September 1, 2013


Today I will:

-  Do something that scares me.
-  Try something new.
-  Be spontaneous.
-  Eat a cookie.

April 28, 2013


Fields of Poppies?  Is the Wicked Witch up to her tricks Again?

"You're out of the woods / You're out of the dark / You're out of the night..."

I am getting sleepy.

March 15, 2013

The Voice.

I'm sleeping.  It's 3 AM, 3:14, to be exact.  I feel a nudge in my head.  It's me.

"Get Up"; I tell myself.  "It's perfect running out there, you need to get up so you can do a sunrise run.".

"No", I toss myself to lay on my other side, "I'm going to sleep in".

A voice in my head shouts; "ARE YOU CRAZY?  It'll be all sunny.  You know how you hate the bright sunshine.  ...and I know how much you love a sunrise run."

I shout back; "DAMN you are quite a nag, I'll never get back to sleep now, THANKS!"

So I get up.  Make coffee, grab a Clif® Bar.  Head over to the computer to check e-mail, facebook, and DailyMile.  My weather app says 33° and 8 mph winds, it's going to be a chilly run.  I'll think I'll wait a while, the winds usually calm down near sunrise.

5:30 AM and two cups of coffee later I'm ready, the winds are down to 3 mph, but the temperature is 29, I'm out the door.

Within a half mile I know how this run will go.  I feel great,  my legs are trying to go faster than they should, I've got to calm them down.  At the 5 mile mark I'm still feeling very good, so I turn my 10K plan into a 10 Miler and head across a busy highway that separates the East Montgomery neighborhoods to do a popular 5K route.  Morning is breaking and it is no longer dark, but the sun hasn't risen yet.  The eastern horizon is bright orange and looks like many sunrise/sunset paintings I've seen.

The wind is starting to pick up again, and since I didn't put a second layer on my hands, the way I usually do when it's this cold, my left hand is starting to hurt from the cold.  I head back home to soak my hand in warm water.  I still have one and a quarter mile to go to hit 10.  After the feeling comes back to my hand, I grab some dry gloves, sunglasses and a hat and head back out for a "cool down", even though I was already cold.

This run felt great. Well, the hand was a little uncomfortable, but everything else was good.  It was one of the easiest training workouts of the year.

That voice in my head is usually right. I just wish he wasn't so arrogant.

July 6, 2012

Bama Backroads

While I rehab a sore hip and ankle from a near fall from my July 4th race, I decided to take a relaxing trip using back road routes from Montgomery to Athens, via Tuscaloosa.  Highways 82, 69 (always wanted to take that road), 195, 33, 157, 110, 72.  The first part on 82 is a quick scenic drive from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa.

Although I've been in Alabama for near 12 years, this was my first time in Tuscaloosa, I toured the still open wound of the April 27, 2011 tornado that ripped through T-town, lots of evidence of the storm is still apparent.  I then drove through the campus of the University of Alabama.  Although I am an Auburn fan, the Crimson Tide campus is very beautiful, I could live here if it wasn't U of A  ;-) .  I tried to stop for coffee at a well-known "Cafe'" near the campus, but it wasn't open for breakfast (?), so I had to get some Waffle House coffee, it was better than expected for my first Awful House experience.

From there I headed to Jasper via Highway 69.  This is a beautiful and scenic twisty-curvy roller coaster of a road, just the kind of driving I love, and one of the most beautiful drives I have ever experienced in Alabama.  After a quick pit stop in Jasper, and getting a little bit lost, I found 195 and took it towards Double Springs hoping to take a short hike in the Sipsey Wilderness before heading to Athens.  I found the same scenic twisty hilly roads on 195, but with a lot more big trucks, so this part of the trip wasn't as good.  At Double Springs, I took 33 to head into the Sipsey Wilderness.  Again, there were very nice well maintained, lightly traveled roads, very scenic.  Lots of signs for camping areas and trail heads, I chose one with some history, popular and close to 33.  I only did a mile and had to turn around (2 miles RT), the temperatures were already above 90 (at 9:00 AM), and my hip and ankle needed more rest.

Double Springs
 Gateway to the Sipsey Wilderness
From the Pine Torch Trail head I headed back to 33 and headed toward Moulton.  As you come out of the Bankhead National Forest, the change in scenery is abrupt, from hills and curves to flat and straight.  As I made my way into Moulton it was very noticeably that a storm had come through recently.  Leaves and twigs littered the road and became worse as I got closer to town.  I noticed many residents sitting in the shade in their front yards at almost every house, and many were also cleaning up debris.  Closer to town there were trees down, power poles down, streets closed, moderate structure damage, and lots of people and power company trucks out clearing side roads and repairing power lines.  Now I figured out why so many people were out of their homes, their power was out and it was HOT!.  I saw at least two home which had trees come down on them, one of which looks like the tree had been struck by lightning, as the trunk looked like it had exploded, with lots of splintered wood around the yard.   I found out on the news later,  they had a storm, and it was still not determined if it was a micro burst or a tornado.

Wheeler Dam & Locks
From Moulton I headed out towards the Wheeler Dam on Highways 157, then 110.  The road over Wheeler Dam on the Tennessee  River is very narrow and scary, with logging trucks going fast in the opposite direction, I was glad to make it over that long bridge.  Wanted to take some pictures of the Dam and Locks, but there was no where to pull off to take pictures, so I only got a view from the high water side of the Dam.

From there I headed to 72 and on into Athens to spend the weekend with Grand kids.

Although the driving time is double, it was well worth it.  With all the recent closings due to accidents on I-65 this week, I was GLAD to avoid that part of the very boring, but stressful drive to Athens.  I might find another back road route to go home.

January 13, 2012

In a philosophical mood...

When we admit the truth, See reality for what it is, We come away stronger and more powerful.

Our destiny is what we make it.

There are no warlocks nor wizards, angels nor demons, nor supernatural creations of the human mind to blame for our situation.

Every single moment of our consciousness is a rare gift. Be grateful and do not waste it.

Our destiny is what we make it.

I do not worship a God, but I have faith that something exists. I worship life. Life is a true gift from the unknown power and the unknown truth of the creation of our life.

God is personal, and cannot be defined the same from one person to another. There is something more than what we know, or humans will ever know with our limited intelligence. It is so simple humans cannot understand it. This is God.


December 25, 2010

I Wish You Peace.

His words are simple
Love and peace for everyone
When do we begin?

A star shines brightly
pointing to a path of peace
the road less traveled

All you need is love
Waiting on the world to change
Someday at Christmas

Look at the bright star
What in the world could it mean?
It will show the way

October 3, 2010

Montgomery Half-Marathon

I've viewed so many articles, race reports and news clips about this event, I don't know what's left I can say about it.

Drew's race report covered the event pretty well from front of the pack perspective, putting in PR (Personal Record) on his quest to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Amanda's blog post covered the event well, also. She is quickly moving up list of fast local females who consistenly leave me in the dust. She also PR'd at this race.

My running buddy Kym Klass, a local reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser, has (at least) two articles in today's paper. An "Extra Mile" column about riding in the lead car, and one about Virginia Jacks, who worked at an Italian Ice place I like to visit.

Pictures from the Montgomery Half-Marathon can be found here.

I got to the race very early, as usual, and did some walking around the area. The other regular early birds were around as usual. The weather was great, not too warm or cool.

The event was well organized and started on time. There was plenty of support and cheering neighbors along the way, much improved over last year. The beginning of the race is a two mile climb to highest point in the race, then flattens for awhile, running through several historic neighborhoods, college campuses and the Governor's Mansion. At mile 10, they throw in a curve ball, a short steep section along Perry Avenue, and another just before the Capitol. Get past those, and the home stretch is (mostly) all downhill.

I didn't have my fastest pace, like many of my running buddies did, but it wasn't my slowest either. I wanted to beat my time from last year at this race, and I accomplished that.

The post race festivities were also well-organized. Plenty of post-race refreshements, a band, and lots of activities. It was an overwhelming success for the city of Montgomery.

September 16, 2010

MGM Half-Marathon Training - Final Weeks

It's coming down to the last few weeks. The training is right on schedule. At the same time I have also started training for another half-marathon I will run on November 13. The only thing I'm adding to the mix of running is short "faster than race pace" runs once or twice a week after I have finished with my days training. I will gradually lengthen these "sprints". I have finished 1 miles, and 1.15 miles sprints on my last tempo training day. After I complete this race I will also start to add in longer intervals, from 400m to 800m, and more, yes I said more, rest days. Harder training requires more rest. "The most important day in any running program is rest. Rest days give your muscles time to recover so you can run again. Your muscles build in strength as you rest." - Hal Higdon

The next few weekends require long runs of 11 and 12 miles, before a cutback week in the days before the race. I will be up in Athens, Alabama this weekend, visiting Grandkids and running a 5K with my Daughter. Sunday, for my long run, I will take advantage of the scenic and historic Richard Martin trail, a "Rails-to-Trails" project, which runs from Athens to the Tennessee state line. I have previously used this great trail which runs through the middle of a Civil War Battle site. The trail is built on an old railroad bed, eliminating steep hills and providing plenty of shade.

The last long run, the weekend (Sept 25) before the race, I plan on running with the group meeting downtown at the AlleyBAR to have a last run with the new friends I have made training for this race. This will be my last update before the event. I will post a race report after the completing the half-marathon.

September 3, 2010

MGM Half-Marathon Training - Week Eight

The weekend before beginning week 8 of the training plan started a 9-mile long run. The weather was slightly cooler, and the morning stayed cloudy for most of the run, which is great for running. I decided to meet with the group training for the half-marathon which meets at the AlleyBAR every Saturday morning at 6:00 AM. The organizers of the group were shuttling people to various points on the course so they could all end the training run where the actual half-marathon ended. If you wanted, you could also arrange to be picked up at various spots along the course. I decided to do the beginning AND the end, but I’d take a shortcut to reduce my miles. I ended up at 10.3 miles, but that distance included a few walk breaks on the hills near the end of the route. The group is growing larger every week, and the camaraderie during these training days is very motivating. We gather afterwards to rehydrate, socialize and learn from each other. It is a very diverse group.

Sunday I ended up 5 miles around my neighborhood. It was supposed to be a pace run, but still being achy and stiff from the previous days long run, I decided to run it at an easy pace, and skip the pace run. Most of my long run from the previous day was at my race pace, so I figured I had it covered anyway.

The training for the rest of this week was close to what the schedule called for, with some extra runs and miles thrown in to increase my weekly mileage.

The weekend plan will be running with friends on Saturday morning, and resting Sunday for the River Region Runners (R3) 28th Annual 5K/1 Mile Labor Day Run on Monday. Since I’m scheduled for a race pace run of 5 miles, I will keep going after the race for another couple of miles. The weather is looking like it will cooperate and give us unusually tolerable weather for this race. I’ve been told by the race director that there will be a selection of rehydration beverages other than water and sports drinks available after the race.

August 27, 2010

MGM Half-Marathon Training - Weeks 6 & 7

Week 6 ended with a disappointing finish at the 10K race scheduled on my training plan. I was on my usual race pace, finishing the first half (5K) faster than my previous 5K finish, until mile 4. I hit of a wall of heat, humidity, and sunshine, which stole my energy and motivation to keep running. The bully knocked me down, and I had a hard time getting past him.

My next run on the plan was a 4 mile "race pace" run. I moved that run to Monday morning because of travel plans. The temperatures where I was staying in Northern Alabama were forecast to be in the upper 60's. I woke up before sunrise Monday morning and paced back and forth waiting for enough light to run on the back country roads west of Athens, Alabama. The air was drier, and the temp was around 66 when I finally headed out the door at 5:30 AM. The first part of my run was down a long driveway, then out to the road. It was better running conditions than I've seen in months. Within the first half mile, I was greeted but three big dogs, two of them just barking and growling, but one was a playful Black Labrador Retriever (Sam)which accompanied me for about half of my run. He would run past, then stop and wait for me to pass him, then he'd run ahead of me again. I think this took my mind of of my running, and I ended up with a faster pace than I planned. It was an amazing sunrise run. I fell a little short of my target distance, but with the faster pace, it was a good training run.

We're now at the end of week 7. The weekend plan has a 9 mile long run and 4.5 mile pace run. I haven't decided what I'm going to do. I'm trying to be more spontaneous, people tell me it makes life more interesting. I'll likely hook up with one of the running groups on Saturday, and then make plans for rest of the weekend.

August 13, 2010

MGM Half-Marathon Training - Week Five

I finished week five of the training plan with a little bit of apprehension, the easy part of the training was about to be over, week Six will be the last "easy" week. After this week's 8 mile long run, and next week's 10K race, I will have to start into 40-45 minute tempo runs, and 9 to 12 mile long runs while the heat of the summer is still blasting us, and draining my energy.

I know I need to slow down in this heat, but that is easier to say than it is to do. Running is sort of a meditation for me, I zone out and before I know it, I'm overheated and need to cool-off for a awhile. For this reason, I've been doing more workouts on the treadmill to keep my pace in check, but treadmills are dreadfully monotonous when compared to running on roads or trails. But, we do what we need to do to accomplish the goal.

The high point of the week was the fun diversion of the River Region Runner's (R3) Prediction Run on Tuesday, and the weather graced us with lower humidity and a nice breeze, which allowed me to run faster than I predicted. However, I was honored with winning "3rd Hottest Male" Award. Whatever criteria they used to come up with that label, no one knows. The best part of the night, was the great turnout of runners and supporters which made the event very enjoyable. There were young and old, new and experienced runners, H.S. track athletes and middle-aged road runners, hashers and tri-athletes. Since I've been a member, I cannot recall having such a diverse crowd for this type of club event. Thanks for the great evening.

Weekend Training: I plan to finish an eight mile long with the group who are training for the Montgomery Half-Marathon at 6:00 AM Saturday morning at the Alley Bar, then try and meet up afterward with the Saturday Shakespeare group for the coffee and breakfast. Sunday I will try to get a pace run in (4-5 Miles), probably on a treadmill, since the outside heat and humidity is still stuck on high.

August 6, 2010

MGM Half-Marathon Training - Week Four

I switched weeks 3 and 4 of the training plan I'm following so I could run the 5K race I have planned this weekend. This was a "step-down" week for me. Fewer miles, easier runs, more rest days. We need step-down weeks to allow our bodies extra recovery and healing time from the increased training intensity.

I did my usually strength and stretch day on Tuesday because I ran in the rain on Monday. My total mileage for the week beginning on Monday is only 11 miles. The hot weather also has me hitting the treadmill more than I like. I did last Sunday's 7 mile long run on a treadmill with the A/C and fans on high. I'll be glad when the weather is more tolerable for running.

Saturday: I'll be at the Woodstock 5K (30th Anniversary) in Anniston. I will do 1 mile warm-up and a 1 mile cool down afterward.

Sunday: 4 - 5 miles. Might be out in the neighborhood, might be on the treadmill, it all depends on the heat and level of humidity

July 30, 2010

MGM Half-Marathon Training - Week Three

Week Three

I have been sticking to the Hal Higdon's Intermediate Training Plan, but adding in some extra miles on the shorter runs. Three miles seems too short on most days I'll be trading in this weeks 5K race for a 7 miler either Saturday or Sunday. The 5K will be next Saturday at the Woodstock 5K (30th Anniversary) in Anniston.

Saturday: Training runs for the Montgomery Half Marathon start every Saturday at 6 A.M., at the Alley Bar, 166 Commerce Street. Because of the heat, I will be there at 5:30 A.M, to avoid the sun. 5 - 7 miles planned. I'll then relax with the Saturday Shakespeare running group for some post-run coffee and fellowship.

Here is a link for information about the Saturday morning group runs, anyone is welcome: Saturday Morning Group Run.

Sunday: 4 - 5 miles. This weekend’s Sunday run will start between 5:00 and 5:30 AM in the Sturbridge neighborhood. If anyone would like to join me, meet me at corner of Sturbridge Drive and Plantation Crossing: (Tentative) Map

July 23, 2010

MGM Half-Marathon Training - Week Two

Week Two - Montgomery Half-Marathon Training

I have been having some ankle issues. Ankle is very sore just above the heel, right side of left ankle, painful in the morning, and when I begin running, feels tight the rest of the day. It was feeling better by the end of the week after using some heel lifts in my shoes.

Day 1: Strengthen & Stretch Day - Circuit Training. - Leg Curls - Leg Extensions - Crunches - Back Extensions - Calf Lifts - Squats - Inner & Outer Thighs - Pull-ups - 121 Pushups (15 Minutes) - 1 Mile slow run before and after stretching

Day 2: Three miles + 1 Mile warmup.

Day 3: 30 min Temp run: A tempo run is defined as a run as close to your race pace as possible. If your goal is to finish the half at an 8:00 min pace, then your tempo run should be at that pace. It was a struggle today. 80* at 5:00 AM, super muggy and no breeze. It was supposed to be a tempo run, but I never found my tempo. Managed to keep an > 8 min pace for 3.5 miles, 26:15, but then had to slow down to a easy pace to finish up the run.Also did an easy 2.2 mile treadmill run in the evening to loosen up before a stretching session. It's too hot to run outside

Day 4: The 3 Miles scheduled extended a little due to my good mood. Hit the treadmill to escape the heat, incline set 1, A/C turned up, fan on high. I was feeling good, this was easy. I guess it's about time increase the incline.

Day 5: Today. “Rest”. Rest days are the hardest part of the training plan.The plan for the weekend:

Saturday – 6 Miles: Training runs for the Montgomery Half Marathon begin every Saturday at 7 A.M., at the Alley Bar, 166 Commerce Street. I will be there at 6:00 A.M, then hop on over to join my usual Saturday running group for some post-run coffee and fellowship.

Here is a link for information about the Saturday morning group runs, anyone is welcome: Saturday Morning Group Run.

Sunday – 4 miles: This weekend’s Sunday run will start between 5:00 and 5:30 AM in the Sturbridge neighborhood. If anyone would like to join me, meet me at corner of Sturbridge Drive and Plantation Crossing: (Tentative) Map

July 16, 2010

MGM Half Training - Week One

Posted my first week of Training at my alternate blog site: MGM Half Training - Week One