Monday, August 27, 2012

BFE 60 Mile Relay in the Rain

This past Saturday was the 3rd Annual BFE 60 Mile Relay. It has not rained in 2 months, but all that changed of course, Saturday. As we drove the 21 mile drive south to Hastings from Grand Island, lightening was seen across the sky as far as the eye could see south and west of Hastings. We arrive at 6:25 for the 7:00 start, signed our waiver and headed to the van to get ready. Then Thor threw a lightening bolt our way with a clap of Thunder for good measure and the PA Announcer states, "new scheduled start, 7:20".

Ron, our first leg warmed up and at 7:20 in a down pour was at the starting line. The horn sounded and off he went doe his 4 mile jaunt. We drove to exchange #1 and Paula anxiously awaited her turn. Ron came in first place to the first hand off. Paula had a 3 mile leg and brought had to run in a blinding rain. Water was 2 to 3 inches deep in the street which made for a tough run. Then it was out to the country as most of this race was scheduled to be ran on gravel covered country roads.Paula came to exchange #2 in good shape and we were in 7th place. Josh took the baton, well okay, pink hair scroungy and off he went for his 3 mile leg. He made up ground and handed the scrounge off with our team in 5th place. His wife Jessie was next with a 3 mile leg and she handed off to Joe for his 4.5 mile run. The roads were sloppy, soft, down right muddy and difficult to run on. Joe handed off to me for my 6.5 mile leg and we were in 5th place with 2 runners within 20 to 50 yards of me. I ran a 44:46 for a 6:56 average pace per mile and pulled far ahead of the two runners behind me and closed ground on the #4 runner. The first 5.5 miles I ran was again gravel road, the last mile black top. I handed off to Lauren for her 5.5 mile journey. She is an amazing runner with a 3:02 Marathon PR. She clipped off 7 minute miles and looked as though she could run that pace forever.Lauren moved us into 4th place. She also caught the 3rd place team and we would battle them the rest of the afternoon. We were the 1st place Co-ed team at this point and remained in 1st the rest to the way.

This rotation continued, the good news was they adjusted the route for the rain. The bad part was that it required running on the shoulder of a busy highway for a mile or two and running on not so busy black top county roads and highways in a rural area where they don't see many runners. It worked out for the best and all 27 teams returned safe and sound. I was able to run a 19:50 for my final 3 mile leg for a 6:36 average mile pace.

As we finished the sun was shining and we were ready for the post race party. Beer, Food and Music. BFE actually is the abbreviation for Beverage, Food and Fun. The proceeds go to the local Girls on the Run program so it is for a good cause. We finished the day 3rd overall and 1st in the co-ed Division. BFE Relay Hastings, Ne has a face book page if anyone is bored and wants to venture to their page.

Our team for the past 2 years has been named Barney, (I am Barney), and his Draggin Butts Runners. I am team Captain so I told the gang that if they won the title we would change our name next year to Barney and The Jets, so it looks like a new name is in order.

From left to right: Ron, Lauren, Paula, Josh, Jess, Joe and me.

It rained most of the race, over 2 inches, but that was okay. We needed the rain! It has been a drought like we haven't seen in a long while.

On an unrelated note, keep my oldest daughter in your thoughts as she and her staff evacuate their Shelter kids out of New Orleans tonight seeking higher ground. They are off to Lafayette tonight , then will decide tomorrow what their next move will be. Keep all the folks along the Gulf Coast in your thoughts, may they be safe!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Midnight 5K Run Checked off the List

I was in Alabama last week. I had a contract training for a youth care facility. While I happened to be in the area, what the heck, I just as well find a race. I checked the Trak Shak web site and the Birmingham Track Club site and found 2 races. Both were 5K's, one was a morning run in Lincoln, AL. the problem was I would have to check out the hotel, run and board my flight with no shower. The second choice was drive 45 miles north and run in Cullman, AL in the Eva Bank Midnight 5K. That seemed like the logical choice. I called my good friend Sammy in Fultondale, ( I lived in AL for 7 years), and picked him up on the way. He is 72 and needs a new knee so he can't run anymore so it was nice of him to ride along.

We had monsoon rain from 5:30 until 7:30 with street flooding. I rained all the way to Cullman, but the rain stopped at 10:45. The race began at 11:59pm and ended Saturday morning. I ran a bit slower than I have been running. All summer I have been in the 19:20 to 19:35 range. I ran the Midnight 5K in 20:22. It was good for a 35th place overall finish out of 595 and a 1st in the 55-59 AG. I didn't wear George ( my garmin), but some of the guys that did said the course was 3.2. It was a good race and I can now say I raced at midnight. It was then back to Birmingham. I dropped Sammy off and got to the hotel at 3:00 am, a quick beer and off to bed for a few hours sleep and then up and back to Nebraska.

I did have to take a 6 day break the week before my Alabama trip. I ran in my hometown on July 28th. It was a 5K as well. I was 3rd overall and ran a 19:36. After the race my ankle swelled up. I ran my 19 miler the next day and it swelled again. I ran on Monday but Tuesday the swelling and pain got to me. I went to my PA, (she is a runner). She x-rayed it and said the picture did not show a fracture. She said we should do an MRI but she said they are $4,000 so she suggested a steroid, ice, rest, elevation at night and ibuprofen. She felt it was tendinitis and she said if it wasn't better after that, then we would do the MRI. So far so good. I did 16 on Sunday, rested Monday and did 9 tonight at a 7:55 average pace. So far so good.

Well that about does it in the exciting world of Bubble Boy. I love it when rumors get spread about me in this town, because if it weren't for rumors I would have no social life.

Have a great rest of the week.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bloomsday 2012 SURPRISE and A Midsummer Night's Trail Run

I just picked up the mail and received a wonderful SURPRISE! I ran Bloomsday 12K - 2012 this past May and ran well. I couldn't get in corral 1 or 2 as it was my first Bloomsday, but I did earn a Yellow start corral with my 40:55 10K from a race here in Grand Island in April and my 3:36:30 Marathon at Surf City in February 2012. I ran a 51:22 and I knew that it was good for a 10th place finish in my age group. What I didn't know is that they give medals for the top 10 in the division. As many of you may know, Bloomsday 12K is the 2nd largest road race in America next to the Peachtree 10K in Atlanta. Bloomsday had 48, 154 finishers this year and I was 551 overall. So what was the SURPRISE, a beautiful bronze 10th place finishers medal for the 55-59 age group! My two Boston finishers Medals are special, as are my many AG awards that I have won throughout the years. But I must say, this one, at least today is the most special. It was my first attempt at Bloomsday, I stressed about Doomsday hill and then nailed it with a 6:53 pace up that bugger bear. If I had started in corral 2 or even 1, who knows, maybe a top 5 finish, maybe I am dreaming. But for today I am on Cloud # 9.

This past Saturday night I drove just south and west of Hastings Nebraska to run A Midsummer Nights Trail Race. It was slated as a 4 miler but ended up being 3.67 miles. A night run, Nebraska's first and to my knowledge only night trail run. The course was challenging with hills, trails through wooded areas, on a mowed alfalfa field and some gravel. I purchased a head lamp, but really didn't need it. The race started at 9p and I ran the 3.67 miles in 25:48, (7:02 avg),  so I was done before total night fall by about 5 to 10 minutes. It was a challenge and a whole lot of fun. Mile 1 I hit 6:33, mile 2 was a bit more challenging and I came through the mile marker at 7:11. The next mile offered the most twists, turns, climbs and rough terrain, mile 3 was 7:33. I finished the final .67 in 4:24 for which equates to a 6:34 pace according to George (for those of you new to my blogs, that is my garmin). I was 11th overall in a field of 200 and 1st in the 50-59 age group. The awards were at 10:30 and then I drove the 45 minute  drive home and was home by midnight. A well organized and fun event for sure!

Sunday I had a 16 mile run and averaged 8:02 per mile. With the heat and the late night trail run it made it harder than it needed to be. I would complain about the heat and humidity and the dry conditions, but more than half the nation is in the same boat. The South Platte channel of the Platte River south of town is bone dry. It was at flood stage last year, this year bone dry. The forecast for today and tomorrow 101, both days. the 10 day calls for dry and mid to upper 90's with heat indexes in the 100's. The 30 day isn't any better. In fact long range models call for record heat through October. So instead of complaining, I will pray for rain and be thankful for the many blessings that are in my life. On July 11th my wife and I celebrated 31 wonderful years together.

On a final note if you are a praying type, please keep my father in your prayers. I just learned this afternoon that his appointment with a Cardiologist didn't go so well. He has a leak in his Aorta and it will require surgery. He had open heart surgery 10 years ago. He had cancer and was given 6 months to live 32 years ago. At this time he told his Doctor that he doesn't want to go through surgery again. He told his Doc he is 86 and you got to die from something. They discussed options, but surgery is the best plan. Dad will take a new medication, take a stress test next Monday and meet with his Cardiologist again in a Month. I hope and pray he opts for the surgery. Ultimately it is his choice. He lost a leg and part of both lungs from the time he was 52 years old to 54 years old. He has fought off Cancer and won. He is my Hero and I would like to keep him around for a few more years. He had a non-smokers lung cancer. He was a barber so my guess is second hand smoke is what caused the cancer, he was a non-smoker.

My final point is be thankful. I am 55 and still running. I know it is hot and dry and I am not rich. But as Daryl Worley says in song, "all things considered, I'm doing better....than I deserve!

Run on my friends....Long  may you run!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Color me Rad Run With my Daughter

I spent this past Sunday doing something I rarely if ever have done before. I ran a 5K Race with no clock, no awards and no pre-set goals other than to have fun. Let me explain.

It started Saturday afternoon when my #2 daughter (of 4), called and said she was running the Omaha/Council Bluffs Color Me Rad run. I said I had wanted to run one, but they were filling up too fast. She suggested I come to Council Bluffs, Iowa and run with her and her friends.

At first I said no, it won't work. I have a 16 miler on the schedule for Sunday. Then with my wife's urging I said what the heck, I still have time to run the 16 tonight and then we can get up and leave at 5am and get there in time for the run in the morning. So at 7:10pm out the door I went for my 16 miler and 2:14 later I was home. I the ran to WalMart at 11:00 for a white shirt and shorts for the Color Me Rad run.

My wife got up at 4a and I rolled out at 4:30. we got Little "B" up at 4:45 and got him and Bah Boo in the car and we were off. We got to Council Bluffs at 7:40. I went into the Mid America Center and registered, $50, OUCH. A portion goes to Special Olympics so that eased some of the pain. I think it would have been $40 if I pre - registered. I complained for a while about the price of racing today, then remembered with my wife's gentle nudge that I was there to enjoy time with my daughter.

The race began in waves, we went in the 3rd wave at 9:15. This is what we looked like at the start.

This is a friend of my daughters, my daughter D, Little "B" and me.

If you have never done a color run, one of this years new money making gimmicks. Oops, there I go again. You run, jog, walk or crawl a 3.1 mile course and they throw colored dust on you. That is what the white Man from Glad apparel is all about. I have to admit, it was a riot. My daughter and I had some good laughs and it was quite fun. The concept is to get all shapes and sizes of people out and moving. It was neat to see old, young, tall, short, thin and large people all participating. Here is after shot.

This is me, D and her friend Faith and Little "B" s trusty pup bah boo, our 10 month old Golden Doodle.

This is my favorite picture of all

Me and D after the race.

What a great day. It was worth re-arranging my schedule for, that is for certain.

I would encourage you all to be sure and take time to laugh and play with your loved ones. My good friend Gregg reminds me often that life comes with an expiration date. A family I know from my home town experienced that this summer. About a month ago their oldest son (of 3 boys), was returning from a basketball camp with is High School team at the school he coaches at from Broken Bow. His assistant coach was driving when an old man in a pick up had a heart attach and swerved into their lane hitting them head on.Both coaches and the older gentleman were killed. Fortunately the all the boys in van lived and only one suffered critical injuries, he is recovering now. My heart and prayers go out to the families of all involved in this tragic accient!

That reminded me that that life is precious and shouldn't be taken lightly. Each day is a gift, live it to it's fullest. So take time to enjoy the ones you love, and as you part ways be sure to do so with a hug, a kiss and a simple "I Love you".

Long may you run.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A 5K Report from Mayberry

Okay, I lied, it wasn't really Mayberry. But it is a lot like a Mayberry.

Today I headed west about 25 minutes and ran a 5K Race in Shelton, Nebraska. It is a small town of somewhere around 800 people I would guess. Much like most small towns scattered throughout Nebraska. It is a clean town where neighbors still know each other and watch out for each other. Kids can go to the park and not end up on a milk carton.

As I pulled up to register for the race there is also a sand volleyball tournament and a horse shoe tournament going on. Cool, just the way I remember small town USA, or at least small town Nebraska.

I have written a time or two on this blog site and on another site about the loss I feel with Andy Griffith's death. I recently read a Lewis Grizzard book, 'Elvis is Dead And I Don't Feel So Good Myself". Lewis is a Southern Humorist and now deceased, but I love his writings! He talks about when Elvis dies he realizes he doesn't fit or understand the culture of his day. He relates more to the 40's and 50's and those adults. I feel much the same way today. I am a throw back that likes how my childhood and teenage years were, safe and fun, yet respectful of others. Especially adults in my world.

I often feel today that we have lost that. People think that life should serve them. They are primarily concerned with themselves and their immediate family and think every other person should cater to them. Plus I still can't figure out tattoos and piercings in places that really make me cringe and personally don't even like my Doctor to examine yet alone the local piercing guy. As for tattoos, I had one once a year or two back, it was a fierce frog on my right shoulder, Kermit I think was his name. I beat out a 4 year old for the last Kermit tattoo. Poor kid cried for a week, but if you are going to get a tat, you better toughen up kid. Unfortunately, it washed off after just one bath, dang.

Anyway, now that Andy had passed, or should I say Sheriff Taylor. Mayberry will never be the same. It just won't be safe anymore. And if I end up on trial, Mattlock will not be there to prove my innocence. I miss the simple life when you didn't need a Lawyer and you didn't have to be home until the street lights came on.

What's all this have to do with my 5K race? Nothing I guess. Except that spending 3 hours in Shelton today reminded me that I am not alone. Lots of people still like the simple life. BBQ's, parades, road races, sand volleyball, horse shoes, sitting on the front porch with an ice cold coke talking to neighbors. Life is still good in their corner of the universe. I am not naive enough to think that Meth, Crime, Poverty, Divorce and all the things that haunt us today aren't there. but for a couple hours today I was in Mayberry. Mayberry, oh how I miss you!

As for the race, I had a good one. 19:30 and a 5th place overall finish. 1st in the 50-59 AG. Then it was off to Minden to see my parents and enjoy time with Mom and Dad, Mrs TO and Little "B". Grilled steak and chicken, homemade ice cream, ah, this is paradise. Happy 4th of July 2012.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Incoming, an Explosive Run

July 3rd around the Island and the skies are lightening up with the red, green and gold glare of fireworks. It was 101 degrees today, so I waited until 9:00pm for my run. The only drawback is fireworks, or rather, dodging them. Tonight I just had a 4 miler at base pace, (8:02 - 8:38). I knew I had better not doddle, fireworks were a flying. I was in a good rhythm, a bit faster than 8:00, I actually averaged 7:49 and ran a 39:06. But it felt comfortable and smooth. I was at my 2.5 turnaround and was greeted by an M-80, what a blast! The man that tossed it didn't see me coming and apologized. I just smiled and made light of it by yelling, " INCOMING". He and his buddy got a good laugh out of that and what the heck, life is too short to get mad at such a thing.

Tonight's random thoughts focused on non other than Andy Griffith. I loved that guy, Mattlock was favorite. Oh, heck no, Mayberry was my favorite. Aunt Bea and Opie, Barney and Gomer, Goober, Floyd and Howard Sprauge. Amos and Ernst T Bass. I miss those days. Which got me to thinking about these days. They are just not as simple as Mayberry. My favorite football team, once known as the Aints, now the Super Bowl Champions Saints get caught cheating. Then my favorite QB, Drew Breeze is holding out for a 5 year $100 Million deal. Wow, I am a misfit. How the heck much money does one need, and to play a dad burn game for Pete's sake! Most of my friends tell me, this is America, that is how it is done. I say, "horse hockey". They tell me I must be a Socialist or a Democrat and that this is free enterprise. I call it shear greed and I know Sheriff Andy Taylor in Mayberry would testify!

How about we start paying school teachers One Million a year? How about Child Protection Workers who put their life on the line to confront abusive neglectful parents. Oh, I forget, that doesn't make anyone any money. It is a drain on the Free Enterprise, Capitalistic society. If they wanted to make more, they should have learned to shoot a basketball or throw a football or climb a Corporate ladder. Instead, they choose to nurture and care for, teach and watch out for future generations. Give me a break. Greed is greed, pure and simple. The more we have the more we want. Regardless of how we get it.

Okay, enough. But today I am grieving. A little part of me died today with Andy. Mayberry will never be the same. It takes me to the country song, "I miss Mayberry, sittin on the porch drinkin ice cold cherry, coke, where everything is black and white". Rest in Peace Andy, thanks for the memories of a time long forgotten.

Then, I spot my friends and they are about to watch the Riverside Country Club Fireworks. My run is done and they suggest I join them for a cold beer and a seat with a good view of the show. Maybe, just maybe Mayberry is alive and well. Again, thanks Andy.

Tomorrow morning will come early. I am off to Shelton to run a 5K. The race director is a cool kid, only 17. It will be a hot race, only about 70 runners will show up. Come to think of it, another taste of Mayberry.

Live Simple, Run long and have a great 4th of July!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Time Flies When You are Having FUN!

WOW, where did June go? Time just flies. June in a nutshell was a good month. I raced in Fultondale, Alabama on June 16th and was happy with my 5K. I was 12th overall and 1st in the Grand Master division, (50-59), and 1st in my AG (55-59). I ran a 19:44, I was hoping to be under 19:20, but the course is hilly and heat and humidity played a role in the slower time as well. It was a fun trip as my oldest daughter made the trip from NOLA and my oldest son lives in Birmingham so that made for a nice Father's Day. Mrs. TO and Little "B" and our Golden Doodle made the trip as well.

I ran 196 miles for June. I am at 796 miles at the half way point of 2012. With the Twin Cities Marathon and Marshall Marathon still to run in 2012 I should still make my goal of 1700 miles for 2012. It seems like just yesterday I was running Surf City Marathon and hanging out with friends in California!

I always have these crazy things that run through my mind when I run. Tonight on my 6 mile Monday run I got to thinking about my dad and his generation, sometimes dubbed the greatest generation that ever lived. He is 86 now, a cancer survivor that lost a leg and part of each lung but beat the odds over 32 years ago and still loves life today. He was given 6 months to live, must have been like dog years because as I said, that was over 32 years ago. He was a tail gunner on a B-24 during World War II.  He then became a Barber and we had a nice life never knowing what it was like to be rich but never going without. He never once said, "I am going to put the other two barbers out of business in this town". In fact, they were friends, cut each others hair.

That got me to thinking. I sell radio advertising. My company wants to put our competitor out of business, and they us. In my fathers time this just didn't happen. I was thinking tonight, what if our right to freedom of speech was threatened. Could we and our competitor forget about putting each other out of business, stop hating each other and join forces to preserve our freedom of speech. That's what the Greatest Generation did when our Country came under siege. I am not so sure that we could do that today. Everybody thinks it has to be their way. We can't seem to compromise or find common ground. We don't need Obama Care, we just need People Who Care!

That is when it hit me, I love runners. We encourage each other. We applaud each other and recognize PR's. It isn't about how fast, it is about participation. If you beat me, good for you! It is me racing me. It doesn't matter if you are a Lawyer, Factory Worker, Social Worker or Doctor. Although at my age I prefer to run with a Doctor, it is not about status. It is about my age and the possibility of needing CPR that makes the Doc look inviting! But really, we are in a pair of shorts and a singlet, sweating profusely, and nobody cares what you do. They couldn't tell people what you do for a living to save their sole, (okay, I spelled it wrong on purpose). But, they can tell you that persons PR from the 5K to their Marathon. Ah, I do so love runners!

My next, and thankfully for you my last random thought. I am one lucky, make that blessed fellow. I have wandered aimlesly through life until Little "B" entered our lives going on 9 years ago. A little boy nobody wanted. Neglected, non verbal, in diapers still at age 4. 22 pounds and a handful. We had 5 biological children but what is one more, we adopted Little "B'.  He has given me a renewed sense of purpose. I realize it is not about money, it is not about status. It is about Love and Acceptance. Accepting people for who they are. Caring and having someone Care back. All this from a little boy who can't talk, is just now getting pottie trained at age 13. He gave me back my life. He showed me I should run if for no other reason because,  I can. I love to run. Though it does not define me, it makes me a better person.

All this in just a 48 minute 6 mile run. I am exhausted, not from my run. Rather from a racing mind. I am indeed having FUN. I realize that in 55 years I have met some amazing people. I have had my life
touched  by some amazing people. I can't wait until July is over to add to that incredible list. Wait, I can wait, I don't want to wish my life away. I will just take it a day at a time. One adventure at a time.

Have a great 4th of July and remember nice guys don't really finish last, Little "B" taught me that. Bet you are glad tonight wasn't a 14 mile run!