Archive for May, 2011

Bridgeton, Indiana, May 28-29

Straight from the event website:

“Having recently completed a marathon in each of the 50 states it became apparent that far too many runs were severly lacking in scenery. We decided to host a run that avoided the local shopping mall, the local fast food franchises, and the busy highways of urban America. Parke County, Indiana was one of the ideas we came up with. Driving the course (and later riding a bicycle to certify the course as a Boston qualifer) further cemented that this was the run we wanted to host. It is the most unique and scenic course that you will find anywhere that doesn’t involve mountains. Come and join us for a look back at a simplier time and place. A place that’s right in your back yard.”

Next to the historic Bridgeton Mill, the race director has promised to jump off the [uncovered] bridge at the conclusion of the marathon on Sunday, then as he emphasizes, “The beer will begin to flow!”

There is still time to register. Saturday, May 28th there are shorter runs, Sunday, the longer ones.

The requisite pre-marathon pasta feed at the Rock Run Cafe and Bakery in Coxville (just north of Rosedale).

Find all the details here: http://runthroughthebridges.com/

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1. US Navy SEALs
2. Visiting Home and Mushroom Hunting
3. Donald Trump Never Was a Contender. Who is?
4. Indiana Running
5. The Indianapolis 500

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If there is a list of the top 5 traditions in our country, the Indy 500 is surely on it.

And as this is the 100th anniversary, it will be quite a celebration. With the field of hopeful drivers lined up, and the newly injected aspects of reinvigorated competition, and of course the sentimentality of the Centennial era, I am pretty excited this month.

While IndyCar and leadership of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway recognize the significance of the occasion, they also recognize (or are have begun to realize) the importance of returning all aspects of competition to the 500 and allowing for the revival of the unique and individual characteristics of many other aspects that used to actually make it the largest single-day sporting event in the world and truly make it the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

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OK. I will now confess my secret:

I have been planning to head home to Indiana in May since January to run the Parke County Run Through the Bridges Marathon.

Well, now, as my training has progressed, and my body has responded, and the date has moved closer, I am willing to announce that I will in fact do it….. except it’s going to be the half-marathon.

In the process of my preparations, I have been hearing more and more reports from Indiana and Terre Haute specifically about the apparent running craze there.

The most overt evidence of this is the continuing NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships held now for “the eighth straight year and the ninth championship in the last 10 years that has been held on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course with Indiana State University serving as host.

But it was while sitting in the home of my Parke County-Now-Half-Marathon Running Partner chatting over a brew with these two guys – runner-friends who are now both fathers of top-tier runners in their school programs. In fact, one has a daughter running for Holy Cross and the other has a son who, as a high school senior has made a commitment to run for ISU. So of course, both of these guys have also begun or restarted their own personal running regimes.

All these guys talked about all night was the running programs at the three county high schools and Indiana University and the extraordinary events and facilities at the Gibson course. I began to think, “This is what it would be like to live in Oregon”, where world-class college runners materialize year after year like gods and goddesses of turf and track, as if the soil and water there produce a sort of superhuman race capable of speed, endurance, and ultra-thinness; and the home of the running shoe god, Nike. Indiana – even down to the junior high school programs – seemingly has become the Mecca of running.

It was described to me how the junior high (not to mention high school) coaches are training their runners with an eye beyond the regular cross country season and toward state high school championships and university competition. Both my friends’ kids have expectations to compete in State finals. The passion in the kids’ performances is matched only by the parents‘ enthusiasm and involvement. Move over Oregon.

So I made a pilgrimage of sorts back home again over this past Easter weekend for the sole purpose of accomplishing a “long” run with my high school friend and running partner, Todd, in preparation for the Run Through the Bridges. And an even more-common (historically) hometown running partner, Mark, was not able to run as he is nursing a couple of injuries. We’re all nearly 50 now, so the “hurts” are not so funny anymore, come easier, last longer, make us think about mortality.

I know you’re asking, “Okay, so what about Tom Dever?” He’s the Terre Haute native who is reportedly one of the top distance runners in the country in his age group. I don’t know exactly what his age group is but I know it’s older than mine. I dunno. I’ve never met him. Maybe he’s not a real person; maybe he’s made up for the sole purpose of inspiring laggardly sluggard and discouraged has-been runners who are almost 50. And he reportedly started late in life, relatively speaking. I dunno except that we all admit he sets a great example, even if he is made up.

I say this because while it should be obvious that over Easter one “goes home” to be with family, go to church, etc. But honestly, at the time I began making plans for the trip, I had no clue when Easter was; I wasn’t even thinking “Easter”. You’d think that when it came to purchasing an airline ticket I might notice that it was Easter weekend. Nope. So I planned and purchased a ticket and took off, leaving my wife and son to do Easter without me.

I was only thinking about the fact that I had about one month before I was to run a marathon – which is 26.2 miles – something I have never done before and for I have not prepared for properly. I have been running, as well as cross training (riding and lifting). But only since mid-January, and then not every week.

So I say to Todd, “I am concerned about how well I have prepared for 26.2 miles.”

He responds, “Don’t worry about it.”

Then I say, “No really; I haven’t been able to do the long runners like I’m supposed to.”

The he says, “Don’t worry about it.”

Then I say, “Really, I’m in a lot of pain and don’t know if I can run the whole thing without my iPod.”

He says, “Don’t worry about it.

I say, “No, really, it’s 26.2 miles. I’m not sure I’m on schedule to be ready in time. It’s only a month away.”

Then he says, “Don’t worry about it.”

So I traveled home last week and on Saturday we did our long-anticipated “long” run.

We ran 14 miles: 7 in, 7 back out, along the new National Road Heritage Trail in Terre Haute, from the trailhead ion East Glenn to the Indiana State campus and back. At about the 11 mile point I was hurting: Feet, knees, other stuff. But I made it.

I was pleased we finished 14 as planned, but questioned my body. A few weeks later now, my right calf and the right side of my right knee still hurt as much as they did after finishing nearly a month ago.

In these last several weeks I have been training pretty hard; seven miles one day, 4 the next, then a 17er, then a day off, then a week back to work overnight so when the clock strikes midnight I can head to the gym and run 3-4 miles and lift. Other nights I ride the stationary bike for an hour. This has not been professional-grade marathon training, but I think I am ready.

So upon readying to leave Todd’s home after showering, I asked Todd how he felt.

“Pretty good.”

I did not feel pretty good.

As we walked to my car, he said, “Maybe we ought to think about the half-marathon.”

So shall it be.

There is still time to register yourself. Saturday, May 28th there are shorter runs, Sunday, the longer ones. Find all the details here: http://runthroughthebridges.com/

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In other words, Charles Krauthammer is “in”; Donald Trump is “out.”

Not that Charles Krauthammer is running for president; he’s not. But if he says Donald Trump is bad for the Republican party, Conservatism, and an “unserious” candidate (also described as a “not serious” candidate by very serious attorney-Chapman University law professor-author-radio talk show host, Hugh Hewitt), then that’s where I stand. I will readily admit that I hang on every word Charles Krauthammer says. I love that guy.

Having said that, I was surprised that what specifically prompted Hewitt to finally decide (at least publicly) that Trump is not right for the job, was Trump’s raw, verbal explosion last week in Las Vegas, delivering the “F” bomb in typical crass, Trump style – repeatedly – during several speaking engagements.

My take is that he was dead in the water from the beginning in no small part due to 1) his crude (classless and unpresidential) in-your-face-kick-ass-Manhattan business guy-modus operandi, and 2) his hair (also classless and unpresidential). In fact, I say he never was in the water. Even with the capabilities of his swooping golden ducktail.
He was never a viable candidate, he’s a show.

Now get a haircut.

The Republican Party is in trouble already. They need a serious candidate, and one who has serious prospects of winning. Not Trump, not Huckabee, not Romney (sadly), not Gingrich, not Paul, not Palin or Bachmann or about 14 others.

Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal certainly have the know-how, but can they muster the gravitas? Tim Pawlenty? Perhaps. I know, we eliminated experience as a prerequisite, but some future candidates will undoubtedly show up with it anyway.

That just leaves……… Mitch Daniels. But can he really do it? Or perhaps the question ought to be WILL he do it?

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To hunt for morels in Indiana is for a Hoosier, and especially an ex-patriot Hoosier, a very happy and fulfilling experience.

To see my family, work in the garden soil of my parents’ farm, and to walk in the leaves and smell the woods – is restorative and grounding. It is a reminder of all that is good and best about home.

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These guys are amazing. Thank you.

Have no doubt: each of them considered it a privilege to go on this mission and were anxious to do so. And no one on the planet was better prepared for it.

Your tax dollars at work and well-spent.

Also “thank you” to President George W Bush, the rest of our Armed Forces, our Intelligence Community, and all those whom have done their individual parts to make this day possible. And “thank you” to President Obama for having the courage to say, “Go.”

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