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

Sunday, November 30, 2008


This Thanksgiving Weekend was one of Legends.

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 Camaraderie

I 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

We've Come a Long Way Baby!

Just about a year ago I was sitting on the couch watching the Dallas Whiterock Marathon. It had been 6 years since I had run the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Over that 6 years, I had put on 30 lbs., my asthma was borderline out of control, my lung capacity was about 58% and frankly I was irritable and discontented. (Read more about my asthma here at My Cross to Bear ) Things were going well at work and with the family, but I was badly out of shape.

That Sunday afternoon a year ago, I take off for my first run in about 6 years. It was around a 2.5 mile concrete path that meanders around a 168 acre park literally 5 houses down from our Plano Texas Home. That was a brutal run. It took me nearly 30 minutes to run that 2.5 miles.

Yesterday I did a 20 mile road run. I wrapped up the last 5 miles with 2 laps around that 2.5 mile path. My last 2.5 miles took 24 minutes. After nearly 1500 miles, my asthma symptoms are non existent, my lung capacity is about 92% and I have dropped 30 lbs. We've come a long way baby!

This posting should in no way be construed as braggadocio. Whenever I line up at a race I realize how humbling it is to run and race with people that actually have some God given ability. I am not one of them. I also realize there are a whole lot of really good runners that are always willing to help someone like me.

I will be out of pocket much of this week. I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Here's to all of our blessings, friends, health and family.

Gotta RUN!

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Camping - Cub Scout Pack 2008 - Den 7

Some of you know that the Scouting program is near to my heart. I was raised in the Scouting Program. My grandad taught me the Scout Oath before I was 5. My Uncle is an Eagle Scout. My brother is an Eagle Scout...and I am an Eagle Scout. Some of my best memories are in Scouts and by the time I was 12 years old I had completed my first 50 mile backpacking trek in New Mexico's Pecos Wilderness. When I was 16, I had repelled off my first 150 foot bluff. I love the outdoors and I love camping.

Hanging out with your buddies

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

We pull into the park at 5:30PM on Friday evening. When we got there two of my Scout's Dads had a fire going and supper was on the Colman Stove. With the help of one of the dads, we set the tent up in the dark and begin to settle into camp. After dinner, I broke out the Dutch Oven and in 30 minutes we had peach cobbler, hot and ready to go. The air temperature was cooling down and it was time to get the boys to bed. At 11:30PM, I decided to take off on a 2 hour run. There are some really good mountain bike trails and I was anxious to get out there and see what happens. After one hour on the trail, I had determined a couple of things. I was struggling at keeping a good pace on a technical trail that is unfamiliar, at night. So after that hour, I took to the roads and finished up at 1:30 AM running a good pace. After a quick shower, I crawled into the bag at 2:04AM. It was getting least Texas Cold.

Luke having the time of his life

Me having the time of my life - my son and both daughters

Up at 6:45AM on Saturday morning, had a fire going and the day was off. Also I had about 4 boys coming on Saturday for the activities and Saturday night camping. Additionally and most astonishing, my wife Bren was coming on Saturday to camp and stay the night. She was bring our two daughters, Macy and Hope with her.

Bren having the time of her life...well not so much

Why is this astonishing? I will tell you. She hates to camp. This stems from one bad experience nearly 20 years ago and since that point she has sworn off camping. So here we are on Saturday, they show up and I notice she is having a good time. Wow...but we still have the night to go and it is suppose to drop to freezing. I at this point made a judgement call. I knew she was having a good time and that this camping thing for Bren would have to come in Baby Steps. If she froze her butt off on Saturday, it would be a cold day in hell before she treaded into the camping realm again. Thusly, I suggested for her to go back home. My oldest daughter wanted to stay the night, so Bren left for the house with Hope and herself. Smartest move I made as she commented on Sunday that she realized that camping may not be as bad and she may stay the night next time.

As far as Macy, we wake up with frost on the ground and her first comment was, "I LOVE CAMPING!" All in all a great time was had by everyone. I have a great Den with great parents. Last night I got and email from one of my boys mother's. She mentioned that Trevor said, "They were the best days of his life." Makes all my efforts worthwhile I tell ya!
Trevor having "the best days of his life"
Note about the orienteering training: I marked out a course and hid an ammo box with prizes for the boys. It was their job to shoot the azimuth and mark the paces from landmark to land mark to eventually the ammo box location (about 1/2 to 3/4 mile course). Cool experience for them using the compass.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rockledge Rumble 30K...really that's 30K?

The Rocklege Rumble Trail Race is self explanatory. The North Texas Trail Runners puts on a tremendous race honoring Veterans' Day and all the men and women who have kept the wolf from the doorstep for over 200 years. The race is run on the North Shore of Grapevine Lake and rocky is descriptive enough for you to get the idea. They offer 50K, 30K and 15K options and for the 30K it is an out and back on the entire North Shore Trail.

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, 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!

At the Finish. Notice Hope pushing from the back.

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.