Saturday, April 16, 2016

Final speech

Here is the speech I gave at the final training run before the Oklahoma City Memorial marathon.

We all come to this marathon training for different reasons. We all get something different from it too. But the thing that makes this marathon special is that you might be running for yourself but here, in Oklahoma City you are also running to remember... To heal.... And most importantly for me, to celebrate. We remember those 168 mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, friends, people who lost their lives 21 years ago. We help those left behind to heal. But we also celebrate the lives that we still have. If we take away nothing else from the horrible tragedy, we should take away the fact that life is precious, and short. Those 168 lost lives paint the picture that screams "Celebrate your life" with bold bright colors! Celebrate what you have!
When you took your first steps with us 15 weeks ago, you did just that. You recaptured your life from the prison of everyday life and set yourself on a bold course. Very few people in the world attempt to run a marathon or a 1/2 marathon. You put into a select group who decided that something difficult was worth attempting. That mountain may be high but I'm going to climb it. In doing that, you are celebrating your life and honoring those 168 souls who, I'm sure, every year at this time are smiling down on us because they see us out there, living, sometimes suffering, but really experiencing all that life has to offer. I have to figure that if somehow they could come back, get a second chance at the life that was taken from them, they'd be right here with us. Doing those things that are hard, doing those things that awaken your soul or keep your soul awake by challenging it to new heights.
We run to remember and we run to heal. But remember to celebrate a little too. Have a great run next week, I hope it hurts like hell, I hope you laugh, cry, smile, curse, hurt, get a second wind, feel those great endorphins, and suffer horribly the week after. All those things are called being alive and I hope you don't cheat yourself out of any of them.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Up and down

I've wrestled this demon for so long I'm exhausted. I thought I was fighting to stay up but I realize now that up is an illusion. A temporary glimpse above the water into a place I cannot stay. It's somewhat comforting to finally realize this because now I know the fight is futile and I can rest that internal struggle that I thought was keeping me up but was actually a cycle of jumping and falling.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Completed my second run tonight after a long layoff to let my hamstring heal. The first run, yesterday, was short and really nothing more than a trial run to make sure nothing hurt or fell off. Today's run, however, was a full-blown 6 miles. It was fantabulous! Adi ran with me for the first mile so I got to show off my super mega hot girlfriend to all the neighbors. Oh yeah that's right, she's running with me! Check me out.
I ran down to the Oklahoma City National Memorial which is one of my favorite routes. I live just north of the city so running down to the Memorial takes me through some beautiful rolling hills and multi-million dollar homes, then dumps me out into midtown where it seems everything is being built, and then you end up on the edge of downtown. It's a good mix of residential and urban sprawl. The Memorial itself is just beautiful and seems to beg people to run around it. Maybe that's just me.
I got a nose full of spring too! I smelled cut grass, gas powered weed eater exhaust, road tar from road construction, baking bread from the bread factory, and beer from the midtown bar patios. It was awesome.
It was 74 degrees tonight. I love spring!

Thanks for listening

Friday, March 6, 2015

New leaf

I always hate when I have to say, "it's been awhile since I've written" so I won't. Let's just move on from that and live in the present. I want to write again. I miss it.

I also want to run again. Not just run again but really RUN again. It's funny, when I was running with a time goal and was concerned about my finish times, I always thought that I should run for the sake of running and learn to find joy in the pure experience of being on my feet and moving. I accomplished that goal and for the past few years have thoroughly enjoyed running without a watch or a goal and sharing the joy of running with others. Now, however, I've come back to wanting a goal. A real time goal. Running with a purpose. I miss the fatigue of following a training plan. I miss the nagging feeling of dread in knowing I have a speedwork session after work. That uncomfortable but yet amazing feeling of pushing my legs as fast as they can go, throwing form and efficiency out the window and finding the limit of my speed. Walking that razors edge of injury. Weird, huh?

Maybe I'm on a cycle. It seems every 4-5 years my desires change. Part of me thinks that is another sign of my impending insanity. Another part of me thinks that I just get bored with things after awhile. The third half of me thinks all this is true and I'm pretty lucky to have the ability to follow those desires wherever they lead and whenever they hit.

I'll be updating this page with new pictures and plans. More for me than for you but feel free to check up on me if you like. I miss you.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Some demons

Some demons refuse to die. I've found that most demons that plague life will die away with only mere confrontation and acknowledgement if their existence. Some are a lot more ingrained into the soul and can't be done away with easily.

My hardcore demon is depression. I've confronted this guy in many ways but he always finds his way back to my life. 

Fact is, I'm struggling harder with him now than before. It's as if he's getting stronger and digging deeper into my souls like a parasite that gets stronger the longer he makes his home in the host. 
I wish I could put into words what depression is. It's more than a feeling, and it's more than physical discomfort. It's a synergy of both working together to infect your entire being. I suppose this is why neither just taking pills nor just talking things out helps. You're only defending one front while the enemy is surrounding you. 
Depression is also self-sustaining. It feeds on itself so that you get deeper into it just for being in it at all. Knowing you struggle with this problem makes you feel more depressed and broken which makes you fall deeper into its grasp. It is truly a son of a bitch demon! 
Here's a thought, realize you'll take a pill for the rest of your life because you're too weak to fight this thing yourself. Then realize this pill will only make you more dependent on the pills and weaker in the long run. Then realize that the pills will become less effective overtime and you'll probably have to up the dosage or take a second pill everyday. 
Mmmm, that'll cheer you right the fuck up huh?
Oh and then realize that most people (sometimes yourself included) just think you're emotionally weak and are taking the easy way out with medication. 
One part of me thinks that I'll beat this demon one day and I'll eventually be "normal". My rationale, engineering side thinks this is just another lie I'm telling myself. The cold hard fact is that this demon will kill me one day. I know it in that tiny part of me that stares into the cold hard face of reality. I suppose I should be happy that, through hard work and shear determination, I can hide the effects until those that need me no longer do anymore. 
Of course that path isn't set. No future is predetermined. Reality only applies in the current and any prediction made based upon that current state is merely a forecast with a chance of occurrence. An extrapolation on a variable graph. 
It's just as possible that this demon could die when those that need me no longer do. Could it be the thing that keeps me holding on is actually the cause of the thing putting me on the edge? Am I reacting to a reflection in a mirror of mirrors?
Until I figure these things out I'll keep writing and searching. Confronting is still my defense of choice. Get it out there, air it out and see if it can survive the light of day. 

Thanks for listening 

Sunday, September 15, 2013


One of the long-lasting questions I've dealt with is why I write a blog. What motivates a person to write down their thoughts and share them with the world? Funny thing for me is that I don't really know and I haven't been able to isolate that piece of me that wants to do it.
The fact that I haven't written for awhile makes me take a look at this issue from the other side. Why haven't I been motivated to write? The answer to that may help me figure out many things.
When I look back at previous posts and think about the time at which they were written, I have to say that something was missing in me. Or maybe it was there and I just hadn't found it. I was definitely seeking something and I didn't know what it was. So does that mean I found it somewhere along the way? I'm not sure. Many things happened between then and now, some good, some bad, but I can't say that there was an "ah-ha" moment anytime. So I am thinking that instead of finding what was missing I merely grew up some and discovered little pieces of me that filled in some gaps. The writing was a tool that helped me do it.
Of course this would mean that my not writing now signifies that I don't need to grow anymore and that is far from true. I honest think I've just become lazy in my happiness. That burns me up because the me I want to be says that that is a fate worse than death. To be alive but not growing or discovering something new about yourself is horrible! Why be alive if that's the case?
The good thing is that another part of me says, "relax, you're still growing in other ways". I'm learning so many new things about other people in my life. I'm learning how to interact with those people in better ways. I'm discovering the beauty of this country we live in. I'm discovering the simple joys of creating things with my hands. So I'm growing outwardly instead of inwardly like I was when I started this blog. I think that's OK. Yeah, it's OK.
Another reason for writing this blog, one that I didn't realize at the time, is to give my kids a picture of who there father really was. I hope that one day they will stumble upon these ramblings and read them all from the beginning. I don't know what they will see in them. I know what I meant to convey but I can't be sure they'll see that and that's OK. They'll see me through their eyes and their experiences with me. These words may compliment those experiences or they may open up a view of their father they never knew. Either way, these words will be theirs one day when my words have stopped.
If that has happened and you're reading this now, know that I love you both and that you were the joy of my life. I was never perfect but you two brought me closer to it when you merged into my lane of life. Don't ever cry for me, laugh instead. Laugh out-loud and hard when you think of me.

Thanks for listening

Friday, September 6, 2013


I'm lonely tonight.
Sometimes I feel that way for unexpected reasons. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

New lives

Sometimes your life changes because you want it to change. Those changes come with some kind of relief if not happiness. Something hoped for happens and your life goes in a new direction. Those are good changes.
Sometimes though, your life changes because of things out of your control. You're going along with your life, probably working towards one of those hoped for things, and WHAM! You're hit with a change. You didn't ask for it. Usually didn't want it. Sometimes even prayed it would never happen. But it does happen. Your life changes and you can't stop it or make it go away or make it not happen.

I'd give my life to give my mom back the man she loved and for her to see those things they'd work for come to fruition. I really would. But I can't. And she won't. And it hurts. And it sucks. And it's unfair. And, and, and.

I've preached the gospel of facing fears and defeating inner demons on this blog but it has always been in regards to those things that I know are holding me back and that I know I can control. What about facing those that I can't control? Or allowing those that I care about to face their fears and demons? That's tougher. I can't stand the thought of my family suffering pain or dealing with sorrow. I work so hard to make sure it never happens to them and I'd give myself to take away their pain.

But is that best for them? Is it proper for me to keep them from their fears and demons while I know, for me, facing them is beneficial and soul building?

This may be the hardest thing I have to learn. I shouldn't wish I could give my life for my mom's happiness. It's not fair to her. It's a horrible, unfair, painful, sucky change that she has to face. I'm only allowed to be here for her and help her through it.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dealing with death

The man that I call my stepdad died yesterday. You would have liked him. He was one if those people that you wish everyone could be and he made it look easy. Niceness came naturally to him.

I'm more concerned with my mother, of course. They had many plans that are now never going to happen. He had just retired and she wasn't far behind. His death happened so fast I'm sure she's left lonely and empty. Death sucks for the living.

I handled the news as I handle most bad news. I ran. Then I ran again. Grieving isn't my strong suit. I'm a fixer of things and death is something I can't fix so it falls outside my expertise. Running and making jokes are how I deal with things I don't understand and can't fix.

I'll be headed back to Ohio soon for the services. I'll be running back in my old stomping ground with hills and memories. Always lots of fun.

According to my mom, When my stepdad died he was coughing and struggling in a painful state with his eyes closed. Then he was calm and peaceful and opened his eyes. He had a peaceful look on his face and was looking at the ceiling. Mom said it appeared as if he was looking at something that made him very happy. He then looked at her as if to say, "I wish you could see what I'm seeing!". And then he died.

My thoughts on death are a little weird but I've come to accept them now even if I don't fully understand them but mom's experience fit. I believe there is a God but not the God that American religion sells for profit. I believe the American Indian belief in the Everywhere Spirit was much closer to the true God. We are a part of the Earth and the Universe and our soul, if accepted by the spirit, remains a part of this world after we die. Maybe not on Earth and not in a human form but as a part of the eternal cycle of cosmos. This earthly body we inhabit is only one form of our being. 

I'm sad for so many reasons right now. It's part of living though and I know that. Barry has moved on and his soul is in a new place experiencing things I can't wait to see. We'll bind up the wounds of those left behind and move on in our own journey but it'll be different. Different doesn't have to be bad though. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Double double toil and trouble

I really should update the pictures on this blog. They're a bit old. I'm a bit older. Nah, I looked better back then. Had more hair too.

So I still run. Not as much but some. I ran Austin, Oklahoma City, A2A, and just recently Tulsa this year. Not a stellar year for number of marathons but not too shabby. I managed a 3:39 at Oklahoma City too so I can still bring it every now and then too. No major injuries this year but I did have a few knee pains that set me back a few times. All-in-all not a bad running year for old Willie. Good thing too because old Willie is leaving his 30s in a few days and venturing into the land of 40. Things will probably start falling apart and eventually I'll look as badly as Maurice. It's a depressing thought but there's not much I can do about it so I'll accept it with the grace and dignity that only a West Virginia born stubborn ass can.

There are many things I haven't done yet in my life. That list always comes to mind around birthday time but this year it's really on my mind since it's the big 4-0 for me. Most of the not-done items on my list are personal and you wouldn't understand them if I listed them. A few others are frowned upon by decent society so I won't list them here. My running to-dos are growing shorter but there are still a few out there.

One item that I have scheduled to complete this month is back-to-back marathons. I'm schedule to run a marathon on New Years Eve (my birthday) and then another one on New Years Day. The races are in Allen Texas and they have a super cool 2-piece medal. Should be fun. Except for my knees. I've kept this plan from them so far but they are twitching a little now so I'm sure they know something is up. I know they'll be fine so why worry them?

Anyway this thing goes it'll be an adventure so I'll get what I'm looking for even if I fall flat. A fitting way to run my last marathon as 39 and my first as 40. I'd say something about this being the beginning of the second half of my life but I don't think I'll make it much past 60 so already beyond half way. But who knows, maybe I'll surprise myself.

Thanks for listening.