Friday, September 30, 2011

Leave no questions behind

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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.

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  • 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!