Monday, May 9, 2016

Tap Out Ten; May 8, 2016

I would call Mother's Day 2016 a mixed bag.

Nothing bad, just different.

I wanted to go do the Run For Wellness 5K at the San Jacinto Monument, but I was still a little wiped from Saturday's downhill half marathon in Las Vegas.

In fact, the delayed onset muscle soreness is definitely worse right now.

I made it to church as planned with my Mom.  Dad and my two nieces were there too.

It was a rough day for Mom and the girls.

I think it is one of the reasons why I (almost) detest the Hallmark holidays as it puts inordinate amounts of focus and stresses on some folks who may find such days to be challenging.

Really? Shouldn't I love my parents year-round (I.e. Every day)?


The five of us went to Brooklyn Pizza and had a good meal together.

I came back, lounged around and took a nap.

Had a text from Waverly about changing our call because she had an activity planned at the time of our call with her leadership team for her hall for next year.

That absolutely trumps Dad with Dad's approval.

Even though I love am spending time and talking with my daughter.

She'll be home in a week and I can't wait for her to be here.

As we discussed and I noted a few days ago, this will be an emotional week for her as she has invested her heart in each one of the young women on her hall.

Again, I'm so proud of her desire to be involved, reach out and do her best to minister to the young ladies she spent eight months of her life with this past school year.

Lots ahead this week and lots to be in prayer about, especially Dad's and our founding Pastor John Gross' surgeries that both are on Wednesday morning.

Thankful for all that God has given me.

I do my best never to take it for granted for one minute.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Revel Mt. Charleston Half Marathon Race Report; May 7, 2016

Friday and Saturday were spent in Nevada, specifically the Las Vegas area.

I went out to run the Revel Mt. Charleston Half Marathon for the finish to become the 41st state that I've run a half marathon in.

I flew out to Vegas from IAH Friday morning.

After checking my work e-mails and going to get my packet from the Race Expo, I ventured out to Boulder City and Searchlight to get away and off the beaten path for a little while.

Back in the Vegas area, I didn't budget my time well enough to get to a specific museum that I had hoped to see, but did stop in the Pinball Hall of Fame and played five or six of the different pinball machines.

Pretty neat.  I took a picture and posted it on my Dad's Facebook page.  I've heard story after story about his pinball-playing exploits when he was young in our hometown of Tyrone, Pennsylvania.

I thought about going to the New Mexico at UNLV baseball game at 6 p.m., but by 5:15 I was hungry.

So I drove up I-15 and checked into my hotel, which I switched from my original Marriott property the day before to save about $25, and then went and had a lighter fare dinner.

Up Saturday morning at 3: 45 a.m. Pacific time and out of the hotel no later than 4:30 a.m., I was on a bus that took us to the half marathon starting line and got us there by 5:45 a.m.-ish.

While I waited, I put one of my two garbage bags on over me to keep the cool breeze from bothering me too bad.  (It could have been worse and I heard that the marathoners had experienced snow in the first four miles 3,000 more feet up the mountain.)  A gentleman came up and indicated that the two of us might have been the only ones that had one of them at the time.

As we chit-chatted, I learned he was from Many, Louisiana and then he indicated that he had seen me somewhere before.  We dialed into the fact that we had both run this year's Mardi Gras Madness 5K in Lake Charles that started their Mardi Gras parade.

I just learned his name was Jack Adair and he won his 65-69 age group yesterday in 1:35:19 and was 56th overall.

They started walking people to the start line and I leisurely took my time as I was there simply to check off a state.  It was my fourth half in five weeks, but my fitness was nowhere it needed to be to try and really, really push.

In fact, I didn't even hear the gun go off.  So I started my watch when I crossed the start line and off I went.

My strategy was to run nice, easy and as controlled as possible for as long as I could.

Mile 1 -    9:31.44
Mile 2 -    9:53.91
Mile 3 -  10:10.04
Mile 4 -  10:18.55

At this point, I almost got discouraged because I thought the 11's were going to come pretty quickly.  I didn't expect to break 2:10, but I had hoped to be in the 2:10s.

Mile 5 -  10:15.09
Mile 6 -  10:26.38
Mile 7 -  10:18.41
Mile 8 -  10:24.36
Mile 9 -  10:01.66 (Flat)
Mile 10 - 10:21.55 (Flat)
Mile 11 - 11:09.30 (Very slight incline)
Mile 12 - 10:54.10 (Overpass)
Mile 13 - 10:45.66 (Slight downhill)
Last .1 -    57.08

As I started to see the split times increase as the miles went on, I worried that I was going to crash sooner than I had expected.  However, that wasn't proven to be the case.

I made it to the end of the downhill in pretty decent shape, but the downhill takes a little bit out of not only from just the quads but also your overall body.

You would think it might be easier on you, but you're still working the entire body for the same distance.

Was kind of surprised that mile 9 came in at 10:01 and even though mile 10 was 10:21, I had started to walk a little in this mile.

Mile 11, I felt completely fatigued and walked three times, at least.

I think just knowing that I only had two miles to go is how I kept the last two miles under 11 minutes to allow me to finish in 2:15:27.53.

Well, that and not wanting to get passed by the winner of the marathon, who turned out to be 31-year-old Gary Krugger as he won in 2:33:16.

All in all, I think the event went well.

Jack (above) said that he did their Revel Rockies race (I think) and they had busses that didn't show up to take more than a couple of thousand half marathoners to the start line.  He said he got there early - hence the trash bag! - and was one of only about 100 that did the half marathon - he said - that day.

Aid stations were well-worked.  The only thing they could have done different on most of them was to set them up beyond the mile marker.  That way, you could run to the split, then stop and get fluid.

The roads were very, very well-patrolled by the Nevada Highway Patrol - as the lead law enforcemen agency - as you can imagine with all of the activity that takes place in a location like Las Vegas.

There were a few unhappy people the closer you got the finish line venue.  One leaned over from his front seat through an open window to share his displeasure.  We're both lucky that I had run by a little bit before I hollered back and told him what I thought.

The finish line setup was pretty strong by event production standards.

The race announcer was more "rah-rah" and, in fact, they should have had two - one to recognize individuals and where they were from and another to be overly energetic.

Hearing that they were calling names and places, I came in with the "Hook 'Em Horns" sign as it was my first time for that state and the announcer said something about Oklahoma.

Again, after I crossed, I remarked rather unkindly.  A woman close by heard it, got what I meant and laughed.

They had the traditional post-race food fare - bagels, bananas, water, pizza and then ... bam! ... pieces of Marie Callendar pies!  Pumpkin for me, please.

The marathon drew folks - looking for the benefits from a 5,000-foot elevation drop -- looking to qualify for Boston and by my calculations, the event was a success.

Male finishers numbered 331.  121 qualified with their current age and another 10 who were in the last single age of their age group and benefitted from the additional time of the year that they would run Boston made it 39.6% for qualifiers.

The women had 279 finishers with 121 total qualifiers (117/4) for a 43.4%.

I have nine states to go to get to all 50 in half marathoners.  California, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Hawaii.  I think I can make these happen before the end of next summer if all goes well.

Hope you'll stick around for the ride!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tap Out Ten; May 5, 2016

Long day.  In the office early and out late with an errand to run in between.

However, the best part of the day came from Waverly as she reported the outcome of two of her three finals on Wednesday at Liberty via Facebook chat.

It read, "Good news - 91/100 for a history final and 192/200 for educ. final today 😊"

She's really, truly done incredibly, especially this year as she stepped up from prayer leader to resident adviser.

And she's done a stellar job.

She'd tell you that she was definitely stretched and forced to grow even more than she might have expected, but she'll come out of it so much more prepared for the workplace.

Am already packed for my trip to Vegas tomorrow.

I'll be back, though, Saturday night to be able to be in church with Mom on Mother's Day.

The only one I think I've missed - other than in 2014 after Holly passed away (and Mom understandably wasn't ready to be in church on an emotional day as such)  - was in 2004 when I inadvertently stayed over the weekend in Ohio and Indiana and ran the big 30,000-participant Indianapolis Mini-Marathon (or half marathon).

Then in three weeks, I'll head to Pennsylvania for the Memorisl Day weekend to visit my grandmother.

Waverly will be home next Sunday evening. I'll be glad to have her here.

I can't believe that three years have passed that she's been at Liberty day-in and day-out for approximately eight months out of a school year.

So very thankful, though, for the resources to provide for Waverly to go to college and her desire and courage to go off to school away from home.

I'm confident of Waverly's opportunities to succeed in life.

Am thankful for the front row seat that I have. :-)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Tap Out Ten; May 4, 2016

We'll see how long I can keep this "Tap Out Ten" going.

Been a slow, yet busy week.

Slow from a work standpoint in that much of what I've been doing for my client changes with implementation of their hospital's new EHR (electronic health record) in March.

Busy because of yesterday's activities putting pressure for me to be able to get my hours in because I'm not going to be in on Friday.

It is looking like I'll have to go in on Mother's Day to make up 4-6 hours.

Thankful, however, that I have work.

Really, really was touched by a picture that Waverly put on her Instagram that I referenced yesterday.

Touched me so much that I teared up quite a bit.

I imagine that the girls she had on her hall were good to be able to learn and get to know better, but it is going to be sad that they won't be in that same place and that same time together again.

A perfect example of seizing each and every moment of every day that God gives us.

No matter where we are, no matter what we're doing, we have an opportunity to impact someone's life. And, unfortunately, it can be in a negative way too.

I'm most challenged driving Houston's freeways and streets and am typically unforgiving to those who can't keep up - decision-wise.

I'm also pretty certain I haven't made a few folks very welcomed.

God, please forgive me for that.

Long work day on Thursday then I'm heading to Las Vegas to run a half marathon outside of town on Saturday morning for a 13.1-mile race or greater in my 41st state.

And after two uphill or hilly half courses, I'm glad that this will be a downhill course!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tap Out Ten; May 3, 2016

(Am going to try and take ten minutes each night to "tap out" something in the Notes part of my phone each night before I go to sleep.)

Busy, good day today.

Had an appointment at my chiropractor's office to learn some Pilates techniques to strengthen my core and try to avoid some of the misalignment of my hips that cause me pain in the SI joint.

Also picked up my parents at IAH today after they flew back from Pennsylvania to visit my grandmother (who turned 91 before the end of April).

Next up for my Dad is prostrate surgery next Wednesday, May 11th.

Got out to the track for the first time in forever and put down six miles. I'd say four run and two walk, but all good.

It was good to see Waverly post a picture tonight on Facebook of all of the girls either in her and Natalie's Quad or Hall. Think it was the former.  But it signals that she's beyond the last two projects of her Junior year.  So very proud of her and what she's accomplished.

Looking forward to getting out of town again this weekend as I'll be running a half marathon in my 41st state on Saturday just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.  Most of the fun is the planning of the trip as I'm currently doing for my vacation with Waverly the second full week of July.

Very fortunate with everything God has given me, even in times that for me can be a little challenging.

Kind of made a pact with myself today to just be better at everything I can as we never know what kind of time God has allowed for us here on Earth.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Books Read in 2016

"Answering Jihad:  A Better Way Forward", Nabeel Qureshi
"The Big Fix:  The Hunt For The Match-Fixers Bringing Down Soccer", Brett Forest