Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What's your BHAG ?

I was first introduced to BHAG's during my graduate work in administration @ Central Michigan University. Although I was just starting out as a school administrator, I felt that I needed to step out of my comfort zone and step into the business sector. It was my attempt at becoming a Renaissance man to some small degree. In many ways I learned that the education sector is a lot like the business sector in regards to dealing with people, but it also opened my eyes to a great deal of organizational and behavioral practices.

The phrase Big Hairy Audacious Goal ("BHAG") was proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1996 article entitled Building Your Company's Vision. A BHAG (BEE-hag) is a form of vision statement " audacious 10-to-30-year goal to progress towards an envisioned future." A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines (courtesy of wikipedia).

Although BHAG's are more focused on a team approach, I still like the idea. Besides saying BHAG is pretty cool. Try saying it three times fast.

As runners, we all need a goal or finish line to run towards. The potential pitfall is ending up on the Couch of Doom talking about what could have been and if I only. My BHAG at the beginning of 2008 was my self imposed D.D.M.C. A marathon a month. Given that I the most I had run was 3 marathons in a year, 12 seemed like a real long shot. In my head, I thought that if I could accomplish this, that a potential 100 miler in 2009 was a real possibility. I was only able to muster 10 marathons in 2008, but I ran faster then I ever have, qualified for Boston, and learned more about myself on the roads then by reading any book. And yes, I think a 100 miler is on the table for 2009 since I can't race Boston this year.

A finish line or goal gives a sense of purpose to our training, motivates us to get out the door when it is still dark and cold, and unknowingly seeps into our everyday life. I tell a lot of my students that you just can't turn on and off your behavior. It is much like the effect running has on our lives. Showing that dedication and fortitude in training unknowingly pays dividends in your own personal and professional lives because you have a sense on how to focus your effort when there is a goal or finish line in front of you.

So what's your BHAG for 2009?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Connect Four

After physically exerting myself this morning, I returned home to Little Dirt Dawg asking, "Dad, can we play? I want to beat you!"

Who needs a Wii or one of those other handheld computer game gizmos, I ask? What's wrong with a good old fashioned board game to stimulate the neurons in that tiny little squishy sponge a top your frame?

Nothing. Nothing at all. And I've got to tell you that for just being a few months shy of 5 years old that Little Dirt Dawg gave me all that I could handle.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Peek N Peak

A Google mapped trip of 5 hr and 8 min, clocked in at just under 8 hours today, as we drove from our home base in Meechigan to Findley Lake, NY home of Peek N Peak Resort ( Probably not the smartest thing to do today as we drove straight into a winter mess that glazed the highway and saw us watch cars spin off the highway and endure a near hour standstill on I-75. All of this with a near two year old in Dirrty Feather riding in the backseat.

However, upon arrival, Dirrty Girl and I took Little Dirt Dawg, who had helped his Bub negotiate the slick roads via the backseat, out tubing and coached him in the car to say at the ticket window, " I five" and enjoyed a great time. Dirrty Girl and I dropped him back off with the grandparents and promptly headed for the slopes for some night time skiing. Dirrty Girl true to form much like her running is slow and steady and makes her way down the slopes with her snowplow method. I on the other hand, want to think I am better than I am which is why I end up on my rear end, or near trees, or just stopping. FUN.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What else have you got Mother Nature?

With Mother Nature dumping nearly a foot of fluffy whiteness on us and an accompanying bitter wind, in the Metro Detroit area, I have been forced to take refuge in my basement and call the dreadmill and trainer my new training friends. There is nothing to be gained out there in the frozen tundra except injury. A simple training mantra for now of maintenance will pay dividends when the roads thaw and the air is warm.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


In pursuit of carrying things that are light and functional, I ran across the RedFly which serves as a larger terminal for my WinMo smartphone. It has no memory, no CPU, and a low TCO, but does have 2 USB ports, a VGA monitor hookup and perhaps most importantly charges my phone as I work! Last Xmas, Dirrty Girl got me an ATT Tilt which is like a mini laptop and is what I use in conjunction with my Redfly.

With an 8 inch screen and much larger keyboard, I am now able to bang away for longer than like 15 words and actually get some work done. It is also no bigger than a large paperback and can run for 8 hours on a single charge. Although, I would really like another Apple Macbook, I am being practical and since my smartphone already has applications that I use, WiFi, and an unlimited data plan, this seems like the perfect little companion to make me more productive. I was even able to download a program called LogMeIn which allows me to have remote access to my desktop at home. Sure did freak Dirrty Girl out one day when I was sitting at Starbucks and took over control of the PC as she was trying to do some online banking.
She was not impressed.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sounds of the season

"Crunch, Crunch"
Ole man winter has finally decided to grip the Midwest and I was welcomed with some accumulation this morning as a I rambled out for an easy 5 miler. With fresh snow, brings fresh tracks and the inevitable sounds of my shoes compressing the snow.

"Clop, Clop"
Even as I enjoyed the slightly uneven regularity of the snow, whenever I hit a spot that someone had salted or finally running through town, I would have to stomp/slap my shoes to free up the snow that had packed itself into the innermost crevices of my Nike Air Pegasus ESC.

"Ew! What is that, clean that up!"
Exclaimed Dirrty Girl, as I trudged snow onto the landing and down the steps and she stepped in the melted residue.

Welcome winter.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Failure is an event, not a person

It had come down to today, the last day of the month, my last chance to get in my marathon for the month as part of the D.D.M.C. True, this was a silly little challenge that I had set at the beginning of the year, but so far I had managed to even surprise myself with completing 10 marathons.

After last weekends attempt and lack of energy (maybe a sign of overtraining?), I took it fairly easy during the week. After the 3rd Annual Gobble Dash, I was feeling pretty good about going into the weekend and knocking it out. The weather looked promising and I started putting together in my head my clothing stategy as dirrty girl and I shuttled between the necessary turkey day stops.

With some proper Midwestern turkey fare in my belly courtesy of my folks, we headed to Dirrty Girls mom for something akin to a Norman Rockwellian setting and food out of Bon Apetit. I don't remember much after that, as both Dirrty Girl and I were stricken with some bug that left us both losing food and liquid out of all openings for the next day and a half.

It wasn't pretty, and it was somewhat disheartening as Saturday came and went (with great weather I might add)with me only managing a scant 5 miler. Despite my sickness and probably better judgement, I felt that I could take at least a shot at it this morning.

My will was strong and my pick was sharp but it was not in the cards. As the miles wore on, I slowly felt the lingering effects of that bug from the other day and a nagging pain behind my right knee/hamstring area began to chop my stride. Decision time again, and I ended up home with a half marathon under my belt.

Certainly not a marathon, but I am okay with that. Even Dirrty Girl who sometimes is in disagreement about the D.DM.C., commented "Well you shouldn't have done it today. Just do two in December and finish your challenge up." Now you are talking.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

3rd Annual Gobble Dash

3rd Annual Gobble Dash

November 26, 2008

Starting Time: 10:30 a.m.

Distance: 5k + (3.25 or roundabout there)

Fee: FREE!!!!!


Snow Showers

38°F / 29°F

Precip: 30 %

What better way to start the holiday season then an easy stroll along the bike path adjourning the school. Let's face it, most of us are going to stuff ourselves in pure gluttony on Turkey Day and be well on our way to putting on a few extra pounds of stuffing in preparation for the winter. Therefore, I encourage you, to get out and burn a few calories the day before. For every mile you cover, approximately 100 calories are burned.

Fast Facts:


6 oz of white/dark meat 340

1/2 cup of stuffing 180

1 oz of potato/tortilla chips 150

1/2 cup mashed potatoes 150

1 dinner roll 110

1 piece of pumpkin pie 180

1 piece of pecan pie 480

GET THE POINT.....Participants will be given the secret code word which will allow for the opportunity to gather for some post consumption of barley and hops.


Name: Birthday:


City: . State: Zip:

Sex: M/F

With attendance doubling from last year, six participants (Dirt Dawg, Twinkle Toes, Smokin Joe Frazier, J-No, Chai Tea Latte, and ? (so many names to choose, I will have to think on it) ) engaged in a little pre holiday calorie burning after the students left to begin Thanksgiving break. The weather turned out to be a bit brisk with temps hovering around 36 degrees and wind chill reading of 28, but far better than the deluge that greeted participants last year. Smokin Joe Frazier was the first to turn in his entry form meant more to actually just get people to participate than to be filled out and decided to skip running with Dirt Dawg and Twinkle Toes in lieu of walking with the J-No, Chai Tea Latte, and Cougar? Chai Tea Latte remained confused and asked if she was to fill out the entry form because she has never actually raced before…while Pam of Dundler Mifflin triumphantly returned to the office, stating “that’s right, who just shaved 4 minutes off the time?” When Dirt Dawg told her does that mean you got it down to 42 minutes, she responded “No, 48. They did it in 52 last week.” He did not want to be the one to tell her that 47 and change is the course record for the W.I.P’s. There is always next year….Dorothy Boyd…

The secret code word was passed out to participants, and those that partook enjoyed eating and drinking what they had just burned.

Another year, another Gobble Dash…

Sunday, November 23, 2008

D.D.M.C. #11 - False Start

I had every intention of getting in my 11th marathon of the year this morning. Speaking with a fellow runner yesterday, it is always a bit of a feeling out process when old man winter begins to grip the area and you fumble with layering and getting used to the tingling, biting air as you take your first icy breaths. The air this morning was a crisp, 21 degrees with a windchill of 15 and with some new mittens, I thought I was dressed appropriately.

No real course set in mind, but my faithful border collie mix, Nemo tagged along for the first 5 miles. After a quick stop at home, I was off again. Felt pretty good, but it went south quickly. All of a sudden, I was zapped of all energy. Nothing in the tank. Now maybe it wasn't smart that I didn't take any water or gels, but I was only like 9 miles, and have done that easily in my sleep lots of times. Today, would not be one of them. If there is something I have learned from my miles on the road is that there are days that you just suck it up and press on, and other days where you cash it in and live to fight another day. So, after 12.64 miles, I called it a day. There are still 7 more days to go in the month, amd the D.D.M.C., is still alive.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

After the glow is gone....

Now that the glow has gone from my face, the last traces of soreness dissipate with each run, and the congratulations have stopped in regards to my Boston Marathon Qualifier, I have faced one of the biggest questions in regards to my running, now what?

True, I have 2 more of my own self imposed silly little marathons this year to complete the D.D.M.C., and after much discussion looks like I will put it off Boston until 2010, but now what?

The weather has turned cooler, or well at least it should be here in the next couple of days, and my runs have been a mix of easy runs and run/walks without much thought to distance. Maybe that it what these next couple of months should be like. Easy days and easy mileage but not without a purpose.

I have kicked it around for some time, and if I can't go to Boston, then it looks like it is a time to take a look a hundo. That's right, 2009 might be the year for Dirt Dawg to go Mano e Mano with a hundred miler and see what I am made of. Any suggestions?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Columbus Marathon/D.D.M.C. # 10

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment Would you capture it or just let it slip?

"Lose Yourself" Eminem

It was a cheesy attempt at best to pump Dirrty Girl up as we drove from Lightning and Missile's abode down to the start of the Columbus Marathon yesterday, but in some way would be the question I would face out on the road. The air was cold enough for there to be frost on the car and both of our stomachs were awash with butterflies.

Dirrty Girl had one goal for her 1/2 marathon and that was to better her 2 hr 29 min finish earlier this year. She had been diligent in her training and followed a plan. Recent workouts indicated she was more than ready. She just had to believe in herself.

Me, well that was another story. With a PR of 3 hr and 24 min set earlier this spring and a bold prediction that a fall marathon would be the place where I would qualify for Boston, I had followed a plan of speed work and tempo until about mid-summer when I traded that in for mountains and a 50 miler. I pretty much had abandoned speed work and had little confidence that I could maintain that 7:15 pace per mile to get me to Boston.

At the expo, Lightning and I discussed race strategy and predictions and had even gotten one of those temporary tattoos with the 3:10 pacing that I never put on. Realistically, I told Lightning and Missile that 3:10 - 3:20 would be ideal. It was good to put on a front, because my inner dialogue was telling me otherwise. Before heading out for this race, my good friend, the Finkelstein and I had a conversation that if I was gonna go for it, I had to decide how much time I wanted to spend in the "pain locker". How far was I willing to push myself? I told him that I really didn't like spending time in that locker. I was more content to spend several hours of sustained discomfort during marathons and ultras then toeing that fine line between top speed and blowing up. Backing off and saving yourself is a favorite option of mine.

Despite several rookie mistakes like not grabbing pins for my race number and forgetting a drop bag, I deposited Dirrty Girl at her projected pace and wandered up to between the 3:20 and 3:10 pacers. Promptly @ 7:30 the gun blew and we were off.

The first mile was covered in a brisk 6:50 pace and I figured I had about a minute gap from the race clock and when I crossed the starting line. My legs felt really good. Between mile 2 and 3 I made a mad dash for the port a john and was quickly back on the road, not to far behind the 3:10 group.

By mile 5 or 6, I saw Lightning and Missile and was right with the 3:10 group. I pointed to them like "look...I am doing this!". The first 10k was covered in 43:40 and I slowly pulled away from the 3:10 group. I am good at playing games with myself, and so the calculations and strategy began taking shape. If I ran long enough before I blew up, could I build a big enough cushion to make it? At one point when I start to hurt, do I throw in the towel and just get a new PR? Hey, you haven't done the work to be running this fast, what the hell is going on? Do you really want to hurt that bad? How far could you get up the road before that 3:10 group leaves you wishing you had been more sensible?

I just put my head down and ran. I decided that I was gonna ride this train until the wheels fell off and let the chips fall where they may. However, I hadn't quite figured out my response to when I hit that "pain locker" just yet.

Passing the 1/2 marathon mark in 1 hr 31 min and 53 seconds which was right around 7:00/mile pace a real possibility began to crystallize that I could qualify for Boston. I started doing the math and figured I had about an 8 min cushion. I was gonna darn near need every second of that.

Somewhere around mile 16 is where I started to feel the twinges of cramps, the inevitable grip of fatigue and the "pain locker" was making a house call. It was gut check time. I don't remember much of the last 10 miles. Timing chip indicated I passed 20 miles in 2 hr 22 min and 21 seconds but I couldn't tell you. I know this. I ran, walked and reached deeper than I ever have in a race to keep moving fast. Under most normal circumstances, I would be fine to slow down, take in the sights, and enjoy my run. Isn't that what it is all about? Or is it on some days, is it what Steve Prefontaine said "A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more. " I was punishing myself, but I did not care. I was gonna leave it all out there.

Around mile 22 or 23, the 3:10 group passed me and I heard the pacer, Dave? say "this is your day, don't squander this opportunity to qualify for Boston." The group looked noticeably smaller than at mile 5 or 6 and soon enough I was shot off the back, like the peleton shedding riders up the first climb of the Pyrenees.

I was faltering. I had made a mortal mistake in marathoning of going out to fast, and I was paying the piper. That freaking bouncing balloon of the 3:10 pace group leader, Dave? was bounding off. I didn't have another gear, but I pressed on. Right around mile 24, some guy, said "3:10 is right here, stay with me and you are punching your ticket to Boston." I could muster nothing more than a grunt, and followed him like I was hopping on to someone's wheel. It fricking hurt, and that cushion I had built was wittling fast.

Soon enough, the crowd appeared and the finish line. Missile, Lightning and Dirrty Girl, who had shattered her own half marathon PR by 12 minutes, were cheering me on, and as I looked up at the clock saw 3 hr 10 min something, but my watch was indicating 3 hr 09 min something. Spastically, my legs covered the last few steps, and crossing the line, my watch showed 3 hr 09 min and 53 seconds. I had qualified for BOSTON!!

I cried. I had talked about it, but didn't think this day would come. From my perspective, there was nothing fun about this race. I wasn't sure if I could dig deep enough when faced with challenge. Would I seize the moment or let it slip?

Official Finishing Time: 3 hr 09 min and 51 seconds

Now all I have to do is figure out how, when, where and how much this Boston thing is gonna cost me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Punching my ticket...

3 hr 09 min 51 seconds....this all I can muster at the moment. Full race report to follow.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Good luck to all runners this weekend

Dirrty Girl and I have ventured out of town and are graciously being hosted by Missile and Lightning . Good luck to all of you on your journeys. Remember that this is a celebration of all your hard work and to smile for the camera!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Be gone training wheels...

Little Dirt Dawg has gotten rid of those heinous, metal, assistive devices known as training wheels and is now cruising on two wheels. TDF in 2035?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Worldwide Festival of Races - 1/2 Marathon Report

Fueled by some Starbucks Pike Place and a Chocolate Glazed Donut (Healthy, no, but I was gonna run 13 miles, I figure I could splurge and besides that donut was eyeballing me @ the store, I simply could not say no), I headed out to Island Lake to see if there were any takers to get in their Worldwide Festival of Races Half Marathon. The air was crisp and necessitated some arm warmers and glove as I took off.
To put it simply, there is not a better time than in the fall to go trail running. The trail was in pristine condition and the smell of leaves and of those fluttering to the ground quickly had me in the zone.
The miles were rolling by when on the yellow loop, between mile marker 1 and 2 there is a nice little climb after a bridge crossing. I heard the "thump, thump" of wheels rolling behind me and pulled off to let 4 mountain bikers go by. One of them said "you will catch up." Darn right I will. At the base of the climb, I made an effort to get right behind the last guy, and when he turned around to look, I told him he was fine, just keep going. So there we were, 4 mountain bikers and 1 dirt dawg ascending this hill, when I could hear "on your left" and turned to see another mountain biker at the base beginning his own personal quest to shoot up the climb as quickly as possible. He quickly closed the gap to me, but I wasn't getting off to the side. Instead I kept my line and pace, and eventually 2 guys pulled off the side, I was third up the climb, and when we got up to the top, I pulled over and as the mountain biker passed me he said, "Nice effort up that hill." And like that, I settled back in my zone letting my mind wander to take in the beautiful fall day. I passed the mandated half marathon mark @ 1 hr 58 min 30 sec and finished my trail run with a distance of 13.32 miles in 2 hr 1 min and 13 sec. I was sad to see it end so quickly but excited to know that even if I was running alone on the trail, there were others around the world running their own virtual distance as part of this Worldwide Festival of Races and look forward to their stories.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Worldwide Festival of Races - Island Lake

If any of you follow Steve Runner and Phedippidations, then you know that this weekend is the upcoming Worldwide Festival of Races. A mere 8 days away from the Columbus Marathon, I plan on heading out to Island Lake for an easy blue/yellow loop to get the requisite 13.1 miles in. This will be an easy and slow ramble through some beautiful, fall foilage. Feel free to join me Saturday around 8:30 am or email me @ for more info.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Cider Mill

With a cool, crisp, and perfect fall day in front of us, I decided to take Little Dirt Dawg and Dirrty Feather to the cider mill. A trip to the orchard would perhaps have to wait until Dirrty Girl came with us, as I am fully aware and could conjure up the debacle that would have ensued had I tried to pick apples and pumpkins by myself with these two.

Nevertheless, the cider mill proved to be a blast as they feasted on cider and donuts and proceeded to what else RUN and explore the trails surrounding the area.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

D.D.M.C. # 9

I was really excited to get this one started and had no problem getting up @ 3:30 am when the alarm went off. Family obligations for the weekend necessitated the early start and after the first hour with Nemo, I felt pretty loose and settled into an easy rhythm of running 12 minutes and walking for 3 minutes. Around mile 22 or so I stopped @ a 7-11 for some Gatorade and M&M's (YUM) and used that to fuel my finish. The marathon came at about 4 hr 15 min in and I just kept rolling. 30 sounded like a nice even number so I stopped. One of those days where the mind and body were in sync and could have just kept going and going.
Start Time: 3:40 am
Distance: 30.05 miles
Time: 4 hr 52 min 50 sec
Avg. Mile: 9:44
Fastest mile: 8:23 (mile 29)
Slowest mile: 11:41 (mile 1)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Do you ever?

Do you ever get excited about an upcoming marathon or long run? Do you think about it during the week and know that you will have 3 or more hours all to yourself on the road or trails in self-exploration?

I know I have thought about tomorrow's DDMC #9 all week and can't wait to get it rolling. I may not even really sleep that well. Then again a couple of cowboy pops (Trader Joe's Pumpkin Ale) and a pizza may help me catch a few winks.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's official

Just finished registering myself for the Columbus Marathon, which will be D.D.M.C. #10 and Dirrty Girl for the 1/2 marathon on October 19th. We decided that we wanted to take a break from the Free Press Marathon and expand our running horizons. Missile and Lightning will be our gracious hosts for the weekend.

Dirrty Girl is looking to improve on her 1/2 marathon time this year of 2 hr and 27 in set at the Dexter Ann Arbor 1/2 and I must say she has been putting in the effort to accomplish that. Me, on the other hand, I don't know. Boldly, perhaps foolishly earlier in the year after setting my PR of 3:24 @ Toledo envisioned setting a Boston BQ @ Columbus. My fortitude and training were diligent until late this summer when I slowed it down after spending time in the Rockies and running a 50 miler. We will just have to wait and see.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Tribe

This weekend, I was finally able to cash in my birthday gift of 2 tickets to a Tigers V. Indians game in Cleveland and have my first experience @ Progressive Field. When I first received my tickets in April, I was pretty excited that these tickets in the final week of the regular season could be an important game for either the division title or a wild card berth. Instead, this was an all important game in who sucked worse. After little dirt dawg's soccer game, Dirrty Girl adn I scooted off and met Lightning and Missile for some pre game beers and apps as we toured the city taking in several joints, one of which had a bowling alley in it and some burly men singing a rendition of "Roseanna."

Progressive Field, which used to be known as "The Jake" is a really neat ballpark. Good food, a plethora of beer and great seats made the Tigers blowing another game nearly tolerable. However, their mascot, Slider, looked like something that had boils or open sores, and no way in hell would I let my kids near that thing.
I was not early to rise this morning, but after a few slow miles due to a thick head, dry mouth and rumbly stomach I picked up Lightning and we headed around town to check out some sites includind the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, The Dawg Pound and what is left of the Flats.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Let them play...

Do you remember when you were a little kid and your parent would give you a five minute warning to stop playing and come in for dinner/bed/homework and you would try to eek out a little bit longer just to play by either forgetting about time or using your negotiation skills to say just one more minute? Do you remember when it would start to get dark and you would keep playing even if it meant not being able to see the ball in flight? Do you remember when the weather would turn too cold or wet and it was a battle of your own will and gently coaxing others to stay and tough it out?

Welcome to Fall Kickball!!!

Last night ushered in the first night of the fall season and Double Deuce was once again back on the mound. This is the first foray for Double Deuce into the short fall season, and according to the coach we could be a contender.

A muggy, hazy night with the threat of rain did not stop us from showing up and jumping out to an early lead even with an umpire who was more concerned with talking on his cell phone than making calls. With the Deuce up by several runs and looking like we might actually mercy a team that was playing its very first game together, I was standing on third after sliding into second (note: very stupid...wearing shorts, still pretty hard sporting bum left wrist) when the clouds opened up and a torrential downpour began.

Within thirty seconds, the portly ump had called the game, waddled over to his gas guzzling Caddy (@ $11 bucks per game to ump, how many games would one have to officiate to purchase said Caddy?) and stomped on the gas like he was chasing the neon light of Krispy Kreme indicating some fresh donuts were ready. After about 2 minutes, the rain had subsided and a group of soggy, beer infused adults looked around confused and without direction. Soon, the chants of "Let them play, let them play" arose to a feverish level and amicably it was decided that we would finish the game without the portly ump and Coach W. would call the game.

We had already one, but at this point it didn't matter. Looking around, I could see the gleam, even if they were slightly impaired at the joy in the others eyes that we were just gonna play, just like when we were kids. And so with a sloppy field and a slick ball, we played. Our fun was almost derailed by the evil park supervisor who pulled up in the standard Crown Vic to support his ample weight and asked where our ump was. When Coach W. told him that he had run like a fat man to an all you can eat buffet, and we were gonna finish the game, the sup opened the door, placed his hands on the door jam to get a swinging start and hoisted his jiggly self out to start giving Coach W. the business. Luckily, Finkelstein who even with several cowboy pops was able to recall his CPI training to diffuse the situation and the sup agreed to let us play for 15 more minutes and stating that " I am only doing it because (pointing to Finkelstein) that you asked nicely", but then turning his attention and Coach W stated "and you, i don't know about you."

In the end, it didn't matter that we mercied them and the game was over after 5 innings. What was more important that we had fun. Isn't that in the end what it really is about? Just like when we were kids. We weren't playing to see who was the winner or loser because that would all be forgotten about even before the next game, but that we where out there on a rainy, muddy field just playing for the sake of play itself.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hanging with the Pro Ass(ociate)

As crazy as my days can be with students, sometimes you have to take a minute and have some fun.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


All it takes is getting outside and moving to get the body energized and the mind a chance to relax. My run today after school was only 20 minutes, but it was both long and short enough to give my body some energy and my mind sometime to reflect and relax on another challenging day with my students.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Blue Dragons

With just a hint of fall in the air, it is time once again for little dirt dawg's soccer league to begin. To my surprise and delight, he stated that he wanted to ride his bike "real fast" to the game. So off he went wearing his shirt from last year as a Red Dragon to make the just about 1 mile ride to the park. After trading his t-shirt for a sweet jersey, it was time to huddle up with the coach and pick a new team name. Little Dirt Dawg had no problem asserting himself and stating, "that last year we were the red dragons, so this year since our shirts are blue, we should be the blue dragons." With a quick vote, the Blue Dragons were born and Little Dirt Dawg played a great game scoring a couple of goals enroute to a victory, even though no one was really keeping score.
Both Dirrty Girl and I were really impressed with not only his stamina since he continued to run around even during timeouts and halftime wanting to kick the ball around, but that he was into the game and didnt want to really come out. A far cry from last year when it was like pulling teeth to get him engaged and to remain out there. There is some truth to that saying that, "Boy they grow up fast."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Merging back into the rat race...

Another summer for the Dirt Dawg has come an gone. Gone are the flip flops and lack of any real planning outside of when and how far to run.

I am fortunate enough to work in a profession that has gratuitous breaks throughout the year but especially during the summertime. As a school administrator, more affectionately known as a "pro ass", I am more than ready for the break to recharge my batteries.

It is always difficult to get back into the swing of things and join the masses en route to our respective places of employment. I must now abide by a clock and have a routine in order to get my run or walk in, get ready for work, and get the kids off to their respective schooling/day care. However, it was out on the roads this summer that I had time to reflect and things began to make some real sense to me.

It is the routine of my daily exercise that as Emerson put it, "be first a good animal" that gets me ready for the "rat race". The daily grind so to speak is what allow my family to have summers off to experience America. It is not so much the speed at which one travels, nor is it the distance, sometimes it is just the fact that you are out there. Now, please watch carefully as I, Dirt Dawg, merge slowly back into the "rat race" least until the first holiday break.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Silver Lake 50 Mile Race Report

Two Words: Heat Management

The inaugural Silver Lake 50k/50 mile/Relay was held yesterday on Potowatami Trail in the Pickney Recreation Area and was comprised of 12.5 mile loops for the 50 mile participants and a shorter 6 mile out and back for the 50K participants in addition to that 12.5 mile loops. With temps predicted near 90 and humid, I told myself that I needed to stick to a hydration plan and go out slower than expected if I was going to finish and told Dirrty Girl to expect around a 10 hour finish.

I didn't sleep at all the night before and was up and ready to go by 5 am. I thought I had done a good job packing my gear and cooler since with the loop option i could easy access every few hours but on the way and with it pitch black out i thought I might need a light and of course had forgotten that. A quick stop @ a gas station and $8 later i had a flashlight, but in the end I didn't need it and will just keep it in the drop box from now on.

Arriving @ the course around 6:15 am for a 7 am start, i had to wait until approximately 6:45 am for the race management to show up with race # and with a quick pre race mtg indicating to follow the yellow markers and aid stations are @ 4 mile/9 mile and the start/finish we were off @ 7:05 am.

Lap 1 2:11:36 10:32/M 12.50 - My mind playing tricks on me...

With an air horn start, 20 individuals and 2 relay teams started, and immediately a group scampered on ahead. Within the first 2 miles my shirt was soaked from the heat and already my mind started the proverbial chatter with my body on maybe we should only do the 50k, why are we doing this and it is gonna suck out here today, lets just walk. I maintained my run 9 min/walk 1 min pace throughout the first loop and passing the aid stations (sparsely stocked, like only having jelly and forgetting PB?,) took in what I think turned out to be my lifesaver in Endurolytes every hour. I also faced the reality that with so few participants that I would end up running approximately 99.5% of the race by myself.

Lap 2 2:22:54 11:26/M 25.00 - Cruisin

Starting lap two, I promised myself that when I returned back to the start/finish that I would reward myself with some Advil and a Mountain Dew. It always takes me a few hours to get going and lock myself in and I settled into a fairly good rhythm. Somewhere around this loop i started running 8 min and walking 2, but the important thing I felt was to keep moving forward, keep hydrating and keep popping the endurolytes. Even if I left an aid station with my stomach sloshing a bit, I knew I just had to keep taking in the fluids. The trail provided shade, but did little to stymie the heat, and at times looked like you were running towards a haze.

Lap 3 2:42:09 12:58/M 37.50 - Dirt off your shoulder

As I reached the halfway point, it was damm hot. I reached into the cooler and used a bandanna soaked in ice to try and cool off. Popped a few Advil, grabbed a 20 oz Dew from the cooler and took off knowing that if I stayed too long, I might think about cashing it in. An infusion of caffeine helped perk my energy and somewhere between the start/finish and the first aid station i completed DDMC #8 along with my typical trip and fall. I don't know what it is but at every ultra, i have been running along fine and then BAM, I am on the side of the trail on the ground. I liken it to a wake up call, not one that I really care for and a reminder to keep your eyes on the trail.

My pace really slowed, and I alternated between running 5 min and walking 5 min and if I felt good to running 8 min and walking 2 min, but made sure that every 10 minutes the beeper was going off and I was sipping from my bottle. I was never so happy to see an aid station at the 9 mile mark of the loop as in the 5 mile stretch I had drained my bottle in like 45 minutes. This lap I saw several 50k participants who really looked like they were struggling and were holding their own inner dialogue as to why they were out there. They thought I was nuts and just told them to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving. I had to make it sound believable even if I was really having a go at keeping a good pace.

Lap 4 2:41:21 12:54/M 50.000 - Run it

I reached the 37.5 mile mark at like 7 hr and 13 min and still entertained thoughts of a sub 10 hour finish, although each lap had gotten progressively slower. Grabbed a coke, popped some more Advil and started walking with 50k finisher who was just heading up the trail a bit. Graciously, she took my empty can so that I didn't have to carry it for another 3 or so miles. Promised myself that when I got to the first aid station that I could listen to some music. I actually got to the first aid station a bit ahead of the last lap, donned the shuffle and started groovin. Had to stop and relieve myself a few times during the last couple of miles and even though it looked more like the Fat Tire Amber Ale I had the night before, I was certain this was a good sign that I had been taking in enough fluids throughout the race. It is a cool feeling to know that you are going to finish an ultra and if that had anything to do with me running a wee bit faster last lap than the third then it is what it is. Popped out of the trail with a few minutes to spare before 10 hrs and crossed in 9 hr 58 min/11:58 min average.

Crossing the line, I found out that I had finished 3rd overall and 1st in the mens 39 and under group. Woo Hoo! I actually won a free pair of shoes! Out of the 2o participants to start, 10 finished and talking with one guy who has done ultras all over the country it was hot and he wasn't going to risk it with a slew of fall races. If I didn't have another one scheduled for the year, I might have thought about cashing it in early, but there were some personal demons that during this race I felt I slayed. First, in prep for my first 50 miler last year, I had started a 30 mile training run in some heat only to hit the wall and cash it in. Yesterday, I stuck to my plan, started slow and kept hydrating and finished. Secondly, I DNF'ed my first 50 miler out on Potowatami during Dances With Dirt after getting so lost I was way behind on time and quit. There was no quit today.

A quick dip in the lake, and I drove home as Dirrty Feather awaited me to watch the Men's Olympic Marathon, as Dirrty Girl and Little Dirt Dawg were on their first "real" camp out @ a state park.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The way to load..

A beer for the nerves and some za for the carbs. Tomorrow should be fun.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My commuting steed

Round Trip Commute Distance: 37 miles

Time: 2 hr 43 min

Got to thinking that even though it seems like I spent a lot of time riding to and from work, a closer inspection might reveal otherwise.

If I were to drive to and from work it is about 60 minutes conservatively, and that is if I do not stop for some java which can add 5 -10 minutes. Now, let's say I want to get a run in either before work or after or both and assume 8 miles total. That is at least 75 - 90 minutes depending on pace and doesnt include getting ready to run and so on. So at the very least with commuting by car and a run, I may use 2hr 20 min to 2 hr and 40 min of which only 50-70% is spent exercising.

If I could only figure out a way to commute more often.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What do you call yourself?

As I was out riding around town to do a few errands today, an employee @ Walgreens asked me a question that got me thinking and chewing on it for the rest of ride. Picking up some photos of Colorado, the photoshop employee looked at me: sweaty, probably stinky, with my camelbak and bike helmet dangling, and said" "Are you a marthoner?" Now this girl didn't look like she could run a mile let alone a 100 yards unless there was a slurpee and $5 pizza waiting for her, but I had failed to notice that I had thrown on a trail marathon shirt and was caught off guard.

My mind was working really hard, and then it came out, "Yeah." No, no no, i thought, aren't I more than that? What if I said I am a ultramarthoner too? Would she even know what that meant? How about I ran a 3 hr 24 min marathon earlier this year and maybe hope to qualify for Boston? Wait, I've got one "Dirt 3 hr 24 min marathoner Dawg, 50 mile participant this weekend? Instead, I handed over my debit card, got the pics and left.

However, as i started rolling towards my next destination, it got me thinking, "What do you call yourself?" When you meet people do you introduce yourself as a: runner,
5ker, 10ker, half marathoner, etc? How do you make that distinction? Is it based on what you are training for and hope to achieve or what you have just done? Today, I had said I was a marthoner, this weekend an ultrarunner, and in a few weeks a 5ker as I push dirrty feather. Some say the difference between a runner and a jogger is an entry blank or 10 min per mile and under.

Lately, I have been thinking it has more to do with a lifestyle. A rambling from Running into the Sun about a guy who ran like 5 miles and then the Boston marathon as a bandit had her all in a tither as she describes the training schedule she is deeply committed to that will produce a likelihood of great success for her come October. That is why I can with all good faith call myself and Running into the Sun, a runner. A concscious, purposeful decision to lead a lifestyle that will allow us to see the Earth as quickly or slowly over roads and trails with ease. What do you call yourself?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

2 mile challenge

Several people either on my way home or once I got home from Colorado, sent me messages wondering to what depths my post trip depression had risen to. I too had thought about the impending return to pancake flat Michigan, the fact that I couldn't run/hike in the mountains, and etc, but it also gave me time for reflection. A friend of mine said every time he went to the mountains or on an epic trip it changed him. I am inclined to agree because while in Colorado, both Dirrty Girl and I talked of how we should be "greener" as it seemed to be more integrated into the culture we saw in Colorado and the type of lifestyle we want to model for our children. Henceforth, the 2 mile challenge.

Clif Bar is promoting the 2 mile challenge on the premise that 40% of urban travel in the US is less than 2 miles per trip. Why not hop on your bike for some (or all) of those short jaunts about town, and save the atmosphere the hassle of dealing with your carbon emissions -- there's already too much to go around. Furthermore, America owns close to the most bicycles per capita, but is close to the bottom of the list when it comes to using them.

Seems pretty simple and something doable, since we live close to downtown Royal Oak, and many of our trips this summer have been by foot or bike. This week however, we have made a much more conscious effort to use our bikes.

Places ridden this week:

1. To local track for dirrty girl to get in some 1/2 marathon prep. little dirt dawg and dirrty feather ran a little and played on the infield. Note: bring soccer ball next time

2. Grocery shopping..only 2 bags worth will fit in Doodlebug with kids

3. Beauty treatment: eyebrow and laser...not me

4. Presidential election volunteer gig....dirrty girl

5. Kickball tournament.... sadly Double Duece bowed out after a valiant effort

6. Obligatory green cruise during the Dream Cruise

When all is said and done for the week, approximately 38 miles covered bi-pedal and just over 3 hours not stuck in a car nor emitting harmful poisons into the air. May not be much, but it is a start.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A ramble through the woods....

The Silver Lake 50-50 seems like a nice way to cap off the summer before I have to actually head back to the "real world" and job as a school administrator. Scheduled for August 23rd, I entered the 50 miler and figure that with my time in the mountains and multiple marathons this year that I should be able finish. Not predicting a time, just want to enjoy my time out there. Anyone else??

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Camp Dawg

Inspired by our recent trip out west, dirrty girl wanted to camp out with little dirt dawg in the vast wilderness of our backyard in hopes that he would want to move onto a state park before the end of the summer. After a quick lesson on how to set the tent up and supplying themselves with sleeping bags and books, the two settled in and not a peep was heard all night. Upon entering the mess hall, aka the kitchen, in the morning, little dirt dawg claimed a rousing success and looks forward to a "real" night in the wild.

Monday, August 11, 2008

RMNP vs. Montrail Hardrock

Finally home, and time to take stock of the damage that RMNP (Rocky Mountain National Park) inflicted on my Montrail Hardrocks after only 2 weeks and about 60+ miles on the trails. Looks like they have been through the wringer and 5 times as many miles. Luckily for me though, I purchased them through, for a fraction of retail price, and managed no toenail loss or twisted ankles.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Time to....

The last elk has been spotted and the last mountain summitted. Time to turn the mother ship around and head home . :(

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Just one more..

Not wanting to think about the impending packing and returning home, I headed out this morning for just one more run/hike.

Departing from the condo, I made my way downtown for some java and a muffin before heading over to the visitor center to ride the hiker shuttle which departs promptly @ 6:30 am. The shuttle drops you of @ a park n ride and another shuttle had me to Bear Lake @ 7:15 am.

Heading from there, I scooted up to Alberta Falls (pictured above) and then down to Glacier Creek Trail to Storm Pass Trail and finally ending @ Lily Lake where Ranger Little Dirt Dawg and Dirrty Girl where waiting to give me a lift home.

Trip Distance: 12.45 miles
Time: 3 hr 15 min

Unfortunately, the real world calls.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Spraque Lake

This beautiful "alpine like" lake boasts views of several mountains and has a level .5 mile path that is perfect for not only pushing a jogger, but climbing rocks and having a picnic with the kids.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Colorado Rockies

Dirrty Girl has this idea to have little dirt dawg go to every MLB ballpark so of course we had to make our way down to Coors Field.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Lily Mountain

Before Buzzkill headed back with his family to the thumb state, a quick hike up a short mountain would be a fitting way to end his vacation.

Distance: 3.4 miles roundtrip
Time: 1 hr 23 min
Start/End Elevation: 8,780 - 9,786 ft
Net Elevation: 1,006 ft

The trail was pretty uneventful for the first .7 miles before the final mile gave way to all of the elevation gain and the last 100 yards or so had you climbing rocks to reach the summit.

Back to the trailhead by 7:15 am. Buzzkill put it best when he said, " I am glad I did not sleep in this morning."

Friday, August 01, 2008

Twin Sisters

With Buzzkill bowing out with GI distress, I was already up and rearing to go for an early morning scramble.

Distance: 7.2 miles
Time: 2 hr 8 min
Start/ End Elevation: 9,040 - 11,413 ft
Elevation Gain: 2,477 ft

Getting to the trailhead and started early is the key if you want to have a lot of time to yourself with minimal human contact. The reward for today was watching the sun rise up over the mountain. Sweet.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rafting the Poudre

The Cache La Poudre River is Colorado's first and only designated "National Wild and Scenic" river. In the 1800's, the canyon was home to Native Americans, trappers, miners, stage travelers, and outlaws. The river's name, Cache La Poudre (translated as hide the powder), was acquired in 1825 when French trappers buried gunpowder along the river's bank to conceal it from others.

Enough with the history. Dirrty Girl and I along with some family members took a 1/2 day trip down the Poudre navigating class II and III rapids for approximately 4.5 miles of wet and wild fun. Dirrty Girl even managed to get thrown from the raft as we navigated our way downriver. We did haul her back in.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lily Lake

After yesterday's effort, today was an easy .8 mile level family walk around another great lake and gave both little dirt dawg and dirrty feather their fair share of interaction with Wyoming ground squirrels.

It is easy to get caught up in the beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis here and make bold statements that we are going to move, but there is plenty of beauty in the thumb state in which we reside. I guess the family and I will just have to make a more conscience effort and make the time to experience it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Flattop Mountain

If there was to be any more discussion of possibly taking a stab at a 14'er (Longs Peak), I thought that a trip above 11,000 ft up to Flattop Mountain would be a good test for all of the parties involved. I put the challenge down that we would be running/hiking up to the summit and only Buzzkill, a budding cross country talent, took up the challenge.

Distance: 9 miles roundtrip
Total Time: 2hr 36 min
Start/End Elevation: 9,475 - 12,324
Elevation Gain: 2,874 ft

It was not easy. A rocky ascent, switchbacks, and the constant elevation gain finally left Buzzkill and I feeling a little lightheaded once we got above 11,000 ft but we continued to put the proverbial hammer down and once we got above 12,000 ft started feeling good and summited the top in 1 hr 26 min. I wasn't sure that we had made great time, but we had passed quite a few people on the ascent and a couple at the top upon hearing our time asked if we had run up and were we headed to Grand Lake, 11 miles away, for lunch? We kindly responded no, but quickly donned a middle layer and some gloves as the temp had dropped 20 degrees since we started.

My faith in organized religion may be sketchy at best, but if there is a higher power I saw it on display today I was rewarded with unbelievable views and even a mini snowball fight just below the summit.

Buzzkill and I flew down the mountain, running most of it, and I am sure my hamburgered quads will thank me tomorrow. We were rewarded one more time as just before we finished we saw two coyotes skirt across the trail.

It doesn't get much better than this.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bear Lake

In order to acclimate to a bit higher elevation and to get the kids out in nature, we headed this morning to Bear Lake. It was no easy task having dirrty feather and little dirt dawg up, dressed and fed to be @ the trailhead by 8 am but it proved more than worthwhile as a short .65 mile trip @ 9,455 ft provided spectacular views. Finished up in just enough time as the trail was becoming quite crowded on another spectacular day @ RMNP.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bridal Veil

What better way to celebrate Dirrty Girl and I's six year anniversary and our first full day in Estes Park than to get out to RMNP and go for a hike.

Bridal Veil @ Cow Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 6.4 mi
Time: 2 hr 50 mi
Start/End Elevation: 7,855 - 8,830

It was beautiful, and along the way spotted some elk that Dirrty Girl had hoped to see. When we thought we had reached the fall which looked more like a trickle, a scamper up a pretty steep and rocky ascent led us to the falls.

Six years of marital bliss and a memorable day to remember it by.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Loveland Classic 5K

With the kids landing safely in Denver, the entire gang settled in Loveland, Co for the night before heading up to Estes Park.

I had checked out places to run in Loveland prior to departure and had found a 5k/10k this morning with a start time of 7 am. However, after getting lost on the way to the hotel due to Bub, note that spelling makes a huge difference on Mapquest, and 2 road weary kids, I did not even pull out the race form to look at where we were in proximity to it.

With no knowledge of the time zone change, dirrty feather was up @ 5:30 am and so as not to wake dirrty girl and little dirt dawg, I fumbled around a dark hotel room for some running clothes and took dirrty feather out to the mother ship to assemble the baby jogger. We made are way around the outlet stores and then headed out along a lake with paved/gravel roads. By pure dumb luck, what did I see on the up ahead but the Loveland Classic 5K/10k!

I checked my wallet, found the entry fee, signed dirty feather and i up to run and tried to call dirrty girl and tell her that we were a mere 1/2 mile away if she wanted to run, and got in a few more miles before the start.

Dirrty Feather and I lined up almost dead last behind what happened to be walkers and had to do quite a bit of work to get some clear running space. Maybe only 150-200 for both races and passed the 1 mile marker in 7:30 as a race volunteer called out, before finishing the 5k in a Garmin time of 21:20. Didn't stay around to see results as we were heading up to the mountains, but at least Dirrty Feather and I both did our first race in Colorado!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Urban Running

A run along the Cherry Creek Greenbelt Path this morning provided Dirrty Girl and I views of the city as we ambled along on soft trails, underneath railroad tracks and even took in some wildlife spotting a fox along the way. I must admit it is pretty cool to see so many people out there exercising or commuting by pedal or foot in such a large urban city.

Mile High

After depositing the mother ship at the Runner's World recommended Hotel Teatro (, Dirrty Girl and I set out to tour the mile high city. Up and down the 16th Street Mall, around Coors Field, and a stop @ Illegal Pete's for some killer fish tacos set us up for a walk across the Platte River, over to REI, and a quick refreshing dip in the river. Walking back over the river we stopped at the coolest bookstore ever, The Tattered Cover before getting cleaned up and heading out for one of the best meals ever at Rioja.

Dirrty Girl and I were both amazed at not only the cleanliness of Denver, but also the use of mass transit and bicycles by a large segment of the poplulation. Something that is severely lacking in the "D" as is evident by our high ranking in the country for obesity.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Putting it down...

Taking a page from my travels as a youth with my dad in which the only stops allowed were those in which your eyes were yellow, dirrty girl and I put it down today. Just around 1,150 miles covered in 18 hours leaving us a hop, skip, and a jump to Denver tomorrow.

Observations from the road:

1. Crop dusters are cool.
2. Iowa has a lot of corn and cops
3. Nebraska - FLAT!
4. Amazing what people will put in in paddocks with horses...trailers, old cars.
5. Driving across the country is pretty neat.