Thursday, November 29, 2012

Please Help!

I need to tell you a couple of stories.

When I was a college student, I used to go up to the University Hospital to give blood.  I’d go as often as I could, but there came a time that I got my dates messed up and went up there about a week to early, so they wouldn’t let me give, but they had asked if I wouldn’t mind joining the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP).  My first answer was “No” but when I found out that the chances of me actually matching with a patient was, something like, 1/100,000. I thought that I could take those odds, after all I never win anything, not even a flip of the coin, where my odds are 1/2.  So, I joined.
Two years later, I had just moved into an apartment, and was getting married in a couple of weeks, when the phone rang.  It was the NMDP and I had a preliminary match to a patient.  “Really?”  They asked if I would go up to LDS Hospital to give more blood for final matching.  I did, and to make a long story short, on April 2nd 1993 (my 24th birthday) I gave several milliliters of bone marrow from my hip to a 6-year-old little boy named Christian who had Leukemia.

The first reports we got of his progress were positive, the marrow had implanted, that he was home and cancer free, a healthy & happy little boy who liked to ride his brand new bike.  Then, in August, I got a call from Mark, my contact at the Intermountain Marrow Donor Program, telling me that Christian’s cancer had returned and that he had passed away.  I remember feeling angry, helpless, like somehow I or the doctors or someone had let this little boy down.  That was almost 20 years ago, he would have been 25 this year.  I still have his picture in my nightstand.
Then, in 2005, my wife’s cousin Leslee, was pregnant with her second boy and just wasn’t feeling right.  She went to her doctor who drew some blood to test for one of the many blood related things expectant mothers can come down with.  Well, she had come down with leukemia.

They immediately put her on steroids and other drugs to help ready the baby for an early delivery.  And not long after that, she delivered a very small baby boy, and then quickly began chemotherapy.  We, her family, began to organize a bone marrow drive.  We knew that the chances of finding a marrow donor for Leslee were astronomical, but we had to do something and our hope was that if we could not help Leslee, well, maybe we could help someone.  While we were in the organizing phase of the marrow drive, we were informed that they had found a marrow donor for her.  We went forward with the drive, and were able to sign up 32 new donors.
Leslee’s health, however, continued to decline, and on April 12, 2006 she passed away at her home, with her husband and the two little boys who will never know her smile or her laugh.  She never became healthy enough for the marrow donation.  She was 28 years old.

Last Fall, I walked into a local restaurant and found a pamphlet for Team in Training, a program of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  The program consists of helping me to train to meet some endurance goal of mine, and in return, I would help raise money to fund research into fighting blood cancers.  Since there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about ways I could help fight this disease, let’s just say that I was interested.
Last night I joined.  My personal goals are insignificant when compared to the hell that victims of blood cancer go through every day and I ask for your help.  I’m not going to bore you with statistics or other nonsense… because I think that the stories I’ve given you speak for themselves.  Please consider donating to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Help me to help them find a cure for this devastating disease by clicking HERE.

Thank you so much!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two-Things-Tuesday


I know that it’s been a while since I wrote one of these… but I figured that it was time I got back to it.

In a Weird Place
I think that when it comes to running… I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, I’ve turned the corner, I’ve gone over the edge… (Insert cliché here)

I realized this yesterday morning on my way to the bus stop.  I have to get up mighty early in the morning in order to walk the (almost) one mile to the bus stop so that I can be to work on time.  At the end of my street, there is a church, and I’m in the practice of cutting through the church’s parking lot so that I can save about 30 seconds of walking time.


So yesterday, in the predawn darkness, while trudging through said parking lot, I looked toward the main street in our neighborhood and spied a runner.  I live in a younger neighborhood and there are a lot of runners.  As I watched her run down the road, I felt… jealous.  Can you imagine?  I wasn’t jealous of her youth or speed, but that she had time to run, while I had to get on a bus, and sit on my butt, behind a desk, for the next 11 (or so) hours before I could go running.  And I’m not even a morning runner!  Weird Hu?


Bus Troubles
While I’m on the topic of the Bus.  I really don’t mind taking public transportation.  I know that’s strange for someone to say when they live in the west, but I really don’t mind… what I do mind, however, is the bus driving right past my stop while I’m waiting for it… in the cold… at 6:15 in the morning.  Ya, it’s happened twice now.  Kinda ticks me off... and they wonder why nobody likes to take the bus.  Hummmm...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Starting off 2013

 
I've decided that next year I'm going to run (at least) 3 half marathons, and so, to get 2013 off to a great start I signed up for a "race" on the very first day of the year.  The New Years Revolution Run takes place at the Olympic Oval at 8am January 1st.
The idea kind of intrigued me.  At 8am, you start running and have 5 hours to run as many laps as you can.  47.7 laps is a half marathon, and 95.5 laps is a full marathon distance.  Here's the thing for me... I finished my first half marathon in 2:16.  Which means that I SHOULD be able to finish 95 laps in 5 hours.  But, I probably won't have the strength to do that in the time allotted.
My goal is to complete the 5 hours... with as many laps as I can pump out.  I'm thinking that I'll probably be in the 70's.
The only thing that I'm really not looking forward to is the endless circles.  When I do training runs at the oval, I wear a watch and carry a clicker, so that I don't have to worry about remembering what lap I'm on... for this one I'm going to go naked... so to speak... which means no watch and no clicker.  I'm going to rely on the timing chip to count my laps.  My Garmin won't work inside anyway.
My wife is still wondering how I'm going to run after staying up half the night for New Years festivities... my answer... I never sleep the night before a race anyway... so... no big deal.  I ran my last two Ragnar's on less that two hours of sleep anyway.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving


I just wanted to wish everyone a great thanksgiving.  And for my running friends out there… I hope you’ve planned a run in order to outpace the turkey induced tryptophan coma.

Have a safe one!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Microwave

I found this picture on my daughter’s facebook this morning, and it made me laugh.  Only a group of girls would write love notes to their broken microwave oven.  And so, with this in mind, I decided to write, the microwave’s lament.

 

Dear, dear girls.
I am just a humble microwave, hanging on the wall,

Above your stove, which you never use.
I look down, and can see the pain in its range top eyes and I see the loneliness,

The desire,
The envy.

I have seen the stove below me cry great tears as you so cavalierly fill me with bags of popcorn,
When it longs for a simple tin of Jiffy Pop.

Frozen dinners, frozen burritos, chicken pot pies,
All have gone into my cavity, where I spin it around, like a ride at Disneyland…

Or so I’ve heard, for I have never been there.
And I make your food hot for you, so that you can eat and drip your drippings on your text book pages.

But the oven below,
The poor, poor oven below, cries for the chance,

To heat you some water… simple water.
In a pan, a pot, or a cauldron.

And so, dear friends,
I must leave you, to save my oven friend below me.

To give it a chance to cook your food, to boil you water,
To pop your corn.

But I shall return some day,
After I find out what this Disneyland is all about.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

3am Van Laughter

One thing that I’ve learned from running relay races is that sometimes you get so tired that the most trivial thing will set you all to laughing, and will then become a laughter catch phrase.  During the Wasatch Back in June it was “What the Hell, Becky”

That one actually had staying power because it was used quite a bit during the Vegas run last weekend as well.
What really was used a lot was: “Because it will be fun” from the YouTube video that was played a lot on iPhones.


The other one was a song… which I now hate.  But the video is kind of strange. "Heeeey, Sexy Lady."


 
Is it just me or is this guy a bit like a Korean Falco (If you remember the 80s... at all...)

So what has made you laugh at 3am on a Relay?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Race Recap - Ragnar Las Vegas

I love Ragnar Relays, I really do. My experience is that they are so organized, so on the ball, and so stinkin’ fun that it takes a month for me to wipe the smile off my face after the finish.

This Vegas Ragnar… well… it suffered. I don’t know if they had a new organizer, or that Ragnar was stretched to thin because of Tennessee occurring on the same weekend… I don’t know, but this one didn’t seem to be on the ball.

Geez… I hate to talk bad about Ragnar, but maybe if I do… they’ll pull it together a little better the next time.

Here’s the thing. I’ve run 4 Ragnars now and my experience is that their routes are very well signed, routes for the support vans are also very well planned. (Van 1 parks here, Van 2, parks here and takes this route out of the parking lot… et cetera.) This one… not so much. I think that the problems will emerge as the report goes on.

Leg 1 - 7.1 miles, Hard
1:05:52





We got into Vegas just as the sun was going down on Thursday night. We were staying at a time share that Nicole (Van 2’s captain) has on the strip. It was totally nice, with three different pool areas, full kitchen, the whole enchilada… so to speak. At about 7 we headed over to this Irish Pub that was doing a free pasta dinner for the runners. I know… Irish… pasta… it doesn’t quite scan, but we went, the food was great, the place was totally crowded, and it was fun!

Bed time came pretty early because Van 1 had to be out the door by 4:30am in order to get up to Mt. Charleston for our 6:30 start time. So after carb-loading a bit more on oatmeal and toaster waffles (My favorite pre-race food) we headed off into the cold wind.

You can't see it in this picture, but it's snowing.
And I LOVE the whole Tron vibe we've got going here
 
The temp was a brisk 30 degrees when we got out of the car, did a short freezing safety briefing, checked in, and at 6:30 I was finally running, and finally started to feel my blood begin to defrost.

This was a long downhill run, but it was beautiful, and with the wind at my back, not a bad run. My only problem came at about the 4th mile when I moved over to the shoulder a bit to let a faster runner pass me at the same time a couple of vans were coming up the road toward us. The road has kind of a hard shoulder, and while I was moving over, my foot hit that shoulder, my ankle rolled and down I went. It’s a strange thing when your legs are so tired that they are unable to stop your forward, downward momentum. So I have a small scrape on my knee, but no blood, nothing bad. My thanks to the runner who stopped to help me up and to see if I was ok. I don’t know his name or his team number, but a good guy non-the-less.

Leg 13 - 6.4 miles, Moderate
1:19:45


The starting point for this leg was at a Marriot Resort… Very Posh… Very Vegas. When we got there, we were all starving, so we grabbed the best Tomato Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches ever. On cold days, this is my comfort food. I did feel a little strange walking through this very nice resort in my sweaty running shorts and jacket. Oh, well.

So Stinkin' Cold!
 
After that, we camped on the lawn for a couple of hours, You’ll notice in the picture that everyone was sleeping in the sun because it was so cold.

While waiting for Nicole to come in, I was standing by the exchange and spied a group of people speaking ASL to each other. Wouldn’t you know, one of them was my ASL teacher from college. So I talked (in sign) with him for a bit, and he was very disappointed to find out that I’ve lost much of my vocabulary… oh well.

Long story short… Nicole came in, and I went out, and ran 6.4 miles, uphill, mostly into the wind. It sucked, and it took me about 15 minutes longer than it should have. I had asked the van to check on me at about the 2 mile mark, they didn’t catch up to me until about the 3.5 mile mark because they were stuck in the parking lot at the Marriot. Here’s also where Ragnar kind of slipped up. I had looked at the map, and had a basic idea of the route’s shape, but I didn’t worry about it to much, because Ragnar always has tons of signs. Well, not so much on this one, at just about every cross street, I (and other runners) had to think, “well if there’s no sign… I must go straight.” So there were a few times that I thought, “Geez, am I in the right place?”

After the run, I went into a Dunkin Doughnuts, and got a cup of hot chocolate. Oh my gosh I miss Dunkin Doughnuts… we don’t have them in Salt Lake any more.

Leg 25 - 5.6 miles, Moderate
1:12:35

It was about midnight when we all finished our legs, and the temp had dropped into the basement. We were only a few miles from the condo at this point, so we hopped into the van, cruised over to the condo, and slept the sleep of the dead.

At about 4am we got a call that van 2 was about an hour out, so we loaded up, choked down some breakfast and headed out. The exchange was at the same place we had been 4 hours earlier. Van 2 had to do a “Crap Miles” out and back. Which kind of ticked us all off, because you’re doing miles… but you aren’t advancing to anywhere.

At first, I was feeling pretty sick to my stomach, but in an effort to get something in my stomach, I downed a GU, and surprisingly started to feel better. They had a Hot Chocolate station at the exchange, but were out of hot water and didn’t know when they would be getting more… which was a disappointment since… I was literally freezing.

The route was kind of fun, since it started out going down St. Rose Ave. which is the same road I ran up on the last leg of my first Ragnar Relay in 2009… so it was cool! Then the leg turned up hill and just kept on going up.

You know there are times that you’re running up a hill, and your thinking… “It’s gotta stop going up eventually… Right?” This one didn’t. The last mile was so steep, it reminded me of the Suck Hill I went up on the Wasatch Back.

Well, the leg ended at a Starbucks, so I went in and got the best Hot Chocolate I have EVER had in my life. It was like drinking a Three Musketeers bar.

So, again… my pace totally sucked… but I was done.

One of the pool areas at the Condo... You'd never know it was 50 degrees out... Huh?
 
After finishing our 3rd legs, we went back to the condo, sat in the hot tub (probably not the best idea since an Ice bath would have been better) but we were so cold, and just wanted to be warm again. Then we headed off to the finish line at Lake Las Vegas. We followed the signs to the parking lot… after that, there were no signs… so we wandered. We wandered though crowds of non-running folk at a beer tasting thing, and then we wandered into a wedding party, and then we caught a glimpse of Orange tents… on the other side of the freaking lake. “How the hell do we get over there?” was some of the things we heard from other lost runners.

I'm not swimming!  Medal be damned!
 
So we found the bridge, got to the party and waited for van 2.

We got the call that Nicole had started, and since her last leg was 5.2 miles we knew that we had some time, so we got into the really long line to pick up our Saints and Sinners medals, we wandered the gear tent, and took phone calls from Van 2, who were also lost trying to find the finish line.

We kept looking at our watches so that we would be over at the finish line when Nicole came in so that we could all run in together… but suddenly, with about 20 minutes to go… here’s Nicole… finished. Van 2 hadn’t even shown up yet… we didn’t hear our number called… nothing… suddenly we were done. Someone asked Nicole “Did you sprint your 5 miles?” Her reply was “I only ran, like, 3 miles.”

The full team... together at last!
 
So ya, good feeling gone… we got our medals, took some pics and were off to find a good steak dinner and celebrate our own selves.

Van 1, at the end... still freezing.
 
No… really… all-in-all it was a good race, and we totally had fun despite the cold. I just think that Ragnar kind-of screwed the pooch on the organization of this one, and I really didn’t like the new route, it was way to urban (or sub-urban) and not enough pretty Red Rock. They should really rethink Las Vegas.

Here are some more pictures from the race:

A shout out to our sponsor... Because they rock!

The wind was so strong, it was blowing over the Honey Buckets... onto the doors...
I hope no one was in them at the time.

I just thought that this was such a cool picture.
 
One more shout-out to FatBoy Ice Cream, because they were so good to us.
 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Vote for "The Other Guy"

Today, I have to get a little political… so forgive me.

Tomorrow is Election Day (Glory Halleluiah! Praise the cosmic muffin!) And people in the battle ground states will hit their local election stations to decide who we get to blame for the next 4 years of bad stuff.  For the rest of us… we may as well stay at home.

See… maybe I’m just a little bitter because I live in a state that… really, just doesn’t matter with its measly 6 electoral votes and strong Republican leaning.  If I were to watch the results on Tuesday night… which I won’t… I would most likely see the State of Utah fall to Romney the second the polls closed, with 0% of the precincts reporting in.  Now, I won’t see that because I don’t have TV, I would much prefer to go for a late night run, and frankly, I don’t think that it matters one way or the other who wins.
The thing is, Washington is broken.  Whoever becomes president is going to have to deal with a very dysfunctional congress that is going to stonewall every idea the president has… even if they agree with the ideas.

My solution… vote for “the other guy.” Don’t vote for either of the two major party candidates.  There are other people running.  Now, I had to do some serious looking to find out who they are but here you go.
Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party

Virgil Goode, Constitutional Party
Jill Stein, Green Party

Rocky Anderson, Justice Party
There are probably others, but I have no idea who they are.  Now, everyone says, “If you vote for a third party you’re just throwing away your vote.”  I don’t agree.  With the way the system is set up, anyone I vote for is a throw away vote.  People are so brain washed that they think that “Well, I live in a blue state, so I better vote of Obama if I want my vote to count.”  Thing is, my vote will not count.

I have a dream.  That one of these days, California or one of the other big states, will go to the green party or one of the other parties.  Wouldn’t that just wig out the Reps and the Dems?  It would be awesome!  CNN  fould crap themselves.
So… my advice for this year is not to be a sheep.  Don’t vote for either of the two major parties.  Vote for the other guy, not just for president, but for the congressional people as well.  If you only have a choice between the two parties… then vote out the incumbent. 

Let’s shake things up my friends and remind Washington that they work for us.

-Paid for by me-
But I’m open to donations ;)

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