December 27, 2010

Missing Papa John

Today, I'll be skiing the Beav today for the 40th plus time during Christmas break but for the first Christmas without Papa John. It won't be the same but it wouldn't even be if it weren't for Papa John. Thanks, dad.
Me with dad and The Posse, March 2009.

October 30, 2010

Child and Family Support Center Race

I don't know if I've ever ran two races in the same day but I'm sure I've never run one in Wellsville, UT before but shortly after the Emmett Family Fun Ultra 5K we headed to the west end of the valley to run a charity race for The Child and Family Support Center. Thanks to Laura for telling us about the race with a 1 mile, 5K or 10K option.

 I've never had number 1 before. Too bad I didn't run like I deserved it.

 At the 1 mile and 5K starting line.

 I don't know why I'm looking at my watch.

 Polly smells victory.

 High fives for the fat old man.

Emmett Family Fun Ultra 5K Run

October 9th was the first (and last?) Emmett Family Fun Ultra 5K Run complete with sweet T-shirts in Livestrong yellow (Thanks, Tom). The course started and ended at Twin Pine Ranch with one lap around Adams park before running to and back from Norda's Mountain Outfitters. It was an resounding success. I'm pretty sure we eliminated some disease. Costumes were encouraged so we start with Tom (best in show) and Molly and Erin (tied for second).

Uncle Dash with his niece Debbie and his other niece Debbie.
 Tom was thrilled to win Best in Show.

 Bruce must be upset that he didn't register in time and therefore couldn't run.

 YPR with DP, Katie, Laura, Clark and Adrienne

 Lesa was willing to hold Clara

 Amanda, Jim and Emily.

 The Illinios Emmett klan

 Paige ready to cruise.

 Ben read to run, Courtney ready to watch and Clara ready to snooze.

 Jim obviously ignoring the two Debbies.

All warmed up and ready to run/ride

 Dash sets the pace.

 Only Laura is wearing a helmet. 

 Sailing right along past the temple.

 Pacing themselves for a strong finish.

 Dashing past the Tabernacle

Waiting for red light to change at Center and Main. Keep those heart rates up!

 Aid station at Nordas!

 Ad, Laura and Emily pulling into Nordas.

 Best aid station ever! Thanks.

 Typical Dash. What a card. 

 Sam tunes into some Celine Dion for the second half.

 Cyclists bringing up the rear waiting to pick up any fatigued runners.

 Finish! Not sure who won but it didn't matter because in the EFFU5K, everyone is a winner.

 More "winners".
Okay, never carbo load with fettucini alfredo.

September 24, 2010

Flattened By A Glacier

Not me. I wasn't flattened by a glacier although I may run slow enough for that to happen. I'm referring to the land north of Charleston, IL. Now, nhere may not be much to Charleston except being the home of Jimmy John Sandwiches and EIU with all it's famous alumni but it is an excellent town for runners. I may have blogged about this earlier but let me illustrate one reason why. A long time ago a glacier slid southward through Illinois stopping at Charleston. I don’t know why it stopped here but my best guess was for a Jimmy John’s sandwich. Eventually, the glacier receded leaving behind a very flat terrain chuck full of corn and soy been seeds that, to this day, continue to magically spring forth corn and soy bean plants each spring. 

Last Saturday I wanted my long run on level ground so I went north of town and ran mostly on the bike trail that connects Charleston with Mattoon. The trail is a converted railroad bed build on the glacier leveled turf. I drove to the trail so I didn’t have to run any little hills along the way. (For the record, it was just past mile 4 that I was scared by the wall cloud.) You can see the elevation at the bottom of the map below.

This week I opted for a shorter long run with a few hills thrown because running up inclines is suppose to improve your speed even if you don't have any to being with, like me. Plus, if I happen to gain a few more fast twitch fibers I wouldn't mind setting a new PR at the Monumental Marathon in November. Running south into glacier-virgin territory, I followed a 14 mile out-and-back route I call Five Hills. (See its elevation at the bottom on the map below). Brett Bartlett introduced me to this run some 8 years ago and its been a favorite ever since especially in the fall when most of the route in lined with colorful autumn trees. More than once I've left my legs on these hills but it's a more scenic route than any over glacier levels grounds which sports mostly the previously mentioned corn and soy beans fields. My legs ran up all fiver hills but nearly collapse at the top of the last hill. In fact, I was tempted to walk up the last 20 yards but a woman runner was coming down the hill so I guess my legs got a boost from my fragile male ego. Compare the elevation to last weeks run.

Next long run on the schedule is an 18 miler. I think I'll head north. 

September 16, 2010

Scared Running

Dogs have scared me while running. Cars, or rather their drivers, have scared me while running. But, on Saturday I was scared as much or worse than any dog or car. The plan was to run another 16 miler in preparation for the Monumental Marathon on November, 6th. The skies were partially cloudy day but I checked the weather before I left and the radar was clear as a bell. A little wind but cool for early September so nearly perfect for running. Running east of town, I periodically looked over my shoulder to see if any storm clouds. Nothing.

I feel much different than the week previous where I couldn't stop thinking about dad. I'm still thinking about dad but more so the good things. Like skiing, water skiing, and rides in the '31 Chev. Again, I see clear skies to the west and I also see fields of corn and soy beans that have already been harvested. Autumn is arriving early most due to a very dry August. But, that's okay. I love fall. In fact, one fall 30 years ago dad did me the biggest favor ever. I had just come home from morning classes at USU. Mom and dad were in the kitchen. I don't remember all that was said except that dad gave me the best advice possible. "Jake," he told me, "there's a sale going on down at Cardon's Jeweler's. Go buy Lesa an engagement ring." It was more of a command than suggestion. That was October 8, 1980, the day I asked Lesa to marry me. It is without doubt the best decision I have ever made and the best advice I have ever followed.

Almost as a reflex, I look over my right shoulder to check the weather. As my head turns towards the northeast I see something very similar to this...

Now, when you are expecting, for the fourth or fifth time to see clear skies but turn and see a black wall cloud instead, you get scared. At least I did. Without a heart rate monitor I could feel my heart rate sore. It might as well be a rapid pit bull or a drunken driver baring down on me. I was at least 2-3 miles from town with only a few random farm houses nearby enough to run to. The storm was heading southeast and I was "running" eastward. I don't know how fast storms fly but this one was obviously going faster than my 10 minute per mile pace. Should try to run east and hope the storm passes below me or, at the upcoming intersection, turn south praying the storm will go above me? I see a small metal shed to the south so I figure I run that direction even though I don't see any protective overhangs on the shed. Hopefully, I think, just standing on the east side will protect me from the wind. Other than that, I only had the brim of my running hat to hid under. At this point I was running a little scared.

(Here are Gegorgy Hines and Billy Crystal in Running Scared, a semi-entertaining 1980's Beverly Hill's Cop wannabe buddy-buddy cob movie set in Chicago and Key West)

I've been caught in rain storms before and don't mind them particularly if it's a warm day. Well, it was warm but I could feel the temperatures dropping as the storm approached but my biggest fear was getting blown to Terre Haute. And, if you've ever been to Terre Haute, IN you'd understand my fear. A farmer approaches in his truck and I think about stopping them and asking for a ride but then I'll get a lecture about running and how dumb it is and that I should be doing something more productive with my energy like milking cows. I decided to keep running and deal with the consequences. At least, it will give me something to blog about. 

I turn south and with the storm nearly overhead brace for impact. At worst, the road is lined with a ditch perfectly made for tornado protection. The ski darkens and the wind gets colder but that's it. A few minutes more and the darkest clouds have passed without a single rain drop and wind that was not match for my 174 pound frame. Wow, I couldn't believe it. Just like most dogs, that wall clouds' bark was bigger than it's bite. 

September 6, 2010

Labor Day

Growing up we spent many Labor Day's at Bear Lake. I think it was one Labor Day that dad crashed through the Daines' sliding glass window after seeing the boat slowly drifting away from shore. The next time, the Daine's had flower stickers covering the sliding door windows.

Labor day also signals a new year, at least for me. Summer is gone and fall and winter next in line. For me, the next six months are full of greater anticipation and excitement than the last six months. Baseball is getting serious. Football is starting. Skiing is soon to be in the air. Fall marathons waiting to be run.

This years' Labor Day celebration is a little more special. Not that I'm doing anything exciting or made any significant Labor Day resolutions. This year I'm leaving more baggage behind me in terms of my job. I'm no long the graduate coordinator. I'm back to teaching full time. I love forwarding emails full of questions and inquiries to the new coordinator. I love leaving graduate faculty meetings with no agenda items to follow-up on. Mostly, I love that the term "assessment" means so much less to me now.

Summer also had a nice closing act to it. Lucky enough to find cheap airfare from Indy to SLC, I was able to fly to Utah for a week in August. I got to spend some time with mom and dad at the Twin Pine Ranch. It was good to see dad despite the weakness cancer and its treatments have inflicted upon him. I also got to see the rest of the family with one of the best family home evenings ever! I wish Lesa and Erin could have been there but I'm also glad they let me go. It a great trip and a perfect way to celebrate the end of three years of higher education administration and frustration. (Yes, those terms are redundant.)

Now I'm looking forward to fall. First and at the top of the list, is the arrival of Clara Jane who was due to arrive on Saturday the 4th. If she's as cute as her mom says she is (and who am I doubt it?) I'm sure she'll be worth the wait. I'm also looking forward to another trip to Utah in October for Clara's blessing and the Emmett Family Fun Ultra 5K Run. November brings with it the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis and my favorite day of the year–Thanksgiving.

While life may not be fair, life is good.

July 10, 2010

4 For the 4th...or the 3rd

One reason I run marathons and half-marathon's is they provide a sense of accomplishment no matter long it takes. Shorter distances expose me to fast runners who train on track and hills. Runners who talk negative splits and tempo. Plus, there are still hanging around the finish line when I final come across. By the time I finish a marathon all the top runners are home, showered, and taking a nap. But, once a year I like to run the local '4 For The 4th' race mostly because the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity. I also run it because it's about the only local 4th of July activity I participate in. It's my parade, pulled pork sandwich and fireworks all wrapped up in a 4 mile loop through the village of Charleston, IL. One year I ran it with local legend, Cal Smith. He's in his 70's and loves to run but run slowly. A few times I "ran" with Ben but he usually would beat me except the year he took sick and veered off course into the trees allowing me to fly past him and beat him to the finish for the first and only time. When Ethan Garret lived here, he'd usually run and, in fact, fly out from Arizona last year just to run this race (and maybe see his family). His brother, Josh, is always there with one of his kids who are good runners. Brett Bartlett is another friend who is there every year but he's too fast for me. Two years ago we had Elders Berger and Whitely run in their white shirts and ties and this year Elders Krull and Summers did the same.

The course is mostly flat until mile 3 with a relaxing downhill followed by a mean uphill. I hit mile 1 in just over 8 minutes by following the eventual winner of the 60-69 age group. His pace felt good to me so I stayed with him until the hill. Maybe it was my skier thighs but I was able to keep my pace up the hill and finish the last 0.5 mile feeling pretty good. I think my time of 31:14 was my best yet but not good enough to place in my age category but that's okay. I got another painting T-shirt, a free bottle of water, and the chance to donate $20 to a worth cause. Oh, plus I was able to celebrate Independence Day early and be avoid the maddening crowds for the rest of the day. Just how I like it.