Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Jacksonville Northbank

16 miles this weekend

Sixteen miles will be my longest run. I look forward to meeting with the training group early Saturday morning and accomplishing something that I have never done before.
Thanks for all the support.
Wally and Ellen
Artwork will be sent within the next two weeks.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

caught looking the other way

Note: Pictures and "Donna — By the Numbers" follow journal entry

A smaller group of runners participated in the seven mile trek from Jacksonville's downtown, across the river, through San Marco and back. While running the darkened streets of San Marco our "fearless leader" Brad had a brief encounter with the front end of a compact car that pulled out of a side street and into our group.
More on Brad in a moment.

26.Gulp Safety Plug:
Drivers MUST look both ways when making ANY turn. Looking left into oncoming traffic does not mean the road is clear for a right turn.

Isn't that right Loretta?

The group was simultaneously calling (and then yelling) to get this driver's attention. Mind you, it was 6:30something in the morning and the roads were basically empty but we were not to be heard. The car lurches out into Brad who quickly takes defensive measures. HEY YOU *$#!, (actually I don't think he cursed) but the fist on the hood and loudness of his voice stopped the car before any damage was done. I think we have to assume that the poor driver had a pleasant morning suddenly go bad. Anyway, all of us were quite impressed with this new side of Brad we had just witnessed. The fist pounding, life protecting side. We teased him for the next mile or so and listened to Loretta try to convince us that it was important to find some sympathy for the driver's mistake.

After five (or so) minutes of discussion Loretta finally bursts out...
"Alright, he wasn't hurt! I helped him up and back onto his bicycle. It could happen to anyone!" Her confession was made. She was admitting to her own failings as a driver and she needed the group to understand. We all laughed. The run was finished without another incident.

Check the pics.
I've made it easier to comment, so Please do.
I've received four checks to date.

Make checks payable to:
The Donna Hicken Foundation

Send to:
The Kurtis Group
425 8th ave. n.
jacksonville bch., FL 32250

Some good looking people

I have no idea...

Jonathan finishing his sole run

another fast finish for the lead group.

smaller group this week but definitely fired up

seven miles done

Donna � Genuine smile

Donna — By the Numbers

45 – Years old
26 – Years in Broadcasting
2 – Children (Danielle and Drew)
1 – Authored book “The Good Fight”
2 – Bouts with breast cancer
4 – Hobbies including: running, swimming, biking, reading
300+ Women assisted by her foundation

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Running the boundaries

moving through water

What does water have to do with a runner’s blog?

The ocean is the world’s greatest natural resource. It's certainly our largest. I learned at an early age how enhanced my life would be through a knowledge and relationship with this powerful force. Growing up by the ocean, surfing its waves, and running its beaches, has helped define who I am today.
Wednesday morning I went for a long run on the beach. The day before had been extremely difficult (stressful) and I knew that the best place to regain my balance would be along the edge of our great continent where water meets land — Wednesday morning I owned a seven mile sliver of space where I could release my burdens and watch them wash out to sea.
Surfers will stand at this boundary, looking out at the waves and prepare for the “ritual cleansing” before any wave is ridden. The paddle-out permits you to “duck-dive” under the rolling set waves marching towards the shore. Each emersion washes another layer of dirt off the body and out of the mind. Once you are out surfing everything that was a distraction is no longer a thought.
I finished my Wednesday run on the beach feeling like a different person than an hour earlier. When I turned the outside hose on and held the flow of water over my head I closed my eyes and found myself “duck-diving” underneath waves. I said a quick prayer of thanks for gifts like the ocean and its beaches — and then I walked into my office excited about the day ahead.

Thanks for your support and friendship.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Aging Well

(Text follows photos)

Skies over Jacksonville on my way to Fernandina

Friday night and bored at the hotel

5:55 a.m. prerun gathering


Future centurion marathoner (give him another 14 years of training with this group and he'll do it!)

Jonathan and Tim

Loretta and Phil


Post run gathering

The crew � Brad, Chris, Phil, Tim, Kurtis, Loretta, Erika, and Jonathan (thanks to Coach for taking the pic)

Aging Well

Note: checks payable to The Donna Hicken Foundation

Mail to: The Kurtis Group
425 8th avenue north
Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32250

This post is a celebration of all things that "age well". Wine is a great example but that's another blog. I want to brag about a town and some runners that visited on a Saturday morning.

Be honest — How many of you that call NE Florida “home” have never been to Fernandina Beach to spend a weekend? I discovered something new on Saturday that has nothing to do with running — Fernandina Beach. Fernandina is a very quaint town that (one day soon) requires a relaxed weekend stay with my wife and no kids. The place seems sooooooo laid-back and it has few of the trappings you find with most small coastal communities.
Chris Twiggs, the program director of our marathon training (crazy guy that just finished 100 miles) lives there with his family. He typically has to travel down to Jacksonville so this was a chance to showcase his own backyard.
Well I can say with certainty, when you run 14 miles you get to see a lot of someone’s backyard. That’s right — FOURTEEN MILES! 2.5 hours of running!

After the run Chris introduced me to “Coach” the man that got him into running. Coach is probably 60ish (give or take 5 years). It’s always a treat to run with someone that has been able to dedicate enough time towards their health and well-being that stereotypical clichés fall to the wayside. Men like Coach and women like Loretta (50ish) aren’t just runners they are strong examples of what the mind and body can do. Loretta ran three miles before the six a.m. run and another four miles afterwards — that’s 21 miles of running on a Saturday morning.
Oh, and since I’m on this kick about some of the cool things the “older” folks are doing, how about this:
One of the foundation marathoners turned (I believe) 84 years old on Saturday. I heard his plan was to continue running until he was 100 and attempt to set a record at that age for the marathon. Now that’s pretty cool.
Our lead group had nine runners on Saturday and the median age was probably 40+. The final half mile on the beach was a strong sub seven minute run.
Great stuff.
The running is getting easier and more enjoyable as the miles increase. Runs that used to be long are now short. Runs that would drain the tank — I’m finding some reserves. It’s interesting, and motivating but it’s not about our running. It’s about our commitment to a cause. I heard someone dropped out recently. I’m sure that was a tough decision. I’m wondering how many will actually make it all the way through and finish the marathon or half marathon. It’s not easy but I hope it’s getting easier for all the runners.
My goals will not change.
1) Raise a minimum of $5000.00
thanks to all of my early contributors it means a lot!
2) Complete 12 paintings
3) Finish the marathon with a time under 3.75 hrs

Thanks for your friendship.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Saturday, August 12, 2006

the UNF campus provided a nice backdrop

Phil and Donna

Let's get this over with.

MM is not for sissys

5:45 am. Do you know where your runner is?

Yea, right.

How can Cara smile during her MM?

wrapping up

Whose idea was “Magic Mile”?

Our training schedule includes running a “timed” mile once a month.
I can tell you that this masochistic idea was introduced into training as a means to hurt “old” men.
Whenever I see “MM” on the schedule for an upcoming weekend run I melt into a puddle of my own sweat left over from the previous magic mile.
It’s the most insane concept (for a man of my age) to justify.

This is the way it works—

Wake up at 5:00 am.
Drive to a university campus outdoor track.
Line up with several “jack rabbits” and…….

(sorry for the slang mom)

The body is not meant to take a shock to the systems like that.
I had a friend tell me “just getting out of bed is tough” — I agree.

The problem is that I’m pretending I’m strong enough and fast enough to run with the lead group of runners.
One of these days somebody is going to discover that I’m a fraud.
I feel like Rudy (Notre Dame college football walk-on that struggled through all sorts of adversity to finally play a single series of downs at the end of his senior year in the very last game of the year).

We’ll see.
My mile times are holding under six minutes (but it sure is painful).

We ran a total of six miles Saturday morning. The weather was good. It was warmer than you would like for running but manageable.
After the run Donna Hicken put me on camera for a quick interview. She was very excited about the first painting I produced and I shared my ideas about using artwork as a means of thanking those of you that provide financial support to her foundation.

I plan to produce 12 to 20 pieces of original art. Each piece will be from a specific “training run” location. A single print (your choice) will be a gift for providing a minimum of $100.00 to the foundation. I will sign each print and the image will be on a high quality 100% rag paper, coated with a protective medium. The originals are 5” x 7” with a white matte area of 1.5”. Standard frames can be used or if someone wants a series we can assist with a unique framing arrangement.
I can also provide larger sizes for the same price if someone is interested.

My next piece will be showing up soon.

August 19, we will be in Fernandina Beach, Florida running 14 miles.
This is starting to get interesting.

That’s about it.
Take care.

Thanks for your friendship.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Saint Augustine Florida August 5, 2006

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Yes it's 5:45 on a Saturday morning and we've got some fired up people ready to run 12 miles.

Some of the faster guys

Chris Twiggs (left) ran a 100 mile ULTRA a few weeks earlier. Phil (right) is one of Jacksonville's finest (he bailed on the run). A week ago he had to chase down a 17 year old criminal and strained a muscle � but caught the kid.

Running is always easier with a beautiful backdrop

Excitement at the finish

Brad and Lorretta

End of the run with Brad our group leader

12 miles in the Oldest City

Friday evening (August 4) I was in bed by 9:30. I can't remember the last time I crawled into bed that early on a Friday night. My week was long and I was pretty tired but that wasn't the reason for getting into bed early.
I set the clock for 4:45am and watched tv until I felt I could finally close my eyes. The Donna Hicken Foundation marathon group was meeting for a 6:00am, twelve mile training run in Saint Augustine and I didn't want to oversleep. Earlier in the week I strained my right calf muscle toward the end of a six mile run. This would be my first run in three days and my calf was still sore.
Our group met at the Visitors Center on the edge of downtown. I was amazed by the new center with its MASSIVE garage. I tried to remember what stood in that space 34 years ago when my family first moved to Saint Augustine. I think the center was a 3000 sq ft building and parking was a relatively small lot.
The run started late (6:15) and our numbers were down from the usual 120 runners to no more than 80. Our route was from downtown, out to Anastasia Park and back. We saw a beautiful sunrise as we ran along the inlet on our way out to the beach. The lighthouse and tennis courts were still as I remembered and then we angled our way into the park for a stretch of run that I did as a 17 year old. Wow, what an odd sensation to be running along a road that I used to train on more than 25 years ago.
Other runners from the Saint Augustine area were out training along the same route. We spent a lot of energy greeting and motivating along the way. It never fails to amaze me just how many people are as nutty as me.
My calf bothered me the entire run (I'm sure 12 miles was not the best medicine). By the time we got back to the visitors center it was 8:00am. If we had to go one more mile I was certain my left leg would have found a way to cut itself off so as not to listen to the right leg complain anymore.
Over the next month I will try and increase my training to 40 miles a week. Twentyfour plus miles during the week and at least 16 miles on the weekend. Hopefully the pictures I am posting provide a better sense of the commitment. Thanks for sticking with me.