Saturday, September 10, 2011

Seabee Mud Run 2011

My favorite local race each is the Seabee Mud Run. When a group that normally uses heavy equipment to build bridges, roads and runways is tasked with building a 4 mile mud course, you get a really fun imaginative course. This year was no different.

First the down side. This race has grown so large and popular that they have instituted chip timing with a wave start. It was the first year with a wave start and they did not get off too smoothly. Also, they had a lot of different groups and divisions. So, the start was chaotic.

Anyway, once we got going, it was the same great event as always. At the start there is about 3/4 mile of road to try to spread the field before we get to the obstacles. 1st obstacle was pretty mild, just a serpentine mud trench. However, it lead to a house sized hill that had what looked like the entire field bunched on the upslope. I found a part of the crowd that was moving and got to the top. The downslope was covered with plastic and sprayed with water. Hop on and slide to the mud at the bottom. Out of the mud and a mile is gone. Off to the side is a gun crew with a .50 caliber machine gun, and they are cranking off blanks.

Down into some of the base drainage ditches that were blocked off and full of water. I step into a hidden "gopher hole" and bruise my shin. The good news is, I did not break my leg. That would have made finishing difficult. Out of the ditches and across a field for mile 2.

Onto a single track trail, and a bit of a tangle with some briars as I try to pass a slower group. Across a parking lot and mile 3.

Mile 4 was a blur, but I remember lots of mud with telephone poles across the trenches (had to go over or under), a culvert to crawl through, a patch of quicksand where I crawled out after I sank to my thigh, and a section where I had to low crawl/ranger crawl through the mud. At the low crawl there is another .50 caliber machine gun set up to add to the noise. Out to the street, through one more ditch and them to the finish.

4 miles of muddy fun in a bit over 50 minutes (I forgot to stop my watch)

I was able to find a short video clip. First hill, about 3/4 through, and the finish.... cut and past the link

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Back to the world of blogging

It has been almost a year since my last blog post and a lot has happened in the last year. Dad's Estate is almost settled. I paid his taxes today (Nothing is certain but death and taxes), and his house was sold a month or so ago.

We just finished a Team in Training season with our largest ever team. The group really came together, and we had a great time. This season, I am working with one of the smallest Team in Training group. It has been a challenge because the participants don't have the relationships and accountability that the larger groups give. I am doing what I can to get information to them, but communication continues to be a challenge.

And, I have just been accepted by Powerbar Team Elite. I have been exploring their website and found lots of tools and products that will help me to be a better coach. I'll use what I can to improve this season, and I'll have a great plan in place for next season. Recruitment for San Diego, Seattle, and Orlando is in the middle of May.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sorry for the delay

I'm not sure if there is anyone out there following this blog. If so, I want you to know that I have not dropped off the face of the earth.

As expected, Cody passed away on April 6, 2009. I finally had a chance to meet his Dad when I participated in a 24 hour run / Relay for Life Event. Mickey is truly an incredible human being. Please continue to follow his blog as he goes "out on point" in the fight against the Cancer that took his son.

In a totally unexpected turn of events, my father followed Cody on April 9, 2009. The official COD is Colon Cancer, but I believe that it was a heart attack that may have been related to his treatment. In any case I am keeping busy with my brother and sister in settling his estate. I am going to continue to work and find ways to fight Cancer. It is a terrible range of diseases that takes too many of our loved ones.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hug Your Kids

Y’all hug your kids. Smell their hair, drink them in. We so often overlook the little blessings that are all around us.

Those of you that know me might know that that I like to run and I like to race. Every race that I have run since January 2008 has been in a shirt that says “For Dad and Cody”

Dad is recovering from Colon cancer and doing very well. Almost a year and a half after starting treatment he is within 5 pounds of his pre-cancer weight and continuing to gain strength.

Cody is the son of my friend Mickey. I have not met Mickey in person, but I’m as close to him as a college room mate, at times it seems we could be brothers. I met Mickey on the Masters forum at Runners World. We both have two sons and a daughter. His older son is the same age as my older son. My youngest son is a couple years younger than Cody. I was introduced to Cody through a video that Mickey posted. It is set to a song called Better Days.

The Masters forum is still a close knit group, but it was a lot closer a couple years ago. At some point, for some reason, Mickey and I exchanged phone numbers. He was the first person I called when I learned that my Mom was in ICU and that she was not going to come out of the hospital. Around Thanksgiving 2007 Mickey called and told me that they had found a spot on Cody’s liver. This was a few months after Dad’s colon cancer was diagnosed. This was my family’s first experience with radiation and chemotherapy. It was a road that was all too familiar to Mickey’s.

Dad’s colon surgery in late 2007 was about a week after Cody’s liver surgery. Dad took a while to recover, but Cody bounced back pretty quickly. And they both went into follow up treatment. As I said earlier, Dad has continued to heal and get stronger. In early January of this year, Cody’s cancer returned in his leg, Mickey’s family started into a third treatment cycle. On February 18, scans showed that the cancer had progressed to both legs, his pelvis, his liver and his lungs. They discontinued the chemotherapy, gave him some more radiation to reduce the pain in his legs, and set him up for morphine. Based on the progression, doctors gave them between two weeks and two months. Mickey and his family have spent the last week at the beach making memories. Unfortunately, it seems that Mickey’s memories will be of a son that is slipping away.

So, hug your kids, and if you get a chance, stop by Mickey’s Blog at and encourage him.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Why do you do what you do?

Put your feet up, get a cup of coffee, and get comfortable. This might take a while.

I mentioned in a blog post a little while back that we are known by what we do. I have 3 kids. So, I am know as ____'s Father. I am also a Husband, a Scout Leader, a Sunday School Teacher, a Charity Distance Running Coach, and an Engineer.

Why do we pick what we do, and do we do It because it is a part of us or because it is a duty in some way. I went to vocational school in High School and that pointed me toward Engineering. So, I guess that is as good a place as any to start.

vo·ca·tion (vo-ka'sh?n)
1. A regular occupation, especially one for which a person is particularly suited or qualified.
2. An inclination, as if in response to a summons, to undertake a certain kind of work, especially a religious career; a calling.
[Middle English vocacioun, divine call to a religious life, from Old French vocation, from Latin vocatio, vocation-, a calling, from vocatus, past participle of vocare, to call; see wekw- in Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Since the American Heritage Dictionary brings in the religious connotation...

From Wikipedia,
The idea of vocation is central to the Christian belief that God has created each person with gifts and talents oriented toward specific purposes and a way of life. Particularly in the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, this idea of vocation is especially associated with a divine call to service to the Church and humanity through particular vocational life commitments such as marriage to a particular person, consecration as a religious, ordination to priestly ministry in the Church and even a holy life as a single person. In the broader sense, Christian vocation includes the use of ones gifts in their profession, family life, church and civic commitments for the sake of the greater common good.

The idea of a vocation or "calling" has been pivotal within Protestantism. Martin Luther taught that each individual was expected to fulfill his God-appointed task in everyday life. Although the Lutheran concept of the calling emphasized vocation, there was no particular emphasis on labor beyond what was required for one's daily bread. Calvinism transformed the idea of the calling by emphasizing relentless, disciplined labor. In the Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536), Calvin defined the role of "The Christian in his vocation." He noted that God has prescribed appointed duties to men and styled such spheres of life vocations or callings. Calvinists distinguished two callings: a general calling to serve God and a particular calling to engage in some employment by which one's usefulness is determined.

I grew up in the Lutheran Christian tradition, and I was blessed with a girlfriend / fiancé / wife who challenged me to examine what I believe and why. In response, I dug into the commentaries on faith at the same time I was studying for my chosen career. As a result, my faith developed alongside my secular knowledge base. So, the idea "...that each individual was (is) expected to fulfill his God-appointed task in everyday life" is a part of who I am. My regular occupation, the one that I am particularly suited for is that of an engineer. My desire is to have an impact, to make a difference for those who can't help themselves.

That idea can find expression in any number of ways, but I think I'll go back to my current career. I work as an engineer for a company that does renovations for cutting edge technology. It is possible, even likely, that I could work for 6 months on a project that will be pulled out and replaced in a few years. My boss is a religious man. But he expressed his (and my) desire in a non-religious way. The desire is to make an impact, do work that will last even to eternity. (OK, the expression was not completely non-religious). With that idea in mind. He has allowed people in the company to share his burden for missions, and I have gladly joined that task.

Before I went to college, I worked in construction. Before I started at this company, I was able to spend a week in the slums of Mexico City helping to build a Church. Since I started with the company, I have been to Honduras, Guatemala, and Africa on trips that allowed me to use my knowledge of engineering to help improve the designs of mechanical systems in a Hospital, an Orphanage, a Crippled Children's Hospital and a Mission Center.

When I started on my quest to improve my physical condition and get off of the blood pressure medication, it was only natural that I would do this task for reasons that were more than simply personal. I went back to the running that I did in college. Running is great for me. I helps to clear my head and make me feel better. There is nothing like watching the sun rise during an early morning run along the beach. Except maybe watching the stars during a late night run. Closely behind, is the feeling of the sun on your shoulders during a lunchtime run when you have to clear out from work for a while. As good as all this was for me, it was not long before I was raising money and running to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team in Training. It was not long before I found out that fund raising was not one of my talents, but involvement in Team in Training was the right thing to do. Just after my first season with Team in Training, the daughter of a close friend was diagnosed with Lymphoma. She is the same age as my middle son and I watched and prayed as she went through treatment and ultimately recovered. Since I was not able to effectively raise money, I found that I could coach and mentor other people who were better at raising money and still be part of the team that does so much to benefit those that suffer from Blood Cancers.

Still, I could not leave the fund raising completely alone. Last year, I ran the Houston Marathon to support my brother in his first Marathon and to raise money for the American Cancer Society in honor of my Dad who was suffering from Colon Cancer and for Cody who is the son of a friend. Dad has completed his treatment and is doing much better. Cody is still fighting the Neuroblastoma. So this year, I will be running the Mississippi Blues Marathon and raising money for Band of Parents. Band of Parents (as the name implies) is a group of parents that advocate for their kids that are suffering from Neuroblastoma.

If you want to donate to these courageous parent who are taking initiative in finding a cure for the disease that is taking their kids, I would be honored. This tome is going to be posted on my blog as well as on the Master's Forum at Runner's World. If you are so inclined, there is a link at the end of my previous blog entry.

If you made it this far, think about why you do what you do. There are a friends that I hope are reading this that are social workers or teachers. I know that they did not pick their careers for the money. There are also stay at home parents out there. Their rewards are either less tangible or more tangible than most.

Beyond your career or your job, are you making a difference, are you building a legacy?

Colossians 3:17 (New American Standard Bible)
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A way to make a difference

If you are coming to my blog from Runner's World, then you already know that I am getting ready to run my third marathon. I am really looking forward to this because we are going to have friends that I have never met coming in from all over the southeast. It will be great time to meet and put faces to the names and personalities that I have gotten to know through the forum on Runner's World.

However, all the preparation was feeling a bit empty because there has always been a philanthropic component to my marathon preparation.

I had my first real distance running training and ran the Chicago marathon in 2005 with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

My training and fundraising was more personal when I ran in Houston in 2007. I ran for the American Cancer Society. My Dad had started treatment for colon cancer and a the son of a very good forum friend had suffered a reoccurred of a very aggressive form of childhood cancer. So, I ran Houston for Dad and Cody. The starting line picture from that race is the picture that I use for this blog.

Since that time, Dad has gone into remission, but Cody, Mickey, and their family are still fighting Cody's Neuroblastoma Cancer with everything they have.

On I found a way that you can donate to the Band of Parents. Band of Parents is just what it sounds like. Their mission statement:

We are parents of children diagnosed with a cancer called neuroblastoma who want to help further the research and drug development desperately needed to save more children. Neuroblastoma is an "orphan" cancer; pharmaceutical companies are not developing new treatments because there is not a large enough patient base to make development profitable. Funding from the government is similarly limited. Time is running out for many of our children -- money stands between them and a cure.

As parents, we have banded together to increase public awareness about neuroblastoma and to raise funds for the development of novel therapies. We are working in partnership with a talented and dedicated team of doctors at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) who are fighting to save our children from this deadly disease.

Please link over to the fundraising site and help where you can.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thanks for the Quote GB

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." Galatians 6:4-5

I just lifted the verse of the the blog of one of my very dear friends that I have never met. Like all scripture, it is filled with truth and applicability. I have a couple blogs going, and I'm going to put it up on both of them as a reminder because it gives great perspective.

Like most people, I have goals and demands, things I like to do, things I have to do. In every case and circumstance, I am known by what I do and directed by my aspirations.

I am a Christian. I want to serve God with my best.

I am a husband and father. I want to provide for my family in more than just what they need.

I an a Cub Scout Leader. I want to help these boys grow to be strong, productive members of society.

I am a runner. I would like to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and I want to help others to develop a love of running.

I am an engineer and an employee. I want to help my company to grow and be more profitable.

I am tired and feeling pulled in too many directions. Every now and then I need to pull back from the task at hand and look at the big picture. I'll still have just as much to do, and just as much time to do it. The perspective helps. I am not to be impressed with myself or to compare myself with others. I just need to do the very best with what I have.