Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Week In The Life Of...Me!

"The secret to getting ahead is getting started" - Hal Higdon

Sometimes , as I've said several times before, I just don't get slapped on the side of the head with an idea to write in RWA. Most of the time, I'll get an idea early in the week, and periodically I'll be able to go back to it during the week and somehow (more of surprise to me than to you), a finished product comes out and off it goes on Saturday morning to the millions of subscribers - ok, about 150. Well, that idea just didn't POP this week, but several things did occur.

As many of you know, I was a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team-in-Training Run Coach here in Birmingham for 15 years, and it was an honor to coach these folks with a mission to help cure cancer by using their bodies as vehicles to run marathons and half marathons in order to raise money for research. It's easy to write a check and doing that you should feel good to donate, but try starting a running program to raise money when you've never run before and be told by some perky TNT Director singing "You can do 26.2" and they show you some video of all these smiling folks in purple shirts dancing across the finish line. Seems easy at the time, but then Coach Grinch (me and all the other TNT coaches) step in and instruct you through 5 months of producing sweat and wearing out the rubber on your shoes. There is nothing more rewarding to a coach than to see these folks pour out everything they have to cross that finish line (and yes, they really do smile). About a year and a half ago, I had to reluctantly step aside as coach, but this week I have been asked (and happily accepted) the position of Alabama/Gulf Coast Flex Coach. This is a program for folks that don't have access to TNT Run groups in the large cities or don't have time to do group training. Their training is mostly done on their own, but strongly reinforced by email, phonecalls, and web provided training and info by the previously aforementioned very special Omnipotent Flex Coach. I'm very excited about being in the TNT fold again. If you have any interest in finding more about TNT call 205-989-0098 or click here.

No matter what sport you follow, there is always that amazingly close game, that special competitive match, that unbelievable come-from-behind moment. With me, I get more pumped up watching a gritty running race than I do watching a close football game...give me somebody coming from way back in an Ironman...Or a marathon runner that has that "Ok guys, here I go. Who's going with me" moment. But, being an ultramarathoner, you seldom see one of these moments because they usually occur in the woods, far from any cameraphones, never mind any TV or Video capabilities. Well, Thursday, I had the extreme thrill of viewing a screening of the movie "Unbreakable". This is JB Benna's excellently made film of the 2010 Western States. I won't name the runners because they don't mean much to most of you (I guess), but this race (which is called the Boston Marathon of Ultras) featured 4 ultra icons: one undefeated at any ultra distance, one undefeated in all his 100 mile races, one who was the two-time defending champion, and one basically the European Ultra Champion. I have no idea how they got the shots in the woods that they did, but I want to know who that cameraman was because he hung with these guys while they were running 7 minute miles over rocks, creeks, mountains, and all kind of whatnot. I won't tell you who won, but it was one of those "WOW" moments. I was ready to go out at 9 o'clock straight to Oak Mountain and put in a few late night trail miles. I was captivated by the whole movie and plan to buy a copy of my own. Just Great Stuff!! If you want to see a trailer of the movie, click here.

Finally, this morning, I delved into a world I have known would be good for me but avoided for many years - YOGA!!! Now, you have to understand, I have a body that has the flexability of a Festivus Pole! As a Physical Therapist, I have to tell my patients "I want you to do this, but I want you to go further!". Well, one of our Sunday runners, Kevin Bokus, is a Yoga instructor, and he has a Saturday morning class. So, after assurance from Kevin that I wouldn't snap, I strapped on a small backback with dry clothes and ran the 3.5 miles to the class. During the hour class, some things were very evident: 1) the Festivus Pole is more flexible, 2) I have absolutely NO balance, and 3) my core is mush. But, I did enjoy the class very much and I think (I know) it will help my running. And I like this Saturday routine of running to and from class - easy way to get 7 miles in before the Sunday long run. If you might be interested in one of Kevin's Yoga classes (he also does Monday and Tuesday evenings), you can email him at

So, that was my week and I found something to write about. Now, don't forget we run from Boutwell Auditorium downtown tomorrow at 6:30AM. There will be Powerade and Gu on the course and the rumor is the Boutwell Lobby will be open for warmth and bathrooms.

I'll see you on the downtown roads - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

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