31 December 2005 End of the Year summary

January - Ran the Lost Dutchman Marathon in Arizona.  Ran into old friend John Lent (I climbed Kilimanjaro with him in 2000) 
February - Ran the Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans.
 March - Ran the Martian Marathon in Northville, Michigan.  The Outdoor Life Network flew me to Boston to interview me about my trip to the South Pole for their 25 Most Dangerous Places series.
 April - John Lent told me his 100th marathon would be the Glass City Marathon in Toledo, so I ran that one with him.  Ran Boston Marathon with the lovely Francine and stayed with Joe Bator & Julia Kim .  Visited my friend (and CPA) Ben in Denver.
 May - Ran the River Bank Run 25K and the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, Michigan
 June - Ran the Sunburst Marathon in South Bend, Indiana.  OLN ran the 25 Most Dangerous Places show featuring me on the South Pole segment. (#5 in the top 25 countdown)
 July - Ran a marathon 1 July on the old wooden track at the Downtown YMCA with Mike Howell to commemorate the final day of operation of the old Y.  660 laps on a hot July morning.  On July 5, the new David D. Hunting YMCA opened.  9 July ran the Grandfather Mountain Marathon in Boone NC after spending the preceding two days visiting the state high points in SC, GA, TN, and NC.  On July 31, ran the Carrollton Marathon in Carrollton, Michigan.
 August - Ran the Reykjavik Marathon in Iceland.  Closed a bar in Reykjavik with old friend Cliff Jennings and new friend Elizabeth Prazeres.
 September - Bought a new car (no, I didn't pay cash), ran the Scotiabank Toronto Lakefront Marathon with the lovely Francine.
 October - was a pacer at the Chicago Marathon.  Ran the Grand Rapids Marathon (a week before the actual event).  Organized the Grand Rapids Marathon--with the help of an amazing staff--held at the new YMCA.  Rave reviews on Marathonguide.com.
 November - Went to Denver again.  Went hiking/climbing with Elizabeth.  Hung out with Ben for a while.  Thanksgiving weekend ran the Northern Central Trail marathon in Sparks, Maryland.
 December - Ran the Death Valley Borax Marathon, then was a spectator in Vegas for the New Las Vegas Marathon.  On the 31st Mike and I did a marathon on the new YMCA track.  Only 184 laps this time.  We now hold the single-run distance record on the new track.  Two people set personal distance records while running with us, one at 13.1 miles, another at 5 miles.
Total for the year--15 marathons (a PR--plus the two at the YMCAs) in 10 states, three countries.  Also 4 state high points.  Bunches of new friends. 

15 December 2005  This is funny as heck.  http://www.sundog.net/carolofthechins/flash/index.html type in a Christmas song and they'll sing it.  Twelve days of Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas, lots of other ones too. 

14 December 2005 Another Wednesday. Working in Coopersville today at Heath Manufacturing. Really nice people here--making bird feeders, bird houses, etc. The recently started selling flags too--a line they bought from Bissell in GR.

Back in 1985, when I worked for Qantel, when Dean Heath was still in charge here, they bought a Qantel computer. So, I actually did a little programming for them back then. Dean was a really smart guy, but he smoked so much that the walls of his office were stained yellow from the smoke.

A couple years ago I got a call from Rick (my "boss" here) when he was looking for someone to support his current software system. It's turned into a steady gig--I spend most every Wednesday here. Great people.

5 December 2005 Death Valley Borax Marathon/Las Vegas Marathon. OK, a friend asked me to come out to Vegas to do the marathon with her. Nice friend, but I've done Vegas three times, and despite the new course, I've really been wanting to run the Death Valley Borax Marathon. And, hey, it's the same weekend!

Grand Rapids now has nonstop flights to Vegas, so it's a bunch more convenient. I got in Thursday night about 11:00. Drove up the strip, gambled a bit (lost money), napped in the car for a couple hours, and played tourist for a while.

11:00 the marathon expo started, so I stopped in and spent a couple hours buying socks and meeting other marathon race directors at their booths. Gotta network, you know. Then into the car to head for Death Valley.

Francine wrote to my mom, "I don't know that I want to do a marathon where the name starts with 'DEATH.'" Well, you know me--didn't occur to me there was anything wrong with that. I pulled into Furnace Creek, California, at around 4:00. I drove about 15 miles down to Badwater, the lowest elevation spot in the country, just to say I've been there.

Well, I had hoped to meet my old friend, John Bozung, for dinner, but there's no cell phone reception in Death Valley. Darn. So, I ate by myself and went back to my room. At around 6:30, I laid on the bed to watch TV for a few minutes. The lack of quality sleep the previous night caught up with me, and I was GONE. At 7:00, Francine called me on the hotel phone. I'm usually pretty good at waking up for phone calls, but it took me a while. 7:00!! I've got a marathon in an hour! After a few very confusing moments, she convinced me that it was 7:00 p.m. Great--I can sleep for a while.

WHAT A COOL MARATHON!! Just before 8:00 everyone gathered for the pre-race briefing, and everyone sang the national anthem. Dave (race director) asked for a show of hands for first marathoners. Then for those with more than 10. 20. 50. 100. It was cool--only four hands were up, and the other three besides me were all friends of mine.

The marathon started at about 8:10, the half 15 minutes later, and 10K 15 minutes after that.

The course was an out-and-back through the desert, all of it below sea level. The weather was cool but not cold, a little headwind on the way out. The desert was beautiful--subtle, pastel colors in the mountains to our right, salt flats to our left. Aid stations only about every three miles were well stocked, and knowing they were far apart I was careful to drink a couple glasses of liquid and eat a little bit at every one.

About 10 miles out, my friend John Bozung (the guy who inspired me to run all 7 continents) caught up with me and we ran together for the next six miles. It was great to catch up on things, and I kept up with him as long as I could before he pulled away at around 16. A few miles later I caught up with a gal, who was walking then but since she had passed me shortly before that, I knew she had more in her. So we worked through the last 4 miles together, not really sure who was pushing whom, but we were both happy for the company.

Recovery was fun--hanging out under palm trees eating homemade banana bread and assorted snacks.

Now, back to Vegas. Just as a spectator, though my legs were feeling good enough I kinda wished I had signed up to run. After watching a fantastic start, with fireworks and around 9000 runners, I got a chance to meet the race director and a couple of the staff. I was pretty impressed with what they had pulled together in only 7 months. Another cup of coffee and a short nap later, and I joined the Las Vegas Running Team just before the 26 mile mark to cheer on the runners as they prepared to finish the marathon. It was a great morning. Finally, just before 5 hours, my friend Elizabeth (she who had convinced me to come to Vegas) came through and I ran the last little bit with her. I jumped off the course before the finish line, but never was able to find her again in the finish area. Oh well--we got a beer later.

So, at this point, I have two recommendations. 1--Run the Death Valley Borax Marathon. 2--Run the Las Vegas Marathon. Two very different races, but both with a lot to offer.

Twelve hours ago I was watching a musical fountain show in front of Bellagio. Now, I've returned to the frozen tundra of Michigan and am back at work. Maybe tonight I'll get some reasonable sleep.

25 August 2005 Spent last weekend in Reykjavik, Iceland. Ran a marathon, of course. Rocky start though. My flight from Grand Rapids was cancelled, so they couldn't get me to Minneapolis in time for my flight to Iceland. After much phone calling and rerouting, I ended up in Baltimore for the night and all day last Thursday, and taking the flight from there to Reykjavik. Had a room, beer, and meals courtesy of Delta.

Friday started much better, we were wheels-down in Iceland at 6:00 a.m. I met a guy named Omer at the airport who was waiting for two runners from Chicago area, Keith and John. When they arrived, he offered to give me a ride to my hotel. Pretty nice. So I had three new friends, and didn't have to pay busfare into town.

I had breakfast at the Plaza Hotel while they were getting my room ready, met the few guys who stayed there the previous night, then went up and snoozed for about 45 minutes. The rest of the group showed up a bit after noon, having stayed out of town on Thursday night due to a reservations screw-up.

My old friend, Cliff Jennings, with Marathon Tours, was our guide. Since he hadn't picked up his race number yet, we walked the 45 minutes to the expo.

(to be continued)

7 August 2005 Cool story about my son-in-law and his step-dad in Iraq



31 September 2005 Carrollton Charity Road Races.  Eighteen hundred and twenty-eight marathons.  That was the total for the five of us who sat around the table at the pasta dinner.  And with ONLY 109, I had the second lowest total in the group!
It's a warm end-of-July day in Michigan, and about the only regular road marathon in this half of the country is in Carrollton, a small suburb of Saginaw, Michigan.  That brings out the runners who like to run marathons.  LOTS of marathons. Norm Frank was there, running marathon number 885.  84-year-old Don McNelly was on number 675, his 106th marathon since turning eighty.  Lots of 50 States Club marathoners, many of whom do marathons once a month, once a week, and sometimes two per weekend were in attendance.
Interesting course?  Yeah, in a perverted sort of way.  It's an L-shaped, flat, out-and-back 5K course.  First, a short out-and-back for the first 2.2K, go around a cone monitored by six Carrollton Lions Club members, and head out to run eight 5K repeats. Several, including Norm and Don, took an early start.  The rest of us didn't get going until 6:00 a.m.  Along with the 20K participants, the throng of runners numbered nearly 130. 
If you didn't know anyone at the start of this marathon, you would by the end--throughout the morning you meet, pass, and run alongside the same people multiple times.  Just after starting my fifth 5K, the 5K & 10K races started, and we watched as fresh legs blazed by us, a pleasant diversion which would be over long before we slow-but-steady marathoners finished our race.  One kilometer out, I was passed by a two-foot-nine girl, running in normal kid-fashion, i.e. go out hard and die a mile later.  I encouraged the other kids who ran in similar fashion as I made the return trip. 
I was lapped for the last of three times by the eventual winner, Mike Alderink of Durham, NC, and congratulated him on the way past.  Only three more to go.
The final lap is fun.  Women's winner, Nancy Knoll of Warren finished as I was making the final swing past the Lions who had been patiently checking off our laps all morning.  There were handshakes, high-fives, and good words exchanged between runners who had been meeting and running with each other all morning.  A quick stop at the far end to thank the guy who had been sitting on the tailgate of a pickup watching us run around a cone. All day long we'd been meeting each other, running together, smiling and encouraging each other.  It was time to celebrate. 
It's a unique race.  Your brain never quite knows what mile you're on.  The only convenient split is at the end of each 5K.  No mile markers, just kilometers numbered one through five.  Definitely a race with its own character and a chance to have some fun with some old (and new) friends.

28 July 2005 Kinda makes you want to go to church, just to see how the match comes out.

Don't know about you, but I'm betting Jacob gets a serious butt whoopin'!!

9 July 2005 Marathons, Mountains, and Microbrews - Grandfather Mountain "If you're not in good enough condition to finish in under five hours, please don't enter." (story in progress--stay tuned)

1 July 2005 Two Men and a Track. The Place: Downtown Grand Rapids YMCA. The reason: It was the last day of operations. The characters: Mike Howell, who has run at least 10 miles a day for the last four years, mostly on the 70-yard wooden track around the top of the second floor gym, and "Marathon" Don Kern (me), who runs a marathon once a month whether he needs to or not. The mission: To run a marathon on the track. At just over 25 laps per mile, we figured we'd need to run 660 laps to complete the 26.2 mile distance.

As with all good plans, ours had it's little glitches. On the way to the Y, I had to stop and change a flat tire on my Aztek. Mike's alarm apparently didn't do its job, and he breezed in just a few minutes before our planned 7:00 a.m. start time.

We went to the track and set up our "aid stations" with Gatorade, ice, water, and snacks--mine in one corner and his in the other. (That gave us a total of 1320 aid stations on the course.) We would stop and visit them about every three miles or so. We each had a counter on which we'd click off the laps as we went around and around and around. Conversation and visitors would make one or the other of us forget to count a lap now and then--they were going by about every 20 seconds--so every mile we'd sycrhronize our count. We really only had to make a half-dozen corrections during the course of the morning.

We told lots of people of our mission, and throughout the morning we were joined by about 20 people. Everyone who came in we talked into at least walking a lap to be part of the fun. The lovely Francine brought us bagels and ran a couple of miles with us. Carly, the five-year-old speedster did about a mile in typical sprint-sprint-crash kid style. Craig came in and did four miles. It all helped break up the morning.

After the first eight miles, we reversed directions to give our legs a break. After 19, we reversed again. With 30 laps to go, we started counting down. The soft wood surface was easy to run on, and even as we approached the marathon distance, our legs were still feeling fresh. At about 10:25 we finished our 660 laps, walked a few to cool down. As I was cleaning up my aid station, Mike decided he wanted to do a few more to cool down. Well, it was his last day running on his old friend, so his cool down stretched to seven miles. He finished the day with a total of 33 miles, at just about the time I was finishing getting new tires on my car.

6/14/2005 Great Run!!  Today we ran from the YMCA at noon--the usual 5 mile lunchtime run.  About three miles into it, the rain started just pouring down.  Cooled us off, and felt great!  The rain stopped just about the time we got back to the YMCA.  The afterglow was great!

6/12/2005 Wanna see something really cool?  Francine made me a spinach pie for my birthday dinner.  She left the glass soufflé dish at my house.  It was setting on the back burner of the stove Saturday when she came over for dinner.  I made spaghetti.  Unfortunately, when I turned on the burner to boil the water, I turned on the back one instead of the front one.  After heating up the glass dish for about 5 minutes on high, BOOM! It exploded and blew very hot glass all over the kitchen.  Fortunately, it missed the spaghetti sauce!  She went and borrowed her mom's vacuum so we could clean it up.

6/11/2005  Now I remember.  The absurdity of tobacco settlements, etc.  Part of the tobacco settlement is that they have to set up anti-smoking education. i.e. advertise against themselves.  Casino billboards often have a 1-800 number for you to call if you have a gambling problem.  Anheuser-Busch wants you to drink lots of their beer, but drink responsibly.  Somehow, I just can't figure they have their hearts in the game on this one.  Kinda like having pimps running a program to keep women from being prostitutes.  At least until they're 18.

I called the casino's 800 number.  They tried to book me for a weekend package to Vegas. 

6/10/2005 Something occurred to me this morning.  I was going to write about it.  But I can't remember what it was right now.  Oh well.

6/8/2005  Runner Dies During Marathon.  In Christchurch, NZ, a runner died during a marathon.


My Dead Runners Society posting: 

Scary, yes, but not real unusual.  Two of my first six marathons (Boston 96 and Tromso, Norway July 96) had people die during them.  In Boston, the guy had just crossed the finish line a few minutes ahead of me. We had a guy around here die in a 5K just a few months ago.  Reminds us all of our mortality and gives me a sense of gratitude for good health and the ability to run.  

It amuses me when people point to such events and think they indicate that running can kill you.  I think that, as a population, we're probably MORE likely to live long, healthy lives than those who don't run.  (But I'm probably preaching to the choir here, eh?).  

My grandpa died playing shuffleboard.  We always figured that was neat, because he was having fun, doing exactly what he wanted to do at the time.  I suspect the runners who die in the act were like that.  I hope I'm having fun at the time of my demise.  

Anyway, don't anybody let it scare you off from running marathons.  In fact, it would be cool if you all came to Grand Rapids this fall (to run and to see Erik defend his title).  Death, while possible, is pretty unlikely.  

Someday, I'm going to come running out of that tunnel... 6/4/205 Sunburst Marathon - Hall of Fame to Notre Dame

Fun marathon trip with the lovely Francine.  I had a booth at the expo promoting the Grand Rapids Marathon.

Hot day, but lots of fun.  Marathon #107

6/1/2005  Banana Splits.  Last summer I was on my past Dairy Queen and decided to stop for a drink.  In the window, I saw a picture of a banana split.  Suddenly, it occurred to me that I hadn't had a banana split since my grandma used to buy them for me when when I was a kid.  Thirty-plus years without a banana split just shouldn't happen.  So, I ordered one.  I've had a couple since then.  They're pretty good.  I'm going to make a habit of eating a banana split once in a while, just out of general principles.  Maybe I'll buy my grandma one too.

5/31/2005 My mom said it was just a stage I'm going through.  Yes, somewhere around the age of 5 or 6, I started making wisecracks and being a smart-aleck.  I think she's convinced now that I'm never going to grow out of it.

5/28/2005 Bayshore Marathon Report.  Yes, I ran another marathon.  ("Tell me something new, Don.")  The usual Bayshore Marathon--great weather in the low 50s, about 1300 people out to have a great time.  Rick, Steph, Lynne, and me from our little training group were up there, as well as lots of other people from Grand Rapids.  I stayed fairly steady all day, finishing in 4:15:xx.  Rick got a personal record with 2:58:06.  I'm gonna have to try that pickle juice thing.  Other highlights--there was a while between 11 and 12.5 miles that about every third person coming back at me was someone I knew!  It's great to be out there with lots of friends, and a big reason I like to go back there year after year.  At about 23 miles, I passed a couple girls who had passed me earlier, one of whom was suffering bad leg cramps.  I had some extra electrolyte replacement tablets, so I turned around and gave her the rest of my supply.  I passed another girl I had seen earlier who was sitting on the ground encouraging a friend.  I stopped to help her pick her friend up off the ground and get her going again.  OK, probably cost me a couple minutes off my time, but who cares.  Steph, who has qualified for Boston 23 times (or whatever) and has nothing to prove, finished in 4:20.  She was also there on my 44th birthday, and there's a nice picture of her coming out of the hospital that day.  Lynne came in a few minutes later, looking as beautiful as ever.  Rick took second in his age group.  Marathon #106 is in the books.

5/27/2005 My Birthday.  I'm 49.  Whoopee.  Next year, I'll have a big party.  This year I'm just going to go up to Traverse City and run a marathon tomorrow morning.  On my 44th birthday, I ran my 44th marathon there.  Tomorrow will be my 106th.  Next year, the marathon will be on my birthday again.  Cool.  Should be at about 120 by then. 

5/23/2005  "I need some used shoes"  I was sitting outside the YMCA waiting for a friend, when a woman walked up to me.  Her story:  "I just joined the church on Sunday, and I'm trying to get things together for Bible study tonight.  I've got some decent clothes to wear, but I really need to get a pair of shoes..."  OK, I've heard lots of stories, but it kinda ticks me off when someone has to use G-d in their made-up stories so that I'll feel guilty enough to give up a few bucks for shoes.  And, I've got a pretty good idea G-d doesn't really give a rip if the lady shows up for Bible study in her tennis shoes.

Now, the best one I ever heard was from a guy who came up to me one day and said, "Excuse me sir.  Can you help me?  I need eighty-six cents."  Now, when someone asks for less than a buck, it's harder not to say yes.  But of course, I didn't have eighty-six cents, so I gave him a buck anyway.  In fact, I thought it was clever enough that he asked the question that way, that I almost went back and gave him another buck.  Almost.

5/18/2005 "There's no such thing as a stupid question."  Ever hear someone say that?  It's a cliché, and not an accurate one either!  Usually it's used by someone who's teaching other people to do stuff.  Next time someone says, "There's no such thing as a stupid question," try one of these:  What's the difference between an orange?  Do these pants make my butt look fat?  When you walk down the street, do you sing "Do wa diddy diddy dum diddy do?"  All of which, in my book, are stupid questions.  They probably have stupid answers too.

5/18/2005 Chicago Marathon.  Yes, I'm doing it again this fall, but this time as a pacer at 4:30.  Got a call last night and have joined the pace team for the Chicago Marathon.  Great memories there--I've run it six times, and have volunteered a couple more.  Now I get to do both!  Plus, be treated like an elite runner, with tents close to the starting line, etc.  Not bad for a slow guy.

5/17/2005 My sister should run for the Senate.  With all this talk about staging filibusters to block judicial nominations, I'm thinking that she would be just great.  You know what a filibuster is--NONSTOP TALKING in order to keep something from coming up on the floor.  They don't even have to say anything important.  Mom always said my sister could turn her mouth on and go away and leave it running.  She'd be a natural for a filibuster.  I think she should run.

5/17/2005 The Glass Ceiling.  Heard the phrase on the radio this morning.  It's usually used to refer to the barrier to women advancing to the higher levels in business, etc.  I find that metaphor interesting, only because if women were above a glass ceiling, it seems that the guys below would just be looking up their skirts.  Hmmm....

5/14/2005 River Bank Run day.  It's party day in Grand Rapids!  Everybody I know goes out and runs the River Bank Run 25K.  And, since it's a relatively short race (compared to the marathons we're all used to) we all have energy left over to party later.  It's a great time all around.  Ran 2:21:57--a little slower than I'd like, but about what I was trained for.  Spent the day yesterday on my feet at the expo and drummed up a lot of interest in the Grand Rapids Marathon this fall.

5/7/2005 Happy birthday to my Mom & Sister--Ran 12 miles in the morning, then went to Mom's house to help celebrate her birthday.  She and my sister Lauraine were born on May 7 (in different years, of course).  Dad had just come in from the woods when I got there--no mushrooms to be found.  My brother Jack and I went out a couple hours later and came back with two full bags of beefsteak mushrooms.  Had a good time rubbing Dad's nose in that one.

5/5/2005 Cinco de Mayo--Cool--a holiday named after a condiment.

Change of pace--went to see Dr. Rick's team win the league hockey title.  They came back from being down by two goals, then from being down three goals, and tied it late in the third period at 6-6.  They out-skated the Black Squirrels of Death through two OT periods, then won the five-man shootout for a final of 9-8.   Anyway, I normally wouldn't be at a hockey game, but this one was kinda fun.  Congrats to the Biohazard team on winning the league!!!

5/3/2005 Valuable Information--Dep hair gel has almost no flavor, and dissolves almost immediately in your mouth.  I found that out Sunday when I was on autopilot going through my morning routine and squeezed hair gel onto my toothbrush instead of toothpaste.  I was kinda glad there was no flavor to the stuff.  I was also glad that I didn't put toothpaste in my hair.

4/30/2005 Denver--Yesterday I flew to Denver to meet with my CPA, Ben, and get my taxes done. (Yes, I filed an extension.)  Got up this morning and ran 9 miles.  Ben lives only about 4 blocks from Columbine High School, so I had to go run around it.  Then through a big park, around a lake, and following some trails through the neighborhoods.  Saw lots of ducks and geese, scared up two herons, and saw a coyote.  I stopped to watch him, and he stopped and watched me back.  Pretty neat.

Went to Einstein Brothers Bagels for breakfast (one of my favorite bagel shops).  Finished my taxes.  Then Ben and I went to Roxborough State Park for a hike in the mountains.  Probably would be considered foothills there.  Saw three deer and a red fox.  Also saw some prairie dogs.

Ben is the CFO at the Pinnacle Dinner Theatre, so he got us comp tickets to the show that night.  So, at the age of 48, I saw The Rocky Horror Show for the first time.

Turns out that David Pritchard is the producer.  "Wait a minute--did he go to CMU?"  Turns out I remembered the name from my college days.  We were both at Central at the same time.  Small world, eh?

Had breakfast at Gunther Toody's, a 50's style restaurant. 

4/28/2005 CETP--I got a solicitation from PETA--People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  Yeah right--we're the smart ones, so it's our responsibility to treat all the rest of the animals better than they treat us. What about Cats for the Ethical Treatment of People.  After all, they put hair all over everything, puke where ever they feel like, make us clean up after whatever they do, claw up the furniture, etc., etc.  And they don't give a shit.  If we treated them (or any human being) the way they treat us, we'd get arrested.   Ninety-eight percent of the cats surveyed, when asked if they'd like to join Cats for the Ethical Treatment of  People, didn't understand the question. The other two percent said, "Are you freakin' crazy?"

4/25/2005 Another Terrorist Organization?  http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2005/04/08/DDG27BCFLG1.DTL   Pretty funny, I think.

4/24/2005 My First Poem--One time when I was around 4, a brilliant flash of inspiration hit me.  I was buttering toast at the kitchen table with my mom, when I realized I could make a poem.  I slid the toast to my mom, and said:

Jam it

Which, while being kinda poetic, amused my mother NOT.  Well, maybe a little bit, because I didn't get in too much trouble.

4/23/2005 Don Kern, The Runner--I went to Mom & Dad's house and on the way home stopped in Remus to get gas.  I went inside to pay, and when the guy looked at my charge slip, he asked, "Are you Don Kern, the runner?"  Guess my reputation gets around.  Last year the local paper did a story about my adventures, and it made the front page.  I guess my dad stops in there for gas once in a while, so that probably doesn't hurt.

4/22/2005 Catch Up--Well, I guess you just won't read stuff every day here.  So what have I been doing lately?  Last Monday I ran the Boston Marathon.  Pretty cool.  Click on the link for my story.  I'll post pictures soon.

4/12/2005 Cat Hunting--People in Wisconsin are arguing over whether they should be allowed to hunt feral cats, same as they do skunks and gophers.  People in Minnesota can already, and I believe that pre-dated the Jessie Ventura era.  Public opinion, of course, runs toward saving the poor kitty cats.  Never mind that they're wild, predatory animals.  Heck, they're bad enough when we live with them in our houses, where they enslave us by making us clean up their hair, puke, litterboxes, etc.  If we treated another human like cats treat us, they'd arrest us, now wouldn't they?

4/11/2005  CSI Miami--I can't usually stay awake long enough to get to the end, and last night was no exception, but did anybody find it interesting that the two victims were both IRS agents.  And only 4 days before April 15.  I'm thinking the TV people had kind of a warped sense of humor.  I'm curious who at CBS is currently having IRS problems.

4/10/2005  Glass City Marathon  There I was, hours from home, and my car locked behind big steel doors.  Oh well, the worst case is I'll have to stay in Toledo until Monday morning...

About a month ago, John Lent, an old friend from my last trip to Kilimanjaro, emailed me to see if I wanted to run his 100th marathon with him in Toledo. OK, I'm running Boston the next week, but it sounds like fun. It's only a 3-hour drive from here.

The weekend was perfect! Clear, blue skies and comfortable spring weather. I checked into the Wyndham and the girl at the desk said to me, "Happy Birthday." Huh? I tried to give her my credit card and she refused. "I'm under strict orders from Mr. Lent NOT to accept any payment from you." He and his wife Mary Ann had arrived a half hour earlier.

I found a KWIK Parking lot about a block from the hotel, and thought I was quite clever to find a lot with very few cars in it.

Needless to say, I figured that dinner should be my treat, since I didn't have to pay for the room.  We found a great seafood restaurant across the river. Neither of us really cares if we eat pasta or not the night before a marathon, so we enjoyed steaks, fish, etc.

Marathon Day--another beautiful day. Shorts and singlet, with my wind shirt over top for the start.  At about 7:00 I walked out to my car to get my Body Glide. Oops! The clever parking lot I found was  closed by big steel garage doors. Hmmm... Guess I'll have to solve that problem later. I bummed some Vaseline from John.

We started out at about a 9 minute pace, and at the half we were just a few seconds over 2 hours. OK, not a sub-4 pace, but significantly better than I did three weeks ago at the Martian Marathon. Mary Ann was running the first half of the marathon on a relay team, and after turning around near the 14 mile mark and heading back, we met her just past the 15 mile mark. She would finish her half in under 2:30--pretty good for someone who describes herself as a non-runner.

John was not only on his 100th marathon--he's also done all 50 states, has climbed/hiked/drove all 50 state high points, and had a bunch of other adventures along the way. So, between the two of us, we had lots of tales to keep our minds occupied during the nearly 4 hours we ran together.

Our pace slowed a little bit, but we were having a great day. I was working hard to keep up with him. At 20 miles, he said we could easily do sub 4:10. At 22.5 I told him I was going to finish between 4:11 and 4:12, so he needed to go ahead. "We'll check at 23 and see where we are." At 23 miles I looked at my watch and told him he better go ahead. I watched him disappear over the next mile or so as I coached a girl in a red shirt who was doing her first marathon. After the 24 mile mark, I noticed flour spots on the street. Hashers! I'm finally going to get a beer! Just before 25 I saw BN on the street. BEER NEAR! It was a normal aid station (water and Gatorade) but also with my favorite mile 25 drink. I drained a glass of beer, dumped the final drops over my head, and took off for the finish line.

Finish time was 4:11:46, just as I expected, and 13 minutes faster than my marathon three weeks earlier. John finished in 4:09:00.

Now, for my car. After a quick shower I headed back to the KWIK lot. The only difference is the steel door for the employee parking entrance was open, but the gate was still down. At least I could get to my car. I drove to the exit, but the door was closed and there was a Suburban parked in front of it. I drove to the entrance and found a button for security. Just as I pushed it, I heard the exit door one floor up open, and the saw the Suburban driving out. I got back in my car and raced up there, and the door was still open!

Now we could enjoy lunch at the Maumee Bay Brewery (What did you expect?) that we ran by in the middle of Mile 26. We were joined by a couple of other 50-state marathoners for our after-marathon celebration.

A great weekend with great friends. Next stop--Boston!

4/8/2005  Springtime finally hit and hit hard.  I'm having a hard time concentrating on work.  I always said that I wanted to get to a place in life where when days like this came along I would just go screw off all day.  I'm getting closer, but I'm not quite there yet.

I bought some of those folding bookcases, and am finally unpacking some of my books.  This is a blast!  I LOVE BOOKS.  Philosophy, adventures, old journals, all kinds of stuff I've read and written.  I realize how rich I really am when I recall all of the things I've been able to feed my mind over the last 30 years or so.  WOW!

4/6/2005  My friend Kathy's husband had some breathing problems and the doctor gave him steroids.  She says now he thinks he should be able to play baseball.

Does it occur to anyone that at the time all the baseball players were taking steroids, THEY WEREN'T AGAINST THE RULES!  So, we need to have congressional hearings?  The press has to have a field day?  Home run records need asterisks by them?

We want to watch enhanced performances, but we want to ban performance enhancing drugs.  Maybe we're being a bit hypocritical?

4/5/2005  I'm starting a blog.

I'm starting a blog, just for the heck of it.  Maybe you'll think it's interesting.  Maybe you won't.  I don't care--I'm writing it for me anyway.

Anybody ever get crap like this in your e-mails?  I get them almost every day.  Today I finally answered one.

From: mr. Charles Brown.
24 river lane government
reserved area, Abuja.

Attention please!   strictly confidential!

Dear sir,

With all due respect, i guess my letter will not embarrass you, since i have no previous correspondence with you. i strongly believed, i would not regret approaching you in this matter. i am mr.charles brown, a solicitor at law and the personal attorney to late mr. Mark Michelle, a french national. late mr.mark michelle is a private oil consultant/contractor with the shell petroleum development in saudi arabia, herein after shall be referred  to as my client.

I have avery urgent and mutual business relationship to propose to you. on thursday june 6th 2000, my client and his wife with their three children were involved in an auto clash, all occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives.  since then, i have made several enquiries with his country?s embassies to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful. after these several unsuccessful attempts, i decided to personally contact you with this business partnership  proposal. i have contacted you to assist in repatriating a huge amount of money left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the finance and security company where these huge deposit was lodged. the deceased had a deposit valued presently at $12,000,000.00 million us dollars
(twelve million united state dollars) and company has issued me a notice to provide his next of kin or beneficiary by will otherwise have the account confiscated within the next thirty working days.

Having been unsuccessful in locating any of my late client relatives for over two (2) years now. i am now seeking your consent to present you as the next of kin/beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued at $ 12 million united states dollars can be paid to you. it is not necessary to be a blood relation to late mr.  mark michelle, neither is it necessary to bear the same surname with him. it is even not important  for the stand-in next of kin to be a french national.

Already, i have worked out modalities for achieving my aim of  appointing a next of kin as well as transfer the money abroad for us to  share in  the ratio of 60% for me and 40% to you. it is my intention to  achieve this transfer in a legitimate way, all i required is your honest, co-operation,confidentiality and trust to enable us see this transaction through.  the money transfer paper work itself will include  a certificate of origin so that the receiving bank does not ask  question.  also the paper work will include proper certificate that the  fund being transferred is from non-criminal sources.  in short this will be a proper and legal money transfer with apparently no risk involved. the transaction is guaranteed to succeed without any problem.

As soon as i hear from you, i shall provide you with further clarification that you may need. your urgent response will be highly
anticipated and appreciated.

Best wishes,

Mr.Charles Brown.

Note: in the event you are not willing to assist, kindly notify me toprevent me from making further

My answer:

You're an attorney dealing in $12 million deals and you can't even fucking capitalize and punctuate?  Listen man, if you're going to run a scam, you really need to spend a few minutes and find someone who understands English well enough to edit your stuff!  And also, realize that everyone in this country gets at least one of these letters a week, so maybe you should come up with something a little more original.  If you are for real, I'd be happy to assist you--just send me a cashiers check for US$2,000,000 to secure my services.  Of course, you can write it off as a legitimate cost of doing business! 
Did I mention that Mark Michelle is my uncle?  I'm sure he would have left the money to me if he had known where I was. 


I picked up a copy of Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes.  Dean's one of my South Pole buddies, and the guy who took the naked picture of me at the South Pole.  The book's decent reading, and he actually makes me look pretty good in his telling of the South Pole story.