Friday, December 26, 2008
With that being said, I have had a cold for the past 10 days that has whipped me. My wife also has the same cold that she came down with at the very same time that I did.
December 14, I ran the Whiterock Marathon. (race report at Rusty Safety Pins) At mile 2 I knew something was wrong with my body and at mile 4, I puked. I felt fine that morning before the race, but by the time I went to bed that evening I knew that my ill feelings were more than post marathon recovery pains. By Monday morning my wife and I were both feeling bad and Monday night it was a full blown head cold/upper respiritory infection. I felt so bad the entire post marathon week that I didn't even run around the block.
So to cut to the chase scene: it has been nearly 2 weeks since I got sick and both my wife and I still have not recovered. I did go to spin twice this week and I ran 3 times.....but is has been brutal....a lot of hacking up lung cookies and shooting snot rockets out the nose. This weekend I really need to get a 25 to 30 mile run in as Bandera 50K is in 2 weeks...I was looking forward to racing it strong, but at this point I just want to finish it without it being a Bataan Death March. I will post the elevation of that little race later. Suffice it to say that you are either ascending or descending...oh what fun!
Despite the head cold, I am thankful. Thankful for my wife, my kids, my friends...my Savior, whose birthday we just celebrated yesterday. Godspeed and try to avoid this head cold stuff...
Monday, December 22, 2008
This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas when the Three Wise Men: Gaspar, Balthazar and Herb went to see the baby Jesus; and according to the Book of Matthew, "presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh." These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often overlooked, theological fact. There is no mention of wrapping paper. If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: "And lo, the gifts were inside 600 square cubits of paper. And the paper was festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman. And Joseph was going to throw it away, but Mary saideth unto him, she saideth, 'Holdeth it! That is nice paper! Saveth it for next year!' And Joseph did rolleth his eyeballs. And the baby Jesus was more interested in the paper than the frankincense." But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped.
This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics:
1. They were wise.
2. They were men.Men are not big gift wrappers.
Men do not understand the point of putting paper on a gift just so somebody else can tear it off. This is not just my opinion; this is a scientific fact based on a statistical survey of two guys I know. One is Rob, who said the only time he ever wraps a gift is "if it's such a poor gift that I don't want to be there when the person opens it." The other is Gene, who told me he does wrap gifts, but as a matter of principle never takes more than 15 seconds per gift." No one ever had to wonder which presents daddy wrapped at Christmas," Gene said. "They were the ones that looked like enormous spitballs."
I also wrap gifts, but because of some defect in my motor skills, I can never completely wrap them. I can take a gift the size of a deck of cards and put it the exact center of a piece of wrapping paper the size of a regulation volleyball court, but when I am done folding and taping, you can still see a sector of the gift peeking out. (Sometimes I camouflage this sector with a marking pen.) If I had been an ancient Egyptian in the field of mummies, the lower half of the Pharaoh's body would be covered only by Scotch tape. On the other hand, if you give my wife a 12-inch square of wrapping paper, she can wrap a C-130 cargo plane. My wife, like many women, actually likes wrapping things. If she gives you a gift that requires batteries, she wraps the batteries separately, which to me is very close to being a symptom of mental illness. If it were possible, my wife would wrap each individual volt. My point is that gift-wrapping is one of those skills like having babies that come more naturally to women than to men. That is why today I am presenting:
GIFT-WRAPPING TIPS FOR MEN:* Whenever possible, buy gifts that are already wrapped. If, when the recipient opens the gift, neither one of you recognizes it, you can claim that it's myrrh.* The editors of Woman's Day magazine recently ran an item on how to make your own wrapping paper by printing a design on it with an apple sliced in half horizontally and dipped in a mixture of food coloring and liquid starch. They must be smoking crack.* If you're giving a hard-to-wrap gift, skip the wrapping paper!Just put it inside a bag and stick one of those little adhesive bows on it. This creates a festive visual effect that is sure to delight the lucky recipient on Christmas morning:
YOUR WIFE: Why is there a Hefty trash bag under the tree?
YOU: It's a gift! See? It has a bow!
YOUR WIFE (peering into the trash bag): It's a leaf blower.
YOU: Gas-powered! Five horsepower!
YOUR WIFE: I want a divorce.
YOU: I also got you some myrrh.
In conclusion, remember that the important thing is not what you give or how you wrap it. The important thing, during this veryspecial time of year, is that you save the receipt.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The human spirit knows no bounds. This is one major reason I participate in endurance events. The stripping away of perceived limitations to go beyond what most think impossible.
So this evening, walk, jog, or run a mile...or maybe 20 miles.
This photo is courtesy of my wife Brenda. She took it about 200 feet from the finish line of the Dallas Whiterock Marathon 2008. The Dallas Whiterock Marathon's beneficiary is Scottish Rite Hospital that helps those like the young boy running the last part with the two adult runners. Note of interest: The double amputee passed me at about mile 21.
Monday, December 15, 2008
During Sunday’s Dallas Whiterock Marathon, I was out there so long that I was afraid that it would take WD40 to break loose my safety pins.
It was warm, got up to 79 F. It was windy, gusting up to 40 MPH. At mile 2, I was sweating profusely. My heart rate was too high. I tried to bring it down…to no avail. The reason? Don’t really know, maybe I started out too fast with the high temps that I had not run in during the last couple of months. I was nauseated much of the race and knew around mile 4 that was going to be a tough day and that I just wanted to try to hold my self together.
It was a worse day for many other people.
At mile 9.5, a young guy went down hard in front of me. The man directly in front caught him. I ran back about ¼ mile to try to get some medical attention from the previous add station. While the other runner had his cell phone and called 911. We moved on when some of the spectators where caring for him. My guess, severe dehydration.
I finally finished. A miserable day in a marathon is still better than any day in the office. I have learned that I really prefer trail running.
On a much lighter note on two accounts:
At about mile 7, I hear, “DAVE, DAVE!” I turn around and see a guy I have never personally met but recognize him anyway. His name is Derek and we frequent each others blog. He ran the first leg of the relay and then was going to finish up by running the whole marathon. He caught up to me and it was good to meet him. I saw him a couple other times on the course and he was always smiling. Additionally I met BrendaC who also frequents my blog. She had flown down from Virginia Beach and my wife and I had dinner with her on Saturday evening. She actually looked really strong during the race when she blew by me. Good times, good times!
After the race, our daughter, Macy got lost from us in the throes of humanity. Adrenaline kicked in and my legs didn’t hurt so badly. She was quickly found and taken to the medical tent and then brought to us after I let a policeman know that we had misplaced our 5 year old daughter. Macy was pretty shaken up. To help her out, the race personnel gave her a Marathon finisher’s medal. If I knew it was that easy, I would have gotten lost and then cried a little. You have to get lost because only crying doesn’t get you a medal. :)
Tonight, maybe a little spin class.
Friday, December 12, 2008
So today I picked up the race packet. It included the personalized bib, a long sleeve cotton shirt and and a short sleeve tech shirt.
This is not my first marathon. So after running a 50K, some pretty tough trail races and a decent amount of trail runs over 30 miles, why is it that the marathon still intimidates me a bit. Seriously, I have run 30K trail races that made the marathon look like a walk in the park. I am in the best shape of my life. I feel good...and yet I feel unprepared....why???! I don't know. It may be that for so long in my life, the marathon distance was heralded as the be all/end all distance to conquer. That last statement just made the marathon a mental thing didn't it. Back to my hypothesis that running is mental.... isn't it!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Since we are finished decorating. I started looking at our Christmas tree last night. In our Plano area, it is vogue to have all tree decorations match and to have a common theme. If your really gung ho, you spend the money to change the tree decor/theme every year. We are not those people on either account. In fact the Elliott family tree decor is about as eclectic and diverse as you possible can get.
You see, when Bren and I got married...we had love baby...but not much money, honey. Therefore the Christmas decorations were either found on really really cheap sales or just plan cheap to begin with. So the $15 dollar Angel that topped the Elliott's first Christmas tree is still the same one that tops it now. We have the money to change it....but I don't want to. It's got 13 years of memories in it now. And that is pretty much the same statement that can be said for every ornament on the tree.
Yeah, yeah...some of them border on the trashy side....but I like'em.
Like the Marlyn Monroe ornament in her famous "oh my skirt is flying up - Seven Year Itch" pose. It was given as joke, to me, from Bren's brother. Who doesn't want Marylin under, or in my case, on your tree. The other ornaments might not be quite so provocative, but just as cool. Like the Redstone Mercury Rocket that actually counts down then lights up on lift off. I got it when I was a flight design engineer at NASA. Or how about the 3 Disney ornaments that we got when we went to DisneyWorld. I'm a huge Elvis fan, so we have 2 Elvis ornaments...one that actually sings "Blue Christmas." The list goes on....3 Superman ornaments, Santa Clause by the Campfire... We have ornaments that represent our interest, points in our life, and last but certainly not least, our Christian Faith.
Now the kids are into it,. insuring that their Christmas tree ornaments adorn the tree. My wife, every year, attempts to purchase an ornament that is indicative of that child in that year. For example, Luke has 2 Toy Story ornaments featuring Buzz Lightyear and Cowboy Woody. When he was 3 and 4, not much could compete with that Disney film. Last year, Macy received a ballerina ornament representing her first year to take dance. Hope had a Waterford Crystal Baby carriage representing her first Christmas. (I didn't say all of them are cheap!) This list also goes on and on. We also have the ornaments that the kids made in school...they all go on the tree...even the less attractive ones.
I know of one individual who makes her children hang the ornaments they made on the back of the tree so they can not be seen. What's the purpose. The whole reason I want them on the tree is to remind myself of the wonderful memories of our family. Our Tree is a window pane into the Elliott's hearts, a portrait of our lives.
Luke is now 7 and Macy now 5. And although this "Tough" Marine sometimes doesn't want to admit it, I soften up at the thought that they won't be around forever. Yesterday I was rocking Luke to sleep. Today, he will want to go play catch. Yesterday, Macy and I made a gingerbread house together. It's a tradition for just she and I. She won't always want me to make make sure the icing is on just right. And Hope, well, she acts just like her daddy...and always makes me laugh. She too, one day, will move on. This is not a bad thing, just normal. So for now, I want my Christmas tree to look like the hodge podge of decor that it actually is....
Sunday, November 30, 2008
My wife and three rug rats headed out to Levelland Texas Wednesday afternoon. (Levelland is located 30 miles west of Lubbock with no windbreak except for a barbwire fence somewhere up in the panhandle near Amarillo.)
Thanksgiving Morning I was to be met by Bill Roger (no, not the Boston Marathon Champion) to ride over to Lubbock and run the annual Turkey Trot put on by the West Texas Runners Club.
Bill has always run as long as I can remember. I was raised in Levelland Texas, a town of about 13,000, and Bill’s running has become a community staple. Bill will turn 70 this next year and has been running for over half of his life. That running has included completing 45 marathons, twice qualifying and running the Boston. I remember in my preteen years thinking how anyone can run over 25 miles at a time. The Roger’s have been friends of my family for nearly all my life and 15 years ago when I ran my first marathon, I turned to Bill for advice, instruction, and encouragement. Bill is a crazy cut up and keeps me in stitches so the half hour drive over to the race was a good time to catch up.
Bill retold of the many times that he and his running pal, Larry Bird, would show up to races together and approach the registration table announcing that Bill Roger and Larry Bird would be running in the race. Bill chuckled when all heads would turn to check to see if the Boston Marathon Champ would be paired up with the famous Boston Celtic. Oh, that trick never got old.
Larry Bird (left) and Bill Roger (right) Pre Race CamaraderieI was reminded this weekend that Bill was running marathons before running marathons was hip and cool. There wasn’t a whole lot of training programs and many amateur runners learned things the hard way. Like the time he decided to carry a Hershey Chocolate bar for a marathon. “Dave, you know that a Hershey chocolate bar has 12 squares. So at every 2 mile water stop I would eat a square. The problem is I didn’t realize how hot it was going to get and by mile 6 I was drinking that chocolate bar out of the wrapper and wearing the rest of it.” We laughed.
The stories would go on…and on. Many of which I had heard before, some I hadn’t…but the laughter never ceased.
Bill has been featured in Runners’ World magazine. Not for his incredible running prowess but for all the change (money) he has found while running. I remember walking into his workout room in the backyard and seeing literally thousands of pennies, quarters, dimes, and nickels glued to the wall. There was hardly a space that had not been covered by money. After the RW feature, he was advised to take it down because of possible theft. He cleaned up the money and took it to the bank…seven 5 gallon buckets of pennies….enough money to buy 2 treadmills and a TV so the he and his wife Sally could workout and watch TV.
Bill had decided not to run the Turkey Trot this year because he has been having some severe foot issues. Despite the foot pain he did manage to get in a jog before he picked me up Thanksgiving morning. I was going to run the 12K…don’t ask me why the Lubbock Turkey Trot is 12K (7.45 miles). So there we are at the pre race and I am pinning on my number. Bill says, “you know you’ve had a bad day if by the end of your race the safety pens are rusty.” “Have you ever had that?” I ask. Bill dryly responds, “Yeah, Chicago Marathon.” And we laugh.
Bill Roger with me, being his goofy, silly self.The race went well. I came in 5th for my age group and would have had PR’s at both the 5K and 10K splits.
We made it home by 11:00 AM. I shower and change into the Roger Staubach Football Jersey, the football legend I grew up idolizing. Roger saved me $1600.00 once during a silent auction when he shook my hand…but I digress and that is a story for another day. You have to wear such jersey if you are going to go play backyard football on Thanksgiving with your 7 year old son. Luke and Me playing some Thanksgiving Day Football
Thanksgiving day went off well and a my brother and his family got to celebrate it together with our parents.
All the grand kids with my parents
To wrap up the weekend, I get a call from my buddy Rick Gaston. He ran the 28 mile (over 9000 ft of elevation increase) Quad Dipsea race on Saturday. Not only did he run a great race but met David Goggins, a Navy Seal, Endurance Ultramarathon freak and someone I really admire. Rick tells David about his Marine buddy who lives in Texas and asks if he can have his picture taken with him for me. Goggins says, “Of course and tell him Semper Fi.” There are a couple of more guys who will become legends. Read about Ricks' epic race cutting 35 minutes off of last years time at Ricks Blog .
David Goggins & Rick Gaston - post race Quad Dipsea
I will end on this note. I came home and cracked open the email. I had a message from Patton Gleason asking to contact him if I wanted to go for a run this weekend. Truthfully, I don’t think I can keep up with Patton. Patton leads the marathon training programs for Luke’s Locker and is one of the coolest, fastest, and most gracious guys around. He will be doing the Bandera 100K in January and to make the Whiterock Marathon interesting this year he is running 24 miles to the start line to make it a 50 mile day. Yeah….he’s on his way to legend status.
On Friday afternoon, I went for a 12 mile run. My 10 year old nephew, Jeffery, ran the first 4 miles with me at about an 8:50 per mile pace. He hung tough and frankly I was proud of him. At about 3.75 miles, I started messing with his mind by saying we had 2 miles to go. He was hurting and gasped…”We only have run TWO MILES?”…of course we had only a few hundred yards to wrap up the run. He was relieved to see his dad at the corner to take him home while I continued. Who knows, I may become his Legend.
Look around, there are people who inspire you…they’re legends…at least in my book! Do something epic and become their Legacy….and somebody else’s Legend.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Cooking Breakfast - It's a bit chilly (me on the right)
Scout Families Enjoying the Camp Fire
So now I have a 7 year old son and I have become his Cub Scout Den Leader. This past weekend was the fall camp out and we decided to go to Tyler State Park. Another thing of note, it was supposed to be the first freeze of the year. Yeah baby, now that's camping.
Orienteering Training - who knows, they may take up adventure racing
Luke having the time of his life
Me having the time of my life - my son and both daughters
Bren having the time of her life...well not so much
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I had signed up for it early as it tends to sell out, but was left in a quandary after ITB issues during Pala Duro Canyon 50 mile race. My knee was doing well, so I opted to only run the 30K in lieu of the 50K. At the start, the Race Director, Tom Crull, confirmed that the race was not sanctioned by any organization, this was a trail race and the 30K was 20 miles. By the way Scott Eppleman, 100 miler phenom elite, won the 50K..man, he is fast.
Let me take this moment to say that the The North Texas Trail Runners put on a great event. The "Veterans' Day Race" honoring all veterans commences with Major General Gossell, from my beloved Marine Corps, kicking off the start of the race. I had the honor of talking with him before the race and come to find out he was in my chain of command when 4th Battalion, 23rd Marines were called up for Desert Storm. Small world isn't it. His beloved wife confirmed that Generals do put on their pants the same way Corporals do, one leg at a time.
The race started at 8 bells under absolutely perfect conditions...45 F topping out at about 68 F...and most important...DRY! I took it slow and fell into a good rhythm, conversing with the runners and cutting up. Everything feeling good and absolutely having a ball. At about 9 miles, a mile out from the turn around, my calfs begin to cramp. I was well hydrated and on top of my electrolytes. I have been hammering my legs pretty good with weights and some brutal spin class so I attributed the cramping to that. I felt pretty good the entire race except for the cramping which got progressive worse. Despite the calf's having to be stretched out occasionally, I was able to keep running. On the way back, I took a page from Rick Gaston's book and determined to drop some runners hanging with me. Not that I was setting any records, but it was fun to see if I could catch and drop some 30K runners. As far as the ITB, no indication of issues till about mile 17 and they were mild. I slowed down on the down hills and believed I escaped any extended injury.
I had more fun at this race than I can remember in a long long time. Trail Runners are some of the best people. My wife and three hoodlums made it out, accompanied by my Brother-In-Law and the pictures below show them crossing the finish line with me. Additionally they awarded every finisher with a handmade ceramic medallion. (see above photo.) These are so cool as it epitomizes trail running. No flash, just hard work, fun, suffering, and great camaraderie.
Came home, showered, ate, and took Luke to a Birthday Party and then went on a date with my Wife....Where did the time go....OH, Good times I tell ya!
Photo Courtesy of Mike Langille
Coming up the steps to the finish with Luke and Macy...yeah there are lot of steps!
Post Race Family Picture
Hope already being sponsored by Saucony. The Saucony Rep knows talent when she sees it!
Macy and Marshall (her Uncle) cutting up
Best Support Crew Possible!
Monday, November 3, 2008
A whole of inquiries on the GEEZER Recipe. So here it goes, don't say I didn't warn ya!
Take about 1 to 2 lbs of seasoned, browned sausage meat and spread around in a seasoned Dutch Oven (see photo.)
Take a can of refried beans and spread evenly over the top of the sausage meat.
Take a healthy sized jar of Jalapenos and empty jar, juice and all onto the top of the refried beans. Spread evenly and do not wipe your eyes with your fingers.
Take a healthy size jar of HOT Picante Sauce and spread evenly over the Jalapenos.
Take a pound of shredded Cheddar cheese and spread evenly over the picante.
Bake 20 to 30 minutes and serve over corn chips.
ENJOY THE SNACK FOR THE NEXT 48 HOURS!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
But for now, I am blogging about how we "rough it" at camping in the Y program. The Y would like to have the "tribes" to have about 10 boys and their dads. Because we have gone RENEGADE and broken off from the Y and because we have such a great time, we now have about 30 boys plus fathers to make 60 people in our little tribe...I mean mob. At this camp out we had close to 54 attend.
With that being said, there is never a dull moment. 26 seven year olds running around with sticks and throwing rocks...and no one got hurt....well seriously anyway. There is a reason why mothers are not allowed to attend such functions.
The dad's have a better time than the sons and because we are in the heart of football season, we have to bring a satellite and not 1, but 2 receivers to be able to watch 2 football games simultaneously. One being shown by a projector TV and another on a much smaller Plasma screen. So while we sit around the camp fire, we do what every red blooded American male should do and we watch football.
Notice the projector screen
Notice the Plasma TV
After we put the boys to bed, sometime before midnight...we are not to picky about bedtimes as all the concubine units are unaware of what is actually happening in the camp (refer to my aforementioned comment about why mothers are not present), we break out the dutch ovens and prepare two midnight snacks. One is called GEEZER and the other is cobbler. The recipe for GEEZER will be published in a later blog as it is a snack that keeps on giving...sometimes up to 48 hours.
The Greatness of the Dutch Oven