet woods and silky singletrack, ya'll are the best listeners.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Heavy Heart

  The news today about the loss of Caballo struck a weird nerve with me. Never had the loss of a celebrity of any sort affected me, or gave me pause to reflect. But Micah on the other hand, I think touched a sensitive spot in every runner that knew his name. He was the one who ispired us to not be afraid of our dreams; to get out and do what you love every day. That we can do anything we believe in, if we dont listen to those who tell us we can't. That all that matters in life are a few close friends and family, some good food, some dancing and a great run.

I had always felt in my heart that I would meet Caballo, at some race in the middle of nowhere and that running with him would make me understand myself. I know, it is laughable, and it can obviously never happen now...but thanks to BTR, I can carry some of his wisdom with me. Some people run Ultra distances to see what they are made of, some out of fear or conquering it, others for enlightenment; I think Caballo represented the best of all those traits.

So today on my run, which I had planned for 10 miles, I felt a little extra strength and decided to go until I was too tired to run anymore. As I was finishing my 10th mile another runner appeared on the trail a few hundred yards ahead of me...the racer in me knew I had to catch this other runner, pass him, and drop him. I dont know why, it was just a long run day...but for this last mile there was a fire in my belly that brought my 10:30's down to low 8 that I held over the last mile and a half. It only took me a few minutes to catch and drop this new comer, but I didnt let up...not until it felt like my lungs were going to burst on the last climb did I decide to call it a day. I am glad that I remembered how to race and to didnt even feel like work until the end. Easy, Light, Smooth and Fast...just like the man said.