I Remember

Twin Towers light tribute

As most are doing today; I’ve spent my morning reliving the fateful events of Tuesday September 11, 2001. Like each of you who are old enough; I remember exactly where I was at, what I was doing, and the many emotions that I felt as I first heard of and then proceeded to watch the events transpire that morning. My first TV coverage I saw was the live feed of the North tower with the plumes of smoke billowing out of it…I started watching it just seconds prior to witnessing the second tower getting struck. Shocked, speechless, and worried…

As I stand here and watching/listening/shedding some tears to the names of those who died as a result of these attacks being read, I can’t help but to remember how connected everyone felt with each other during that day and the weeks/months following. Where has that connection gone?

I know we all have different lives that we lead but at the very core of this incident, we as Americans came together and stood as one. Political differences, racial differences, religious differences… for a brief moment, all were set aside. Regardless of what differences we had, we were Americans that stood united. Americans that called family members who we haven’t spoken to in weeks, months, years. Americans that didn’t worry about being cut off while driving or going anywhere for that matter. Americans that made time for family and friends. Americans that were shook to the core that this could even happen on our soil. American flags popped up everywhere…on houses, in businesses, on cars. Personally I loved seeing all the Red, White, and Blue! Members of the military, police, firefighters, and those in public servant positions gained a new found respect, not from just a few, but seemingly from EVERYONE. Was this respect gone before the attacks? Or was it just hidden behind the daily hustle and bustle of our lives?

Maybe that connection was to comfort each other, maybe it was out of fear of the unknown. Maybe this was out of guilt…guilt of not being as patriotic and pro-American as we should have been. Maybe that respect for our public servants were an outward sign of respect. Whatever it was; the weeks, I’d even go so far as to say months, after were filled with people remembering and being a little more civilized with each other. Where is that pride and respect now? Does it only come out on September 11th every year?

My friend, Army Major Mike Donahue said it best this morning when he wrote “I remember every day of the year not just the one day in September where everyone all of the sudden becomes caring and patriotic again.”

Well said, Mike, well said.

Here’s hoping that we all can get back to a point where political, racial, religious, and the many other differences can be set aside. For good. Not just because of a tragedy such as the attacks on September 11, 2001. Here’s hoping that we remember every day, not just every 11th of September.

I remember…always will.

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How to Have Your Very Own CRAPTASTIC Run

For this Labor Day holiday, my buddy Brannon and I decided we would do the LABOR for you and allow you to enjoy your holiday grilling out, sitting by the pool, or even just staying inside and being lazy. We developed this amazing running plan for you and want to show you how you can have your very own CRAPTASTIC run. If you’re a runner, triathlete, etc. reading this you may have very well experienced your own style of a CRAPTASTIC run recently. However; we feel like this method is fool proof and should be followed if you want your run to be super CRAPTASTIC! Prior warning; while this post is meant to be funny to the reader, it will have some rather…umm…shall we say; gross moments in it. Your results may vary. Seek advice from your doctor before performing any strenuous exercise program. HURRY, supplies are limited. You get all of this for three easy payments of $19.99, but wait, ACT NOW and we will make your first payment for you! Talk about a steal of a deal, folks!!! Postage and Handling are extra. No returns accepted. You have 60 seconds to take advantage of this amazing deal!

Here is the basic formula:

  • Be sure to eat like crap the day, if not the two days before your planned run.
  • Make plans to run 10 miles at 5 am on a holiday. This works best with the pre-dawn temperature is 78 degrees or higher with 96% humidity or higher. This morning was exactly these conditions.
  • You must start out with minimal sleep. I highly recommend setting your alarm for 4 am and not falling asleep until around midnight. Then, be sure to have a restless night’s sleep, waking up every 30 minutes or so.
  • Next, get ready in the dark, trying not to wake your lovely spouse/significant other up (if you’re single, you can skip the part about waking up the spouse/S.O.) and proceed to make every loud noise you possibly can.
  • Use the bathroom and feel comfortable about being able to run without any stomach distress.
  • Eat nothing. However; drink 12 oz of water mixed with everyone’s favorite pre-workout supplement, N.O. Xplode 2.0 while you are on the way to your buddy’s neighborhood.
  • Get to the designated meeting area, complete your final preparations and you’re off!
  • Ensure your run route has rolling hills through a neighborhood and no rest room access at all.
  • Start out slow and “wake” your legs up gently. Complain about the humidity within the 1st half mile and remind your running buddy to slap you if you complain about the “cold” while running this fall/winter.
  • Hit the 1 mile mark at a turtle’s pace of 11 minutes. Complain about the hills in Grovetown (or your own hilly neighborhood).
  • At the 1.45 mile mark, realize that your stomach is NOT happy with you and that you’re about to experience some major trouble. Find somewhere to run, preferably the woods and out of view, to deal with the issue.
  • Be thankful for the errant newspaper that’s not officially in anyone’s driveway. Do I really need to explain this?!?!
  • Deal with the upset stomach and continue running. Complain about the hills more (the only way to accept them).
  • Come up on the 3.25 mile mark and realize that both you and your running buddy are about to have stomach distress nearly at the same time.
  • Find another errant newspaper but be nice and share with your running buddy. (I took the sports section, btw). Again, woods, out of view, etc. lovely image in your head right now, eh?
  • Continue on the run, realize that 10 miles isn’t happening today.
  • Mix your powdered Gatorade too strong and nearly get lockjaw from it. Don’t drink from the handheld again.
  • Have the life scared out of you by another runner who quietly came up on you while you were running your mouth about how crappy the run as been.
  • Make the turn away from where your car is parked to try to get in somewhat of a semblance of a decent run. Get about a quarter mile away and realize that if you continue to run you’re in for trouble. Decide to walk home back to the cars.
  • As an added bonus, Brannon can show you how to lock your knee up as you try to get into your vehicle.

There you have it, the formula for the most CRAPTASTIC run ever. Wait, how am I supposed to collect my $49.98 if I gave you the formula already?!?! Ahhh… oh well. If you want to use this formula, be our guests!

Sure, we got out and ran, if you can call it a run. Sure we are dedicated to our usual training time. Sure, we’re idiots and yes, we know it.

Have a Happy Labor Day Friends!

David

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Galatians 5:1

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

– Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

I’ve thinking about this verse for about a week now thanks to a Facebook wall post by my friend Heather. She posted a link to a blog on this same verse and said that while reading it, it reminded her of me. Thanks Heather, I’m humbled to know that friends like you actually do care more for the person and not what you can gain from them.

I read the blog. Really, I read it several times. I loved it! I love this verse. While this verse is not my favorite Bible verse, it is up there in the top of my lists. It’s one of those verses that you don’t always think about but it’s there as a reminder when you feel burdened or you start a case of “keeping up with the Jones’.”

Actually, without realizing it, I kind of needed to read the blog posting at that point. Maybe Heather was called to post it on my wall to call me out without even knowing that’s what she was doing. I was getting into a rut. Work was getting tough, training for the 100 was getting tough, and I was starting to pull away from certain aspects of life. I needed that wake-up call.

Sadly, I was stuck in that rut of those pesky “Jones’” for a long, long time. Much of the first year and a half of my running, I was so ensnared into the “group” and the “group runs” that I missed parts of my life as it passed me by. I kept up with friendships that were shallow and let the true friends slowly slip away. Family was no longer a priority, running and more specifically running friends were. I did things because “everyone else was doing them.” Case in point, my first year of running; I ran in 34 total races! 34! What was I thinking? I was racing practically every weekend. Sure, I was getting faster. Sure, I was gaining more notoriety in the Augusta running community. Sure, I was becoming a favorite of the other runners in the clique. But at what cost was all this happening? I may never truly know the real cost of that time spent being a slave to the yoke of running with a group.

Thankfully; I came back to my faith and my God that allows for us to make mistakes without holding it against us. Thankfully, most of those true friends I let slip were gracious enough to pick right back up where we left off. And those who decided to cut their losses with me… I don’t blame them. I wasn’t the David they came to know. The best part, I became friends with people who had a passion and a willingness to be there for each other through all aspects of life. Not just runners who had passion but people who were passionate about other things. I’m talking about people who are passionate about serving others and not worrying much about their own needs. Friends that are willing to cast aside their emotions and do what’s right for the greater good of the community as a whole. New friends that I’m sure will have my back and set me on the straight and narrow when I start sliding back in the “Jones’ rut.” For that I’m thankful. For that I know I have the freedom to be me.

Don’t get me wrong; I still see and mildly associate with many of the group of runners that I once spent many a day with running. I respect many of them whether it’s because of how well they run and train or because of their determination to reach a goal. Who wouldn’t respect that? I did cut some ties with people not because they are bad people but more for personal reasons. I just can’t get wrapped up in the lifestyle of constantly having to go and do just because everyone else is doing it. I know I have been gossiped about. I know people have less than favorable impressions of me now than they did before. Guess what? I’m totally okay with that. Actually, I’m at peace with it. I don’t have that burden of worrying what others think of me. As the chorus goes in Francesca Battistelli’s song “I’m Free to Be Me” goes:

“’Cause I’ve got a couple dents in my Fender

Got a couple rips in my jeans

Try to fit the pieces together

But perfection is my enemy

And on my own, I’m so clumsy

But on Your shoulders I can see

I’m free to be me and You’re free to be You.”

Be free. Do what you love, stand firm and don’t worry about how others will view you. The people who matter will be there for you every step of the way…even if you stumble.

David

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My Mind Likes To Race

No it’s not the latest greatest book title or an awesome new training method. This kids, is my normal nightly routine as of late. I sleep roughly 4-5 hours a night. Some nights more, some nights less. I’ve adapted my body to function very well under these conditions. I tend to be sleepier and less alert when I do actually sleep that magical 8 hours. I’m not sure if this is your typical case of insomnia or a form adult ADHD (granted I don’t have an issue with it most of the day). I wonder how many people out there deal with the same thing.

What seems to happen to me just about every night is the fact that once my head hits the pillow, my mind goes into overdrive. I start rehashing the day, I start thinking about the next day, I lose track where I’m at and start all over. Once I get to sleep, I’m usually wide awake within a few hours. I was in bed at 9:30 last night; I fell asleep around 10:30ish and was up and wide awake at 1 am! I seriously considered getting up and going for my morning run at that point. I talked myself out of it and tried to fall back asleep. After thinking about things and coming up with blog topics; I was finally able to get back to sleep around 3, only to have a loud thunderstorm wake me up 10 minutes before my 4 am alarm. GREAT, now not only did I not sleep, I’m going to miss my morning run because of this storm, UGH. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE running in the rain but I draw the line when thunder and lightning get involved. I don’t feel like becoming crispy David any time soon.

I’m sure I could take something for this to help me sleep, but I really don’t like taking medicine of any sort. I refuse to take ibuprofen unless it’s absolutely necessary.  If you have any natural remedies that don’t require medicines or sleep aids, please feel free to share them.

If only I could get my legs to race as fast as my mind does at night…

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Product Review: Kool Clipz

I’ve had the opportunity to try out a neat little product that not only a runner can really appreciate but anyone who wears in-ear headphones on a regular basis. The product is called Kool Cl!pz. Have you ever had your ear buds pull out because the cable pulled down? Have you turned your head and have one of the ear buds pull out? Do you hear the “cable bounce” in your ears while running? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I suggest you give Kool Cl!pz a try.

I’ve had a few conversations with Kool Cl!pz creator, David Clark. David’s story of how the product came about is pretty remarkable. In 2010, David and family fell victim to the economy and had to make a fresh start. In 2011, while working different jobs to make ends meet, David came up with the idea to fix the problem of his ear buds always falling out, pulling tight, or having to adjust them when people came up to talk to him. David made a few attempts out of popsicle sticks and various pins and clips. After his daughter Alyssa said “Dad, just make it our business,” David used these words from his daughter as encouragement to start the process. Initially, David made several prototypes, 8 to be exact. By the second prototype, David knew which direction he wanted to take in making this product.

Inspired by Alyssa on every package.

Post recycled material used in the packaging and the product.

The product is made in America with post recycled plastics. Their website is ran by 100% wind power. The Kool Cl!pz came to the market around the first of this year. David, his family, and investors are taking their own approach to marketing the product. Promoting the Kool Cl!pz via twitter (@KoolClipz), Facebook, tumblr, pinterest, and their business website is the primary method with a few retail locations in their area selling the product.

The basics:

You cross your ear bud wires over each other and slip the clip over them, settling the wires in the top of the clip. Then you slip the lightweight clip over your shirt collar; before you push the clip all the way down, you will need to adjust the cables to the length you desire. Finish with pushing the clip all the way down and you’re set to go.

Locked in, cable length adjusted.

For $9.99 you get the headphone clip and three faceplates. Currently, you can find several different faceplate options with many more in the works. I went with the Comet Blue pack. David has plans to get all major sports teams on the faceplates.

   

I’ve completed three runs while wearing the Kool Cl!pz. I ran 13.5 on Sunday, 10 Tuesday, and 8 this morning. Not once during any of these runs did I have to adjust the cables, hear the “cable bounce,” or have the ear buds pulled out from turning my head. Well worth the investment in my opinion. And to be honest, I’m more likely to run with music now than before since I used to get irritated with the pulls, cable bounce, and having to adjust the individual ear buds.

 

Pay no attention the half awake guy in the above pictures. I will share a little secret; even thought I’m an early morning runner, sometimes 4:30 am and I just don’t get along.

8 miles done and no issues from the headphones.

My final thoughts:

The lightweight Kool Cl!pz is well worth the $9.99 investment to reduce the numerous issues that can come along with wired ear buds. I’m sold on them and will be using a Kool Cl!pz whenever I wear ear buds going forward. I’ll be getting a couple clips to give to my wife, daughter, and running buddy Brannon.

Please check out Kool Cl!pz on the many outlets list above and let David and crew know I sent you there!

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Saturday Run

Today started out like normal, except I wasn’t planning on running today. My original plan of running a 40-mile training run on Sunday was thwarted when a fellow manager was promoted to customer on Friday. That meant my assistant manager was promoted. She was supposed to work on Sunday. Guess who had to pick up her shift? Yep, me. Oh joy.

An early morning run with my buddy, Brannon. 12 miles around Grovetown, GA. 12 miles of running on single lane, country roads; well almost 12 miles, some of Columbia Rd. was four lanes. I’m beginning to think Brannon doesn’t like me; he chose a route that had some long (we’re talking 1/4 mile or more) hill climbs. Little does he know, I’m signing him up for the FATS 50k in October. Well, I guess he knows now. Okay, maybe not FATS, I’ll let him get in at least one official half marathon before doing a 50k. About 9 miles into the run, we had the lovely scent of dead deer and a dead armadillo (that was covered in… I’ll save you the nasty details). We finished with a nice dip in his neighborhood pool. I’m sure if anyone saw us in the pool at 7 in the morning they would have thought we were either lost or creating trouble. At least I found a dollar at the pool, so this run paid me.

Back to the run. Nothing like being chased or at least approached by 4 different dogs at different areas of the run. I love dogs, just not dogs wanting my lower leg as an early morning snack. Why can’t owners leash their dogs? Even if you live in the country, they should be leashed people! Who knows, two idiots may be running down your country road at 5 am.

My favorite is the driver who could clearly see the blinking headlamp from a good half mile away refusing to get over, not even to the yellow line. I just love jumping into the side median in the pitch black dark.

All in all, 12.25 miles in 2:13:00. A little slow but at this point it’s more about time on feet verses speed since I have a 24 hour time frame for the event. We had a fun run where we joked about things only he and I can understand and are not willing to share. Two guys can come up with some stupid ideas along a 12 mile humid, early morning run…

15 miles tomorrow morning. 41 Days until the 100 miles in 24 hours for SCTNow. Remember to donate HERE if you can.

 

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Hope 2012

Earlier this week, I read a post by my twitter and dailymile friend Jen J. on her blog Two Itchy Feet titled “Running With Hope.” This was part of a writing relay where a virtual writing baton is passed from one blogger to the next. Jen’s post was a great read and I told her so. To which her reply was something along the lines of “You should write on hope too.”

So what is hope? The dictionary lists hope as a noun or a verb. Hope’s definition is: 1. The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. 2. A particular instance of this feeling. 3. Grounds for this feeling in a particular instance. 4. A person or thing in which expectations are centered. 5. Something that is hoped for.

I want to focus on the two definitions, number 1 and number 4.

“The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” Sure I want several things; a unlimited supply of running shoes, to be able to run whichever race I want to run. The ability to be faster. But do I hope for these things? NO. These things take more than just hope; they take determination, they take skill, two of them take money. There are things that I hope for and I hope they will turn out the way I want. I HOPE that I can be the best husband and father I can be. I HOPE to be able to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I love my wife and daughter dearly. I would lay down my life for either of them without thinking if losing my life meant they would be able to continue living. I would be lost without either of them. I HOPE I never lose sight of this. I HOPE they know how much I love them.

My beautiful ladies

Physically, I work on being the healthiest I can be and I HOPE I can continue down this path for many years to come. I lost my father at 43 due to a major stroke. I don’t want my daughter to experience what I had to endure for a week and a half.  Seeing my father laying in a hospital bed in a coma not knowing if he would come out of the coma and if he did, how bad off would he be. Needless to say, he never recovered and passed on on September 14, 2008. Mentally, I want to grow my knowledge base. I love to learn new skills. I want to eventually become a certified fitness professional. No, I’m not talking about a “spend a few hours online and viola, you’re a certified professional” type of program. I want to get a certification from a reputable organization such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and become a certified running coach from RRCA and/or USATF. My HOPE is to be able to help other gain their life back from obesity without bashing their prior habits. Spiritually, I want to know more about my Savior and become more involved with what we are purposed to do. Love others unconditionally. This I HOPE all of us, not just me, can do.

The second focus: “A person or thing in which expectations are centered.”

Father’s Day 2012

These people would be my daughter and my God. As any parent can attest to; once you have a child your priorities change. Some for the good and unfortunately for some people, not so good. I feel like my priorities changed for the good…thankfully. My baby has grown so much over the past 11 years. She went from the tiny 5 lb 4 oz baby that came almost 4 weeks early to the beautiful young lady you see above. I HOPE she has all the tools and resources she needs as she grows to be  a successful young woman. I HOPE that I’ve been a good role model for her up until this point. I HOPE she continues to grow in her faith as she learns more about our God. I HOPE she knows how proud we all are of her.

One of my favorite songs is ‘My Hope is in You Lord’ by Aaron Shust. My favorite line in this song is:

“I wait for You and my soul find rest in my selfishness, You show me grace…”

This sums up exactly why I place my HOPE in my God. While I’m waiting to meet my God, I tend to be selfish…very selfish at times. It’s human nature to do so. I rest knowing that while I spend many a hour being selfish, He is showing me grace when I don’t deserve it.

That wraps up my thoughts on HOPE. I HOPE you enjoyed my thoughts and feelings, please feel free to comment if compelled to do so. I would love to hear from you! If you took the time to read this, accept this as an open invitation to grab the ‘baton’ and write your thoughts on HOPE.

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My first 100 mile attempt

I started leading a Run For God  5k training program through my church this year. At the end of May, I was approached by the pastors of my church to see if my group and I would be interested in creating a fundraising team for a 5k that another local church was hosting in September. Once I found out what non-profit organization was benefiting from the 5k I jumped right in. The organization is Stop Child Trafficking Now (www.sctnow.org). A 501(c)3 non-profit that targets the demand side of child trafficking.

SCTNow 5k on September 22, 2012

I contacted the event organizer/race director to see what I needed to do to create the fundraising team, what her fundraising goals were for the event, and how I could be of service to help in any way. During our conversation, Regan told be about a member of her church and his plan to run 100 miles in 24 hours; finishing at the finish line of the 5k on September 22nd. I was immediately interested and wanted to talk to the guy to see if he would be willing to allow me to join him on this journey. Thankfully, Steve was more than willing to have me join him! If we’re going to suffer, might as well suffer together! We met to put a face with the name, discuss the plan, and talk about our running experiences. I was stoked!

Now the real challenge begins…training. I’ve run four 50k races and attempted one 50 mile event; only to DNF at mile 22 due to a calf injury. The up side to this event, it is going to be all road and the elevation is fairly decent. The downside; up until this point, I have been running minimal miles just to maintain since I had no race planned. I went from 39 total miles in May to 99 in June to 160 in July. Five days into August, I have 30 miles and feel great about my training thus far. My training is progressing nicely.

Why am I doing this?

I’ve been asked that many times by many different people, some people have asked me multiple times. My response: Because I can’t imagine what these young girls and boys who get caught in the trafficking trade are going through. I immediately think about my 11-year-old daughter and how horrible it would be if she were taken from me for this reason.

But when you finish you’re not getting a medal, belt buckle, or anything?

Yes, I know but there are times where getting a medal or a belt buckle are an after thought. Doing this is more to raise awareness for the cause. Doing this is to raise money to stop the horrendous act of child trafficking. Can you imagine if your child, niece or nephew, or grandchild were to get caught in this multi-million dollar trade?

Sure this event will prepare me for other ultra events. But what committing to this event has really done for me is two-fold. There is no way I can complete 100 miles on minimal training. So this has taught me to train properly, eat better, and be more in tune with what my body needs. It also has helped me grow in my relationship with God. There are times while training I find myself talking to Him. Asking Him for strength to finish the current run.

I’m excited to be involved with this event and to help raise money to stop this discussing industry. If you would like to help by donation any dollar amount, please visit my event page. Any amount donated is greatly appreciated.

David

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