Day at the Office

Day at the Office
All Terrain Vehicle
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Phillppians 3:14

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Camping...and Loving IT!

Three weeks ago I got to go camping with my oldest daughter, Macy (age 5). It is part of the YMCA program called Y Princess. For the boys it is called Y Guides. (It used to be call Indian Princess/Guides until political correctness ran amok.) Well this past weekend, it was Luke's turn (age 7). The program starts when you are in Kindergarten and goes until third grade. Because of this 3rd grade cutoff, Luke is also in Cub Scouts which goes to 5th grade and transitions to Boy Scouts. At some point I am sure to blog about the Scouting program that is near and dear to my heart.

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.
This fall camp out was to take place at Sky Ranch. A high end camp located in the piney woods of East Texas about 1 1/2 hours east of Dallas. At the camp there are zip lines, a ropes course, horseback riding, water slides that feed into a really nice lake, paint ball courses and a plethora of other activities. Basically you can't do it all in just a weekend.

Luke was limited to NO water activities as he had received stitches above the eye because he tripped and fell while running up our stairs carrying a cap gun pistol. The metal of the pistol barrel implanted a pretty deep cut and on Friday Luke was wearing the stitches above the eye as a badge of honor. Come Saturday when everyone was in the water park...well, he was hating those stitches then. Other than that, Luke had a great time on the Zip lines, horse back riding, jumping on this apparatus they call the pillow jumper and just having an overall good time doing the things boys like to do but cannot be published here for fear of causing premature graying in his sainted mother's hair.

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

Sunday morning is the return trip home and some recoup time before heading into work on Monday. Below are pictures of both Luke's camp out and Macy's from 3 weeks ago. ENJOY!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


October 18, 2008 was to be the day for me to run my first 50 miler. It was the Palo Duro Canyon Trail run and was reminder that life on this earth is not forever as it was a tribute for Red Spicer, the founder of the race. Red passed away this past August and lived a life bigger than Texas. It was also a reminder the body can be a frail machine.

At 6:30AM on that Saturday morning, in the predawn coolness the sound of bagpipes could be heard echoing off the canyon walls. In a about an hour the ball of fire would peek over the horizon heating up the canyon, but for now the 45 degree temperature gave cause to don a jacket. At 5 minutes to 7:00 runners began lining up to start either the 50 mile or 50K trail run. A moment of silence to honor Red, a prayer asking our Heavenly Father for protection and guidance and then the gun went off sending a flurry of runners into the predawn morning.

The course is a 12.5 mile loop with 4 aid stations. For the 50 mile race, that meant running through this awe inspiring canyon 4 times. As one runner stated, the first loop is fun and games, the second loop is to establish a good pace, the third loop is for your mental toughness and the final loop is for your farewell tour. The course is never flat. You are either ascending or descending but there is never much climbing. I fell in behind a seasoned Ultra veteran who kept me from going out too fast. At one point he said I'm going to walk the climbs. I replied good. He mentioned that he looks at a hill and if it looks like he is going to have to walk on the fourth loop, he goes ahead and walks on the first. Good advice. I wrap up my first loop right on time and felt really good. My parents even mentioned on how good I look. Thus I began the next loop in good spirits and feeling great. Same philosophy as the first loop and I fall in with Ann who eventually won the 50 miler for the women. Things are going well. I am running the down hills well and maintaining a good pace. Ann and I keep leap frogging each other. She gave way to me for the downhills and during my walk breaks she would run ahead. At mile 20 or so I feel some discomfront on the outside of my left knee. From everything I have heard or read...sounds like a ITB issue. Where did this come from. I have never had problems with this. It continues to nag and as the miles go one I feel increasing pain especially in the strength.

I wrap up the second loop at mile 25 but my left knee is screaming at me on the down hills. My legs feel like legs should feel at 25 miles and actually the rest of my body was doing well. But each down hill was only getting worst. At mile 27 I began struggling even walking the downhills with the sharp shooting pain through my knee. This was the easy part of the trail. Wait till I get to no mans land in the back of the canyon. My mind and body had an argument at this point. "Push through...push through it." "It's a freaking are suppose to hurt." "This was different than normal pain. This was injury pain." "Where do I draw the line?" "Can I walk it in and still make the cutoffs?" At about mile 29 I hoof it back about a mile to the last station. I look down and utter the hardest words I have ever said. "I don't think I can make it...with the cutoffs and all." Because of the road access to the station they are able to ride me back to the start/finish line. I report to the timekeepers table...and state, "number 34 DNF."

I sit down in a lawn chair and felt like I was going to throw up. Not from sickness but from the very thought of quiting. I have never quit anything. I should have pushed. What have I done. I have let so many people down. Walking to my car was a reminder of the ITB pain. Twenty more miles...? On this knee that seemed to refuse to function properly walking to the car?

At this point I have some people to thank.

First my wife and 3 kids who are so supportive. Bren has always been there, either boiling potatoes for the next mornings long run or encouraging me at different races.

Rick Gaston, mentor, friend and ultramarathon phenom who can run 50 miles in under 8 hours and who has run more 100's this year than most people run 10K's.

Russ and BrendaC who are endurance athletes in their own rights. BrendaC an Ironwomen and Russ...good grace on your first Ironman this next weekend.

So, where does that leave me? A couple of weeks of with rehabbing the knee...probably get a lot of spin work in. Next, the Whiterock Marathon...the original reason I got off the couch about year ago. There are more 50K's and plenty of 50 milers within driving distance...and oh yeah...The Palo Duro Trail Run will be done on my conditions! They told me to keep my number. I have marked DNF across the front and will hang it on my wall in my office as motivation!

Here are some pictures of the weekend:

Luke and me at the pre race dinner
Starting/Finish Line

1st Loop down...feeling good...If you feel good during an Ultra, You'll Get Over it!

Magnificant Canyon Walls

Runners on the trail...the one in Front is Ann from Denver

Ann again up front

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bathroom - DONE...Well Nearly

Like I said, it's nearly done. All that is left is the show glass to be installed. That should happen in about 10 days or so. I figured I would have the bathroom remodel done before I ever ran 50 miles. Looks like I will run that ultra before it's completely done. Here are picture of before and after...I hope you think it's an upgrade....especially what we spent on it.

Before...notice how my closet door open!

Before..Bren's vanity

Before....look at the mid 90's wall paper...OH Babyeeee!

Before Tub...and partial of my vanity.


After - My Vanity

After - My closet...notice the door is shut...and
for good reason.

After - Bren's Vanity

After - The shower sans glass.


After - The Jacuzzi Tub

Monday, October 13, 2008

Big Weekend

Alright, I had a big fun weekend with my oldest daughter, Macy. She is 5 years old and we went camping with her YMCA group of 9 friends and their dad's. Let me say that I am extremely proud of her and I will get into details in a moment. Let me also explain that trail running has completely ruined me! I will also explain that.

We got to Possom Kingdom Lake and Camp Grady Spruce at about 5:30 PM Friday evening. We got a fire going and grilled some hot dogs and began to settle into the camp. All the dads and daughters arrived and we got the girls down to sleep at about 9:30 PM. I had decided to get my 2 hour run in that night instead of the next morning so at 10:30 PM I take off in new territory. Three miles down the road I noticed a trail head for mountain biking/hiking and I was off into the great unknown. Three miles in and three miles out and back to camp for about 12 miles. It was 12:30 AM and the dad's were still up around the campfire and I felt really good. Most couldn't believe I had just whipped out a short 12 miler. I turn in at about 1:30 AM.

The next morning we are off after breakfast to climb Johnson's Peak. It is about a mile climb and about an 8 on the technical 10 scale. Macy took off with three other girls and the rockiness made no mind to her. Here is where trail running has ruined me. I can not go for a hike on a trail like this and I was literally chomping at the bit. Knowing that there was a 50 to 75 foot drop at the top bluff, I ran ahead to make sure our kindergarten girls would not do a swan dive off the I got rid of a little of the pent up energy by running up to the top. Macy and 3 of the other girls chewed up the climb without any Diva Drama. This cannot be said about all parties involved. We made it to the top and pictures were taking and the decent began. Once again, my 5 year old daughter led the way down as the first one showing astuteness of footing and no whining. We got to the bottom and her comment was, "I am the first one down and I still have a lot of energy left." I was so proud of her. Trust me there was a lot of whining and waling in the party...but not my Macy....My princess is a trailblazer!

Great weekend. Pics to follow later.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Redneck Fire Alarm

Stealing a page from Marcy's book, here is the Friday Photo...Hahahahahahahha.

With that being said, this weekend is a big weekend for my kindgarten daugther Macy as we have a YMCA campout this weekend. No worries I will still get a 2 hour run in before the sun rises...Have a good weekend and good luck to all you runners out there...especially those completing your first Marathon.

Monday, October 6, 2008

NO,NO, I'm Not Missing In Action...Just have a Toilet in my Bedroom.

Luceeeee, I got some splaining to do! As some of you may know, we are in the middle of a master bathroom remodel. Five days ago our shower was down to the studs, the floor was down to the concrete and now the tolet has been removed to get the new tile floor put down. Who knew that remodeling such a small space in the house could totally disrupt your family life in such a monumental way. I realize that me posting the above picture could border on Redneck...but remember I Do Not Like NASCAR!
Now back to the has been a tough. This weekend I wrapped up a 6 hour trail run. I don't know exactly how far...but it proabably was about 28 to 30 miles. The 50 miler is in 2 weeks and frankly I don't know if I am ready for it. I guess well see.
Oh and one answer to your I am not doing the remodel...I have two magic words...CONTRACT OUT!