Monday, July 26, 2010

M-Cubed for 7/26/2010

Monday Morning Musings for July Twenty-Sixth, Twenty Ten. A smattering of thoughts that alone don't constitute a blog post but together end up here on Monday morning.

- Marjie finally returned from her 5-day trip last night from the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  She always cooks...always.  But me, trying the creative side, took on the challenge and tried to time it just right so it would be ready for the 4 of us when she got home just after 8pm.  I found a great turkey burger recipe that used ranch mix, Worcestershire sauce, and 3 cloves of garlic.  I also took all of our remaining red-skinned potatoes, cut them into wedges, laid them out (skin side down) on our rectangular stone,  and brushed olive oil over them and sprinkled them with shredded parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and basil.  About 45min later at 400F in the over and they were done.  End result? Those burgers were NOT that good.  No one but me finished them.  Kinda dry, kinda grainy...not great flavor and zero ranch flavor.  Oh well.  The baked fries, though?  AWESOME!  I'll make those again.  It's the thought that counts, right?  RIGHT???!!!

- I saw Dr. Shah on Friday and he agreed that a MRI is the next step of my adductor region and so it is ordered...this Wednesday, in fact.  I'll then see him on Thursday to get it read.  The treatment could go multiple directions depending on what it shows.  I'll report back.

- The 4th Annual Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run is THIS Saturday and Sunday!!!!  I spent much of Sunday afternoon exchanging e-mails with the race director as I built a "virtual goodie bag" for all of the runners.  It's a neat concept that brings the sponsors and their sponsored discount into the inboxes of the runners instead of printing a bunch of cards or flyers.  If you are one of them, you'll get it mid-week.  For me, I'm not running the BR100 this year (obviously) but I will be at Mile 64 (Happy Days Aid Station) working until Kathleen comes through in the evening when I'll join her and pace her the final 36 miles to the finish on Sunday morning.  The BR100 is the 2010 USA Track & Field 100-Mile Trail National Championship so registration numbers went through the roof this year.  It's going to be an awesome weekend!  You can witness the finish line, if you'd like, at Falls River Square all morning long next Sunday.  Deadline to cross that line is at the 30hr mark which is 11am Sunday.

- Another foodie post: I've always wanted to make homemade hummus but I discovered that even though a food processor is standard issue for most newlyweds, ours made its way to the garage sale floor some time ago.  It's an essential ingredient to make hummus.  The girls and I found one on Saturday along with the ingredients and made it together Saturday night.  One can of chick peas, tahini paste, one lemon's juice, some lemon zest, cumin, salt, extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic.  I got some Kashi crackers and pita chips to eat it with.  BAM!!!  That was awesome!!  We made another batch last night but cut the cumin in half and deleted the salt.  A little tweaking was needed.  Very, very good.  For future batches, a friend suggested going half and half with the chick peas and light red kidney beans...I'll try that.  I also want to try spinach and roasted red peppers.  I'm amazed that my girls love this stuff, too.

- The 5th Annual Muddy Paws Trail Runs were on Saturday morning.  It consisted of a 2-mile run/hike with your dog and 5 and 10 mile race options.  I needed to be near home at church for an 8am men's breakfast/feast so I showed up at Pine Hollow at 5am to set up and assist in packet pickup until 7:15am when I had to leave.  It was great to see so many of my friends (and their 4-legged friends) out at the Sound of Music Hills...and great to see Mark from The Morning Team on WCRF, 103.3FM.  He and Benny were out there to tackle the trails. This year's event surpassed 400 runners (a record) and the Summit County Humane Society will reap the benefits!  Thanks to all who came out!!!!

- I mentioned last week that I was considering a triathlon yesterday...MiltonMan, only 15min from my house at Lake Milton.  Considering how much work I need in the pool, I decided to skip it until I can get back in shape for swimming.  I'll be swimming and spinning a lot from now on and will try to get in at least one tri this season before it ends.

- I had a very cool run on Friday night.  With Marjie out of town and my girls at home with me, it was nearly impossible to get out and swim, bike, or run this weekend since leaving them at home alone would constitute a visit from Child Protective Services so since they were at Marjie's parents' house this evening AND I saw that a 96% full Mr. Moon was rising behind my house, I decided that a late night run was in order.  I also saw lightning in the distance.  At about 9:15pm, I headed out on Mr. Moon's 7mi hilly farmland route with no headlamp...just his light to illuminate the road.  It was cool to run with the crickets and lightning bugs who aren't present at my normal run time of 4:30am.  The air was thick as soup, too.  After I made the 3.5mi turn for home, the storm was fast-approaching and a cool breeze was pushing in and the dark clouds were overtaking the clear moon-lit sky.  With 1.5mi to go, I got caught in a downpour which quickly ended but super-bright lightning flashes were giving me a bit of a scare and my pace quickened instantly.  The winds continued to pick up, the lightning and thunder grew, Mr. Moon disappeared, and the skies opened up just as I returned home.  It really was a great run.

Have a great week, everyone, and Happy Trails!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fist in the Air

Fed up but not beaten down. Fed up at my body and its unwillingness to do what I want it to. Fed up that 2009 has been lackluster at best for me when it comes to running accomplishments. Fed up that 8 1/2 months have passed since I got my buckle at the Oil Creek 100 and I'm still held up by the same injury. Still, the Type A personality that is part of every fiber of my being throws a fist in the air to it all. A fist that says no one thing will derail me. No one thing defines me. No one thing will stop me from accomplishing great things and consistently moving forward.

This is pretty much how I've been thinking all week. It was encouraged by a few things that got my heart pumping strong again. My XTERRA wetsuit arrived, courtesy of UPS on Tuesday and on Wednesday night, I headed out to West Branch State Park where a rainbow was in one direction, sunshine was in another direction, and thunderstorms were approaching. The West Branch beach is 700 feet long and has an enclosed swimming area. Outside of that swimming area are the perimeter markers of the swimming area and that's where I headed out swim back and forth between the markers. I swear...I had to learn how to breathe all over again. All the thoughts of my triathlon training in the late 1990s came back instantly. "Yes, I remember how crappy of a swimmer I am!" Luckily, the XTERRA suit granted me an amazing amount of buoyancy and I rocked out 4 lengths of the beach where 3 lengths were the goal...over 1/2 mile of swimming. (that's right...a FIST IN THE AIR right there!) Taking the suit off, I could see the heat rising off of my legs and after getting in the car, I was a bit nauseous. I am seriously out of shape for swimming...but in that is a goal and a goal I will strive towards. (fist bump, please)

Wednesday after work, I stopped by the North Canton YMCA and joined. They open at 5am and always open their pool for lap-swimming at 5:30am and have spin classes twice a week at 5:30am. It is en route on the way to work for me so that's my plan...hit the place up on non-running days for either spinning or swimming and still make it to work by 7am. Just in time, a spin class was set for 5:30am on Thursday morning. A girl from work, Heidi, attends the class and was there. The lady who led the class was super nice, help me set up my bike for me and we were off. Then I hear it: "Today, in honor of the Tour de France, we're going to do hills the entire time." Really? The whole hour? Oh geez. No matter, I'm made of steel and can rock this mutha out! FIST IN THE AIR! An hour later and many minutes with my eyes closed simply getting lost in the music and the sweat (there was a LAKE under the bike when I was done), I was done...and pooped. I remained hungry for the rest of the day and could barely stay awake at work. I did it, though, and will be back. Another goal, eh? (fist bump, please)

Here in a few hours, I'll be at Dr. Shah's office again. I anticipate that he'll order a MRI of my adductor region and go from there. I am against further treatments of physical therapy because I've been there, done that. It won't fix me. If surgery is necessary after we see the MRI, bring it on. There's a reason I pay those insurance premiums, right?

So let me encourage you..when you need to throw your fist in the it. Don't take no for an answer. Sometimes, it appears there is no way forward. You may be right...and you just need to create the way forward. Regardless, don't make excuses. Get out there and do what needs to be

Monday, July 19, 2010

Photo Submission to UltraRunning Magazine

This evening, I submitted the photo below for consideration to be published in UltraRunning Magazine...perhaps even the cover!  Of the over 180 photos I took this past Saturday, it is my favorite and has received lots of positive feedback in the local trail running community.  I feel it best summarized the day and also conveys the true feeling of trail running and ultra-running alike.  If you'd like to show your support, feel free to send Tia Bodington an e-mail at UltraRunning Magazine.  Thanks!

M-Cubed for 7/19/2010

Monday Morning Musings for July Nineteenth, Twenty Ten. A smattering of thoughts that alone don't constitute a blog post but together end up here on Monday morning.

- 2nd half of July = August will soon be here = school starts at the end of August.  So, so fast.  Too, too fast.

- Victims of Saturday's BT50K: probably at least 2 toenails.  We shall see how they 'hang' on.  Also got a rare blister on the side of my big left toe.  Should have followed my own advice to others and tightened that shoe when I first felt the rubbing.  No lesson learned...I knew that lesson...I give it all the time!  Stupid me.

- I found a YMCA in North Canton that I'm going to join.  They open at 5am everyday and the pool at 5:30am.  I'm going to start swimming laps 2 to 3 times a week and get some spinning classes in, also offered at 5:30am twice a week.  They are only 15min from my office in downtown Canton so this should work well.  Gotta burn some calories and get myself in the shape I know I can be in.

- I must wonder: did I run my last race on Saturday for 2010?  I'm signed up for the Oil Creek 100 Miler and plan to run the YUT-C 50K, the Bobcat Trail Marathon and the Inaugural Bigfoot 50K in December.  However, I have an appointment with Dr. Shah this Friday and expect him to order a MRI of my adductor region to see what's going on.  My bet is that surgery is in my future and if so, that'll wipe out the remainder of 2010.  I'll report back when I know more.

- Another great softball game in my church's softball league yesterday and the final one of the season.  It was interesting and a bit uncomfortable to make short, fast sprints to field balls in left field being less than 24hrs since the BT50K.  Still a lot of fun and next season, I'm going to sign up from the beginning instead of jumping in for the last few games.

- 618 miles and still going strong.  I replaced the laces, gave them some new velcro to hold on the gaiters and my Keen trail shoes performed superbly.  I am going to continue to wear them until they completely fall apart.  Best shoes...ever.

- I've totally fallen head over heels for NPR on WKSU, 89.7FM.  It's especially nice to hear the classical music at 3:30am or 4:30am when I get up on work days.  Yesterday, it was piano concertos on the way to the softball game.  Marjie finds this music irritating but I totally get lost in it.  I love it.

- As I step out on Post #301 today, I am reflecting back on the beginning of my blog and the name.  Many who share my Christian faith have asked me if it came from Hebrews 12:1.  Truth be told, it didn't...well, not purposely. I knew of the verse but the name of my blog just kinda popped in my head and it was decided.  Looking back, though, and reading the first 3 verses of Hebrews 12 today, it couldn't be more perfect.  I've been wanting to dig into this passage and dissect it.  That's my project for this week so that I can talk about it at my church's men's breakfast (ie: FEAST!) this Saturday.  I will post my thoughts here as well.  Here is the passage.  Whether you share my faith or not, you can't deny the parallels to ultra-running and our journey of life and how we attack matter what it is we do.  It's a great "life passage" to live by and to: "
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."  Pretty awesome, isn't it??  I think so.

- You may recall that I recently submitted a Letter of Intent to run for the Rootstown Board of Education.  The decision to replace Mr. Dunn who passed away on June 30th must be made by July 30th, per Ohio Revised Code.  No one ran against him and the other open seat in the last election but word is, 16 letters were received for the one open seat, including mine.  Should be interesting to see who gets this opportunity to serve!

- Have a 4-legged friend and want to support a great cause?  The annual Muddy Paws Trail Runs are this Saturday at Pine Hollow in the Virginia Kendall area of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  If you want to race, it has 5 and 10 mile options but if you want to take your dog out for a 2 mile run or hike (and it's true, many are out there simply hiking and spending time with their dog and others on the trail), the 2 mile event is for you.  Last year, nearly $7000 was raised for the Summit County Humane Society.  It's pretty cool to see so many people with their dogs out there at the top of the Sound of Music hills and see them all hit the trail together.  Interested?  Here's the website with all the details.  For any of you WCRF, 103.3FM Morning Team fans, Mark Zimmerman who leads the Morning Team will be out there with his companion, Benny!

Have a great week, everyone, and as always, Happy Trails!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Buckeye Trail 50K Report

Wow, post #300.  It's amazing to me that I've been 'talking' this long and people are still listening.  Along those lines, I picked up my tech tee and bib from Vertical Runner on Friday evening for yesterday's Buckeye Trail 50K and the lady who helped me with a very distinct British (I think) accent knew who I was and that someone who she had just run with was praising me helping out with Burning River 100 training.  I have absolutely no idea who she was talking about!  I told her I had a blog but didn't know about helping anyone.  I guess you never know who is reading and where it may reach.  Like I've said from post #1, if only one person is inspired to cross that finish line or is helped via this blog, it's all worth it.

On the way out to the start of the race on Saturday morning, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  Never had I toed the line of an event, much less an ultra-marathon knowing that half of it would be painful.  I don't know why it was affecting me the way it was...perhaps because I'm extremely passionate about this sport and the people that I've met through it...I don't know.  I guess that in a way it was a black eye on a day that hadn't even begun yet.  Regardless, I maintained my goal of simply running simply to have fun, take over 150 pictures, and cross that finish line...with complete ignorance of the clock time.  No doubt, it would be the slowest 50K of my life and I would suffer to do it.  Nothing, though, was going to stop me.  I wasn't missing this for the world.

As many of you know, there's been a Bondi Band "issue" at hand.  Well, even though the Bondi didn't match my gaiters exactly, I stepped up to the plate and wore it all 31.2 miles.  Truth be told...not one drip of sweat got in my eye and I really didn't feel it.  After the race, I sent Marjie and photo text and her reply was "You totally look like you're in drag."  Thanks so much, Babe.  I appreciate it! :-)

I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow recap of the event because my day was quite simple.  I stopped often to take pictures and was thrilled with what I captured.  
See all 154 here.  For the first 10 miles, I ran swift and powerfully and had no pain.  There was no reason to run extremely conservative because the pain was inevitably going to come and I knew exactly when it would arrive...and it did.  Around Mile 10 or 11, on approach to the Boston Store Aid Station, I took 800mg of ibuprofen along with some watermelon and peanut butter and jelly.  Once that kicked in, I was good to go.  After making the halfway point turn at Pine Lane, the pain was already overpowering the ibuprofen and by the time I got back to Boston Store (about Mile 19.5), I was really feeling it again.  It was also approaching 90F and full sun.  As I plugged along, I was increasing my water intake, going to the bathroom often (a good sign that my systems are still functioning as they should), and not taking any more ibuprofen because 1) it was too early to take more and 2) even if I could, I didn't have food to take with it.  So, it was a matter of just moving forward and coping.  3 miles after the Boston Store, Brian "Pebble" Musick was there with his own ice cold jugs of water.  A pleasant gift, for sure, since the gallons of water staged there were all empty.  Brian, you were a lifesaver!  I was out of water and needed some.  Forging forward to Snowville Rd which would be Mile 25, I noticed distinct signs of dehydration and my vasovagal syncopy warning signs.  I could feel my heartbeat by pushing in on my jugular, but it was very faint.  Hot and humid are my Achilles Heel in these trail events.  (which is why the Burning River 100 in 2009 was my last BR100!!!)  So now, I was getting lightheaded, my adductor was screaming and tiptoeing up hills became the standard.  From Snowville on, it's exactly 6.2 miles or 10K to the finish.  Much of it was hiked and a few stops to sit and get my heart slowed down were hallmarks of this section.  My heart was racing to cool me but it's beat was so faint to me.  I knew I'd better be careful or I was going to pass out and that never has a happy ending.  Coming into the Ottawa Point pavilion area, Vince showed up and basically dragged me for awhile, forcing me to run.  (thanks, really was refreshing to see you out there)  Nearing the finish, I knew I was less than a 1/2 mile from the finish, on a downhill, and still it took everything to run.  A few steps later, I finished in 7hrs, 57min, 20sec.  I like to say that I bested my worst 50K time ever!  3 years ago at my first ultra (ironically, it was the BT50K), I ran a 6:52 and it super hot.  Before yesterday, that was my slowest.  However, this event was the funnest 50K ever.  I had a blast and regret nothing.  I'm so glad I took my camera and wore my battery completely out.  With no photographers on the course, I was happy to get so many good pictures.  So that makes 39 marathons/ultra-marathons.  Still sitting at 25 marathons and now 14 ultras.

While heading out for some dinner last night, I mentioned to Marjie this: "I truly believe it is the 'back-of-the-packers' who have the hardest struggle.  I don't want offend the front runners, but the longer you are out there, the more mental fortitude it takes to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I've had my great days like the Winter 50K a few years ago when I broke 5 hours so I know what it's like to have a perfect day.  Other days, though, we're dealt another hand and we have to deal with it, never quit, and forge forward to the finish line."

Thank you to the phenomenal were all awesome!!!  By the way, I know what Hammer's Heed is supposed to taste like, and at all 3 aid stations, you nailed it.  It was perfectly mixed.  Congratulations to all the finishers and especially to those newly minted ultra-runners!  You ALL rock!!!!

See you all on the trails...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mid-Week Ramblings, etc. etc. etc

Progress on many fronts this week...been a good one so far, even though I'm on a 7 day no-days-off stretch with work combined with a Navy drill weekend.  After a really good weekend in Columbus where I began transitioning to my new command (where the more I see, the more I like), I finally contacted Dr. Shah (the local running doc that EVERYONE goes to) and set up an appointment to re-visit him with a MRI on the radar in a few weeks.  I've done everything with really no progress on my adductor problem so it's time to take a picture.  I rubbed my crystal ball last night and with no medical background, my bet is that I tore something where the adductor attaches at the top point.  (that's as graphic as I'm going to get...Google adductor and you can see where that is!)  Last year after my finish at the Burning River 100, I ran a 5 mile race hard at the Labor of Love Run on Labor Day.  Immediately following that race, I remember distinctly feeling something in the area.  Basically, 2 100-milers then racing hard (with no speed work) a month later caused "something" to happen.  That "something" remains a mystery through today.  Stand stand by.

On another front, I scored a 50% off coupon for a XTERRA sleeveless, full-length wetsuit (thanks, Dan!!!).  Already shipped from California and en route to ME.  It will arrive Tuesday and I'm actually going to try and get out to the beach at West Branch State Park or somewhere/anywhere immediately thereafter.  If I can at least remember how to swim again, I'd like to sign up last-minute for the MiltonMan Triathlon next Sunday, July 25th.  There's a sprint and olympic distance choice to make and it's only 15min from my house.  Yea, no real training but like I said, if I can swim, I can bike 20+ miles and run 6.2 miles.

And yet more progress...that being "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.................."  Yea, the kids at are camp this week and last night was their sleepover night.  That meant date night for us!  There is a place that I've been wanting to try for awhile in southwest Portage County in Brimfield: Viking Vineyards.  This couple basically planted the grapes and built a winery right outside their front door and adjacent to a large lake.  Absolutely wonderful evening.  We had their famed Razzberry Reisling sitting besides the lake, watching the carp leap and big turtles pop their heads out of the water.  For dinner and to compliment the wine, we enjoyed a spinach-artichoke dip and both had a grilled panini sandwich.  I think we spent about two hours there.  Kinda sad, actually, that it's only 15min from our doorstep and we've never been there before.  Tucked away in the countryside, far off the road, and a simply perfect setting.  I thought it was so cool to park about 5 feet from grapes growing on the vine.  What an absolutely wonderful and relaxing evening.  This photo was taken from my chair, looking out over the lake.  Sunday nights, they have live, local music from 5pm - 9pm so I think a return trip on one of those evenings is in order.

Buckeye Trail 50K this Saturday morning!  It really should be a "who's who" in the trail running community with the overwhelming majority there, either running or volunteering.  My goal? Have fun and cross the finish line.  It's really that simple.  No time/performance goals or anything.  I know my adductor will cuss at me during the majority of the race but somehow, I'll find that mute doubt.

Keep on truckin' forward friends..the summer is halfway over!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

587 Miles + 31.2 Miles More

"Dear Keen Wasatch Crest Trail Shoes,

I know you have 'been there, done that' with me over the past few years.  Hundreds of miles in 2009 while training for my 100-milers and then traveling all 100 miles at Kettle Moraine in June and again at Oil Creek 100 in October.  You have given more than any runner could ever ask for: not one blister, not one foot injury, not one thread of material on the shoes themselves falling apart.  I felt bad last December on the WaterFalls Run when I looked down and your blessed laces could give no more as they had disintegrated right before my eyes.  I'm sorry I haven't taken you back to the trails since that day.  6 months is a long time to sit in the garage with a pair of dirty Brooks Cascadias sitting on top of you.  I's not easy being a set-aside "has been" pair of shoes.

I've been thinkin' a lot about you lately.  When I went back to Oil Creek over the July 4th weekend, I wore my Vasque VST shoes.  They aren't a bad pair of shoes, but on those downhills, my feet kept sliding forward.  You NEVER did that to me!  Then I got thinking and picked you up tonight to check you out.  You still have decent tread on your bottoms, you are structurally sound, and you still have some of the Buckeye Trail mud on you.  The only thing you need is some new laces, or perhaps some borrowed laces from one of your blue twins also out in the garage.  The best part?  You still have the velcro on your rear ends to hold on my Dirty Girl Blue Blaze Gaiters!

So that's the deal: 31.2 more miles of trails together this Saturday.  No one ever said you couldn't run more than 600 miles with me."

Monday, July 12, 2010

M-Cubed for 7/12/2010

Monday Morning Musings for July Twelfth, Twenty Ten. A smattering of thoughts that alone don't constitute a blog post but together end up here on Monday morning.

- Badwater 135.  The most grueling, hot, nasty, ultra-marathon on the planet starts this morning.  Wave 1 starts at 6am in Death Valley.  The forecast? 100F.  Pam Reed, who visited Ohio back in March and whom I ran much of the Fools 50K with is running yet again along with local elite ultra-runner Connie Gardner.  Full details

- A new addiction?  I don't know why, but I started listening to NPR (National Public Radio) on WKSU this past week, 89.7 FM.  I believe I was seeking classical music and knew they played it.  In the past, I think that I've stayed away because my preconception about NPR is that is was a leftist, very liberal station.  That isn't me!  Turns out, their talk material is quite good and diverse.  My observation is that when they cover the news and stories, they are very balanced and present both sides fairly.  I like that.  I want to hear both arguments.  They definitely cover more social issues in their news broadcasts which I'm very passionate about.  Unlike some who just want to stick their fingers in their ears and scream "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!!!!!" when they hear something they disagree with, I think hearing all sides lets us become better rounded and educated.  
Listen here.

- The online HD streaming feature came in handy late Friday night.  I had decided on Friday while driving to Columbus for my Navy weekend that I'd burn the midnight oil and get the now-very-late Western Reserve Trail Running newsletter written and out.  Well, WKSU was playing some quite awesome folk music which kept my "work" all that more enjoyable.  The newsletter?  I sent it out yesterday to nearly 1100 trail runners (!!!) and can be read
here in its entirety.  Enjoy!

Buckeye Trail 50K this Saturday?  Am I trained?  Nope!  Does my adductor still cause me pain after a long run? Yep!  Am I running it?  Well, I'm toeing the line, with a number on, and covering the 31.2 miles on our beloved Buckeye Trail.  Running the whole thing is another matter.  Running alot...yes.  Caring about the clock at the finish...not at all.  Time on the trail with so many of my friends and getting that super-cool blue blaze medal along with a new sticker for my back window (my current BT50K sticker is in very, very sad/peeling condition) are the only things that matter.  Oh yea...that stinkin' blue-blaze bondi band needs worn, too.  I lost the Facebook vote by a L O N G shot.  I'll see MANY of you out there this Saturday!

- A really great Navy weekend just passed by.  I finished my time at one command and began turnover at the new command.  The new command is a bright beacon of light in my Navy career.  I will be second-in-command in a unit that is playing a very significant role in the War on Terror in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  100% of everyone in this command has either gone, is there, or slated to head over to the desert.  Very cool to get the opportunity (finally!) to lead sailors (and some soldiers) and get the opportunity to go as well.  It is a joint-command meaning that even though it is Navy-centric, it also blends in Marines, Army, and Air Force...a joint environment.  I'm really looking forward to the next 3 years here!

- Just over a week ago, the late Mr. Robert Dunn passed away.  He was a pillar in my small community of Rootstown, OH.  He was heavily active throughout his entire life, especially in our schools.  He held, at his passing, the President-position for the Board of Education.  Ohio Revised Code has a somewhat loose procedure of filling his position until the next election.  They could actually just name someone to fill it and be done with it with no community input.  His position must be filled no earlier than 10 days and no later than 30 days from his death.  A few years back, I circulated a petition and got on the ballot to run for the Board but withdrew it at the last minute, expecting I was going to be mobilized to Iraq or Afghanistan.  Since that hasn't happened, I submitted my Letter of Intent last Friday to be considered for Mr. Dunn's Board position and now wait to hear what the Board decides.  I felt a very, very distinct calling to step up and serve.  I believe that I can really contribute in a very positive way to my community in this capacity.  Deadline to submit interest is today and the Board will decide by the end of the month.

- LeBron James.  I may or may not write a post about this guy.  I'll just say this now: that self-absorbed, arrogant, pathetic display on Thursday night was a total joke.  What was the most common word spoken?  "Me."  It's all about "me" was the theme.  What a great example to all the kids he was sitting in front of at the Boys and Girls Club and all the local folks in Ohio who looked up to him.  He is a perfect example of what is all wrong with our "all about me" society.  "It's not all about you, LeBron!!!  It's not all about any of us!!!"  Anyway...  That's all the space on my blog that I will dedicate to the
king. (emphasis on lower case "k".)  I've got my own King and cares about everyone BUT Himself, thank you very much!

- I'm still on the hunt for a used triathlon wetsuit.  I'm eager to return to the "tri" scene.  I must have one, though.  I sink on the swim portion like a lead weight and need the buoyancy provided by the suit.

Have a super week, everyone, and Happy Trails!

Monday, July 5, 2010

M-Cubed for 7/5/2010

Monday Morning Musings for July Fifth, Twenty Ten. A smattering of thoughts that alone don't constitute a blog post but together end up here on Monday morning.

- Federal Holidays are a wonderful thing.  Today marks my last day of vacation/Independence Day weekend combo.  Been off work since June 25th and another 10 days would suit me just fine!

- Had I had the time, I would've written a few other blog posts since my last post about our Delaware River canoe trip. The day after (Wednesday), we just vegged out, spent time at the pool, and "chillaxed."  Thursday, we checked out of the resort a day early and headed south 2 1/2 hours to Hershey, PA...the home of THE chocolate bar.  I had been there years ago, briefly, and our girls had never been there.  What a wonderful time we had!  A tour of Chocolate World (a narrative ride through the chocolate-making process), examining the shelves and shelves of chocolate bars, kisses, and the other brands they make like Twizzlers, Jolly Ranchers, etc.,  (ever smell a Jolly Rancher candle?  YUM!) and a narrated Trolley ride through the town of Hershey.  What a fantastic story that place is.  A man (Milton Hershey) who repeatedly failed but never gave up ended up with huge success and has left a legacy (since his death in the 1940's) that will last generations.  I could tell you the story but honestly, people of all ages should visit Hershey and see it for yourself.  It won't disappoint.  After a great day, we drove 5 hours home...very tough ride back.  Took a lot of teamwork to keep each other awake on that one.

- My return to Oil Creek finally came to fruition on Saturday.  I'd been longing for a return since finishing the Oil Creek 100 Miler last fall but couldn't ever make it happen.  It is 1hr, 45min from my home and is located in the birthplace of the oil industry in NW Pennsylvania.  A good group of 20+ met at 7am for a run on the course, a 27 mile loop around Oil Creek State Park.  If you recall last Monday's post, I mentioned that my adductor soreness returned and I might not run the rest of the week.  Well, I didn't run at all until Saturday at Oil Creek.  I ran conservatively and smartly.  The trail was dry and not slippery.  However, around mile 15 or so, the soreness ratcheted up and at Mile 20, I bowed out of the trail and took the Bike-n-Hike back to Petroleum Center, our starting point.  So, I got in 25 miles instead of 27 but those last 5 on the bike-n-hike were nearly all walking.  I couldn't run anymore.  In the end, I was extremely thankful for my return to Oil Creek.  It was surreal when I arrived there, still with the heavy fog over the steel grate bridge.  I remembered that scene during the race.  I remembered everything so vividly.  So worth the trip so no regrets.

- No surprise, I took my camera to Oil Creek and got some great photos of the course and major landmarks.  View all 53 here along with the group photo and the bench that I took a 2min nap on during the race last year.  I didn't have my camera with me last October so I wasn't about to miss this opportunity.

- I need some help.  Hope "Hopeinator" Magnus made a challenge to me a few months back.  As many of you know, I wear the blue blaze version of Dirty Girl Gaiters on the trail.  She is an avid Bondi Band wearer.  They are like a head band...for girls.  The challenge was this: find a blue blaze Bondi Band and I'll wear it, along with a blue tech tee, blue/black shorts, and of course, my blue blaze gaiters from start to finish of the Buckeye Trail 50K on July 17th.  Well, she hasn't had very good luck and supposedly, found a substitute.  Below is the comparison photo.  I need your input/vote.  Did she fail or did she meet the challenge?  I'm definitely not fond of that glitter stuff I see on her substitute.  What do you think?

- Like the new blog header photo?  I already miss the last one that I took on my 30-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail but it was time for a change.  Besides, I set up my timer on my Canon and grabbed this photo at Oil Creek on a very unique bridge.  Not sure why they built it this way since there really isn't any obstruction there but it's cool, nonetheless.

- I think it's time to scrap the phrase "No Pain, No Gain."  Granted, sometimes pain is necessary to gain the intended reward.  However, in my ongoing adductor troubles, I hereby rephrase it to "No Brain, No Gain."  The pain thing just isn't working out for me!  Brain, on the other hand...well, I guess that means no running?  Who knows.  One thing I DO know is that I'll be back at my new massage therapist this Thursday evening.

- About a month ago, I wrote about my consistent pursuit of goals just barely out of reach.  If I'm not challenged in one part of my life, I'll continue to stack up things to fulfill the mostly subconscious hunger for the challenge.  With a so-far sleeper of a year, I woke up on Friday morning after Hershey on Thursday and dusted off the frame, pumped up the tires, and took my triathlon bike out on the road for a 20-miler.  It was like old times.  It's been nearly 10 years since I last did a triathlon (1/2 Ironman in Florida) but being back in the was like wetting my appetite again.  So what did I do when I got home?  I started researching local triathlons and wetsuits.  A wetsuit is all I need...I still have everything else.  I'll let you know if I act any more on this reborn "impulse."  There is an Olympic distance tri on July 25th about 20min from my house...

- We don't live in Stow, but we're off to Stow's Fourth of July Parade this morning.  It is the most diverse, long parade that I've ever seen.  We've gone the last two years and want to keep that tradition going.  Icing on the cake is that we sit right in front of the Target which has a Starbucks inside.  It's the little things, right?

- So with that, I hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day and surrounding weekend.  Do me a favor: if you put up your flag for the holiday, how about keeping it up now?  Fly it 365 days a year?  Just a thought.

Have a great week, everyone and Happy Trails!