Sunday, May 31, 2009

This Years Dam Chapter.

Well The 30th annual Dam To Dam 20K has come and gone. I am happy to say that I did meet my goal this year, which was simply to finish. With that said, I would never advise anyone to attempt such a distance without proper training. I paid the price for it yesterday afternoon and again today. I'll address that in another post but in keeping with the theme I began yesterday with "Unwritten" here is what yesterday says about my DAM run.

3:30 Awoke, ate breakfast, let it settle and then took a nice wake up shower before dressing and leaving for downtown Des Moines.

4:30 Heading downtown I found myself in a convoy of area school buses heading the same way to help transport runners to the DAM.

5:00 Parked my car and headed to the convention center. Ran into two friends here, Marilyn who walked the full Des Moines marathon last year. She was DAM volunteer. Also ran into an old pal whom I have not seen for a few years. John told me this would be his fourth DAM to Dam and that last year he had run a full marathon in Chicago in under four hours. Like Justin, John told me he likes to always be registered for an upcoming event to keep his motivation up.

5:20 Called Justin and left as message saying I was going to hop on a bus and hoped to meet up with him at some point.

6:00 Due to flooding last year that wiped out the road to the Dam's south side the buses dropped participants off at the Lakeview Boat Ramp. This meant a nice little uphill hike to the starting area. The view up the lake was nice and there were a few boats out already. Once up top I paced myself through drinking a few more cups of water and I even ate a bag of Sharky's.

6:45 Line up for the start. A few thoughts and well wishes for a good run where said to the runners, our national anthem was sung, and prayer was said.

7:00 The race begins and I am standing in the middle of the road. I was expecting that the run would start out like years past,a quick walk for the first mile across the DAM. Well I was wrong and I quickly found myself jogging at a 10:00 pace, last year this would not have been a problem, but with this years lack of training I found myself seeking a way out of the pack as I tried to reach the shoulder in order to slow my pace down. I found many runners passing on the shoulder and I could not get over without risking a catastrophe so I had to tough it out. Finally near the bend of the first mile I was able to get out of the pack. After catching my breath I quickly hopped back into the race.

Eventually I realized that to finish I would have to pace myself and alternate walking with jogging. By mile three I was in a good rhythm many others around me where taking the same approach. During this time I could not help but compare how different this run was going to be from my past two Dams. I was already vowing that I would not let this happen again. Deciding to stay positive I turned my thoughts toward all the support Team Voice has given me over the past couple years. Once more I thought about Byron and his 8 miles. I knew that mile 8 of Dam would place me into residential areas and that people would be out cheering the runners on.

At mile 7 the water stations where out of cups. I found this alarming as I was afraid of what that meant on the course ahead. Fortunately all the remaining stations had cups.

At mile 9 I was 2:04 into the run. This was my finish time for last year. Lack of training began to really sink in as I thought about how much I have sacrificed by losing the focus I had only a year ago. Not long after mile 9 my calves began to cramp up on me. I knew that if I pushed to hard I would be out of the race so I walked quite a ways before jogging again. This bothered me because this was a downhill portion of the course and I could have made up some time. The cramping came back shortly after every jogging attempt I made for the rest of the course.

Mile 11 brought a nice surprise.

I already knew about this from my drive the day before. It seems that the trail here had collapsed. The solution was a detour and this rather crude solution.

Thankfully they improved this by race day, but it was still nothing more than grass carpet duct taped and staked to the ground. I'm sure the elite runners where not too happy with this. At least they had a volunteer on site to warn runners to be cautious.

One mile out I took off my headphones to hear a string quartet that was playing. They were handing out champaign. I took a glass but found it to be a very odd thing to be drinking so I discarded it.

Suddenly I see runners coming toward me. I realize that they have started the 5K run while the 20K runners are still coming in. The 5K had a turn around just past our 11.4 mile mark. At first the runners coming my way stayed over in the opposite lane but as I got closer to the botanical center they where spreading across the entire road. Holy Cats this was dangerous and it affected the 5k runners who where already returning. Many of them jumped over the sidewalk to maintain pace.

As I rounded the corner toward the finish I could hear the drum corp at the YMCA. This always pumps me up. Once more I tried to break into a run and cramped up again.
My chip time was 2:59:30 nearly a full hour slower than last year. I had hoped to finish at 2:30 but at this point I was glad to simply be finished. I had met the main goal I set out to accomplish.

There were no medals at the finish. I was later told that they ran out and would be mailing them out to those who finished after a certain time. I checked my phone shortly after finishing and noticed Justin had called. After grabbing water and a Gatorade I called him and we met up. Justin and his wife had great finishes Justin came in at 1:56:50 and his wife Krystal 2:15:33. They are a very nice couple and it was wonderful to be able to spend some time with them. I wish I had known that fellow Iowans where not only fans of All About the Mouse but were also down at last years Disney half. It's nice to know I'm not the only one from the "Snowy Tundra." I look forward to seeing them both again next January and possibly again later this year in other Iowa events.

Be sure to stop by Just Keep Goofin' for Justin's report.

Coming soon. The race aftermath and much needed goals.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Today is "Unwritten" (for now)

Downtown Des Moines as viewed from the DAM starting line.

I did my pre DAM drive off yesterday afternoon and snapped a few shots. I'll include a few of those in my post run report. As of now I am getting prepared to head downtown to grab a bus that will transport runners to the starting line. I am nervous and excited at the same time. What does today hold for me? Well like of my favorite songs says...that, remains unwritten.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The DAM Goal

So this weekend will mark my third entry into the DAM to DAM 20k. Past runs here have been 2:19 and 2:04. As many of you know my training has not been the most umm (cough) consistent this year. My expectations for this run? Well primarily my goal this year is to show up and finish.

There was a brief time (several weeks ago) after I signed up for DAM that I considered not doing it. But then I remember being inspired by Byron who although his training was minimal, still showed up last January in Disney and gave it his best shot. Byron has posted in the past that he feels let down for not finishing. I know that many of us in Team Voice would like to be able to clear that from his mind, but we are not walking in his shoes. I do hope that in some way he does believe that we are proud of him for all the effort he put in. So in part this weekend, I will be showing up to honor Byron by showing that although my training this year has been lack luster, I will be there on race day. And if by chance Byron is reading this. Bryon never doubt yourself, in the past you made tremendous strides and you can again. I know you have the heart for it, even if the mental hurtles are a bear. Get out there and keep moving forward my friend.

This past weeks other motivators...

An email from my friend Larry at work. Although Larry is not running DAM he is planning on meeting me at the finish. I am pleased to say that Larry has been getting back into running. He and I have both discussed the mental side of staying focused many times. I look forward to having a weekend running partner.

Rae has asked me numerous times about if I'm "still" doing DAM. She is not letting me fall off the Team Voice grid.

Mike Fess called me this week and we talked about many things. It was great to hear another team mates voice. Mike I hope your knee is getting better. Remember these three words. Frozen Corn Nibblets.

The support from all of the rest of you posting comments here or showing your team support over on the event blog has been to quote Fernando "mah-vel-ous, ab-so-lutely mah-velous"

Perhaps the biggest news to hit DAM this year is that I will not be the only Team Voice member out on the course. Justin and his wife (fellow Iowans) will be running as well. We have exchanged a couple of emails and will be working out the details of meeting up.

Tonight or tomorrow I will be doing my annual course drive off. I find it helps me mentally prepare. Perhaps I'll take a camera along.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cure for a grumpy attitude.

Watch it, smile, repeat as necessary until symptoms of negative attitude dissipate.

Thanks Trace I needed this.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Building the Disney Man Cave

This past spring break both of our kids had school trips planned. One traveled to Washington D.C. and the other to New York. My wife and I decided to take a weekend trip up to Andy's home state of Minnesota. On deck was a trip to the Mall of America, Ikea, The Container Store and what ever else suited us. Of course at the Mall we had to visit the Disney Store. Lots of neat things in there including a full size marionette of Pinocchio (with stings) that was for sale. I wanted to buy it but could not justify the cost. On our first night we returned to the Mall for dinner at "Cantina 1" A Mexican restaurant located on the top floor. The restaurant has windows facing into the mall, and earlier in the day when we walked by the food looked amazing. There was a huge mariachi statue outside the door. I had Emily take a picture of me with it on her phone and I sent it out to many of the team voice members. Some received the picture, some only the text, and some I don't think got it at all. Jonathan was texting me through dinner trying to figure out who I was.
To sum up "Cantina 1" the food did not live up to its appearance. I ordered Diablo chicken. Now even if you don't know Spanish, you only need to have eaten at other Mexican restaurants to know that when you see the word Diablo on the menu its going to be spicy. This dish was so bland Gordon Ramsey's head would have exploded. I questioned the waitress and she said that I had the correct dish. We will not go back. So that's the first part of a long over due trip report. Now to explain how the Disney Man Cave is coming together.

On day two of our trip we decided to travel over to Stillwater and browse the local antique shops. I was looking for Disney items and I discovered a lot of very interesting items, I made two purchases. The first being the Snow White LP you see framed on the wall here. In the 70's many record company's market their vinyl releases in photo discs. These were fully playable recordings that contained images under clear vinyl. The pressing I found does not have a single scratch on the album. The only little defect is on the album cover itself where someone has removed the original price sticker. This album was the inspiration for the wall leading down into the Disney Man Cave. Also in this first photo is the lithograph that Jonathan sent me for being the runner up in the AATM logo contest, the 2009 marathon photo collage, the poster I won at the "we go on meet", and my lanyard of Disney pins. Click the photos for greater detail. On the collage I am the forth runner in from the top right corner.

In the photo above I have framed the lithographs that came packaged in the Disney Treasures "Chronological Donald Duck Volumes 1-4" and a fifth from Disney Treasures "On the Front Lines" I am also including family photos from past trips.

In the picture below is the other purchase I made in Stillwater. From Pepsi Cola's 1977 Happy Birthday Mickey Glassware collection comes Donald Duck with his nephews, whom you can see reflected in the mirror. This collection featured the fab five and the other glasses where available. I had two reasons for only buying Donald. First is that I am collecting Donald stuff. The second is that the printing of the Mickey glass was smeared. Had it not been, I "might just might" have bought them all. Also in this photo is a Jim Shore Donald that my wife gave me for my Birthday last March. And of course my half marathon medal.

More Disney Man Cave updates will follow as things go up. But I can't close today without going back to Stillwater on more time. Stillwater has that old Main Street USA feeling to it. If you ever visit you'll really enjoy the shops, some are much larger inside than they appear outside and your sure to find something. For lunch you have to stop into Leo's Grill and Malt Shop. I had the Blackened Blue Burger, it was without any doubt the best burger I have ever had. So hey good things do come from my northern neighbor.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Caption This One

"Not only are they an aid to driving, they improve my stride!"

From Craig: "Now I can see eye to eyes with Sully."

From Amanda: "I can finally keep up with the other monsters at the half marathon!"

Quick note on training. Completed 6 miles on Tuesday and on Wednesday I made it up to the gym for some weights and the elliptical. Quite sore in the legs tonight so I took the evening off and caught Star Trek. Very good, go see it.
Although I rested tonight I am happy to report I can finally feel some motivation coming back to me. And it feels good.

Happy running everyone.

Oh and the picture is in response to Mikes question over on AATC regarding how Mike W could reach the clutch and gas pedals on the big truck.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

News Department

News from Andy's beloved Minnesota continues to come in over at AATC. The official story begins here. No clue as to when the madness will end.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Movie Night: Run Fatboy Run

So tonight I kicked back to watch a movie that I have wanted to see for some time. "Run Fatboy Run." Because the film has a theme that is based around running, I am posting a few comments here rather than over on Bijouplaza.

The movie opens with Dennis (Simon Pegg of Shaun of the Dead) about to marry his pregnant girlfriend Elizabeth. Dennis gets cold feet and climbs out the window before the ceremony. When it is realized that Dennis is missing, Elizabeth and some of the wedding party step outside just in time to see him running away.

Fast forward a few years and we learn that Dennis is living his life in regret for his actions and longing for a chance to prove to Elizabeth that he is sorry and would do anything to win her back. Elizabeth is skeptical, but does allow him back into her life for the sake of their son whom she strongly feels needs to have his father in his life. But the relationship between Mom and Dad is not to be. Elizabeth is now dating another man named Wit. Wit is a marathon runner and Dennis wanting to prove that he is every bit of a man as Wit and also wanting to prove to Elizabeth he can finish something he starts, decides to participate in the Nike River Run marathon.

Between his announcement to run and race day, frictions arise between Dennis and Wit. All the training (if you can call it that) that Dennis has but into the run appears to be for naught when he learns that Elizabeth has agreed to marry Wit. Dennis gets down on himself, and feeling as if there is no point in running, he announces that he is not going to run. But life has a little curve ball to throw at him and one day while looking at his son, he decides he can't quit. Finishing the marathon is just something he must do.

In a scene that makes no sense, (outside of the plot line) Wit the marathon runner, and Dennis the amateur, are placed side by side in the first corral with the elite runners. Barbs are shot between the two and as the race begins both men start off so fast they pass the elites. Wit (who is pushing himself harder than he wants to be) warns Dennis that he (Dennis) will burn out and hit the wall if he does not pace himself. Dennis gets ticked off and pushes even harder. In desperation Wit trips Dennis and both men fall to the ground. Dennis crawls off the course in pain. Wit gets back to he feet, but not for long. Within a short distance he feels a stitch in his side and realizes he can't work through it. He has hit the wall and leaves the course.

While all this is going on, Elizabeth is watching the event on television. She sees that Dennis is injured and due to some commentary, assumes that he is being taken to the hospital. Upon arrival she finds Wit there and not Dennis.

Unknown to Elizabeth, Dennis is still out on the course jogging with an ice bag strapped to his ankle. By nightfall Dennis is still 9 miles from the finish line. Then it happens, he hits the wall. This is my favorite scene in the movie and I tried in vain to find it on youtube. At this point Dennis is surrounded by a crowd of supporters but its just not enough to keep him moving. The camera swings behind him and we see a literal brick wall in front of him, he looks back over his shoulder only sees an empty street, he does not see the crowd. Turning back to the wall he notices a single brick has been removed. He looks through the opening and he sees himself beckoning himself to continue, he looks back at the empty street and then back at himself on the other side of the wall. He punches the wall but it does not give. He slams he body into the wall and still it does not give. He backs up a few steps and runs at the wall. He makes it though!!! I loved the message of this scene. He had to find it within himself to continue.

The scene cuts back to Elizabeth and Wit who are back at Wits home. Wit has been telling her all day that it was Dennis who tripped him but when the news come on she learns that Dennis is still out running and when they roll footage from earlier in the day she realizes that Wit was lying. She and her son Jake leave Wit's home and head down to see Dennis. By now Dennis is almost there and within the final yards he collapses, unable to move. Through blurry eyes he looks up and sees Elizabeth with his son standing just beyond the finish line. He reaches deep within himself, climbs back to he feet and collapsing into Elizabeth's arms he finishes.

This is a decent film mixed with some good laughs and scenes that are touching and even motivating at times. I liked that it did not end with Dennis and Elizabeth falling immediately back in love. Instead he asks her for a date and you just know that its going to work out.

Here is a funny scene that takes a common problem to runners to a bit of an extreme.