Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking forward to the CLE Marathon!

I'm so looking forward to running in the Cleveland Marathon in May.  In anticipation, I wore my favorite CLE Marathon shirt today on my long run.  :)

It was a pretty warm run out there, but glad to have those 15 miles in the books.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stained Concrete – The Process

Photo0403Sorry for the total lack of before photos.  I really didn’t know how much that I was going to document this process.  Here’s a picture of my lovely bride with the carpeting in place.

There are a bunch of videos below showing the process.  They’re all about a minute each so they shouldn’t be too boring.  :)  If you just want to see the finished look, you can go to the last 2 videos.

Since I had several days off for Christmas vacation, I decided to tackle the job of putting down Stained Concrete in the Family Room & Kitchen.  Ursula has been wanting this to be done for a long time.

I’ve been researching this project over the last couple of months.  I watched several YouTube videos, read a lot of blogs, and checked a lot of products.  I settled on the QuikRete product line.  The steps seemed simple and I really liked how their topcoat is white when you apply it. 

I blogged about the Spyder Scraper blades in a previous post.  Here’s a continuation of the progress after using the blades.  In retrospect, the blades are great in during a small area.  They’re also great if you only want to get the linoleum up and then get the glue up by other means.  The reciprocating saw had a tendency to kick back on me when I had a bad angle or something.  I had a nice bloody knuckle to show for it.  You can see it in the videos.

Finally got the linoleum up off the floor.  We were hoping to put the stain down on Christmas night before going over to the sister-in-law’s for dinner.  Unfortunately, the stainer that I had was broken and we’d have to wait for the next morning when Lowe’s would be open.  BONUS video: check out Briana at the end of the video showing off her Christmas gift from her boyfriend.

Below is the video of when we just applied the QuikRete Etching Stain.  I’m nervous of how it’s going to turn out.

Applying the top coat…

Pretty cool to see the different stages of applying the top coat: before, during, & a little after.

The above video is the finished look filmed at night.

Day view of the finished look.  We’re so glad to finally be moving back in.  It wasn’t really that bad being without TV.  Ursula and I went OLD school on Hulu watching 21 Jump Street.  It was fun watching Johnny Depp in his early days and all of the hairstyles and clothes. :)

I will post another blog soon with some tips and tricks that I learned along the way.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Racing & Blogging in Cleveland Marathon

I cannot wait for May!  I’m going home to see family… I’m going home to see Cleveland… I’m going home to the Cleveland Marathon…  I’m going home to my Marathon PR!

A bit excited is an understatement!  I have so many fond memories of my Marathon race in Cleveland in 2010 that I cannot wait to get back there.  There’s something great about running a large race where you’re familiar with the city and you have family to cheer you on.  Hopefully I can talk my sisters, mom, dad & stepmom to come out.  It was so awesome seeing them all during and at the end of the race.

2012 Official Blogger Badge (2)This year I was actually asked to blog about my experiences in training for and running in the Cleveland Marathon.  I’m very honored to be asked to blog about my Cleveland Experience!  It’s so cool to do this as I’ll be one of the few bloggers probably to be training without much snow.  :)  I actually enjoy running in snow, however, we only get a couple of days of snow in the Dallas, TX area.

I’ve got my price alerts set for airfare from Dallas to Cleveland.  I’ll be staying at my running sister’s house… that is if she’ll let me.  :)  I think I better ask before May gets here.

Again, it’s so crazy about all of the awesome memories in my head about this race.  Out of the 6 marathons that I’ve completed this is the one that I felt that I ran very well.  I want that feeling again.  I’m confident that I can repeat and ultimately hit that Sub 4 hour goal!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Spring Race Schedule

I’ve nailed down the bigger races that I’ll be racing in the Spring.  With Cairo running, it’s a different challenge now, since the price of racing is doubled. 

I’ve decided that I want to run 2 full marathons in the Spring like I did last year.

I’ll be running the usual DRC monthly races as we can.  I love getting to see all of my friends at those races.  Also, since Cairo is a member, the race experience is free!

  • February 18th – Stonebridge Ranch Half Marathon.  I had to sign Cairo & I up for this race since it was 40% through a Schwaggle.  I could pass a Half Marathon for $30 especially when paying for 2 races.
  • March 3rd – Road trip to The Woodlands Marathon.  I’ll be running the full.  I wanted to do another marathon that wasn’t too far off in the future so I can try to hit that Sub 4 hour mark sooner than later.  I’ve heard too many horror stories about the Big D Marathon and wasn’t crazy about running a similar route as White Rock.  This race looks very doable.  It’s a 13.1 mile loop.  The family and I are looking forward to a road trip marathon.
  • March 25th – Dallas Rock n Roll Half Marathon.  This is such a fun Half Marathon.  So far, it’s been my favorite.  I love the bands, but most of all… I love the start.  I like how they hold the corrals to truly start in waves.  You get the same exciting anticipation as the front runners.
  • May 6th – Pacing for the Heels & Hills Half Marathon.  This is such a rewarding opportunity.  I love getting to see people achieving their goals.
  • May 20th – Going back home to the Cleveland Marathon.  I’m super excited for this race.  I’ve completed 6 marathons and this is the home of my PR race where I ran it in 2010.  I’m looking forward to seeing my family there and enjoying the Cleveland Experience!

Nothing too crazy on the list.  Looking forward to everyone of these races for so many different reasons.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I’m a Dad Who Runs!

When people find out that I’m a marathon runner, they think that I probably don’t see my family much.  When I got into running I always wanted to make sure that there was still a balance in all of my life.  A balance between God, Family, Work, and other stuff, such as running.  When my daughter was in soccer, my long runs were scheduled around her soccer games.  As well, I usually run my weekday runs early in the morning before anyone gets up.

12-21-2011 10-05-32 AMAll that to say… that yes, I’m a Marathon Runner, but better yet, I’m a Dad who Runs!  I follow a lot of inspiring runners and active people.  One of them that I follow is Dan over at Cubicle Dad Runs.  He has been profiling dads that run for quite awhile.  I got to share my story of being a Dad Who Runs on his blog.  Check it out!  Also, if you’re on Twitter, follow him.  He’ll be in the Lone Star state in February for the Austin Marathon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DIY: Removing Linoleum Tile

Ursula and I have been wanting Stained Concrete floors in the house for quite a long time.  I’ve been researching the process for a good while.  It looks pretty straight forward, but the prep of the concrete is the most time intensive.

The hardest part of the prep work is removing the linoleum tile.  It’s a total pain, but I’m getting into a rhythm and figuring out easier ways to do it.

Here’s a link to the scraper that I mentioned in the video:   http://www.spyderproducts.com/spyder-scraper/.  Make sure to get the 2” and not the others.  I made the mistake of getting the 3 pack which had the 2”, 4”, & 6” scrapers.  The 6” scraper is useless on removing the tile.  In this case, bigger is not better.

I’ll post pictures and videos as I make progress.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A video that I shared with my daughter’s boyfriend

I not only shared this video with my daughter’s boyfriend, but had both of my teenagers watch it.  There are so many messages in this short video that can change a young person’s life for the better if they just listen.

Here’s the email that I sent to my daughter’s boyfriend.

There are certain things that I wish that I heard at a younger age.  As well, I might've heard it, but I wasn't listening.  Today it's so much easier to check out these type of messages and negative messages.  I'm not sending this to you because I don't think you've heard this type of message before, but am sending it to you because I wish someone would have sent it to me.  Be open to the message and what it means.  Watch and listen to it a couple of times.

My daughter probably won’t be happy that I’m blogging about this, but the message of this video is too powerful and impactful that I HAVE to share it!

This is one of my favorite comments on the video…

I wish I understood Christ's love when I was that young. I'm an old man now, but it's taken all these years to understand the message.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It was a dark & stormy marathon!

Despite the rain, wind, & cold, I enjoyed this marathon.  What made it so great was all of my family being there along with so many friends!  Thanks to Ursula and Briana for supporting both Cairo and I.  This race was special as well since Cairo was out there running his second half marathon. 

Before the Race

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Posing with work friends from work.  Super proud of Brandon as he ran his first marathon.  Chris PR’ed his 5th half marathon!  Cairo knocked out his 2nd half.

We got to the race super early with Chris. We decided with the rain and 25,000 runners, we’d rather sit in the parking lot than on the highway.  It was cool to not be rushed before the race.  We were able to find the short bathroom line and then made our trash bag rain gear.

Thanks to Felix for starting the race with Cairo. Felix was running the half so he and Cairo started off together.

I was very excited for this race.  I trained hard and earnestly stayed on track to be able to hit Sub 4 hours.  Yes, the weather looked to be crappy, but I still had my sights on getting there in less than 4 hours.

During the Race

390118_2753136867579_1232398426_33125280_2107835063_nThe truly best part of the race was seeing running friends along the course.  It’s always so cool to hear your name yelled.  Whenever, I see someone I know, I run over to them a give them a hug or a high five.  It’s just too cool to see them.  A huge thanks to my biggest cheerleader: Corina.  She was my first running Twitter friend.  I didn’t see her at first, but heard her yell for me after I past her.  I ran back to her and hugged it out.  I was feeling good at that point with it only be at mile 8.

To the left is a picture of me when I saw her.  I’m pretty darn drenched, but in great spirits at this point.

 

splitsIt was great to see Ursula & Briana before the Marathon/Half Marathon split.  We agreed to only meet there since Cairo would be finishing the Half and it would be a pain to get back out on the course.

The rain was hit & miss for awhile.  It was pretty tolerable until I hit White Rock Lake.  At that point the wind really kicked up.  I really love the White Rock Marathon since I know the route so well.  I know what’s coming and I know when it’s going to be rough.

It was great to see Corina again at mile 21 with the Dollies!  One of my running friends is actually a Dollie.  I had some fun with them and got back going.

I felt really good until I got to mile 22.  I just kept telling myself to get past mile 22 and then it’s downhill from there.  It just seemed that it was getting colder & colder and my legs were feeling incredibly shot.  They felt jarring with every running step.

I tried repeating my mantra over and over of “Push Through”, but it just wasn’t happening.  At that point, I was at the point of run/walking to the end.

As I got to about mile 25, I saw an angel running toward me.  The angel was Susan from my running group of the Frisco Running Club.  After running the Half Marathon she was out there encouraging others on their finish.

She was so encouraging and understanding.  She encouraged me to run some and told me that we weren’t too few away from the finish.  Once she got me close to the finish, she sent me off on my own.  I cannot thank her enough!  Below is a picture of her running me in.

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The Finish

Above is my exhausted self after running the marathon.  It was super cool to see my boss, Scott there at the finish.  He has come to see me run the White Rock Marathon for the last 3 years.

The cold weather really got to me after I met up with my family and Frisco Running Club friends.  I was shaking uncontrollably.  I got out of my wet clothes and was aided by some Baylor medical peeps.

I’m learning that it’s not all about the numbers, but I still learn a lot from them. I finished in 4:19:57. I missed my big goal of Sub 4 hours and barely missed my PR by a minute. I did set a course PR by 20 minutes.  I know that I’m capable of a Sub 4 hour marathon and cannot wait to go for it again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pre-Marathon Workout: Filling up positive vibes!

positive-thoughtsIn less than 5 days I’ll be running my 6th marathon… CRAZY GOOD!  I’m excited for this one!  I feel like I’ve trained pretty well and kept my eating under check.  Now it’s time to fill my head with POSITIVE thoughts.  There’s the physical part of running and then the mental part.  The mental part will come in at about 20/22 miles where negative thoughts will try to creep in.  You’ve got to have a game plan to squelch them!

So… this blog post is really for… filling up positive vibes! 

Write it down

I’ll be writing positive things on my arms so that when I get stupid later in the race, I can look down and repeat what’s on my arm.  These are short, simple things that will mean a lot when I need them.  Here’s some of the things that may or may not be written on my arm…

I’ve done this in previous marathons and it really helped.  Here’s a link to all kinds of Running Mantras.  Find one or two for yourself.

Push Through

When training, I pushed through!  I did this because I wanted to get stronger, but also to use the positive mental recollection of pushing through when I didn’t want to.  This training season was the first time that I did track workouts.  There were several times that I didn’t feel like I could do that last lap, but I pushed through!  It was such a victory when I did push through.  I’m going to be leaning on those positive mental pictures. 

3 Races… 3 PRs… shooting for a 4th

While training with the Frisco Running Club, I’ve gotten faster and stronger! If you live near Frisco, come join us! Below are my 3 most recent races… all 3 are PRs. Not, by a few seconds, but by minutes. :)

  • DRC Loop 15K – 1:17:45 at a pace of 8:20. My previous 15K PR was 1:20:39. I beat this one by 2:54.
  • Gary Burns 5K – 23:56 at a pace of 7:42. My previous PR was 24:57. I beat this one by 1:01.
  • DRC Half Marathon – 1:48:04 at a pace of 8:17. My previous PR was 1:49:52. I beat this one by 1:52.

My favorite way of keeping up with all my previous race results is AthLinks. This website collects all of the race results and gives you some cool stats. The great part… it’s free!

Yep, shooting for a 4th PR here.  I have no doubt that I’m going to hit it unless something crazy happens.  My current PR is 4:18.  I’m going to beat that and then smash it as I want to get under 4 hours. 

Visualize

I constantly visualize what it’s going to be like crossing that finish line completing my goal.  It’s such an awesome vision that I want to keep running to it.

I’m also excited that my son, Cairo will be running his second Half Marathon.  It’s wild to think that he’ll be out there on his own out of my sight.  Usually, when we run together, he’s next to me or out in front of me where I can see him.  He’ll be finishing way ahead of at my half way point.  He’s going to have such a great time.  He’s stronger than he realizes!

If this is your 1st or 21st marathon, I believe it’s important to arm yourself with positive thoughts to beat down the ugly ones.  The ugly ones will be there… get ready to beat the crap out of them!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cairo’s First Half Marathon!

Cairo-Mark-AfterOK… as many know, I ‘m super proud of my son for knocking out his first Half Marathon.  Yes, I’m proud of his time, but most of all, I’m proud of him for sticking to the training plan.  It was rough for this teenager to get up for the early morning workouts which start at 5:30am.  But he did it and can see that commitment pays off.  This is a life lesson that some of us don’t learn until it’s too late.

He’s come such a long way!  When we first started on his base mileage, he was barely holding a 10:30 minute/mile pace for 3 miles.  While running those 3 miles he needed 2-3 breaks.  From there to running a Half Marathon with no breaks at a 8:15 minute/mile pace.  He finished the Half Marathon in 1:47:42!  That’s crazy cool!

I’m bummed that he didn’t place for his age group.  He came in 4th.  Yes, I know, we should be happy with him finishing his first Half Marathon.  It’s just that I knew that he had a chance.  Below are the standings from his age group.  As you can see, there just aren’t that many teenagers running Half Marathons.

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A Little Race Recap

0053-knock outBefore the race, I warned Cairo about the hills in the neighborhoods and the last big hill would be the spillway after mile 8.  I told him that we’d start at a steady pace of 8:30 or so.  I was running faster than that and he was definitely running faster.  We were really caught up in the start of the race, but we were feeling good.  After the second mile, he was about 20 yards ahead of me.  I didn’t actually catch back up to him until we got the hills in the neighborhood.  While running behind him, it was so cool to see him interacting with the crowds.  He was pumping his fist and giving a YEAH when he heard someone yell out Frisco for his shirt.

I was doing pretty well holding onto the 8:15 pace, but the hills were really beating me down.  After the spillway, I was just willing myself to finish this race to completion.  I knew that I was ahead of a PR time and could not let up.  It became a countdown to the finish… only a 5K to go… only 17 minutes to go… only 4 times around the track to go… only a 400m to go, and then sprint it out for the finish.

Cairo and I ran together until the end when we had about a quarter mile to go.  Cairo started his big kick at that point.  I was definitely not ready to kick that early.  It was great to see him stretch it out at the end.  He finished 20 seconds sooner than I did.

Lindsleys

I was determined to PR this race. It was not a matter of IF, but HOW FAR below my Half Marathon PR of 1:49:52 that I would go. My mind has shifted from IF to HOW FAR after reading a fellow runner’s post on one of her recent races. You can follow her on Twitter. She’s definitely worth the follow… great inspirational & motivational posts!

During some races at the very end, I’ll do some math and figure out if I stay on a certain pace that I’ll get a certain time. I didn’t do this, I just wanted to give it all that I had and finish strong. When I saw the clock it was past 1:48. I sprinted to the finish so that I could be below 1:48:30. I was really surprised to see the actual time was 1:48:04. So close to being below 1:48. The last time that I PR’ed the Half, I didn’t think that I’d be able to beat that time. This time, I know that I can get faster and beat it.

I was pretty emotional at the end of the race.  Seeing my son kill his first Half Marathon!  Seeing him go from barely holding onto a 9:30 pace for a 4 mile race to scorching a 8:15 pace for a Half Marathon!  Seeing the huge smile on my son’s face after he welcomed me to the finish line!  Thinking of all of the mornings that I drug him out of bed!  Setting a solid PR for myself at this challenging Half Marathon by almost 2 minutes!

Cairo-Mark-UrsulaOur embrace after the finish was so worth all of the training!  These experiences are never really experienced by just sitting on the couch.  You’ve got to push yourself to have them.

I love the knock out picture above that we had when we finished the race.  It was definitely fun clowning around after we finished.

Thanks to my wife, Ursula for coming out and supporting Cairo and I.  It was a huge boost to see her at the finish.

It was also great to see work running peeps… Chris, Brandon, and Brandon’s family.  It was great to catch up with my other running friends… Felix, Michelle, Stacy, Mark O., and so many others.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Charity Challenge–First Timers

Over the last few months several of our company employees trained to run for our designated charity: Girls on the Run.  At our company meeting on Friday, I got to share this video from our race a few weeks ago.

It was so awesome to see everyone achieve their goals.  The look on their faces as many finished their first 5K or Half Marathon was priceless!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thank God for 21 Years

Today marks 21 years that I’ve been married to Ursula.  I totally thank God for what He has down for us over the last 21 years.  Of course, it’s not always been easy.  But, then again, I’m not the easiest guy to get a long with!  :)

Above is a video of snippets from our wedding 21 years ago.  Some observations about the video:

  • Great intro by Ed, my brother-in-law. 
  • It was awesome to have the Air Force Honor Guard there.  I was actually in the Honor Guard at the time.  These guys were my friends that I would actually do ceremonies with.  We primarily did military funerals.  Weddings were a lot more fun since it was definitely a happier occasion.
  • I love my dad’s embrace after the wedding.
  • OK… name dropping… besides having Colonels and Generals at my wedding reception because of my father-in-law, I also had an NFL great at my wedding… Greg Pruitt.  My father-in-law, Greg, and I played golf on the day before the wedding.  Greg could crush that ball!  It was so cool for my family to meet such a great Cleveland Browns legend.  Can you spot Greg in the video?
  • I got a nice face full of rice from my sister-in-law, Yulanda when getting out of the limo.
  • My, how has technology advanced!  I’m sure back then the quality of this video looked awesome! :)

It was great watching the old video and reliving such a huge day in my life.  The wedding is such a blur!

I’m so glad that Ursula said yes 21 years ago.  I cannot imagine life without her – she is my comfort!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dads, be creative! Give Piggy Rides

I really think it’s up to us, Dads, to create special memories for our kids.  We have the choice to create these moments on purpose.  If we don’t, then we leave it up to chance of what our kids remember of their childhood.

Lately, I’ve been converting all of the old video tape home movies to digital – DVD’s and all.  It’s been fun reminiscing about year’s past.

I came along a video of me giving the kids Piggy Rides.  No, not your traditional piggy rides, but a Mark Lindsley Piggy Ride!  Let me give you a little history of the piggy rides.  When my family and I went to Six Flags back in 1998, through my carnival skills, I won a big old stuffed animal pig.  The kids would have it in their rooms and wouldn’t do much with it.

Being the crazy dad that I was, I came up with a new way to give Piggy Rides by using the stuffed animal pig.  I would place the kiddos on the pig and fly them around the house.  They had a blast and I got worn out.  :)

Above is some footage from the infamous Mark Lindsley Piggy Rides back in May of 1999. 

Dads – get creative and make special moments for your kids.  My kids still talk about Piggy Rides in their teenage years. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cairo Places Again!

2011-10-01 10.26.04Super proud of Cairo again.  He placed in 2nd in his 4th race!  We ran in the Dallas Running Club 15K Loop Race on Saturday.  This is the longest race that he has participated in.  I wanted him to run a longer race before his half marathon so that he would so how it would be.  I wanted him to know that he couldn’t run full speed the whole time as he might do in a 5K.

I planned on the same type of race plan as the previous 2 weekends when I ran Half Marathons.  Start at a 9:00 min/mile pace and then gradually speed up from there.  I figured that was something that both Cairo and I could handle.

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The weather was great finally!  Temps started in the high 50s and warmed up just a little bit from there.  I definitely felt better than the previous weeks and was motoring at a quicker pace.  I kept checking with Cairo to make sure that he was doing well.  He was definitely keeping up & doing very well.  I’m crazy happy with my splits below.  I love October already and it’s beautiful cool morning temps!  It was great running down at White Rock Lake… it’s been awhile!  Great to see DRC friends and a familiar course.

splitsCairo finished the race in 1:18:27 which put him in 2nd place for 15-19 year olds.  Check out the results here.  I broke my personal record (PR) by almost 3 minutes with a time of 1:17:45.  I landed in 13th out of 43 men in my age group (40-44).  I did finish a slightly a head of Cairo as the spillway hill kind of wore him down a bit.  We stayed together just about the entire race except for the last mile.

Cairo has progressed so well!  He has come from barely able to run 3 miles at a 10:30 min/mile pace and needing to take 2-3 rest breaks… to where he’s at now… running a 15K (9.3 miles) at a 8:26 pace.  That’s such a huge improvement from not running at all in February to now.  So cool!

Thanks to Ursula and Cairo’s friend, Baylee for rooting us on.  It was great to have a cheering section at the Start and Finish line.

I’m really looking forward to Sunday, November 6th when Cairo tackles his first Half Marathon at the DRC Half!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Leave no questions behind

022806-02

About 5 years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Minneapolis for business.  While there, I visited the veteran’s memorial and found my grandfather’s grave site.  He was my father’s father.  I don’t recall ever meeting him.  As I understand from my dad, he wasn’t really into my dad’s life or into ours.  My dad didn’t have too many stories to tell about my grandfather or what he was like.  Maybe it’s by choice or maybe it was because he left early in my dad’s life.  Anyhow, I’ve just found it sad that I cannot find a single picture, article, or anything about my grandfather.  All I could find was his tombstone.

022806-05Yes, I know it’ll be different in the Facebook, blogging, & tweeting era that we’re living in now.  However, I think we need to take it upon ourselves to leave no question in our families’ lives who we are and what our loved ones mean to us.

A book that has set me on a path to making sure that my family knows what I mean to them is Letters From Dad by Greg Vaughn.  The subtitle to the book is How to Leave a Legacy of Faith, Hope, and Love for Your Family.  Like I said, there should be no question left and this book really does lay that out.  It discussed the simple notes to the last messages that you’d like to give. 

There are some simple ways that this can be done.  The book’s primary method is writing letters to your loved ones in the present and to given when you pass.  This seems a bit on the sad side, but wouldn’t you want to know that you’ve said everything that you wanted and they know how you really felt?

There are additional ways that your family can know how you feel about your love for them.  Of course, tell them often and verbalize it.  But, as well, sing their praises in public.  One way that I did this is through Twitter, Facebook, and my blog.  I know these methods are not for everyone, but it works for me.  Below are some additional methods.

  • Twitter – it’s so quick to pop out a 140 characters of how proud of your kids.
  • Facebook – posting a picture of your family and what they mean to you is super easy.
  • Blogging – it seems that blogs are becoming fewer and fewer, but with the ability of anyone being able to view it.  It’s my hopes that my family will read it again to see who I was.  They will see it interlaced with thoughts on God, family, running, work, friends.  Here are some blog posts from the past about my kids:
  • Handmade cards – my dad was good at making these.  Below is one that he made for me back in 1982 when I was in high school.  Even more special is that he mailed it to the house.  Kids never get mail and kids dig mail the most.

    flakycard

  • Little notes – when I visited home from the Air Force.  My dad would leave little notes on the dash of my car for me to find when I would leave.  Here are a couple below.  Click on the pic to see the text.

 

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  • I’ve also received letters from my dad.  It’s been several years since I’ve got any from him, but whenever the need arises, I just grab an old letter and read it.

As you can see, I’ve saved these letters and notes.  They mean so much to me to capture who my dad is and something that I’d passed down to my children.  I’ve also saved notes and letters that my kids have given me.

So, after all of this to say… I urge you to proactively take steps to let your family know how much you love them through the appropriate methods listed above.  I love my family, and my friends and I don’t want there to be any doubt.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Running Heels, Hills, & Him Half Marathon for HER

DSC_7520This was a very fun and rewarding half marathon.  The greatest part of it was being able to see so many first time runners tackle a half marathon.  As mentioned previously, my company had a Charity Challenge in which we raise money for a worthy charity.  We chose Girls on the Run for the great things that they do for empowering girls.  It was fitting that we chose to run in the Heels and Hills and Him Half Marathon as it’s primary purpose is to provide a positive race experience for women.  It’s not too late to give… please, please consider donating to this worthy cause as I’m behind in making my goal.

Seeing how I ran a half marathon the previous week, I pretty much knew where I was at conditioning wise.  I pretty much went after the race with the same type of plan as last week’s race.  Start at 9:00 miles and then gradually increase pace.  I felt really good in this race except for the heat.  The good thing about this race is that I knew the course very well and knew what to expect from it especially since it was an out and back.

It was great being able to cheer on the newbie runners from my work as I was coming back.  I cheered for them and slapped some high fives.

You probably noticed that subject has a lot of H’s in it… well, I’ll add another one - Heat!  It was a pretty darn hot half marathon.  The temp started out in the mid 70s and just went up from there.  The funny thing was the day before and day after were much better candidates for race days.

I finished at about the same time as the previous week, but about 30 seconds faster with a time of 1:53:27.  I was very happy with that time.  I could have pushed it more, but it felt so great not feeling so spent after the race.

2011-09-25 10.04.19After the race, I met up with a running friend, Michelle K, and we decided to go meet up with the newbie runners to be a part of their finish.  That was such a rewarding experience!  Pictured to the right is Brandon and Nick (newbie runner) hamming it up for the camera.  It was so cool to see them finish!  We were walking for awhile and I told Nick to hold some in the reserves for the finish line… you’ve got to run through the Finish Line no matter what!  I worked the crowd up for them and they crossed with a lot of cheers.

It was also great to be a part of the other newbie runners finish as well.  There are several stories of these fearless champions overcoming some crazy obstacles to conquer this half marathon challenge.

I still remember what it was like to go from “there’s no way that I’d ever run a Half Marathon” to “Oh my God, I just ran a Half Marathon!”

0017Above is a video of the start of the Half Marathon.  You can see me at :41 seconds in the middle.  FYI – I’m not crazy about the singlet that was provided by our company.  My guns are really meant to be concealed weapons!  As shown in the picture on the right.  My farmer’s tan just doesn’t work too well.

In all, we had 20 coworkers running in the races which included the 1 mile fun run, 5K, 10K, and the Half Marathon.  Monday morning was buzzing with race stories and soreness.  :)

If you ever get a chance to pace someone on their first race, do it!  As well, circling back and helping others is so crazy cool to be a part of their experience.  It’s not just all about your race time!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

12th Half Marathon Recap–Plano Balloon Festival

91693-019-007fI’m late with posting this recap about the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon, but felt the need to still post it.

I’m pretty darn happy with my race today.  I planned to see how things went after running the first mile or two at a 9 minute pace.  After that, I’d evaluate how things would go from there.  I felt good, but there wasn’t going to be a PR today.  The conditions were just too humid and there were a bit more hills than I needed.

Running tip:  If you’re a lone ranger and only train on your own… don’t!  Find a running club, group, or a couple of peeps that run at your pace.  I’ve found my new running family in the Frisco Running Club.  Besides the training that I’ve received, the encouragement is awesome!  It was so cool to be high-fiving team members on the out & back portions of the course.  It also just feels great being part of something bigger where everyone wants you to succeed.

I finished in 1:53:58 which is 4 minutes off my PR, but I’m tremendously happy with my time.  The humidity was pretty stifling.  Is it October, yet?

The course was definitely challenging, however doable!  There were a bit more hills than your average half marathon.  I liked the race being in Plano as it was closer to home, but definitely different than the usual Dallas race.  I would definitely run this race again.

This was the first race in quite a long time that I felt like I was going to pass out at the end of the race.  At the last mile, my fingers were all tingling… not cool!  When I ended, I was a hobbling mess.  Hamlin helped me sit down and get some fluids in me.  I felt much better after awhile.

I did want to stop and walk for awhile at miles 10, 11, 12… You get the point… the hills were just wreaking havoc on me.  However, I pushed through.  I felt very triumphant after not giving up on the hill at mile 11.  I can now use this victory in future races to push through the pain and accomplish what the negative voices in my head say that I cannot.  I can!

Like I mentioned the humidity was crazy, unfortunately for whatever other weather reasons, the hot air balloons did not launch.  I was looking forward to seeing them overheard while we raced around Plano.  However, the cool thing was that at a few locations around the course they had the balloon baskets out there.  When you ran buy, they lit up the flames and you could feel the heat from the street.

   I’ll be posting the race recap for the Heels and Hills and Him Half Marathon much sooner.  :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cairo Finding his Speediness!

2011-09-05 09.23.07It’s been a full month since Cairo and I joined the Frisco Running Club’s training program.  Prior to joining, Cairo and I worked on building up his base miles.  I pretty much kept him at a comfortable pace and didn’t really work him on any speed or hills.  We worked our way up to 6 miles.

Over the last month with the FRC, we’ve worked everything… speed, hills, distance, stretching, foam rolling, you name it.

The cool thing is that Cairo is finding his speed and being encouraged to be the runner that he can be.  I took him to a certain point and now the coaches at the FRC are taking him further.  It’s awesome to see him progressing so well.  It’s a challenge in waking him up for those early morning runs… but, hey, he’s a teenager! 

On July 2nd, we ran a 5K in The Colony and we finished at 29:56.  It was his first actual 5K.  We ran it at his pace.  I ran it with him to encourage and get him there.

On Labor Day, we ran the Labor of Love 5K in McKinney.

During the training, I could tell that he was getting stronger and more sure of himself.  I told him that he was to run his own race.  Listen to his body and knock out whatever time he felt comfortable with.

At the start, we were together and rocked a 8:07 mile for the first mile.  I was hoping to hold that pace so that I could get close to a PR, but the hills were going to do me in.  Pretty much after the first mile is when Cairo left me.  If I had any breath, I’d cheer him on.  I pretty much could see him until about the last half mile and then he probably turned it up a notch.

He finished in a time of 24:59 for a pace of 8:03/mile.  That’s crazy awesome!  He beat his previous 5K PR by 5 minutes and 1:35 per mile.

It was so cool to see him get 2nd in his age group.  Nothing like getting some hardware for his efforts.  Yep, I’m a super proud papa!  I’m a competitive kind of guy, but I’d rather see him pass me at every race.  He can do it!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Please Help Me Out…

girlsontherun-200As most know, I’ve been running for about 3 and 1/2 years.  I’ve been loving the healthier lifestyle.  Running for me really came about from one person… my sister, Denise.  She encouraged me that I could get off the couch and run and… have fun!  Well, it’s time to give back. 

My company, Active Network, has a Charity Challenge program where we raise money for a worthy cause.  We chose the charity of Girls on the Run to encourage girls of all ages that they can do whatever they desire.  Nothing like supporting a program that got me into running.

The objective of Girls on the Run is to educate and empower girls at an early age in order to prevent the display of at-risk activities in the future. At risk activities include substance/alcohol use, eating disorders, early onset of sexual activity, sedentary lifestyle, depression, suicide attempts and confrontations with the juvenile justice system.

I’m not crazy about asking for money since I know people are strapped during these crazy times, but any little amount will help tremendously.  $5, $10, $25… you get the point.  :)     You can donate to this cause in my name at http://bit.ly/RunMarkRun.

I really believe in this program and am looking forward to running in honor of it on Sunday, September 25th at a race that celebrates women racing – Heels & Hills & Him Half Marathon.

Thanks for your support!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Letting Experiences Happen with your Kids

2011-08-20 13.54.33I always like to think up things that I can do with my kids to hopefully create memorable moments for them.  It could be something as simple as an adventurous walk or hike, acting goofy at your expense, running a race with your son, or clothes shopping with your daughter.  However, there are times that I have days scripted out just to get things done!

Cairo and I were out and about on Saturday doing manly things… getting tires for the car and other nonsense.  On our way to a restaurant that I had a Groupon for, Cairo saw a sign for Dallas Lamborghini.  He said that he wanted to go there after we ate.  I just laughed it off and said no. I couldn’t really imagine going there thinking that we didn’t really have any business going in there.  He kept on bringing it up so I decided to give in.  What’s the worse that could happen?

2011-08-20 13.57.49We went there and they were super nice as I explained that we couldn’t afford the cigarette lighter and just wanted to look around.  They even answered some of our stupid questions.  We had a lot of fun just lookin’.

When we got back home, Cairo said how much he enjoyed hanging out.  Would he have said that if we didn’t get to check out the cars?  I don’t know, but knowing that he had fun made the decision to do his impromptu fun all the better. 

All this to say… don’t knee jerk a “No” when they ask to do something that you wouldn’t normally do.  It was fun and it meant something to him – which means something to me!

Monday, July 18, 2011

El Scorcho Experience

2011-07-16 23.33.59A few months back, I talked my running friend, Felix into running the El Scorcho 25K with me.  I kept hearing how much of a fun race and partying atmosphere that it was.  I guess I forgot to look at the name of the race or the month that it falls in… July!  Yes, it was a hot one, but what an experience!

El Scorcho is a 25K & 50K race that took place at midnight on Saturday night/Sunday morning at Trinity Park in Fort Worth.  Being contained in the park, you actually run a 5K lap five times for the 25K and 10 times for the 50K.  Being 3.1 miles, it’s actually not as monotonous as you’d think.

Felix and I stated together, but toward the end of the first loop he was going at a quicker pace than what I wanted to go with.  Things were going well until after the second loop.  My mind and body were starting to tell me that they didn’t want to be here.  Bed or a late night move sounded so much better!

After finishing the second loop, my Garmin decided to be funny by asking me the question, “Are you indoors now?”  Are you serious!?!  I was like, fine, I don’t need you anyway!  I got rid of the Garmin and the glow stick bracelets at the second break.  I was mad at both of them!  :)

After the 3rd lap, it was funny to hear that the 25K Winner just crossed the finish line.  In the time that it took me to run 9.3 miles, he ran 15.5 miles.  I know it’s about me running against me, but it was pretty darn funny!

2011-07-16 23.32.42Briana, my daughter, was a superstar!  Her maternal instincts kicked in as she took care of me during the race.  Re-fueling me, encouraging me, cheering on others!  She was really into it.  I loved it!  Thanks Briana!

The last couple of laps had me running to each water stop and walking threw them.  Back to running after I enjoyed the water.  The volunteers were awesome!  It takes a lot of love for the sport to be out there volunteering during the middle of the night.

Felix did an awesome job on his first 25K with consistent splits.  He is such a great friend.  He walked back to the last water stop looking for me.  After getting my water and walking a little bit, he ran me back in with encouragement.  Thanks Felix!

The bad thing about running a race and then going straight to bed is being so darn hydrated.  I knew that I had to be hydrated to run this crazy race and one trip to the restroom doesn’t take care of getting back to normal.  I was pretty much woken up hourly to empty that bladder – uggghh!  I really wanted some good sleep!

269042_10150320945125692_547560691_10004066_7342440_n

One of the best things about running is the friends that you make.  It was awesome to see so many running friends.  Here’s a picture of Felix and I with Corina.  She’s been recuperating and will be back out running soon, but came out to cheer everyone on.  It was so awesome to have her there.  It was also great to see Mark O., Michelle & Erik. Libby, Julie, Marci, Jerry, Melvin, Kyle, Amanda, and so many others!

It was a tough race, but I’m glad that I experienced it!  A think a 50K is in my future, but highly doubt that it’d be in July in Texas!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Sister Can Run a 50K, Can Yours?

So, I’m just getting the strength back in my legs from running the El Scorcho 25K race some 17 hours to find out that Denise, my sister ROCKED a 50K up in Ohio.  She is truly an inspiration!  Here’s her race report…

283061_2106640457905_1002352237_2405970_3102029_n-croppedWhew!

Yes, the race is over

Totally mixed feelings about it. It was a very tough race. The first half felt pretty good but I felt the heat getting to me pretty early on. I tried to incorporate some walk breaks to say cool. I got dizzy and took a couple of falls. Nothing serious just a banged up knee. I clocked in at 3:39:29 with a 14:08 pace. Seriously thought I could not go on and wanted to quit. But off I go....I would get some good moments and would feel great and start to run. But the heat.Wow. It was hot! When I saw Libby the second time around at the aid station, she filled up my water bottles and gave me some pretzels, she had asked if I needed anything else. I remember my reply "I need a ride"... and off I go. Yikes, not gonna make it. Have to make it. Will I make it? Not sure but I was about 2 miles out when I saw Gary. Told him I was not good at which point I found a log and sat down on it thinking if I could just take a minute. Well, that is all it took. Blah, there I sat with my head between my legs with people passing me. I recognized some of those shoes. Those were the people I had passed early on. What to do? Wanna quit.No, I wont quit. I will not end it this way. But I can't get up. Gary is being so kind and supportive letting me know I am almost there. Only 2 miles. I can do this. Have to. I finished in 8:52:09 an avg pace of 17:08. It took me 5:12:40 to finish the second half. But I did it. I finished! It was an ugly run but I did it and finished:)

Meanwhile last week Gary did his first 5k. Yes, Gary. Finished in 43 minutes. I believe he is going to do the Muddy Paws 2 mile trail walk/run next weekend.

Yes life is full of surprises.

I was going to provide a race report for my 25K, but it pales in comparison to the heroics of Denise’s 50K.  Super proud of her!

I’ll definitely post a race report for El Scorcho, but will till tomorrow to post it.  It was definitely an EXPERIENCE!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We’re Finally Alone – Now What Do We Do?

I’m in an awesome men’s Life Group (small group) that meets weekly on Thursdays.  It’s one of the best things that I’ve done to become a better man of God.  Part of the meeting is where we get to share something on our heart for 20 minutes.  It’s affectionately called a Soap Box.  In preparation, I though it would be best to write it out and then present it.

First of all, what are our priorities?  In our Life Group, we have lined them up as 1) God, 2) Spouse, 3) Family, and then everything else will fall in line.  I’m going to focus on the second priority of your spouse.

Part of what I ‘m going to present is something that I blogged about already... the study of your spouse – in my case, Ursulaology.  I really cannot believe that I actually blogged on this topic nearly 4 years ago, but I feel that I need to get it back out there.  Read that blog post… it’s a goodie!

For the last couple of weeks, we discussed the book by Gary Chapman called the Five Love Languages.  This was a huge intro and lead in for my Soap Box.  My Soap Box is all about

It goes without saying, my wife and I are definitely not perfect.  We don’t have the perfect marriage.  You can just ask my kids to find out.  We have a lot of work to do continue toward having an awesome marriage.

Borrowing from the Five Love Language Soap Box, one of the Five Love Languages was Quality Time.  Have you ever been to a restaurant and paid attention to the people around you? You will find four types of people around you.

  1. Singles, who will keep to themselves and occupy themselves
  2. Families, who have their children with them.
  3. Dating couples who look at each other and talk, giving each other their full attention.
  4. Married couples who sit there and gaze around the restaurant. You would think the married couples just went to the restaurant to eat!

When our family went out for lunch together on Father’s Day, I noticed this in action, but with a twist.  I saw a young couple and they were both on the iPhones not even paying attention to the person in front of them.  It used to be that couples would just sit there not saying anything, but now they busy themselves with social media or other real life relationship zappers.

When you date your wife and take her to dinner, use those 30 to 60 minutes of time to give each other your undivided attention and talk this love language. This one can be hard for guys to speak to their wives if they feel the need to provide everything for their family.

finallyaloneI urge anyone that just sits there and stares in space or finds themselves playing Words with Friends or on Facebook when out to dinner with their spouse, to invest in a book.  The book is called We’re Finally Alone – Now What Do We Do? by Gary Johnson.  No, you don’t have to be empty nesters to enjoy this book.  “We’re Finally Alone” is referring to the time at the restaurant or the quiet time that you have reserved for your spouse.

The book is geared to spark conversations that are meaningful and will enrich your marriage and family.  Is it a novel, a self help book, with real world examples to shape up your life? No and no.  It’s a book with 575 questions that are meant for couples to think about themselves, their families, and their relationship with Christ.  No, they’re not all deep & heavy, beat down questions.  :)   They are actually split up into 5 different levels.

  1. Fun ice breaking questions
  2. Time to get a little personal
  3. Self revealing, but nothing too tough
  4. Time to get a bit uncomfortable
  5. Very intimate questions to the point of revealing things about your spouse that you didn’t know

Another way that you can use the book is by topic.  The book has an index of topics that are split up by the following:

  • Communication
  • Dreams and Wishes
  • Family and Parenting
  • Getting Honest
  • Getting to Know You
  • Helping Each Other Grow
  • Personal Opinions
  • Remember and Reminisce
  • Sex and Romance
  • Spiritual Life
  • Troubles and Struggles
  • Working on Marriage

A key to this book is open and honest communications.  Each person must be ready to listen and to be heard. 

You might ask, why in the world would I want to buy a book with just a list of questions.  I truly believe that this book can evoke thoughts and conversations that need to be discussed.  There is so much growth that can be realized by the use of this book.

I feel so strong about this book that I gave it to each member of my life group.

Will this book and the conversations that come from it be totally natural? No, not at all.  I believe wholeheartedly that you must totally rely on His power and not ours.  It’s so much easier to talk about the weather than about real issues.  When it comes down to it, when we act on our own, we will take the easy route, the non-confrontational, the now-growing conversations.  This is especially true after a long day and we just want to slow life down.  However, when we do this, I think we miss the priorities that we lined up in the second paragraph: 1) God, 2) Spouse, 3) Family. We’re giving too much to everything else and not to God and our spouse.

A great friend of mine is pushing me to get out of my comfort zone.  To grow like I’ve never grown before.  This book is one of those things that I need to do with my wife to encourage growth.  I truly hope that you look into getting this book.  You can find a used copy for about $4 or a new copy on Amazon.com for $12.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Great Time at X Factor

2011-06-21 12.35.08Simon Cowell’s show X Factor was in town so we snagged some free tickets and checked it out.  It was more fun than I thought it would be.  I thought it would be a bunch of waiting, but the show did a great job of keeping the audience involved and entertained while we were waiting for the actual show to begin.

It was very cool to see how the show was produced and everything that went into it.  Of course, a bunch of people yelled, “I love you, Paula!”  A few people yelled for Simon as well.

2011-06-21 16.26.06There were about 10 contestants that auditioned and only a couple that were truly standouts.

Everyone had a great time! We cannot wait to see the show in the fall to see if we actually remember the performances.  :)

2011-06-21 12.42.122011-06-21 12.38.14

Trust in Him!

What seems to be the first thing that we do when trouble pops up into our lives?  We stress, we worry, we think of all of the worst case scenarios… we don’t trust in Him!

On Saturday, my family and I were in Gladewater (East Texas) enjoying Ursula’s family reunion.  We had a lot of fun, but I’ll be focusing on an incident that happened.  After breakfast, we were on our way to set up games & activities at the Gladewater High School where the fun times were going to happen.  On the way there, after accelerating above 30mph, the engine light went on in the PT Cruiser.  The car did not want to stay above 30mph and it got all herky-jerky as if it was going to stall.  Crazy!

My head was filled with thoughts of… “oh no, I’m going to have to shell out some big bucks for a dealer or mechanic to fix the car!”, “It’s Saturday, we’re going to be stuck here until Monday as we won’t be able to find a mechanic!”, “Why didn’t the car break down in Frisco!?!”, “Did I change the oil every 3,000 miles?” and on and on.

We limped along to the high school so that we could set up for the activities.  As we’re setting things up, I’m praying and just plainly talking to God.  I felt a calmness that the problem was going to work out.  The biggest thing is that I stopped worrying about what could happen and focused now on resolving the problem.

With the help of a cousin of Ursula’s, we went to an auto parts store and had them pull up the engine code.  It pointed to a specific bad part – a Camshaft Position Sensor.  Yes, I learned about something that I didn’t really care about or at least until now.  We found out that this $35 part could be easily replaced by 2 bolts.  There wasn’t a guarantee that this would fix the problem as it could be a circuitry problem.

Lo and behold, we replaced the part, drove it around and it was fixed!  It made the entire trip back to the Dallas area without incident.  Praise God!  Was all of the worrying that Ursula and I did productive?  Ummm… no!  I like how Jesus put it in Luke 12:25: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”  I want to give my problems and burdens to God sooner.  It’s so much easier when He takes care of them then when I do.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cairo Rocked his First Race!

248636_10150193627601442_631711441_7419394_4482588_nEver since Cairo expressed an interest to run a Half Marathon in the fall we’ve been training.  Pretty much, we’ve just been building base miles.  He’s up to 3-4 miles comfortably.  Saturday, we finally tested his wheels and got him into a race.  We ran the Dallas Running Club June Bloomin’ 4 Mile Race down at White Rock Lake in Dallas.  Why a 4 mile race instead of a 5K?  We were signed up for a 5K earlier, but school commitments held us back from running it together.

The Wednesday before the race was the first time that he ran 4 miles without stopping.  It took a bit of prodding and encouragement to get him through it, but he did it.  He ran that in 40 minutes.

We had a lot of build up to the race and what to expect.  Stay on the right, don’t worry about others passing us, run our own race, break the distance down into smaller units, hydrate days before the race, etc.  It was great to pass on what others have taught me.

Before the race, I figured that he’d have a time between 39 & 40 minutes.  He totally blew me away with his time of 38:13!  I wanted him to start out slow, but I think he was caught up in the excitement of the start of the race.  I was thinking that we should be closer to 10:00 minutes for the first mile to start out slower.  I had to slow him down over the first 2 miles as I wanted to conserve his energy for the hill at the spillway.  He powered pretty well through the hill and recovered a bit afterward.  He seemed to loose some steam, but surprised me with his last mile.  Below are his split times:

  • Mile 1: 9:26
  • Mile 2: 9:36
  • Mile 3: 9:44
  • Mile 4: 9:09

He was so happy after crossing the finish line.  It was great to experience it with him.  Check out the picture above… love the smile on his face.  Usually he doesn’t have a smile that big.  I love that smile!

Funny thing that he said after the race, “This 4 miles was a lot longer than the one in Frisco!”  He admitted that he wanted to stop, but I’m so glad and I’m sure that he is, that he powered through.

We had fun seeing DRC friends! It was fun hearing Roger yell to Cairo at the end, “Cairo, beat your dad!”  I love it!

I give God all the glory for providing Cairo the ability to run through his asthma and allergies.  His allergies were trying to act up before the race, but subsided.  :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Have Fun With Them Even if it Hurts

2011-05-17 20.24.05When you really don’t want to do something it’s so easy to come up with excuses not to do it.  My daughter, Briana, has been wanting the whole family to go roller skating for a very long.  It’s been so long that I actually got her a Groupon coupon back during Christmas.  There were always excuses until we finally went a couple of days ago.

As some might know, my IT Band (hip) has been acting up from running.  When Cairo and I went running on Monday night within seconds of running it flared up again.  It was like my hip was being stabbed with a knife for each step I took.

Of course, when we got back home from running, Briana reminds us that tomorrow is our scheduled roller skating night.  She is so excited as she has been wanting to go forever.

Internally I really didn’t want to go, but God gave me the strength and I believe relieved some of the pain to allow me to go.  I wanted to make excuses to not go, but I was urged to go because I knew that it would make Briana happy. 

You can tell by the picture that she had a great time.  She had that same beautiful smile on her face throughout the whole time that we roller skated.  I’m glad that I didn’t give into an excuse and went.  The time blessed her and blessed the whole family.

I’m not saying this to lift me up for doing this, but want to urge parents to push through their pain, their angst, their discomfort to do things with their children that they just don’t want to do, don’t feel that they can do, or are just too tired or lazy to do.  Seems a bit harsh to say, but as I’m losing the amount of time with my teenage children, I’m realizing that I need to spend as much time with them as possible.

Eliminate the excuses even if it hurts!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Marathon #5 - Ouch!

I'm so happy that I completed the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. It was 3 years ago that I ran my first ever race there. I ran in the 5k there in 2008 with my sister Denise and my daughter, Briana. So cool to go back there and run the full marathon.

It was a tough race that I was hesitant to run in. About 4 weeks ago, I had a great deal of hip pain. I found out that it was my IT Band. I went through physical therapy twice a week over the last 4 weeks and it got better each week. However, it probably wasn't up to a marathon running condition.

I did consider going down to the Half Marathon, but stubbornly I really wanted to knock out marathon #5.

Thanks to my brother-in-law, Gary and his daughter, Bethany for chasing Denise and I around the course. It was so cool seeing you guys and hearing your encouraging words.

I'm so proud of my sister for knocking out her best marathon ever beating her previous best by 15 minutes... a PR of 4:54:11. Way to join the Sub-5 hour club!

I started ahead of Denise and was running a 9:50 pace for the beginning of the race until mile 11. Once I hit mile 11, the pain of my IT Band was starting to get to me. My paced slowed once the pain started and I began walking here and there. At about mile 14, I knew a respectable time was out of reach and that I just wanted to finish this thing. Meanwhile, Denise kept up her steady pace and caught me at about mile 17 when I was visiting with Gary and Bethany. She was so focused on keeping up her pace that she didn't want to take a photo op with a Great Dane. Here's a pic of her surprised that she caught up to me.

I was actually excited that I'd be running a race with Denise and might possibly be crossing the finish line with her. I even mentioned to Gary that maybe that I could help push her below 5 hours. We ran a couple of miles together until she left me. I kept having to take walk breaks with the hip pain. At first I was bummed, but I'm so glad that she went and killed her PR!

The last miles were a will of the mind and body as I continually thought about quitting because of the pain. My positive mind games had me envisioning the feeling of crossing the finish line, receiving the medal, and just experiencing something that seemed so far out of reach. It would have been so much easier to stop every time that I saw a Medical Dude on a bike.

I kept telling myself that if I could make it to mile 21, then I could make it mile 22, if I could make it to mile 22, then I could make it mile 23... you get the idea.

I resigned myself to running the downhills and walking the uphills. It seemed that there were more uphills than downhills. I also kept reading my arm... I wrote on my arm 2 things - "Count it all joy!" and "Just keep running!".

"Count it all joy" was huge as I could have wallowed in my own self-pity that I wasn't going to run in a sub-4 hour time, PR, stay within 4:30, heck... stay within 5 hours. But, "Count it all joy" meant enjoying the accomplishment of finishing the darn race. Enjoying the ability to run. Enjoying the experience of using this body that God gave me. Enjoying that I overcome an injury to complete the marathon.

I did visit the medical tent afterward where they stretched me out and provided some ice for my hip.

I'm glad that summer's here and that I'll be pulling back my mileage. I want to heal this IT Band so that I can run at the level that I think I'm capable of.

Crazy to think that this was marathon #5 in 17 months. I will definitely be doing one in the fall, but am not totally sure of which one yet. It will probably be White Rock as I'd still like to get that time down in that race.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Best Part of the Weekend

Cowtown Marathon 010-cropped Yes, I placed 2nd in my Age Group in the 5K that I ran this weekend.  But, the best part of this weekend was running with my 15 year old son, Cairo!  As mentioned, after the Cowtown Marathon, he said that he wanted to run in a Half Marathon.

I asked him why he wanted to run and he said that it was cool to see all of those people cheering for the runners.  He wants to experience that!  That’s what got me hooked as well.  It’s very cool to have people cheering for you to finish.

So Sunday afternoon, we want on our first training run.  Run 5 minutes, walk 2-3 minutes, run 5 minutes. etc.  In total we ran 2.5 miles and walked .5 miles.  He did well!  We talked some throughout.  I stressed that it’s not about speed now, but building a base of miles that you’re comfortable with.

We haven’t scheduled a 5K race yet, but I’m sure that it’ll probably be next 4-6 weeks.  I cannot wait.  He was surprised that I said that I’d run with him throughout the race.  He thought I’d be shooting for another PR.  With him in the race, it’s all about him! 

I pray that his allergies and asthma hold up and allow him to run.  I cannot wait to be a part of this journey with him.