The New Addition

Our family has grown yet again! A few months ago I finally gave in and agreed to go to the local shelter and look at the cats there. You have to understand, I am a lifelong dog person. I love dogs and our dog Bentley is great. Why on earth would I upset the delicate balance of our household by consenting to a cat? That’s easy, two persistent kids backed by an equally persistent wife.

So there I was, standing in line, yes in a line, at the Young-Williams Animal Shelter to find a cat. We had to register in and wait our turn just to get into the “cat room” as they were having a special weekend to ease overcrowding at the shelter. All dogs and cats were available for donations only. I actually talked Daniel into looking at dogs with me as the gals went into the cat room. Not a bad plan really, we would find a cute adorable sidekick for Bentley and thus avoid getting a cat. A good plan but it failed.

We walked into the cat room to find the girls holding this cat and that one. They seemed to be ignoring my over the top pleas to come to the other side and look at the cute dogs there. Then there was the strange person who came by and fussed at them for holding the cats, completely ignoring that literally everyone in the room except me was holding a cat. Okay then, I’ll show you, I will also hold a cat! I looked around and saw a sign on the cage door, 3 years old. Inside was a tiny, petite little thing, maybe 4 pounds. I reached in and scooped her up. Immediately I heard, “see dad, that’s a nice cat.” Oh no, had they paid that lady to do this? I think I fell into a very cleverly laid trap!

Needless to say, Lacy is now a part of our family. I think they mislabeled her cage as 3 years old when she was really 3 months because she has grown a lot over the last few months, probably almost doubling her weight. She is very lovable, alternating between getting her purrer stuck open and savagely attacking my shoes or hands. When we get home she almost always comes running up to say hi. She is also proving to be a little strange so she must be a Hubbard afterall. She loves oranges, who would have ever thought a cat would love oranges? She also is very spoiled as someone (no it’s not me!!!) spoon feeds her baby food from a jar.

No I am not a cat person but yes, there is a place in our house for this very sweet young girl.

From The Fog

I have been away to long. I feel it in my bones, in my breath, in my soul. I feel as if I was in a fog and it’s breaking up in the morning sun. It’s time to get going again.

The physical and emotional stress of last summer and fall had truly taken it’s toll on me, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. Pushing myself beyond what I ever thought was possible had left me drained. In a recent class we learned that obtaining a goal can be more stressful than not obtaining it. On the surface it doesn’t ring true but looking inwardly opened my eyes. In running and weight loss each time I hit a milestone there was a pause afterwards, a period of time that I felt lost or unmotivated. I had to step away for a little while and find solid ground.

For me that meant letting go of social media, national news and the blog for a little while and spending time with family and hours in the woods alone and with Daniel. Now I feel refreshed, renewed and ready to go. This year promises to be full of newness, adventure and personal growth. Plans are already being laid to repeat the run in honor of Lilyan with a goal of doubling last years donations. There will be a Spring, Summer and Fall full of events to prepare for the big run. Last year I felt as if the Holston River Endurance Challenge got the better of me and there is some unfinished business in Alabama to attend to. I look forward to finding some new events and to traveling to other areas to prepare. On a professional front things are moving forward also as there are some new and exciting challenges unfolding.

The morning sun has broken free and the fog is gone, Happy 2018 everyone! It’s gonna be a great one.

The Barkley Marathons Movie

What inspires you? Last winter I watched a movie that inspired me to dream bigger than I ever had before. For most people “The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats It’s Young” probably seems like a quirky little documentary about some truly amazing and somewhat crazy runners. For me though it was a pure dream maker.

The movie itself is about an annual event held in Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee, not far from where I live. The Barkley Marathons is an almost mythical run, without crowds, without support, somewhere between 100 and 129 miles of constant climbs and descents equaling 120,000 feet. The brainchild of Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell, it is regarded as one of the toughest races anywhere. For me it was eye opening. If these people could try, and sometimes succeed, in such an outrageous run, then what can someone much more average like me do?

I watched it over and over, showing it to others and telling everyone to watch it. Opinions were split. Some, like Daniel, were like me and dreams were born. Some thought that the runners were absolutely crazy and wondered why they would even try (Sophia) while a few (Ladonna) just thought “Laz” was a sadistic man.

It was the beginning of the thought. Could I do more than a marathon? Could I make it to 50 K? 50 miles? Did I dare to dream for more? A 100 K or 100 miles? Just how far could a chubby middle aged guy with no experience and no way to get formal training push? That my friends is inspiration.

It was the start of what became Lilyan’s Run. 104.8 miles (that actually became 105.1). I can’t believe that just a few short months ago I watched the Barkley movie for the first time and now I have run from Kingsport to Knoxville, shared a glimpse of Lilyan with everyone and raised some pretty good money for an awesome cause.


Times Up

Here we go. All of the effort, all of the planning, all of hopes. Now here we are… 3 days and 12 hours until the adventure starts. Just 3 things left to do. #1 Get the donations going by going here and donating directly to United Cerebral Palsy. If everyone will take 5 minutes and send just $10-$25 dollars it would make such a huge difference!  #2 Hit the share button while you are there on the donation page and #3 starting Lilyan’s Run on Wednesday…

Returning The Favor

As almost everyone that has read my blog knows, I run for a beautiful young lady named Lilyan. Lily is such an inspiration to me in many ways which I have written about many times. She has lived her entire life fighting up hill battles and winning them over and over again.

A couple of years ago in the blog Angels I talked about when I was sick and not doing very well that this (at the time) 6 year old girl went out, on vacation, and put in extra work just for me because her mom told her I was sick. Today I decided it was time to return the favor.

I told Ladonna that when I got off work I was going to try for a long run, with Phase II of training for Lilyan’s Run coming in just two weeks I needed to try for at least 9 or 10 miles, maybe up to a two hour run. When I arrived at the Kingsport Greenbelt it was already getting hot and sticky and I thought if I was going to go it had to be fast, maybe just 7 or 8 miles before it got miserable.  I decided that if I was going cut it short, I might as well run the hilly part and set off. By the time I got to the Exchange Place at the top of the hill where the actual Greenbelt ends and sidewalks begin the heat was already becoming a factor but I stopped at the fountain and kept going up Orebank Road. At some point I started to think about Lily and the message she had sent me back then, “I’m putting in extra miles on my walker for you.” This has been a hard week for her and her parents, harder than usual, as she has had some very important extra treatments done. How could I not do the same for her?

So here we go, “Lilyan, your mom told me what you have been doing this week and I know you had a couple of long, hard days, so I put in some extra miles just for you today. Instead of giving into the heat and turning around I ran 16.2 sweaty miles for you.” And there she is, my personal angel inspiring me yet again.

Lilyan’s Run – Phase 1 Lessons

So, now that the Oak Ridge Run Under The Stars is in the books it’s time to reevaluate training for Lilyan’s Run. Even though I cut the run short there were still valuable lessons learned and tweaks to be made as training goes forward.

The first thing learned was I’m not even close to Continue reading Lilyan’s Run – Phase 1 Lessons

The Stair Workout

I have read several articles about working out on stairs and all of us have seen someone running a stadium in real life or the movies. And of course most of us have heard about the heroic rush of the firefighters, EMS and police at the World Trade Center when they ran up the stairs everyone else was rushing down.

Still I never really thought much about doing it myself, until the other day. I was at Bristol Motor Speedway, The World’s Fastest Half Mile Racetrack and one of the largest sporting venues in the world. We were there in place early, before the fans were allowed in and, as usual, I went to survey the area I was assigned to for any unexpected obstacles and to ensure I was familiar with things. Because I was feeling guilty for not running for a few days I decided to take the stairs… all of them in my area. I was pleased with myself, thinking I had just gotten some pretty good exercise. There are a lot of stairs on the backstretch and I had systematically walked up and down each and every one and seen where all the barriers and vendors were in the whole area. Later in the day, after I had a moment of weakness involving orange cream Italian Ice I decided I should repeat my journey.

It wasn’t until I woke up at the station the next morning that I started to wonder what I had done to myself. When I attempted to stand my calves felt like bricks that were on fire. Eventually I was able to start moving in a direction and shuffled to the car. At the gas station I found that the brief time spent sitting in the car had allowed the pain to spread to my thighs and butt. By the time I got home and tried to walk up the stairs to the bedroom, well I won’t allow myself to use certain words on this blog so I will just say PAIN!  

That evening there was Daniel. Yes we are going to run I assured him, someplace nice and flat, not our usual hills. When we arrived there I explained to him, a short run, not to fast, don’t get to far ahead. That young man is fast! Off like a shot! I let him get out to a lead but he wasn’t slowing down, I didn’t want to let him out of sight so here I went, limping, trying not to cry. Ladonna offered to rub my legs but I wasn’t able to stand it. Doing the math I had climbed and descended more than 1 1/2 times the equivalent of Burj Khalifa (the worlds tallest building), almost 5,000 stairs.

Maybe there is something to this stair thing after all. I wouldn’t suggest to anyone that they go from not doing it to some stupid extreme like I did but I do think it has to be a good thing when taken slowly. I will be adding stairs to my work out plan in gearing up for Lilyan’s Run and hopefully it will result in more strength and endurance. If I recover from this adventure.

Running With Weights

In mid February I decided to try something that is a little less main stream for a runner as far as weights than gym work outs. I bought a weight vest from Dick’s and started running with it. The one I have comes with 8 pounds of sand in it and then has 1 pound iron bars that can be added to the front and back to adjust the weight up to 40 pounds. Here are Continue reading Running With Weights

The 2016 Oak Barrel

It’s the first weekend of April and for the third year straight that meant a trek to Lynchburg, TN for The Oak Barrel Half Marathon. In 2014 it was my first half marathon, ran with a good friend and at the finish you might have thought we had won it from the celebration. Last year we went back with a large contingent of friends and once again triumphed over the course and the infamous Whiskey Hill. Continue reading The 2016 Oak Barrel