Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Cold Swim

Last week when my brothers were here, we decided to go for a little swim in the harbor. The air temperature was about forty degrees and so was the water temperature. We are just a couple of crazy guys doing crazy things. We have done this a few times before. Usually it is done after we celebrate the new year at about 12:30am new years day. The difference of just a few weeks does not really make that much difference. It is still cold. there was no ice floating around though, so I guess it wasn't really that bad. Anyway, enjoy watching us be crazy.

Maybe we should have waited until today. It snowed here last night and today's high is supposed to be about 30 degrees. I had fun playing around with my new video editing software. I think it is nicer than my other one, I just need to learn how to use it. I did manage to find the stretch tool to make a portion of it play in slow motion. I only spent about ten minutes on it, so there is not much to it. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Dad: August 30, 1943 to November 30, 2008

This past Sunday evening November 30, 2008 at about 8:30pm my dad passed away after fighting a losing battle with Lung Cancer. He fought and fought. He really did not want to give up, but the cancer had taken its toll on his body. Heavenly Father took him and I'm sure has greater plans with him. It was a struggle for all of us especially during his final days and weeks because it was practically impossible to communicate with him. I know he is now in a peaceful place where he can get a good breath of air.

On Sunday morning I decided to go up and see my parents. I am glad I was able to be there and help support my family in this time of struggle. It is very different from the previous death I experienced because we knew it was coming and we had time to plan and prepare for it.

He was born on August 30, 1943.

Here is his sister holding him when he was about two and a half months old. He was a bit late coming, his other siblings were born in the 20's.

Here he is with his dad in 1949.

What a happy kid he was.

Right after high school he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served on the USS Robison.

He was proud to have served in the Navy.

All growing up I remember how much he loved fishing:

and camping: here is his nephew Fred and his friend Ross.

In 1976 he met and married my mom Lois.

He was such a generous man and always willingly gave of his time when he had any. He worked really hard to support us.

I have always looked up to my father in many ways. He was always looking forward to that next big adventure. I remember when he would ride his bicycle from Seattle to Salt Lake City. I am glad I got to share that experience with him twice. He also had ambitions to ride his bicycle around the world. He wanted and planned to hike the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail. He managed to hike a few hundred miles of it. His most recent big adventure was the Big Ride Across America where he and several others rode their bicycles from Seattle to Washington D.C. in support of the American Lung Association of Washington. They raised $250,000.

I got married on his 60th birthday five years ago. I was happy to share the date of celebration, I hope he was too.

He will be missed by us all. I just know that he is already up in Heaven looking forward to his next big adventure.

Dad, we love you and will miss you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Son Alex

A few posts back, I posted a video I made of my daughter Ella. I decided that I would do the same for my son Alex. He is really a cutie. He usually love the camera, so there are many good photos of him. He was born in July two and a half years ago. In some ways it seems like such a short amount of time, but in others it was so long ago. He is my favorite son. I can't wait till he grows up just a little more so that I can take him camping and hiking with me in the back country, like I used to do with my dad.

Well, I hope you enjoy this short video. It is only a little more than two minutes. There is nothing fancy about this clip, I started working on it about an hour ago. I just chose the photos, one from each month of his life, plopped them on there, but transitions between photos, added a song and a few words in the middle and voila, a video. I enjoy putting these videos together. Maybe I'll have to do one of our road trip across the country, or all of my running stuff, or something. Maybe though I should focus more on schoolwork. We'll see. Let me know what you think of Alex and this video.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Local Locks

Well, I guess there are more people out there than I thought that actually read my blog. I had four comments on my last post, that means at least that many read it.

I'll tell you about something that we did a few weeks ago. There are these locks not too far from here that allow boat traffic to travel from the lake down to the ocean. It is like an elevator for boats. I used to go to the locks when I was a kid. The think I remember most about the locks is the fish ladder. This was designed to allow the salmon to swim back up the rivers and spawn. Well, we must have chosen the wrong time to go because we only saw one fish swimming around.


At least it is a pretty area. Just look at these photos.

It was a fun family outing. After we wandered around and saw what there was to see, we grabbed the food from the car and had a picnic in the rain. Yep, it's Washington, so you can't really do anything without rain. The only thing that really irked me was where I parked. There was an oil spill. Luckily in was only on my side of the car. I didn't think it was that bad when I got out, but when I got back in I really had to scrub my feet. I used several baby wipes to clean off the bottom of my shoes, and even then I couldn't really get them clean. I had to put my feet inside plastic bags to keep from spreading the oil. There is only a little stain on the car floor mat. I noticed before I really put my foot down. Maybe we'll try going back some time when there is actually some fish swimming up the ladder.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

October Happenings

Wow, I just realized that it has been nearly a month since my last post. Not that anyone reads this blog anyway, but for the two or three loyal readers I have out there I figured I'd better write something so that you all know I haven't died or something.

It the previous post, I showed you a couple old photos from the 1920's. I've finished that project. I scanned all his photos into jpg format. There are 1159 photos that I scanned. It was fun looking through and seeing my dad in his younger years. These photos will now be easier to preserve and keep. Even if something were to happen to the original photos, we still have digital copies. I plan on making several copies on disks to give to family.

As far as running goes. Last Saturday, the 8th, I finished the cross country season with the college. Our last race was fun because it was in the pouring rain. The course was so muddy. It was lots of fun. I improved my time again, that means that for each of the four races, I got faster. I can still get faster too. My best time this year was slower than my times six years ago when I was running for Everett. I am a lot slower than I was in High school, and that was ten years ago.

I came into this season being trained for a long, slow race. But I was also injured. The injury is gone now, and I think that if I kept working at it I could continue improving. I want to do a 10K in December and then I want to run a couple marathons before next years White River 50 miler.

School is going just fine. All of my classes are pretty easy right now. I am signed up for 20 credits next quarter though, it should be pretty busy and fun. four of the classes should be a relatively easy review, the other two are going to be new information, but fun classes, I hope. only have two more quaters until I will graduate. I might not even need to finish because the FAA might hire me before. I have an application in and I will hear from them soon about taking their test. Once I take the test, depending on how well I do, I could get hired after that. It would be nice to acutally have a job again. My wife is getting pretty stressed out having to worry about making enough money to support us while I am in school.

How about some photos now. This first one is me and Alex. He is such a cutie. We went for a walk at a local state park and couldn't resist the photo opportunity.

This is later that day when we drove up to Mount Rainier. It is nice being so close to such good outdoor activities. I love the mountains.

And here is my cute little boy in front of the Mountain.
After we left here we went and picked a couple pumkins. Here's Ella. She wouldn't look at me and pose, so I just had to get a side shot.

And here is Alex, he was being much more photogenic that day.

Here we are carving some pumpkins at Grandma and Grandpas house. I didn't get very good photos.

Here is my nephew James cleaning out his big pumkin.

Here they all are at the pumkin patch.

This next one is my neice Sherri.

And this last one is at the Trunk-or-Treat

Well, that's all the photos this time.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Old Photos

So, recently I've taken up a project of scanning some of my dad's old photos that he has kept from over the years. I figured they would be much easier to share and preserve if we had an electronic copy of them. Most of them have been from the 60's although there were some from the 50's and some from the 70's. I just came upon some that date back even farther than that to the 20's and 30's. I found an old photo of my grandparents. I really like this photo. My grandfather died before I was born and my grandmother died when I was really young. I never really knew them. I think of my grandparents as old people, but you know what? they were young once too. Who would have thought! Anyway, here is the photo.

It is interesting to me to see them so young. I barely even recognize my grandmother. My grandfather was in the Navy back in the early 20's and served on the USS Arizona. I think it is really interesting.

Here is a photo of just my grandmother. This photo is really interesting because on the front is written Aug 1923 but on the back it is written May 4, 1924. They were married on May 5, 1924. I don't know which date to believe. I guess it really doesn't matter does it?

I thought it would be interesting to see how a quick job in photoshop would treat an old photo like this. Since I don't really know how to use Photoshop, I turned to my expert wife who turned that crummy old photo into this:

It is amazing what five minutes with a photo editing program can do. If you have old photos that need touching up, my wife would love to help you out. For a small fee your old photos could look like new ones.

Okay, enough of the advertising. If you want to see some more of my old photos then take a look at them on my facebook page. You can also just click here, here, or here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Daughter Ella

Every once in a while I have trouble sleeping at night. It is usually because I took a nap in the afternoon as is the case here. Well, I got out of bed and this is what I did. I love my daughter Ella. Yes I still love her even though it's two a.m. and she just peed her bed. There is one photo from every month of her life. I feel like it is a pretty good video for having thought it up and finished it in the last hour and a half.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What have I been doing for the last couple of months?

Yeah, I know. I've only posted one blog post on here in the last two and a half months. I've been moving and trying to get settled in up here at our new home in the Northwest. I have some photos to share of me running. I also have some pieces of news. I'll start with the fun photos. While I was in Utah in August and September, I ran quite a bit up in the Mountains. This first photo is on my first mountain run up to an 11,000 foot peak up Little Cottonwood Canyon. I think the name of this lake is Cecret Lake. Yeah, it's spelled really funny.

It was tough running up here because I had been living down at sea level. It was lots of fun though, I saw a couple deer and even a moose.

This next one was from a couple days later on a run up Big Cottonwood Canyon. It is a self portrait.

Great shot right?

While in Utah I also ran up Mount Timpanogus with Thayne. It was a really great run except for the fact that I sprained my ankle pretty bad on the way down. It popped really loud. I thought for a minute that I had broken it. I had to take a couple weeks off. but it's doing better now. Here I am at the top of Timp.

We had to be down from the top to block the wind. It was cold up there. We left at five something in the morning and made it to the top at seven something. It took just less than two hours to get to the top. Here's another one:

And here is a photo I have of Thayne.

If it weren't for him I probably wouldn't have made this run. Thanks for your blog. This photo was taken at the saddle, still a mile or so from the top.

Well, we had fun in Utah, then we made our way up here to the northwest. I started school and on campus I saw signs up that they were wanting runners for their new cross country team. I thought that sounded like fun and I've been running with them now for three weeks. I've already had two races. I took it easy at first because of my ankle, but I think my ankle is pretty much completely healed. It is still slightly swollen, but it doesn't hurt anymore.

Here are a couple photos from my first race. This was on October 4th.

My team is in the middle wearing the black uniforms. I'm the second from the right, in the second row.

And here I am running really fast right after the race started. I'm in front, my teammate following close behind me. He ended up finishing about 30 seconds faster than me. We run 8 Kilometer races. It's a lot different than running a marathon or a 50 miler, but it's still fun. I'm definitely not one of the faster ones.

Other than running, I've been doing a lot. My classes are all pretty easy. I already know most of the information and they are all online right now. Amanda is still doing her scoping work. It's been about a month now that we've been here. We still have a couple of boxes laying around that need unpacking. It will eventually get done. Probably about the time that we are ready to move again.

My parents live about two hours away from here if there is no wait for the ferry. I love going up to visit them. We have been up now three or four times. My dad is dieing of lung and brain cancer and I've been trying to get up to see him as much as I can before he goes. It is nice to sit and talk with him and help him out around the house. I think my mom needs just as much support as he does right now though too.

This is a nice three generation photo of my son, me and my dad. We all love my dad very much and can't stand the thought of loosing him. I hope you enjoyed the video I put together of him in my last post. It is a work in progress.

Well that's about it for now. I'll keep you posted on how my running is going. I only have three more races in this season. I'm not sure what I will do after the last race of the season, probably find a marathon somewhere to run.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A video of my dad

I'll try the video here on my blog and see if it does any better than that other web site. For some reason it was going really slow there.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bartlett Park Ultra 2008

Well, I did it. It took me almost 12 hours but I did it. 50 miles. Wow that was tough. I feel pretty good about it but it was slower than I had hoped, but the heat kinda killed us all.

The race started at 6:30. I showed up about 6:15. I got my stuff the previous night, so I already had my number pinned on my hat and everything was ready to go. I had prepared a bag of stuff so that I could change my socks and shoes and shirt and shorts because I knew that I would be soaked through with sweat. It was a loop course that took us six times around an eight mile course. the last two miles were an out and back.

Anyway, it started at 6:30. I found myself in the probably about ten people back from the start. I knew I had to really focus on holding back for the first two or three laps. I felt like I did a pretty good job, although I probably still could have gone slower and had more at the end. It went about as expected for the first lap. The first eight miles were done in about 1:30. That is about an 11 minute mile. That is the pace that I wanted to be able to finish in. I was doing pretty good. Even though the day started out at 82 degrees It didn't seem that bad. I knew it would get worse though. Amanda and the kids were there to watch the start. They also went out to the aide station that was at mile four. It was probably less than half a mile to walk out there. The course was kinda shaped like a lopsided three leaf clover. The first little loop was four miles, then two then another two. There was one aide station that was accessible from mile four and mile six and another at the start/finish area. The family were there to cheer me on. I was glad to see them. It was still early in the race though and I was still feeling pretty good. I finished out the first lap and said bye to the family. They were leaving for the rest of the day to go see a children's museum. I can't blame them for not wanting to wait around there all day. First loop 1:28 total time 1:28.

The second loop was a little bit slower, in fact each loop was progressively slower than the previous one. I was still feeling great on this loop. I was just treating it as another one of my long runs. Slow and easy. I stopped each time at the aide station to fill my bottle with ice and water. I grabbed a few pretzels and cookies to eat each time too. I also put ice in my hat each time I saw the aide stations. That was key to keeping me cool. The ice in my bottle would keep my hands cool and the ice in my hat would keep my head cool. It was nice. Second loop 1:34 total time 3:02.

The third lap was probably my best. Not for time, but I just felt great. I knew I was still trying to hold myself back but I was into it and feeling just great. After this lap I changed shoes and socks and shorts and shirt. Everything was soaked through with sweat. I purposely put my race number on my had so that I could change shirts easily and not have to worry about switching the number around. Third loop 1:43 total time 4:45.

The fourth lap, what can I say about the fourth lap. It was on this lap that I was really beginning to be tested. I was still feeling pretty good, still taking some crackers, pretzels and such for salt, and cookies and PB&J's for more energy. This was when I really noticed the temperature. I later looked it up online and the temp for Bartlett for that day was 106 with a heat index temp of 125 or something. If I'd have heard that I might have dropped out. But in actuality, it was probably no more than about 95 in the forest. The race was 99 percent shaded. It was really good. I was actually contemplating only doing the 50k race (32 miles). Since it was a loop course you could choose to run four loops (32 miles/a long 50k), five loops (40 miles), or six loops with an additional two mile out and back (50 miles). You could choose while you were running. I'm sure there were a lot of people who started out planning on doing the 50 miles but dropping to the 40 mile or 50k. for a very short while I thought about stopping at the 50k. That quickly passed though, mainly because Amanda wouldn't have been there to see me finish. At that point I was telling myself (and others) that I was definitely doing at least 40 miles. This loop was the longest one. I saw no one for the first four miles. Then after the aide station I came across some people, but I passed them. It was lonely. I changed socks for the second time. I was now on my third pair of socks. Fourth loop 2:11 total time 6:57.

When I left the aide station for my fifth lap there was another young man right behind me. I though he might want to pass me, but he didn't. We walked with each other for the first mile. He then jogged passed me and I realized that I needed to stay with him or else I might not finish the full fifty miles. I had just called Amanda and told her that I was thinking about dropping at forty. Well I stayed with him. This guy, his name was Lee, was a life saver. We helped each other out. we actually "ran" the rest of the race together, 18 miles. At the aide station I told him how much he has been helping me. He told me that I had been helping him too. I noticed it when I took the lead for a bit. It was motivation knowing that someone was right there behind you and that you can't go too slow. When I was following him it was harder to go faster, but easier too because I just had to make sure that he didn't get out of my sight. Well, after doing this four miles with him I realized that there was no stopping me. I was going to make the full fifty miles. I had fourteen to go and I knew I was going to finish. It was tough going the rest of the loop, but we I stuck with Lee and we managed to make it. One lap to go. I changed my shoes again back to the ones I started with. I figured they'd had a few hours to dry. I also changed socks again. I knew my feet had blisters on them and I really did not want to look at them otherwise it might hurt worse. fifth loop 2:16 total time 9:13

Well, we didn't stay too long at the aide station and we were off on our sixth and final lap. After the first mile I called Amanda (like I had done on every other loop) and she had actually just arrived at the start/finish area. It would have been nice to see them as I came through the aide station, but I also was kinda glad that she wasn't there. You see, I wanted here to see me finish the race and if she had been there, she would have seen me finish the 40 mile and that would have been good enough. On my fifth lap I was thinking that, only for a short little bit, and I probably really would have kept going because of Lee, but the thought did cross my mind that if she were there I might just stop. Anyway, I wasn't a bit concerned about time for the race until about half way through the last lap. I realized that at the pace we were going, we might be able to finish in 12 hours. When we got to the aide station it was about 10.5 hours into the race. That would give us an hour and a half to finish the last six miles. Now on any given day, six miles could easily be accomplished in less than an hour, in fact on a good day I could do it in less than 45 minutes. But after running 44 miles, 6 miles seems like a really long way. We were walking most of the time anyway. We would walk then jog some, then walk then jog some. That's just how you have to move when you've gone for so long. I was actually surprised that I noticed it cool down. Then I realized how hot it was. Sure it "cooled down" but you can hardly call it cooled down when it is still 95 degrees out. Well, we had passed the aide station the second time and we had about a mile to go before the start/finish area (three miles left) when all of a sudden, another runner comes plodding along from behind and passes us. We took that as a sign and used him for some motivation. We picked up our pace a little bit and I'm convinced that if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have made the twelve hour mark. Well we didn't keep up with him completely but we did speed up. sixth loop 2:21 total time 11:35

We made a short stop at the aide station and left for the final two miles out and back. There was a sign on a tree that said Bartlett Park Ultra 1 Mile. When I was leaving the aide station I was told that I had 25 minutes if I wanted to get under 12 hours. Well, I ran 95 percent of that mile. I ran it pretty hard too. I'm pretty sure it was my fastest mile of the whole thing. It was a nine minute mile. Then I turned around and headed back and ran the final mile in 9:30. Wow, who knew that I had it in me. I really didn't think I had that kind of speed in me at that point. Lee took off in front of me from the aide station. I was trying to just catch up to him, but I couldn't do it. I came in about ten seconds behind him. And the other guy that passed us, we were both within fifteen seconds or so of him. mile 49 9:04, mile 50 9:30, total time 11:54:08.

After the race I sat in a chair for just a few minutes before walking over to the car. I changed into some cry clothes and took my shoes and socks off. I had some flip-flops to wear to let my fee dry out. My calves felt like they might cramp up at any moment, so I had to keep my legs stretched out and relaxed. My feet had blisters on them too. I knew it from about mile forty. From that point on every time I stepped down I could feel the sharp tingling of the blisters. It kinda went numb after a while, but I could still feel it. I would feel it again when I started running, but then my heart would start racing and my body would tell me I couldn't run, so I would walk. It's the same loop I was talking about earlier.

Anyway, now, a day later, I feel fine. We went and saw Graceland here in Memphis today, then we went down to Beale Street, ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, then went on a bus tour. It was really hot. Hotter than I remembered it being yesterday. My blisters are bothering me and I am limping around because of that, but it's not too bad. My legs are just a little bit sore and I really only notice the soreness when going up or down stairs.

I know that whatever my next 50 mile race is, it will be faster than this one. The heat really killed me. I feel good about finishing my first Ultra marathon. I'm hooked. When is the next one? Where will I run? Who Knows? Right now I'm on vacation. I'll think about it later when I can think a little more clearly. Maybe I'll look it up tomorrow night when the kids are sleeping.

And now for the photos: Here is the start of the race. I'm somewhere in there, I promise.

Here I am just a few seconds after the start. I look great.

This is coming in to the aide station at mile four. Only 46 more to go.

I'm enjoying some snacks here.

Here I am coming into the start/finish area at mile 8. Still feeling great.

I'm getting a quick snack before I hit the trail again.

Here are my kids in front of the sign showing the map of the trails we were running on. We did most of the trails shown here.

Okay, here I am finally coming into the start/finish area at mile 48. On the left side of the picture is Lee. He was trying to get out of the way so he wouldn't be in my photo. He's the one that kept me going. Thanks Lee.

Alex is running faster than I am right here. I just think it is cute that we are both looking back.

Coming into the finish at mile 50. I'm finally done!

I like this one because you can see Alex start running after me.

The aftermath: this is my right foot about twenty minutes after the finish. You will notice how wrinkly it is.

Here is my right foot a day later. It's not wrinkly anymore, but you can now see the blisters on my foot. I think there are five. The ones that hurt most are towards my toes. They are long and skinny, you can't really see them in the photo here.

Here on my left foot you can see the long skinny one really well. There are two just like this on the other foot.

Wow, that was one long post. Sorry if that bored you too much. I hope you enjoyed my little report. If you didn't then you shouldn't have read the whole thing.

Just to finish off I'd like to thank the race staff and all the volunteers for being out there all day in the heat and for putting on a great race. They really did a great job. I think everything about this race was great except for the heat.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Runners Funk

Sometimes I just don't feel like running very much. Don't get me wrong, I love to run. But sometimes it is just hard to gather the motivation to go for a run. Maybe the 99 degrees today is what held me back. I think I'll get up early and run tomorrow. In that case maybe I should go to bed right now.

I think it is because I am pretty stressed out about moving and all that needs done before I go. It also probably has something to do that I am now going to be jobless. Oh, well. I just need to go running to clear my mind. If it wasn't so blasted hot I might go for a run right now. It is still like 85 degrees and it is ten o'clock. No, I'll go in the morning.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Moving and Running

I am finally getting separated from the military. They told me this would happen almost a year ago, they are just really slow about doing it. In two weeks we will leave here and head up to the Pacific Northwest. It is just in time too. Our first stop on our trip will be Memphis Tennessee to run the Bartlet Park Ultra. After the 50 mile race, I'm not sure what I'll feel like but I plan on spending a couple days after that touring Memphis. We will then stop in Louisiana for a few days. The next stop will be Utah but we might make a fun road trip out of it. We will be there for two or three weeks before we continue our journey up to the great state of Washington. I'm going to have a lot of places to run over the next month. This will be fun. I'm really looking forward to the Utah mountains and also the Washington Mountains. It has been way too long since I have seen any mountains, let alone run in them. Oak Mountain in Alabama is still just a hill in my book.

I wonder how difficult it will be run run while traveling around the country like this. I'll just have to see.

I am so looking forward to my race. My only concern is the heat, but then I remember that the longest I will go without an aid station (ice is what I will really want) is four miles. That is not bad. I'll just run and see how my body feels. I hope I will be able to finish. I really think I will be able to, I've been feeling great. I did 28 miles on trails last Saturday and I did 30 miles a few weeks ago. I'm ready to run 50 and get it over with.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Running and Meditation

I am not the kind of person that would normally go and meditate. It seems like something a monk would do, not a runner. But over the last couple of weeks I've been turning more to cleaning my inner self. I don't know, that sounds weird, "cleaning my inner self?!" Come on Anton, what are you thinking? Well I grew up pretty religious, always going to church. I even devoted two years of my life serving a full time mission for my church. But over the last year or so, I've been struggling to keep up my spirituality. I've started reading scriptures everyday. I'm not perfect, and nobody is, but that is the first step I guess in becoming more religious again.

A week or so ago I found out about a race that is 3100 miles long. It is called the Self Transcendence 3100. It is in honor of Sri Chinmoy. He started it seven or eight years ago and he just died last year. He was a spiritual leader that was also very athletic. He taught that running was an excellent form of meditation. I started thinking about it and it is so true. When I run I am able to either clear my mind and think about nothing, or I am able to ponder a question or problem that I have.

I think of scriptural prophets who fast and pray to know the truth of something and I am able to liken that to me just a little bit. I don't fast very often or very faithfully, but I run a lot and I am able to ponder life's problems while I run. Two of the few times in my life that I have been overwhelmed with emotion were at the end of both of my previous marathons. I can't really explain it, but when your body is so exhausted and broken down, it is just hard to hold in any emotions. It is an experience like none other to cross the finish line of your first marathon. I hope it will be a similar experience when I cross the finish line of my first 50.

Here are two excerpts from Sri Chinmoy's website. "Sri Chinmoy believed that a balanced lifestyle fosters harmony and inner peace. His integral approach to life encourages physical fitness and sports as a vehicle for personal transformation."

"There are countless people on earth who do not believe in the inner strength or inner life. They feel that the outer life is everything. I do not agree with them," he says. "There is an inner life; there is spirit."

Sri Chinmoy is not of my faith and he has probably taught many things that I would disagree with, but I agree with him on this. We can draw upon the strength of our inner selves. I, being christian, believe this power to be the Holy Ghost helping us out when we need it.

Now, I don't mean for this post to be a religious sermon or anything. I've just been thinking a lot when I run. It a way I feel like I am wasting time when I run. I could be spending time with my wife and kids, or reading and studying, or cleaning the house, or whatever else. But then I realize that I wouldn't be doing anything else anyway. I've been pretty lazy lately. If you take out running from my life I really have done absolutely nothing for the last few months. Well, anyway, I have started to listen to talks and books as opposed to music. I'll still listen to music, but I'll be listening a lot more to books and religious talks and stuff.

This morning I listened to half of Hamlet. I'm pretty sure I've seen it before, I may have even read it. This morning though it was different. I was able to mostly pay attention to it and enjoy it. It really struck me this morning when Lord Polonius was giving this speech to his son Laertes giving him words of counsel. Among other things he said:

"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

I know this is one of the famous lines from Hamlet, but I like it. I also like the other line, even more famous. I've heard it thousands of times before, but now I realize that there is more meaning behind just the words "to be, or not to be." Hamlet starts his speech with this:

"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;"

I think we all go through different stages in life. We struggle from day to day. It is hard for us to imagine any good coming into our lives in the next day, week, month or even year. But "to be" is much better than "not to be." For, if we seek for God and the truth in our lives, then there is always something better to look forward to. There are other times in our lives when nothing can stop us and we feel like life is great. It is during those times that we can not turn our backs on God, or he just might turn his back on us.

Well, I think this post is long enough. Maybe next time I'll tell you all to repent or your going to go to hell. Probably not though, that's not like me. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bartlett Park Ultra

Well, I have made a decission. It was easy and difficult at the same time. I have decided not to run the White River 50 on July 26 and instead to run the Bartlett Park Ultras 50 miler on August 2. It was difficult because I really wanted to run up in Washington in the Cascades. It was easy because I am not up there and I decided that I would rather not spend the money on a plane ticket to go up there right now. The downfall is that this run will be in the south in the hot, humid summer. It shouldn't be too bad though because this is the weather I've been training in. Maybe my hat will get some good use.

The Bartlett Park Ultra is located just outside Memphis Tennessee. It is about an eight hour drive from here. I'm going to take leave and spend some time with my family up there visiting all the sites.

Bartlett Park looks like a pretty nice place to have this race. There are some trails and this race will run several eight mile loops. Durring the race you can choose which distance to run 50k(really 32 miles), 40mile and 50 miles. I of course will strive to do the 50 miles. If it is extraordiarily hot and humid that day, and I'm am literally dieing, then I might consider stopping at the 40 mile, or if is really really bad, the 32 mile mark. so, I will do six, eight mile laps and then one mile out and one mile back to finish the fifty miles. It is a mostly flat course. The website says that the highest point is about 75 feet higher than the lowest point.

I guess I don't have much else to say about it. I'm really looking forward to actually doing an Ultramarathon. It is just four and a half weeks away. Until then I have a couple birthdays and a holiday. I hope I can resist the cakes. I need need a fruit and veggie cake.

A new running hat

I bought a new running hat a few days ago. It came last night in the mail. My wife thought I was wierd because I wore it around the house for like an hour. This is a sun hat designed to keep the sun off head and neck. Here it is:

Isn't that awesome! I can't wait to go running in the hot sun and try it out. I've been running with just a regular ball cap, but this one is designed for running. It is really light weight. It is called the Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap. For days that are not so hot or that have more cloud cover, I can remove the "sun skirt." I can also pull back it back so that it is just covering my ears and the back of my neck. I think that is how I will mostly use it. This will be a perfect hat for my 50 mile race that I am planning. Oh, yeah, I'll write another post about that.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Anatomy of a 30 mile run

So this weekend I thought it would be fun to get up at three o'clock (after having gotten to bed just after midnight) so that I could run thirty miles before it got too hot. We also had a church BBQ to go to that started at ten. I needed to be done by then. I figured seven hours would be plenty to run the miles and get cleaned up afterwards.

When my alarm went off at three, it seemed a bit early. I turned it off and just laid there for a few minutes, I finally realized that I could only run if I got out of bed, so I hopped out and got ready. Downstairs I ate a banana and a Powerbar. I also drank quite a bit of water. I had prepared everything the night before so I didn't have to think about things too much. I loaded up my ipod, energy gels, cell phone, money, water bottle and flashlight (that's right it's dark that early) and took off. I left the house about 3:30AM. My route for the day would be an out and back and out and back and out and back and out and back. I would go five out then four back, then four out then four back, then four out then four back, then two out then three back. Was that confusing, or what? Basically, I ran along the same five mile section of road the entire time.

The first couple miles were going well. I had to slow down though at about mile four because I needed a bathroom. That was still a mile away, so I just had to go pretty slow.

Mile 5, 56 minutes, this is where I made my first stop. At the gas station, I used the restroom and bought a Gatorade. I felt much better and was able to pick up the pace quite a bit.

It was a little tricky carrying the flashlight and the water bottle and a Gatorade. I drank the Gatorade within the next mile though and threw the bottle away in a dumpster. It is really nice that early in the morning. It was not too hot. There were not many cars on the road, although more than I would have thought. Running south now, I could see lightning off in the distance. That was pretty cool to see.

Mile 9, 1 hour 44 minutes, this is where I ditched my flashlight. I could tell it was going to get light in the next half hour, and I was only a mile from my house, so I dropped off the flashlight behind a fence post. It was really neat watching it go from complete darkness, aside from the stars and moon, to daylight. This next section of running was perfect. I didn't need the flashlight, but the sun was still below the horizon. It was very nice.

Mile 13, 2 hours 23 minutes, sun still below the horizon. This was the same place I had stopped before. I just filled my water bottle with ice and water. I talked with the lady there for a couple minutes. Turns out she is a sports massage therapist. She works at events like the Panama City Ironman. Maybe I should have gone back after my run. oh well. I went on my way now feeling pretty good.

Mile 17, 3 hours 3 minutes. The sun rose during this section, but it stayed behind clouds most of the time. On a long run like this you have a lot of time to think. You'll probably think I'm weird, but I imagined myself on a fifty mile or a hundred mile race coming in to an aid station where my family was there cheering me on. I thought that they might have a video camera rolling and ask me what I was thinking about. I told them that I had been thinking about my dad. He is really an inspiration to me. Not that he ever ran. He rode his bike a lot though. He thought it would sound fun to ride his bicycle over 3300 miles across the country. I think that sounds crazy enough to try one day. But, just like that is the ultimate distance for a bike ride, an ultra marathon is the ultimate distance for a runner.

Mile 21, 3 hours 42 minutes. At the gas station this time I bought a bag of sunflower seeds and another Gatorade. I also filled my water bottle with ice and water. I didn't have the flashlight this time, so it was easier to carry. I was a little tired though and needed to walk just a bit to eat my food. I walked for a half to three quarters of the next mile while I ate most of my sunflower seeds and drank all of the Gatorade. By the time that I started running again, my legs had started to tighten up. It didn't hurt, they were just tight. It took a mile or so before I loosened up again and felt good running.

Mile 25, 4 hours 35 minutes. I was getting just a little tired at this point. I was motivated though to see that I only had five miles to go before I was over. It was getting pretty warm too. I had to ring out my hat to prevent the sweat from dripping into my eyes. It was about this point that I got sick of listening to music. That doesn't' happen very often, but I needed to focus more on my body, breathing and the like. Besides that, four and a half hours of music in your ears will make your ears ring. I took the ear buds out of my ears for the rest of the run and felt pretty good about it.

Mile 27, 4 hours 55 minutes. Now I am half a mile from a gas station, and three miles from home. There is no question that I will finish, but my legs are definitely heavier now than they were 25 miles ago.

Mile 28, 5 hours 12 minutes. I stopped at that gas station just to buy a Gatorade. There were two people in front of me and one of them had to buy like 50 lottery tickets. It seemed to take forever. I was so close to being home, I just wanted to keep running. While I waited I filled my water bottle with ice and put the Gatorade into my bottle. I finished the Gatorade, then I paid for it. After leaving the store there was a nice down hill.

Mile 29, 5 hours 22 minutes. I had told myself absolutely no stopping for this mile. It wasn't that hard to keep going when you are that close to home. I picked up my flashlight and kept going. I felt a little foolish carrying a flashlight when it was several hours past sunrise. There was plenty of light to go around, but you never know when the lights will go out and you'll need a flashlight. Anyway, just one mile to go.

Mile 30, 5 hours 32 minutes 35 seconds. I realized there would be no way to finish this last mile in less than eight minutes, so I just jogged it on in. I guess if I really wanted to I could have ran my guts out and tried for a fast mile, but I wasn't too concerned, it just would have been nice to break 5:30. Oh well, it turned out to be a good run. It averaged out to be a 11:06 overall pace. That is including all the stops along the way. If you take those out my running time is probably more like a ten minute pace, but in a 50 mile race, they don't care how long you stop at aid stations, the clock doesn't stop until you cross the finish line.

I was done. Normally I get home and lounge around a little bit. Today it was straight to the freezer for the ice. I got some ice water and chugged. Then I realized I had some of that new low sugar Powerade Zero, so I chugged some of that. Then I went straight up to the bathtub with all of the ice from the freezer and started filling, within a few minutes I was soaking in an ice bath with some magic minty alcohol juice. That felt good except for when I got in the water I realized that I was chaffed pretty bad. It stung really bad for a few minutes, then I got used to it. I really need to get something for that.

I normally try not to take any Motrin or anything too, but I could tell that I was going to be stiff after this run, so I took a couple to help relax my muscles. Within a half hour we left the house to go to the BBQ. It wasn't like after the two marathons I did where I could barely get around for a few days. I was able to get around just fine. It was just standing up that took an extra few seconds.

After only having had about three hours of sleep and then running thirty miles, I was pretty tired. I managed to get about a three or four hour nap when the kids were napping. That felt good. I didn't really want to get up, but I did.

Yesterday afternoon I looked at my running log and it told me that I burned 4000 calories. Wow! I immediately felt very hungry and had the urge to eat 4000 calories to make up for all the calories I had burned. I am still feeling more hungry then normal, but that's alright. I have the right now to eat as much ice cream as I want, right?

So, who's going to run the next 30 mile run with me? I am going to run 32 to 35 miles on July 5th. Let me know and we can run with each other for six hours or so. Seriously, let me know. Or, am I the only crazy one around here. Actually I found a guy yesterday at church who runs a lot, he's done the JFK 50 several times.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lack of Running, Ouch!

So, I've been a bit of a slacker. We had family in town this week and so things got really hectic. I managed to run eight miles last Monday then ten on Tuesday but then I didn't run the rest of the week. My legs really didn't like that. My left calf even cramped up pretty bad on Saturday night. I managed to go six miles yesterday and I did 5.4 on the elliptical today. Now that our visitors are gone, I should be able to get back into the swing of things. I really want to do a long run this weekend. It's been a few weeks since I've done anything more than ten except for the 20k race.

On top of not running for six days I was eating terribly. There was junk food gallor and a big birthday cake and ice cream. After my race on the seventh i weighed 169. I weighed myself just one week later on the 14th and i was 179. I know some of it was just water weight, but even after my workout today I was still 175. Don't get me wrong, I'm not really complaining about my weight, I'm just letting you how badly I ate this week. It'll probably take a few weeks to get back down to what I was and to flush out my body of all this crap food I ate. I really should eat better.

I have just five and a half weeks until the White River 50. I'm getting pretty excited. My family might actually decide to come up with me. We'll have to see how that goes, it would be fun, but we'll see. I think I will run close to 30 miles this Saturday, then do a 32-33 mile run on July 5th two weeks later. That will be my peak. Three weeks after that I will run 50 miles. I don't really have any expectation for the run. It is my first ultra marathon and so I just don't want to really set any time goals. The main thing in a race like this is to just finish. I'd like to think that I can do it in about 8 hours, but that more than likely is way out of my reach. I think I'll plan for a 10 hour time, but I won't get upset at all so long as I finish the race. 10 hours would be a 12 minute pace and I have never gone that slow, even for my 28 mile run several weeks ago I did about 10:30 pace. Yeah ten hours seems like a good aim. but like I said if I get out there on the course and find it harder than I had expected, then I'd be fine with slowing down to walk up the hills and such.

On another note, I really like the runners log that I use on I like being able to keep track of all my running and even other workouts. It's nice to be able to see weekly totals, monthly totals and annual totals. It's also nice to be able to graph them out to see my progress. I would recommend to any of you out there to use that tool they have. It's really easy to use to.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Oak Mountain Race Photos

As promised here are the photos from my race.

First up we have me here in line to register for the race. I was all excited.
Me pinning my number on my shirt, which by the way ripped my shirt. I've never had that happen before. Crazy.
You can see me there under the starting arch.
Apparently my wife tried to tell me to get on the other side of the side walk so that she could get good photos of me. I didn't really understand what she was saying, so her I am on the far side of the sidewalk.
And there I go.

These next three are at the half way point. The course was all up on the trails and Amanda coulnd't have hauled the kids up there to take photos and get back in time to see me at the start/finish area. They put a hair tie around everyones wrist to show that you had been around once and were going again. I'm getting my "bracelet" here

Amanda liked how my muscles seem to be bulging.

And there I go off on the second loop.

Here I am coming into the finish area.I know it looks like I'm dead there and I'm giving up or something, but it was really in celebration.
As I crossed the finish line, they handed this to me. Wow, that was quick. As soon as I crossed it must have triggered the printer and there it was.

Nice cool refreshment. That was much needed.
Nothing could have been nicer than a few minutes in this cool misting tent. It was actually more like a raining tent. I'm sitting in about two inches of water right there.
To finish it off really quickly I jumped into the lake with my kids. We didn't have much time, and Alex got hurt, so we only played for about five minutes.

And there you have it. If you looked at Amanda's blog, then I'm sorry you had to see these pictures again. Let me see if I can find some more photos that didn't make it onto her blog...

Okay, I found one. This is at the half way point in the race. If you'll notice it looks like there is something that is floating just above my head. Well, the runner right behind me took his shirt off and threw it to his family that was there. Amanda just happened to snap a photo right after he had thrown it. So, that is the shirt of the guy that was just behind me. kinda funny I think