Sunday, April 26, 2009

Team In Training Week 12

Week 12 was a beautiful run around Cazenovia Lake. I wish I had a picture to share. No camera and still having trouble getting an image of the lake off the web.

The run around Cazenovia Lake is slightly more than 9 miles; we ran two laps of the lake equalling 18.2 or so miles. I think seven of us ran the 18 miles while the a larger group walked or ran one lap for their half marathon.

We met at the Cazenovia HS and ran from the Forman St. entrance. I commenced my run with Charlie and as he pulled away I hooked up with Tim and found myself alone as Tim stayed with the ladies- a better choice I'm sure.

Running alone has its good points and its bad points. I'll stay positive on this post. The good points are:

1. the solitude

2. the opportunity to stay focused

3. the scenary and sounds

4. the chance to meditate

Solitude is first because it is the license for the others. When you are running alone you do not have to shut anyone off. You just run, think, and listen. This is how I know Des Carte was incorrect when he said, "I think therefore I am." He has never run and took in the beauty which surrounds us, especially on a run around the beatiful Cazenovia Lake. Des Carte believed that it is by thinking that man creates himself and his world. But, that is rediculous. Running around the lake and seeing and hearing the birds, watching a chipmunk run across a gravelly road, or listening to the sound of a dog bark (or a dog chasing you from a strangers yard) could never come from mind. My mind cannot create such natural beauty.

For example, while running about 6 miles or so alone I heard a woodpecker. I couldn't find him among the trees, but I could hear the signature peck against a tree. Woodpeckers are a favorite of mine when running on a lonely road. He lets you hear him as the morning fads. He likes to be left alone. As you get near to the tree where he perches he goes dark, no sound but the breeze rustling passed your ears and the dull sound of sneakers hitting the pavement. Soon, as you pass his perch the woodpecker says, "So long," and begins pecking again.

The chipmunk I mentioned is a charcter in this story. As I ran along a gravelly, rutted, and pot-holed road, I was chased by that miserable dog mentioned earlier that made my heart skip as he charged down the yard. Yet, it was the little chipmunk who helped my heart settle as he scurried before me running off the street and into the brush. He actually ran beside me, in the brush, for a few feet. I guess I made him panic a bit too. To him I was the dog. I can see the chipmunk. He was four inches long, light brown fur, with a black and white racing stripe down the middle of his back leading to his bushy tail. Now I can think of him. Yet. as I think and write nothing becomes a reality on my desk or outside my window although I am not thinking of that while I type.

My favorite part of running alone is the chance to mediatate about God's wonderful creation. The world was created from nothing. And the beauty of creation, a tree for instance, could only be created and placed by someone, not an inanimate something. I like to say a decade or two of the Rosary while I run. The chance to meditate on the life of Christ and His blessed Mother is always time well spent. I also like to think about the day ahead. What will I do when I get home? Who will I see first? What will I eat? And which child of mine will be the one to ruin my serenity? All in one isolated lonely run we can look at ourselves for what we are and what we will be; we can look at our failures and our successes; we can, on this morning's run accomplish what many haven't... a personal best.

I did eventually catch up to Charlie who slowed down and walked some to allow me to catch him at Carrie's water stop. I stopped at her stop each loop around the lake. Once to refresh and catch Charlie and the other running the back 7 miles. However, congratulations are in order because Carrie is pregnant. She is not able to run being 8 weeks along, but she is still coming out to support us and figures to be at Lake Placid cheering you guys on.

The water stops, I can never say enough about them. The stops make the long run manageable and possible. I do not know the names of the folks who volunteered to help us runners get through the 18 miles but there was a mom & son pair at water stop one, Carrie at water stop two, and Tyra(a black lab) with a mother and daughter team at water stop three. The mom at water stop three cheered and rang a bell as we approached. Tyra was excited to receive a tap on the head while daughter held Tyra and encouraged us onward, "The finish is less than 2 miles out." My second pass at their water stop I choed down Vanilla Bean gel and two cups of water and a Gatorade.

While I 'm talking Gatorade, Maureen has been fooling us all. The lemon-lime drink we have been drinking may not have always been Gatorade, but Powerade in a large Gatorade container. I love the green Gatorade. Now I have to admit that there is little to no difference between the two brands regarding flavor. Its like being told you're drinking Classic Coke and then realize you've been duped into drinking Pepsi. It's simply unforgiveable, not really. Now I can buy whatever. In the words of Bill Murray, "It just doesn't matter."

By the time I returned to Cazenovia High School and met up with the mentors who anxiously awaited the marathoners return I was greeted by a friendly group offering me water, Gatorade/Powerade, ale, and fresh off the gridle pancakes. I grabbed my share and chased them with the green drink I savor, but do not know what it is. Matt cooked up the pancakes. The mentors seem to be a preety tight group. I just listened to their stories about past events and concerts they may be attending. Let me think about who was who sitting around and enjoying the "finish festivities": Yvonne, Matt, Maureen, Tim, Paul, Kristen, Megan, Charlie, and Jennifer. There were others, but I cannot recall their names off hand.

Please visit my donation web page: and take your a step into the arena to fight and win blood cancer.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Team In Training Week Eleven

No picture for this week's run because I cannot get the computer to actually save one to my pics file. Oh well. Next week.

I was unable to run the Mountain Goat Training run with the Team In Training this week because I travelled down to the Bronx to see the new Yankee Stadium. A great day for a ball game and a record setting game in Yankee history and in the new stadium's history. The Yankees lost 22 to 4. The Indians had a 14 run second inning which really messed up my scorecard. I used the 2nd and third inning columns to watch 17 batters come to the plate. Several HRs, including a grand slam. Boy, the ball flys out of the new Yankee Stadium better than a ball hit at Coors Field in Colorado. Funny thing though; no one is mentioning this fact. 17 HRs were hit opening weekend, the most ever in one weekend series for one ball park. Believe me, its not just bad pitching. The CF scoreboard and ads are so high above the old CF scoreboard that no wind enters Yankee Stadium. No wind resistance generally leads to better carry, even poorly hit sky high pop-ups.

I do not like the new Yankee Stadium. It is not fan friendly.

As for running, I ran the full Mountain Goat on Thursday, another beautiful day to run. I ran with my friends Tiffany, Dennis, and Bob. There were a lot of runners out there. My goal was to run it slow or discover what I ought to set as a goal for the actual race. I ran it in about 94 minutes. So, I may shoot for 90 minutes as my race goal although I would love to finish in 80 to lay my hands on a medal.

The key to the Mountain Goat Run is going out slow to climb the Stolp Ave hill and then to take advantage of the downside of the hills coming out of Onondaga Park to gain some time before hitting the Colvin Ave hill leading up to Manley Field House. Once there, a left on Euclid and up the last hill into Thorndon Park followed by a down hill race to E. Genesee St in hopes of reaching S. Salina St. with enough steam to finish strong. Good hydration is critical and some Gatorade or Gel before climbing Colvin would be good.

Since I didn't get to run with my friends from TNT, I ran long today, Sunday. I got out near 11AM for a ten mile run. I thought I would test out my new hydration belt and set up for two bottles. However, like most test runs, somethings don't work right. The bottles leaked some and the belt decided to take a round trip around my waist. I used the pouch to hold my cell phone, which was good. I felt safer having a mode of communication while away from home if anything happened.

Well, as I ran my route and looked at my distance, I realized I could go beyond the ten miles I planned. I decided to go on. I ran slowly to 12, 13, and 14 miles. I took my first call from a friend Tom. I took the call while running since it is his sister Jane for whom I run in honor of. I let him know that I was running and would call him when done. At mile 14, I took another call. It was my wife Karen wondering where I was and if I still was alive. I let her know that I was in Radisson and running over to refill my bottles at the Sunshine Mart at the top of Willett Pkwy. That is when I decided to go for the full 20 miles.

I entered the store; I asked the store clerk if she could fill my water bottles since I was running further than I anticipated. She gladly filled the bottles and asked me how far I had already run and where I started. I explained where I started and the multitude of streets I had already run upon and said, "I only have 6 more miles to go." I couldn't believe those words passed my lips because that was not my plan. I just wanted to run the last 2 and get home. I could be happy with 16 miles. But I expressed a total of 20. I couldn't lie. I had to do the full 20 miles now.

Once running inside my neighborhood, I stretched out my run. I even ran by my wife and her friend walking the dogs. I asked them to get me some water. I had just completed 18 miles and was dying of thirst. They both laughed. I passed them a second time. Same scenario. The third time I passed them, on my wife's friends street, I hoped to receive a bottle of water, but to no avail; they were empty handed. However, the friend left her house open and granted me permission to grab a bottle of water. Thank goodness. I finished sucking down a Wegman's water. 20 miles done.

Some interesting things I learned or re-learned on this run: 1) that people, including strangers, are willing to help those in need, 2) that planning ahead doesn't always work or may require on the fly adjustments, and 3) that staying in touch with friends is always helpful. I can recognize better how these 3 items are played out in our lives. However, people with blood cancer are no different from us. They have plans for themselves and family. Unfortunately, those plans are interfered with by their disease and on the fly adjustments have to be made. Their plans are about scheduling treatments and planning for today. Moments become special since time may be limited. Any additional time is a prize to be treasured. These plans include catching up with friends and family, many who may extend a hand or say a prayer to help, as my wife's friend helped me quench my thirst on my third pass. Late help is better than no help. Yet, the greatest help comes from the unknown.

We are the unknown. Those of us who support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in their crusade to find a cure for blood cancer. Although I run in honor of Jane Spellman, I also run for many others just as your support will help more people than Jane Spellman. I now have knowledge of 6 people who have suffered from blood cancer; 2 with multiple myeloma and 3 with leukemia. Three have died, two have survived, and one is still suffering daily, Jane Spellman.

It is tough to be me. I do not feel comfortable asking for money. I ask many folks to support my run. Most people say, "Yes" and do nothing. While others ask me, "Why haven't you asked me for support?"I do not take it personal. I understand. You cannot support everyone who asks for money.

Times are tough. I only ask that if you cannot support my run for Jane Spellman that you act by telling someone you know to read my log and/or visit my donation page to help fight blood cancer.

Last night the Celebrity Apprentice held a competitive fund raiser. The winning team raised $245,000. Wow! How did they do this? They did it by asking their celebrity friends and family to step up to the plate, to win the Celebrity Apprentice as their primary motivator. That isn't how I work and not what I am doing. I am asking that we give something. That we act in concert, as a team to raise the funds and the awareness necessary to find a cure, to discover medicines to prolong life until a cure is found, or to make those people losing the battle as comfortable as possible. None of us are celebrities, yet we can all be heroes by acting for a higher purpose than winning a game. We act to help others who truly benefit from our help.

So, that's this weeks story. Please visit my donation page and be a hero by supporting my run in honor of Jane Spellman and the 5 others I learned about since taking on this challenge to make a difference in the lives of the sick and dying:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Team In Training Week 10

Week ten was a red letter week; I ran 17 miles today. My longets single run to date. I was actually able to successfuly recover and run almost 40 miles for the week after completing the Sunday 15 mile run.

I ran alone last Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, but was able to hook up with a few friends on Friday afternoon to run 8ish or so miles around Green Lakes.
The Saturday run at the Jamesville Resrvoir was an awesome run for several reasons: 1) I ran with Tony for the first time, 2) I was able to take advantage of several water stops, and 3) still ran for a fair pace considering the hills and the distance.

I don't know how many got out to run this weekend. It seemed like 25 or 30 people although it is Easter weekend. Tony is a fantastic runner; very fast and rarely seems to get tired. He was a good running partner because he chats and is willing to slow down. He grew up along the shore of the reservoir. He told me a few childhood stories about camping out, building little dams, and about the UFO that may have whirred it rotary sounding engines near the Indian Grounds and the old Jamesville Prison. Tony even stopped in to say hello to his mom. He caught right back up to me so I didn't have to climb the big hill alone.

We ran past an old stone school house which is now a home. However, even with all the additions you can still see the stone school house making up the center of the home. It is an historical landmark. Just beyond this home, on Bamerick is a newly built log cabin where Tony had camped years earlier with the Boy Scouts before the cabin was built.
Joel and Missy were running along in front of us and sometimes behind when Tony and I passed them stopping for water. Otherwise, they were on a nice steady pace. There were several other groups running along at varying paces, all finished well and all should be pleased to have accomplished the mileage they set out to defeat.
Again, the water stops are a necessity to make long runs comfortable. Tony and I stopped at waterstops two and three each time around the lake. First time around Gatorade was enpugh to energize our tired legs, but the second time around, it was absolutely necessary to have a protein bar and than a gel pack chased by water. I probably could have done without the protein bar, but I wasn't sure if there would be any gel at my last stop for the home stretch. I ran while chewing the bar. I felt too full by the time I finished it; I ate 3/4 of it.

In the end we were greeted by the volunteers and the previous finishers by cheers, clapping and kind words. Week Eleven is around the corner, and I can't wait to go a little further. Going a little further, going one more step, one more mile, one more day, one more month, or one more year is what it all about. Whether we are running or struggling to overcome a terminal disease. It is the struggle, the opportunity to overcome obstacles that makes each of us stronger. The fight to raise awareness, to gain support for the victims of blood cancer an obstacle we all want to overcome to save a life.

If you are able please visit my Leukemia and Lymphoma Society donatin page and support my mararthon run to overcome blood cancer at

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Team in Training Week Nine

Week nine was a great week. On Tuesday night the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society held a "recommitment" party at the Budweiser Brewery in Baldwinsville. Each person/family brought a plate to pass and Budweiser provided the tour and all the beer you could drink.

I have lived a mile or two from the brewery for the last 16 years and never had a tour. I brought 3 of my children (Brandon, Paul, and Anna). The facility is impeccably clean. The cleanest place I've ever been in. Sorry mom. Budweiser has better bribes than mom's home cooking. So, its employees must really care.

We toured the entire plant. The Brew masters Room had three brew masters who sat at computer terminals and are able to choose what to produce: Bud, Bud Light, Michelob, Mick Ultra, Bacardi Mojito, whatever you can think of that Anhieser-Busch makes. However, this brewing facility brews all the specialty items for the entire nation: that means any flavored varieties of beer of the assorted brands and Bacardi Mojito. I didn't know that. Also, there are special brews of vanilla and chocolate Michelob which are brewed in Baldwinsville for Budweiser employees only.

What was the bad part of the tour? Seeing the Phillies World series aluminum beer bottles being filled while my son spied a few Mets aluminum bottles in the "reject" bin. So, if you visit a ball park in the US this year and drink from a "kanottle" (a term I invented and shared with the engineer giving the tour) it came from the Budweiser Brewery in Baldwinsville, NY.

The kids and I had a good time. It was fun sitting down with a few folks from TNT and talking with my children about the tour. Oh, and viewing the many photos they snapped while touring which is banned. Well, only my kids would violate the rules. I guess I trained them well in the world of corporate espionage. Just kidding Bud-people. No pics were taken...

Saturday arrived with horrible weather. I chose not to run in the rain, snow, and high winds. I had enough of that so I ran on the treadmill at Aspen Health Club. I could only do about 6.5 miles indoors before going loco. Sunday was gonna be my day to accomplish my long run. No rain expected and improving to sunshine and 50 by the afternoon. I took off from my house at a little passed 8 and commenced running to the OLP/Long Branch. The wind was brutal running down 31 to River Rd., but from there the wind seemed to be gone, but it was really at my back for the rest of the run until reaching my turnaround at the 7.5 miles mark. 370 in each direction is a challenge; rolling hills that go for ever. 31, the home stretch of ending the run is one long gradual hill. I have got to discover a long flat run.

When there are so many hills around, I do not understand how anyone in the world ever thought the world to be flat because all the evidence is definitely against that perception. Too many hills and objects in the distance always gradually disappear from the horizon as they move further from sight. If the world were flat, then they would just immediately drop from sight, but they don't. See, these are the things ones ponders while running the miles alone.

The only time I stopped was when I visited the port O'john at the dog park; otherwise, I ran and took short sips from the water bottle I carried with me. Running without the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Team In Training means there are no water stops or opportunities to refresh or catch up to fellow runners. Bill Boyd doesn't come with any volunteers. In the words of Pee Wee Herman in Pee Wee's Big Adventure, "I'm a loner Dottie, a rebel, you don't want to get mixed up with a guy like me."

To take from the brewery theme of all the varieties of beer brewed and shipped from Budweiser in B'ville we can apply this to the many differences among the people who have been afflicted from blood cancer, the people who run, bike, or walk, and the people who volunteer for all the previous. We all have specific differences. Some are younger and some are older. Some are athletes and some aren't. Some people have little time and others have plenty. The biggest difference, though, is some people act and others don't. The folks who suffer blood cancer are forced to act. They must make a decision to live and then to receive uncomfortable treatments to, hopefully, positively impact their choice to live. At that moment life matters. For the participants who fund raise or volunteer, they make the choice to act in honor of someone else. In many cases, they act for someone they may not even know, but the decision to do something is all it takes to defeat the enemy within, so to speak. The supporter, they too have joined the cause. Their gift has grafted them into the tree and ensures that the tree will bare good fruit in the future. We are in this together. At times its no fun; at times its uncomfortable; yet, we will all get through it together.

Please visit may donation page and support my run in honor of Jane Spellman. Just click and hyperlink to:

Thank you for helping me get through another week of raising awareness and funds for the leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I ran 15.20 miles today. Without your support I could not have achieved my longest run to date, nor could I ever gotten closer to the goals for LLS. Thank you.

I'll see you on the road.