DNF is still a step forward

I did not finish Kansas City Triathlon (sprint) in 2009, I did not finish Branson 70.3 in 2010, I did not finish Jackson County Triathlon in 2011, I did not finish the Psycho-Wyco 20-miler in 2013.

I’m not ashamed of my DNFs. I learned something important in each one. Sometimes, as a cheerleading coach, I wonder if I believe and practice what I preach to the athletes that I coach.   I’ve been telling the kids that every failure is a step forward and not a step back. Today, it really got me thinking.

  • In 2009, I learned the importance of having a spare tire in case of a flat on the course.
  • In 2010, I learned the importance of nutrition, hydration, and having a game plan.
  • In 2011, I learned that having a spare tire is only valuable if you know how to change it properly.  I had 2 flats in that race, and the second was caused by over-inflating my spare.
  • In 2013, I was simply under-trained, I thought that the skills and training that I had in 2012 would carry over without the reps and focus needed to finish a grueling race like that one.

I am on a new path.  Coaching cheerleading has really caused me to look at my own training much differently.  I tell the kids to put in the time needed outside of the gym.  They tell me about their homework, their car, and their jobs etc.  I realize that I have other responsibilities too.  If I am going to continue on this new path, this new challenge, I have to balance all of my responsibilities.

Just like I tell my kids:

  • I need to put first things first.
  • I need to learn from my mistakes.
  • I need to improve every day.

As I continue to coach cheerleading, I will continue to look at myself while I take on this new challenge.  Redman 2015?

Psycho Wyco 50k

I did it.  I finished a 50k in 8:24:24.5.  I’m happy and damaged.  The conditions were the most difficult I’ve ever faced. I took care of some unfinished business.  Last year I signed up for the 50k and had to drop out after the second lap.  144 people signed up for the 50k race, only 69 finished all three loops.

This is the best nutrition I’ve ever had for a race, and I took nothing onto the course.  I relied completely on the aid stations and I’ve never been happier.  They had my favorite brand and flavor, Hammer Gel Apple Cinnamon.  I had peanut butter and jelly wraps, which might be the biggest reason I came back after my first attempt at this course.  I had Coke and 7Up, and maybe my new favorite drink, Heed!  On the last lap, I even had a cup of noodles and broth!  I couldn’t be happier with these aid stations.

I was dressed properly.  At the start of the race, I was concerned about not having enough clothes on.  I was dressed perfectly.  I was wet from head to toe, but I was warm.  Well, my toes took a bit of a beating from the cold.  I had to take snowballs out of my shoes after the first lap.  I also managed to step in the water on the third lap.

After the noodles, for most of the third lap, I was hearing things.  I kept hearing footsteps behind me.  Several times, I turned around thinking that I heard someone trying to pass.  Nobody was there.  My mind was really playing tricks on me.  One time I heard the footsteps so close, that I moved to the side to let them pass.  NOBODY WAS THERE.  I knew what was happening, I knew that my mind was getting the best of me, so I didn’t panic.  It’s something I’ll not soon forget though.

I actually walked away from the race feeling pretty good.  Perhaps its because I took ibuprofen and acetaminophen between the laps.  When I got home, I saw the damage that was done.  The next day, I really felt the damage, broken and limping.

Race results.

Race photos.  These guys were awesome!  The best race photos I’ve ever seen, free or paid, and these were free!

2014 Calendar

It’s very hard to predict what I’m going to do beyond June.  Normally, I know all the races I’m training for by November.  This year, things are a little different.  I’m trying to raise awareness, get miles, and survive.  I’m doing events that are going to get me the most bang for my buck.

I’m registered for 4 races as of this week!

February 8 – Psycho Wyco – 50k – Run Toto Run
This is one of my favorite races of all time.  I’ve done the 10-mile twice, and the 20-mile last year.  I will do this race EVERY year.  I’ve got no time goal, I just want to finish the 50k this year.  I was signed up for the 50k last year, but bailed after the second lap.

April 12 – Rock The Parkway 13.1
 did the first edition of this race in 2010.  It was a PR at the time, so the race has been good to me.  My wife and good friend ran the 10k the same day.  This is one of the most popular races in the area.  I’m going to try to beat the time I ran in 2010, 2:17:47, that way I can have a PR for the course.

April 26 – Garmin Marathon
‘ve never done a marathon in KS.  I’ve done the Garmin half marathon twice.  I work at Garmin and I have dozens of coworkers, many of which are my best friends, doing this race with me.  I’m going to try to break 4-hours at this race, my marathon PR right now is 4:25:06.  This is the only race that I’m trying to hit a real PR at this year.  I have lots of support and I have been running really well lately.  I’m really looking forward to doing this race on my home turf!

May 10 – Running with the Cows 13.1
I’ve never done this race.  My good friend Steve ran it a few years ago.  I’m normally in triathlon mode this time of year so I’m excited.  It’s another local race and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

I’m still not registered for the Heartland Series but I’m working on it.  I’ve got some ideas for other events throughout the year, but this one needs to get figured out first.

Five marathons in five days

As part of my fundraising and awareness mission for 2014, I plan to run 3000 miles.  If you do the math, that works out to just over 8 miles a day, and just under 58 miles per week, for an entire year.  I figured that it might be a good idea to not do all the miles around my neighborhood and around my office.  Then I figured getting out of the state would be fun and hopefully allow me to do more for my mission.  I came across this group called Mainly Marathons.  I’ve decided to do the “Heartland Series” that they are offering.  In June of next year, I will be doing all five marathons, in five different states, in five consecutive days.  I didn’t know much before today.  Today, I found out the cities that the events will be located in.  Here is a map.

View Larger Map

  • June 4: Niles, Michigan
  • June 5: Anderson, Indiana
  • June 6: Bloomington, Illinois
  • June 7: Clinton, Iowa
  • June 8: Monroe, Wisconsin

Part of this mission, is to try to be as strong as my nephew Brayden.  If I can survive until June, and even if I finish 5-in-5, I’m still not sure that I’ve succeeded.

Standing With Brayden

For a few years now, I’ve found peace, comfort, focus and energy within endurance sports.  I’ve enjoyed the benefits of weight loss, improved blood pressure and better health in general.  Six weeks ago, my wife gave birth to our second child.  A healthy baby boy, Logan Lee Carter.  I’m counting new blessings every day.  Our first child, Elizabeth, has been a great sister from the start.  I think that is primarily due to her having such a good relationship with her cousin Brayden.

My nephew Brayden has been Elizabeth’s best friend since the day they first met.  Not since the day he was born, because she didn’t get to see him that day.  He was born premature by about 2 months.  He spent almost that entire 2 months in the hospital before coming home.

As if being a preemie wasn’t hard enough for Brayden, on his first birthday, the family got more bad news.  The doctors discovered a brain mass during his checkup.  That mass was later identified as a Grade II Bilateral Thalamic Astrocytoma.  Inoperable brain cancer.   Only 40% of children with this diagnosis are alive 5 years following diagnosis.

For the last few months, I’ve watched Brayden grow and continue to be happy with life.  He is happy to be alive.  It’s a joy to see life through his eyes every chance I get.  Recently, he has began walking on his own, with determination in every step.

I’ve watched how difficult it is for the family.  Working overtime whenever they can while working around chemotherapy visits.  It’s hard for me to even imagine the pressure and stress that goes along with coordinating an entire family’s plans and work around doctor visits, chemo, and therapy.  The family pushes forward, with the same determination in every step.

Super Brayden
Bradyen’s picture sits among my favorite endurance athletes. Right next to a signed autograph picture of Desi Davila (elite marathoner) and below a signed trading card of Dave Zabriskie (world class cyclist)

A few weeks ago, I got a picture of my nephew wearing a tiny super hero cape and smiling at life.  It hangs up in my office at work and is a daily reminder.  It has changed my attitude towards many things.

  • I believe that Brayden is in the care of the best doctors in the world at Children’s Mercy.
  • I believe that Miles for Hope is fighting the right fight.
  • I know that Brayden and his family need help.

I’m going to try to be as tough as Brayden.  He doesn’t know that he has cancer.  His “normal” is different than other kids.  Hopefully I can help Brayden, Children’s Mercy, and Miles for Hope during this journey.

I’m going to try to raise $3 for every mile I run in 2014, with $1 to each of the above.

I haven’t completely figured out my game plan yet, but here and now is where it starts.

I’m accepting “pledges” right here.  Just leave a comment on this post with your pledge.  I’ll have donation links soon!

That guy that did that thing that one time