Monday, September 29, 2014

M-Cubed for 9.29.2014

M-Cubed (Monday Morning Musings) for September Twenty-Ninth Two Thousand Fourteen...a random smattering of thoughts that end up here on Monday morning.

- Hi again, friends. I haven't written much since my last M-Cubed on August 18th. So much has gone by that would easily fill several chapters of my upcoming autobiography. By "upcoming," I mean just a thought and not for real. Today, I thought I'd just skim the surface a bit and catch up.

RIP LTjg Steve Byus
- I don't mean to hit you with a somber note or notes up front but best to start here instead of end here. However, if nothing else, I've been reminded as of late of how precious every breath is and how our ticket can get punched at any time and without any warning. I lost a friend in Afghanistan to a suicide bomber a few weeks ago. He was almost a carbon copy of me...about the same age, married, two young children, a Navy supply corps officer. He had just celebrated his wedding anniversary the day before his death by the Taliban. RIP, will never be forgotten. Also, the pastor's wife from our last church passed away suddenly in her sleep. She was an amazing woman and will be deeply missed by many. Here is her tribute and obituary. The photo contained is actually a photo I took of their family during a cold amateur photo shoot at their home. There are also countless reminders in the news of tragic deaths that were not planned for. I wrote the following post on Facebook in reflection of this: "In the past several months, I have known people who were simply walking to their car at work and been struck down and killed...another 40+ years married couple where they went to bed as normally but she never woke...another man who had fought drug addiction and collapsed on the job and never rose again...then a friend..a fellow dad, husband, and Navy Supply Corps officer who made his third trip to Afghanistan just last month with plans to be home by Thanksgiving...the Taliban killed him via suicide bomber that shook two blocks in every direction..and today his community is pouring out the love in red, white and blue in amazing ways...and how about Robin Williams? A spotlight on a sickness that is all too common all around us. I think about the clothes hanging in the closets never to be worn again...the kids never to feel the embrace of their father again...the empty side of the bed...the empty chair at the dinner table...and I imagine if that heartbeat ended was mine. Had I hugged my kids enough or the last time I said goodbye? Did I kiss my bride goodbye...or goodnight? How will I be remembered? What will be my legacy? Did I love selflessly or did I lead a life for myself alone? Who will walk my girls down the aisle? Some say "Life is short, play hard." I say "Life can end in a hard and live intentionally." No hearse will ever be pulling a U-Haul to the entered this world with nothing and as such you will leave it. Live intentionally NOW and for those around you. Believe it or not, the pursuit of serving others vs. yourself reaps far more happYness than any amount of possessions and self-service ever will. So kiss him/her/them goodnight tonight and every time you walk out the door...and enter it. You nor anyone else knows what the next moment holds."

- A few days back, I rolled right on past Day 100 in my running streak. The last time I wrote I hit day 60. In those 40 days I got my 31st ultra marathon finish and one of my fastest at the Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic 50K (race report here) and just two days ago ran another Akron Half Marathon with my wife. It was a day more about spending time with her, encouraging her, and crossing the finish line hand-in-hand vs. racing. Literally...we crossed the line in Canal Park holding hands in the air. It was her 2nd fastest half marathon out of her 15 finishes and another awesome race day put on by the organizers. Such a top notch event! Other than that, not much else to report. Not many photos, either, as so many of my runs are pre-dawn with us losing more and more daylight with each passing day. I did, however, run at sunrise yesterday and grabbed this sunrise photo over the pond at my local park. Gorgeous!

- Happy National Coffee Day!!! Didn't know, did you? Now you do! I already enjoyed my morning Lavazza espresso with maple syrup but surely, a stop by Bent Tree Coffee Roasters in Kent is on tap for my morning drive.

- I may have to write up a post all its own on this but two weeks ago, my bride and I escaped to southwest NY for a two-day mini-vacation. To sum it up in a few words, we began the trip at Peek-n-Peak Ski Resort where we spent 3+ hours in the woods on an aerial adventure course. Harnessed in, we tested our high-up balance and zip-lined/climbed/crawled between tree platforms. We ended up in Lakewood, NY in a 10,000 square foot castle-like bed-n-breakfast where we enjoyed a gourmet breakfast and the Southern Tier Brewing Company a short 4 miles away. A totally off-the-hook fantastic weekend and one we'll have to replicate again in the future (minus the aerial course...per my wife!).

- Are you an Apple junkie? I guess I kinda am. I got my iPhone 6 on release day and am loving it so far. I took the advice I heard from a morning-show personality on 95.5 FM The Fish and used to trade in my old iPhone 5. It was a super easy transaction and already got paid $165 for it. We're also fans of turning our old devices into iPods for our kids but they're still using an old iPhone 4 and 4S so no need this time around. If you're also upgrading, definitely check out Gazelle. They'll even ship you the box at no charge to return your device. It's truly a seamless process.

A lot of the KM100 in Wisconsin
- Running Forecast: I keep tossing around ideas for 2015. For 2014, though, besides continuing my streak and blowing my annual mileage out of the water by a LOT, I won't be racing much. I just registered for the Berlin Amish Country Half Marathon on the last Saturday of November which is probably the hardest half marathon I've ever seen. Insane repetitive miles through the heart of beautiful Amish country...even a block of cheese as a finishers' award! A month prior...actually less than 4 weeks from now will be my second longest race of the year, the Run with Scissors Double Marathon on October 26th. All on trails, it'll be my replacement for a previously planned 50 miler in northern Maryland I had planned on doing in November. Other than those races, not much else! For 2015, I'm still thinking heavily on a return to the 100 miler in a few different ways. Kettle Moraine in June is at the top of my list but first a trip to the Bull Run Run 50 miler in April. I'm also considering my first 24 hour race at the Northcoast 24 Hour race in Cleveland in September. Basically, I'd turn into a hamster on a wheel on a flat 0.9 mile loop for 24 hours adjacent to Lake Erie, with the goal of hitting 100 miles. So for 2015, that's just a few thoughts...of course, it'll all begin in under 96 hours past New Year's at the Frozen Sasquatch 50K in WV.

- Yesterday, I read this blog post. It was penned by a blogger who asked her husband to post it after her death. She was 36 and diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer. Wow. It's an amazing post and so powerful and spot on. I strongly encourage you to read it and then follow the link at the bottom for her husband's response and tribute back to her. "Rest in peace, Charley!"

- I almost forgot. I am running a 5K trail race to help raise money for children in El Salvador. You can run or walk inside this beautiful park on October 11th for a great cause, too. Here's the page to check out and maybe even consider joining me on the trails that day.

- Any chance you may know someone or a company that would consider sponsoring a local marathon that provides free entry to veterans? $5000 is needed to help offset the cost of providing this benefit at this marathon. I can provide the full details and contact information of the race director. Simply shoot me an e-mail and I'll connect you. It's not some small, tiny race, either. It's a major event with huge name recognition across the country. Please consider or pass on this info to someone who may be able/interested. Thanks!

- To close, a dose of encouragement for you in the quote below. Let it soak in! Have a great week, everyone!

"Everything we do is a choice—every action, every thought, every feeling. We choose every day whether to feel apathetic or passionate, lazy or inspired, and the easy choice is often not the one that is best for us. Denial is easy. Inaction is easy. Selfishness, excuses, and indifference are easy. Honesty, positivity, and action, on the other hand, take bravery."

-Ben Davis, Do Life: The Creator of "My 120-Pound Journey" Shows How to Run Better, Go Farther, and Find Happiness

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