Friday, November 30, 2012

The one that began with a broken valve...

The adventure began before I even left the house today. I'm giving my legs a break from running for a couple of mornings before Saturday night's little 5K downtown, so I geared up to ride a few miles. I was up early enough that I thought I'd be able to get in 20 or more.

I had everything on, my lights in place, water bottle in its cage, everything ready to go when I decided to top off my tires. I put the pump on my front tire, aired it up to 100psi and popped off the hose. The tip of the valve came off with it. No air was leaking out, but I knew I didn't dare go for a ride with a tube that could suddenly deflate. It had to be changed.

I'll admit that for a moment or two, I seriously considered going back to bed. It was 30 degrees outside after all and riding isn't all that pleasant at that temperature. It's probably close to 75 or 80 degrees in my bed next to a warm wife. Tempting!

I changed my tube. I was up anyway. The tire came off and went back on easily. I had it done and ready to go again by 5:15, so I pulled on my skull cap and gloves and rolled out five minutes later.

I rode down by the bank to see what the wind was doing. The flag there hung limp, but it was laying on the east side of the pole so I headed west.

It was slow going on the way out. I was barely awake and didn't feel like pushing much. My cadence was low. I was just putting in the miles.

About halfway out, Don the Redneck, my wife's cousin's husband, drove past and honked. Crazy guy! At least he didn't hit me. A few minutes later, a trucker - perhaps one of Don's distant relatives - decided to say hello with three blasts from his air horn. I was not nearly as pleased with this greeting. It was totally unnecessary. I was on the far side of the shoulder and riding in a straight line. Grrrrr!

I was thinking I still might get 20 miles in, but when I hit the nine-mile mark I did some quick calculating and decided I'd better turn around. I'd be late if I added that extra mile out.

The ride back was a bit quicker. My average bumped up from 15mph to 16mph. I still wasn't pushing all that hard. I just had a breath of wind to aid my pedal strokes.

I rode into town without further honking incidents, squeaked through both traffic lights and pulled into the center turning lane to take a left onto Lawrence. A half awake driver decided he needed that lane too and began pulling over heading straight for me. Are people dumb or what? I accelerated around him and made it onto Lawrence alive and in one piece. From there it was a nice easy quarter mile or so to home and restored feeling in my frozen fingers, toes and nose. (garmin data)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not quite freezing...

It was 35 degrees when I headed out the door this morning. Not quite freezing, but close. I enjoyed the brisk air as my feet whisked along the streets under the bright full moon.

I ran by feel this morning, taking it easy. I ran down School and dropped down the hill on Parkview, took a left on Parkway and ran up to Maple. At Maple, I turned right and began running up the hill toward Highway 61. On the way up to the first curve on Maple, I ran past a couple out walking their dogs. They weren't wearing bright clothing, but at least they had a light so I didn't run into them.

When I reached 61, I turned right and headed south along the shoulder. I ran past the hotels, Hamm Auction and Real Estate, several other businesses and then turned left onto Highway 54 at the truck stop. I ran along 54 to Fincham and turned there to run past Wal-Mart and on down the hill to the Green Sports Complex on Sixth.

I ran along Sixth thinking I would run over the Sixth Street Park and take in the lights again, but when I got to Country Club a car coming from the left changed my course. Rather than stop and wait for the car, I turned left and ran up Country Club. Just past the bridge, a slow moving car went by me. A deer ran across the road and they shone a flashlight or a spotlight out their window to follow it. Since they were going fairly slowly, I used them as a rabbit to speed up my pace. I chased them till they gave up their deer hunt and drove off.

At Lake Road, I turned right and continued climbing. I ran up and over the hill, meeting up with a car at the crest. I thought another car was coming, but then figured out it was the street light at the highway. It was on the back side of the Lake Road hill that I first noticed the light of the bright full moon. I guess to that point, I'd not thought of it because of other lights around or things that kept me distracted.

When I got to Highway 281, I turned north to run back into town. A couple of cars passed me before I turned on Tenth Street to run a little farther west. I wasn't sure how far to go, but I knew I needed a little more distance so I could use up the time I had before breakfast.

I ran to Mound and then headed north. Two or three times on Mound I had sharp pains in my lower back near my right hip. They weren't enough to take my breath away, but they certainly weren't pleasant. I ran on and they didn't return.

At Cleveland, I turned east again. I ran down the short hill at full tilt, expecting any moment to trip and fall flat on my face. Somehow I managed to stay upright and continued on my way to Jackson where I did a little one block jog north and then ran over to Main.

On Main, I ran north to Maple on the sidewalks. Traffic buzzed by going both ways. Thankfully there was a break when I got to Maple, so I was able to turn east on Maple without having to pause.

Running east along Maple, I just maintained an easy pace. I ran down the hill, then up it. I ran past my office and past Lawrence to Larimer before turning south toward home. I hit seven miles just before School and ran on around the corner and to our front steps. (Firestarter, 7.08 miles, 1:07:16, avg. 9:30, 34 degrees, garmin data)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


It was cold this morning when I got up: 29 degrees! Thankfully there wasn't any wind to contend with. I got out the door around 5:30 after running some errands for my wife that had to be done before she left for work.

I was really sore as I began running south on Howard. I played about 40 minutes of basketball last night against my daughter's high school team. All that sprinting and back and forth! I was thinking that I'd like to run the Lake Road loop, but as I was approaching Sixth Street I remembered that the Christmas lights were up in Lemon Park, so I turned right instead of left. I ran through Sixth Street Park humming The 12 Days of Christmas as I ran past the displays there. Somewhere between the five gold rings and the four calling birds, a couple of deer ran across the street just ahead of me.

As I was leaving the park, I met up with a guy out walking. He returned my cheery good morning with a good morning of his own. I ran on past him, turned onto Pine and ran into Lemon Park. I ran a whole lap without seeing anyone stirring, not even a mouse. I enjoyed the lights and especially enjoyed the reflections of the dragon in the pond.

After a second loop around the park, encountering a couple of walkers twice, I left the park and ran over to Main Street. I ran up Main to Second and then took Second over to the hospital. I ran across 54 and wound my way back home, stopping my Garmin just before 6:30. My fingers were cold enough to burn a bit, so I went straight inside to warm up. (Firestarter, 5.06 miles, 46:34, avg. 9:12, 29 degrees, garmin data)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Exploring Eudora

It got down to 17 degrees here last night. It was 20ish when I went out for my run just before 8:00. I wore my lightweight gloves and wished later that I'd wore something a bit warmer.

I ran out of my parents' housing development and ran north into the light wind. I ran past the schools and up and over the highway. I ran on past the grocery store, then decided to run out in the new section of Eudora. I'd never run in this area, so it was interesting to see new houses and streets.

I reached the end of the road, so to speak, turned around and ran a slightly different path home. I stopped for a pit stop at the Kwik Shop, then ran back south on the main road. I ran past the first entrance to my parents' development and made a big loop around it, hitting stop at 5.5 miles just before the driveway where I started. I walked inside to thaw out. (Firestarter, 5.5, 48:36, avg. 8:50, 22 degrees, garmin data)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A little long...

I enjoyed a little 10-miler to start out my Thanksgiving morning. I woke just before 7:00, dressed and headed out the door at my parents' house.

To say it was windy would be a bit of an understatement. After an initial burst of sub-9:00 pace for the first mile or so, I bowed my head and resigned myself to creep along into the 20+mph blast. It was really slow going. There were times when my pace was barely under 11:00. I kept telling myself that the reward was coming. That kept me going along with my desire to toughen up my mind in preparation for another stab at 100 miles. My first 5 miles took 47:38. My average pace was 9:30 on the dot.

I turned around and immediately reaped the benefit of the wind's assistance. I was under 8:00 pace just like that! With no more effort! Needless to say, it was much more enjoyable running back. I brought my overall average pace down under 9:00. 8:54 to be exact. If my figuring is right, that means I was running almost a minute per mile faster!

The ninth mile had a little hill in it and I started feeling a little nauseous as I climbed it. Thankfully that passed after I ran over the crest and I finished out feeling much better. My time for the 5 miles coming back was 41:27 giving me an average of 8:17. (Firestarter, 10 miles 1:29:05, 8:54, 59 degrees, garmin data)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I got home from teaching at Barclay College this afternoon, changed my clothes and hopped on my bike to do some visiting. I rode to the jail and visited my friend there, then rode over to visit a friend who was recently widowed. Neither she nor her son who lives with her were there, so I rode back toward the house. About four blocks from home, I remembered a friend who'd just moved into the neighborhood so I stopped by and visited with her about her new home and had the opportunity to pray a prayer of blessing on her new digs. From there I rode home. (3.27 miles, 16:24, avg. 11.9mph, max 22.5mph)

Cotton pickin' ride...

It was 37 degrees when I left on my ride this morning. 37 degrees is warm when you're running. It is not warm when you're cycling. I wasn't quite chilled, but I was pretty cool.

Riding west on Highway 54 was not much fun. Once I left town, it was a slow climb for several miles. The climb, while not steep at all, seems to go on and on forever. The smooth, new asphalt under tire makes it only slightly more bearable than a root canal without Novocaine. Well, maybe it's not that bad. More of an annoyance than anything.

I had the wind in my face on the way out, so I didn't get a lot speed. My average when I turned around at the Hi-Tech Cotton Gin just outside of Cullison was only 14.8mph.

On the way back, I was able to ramp it up a bit. The wind was at my back, but not nearly as helpful as I would have liked it to be. I'm serious when I say this particular out and back feels like it's uphill both ways. The last little hill into town was more of a pain than it should have been. I don't know if I was tired or what. I had to stand to keep my momentum going.

I almost had to stop at Main Street, but the light changed just as I was about to click out of my pedals. I stomped on it and beat the car next to me through the first block and a half. I rode on east, jumping over to the left lane when the traffic thinned so I could take a left at Stout and make my way back home. (18.24 miles, 1:08:24, avg. 16.0mph, max 23.0mph, garmin data)

Monday, November 19, 2012


I'm kind of a solution guy. I like to fix problems. Give me a puzzle to work out and I'll come back with multiple options. It's the gift God gave this guy along with his ADHD. Thinking at a million thoughts per second has a few advantages.

Everyone once in awhile, however, I come up against a bit of trouble that has no easy solution. It's usually a relational issue that stops me dead in my tracks. I can't figure a way out of the mess. How do I deal with people who won't do what seems to be reasonable.

I'm learning to trust God in these situations. I can't do anything about what other people do. (You can't either.) So I just tell the Maker of people about the struggles my friends and I are having and ask him to do his best.


I rode my bike to work this morning and then out to the school and back for lunch. When I got home and entered my miles, I discovered that I was just a mile and a half from clicking over to 2300 cycling miles for the year, so I strapped my helmet back on and went for a little ride. I rode up Stout to Maple and took Maple over to Main. I arrived there just as a train was starting up. The blast from the engine's airhorn nearly broke my eardrums. I rode south to School and took School back home. It was a nice little ride. (10.98 miles, 0:49:09, avg. 13.3, max 22.5, 63 degrees)

Back on my feet...

I decided over the weekend that I was going to take another stab at 100 miles, so I got up and ran this morning. We were having egg casserole for breakfast, so once that was in the oven I was free to run for about an hour. I woke up my beautiful wife, then slipped out the door just after 6:00.

I didn't know for sure what I was going to do, only that I was going to run In the first couple of blocks I was startled by a cyclist who slipped up behind me. I heard a chain rattle or tires crunch grit on the street or something just as he turned onto Lawrence behind me. He had no lights on, front or back. People who ride in dark clothes in the dark are scary. They're just as likely to be hit as seen.

I ran on from Lawrence and made it to Main where I turned north. I thought about running straight north till I hit 2.5 miles so I could turn around and be guaranteed five miles, but I changed my mind as I crossed the railroad tracks. I turned west on Simpson instead and ran past the industrial buildings on the other side of the tracks. I passed a guy out walking. He said good morning. I answered back and kept running.

As I ran past the disc golf course, I thought of my college class. Not sure why other than the fact that a few of them love the game. I will miss teaching when I'm done.

I ran on south past Highway 54 and turned on Fourth Street. I ran over to New, jogged down a block, then turned onto Fifth heading for the western edge of town.

Just after a turn south onto Illinois, I hit 2.5 miles. I decided to continue my loop around town rather than double back on my route. I ran down Illinois, then jumped over to Tenth Street which took me back to Main. I turned south on Main, then east on Santa Fe and ran past Lemon Park. All the Christmas light displays were glowing. I wanted to run through the park, but didn't really have the time, so I turned north and ran to Sixth Street Park where I found a "12 Days of Christmas" light display.

I ran through Sixth Street Park on the sidewalk then turned onto Sixth and headed east. I turned at Parklane and looped around to Parke. At this point, I was running much more quickly than I had at the beginning. Not that I was sprinting or anything. I was running 8:39 miles. I was trying to get my 10K under the skinny kid's time again and 8:52 wasn't going to cut it.

I ran up to Highway 54, ran along the sidewalks, then dashed across the road to the Cooper Tire parking lot and then the Dillon's parking lot. I ran over to Lawrence, ran north and then made a circle around Haskins school yard, hitting 6.2 miles just past our house.

I walked in the front door and straight to the kitchen. The timer on the oven had 44 seconds left on it. Perfect timing. I took the casserole out and went to wake everyone for breakfast. (Firestarter, 42 degrees, 6.2 miles, 53:35, avg. 8:39, garmin data)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanks for asking...

I attempted to run 100 miles a little over a week ago. My friend and running partner, Adam, made it. I didn't. After running for 11 and a half hours, I was dehydrated and my kidneys were messed up. I was peeing blood. My right foot hurt with every step. I didn't want to, but I called it quits at 50 miles. I was terribly disappointed.

Over the past seven or eight days, the same question has come up time and time again: "Are you going to try again?" I've mostly answered "I don't know" or "I'm not ready to make that decision yet" or something else noncommittal.

Today, I'm ready to say something different. I want to try again. I do not like leaving something that I aimed to do undone. It may be a few days before I start running in earnest again, but the training will start soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

To Cairo and back...

I slept in this morning till after 6:00. I got up, dressed and headed out for a slightly warmer ride. It was 39 degrees! I don't know if I can handle the heat after sub-freezing temps.

I started out, got a half block from home and realized I didn't have my helmet on. My skull cap makes me feel like it's there. I turned around, rode back and strapped on my brain bucket, reset my odometer and left again.

The wind was kind of tricky this morning, stronger than it has been and no clear direction east or west. I picked east and rode out of town. I didn't feel great or lousy, just kind of happy as I rode along. I didn't push it much. I was just putting in the miles. The hills slowed me down a bit. I didn't care. I took them in stride and went on.

At the half way point in Cairo (pronounced Kay-Roh in these parts), I had an average speed of 15.6mph. I lost a tenth of that riding back to the highway and then over the next forty minutes or so lost another two tenths thanks to the wind and the hills.

As I rode back into town, I thought, "I should call the city and ask them to have the street sweeper come out and clear the rocks off the intersection just east of Hibbet's." I have to ride out into traffic there because of the pile of gravel. We'll see if I remember to do that on Monday. I kind of doubt I will. (20.41 miles @ 15.3mph)

Friday, November 16, 2012


This morning's ride was interesting. That's being nice. I got out the door a little after 5:30 and rode east. The WeatherBug said the wind was from the east. It still says that. It was NOT from the east. Deceptive little online weather thingy! I was almost to the edge of town when I realized I didn't have a taillight on my bike. Oops! I turned around and rode back toward the house. I had to climb that stupid hill on the highway. Grrrr! I hate that hill. At least I had a street sweeper to chase, so I climbed it fairly quickly. I passed the machine!

When I got home, I found my light, set it to flash and rode off again. This time I put a little anger to the pedals. I chased a pickup truck all the way to the edge of town, then rode out into the darkness. Remember the wind direction thing? I should have known that the WeatherBug had lied to me. I was cruising along near 20mph for quite a bit of the eastbound leg of my journey. I was climbing hills at 18mph. I should have figured out that I was getting assistance. Instead, I thought to myself, "Wow! My climbing legs have come back!" I am a stupid man.

I was nearing thirty minutes out, the point at which I was going to turn around, when my headlight started flashing. That was NOT a good sign. It meant I was about to be plunged into darkness. I slowed down and stopped on the side of the road before the blackness came. Thankfully, I was wearing a headlamp too, so I could see to restart my bike's light on low beam. I decided to turn around then and there. I didn't know how long the battery would last. I didn't want to be in the dark with no beam.

The wind was in my face when I turned around. Still, for the first few miles I maintained decent speed. Then came the little speed bump hills. I saw my first (and only) mile over 4:00. That's less than 15mph. I didn't like that. On the way out, I'd had three miles in a row at 19mph.

I rode back into town. I considered riding up to Maple and circling around to home, but decided to just get this ride over with. I rode straight up Highway 54 and climbed that stupid hill again. There wasn't anyone to chase this time, so I jumped out of the saddle and mashed the pedals against my unseen enemy, gravity. I crested the hill, rode to Cooper Tire and cornered. From there it was only a few more turns to the end.

I looked down at my Garmin when I stopped. Thirteen miles. Figures. (garmin data)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There's cold in them thar hills...

It's a good thing I'm not using voice recognition software to type this post. I'm not sure my words would be clear enough with a frozen jaw. It was cold again this morning - 32 when I started my ride and 30 at the end. Brrrrrr!

I got out the door a little slower than yesterday, so I had a little less time to ride. I rode down by the bank to look at the flag and get an idea of the wind direction because the weather online was a bit too inconclusive. The flag wasn't much better. It was hanging pretty limp, but the fabric was laying on the west side of the pole indicating a breath from the east. I decided to head out toward Glendale south and east of town.

I have to admit here and now that I do not have climbing legs. I have been off my bike for so long that my body has forgotten how to gut it out when the road tips up. I rode slowly up the slope on Country Club Road and then even slower up the climb south of the lake. Grrrrr!

Of course, the ride wasn't all climb. I live in Kansas, so there was plenty of flat ground to cover. That went much more pleasantly. I cruised along at 17mph+ most of the time.

When I got back to the lake, I decided I had a little time to kill so I took a loop around the local fishing hole. On the north side of the lake, I wasn't paying much attention to my surroundings. There's never anyone out at the lake till sunrise anyway. Never say never. I was startled by a couple of women out walking. They were wearing dark colors and barely showed up before I was right on them. Glad I wasn't looking down at my Garmin. When I left the lake loop, I nearly wiped out in the ditch on the opposite side of the road. I hate riding in the dark when there are no white lines to highlight the edge of the pavement.

I rode back home by way of NE 25th and Highway 54. I wanted to keep the puny 16mph average I had, so I stood to climb the hill passed the Sonic Drive-In. I rode up and over and just past Pizza Hut turned onto Howard. I was going to turn on Random, but a car coming from the north changed my plans. I rode on up Howard and turned into my driveway from the east.

I hope my climbing legs come back soon. I have a goal of riding the Gyp Hills between Medicine Lodge and Coldwater before the year's out. I will die on those hills if I'm riding then like I was this morning. (garmin data)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cold ride...

When I woke up it was 31 degrees out. That's 8 degrees warmer than it was yesterday. But yesterday I ran and today I was going to ride. Cycling is a much colder sport. The body doesn't warm up all over as much. The legs get toasty while the rest freezes.

I took forever layering up, then got on my bike and headed out. I took School to Stout and enjoyed the smooth pavement of Stout down to Highway 54. I took a right on 54 and headed out of town.

Just before leaving the city limits, I was approaching an intersection when a car pulled out right in front of me. I had my hands on the hoods, so all I could do was yell. Thankfully, it was a paper delivery person and they had their windows down. They slammed on the brakes as I swerved around them. I saw that it was a friend. I know they didn't do it on purpose, but hey! Pay attention! If lights are coming, stop!

From there I rode slowly out to Skyline where I turned off onto Old 54. I took the less-trafficked way out to near 7.5 miles, then turned around and headed back toward town. I rode back to 50th, took a left and rode north up to the highway where I turned east again and rode back into town on the new asphalt. I love new surfaces! So smooth and flowy!

Back in town, I met up with a bunch of traffic so I had to use the rumble-stripy shoulder until after the Kwik Shop. On a mountain bike, that's not a problem. On my road bike, it's not very pleasant. I made it through that section and sped along the highway. The light turned green for me as I hit Main Street and I shot ahead of the car that was sitting there. I held my lead for about a block, then dropped in behind them when they passed me.

At Stout, I had to stop in the turn lane. I thought I wasn't going to, so I had to unclip at the last second and nearly fell over. Thankfully, my shoe came out easily and I stopped my downward progress.

I rode up Stout, turned on School and rode swiftly into my driveway. My face was frozen, but the rest of me had stayed warm. Though the ride was a bit slower than I'd like, I was happy to be back in the saddle again. (garmin data)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Getting back on the horse...

What do you do when a horse throws you off? You get back on. What if the horse stomps your head and bites your butt while you're down? I reality you probably lay there and moan in agony. Since this is a metaphorical horse, though, you grab a two-by-four and smack him upside the head then get back on. That's what I decided to do to the horse called running this morning. This horse kicked and bit me Friday, so I got up and took him on this morning.

I got up at 5:00 at looked at the temperature. It was 23, but the wind wasn't too bad. Wear tights, gloves, a headband and a jacket and you'll be fine, I told myself. I went to my gear stash and grabbed what I needed including a new pair of shoes. My old shoes were shot after nearly 1000 miles. I pulled the tissue out of the toes and slipped them on. They felt oddly firm. The soles squeaked on the laminate floor. They looked awesome!

I grabbed my new-to-me refurbished Garmin, strapped it on and headed out the door. My plan was to run a nice and easy 5K following the same route I'd done last week on my final training run. I knew to do more than recovery pace would be stupid. I was still a bit stiff and sore, but I figured I'd survive.

I walked to the start line at Welton and School, pushed start and ran off. My right foot, the one that was so painful Friday, was a little sore, but not stabby like it was then. I paid attention to it for the first half mile or so, knowing if it changed I'd need to stop. It didn't change. In fact, it seemed to get a little better.

I turned on Maple and ran west toward Main. I felt good and the chilled air was certainly more enjoyable than the superheated stuff I'd had to deal with on Friday afternoon. Ugh! I concentrated on pacing myself, not allowing my body to be stressed at all.

I turned south on Main intending to run down to Sixth and then loop back around to home. That was the 5K route. When I got to Sixth, however, I was feeling great so I ran on. I passed a couple of walkers on the sidewalk. My shadow startled one of them as I passed. I apologized for the start I'd given her and ran on. I ran on and on, right out of town and south to Lake Road.

Turning east onto Lake Road, I ran up and over the nasty little hill. Since I wasn't pushing it hard, I actually enjoyed the incline. I crested and then ran down the little slope to Country Club Road.

At Country Club, I turned north to run back into town. I ran down the hill, over the bridge and to Sixth Street again. There I decided to turn west and zigzag my way back home. I took winding Parklane to Parke to Blaine to Cedar to Edgeford and hit stop at five miles just before reaching home. I cooled down for the rest of the block, turned in at my sidewalk and walked in the door.

Take that stupid horse! (garmin data)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Half done...

Adam giving instructions at the Ministry Center
I woke up Friday morning at 4:00 to the screeching of my friend Marc's cell phone alarm. It was a good thing he was staying in the same house I was, because I didn't wake up for my watch's puny alarm. It had gone off three or four minutes earlier. I got out of bed. My legs felt great! I felt nothing but excitement. The day for which I'd prepared had finally arrived!

I dressed and got everything organized, stopped in the bathroom a couple of times, then headed up the stairs just as we got a text from Greg that our ride was waiting at the curb. Marc and I stepped outside and were met by pleasantly cool air. It was 61 degrees. We loaded our stuff into the car and hopped in. Greg and Issac, our support crew, greeted us. As we drove up Seneca, I made a quick peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich. I finished eating it about the time we pulled into the parking lot at the Friends Ministry Center on Maple.

Greg parked the car and we all disembarked. That was the last time I would sit in a car seat for hours. It was 4:45 and we were the only ones there for a few minutes. About ten till the rest of the support vehicles and Adam, my running partner, showed up. We talked and prepared for what was ahead. At just before 5:00, we gathered in a circle and prayed. With the final "Amen!" we were off on our adventure.

We ran a few feet down the sidewalk to the first street and headed north toward McLean. Adam and I were joined by our friends Marc, Taylor and Jeff. We joked and laughed a lot as we ran through the darkness. Everything felt good. There was no thought of not finishing. Our lights cut through the darkness. Greg and Isaac drove by and took pictures.

Bright lights along Central
When we hit McLean, we turned left and headed toward Central. The atmosphere among us was still light and jovial. No one was under stress at all. We took another left on to Central, ran a few blocks to Zoo Boulevard and turned onto the wide sidewalk. We ran northwest along Zoo meeting up with our support vehicles here and there. Jeff's Garmin kept our pace honest. We didn't want to go out too fast and burn out. A run of 100 miles is not a sprint.

At the I-235 bypass, we crossed Zoo and crossed the flood control ditch on the bike path bridge. At the next intersection, we left the bike path and ran along the shoulder of 21st passed the zoo and Sedgwick County Park. Just before Ridge, we crossed over to the north side of the street where we picked up the sidewalk. We ran right past Greg and Isaac who had stopped at the QT.

I don't remember exactly when we made our first visit to our support vehicles, but it was somewhere along the next stretch of pavement. All I really remember is getting more water. We were taking electrolyte pills every half hour and drinking a bottle of water each hour.

Somewhere along 21st we lost Taylor. I didn't see it happen. I looked around and he was gone. The same thing happened with Marc a little while later. Jeff, Adam and I ran on till we hit nine miles. Jeff called it a day. Adam and I were on our own.

Greg keeping close in the support vehicle.
As we were leaving the city, the sun was just beginning to rise. We wove our way through road construction and ran past the Northwest YMCA and St. Teresa's. At daybreak we were in the country. Neither of us had on a Garmin at this time, so we ran by feel. Even though I was pretty sure we were running faster than we had when Jeff was there reminding us to slow down, my legs were happy so I just ran alongside Adam.

Shortly after we left town, a nine-year-old from Adam's church was dropped off with his bike. He rode along with us for a few miles. Adam and I ran one in front of the other while Ky rode his bike on the shoulder. We certainly didn't want him out in traffic. He kept up pretty well for awhile, then started to get tired. I don't know for sure how long or far we enjoyed his company, but eventually he stopped and Greg and Isaac loaded him and his bike in their vehicle.

To be honest, the next 10 or 15 miles are kind of a blur. I felt good as Adam and I knocked off mile after mile. There was no doubt in my mind that I would finish. Life was good and I was running with a good friend who had a ton of ultra experience. I did everything he did and everything he instructed me to do. I took gels every half hour and electrolytes about the same time. We munched on homemade monster cookies prepared for us by a woman in my church. They were the best cookies ever! We drank water mostly, but I added a Powerade every two or three bottles. After the first Powerade, I had Greg and Isaac pour the blue liquid into the lighter water bottles. I didn't need the extra weight in my hands.

Our youngest supporter
I matched Adam stride for stride for a little over 25 miles, then backed off just a bit. I was still confident in my success, I just wasn't sure I could keep up with Adam. I didn't even feel bad really, I just knew it was time to slow down for a few minutes at least. After hours and hours of running, I've learned to pay attention to such things. When I ignore them, I end up dead tired or worse.

I asked for my Zen Mosaic at some point. I let Petra blast away as I ran on, my feet matching the rhythm. I couldn't read the display in the bright sunlight, so every once in awhile I'd had the device back to Isaac and have him change groups. I listened to Sanctus Real and sonicflood among other groups.

As I ran on, the temperature and the wind increased. I was sweating like mad! I increased my intake of water and Powerade to two to three bottles an hour. Adam had told me that I should be peeing every hour throughout the run. I remembered that and tried several times along the roadside without success. Finally, I got something to come out. The stream was weak and did not last long. I was concerned. I drank more. A while later, I peed again. Same result. Not much.

The good feelings were pretty much history as I ran past 35 miles or so. I'm not sure how hot it was, but it got up to 84 sometime during the day. I was putting ice on my neck in a bandana to cool my body as much as possible. I was still dripping with sweat. I was running most of the time, but pain in my right foot was slowing me down. I walked off and on.

My emotions started going crazy somewhere along the way. When Greg and Isaac drove up ahead and disappeared over the crest of a hill more than a mile away, I freaked out. I actually cried. When they came back, I said, "Don't do that again! Don't disappear unless you tell me what you're doing!" I didn't mean for it to, but I think that made Greg feel bad. He and Isaac really were great. They served my every whim quickly and efficiently. I couldn't have asked for a better support crew.

Still feeling good as the sunrises behind us
When we got to the road that went into Kingman, Greg asked permission to go to town to buy more sports cream. I'd been using it off and on throughout the day to keep my injured shoulder from aching. He was afraid we would run out and wanted to get some while we were near a town. I told him to go ahead. I ran on all alone. The other support crew was up with Adam, out of sight over the horizon. Rather than freak out, I turned up my music and had one of the most personal and intimate worship times I've had in years. I raised my hands and praised Jesus as I ran along singing. I felt God's closeness and love. It was wow!

Before Greg and Isaac got back from their errand, Frank and Marc came back in the other support vehicle. They wanted to check on me. I suspect that Greg had sent them. I asked them to help me tape a bag of ice to my right foot to see if I could numb the pain there a bit. Marc contrived a way to do what I asked and I was soon walking along. I'm sure it looked silly, but the ice helped a bit. I wish I had pictures. Maybe someone does, but I haven't seen them.

I was past 40 or 45 miles and my foot was bothering me more and more. I was mostly walking with short runs here and there. The next time I peed it was red and still little more than a trickle. When I met up with Greg and Isaac again, I mentioned my concern about this to them. Greg texted the other vehicle and soon Adam's mom, a nurse, was back talking with me. She asked about the color. I said it was really light red. She told me that my kidneys were stressed, but that since I was young and in shape I didn't need to worry too much. She assured me everything would go back to normal in a day or two. She went back up to Adam.
Adam gave lots of good advice while we ran together

A short time later, Frank and Marc showed up in their van. They had a cup. Adam's mom wanted to see my urine. I didn't need to go at that moment, but I promised them that the next time I went, it would be in the cup. I was slamming water and Powerade as fast as I could, but my body felt horrible. I was dehydrating.

I was near fifty miles when I asked Greg to let me talk with Adam. I was ready to quit. Greg dialed the number and put me on when Adam answered. I told Adam about the pain in my foot that was keeping me from running and mentioned my bloody pee and told him how I was feeling. He told me to stop at fifty miles and rest for a half hour. After the rest, he told me I should try to walk another half hour before making my final decision. I agreed to give it a try.

I made it to the 50-mile mark, peed in the cup, handed the ice tea colored liquid to Marc and stepped into the van. I'm pretty sure Marc didn't expect to be transporting medical samples when he signed on to help. Makes me laugh now to think about it. In the van, I cooled off and drank more water. I downed two bottles in the thirty minutes. The most entertaining part of the rest time was watching my foot and leg muscles dance. They were moving constantly and then the cramping started. That was not funny at all. Most of the time it was one foot or one leg at a time, but once or two both legs seized at the same time and I yelled loudly.

As my half hour rest was coming to a close, Marc and Frank showed up again. I tried putting my socks and shoes on by myself, but I couldn't manage it. The cramps kept grabbing my foot or my leg every time I bent to do the job. Once again Marc got the fun job. I swung legs to the side and he pulled on my socks and placed each shoe in place. I somehow managed to tie them and step out of the vehicle.

My poor cramping leg
As I was walking away, Nate showed up. He was going to run with me, but ended up walking instead. I tried running, but my right foot was stabbing me with every step. I kept moving for forty minutes and covered only about a mile and a half. Realistically, there was no way I was going to finish. I walked up to Greg's car and sat down. Denise pulled up just about that time. She was there to witness my decision to pull out. I sobbed for a bit. I was so disappointed. I had wanted so badly to finish the 100 miles. A dream was dying.

With the decision made, I climbed into the car and we were off toward Pratt. I felt awful and got worse. I talked on the phone with a few people who had been planning to come out and run with me or help with support. I tried reaching my wife, but she wasn't available. I cried every time someone said something nice to me. Marc helped by telling me I was a wimp. That made me laugh.

Less than a mile from Pratt, I felt really sick. "Get me a bag!" I yelled. I was handed a big plastic trash bag. I filled it as I vomited three or four times. I felt better after that, but yuck! We made it home and I dumped my bag out on the grass, then walked into the house. Greg and Isaac followed me in with a few things, then Greg left Isaac with me and took Marc up to his house. Isaac helped me get a few things and then went with his dad when he got back.

For the next few hours, I sat alone at home. I took in fluids, but didn't eat anything. I wasn't sure what my stomach would tolerate. I sat at the computer and responded to some of the encouraging words that had been posted on Facebook, Twitter and dailymile. I let people know that I'd had to drop out and new encouragement started pouring in. I am grateful to have so many friends who care about my well-being. If you posted something, I saw it and my heart was moved.

I talked with my parents and a few others on the phone and then my wife got home from the play. I talked with her for awhile. My eldest daughter came home. I talked with her for a bit, then just before I went to bed around 10:30 I called Frank and asked him to call me when Adam got near Pratt. I wanted to go out and cheer for him.

I slept for a few hours before the phone rang. It was nearly 1:00 in the morning Saturday. Marc was back to his place in the support vehicle with Frank and the runners were a mile from Pratt. My wife and I got dressed quickly and drove out to meet them. The headlamps that Adam and those who were running in support of him came into view about the time we got to Pratt Community College, so we pulled off into one of the driveways, got out and yelled loud encouragement! Adam gave me a quick hug. That meant the world to me. I greeted Ellen, David, Andy and Gabe. Adam asked if I had a key to the church. I did, so we drove back to get things ready for the lot of them.

As the group crested the hill just east of the church, I let out another whoop and holler. When I realized I was in the city, I stopped. No need to wake the neighbors. I talked with the runners as they rested a bit. Adam ran in for a pit stop. I was feeling pretty good after my sleep, so I decided to go with Frank and Marc in the support vehicle.

For the next few hours, I rode around and made sure the runners had what they needed. Frank and I took Marc back to his house after a McDonald's run. I got Ellen's car and drove it in short spurts back to Haviland. I got out when the runners approached and cheered. I met whatever needs they had to the best of my ability.

When Adam and this posse passed us with a mile and a half to go, he asked me to please run the last tenth of a mile with them. I wasn't sure I could do it, but I agreed. So when they got to the corner of Main and Elm, I pushed my legs up to a slow jog with them. It hurt, but I made it to the orange paint mark that was the finish. A few minutes later, I was in the car with Ellen headed home to Pratt. (Read Adam's report)

Though I'm disappointed that I didn't reach my goal by completing this 100-miler, I am not discouraged. I did what I could for a cause I care deeply about. Young men and women called to serve God as missionaries will be helped by the scholarship fund that Adam and I and all our friends ran to support. That matters more than whether I ran 100 miles or not. Way more!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

One last speedy hurrah...

I wanted to make my last run before the Run for Missions 100-miler ( a good one. I didn't want to wish I'd done more. My plan was to go all out for 5K, giving me a decent time for the run4nyc 5K ( and a good sweat in the heat. Friday's high is predicted to be near 80, so I had to run this afternoon. It was only 66, but that's better than nothing.

I started out running up Welton which has a slight uphill slant. Very slight. In Colorado this might even be considered downhill. I pushed through the first quarter mile heaving of the lungs and finally found my rhythm and my breath.

I turned west on Maple and ran to Main. As I passed the church, my friend, our youth pastor, Marc, was just getting out of his car. He asked how far I was running. I was going pretty fast, so I just breathed out an answer and ran on.

Turning on Main, I headed south. I ran past the packed parking lot at the polling place. Go vote! I ran on and hit the lights just right so I didn't have to stop at all. I sped along the sidewalk crossed each crosswalk quickly.

I turned east on Sixth and ran the bricks out of downtown, then plunged down the hill by Sixth Street Park. I ran up the little incline to Howard feeling pretty good. I was sweating really good by this time. Woohoo!

I made my final full turn onto Howard and ran up the steeper part of the hill leading back toward home. I pushed a little and started feeling a little nauseous. I ran on and that subsided some. I had to pause for just a second or two at the highway before I ran across and hit the afterburners. I covered the last half of the block in under 20 seconds and stopped my watch at 23:11, tying my own PR from a year or so ago. I guess all those long miles have done some good. (3.11 miles @ 7:27)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Last sort of long run...

I went out for a little run this evening. My first mile was with my wife. We ran and walked a little. When we got to the mile mark, she turned around and ran back home and I continued on.

My original plan was to replicate the route I'd taken for each of my laps during my 50K last Tuesday, but I made a few alterations to it along the way. I'd hate to get in a rut. I enjoyed most of the run. My only concern was the ache in my injured shoulder that started around the six mile mark. It would not be good if that happened Friday. Ugh! No time to think and worry about that.

I plan to run a 5K tomorrow for the run4nyc fundraiser and then call it good till Friday morning at 5:00 when I start my 100-miler. Be sure to join my Facebook group if you want updates throughout my run. (7.44 miles @ 9:50)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Run for NYC...

Join the run4nyc virtual marathon, half marathon or 5K for fun. You have a week to run your distance and enter a time. Give to help those hurt by Sandy's fury. 100% of proceeds go to the American National Red Cross relief fund. Thanks to the founders of dailymile for setting this up!

Less rest than expected...

I was at the grocery store this afternoon when Brandon's wife said hi and mentioned that he and Dan M. were leaving on a ride. I jumped in my car and drove home quickly. I called Dan's cell and caught him. They were less than a mile away. They'd come back and get me.

I dressed quickly, aired up the tires on my long-neglected road bike and opened the garage door just as the two of them were pulling up. I was excited.

We left town headed north. The wind was blowing fairly hard in our faces as we headed up Highway 281. We talked incessantly as we cruised along. We had a lot of catching up to do. The last time I was on my road bike was September 8. It might have been longer than that ago that the three of us were together.

We got to Iuka, rode through town, then headed east. Dan took off as we were rounding a curve. When we caught up with him at the Evergreen Rest Area, he was fixing his shifter cable. It had broken and he was getting the bike into a gear he could manage better. When he was done, we headed back the way we'd come.

The way home was much more enjoyable. The wind was at our backs. We talked as we sped along. When we were back on 281, we mashed the pedals harder so that Brandon could get his average up. I slotted in behind Dan and held on. Our average started to climb. By the time we passed BTI, it was up where Brandon wanted. We pressed on and brought it up more.

The speedfest lasted until we turned onto Maple. Then it was back to conversational pace. Brandon turned left at Stout. Dan and I turned right. We chatted as we rode down to School, then east toward our houses. Dan peeled off at Edgeford and I turned into my driveway. (21.42 miles @ 16.5mph)

My wife was home from working at the school when I got off my bike. She wanted to go for a run, so I changed clothes. We walked around the block, then started to run. We ran and walked on and off for a little over a mile, then turned around and ran back the way we'd come. We walked our cool down. We were done. (2.13 miles @ 12:02)

Sweat and snot be gone...

If you've been running or cycling for long, you've had to deal with sweat in your eyes on hot days or snot dripping from your nose when the temperature dips. Sometimes both hit in the same workout. Wiping it away with your bare hand or the inside of your jersey works, but it's not the most pleasant thing.

Enter the Handana. This handy piece of athletic gear fits like a fingerless glove and grabs a hold of perspiration and nasal drainage better than terry cloth. One swipe of the Handana across your forehead and the sweat's gone. Rub it under your nose and you're all clean.

Are there other solutions to these problems? Of course. The Handana is just one option. Is it better than others. It depends on your preference. I personally do not like having a sweatband on my head, so the Handana works well for me. It takes care of things more efficiently than the small swatch of terry cloth on my cycling gloves.

GIVEAWAY: J.P. Harvey won a red Handana on Thursday, Novemeber 8, at 5:00am. A big thank you goes to Katie at Handana for making this giveaway possible.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Shake out...

Nice and easy. That's what I've got to do for the next week as I wait for the Run for Missions 100-miler to come around. Nothing terribly strenuous or difficult.

I loped around town turning this way and that as it fancied me. I was going to run out on Lake Road, but quickly realized I probably didn't have time to do that. I wandered instead. I saw two or three runners and about the same number of walkers. I was barked at vigorously at least once.

Nothing terribly exciting here. I ran by the courthouse to see what the hours for advanced voting are. I thought they were posted on the door. They weren't. I guess I'll have to call later. I've already voted. I'm checking for my wife.

I ran back home from the courthouse. Nothing hurts more than normal. I'm just a little sweaty. I'm headed to the shower before my daughter takes all the hot water. (4.28 miles in 40:32)