Sunday, September 16, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

What I didn't do is write too much, so here's a short (and probably inconclusive) summary.

May 28th or so I ran the Bayshore Marathon. My 50th consecutive month running a marathon. No, that's nowhere close to a record--my buddy John Bozung from Utah has that one at the moment. His current streak is around 13 years worth. Tom Adair is in second place at the moment, and I think he's about 91 months ahead of me. And there's probably someone in between us too. I haven't given up yet--those guys are older than me. Maybe I'll outlive them.

June 16th ran the Run Charlevoix marathon. Slow, hot, felt like crap. Got through it. Had a nice weekend with the lovely Francine. (Just like every weekend with the lovely Francine actually.)

In June, I also started a new thing, the Marathon Minute. It's a weekly minute of inspiration that I write and record on WOOD Radio. You can hear them on if you're interested.

In July I ran a marathon in Carrollton--something that's becoming a habit. In fact, it becomes a habit if you only run it once, since it's the same 5K course eight times. Nice people putting it on though.

I also read an article about Getting Things Done, a book and a way of life that has revolutionized the way I do things. I've been undergoing major restructuring of my file system, calendars, etc. Still in progress, but it's making me more effective (in my mind, at least).

August. Took a trip to Alaska with Francine and Carly. What a blast. Did a marathon (duh!). Took a day trip to Portage Glacier and Whittier. Took a day trip to Talkeetna. Took the train to Seward for a day. Saw moose, bear, eagle, mountain sheep. Hung out with my old friend Ole. Heard Diana (Ole's wife) singing with her group in Anchorage. Went hiking with Carly a few times. She's a fun kid.

September. Went to Tupelo. Oh. You already knew that from the previous post. Oh well, it's fall now (almost) so I guess this post is over. Maybe I'll start posting more often.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Marathons, Mountains, and Microbrews - Mississippi

Cool weekend. Spent Friday evening watching the Bourne Ultimatimum with the lovely Francine. Then it was an early morning flight to Memphis.

It was probably not the most efficient way to get to Tupelo, but it was a much cheaper flight. Besides, I had another mission to accomplish - to knock off another state high point. Now, Mississippi's high point is Woodall Mountain. The "mountain" part should be in quotation marks, because the elevation is a whopping 806 feet! (Only Delaware, Florida, and Louisiana have lower high points.) I drove to Iuka, Mississippi, and drove all the way up the road to the top. Not very inspiring. There was no sign, only the little USGS marker in the center of a circular gravel driveway. Someone had put in three cement benches in a circle there, but vandals had uprooted one of them and broke it in pieces. A fairly uninspiring place to be. Oh well, check another one off the list.

Now, on to Tupelo. The cool thing about this race is the medals and the slogan - "Trample the Weak. Hurdle the Dead" The logo is a skull and crossbones. Makes a pretty cool looking finishers medal.

I expected to be really slow with the heat, and probably could have been a few minutes faster, but at about 19 miles I caught up with Steve and Jaclyn. We started talking and were having fun, so I decided to stay with them for the rest of the race instead of running by myself. Jaclyn was running her first marathon that day, Steve his 10th.

The course was an out-and-back, so we got to see everybody. At the turnaround, the people doing the 14.2 mile run took the shortcut back to the finish line, and we turned around and headed back the way we came. The course was billed as hilly, but hey, in Mississippi a mountain is only 806 feet high, so my discription would be something more like "rolling."

We plugged along, enjoying the day, enjoying Jaclyn's excitement as she approached the finish of her first marathon. At 25 miles, I asked at the aid station if they had beer. "No, but I've got one in my truck. You want one?" It was cold and refreshing and just what the doctor ordered. I finished the beer and then rejoined my friends for the last mile.

After an hour or so hanging out with friends at the finish area, I headed back to get cleaned up, take a 15 minute nap, and then the trip to Memphis for my flight. I had a couple extra hours, and figured a beer and some lunch at Pat O'Brien's on Beale Street would be nice. Sitting there I had another one of those "moments" when I just start laughing at how cool life is. It's 5:00 on Sunday afternoon, I woke up in Grand Rapids yesterday, visited a state high point, ran a marathon in Tupelo, and now here I am in Memphis having a beer and a burger at Pat O'Brien's. As usual, I have tons to be thankful for. And I certainly am.
and the adventure continues....