Tag Archives: running

#160 – Smokies Strong 5K

I’m a soft heart.  I really am.

Over the last year, I’ve run for the shooting tragedies in Paris, Orlando and Chattanooga.  I’ve run to bring awareness and benefit to the folks suffering through a water crisis in Flint MI.  I’ve run to raise money for colon cancer awareness, cures and support.  And as always, I’ve run in honor of our military, and in remembrance of 9/11.

And now once again, I’ve run to help aid folks in distress.  This time, it’s for the folks in the Smokies, who’ve dealt with the biggest wildfire tragedy in that area in a century.

The images and videos folks have posted, especially of Gatlinburg, have been heart-wrenching.  It looks otherworldly.  The mountains there are covered in fire, looking like something out of an apocalyptic filmmaker’s story.  It just doesn’t seem possible that this is happening in east Tennessee.

When Vacation Races and Virtual Running Club sent out an email blast about this race over the weekend, I knew I had to sign up.  I needed to do something to help.  And with this race, 100% of the proceeds are going to one of four charities that are active in the area.  I chose Dolly Parton’s “My People Fund”.

Saturday, I did my miles for this race, taking things slow, as this was my first time out on trail after my calf blowout in Tulsa.  I followed my rule of petting every dog I saw, which kept my pace down.  And although I felt a little tightening in my right calf, it wasn’t too bad.  I believe I need to get out there more this week, and put a few more miles on my leg to see how I’m recovering.

And in fairness, that’s what east Tennessee is gonna do, too.  They’ll assess what’s happened, pick up the pieces, and go right back out there, doing what they do.  I know that the any resilience that I have came from being raised in that region.  It’s part of the very air there, and I know they’ll recover, and be stronger for it.

This event benefitted Dolly Parton’s “My People Fund.”

Race Course

#157 – Trekkie Trek 5K

Today was likely the last tune-up before the Route 66 races in Tulsa this weekend.  With the unseasonably warm weather (about 70° today, and close to 80° tomorrow), I’m pretty sure that anything I do is gonna feel weird when I get to Tulsa, and take on races where the temps will be closer to 30° when I start.

This was also the last of the Star Trek anniversary medals I had squirreled away.  Much like the Back to the Future anniversary last year, I hung quite a few Trek anniversary baubles from my medal shelf.  I’ve thought a couple of times about taking ’em all down — and that’s a HUGE effort — and grouping like medals together.  Maybe some day!

It was a glorious day, with loads of sunshine, and several other folks out enjoying the midday break.  I changed my route a little, and took the path down Wren Trail.  It’s been a little bit since I’ve been on that stretch of pavement, and I’d forgotten how nice it was.  At midday, there’s plenty of shade to keep you out of the sun, but still enjoy the breezes.  It was really a cleansing, refreshing time spent out in nature.

I’ve been gathering up all my goodies for the races this weekend, and as I write this, it dawned on me to see how many events I’ve done between last year’s half marathon, and this year’s.  And that number?  Seventy-four.  Seventy-four times over the last twelve months, I’ve laced up my shoes, gotten my stuff together, and headed out the door to put miles behind me, generally to the benefit of some group or another.

That may be a pretty normal cadence for more avid runners than me.  For a kid that never put the word “run” in his vocabulary until he was 48, I’m thrilled that I can still do this, and that I’ve stayed interested enough to keep picking ’em up and putting ’em down, all in the name of good causes.

This event benefitted Team Mill Hollow.

Race Course

#156 – Election Day 5K

In theory, I was supposed to run this on Election Day, but I couldn’t pull myself away from the news of the day, so I ran this a couple of days after.

I set out after work, trying to clear my head of all the awful stuff I was seeing online and in the news — so much hateful rhetoric, from any side you can think of!  With the return to standard time, the sun sets much earlier, and I was gifted with a crisp day on which to take a slow, contemplative walk.

With music in my ears, I ambled down my regular course, and really looked at what was around me.  I stopped to pet an old dog that walks the neighborhood (Elvis is his name!), and chatted with his owner.  I continued on around the neighborhood, seeing the triplet deer that we’ve been watching most of this year, and watching the Canadian geese soaring overhead.

And, ya know what … I found a little peace.

Whatever we silly ol’ humans are doing with politics — and you can make your own call about the impact of that — nature remains.  I’ll still enjoy my quiet walks and runs through God’s glorious creation, and know that no matter what happens — ugly, awful, wonderful, righteous — it’s in His hands, and I’ll just keep on plodding along, one step at a time.

Race Course

#155 – Cancer Sucks 5K

I’m now within striking distance of my celebration of five years NED (No Evidence of Disease), which is a glorious thing.  Even as I revel in my wonderful outcome, there’s folks around me that aren’t so fortunate.

I belong to a running group called the Pathetic Runners.  It’s a fun crowd of folks from all over the country, always talking about running woes and successes.  I get a lot of inspiration from ’em.  The guy that spun it up, David Johndrow, is a real inspiration, and has written a book about his journey called ICU to Marathon: Diaries of a Nearly Dead Man.  It’s a funny and poignant read.

ICU to Marathon
ICU to Marathon

David’s fought cancer before, and is once again fighting, so he spun up this race as a fundraiser for several cancer charities.  Given my journey, I couldn’t help but support David in his.

So Thursday, I put on my running shoes, and headed out.

This was my 56th event this year, and was the first one since spring that felt terrific.  The weather was amazing, sitting in the mid-60s finally, and with another week-an-a-half off the trails, my legs felt really fresh.  I took my regular ol’ path on the sidewalks of the neighborhood, and didn’t really push too hard.

You might say I walked.  You might be right.  🙂

I’d been fighting a cold since we got back from the cruise, and had a slight injury on top of my right foot — the likely cause being the big ol’ feet of a certain “little” hundred pound dainty flower of a dog named Roxy.  I didn’t wanna do anything to jeopardize my races in Tulsa in a couple of weeks, so I just ambled along at my pace, enjoying the great weather, the color of the leaves and trees, and thinking about how fortunate I am that my cancer diagnosis and treatment had such a happy ending.

I really am blessed to have had the support of family and friends as I fought my fight.  And sure, my fight was nowhere near as tough as some that other folks have to endure — and I totally get that.  I was lucky, and each day, each step, is a blessing and a gift.  I never loose sight of that.

This event benefitted ZERO Cancer, Hope for Young Adults with Cancer, PanCan, and the Melanoma Foundation of New England.

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Route 66 Blogger’s Forum

Route 66 announced it today… I’m on the Blogger’s Forum panel again this year — woot!

I did this last year, and met some wonderful folks.  It was cool to just kick back, and talk running and blogging for a little while.  It helped settle my nerves before embarking on my first half marathon, and I really needed it then!

This year, Friday evening (November 18th), from 5pm to 6pm, I’ll be at Cox Center in Tulsa, talking with other running bloggers, spilling all my racing secrets.  (OK, I don’t have any real secrets, but it’s still a fun time!)

I’ll also be volunteering from 2-4pm on Friday at the FanZone.  Find me, and we’ll make some great signs!!!!

If I hear about about any live broadcasting of my panel appearance, I’ll update this post.

Tulsa is getting very, very, very real!!!

#154 – Go! Halloween 5K

With the onset of fall, it’s time for autumnal races to begin, and that means the Go! Halloween 5K gets a turn on my calendar.

After Saturday’s Midwest Jeepthing event at Moonlight Racing, I was pretty dang sore, and wasn’t entirely convinced I’d get up on Sunday for this race.  The race began at 7am, so I had to get up at 4:30am to drive to the Metrolink station in Brentwood, where I’d catch a train into downtown.  That was seriously early, and when I went to bed last night, I wasn’t sure I’d have it in me.

When the alarm went off, I rolled out of bed, threw on Flat Colin, and motored toward the train… after a stop at Dunkin Donuts for some coffee and Munchkins!

Beers on Wheels
Beers on Wheels

I got to the race site, early of course, and wandered around.  Kaldi’s was there with free coffee, and three food trucks were setting up in the shadow of a double decker mobile bierhaus.  It was a glorious fall pre-dawn, and I was waking up and ready to run.

And then we waited.  And waited.


I don’t know what happened, but we kicked off twenty minutes late, and when we did finally begin, we started the race with a hard right turn.  For some reason, the race folks had to change the course unexpectedly right at race time, which meant they had to move the start line timing mats to the new start line.   The horn sounded, and 1500 of us turned on a dime  and were off to the races.

Two Medals!
Two Medals!

Surprisingly, I found a fair amount of mojo, and ran a pretty good race.  The course was flatter than last year, and was really pretty enjoyable, and without hills to fight, I made good time.  And, I got a bonus medal for completing the Triple 5K Challenge.  (The Go! in April and All-American in June were the other two legs.)  I love working on multi-race challenges like this, and I was thrilled to get the extra medal for my labors.

This was also the first race I’d run in three weeks.  I suspect the time off helped my body do some recovery I didn’t know I needed.  No matter why, it was a great race, I had a ball, and I’ve got more hardware for the wall!  🙂

Race Course

#152 – Run Long and Prosper 5k

I hate running in the summer.  It’s too hot, and I melt.  That’s been well-documented here.

Ordinarily, our weather indicator here in Da Lou flips from summer to fall during Jeepstock weekend.  However, that didn’t happen this year.  In fact, summer held on for another week, with highs well into the 90s and heat indices approaching 100°.  Not exactly running weather for your intrepid author.

Sunday night, however, the weather changed, and suddenly, our temps dropped by about twenty degrees, settling the Midwest into fall.  With the busyness of the work week, last night was the first night I’d been able to get out since fall fell.

When I headed out, it was cloudy, with occasional breaks that let the sun shine through.  Temps were in the mid-60s, and the wind was blowing.  Perfect shorts and t-shirt weather for me!

This was the first time I’d been on the path in two weeks, and while I could feel the stiffness in my joints that comes with extended spans of not running, the lack of blazing sun and scorching temps made last night’s trek (get it?) so very easy.  With fall firmly in place (I hope), I certainly expect that I’ll have more runs in the books over the next few months.

And I need to, as I have some long races coming up.  I’ve signed up for the Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa (November), Mississippi River Half Marathon on the Mississippi/Arkansas border (February), and Gasparilla 15k/8k in Tampa (February).  And, I’m looking for another half to do somewhere between Route 66 and the Mississippi River half.  So, why would I do that?  Well, I have a desire to join a group called the Half Fanatics, and membership is gained through running a number of half marathons across a span of time.  For me, it’s three halfs in ninety days.  We’ll see what happens there.

So, welcome back fall!  I’ve definitely missed you, and look forward to enjoying your cool, wet weather over the next few months!

This event benefitted the Space Camp General Scholarship Fund.

Race Course

#151 – We Shall Never Forget 5k

On what my mother would call a “bluebird day”, reminiscent of another one fifteen years ago, I ran today in memory of all that was lost on that terrible day.

As I ran, I thought about those that were lost, those left behind, and all the aftermath of that awful morning.  I thought about where I was when it happened, and how I’ve marked Patriot’s Day ever since.

I ran a meter for each soul lost, and I ran some extra, because sometimes that’s what you need to do.

Hug your family today.  Revel in your life.  Thank God for your blessings.  And thank Him for this great country.

Race Course

#150 – Star Trek 50th Anniversary 5k

Yesterday was the Golden Anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek, and I could think of no better way to celebrate than running.

Trek was a huge part of my childhood.  I don’t remember watching it during it’s run on NBC, but by the time the animated series began in 1973, I was already a huge Star Trek fan.  This was due, in large part, to James Blish’s short story adaptations of the original series episodes.  I’d gobble those up as soon as they hit the spinning book stand at the 7-11 I’d walk to.

The first episodes of Star Trek that I can remember watching were in Florida.  My grandparents lived on a little island west of Ft. Myers, and when se’d visit, we’d turn the antenna toward Tampa, and watch Trek in syndication from there.  I even recorded the audio with a little cassette recorder, holding the microphone up to the speaker, so I could listen to a few episodes over and over.  Because of that, there were a few episodes I could almost quote, word for word.

When I was approaching my teens, WTVC in Chattanooga started showing the original episodes, and finally I was able to watch episodes on my own turf.  The rest, as they say, is history… multiple television series, movies and books later, and I’m still a fan.

So yesterday, on the Golden Anniversary of it’s first airing, I tackled the 50th Anniversary 5k.  It was a day filled with rain, keeping the temperatures down.  I went out shortly after work, and after the rain.  Despite the heavy clouds, the humidity started to really climb as the rainfall evaporated.  With temps in the low 70s, it was still pretty easy to run, so run I did, putting another 3¼ miles in the books.

This event benefitted the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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#149 – Go Gold 5k

With Sunday came another opportunity to get out there, celebrate the close of the summer Olympics, and put some miles on my new shoes.

Wait… new kicks?

Yep, new Nike Vomeros.  If you’ve read my trials and travails since late last year, I’ve been struggling with shoes.  I wanted new shoes before the Route 66 half marathon in November, and that’s when I put my feet in a pair of Hoke One One Bondi 4 Wides.  Very cushy feel, but I ended up with a black toe, and early this year, got blisters in Chattanooga.

Then I moved to a pair of New Balance.  It’s the first time I’d tried that brand, and while they felt good, I consistently got a blister on the back of my right heel every time I ran.

So, I went back to what I knew, and got a slightly wide Nike Vomero, and I love ’em.  They fit nicely, are comfy, and have the right kind of feel at the back of my foot.  Woot!

The air temperature was fantastic when I got up — about 61°, rare for August in Da Lou — and I shoulda gone out then.  However, I had to get my coffee, Crunch Berries and British soccer going.  Becky also had a CGC trial in the morning, so I waited for them to get on the road before heading out.

Despite the later start, it was still only 67° when I headed out, and even without a cloud in the sky, it was the best morning for being out in more than a month.  My feet were pretty fatigued from Saturday’s run and five hours on my feet at a Jeep show, so I took it easy, and just did a fast walk.

It was a glorious day, with just enough wind to take the edge off the sunlight.  And again, I had a great outing, with only one obstacle…

This time, it was a german shepherd puppy.  That little guy just came up to me like I was a long-lost friend, and laid on my foot while I petted him.  Wonderful!

All in all, a good weekend, with two events done, two puppies played with, and some mileage building.  And why am I building miles?  Well, like a crazy person, I’ve signed up to go to Tulsa for the Route 66 half marathon again in November.

Yeah, I’m nuts.

This event was sponsored by Virtual Run Events and benefitted the Rally Foundation.

Race Course