Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Marathon has Just Begun!

Well.....I made it 4:17 for my first marathon, not as fast as I wanted but apparently faster than the average first marathoner.  Either way I will take it and the event was a great time.  If I said it was smooth sailing the whole way I would be lying like crazy.  Miles 22 through 25 were an experience in pain that I had no idea was coming. At the beginning of mile 26 when I could see the end in sight I had a decision to make.  Either walk and have it hurt like hell or run and have it hurt like hell for less time.  I picked option number two and finished the race.  I was very grateful for the family and friends that were strategically placed along the way.  Even though I saw them for a grand total of less than a minute, it is amazing what a friendly and loving face can do to lift your spirit and keep you pressing on.

Another pleasant surprise I encountered during this great event was all the information and advice that you gain along the way.  Information such as, beer at the finish line, naked cheerleaders one mile ahead, and Chuck Norris never ran a marathon were great tid bits of info. that kept me forging forward.  The advice was equally as encouraging.  I don't know how I have made it this far in life without signs like, finish before the rapture, 26.2 miles because 26.3 would be crazy, and last but not least, don't sh**t yourself.  I think Confucius rolled over in his grave. 

I would like to thank everyone for all the support along this journey and I don't think, by now, that I need to insert anymore cancer metaphors.  If you are wondering how to get involved just participate in any of your local Relay for Life events. When I say participate I mean spend time at the event reading luminaries, listening to speakers, and visiting with all the team members that have worked so hard to achieve the same goals that my family and I are trying to achieve.  If you really want to leap in, spend the whole night walking on the track and taking in the emotion of the event.  It won't take long to figure out why we are so passionate about this cause and want to prevent others from experiencing all the BS that we have experienced.  If you are local to me our event starts at 5:30 pm June 3 and ends at 6:00am June 4, in Lisbon ND.  Hope to see you on this continued journey to beat the hell out of cancer. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Remember the Moms

Thanks to all the participants in the Running for the Ribbons 5K run.  We had our first really nice spring day for the run, a great time was had by all.  Running for me has been less than impressive after the last long run.  Up until 3 days ago my hip was still in pain from the last 18 mile run.  My common sense (wife) suggested going to the doctor if it didn't get better by Wednesday.  I ended up going in on Monday just to find out what was going on.  It turns out I needed new shoes and here I am on Friday with no hip pain.  On the down side, now my common sense knows I don't have a hearing problem and I am going to have to come up with a different excuse for not listening to her.

On the theme of the Mother’s Day Holiday this past weekend, we should celebrate all the wonderful firsts that Mothers get to experience with their children.
Please take a moment of silence for some of the firsts that a cancer Mom endures.
Firsts such as the following:
 The first time she has to use a brush to literally comb out her daughter’s hair after her first round of chemotherapy.
 The first wheelchair ride because the cancer has overtaken her daughter’s spine and can no longer walk. 
The first eye patch to cover one of her daughter’s eyes, so that she no longer sees double, because the cancer has also affected her vision.
The first time her child looks at her with tears in her eyes and searing fear in her voice, barely squeaking out the words “I don’t want to die”
The first time she has to look at her child with tears in her eyes and searing fear in her voice and tell her daughter that she is indeed going to die.
The above are just a few of the firsts that my wife and too many other Mothers are forced to experience.  Please remember it doesn’t matter if your child is 8 or 58 we are all equal in this cancer fight so we must keep up the work. 
 Fargo Marathon in less than 2-weeks – May 21, 2011 – come and support all the runners.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Last 20 mile training run!?

Life on a personal level has been busy since the last post, hence the reason for 2 weeks without an update.  Training has been pressing forward though. I suffered a minor setback with a sore hip after the 20 mile run on April 17th.  I had to take a couple days off to avoid further injury.  Not feeling 100% I was a bit concerned all this past week with my last 20 mile run looming on the horizon for this weekend.  Nonetheless Saturday arrived and I had to get it done, so the plan was a nice easy run just to get the miles in and not injure myself.  The first 5 miles were pretty much pain free and I was able to establish a very nice pace.  At mile 5.5 as if to say, "hey dumbass I thought you were going to take it easy", my stomach started to cramp.  I am not talking a side ache either, I am talking gastrointestinal cramping that didn't subside until mile 6.5.  After working through the cramps I continued on at an EASIER pace to avoid injuring myself.  At around mile 12 my thighs, calves, and hamstrings started to feel a little tight.  That tightness was not supposed to be happening, I have run this distance many times before.  I must have been a bit dehydrated,  so I made sure hydration was a priority and if I needed to stop and stretch I would.  By mile 15 I had to do just that, after taking a walk/stretch break I continued on feeling pretty good.  Mile 16 brought searing pain to my right inner calf, I actually felt like someone was shoving a hot knitting needle into my leg.  Shortly after the calf pain started two of the toes on my right foot started to cramp also.  In the name of self preservation, yesterday was an 18 mile run instead of 20.

I think at least one major physical battle was what I needed to drive home the message and the training.  Through all the pain I still had to function for the rest of the day and I didn't feel near as terrible as someone being treated for Cancer.  The amount of suffering cancer patients endure is unparalleled and I am in awe of the strength of every single one of them.  I also do still feel like we can do better in helping relieve some of that suffering.

P.S. The weather was terrible yesterday, I am just really sick of talking about it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Snow, Cold, Flood, Snow, Rain, Flood.........

Saturday morning, first 20 mile run completed, one more to go in two weeks and then the dowhill slide into the marathon.  Nerves haven't set in yet but I am sure that will come as race day gets closer. Truthfully the weather still continues to be the biggest struggle with this.  Mother nature is mildly unamused about something and she is taking it out on most of the country. Fargo is no exception to that rule. I would like to get at least one long run in under good weather conditions.  I know the less than desirable weather is a big help, it really does make for better training, but enough is enough already. 

To answer a question possibly haunting one of my neighbors.  Yes, that was me that yelled your name from accross the street in downtown Fargo yesterday.  He did turn around and wave, but he either had no clue who I was right away, or was embarrassed to acknowledge he knew me, as it was a very confused and half hearted wave.  I would vote on the latter of the two.  I wouldn't blame him, I am sure I looked ridiculous lumbering along in a hooded sweatshirt, stocking cap, running tights with shorts over them and two different colored gloves on because I was in a hurry when I left the house.  Oh well, if someone got a chuckle because I don't worry about how I look that is perfect, I would probably make fun too. 

Please take time to read and support 'One Survivor's Mission'.  She has been through hell and is a great example a person that knows how to keep pressing on. (follow the link on the left)

Thursday, April 14, 2011


All this talk about training can’t overshadow the reason for this blog.  Exactly two years ago today (4-14-09) we watched a little girl take her final steps as a human being. A little girl that used to run the older boys literally into the ground and laugh as they gasped for air. From that day forward until her death on 6-22-09 she was in constant pain and mental torture knowing that she couldn’t run and play like all the other 7 year old children.  I guess that is a pretty obvious metaphor for the reasons why I feel the uncontrollable need to use the hell out of my body.  On that day we were told that the treatments that started on April 24, 2008 basically didn’t work.  Treatments that ended in October of 2008 had put her in ‘remission’ for 6 months.  Don’t get me wrong we are very thankful for the time that we were able to spend with our daughter during treatment and remission.  We made many lifelong memories with friends and family during this time.  Some doctors and research centers will say the treatments that gave a 6 month survival were successful treatments.  Some even go as far as to call them breakthrough treatments.  Well guess what, you will NEVER convince me that 6 month survival is a breakthrough. I know that researchers and doctors work very hard and are a heck of a lot smarter than I am. That doesn’t change the FACT that for our daughter the treatments DID NOT WORK.  In fact I know of cases where the actual treatment caused another cancer to form.  So 6 month survival for someone that should live for another 70+ years.  WRONG ANSWER…it just didn’t work. 

I understand that when someone is starting treatment if a doctor were to say “the next 8 months of hell might not work and you will lose your life anyway” there would be too many people opting out of the treatment that could potentially save their life.  On the back end though, it is irritating as a parent that lost a child to hear “new breakthrough cancer drug…6 month survival rate”.  Is that really all the better we can do!!!!?  I am not sold, I think there should be a higher standard, and if there is a higher standard and the public doesn’t know about it that is just as irritating.  I understand this post could be highly offensive to some.  If so, hopefully you are a doctor or researcher that will actually take heed to being chastised and hold yourself to a higher standard.

20 mile run on Saturday for me, the wife plans to ride bike with, the young lad is still not sold.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rain Rain Go Away

Rain, 40 degrees, and the hint of a cold that has been going around forced a 13 mile treadmill torture.  Hopefully that decision proves to keep my physical health in tact.  I know for sure it didn't do a darn thing for my mental health.  I kept picturing myself as a giant hamster running on a wheel inside a cage with a red accent wall.  Maybe next winter I will get a large plastic ball so I can just roll around the house for two hours.  At mile 10.8 the treadmill even tried to say enough is enough.  Apparently there is a safety switch that makes it shut off after a certain amount of time.  Thank goodness no one was home to listen to me have words with the treadmill for shutting down early. 

Spring weather is desperatly trying to take hold around here.  It will be nice to get some long runs in without six layers on.  I can honestly say the thought of venturing out on a cold rainy day was very tempting.  I have started to look at the bad weather days as a challenge to myself to get the run in regardless of the crappy weather.  If I didn't have a twenty mile run coming up in a week I would have thrown caution to the wind and braved the rain.  The treadmill is a whole challenge of it's own.  I keep telling myself the mind nubming boredom is helping me with the mental game. 

Please keep in mind one of the lessons cancer taught me.  Although cancer took the life of someone I loved, it also taught me that no matter what bad things happen, life is only as good as you make it.   

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Who planned this route?

This week was a bit different for training.  My brother got married on Saturday so we were out of town from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon.  Congrats to my brother, it is nice to welcome a new sister-in-law to the family.  She is very nice and patient, those traits will come in handy for her.  I knew I would miss a few days of training, so I made sure and completed the 18 mile run on Thursday evening.  It started out very nice 34 degrees mild wind, no big deal.   About mile 5 at  6:00pm I ended up in the WRONG area.  It didn't even register until the smell of original recipe chicken entered my sinuses.  A couple blocks later... ahhh a woodfire grill.  Good thing I have electrolyte chews with me.  Maybe I can shove them up my nose so I can't smell all the delicous food that I can't have.  I rethought that plan knowing that I would be on the other side of the torture chamber in just a few minutes.  After consuming electrolyte chews the correct way and rehydrayting I was feeling pretty good and hunger was no longer on my mind.  Until mile 9...fresh baked bread from one of the bread stores downtown.  I am sure I looked like a dog with the drool stalactites hanging from each side of my mouth.   

After breaking clear of all food smells I turned south into a wind that had intesified and was carrying  rain and sleet along with it.  By mile 15 my legs were starting to feel  a bit of pain.  I was starting to cramp up bit but I was able to push through the pain and keep the same pace.  Being able to push through the pain was very reassuring and helped me realize it was the right choice to get this part of the training completed. Sometimes every mile is a struggle, but the struggle is what makes you better. 

Remember to E-mail me if you want to register for the Running for the Ribbos 5k.  I will send you a registration form.  We are hoping to have most registrations back by April 15th.  (