Sunday, December 27, 2009

Anonymous said...

When I blog, I am mindful of those who might be reading.

For example, I don't swear, much, because, well, I just might be surprised to find someone young, or old, who could be mortally offended by a "choice" word. I really don't think, "Well, I'd best not swear because someone at ________[church, work, home ...fill in the blank] might read this." Rather, I'm more concerned about the person who doesn't know me, know my heart, reading a swear word and concluding that I'm a potty mouth, or that bad words are the tip of the moral iceberg that constitutes who Joel is.

I also don't expound at great lengths about my mental or emotional anguishes because,
1. sometimes running helps me sort through them and sometimes running only magnifies them,
2. I really don't anguish over much and to expound about it even a little may leave the occasional reader concerned that my inner being is like a little boat on an ocean of tumultuous waves, and then may feel compelled to help that little boat find some island of refuge, and
3. unless one writes really well about their anguishing, it tends to just sound like cry-baby-ass whining. Oops. Not being very mindful of my readers there.

I also try not to blog about anticipated runs. It feels like bragging about something I haven't done yet. There are bragging rights associated with a long run that every ultra runner is due. But to brag before doing is just plain bad taste.

There are lots of other thoughts that get tempered when I write, because I am thinking about you, the reader. However, a recent comment flipped this all on its head. The comment said, "Don't you love me[?]
You can see me here" and then left a url that I did not follow.

It made me realize that while I may be mindful of those who are reading my blog, there are others who aren't. So, I've added word verification to my comments now. (thanks Jenna). We'll all be a little safer.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Professional Photos - What one Does When One Isn't Running

After a year, I've taken the advice of a good friend, bit the bullet, and had professional photos taken of myself. I must say that it was not the most pleasant experience. I'd rather do it again than run a 3 mile run, but I'd rather run a 30 or 50 miler than sit through the photo shoot again.

Strange, isn't it? I'd much rather run 30 miles than 3. Probably because
1. the effort to get dressed and out the door is about the same for each run,
2. it usually takes me about 30 minutes to warm up and start feeling good,
3. on shorter runs, I run too fast and end up never relaxing, and
4. there's so many more bragging rights that come with a 30 miler than with 3.

Needless to say, here is one of the pro shots below. Maybe I'll try Glamour Shots next!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

When One's Mileage Creeps near the Temperature

Today, I spent with Zeke at the mall instead of at church. Zeke has an awful cold; in fact, when he coughs it sounds like a dog barking. The nursery at church has a strict rule about not taking children who are sick. In the past, I have tried to entertain Zeke in the lobby, a hallway, a spare room, the bookstore, the library, the fellowship hall.... all to little success. So, we headed to Target and the mall where we royally violated all high standards of a good sabbatarian.

Now, whenever we get within 20 miles of the mall, Zeke begins lobbying to visit the Apple store. Today, his efforts paid off. After priming myself with a half-caff cup of coffee, we set up shop in the Apple store, where Zeke contentedly played on an iPhone for 10 minutes...until he realized that that particular iPhone had no game apps on it. So, we struck camp, moved over the iPod Touch counter, and settled in. After 35 minutes, I said it was time to go. Zeke put the iPod back in its craddle and we struck camp again.

That was all to say that when we finally arrived home this afternoon, I was itchy. Instead of the customary Sunday afternoon nap, I dug out the wool and took off.
It was a glorious run. About three miles to the Browns Creek area where I tramped through the woods and along the creek trying to find the oft-spoken-of-but-elusive trout-fishing trail that runs along the creek. So, I climbed up the embankment and ran on the Zephyr railroad track and kept stopping to peer over the edge at the rushing creek about 100 feet below.

I then turned around and ran up Highway 95 to home. This was the coldest part as the wind tends to speed up as it blows through this narrower section of the St. Croix.
9.1 miles...temperature about 15.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Running Again

Today I ran Stillwater hills. Wow, did it feel great.
It is supposed to snow tomorrow. Maybe Marty and I can slip out for a quick evening run in the snow.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

2010 Race Calendar, Passion & Family

A big thanks to Kel for assembling in one place a nice list of runs in the midwest. Check it out at her web site.
I'll be putting together my 2010 race calendar in the next few weeks. I won't be able to run all the races I put on my calendar. However, just placing the possibilities on paper is part of what motivates me.

I have learned during the past three weeks that running, ultra running, is much more a part of my being than I had imagined. I am partially defined by it; thinking about running, planning to run, and actually running all play a significant role in motivating me in other areas of my life. There was concern that running was a greater passion than my family, that I spent more time and mental gymnastics thinking about running than about developing our family. Some of that concern was legitimate.

So I made a difficult choice three weeks ago to give it up. It was not an easy choice, but one which once made, was easy to accept. I was glad that I was able to choose my family over running.

What I realized during the past weeks, and what Marty realized, is that I am not as good without running. Without a Friday moonlit run to look forward to, I found that my motivation in all of life was waning. Without a long trail run to look back at, I missed having something significant to be proud of. I have much to be proud of in my family, and my great family sets me apart from most in this world. But, I found that I need a regular, significant accomplishment to fall back on during times when I doubt my abilities. What I hadn't realized is how looking back at a big accomplishment such as a long, night run actually gives me confidence and courage to deal with a difficult legal issue or stay hopeful when I finish a case, which happens to be my only paying case.

Ultra running has become who I am. I discovered that it can't be easily distilled from my life. It makes life sweeter, more full. I found that I do need large challenges that few others attempt. I don't think it's so much pride as it is purpose that makes ultra running so indispensable. And not just purpose, but passionate purpose that makes all of my life more sweet. It's not so much different from faith, except that faith's object is so much more valuable.

So, I am drafting a 2010 race calendar in the coming weeks. And I'm doing so with an eye to protecting my family. I'm not preferring a competing passion over my family, but pursuing a passion that enables me to more passionately love my family.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sorting Through Life

Life is sifting itself through a strainer presently. I gave up Friday night soccer.
I'm not certain where running will sift out yet. All the running gear is packed away for now. Certainly, Arrowhead is out. Leadville is out. Chippewa isn't possible now since the race was terminated.
There's even a full moon this week and I most likely will not be out enjoying it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Tonight, Marty and I went on a date. I needed to drop a car off at the garage to get a few things fixed. So, while the kids watched the Madagascar Christmas special, Marty drove a car and I drove a car into town. After dropping off one car, we proceeded to enhance our date by going to Cub to find dark chocolate. We ended up adding a few things to our cart: red cabbage, yellow pepper, celery, honeycrisp apples, and cilantro.


After reading
Born to Run, we've been eating vegetables for breakfast. Yes, for breakfast. There are a number of things, enhancements, to our lives that have come from the ultra running world such as wool, salt pills, night running, eating while running, eating lots while running, eating lots after running, eating Pillsbury Toaster Strudels before a run, eating Pillsbury Toaster Strudels while running, running in trail shoes on trails, on pavement, on carpet, in the house, and sometimes to the office, Bodyshield and, as of tonight, fighting.

So, it was only natural that we would try vegetables for breakfast.
It's been very...interesting.

During the first week:
I felt light and energetic all day. No need for caffeine. Not even hungry for lunch.

Second week:
Still feel light and energetic. I think about the taste of cabbage all day long. My intestines are clean. I'm hungry by 11am, but don;t feel like eating anything heavy. Marty says she's lost 5 lbs.

Third week:
I'm now eating a little cereal to supplement the vegetables. Still feel very healthy. Still think about cabbage a lot. I'm hungry by lunch but still don't feel like eating much.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beyond the Headlamp

Why run late, late at night:

• few, to no, distractions
• no need to impress anyone - there is no one to impress
   on a trail at 2am in the morning.
• adventure lurks just beyond the headlamp beam
• an opportunity to practice running tired without
   having had to run for 8 hours
• time to think...

Thinking while running:
It is easy to tell people that I enjoy long runs because I'm able to think things through to a resolution. That sounds so noble. During this last run, I realized that this is not really what happens. Instead, thoughts rush upon me, knock me down; I get up, and then I go at it from another angle, only to have other thoughts rush in. Sometimes they strangle, other times they taunt. It's as if the jarring of each foot strike loosens thoughts and gives them courage for a full frontal attack. I end up thinking about something from all different perspectives, desires, outcomes, and longed-for outcomes. However, there is rarely resolution.

I would love to say that all this undirected thinking helps by clearing my mind to be less burdened during non-running times. Evidently, not this time. Maybe the next run will help?! Hope springs eternal.

So do thoughts.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This is what I ran through early Saturday morning; just add fog, mist, trees, and rocks.

I ran trails at William O'Brien State Park from 1am to 4am. It was glorious and terrifying. When the headlamp was off, I could see nothing. When it was on, I could make out the trail from the forest only because there were no trees on the trail, and the trail tended to have less foliage. The fog dispersed the headlamp light almost before it left the tip of my nose. Thus, the trail that I could see was always just the trail 5 feet in front of the next foot strike.

• when I get done playing soccer on Friday nights,
   I can't sleep anyway;
• last week, there was a full moon that just
   couldn't be wasted;
• I get itchy if I haven't run recently;
• if I run at night, I'm not running during time I
   could be with the family
• I need to get more experience and improve my
   night-running (I've got my eyes set on
   two runs that require it: Arrowhead, yes Arrowhead,
   and Leadville);
• running at night is almost beyond describing
   (I'll give it an amateur attempt in another blog)

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I have always been a fan of U2. I am growing to like them more and more as I get older.
This interview with Bill Hybels, although I'm not too keen on Bill, is excellent.

I like Bono's salty descriptions of Christianity. For many years, I have shared his distaste for the church. I wish Bono could meet Piper.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our Trip up North

Check out our photos here.

Barefoot Running

OK. I consider myself quite rational and think of myself as a slow-to-act-on-impulse guy. I'm even slower to act on inspiration.

Nevertheless, I ran barefoot yesterday, in the basement, on the treadmill. Just one mile.

While running, it felt great. As the day passed on, the pads of my feet grew more and more raw feeling. I say raw feeling because I would check them often, and they really aren't raw. They just feel raw.

This all comes from "Born to Run." And since I've been reading it for about a month, I've been thinking about running barefoot for about a month.

Where to go with it now? Well, I'll keep running barefoot on the treadmill for now.

The good folks at Vibram responded to my email and informed me that they do not make a Vibram for people like me with webbed toes, but that I could buy a pair for $80 a crack and modify them by cutting two toe pockets and stitching them together and thereby void any and all warranties for them. It was very generous.

So, I'll look for a cheap pair of racing flats. Remember those from high school track?

For now, check out this great interview with Christopher McDougall.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Eat Like a Poor Person

That's what people keep telling author Christopher McDougall, as he recounts advice he gets about eating to run farther in "Born to Run."

McDougall mentions this advice a lot. It seems to appear when he's talking about Scott Jurek's diet, when he tells the story about some guy (actually a doctor) named Louis who lived among the Kalahari Bushmen for four years, and the advice seems most poignant when he's describing the eating habits of Peruvians or Tarahumaras or American vegans.

"Eat like you're a poor person," seems to mean to eat less, eat less meat, and eat things that you find underground. By avoiding meat and fats from McDonalds, a person can avoid all those types of cancers that all the poor people, ie Tarahumara and various Indian tribes in far away places (and the Japanese until they met the BigMac), don't have.

But I got thinking.
First, do the Peruvians or Tarahumara Indians consider themselves poor? That's a lengthy discussion not to be had here.

Second, McDougall spends a considerable time positing a theory that man developed as a long distance runner in order to enable him to more efficiently hunt animals. Early man needed lots of meat for his growing brain. I don't understand when these far-away tribes traded in their hunting and gathering of meat in exchange for cancer-free, low cholesterol, low blood-pressure living?

Third, I've met a few poor people. Most have been on the streets in Minneapolis or Chicago. I've seen photos of poor people in Calcutta and Mexico City. My best guess is that most poor people find some of their food in dumpsters, or as hand-outs, or steal it, or find it in a black plastic bag in an open city dump. I would venture to say that poor does not equate with healthy eating.

I recently finished reading "Grapes of Wrath." The Joad family was poor. They ate dough, dropped in boiling grease, for breakfast. They ate cheap, greasy hamburger purchased from the plantation store. Hard biscuits. Bacon and bacon gravy. Coffee, lots of coffee. With sugar, lots of sugar. Sometimes, they didn't eat. Near the end, they were eating peaches off the trees they picked. In the end, all they had was breast milk.

I really like "Born to Run." It's written very well, he very accurately tells the story of some aspects of ultra running, and I am learning many new things. However, I don't think I will take McDougall's advice to eat like a poor person.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Doing Business on Great Waters

Runners try to explain why they run. Ultra runners attempt to explain why they run crazy distances, in remote places. I've tried. Now I have an answer.

This evening, while good, dear friends were here for small group, Larry tried to remember a verse in Psalms. With just enough words, we found it on line. Psalms 107:23-30. These verses describe why I run. They describe why I do many things.

Like many ventures in life, running is like doing business on the great waters. Not many go on the great waters. Those "some" see things, see wondrous things, that they wouldn't have seen otherwise. At mile 20 or 75, there are stormy winds and waves that seem unassailable, the depths of which are unseen. During many a run, I have staggered like a drunken man, although I've never been at my wit's end. And yet, each run or race has a finish line to which I have been brought.

So here's my new answer to why I run and why we as a family do some of the things we do:
Not everyone goes to the sea and does business on the great waters, but sometimes I do. Sometimes our family does. As a result, I see some things, I experience some things that are beyond explanation, beyond imagination. There is no doubt that when it's done, I'm glad I'm done. I'm glad the waters are quiet. But it is an incredible experience to have been on great waters where very few have gone. This is what I am trying to teach my children: to go out on great waters. Sometimes it can be done through running.

Psalms 107:23-30
Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men
and were at their wits' end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.

Sunday Naps

Today is Sunday. Our day goes like this:

Wake at 6:50, cinnamon rolls in the oven, and wake the kids at 7:30 so we can leave for church at 8:00. It takes a little while to get there. We go to first service and then Sunday School.
We're usually back in the truck for the drive home around 1:15.

When we get home, in an attempt to honor the Sabbath, we take naps. At least everyone lays down. Usually only the two oldest and the youngest actually sleep (that mean dad, mom, and Zeke). Every Sunday, on the drive home the question gets asked, "Do we have to take naps today? Do we have rest time today?"

Once the "yes" is pronounced, the next question is inevitable, "What time can we get up?"

Today, like every Sunday during the drive home, the first question came. I immediately said, "Yes." Then I thought about the week ahead and changed my answer. There was a chorus of cheers from the back.

I conditioned the lack of rest time with this provision, "No one can ask mom any questions until 3:15." There were a few sounds of agreement.

Then, Emma slyly said, "Can we make statements that are false so that mom has to correct us?"

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Born To Run

This is an incredible book. It's as riveting and multi-dimensionally educational as Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven." I would have said, "Into Thin Air," but I haven't yet read that one.

It's as inspiring as Dean Karnazes' "Ultramarathon Man."

What I really like about this book is that
1. It provides a glimpse into specific histories of ultra running,
2. It challenges long-held notions about the best techniques for running,
3. McDougall has done his homework and describes accurately minute details about the ultra running world (his descriptions of Leadville put me right back to specific sections of the course), and
4. As McDougall peels aways histories and arenas of the ultra running world, I find that I've already been there (Leadville, Ultrarunning magazine, Anton, Scott Jurek and his Brooks Cascadias, the Minnesota Voyageur 50 miler). I can't wait to read the next page.

Dean's book got me (and the family) into ultra running. I'm very eager to see where this book takes me and the family!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I've blogged about Anton. Two years ago, right around the time of Leadville.

I've met Anton; in person. Yes, I spoke with him, he spoke back. It's called a conversation, even though it was short.

Tonight, I placed Anton's blog link on my blog. I looked at other famous ultra runner blogs, but I think I see in Anton a humility, and a sense of uncertainty that I appreciate.

I hope to follow his blog. I hope to see him again out in Leadville. I hope to have a conversation with him again; maybe a little longer this time.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Wow. I'm blogging about my new scanner. I would have never guessed.

For the past 11 months, I have been reading emails and reviews about, listening to other attorneys talk about, and even went to a CLE about scanning documents in order to become a "paperless" office.

Truly "paperless" means that one keeps no paper documents in one's office. Get a document? Scan it, electronically file it, and then shred it. No physical files, no file cabinets, no piles of files around the office.

I'm such a tactile person, that when I first heard about a paperless office, I decided it was not for me. "If Julian Zweber isn't paperless, I don't need to be paperless."

But my office is already filling up with files filled with paper. Former client files are occupying more space than I expected.

For the past 6 months, I've been reading about and researching scanners in the event that 1) I decided to go over to the dark side, and 2) I had some extra business money to buy a scanner.
Both came together last week. I ordered the Fujitsu Scansnap S1500m.

My life has already changed. I've begun at home. Paper files are disappearing. I might not be more organized, but I feel like I am!

And it's so easy. The paper glides through the beautifully crafted scanner (it looks like an Apple product) so quickly that it's done before I can get my hand back to the keyboard.

So, now I begin in the office. I've decided that I am not going completely paperless. I need some folders around to feel like an attorney. But, the process has begun, and I'm looking forward to saving a few trees. Actually, I'm still a little perplexed at how all this scanning and shredding actually helps the planet, but maybe there'll be a tax write off.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another Attorney?

This evening, Emma asked me to look at her Constitutional Law textbook because it frustrated her. Lots of opened-ended questions. It turns out to be a decent book, taking her through the legal evolutions of significant Constitutional themes.

However, I amended her assignments a little. No more open-ended questions. Instead, she'll read the general development/history of a theme, such as freedom of expression, and then read actually Supreme Court decisions of the "highlight" cases. So, for tomorrow, Spence v. Washington, the 1974 case about a young man who attached a peace symbol to a flag and then hung it upside down from his apartment window.

I asked her to look for several important things: the law that was broken, the facts (story) of the case, the reasoning that the Justices used, and the conclusion. This is the first step in teaching her how to brief a case!
We also talked about the dissenting opinions, and the process by which a case comes before the Supreme Court.

What a night:
my little girl's is reading case law!
and she drove on highway 95, going 55 mph, during our driving session tonight!

She's growing up way too fast. Time to think about home school college :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Photos of the Black Dog

Here they are everyone. No descriptions yet.

Recently Updated

4th Annual Black Dog 50 Miler

Two long runs back to back this weekend. A 50 miler through the woods, marshes and pine forests of Western WI on Saturday; the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday.
I'll blog about both soon.
In the meantime, compare the two photos and see which one would be more appealing to you?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's done. We did it. The Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic 50K.
7:16:00. It was tough. Really tough.
A 50K usually takes 6 1/2 hours for me.

I'll fill in the gory details later. For now, enjoy these photos I've posted at Picasso (see linki) and these two photos:

Bob and Me

Just Me

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

360 Tour Video Clips

I'm considering a job in videography based on the quality of these clips. I may also take up a pop-singer profession. Listen for my amazing voice in some of these clips ! :)

No Line on the Horizon

This video shows the wonderful back singers that U2 strategically placed right behind us.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Photos from the U2 360 Concert

Snow Patrol played as the sun went down.

The stage gets reset for U2


Levi anxiously awaits the 8:45 start time.

The Claw lit up.

The finale. The band walked slowly down the stage before exiting for good. No more encores after two encores.

Concert done, people start leaving. We stayed around so Levi could search the seats for loose change.

Emma looking over the floor entrance to Soldiers Field. We sat on the grass for 10 minutes to let the crowd disperse. Then we walked to Michigan Ave, up to Monroe and then two blocks to the van.

Amazing Grace & Where the Streets Have No Name

Monday, September 14, 2009

Concert Photos

U2 360 Tour Soldiers Field

Here begins the unashamed inundation of U2 photos and video clips from our trip to Chicago and the U2 concert!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

U2 in Chicago - this weekend!

Here is a short clip of "Magnificent," one of my most favorite U2 songs, being sung at the 360 concert in Barcelona. The U2 website says that the Claw stage is being assembled in Chicago right now.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

This Morning's Run

The full moon at 4am.

Full moon at 6:20

Full moon at about 5:30

Great morning run. Started at 4, finished at 7:30. 18 miles. Full moon. Two scares.
Car circled back toward me, I scattered to hide behind a tree. It was 4:20am. You'd do it too.
Car passed slowly. I came out of hiding, jumped on the road, car slowed and turned around. I scattered to another tree. Car shone its light toward me, then turned around and sped on. I started running on the road again. Car slowed, turned around again. It was then that I realized it was the paper deliverer!

On very foggy road. Pile on the side of road ahead. Running by the light of the moon. It looks like a body, but it can't be. I pass, then think it wise to return just to make sure. Switch on headlamp. It is a body. Lying on its side, left leg over right. How do I approach? What do I do? I walk closer. It's a life-size Spiderman dummy.

Pledges that Matter

A recent comment on my facebook critique of the Pledge Video:
You really think that the purpose of this video is to subvert organized religion? I think that's giving it a little too much credit. I agree, it has a lot of dumb silliness in it, but like it or not, these are the people that many of the American public today look up to. I believe that this was meant to inspire a bunch of slackers into doing something, if even something small, to improve our world.

(See the Pledge Video below)

I do not know the purpose behind this video. I think the conclusions above are correct.

The video might inspire all along the spectrum of those who will be inspired: from the slacker who will now use paper, to the energetic and self-sacrificing who will leave the comforts of the Disney World of America to rescue Albanian women from the slave trade in Amsterdam, or Berlin, or Providence, Rhone Island (see Wall Street Journal, 9-4-09).

But the video still falls flat on me. Most of these pledges are silly, and because they are made in the context of a pledge, they are dangerous.

For most of these pledges, if you're not already doing what they're pledging to do, you're an idiot.
(However, I'm not serving the President, and I'm not pledging allegiance to Funk.)

I could teach my 3 year old to keep most of these pledges. In fact, I could teach most household pets to keep these pledges. Guide dogs do more than these people are challenging us to do.

How about pledges like these:
"I pledge to stay married for 68 years"
"I pledge to sit by my blind husband for two years while he dies"
"I pledge to go to every country that gets hit by disaster and provide free drinking water"
"I pledge to spend 4 hours every week with an inner city kid who has no dad"

I know people who have made these pledges. I am in awe of them. I don't even know if it ever crossed their mind to go on youtube and tell people that they are doing it. They just do it.

Lastly, while the people on the video are in large part people looked up to by many Americans, they are not people looked up to for their resolve, fortitude, perseverance or commitment. Let me suggest a few people that could have been thrown in....hhmmm. I'm having trouble thinking of anyone from the popular crowd. I can think of lots of people from church, from my ultra running friends, neighbors, etc.

But maybe that's where the strength of the video lies. See, Ashton and Demi and the others are not pledging to anything that takes real resolve, fortitude, perseverance or commitment.

A person can venture much, when there's nothing to lose because what's ventured is nothing.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Whom Do You Serve?

How noble is it to pledge:
"to stop using the plastic bags at the grocery store?"

to pledge "allegiance to Funk, to the United Funk of Funkadelica?"

"for the environment, to flush only after a duce, never after a single?"

A pledge is a serious matter; or at least it once was. A pledge is something that one is willing to stake the continuation of their life upon; or at least their good reputation.

So how do we consider the emotional, youtube, Generation X (or whatever it is this week) plea to do something of meaning found in the videos below?

Only a few of these resolves are bad. So why am I disgusted by these videos? I think it's because it highlights a fundamental reality of our plight as humans.

We were made to exalt in great things. We were made to say, "Wow!" when looking at the Grand Canyon and not when looking in the mirror. When we grow accustomed to saying "Wow" after looking in the mirror, we find that our passions are for little things, our exploits are mundane, and we feel adequately in awe of the mud castles we've created when the majesty of the ocean is right before us.

So watch these videos. Pity these people whose public pledges are 1) the things we do every day, and 2) nothing for which I would lay down my life or stake my reputation. Would you?

Brooks Cascadia 4 - The Dream Lives On

The new Brooks Cascadia 4s sitting on my office desk, pleading to go out for a spin.

It's been a long time since I purchased a new pair of running shoes. The last 4, 5, maybe 6 pairs have been the Brooks Cascadia, designed by Scott Jurek.

I've never met Scott. I have met Anton. I was impressed. I blogged about the event last fall. I've never met Dean.

And Dean also designed a shoe. I wore his shoe during my very first ultra run.

Last night, after consulting with Marty about such a purchase, I pushed the Purchase Now button on the website at 9:53 pm. Brooks Cascadia 4, size 10.5. All the kids thought the grey ones were the best - except for Grace. She liked the yellow ones. I did too.

Today, at 10am, the UPS truck delivered these. Unbelievable. A new pair of shoes, transported from KY to our doorstep in 12 hours. And I paid no shipping charges.

I'm tempted to run in these tomorrow morning, but I really want the new shoe smell to last a little longer!

I know we all have our favorite shoe that we've grown to love. However, let me encourage you to try the Brooks Cascadia; either the 3 or the 4. It's lightweight, flexible, has great traction on the trail, drains well, dries well, cleans up well, has a forefoot rockshield (surprisingly few trail shoes have this), and it comes in a variety of fun, green-friendly colors.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Running and Knees

I got a great trail run in this weekend. And met some folks I've heard about but never placed a face to a name.
However, My joints hurt. Maybe I'm out of shape. Maybe new shoes are needed.

Matt Patten introduced me to a new running injury, so I'm sure that that is what is ailing me.
Nevertheless, this week needs to involve some serious stretching.

I'm going out to OH to help my college roommate run his first ultra. If the body continues to feel the way it does now, I may end up just crewing my my college roommate!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Mistakes That Only an iPhone Could Make" or "Unforgettable Piper"

This afternoon, while bedding down for a nap, I noticed the new Voice Control app on the iPhone. I dutifully watched the instructional video (after trying to figure it out first and failing. I said, "Marty," hoping the phone would call my wife. Instead, a Dave Brubeck song started playing. It took me about 2 minutes to figure out how to stop it.). In the video, I learned that I could say, "Call Marty," and the iPhone would call her. I can say, "Play Weazer," and it will play songs by Weazer. I actually don't have any songs by Weazer in my iTunes.

So, with the correct prompt words, I opened Voice Control and said, "Play Unforgettable Fire."
I wondered, would the iPhone play the specific song or the entire album entitled "Unforgettable Fire?"

The female, electronic, monotone voice replied, "Now playing songs by Noel Piper."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Change of Plans

I had planned to run about 30 miles this evening, starting actually tomorrow morning, and finishing around 8:30 in Minneapolis.
However, it started raining about 40 minutes ago. The Weather Channel seems pretty confident that it will continue to rain until well after 8:30 tomorrow morning.
I'm staying dry tonight.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Fiddling in Duluth

From the MN Bluegrass Festival, we traveled to Duluth for the two day Solo & Small Firm law conference. We stayed at The Inn on Canal Park. In the evenings, they provided smores around their fire pits. Our children provided entertainment. Here is a short performance by, "Inviting Interruptions."

Saturday, August 8, 2009

It's Hard to Pull One Over on the Bluegrass Pizza Eaters

We found this great deal at the bluegrass festival:

We asked if they could top this deal, so they gave us 4 pieces for $16!!
We felt like kings.

Inviting Interruptions

It’s been quite a day. Actually, it’s simply been a hot and wet day. We drove through torrential rain in the morning and arrived at the MN Bluegrass & Old-time Music Assoc. Festival near St. Cloud. At the campground, most of the puddles were lakes, and most of the roads were muddy rivers. We were ill equipped in our sandals and flip-flops. We’ve decided that if we return next year we’ll set up shop next to the pulled pork stand and sell something practical:
Fiddle Flip-flops, Gee-tar Galoshes, Mandolin Moccasins, and Banjo Boots

The kids performed in the talent show. They did very well, but didn’t make the top three. Their band is called “Inviting Interruptions.”

It takes a lot of time, a lot of attempts and a lot of patience to find a name for a band. I was pushing for “U4.” Some of you will get this joke. Then, about two weeks ago, while we were brainstorming on the back deck (with thesaurus in hand) we landed on “Interruptions.” For about 30 minutes we struggled with adjectives until someone said, “Inviting.” While we continued with other adjectives, we kept returning to “Inviting.”

Interruptions describe our lives. There are lots of them. Some are good, some are bad, some are rude, some are impolite, some are necessary, and some are life-and-death important.

“Inviting” adds a twist. We’re still figuring out how to explain the twist. Maybe watch Emma’s (my daughter) blog for more on this.

Moon Running

It was a full moon this week.

In June, I was looking forward to running FANS under a full moon. Instead, it was overcast and raining.

When I saw the moon get bigger over the past week, I just knew I had to get a night run in under the full moon. It was a busy week, so an early morning run was not possible. But, a night run could be.

So, on Wednesday, I decided that Thursday was the night; begin at 9pm, back home around 1am. Somewhere between 14 and 20 miles, depending on how much walking.

I had forgotten that I had promised Emma to take her driving on Thursday night. Argg. Maybe she wouldn't remember. Maybe she wouldn't mind putting it off again.

When I told her we wouldn't be able to go because of my run, she responded maturely. Better than I would have.

Marth went out on an "ultra" training run Thurday at 5pm. It's her first attempt to take my advice that 1) she run only twice a week: a really long, slow, "ultra" style run, and 2) she run slower, enjoy herself more and not get caught up in maximizing every minute while out.

When she got home at 8, I decided to pass on the moon run and take my daughter driving. The moon wasn't all that visible anyway, and Emma did a great job on "figure eights," "right turns from stop" and "right turns while moving."

I'll try to get a moon run in next month; more precisely, on September 4, 2009. Thanks, MoonPhase App on the iPhone!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Prosperity Gospel is No Gospel

There is much wrong with American Christianity. I am thankful that our pastor speaks with surgical precision against some of it. I stumbled upon this clip the other day:

Monday, July 27, 2009

More Photos from Voyageur

These photos are displayed in reverse order.

The second half has no photos, as I left he camera with the family at mile 25. The second half was a great run because of Ryan Carter. We ended up blowing through the power lines as if we wanted more. We didn't want more.
I learn an important lesson during the second half of every race. Actually, it's a lesson that is put into practice during the entire race but the reality of which is not truly realized until later in the race: even though things seem really bad, desperate and impossible, and even though things sometimes get worse than they are presently, the key is to simply keep moving, regardless the speed. Eventually, the mind wins out over the body. The body rejuvenates. A downhill section puts energy back into the stride. An uphill is tackled more quickly than imagined. The mud puddles and streams don't matter anymore. The distance to the end does get smaller. The key is to not stop.
I also ran a little with Aaron from church.

The whole crew met me at the Duluth Zoo, the half-way turn around.
Marty, Zeke in the lap, Grace directly behind me, then Eli, Emma and #63 Levi.

I shed the camera at this point for fear of impending rain. Thus, no photos prior (after) this one. Unlike at Leadville, here I actually recognized everyone and conversed. Marty has made it very clear to me that if she's going to drag everyone to one of my races, I better be able "to acknowledge that they are there." Actually, she used much more descriptive and creative language.
Miles 10 to 22 were awful. I felt sick, weak, and demoralized. This happened at Afton as well. I know why. I'm not training as much this year. As I entered the 25 mile aid station, my only hope was that I would be able to walk out the last 25 miles and make all the cut-offs.
Sat down, drank a full can of Coke, thrust water bottle and bladder to TEAM BUTTON, and took off soggy shoes and soggy, dirt-stained socks in order to remove the tape I had placed on several toes. The tape was actually rubbing the non-tapped toes. The soggy socks and shoes went back on - why change when there was no end of wetness?
This may cause some problems at home. The boys dislike changing their socks. They try to go days without changing them. They sleep in them at nights if we don't catch it. Why? We've given up asking. They noticed that I was putting my soggy, dirty socks back on.
My goal was to be out of this aid station by 5 hours 30 minutes. I was out at 5:30:20.

The view of Lake Superior and the waterway were spectacular. This was taken on the catwalk in Spirit Mountain ski resort.

This course has the best variation of running surfaces I've ever run. Paved roads, miles of single track, rocks, roots, boulders, power line climbing, mud, puddles, dozens of stream crossings, gravel roads. And all the surfaces that I dislike only lasted for a very short distance.
Here, about a half mile of paved road before entering Spirit Mountain.

That's me. Or at least part of me. The sheen is sweat. Salty sweat. The result of nearly 25 salt tablets at this point in the race. For the entire distance: 60 salt tablets. For the last 3 hours one was going down every 10 minutes.

The infamous power lines. I figured that since I'd run at Leadville, these would be easy. I always felt that there are two possible things that could ruin me, one of which is pride. Pride is not good, in fact it's deadly, if one is overzealously wrong. I was wrong. These were very difficult climbs. Short, yes, but very difficult. Leadville is filled with climbs that border on infinity, but are manageable if one puts their head down and just plods. These power line climbs were... well, I'd just say that I've never run/walked a steeper incline in my life.

Yes, that's Steve Quick again. This time he's ahead of me. And yes, this portion of the race did resemble Bogota, Columbia.

That's me again; earlier in the race. Less sheen. Fewer salt tablets at this point. Still a lot of chest hair. Yes, that's a GoLite pack. It's my favorite hydration system so far. Positives: holds a large resevoir, stays relatively cool on the back, doesn't irritate the skin too badly, the side pockets are reachable and roomy, lots of room in back pocket for stuff, very light. Negatives: the bladder sits too low (Camelbak seems to have the best design for this), the chest strap and underarm adjusting straps are limited in how tight they pull by their design.

Start of the race. Marty doesn't get to join me for many of these, so this was a treat. That's a Garmin 305, not the newest, but still nice. The battery went dead on me just 1 mile from the finish. I have a little contraption that I found/created to recharge while running. I used it at FANS and Leadville.
The newest circular Garmin 405 appears to have the same short battery life problem. In fact, it's rated for fewer hours than the older 305. Who does Garmin think uses these watches?
It appears that the Garmin 305XT has a battery life of 20 hours. And yet, for "Sport Watch" it is labeled "No." What does that mean?

Finally, the first photo. Taken on Friday night outside the Cozy Cafe in Carlton. I met the lady in the blue FANS shirt at FANS. She's was 7 miles short of 1000 miles this year at FANS; and that's walking.

MN Voyageur Photos

I thought I'd post photos in a rolling fashion. Rolling because I don't have the stamina yet to write a full race report, and also because I haven't been able to find the camera since returning home. Actually, I haven't really started looking.

So, here are some photos that are courtesy of Zach Pierce. Check out his other great photos of the race here.

The start of the race. 7:00am. I was pretty much planning on seeing this spot again at 8pm.

About 50 feet into the race. I've assessed my feet, legs, arms, stomach, and I'm feeling good. At This point in the race, I'm usually pretty confident about breaking some sort of course record.

That's my left arm there in the foreground. I spend a reasonable amount of time trying to get that thing bigger; the muscle part. Usually before a race, I look pretty buff. By the finish, all my muscle tone is gone. Just imagine that the guy's arm just behind me is my arm.

Yes, that's me in front of Steve Quick! During the first part of power lines, Steve was looking at my rear end! His topless approach inspired me...see later photos.

Topless, 3.4 miles from the end. That's Ryan Carter on my left. I caught up with him at mile 32ish. We ran together to the end. It was a great partnership. We talked, pushed each other, took turns leading (to deal with the psychological problems associated with always leading or following), and basically kicked out an awesome second 25 miles together. I would not have been able to get in under 12 hours had I not run with Ryan.

Some utlra legends: Zach Pierce, Carl Gammon and Matt Patton.

I'll post some of the pictures I took from the course once I find the camera; no, once I start looking for the camera.

Friday, July 24, 2009

MN Voyaguer 50 Miler - Tomorrow

Duluth is a great place to visit. Can't wait to run tomorrow. Can wait for the impending rain.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Stick Problems

I took Emma out to drive the other night. I decided that a teenage girl like Emma needs to know how to drive a manual transmission. So, I took Emma to the Target parking lot in the Saab.

We took it slow with only two goals: getting the car into motion and getting the car out of motion. She excelled.

Here's what worked best: getting her to feel the car begin to roll as the clutch was let out, and then slowly giving it gas. With this approach, she got the car rolling flawlessly 3 times.

Tomorrow night we do a little more manual transmission work before Eli's lacrosse game.

Friday, July 17, 2009


In college, my good friend Keith Jones made it possible for me to go to a U2 concert.
I'm a U2 junkie.
After listening to their newest album several hundred times, I'm convinced that it is one of the best compilations of modern music, second only to "How to dismantle an atomic bomb," "Hello Love," and "Taylor Swift."
So, when I heard on the radio the other day that U2 was in concert, I thought, "Huh, I'll bet Marty would never let me go." That night, very tactfully, I mentioned it. She did not immediately say I was crazy.
Tonight, after asking some friends in Chicago if we could spend a few nights with them, I purchased 5 tickets; Marty and Zeke didn't think they would enjoy it; even though Zeke knows most of the new U2 songs by memory
Road trip!
I can't wait to hear & see "Magnificant" live.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Some people blog daily. I fear that were I to blog daily, the blog would become dribble, typed out of a sense of duty, void of substance, and a waste of time for people who do check in here.

Some people blog after every run. If I were to do that, I wouldn't blog but once a week. Well, the week after Afton, I would have blogged 3 times. But each of those runs were no longer than 2 miles.

Some people blog when inspired. My wife waits to blog until a thought makes her laugh. Then, she relishes in the whole writing process and usually can't wait for me to read what she's written. It's almost always time well spent to read one of her blog posts.

Realizing that I have not written in some time, I am at a loss for a reason to blog tonight. I'm not inspired, I didn't run today, or the day before, and I certainly have not bound myself to blogging as a daily ritual. So, what's on my mind?

I've a longish run tomorrow. Voyageur 50 is next weekend, so it can't be too long. Just enough to loosen up and remind my legs what a trail is. But that's tomorrow. I've only once before written about a run I have yet to do.

Here's what's on my mind: projects. I've got lots of projects that are in some stage of projectness. Here they are:
1. building a wood stove contraption to heat the swimming pool. For the past month, I've been sweating 1" copper tubing around a cast iron wood stove (purchased on Craigslist). When finished, I'll connect the pool filter hose to the copper tubing. Water will flow from the pool, through the pump and filter, then through the copper and back into the pool. When the stove is stoked, the fire should heat the copper tubing. So many variables that will effect whether it actually works: will the soder hold up (I used lead-free soder), is 1" to narrow and will the water flow too quickly to effectively heat, will the copper tubing cause the chemical balance in the pool water to change, and so on.

2. back hallway laundry room and pantry. I tore this apart last summer while waiting for the MN bar results. I was a little nervous and had lots of energy. Since then, we've been toying with various designs for putting it back together. I'm afraid to move forward on this until we've got the perfect idea. Yes, it might be years.

3. crawl space reinsulating. I began this project in the winter of 2006-2007. The kids' rooms were cold. I went under the floor to see why. The vents to their rooms had been shut off. In figuring this out, I saw that the insulation between the joists was mouse infested and gross. So, I began replacing it. Wow, is that messy. So messy, that I've put off finishing ever since.

4. clearing the forest of wood piles. There must be nearly 3000 stacked piles of cut tree trunks left by the previous owner throughout the woods. They jsut sit there and really don't do anything but rot. However, I really dislike how they look. It just isn't natural. Since 2005, we've been hauling them out and burning them. We're about 1/20 of the way done. It's kind of like running an ultra.

In fact, all my projects are like running an ultra.

"It's not a hill, it's a mountain
As you start out the climb
Do you believe me, or are you doubting
We're gonna make it all the way to the light
But I know I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Couldn't Do It

I had everything set out. The checklist filled out and items checked.
Shoes on the table, socks and gators in the shoes.

This would be my first run at Afton since....the last time I ran at Afton. The last time I ran at Afton was March 20. I really didn't run at Afton; the trail was so rough I ended up running the road.

So, I was really excited about waking at 4:45 to get out and run the 25K loop at 6:00; all on trails. I usually don't run on Saturdays. I don't want to miss the family time. So, Fridays are my long days. I can get up, get a long run in, and be in the office by 11. I can also usually squeeze a shower in there somewhere.

Also, as most of you know, the Afton 50K is next Saturday, and I really need to get some trail time in.

I woke at 2:20. Zeke had gotten out of bed and had taken up a new sleeping location on the floor outside our bedroom door. I deposited his limp body back in his bed. That's when the thunder and lightening started. And rain.

I don't mind running in just about any weather. But after FANS, I really dislike wet.
At 2:30, I checked the weather radar on the iPhone. Through squinty eyes, I could tell that this rain was going to last until at least 8 or 9.

So, I shut off all the alarms (there are a few), and went back to sleep.

I guess my first real run out at Afton this year will have to wait until the actual race. See you all next Saturday! I should be well rested.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Marx & Me, and Dean, Mara Liisa, and Marty

We made it downtown last night. Adults, out on the town, going to an adult restaurant, eating and talking sans children. Fiction miraculously turned fact.

I parked in a handicap spot, put on the emergency flashers, and dashed into the Marx. How does one know exactly when a restaurant stops serving dessert? The host rattled off, from memory, at least eight mutli topping, multi unknown-words desserts that from their descriptions led me to believe that we would be getting mouse-size portions regardless of the choice. Oh well, maybe that's what adults without children eat.

I retraced my steps to the flashing, yet-unticketed car and relayed this adult information. The ladies exited to secure seats. Dean and I drove to my office where we parked and enjoyed a stroll back to the restaurant. Oh, did I mention that the restaurant was Marx?

We had:
1. great conversation: more parenting talk, concern about socialistic propensities of college instruction, and a brief explanation of why I have enjoyed reading Nietzsche. I forgot to add "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" to my book list of yesterblog.
2. great desserts. These were not mouse-size portions. Quite the contrary.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another Dean & Me

I've an actual friend named Dean. Not THE Dean, but a Dean.
Dean, if you read this, you are actually more valuable to me than THE Dean.
THE Dean, if you read this, I'm certain that you would also be a valuable friend if you lived closer than the West Coast. Rest assured that you have inspired me.

Dean and his wife came over this afternoon to discuss parenting, swim, talk and eat pizza. Unbeknownst to me, my wife had told them to bring overnight supplies in case they wanted to spend the night; they live on the other side of the Cities, which is basically in South Dakota. Plus, we attend church together in the Cities, and so we could all get up together and head out to church.

Well, here it is, 9:41. Lots of good parenting talk, good pizza, and now dessert downtown. Evidently the Dock closes in 10 minutes. 9:50? That's way to early for such a classy restaurant.
We'll try Marx and then, if that doesn't work, the old faithful... Cub Foods.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dean & Me

The other night I finished reading Dean's book, Ultramarathon Man, for the third time. If you have 6 minutes and 10 seconds, this video gives a good idea of what his book is like.

Some books have nudged me. What I mean is that they have altered the manner in which I think about a given subject or given me a perspective that I didn't previous possess:
Intellectuals, Paul Johnson
Poland, James Michener
Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer
Lincoln, Carl Sandberg
Here I Stand, Roland Bainton
Freddy the Detective, Walter Brooks
The Count of Monte Cristo, Dumas
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Pirsig
Father of the Bride, Edward Streeter
Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche
Tess of the D'Ubervilles, Hardy

Some books have greatly influenced me; leaving me significantly altered in thought and action:
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Parkinson's Law, Northcote Parkinson
South, Ernest Shackleton
The Orthodox Church, Timothy Ware
Charlotte Mason's volumes of delight-directed learning
Managing the Non-Profit Organization, Peter Drucker
The Three -Martini Playdate, Christie Mellor

Several books simply are who I am; that is, I am who I am because of these books:
the Bible
Future Grace, John Piper
almost every audio sermon by Piper (which impact me more readily than his books)
Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards
portions of Calvin's Institutes
I Loved A Girl, Walter Trobisch
Growing Kids God's Way, Ezzo
The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen

I would have to say that Ultramarathon Man is now in this last category, not because it possesses divinely appointed words, or even subject matter; rather, it is a simplistic account of a man's insatiable desire for adventure and quest to find out how far he can push himself. Along the way, he meets incredible people, sees things others rarely see, runs farther than he imagined he could, and struggles to answer the question, "why is he doing this?" He runs through the night, when he's exhausted, where no one else has run, and he concludes that he is a better man, a better husband and father because of it.

I have found almost similar, although certainly far less demanding and dangerous, experiences: night running is quietly beautiful, hitting the 34 mile mark in a 50 mile run is exhiliarating, running 7 minute miles for the last two miles of a 50k is uncanny, and I am almost always a better, more patient, more thoughtful person after my long runs (from my perspective!).

So, with it fresh on my mind and legs, this is my unapologetic plug for Dean's book.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

FANS - the more full story

I arrived at Lake Nokomis at 6:30am prepared to fight off a bright, sunny day.
Donned in shorts and a short sleeve shirt, I chatted with Helen and then weighed in.
With agility and oneness of purpose, I quickly returned to the truck where I added to my body a long sleeve shirt and running pants.

I then helped one of the volunteers set up a tent. When I could no longer feel my fingers because of the cold, I returned to the truck where I added to the long sleeve shirt and running pants: gloves, hat, another long sleeve shirt and a coat. Then, I sat in the truck with the heater on.

When I run, I run hot. I never run with pants on unless it's below 10 degree Fahernheit-even then, reluctantly. So, at 7:56, I stood at the starting line with a short sleeve, long sleeve and shorts. This worked fine until it began to rain - about 20 minutes later.

Rain, aka wetness, is fine. Wind is fine. Cold is fine. When all three converge, it is not fine. At 8:40am I was not fine.

On went running pants, a running jacket, gloves and a hat. All were soaked clear through by 9:00am. I had no water proof clothing and only two more long sleeve shirts. I had to ration.

Around noon, Marty and the kids arrive. The boys ran 1 lap with me. Then they left.

I started to get real cold. What to do? What saved me? A black trash bag. This kept new rain out and a little heat in. I must have been quite a sight: my head sticking out from the bottom of a trash bag, arms inside, holding the opening tight around my waist so the bag wouldn't flare out into a large dress.

Fast forward to 3pm. Three hours into a new pair of shoes; completely soaked. Rationing dry clothes was starting to look problematic. I had only two long sleeve shirts left.

I called Marty, back home, preparing to attend Addis' graduation ceremony.
"Yes, I already know what you're going to ask. More dry clothes."
"How did you know?"

5pm, still wearing the trash bag, my lovely wife pulls up. She had very wisely thrown in several items that literally saved the run and enabled me to run through the night: a water proof running jacket (that I didn't know was waterproof until then) and non-water-retaining gloves.

With dry clothes, and the potential of keeping the upper body dry, I ran well until about 10:30 when a good friend from church suddenly appeared. Dean ran 1 lap with me, then chatted with the Hansons (also from church. Their son Aaron was running and they were crewing). He ran the second lap to catch me, and then, as I persisted, ran a third lap with me.

Around 11, I realized that I wasn't going to hit 100 miles, and decided to just beat 76, my previous long distance. Around 11:30, I found that I was really tired, so took a 15 minute nap in the truck. The next two laps were great followed by a tough third lap. So, I napped again for 15 minutes. Again, the next two laps were great followed by a tough third lap. Each good lap was taking me about 38 minutes; bad laps about 45 minutes.

Running through the night was beautiful. I've done many nighttime runs, some starting early and ending some time during the night, some starting very early (1am) and running until light. I had never run through the night before.

I napped a third time and woke at 6:30. I ran two final laps in 33 minutes each and then began running the short laps with everyone else. I felt great at the end and ran behind Michael Henze, the overall winnner, for about 12 minutes at a blinding pace. It appears that I may have covered over 2.5 miles in the last 22 minutes.

Would I do FANS again. Beforehand, I had decided I would only do it once. Why run on pavement around and around when Kettle Moraine is the same weekend? After the run, I said never again. Marty, however, said, "Yeah. And by Wednesday you'll be saying something different."

Wednesday morning I decided that I'd do FANS again next year if possible. Why?
1. It's close to home. I don't have to spend an extra night away from family.
2. The family can come watch and help.
3. I ended up liking the 2.4 mile loop. I knew exactly when the aid station was coming and when different landmarks would show up. I could very easily use different landmarks as "carrots;" "I only have to run until I reach...." and I was never surprised.
4. The volunteers are incredible! It is very heartening to have people encouraging me every 35 minutes.
5. The race is very conducive to talking with other runners while running. I met so many runners that I've heard about or read about but never met.
6. As long as I was mindful of my form, the pavement was not bad for me. My trail shoes worked very well. It was only when I had to switch to road shoes that the blisters began.
7. The aid stations were stocked really well. I have never eaten such good boiled potatoes!
8. The race shirt is, after Afton (sorry Wynn), one of my favorite.

Friday, June 12, 2009

FANS 24 HOUR - Short Version

This is the short version of my FANS 24 HOUR race this past weekend for those who just like the highlights:

1. 86.86 miles
2. Wet and cold for 18 hours
3. Blisters on the bottoms of my heels
4. Consumed lots of food
5. Visited the porta potties often
6. Walked a lot
7. Great volunteers!
8. Saw a puddle morph into a bunny rabbit and jump up at my face (at 3 in the morning)
9. Met lots of other ultra runners
10. Did not go as crazy as I thought I would going around and around a 2.4127 mile course.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Band Name Contest

Our family has a little blue grass band.
We've been struggling to think of a name. Tonight, as we walked around the block, we brainstormed such names as:

Three Tries
Second Chance
Emma's Awesome
Stonebridge Trail
Copper Stream (parading Nickel Creek)
Three Moons
Cascadia Trails (named after dad's favorite running shoe)

We're still stumped. We need help. Thus, a "Name the Band" Contest.

Give us your ideas. Winner gets a prize.

Check out Emma's blog for full details.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


It's high time I step up.

I've been calling myself an ultra runner ever since I finished the first chapter of Dean Karnazes' book. No, I hadn't actually run further than 26.2; I just felt like I could. By chapter 10, I had a plan to run 50 miles in 12 hours: start at midnight on a paved trail, run some trails in the woods, have time to run beyond 50 miles, and finish gloriously running the last mile around our block with the kids, in full stride, with "chariots of fire" music coming from somewhere.

We did start at midnight, we ran on a paved trail, we ran on wooded trails. But we we rested longer than we should have, we covered distances slower than expected and ended up running/walking for our lives to get 50 miles in just minutes before the clock struck 12.
An ultra runner in reality!

Then, all my running focused on trails. I was not an ultra runner, but an ultra trail runner. Because of this, I dismissed the ubiquitous ultra event called FANS 24 in our own backyard. It seemed like everyone I met who was someone in this new ultra world had done FANS. I dismissed it publicly because it is run not on trails. Privately, I wondered how anyone, let alone myself, could run around a 2.4 mile circle for 24 hours. So, for the past 3 years, I have not even downloaded the FANS application.

I've learned a few things since becoming an ultra runner; and they're not all related to intake and .... "outtake" of food. I'll spend some time in a future blog figuring out what those things might be. But I do know that it's time to do FANS. Kind of like when the boys learned how to ride their bikes. For several days they fell, wobbled, and cried. And then one day, as if they had thought about it all night and decided that they would conquer that bike today because it was high time they did, they got on and rode around the block. This year, for some reason, it is high time I sign up for and attempt FANS.

I'd like to get 100 miles in. I think it would be easier to get 100 on a more "less flat" course. However, I think I will set my sights on 80 miles and be very happy with anything over that.