Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

How do you view Memorial Day? Do you think of this day as another day off of work? Is this just another day to you? Being a veteran myself, I see a lot of people thanking veterans on this day. I truly appreciate your thanks, even though I feel like I didn't do anything other than serve my country. We celebrate Veterans Day for that. No, this day is for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

During my five years in the Air Force, I lost two very close friends. During Desert Shield/Storm, my friend, Dom Ghiloni was exposed to radioactive material. This was said to have caused a tumor in his brain, to which ended his life prematurely. I first met Dom while we were stationed in Balikesir, Turkey. I had just returned from Germany, after having knee surgery. Dom came to me and asked if I was the one from Ohio. Of course, I was. Columbus, Ohio is my hometown. Dom was from Newark, Ohio, and a huge Buckeye fan. Needless to say, we became instant best friends. We traveled around Turkey together, watched the Reds sweep the As in the 1990 World Series, watched Buckeye football games, all in the early A. M. hours due to the time difference. We were inseparable. Then came the time for me to transfer back to the States. Dom went on to Italy after that. I lost contact with him but, later made contact with his family in 1998. The voice on the other end of the phone said Dom had passed away. I was floored. I cried for a while. I lost one of my best friends ever.

In 1991, I was stationed at Hill AFB in Utah. I was a member of the Peacekeeper Challenge team. This is a team of Security Police who compete against other bases in firearms, fitness and combat readiness. Brett Kinton was one of my teammates. He was also a great friend. We worked many posts together. At the young age of 18, he was pretty mature. Not to mention a hell of a pistol shooter. We competed at Edwards AFB in California that year. We represented well. Brett had told me how he lost both his parents earlier in his life. His family had been through a lot already. I remember coming back to the base and talking to the officer at the Southwest Gate. She asked me if I had heard about Brett. Then she said I needed to get to the dorm because he had passed away. When I arrived at our dorm, I saw an ambulance and several of our patrol cars there. Brett was found, by his roommate, dead in his bed. He had passed away in his sleep.

My Father-in-Law was a retired Security Policeman as well. He served in Viet Nam and received the Bronze Star for saving lives during an attack on his base. I always looked up to him and, it wasn't until his passing that I learned about his heroism. Great man. I miss him very much.

All of these Airmen were dedicated to their country. They served proudly. To me, this is what Memorial Day is about.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tupelo Marathon

After just finishing the hardest marathon I have ever run, I am already planning out my training schedule for my next marathon. With that being said, I am now 14 weeks out from the Tupelo Marathon in Tupelo, Mississippi. We have several of the Muckas Running Club who are planning on running either the full or the 14.2 miler. Looking forward to this race as it will give me my 9th marathon, and my 5th state.

This race has a 5am start time, which is great becuase this race is scheduled for September 4th. WE're down South and it is hot around these parts. The 5am start helps beat some of the heat, not to mention we have time to go back to the hotel and rest a bit before having to check out. Usually we are scrambling to beat the check out time so we aren't charged an extra day. Crazy stuff. You'd think the hotels would work with the runners as it brings business to their area. Oh well, that's how they make their money. :)

Hoping my ankle will not be an issue soon. After twisting it in the Jonesboro race, it is still sore and a little swollen. No matter, we will push on and complete another race. Not going to let this hold me back. :) Well, happy running everyone and stay safe.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Jonesboro Marathon

What can I say.....This course owned me. Very tough course. So many hills, I had to check the elevation chart to make sure there were some flat spots in the course. And even with that, I'm calling BS on the flat spots. :) Met up with several Muckas at the start line. I was running the full. Kevin, Holly, Brandon and Jody were running the Co-ed relay as Team Mucka. Barrett was running with another team, who initially signed up for the all male division. They had an injured runner and swapped him out for a female runner. And she was fast!!! Barrett's team took first place in the Co-ed division, followed by Team Mucka, who were only a minute or two behind them. Not bad having Muckas on the top two teams. :) And we had Sherry and Mark running the 5K. Sherry took 3rd overall female, and Mark took 5th overall male. Two more Muckas representing.

I felt strong through the first 10-miles. I started off with Barrett but knew I couldn't keep a sub 8 minute pace for too long. I told him he needed to quit letting me hold him back and that was all he needed to hear because he was gone. I hit the huge hill around the 9.5 mile mark and charged through it as best I could. Hit the water station (I asked for beer but they said no) at mile 10. About 100 yards past the water stop, I had a close encounter with an oncoming car. He wouldn't get over and forced me to the edge of the road. There was no shoulder either. I caught the edge and twisted my ankle. Now, like I said, I just passed the 10-mile mark. I had another 16-miles to go, and many more hills. This was not good. I had to utilize the run/walk method. I was still going at a decent pace. Then I started feeling a popping at the back of my ankle. Things slowed down rather quickly.

Going through Craighead Forrest was nice due to all the shade I had from the trees. Tough hills in there as well. Continued with the run/walk method while the temps continued to heat up. The humidity was zapping me pretty good. After coming out of the park, the shade disappeared. Pushed on through. At mile 20, I had some help waiting for me. Barrett was waiting there for me. He had already finished his leg of the relay and came to help push me through the last of the race. Not far past that, I had more help waiting for me. Holly and Kevin were there, ready to run along side of me. I had three Muckas coming to my aide. Now that's teamwork. :)

At this point, my ankle was killing me. I did more walking than running through the last 6-miles. As we were coming back into downtown Jonesboro, I could tell something wasn't right. I looked down at my hands and they were extremely swollen. Dehydration was taking over, and I was out of salt tabs. Kevin ran ahead and found some salt and brought it back to me. That really helped out. Once we got back to the ASU campus, the rest of the Muckas were waiting at the top of the last hill (Not at the bottom mind you! LOL!) and ran with me to the finish line. If it weren't for my fellow Muckas, this may have turned out a lot worse. Then, as I came into the finish line area, I saw my AWESOME PIT CREW, Deb and Amy. Talk about coming in to a beautiful sight. :)

Like I said, this was not my best showing. In fact, this was my worst marathon time, 4:32:39. It is also a completed marathon and goes in the books as that. I have now completed eight marathons, en route to my goal of completing 50. Thanks to everyone who has been supporting me. You all are great.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lae Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics

This was a great run for a great cause. We had Federal, State, County and City police working together to complete this run. We all set out from the State Trooper station in Forrest City, and headed towards Wynne. We were concerned about the potential for rain today, as the storm fron that hit Oklahoma was making its way towards us. We had just over 20 runners, three squad cars, one 15-passenger van and two pickup trucks to help carry out this mission. Everyone hung tough for the first couple miles. Some hung on longer than we all thought they would. Not sure if it was pride, stubborness, or just plain determination that got them through it but, these guys really pushed their limits today. There were many familiar faces running with us again this year. There were also some new faces out there. This is awesome. These guys are really grasping the wholel idea of fitness and its benefits in our line of work. Not to mention they were there to help the cause.

Normally my running partner for this event is Barrett Burns. However, Barrett was in training today and could not attend. He did come wish us well before we left the institution. Last year, three of us ran the entire way from Forrest City to Wynne. Barrett, Holly Cook and myself. I wasn't planning on running the entire way since I have the Jonesboro Marathon in three days. But, I was convinced to go ahead and do it. We were running a very easy pace. Three of us made it the whole way again. This time, it was Holly, myself and Kevin Baxter. Kevin has come so far in the last year. This guy has shed over 50 pounds and is running half marathons like they are nothing now. Overall, we had many of our runners in double digit mileage for the day. A lot of pride and accomplishment was felt today.

Well, we dodged the storms for the most part. However, the little dustin gof rain we did get, only increased the already high humidity out there. Luckily, the high winds that were pounding us, were doing so at our backs. That was a great feeling. Once we hit Wynne, all runners were in formation, singing cadences, and taking in all the cheers and honking horns as we came into town. Then we turned the corner and the Special Olympians were cheering and clapping for us as we came in. Always a great feeling. WE posed for a few pictures with them and had to load up and meet the runners coming in from Marion, AR. Drove out to Earle, AR and joined them. From that point we still had roughly 20-miles to cover to finish the run. WE decided to break it down in to 1-mile increments for each runner. This worked well except for when it came my turn to get my mile in. Just happened to fall on the largest hill of the run. Powered through it, jumped in the back of the truck, went another mile and then joined everyone in the file run into Mazzios for our lunch. 16.02 miles overall. Even with that, I wasn't the most mileage this year. Usually Barrett and I share that. Holly took the crown this year. 18.5 miles. Great job to everyone. Can't wait to do it again next year.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Run

This was supposed to be my last long run before the race on Saturday. Only calling for an 8-mile run. However, storms have rolled into the Mid South again. Thus, preventing me from running outside at the moment. I know, a little rain never hurt anyone but, when there is lightning involved, I draw the line.

The extended forecast is calling for a high of 79 on race day. Lows being in the low 60s. Hoping it stays true to that, maybe even drop several more degrees during the race. Everyone's biggest concern is the heat and humidity that come along with living here in Arkansas. So, going to spend most of the week ensuring I'm well hydrated. :)

Got our group run in at Village Creek State Park on Saturday. We had 7 runners show up. Again, storms had rolled through the night before so, I think that scared a few of them off. Well, we fought long and hard with the bull gnats out there. They were ridiculous. Like Jody had said, we were lucky we weren't carried away by them. Still, got in a great 4-miler with Deb. She ran a sub 9-minute pace for the 4-miles. Her first at sub 9. She's getting faster and faster.

Well, have a great week everyone. We have the Law Enforcement Torch Run this Weds. I don't think I'm going to run the whole thing this time. Especially with it only being 3-days out from the race. Should have a good showing from SORT and DCT though. Always a good time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Weather

Wow! We go from heat to storms to cold again. But, if this cooler weather hangs around until the 28th, I will be very happy. I love running in the cooler weather. Maybe not so much the below freezing weather, as I really haven't figured out how to dress appropriately for it. The cooler weather is so much easier to run in. Maybe I'll convince Deb to let us move up North when we get closer to retirement so we don't have to deal with the heat of the South. :)

I just ran my last big long run yesterday. I ran 20-miles and now have entered the much coveted taper zone. I love this portion of my training because it means I am really close to completing my goal of completing another marathon. It wasnt that long ago that running 1 - 2 miles was not a thought to me. Completing these runs without walking seemed so far away. Now, after one ultra marathon, 6 marathons, and several halves, 10k's and 5k's, I love being able to run the distances I do. Being looked at as a mentor in this area, and helping raise money to find cures for cancer and heart disease.

I'm not the fastest guy out there but, give me a challenge and we'll give you a run for your money. See, you thought this was just about the weather. :) Happy running everyone. Stay safe.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Today's Run

My goal for today was to run 7-10 miles. Knowing I have a 20-Miley scheduled for Sunday, I had even contimplated not running at all today. However, this being the three month anniversary of my Mom passing away, I needed to do something. I know, some folks say, "Let it go." Unfortunately, I can't let it go. I've dealt with a lot of tough situations in my life but, I'm having a hard time letting her go.

My Mom passed away at 12:05 am on Feb 13th. I was driving back to my Sister-in-Law's house when I got the call. We knew Mom didn't have long as she was in a hospice during that time. Still, you're never prepared for that call. I got off my butt and went for a 12.05 mile run, in memory of my Mom. During this run, I thought of different things with my Mom. I remembered the good times and some bad. Mom has always been there for me. She always did what she thought was best, and whatever she could do.

Mom, we love and miss you greatly.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fund Raising Update

I set a goal of $1000 for the Jimmy Fund Foundation, in the fight against cancer. To date, I have reached just over 1/10 of that goal. I wanted to take a moment to thank those who have laready given to this cause: Tony Brake, Anita Ford, Monica Johnson and Steven Town. You contributions will help in the race to find a cure for this deadly disease.

If any of you have ever had to deal with cancer, either through yourself or loved ones, you know this is something we must defeat. As my good friend Tony did, during the Boston Marathon, for every name listed, either in honor of or in memory of, I will wear that name on my running shirt as I complete the 26.2 miles of the MidSouth Marathon in November. Even after this race, I will continue in my efforts to raise money. So, help out, join in the fight. Lets beat this thing into submission.

If you care to donate, follow this link:

Thank you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I look at the training that others conduct when they prepare for an upcoming race. I also see the training others do when they are just wanting to stay fit. I compare the two and look at the results. I see and hear the comments we all make on other's workouts. Is it wrong to be envious of another's ability to accomplish more in a week than some can accomplish in a month? I say "no", it's not wrong. However, I do think, when comparing the workouts to our own, we need to look at what each individual is training for.

I know friends who run every day of the week. They are very fast when they run as well. I wish I had that dedication and fitness level to be able to do that. But, I know where my limitations are for now. With that being said, maybe that can be a goal. The only thing is, I know I need to be careful and listen to my body to help avoid injury. I train for running marathons. If I injure myself, I suffer a set back in my training and my goals. My other goal is to raise money to help fight cancer. How affective would I be if I injured myself and not be able to live up to the promise I made to those who are donating? A good friend of mine was faced with that very scenario and completed his promise with a fractured tibia. He is an amazing man, and I do not fault him for carrying on with his goal. Put in his position, I would have tried to do the same thing.

We, as runners, tend to be very passionate about our sport. It doesn't matter if you are a Boston Qualifying type runner, or someone who runs for fitness. We all do it for a reason. The group I run with, they are a competitive bunch. This is a good thing. In good, spirited competitiveness they push each other to new goals. Some have suffered injuries along the way, worked their way back to being competitive, and carried on. Others have avoided injury all together. Either way, we love what we do and we help each other.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, we all carry a bit of competition in our hearts. We see how well others are doing and we try to best them. Sometimes, you have to listen to your body, take a break, and come back to fight another day. I'm sure your competition will still be there, waiting for you.

Enough rambling. Go run!! :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Training Update

Training for the Jonesboro Marathon is still in progress. We are less than three weeks out from the race and the temps are heating up here in Arkansas. Some locals are predicting 90+ temps for the day of the race. I know Sunday's run was in the 80s, with 77% humidity. And I only ran 18 miles that day. I was able to stay below a 9:00 pace but, it sure wasn't easy. I'm just going to continue to get my training runs in, outside, as much as possible. Next Sunday's long run calls for a 20 miler. I may have to stay close to home for this one just so I can stash cold water along my route. We freeze our water bottles to help maintain cold water. Unfortunately, this ice melts off rather quickly in this type of weather.

One good thing is the Jonesboro Marathon will be starting at 7:00 am. That will hopefully help beat some of the heat. That has been a big mistake lately. Not getting out there to run before 10:00 am. You'd think I'd be smarter than that but, nope. Dropped the ball in that area. One thing for sure, I'm on vacation this week so, no excuses on getting out there early and testing the early A.M. temps. No matter the temps, this will be my 8th marathon and my goal is to finish. I will not be hard on myself for running slower than I planned. I will accept whatever I run and consider it an accomplishment either way. Finishing is the reward. Stay safe everyone. Stay hydrated as well. Take your salt tabs if necessary. :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I hope all you Mothers have a great, and well deserved day. This is a great day of celebration for all those wonderful women in the world who do so much to make our lives better. Mothers make such selfless acts to ensure their families are taken care of. Most Mothers would lay down their own lives to protect their babies. One day, in my opinion, is not enough time to celebrate all the things Mothers do for their families. But, there is only one official day to celebrate. So, make it extra special. Our family is blessed to have such a wonderful wife and Mother. Deb is tireless in her efforts to take care of our family. She's pretty awesome. :)

On another note, this will be the first Mother's Day that I will be without my mom. I have been so busy at work that it really hadn't sunk in until today. I truly miss my mom. I wish I could hear her voice again. Give her a hug and a kiss and tell her thank you for being my mom. We all miss you mom. It still doesn't seem real.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Hope everyone is doing well this week. Sounds like the weather is finally cooperating in a lot of areas. I see some fellow Dailymile runners, up in Ohio were dealing with some colder conditions at the beginning of the day. However, the sun is shining and everyone is heating up. Gotta love the determination of our running circle. Some look outside and say, "I think I'll skip today's run. It's too hot (or cold)." I have seen pictures of our running circle involving iced over beards and ski masks to make it through a winter run. I have seen sweat drenched runners, with some really cool tan lines around their ankles, eyes, necks and the famous ipod tan line. Now that's dedication. All the while, folks driving by in their cars, looking at us like we have lost our freaking minds. Oh yeah, we can't forget those who are injured and refuse to let it stop them from achieving thier goals. Some injuries would keep the average person from going back to running while these friends did everything they could to get back on the road and complete the goals they set out to accomplish in the beginning. That's determination.

Which leads me to another issue. Runners have to take advantage of whatever area they can get to run. Some towns are without sidewalk so, we must run in the road. Now, I don't know about you all but, when we run, we stay as close to the side of the road as we can. This way, we can share the road with motorists and potentially stay safe. Some motorists are very curtious by slowing down, getting over, or coming to a complete stop until they are able to pass safely. Then you have those who feel it is funny to try to scare you, or see how close they can get to you with their vehicles. It's all fun and games until someone gets knocked out of their running shoes. Just pass on to your motorist friends, share the road please. I know plenty of motorcycle riders who share our grief. Maybe, collectively, we can put the awareness out there. More and more folks are running on our roads. Let's make it safe to do so.

I hope you all enjoy your Cinco de Mayo. Happy running everyone. Keep your eyes open and mouths closed. Bugs get in easier when you don't. :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Sun!

Finally!! The sun is out!! After relentless pounding of storms here, the weather has turned nice, the sun is out and no rain. We are loving it. Being able to run outside again is really great. We have a 5K to run this weekend, at work, in celebration of Correctional Worker's Week. This is one of those races that is done to raise health awareness, and to honor those who have fallen in the line of duty. This will be the second year in a row Deb and I have run this. Really looking forward to running it with her and our friends. Hopefully I will have some great photos to post on here after the run. Then, we get to enjoy a great picnic afterwards. SWEET!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Job Well Done

You will never forget where you were when the twin towers fell on 9/11/2001. Over 3000 innocent victims died in this attack on America. May 1, 2011, America was able to gain some revenge. I know the Bible says we should turn the other cheek but, this was an evil presence that needed to be removed from this world. And, with the strength of our mighty military, we were able to rid the world of this evil presence.

I will go on record by saying I have not really been an Obama supporter but, I will give him his props for this mission. The real credit, however, goes out to our men and women in uniform. Our military continues to be a dominant force throughout the world and have proven, once again, they will complete the mission. I know the CIA gets a bad rap most of the time but, you can't leave them out as they had CIA operatives in this as well.

I have read several reports regarding the assault on OBL's compound. They talk of how he engaged our troops in a fire fight, used a woman as a human shield (real man) and how his security forces were able to shoot down one of our helicopters. I read how one of our commandos was able to take the shot and put two bullets through OBL's left eye. No American casualties occured during this operation. Truly amazing.

As a veteran, I am proud to have served my country. I am extremely proud of our troops today. Thank you all for a job well done. Stay safe.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy May

Well, they say April showers bring May flowers. If that is true, we should be inundated with a variety of colorful flowers very soon. The storms that went on during April have continued on into May. We just had one heck of a storm, currently under a tornado watch and a flash flood warning. I really hope this stuff starts to clear up soon. So many people are still trying to recover from the recent storms.

On a lighter note, we are now 27 days away from the Jonesboro marathon. Looking forward to running with some of my fellow Muckas as they tackle the relay and 5K. Praying for good weather that day. Cool temps, no strong winds or storms. This is a very challenging course but, if we always took the easy way out, we wouldn't be as strong as we are. So, onward I say. Let's conquer another race! Who's with me?!?! :)

Happy running everyone. Stay safe.