October
06
Posted on 06-10-2017
Filed Under (It's all about me) by Brian

Back in ancient times, when television shows were consumed one episode at a time, it was not uncommon to gather in front of the TV to enjoy one’s favorite television show only to find the characters sitting on the couch, in a bar or the coffee shop (I’m looking at you Friends) reminiscing about things. These episodes rarely advanced the plot and seemingly served no purpose other than satisfying some requirement for a “new” episode while allowing the producers to save money by reusing old footage.

If you’re a long time reader of this blog, this is just like one of those episodes. The only difference is that I’m not saving any money. I still have to write this post. Also, I’m pretty sure I don’t have any long term readers left so I guess it serves as a good “catch up” for anyone who just happens to stumble by.

Yesterday, I pulled up this blog for the first time in a very long time and for some reason clicked on the first post. I started reading. It drew me in. I clicked on the next post and kept going. I’m not sure if I’m embarrassed or proud to say that I proceeded to read each and every post.

It was a trip down memory lane to be sure. It was emotional. I actually started to cry a little bit when I read my post about the 2008 Walt Disney World marathon. I was so incredibly proud of the contrast between that post and my redemption at the 2009 Walt Disney World Half-Marathon. I remember being in good shape by the time I peaked at the 2010 Walt Disney World Half-Marathon, but now I know why. Looking back at all of those workouts, I wonder where I found the energy.

There are some great stories and great friends in there. I’ll never forget the restroom relay with Richie and Justin, or the day I got lost in Rainbow Village and missed my daughter Alice tripping over a hurdle in one of her first track meets. Speaking of my 12 year old daughter Alice, she ran most of the way through high school, but developed an injury senior year. She’s 20 now. My 11 year old daughter Wendy is now my 19 year old son, Elliott. Many things have changed. I now work for an insurance company and I haven’t run a race in nearly 3 years. You could say the one constant in my life has been Raffi, who I’ve been married to for almost 21 years.

There are some surprising things that never get mentioned too. Around the time I stopped posting regularly, I started running with Dan. I’ve run with him most Saturdays for the last 5 years and he’s become one of the best friends I’ve ever had. He gets no mention in the blog, though. There’s also Katie, who ran with us for at least 2 of those years before moving out of town. She also gets no mention in the blog. If someday this blog were all that was left of my memories, it would be sad that they were left out. The long runs, conversations and fun trivia nights with them have been important parts of my life.

Some things from my early running days made me laugh. I referred to my watch as a “chronograph” and always did a 1 mile warm-up before all my training runs. This was especially counter productive when it was near 100 degrees outside. I took an ice bath after a 6 mile run. I often did long run and race reports in present tense, and then made fun of myself for doing it. I kept doing it and probably still will. My readers seemed to enjoy the race reports (and to be honest, I guess I did too).

There were some lofty goals never met. At one point, I had a goal of 1:15 in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, but I was pretty ecstatic to peak at 1:29. I even said I was running the Goofy Challenge and then never mentioned it again.

I wrote a post pondering the identity of M.H. Alderson, who was quoted as saying “If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average”. Three years later, his family members started commenting on it, letting me know what and awesome guy he was. I’m still amazed about that.

Reading through all the posts, I was a able to put a lot of those memories into my life’s context. Running really helped me through the last few months of finishing my Ph.D. A meme from another runner made me ponder how I would live as an independently wealthy runner. Then, I actually pulled it off even though I wasn’t independently wealthy. I started a website, brought a bunch of people together to run relays, met a whole lot of great people (and some crazy ones). I am so grateful for that time because I was able to travel, meet new people and see a lot of the country at a time when I otherwise would not have been able to afford it. I miss it sometimes, but when I walked away from it, it was the right time.

I’m not the runner I once was and this blog is no longer all about running, but “A Runner’s Blog” is still appropriate. Over the last 10 years, running has been a lot of things for me: a fitness activity, a competition, a social outlet, therapy, a job and more. I hope it continues to be in the future. Over the last three years, I’ve embarked on a more traditional career path. There’s a lot I like about it, but some things I don’t. I’m striving to get back to the “independently wealthy runner” lifestyle within the context of my new career. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to work more from home and though the circumstances that led to that opportunity were not entirely positive, I’m happy to be in a more flexible environment. Spending less time commuting (especially during my most productive morning hours) has made a huge difference in my mental state. I’m grateful to have an employer that is willing to be so flexible.

So, I’ve started running more. I hope to start blogging more. Even if no one reads, I think I’ve discovered that this journal helps me to look back and put my memories in context. Often when I remember good times, I forget the obstacles I overcame to reach them. During the challenging times, this blog is a reminder that I’ve been there before and come out on top!

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July
24
Posted on 24-07-2011
Filed Under (It's all about me) by Brian

Jenny over at Feet of Fancy nominated me for the 7 Links blog series. I’m honored to oblige, though it’s been hard to go back and look at all my posts to pick 7. I can’t believe I started blogging over 5 years ago! It’s fun to look at some of those old posts – like this one in which I considered a 6 mile run to be very long. I always find it a little inspiring to read my old posts because it reminds of how far I’ve come since I started. Before I get too sappy, here are my 7 links:

Me enjoying a trip through the Magic Kingdom on a cold day.

Most Beautiful Post: Us of Lesser Gods (July 15, 2011). Yes, this is a very recent post, but I couldn’t find anything more beautiful in 5 years of writing. My writing that is. I’m sure other people have written much more beautiful things in the last 5 years. The post explores the little slideshow visions of myself I had while preparing to start the 2010 Walt Disney World half marathon.

Most Popular Post: The 2008 Walt Disney World Marathon (July 18, 2007). Contrary to what you might think from the title, this post does not describe my experience in the Walt Disney World marathon of 2008. It was written in July 2007, almost 6 months prior to the marathon and it’s basically a walk-through of the marathon course, which at the time I had never run. I wrote the post as a way of envisioning what the experience would be like based on the course map and my many trips to Walt Disney World. At some point, the post ranked very high on Google when people searched for “Walt Disney World Marathon” – hence its popularity. Every once in a while, someone still leaves a comment on it.

Most Controversial Post: Barefoot Running (March 15, 2010). The post itself wasn’t horribly controversial. I just decided to give barefoot running a try and described my first few experiences running barefoot on the beach. I had some nice comments from people I knew (Lindsay, Bret, Glenn) and then a bunch of comments from people I didn’t know, who’d never commented on my blog before and never commented again. Many of them were quite smug and simply felt the need to use my blog as a platform for preaching their beliefs about barefoot running. I think a few of them never even read the post. Still, I got a decent boost in traffic for a while. Maybe I should be “controversial” more often.

Most Helpful Post: The Toe Raise (July 12, 2007). This post is about an exercise I started doing during a bout with shin splints. I suffered two fairly memorable bouts of shin splints when I first started running. I started doing this exercise in July 2007 and never experienced shin splints again. I’ve sent many people to the post in the years since and the exercise has helped them as well.

Post Whose Success Surprised You: Who the Heck is M.H. Alderson (July 27, 2007). This post centered around a quote by M.H. Alderson that I found online: “If at first you don’t succeed, you are running about average”.  It was about a workout that I didn’t quite complete. I wrote the post and thought it was clever with its multitude of quotes, but nobody commented on it and I forgot about it. 3 years later, several members of M.H. Alderson’s family commented on the post to tell me exactly who M.H. Alderson was and to wish me well in my running career. It was a big surprise indeed and I enjoyed my brief correspondence with the Aldersons.

It still seemed like a good idea at this point.

Post That Didn’t Get the Attention it Deserved: 2008 Walt Disney World Marathon: My Experience (January 13, 2008). While this post wasn’t exactly lacking in attention, the post I wrote about the Walt Disney World marathon 6 months before actually running it received 8 times the comments (see above). I’ve always thought that most of the people who commented on that post would have benefited more from reading about my actual experience – or maybe they did read it and were too grossed out to actually comment.

Post You are Most Proud of: 2010 Walt Disney World Half Marathon (January 12, 2010). It’s no surprise that I’m most proud of this post because it’s all about the proudest moment in my relatively short running career. I trained well for the race, but I had to overcome some difficulties in the beginning to beat my goal in the end. Best of all, I had an enormously fun time doing it! I think I had a runner’s buzz for a solid week after that race. I wish I could bottle the feeling that I had during 2010 Walt Disney World half marathon and take a sip whenever I’m having a bad day.

There you have it! My 7 links. Now I get to tag more people and pass it along. Let’s see who’s paying attention! I tag:

Lindsay from Chasingthekenyans.com

Megan from Runningtowardtheprize

Heather from Running With Sass

Kristen the SEO Runner

 

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June
30
Posted on 30-06-2011
Filed Under (It's all about me) by Brian

This morning, I woke up in Chattanooga, TN after a wonderful night’s sleep in a Travelodge. I’ll admit that I was pleasantly surprised. I booked the room through Expedia’s new deals feature where you see the price and the star level, but don’t see the hotel until after you book it. I was having buyer’s regret once I started reading the reviews of the Travelodge.

Fortunately, the staff was very friendly, the room was clean and the bed was quite comfortable. That’s all I ask for $44.

The finish line is somewhere behind all those buildings.

After leaving Chattanooga, we headed to music city where we drove right through without stopping. We took a brief look to our left as we passed downtown, toward the finish of the Tennessee Ragnar Relay, though we couldn’t actually see the park because it was behind a bunch of buildings. Cut us some slack, we’ll be taking this route on foot come November. Speaking of which, if you’d like to join our Ragnar Relay team for the run through the beautiful fall foliage from Chattanooga to Nashville, you can do so here. The price goes up on July 15th. If you’ve never done a Ragnar Relay before, it’s totally fun. We’re not ultra competitive. We just like everyone to do their best on their own legs and have a whole lot of fun getting from point A to point B in the moving party that is an overnight cross country running relay.

My parents have lived in St. Louis all their lives and never been to the top of the arch. I've been up once.

But I digress. After blowing a fuse and losing our radio, then replacing said fuse in Kentucky and regaining our radio, we ultimately arrived in the town where I spent the first 22 years of my life: St. Louis, MO. Although I feel very much like St. Petersburg is my hometown now, there’s always a good bit of nostalgia that creeps in as I cross the Mississippi river and drive past my old stomping grounds: St. Louis University, St. Louis University High School, Forest Park, the Science Center, the Galleria and just the stretch of Interstate 64 where I spent so much time in traffic during my high school years. Lots of things have changed, but so many things are still the same.

One thing’s for sure: it’s as hot and humid here as it is in Florida. Alice and I are going to get up early for a 6 mile run before Raffi and I head up to Chicago tomorrow.

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May
11
Posted on 11-05-2011
Filed Under (It's all about me) by Brian

The last few days, I’ve been having some pretty vivid dreams. Most of them involve some sort of travel and they seem to reveal some interesting things about what my subconscious thinks about my life right now.

It started early last week. I dreamed I was traveling with two other men. We were dressed in business suits (something I very rarely do) and we were traveling by plane. We were trying to get to Chattanooga, TN but we missed our connecting flight out of Atlanta. We decided to drive to Dalton, GA where we arrived just in time to catch the last flight out to Chattanooga. As the plane took off, I could tell something was wrong. It seemed to be struggling to gain altitude. Sure enough, we crashed in the parking lot of a supermarket. Somehow, I was gently thrown from the plane during the crash and survived without a scratch.

Immediately, I had to tweet about it: “Just walked away from my first plane crash!” Then, I figured that since Dalton, GA is only about 30 miles from Chattanooga, it made more since to just drive it.

The Dream dictionary says that if you dream you’ve missed a connection, you’re feeling somewhat trapped by a situation or feeling disconnected from work, relationship or home life. To dream of a plane crash indicates a loss of power and uncertainty in achieving your goals. Chattanooga is, of course, somewhat significant because it’s the start of the Tennessee Ragnar Relay and I’m about to submit a proposal to company X for a title sponsorship of the Digital Running Club Ragnar Relay teams. Dalton, GA by the way, does not have a commercial airport.

The fun continued over the weekend when I dreamed I was traveling on a plane landing in Atlanta. This time, I thought it was going to crash, but it turned out that the Atlanta airport had grown so big that they just built a multilevel runway and we were “threading the needle” so to speak and landing on the second of four levels of this runway. It was a little scary, but the terminal was all abuzz because some lawyers had just arrived to deal with some sort of dispute in the NHL playoffs. In the terminal, I met up with a guy I knew in high school and haven’t seen for years. In the dream, however, I believed I saw him every time I passed through the Atlanta airport. He explained that he lives in Atlanta and he now travels to a different place every weekend.

To dream of old classmates indicates a past lesson that is applicable somewhere in your life now. To dream that you are a lawyer means that help is available if you ask. I’m not sure what it means when people keep announcing that the lawyers have arrived over the airport PA system. A terminal represents a transitional phase where you are approaching a new direction in life. Travel in dreams represents the path toward your life goals.

On Monday, I dreamed I had traveled to a beach house in the outer banks of North Carolina. It was similar to a house I stayed in with my extended family back in 7th grade. My extended family was all there this time, but we were all our current ages and everybody had their children there. We were trying to figure out where we were going to put everyone. Outside, the sky was dark and the ocean was full of huge waves that crashed on the shore close to the house. Although the sight was a little scary, I was excited about having fun riding the waves.

To see family in a dream represents security, warmth and love. Seeing a house in a dream represents your own soul and self. To see water rising up against the house suggests becoming overwhelmed by your emotions. To dream you’re on a beach looking out toward the ocean indicates unknown and major changes in your life. The sea was forbidding, which is probably a bad sign, but the fact I was excited about that perhaps negates that.

Finally, last night I dreamed we were looking at a new school for Alice and Wendy. The hallways of the school were a maze. For some reason, it became imperative to escape the school and I figured out how, but there were two doors and both had to be open at the same time to get out. There was a man holding one of the doors closed, but we tricked him and got out. He chased us for some time, but I found some wire strippers and cut his leg with them until he bled all over the floor.

A dream that takes place in school is a metaphor for the lessons you’re learning in your waking life. A maze often indicates you’re making a situation harder than it really is. Being inside a locked door indicates harsh lessons that need to be learned. To dream you’re being chased is a metaphor for some form of insecurity in your life. To dream others are bleeding represents an emotional cry for help. To dream you are stabbing someone indicates a fear of betrayal.

So, I guess a lot of this isn’t so surprising for a guy who doing his best to leave a career he spent 12 years getting a Ph.D. in to move toward something else. Moving into the sponsorship sales part is intimidating. Calling people and asking them for stuff has never been my strong suit. Hopefully, the fact that I stabbed that guy who was chasing me means that I’ll overcome that fear. Not sure how the wire strippers play in.

What do you all think? Any bloggers out there wearing a technicolor dreamcoat?

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September
02
Posted on 02-09-2010
Filed Under (It's all about me) by Brian

I know it’s not your fault that I was attacked by a dog when I was six and I know that dog was probably just trying to play with me when it scratched the heck out of my face, but I’ve got a deep rooted negative opinion of you that probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.  I can be rational.  I’m willing to work with you.  I understand your need to protect your territory.  You stay in your yard and I’ll cross the street.  I’m just running by.  I don’t want to hurt you, or your favorite human or defile your property in any way.

Just be aware that I’m making every effort to signal to you that I mean you no harm.  So when you bolt out of your yard, cross the street and nip at my heels, I will run your furry ass into the ground.  You’re not going to win that.  If you haven’t caught me and dragged me down in the first 50 meters, it’s never going to happen.  This is Florida.  It’s hot.  You don’t sweat and you’re covered in fur.  You’re supposed to hunt in packs anyway.  So if you’re left panting in the middle of the street and you can’t find your way home, it’s not my fault.  You just made me do a fartlek and that will make me even faster next time.

So if you see me running by, just stay put.  A friendly bark and a wag of the tail might even get you a wave.  Just don’t chase me.  It’s not good for either of us.

Thanks.

Brian

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June
19
Posted on 19-06-2009
Filed Under (It's all about me) by Brian

A few weeks ago, I blogged about a photo shoot I was doing in the morning.  I thought since it’s Friday (and some people do a photo Friday) that I’d share the results:

brian

wall2

gang1

The photo shoot was conducted in downtown St. Petersburg for a redesign of our own company website.  The top photo has become my official company mugshot.  Occasionally, potential clients ask for resumes and bios of the company principals, so that photo goes out with our little kit.  We didn’t end up using the middle shot because of the huge glare in my glasses (though it could have been removed with Photoshop – that is something our company does), but we all decided the first one was better anyway.  The third pic is (obviously) the whole company (all three of us).

The photos were taken by Tanya Sharkey, a St. Petersburg photographer who just opened a new studio.  Her studio is cool, but we preferred the outdoor city location (and yes we did have to postpone the shoot for a week due to rain).  Our company website used to be comic book themed, so our official pictures were actually caricatures.  We decided to redesign the site and finally look like real people.

It occurs to me now that a lot of my loyal readers have gotten tidbits of my rather convoluted employment situation and that must be a little confusing.  Here’s the 30 second version for those who care:

I have a Ph.D. in oceanography.  I work full time for a local university programming three dimensional numerical models of continental shelf ecosystems (they’re like hurricane models, only with biology).  While I was still in grad school, my wife started R-Design, a graphic design company that quickly turned into a full service creative studio.  I serve as the development director, overseeing the books, the programming and the SEO (search engine optimization).  Aside from that, I work on several other web based projects that are just for fun now, but could be profitable at some point.  One of those is running related.  Oh, and I run a whole lot (but you knew that).

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June
08
Posted on 08-06-2009
Filed Under (It's all about me) by Brian

A few days ago, Lindsay tagged anyone who wants to play along to reveal their blog spot. Here is mine:

My blog spot

When Raffi and I first started our company, we used to work out of a bedroom in the house.  When we moved into a “real” office, we split the two daughers into two separate bedrooms.  Thus, I lost my home office and I now spend my evenings blogging (and working) from the couch.  This allows me to be privy to episodes of Hannah Montana, iCarly and Wizards of Waverly Place.

The rest of this little game involves answering some supposedly intimate questions:

What are you wearing right now? Seriously?  Is this blogging or phone sex?  I’d could try to be more steamy, but it’s obvious from the picture what I’m wearing.  Get excited if you’d like.

What’s the last thing you read/are currently reading? I’m reading Again to Carthage by John L. Parker Jr.  It’s the sequal to Once a Runner.  So far, it’s not really about running at all…I’ll do a full review when I’m finished.

Do you nap a lot? Not as much as I’d like.  I do tend to nap on weekends after long runs during my higher mileage weeks.

Who was the last person you hugged? Raffi.

What’s your current obsession/addiction? Besides running?  I’d say working toward being independent of my current employment (though I may be free of my employment situation sooner than I’d like).

What was the last thing you bought? Groceries.  You gotta eat.

What are you listening to right now? The fish tank filter sucking air because the water level is too low.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Invisibility.

What time do you usually wake up? Typically around 7:00 am.

Name one thing you can’t live without. Water.

What time is bed time? 10:30 pm.

If there was one place you could be right now, where would it be? A private island in the Caribbean.

I’m going to tag Amy because she probably needs a break from studying for the GRE.  Anyone else can play along if they’d like too!

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April
23
Posted on 23-04-2009
Filed Under (It's all about me) by Brian

Patrick over at my new life on the run inadvertently started a a new meme about embarrassing songs on your ipod or mp3 player.  While he sort of wussed out and didn’t admit to his own embarrassing songs, he did hint that he has mmmbop by Hanson on his Ipod.  I figure this calls for a meme, so here goes:

I don’t often listen to music while I run.  I’m a purist and enjoy the sounds of nature, the city and my own breathing while I’m running.  A couple of times a week, however, I hit the treadmill before strength training at the gym.  It is then that I make use of my Sansa MP3 player, crank the volume and zone out.  I’ve been hitting the Flogging Molly pretty hard lately, but there are a few songs on my running playlist that I don’t readily admit to:

1)  I’ll make a man out of you – Donnie Osmond (The Mulan Soundtrack)

2)  Gimmie!  Gimme!  Gimme! (a man after midnight) – cast (Mama Mia!  Soundtrack)

3)  See You Again – Hannah Montana (Hannah Montana 2 Miley Cyrus)

4)  Pop Princess – The Click Five (Greetings from Imrie House)

5)  Rush – Aly & A.J. (Into the Rush)

and only slightly less embarrassing:

1)  Holding out for a hero – Bonnie Tyler (Footloose Soundtrack)

2)  Hips don’t lie – Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean (Oral fixation vol 2)

3)  Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna (Good girl gone bad; reloaded)

4)  Piece of Me – Britney Spears (Piece of Me Remixes)

5)  Kiss me fool – Fefe Dobson (Fefe Dobson)

So, there it is.  No obscure clues – I’ve just laid it out on the line.  Since Patrick started this, he must now share his most embarrassing songs.  I’m also going to tag Lindsay, Jess, Glenn, Amy, Aron, and Jay.

On the running note, I took the collective advice and skipped my quality workout this morning (it was the weird “I” pace one with 30 second recoveries, so it wasn’t hard to convince myself).  Instead I did yoga with my wife in the morning.  I still did my 3 mile run with Alice in the afternoon.  She complained the whole way, but I felt quite good.

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July
06
Posted on 06-07-2008
Filed Under (It's all about me) by Brian

Okay, so Tammie wussed out and would only tag those who were reading her blog. So, I’ll take up the baton and continue the meme:

6 random things about me that you probably don’t know and won’t remember 5 minutes from now.

1) My driver’s license lists my first name as “Brain” instead of “Brian”. When I first moved to Florida and transferred my license, they first got my age wrong. I went back and they corrected that, but they screwed up my name. At that point I was like “screw it”. It’s been that way for 10 years now.

2) I have a Ph.D. in Oceanography. So, I guess that makes me “Dr. Brain” – at least according to my driver’s license.

3) I went to the same high school as Meriwether Lewis Clark, the son of famous Louisiana Purchase explorer, William Clark – who quite obviously named his son after his equally famous explorer buddy.

4) I played football and volleyball in high school. I didn’t start running until I was 29.

5) I have one song by the Jonas Brothers and one song by Hannah Montana on my run playlist. This is what happens when you have two daughters.

6) I have a birthmark on my right hip that very few people have ever seen.

So, there you go. I now tag Paul, Sarah, Andy, Jay2Far, Karen and Nicole.

Here are the rules:

1. link to the person who tagged you.

2. post the rules on your blog.

3. write six random things about yourself.

4. tag six people at the end of your post.

5. let each person know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

6. let the tagger know when your entry is up.

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June
24
Posted on 24-06-2007
Filed Under (It's all about me) by Brian

Some say that the difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry form.  If that is the case, then I am a runner.  Compared to the average person, I’m in pretty good shape.  Compared to the average runner, I think I’m probably below average.  I spent most of my teenage years playing volleyball.  My legs took a pounding and it was good exercise, but it never fostered the kind of endurance that even a 5K requires.

I played football in high school too.  Though I was one of the smallest guys on the team, I was also one of the fastest.  Unfortunately, my hands of stone precluded me from being a receiver, so I spent my time grabbing on to the other teams’ receivers (and holding on until they fell down) as a defensive back.  My sophmore year football coach was also my geometry teacher and the varsity track coach.  I remember sitting in geometry class one day before the bell rang.  Coach May was studying something in earnest.  Suddenly, he looked up at me.

“Brian,” he snapped, “out in the hall.”

“Oh shit,” I thought, “I don’t remember doing anything stupid.  Did I miss a step in my proof of the pythagoream theorem?  Is this about that blown coverage in last week’s game?  The receiver dropped the ball in the end zone.”

Out in the hall, he leaned in toward me and looked me squarely in the eyes.

“Do you play baseball?”

I wasn’t sure I had heard him correctly.

“Excuse me, sir?”

“Do you play baseball?”

“No”

“Golf?”

“No”

“Tennis?”

“No”

“You ran the 40 yard dash in 5 seconds flat….running flat footed.  I’ll teach you how to run the right way and you’ll really fly.”

“I play volleyball in the spring, coach.”

He grabbed his heart with both hands and leaned back away from me with a pained look in his eyes.  He groaned.  In his litany of spring season sports he had forgotten volleyball.  In fairness to Coach May, it was a forgiveable omission as boys volleyball wasn’t technically a sport in the state of Missouri at the time.  It was, rather, a “club” implying that we just met everyday after school to talk about volleyball and volleyball related issues instead of actually playing games against other schools’ clubs.  In any case, there was no way in hell he was going to get me to join the track team.  Volleyball was my life.

I had been playing volleyball since the sixth grade and I was one of the few boys in the area who had been playing so long.  In the sixth grade I was 5’9″ tall.  I’m 31 today and I’m 5’9…and a half.  It should have been obvious that day in the hall that the world was catching up to me and my days as a volleyball player were numbered, but it didn’t.  I hadn’t noticed that I was now the shortest guy on the court.  I was standing across the net from 6’5″ fully mobile trees.

Sometimes I look back and wish I had taken Coach May up on his offer, but I’m pretty happy with my life as it is so why change any of the things that got me here? 

I finally ran my first race in February 2006 at the age of 29(a 5K through downtown St. Petersburg) and I enjoyed every minute of it – all 28 of them.  Determined to improve my time, I ran a 5K every other day on the treadmill until my second race in April.  I finished in 24 minutes.

Over the summer, it actually occured to me that other people have been running this distance for quite some time (and knew more about training for a 5K than me) so I decided to download a 10 week 5K training plan from Active.com and faithfully followed it, running my next 5K race in 22:28 the following fall.

Afterwards, I took a few weeks off and returned to a more advanced workout in an attempt to break the 20 minute barrier in February (cue triumphant montage-esque music).  During my first workout in that plan, I developed a sharp stabbing feeling in the side of my knee (cue dark, foreboding music).  It was the dreaded IT band syndrome lashing out at me.  I tried to pick up the training plan a week later, but after about a mile of running, that sharp pain kicked in and I had to stop.  Finally, I gave up running altogether for about 2 months.

In late March, I started running again.  I began by running one mile at a time at a relatively fast pace.  By “fast”, I mean a 7:00 minute mile.  After I completed a week of that without even a hint of pain, I worked my way up to 1.25 miles at the same pace.   This went on for about four weeks until I could comfortably run 2.5 miles at a time without any pain whatsoever.  By that time, the running season in Florida was over.

I’ve always been a Disney freak.  I know this seems like a ridiculously abrupt change of subject, but stick with me, it all comes back around.   When I say Disney freak, though, I’m not talking about collecting little ceramic Mickey figurines and Cinderella posters.  More specifically, I’ve always been a very big fan of Walt Disney World.  Growing up in St. Louis, my parents used to take my brother, my sister and I to Walt Disney World every other year.  We all have very fond memories of this time. 

So, I was lucky enough to find a woman who not only agreed to marry me, but also enthusiastically agreed to go to Walt Disney World for our honeymoon.  We’ve since moved from St. Louis, MO to St. Petersburg, FL – a mere 80 miles from Walt Disney World.  Notice I always refer to it as “Walt Disney World”.  That’s its proper name – not “Disneytown” or “Disneyville” or “Wallyworld”.  Occassionally just “Disneyworld”, but never “Disneyland”.  That’s in California and I’ve never been there, so it can’t possibly be as good.  That’s how big of a snob I am.

So, the whole point of this blathering about Walt Disney World is that even when I started running, I often said that I never wanted to run a marathon….but, if I ever did, it would be the Walt Disney World marathon.  Eventually, I subscribed to Runner’s World magazine and I’ll be damned if you can’t read a few issues of Runner’s World and not want to run a marathon.

Still, that’s a long way to run, so after being inspired by the April issue about the Boston marathon, I decided that maybe I’d register for the Walt Disney World half-marathon next year.  We have annual passes now, so it’d be a great getaway for the whole family.  I tucked that thought in my back pocket.

While in Atlanta for a design conference, I met a woman name Mara from Colorado.  When I told her I was from Florida, she mentioned that she’d be there in January.  She’s running a marathon.  I knew instantly that she must be running Disney.

“That’s cool, I’m running the Walt Disney World half-marathon, “I said.  Actually, that’s not true.  I said “Disney half marathon”.  I had already had a few drinks.  She informed me that she had already run a half-marathon and then excused herself for a smoke.  I’ve never run a half marathon and I’ve never had a smoke.  Well, except for those two Cuban cigars, but I didn’t inhale.

Upon returning home from the conference, I decided that it was certainly time to sign up for a half-marathon.  So, I decided to register for the Walt Disney World half-marathon right then and there.  I pulled up the website.  Scrolled through the marathon weekend activities and found the registration area. 

CLOSED

It turns out that there are a lot of other people who decided to run the half-marathon next year.  I don’t have to worry about them all finishing in front of me.  They’ve all beaten me to the starting line and there’s no room left for me.

Undaunted, I decided to run the full marathon instead.  What the heck, right?  Once you’ve run 13.1 miles, what’s another 13.1? 

What follows is the rest of the story.  I’m not sure how it will end, but the fact that this blog exists and that there are people that I know who know about it means that I can’t slack off on my training without taking a lot of flack for not completing what I set out to do.

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