Friday, December 19, 2003

Click on the link, answer a couple questions, get some free Guiness bar towels.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The earth is hurtling toward the sun! It's on the internet and from the government, so it has to be true!

Do you belong on this bus?

There's a brief article on Hunter S. Thompson I thoght was interesting...
I've always wanted to be an author but I decided to run a marathon. He's an author, and he's writing about marathons. And he still managed to break his leg. So, should I say "I am a much better athlete than Hunter S. Thompson."? If I do, it would be absolutely pointless, which is not uncommon of things I do.
He does have a good thing going... Living in Aspen, married to a 30 year old. How I just wonder how he made it as far as he has.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I'm so unmotivated today. It's not that I don't have anything to do, I just really don't feel like doing it. What's weird is that I don't feel like working, but it's not because I want to go do something else. I've got a few customers that have some orders that are really screwed up, and that's what I ended yesterday with and started working on today. I guess that's just got me down. I've done everything that I can on them, and I just can't get it resolved. I guess I'm glad I'm not a doctor or something... OK, I've done all I can for them, it's out of my control, and has been referred to the next guy up the ladder. Time to forget about that and move on to something else.

Monday, December 15, 2003

It's done.

I can now say that I ran a marathon.

I trained for six months, building a little at a time, never getting past 20 miles, and I thought I was ready. I do believe I was as ready as I ever would be. I could have stuck with the program better, and it really would have helped to lose weight, but there's nothing I can do about that now.

Jeff and I took the train over Saturday afternoon. We checked in at the Hyatt Regency, then went and picked up our stuff at the runner's check in. I told them I was there to pick up for Ben Wright, you know, like you tell them your name whenyou need something, and this chick that was older and fatter than I am looked at me and said "is he running in the marathon or the half marathon," and used "he" like I know it's not you. Then I told her "I am running the marathon" and she looked at me like "whatever." I have a feeling she was enjoying some cheetos and Big Red while I was out there busting my ass. Yes, I am big, at about 240, but I think there were a few people out there that were bigger than me. I didn't finish too fast, and I'm not going to mention my time. The fact is I set out to do something, and I completed it. It was the hardest thing I ever did.

The pre-race festivities were pretty exciting. Music, balloons, an anouncer guy... a Methodist minister gave an invocation asking Him to give us strength and safety, and, I quote, "not to bonk or cramp around the 16 mile mark." He knew what he was talking about. After that, a girl sang the national anthem. Right to the second she finished, three F-15's flew over at super low altitude. The announcer announced that Saddam Hussein had been captured, and everyone cheered. There was so much energy in the air, this was going to be easy.

The gun shot was off, and we were off running. Jeff and I stayed together for the first few miles, weaving through downtown, and then throught the McKinney Ave area. It was crowded, we were having a good time. Went it the lower Greenville area, through the M streets. All the yuppies were out drinking bloody marys and mimosas, cheering us on. It was fast and crowded. People were warming up and taking off or slowing down and walking, but we kept going.

About mile 7 I realized that I had been going too fast. I tried to keep up with Jeff, he move ahead and drop back. About mile 8, I remember joking with him and saying "we've got less than 20 miles left." We didn't talk much after that, the reality of what we were running was setting in an we both started conserving energy. Mandy had seen us together a couple times, holding up signs telling us to go go go, but it was apparent he was going to pull forwards a ways, and he did. At mile 12, Mandy met us on the trail, and said he was about 15 minutes ahead of me. I kept running and took my first walk break at mile 13.

After the halfway point, I got really, really discouraged. I was feeling sick. Parts of me were hurting. I wanted to quit like nothing else. I was desperate. I knew inside that I could do it. I had to do it. Quitting was not an option. I've told everyone I was going to do this. I was hoping that I'd pass out and they'd make me quit, or I'd trwist me ankle and I couldn't go on. I guess I was in better shape than I thought, because I didn't pass out. I've never wanted to quit anything so bad in my entire life. I kept praying for the strenght to continue, and it came. But it dodn't come easy. Things started to look up as I made my way around the far side of the lake. I stopped off the trail to pee, and I got really disoriented. I walked back to the course and saw the runners, but I didn't really know what was going on. I leaned over and streched for a minute, and I go clear headed. I decided I needed to walk for a while. I walked for the next three of four miles.

Once I hit Garland Road, I had another glimpse of reality... I had gone a really long way, but I really had a long way left to go. I started incorporating some more running-shuffling into my movement, but the running was slow. I'd run on the downhills. I think my walking was actually faster. We veered into the residential area north west of the lake, and headed toward the final hill. The first 8 miles had some serious climbing and decents, and the lake was pretty much flat. The last hills are called the "Dolly Parton Hills." You're smart enough to figure that out. We climbed for three miles straight. This was mostly walking, some short bursts, but I was now wanting to just finish. I knew I had to conserve energy. I was doing this for me, on my terms. My goal was to finish, and that was all that mattered.

Mile 18 had a beer stop... I don't think it was official, but it was gooood. Even thought it was warmish budwiser, it was good. The crowds along the sidelines were thinning out, the majority of the runners had completed the run.

I made it onto Swiss avenue and met Mandy again. I was walking when I saw her, and she went along side of me. She said she saw Jeff, he wasn't that far ahead. She also reminded me that it was all down here from here, mile 21 was just around the corner. The scenery of the old mansions were great. I met this lady named Tracy, and we ran/walked and talked for a while, we were both delerious. We were both giddy, laughing about all kinds of stuff. It was both our first marathon, and we were going to finish.

I'd pass a mile marker, and I'd immediately start squinting looking for the next... You could see downtown, but you couldn't see the finish at the American Airlines Center. I told Tracy good luck, and started to run again. Run 100 feet, walk 10 feet. Everything was painful. I tried to run more becuase it didn't hurt anymore than walking. I just couldn't for very long.

The road started weaving into downtown Dallas. Past mile 24, I realized I had 2.2 miles left. I started running steadily, and I was going to run to the finish. It was cold, shadowy, and windy. I was tired and in pain. I started singing out load. Familiar tunes, but I was singing about pain and completion and marathons and how I was going to finish. I could see the AA Center... I could almost see the finish line. I past a few people cheering. I passed a few more people cheering. I started running faster, nearly dying with every step, but feeling more alive the closer I got. I kept getting closer and closer to the finish and to a guy in black and grey... Isn't that what Jeff was wearing? It was! I had caught him, and I assure he's usually waaaay faster than I am. He tried to pick it up and finish with me. I literally could not slow down. I finished about 15 seconds ahead of him. Hugged him like a brother when he finished. We got our medals and our finisher shirts. We were done.

We did it. It took both of us to get through that. It also took all the support from family and friends to do it. All the help from babysitters on Saturday morning, and Mandy putting up with me being gone at night and early mornings running. The training group was great help, we did it at Luke's locker in Ft. Worth. It took more strength, mentally and physically, than I ever could have had on my own. I prayed a lot during the marathon, and God answered them and got me through it. I thought about everything in the world as I went along, I kept pushing, however lightly and slowly it may have been, but I pushed through the wall. I did it.

Running this was a giant pain in the ass (and shins and quads...). It really wasn't fun. The training was hard. It was 100 in the summer sometimes by 9am. It was 33 when the race started on Sunday. However, each week, I went a little further. 5k's used to be long, eventually I was just warmed up by then. People told me to keep it up, but questioned if I could finish. I kept hearing "are you really going to do this? are you really taking this seriously enough?" I wanted to quit. But, since I talk so much, everyone knew I was going to do this and I had to do it. "fat ass... he's not a runner."

I paid the price for my eating and drinking and cigar smoking along the way. I've curtailed it a lot in the last six months. I had to. I've taken a little better care of myself, changed some habits, and this is something I'll always benefit from. Like everything else, I did just enough to get by. I wanted to finish, and that's what I did. I learned more about what I can accomplish than with anything else in my life. I learned where to find fight and strength in myself. I learned to suck it up and keep fighting. I learned no matter what it is, I can do it.

As the song by Jack Ingram says, "keep on keepin' on." That's what it's all about, frieds, keep on keeping on. The little train that could. All that. If there's something you want, go for it. Push push push. Anything's possible... Short white kids from Peaster can win state in baskeball. Lance Armstrong can win the tour de france after nearly dying. Dirt poor people can build business and be millionaires. Anybody, anywhere, can do anything. That's all there is to it. Make your goal, find your strength, and you go knock it out. I don't usually like to brag on myself unless it's about cooking and stuff, but here's my final thought for today...

I did! I rock! Go me!