Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What more needs to be said???!!

Won't Jen look cute running a 1/2 marathon in this?

Just remember how to say "Boomer Sooner"!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A new goal for me!! I've got to do this

What I should have done in Dallas

My first attempt at planning

The new Runner's World includes the anual marathon guide so I looked through it and began planning for next year. Here's what I got so far.

February 1 - Mardi Gras
March 28 - Olathe, Kansas
April 26 - OKC Memorial
June 27 - Seattle
July 26 - San Francisco
September 19 - Air Force Marathon
October 4 - Spirit of Survival
November 8 - Outer Banks, North Carolina
December 13 - Dallas White Rock

Yea, I know that's a lot but I won't make all of them. I want to set a new PR in OKC this year, run Seattle just to go there for the first time, and run the Outer Banks just because it's my favorite place in all the world. Money and work will make the final determination for how many I actually run.

Olathe, OKC, Spirit of Survival, and Dallas are local so I will make those easily.

I've planned every year to run the Air Force marathon but have never made it. There's a good possibility of repeating that this year too.

So that's my first take at planning these things. I don't enjoy it at all. I'm much better at just finding the race a week before and signing up. I suppose this is part of getting older and something I should start doing more of. I won't make it a resolution because I know I'll never keep it.

Thanks for listening

Monday, December 29, 2008

Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 34+0' 317.0-0.5-- ft
28' 27+0' 247.1-0.4-- ft
38' 22+0' 197.2-0.3-- ft
48' 11+0' 087.3-0.1-- ft
58' 09+0' 067.4-0.1-- ft
68' 09+0' 067.4-0.1-- ft
77' 54-0' 097.6+0.1-- ft
87' 39-0' 247.8+0.4-- ft
97' 14-0' 498.3+0.8-- ft
end7' 08-0' 558.4+0.9-- ft
Versus average of 8' 03 min/mile

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Christmas Story

My Christmas was wonderful and my kids got everything could ever want and more. The Big Wheel was a non-event and The Little One got to ride his new F-150 truck all around the back yard because the day after Christmas it was 75 degrees here. A very nice post-Christmas gift I must say.

The Big One got a new guitar and amp. He said he wanted one for a long time and also said he knew how to play already. I assumed this was typical teenage exaggeration. Until he picked up 3 new songs by the end of Christmas day! He's a natural. I suppose 3 years of violin playing helps learn the strings and stuff but damn that kid is good. I was online finding the music to all my favorite songs today and forcing him to play them. He picked all of them up right away. I may have a new retirement plan in the making.

Willie was not left out of this wonderful gift giving either. I received the new Garmin 405 from my wife. I was overcome with guilt and remorse by this as I had skimped on her gift this year. I couldn't believe she got me something so great. It amazes me that she still acknowledges my presence let alone GIVE me something. I want to assure both of you that I have done nothing to deserve a gift. NOTHING! In fact I have tried my best all year long to make her realize what a huge mistake she made with me. She's a genius and graduated at the top of her class with a masters degree but she's a little slow when it comes to personal matters I guess. Anyway she got me this wonderful gift and I couldn't even look at it for awhile I felt so guilty. OK so that only lasted a few hours and I was all over the thing! It's wonderful. I set it up to sync with my computer and it wanted a name for this device. Hmmm.... I have always wanted a daughter named Anastasia (2 boys later I REALLY want one) so I decided to call it Ana. It must be female BTW, they are much more scary to me and therefore more motivation. My wife, however, said "Gee I thought you'd call it Paula". WOW! Why didn't I think of that? Paula is the most amazing, therefore scariest, woman runner I've (n)ever met! Paula it is.

I got to run with Paula (how cool does that sound huh?) today for the first time. First thing I noticed was that Paula picked up satellites much quicker than Garmin. I was actually still sitting in my truck when Paula said she was ready! It was cold today and I was wearing my Brooks coat so the second thing I noticed was that Paula was talking alot! I figured out that my coat sleeve was touching that bezel thingy and causing her to think I was asking her to do things all the time. That could get annoying. I read that you can lock the bezel though so it's something we can overcome together. Not a relationship ending problem. Even with all those unintentional button pushes she still recorded my entire 9 mile run and put it on my computer WIRELESSLY!! Oh that was cool. She had me the first sync.

It was good to get a long run in finally. I was feeling very blahhh lately. I didn't run hard at all but I worked up a good sweat in all my layers so I suppose I burned something. I've been eating a lot of cookies lately.

I check my weight daily and haven't gained any weight but I sure feel like a slug. My belt even broke! OK so I didn't have it on at the time but it still didn't help my conscious any.

I have gotten to know my dog really well lately. She has an attitude though. If I'm on the computer in the kitchen she MUST be held in my lap. She lets me have it if I don't pick her up. I try to ignore her but she's very persistent. Also since she is a dachshund, she is always cold. If I lay on the couch (do that a lot) she has to be beside me under a blanket. She generates more heat than a steel mill! I'm afraid she might spontaneously combust one day.

Thanks for listening

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Jesus

It's Christmas Eve and I'm finally ready for the Christmas season to start! So last night while I was starting my Christmas shopping everyone kept asking if I was getting "those last minute" gifts. No in fact I'm just getting started?? What's the problem? I have many hours left until Christmas and I like to get started early to beat those other dads. I bought The Little One a Big Wheel last night. I felt a little guilty buying a Big Wheel for a kid in a wheel chair though. Is that a cruel joke? The Big One found it incredibly funny and was the one who pointed it out to me that this may be inappropriate. Should be interesting to watch him open it tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.

In Willie running news, I've had a pretty good week of just running. I've convinced myself that I am NOT training, I'm just running. I may have gotten myself to believe it too! I ran 4 easy miles tonight and didn't even look at Garmin. I was bundled up in pants and my wonderful Brooks coat and I just shuffled along at whatever pace felt good. I'm just running. It helps. I still haven't had a long run since Dallas so I feel a little out-of-sorts. I also feel fat, sluggish, bloated, scruffy (no shaving), grimy (no shower), lazy (Ok I like that feeling), and hopefully a little drunk tonight. All in all pretty good for Willie.

Would Jesus have been a runner if he lived in modern times? It seems he walked a lot back in his time. The Bible doesn't really say why he didn't take the bus or subway, I like to think he was health conscious and knew that walking would help his heart and cardiovascular system. He did create those things after all so he, of all people, would know how to keep them in tip-top shape. I don't know if he would have run though. He would be welcome at any marathon I know because I hear his name a lot after mile 22 of most marathons I've done. It would be tough for him though because he would be busy answering all those calls and prayers. One thing that would help him today is that they make running sandals now. That would save him from IT band problems or shine splints.

So Merry Christmas to both of you that read this blog. I've got my family here with me tonight and a wonderful glass of wine beside me. The house is warm and I've got cookies in the oven. The Little One is beside himself with excitement and has even promised to go to bed early tonight so he won't miss Santa. The house will still be warm in the morning and I will have coffee and breakfast when I wake up. My kids will open their presents and spend the rest of the day enjoying them. I'll spend the day watching them and trying hard to take in all the joy that they bring to me. I say all this not to brag but to point out how lucky I am in the grand scheme of things. Not everyone in the world, or in this country even, can say the things I've just written. I am truly blessed with everything I've been given. I take it for granted way to often and am guilt ridden that I only seem to remember how lucky I am once or twice a year. Most importantly though, Christmas reminds me that a loser like me, who seems to do nothing but wrong, has a chance to be forgiven. All because of the little tiny baby Jesus who was born into this world he created. I may forget to say it often enough but thanks for that Jesus and Happy Birthday.

Thanks for listening

Monday, December 22, 2008

Which one of these things is not like the other

Can you see the difference between the two pictures.

If you noticed the Heisman Trophy for 2008 in one..... YOU WIN!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My blog summed up on a T-Shirt

An unexpected run and a nice surprise

It's cold.
It's really freakin cold
It's totally freakin bone-chilling cold.

So I went for a run.

I've been off work now since last Tuesday. I'm still sane but only barely. The boys and I are having a lot fun doing guy stuff which really means doing nothing since that's what guys do best. Total bums, all of us. The dog even looks at us like we're pathetic.

I decided that I needed to get out on Friday so I went to a running club party where we ran around town looking at Christmas lights. Afterwards we ate (well) and had a nice get together. I took The Little One with me and we both had a lot of fun. That was my first run since the Dallas marathon and it felt really good. I'm trying really hard to not think about training for another marathon and just enjoy the time off. I want to get back to just running again. I need a break from "training".

I hadn't planned on running again for a few days. Something hit me today, though, and I just needed to get out and run a bit. No long run this weekend since I've got the boys and I don't want to leave The Little One alone with his brother for long while I can't get back quickly.

Did I mention it's cold? No? Well it's cold here. High of 30 today. I bundled myself up in my nice warm Brooks running jacket (absolutely wonderful!) and my Mizuno running pants (also fabulous) and hit the streets. I forgot how much I like running in a lot of clothes. It covers up all my blubber so I don't have to be self-conscious about what's jiggling around!

The run felt WONDERFUL! I started Garmin but didn't look at her for the entire run. In case you're wondering, we still aren't getting along since she dissed me in Dallas. She is very moody and I'm stubborn. Anyway, the run was great and I easily fell into a nice pace. I had tons of energy since I was well rested and kept good form. I made 3 miles before my cell phone went off with a wonderful surprise. SouthBay Girl was in town! She was driving through on her way to Tennessee and we were doing a late lunch. I hussled home and caught a quick shower (my first in days!!!) and piled the boys into the car.

We met SouthBay Girl and Velcro at Louie's by the lake. You remember Louie's from our run around the lake last week. Wonderful place. Unfortunelty it was very cold so we didn't get to spend much time playing with Velcro but it was enough. She is such a wonderful dog. She even spoke to me.
I'm sure Southbay Girl will post her pics as soon as she makes it home. Be sure to check out her blog since she takes much better pics of Velcro than I do.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Me being me

My wife is incredibly smart and I am proud of her. In my last post I mentioned that she just graduated with her MBA but I didn't give it the attention it deserved. This was no easy accomplishment, but nothing in her life has ever been easy.

After graduating High School she was accepted at Purdue and was pursuing a degree in Biology with hopes of going to medical school after that. During her first year she fell out of her loft and hit her head on the back of a chair resulting in a Basilar skull fraction. This caused her to have to drop out of school and return home putting her dreams on hold. I was in the Air Force at the time, stationed in Denver, and we were still "dating" even though we were 2000 miles apart. After she recovered somewhat she came out to Denver to see me and I proposed. I figured I'd take advantage of her wounded state and maybe have a chance. She said yes.

We were married in February of 1992 and immediately left for Wichita Kansas which was my next assignment. She still had dreams of finishing her degree so she enrolled at Wichita State University and began pursuing an engineering degree. I was working night shift and trying to go to school during the day at the same time so we barely saw each other during those years. She did everything on her own, I did nothing more than get in the way and cause her grief. Where I changed majors ever semester, she was steadfast in her desire. I've always admired her for that ability to make a decision and stick with it. As you guys know, I blow with the wind in most things. 

We spent 2 years in Wichita before I got orders to Missouri. This made it even harder for her. There were no engineering schools near where we were moving. Oh yea, and we found out she was pregnant for our first son. In order to keep her on track she stayed in Wichita for a few months to finish the semester while I moved to Missouri. She was 3-4 months pregnant, living alone, and going to school with no help from me. I couldn't have done it but she did. 

Once she moved to Missouri she enrolled at Mizzou (Go Tigers) which meant driving 1 hour each way to school everyday. Again, once she gets on a dream, nothing gets in her way. She was driving an hour to school each day while pregnant. She was also entering some of the tough engineering classes which meant a lot of studying. I was working nights again and basically in the way. I'm good at that. 

Our first son was born in March of 1995 and, of course, everything changed. My wife now had to do everything she was doing before and take care of a baby. She did it and never wavered from her goals. I was on my 10th different major and working nights. Looking back, I was basically a worthless person during this time. I was barely able to take care of myself let alone my son. My wife did it all. 

She graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree about a year later and immediately went to work. She excelled from the beginning. She was working her way up the ladder and being a mom. With her salary we were able to buy our first house. I was still working nights and trying to go to school but I was really floundering. I had no idea what I wanted to do and again was basically a waste of oxygen during this time. 

My enlistment in the Air Force was coming to an end and I was offered a job with a defense contractor in New York. I really wanted to take it and my wife gave in so we moved again. She applied at the same company and got a job too so we were working at the same place. We packed everything in a U-haul and, with my mom's help, moved across the country in 2 days. I don't think my wife ever liked it in New York but she immediately climbed the ladder at our new company and was working for a division president very quickly. I supposed we thought this was too easy for her so she got pregnant again around this time. She was handling multi-million dollar contracts with my youngest son pounding on her bladder constantly. Our oldest was entering kindergarten too so things were busy. I was working and trying to finish my degree which, at this point, was any degree I could get. 

My little one was born in New York and had a cleft lip. This was scary for me but my wife handled it great and got all the surgeries scheduled and arranged. All this while still working at a high pressure job that required many hours of overtime. 

Eventually we both got tired of living in New York and wanted to return to Missouri. My wife was offered a job as the base planner for the Air Force base were I was stationed before. I worked out a job on base there too so we moved again. Back along the same route we had traveled 4 year before. My wife took over the base and began dealing with congressmen and high level pentagon officials. She was in charge of millions of dollars of infrastructure building projects. She was great at it. I, on the other hand, was being deployed all over the world for months at a time. She was left to handle a house with 10 acres, 2 boys, and a high pressure job. I was no help at all (see a trend here??) since I was gone. She was also working on her engineering certificate so she was studying again. 

Within a few years I was offered a job with my old company down here in Oklahoma. It was a great opportunity for me but we'd have to move again. The job paid enough though that she wouldn't have to work. She had always talked about a masters degree and this would allow her to get it so we moved....again. 2 years later she graduated with a 4.0 and was voted by her instructors as the outstanding MBA student.

This was supposed to be a quick post about how hard my wife has had to work for everything she's achieved. I ran on I guess but I hope you guys get the point. She has worked for everything she's achieved with very little help from me or anyone else. She has a unique ability to stay focused on a goal while I was (and still am) blowing with the prevailing wind. When I said before that I keep her grounded, I meant that I am a boat anchor on her potential but nothing could ever stop her.

Thanks for listening

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

To the edge and back

I have so many things to write about and I hate to put them all in one post. I suppose I'll just start writing and see what comes out. 

I ran the Dallas White Rock marathon on Sunday. This was supposed to be my Boston qualifier but, as you remember, I gave up on that dream months ago. Lucky thing I did.

A group of us from the running club road-tripped to this race. This is becoming my favorite way to run marathons. I love traveling and going through the race event with a group of other runners. It's so much fun.

I didn't get to travel with everyone this time because I had to stay in town to see my wife graduate with her MBA. Yea! Of course she received every honor possible and all of them in Greek so I can't spell or pronounce any of them here. She is the poster-child for over-achievers which is surprising since, well, she's married to me. I like to think I'm the boat anchor that grounds (drags) her back down to earth. Heck if it wasn't for me she would probably be living in New York making tons of money, driving expensive cars, wearing fine clothes, and basically living a grand life. Wouldn't that be horrible! I saved her from all that, yea me!

So I made it down to Dallas late on Saturday stopping at Olive Garden for some carbs. I was able to resist the wine. My friend had already checked into the hotel so I went straight to the room. Since it was 65 degrees we decided that a quick dip in the hot tub (which was outside on a roof top) would be nice. It was. In hindsight this was probably not the best idea. Hot tubs always dry out my skin and that means water loss but I'm getting ahead of myself. We had all noticed on the weather report that it was going to be windy. As we sat in the hot tub, we were able to feel it first hand. IT WAS WINDY!

We got up early to catch the first bus over to the starting line. As we walking out the hotel door Bart Yasso was walking in. I stopped him (because I'm a horribly rude celebrity junkie!) and he chatted with us. He is so nice, He looked just like any other runner and we talked like old friends. I was with my friend who was planning on running a BQ that day and Bart started talking about how windy it was out that morning. He said something like, "I hope no one was planning on running a Boston qualifier today, that'd be hard in this wind". I cringed and told my friend to not listen, he's just kidding. But he wasn't, holy crap it was windy and it was right out of the South which meant we would have it in our face for the second half of the race. Great!

I was thirsty from the time I got up which should have been a warning sign. Oh and Starbucks was there giving out free coffee. I couldn't say no, it was free Starbucks! I know, I know, I should have known what was coming but I didn't see the signs as they were happening, it's only looking back that I can say "Good Lord I was stupid! What was I thinking!".

The start was extremely crowded. We squeezed our way up to the 3:20 pace group and waited. I turned Garmin on and she immediately told me she had a low battery. I couldn't believe her! I took her off the charger a day ago but hadn't asked her to do anything and now she has a low battery!?!? We had a little fight right there in front of all those people which was embarrassing. Luckily a friend who was running the half offered to let me use their Garmin. This was beyond generous to me and I can't explain how thankful I am. I really like to know my pace in a marathon because I have a tendency to run a little fast if I don't keep myself in check. It was at this time that I also noticed how thirsty I was again. I told myself I'd be fine if I just drank a lot at the first water stop. STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID.

It stayed crowed for many miles. I was only able to get 2 cups of water at the first water stop but I kept going. I wasn't feeling comfortable in my pace yet but knew that was normal. I expected to settle in any time soon. I never did. I lost all my bearings because of the large crowds and didn't know which pace group I was near. I saw balloons up ahead so I concentrated on catching them thinking it was the 3:40 pace group which is where I wanted to be. I got a little more water along the way but still wasn't feeling comfortable at all. I eventually caught the balloons and realized it was the 3:30 pace group. Oh my! That's faster than I wanted to run. My Garmin stand-in was having trouble displaying a steady pace so I must have gotten confused as to how fast I was running. No problem, I thought, I'll just hang with them for a while and drop back when I start to get tired.

That happened around mile 15. We had turned into the wind and it really killed me. Once my form broke I lost all my energy and was really struggling to keep a good pace. I got a little burst of energy that got me through mile 17 but then it was over. I was walking. Ahhh! I decided that shuffling was faster than walking so I started running again but it wasn't pretty. I was just trying to get to mile 19 where I knew they were giving out PowerBar Gels. I figured this would help get me some energy. I made it there and they had Hooters Girls handing out the gel!! This gave me some energy but caused me to lose all concentration and I grabbed the first gel they had. I resisted the urge to grab other things but figured I could claim partial insanity due to extreme fatigue if I did happen to "bump" into something. I got past the scenery and opened the gel and took some. It was Double Esspresso! Ugh! It tasted awful and said it had 3x the caffeine! All in all, absolutely horrible! 

Mile 20-22 were a blur. I honestly don't remember them. I was shuffling along in a daze. I needed water so badly but when I drank it just sat in my stomach and sloshed around. Somewhere around mile 22-23 I had begun to have pain where I've never had pain before. I felt the urgent need to hit a porta-potty or a tree (I'm a guy sorry!). Way too many people around for the tree so I had to wait until the mile 23 aid station. I hit the potty and stood there, and stood there, and stood there. Nothing! But I still felt the need. This is when I saw the blood. (sorry should have warned you this was a graphic post). Holy Crap! I've never had this before. I didn't know what to do. I wasn't disoriented or feeling light-headed but I knew something was wrong and didn't know how to handle it. I always worry about bothering the medical staff with something minor and keeping them from something more important. I figured if I was able to stay conscious I must not be that bad so I kept going. 

By mile 24 I was in real pain. I was still shuffling but was beginning to get that weird feeling like I was about to lose it. I wasn't near any large crowds or aid stations so I kept running as best I could. My emotions began working on me. I got really low and actually said a prayer to God to take care of my kids if something should happen. At one point I was walking and decided that if I was going to die out here I wanted to do it running so I began running again. This is going to sounds insane but I also heard my Grandfathers voice. I'm not one of those people who believe in ghosts or that spirits talk to you from the dead but I do think my mind was out-of-sorts and playing tricks on me. I can't remember what I heard but it was in his voice which I haven't heard in 20 years and it sounded so much like him that it stopped me in my tracks. It was like I was back on the farm and he was talking to me. I had forgotten what his voice sounded like but recognized it the moment I heard it. It shocked me so badly that I stopped in the middle of the street and stood there looking around. It must have shocked me back into reality too because I immediately became aware of where I was and what I was doing. It shocked me back into reality.

I struggled to the finish and crossed in 3:51 something. I wanted water so bad but my stomach was a mess. I gulped as much as I could take though. I still had a lot of pain and it was hard to walk. I walked to a bathroom and tried to go again, this time it was better with no blood so I new I was getting better. It still HURT really bad! 

I eventually came around to remember that they had beer down in the American Airlines center so I stumbled DOWN THE STAIRS (That's right, they made you walk down stairs after running a marathon! Masochists!) and grabbed a beer. What better way to rehydrate and flush out the system right? OK I know it wasn't the smartest thing to do but when have I ever done the smart thing? I wouldn't be Willie if I did what I know I should do.

The beer did the trick and I was back to some semblance of life in no time. We all met up at a BJ's just north of Dallas and had a wonderful time. I ordered 1 of everything I think and wolfed it down like a starving dog. Artichoke and Spinach dip? Yes please, Mozzarella sticks? Oh yea! Pizza? Hell yes bring it on, Margarita? Bring two please and a straw! Oh yea and WATER, lot's of water.

So what has Willie learned? Well nothing really, BUT he has found a new respect for hydration. I believe I took this marathon much to casually thinking that I could handle anything that came along and that I didn't have to prepare as diligently as I have before. I was taught a lesson the only way Willie can be taught, the hard way! I always say the thing I love most about the marathon is that it never is easy. It is such a distance that you cannot just go out and do it anytime you please. You must respect it. Well I didn't respect this one and it bit me. Makes me love it even more.

Thanks for listening

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Break's over!

Well I certainly hope you guys enjoyed the loooonnnnngggg pause in our run around Lake Hefner. I was kind enough to leave you at Louie's drinking margaritas. If you drank too much it's not my fault, now get up and let's get going.

Once we pass Louie's it's on up the path where the water comes right up to the edge and you can really feel the wind. It's almost always a southern wind so it is at our backs and we can put our arms out and fly for awhile if we want. There's another split in the trail up ahead, one path for pedestrians and one for bikers. The pedestrian path heads left and follows the lake outline and also adds some distance to the runs so we'll chance it on the bike path. We'll run past the turnaround point for the OKC marathon and across a parking lot. Then it's on up past where the Redman Triathlon starts and finishes every year (RBR wouldn't know that because she ditched Oklahoma for some other state! But I don't hold a grudge.... much). This will bring us to the North parking lot where I park a lot because it's the closest one to me when I'm coming over here from home. There's a porta-pottie here if anyone needs to stop. In the summer there is a water fountain here also but they turn it off in the fall and winter so it doesn't freeze.

After our pit-stop at the North lot, it's out onto, what I consider, the WORST part of this whole run: The dam (or damn). I hate this part because it is out in the open, elevated, and seems to go on ffffffoooooorrrrrreeeeevvvveeeeerrrrr! In my mind it consists of 4 straight sections each of which never seems to end. This is also the section where we will eventually turn into the wind. This occurs no matter which way we run around the lake because this is the North side and we started on the South side. Oh, for you non-Oklahomians, the wind never blows from the East or West here, always North or South. It's a meteorological miracle. So we'll head out across the damn and past a few fisherman who will look at us like we're nuts for being out here when it's this cold/hot/rainy/snowy/icy, whatever it happens to be. We'll try to avoid the temptation to look at them like they're crazy for fishing when it's this cold/hot/rainy/snowy/icy, whatever. We will get to enjoy the wonderful scents of dead fish decaying and the garbage cans that are placed every 1/4 mile or so along the damn. Uhmmmmm! Love the smell. The road we're running on is one way and the traffic is in our face so we'll be able to see the vehicles as they pass. This is nice because it's always nice to see them coming before they run you off the road. You'll want to keep your head up to avoid running into any parked cars (it has happened, didn't see it but heard about it and OMG it's funny!).

I'll skip describing the rest of the damn because it's the same scene for at least 3 more miles until we start to reach the end. Over on this side we'll have the wind directly in our face so it's best to just put your head down and keep moving forward. Don't look at Garmin, you'll only be disappointed at your pace. Just keep moving and get through this last stretch. We'll take a slight right and dip down off the damn to hit the bike trail again. It's slightly lower than the roadway so it will break the wind for a bit. The trail is slanted to the right though which always bothers me more mentally than physically. We'll cross the road and head past the Redman Triathlon run turnaround point which RBR still doesn't know and then we'll head up to the golf course.

Once we cross a small bridge we'll be right beside the golf course. One of the holes runs right along the trail and people will be teeing off into our face. I've never been hit but I know it must have happened at least once. There's another water fountain up ahead but again, since it's winter, it won't be on. We'll cross another road and make a hard left. At this point you can really say we are heading back towards the park. I don't know why but I always feel that way here. It just feels like we're on the home stretch. We still have quite a ways to go but it's a good mental boost anyway. We'll stay in the golf course until we pass the club house and cross the road again where we'll head towards the marina. There's another porta-pottie here if anyone has to go... again!!! We'll then continue on until we go up a slight incline and take another hard left. Now we're along the golf course again and we're starting to get in some trees. This is nice as it will block the wind. There's a storage lot for boats on our left. I love to look at the sailboats and dream of one day owning one. I also wonder how someone could own a huge sailboat and leave it in dry storage like this all year. If you own a sailboat, sail it! Anyway, I like looking at the boats but be careful because there is another golf tee near us and I have had a few balls fly over my head here.

Once we pass the boat storage we'll enter a patch of trees where the trails turns left and then right. We'll come out at the fire station and take a left where we'll cross a bridge with wooden planks. It's a little bouncy which is cool, then it's into the trees again and past some picnic areas. We'll come out the trees and meet up with the lake again but only briefly. This is a new trail section that they had to rebuild last year because it was eroding into the lake. We'll pass the model airplane park where I will once again swear I'm going to buy one one day and learn to fly those things. It's up another little incline and past some fir trees where the trail winds again. When we come out of this section we can start to see the ballpark lights of Stars and Stripes, we're almost home!!! Time to kick it in if we have anything left. I don't so go ahead without me, I'll see you at the finish. Sprint down the trail and up to the edge of the park and you can decide now if you want to stop at the edge of the parking lot or run all the way through it to where we started. It's always a mind game for me. I want to stop but feel like I should make a complete lap. It must be an engineer thing, I need complete circles!

Well that's that. You've now run a lap with me, about 9 miles or so. You did GREAT! Not long ago it was my goal to run a complete lap of Hefner. I thought I would never be able to do it. It seemed so far. I used to worry that I would get half way around and die. You're kinda stuck at that point, there are not shortcuts through the lake. I love that I do it now as a middle distance run! Just another way I can judge my improvement. I'm glad you guys were able to do this with me. I couldn't have come this far without you.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another lap around the lake

Today I ran 10 miles around the wonderful, fabulous, outstanding Lake Hefner. This was my second lap of the lake in 3 days. Obviously I like this place. It's just such a wonderful place to get away and run. It was many different sections so it's easy to break down the run into sections. Let me walk, uh-hm, I mean run you around a lap. 

We'll start at Stars and Stripes park because well, that's just where you're supposed to start. We pick the direction to go based on which way the wind is blowing. A south wind means we'll head East because the East side of the lake is wide open and we don't want the wind in our face on the way back. So we head out on the trail and pass the little inner loop trails because we don't need to add any extra distance to this run but if we did those are the perfect way to do it. We stay on the main trail and reach the turn North. This is decision time because the trail splits for pedestrians and cyclists. The cycle trail is asphalt and the pedestrian trail is concert. The pedestrian trail is also longer as it hugs the lake and takes many turns. The cycle trail is a straight shot North. Taking the cycle trail risks suffering the wrath of angry blurs of cyclists traveling at very high rates of speed by you even though the technical definition of pedestrians does not include runners (look it up, it's true!). 

So what do we do? Of course we take the cycle trail. The reasons are obvious. We have a stiff wind at our backs, the Lake Hefner parkway on our right and the beautiful lake on our left. WATCH OUT! That was a biker. There are very few trees over here so we are out in the open prairie enjoying all the Oklahoma has to offer. When we reach the marina the trails merge again and we hit some population again. There's the really super cool sailboats, one of which I will own one day, then there's the restaurants which we started smelling a few yards back on the trail. Still don't know what the new one will be but they are sure building something nice. Get past the that and the lighthouse comes in view. I've never actually been out to that lighthouse but I've taken about a dozen pictures of it with the sun setting over the lake in the background. Did I mention this section of the lake is on the OKC marathon course? Well it is and I got my picture taken right here with the lighthouse in the background last year. Very cool. 

Once we pass Louie's and resist the urge to stop for a margarita, we can continue on up past the area where the kite surfers ride. 

OK, I'm out of time so I'll have to finish the lap tomorrow.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A wheelchair and a 5K

The Little One went to the doctor on Thursday and received a wonderful new gift. A wheelchair. He is now (somewhat) mobile. His leg has stopped hurting as much or the pain medicine is masking it, either way he doesn't seem to have much pain when he's picked up anymore. This makes life a little easier. He is completely spoiled and pampered like an Egyptian king! This has made life somewhat more difficult since my wife and I both want to wring his little neck from time to time. He is awfully cute in the wheelchair though.

I missed my Thursday run because of a funeral for a running club member. I was able to get off work earlier on Friday (thank you flex-time) and hit the lake for a lap. I got to the lake when the sun was still up so it was kinda warm. I decided to wear shorts and a long sleeved shirt. After about 6 miles the sun met the horizon and it got COLD! I pulled my sleeved over my hands and struggled to get back to my truck. I forced myself to think warm thoughts. I pictured myself in a hot bubble bath, then I pictured the beach in North Carolina, then the beach in California, then the Andy Payne marathon (that one was bad so I quickly put it out of my mind), then a hot fire beside the Christmas tree. It was so cold that Garmin couldn't take it and decided to close down. She said something about low batteries the whole run but I know she just doesn't like the cold. I made it home and jumped in a hot bath. I should say luke-warm bath because someone had used up the hot water.

This morning I ran the Downtown in December 5K. I hate 5K's but this one starts and finishes in downtown OKC which is a pretty cool place to run. They also give out Santa hats to run in. I had initially wanted to run with the Santa hat but decided against it once I realized it flopped around way too much. I ran a 21:30 something which really SUCKS but I'm counting that as my speedwork since I didn't do that this week.

I've got 1 week left before my 7th marathon this year. I am hoping to get a good 10 miler tomorrow and see how I feel. I also need to check the 10 day forecast for Dallas to see what the marathon Gods have decided to throw at us. I've heard stories of snow and sleet and also heat and humidity. Bring it on!

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A new day

Today I was much better. Thank you for all the nice comments, they really helped. No more Bummer-Willie-ness I promise.

I got some sleep last night which really helps one's mood (who would have thought?!?). The Little One is doing much better and has really taken to being waited on hand and (broken leg attached) foot. The boy was already spoiled rotten. I was afraid he would get tired and bored with laying on the couch all day but he's not complained yet. In fact he didn't even leave the bed today! What a life. His leg does really hurt when we move him so this may be why he's OK with staying put. The fear of pain is strong.

After a thorough investigation and much interrogation (torture), I have concluded that the Big One is innocent of all wrong-doing in this matter. He has returned to his normal status as just a suspect in all things and is no longer considered guilty.

I got a 6 mile run in tonight which felt great. It wasn't as long as I really needed but it was better than nothing. I know, I know, Tuesday is speedwork night but I just didn't want to be on a track tonight. I wanted to be free and run where I wanted. I don't need the speedwork anyway. I ran an old course that is one of my favorites. I have many memories of struggles and triumphs on this course and it's like an old friend to me. Sometimes old friends are the best because you can forget about them and then when they return it's just that much better. The memories come flooding back and you get to find out all the things that have happened to them since you last saw them. Wonderful.

I wish you all could have seen the sunset tonight. It doesn't compare to the California beach sunsets I love so much but for Oklahoma it was wonderful. Picture layers of orange getting darker as they moved away from a brilliant bright core. I had an old friend who would always say "Nice job" to God when he saw sunsets like that. He was an old Army soldier who served in Vietnam and had a heart transplant. He had lived through enough stuff that he had an inside track to the big man. I think they were both impressed with each other so they got along nicely. If you're listening, nice job tonight.

I did have a small pain behind my right knee tonight that was new. It didn't speak up until mile 5 and I'm sure it's related to my persistent pain in my right thigh. I'm a little afraid it could be my IT band acting up. I really don't need that considering I've got a marathon in less than 2 weeks. IT band pain scares me. It hurts and I don't ever want to go through that again. I'll stretch it all day tomorrow and hopefully it will decide to move on and let me be.

Thanks for listening

Monday, December 1, 2008

Yep It's Broke

No it's not mine. It's my baby's. My little man broke his leg last night. 

He did a good job of it too, as you can see.

His brother was involved but is denying any criminal action. The incident is still under investigation. 

So I was sitting on the couch in a grumpy mood when my Big One comes in and says that the Little One says his leg hurts and he thinks it's serious. The blur that flashes by a moment later is my wife as she enters hyper-mother speed to care for her offspring. I guess you gain super powers when the thing that came out of you is hurting in anyway. Unless, of course, she is the one giving the pain in the form of punishment for bad grades. I call it the mother-paradox, physicists are still studying the theory.

The Little One is presented to me in a pathetic state and his leg is bent in an abnormal way. "Yep, it's broke", no doubt about it. With hindsight it probably wasn't a good idea to say this out loud. Must learn to think these things.

We threw it on ice (because ice fixes all leg problems as we all know) and I get dressed and head to the emergency room. 

Have I mentioned that he hasn't cried at all? Well he hasn't, in fact, I don't think he cried all night. He is so tough. He should be, he had his first surgery when he was 3 months old and then another one when he was 3 years old. He's an old hat at pain poor kid. Being born with a cleft lip will do that to a kid. 

Little One being Strong!

The nurse at the emergency room started noticing he was looking pale. I kissed his forehead and he was very cold! I think he was entering the early stages of shock. They immediately took him back to a room and put an IV in. He started shivering so we covered him in blankets. Wonderful moments for a parent! "I hate this", "I hate this", "I hate this", was all I could think. I had to be strong and not lose it but I don't have much insides left to deal with seeing my Little One on a hospital bed. They should issue surrogate parents to deal with this kind of thing. Someone who doesn't get a lump in their throat when they look the baby in the eye and see pain, someone who doesn't have to keep his insides from tearing apart when the baby wants to hold your hand because it hurts, someone who doesn't pray to God to give them the pain and leave the little innocent boy alone.

None of this was I able to share (thank goodness for blogs) because it wouldn't have done the Little One any good and probably would have made things worse. 

They took some X-rays and discovered that his leg was broken. Amazing. Did I mention my love of doctors lately? Maybe in another post. He had a broken Tibia and the doctor was consulting with a pediatric orthopedist to get guidance. This impressed me, Most (all) doctors I know would never admit to seeking advice from someone else, it violates their God-Wanna-Be arrogance code or something. Did I mention my love of doctors? The decision was to move the Little One to the OU Children's hospital so they could set the bone and install the cast. Turns out the hospital here in Edmond doesn't mess with children's orthopedics since the Children's hospital is just down the road. Read that as " We're scared of lawsuits so give the kids to the other guys". The only thing that overcomes a doctors arrogance is a hospital administrator's fear of lawsuits. Did I mention my.... well you get the point.

So they transfer him via ambulance (very cool kindergarden story) down to the Children's hospital. As they are admitting him a very nice doctor comes and gets the X-rays. A moment later I hear "Woooaaa" come from behind the desk. Guess they were impressed with his break. Leave it to one of my children to impress the doctors! Teachers not so much, but doctors have met their match. They give him some drugs to knock him out so they can set the bone. This is now 3 too many times that I have seen this baby under anesthesia! (reference the "I hate this" rant above to safe time). I stayed in the room to watch them set the bone. I've never seen this done and I was interested. NOT ANYMORE! OUCH! They finished and put a cast on his let up to his thigh. Then we waited for him to wake up.

And waited, and waited, and waited. It was 1 AM and the boy was tuckered. I was sure the anesthesia had worn off and he was just too tired to wake up. The nurse insisted he had to wake up and be conscious before they would release him. So we tortured my son, who had broke his leg, gone into shock, ridden in an ambulance, been poked and prodded, been knocked out, until he woke up. Yea for us, we feel like wonderful parents now. 

I went to work today on 3 hours sleep. I was a wreck, emotional drained. I had nothing left. When I was younger being strong and fighting my emotions was natural. I knew what I had to do and I did it. It's becoming more and more draining on me to deal with these tough situations. I can't stand to see my (or any, really) children in pain. The emotions get the best of me eventually and I have to deal with them. Where did this come from? I'm a guy and I've never, ever been beat by my emotions. I'm the master of my domain! 

I kept telling myself, it's just a broken bone, it's not that serious, and I feel weak for even letting this get to me. Everything made me feel like breaking down today. Everything came rushing into my brain at once and I just wanted to go away. All I could see was his little body laying on the bed in pain and it brought on major guilt. He had asked me to play all day and I only gave him a few minutes. By the end of the day his constant asking had actually made me angry! How could I get angry for him wanting to play with me? I was so consumed with my little problems and my little tasks that I couldn't spend a few extra moments with my son and now he's laying in a bed suffering. Yea me. I'm no good to anyone, not even a 5 year old boy who only wants to play. I don't have enough goodness in me to serve him so how can I be worthwhile to anyone with more needs? 

As you can see, I'm not in an I-Love-Willie mood today. Maybe sleep will help, actually a good long run would be wonderful but there's that guilt thing about serving my own needs while he's still hurting. 

Thanks for listening