Monday, October 30, 2006


Well this weekend I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Detroit Flagstar/Free Press Marathon, all I can say is what a day. At some point someone asked me if I would rather be running or working at an aid station? HMMMM, quite the poser, but first about the day.

I woke up bright and early at 4:25am and so began the dressing ritual. First the tights, then two pairs of socks, then jeans, then my work out pants, then a dry-fit longsleeved running shirt, dry-fit t-shirt, hooded sweat jacket, fleece lined vest. WHEW!!! I am tired already, it was about this time I realized that I had forgotten to set my clock back because of daylight saving time, imagine my embarrassment!! Well I couldn't leave yet and there was no way I was peeling off all of these layers, so I plopped down on the couch calling myself a bunch of names for my blunder.

A quick stop for coffee and muffins and I was off to pick up Jill. We made really good time, except for a brief lesson I gave in how not to navigate Downtown Detroit. We ate our muffins on top of Cobo Hall as the first signs of daylight started to show over the Detroit river. It was a short walk to the aid station that was already busy with activity. After we stacked all the cups we could there was about 45 minutes before the first runners would show so a walk by the River to see the sunrise was in order. Other than the biting wind it was going to be a beautiful day for running.

The first runner made his past our station at 7:50ish. Then a smallish group of 3 or 4, then another about the same size. Very few of these guys took water, as a matter of fact very few of them seemed to be aware that we were there. A short pause, then mayhem. This is what I was waiting for!! A wave of people was coming at us and for the next 40 to 50 minutes or so we were slammed, but it was awesome!!! Our tables never came close to getting empty and everyone working did a great job. There were a lot of "GO TEAM" shouts as the purple shirts would run past. Eventually most of the runners had passed so we decided to move on to the aid station at mile 20. After a 3 mile walk down Jefferson Ave. we were there and just in time. The two Team in Training aid stations were placed at, what had to have been, the windy places in Detroit. There was no escaping the wind and it played havoc on the cups. Both empty and full!

Being that we were just past mile 20 and the fact that the runners had just come off of Belle Isle, which from what I was told is by far the worst section of the course, the attitude was a little different. The attitude of the runners, not the volunteers. Just a week earlier I was on the other side of that table so I know how important that word of encouragement is at this point of a marathon. Just a simple "Way to Go!" or "Stay Strong" does wonders. It was such an uplifting experience that I was sorry to see it coming to an end, but again most of the runners had passed and we needed to make it back to the finish line. So we were off, back down Jefferson towards downtown and AGAINST the wind. All I kept thinking was, those poor runners! After 20 plus miles they need to finish against this, yikes! By the time we made to Ford Field most of our Team in Training buddies had finished. We found our way inside and decided to have a seat for a few. As the runners came into the stadium I would guess the first thing they saw was the finish line. The second was the big screen at the far end of the stadium with their image running across the line. There were all different types of finishers, those that kept the same pace and those who sprinted. Groups of runners holding hands and single runners that just seemed relieved it was over. I think my favorites were the older runners. Those folks over 60, some I would bet over 70. They inspire me, they give me hope and fill me with awe. If I could one day be one of those guys, that would be something!

As luck would have it we ran into Tami outside as we were leaving and she invited us to the celebration dinner. We had about 2 hours to kill so it was off to find a coffee. Now you would think Sunday afternoon in Downtown Detroit that would not pose a problem. Well to my surprise it did! After about an hour of wondering through the EMPTY streets of Detroit we finally came across a Starbucks, CLOSED!!! Ok, where are the cameras this has to be a joke! We came to the realization that it would not be a money making proposition for businesses to be open on the weekend in Detroit. This will be a subject of another post. :o)

We made our way back to the car a dropped off several of the layers of clothing and finally got that cup of coffee at the Renaissance Center, which again seemed unusually void of people.

It was so nice to see everyone at the dinner. So many people who have accomplished so much and have made such a difference, not only to my life, but to countless others. You all have had a profound effect on my life and I thank you and CONGRATS!!

Would I rather work or run?....

As long as I can do it with people like you, it doesn't matter because either way I am a better person for it.


Saturday, October 28, 2006


I need to run!!! Now that the soreness is gone from the marathon I ran last weekend, I need to run. One more time, I NEED to run!!!

Over the past few months running has been my tension release, my therapy if you will. Without it I am a wreck! All of the junk floating around in my head has nowhere to go and it wants out.

On a totally unrelated subject.... I would like to thank the Detroit Tigers for an incredible year. It was quite a season and the future looks pretty bright. If only the Brain Freeze Fairy hadn't shown up and turned our pitchers into numb skulls things may have been different.

Short post today...time for a poll.....

Which marathon should I do next?


Pain is weakness leaving your body

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I honestly don't know where to start! If anyone would have told me on April 2nd that I was going to train and run in a marathon on October 22nd I would have told them they were in serious need of a mental health professional. As I sit here almost 2 days post marathon it still doesn't seem totally real, other than the pain everywhere below my waist! So where to start???
Race day finally arrived, the team met in the lobby of the hotel at 5:30am, all 91 of us. As we walked to the start about 5 blocks away I tried to look at all of the different faces, especially those of the people I have come to know. I have never seen a group of more beautiful women! Every single one of them had this look of quiet confidence and determination. It was quite a sight! After what seemed like forever we were off, not even half a mile in and I had to go to the bathroom, ugh!!! I knew I shouldn't have had so much water. The first part of the course was all down hill toward the water and Fisherman's Wharf. About 2 miles in a woman running about 10 feet away from fell, fell hard on the cement. She popped right back up, I only hope she was able to continue. A small group of us ran the first 4 miles together, I finally found a tree with my name on it and took care of the bathroom issue. At this point we were running along the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge looked incredible. Fog covered the water and most of the bridge, only the towers were visible. A fog horn every couple of seconds completed the scene, it was just the first of many beautiful sights we would see.
At mile 6 the hills started and most of us knew that, what we didn't know was it would last until mile 12!!!! As we meandered up and up and up we were taken past some very impressive houses that had the most spectacular view of the ocean. The fog was still thick, but none-the-less the waves crashing into the beach was enough for me. I felt so alive, it was really cool!!!!
At some point we entered what I think was called Golden Gate Park, which was full of these little ponds and waterfalls and really old looking trees. On a different day I could have parked myself on one of the benches with a good book and been perfectly satisfied. At this point I need to relate a story that Marilee, one of my team members told me.
Marilee was running the half marathon and when she was running in the park she was having a hard time. She lost her father about 2 years ago and she told me that his nickname was Buffalo and everyone used to call him that. Well as I said, she was really struggling and was ready to walk it in when she asked for a little help. About half way through the park as you came around this corner there was a pasture on our left side and what do you think there was standing in this pasture??? Yes, you guessed it, BUFFALO!!! Now I am not sure, but I don't think Buffalo are indigenous to California, at least not this part of California!!! I thought at the time that it was strange to see them, but when she told me the story I knew they were there for a reason.
By the time we exited the park we were half way there and the miles seemed to just be melting away. The group I was running with had trimmed down to just 2, Jill and myself. More on Jill below. At this point we started out on what I believe is called the great highway, although don't quote me on that. It was a 3 mile stretch of straight road that ran along the ocean. The ever present fog kept much of the water hidden, but the waves and the surfers were enough to satisfy me. At the end of the highway was Lake Mercid. And so began my little nightmare. I started to feel the tightness in the back of my left knee at about mile 16, but it was nothing too serious. As we started around the lake it was another Kodak moment, the water on the lake was like glass and the mist was hovering just off the surface. At this point it seemed as though somehow we time warped into the middle of rush hour in New York. Bumper to bumper traffic on our left and no place level to run. If you tried to run on the sidewalk you had to dodge the spectators and walkers. Not to mention that by this time my knee was significantly worse and I was walking more than running and there were no water stations. Almost 5 miles and no water!!! Nearing the end of Lake Hell, which I will now and forever call it we ran into coach Janet and she said that after the aid station at mile 22 there was a hill, and it would look "big", but after that it was all down hill. Now realize at this point I don't believe a word my wonderful coaches say because they lied to me all day long! "You're almost to the top, this is the last hill, yada yada yada!!" :o) Well, I should have believed her this time because it looked HUGE!! There no way I could run so I walked my way to the top and we had less than 3 miles back down the highway to the finish. At this point I really need to thank Jill for staying with me. I know there were times when she wanted to keep running but didn't because I had stopped and I think the walk breaks may have contributed to her pain in the last 2 miles.
Even though we had already run down this stretch of road it seemed completely different this time. The people had more energy, the music was a little louder, the old lady dancing on the side of the road looked better!! With half a mile to go the finish line started to emerge out of the fog and I have never, ever felt such a burst of adrenaline. At this point we entered a sea of people, everyone one of them cheering and urging us forward. I honestly could not have stopped running if my leg fell off at this point. The energy created by these people would have carried me across the line. Jill's 3 daughters came with her and she hadn't seen them yet and there was little hope of finding them in this mass of humanity. About 100 feet from the finish her oldest jumped out on the course and grabbed her by the arm and pulled her across the line. I'm usually not that emotional, but that was a really special moment and just slowed down a step or two and watched. The next moment I was done. Wait a minute, I was DONE, I did it!
For a split second I felt like I was totally alone, everyone and everything disappeared and I was alone with what I had just done. I felt more at peace in that split second then at any other time in my life and then everything rushed back in. I found Jill and gave her a big hug, we did it!! The guy who gave me my finisher's necklace did a double take, I don't think he was really paying attention and my hairy arm reaching for the box startled him!
All in all I could not have asked for a better experience. To everyone who inspired me and there too many to mention, I say thanks! To my coaches, especially Janet who always, I mean always knew exactly what to say, I could not have done it without you. To my training partners Tim and Jayne, you ROCK!!! Jill, who stuck with me all 26.2 miles and helped me more than she knows, thanks and congrats you made it!!!! Margarita, my mentor, thanks it was fun!! Finally to my daughter Rebeccah. If not for her I would not be typing this. She is my gift from God, my own personal angel! I hope she wears her new necklace proudly knowing that she earned it. She may not have actually run the 26.2 miles, but she was with me me every step of the way!!!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Nothing much to say today, except...HOLY CRAP, LESS THAN A WEEK UNTIL MY 1ST MARATHON!!!

I can feel the excitement building about this weekend, the flight there, check-in, pasta party, all the runners (did I mention it is 10 to1 women to men)!!!!, the night before, the morning of. I am going to do my best to soak up as much as I can, maybe even do some writing so I don't forget. Here's to everything going like clockwork and just in case it doesn't, here's to the experience, it's gonna be a blast!!!


Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
Samuel Johnson

Monday, October 09, 2006


Well I did it, not too gracefully, but I did it! 20 miles, 4 miles farther than I have ever run before. First things first... Thank you's:

Coaches Ken and Janet. You 2 must have logged about 30 miles! Your smiles and encouragement always seemed to come at just the right time. Especially Ken, letting me know that I wasn't halfway home yet!!!!

A special thank you needs to go to Jayne, my running partner for all 20. You helped me get through those last few miles more than you can know. All I can say is thanks and that just doesn't seem to be enough.

Then there's Tim, he only ran 10 miles, but he stayed until the end and he actually came out with us for the last 2. His energy and pep really, really keeps me going, however slowly!!!
Thanks Timmy!! I should say that he was going to run 16 on Sunday, which is why he only did 10 Saturday.

Now to the run itself;
It was a COLD morning, somewhere in the 40's. I met a small group of runners to car pool and we got there nice and early. Checked in and picked up my package for the Nike, which I continue to get grief about from my friends. What, you couldn't qualify for the Nike MEN'S Marathon?, yuk, yuk, yuk!!! Personally if I am going to run for 26 miles I want to do it with 10's of thousands of women, rather than men, but that's just me!
I digress, We had about 40 minutes to kill so I just milled about and talked trying to keep warm. I didn't exactly dress for the weather, note to self watch weather channel the night before. About 10 minutes before race time coach Ken came though with some gloves, man oh man what a life saver those were!!!

And we off, 11:41 first mile. It seemed to me that everyone knew we had a long way to go and nobody was in a hurry. The next few miles were rather uneventful, I just blathered on about my problems to Jayne and she just listened. Water and aide stations were posted every 2 miles and I took advantage of every one. Between miles 6 and 15 I found myself in that place where you could run forever. My feet didn't even feel as though they were hitting the ground. It was as if I was out for a nice walk in the woods, that is until between mile 16 and 17. Everything hit at once, my right instep started to scream, my left knee ached, my right hip had needles in it. All of a sudden I couldn't catch my breath or maintain a good rhythm. Then I did what I consider to be a mortal sin, I started to walk. For the rest of you runners out there you know that feeling. For those of you who don't run, let me just say that once you stop it is as close to impossible to start running again as anything you can imagine. Poor Jayne stuck with me and it didn't even hit me until just now how the walking must have effected her. So, for much of the last 2 miles I walked. I did manage to run it in for the last half mile and made it across the line in 3 hours 37 minutes and 55 seconds. About 8 minutes longer than I wanted, but considering the last 3 miles took us just over 40 minutes I am somewhat happy with that time.

All in all I really enjoyed the day. The weather ended up being perfect for running, not a cloud in the sky and the temps were in the low 60's. Everyone who came out from Team in Training to help cheer us on, thank you, from the bottom of my heart thank you!! For the people I mentioned above, I could never, I mean NEVER have made it without you. Thanks especially once again to Jayne!!!!! You stayed with me even at the end when I know you wanted to stop. I will remember that in two weeks when I need that little push to keep me going in San Fran!!! And I will be there in Detroit to help cheer you on and hopefully help you make to the finish a little bit easier.

13 days and counting!


We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon. Emil Zatopek

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Well as of today I reached my fundraising goal of $3,600.00 and not a moment to soon, the money was due today!! Thank you to everybody that gave and to those of you that helped in other ways too numerous to mention here. A special thanks to my daughter Rebeccah and son Nate. They have been my training partners and water bearers!!! Without them I never would have made it this far.
This Saturday is the big 20 out at Nankin Mills Nature Center. There is usually a very big turn out for this as the Detroit Free Press marathoners use this as their long run as well. I am a bit nervous because I haven't been logging the miles I feel are necessary for me, but it is what it is!! And with only 19 days until the big event I need to prove to myself that I can do it, and I WILL!! When I think about my upcoming marathon I find myself quoting Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption when he is on the bus leaving for Mexico. He says, and I'll paraphrase, I find myself so excited it's hard to sit still, it is a excitement only a free man can feel. A free man... come October 22 at roughly 12:30pm PST I will be that and more.


"Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible."Doug Larson