Mini Trump

So, what is your opinion of Donald Trump vying for the Republican nomination for President of the United States?  Do you think this is really a good idea for America?  Do you think it’s a complete joke?

Somehow he is still leading in the polls.  Yep, the front runner.  Say what you will about it, but I guess the red states see something in this man that screams “head honcho”, “leader”, “best of the worst”.  Whatever your opinion is, I think a lot of people, including myself, find him entertaining.

Entertainer, yes.  Celebrity, for sure.  Business guru, absolutely.  Billionaire, no question.

This man has a ton of money.  Just saying the word “trump” now means way more than a term in a card game.  Say trump, and it means money.  Opulence.  Wealth.

Now let me turn to this….  We need billionaires to share the wealth.  Haven’t you ever thought that?  What could I do with an extra $10,000 in my bank account?  How many bills could I pay off if a billionaire gave me just $5,000 out of the kindness of his or her heart?  Plenty!  I just need a small windfall, and I wouldn’t even use the money on myself.  I would use it first to fully fund the charity I am working with.  Really, I don’t need that much to fully fund it.  $970 to be exact.

I need a Mini Trump!

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I need just a fraction of what this man is worth.  In order to fulfill my charity obligation to the James Blake Foundation, I just need like .00000097 of your fortune, Mr. Trump.  Does it help that I have been a fan of The Celebrity Apprentice?

I just need a Mini Trump!

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Who doesn’t find this adorable?

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Will you be a part of my Mini Trump Fund?  I am so close to my goal, and with only 31 days until the New York City Marathon, I need donors, both big and small.  Every dollar helps and goes directly to the fight against cancer.  Every dollar furthers research in gene mutations to effectively treat cancer.  Won’t you please help today?  $20, $30, $50?  $100?  Or more?  Just know that I appreciate all of the donations I have received to date.  I have raised $2,030 thus far, but need your help to reach $3,000 or even higher.

I am using the crowdrise fundraising platform, and making a donation is as simple as a few clicks.  Just click on the following link and it will take you directly to my fundraising page where you will be able to make your thoughtful contribution, and get your name written on my race shirt.  That way, you will be running through the five boroughs of NYC right along with me.

Thank you so much!

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Revel Rockies 2016 Discount

Act now using code “ROCKIES16” to save $10 off the cheapest prices for next years race.  This code expires at the end of the day on 9/30/15.

Using that code, plus the $5 discount for “liking them” on Facebook during checkout, equates to $15 of savings…..

But wait!  I’ve created a team “Chasing Boston” for the event.  If you join my team during registration, you’ll save another $5.

Just click “Join A Team”, and enter that name.  This race is not a relay, nor do we have to run in a group, or even have to know each other.  It’s simply a way for us all to save some dough when we sign up.

Don’t worry, if you miss the deadline on 9/30/15, you can still sign up on my team anytime before race day 2016 and still save $5 off of current registration prices when you sign up.

See?  Simple…  Let’s save some money and go for Boston at the Rockies race next June.

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Oh, Chicago

12 days from today I will be running my second Chicago Marathon.  I can’t believe that the time has flown by so quickly since finding out I got in through the lottery two years in a row.  I had to jump at the chance to run it again.  It was such a blast last year, going back was a no brainer.

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I remember the race so well, even now almost a year later.  The sights, the sounds, the crowds and support!  The route, ever changing from neighborhood to neighborhood, welcoming me as I ran through it.  There was so much to see and enjoy during this race that my running almost felt effortless.  The race day weather last year was perfect, and before I knew it, all 26.2 miles were behind me in 3 hours and 41 minutes.

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Would I like to better my time from last year?  Sure!  Do I think I will this time around?  Probably not.  Why?  I just have this feeling that this time around that I will be taking in the scenery and crowd support even more than last year, and just won’t be as focused on my finish time.  We’ll see.  My best marathon this year has been a 3:46, so beating my time at last years Chicago Marathon would give me my best marathon in 2015 by a good bit.

Chicago, the city, made a huge impression on me last year.  Walking all over the city, eating the food, people watching, shopping, all great experiences.  It was a new place for me a year ago.  This time around I have some knowledge.  I already know some places I want to return to, and I’ve done some studying up on new places I want to visit.  My Official Participant Guide came in the mail yesterday, so it is all very real all over again.

At this moment, in 12 days I will be finished with the race.  Basking in the glory of my 21st marathon finish.  Two weeks from now I will be back home, and working on being completely focused on 22, the anew York City Marathon, which is 33 days from today.  Wow, what an exciting five weeks ahead.

What about you?  Will I see you in Chicago or New York this Fall?  Traveling to any races?  What’s on your calendar?

2016 Revel Big Cottonwood Discount

Registration is already open for Big Cottonwood Marathon & Half for 2016.  Talk about a jump start!  The 2015 race was just a few weeks ago.  They open it early so that folks can plan in advance, and get in on the lowest pricing.

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With that being said, current pricing is as follows, and will stay at this price until 4/12/16.

Half Marathon $79.95

Full Marathon $99.95

My plan is to head back to Utah for this race in 2016 (since it’s one of my absolute favorites) and have created a team that you can join for an even lower price.  Joining my team gets you an additional $5 off current pricing, and if you “Like” them on Facebook during checkout they offer another $5 off.

My team name is “Chasing Boston”, so when registering, just choose “join a team”, and enter that name.  We don’t have to run together, but we can save money together, right?  This past race I had over 20 people join my team, all saving money along the way.

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The Big Cottonwood course is a fast, downhill race that qualifies tons of folks every year for Boston, hence the team name I chose.  So?  What are you waiting for?  Join in on the fun in Salt Lake City.  You may even see a moose or two during your race down Cottonwood Canyon.

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Marine Corps Half Marathon- Race Recap

This past Saturday, 9/19/15, my oldest son and I ran an amazing race together.  A new Half Marathon to us, but a tried and true tradition for years about a two and a half hour drive from home.  This race has been on my radar for a few years now, but timing and obligations always seemed to get in the way.  Not this year!  Back at the beginning of the Summer my son called me and said “let’s sign up for a race”.  You know me, I love running races with my boys, so I searched and searched to find us a race.  Because I didn’t have a September marathon planned this year, this Half Marathon at Camp LeJeune was the perfect choice.

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This race would be my sons 5th Half, and my 29th!  The weather the week prior to the race was finally cooling off a bit.  For a few weeks I had been able to get in some training runs in more moderately warm conditions versus down right hot ones.  My son was taking this race very seriously.  He has recently gotten a lot fitter, and had really taken training for this race to a new level for him.  Based on the runs he had in the month leading up to the race, I knew if he had a good day that he would leave Dad in the dust right at the start.  Time would tell.

This race location is an interesting one for us.  Being about 150 miles away from home, it seemed too close to commit to an overnight in a hotel, but meant getting up mega early on race morning to drive there.  I chose to drive on race morning since they offered race day packet pick up.  It was way more difficult to do this than I had ever imagined.  We had to leave the house by 3am!!  Yes, 3:00am.  Ugh!  It wasn’t a big deal to my son, who threw on some headphones, and curled up in the passenger seat.  To me?  Not fun!  Because of added security measures at Camp LeJeune, they suggested we get there 90 minutes before the race.  We had to submit personal info prior to the race like drivers license info, make and model of the car I would be driving, etc..  Getting there early would mean I would have the needed time to get my parking pass, find parking on base, pick up our packets, and get prepared to race.  It all worked out just fine, it was just a very long morning.

Our race preparations went as planned.  I was a bit disappointed that the cooler morning temperatures of the prior week had decided to end abruptly that day.  When I had gotten up at 1:30am, the temperature was 70 degrees.  By the time the race started it was 72, and humid.  We hydrated the best we could before the race began, and I hoped for the best.

This race also includes a 5k, and 10k so there were plenty of runners everywhere.  A very nice large holding area/finish area, it never felt too crowded but I knew that based on previous runnings of this event that there was over 1,000 runners there ready to race.  We lined up at 6:45, and promptly at 7am, the race began.  I told my son to race smart, and to hydrate and be sure to take his gels.  Within the first 30 seconds he was well out in front of me.  I hoped he hadn’t gone out too fast, only to lose it on the second half.  United States Marines manned intersections and kept traffic under control.  Since this entire race course was taking place in their home it was only fitting.

The race course was quiet and mostly flat.  I was clocking mile paces in the 7:30 range at the beginning. This would change, and all too soon.  It was incredibly sticky outside, and by mile three began to feel more like I was running through a swamp and not running on the road.  It was tough.  The condition were not ripe for a brilliantly fast race for me, and considering I had run another Half Marathon six days prior, I wasn’t trying to set any records.  I just knew it wouldn’t happen, especially with the heat of the morning.  The race course was beautiful though.  Several signs along the way, families in their driveways cheering us on.  It felt cozy and warm.  The section of the race course along the water was very scenic and tranquil.

My race shirt usually gets soaked with sweat during a race, but this was extreme.  My shirt was soaked by mile five, and my shorts were already getting that way.  I had a guy pass me around mile five that was literally dripping from head to toe.  He was drenched!  I think he was almost leaving wet footprints as he ran by me.  It was humid!  I was enjoying myself though, and found myself hoping that I would never catch another glimpse of my son until the finish line.  I wanted him to have a great race.  He trained hard for it, and I wanted him to succeed.

My race felt dauntingly slow.  As my pace crept upward I made a goal to come in faster than 1:49:00, a mark I was using to pace myself the prior week at the Carowinds Half.  I felt this goal was achievable, even in the heat.  Beyond the midway point in the race the pack was very thin.  I raced in and around the same group of guys for quite some time.  We traded positions at every aid station.  Water was every two miles on the course up to mile 8, and then every mile until the finish.  I knew based on how much I was sweating that I had better take advantage of each one until the end.  I would skip the last one.

The later miles were tough.  I just wanted to finish.  The effort I expended during this race was far more than my previous race, and it was all because of the heat and humidity.  It really zonked my energy.  Nearing the end, I couldn’t wait to see my son.  I wanted to know how he did.  I never caught up to him, but found myself doing a double take at mile 13 when I ran up next to an ambulance and medics loading a runner onto a stretcher.  Luckily it wasn’t him, but felt badly for that guy.  Been there, done that.  Not fun.  Racing in these conditions can land you in the hospital if not properly prepared.

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The finish line finally in view, I managed to hold my pace under my goal.  I crossed the line in 1:48:08.  Receiving my medal from a U.S. marine in uniform was very nice!  My son was there to congratulate me and tell me all about his run.  We swapped war stories of the heat and how we managed to push through to the finish.  He beat me by about four minutes.  He did start out too fast, and really slowed down the last few miles.  He was pleased though with his race.

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We gathered some water and Gatorade, and tried to cool down.  Once we did, we walked right over to the car to change clothes.  It was nice to be able to do that so easily.  The car was right there!  I guess that was a benefit to getting there early that morning.  We made our way over to the large lawn that was filled with runners, family and friends.  They had quite the spread.  Tons of food, everything from funnel cakes to hotdogs, and everything inbetween.  Fruit, sweets, beer, the list goes on and on.  It was very nice.  My calves started cramping up the minute I sat down.  Even though I tried my best to stay hydrated, the heat, sun and humidity of the morning left me a bit dehydrated.

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We hung around for the award ceremony, you know, just in case one of us won something.  Plus it was just a really nice atmosphere, and much needed recuperation time before driving back home.  I’m glad we stuck around!  As they began announcing the Half Marathon awards they started with teams, then masters, then age groups.  Low and behold, my name was announced!  Second place!  Then, as they progressed to the younger age groups, my sons name was announced, too.  He had won second place in his age group!

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We were both thrilled!  The medals are beautiful, too!  We couldn’t have asked for a better way to cap off this event than with an extra medal each!  Father and son had succeeded the best we could that day given the conditions.  I’m so glad we finally ran this race, and I have to say, may become a tradition for us.  A cooler day would have been more optimal, but we had a great time together.

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My son finished in 65th place out of 975 runners!  Just amazing!  His time was 1:44:39

I finished 94th with a 1:48:08.

$25 a day and a New York City Marathon Experience

Most of you know, if you’ve read previous posts on my blog, that I am running the New York City Marathon this November 1st.  There are a bunch of 1st’s for this race, and here are a few.

-My first time running for charity

-My first marathon in the state of New York

-The first marathon my Father will be a spectator at

-The first time both of my parents will get to see me cross the finish line

-My first time in NYC since 9/11

Race day is getting SO close!  Only 41 days remain until I toe the line in Staten Island and make my way through the five boroughs of New York.  The excitement is certainly building.  This race is so iconic.  Epic!

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I’m glad I decided to run this marathon for charity.  Let me tell you though, it has probably been more of a challenge though to raise the $3,000 I pledged than for me to run the actual race.  As NYC will be my 22nd marathon!  I’m so glad for this experience though, as my fundraising is helping cancer patients.  The research being done at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in NYC is being directly helped by the donations that all of my donors have made thus far.  I still have just over a third of the monies pledged to raise, and I need all of your help.

With just 41 days remaining until race day, that equates to an average donation of $25 a day that I need folks like you to donate to my fundraiser to hit my goal by race day.  If you could find it in your heart to donate, I would be ever so grateful.  All of the money goes to the James Blake Foundation.  Every last dollar.  I paid for my own entry into the race, so rest assured, the money you donate directly impacts the lives of those suffering from this debilitating and deadly disease.  Please donate today.  The following link will take you directly to my fundraising page where you can make a tax deductible donation in any amount you wish.

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What would also be a huge help in reaching as many folks as I can is if you would share this post on your own blog, or link to it on your own social media outlets.  I would love to exceed my goal before race day! Thank you for all of your support, encouragement and love!  I will be running New York for all of you!

Run & Ride Carowinds Half Marathon- Race Recap

Everything about this event screams FUN!  Unless you aren’t an amusement park fan, this event has awesome written all over it.

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My son and I got up bright and early on Saturday morning to make the three hour road trip to just outside of Charlotte, NC., to Carowinds Amusement Park.  The plan was this…  Get down there close to the opening of the park that day, and head straight to packet pick up.  Once packets picked up, we would have the full day to enjoy the park, and take in as many roller coasters as possible.  The car ride down was easy, and with gas prices at $2.00/gal., a cheap trip at that!

I haven’t been to Carowinds in easily 10 years, so when the opportunity presented itself to pace this event with Beast Pacing, I jumped on it.  Pacing meant a comped entry, and free admission to the park for the entire weekend.  My son just wanted coasters, not running.  His soccer season at school is a few weeks into the season and he has a game tonight, so he didn’t want his legs to be wrecked from running.  I don’t blame him.  His decision not to run meant he got to sleep in on race morning, too!  Score for him!

The weekends weather forecast was a little iffy leading up to Saturday, and in fact we had some rain on the way there.  Once at the park though, the clouds threatened all day, but it never rained.  We had an amazing time riding Afterburn, Carolina Cobra, Carolina Cyclone, Fury 325, Intimidator, and Nighthawk.  I have to admit, even at my age, I am like a kid when it comes to coasters.  Love them!  We rode several of the rides multiple times!  Fury 325 was just amazing!  Over and over and over and over again!  Couldn’t get enough of it.

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We had an absolute blast!!  If you’ve never been to Carowinds, you have to go.  They have the best coasters in the Southeast!

We left the park, early in the evening, and checked into our hotel, which was a whopping 1/4 of a mile from the entrance to the park.  I knew this meant race morning would be a breeze, which is why I chose it.  After relaxing for a few we went out to dinner for fajitas, chips and salsa.  It was delish!  After dinner settled in our bellies, we made our way over to the park again for a few more rides before calling it a day. I had a race to run in the morning!

Race morning was such a breeze.  Being so close meant that I didn’t have to get up mega early.  I got some coffee in me and went outside to check the weather.  It was about 60 degrees, which seemed quite cool.  I was pumped about that!  I had to meet up with the other pacers at 6:45, with the race starting at 7:30am.  Since Beast Pacing is pacing all of the Run & Ride events this season, I had a really nice pacing shirt to wear.  I met my fellow pacers right on schedule, and we were ready to race.

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The sunrise was beautiful that morning.  Absolutely the best weather for a race, and I was ready.  I was pacing the 1:50:00 group, and met a bunch of runners who were aiming for my goal time.  We chatted at length, swapping stories, and talking strategy.  My goal was to aim for an 8:20 per mile pace in the beginning, knowing that would put us at a 1:49:00 finish time.  I typically build in a few seconds in case the course is a bit short or long, so that there is time to adjust nearing the finish if necessary.

The race course on the map was very confusing, but we were told by the RD that the course was well marked by cones and directional markers, as well as volunteers at each critical juncture.  It was a looping course in and around the amusement park, and because there was also a 10k going on at the same time, we would have to pay close attention to the route markers.  We had no trouble finding our way.

The one thing that I had feared going into this race started coming to fruition very quickly.  Because of all of the turns and twists and loops in the course, I had really worried about my Garmin matching up with the race route markers.  It was painfully obvious that just after the first mile, we were off, and not by just a little.  Have you ever run a race where your timing device didn’t match up to the mile markers on the course?  I tried to dismiss it, hoping that over the course of the run my mileage would match back up with the course, but it never did.

By the end of the first mile on my Garmin we were sitting at an overall pace of 8:18, but mile marker 1 was .2 miles behind us.  I figured, just keep even pace and go.  The run felt so easy to me.  Maybe it was the nice cool temperature and low humidity that I was enjoying.  That in combination with the conversation with my group really made the miles tick by ever so effortlessly.  I felt good.  My group consisted of a girl running her first Half, a woman who had recently lost 100+ pounds, a gentleman from China here on business, a couple from the area that had run the race the year prior, and plenty of other folks that drifted forward and back as the race wore on.  From time to time I would ask the others where the mileage was on their devices, and we were all over the place.  By the mid point of the race, my mileage was a full 1/2 mile behind the course signs.  I just couldn’t understand how we could all be so off from the route markers, but we were.  I plodded along, keeping our pace though.

We ran around, looping back through the course for a second pass.  This time the loop was a little different, with a different finish of course.  The young girl running her first Half had left us in the dust at some point about four miles into the race, but curiously appeared about four miles later behind me.  Hum, I wondered.  She must have had to stop to use the bathroom or something, because I know we never caught up to her.  But there she was, by my side again.  I said ” where did you come from?”  She told me she had made a wrong turn, following the 10k route a few miles back, and didn’t realize it.  She had to backtrack to the Half route, and then catch back up to us.  I felt bad, but knew it was a typical rookie mistake.  It’s happened to me before, I know that!

Nearing the final 5k, the race was going perfectly for me.  Even pace still, sitting at 8:22 per mile overall.  We neared another sign.  The sign was mile marker 11.  My Garmin ticked 10 miles on the dot when we hit that sign.  A FULL MILE OFF!!!  OMG!  What to do?  Do I slow down, or keep my pace?  I started thinking at this point that I was going to get to the finish way early.  When I pace for Beast Pacing, I have to be within a minute of my projected finish time, but never over.  I thought to myself, well, I can always walk the last mile if I have to, but there were never any clocks on the course to really get a feel for if my timing was off, or if the course was just short.  I carried on knowing I could always walk, or even stop if necessary to hit my goal time.

The time came, the final mile.  My overall time was like 1:30:00?  What do I do with this?  A mile to go, and 20 minutes to burn.  I was flabbergasted.  So I slowed way down, and I mean way down.  So not my nature to slow down at the end of a race, mind you.  It irked me to the core!  But there I was, finally within view of the finish line clock, and it read 1:41:00.  So, I implemented my Plan B.  I turned around and began doing laps of the final two tenths of the course, cheering on runners as they caught up to me, and then running them to the finish.  I would double back again, and run another group in to the finish area.  Then again.  I just was trying to burn time on the clock, helping as many people as I could.  Eventually I could see 1:49:00 on the clock, so I decided it was my turn to finally finish.

The clock read 1:49:21 as I hit the mat.  After hearing my name announced, I grabbed a water, and found pacers that were ahead of me on the course.  I asked them about the mileage they had on their Garmins.  They were all off, too.  So, in the end, after checking with about six other people, we knew the course was short.  Really short.  I think the general consensus was about 3/4 of a mile short.  It was really too bad.  If I had been racing this course not pacing, I would have had a huge PR.  But then again it really wouldn’t have been since the course was short.

Looking at the final results, I’m sure that most folks got “PR’s” since the course was short, but other than that it was a fabulous race.  Well supported by volunteers, perfect weather and a great atmosphere.  I would run it again for sure, but hope the course would be measured more accurately next time.  🙂

image image imageGreat bling!  Great weekend of coasters!  After chatting up some of the folks in my group, I went back to the hotel to change clothes.  My son was just waking up when I got there.  Ah! the life of a teenager.  We checked out of the hotel, and headed right back to the park for four consecutive rides on Fury 325 before heading home.  It was a great weekend!  Half Marathon #28 in the books!

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