Saturday, September 30

Uttermost Training

Today was a major benchmark training day for my upcoming Uttermost 3-day run-bike effort. First thing this morning, I ran in the Shelby Bottoms 15K--which was wonderful because that is precisely where the Uttermost will be held so it was like a test run. Then this afternoon, I got in a good 5-mile walk-run with my family. My plan was to run in the Franklin Night Run 5K--but, I have work to do so I will have to pass on that.

My illness a couple of weeks ago really threw me behind on my training. But, given that, I am feeling pretty good about where I am with my conditioning.

I'll throw myself into one more hard week of training and then really taper off for the big October 12-14 event.

If you have not yet visited the Uttermost website, by all means, stop by to read about each of the missions organizations we hope to benefit, and then pledge your support!

14 Down, 36 to Go

Dean Karnazes ran had his largest group of runners meet him to pace the fourteenth leg of his Endurance 50 quest. Next stop: Portland, Oregon.

Lucky 13

For his thirteenth marathon in thirteen days, Dean Karnazes ran the 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 16 minutes. It was a little slower than usual--but, not because of a slowing pace. It seems that a restaurant along the way attracted his attentions--it was called "Lucky 13"--and he just had to stop for a photo-op. And so goes his Endurance 50 quest. Next stop: Bellview, Washington.

Thursday, September 28

Uttermost: 15

In just 15 days, I will be undertaking a tough three-day challenge in an effort not only to raise thousands of dollars for vital missionary organizations but to also inspire my students to make a difference in their world right here and now. Together we will attempt a half-marathon, a 5K, and a 2 mile walk each day in addition to a 30-mile cycling course along the Cumberland River adjacent to downtown Nashville.

You can help us make this event a great success. Please visit our Uttermost website, read about each of the organizations we hope to benefit, and then pledge your support today!

12 Down, 38 to Go

In Billings, Montana today, Dean Karnazes ran 26.2 miles in less than 4 hours. It was an amazing feat considering the fact that he has now run 12 marathons in 12 days in 12 states in his remarkable Endurance 50 quest. It was the fifth time he dipped beneath the 4 hour threshold. My goal is to do that just once in my life! He's done it five times in less than two weeks! Next stop: Boise, Idaho.

Wednesday, September 27

11 Down, 39 to Go

After three marathons over three days in high altitudes, Dean Karnazes came back down to earth a bit today as he ran 26.2 miles in Fargo, North Dakota. He ran it in a brisk 4 hours and 16 minutes. Alas, his head cold is still plaguing his Endurance 50 quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states--but he remains focused, determined, and strong. Next stop: Billings, Montana.

Tuesday, September 26

17 Days Until the Uttermost

Yes, you read that right. Three days. 175 miles. And yes, I am going to attempt to do all of it. With the students of Franklin Classical School and Artios Academy, I will be running (about 70 miles of the total), walking (about 10 miles), and cycling (the remaining 95 miles) in an effort to raise support for some of the most remarkable missions organizations I know of--including Servant Group International, African Leadership, Blood: Water Mission, and Mercy Children's Clinic.

Won't you help us attain our goal? Visit our Uttermost website, read about our mission, and pledge your support today!

10 Down, 40 to Go

And, again! How does he do it? Dean Karnazes ran the 26.2 miles of Black Hills trails in the Deadwood Marathon in 3 hours and 53 minutes. His Endurance 50 quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states remains on pace--a very fast pace. Next stop: Fargo, North Dakota.

9 Down, 41 to Go

He did it again. Dean Karnazes broke 4 hours for the second day in a row--with a raging head cold, in high altitude, following 8 straight days of 26.2 mile runs. Quite simply: amazing. He is starting to make his Endurance 50 quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states look almost easy. Next stop: Deadwood, South Dakota.

Sunday, September 24

8 Down, 42 to Go

Dean Karnazes claims that he is a "slow runner." Yeah, right! Today he joined 2,200 other runners at the Boulder Backroads Marathon. He ran the 26.2 miles in three hours and 46 minutes. That is very nearly a Boston Marathon qualifying speed! That is in the top 10% of all marathons run in the world! And he did it in the thin Colorado air--at 5,500 feet above sea level. But, here is the kicker: Karnazes has been running a marathon a day, every day, each one in a different state for more than a week now! And to top it all off, he is doing so while fighting off the effects of a raging head cold! The guy is unbelievable. A great deal can happen during the course of the next 42 days, but it looks as if his Endurance 50 quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states is actually doable. Next stop: Casper, Wyoming.

Saturday, September 23

7 Down, 43 to Go

Today, Dean Karnazes faced his first real test in his Endurance 50 quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states. Last night, he came down with a raging head cold and hardly slept a wink. Nevertheless, he was able to drag himself to the start line right on time--at 7 AM. And then he promptly covered 26.2 miles in 4 hours 15 minutes--with 21 other runners, including two first time marathoners. Next stop: Boulder, Colorado.

6 Down, 44 to Go

Yesterday in Des Moines, weather was nearly perfect for running--68 degrees and partly cloudy. Inspired, the 35 runners who joined Dean Karnazes--including 5 first-time marathoners--kept up an amazing pace for all 26.2 miles of the Des Moines Marathon course. They crossed the finish line together in 4 hours and 6 minutes.

At mile 10 the course does a lap around the famous Drake University track, and standing there to meet the runners were the Drake University Mascot and fifty elementary school students from a nearby school. The kids ran the lap around the track with Karnazes and the other runners, cheering and high-fiving all along the way. It would have been impossible to know simply by looking that this was the sixth marathon in six days in the Endurance 50 quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states. Next stop: Lincoln, Nebraska.

Thursday, September 21


Nike reported Wednesday that in the 10 weeks since its iPod Sport Kit debuted, runners have logged more than 1 million miles on the web site. 230 of those miles were mine.

5 Down, 45 to Go

The weather today in Wichita was cold and blustery, but Dean Karnazes remained undeterred in his Endurance 50 quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states. Today, he ran the 26.2 mile course of the Wichita Marathon. And, as always, Karnazes maintained an astonishingly consistent pace, coming in at 4 hours and 23 minutes. So far, he has run marathons in Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Kansas. Next stop: Des Moines for the Iowa leg of this epic adventure.

Wednesday, September 20

4 Down, 46 to Go

Relieved to be out of the Gulf Coast heat and humidity, Dean Karnazes ran his fourth marathon in as many days. Today, the 26.2 mile trek was along the course of the Little Rock Marathon. Once again, Karnazes kept up a blistering pace, coming in at 4 hours and 14 minutes. Mike Huckabee, Arkansas' governor and a recent convert to marathon running, joined Karnazes who now has 46 marathons to go in his Endurance 50 quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states. Next stop: Wichita.

Tuesday, September 19

3 Down, 47 to Go

After running in the rain Memphis yesterday, Dean Karnazes ran 26.2 miles in blessedly cool, clear weather along the Mississippi Gulf coast at Waveland in 4 hours and 30 minutes. He has 47 marathons to go in his Endurance 50 quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states. Next stop: Little Rock.

2 Down, 48 to Go

It was raining in Memphis yesterday morning as 18 runners lined up with Dean Karnazes in his quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states. I have to confess, I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. With the Endurance 50, we had the opportunity to do something historic. Plus, I wanted to have the opportunity to tell Karnazes about the Uttermost project we were going to undertake the next week. So, despite lingering Bronchitis, I ran. We were soon drenched, but altogether delighted. One runner dropped out at about 5 miles due to the blistering pace of just over 8 minute miles. Four of the 18 dropped out at the half-way point (me included). The rest finished with Karnazes at about 4 hours and19 minutes (they must have slowed down a great deal during the second half, thank goodness). I have to say, it was one of the most fun things I have ever been a part of--I just wish I could have done the whole thing.

Sunday, September 17

1 Down, 49 to Go

After reaffirming his wedding vows with his wife at the start line of the Lewis and Clark Marathon in St. Louis, Dean Karnazes ran the 26.2 miles in 3 hours 51 minutes. He maintained a pace of just under nine-minutes a mile! He has 1,282 miles and 49 marathons to go in his Endurance 50 quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states. Next stop: Memphis.

Marathon Countdown: 1

Today Dean Karnazes begins his quest to run 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states. He plans to run those 1,310 miles over the course of the next six weeks at about a 10-minute per mile pace. Yes, you read that right: 50 in 50 in 50. No breaks. No short cuts. 26.2 miles every single day for more than a month and a half.

The North Face Endurance 50 will include some of the most famous marathon routes all across the US. Today for example, he runs the Lewis & Clark Marathon in St. Louis. Tomorrow, he will be here in Tennessee to run the St. Jude Memphis Marathon in Memphis. Then on Tuesday, he’ll be in Mississippi for the Mississippi Coast Marathon. Wednesday brings him to Arkansas for the Little Rock Marathon. Next, he’ll be in Kansas for the Wichita Marathon. Then it is to Iowa for the Des Moines Marathon on Friday. On Saturday, he will be in Omaha, Nebraska for the Lincoln Marathon. Then on Sunday, he runs the Boulder Backroads Marathon in Colorado. During the six weeks that follow he will criss-cross the entire country in a tour bus running a full marathon every day in such races as the LaSalle Bank Marathon in Chicago, the Boston Marathon, and then ending in New York City on November with the ING New York Marathon.

There will be health and fitness expos in each city following the runs where the volunteer pacers (ordinary folks like me who will run with Karnazes to keep him on his target time of 10-minute miles) can revel in their small role in this rather grand accomplishment. You can visit the Endurance 50 home page to follow Karnazes' progress. But, be forewarned: you just might be tempted to lace up your old trainers and make good on your far-too-long-postponed resolution to get out there and start getting in shape.

Saturday, September 16

Marathon Countdown: 2

After a week of fitful rest and noxious medicine, I am better. I'm still a little woozy and wheezy. If I have attempted almost anything at all during the day, by evening I am worn to a frazzle. And of course, I have not run in a week.

So, if it were not obvious before, I am not going to be able to run the Endurance 50 Marathon in Memphis on Monday, alas.

Oh well. Que sera, sera. I am going to go to Memphis this afternoon anyway. I will volunteer at the race, visit some friends, eat some good barbeque, and get myself ready for the upcoming Uttermost (the website for that event is almost ready to debut).

I still have most of my conditioning, so I don't think it will be too difficult to get myself ready for that--though I am more concerned about the bike portions than I was prior to this little setback.

Tuesday, September 12

Marathon Countdown: 5

Well, I didn't feel any better this morning when I awoke. So, in desperation I did what I only do when I am really, really desperate: I actually went to the doctor! Come to find out, I have pneumonia. Thankfully, the doc loaded me up with antibiotics, inhalers, and cortisone treatments and said that if I am really good the next couple of days I can go ahead and try to make the Memphis trip. He didn't promise me that I'd be able to run next Monday. But, he gave me permission to try if I am feeling up to it. So, I am trying my best to rest. We'll see how quickly I can bounce back.

Monday, September 11

Marathon Countdown: 6

A couple of days have passed. My cold--or whatever it is--isn't any better. I've not run at all. And I'm starting to feel pretty frustrated. But, I still have plenty of time to get over this--and my marathon taper is probably a lot more restful than anything I would have allowed myself otherwise. So, I am still trying to look on the bright side.

Saturday, September 9

Marathon Countdown: 8

Just eight days to go before I am supposed to run with Dean Karnazes and the North Face team at the Endurance 50 Memphis marathon. Alas, I am sick, sick, sick. I just read in the latest Runner's World that the end of intense training and the beginning of a taper often results in a suppressed immune system--and inevitably, sickness. So, I am doing my best to drink plenty of fluids, rest well, and take lots and lots of Vitamin C. Hopefully, I will still be able to go. I have so been looking forward to this one.

Dosing Up

I had a good final week of hard training--I'm now starting my taper for the Endurance 50 Marathon in Memphis on September 18. The week began with the Franklin Classic 5K. And then it continued through 40-miles of workouts culminating yesterday with a brutal hill taining run that was supposed to be a 15-miler but wound up being just a 10-miler when I realized I was bonking big time. Last night, starting with what I thought was an allergy attack--but which has since proven to be a full-fledged cold--I realized the bonking was due to the fact that I was getting sick. So today, I am dosing up with Vitamin C, lots of fluids, and plenty of fruit. Unfortunately, I'll have to miss the I-Run-For-The-Party-5K later tonight--I'm just not going to risk getting any worse. It was to be the last of my speed work before the final taper in preparation for the big race a week from Monday.

Monday, September 4

Franklin Classic 5K

I thought I was going to miss it. Then, at the last minute, I was able to get back into town from St. Louis. I was weary, but I made my way to the square in downtown Franklin for what has always been just about my favorite race. The Franklin Classic 5K and 10K is a great community event benefiting the Mercy Children's Clinic. Thousands of runners, spectators, and vendors turn out for this annual celebration. Because of the crowds, we mid-packers rarely have a chance for a really good race pace--there are lots of kids and strollers and walkers and dawdlers--but it really doesn't matter. The race and the crowds create such a wonderful atmosphere.

So, bright and early on this coolish Labor Day, I lined up with the throng to run the 5K (I would have rather run the 10K in ordinary circumstances, but having just gotten back into town I thought discretion might be the better part of valor). I had a blast. I saw lots of friends, students, parishoners, and of course, fellow runners. The new race route was soooo much better than the previous few years. And, for the first time in recent memory, the heat had abated nicely.

So, this favorite race actually got better in my estimation. Can't ask for anything more perfect for the beginning of a family Labor Day celebration. Oh yeah, and my time was OK too.

Friday, September 1

What's On

The new HEM project, Funnel Cloud, is not due to be released until next Tuesday. But, somehow iTunes made a mistake for a few hours this morning and posted the files. I snatched them up immediately. It is a wonderful collection of thoughtful tunes, provocative lyrics, and richly layered arrangements. If you were to cross Aaron Copeland's Appalachian Spring and Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Sessions with Allison Kraus and Union Station's Live and Mozart's Woodwind Concertos you'd come close to describing HEM's lush chamber folk stylings. After just two listens, Funnel Cloud may actually be as good as their last project, Eveningland, was. And that is very, very good indeed. At any rate, that's what I'm listening to on my iPod as I run this weekend in St. Louis.

I'm on my way to a solid 50 mile week again--if I can get up and out the hotel door early enough tomorrow morning. I'll try to run a good 15 miles before breakfast in and around Maryville University and St. Luke's Hospital.