Monday, November 1, 2010

My 1st Marine Corps Marathon

This past Sunday I ran one of the biggest races in I have ever done. Biggest not in the since of distance, but just the amount of fellow runners, TV coverage and spectators. It was a very exciting day. Let me begin by saying I am happy with my time. I had a goal of under 4hrs. I fell short of this. Unlike many other people I saw flopping to the ground kicking and crying because they did not qualify for Boston (yes, I saw 3 and one 1 on "The Bridge"), I was happy with how I performed because I knew I did my best this day.

The morning was rough. I did not sleep well, typical. It was colder than I thought it would be. I took the Metro into DC. I ended up playing tour guide to some people from out of town. "Um, sir. You may want to step back some, the trains come in pretty fast...they wont stop fro you!" From the Metro stop to the starting area was quite a walk. No one was very happy with this, at least the people around me. I had the feeling I was taking my kids for a run or something. I noticed a lot of great costumes. Some were classic and some were extreme. I should consider a costume at least one time I think. Once at the starting area, I took care of business. Made all my checks, made sure I had everything, dropped my bag off and off to my coral. I huddle there watching the jets fly over and going over mentally what I was going to do. I was starting to over think things. And I knew.

The race starts. Opps, hand jerked and started my Garmin a bit early before I crossed the start line. Oh well. A mile in felt something in my shoe. I tried to wiggle it around and then I realized it was in my sock! I had to stop. Some how a rock got into a brand new pair of socks. Huh? So I pulled over got my shoe off, sock off, shake, back on, tie the shoe and off again. Lost maybe, 45 seconds. It happens. At least I wasn't one of the fools running off to the trees to pee. First time I even saw women running off to do so.

I will spare you the details of every mile and skip forward some. But I have to say one of my favorite parts of this race was Georgetown. I was awesome the amount of people that were out and the excitement they had for us. You did feel like a rock start. I even turned my ipod off at this point. This is where I was more concerned about taking in the whole experience. The joy of running. I was just having fun. My time was looking good too. At the halfway point, my time was 1:57:06. My four hour goal was looking very possible. And then, mile 20.

If anyone follows me on Twitter, Dailymile or read this blog, you know I have always had some sort of knee or calf issue. At mile 20, my left knee start to hurt. Now, being used to this knee issue gives a certain amount of tolerance for pain and knowledge on how to deal with it. Out comes a couple Advils. A few minutes later the pain was going away. Then my old friend started to talk to me. My right calf. I felt the twinge. A slight spasm. Again, knowledge kicked in. I knew two things. If I stopped to stretch, I would not start running again. And I knew if I kept running, it would get worse. I shortened up my stride and took a 30 second walk break until that twinge went away. It did. I started to run again. A mile later, twinge again. This continued for the rest of the race. But I was still moving. I did not stop. When I took the short walk breaks, they were power walks. Long strides with full arm movement. No dangling my arms to the side. No short stepping it. I was walking it out like I was marching in the Army again.

The Bridge. I have ran this bridge before in races. I am not new to it. In the Army Ten Milers, I was known to charge up this bridge. Today, there was no charging. Calf pain now added to a new pain I have never hard which was my hamstring. I felt as if I was falling apart. This was doubt "the wall". That moment of despair in your mind. When everything around you is telling you to stop. I dug deep. Others, were not able to dig so deep. I started to see body after body. Laid down on the side of the bridge. Some smiling and waving others on. Some in pain with a Marine medic racing down the bridge towards them. Some, crying. I dug deeper. I ran half of the bridge and power walked the other half. I made it over the bridge, on to the finish line.

Once in Crystal City, it was pretty flat. I kept a slow pace. I was preparing myself for that last hill before the finish line. I knew I wasn't going to make my four hour goal. But I was fine with it. Honestly, I get the same medal if I ran a 4 hour marathon. I was having a great time. Even though I was in pain, I had the feeling of accomplishment. I was doing my best, and my best was better than some men that were younger and in better shape than I was. I am 38 and just a little heavier than I should be. I was beating guys in their 20s. I was beating guys a foot taller and skinner than I am. I am not very competitive, but I am competitive. Someone put a cup of beer in my hand. I looked at him and he just smiled. Why the hell not? I drank 3 big gulps of beer and smiled. Thanked the guy. "Go get em!" Is all he said. I could not even tell you what he looked like. Where I was. I just remember he really helped me at that moment. There was one other too. The sweet lady with the Gummy Bears back near the capital. Love me some Gummy Bears!

That...hill at the end. My opinion...totally uncalled for. That is one of the steepest hills I have ever ran. This hill reminded me of the hills in the North Face Challenge race. Steep and unforgiven. To put that at the VERY end of the race, where you are getting ready to have you picture take...just cruel. I made it up, spitting cuss words along with a few other runners. However, the crowd was roaring as we made it up. That was cool. No other word for

The finish line. I made it across running and limping. I stopped running and the wind blew. I start to shiver. I thought something was wrong. Started to worry about being one of those having to be carried off. I got my space blanket and felt better. Getting the medal I was looking at the Marine. Some people were very....dismissive of these guys. Now, if you have been not been in the military you won't get this. I know, I know...some like to claim they understand. You don't. I am very patriotic and a big supporter of the military. So, when it was my turn to get my medal I let him put it around my head and said "Congratulations". I looked him in the eye, offered my hand. He looked a bit surprised. I shook his hand and said "My family and I appreciate your service." The marine looked surprised, smiled and said "Thank you sir!". That's all they want. A little acknowledgment. So, when Veteran's day comes on the 11th, buy a soldier a beer.

Things I did right:
1) Trained for long distances right. Pace was on the money until the calf cramp.
2) Ate right. Had steel cut oats with a banana at 4:00 AM.
3) Took the right types of gels.
4) Didn't forget anything (used a check list).
5) Dressed right.
6) Used the porta potties at the right times. Once when I first got there. And then 15 minutes before race.

Things I did wrong:
1) I don't think I made any mistakes.

Things I learned:
1) Check the inside of your sock before the race.
2) Take more gels. I took only 5, could have used another one. The Sport Beans given out worked well!
3) Do more hill work.

Things I want to try:
1) Salt tabs
2) Calf compression sleeves

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Training, training and more training

For the first time in my life, I have actually followed a training program in preparation for a race. The race in question is the Marine Corps Marathon. If anyone recalls, my last marathon was a bit of a disaster in my own opinion. So, this race I decided to do some reading and find some support. I found one book that help quite a bit. Marathoning for Mortals by John Bingham & Jenny Hadfiel. Based on this book, I found a plan to follow. I used a website to help create a calendar of my training program which I was then able to put in all of nerdy devices to keep track of when and how far I was running. The site I use is . This site uses the Hal Higdon training program. So, armed with a calendar, a plan, a book, a Garmin and the supportive running community at DailyMile, I set off to train.

I have found sticking to a training program more exhausting than the way I use to train. I use to train as to how I felt. If I felt like skipping a day, I skipped it. If I felt like only running 4 miles, only 4 miles I ran. The plan started me out slow. This was a very annoying process. Add to that I was to run slower than normal. This was a change for me. I am used to going all out as hard as I can. Now, I was being trained to reserve some energy. It all mad eperfect sense. I got it. I just, didn't like it.

I kept up with my plan. Only on occasion skipping a run due to parenting, work or a slight knee pain. This was also something new to me. For the past few years I have ran, I have had some nagging pain or injury every other month. Now that I was training "properly", the only pains I ever really felt was the soreness after the Sunday long runs. I'll take that. A challenge came a few weeks into training. Roads are...boring. I needed some trail. Some excitement. Some dirt! I ran a couple trail 10Ks, known as the Blue Crab Bolt. Fun races, great people, highly recommended. Soon after, on my long runs, boredom was really setting it. I couldn't find any new (or old) music to keep my mind active while on the long run. I turned to audio books. I have made it through almost the entire Born to Run book. This not being a very exciting book, but very informative which leads to my next challenge.

Information overload is the next challenge I seemed to have. I have many running friends and they all have an opinion. Books, websites, can be overwhelming. I started to ignore some of these. And yes, I even ignored some people. Not all, but some. I also tossed some books and magazines to the side too. After while, it seems every thing you do, someone or something will say you are doing it wrong. I saw that I needed to commit to one train of thought or I would never get started. Hal Higdon won.

I was feeling good. I was feeling strong. And then, I get sick. That seems like once I get to a point where I feel as if I can do a marathon tomorrow, something happens. With my marathon, MCM, only 5 weeks away I was started to worry. My "illness" lasted a weekend. I missed one long run. Runs after that were sluggish and reserved. However, I noticed how fast I was bouncing back. I wasn't up to the same speed as I had been before, but I saw how fast I was recovering. Maybe this plan is working?

Taper. I have heard about it. I have heard the stories of going nuts from not putting the miles in. I have heard stories of 'you don't need to taper'. Again, information overload. He is the truth. I am welcoming the taper. I have out in many miles over the past few months. I have tried to follow the plan as much as possible. Now, I enter in the my taper week before the marathon. THANK YOU! Now, this does't mean I can go out and drink beers and eat burritos all night. Now is the week where I need to watch what I eat, stretch, hydrate and most important...relax.

So with many miles of training behind me, around 462, I think I am ready. I am confident I will finish. I am confident that I will have a good time. I am pretty sure I can make my target time of 4 hours. I have my iPod playlist ready. I have a couple things to pick up this week, GUs and some new socks. All the prep work is done. It's time to put a training program to the test.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Another milestone met at The North Face Endurance Challenge 2010 (DC)

Almost 2 weeks ago, on June 5th, I completed my first marathon. Before you slap me on the back and say nice job, let me just say I am not pleased with my time or performance. I was quite beaten up when I finished. I hate to make excuses for myself, but others that know me were surprised I showed up for the race. And some that really know me, knew I would be there.

Four weeks before the race, my training was severely interrupted. I have a nagging pain in my calf that honestly, would NOT go away. Ended up take 2 weeks off. This led into a wedding of my best friend back in Indiana. As soon as I got on the plane, something felt wrong. Throat was scratchy, nose stuffed...cough cough. "You have got to be kidding me!". Yep, I was sick. Not just any sick. That kind of cold that knocks you down and sits on your chest. The morning came, I could not speak or breath. In two weeks, I was suppose to run The North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon. I have wrote about this before, it is my favorite running event ever. This is a serious trail race. And here I am, two weeks before, short of training and breath now. I told everyone, I am out of it. Gonna just pick up my shirt and go home. So I thought.

Back home, in Sterling, VA, I walked around Gold's Gym. Muttering to myself. Looking coldly at the treadmills. Cursing my calf, that was still nagging. Cough and a hack here and there. Cold lasted 4 days, it took a toll on my energy level. It was something I just could not fix. As I drove home that Wednesday, I notice all these moving vans and trucks heading towards Algonkian Park. This is where the North Face race would be. They were setting it up. In my neighborhood. It was Wednesday, it was happening Saturday. I decided then, "You know. I could walk it. If I cannot finish, I bail. Happens to other people." The next day I went for a 4 miler on the treadmill. I felt good...not great...good. So Friday came. I went to Georgetown at lunch and picked up my packet. Note: This was the worst place to have the packet pickup compared to previous years. The parking and traffic is terrible. That's all I will say about that. And then...that rush came. Runners know that rush. You have the timing chip in hand, you see your number, the swag in the bag, other runners around you, discussing the course...the excitement is in the air. You either know this feeling or you don't. I do. I felt. Damn it, I am a runner! I am gonna run.

Saturday morning came. All week I had been fueling for this. All week I have been trying to convince myself I was well enough to do this. I met two runners as I was getting geared up that morning at one of the picnic tables. Great people! They were very supportive. I wish I would have gotten their names or numbers at least. (My first lesson of this race.) I would see them later on the course and they would call out to me encouragement. As a friend of mine says "Runners are great!" I was at the starting line now. Last time I felt this nervous at a race was my very first one, a 10K. The ipod is in my ears. Garmin at the ready. Fuel belt stocked with Cytomax and Rocktane GU. And we were off. The course was very well marked. This was a complaint of many last year and I admit, I missed a couple turns myself. That is one of the things about trail running, you have to pay attention. This isn't some road race where you just turn off your mind and follow the blockades. And there will be times where you will be alone on the course. I was at the back of the pack. Trying to take it nice and slow. A mile in, I see I am running faster than I wanted to be. But I felt good. I kept going. Chit chatting with other runners, something I usually only do on trail runs. I don't know why, but I am not much of a talker on roads. Plodding along. Ducking branches. Everyone walks up that mountain at mile 5. And then, at mile 7, my calf cramps up. BAD. I am hugging a tree. People are stopping to try and help. I urge them on. "I'll be OK." I walked for 15 minutes and then I was able to run again. Anytime I had to jump over a log, I was hurting. But I was moving. Only a little over an hour has passed. This is going to be a long day.

At the aid station I was sure to refuel. I was drinking lots of liquid, because it was over 90 degrees and the humidity was murder. Gel after gel. I had no stomach issues like some were having. I was just hot and my calf now only sore. The turn around point was like a heaven. Plenty of water. Plenty of fuel. Plenty of people sprawled out in the grass. Some were not gonna make it. Some were already on golf carts headed home. Some of these were 50 Miler and 50K runners. These people I admired for their guts. My friend/coach Brittany was out there somewhere too running the 50 miles. I refilled my water bottles, grabbed a cup of water and some chips and started back out. It was time to finish this. 13 more miles.

The last 13 was harder than I thought. At mile 18, I was still feeling good. Mile 22, was my wall. Looking at my Garmin, I was thinking I only had 4 more miles. Well, apparently the course was not as exact as Mr. Garmin. Here you can see my Garmin activity. We then had to pass through the stream again. The first time I passed it, I took the time to kick off my shoes and wade through it. No blisters. And I had no blisters as I came upon the stream again. Knowing my time was sucking, I opted for a one foot in and out method of crossing. Both feet ended up in the water. And honestly, the water was so cold. It felt great. I looked around, 3 other runners also standing in the stream. A mile later, the blister were coming on fast. But so was the finish line.

At the last aid station, they sent us on a loop. I know the area. And as they sent me on the loop, I looked at my Garmin and then back at the aid station. A small curse escaped my lips and I started the loop. Doing a run for a few minutes, walk a minute. I was out of gas. A thought entered my mind. I had been drinking all day. At least 8oz ever 15-20 minutes. I have not felt the need to pee! Then, once thought about, I had to go. After that was taken care of (it was in the woods), I was desperate coming out of this loop for any sort of kick of energy. I then saw a familiar face. A smile. It was Brittany, looking fresh as daisy. I hated her at that point. By my quick math, she was on mile 46. We said 'hi' in passing, however I am sure she didn't know who I was and if you would have asked me who I was at that point, I may have not responded correctly. I was starting to worry about heat exhaustion. I had to man up. And again, the energy was gone. I was coughing up crap again like I had been a week ago when I was still recovering from that cold. And then, I saw something I could not believe. I saw my son. He had walked up the trail. There he was standing there at the aid station at the beginning of the loop. He has always been the biggest supporter of me in running and at times my biggest critic. He later told me he knew something was wrong when he looked at the clock and I still had not crossed. He tries to go to all my runs, as I try to go to all his events. We are guys, we don't get sappy. He jogged along side me. His looks at me told me, what I already knew. And then he said it. "Wow Dad. You look like shit." He is only 13. I give him a look, he knows better. He sticks with me the last 1.5 miles.

I cross the finish line. I look at my Garmin. 27.61 miles? Dazed. Not knowing I passed by my wife. I wanted to just sit. I found a seat in the tent. My son and daughter get me water and ice bucket for my feet. I can feel the blisters from having to run through creeks. The dirt caked on my legs. I get my shoes and socks off. In the ice they went. It was over. I completed the race. Notice I dont mention the time. Brittany goes skipping by like a little school girl. Unbelievable.

Some may say "You at least finished." True, I did finish. Some may say things like "You walked it. Anyone can do that." Both have had the same reaction on me over the weeks. For those who REALLY know me, know you are only fueling me by saying that. Positive or negative. The positive comments pumps me up. Like my son, who cheered me on to the finish line(video finish). Makes me think YEAH!, I AM A MARATHONER NOW. And not just ANY, I choose a trail marathon to be my first one. The negative ones, have a reaction too. Makes me realize I have more to prove. More to myself, because I run for myself mainly. And to my kids, to make them see you can always push yourself little harder and try to do a little better. The negative comments, make me want it more. It is my fuel. It is that song that comes on your iPod that pushes you on those long runs. It's what gets me out of bed in the morning and lace up. To those "critics", I say thank you. No, really, THANK YOU! See you out there. Oh, you don't run? Then I will see you at finish line. I'll be the one with the medal around my neck. Because you see, I am a marathoner!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


So we have this coffee pot at work. They are those tube like canisters, ones that you see at Panera Bread where you push down on the top and the coffee comes out. Anyway, I used to get mad when I would in the break room, push down on the tab to hear "puffffft". This is an annoying sound that translate to "Hi, I am empty. The last person here that got a cup of coffee heard this noise too. But, they did not start a new pot that only takes 30 seconds to prepare and 5 minutes to brew. This person is an asshole." I would get mad and then refuse to make another pot because I made the last 3! Trying to...better myself, I decided to play a little reverse physiology on fate. Also, to maybe try and be a calmer more peaceful Jody. When I hear the "pufffft" now, I celebrate like Alex Ovechkin. I call out "Whoah! I am a winner! Yeah baby! Goal!" Sometimes I am alone doing this.

Other times, there are people in there I know and they laugh at me. However, sometimes there are people in there that don't get my humor. I did it today. The Marketing department just moved onto our floor. So, two ladies are in there drink coffee...yes, a fresh cup of coffee that must have come from the coffee canister I am about to approach. Knowing there two ladies are infamous for drinking gallons of coffee (brown teeth and coffee stained shirts to prove it), I go into a sporting event commentator's speach..."Harvey has the puck (I am approaching the coffee canister), he deeks left, back hands the puck "(I push down on the canister button to hear the 'puffft' ) "He scooooooores! Ladies and gentleman (as I start to disassemble the canister and brew more coffee) Jody Harvey is only one away from a hat trick today. Unbelievable!" I would jump into the vending machine like OV does to the glass after a goal, but I am afraid I would break it. The ladies, clearly annoyed with my antics, roll their eyes at me get up and leave the break room. While others I know passing by laugh hysterically.

Sorry, it just plain rude not to start a new pot after you just killed the last cup.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The North Face Endurance Challenge

The last three years I have felt I have been part of something special. Even, elite. This race is fairly new. Only in it's 4th year, The North Face Endurance Challenge has only been ran 2 times in the D.C area. The 3rd one was washed out due to a tropical storm. Even though it has only been ran twice, I was a part of it. The first year it was ran at Great Falls Park. It was brand new. I only noticed it through Runner's World Magazine. I signed up for it before I realized, THIS IS A TRAIL RACE! I was brand new to racing and a bit too excited about the sport for my own good. My eagerness and ignorance paid off. My first trail race ever had me hooked.

I ran the 10K that early September morning. It went by so quickly, I don't even recall the details. Only that its was dirty and hot that day. The trail was not as difficult as I thought it would be, but FAR more interesting than boring old road. As I finished the race, I kept hearing the name "Dean Karnazes". As I said, I was fairly new to the sport and had no idea who this guy was. I blew off the after party. Went home and Googled the name. I found out that Dean was, well, a big deal! Having missed the chance to meet someone that has had so much to do with this race, I was determined to be one of the first in the following year to sign up.

The next year, I signed up for the half-marathon. I was ready. And I was, sort of. The race that year was washed out. And I was pretty disappointed. The race was in my neighborhood, on trails in my hood. I had an advantage. I was pretty worried that the race wouldn't run again in my area. I was surprised when it was. But we will get to that and my tips. First, let me tell you what they did when the race was canceled. First, they gave us half of our money back, awesome North Face technical shirts that have the Endurance Challenge on the sleeve (you can only get those if you were in the race), North Face socks, a North Face winter hat and a happy hour at a hotel. My family and I went to get the booty at the hotel. And as we walked in, there he was, Dean Karnazes. Everyone lined up to meet him. It was a bit of mad house. My son, managed to talk to the ladies assisting Dean and he was allowed to draw numbes for the raffle. After which, Dean personally came over to meet my son, sign an autograph, give him a couple hats for himself and sister and take a picture with him. A great guy all around. My son and I read his first book at this great evening. So, it was a total wash out.

The year 2009 came. And again, I was one of the first to sign up for the race. And again, they were running it my hood. I was FAR more ready. And again, I THOUGHT I was ready. The course is at Algonkian Regional Park. The morning of the race is what we would call in the area, a little warm. I was so excited I didn't care. My son, aka Road Crew, and I arrived earlier enough to wander around the familiar park that had been transformed into more of a running festival than boat launching park it is known for. My son, bored within minutes, pulled his fishing pool out as began to warm up. FYI: Great place for fishing if you fish. Minutes ticked by and we all lined up at the start of the half-marathon. Some familiar faces I had seen in the area were there. Many new faces. Listening to the announcer talk about the 50 milers and 50 K runners from the early morning start. There was a total of 4 races that year; 10K, Half-Marathon, 50K & 50 Miler. We all counted down to the horn and off we went. It was great and challenging. Remember, I said this was my "hood". Well, there were parts of my hood I had no idea existed. I fell three times tripping over roots, calf muscle cramped up on me and took a wrong turn. I will cover these mistakes in my tips and lessons learned. As I finished, I felt as though I accomplished something. You see, this was my FIRST half-marathon. I have ran 13 miles before, but not a race. And yes, my first half, was a trail race. If you have ever ran a trail race, you may call me nuts. I didn't do too bad for my first time: 2:06:32.6. Not to make excuses, but I did fall a few times and caught a cramp. I still finished, and that is what counts to me. After the race, I finally got to meet Dean myself. He remembered my son and asked him when he will run a race. "Maybe next year." Maybe. My son was then asked to draw numbers for prizes again. I think he has found his calling. Again, Dean rewarded the boy with some North Face swag. It was quite a day. Quite a race. Quite a life.

Tips and lessons learned.
  1. Sports drinks are your friend. In the summer, water is just not enough. You need to fuel up right and hydrate right. I am a big GU and Accerade fan.
  2. Trail shoes are a must. Going up hills and through creeks require special shoes. Shoes with traction and water resistant. I wear Salomons. However, mine don't fit just right. Which cause me to get my first black toe nail and a nice sized blister after a run through a creek.
  3. Wear sleeves. I cannot stress this enough. Some trails are single tracked. You will have brush on both sides. As you run, the brush may slap your arms. And if you have no sleeves, well I am sure you can figure that out.
  4. Accept nature. You will encounter snakes, deer and insects. Me being a country boy and former soldier you would think I would be OK with this. Well, I hate snakes and deer seem to JUMP out at you some times on the trail forcing a few profound words to escape your lips.
  5. Be courteous. Not everyone that you will run with on these trail races will be as experienced as you. They will not, accept it. Do not attempt to get in a yelling match. Some of these people are new to the sport and may be their first race...just like I was. Just stay as far right as possible and everything will be fine.
  6. If you are a bleeder, do something about it. A man that seemed to be in my shadow the entire race was a nipple bleeder. I mean, he was bleeding! And of course he had a WHITE shirt on. Bleeders, buy the pasties and get some Body Glide. Or wear a red shirt. Gross.
  7. Pay attention to the ground. I know, road runners are like WHAT? Really, look at the ground 4 feet in front of you. Know where you are going to plant your feet. And watch for roots. You can very easily catch your toe and be face first in the dirt.
  8. Pay attention to the trail. Watch for the markers. Some trails, such as this race, have intersecting trails. I once kept going straight when I should have went left. a minute later, I saw I took a wrong turn. Stopped and turned around. To my surprise, 3 other runners were right behind me staring at me. "Um, I took a wrong turn I think. " We all laughed and got back on the trail. I am looking for a technical running shirt that says "Don't follow me, I am lost too!"
  9. Have fun! I cannot stress this enough. Have fun. Laugh. Hoot and yell...others will join you.
  10. Stay for the after party.

The registration has been opened for this years North Face Endurance Challenge 2010. Advertisements are in Runner's World Magazine. I have even recruited some fellow runners to run it this year. This year's race will be a little different. It is now a 2 day event. They added a 5K, full marathon and a kids fun run. The same trail will be used, again in my hood. And again, I am doing my FIRST marathon and it is a trail race. I may be crazy, but damn am I having a good time.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Being sick sucks!

There are only a few days out of the year that I get sick to the point of being useless. Today is one of those days. Went to the gym with my wife yesterday afternoon (our romantic get away..haha), and I was only doing core work. No running, just core. And I felt, well, kinda crappy. I pushed through it blaming the weather and berating myself for being lazy. After the gym we had to run home and get the kids. We had tickets to the Caps vs Coyotes game. GO CAPS! Everything was going fine at the game until some woman decided she needed to get by us while on a power play and 25 seconds left in the period. I am usually and laid back guy, and would just bite my tongue as I got up to let her by. Not tonight. "Really? You could not wait 25 seconds?" I was very annoyed, which also let me know something was up with myself. Of course the boy friend of this woman glares at me, I glare back....he sat down. The rest of the game I felt something brewing inside of me.

After the win, we went home. It was a struggle. My head was throbbing. When we got home I popped a couple Advil. Sleep came easy. Waking up, different story. I awoke with the headache and realized, I am sick. I am like a lot of men, a baby when sick. A sniffle, no problem. Ache or pain, I can deal. Stomach ache, I will manage. All at once, someone kill me now please.
So, being useless today, not being able to run or finish that home improvement project, has left me here at a keyboard. As I finish up here, I try to find a bright light. I have a new book, Marathoning for Mortals. My favorite race registration opens this week. I am purchasing a Garmin watch this week (I hope). And I may go see my Mom next weekend in Indiana.

As I sip my tea, I think it could be worse. Not trying to beat the drum of "Poor Haiti", but I could be one of those people. And yes, I did send money the other night to Haiti. My kids empty their penny jars into or donation jar we keep in the laundry room. That is one our rules. If you leave money in your jeans, it goes in the donation jar by the dryer. Only fair I think. I you have so much money that you forget it in your pockets as you toss me you dirty jeans, you don't need it! And I have had my share fall out of my pants. Once the jar is full, we will donate to St. Judes, my wife's favorite charity. I am also considering running that marathon in December, if I can lose whatever illness I have caught before then. Again, men are babies when they are sick. I accept that.

Friday, January 15, 2010

First Blog

Hello all. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Jody Harvey, known to my kids as "Big Daddy". Why "Big Daddy", maybe because I am bigger than them? Maybe because I had some weight issues a few years back (not that I don't think I could lose a few more pounds).
Some background on myself. Married for 16 years. We have 2 kids (age 13 and 14). I grew up in southern Indiana. I live in the DC area now. So, due to my accent, some would call me a hick or redneck. It is funny, because this "hick" speaks two other languages and has been to more countries outside of the US than most of these Washingtonians. But I am not they are. Spent 5 years in the Army. Deployed once to Bosnia. After that, I stayed in German for another 8 years. Moved back to the US in 2005, or was it 2006? Anyway, it was quite a move for the entire family. My wife adapted to to DC area faster than I could. She is European, so I guess that is why...maybe? It is not that I hate this area, I just think there is a fair amount of narrow minded people here. And folks don't know how to drive here.
So, there is some background on me. Now, why am I here. Well, I am just starting to blog. And I wonder if anyone would be interested in what I may have to say. I don't want to rant and rave. Complain about politics.. I live in the DC area.. I get enough of that. This is more of a community runner's blog. Sharing my thoughts and opinions of running. Sharing my accomplishments. Seeking advice from other runners.
I started running in the Army. Well, we were kinda forced to. I played a little football in high school. Was never a strong runner. Started smoking at 16. While in the Army I continued to smoke while keeping up with Army standards. I ran a 10K once while in the Army. All I could think of was..."This is stupid!". After I got out of the Army, I stopped exercising. This is where "Big Daddy" started to develop. Beer + lots of food = Big Stomach. Few years ago, the kids hid my smokes. I was furious. And when I saw how mad I was, I looked at myself. I didn't like what I saw. Kids said they were doing this to me because they didn't want me to die. I quit smoking that next weekend. It was long and hard. My wife got me a bike for my birthday to try and help me. I started biking trying to substitute for the addiction. I started riding 20 miles at a time. It wasn't enough. I needed more. I saw a local 10K, The Cascades 10K Fire Chase in Sterling, VA. I just signed up for it without thinking and started running. At first, I went back to my first opinion on long distant running, this is stupid. But then I started to notice the weight coming off. Then one day, I caught that first runner's high. I traded one addiction for another.
That is how I got my start in running. So, I keep running for a few reasons. Weight issue, health issue, mental and physical fitness and to keep from going back to smoking. But the main reason, I cant let my kids down.