I was living it up in Boston last week after running my first sub-3. I was celebrating with friends, grinning from ear-to-ear as I got a ridiculous inflow of praise via text, email, Facebook and Twitter. I did it. I got it done. I worked hard and made it happen. I was listening to songs on my iPod like “Standing On Top Of The World” by Van Halen and “Moment For Life” by Nicki Minaj. I was pretty proud of myself. And really, I needed to be humbled. [Read more…]
Well, I figured I’d check in with a new blog to start the week. My blog is like my journal, I guess, and I had a draining weekend. There was good and there was bad, there was happy and there was sad. But wow, was it draining.
My weekend more-or-less started on Friday. On Thursday night, we got a phone call that Tiff’s grandma took a turn for the worse and we needed to get up and see her while we can. She’s been struggling for a while, but she’s being moved into hospice care. Tiff hadn’t seen her in six months and I hadn’t seen her in eight and she looked like she had aged 10 years. She looked very tired and barely coherent.
It was tough to see her at this end-of-life stage. I’ve known her for 16 years and it’s so hard to see her the way she is now. I couldn’t tell if she recognized us or not, but I think she did. She’s lived a full life, but it’s still tough to watch the end of life on earth for somebody. I just hope any pain she’s feeling is alleviated.
On Saturday, I went to a memorial service for a friend of mine who died from cancer at age 45 a week ago. It was an amazing service, but it was a tough one to sit through. It was hard to see her son go up there, as well has her father and her grandfather. I saw friends at the reception afterwards, but for about 20 minutes, I was to drained to even talk. I just stood next to them silently, apologizing for not having anything to say. Eventually when we drove home, the first song we heard when we turned on the radio was Live Like You’re Dying by Tim McGraw. It was pretty chilling.
I was in a funk the rest of the day, but I eventually made my way down to the Surf City expo with my oldest son, Benjamin, to pick up my stuff for the marathon. He had fun carrying around my 3:40 pacing stick and I was teasing him, telling people he was going to be the marathon pacer. “But daddy, I’m only 9!”
I really don’t remember much about Saturday night, other than I know I was pretty sad reading what my friends were writing about the memorial service on Facebook. I ran a couple of errands and heard this song and I liked it:
Sunday morning, I got up and paced the 3:40 group at the Surf City Marathon. That was fun, a nice release. It’s always fun to help people reach their goals. I felt pretty good with how I ran, going 3:39:49 and catching a lot of praise from the folks in my group. They were happy with the consistent race I ran. In my perfectionist way of thinking, I’m kind of bummed with how I ran the last 2/10 of a mile. I think mile marker 26 was off a bit and even though I knew I was about four seconds ahead of pace for the race, I thought I might have been eight seconds back. So I surged a bit just to make sure I didn’t finish slow.
The race I ran for the first 26 miles would have netted me about a 3:39:57 if I would have held pace, but I ended up 11 seconds fast instead. Really, it was a good job pacing. But in my perfectionist ways of approaching pacing, I blew it late.
Anyways, we had a few friends over to watch the Super Bowl, the kids had a blast and even though I burned 4,222 calories running the marathon, I ate way too much the rest of the day. I was pulling for the Packers because my friend who died was a Packers fan. I’ve never really liked them, but I’ve been pulling for them this season and I was glad to see them come through. Oh, and I won my 23rd annual Super Bowl bet with my grandma. I took the Packers and gave her 2.5 points. My prize? She’s going to treat my wife to a manicure. Somehow, I’m not so sure I won anything.
So that was it, I guess. Quite a contrast to my weekends from last year. I ran a marathon, my first of the year, but I got to spend a lot of time with the family and live my own life. It was kind of nice — is that what everybody normally does?
Last year at this time, I was getting ready to get the Blues — the Mississippi Blues Marathon. It was marathon No. 2 of 61 for the year, January 9 in Jackson. I’m getting the blues again, although this time I’m staying in California.
Just in case you’ve never been here before, I’m a father of three and a marathon runner. My middle child, 7-year-old Jack, is severely autistic. I ran 61 marathons last year to raise money and awareness for a charity I’m a part of called Train 4 Autism. It was a successful mission, ending on December 26 with the Operation Jack Marathon.
I suspected all along I’d get depressed when it all ended. I was so used to my routine of traveling, checking into dirtbag motels, running marathons, racing to the airport, writing my blogs, trying to raise money, etc. I figured I’d miss it. As exhausting and demanding as it was, and as difficult as it was to leave home so much, it was still fun to get out there and meet people and see things.
Eleven days removed from my last race, I don’t miss it at all. I have enough memories to last a lifetime and enough was enough. It’s nice not to travel and it’s nice to not have to get up and run a marathon because I “have to.” I’ve been getting back into training, running my 15-milers in the morning before work and eating more. I don’t miss what I was doing last year at all.
I come home from work, I don’t have a blog to write, I put my phone and my laptop down and I hang out with my family. It’s easier to spend time with the kids and I hang out with my wife at night, actually paying attention to the show we’re watching instead of just being there physically while I write a blog and make travel reservations and answer emails.
Yes, this new routine is nice. Really, really nice. I’m getting to be the me that I used to be.
So why am I depressed? Why am I getting the blues in California? I feel like I have nothing to do, as odd as that sounds. For 18 months, I pushed and pushed to get things done. I pushed to raise money and awareness for Train 4 Autism. I was banging my head against the wall and struggling for 18 months. I love a challenge and I never quit trying last year. Even after my last race, I still went after donations.
But now what? I feel like I have nothing to do, even though I’m doing a lot more in my personal life. Everybody who was talking to me is still talking to me, so it’s not like I’m getting ignored, but for some reason, I just feel like the world has tossed me
aside. It’s kind of tough to feel alone with nothing to do, but that’s where I’m at.
We go to Saddleback Church, which is Rick Warren’s church, and the message is very purpose-driven. I found a purpose last year and I loved it. I have a wife and three kids and I love them dearly. I love playing with my kids, spending time with my wife — you know, being a typical dad and husband. But for whatever weird reason, I just don’t feel much of a purpose right now. I don’t know if it’s wrong to think that taking care of my family and raising my kids isn’t enough for me to do, but that’s where I’m at.
This morning, I got up for my run and just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to go out for 15 miles, but I didn’t have the heart to. A lot of people use running as a release, but I can’t do it without a clear mind. I was going to go back to bed, but then I figured I’d be mad at myself for eating too much yesterday and not using it today. So I went out for a run and got about 1/10 of a mile before turning back. I just didn’t have it in me, although it has nothing to do with running.
Why am I writing this? Heck, I don’t know. I have mixed emotions about whether I should really be posting any more. But I guess until I get zero page views, it’s not totally a waste of time. And maybe some of you who have been following along still want to follow along as I come down from my cloud?
Anyways, that’s all, I guess. Have a great weekend, everybody. Sorry to be such a downer!
I was worried about how I’d mentally after my 61-marathon endeavor last year. I thought I’d be depressed and sad. I mentally prepared for the letdown and through seven days, it never came. I was never really bummed. Not until now. I’m writing my first blog since I completed Operation Jack on December 26 and I can’t help but think … what do I write about? And why would anybody care at this point? At least I have a couple of cool video clips for you.
Anyways, just in case you’ve never been here, I ran 61 marathons in 2010 to raise money and awareness for a charity I’m a part of called Train 4 Autism. My middle child, 7-year-old Jack, is severely autistic. So I named the endeavor Operation Jack, after him.
I ran marathon No. 61 of the year on December 26. And then life went on. I worked 18 hours the next day and I didn’t run. That was last Monday. I was worried I’d feel like the world passed me by, but I was fine. I was still on a high and getting a fair amount of attention.
I was busy as heck last week, working about 75 hours. I start working by 9 a.m. and worked until 4 a.m. Monday night, 11 p.m. Tuesday night, regular hours on Wednesday and again until 4 a.m. on Thursday night. Friday, allegedly a day off, I worked from about 10 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., although I took a break for about an hour in the middle for a media interview (keep reading — I embedded it a little ways down in this blog). I got too tired to keep working at that point, watched the ball drop with my wife, Tiffany, then called it a night at about 1 a.m.
On Saturday, I was at it again by about 10 a.m., then finally ran out of brainpower at about 7:30 p.m. I was so tired I decided not to run yesterday morning. So, in my first-week post-Operation Jack, I ran zero miles and spent about 75 hours in front of the computer. Man, what a bummer.
But I took yesterday off. I slept in, went to church with my family, took care of some Operation Jack stuff that I still need to finish up on, completed my honey-do list, visited with my parents, watched a little football, played Uno and squeezed in a tiny bit of bodyweight exercises (pushups, pullups, crunches, dips, etc.). I felt unproductive for at least 2 or 3 hours, which was amazing. Is that what the rest of you do on Sundays? It’s been a while — I don’t really remember.
Anyways, I haven’t checked in for about a week, so that’s what I’ve been up to. I knew I wanted to write a blog for today, because that race report can only stay up for so long. And then I started to write this and I got pretty sad.
What do I do now? And who really cares? I want to keep pushing this cause. And I’d love to help out with a few other causes that I believe in. But I don’t really know how I can help or what I can do.
I feel like Superman when he lost his powers:
I guess for now I’ll stop dwelling. Well, at least for today. I did get out and run 15 miles this morning, which was nice. I kind of found the old me.
My Wife Says I’m Not Funny, But I Made Her Laugh
So on Saturday night, we were watching some movie called The Backup Plan or something like that, with Jennifer Lopez and some guy who, according to my wife, has the perfect upper body. It was a chick flick, and in all fairness, I fell asleep about halfway through the movie. I can keep my Man Card.
In that first half, there was a scene where there was a first date and they went into some kind of garden setting and it was romantic and the kind of stuff that chicks dig and guys don’t really do in real life. So of course, my wife has to jokingly nag with something like, “Why didn’t I ever get something like that?”
I guess being funny all depends on timing, so fortunately, it took about half a second for me to come up with my reply.
“Because I didn’t have access to a movie set and a million-dollar budget.”
I would say that shut her up, but it didn’t. She was laughing for a good minute or so. I’m funny, even if Tiff and my friend Nicole say I’m not.
We got featured on the LA NBC station and on the LA ABC station. The NBC piece made its way around the country and folks saw it all over, even in Australia! Here they are:
That’s Enough For Today
I’m guessing I’ll blog again later this week. If you have any questions about anything, let me know. If you have anything you want me to blog about, let me know. If you have any ideas for things I can do make the world a better place, let me know.
Beyond that, have a great day!
Over the weekend, I had some friends over for a small get-together, and one of them asked me if I ever blogged about the fun I had after my first marathon. I’m pretty sure I haven’t, and I’m absolutely certain it would be WRONG for me go through this entire year without relaying the story, so today, you’re in for a treat.
Real quick, just in case you’ve never been here before, I’m a father of three and a marathon runner. My middle child, 7-year-old Jack, is severely autistic. I want to try to make a difference, and I want Jack to have an impact on the world, so I’m attempting to run 61 full marathons this year and raise money and awareness for a charity I’m a part of called Train 4 Autism. I named this endeavor Operation Jack after him, because I wouldn’t be doing this if not for him.
Last Friday, I ran marathon No. 56 of the year, the Wishbone Run in Gig Harbor, Wash. It was a pretty challenging run on trails covered by snow, ice and mud. You can read my recap here.
That was my 84th lifetime marathon. But I’m going to talk about the aftermath of my first full. How’s that for a pretty weak transition?
I was looking forward to my first marathon, and like most people attacking their first full, I planned on making a big weekend out of it. It was the 2006 San Diego Rock ‘N Roll Marathon. June 4, 2006. That was my day, my weekend. I owned it!
I stayed with friends the night before the race in a fifth wheel (kind of like an RV) about 10 miles from the start line. My brother was with us and he drove me to the start. I ran to the finish. Since it was my first marathon, it was a big deal to everybody.
My wife and kids were there at the end. My parents were there. My in-laws were there, too. Several friends were there. As a group, we had several cars, although, as I mentioned, I ran to the finish after getting dropped off at the start. I didn’t know where in the parking lot those cars were. I was limping around and feeling pretty miserable. I certainly wasn’t used to that kind of pounding on my legs.
I had the opportunity to leave the finish area with my brother and friends, but I gave that spot in the car to my dad, because I wanted to ride back to the campground with the fifth wheel with my wife and kids in her Suburban. So, I was with my wife and kids, my in-laws and my stepmom. The parking lot was a huge dirt parking lot. HUGE. You could get lost in there for hours (Hint: That was foreshadowing!).— It all looked the same and it seemed to go on forever.
We started walking to the car. Apparently, it was in the second row, all the way to the right. The group was certain of that. We kept walking and walking and walking. No Suburban. After a while, somebody I was with was convinced we had gone too far so we turned around because we must have walked right by it. I really wanted to find the car, sit down and go back to the fifth wheel to take a shower and eat. We had a barbecue planned.
After about 30 minutes of aimless wandering, I called up my dad, since he rode down in the Suburban. He was on speakerphone via bluetooth, so my friends got to hear the conversation. I was extremely frustrated.
“Hey, do you remember where the car is?”
He nonchalantly told me he didn’t remember. I decided to ask again.
“OK, let me rephrase the question,” I calmly said. I was extremely irritated by the situation at this point, and this is when I exploded. “ACT LIKE YOUR LIFE (expletive) DEPENDS ON IT. WHERE IN THE (expletive) IS THE (expletive) CAR?”
That rattled him, and I felt bad, but I wanted to find the car!
“Uhhhh,” he said, just about trembling, “by a fence?”
My friends were laughing hysterically. I was not. For starters, there was no fence! Plus, I wanted to sit down, but I knew I couldn’t, because if I did, I wouldn’t get back up. So we kept looking at every car, right along where my wife, in-laws and stepmom said it would be. They said second row, but I looked at every car from the front to the back, in every row from the first to the fourth.
After about an hour had passed, we were right by a big sign with a letter B. I was beyond angry. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
So, I questioned the group.
“Does anybody remember one of these big signs with a letter on it when you parked? You know, like B, for boy?”
No response. Just silence. I think they were scared to talk to me.
“C? Cat?” Still, no response.
“D? DUMMIES?” Definitely no response, and no anger back towards me and my frustration.
They kept offering to let me sit down, but I knew I wouldn’t get up. And something chivalrous about me didn’t feel right letting my wife and stepmom and mother-in-law search for the car while I sat. My father-in-law, different story.
I broke away from the group (but had my phone), and kept searching for the car. After about an hour and 15 minutes, my sister-in-law, who was 80 miles away but knew what was going on, tried calling OnStar to get them to honk our horn. We had let our service expire, though, plus in a lot that size, I don’t think it would have helped.
About 10 minutes later, my wife asked one of the lot attendants where they might have parked if they showed up somewhere around 9:15 or 9:30. I wouldn’t have known this, because I was at around mile 17. But apparently, they were likely either in lot 4 or lot 5. Tiff called me and told me this.
I walked to lot 4, which was in the middle of the parking lot, not all the way over to the right, where everybody was certain the car was. But you know what? Lot 4 was … surrounded by a fence. As soon as I saw it, I knew, based on the ridiculous clue from my dad, that the Suburban was in there. I also knew, since everybody was so adamant about it being in these second row all the way over to the right, that all I had to do was walk in on the right side of the lot, turn down the second aisle and I’d find it.
That’s what I did, and sure enough, about 20 cars down was the one we’d spent 90 minutes searching for. Yeah, I’m the one who found it in that massive parking lot, even though I was the only one who wasn’t there when it was originally parked. Thanks to my dad for the clue, huh?
I called Tiff and told here where it was and I didn’t move an inch. I just waited. Within 10 minutes, I finally got to sit down. I’d been on my feet for a good six hours at that point if you count the 20 minutes before the race.
I knew even before we found the car that I’d be telling the story for years. But now, I also make very certain to text myself where I parked the car before a race so I don’t have a repeat of this episode.
Ask Me Anything!
I don’t really remember how, but I came upon a site called Formspring earlier this year. I got a few questions over the weekend out of nowhere, so I answered them. It’s kind of fun (well, at least for me), and if you’ve had any questions you ever wanted to ask me, you can do so anonymously and get your answer. Ask away at www.formspring.me/operationjack!
Operation Jack Marathon
We’re less than four weeks away from the Operation Jack Marathon! If you haven’t registered, or even seen what it is, take a look! If you’re not going to be in the area, take a look at our Satellite Run option. I have some Satellite Run registrants I need to put on that list. Sorry about the delay — I’ll get you up today.
And I think that’s all for today. Have a great Tuesday … I’ll be back here with a guest blog for tomorrow!