Sunday, December 16, 2007


Really, it's just a number... a large number. Twice the size of 20, yet only half of 80. Supposedly it once rained for 40 days and 40 nights. It's not as magical a number as "3". 40 minutes is a good time for a 10k. 40 minutes is the clock time for NCAA Basketball games.

40 is now my age. Fortunately, it is also NOT my waist size. If it was my inseam, then I'd be an NBA superstar... or at least sitting on the bench making millions.

My wonderful wife started off the weekend by taking me to Nordies for some shopping (personal shoppers rock!). She spoiled me there and spent a LOT on new clothes for me. I took off (kicked out???) early Saturday morning for Mt. Hood Meadows with some friends. A whole day of snowboarding on some great powder. I come home to find the front of the house decorated with balloons, a giant 40, and some streamers. The inside has been decorated, cleaned, food set up, lots of beer and wine. She'd spent the whole day getting the house ready for this surprise. No one has ever done anything remotely like this for me before. My mom was already there, my best friend Greg would soon arrive. Stinky Court, people that I am close to at work, my neighbors (the good ones), and the beer man. It was the right people, the perfect setting, and it was all done by Buff.

She's exhausted this morning, and has certainly earned some rest time. She didn't have to do all of that for me, but I am so very, very grateful for what she did. I feel special and am very grateful to have her in my life.

Buffy, I can't thank you enough for the wonderful, wonderful birthday!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Changes in attitude...

It's winter in Oregon. Know how I can tell? Mt. Hood turns all white and the temptations of fresh powder overwhelm the urge to be a productive citizen and work. I gave into said temptations last Thursday and was rewarded with some great powder and a chance to clear my head of the latest drama.

For anyone that reads this, you'll note a change in the title of my blog. It's no longer the Road to Boston 2008, but now more of the Quest for Boston. I will BQ someday. It may be this year, or next, or some other year. Obsessing about it won't get me there any faster. I could run Valentine's (VM) and probably qualify, but the way I feel today is that the training to get there will interfere with the need to be in the snow. I passed on a great season last year because I felt I couldn't miss my long ride or long run on the weekend. Life is too short. Besides, VM doesn't excite me much. Eugene Marathon, however, does. It's where I became a runner. The route is one I could do with my eyes closed.

Back to the drama...

I have this not so unusual birth defect called a father. Everyone has one. Some of us have 2. Many have one that was never a part of their life. I had one that was great to me and was always a part of my life. When he passed away, it was hard on me even though he was my step-father. But on my birth certificate, he was my legal father. In many ways, he treated me better than his own, but not because he wanted it to be that way. His gravestone, and the way that I will always remember him says "Loving Father".

Enter the "sperm donor"... (thanks Nicole for the title!)

I have some memories of spending time with him as a child... 35 years ago. They were good. Since then I can say that we have not spoken 35 times. He's called on my birthday maybe a half dozen or so times. Basically, he's not a part of my life. Ever. And I would like to keep it that way.

Last week I got a call from his ex (#2) that he was in the hospital, possibly with cancer. Something that I should know at least... hey, guess what, there's a history of this shit in my family... great... They were supposed to call back, and I guess I could call, but I have principles. If you say you will call, then call... otherwise don't make yet another promise that you can't keep. I feel bad for my half brothers. They are close to him. However, even though I have tried in the past to be a part of that family, I am not.

My father, the man who raised me, the man who I respect greatly passed away in 2005 the day after fathers day. I wish this other person the best of health, but unless you actively involve me in your life, I'd rather stay out of it. LIfe's too short for your BS. I'm going boarding.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gobble, Gobble...

Beth had her second surgery on her sinus last week. All seems to be going well. We need to not be so competitive... now we're even with the surgeries, although hers was a bit more invasive since it involved drilling and scraping in her head.

Took some time off from work and actually didn't do any work at home! It was a first, and it was much needed. Hopefully I'll get my groove on next week and get caught up on some things.

I'm ready for the snow to come. I'm not running at CIM, so I'm slowly going to rebuild things and shoot for Valentine's Marathon. I can use some snowboarding right about now...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

(Re)Building confidence

Recovering from a bad race sucks. First you have the physical healing. Some things heal quickly, others take time. Some you can run through, others you physically cannot. Even once you get through the physical aspects, there's the mental part...

Until this last week, my recovery from Portland has been slow and tough. I'm still working through everything, but until just recently, I was some damaged goods (mentally). No confidence, wallowing in defeat. The cure is running and getting back to form, but when the body doesn't allow that, the mental side festers.

The good new is that I'm back in action. Two tempo runs over 6 miles @ just over 7 min pace. One long 16.5 miler (first half and second half splits were within 30 seconds). The speed isn't quite there yet, but I'm not certain that will be an issue. I logged over 40 miles this week, most of it was very positive.

To CIM or not to CIM. That is the question. I believe if I can get over the mental issues, I can break through on the physical side. I'm 90% there... but in marathoning, the last 10% is all guts and I still have just a small glimmer of doubt. Can I gut out the last 10k if I run the first 20 smartly? If I run it like I did today over 16.5, then the answer is yes.

Monday, October 29, 2007

So good! So Good!

Game over, series over, and the Red Sox are champions again. It was said so matter of factly, as if it was expected by everyone.

They led it all from mid-April until the fat lady warmed up. The Rockies towels and pathetic chants were no match. I've heard many broadcasters state throughout the season that Sox fans cheer every pitch. We do. We believe... again. In my lifetime, they have now won it all twice. Since Buff and I got married 3 years ago, they have won it twice. After three long years of waiting, a championship has returned to Boston.

Winning isn't everything, but it sure does feel nice! The best part of all of this is getting to watch a lifelong Yankee fan have to wear a Red Sox World Series Championship shirt in the office for a day.

Sweet Caroline!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

World Series

Some people waited a lifetime for the Sox to win a series. After tonight, they are on the brink of doing it twice in my lifetime. Simply amazing...

Since mid-April, they led the AL East division. From leading the Yankees by 14 1/2 games down to 1 1/2 games... to clinching the East. Sweeping the Angels, coming back from 3-1 to beat the hapless Indians. Now the Rox, who were 21 for their last 22 games heading into the Series, have lost 2 straight. One major blowout, one close one dealt by the cunning Schill and upstart Oki-doki and "Twinkle Toes" Paps.

Onto Coors Stadium. Bring it! We know Beckett will take the mound in Game 5 if the Rox manage to win one, that's money. It would be so sweet to be able to win it in front of the Boston fans at Fenway, but we'll take the win at Coors if we have to...

I love this Nation!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'm not dead...

'Ere. He says he's not dead!
Yes, he is.
I'm not!
He isn't?
Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.
I'm getting better!
No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.
Oh, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
I don't want to go on the cart!
Oh, don't be such a baby.
Officially, I finished the Portland Marathon. In my mind, I left it all up on Willamette. I'm not dead yet, and I'm not done with what I started. I set out this year to qualify and run the Boston Marathon this April. The prescription that I was given yesterday, "you need to run CIM." By next weekend, I will commit to this one way or another. That's how long I am giving my legs to decide what they want to do.

The California International Marathon is a "net negative" course. In layman's terms, it's a slightly downhill course for 26.2 miles. Certified with the largest % of Boston qualifiers.

I think I'll go for a walk.
You're not fooling anyone, you know. Look. Isn't there something you can do?
DEAD PERSON: [singing]
I feel happy. I feel happy.
This time, I'm doing it my way...

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Today I ran and finished my first marathon. I should be more happy with this, but I'm numb with the disappointment from months or preparation. I did not qualify for Boston, not even close...

Through the half, I was right where I wanted to be, 1:31:00, on pace for just over 3 hours and well within Boston qualifying time. Heading up the St. John's Bridge, I had some minor issues, but worked past them and was still right on pace (although cutting it close, thought I could make back some time on Greeley). Then it happened...

After all this preparation, it never once crossed my mind that I'd have cramps, bad ones. My legs shut down. When I did my 21 mile training run 3 weeks ago, it was perfect. I was ready. Today, everything felt great at the start. At mile 20, nothing was right. I thought I could walk it out, get more water in me and stretch or something... nope. I fought my legs for the last 6 miles. I had to finish, I owed myself at least that much.

The last 1/2 mile I gutted it out. I started back up again and was not going to stop. It hurt more than anything I've ever done. I had to finish strong, at that point it was about pride... something that was kicked in the gutter repeatedly today.

I had one bad race all season. One... the one that mattered most to me. I'm sure I'll get perspective at some point, but I am competitive. I like to be at the top of my game... it just wasn't going to be today.

I should have known when the cap on my gel flask came off (and let the gel run down my legs... I looked like I shit myself... nice) that something bad was around the corner...

At least the Red Sox are 2 innings away from winning (and sweeping) their ALDS match up.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Final Countdown...

This is it. 9 months of getting back into running. 14 weeks of marathon specific training. Track workouts, tempo runs, 21 mile LSD, intervals, countless massages, nutrition habits. Everything down to picking the right socks and shoes. It's all in preparation for this Sunday.

In a matter of days, I'll join the masses and become a marathoner. While many train just to say they did it, this is deeper. This is about being a runner. There is no doubt that running is the one thing that I've always been good at.

As a teen in HS, I had a dream of one day going to the Olympics. I chose the path of a military life and that was the end of that dream (although, I was at the 88 Olympics in Seoul, but only as a spectator). Portland is my Olympic Trials. Boston will be my Olympics.

I went back to Eugene once and ran through the UO and up to Pre's rock. Finishing on the Tom and Bill McChesney Memorial Track (SEHS) was inspiring to me. It was where I once stood out as a descent runner. This last weekend I went to San Jose for a quick in and out (Dave Matthews Band concert). As a kid I used to run every morning to stay in shape for soccer... not always by choice, but I did it.

Running defined me. Running was my escape. My body knows what to do, now it's time to Just Do It.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

2 for the road...

Or, 13 days, 14 hours to go... not that I'm counting it down or anything.

Overall, I am very confident that this will be a success. The biggest battle will be the mental challenges over the last 5 miles. I've reviewed the course through running sections of it as well as visualizing myself over the course.

The last of the hard runs are over. For the next 2 weeks, I'll be tapering and letting the body heal (which it desperately needs). This was more than a 90 day training program (the norm for marathon training). It was 9 full months of rebuilding something that had been lost a long time ago. It was the inspiration of Sir Roger Bannister, the Perfect Mile, Bill Bowerman and the Men of Oregon. The passion and fire of PRE. The wisdom of Mike Manley and Steve McChesney. The spirit of those I've known and lost (Dan, Bill and Tom McChesney, my Dad). Bill McChesney Jr. is in the photo for this entry. Great guy from a wonderful family. I cried so very hard the day I found out he died in an accident.

This was a year of digging up my past and going back to my roots. I did all the hard work, but the mental preparation and guidance of Julie Browning were very important to get me this far. My wife Beth, who is everything I've wanted in a partner and best friend, and more...

I am a runner. It's in my blood. It's in my past. It's in my future.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Last of the long training runs

I'll admit it, I'm glad this last LSD run is over. 21 miles checking out the course again (technically it was 20.5 in 2:30, 7:19 pace). It went better than my last time over this route, so that's a good thing. The banner is out, the signs are on street posts, and the roses and mile markers have a fresh coat of paint. Portland Fit, Team in Training (leukemia) and some others were out doing their 21 mile benchmark also.

The highs this week: solid track workout, LSD went very well, working on a nutrition plan, being home, Red Sox crushing the Yankees Saturday. I also met with Jeff from Hammer Nutrition to get my race plan in place. Tested it out yesterday and it went pretty well, still need to make a few minor adjustments, but we should be good to go on race day for Hammer Gel and Endurolytes.

The lows: work, the Red Sox blowing a 6 run lead in the 8th on Friday to the damn Yankees (with Paps and Oki on the mound, how the hell that happened I'll never know). I love being threatened with lawyers in Mexico, really... it's such a joy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I still miss you after all these years...

September can be a painful month sometimes. The first few years were the hardest. Sometimes I have it pushed so far down that it doesn't come to the surface. More often than not, I don't have it pushed down far enough and it hits me when I'm not expecting it.

It's been 7 years. I still remember it like it was yesterday. Last thing I said to him was something along the lines of "Pick up some limes on the way and get your ass over here!". Typical. When I got back to his house the next morning, I knew something had happened, something bad. Very bad.

I met Dan 21 years ago in the barracks at Memphis. He had just turned 20 and I was going to be 19 in a few months. The friendship that started that fall would last a lifetime. Even though our travels would take us to Japan, the middle East, Indian Ocean, and through months of Desert Storm, once we got back to solid ground the friendship would always be there waiting. He was my best man, my drinking buddy. We golfed, skied, cycled, chased women, and managed to always stay just out of trouble. He pointed me in the right direction when my second marriage failed. I was going to move in with him. I had moved in... on that horrible weekend before the accident. He was honest, the best friend you could ever ask for. Dan was all that and more... he was like a brother to me. He was at his peak, I was at my low... I would have traded places with him if I could.

If I knew he was going to get on his Connie, I would have talked him out of it. It was pouring hard where I was at and it was heading his way. He stopped under an overpass because the rain had stopped the traffic due to an accident. Some delinquents drove onto the emergency lane and clipped a pair of other motorcycles before they hit him. He wasn't even on the bike. His Connie had almost no damage. He was hit from behind and never saw it coming. I used to see the chain of events all the time, like I was there watching in slow motion. Despite what they said, I don't think that he ever regained any awareness. The machines kept him alive while his body was trying to let go. I can still see him lying there...

It's been 7 years since I lost my best friend, but he's here with me every day.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Back from hell... and beyond

OK, so as I predicted, the week was long and grueling. Tuesday fly out to Scottsdale (where it was 113 degrees). At least I was in my normal time zone and was up early enough to get in a dreadmill run (it was over 80 degrees at 6 am outside).

Wednesday, meetings in Scottsdale, then fly out that afternoon for Tampa (via Dallas). In the afternoons, flights are limited and you're dealing with the time difference. We arrive in Tampa around 12:30 AM, so by the time we make it to the hotel and get wound down, it's around 2 am.

Thursday, up at 6 to catch up on some e-mails (pissing off my overseas counterparts), eat breakfast, inject some coffee into my system, then off to more meetings. We run over and have an hour to get to the airport (just 5 minutes away fortunately) for my flight back home. For the record, it was mid 90's and high humidity in Tampa. The good part was getting an upgrade from Houston to Portland. Four hour flight, first class, and a free movie. The perfect way to end a trip.

So, in summary... 3 days, 5 segments of flying, 2 hotels, 113 degree temperature (but it's a dry heat...), and 4 presentations. Not a great way to keep a consistent training plan, but work does pay the bills.

I was going to to Pints to Pasta today, but after my massage on Friday, didn't think that would be wise. I'm almost fully recovered from Hood to Coast, so I did go out with the intent of doing 13 yesterday. I only did 10.5 though since I was still tired. This week should be a good one to get refocused on everything.

One more long run next weekend, then the next 2 are tapering off.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

5 weeks and counting...

One thing that needs to be said about Hood to Coast... it takes a long damn time to recover from that race. I don't care how good your conditioning is. It does things to you that nothing else does.

That said, this was a slow recovery week. I just could not make the legs go at times. It was like a forced death camp march. Like today... everything felt OK, I just couldn't get my legs to turn over. This happens, and I really can't complain because the LSD runs do teach me a few things. For example... my racing flats were great in that last leg (8 miles) of the H2C, but at about 13-14 miles... not so much. I could use them in a half, but I now know that they will not be what I need for 26.2. Also, I think it's time to start ditching the foot pod. For the next 5 weeks, it's about the length of time and focusing on the HR for the training runs. More importantly, I need another pair of Hayward's or Skylars's (same Nike shoe, different year made). My Zoom Hayward's have been the shoe to get me through all this, but there is no way that I can do another race in them. Mileage is too high and they are getting too warn in spots.

The preparation for all of this is really nothing more than mental floss for the deranged (at least from this point forward). Can I make improvements over the next 5 weeks? Sure, but they won't be much. Only consistent training, eating, stretching, and rest matter now. The rest is all mental.

I want to break 3. I just need to convince myself that I am capable of this. I think that with ideal conditions, I am capable of breaking 3 hours. However, as today indicated to me, I have to mentally prepare myself to overcome things as they potentially can happen.

This week will be a pain too, on the road again for work. Out to Phoenix Tuesday afternoon, over to Tampa Wednesday afternoon, then back home Thursday. Woohoo!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hood to Coast - 6 weeks to go

Well, this was Hood to Coast weekend. 197 miles, 1200 teams, 12 runners per team. Mileage per person varies dependent on which leg they choose. 2 years ago I ran this and did well on the first 2 of 3 legs. The third leg I blew up on. The last 4 miles were sheer hell...

This year was going to be different. I wanted to not only go back and do those same legs again, but I wanted to take that third leg and not let it get the better of me.

Leg one is a 7.2 mile run along the Springwater Trail at the very eastern side. The first 2-3 miles are on gravel, but the terrain is ideal for setting a solid tempo. My splits were almost even pace, averaging 6:40's for a 47:20 overall time. Everything felt great there, no worries, it's all good...

Leg two is a 5.1 mile run in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere... It's all gravel, in the dark, with the team vans (support vehicles) kicking up a lot of dust. You're running off 2-3 hours sleep if you're lucky, and it's about 4:30 am. Fortunately this is also another mostly flat leg (unlike the runner before me, which was 5 miles of a slow grind uphill on gravel). I eased up on the last mile because I wanted to get a good cool-down before getting into the car. This leg also went real well (as it had the previous time for me), 34:10 for a 6:34 average pace.

By the third leg, you've now had maybe 4-5 hours of sleep if you're lucky. You've been living off GU, bagels, sports drink, and anything else you could get your hands on, and you've been living out of a van with 6 other runners for close to 24 hours now. Getting in and out of the van can be a challenge. Fortunately, before you went to catch some sleep around 8 am you got to eat pancakes at a Grange along the way (it's an exchange point and they do this every year).

Leg 3 is in the afternoon, you're closer to the coast, and you will most likely have a good head wind. There is little to no shade along this route, so if it's sunny, it can be real brutal. This is also an 8 mile leg and the terrain is rolling hills. The finish is an uphill 1/2 mile (or so) to a school. It's easy to see why so many will crack on this leg. Mentally and physically you are drained. You are starting out with sore, tired legs. Blisters on your feet from the first 2 legs can make each stride even more fun. Because of the terrain, keeping an even pace is more challenging. You have to give and take because of the hills, and work for the average speed. This year I was not going to POP, I would not lose focus, and I would not let this leg get the better of me.

I had the team go out about 4 miles to give me a morale boost. Gotta have more cowbell. At 4 miles I had battled the mental part, and it did have it's ups and downs, but I was still strong. The morale boost helped me kick it back into a rhythm again. With 2 miles left, it wasn't too hot, but the heat was starting to wear me down. Then it started to mist lightly... it was what I needed for another boost. I picked the pace back up slightly, and kept it going up to the base of the last hill. I thought of the last time I did this leg, and how Beth, who was already done and exhausted, met me at the bottom because I was so dead and led me up that hill (in sandals, and I could barely keep up). That gave me another burst as I reached the school. Once I hit the grass and the flat surface I gave it everything that I had left. I knew that I won this time. This leg had NOT defeated me as it had before, and I would reach my goal. 8 miles, 55:42, 6:58 pace.

My Portland goal is to break 3:20. That's a 7:38 average pace. My targeted pace is 7:10, which would be a 3:07:46. I just finished 20.3 miles (granted not in a row) with roughly a 6:43 average speed. This was the boost in confidence that I wanted...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Vacation, all I ever wanted...

I never thought that I'd need to have a vacation this bad...granted my work can be very stressful, but I really needed this one. My plan was to get in some runs, do some kayaking, read some books, and most importantly, relax and unwind. So I succeeded in all but one area... the running. My achilles was a bit tender from the LSD run over the previous weekend, and after one run around the area where we were located. I decided that hills in all directions would not be a good idea. I figured that since we were going to do a ton of walking, that would suffice.

Monday we drove up to the Olympic Peninsula and got settled in. Tuesday I ran and we did a 3+ hour kayak in the bay (that's Mt. Baker in the distance). Wednesday we returned to the site of our honeymoon in Victoria, BC. Thursday we relaxed, got a late start, and did a 2+ hour kayak with a dozen or so harbor seals. Friday was more sight seeing in Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island. Saturday we did a 3+ hour kayak and watched eagles build a nest. Sunday a quick trip out on the kayaks to see the seals again, and then back home.

If you're ever in Port Townsend, eat at the Wild Coho... simply amazing!

We came back relaxed and fresh. Next weekend is the Hood to Coast, so I'll get in my mileage and prepare myself for the hell of the Hood to Coast, sleeping in a van, in a field, running at 3 am, and then a third leg in the heat of the day late Saturday afternoon into a headwind over rolling hills.

In my next life I think I'll be a harbor seal...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

8 weeks to go - upping the mileage

Each week, the mileage increases. The LSD (long slow distance) runs get longer. Today was an experiment with testing out a section of the Portland Marathon course. 17.6 miles of it to be exact. I wanted to see how the back half of the course felt. Specifically the run up to the St. Johns Bridge. Everything went great through 14 miles, although I seem to have an issue with the concept of slow... LSD runs should be about 30-45 seconds slower than race pace. The last 3.6 were at what I'm considering to be 30 seconds slower than race pace. The first 14 were in the 7:10 average pace. It was tiring towards the end, but it felt good overall. I still need to work out a few bugs, but there's plenty of time for that.

Running isn't too painful, but lately that first 1/2 mile and when I stop are a bit hard on the old body. I can't complain though, things are progressing nicely...

Off to vacation now for the next week! woohoo!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Records are made to be broken

I'll admit that I'm not a big fan of Barry's, but I did grow up in the Bay Area. One of my most cherished posessions is a baseball that my father got from a San Francisco game back when Willy Mays and McCovey were playing. Whether he juiced or not, he got the fans attention and gave them something too look forward to. That he did it on his home turf makes it special to his devout fans.
What made this hard on me was that for the first time in a long while, I missed Bob. It hit me the morning after that I couldn't call him to talk about it. That made me sad. My father and I rarely saw things eye to eye, but when it came to sports, it was the one thing that we shared similar views. We liked the old school approach. You play for the love of the game, you play for the fans, you play because you can.
In his own way, my father was proud of the things that I did. Rarely did he tell me that he was proud of the accomplishments, but he used to boast about it to his freinds at the pub. What can you expect from an old, stubborn Irishman. When I run the Portland Marathon this fall, I'm running not just for me, I'm running for him. For the love of a father who was proud in his own way. For the man who taught me about sportsmanship, about doing what was right, even if I didn't agree with it.
Running isn't about the victory. It's about giving it your best shot, putting your best foot forward. At the end of the day, I can look back and know that I did my best, regardless of the final time.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

9 weeks to go...

So, the real reason why I started this blog was mainly so that I'd start to track the last 9 weeks of training to go before the Portland Marathon. I had a slight derailing of my training and race schedule due to an illness (the first week of my marathon training) in July, but I'd rather have it then than in 8 weeks. I've run 2 road races, 2 duathlons, and a few bike races for training. On the road I did an 8k (6:33 pace) and a 12k (tough, hilly course, still kept my pace under 7 min - with a mild injury to my calf). My duathons were a sprint (5k, 25k, 5k) and Olympic (5k, 40k, 10k) distance. In both I ran sub-7 mile pace (the 10k was 6:50 after a horrible 40k bike with lower back spasms).

On the track, I run repeat 800's weekly (or when I'm not traveling for work or sick). The last set I ran was 5 x 3 min pace with 1/4 recovery. The last 800 was in 2:46. They say that a 3 hour marathoner can run repeat 800's @ 3 min pace (it's not a guarantee that if you can run repeat 800's in 3 min that you can run a 3 hour marathon). 3 hours is a magical number in the marathon world. I'd love to make that, but my true goal is 3:20:59 - qualifying time for Boston.

To be successful in running you need realistic goals, and you need to stick to the training to hit those goals. Keep the focus on the main event, not the training races or the workouts. They are important, but it's OK to have a bad day in training (and I've had a few).

Where I'm at today. I'm hurting a little, but I have a massage appoinment this week to take the knots out of my back (the result of 12 hours of flying and 6 hours stuck in flooding last week). My long runs are getting longer and I'm almost finished with experimenting with shoes, socks, shorts, etc. I wish I could stop those damn blisters from forming every LSD run, but haven't found the right combination (including foot powder, body glide, and a variety of socks).

Overall, the outlook is positive. I have 9 weeks to build up to the event and I'm confident I will meet my goals.

Why run a marathon?

My wonderful wife decided she wanted to do a triathlon (or 2) to get into shape before we got married. So I coached her on running and started back doing some races myself. I wasn't too bad for someone that hadn't run much in almost 20 years. A year after we were married, we dicided to run the Hood to Coast relay together. It was fun, but painful. 22+ miles in less than 24 hours with little to no sleep (and poor nutrition) led to a 7.9 mile leg in the heat, through rolling hills, and a headwind. It was hell, but I did it.

Two months later I started having a problem with my left foot. It was swollen badly between the 4th and 5th innerspace. Shoes were painful to wear. We tried several things including lancing the area, MRI, x-ray, antibiotics, and cortisone. Nothing changed. Exploritory surgery was the only option. So in we go for my first ever surgery at the age of 38. It was not successful. The swelling and infections came back with a vengance. I was referred to another specialist for another round of stump the doctor. This time he went deeper, much deeper and removed a large (benign) growth. To this day we don't know what it was (although it was named Ringo in honor of the Beatles room at the doctor's office). I have a scar as well as almost daily discomfort as a permanent reminder. Sometimes it's just numbness, some times it actually does hurt a little. But it never bothers me when I am running. Today, that's all I care about.

A little over three months (and several agruments with the doctor) after the second surgery, I was finally cleared to run again. I started working with the same coach my wife worked with (Julie Browning) so that someone would keep me in check and help me build back up slowly. While I was waiting (and waiting) for the clearance to run again, I was trying to decide what my goal for the year would be. I had several options to go on, but nothing very clear at the time. After a month or so of training, I got this notion into me that I should run a marathon. Actually, it wasn't a notion, it became more of an obsession. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do this. The more I became confident that I could do this.

Not only should I run my first marathon, but I should try and qualify for Boston (3:20:59). My first race back from surgery was not an easy one, but I averaged 6:33 pace over an 8K (just short of 5 miles).

I have the speed, but the question is, can my legs hold up the pace I need over 26.2 miles...

Where it all Began...

It all started about 25 or so years ago. I ran. I ran because I was pretty good at it. I ran so I could escape. I ran because if I failed, I could only let myself down. In retrospect, I have to say that I was a very lucky person back then. Most kids (and adults) don't run "correctly". Their form is too forward, they heel strike, their arms are all over the place. I was lucky.... I had Mike Manley (one of Bowerman's elite runners) coach me as he was a teacher at my school. He worked with all of us on our form so that we at least had that going for us. The rest was up to us to put in the work.

I grew up in Track Town USA. Don't let Indianapolis or any other city fool you. Mike coached me for 2 years, then I had the fortune of beig coached by Steve McChesney (the McChesney family is the first family of track). I lived only 1/4 mile up the road from Alberto Salazar. I used to see him run all the time. Mary Decker (Tabb) Slaney did her workouts right near the SEHS track on the Amazon trail. Brad Hudson (coaching out of Boulder) was a teamate of mine. Eric Peterson (UCLA XC and distance coach) ran with me when we took second place at the AAU Junior Olympics in San Antonio. I met Steve Scott when he was in his prime at a Prefontaine Classic meet. Athletics West had all the elite runners in the US. Oh, and there was this guy Phil and his partner Bill that came up with this idea that became Nike. Eugene knows running.

I lettered every year in HS (South Eugene, 1986) in cross country and in track. I went to state twice in XC, but never in track. Looking back now knowing what I know today, I was a fool. I loved running the 800, but I just did not have the speed to be great at it. When I ran road races, I was always top 3-5 in my age group for the three years I was running XC. I should have been in the longer races (3000 meters), but my coach let me do what I wanted to do. I wish he would have sat me down and told me "look, your talent is in the longer distance. Give it a try at least." Sorry Steve... but as I said, I only let myself down. I have no regrets, just that morbid curiosity of "what if..."

After HS, it was off to the military (USN) for a while. I never ran much for a very long time. Even when I was coaching high school track in Washington for a few years, I didn't run much. And of course, I had 3 runners go to state in the 800 over 2 years... I may not have been fast, but I knew how to run the race. I knew how to coach it. I owe a lot of what I learned to all those that were a part of my life growing up.

To all of you who coached me and formed this obsession with running, I thank you.