Sunday, December 7, 2008

Feeling the need, the need for speed...

So the job's been going quite well. I've spent time volunteering for the Border Clash XC meet and the Nike Cross Nationals. So much fun helping out and being a part of these big events for HS runners. I wish they had some of them back in my day, but at least now I do get to help out with the meets.

My speed work has been going very well lately. I'm pushing the tempo to see what I can do. Last week I did a 2k at threshold in 7:05, which is pretty fast considering what I've been doing. That should roughly work out to a 17:40ish 5k, so I figured I'd give the Jingle Bell 5k a shot to see what I could do. I went out a little too fast, but I don't think that had any significant bearing on the race. 5:24 at the mile, about 11:15 at the 2 mile and 17:55 at the finish. So, not a bad effort at all. I'm happy with the progress and that's all that matters... for now... ;-)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Portland Marathon take 2...

Got there early before the Honey Pot lines were long so I could use the facilities, took my time to stretch and get "warmed up" (or as much as I could at 6 am in 50 degrees). Bad part... had to pee again with about 20 minutes to start and the lines were huge... I can wait!

Start off real easy and conservative, cruise through the first 3 miles right on pace for 3:10 - jump into a porta-potty and take care of that pee thing and jump back into the race. I figured now was better than later.

As I catch up to the group a young guy comes along and asks if I'm Mrs. Herman-Davis husband, I recognize him from running with the Aloha team this summer (he graduated last year), so I encourage Alex to run relaxed and stay with me. He has a goal of BQ; 3:10:59...

We're doing great on the pace, within a few seconds at the 10k and I decide to pick it up a little to close that time gap. We get from 20 seconds off to less than 5 by mile 11 and we're cruising. At 11 I see Beth and Ken (Aloha head coach). Ken joins us up around 12 for a half mile and I'm feeling relaxed and also feeling like I'm really holding back the pace, but I want to help Alex and 3:10 is my goal. At the half way, he has to jump into a porta-potty and I remind him to stay relaxed and keep focused, slowly work back to the pace group.

I take off dropping from 7:14 ave to 6:54 ave and by St. John's bridge I'm 1:20 ahead of pace. I lose 20 seconds on the bridge, which is OK... that was by design to recover and take the "hill" easy. As I cross the bridge, another friend sees me and his encouragement helps me pick it back up again. By now I'm passing a lot of people that went out too fast (been there, done that). At 20 I'm about 1:40 ahead of pace and that's the largest gap I have on the pace group. Around 21, one of the other coaches joins me for about a half mile and the conversation is a nice distraction from not being able to feel my feet. By now it had rained a lot and at 50 degrees, my feet were cold and my fingers were a little numb too.

Greely was a nice feeling. I'm now past 22 and feeling good. I can relax the downhill and not work too hard for a mile or so. Up to 24 I'm back and forth with another runner and encouraging her, she's trying to get under 3:10 for BQ too. Old pharts got it good with that extra 10... I've also slowed back down some, feeling tired, but knowing all I have to do is keep running and I've got BQ.

Over the bridge, around to Front, and we're about 1.5 from the finish. I stil look good, and really, as Vera would agree, that's all that matters. I see Beth again with Karen and Malcolm Costello (at mile 1 I could hear Karen asking if he'd seen me yet right as I was passing in front of her... lol) and it's a pretty emotional moment... seriously. I tell Beth to watch for Alex becuase he's going to need the push at the end.

I cruise through the finish, tired, elated, and done... I turn in time to see the gal that had been with me make BQ, and a few seconds later Alex also crossed for is BQ. I never was in doubt about not making 3:10, it was all positive. On top of getting my BQ, I also helped a few others by encouraging them along the way.

Still have my toenails, lost a little skin, hamstrings are done... but I feel great... and I'm shipping up to Boston!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Running is my life

I was asked this question (while reading Runner's World on the bus), "coach, do you live and breath running all the time?" Well, yes... at least for the moment it is my life. I run on my own, I coach a great group of kids and run with them, I read running, I think about running... I am running...

Running centers me. It keeps me grounded and focused. I used it when I was working for stress release and to think through problems. It is something that gives me purpose these days and a means to take a break from the job search.

Besides... I am three weeks away from the Portland Marathon. This will be #3 in a year. I'm not as focused on the training as I have been in the past. Right now I'm just trying to keep up mileage and stay free from injury. Knock on wood...

In 2 weeks we have the Nike Pre-National XC meet. It'll be a conflict of interest for me... SEHS will be there (go Axemen!), but so will my Warriors. Too bad McChesney is down south for a different invitational...

I run because I can. And as long as I can run, I'll never stop.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

5 weeks to Portland...

It's like deja-vu all over again...

The training has been going well, perhaps not as much mileage as I should be at, but it's about quality more than anything else. I put in a 17.26 mile run yesterday, which went exceptionally well. I was trying to run a very easy pace so that I had energy at the end. I also wanted to be relaxed and feel like I wasn't running hard. Easy being the mantra of the day. At the half mark, I was around 1:36, certainly not as easy as I had intended it to be, but I felt strong and relaxed. The final average pace was 7:33. My "goal" (Boston cutoff) pace is 7:38.

My feet were a little tender, but that may be in part due to the Hood 2 Coast last weekend. That took most of the week to recover from, and I'm still not at 100%. So, there's still work that needs to be done. I need to continue focusing on rehabing the tight, sore areas. I need to get in at least an 18 and a 20 (I'd be better off if I could get in a 20 and a 22) and stay injury free.

The kids motivate me. Watching them run is like a breath of fresh air. I miss the "good ol'" days of running XC. Coaching them has been a good distraction for me and more importantly, I think several of them will benefit from my wisdom (how scary is that!).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

We may be old... but we're not slowing down!

Hood to Coast Part 3:

In the wake of losing my job, I had time to run a little more, coach, and find a competitive team to run on. That was the last thing I wanted to try, run H2C on a competitive team. There was a group of 40 yr. old guys that lost a runner in the 11th hour and needed a 39 minute 10k runner to fill in the gap.

There's nothing like jumping into a van with 6 strangers for 24 hours with little to no sleep, running in the dark, trying to stay ahead of the congestion, trying to keep your intestines, well, flowing...

197 miles and a love for the Honey Bucket. The lines, the traffic, the running half asleep, the excitement of Fred Meyer in Sandy, the feeling of standing in the Pacific Ocean after a long, hard 24 hours. I love it. I hate it... or at least my body does today.

The excitement really sparked up when we found out that we were projected to finish second in the Masters Men division. Could we hold it together and finish second? How close and how possible would it be to win it all? Anything can and will happen on the Mother of all Relays...

First leg, our runner had bad calf cramps towards the end and lost a few minutes on his leg... this is NOT how to start off the H2C. Leg 1 is hell. It's been the death of many runners. This is an extreme downhill sprint. After the first van exchange we were down 10 minutes on our projected time.

Van 2 takes to the roads and we nail it. No time lost, and we dropped a few teams that we were trying to keep pace with (OK, so really we were a bunch of 40 year old men that didn't want to get passed by the girls...). I killed my first leg, a short 4.38 mile that I was supposed to run at 6:20 pace. I was less than 30 seconds over the time, which was awesome considering several of the intersections I had to cross.

Tragedy: A teenage girl in the P2C high school relay was hit on HWY 30. First accident in 27 years. She's alive, but will have a long road to recovery. I wish her well. I saw the emergency vehicles on the side of the road and knew something bad had happened. My heart goes out to her, her family, and her team today.

Little to no sleep for the wicked... we get 2 hours at St. Helen's HS and we're off again. Fortunately I get to snooze a little longer in the back of van. My second leg is around 4:30 in the morning heading into Jewel. A nice 4.1 mile roller through the early morning mist. At one point, my Nike+ registers a 5:28 mile pace. The projected pace for me was 6:05, ummm, yeah, OK. I was only 5 seconds off my time. Sweet! At the start of the third round of legs, we're still only about 10 minutes off our projected time. However, there are 3 legs to this relay (just as there are 3 phases to a race). You have to finish what you started. And finish it right. The good news was our first leg injury has proved to be cramps and he is still able to run (just slightly hobbled).

No rest for me at the second rest stop. Bathroom and food lines won over the sleep. That's the challenge of a competitive team. You don't get as much rest as you normally would. Plus I needed to try and get something in me. My intestines were not happy.

Last legs. Our top guy had a rough last leg. I've done leg 33 the previous 2 times and know how bad it is. The weather can make or break this leg. Even though it was only about 70, the exposure to the sun, the rolling hills , and the fact that you are beyond exhausted from lack of sleep and proper nutrition. He only lost a few minutes, but you could see the pained look on his face. I've lived it and know it... and knew that I might just be feeling the same thing soon.

Last leg. 7.2 miles on a trail. Sounds good right? Yeah, whatever. No shade, little breeze, and it was either flat or uphill the whole way (mixed pavement and gravel, which kills me). I went shirtless as I knew I'd just take it off in the first mile. I had water to pour on my head and drink as needed. But I was tired, my calves were lifeless from the previous 2 runs, and I had to average 6:40's. It was brutal, not overly bad, but not that great. I kept it going as strong as I could, hoping that the time lost wouldn't be the difference (the winning women's teams were seperated by 8 minutes). In the end, I lost a few, averaging 7:05's. It felt like it would never end...

In the end, it was worth it. I'm tired, but not too sore today. The Parkland Youth (PLU) Masters team took third in our division, 28th fastest overall team out of 1000. Not bad for a bunch of old farts!

Friday, August 8, 2008


It's been a while since I last updated, so here's the short version...

July was a busy month with a trip out to Toronto for work followed by some big meetings with partners. Beth headed out to Longmeadow for the start of her "vacation" (one week with Mom before I joined her and we headed to the Cape). The doctorate program is, in a nutshell, hell for her.

All was going fairly well until the day I was supposed to head out east to join her. I had a "download" meeting with my boss and was informed that they were going to have to let me go. Restructuring. Whatever the reason, it sucks. Sure I can collect unemployment and I got a package, but it still sucks. Job hunting today is not easy. To some extent it's not really about how good you are, it's about who you know. Fortunately I was given my vacation as paid time off and would be on the payroll until the 6th of August.

So, off I go on the red eye to Hartford, wondering how I'm going to tell my already stressed out wife that I'm no longer employed. She took it in stride and has been extremely supportive. The 2 weeks out east were great, we had a whole week on what was almost a private beach on the Cape Cod National Seashore, I went to Fenway Park TWICE (Yankees and Angels, although we lost both), ate lobster TWICE, and got real tan. Considering I'd just lost my job, it was a great vacation.

Back home and ready to leave InFocus after 7 1/2 years it all feels so surreal. I'm going to volunteer at Aloha HS as a cross country coach for a while (hopefully for the season) and find the next great adventure in life.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

4 years in the making...

I've had this vision for sometime now... pretty much ever since we first moved into the house. Time, money, time, lack of vision, and a plethora of other excuses kept me from starting this project.

This would be the year that I'd start and finish the backyard. It had to be done if we're going to sell this house and not get a lot of negatives due to the back being unfinished (and worn down by the pooches).

April: It begins... I wear the dogs out the first big weekend of work. The storage shed gets moved to open the space up more. You can see the beginning of the "trench" where the retaining wall will eventually be. The 2 cement pads to the left will eventually be removed (2+ hours with a jack hammer, yeah, I busted out with the big boy tools). The whole backyard pretty much looks like this surface, well packed down bark dust.

May saw little work due to a lot of little things, but there was the weekend with the Bobcat MT-52 mini-loader (google that bad boy! it totally kicks ass!). One long day of leveling things out on the upper end of the backyard, finishing the retaining wall, and realizing I've now made a HUGE mess back there.

June: This was the month I had to get this done. One big push the weekend the pavers were delivered. Rototill, level, spread, 3 loads (ultimately needing 4) of 1/2 cubic yard of gravel (3/4 minus with a top layer of 1/4 minus), and 4 pallets of pavers.

240 sq. ft. of patio space is done, put a fork in it...

Final weekend of June: Wash, rinse, repeat. It was a do-over of the previous weekend of leveling, smoothing, gravel, plate compactor, laying the pavers, and realizing I'm not 20 anymore.

About another 180 sq. ft. of patio is done. The project (for the most part) is complete. We now have a kick ass place to beat the summer heat. In all, I estimate that it took me roughly 60 hours of labor to do this project over several weekends.

Tools of the trade:
Bobcat MT-52 with bucket and tiller attachment

5 HP and 9 HP tiller (the 5 didn't cut it).
Bosch electric jack hammer.
Plate compactor
Brick Saw

I'm done, put a beer in me. Barley's satisfied with the quality, that's all that really matters.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


22 years in the making... I grew up in a house where the Celtics were the team my father loved dearly. Being Irish, what other team would he root for? Bird, Parish, DJ, McHale, Ainge, Russel, Havlicek... and of course, Red. Now it's Pierce, Allen, and Garnett.

Watching the Celtics DESTROY the Lakers tonight was amazing and emotional. 3 years ago my father passed away on Father's Day. I wish I could call him tonight about this game. I know he'd be very happy and probably a bit choked up too. I know I was...

Boston. Beantown. City of Champions. Red Sox, Pats, now the Celtics. 17 Championships in 62 years. Beating LA by a ridiculous amount at home. Priceless.

This one's for you dad... one for the Irish!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Drop Top 10k

I had this goal last year, run a 10k in under 40 minutes. Well, I never raced that distance until this weekend, so the goal was still there.

I felt real good at the start and went out a little too fast, but it didn't feel out of control. I got into a solid rhythm through 2 miles and kept that pace through 4 miles. Then, just like old times, mile 5 I dropped off my pace, way off... but still in good position. I was in 10th place through the first 3.5. I dropped a place but kept him in check until we crossed back over the highway. With 1.5 to go, I slowed and lost contact and didn't get it back. I did push hard through the last mile and finished strong in... just under 40 minutes.

6:25 ave pace.
11th overall
10th male
3rd overall masters men
1st in age group

How sweet it is!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Running through the Past - Darkly

Well, I did it. I went and ran Eugene. Saturday I arrived at the Expo in time to listen to Kenny Moore speak and get him to sign his book (Bowerman and the Men of Oregon). Dinner at Track Town Pizza (a trip down memory lane), so all was good.

Up at 5 am to get in breakfast and head out to Autzen for the shuttles to the start at Hayward Field. It was crisp and cool, perfect starting weather for a race. Standing outside Hayward memories of the many track meets that I attended there running through my mind. We start off heading towards Hendricks Park and Pre's Rock. My knee's were tight from being cold, but I figured they'd loosen up (and they did). Easy pace through the first mile, running through the residential streets and heading towards Roosevelt Middle School. Down to Amazon Parkway, it's like I was a kid again on a training run heading home from South. At the first turn around I saw Bill and Marcia McChesney. Kenny Moore was at mile 3 and 6 cheering us all on. Through Amazon Park and past the SEHS track. The memories were all coming back to 22 years ago. Mile 7 was the Bill McChesney Jr. mile, right near the SEHS gym. The crowd there was amazing! I see the Axemen Track sweatshirts at the water station in front of the school, a glowing moment of pride.

My pace through all of this was perfect, low 7's and fairly consistent. Everything feels great. We head past UO, over the footbridge, and out to Springfield. I try to slow down a little to conserve energy. Since I was down for so long, I knew that endurance and fatigue would be my enemy. I come through the half in 1:36, sweet! I needed to be between 1:35 and 1:40, when I need to, I can run pace perfectly. By 16, I was a little tired but still feeling strong. I'm told that I looked strong through 17 (felt pretty good too), but I knew it would only be a matter of time before fatigue was going to be an issue. Mile 18 I had sock issues (lovely blisters as a result) and dealt with it as best as I could. Still good at 20 although I've dropped my pace (while fussing with my socks around 18).

OK, so 10k to go. Gut check time. I think I might be able to pull this off...

At 22, I'm tired. I know my stride is not where it needs to be and my lack of endurance is showing. I could still pull out a BQ, but I'm not overly optimistic. I've had an awesome run and and happy with whatever comes my way. 3 to go and I'm losing it. 2.5 and the wheels come off. With just 2 miles to go, I can't run anymore. I've given it everything I had, and that's OK. I stroll to the footbridge, see Autzen, and start to jog it in. I run through the finish line and it's done. Marathon #2 is in the books. It was hell to get here, but I'm not complaining about a thing. I ran as perfect a race as I could considering all that had been going on the last 3 weeks.

I'm dreading walking down stairs...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Here I go again...

So the rehab has gone well this week. It's not perfect, but it's considerably better. I know I can run in the 7:30-40 range, but it's just a question of for how far and will my legs hold up. If they don't and I have to stop, I'm OK with that. It's a mental health thing. I'm mental and I run for my health...

As the doc put it, well, if you've paid the entry and you think you can do it as a training run, then go for it. If it hurts, then stop.

News at 11...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Anatomy of an Injury

OK, so I did some "light" reading (not that I hadn't already done this before), but this thing called the IT Band is rather fascinating. The fact that it primarily will only show up in running and cycling makes it a double edged sword for me.

I won't bore anyone with the details, but you can google the hell out of this for treatment, stretching, diagnosis, long term effects, surgery, cortisone treatments, Yoga, whatever you desire.

So what matters here is that today I got shot up with cortisone. I can theoretically run tomorrow, but I may wait another day to let the magic work. Right now my ass is on fire from the shot (to be expected, last time I got a shot in my foot, that burning sensation went halfway up my leg). I know, TMI...

The doctor still seems to think that I could concevably still run Eugene as a training run. My kind of doc, prescribes a 26 mile run for rehab... lol

I'm moving forward with caution. I don't want to be down for a whole month becuause I did something stupid. A week would be acceptable though... ;-)

Friday, April 25, 2008

The other side of the pillow...

When you're hot, you're hot... when you're not... life stinks.

OK, first major negative post of the year. Since the Race for the Roses, I've been battling IT band problems. First 2 days were OK, but very tight. Took a day off and rested, iced, stretched. Got in 2 solid runs and was happy with the progress. Did a 10.5 miler on the following Sunday and the wheels came off the bus. My IT band hurt bad around my knee. Very bad...

Took 3 days off, tried to run 2 miles and couldn't. Saw the doc and we did some manipulations to release the IT band. New shoes. Tried 2 miles on the dreadmill and that was OK, minimal pain. Tried to run the next day (Sunday) and had to stop within the first mile. Another 3 days of rest, ice, rehab and then deep tissue massage on the lower back, hips, and left leg. I felt a noticable difference in my range of motion, so I thought things would be better.

Tried to run again (4.8 miles). It would get tight, I'd walk, stretch, walk, then run again. Repeat as necessary (every mile?). Last night after that run, it was hell. No amount of ice, no position, nothing felt good.

Note: At this point, many runners can become destructive, depressed, or just plain cranky.

Eugene is in 9 days. It's looking extremely bleak to run even the 5k there (the half and full marathon are not looking even remotely possible). I'm taking another day off, I'll try aquajogging tomorrow and Sunday, but I'm about ready to throw in the towel.

Yup, I'm pissed and not in the best of moods for a Friday. I wanted this race badly and managed to screw it all up with an injury that I can't run through. I should be thankful that I can do these things, but it's not easy to see that when it hurts this much.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Race 4 the Roses

Race #2 of the year went off without a hitch. I was skeptical at first that I'd be able to run it, but the week went well and I decided to go for it. I couldn't do my usual pre-race plan since mom was up for the weekend, but I wasn't worried (Oba! = yummy!!!). Sometimes it pays to not be so anal about the pre-race plan.

Got to the start on time, the warm up was nice (jogging from the parking to the Convention Center), and what was even better was having the warm indoor area of the convention center to stretch in. Yes, it was freakin' cold out... 42 F at the start and it had been raining.

The race was perfect. I set my pace to slow down the first mile and adjust for the hills and downhills. I wanted to keep right at 7 min pace and make this an "easy" race. Slightly aggressive going up Front Ave., then relaxing pace going down Broadway. The winds were cold and gusty at times, but never too severe. The sun broke about halfway through the race, and that was nice.

Overall, 1:30:48, pace = 6:56. Right on track for Eugene!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Still got it...

It's been a while since I last posted, just haven't felt like it I guess. I hit black ice, did a fair amount of damage to my Pathfinder (surprised they didn't total it). Fortunately I didn't get hurt. Went to Mexico for work (again), came back, got sick, missed a lot of running, got back into it, applying for a new job (same place different BS), and here we are again.

I ran the Shamrock Race today. I love that course. It's fast, but has a challenging run up Broadway for mile 2 and then up 6th to Barbur on mile 3. It was a balmy 42 degrees at the start. I kept the pace in control for the first mile and came through in 6:35. I charged up Broadway through the second mile in about 6:25 and then cruised mile 3 to save up some energy for the final 2 mile sled run into the finish. Assuming the mile markers were in the correct position, Charlie and I pushed the last 2 miles in under 12 minutes. I wasn't going to let him beat me. Never again. I guess it's that Irish Pride that Bob had, and now it's coming out in me even though I'm not really Irish. I guess if the man who was your father for 30+ years had Irish Pride some of it was bound to rub off on me.

Hopefully I'll hear about the new job next week one way or the other. I'm hoping I get it even though I know life will get more (different) stressful than it is now. At least I'll be making 6 figures for that level of stress.

One week to Monterey and Arroyo Grande!!! Can't wait to take a break from the madness of work.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Is it possible to ever have "too much"?

121 inches in 8 days... many ski resorts would KILL to have this much snow in one season. We had that in one week. This isn't your normal run of the mill Cascade concrete, this is the good shit. No Mad Dog 20/20 here... this is the 15 year Scotch of snow. In all my years living in the PNW, I've never seen snow like this. Never. This is the kind of deep powder junkies like me dream of. This is the ticket booth on the HRM side of Mt. Hood Meadows. That is a LOT of snow.

Snow settled in at base: 182 inches (as of 2 PM today)

This is what I felt like being up in that snow...

It's been years since I've been up to the mountain this many times. Probably over 12 years ago to be more precise. Sure I probably should be getting in more long runs on the weekends, but for now I'm a junkie. This was trip #6 and it keeps getting better every single time.

I must have a day in Heather Canyon to complete this year.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sweet Tasty Powder...

It was supposed to be a "light snow year" up on Mt. Hood. Well, somebody LIED!!! That or they forgot to tell Mother Nature this... I got the 10x pass this year thinking I'd put it to good use. So far that's 5 trips up into some great snow days.

Yesterday was unfreakingbelievable! Light, fluffy powder everywhere. The base is around 137" and there's more that was dumped last night. Last time I was up, it was a wet, heavy snow. Not bad since it slows you down, but wet sucks. But yesterday... wow... the kind of snow that when you carve a perfect turn, the light powder poofs up into your face as you carve your way down the mountain. It's been a banner year and the snow level is absolutely amazing!

I live for days like yesterday. Powder like that puts a perma-grin on your face like nothing else. It's up there with puppy breath and puppy licks. Speaking of which, my awesome neighbors just got a Mastiff-Sheppard mix. Porter is his name and he's one cool pup. He's going to be huge, perhaps even bigger than fatty. Although 154 pounds is a touch challenge for the young Porter to reach. I have faith in him. Lilly has no idea what to do with puppies. She wants to play, but she can get out of control too quick. All 10 week old Porter wants to do is air-hump everything... lol

What do you expect for a dog named after a dark winter brew???

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And so another chapter closes...

January 23, 2008, 2:30 PM (PST): Fred Smith passed away today from cancer. In less than 2 months time, his life went from the normal 6 day work week to hospital trips to hospice care at home.

I've come to learn one thing. Hospice care means you will die soon. For some, it's best that it's sooner than later. That means they can't really do anything else for you but make you comfortable.

In the end, I realized that this was just the way it was meant to be. Fred married my mom, they gave birth to me, they got divorced, I was adopted by my step-dad, I grew up, we saw each other once again, we talked a few times, and now he's gone. Once upon a time I was angry with him. Then I realized that he did the right thing for me. I like who I am and I'd be different if he was more a part of my life. That much I am certain of. I feel... something, just not sure what that is. My heart goes out to Jason and Brian. You shouldn't lose your young (62) father at their age. They were close to him, Jason more so than Brian. I'd like to believe that Fred did that to make up for his regrets.

I really don't care about the "truth" of what transpired 35 years or so ago. It doesn't matter. Recent actions speak volumes. Back then you legally could not be a part of my life, that was signed away. You had your chance to be a friend, and that just didn't work out. We're the same, yet very different. He was happy with his life, so I can't compare my life to his. I've accomplished more in 20 years professionally than he did in 40, but that really doesn't matter. It doesn't make me better than him because that's not what he was about.

One thing that I've learned in life is that it really is all just about being happy with who you are and what you are doing. I'm driven to "fix" things. I work hard and I play hard. I've earned that much.

Like it or not, you're in my blood. I'm glad your suffering is over and that it went quickly for your sake and for theirs. I'm sorry that they didn't have the time to really prepare for this, but life is funny that way. I lost Dan in the blink of an eye... and that took time to recover from.

I love my wife. She is my anchor. I know this wasn't easy for her since it's only been a year since her father passed away. At least now there are no more dad's to die...

The year will get better from here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

26 days...

26 days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. I just had to say it...

It's hard to focus on other sports when I know Spring is almost here, rings will be delivered, and the madness will start all over again. The only thing that will distract me is selection Sunday in a month from now.

Mmmm... March Madness in High Def.

And yes, we will be going to a game at Fenway this summer. Even if it kills me.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Surviving the end of 2007

What started out to be a relaxing and quiet end to the year made some interesting turns right at the finish. My wife had some late night pains last Saturday. After a few hours, she realized that she needed to go to the ER. That was a good thing, ended up she had gall stones and they had to do emergency surgery Sunday afternoon. New Years eve for her was in bed early (after getting released from the hospital late that afternoon) with a couple of oxycodine. She's doing much better a week later, but needs to take things slow for a while.

I made the commitment to run the Eugene Marathon. I'm excited about it. The course basically lays out the trails and roads that I ran on 20+ years ago when I was at South Eugene. I wanted to do a race down there last year, but held off since the one I wanted to do was a tough course (Butte to Butte). This is my homecoming. In some regards, this is more special to me than Boston. This is where the next Olympians will be chosen. Eugene is the true birthplace for running and this race is in the footsteps of legends. The spirits of Pre, Bill and Tom McChesney, and Bowerman are all along this course. The likes of Salazar, Chappa, Decker-Slaney, Manley, Dillinger, and a host of others past and present ran these roads and trails.

Now, if I only could get my hands on a SEHS Axeman singlet...

Footnote: Quick update on my birth father. Seems like the years of working in the auto environment has caught up to him. He has cancer, most likely caused by exposure to asbestos brake pad dust combined with second hand smoke, gasoline and diesel exhaust. They say he may have a few months with treatment, but I'm still thinking that it's going to be more like a few weeks. I made my peace with myself, that's all that matters to me.