Thursday, November 30

St. Jude Countdown: 2

I'm in rainy, cold, windy Memphis. Tomorrow, I will pick up my race packet, take a quick trip through the expo, rest, carbo-load, and read. I'll go for a very quick run mid-afternoon just to work out the jitters. And then, early to bed.

I love this marathon and the cause it supports. I have trained for it. I have prayed for it. I am ready for it. I can hardly wait for it!

Monday, November 27

St. Jude Countdown: 5

I am now down to the last few days before the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis. My training has gone well and now I am in my taper. I am also keeping an eye on weather. We've had spectacular temperatures and glorious weather all through the Thanksgiving holidays. But, it looks as if that is about to change rather dramatically. A cold front starts blowing through tomorrow. By Saturday, we should have clear skies again. But, temperatures could be in the twenties for the start of the race. Yikes! So, I am preparing accordingly.

Of course, the whole reason I do this is to raise awareness and finances for the Memphis hospital that has done more than any other single institution to pioneer new treatments for children's cancer. So, won't you help me support the remarkable ministry of St. Jude to children and families battling cancer? I won't even ask you to run with me! Just donate to the cause and come back to visit my st. jude sponsor site often. Tell others about what I'm trying to do. Learn how my effort to help find cures and save lives is going. Oh yes, and do pray for the final stretch of my training!

Saturday, November 25

Taper Time

My good friend and fellow-elder, John Scherrer, and I ran stride for stride in the Habitrot 5K. As you can see, it was a beautiful morning--albeit, just a little chilly. The run was a perfect start for my training taper. Yesterday, I did an easy 5 miles. This morning, I did another 5, slow and relaxed. Tomorrow, I'll take off entirely. Monday, I'll go just a bit longer--maybe around 10 or 12. Then for the rest of the week, I'll stick with 3-milers until Saturday when I attempt the 26.2 in Memphis.

Thursday, November 23

Habitrot 5K

Early on this beautiful Thanksgiving morning here in Franklin, nearly a thousand runners gathered for the annual Habitrot 5K. It was brisk and breezy at the start--with temperatures right at freezing. But, the sun was shining and there was excitement in the air. I always feel that this race has two very unfair aspects: first, we have to run right past the local Krispy Kreme donut shop and second, three-fourths of the course seems to be uphill. Despite these handicaps, it was a great day for a fun run--and good prep for my training taper this week.

Wednesday, November 22

St. Jude Countdown: 10

In just a little over a week, I will run the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis for the third year in a row. So, I am officially beginning my training taper today. I ran my last long, long run yesterday. Conditions were less than ideal--with blustery winds from the NNE, I was buffeted and blown so much that in the end, I had to cut the run a bit short, doing only 19 of the 21 miles I had planned. Nevertheless, I was able to stay on pace. So, I am optimistic. But then, I am always optimistic at this stage of the game.

Despite cutting it short, I am sore today. So, I'll go for a nice easy run to loosen up this afternoon. Then tomorrow morning, I will run in the annual Habitrot 5K--a great fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity and a great first course for our Thanksgiving feast.

One of my goals for this upcoming marathon is to try to break the 4 hour barrier that has bedeviled me ever since the first time I ran 26.2. But, my larger goal is to break the $1K barrier in fundraising for the remarkable work of the St. Jude Children's Hospital. You can help me accomplish the first goal by praying for me. You can help me accomplish the second goal by visiting my st. jude sponsor site and pledging your support.

Monday, November 20

Uttermost Site

A temporary Uttermost photo slide show has been posted on the web until I can get the permanent website updated. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 18

St. Jude Marathon

I am now down to the last two of weeks of training before the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis. My training is going well. I have just one more long run to do (I'll try to get it in on Monday). And then after the Habitrot 5K on Thanksgiving morning, I will begin my taper. Of course, the whole reason I do this is to raise awareness and finances for the Memphis hospital that has done more than any other single institution to pioneer new treatments for children's cancer. So, won't you help me support the remarkable ministry of St. Jude to children and families battling cancer? I won't even ask you to run with me! Just donate to the cause and come back to visit my st. jude sponsor site often. Tell others about what I'm trying to do. Learn how my effort to help find cures and save lives is going. Oh yes, and do pray for the final stretch of my training!

Lance Says Thanks

Check out the following e-mail thread between Lance Armstrong and his publicity rep at Nike (it was posted this past week on Lance's site after he finished the NYC Marathon):

From: Lance Armstrong
To: Scott M. (Nike)
Sent: Nov 5, 2006 2:48 PM
Subject: Idea
What do you say we buy a full-page ad & say thanks to all the NYCers for coming out and supporting? I couldn't have done it without them.

From: Scott M. (Nike)
To: Lance Armstrong
Sent: Nov 5, 2006 3:18 PM
Subject: Re: Idea
Checking on it. What would you want to say?

From: Lance Armstrong
To: Scott M. (Nike)
Sent: Nov 5, 2006 3:22 PM
Subject: Re: Re: Idea
Was thinking that we should thank the city for being so supportive of ALL the runners. For a big city to show that is unreal. It would be the only reason I would come back. They were AMAZING.

From: Scott M. (Nike)
To: Lance Armstrong
Sent: Nov 5, 2006 3:29 PM
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Idea
I think we can do it. I'll let you know for sure. BTW, how do you feel?

From: Lance Armstrong
To: Scott M. (Nike)
Sent: Nov 5, 2006 3:32 PM
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Idea
I'm dead. Hardest physical thing I've ever done. Try your best to make this happen. No way I would have crossed the finish line without the cheering. I owe them.

Wednesday, November 8

He Did It

Dean Karnazes finished his quest to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. Along the way, he inspired a lot of people. Including me.

Sunday, November 5

Lance

Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion, accomplished his goal of finishing a marathon in New York City today. But, it cost him dearly. "I think I bit off more than I could chew," he said. "I thought the marathon would be easier." Though he finished in an impressive 2:59.36 in the ING New York Marathon, he admitted that the race "the hardest physical thing I have ever done." It was, he said, even more grueling than his worst days on the Alp d'Huez.

The 35-year-old Armstrong averaged less than 7 minute miles throughout the race until mile 21 when he fell off the pace briefly. Of course, it didn't hurt that he was paced for most of the race by former marathon champions Alberto Salazar and Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Memo to self: the next time I want to negative split the 26.2, bring along a couple of ringers.

Oh yeah, it wasn't Armstrong who actually won the race. That honor went to Brazilian Marilson Gomes dos Santos in the men's race and defending champion Jelena Prokopcuka in the women's race--but, judging from the crowd reaction, most of the crowd along the way cared more about the fact that Lance came in nearly an hour later.

Saturday, November 4

ING NYC Marathon

Tomorrow morning, New York City will come alive with one of the greatest spectacals in sports: the ING New York City Marathon. More than 40,000 runners will be winding through all of the city's five boroughs--beginning on Staten Island, across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, winding through Brooklyn and Queens before crossing over into the Bronx, and finally finishing in Manhattan's magnificent Central Park.

Just One More

Just one more day. Just one more marathon. Dean Karnazes has nearly completed his Endurance 50 quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states. Yesterday, he ran in Philly. Today, he ran in Jersey. Tomorrow, is it. He'll run with 40,000 other marathoners--including celeb first-timer, Lance Armstrong--in the ING New York City Marathon. It will be a grand stage for his grand finale. Afterward, there will be a finish party from 12:00-4:00 PM at the North Face retail store. Located at 2101 Broadway at 73rd, the store is just around the corner from the NYC Marathon finish in Central Park.

Wednesday, November 1

St. Jude Marathon

I am now down to the last couple of weeks of preparation before I run the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis. Once again, I will be running for a very special cause. I will be raising funds for essential cancer research. If you'd like to make a pledge, you can do so online at my st. jude sponsor site. With the diagnosis of my dear friends Todd Burleson and Wes King with cancer during the past two years and the continuing battle against the dread disease by two of my students here in Franklin and three of my correspondence students in New York and Texas, I am more committed to this cause and this work than ever before. My goal is to raise $1000 for St. Jude Children's Hospital this year. Won't you help?

The reason I picked St. Jude as the focus of my fundraising efforts is actually very simple to explain: this nationally renowned children's charity hospital is one of the most remarkable and effective medical research institutions anywhere in the world. St. Jude has treated children from across the United States and from more than 70 foreign countries. And yet ability to pay is never an issue because St. Jude is the only pediatric research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. Not one penny! Not ever! Zip! Zilch! Nada!

The treatment of children and the onging research at St. Jude includes work in bone marrow transplantation, chemotherapy, the biochemistry of normal and cancerous cells, radiation treatment, blood diseases, resistance to therapy, viruses, hereditary diseases, infectious diseases, and psychological effects of catastrophic illnesses. Vital work, indeed. And again, always made available to families regardless of their financial means.

Obviously, this kind of care is very expensive. Won't you help me support the remarkable ministry of St. Jude to children and families battling cancer? Please donate now and come back to visit my st. jude sponsor site often. Tell others about what I'm trying to do. Learn how my effort to help find cures and save lives is going. Oh yes, and do pray for my training!