Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Running Blind

The Baldwin Trail was not as I remembered. Three weeks ago a brilliant moon lit the path that would lead me to my first marathon distance run. Turning into the parking lot at 4:30am Saturday, October 28, the trail was dark and lifeless. Thick clouds from a slow moving cold front hid the moon and stars. Moderate rain showers during the early morning hours dampened my mood. I did not have much interest in running 23 miles.

No Excuses.

A small group of Galloway runners gathered in the cold blackness. Light drizzle mixed with a swirling wind that sent a shudder through several of us.
I took a few large gulps from my endurance drink and at 5:10 began the run with Chris, Brad, and Loretta.
The darkness enveloped us. We were running without lights and it became a struggle to stay on the path. I burned more energy trying to focus than I did running.
Jonathan caught up with our diminished group between mile three and four (Tim and Donna were out of town and Phil was working the Florida/Georgia Football game). After twenty minutes of stumblerunning Brad had to peel off and head back to the parking lot. The mood was somber (compared to many of our runs) and I felt like crap. We ran five minutes and walked for one minute, ran five and walked one...
Mile 4.5 and then mile 5. Mile 5.5 and then mile 6. Mile 6.5...

No Excuses.

The early morning sky offered no light for nearly two hours.
We ran 11.5 miles in conditions that would not improve until we turned back home.
The turn home!
Every runner knows how good it feels to be fifty-one percent done.
After 7:00am the Baldwin Trail became manageable.
Darkness gave way to light.
Humidity evaporated.
Temperatures remained cool.
You wouldn’t imagine the final 11.5 miles to be easier than the first 11.5 miles but in many ways it was.

We finished running twenty-three miles at 9:00am. Four hours of running, walking, and trying our best not to step on any rattle snakes.
It was difficult but I’m glad I did not miss it.
Chris gets HUGE props for handling the run. He has done a great job with this program from the outset but Saturday was especially tough. I’m certain Donna is grateful for all of his (and Amanda's) efforts. Phil also deserves props for helping Chris get the coolers out onto the course the night before.

November 18, we’re back out on the trail for our final long run – 26 miles!
My fundraising is stuck at the halfway mark.
I know some of you are still planning to donate.
My recommendation –
Send it now. Don’t wait.

Thanks again for your support!

Make checks payable to:
The Donna Hicken Foundation

Mail to:
The Kurtis Group
425 8th ave. n.
Jacksonville beac,
FL 32250

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pink hat raised high at start of Race For The Cure

pretty in pink

More than six thousand runners/walkers, young/old, healthy and struggling with health, showed up Saturday morning to take part in Race For The Cure. This years event doubled its numbers from 2005! Downtown Jacksonville was pulsing with energy. Galloway runners representing The Donna Hicken Foundation were a part of the masses. Moving through the pink and white clad bodies I first greeted Tim and then Chris. Moments later I saw Jonathan. When I was halfway through securing the time chip to my left shoelace I heard Phil. Typically Phil keeps his emotions in check but something about that broad smile was enough to tell me it would be a good morning for a run.
Our group gathered and determined that a sub twenty minute 5k would be the goal. Chris had a sub nineteen under his belt from three weeks earlier and Jonathan would gun for a sub eighteen. Tim, Phil and I were planning to keep Chris in our sights.
I ran strong for almost the entire race. Our pace felt perfect and we were closing in on the finish as a group. With less than an eighth mile to go things went bad for me. Tim and Phil made their push and took over Chris. I let them go but felt strong enough to hang. Then (unfortunately) I looked over at a time clock on the course that displayed 15:45. What? That can't be. My mind and body deflated. I hadn't kept track of distance or time since the first mile. Four minutes of running before the finish? I stopped and walked. Gathering my thoughts I started to jog. I looked ahead at my group turning into the park. When I finally made my slow turn into the park I realized the finish was only two hundred yards ahead. How stupid of me! The sprint to the finish was all I could offer. Talk about losing yourself in a run.
Phil finished FIRST in our 45-49 age group with a time of 19:48 (I knew there was something to that grin I saw earlier). Tim finished SECOND in our age group with a time of 19:51. I finished third (including the walk) with the time of 20:07.* Jonathan finished third (under 18 minutes) in his Young Rabbits age group. Chris finished fourth in his age group with a time under 20 minutes. The lead group of “Donna” runners did well.
Encouraging smiles and boundless enthusiasm filled Metro Park. This was a special morning and we all embraced the cause with a strong, collective purpose.
I'm hanging at the halfway mark in fundraising.
Don't show up late!
Please keep the donations coming.
We run 23 miles Saturday, October 28.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

runners assemble before the race

gotta get your chip

great t shirts - "i love suzi"

the one and only dr john

big smile from lucy croft

runners gather for the start

tim and phil at the start

The quilt was a huge hit

Donna with a few foundation friends

paul and laura

diana and paul

post race in the park

walkers 1

walkers 2

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Donna running with her Galloway friends

You Can't Run From Statistics

Make checks payable to: The Donna Hicken Foundation
Mail to: 425 eighth ave. n. Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

(I apologize for not adding the foot notes. The information provided is accurate but not meant for reproduction)

I slept in Saturday morning and missed my training run with The Donna Hicken Foundation.
Did you know that almost 74% of Americans do not get enough sleep?
Turning off the alarm clock at 5:00am and going back to sleep was a selfish act.
Did you know that being selfish is not as popular as it used to be?
In 2005, giving to charities rose 2.7 percent from 2004 levels, when adjusted for inflation. After several years of stagnant giving resulting from the economic downturn that started in 2001, this was the second consecutive year with a moderate increase. Total giving to charitable organizations increased to $260.3 billion in 2005. This was an increase of 2.7 percent from 2004 (when adjusted for inflation).
I ran seven miles later in the morning because I wanted to keep my "commitment" to the training.
Did you know that "Increasing participants' commitment is an important task for practitioners, since research has shown that about half of the individuals who start taking part in sports drop out within a short period of time (Dishman, 2001). Similar statistics have been reported in the fitness industry." Konstantinos Alexandris.
You get the point.
We're defined by statistics. Everything in life has a "stat" attached to it - I don't like it but I understand why. Statistics quantify things. Understanding statistical numbers helps us understand where things stand. What value something has. (By the way, I failed statistics so I won't go much deeper with this discussion).
The Donna Hicken Foundation exists because the founder has become a breast cancer statistic. But instead of looking at the statistics Donna looks at the people within the numbers. The foundation she created is about assisting individual lives and therefore changing some difficult statistics.
Here are some stats we all should know:
Every three minutes a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2006, an estimated 212,920 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed, along with 61,980 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. And 40,970 women are expected to die in 2006 from this disease.*
Breast cancer is the leading cancer among white and African American women. African American women are more likely to die from this disease.*
Breast cancer incidence in women has increased from one in 20 in 1960 to one in eight today.*


We are all more than the sum of our "stats". I am involved with this foundation in a manner that has no statistical measure. The positive difference I make (with your support) is still unknown. I missed my run on Saturday but I know it was for a reason. This blog entry would have been entirely different had I gotten out of bed and run. I realize this now.

We can’t run from statistics but we can run to change them.

I want to change statistics. I want to do something with my friends and family that will make a difference.
I've taken on many personal/business related fund raising challenges in my life. This foundation effort is unique and personal on many levels.
I'm halfway to my goal of $5,000. Writing a check and sending it via “snail mail” is work but I want to encourage your support.

Thank you for being involved.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Baldwin Trail. Moonlight Run.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Two entries with photos. Please check them both.

Make checks payable to The Donna Hicken Foundation

Mail checks to The Kurtis Group
425 eighth ave. n.
Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32250

Following the Story (part one)

Friday evening after some pizza and a beer I made the decision. Pamela Way was throwing a surprise 50th birthday party for her husband Chris and I asked Margaret if she still wanted to go. Saturday morning I was going to run twenty miles with the training group but Chris is an old friend and I knew that this celebration would be a "can't miss".
The event took place at the Saint Augustine Gun Club so the drive was our only drawback.
What an evening.
It was a party befitting a king. There was food, drink and several hundred of Chris' closest friends. He was fed, poured drinks, roasted and toasted.
Margaret and I made it home by eleven.
The alarm clock disrupted my restless sleep at 3:30am. With four hours of sleep and the slight buzz from Friday evening I questioned the drive across Duval County to the Baldwin Trail. By 3:40am I was checking maps on-line and jotting down instructions so I wouldn't get lost. At 4:40 I was parked in the dark and watching the first group of Galloway runners quietly departing from the eastern lead entrance to the Baldwin Trail. Just after 5:00 Galloway Director Chris Twiggs began preparing the remaining groups for the twenty miles that faced them.
Our six minute mile pace group gathered underneath the full moon. Chris, Brad, Tim, Phil, Jonathan, Loretta and Yours Truly.
Baldwin Trail is a converted, paved stretch of railroad track that runs parallel to I-10. Distance is marked on the pavement at each half mile point along the route.
The early morning temperature was cool and the breeze was light. It would be another two hours before sunrise.
We started our run with the usual banter that marks every run. Before long our group was in a good rhythm and I began to realize I was in better shape than expected.
We reached mile four and I was very upbeat. Eventually Brad (group leader) shared with me his interest in running beyond the twenty miles. I learned that he was preparing for a marathon in advance of the Jacksonville Marathon in December and wanted to increase his miles.

Six weeks ago I started thinking about running 26.2 miles on my own. Over the last couple weeks it has been a "pressing interest”. What does running that distance feel like? Can I do it? Should I try it on my own without the pressure of friends or competitors? When do I try it? Saturday morning Brad set himself to run a marathon distance and as any good journalist will tell you… "Follow the Story". So I did.

Mile ten we departed from the group and continued down the 12 foot wide, pine tree lined trail. The moon shone bright over the inverted triangular space that marked the distant convergence of trees with horizon. Running, talking, joking, checking pace, and walking.
We reached thirteen miles and continued .2 miles further just to be certain we covered the distance. Running would now become a matter of taking back the same chunks that we just added. Every half mile mark moved us closer. We ran very strong through twenty-one miles. The last five miles our legs were tiring and the walk breaks were cherished. The soreness was masked by adrenaline. Tired legs were ignored. Brad was going to add another four miles (he's another really crazy running man) after our finish so I decided to pick up my pace for the last half mile and finish strong. Shortly after pulling away from Brad I heard him shout. I looked back over my shoulder and was surprised to see a police cruiser chasing me down. What the… oh, it's Phil. “Kurtis” he yelled out the passenger window. “How the heck do I use your camera!” I want to get a photo of you both finishing.”

October 7th I completed my first marathon distance. Wow.
Thanks Brad. Thanks Chris, Tim, Phil, Jonathan, and Loretta.
Great stuff. I’m still smiling.

This fundraising effort is about assisting women and families struggling with the devastating impact of breast cancer.
My personal training and fundraising continues to be extraordinarily rewarding. Thanks for ALL the continued support.
Please help me with the financing to "really" make a difference.

Chris pep talk

Enthusiastic runners preparing for twenty miles

The finish in sight

Brad and Kurtis finish

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Following The Story (part two)

The real story on Saturday was spending time at the finish shooting pictures of so many joyful faces as runners completed the twenty miles. The pictures tell it all.
Gratification, accomplishment, empowerment, success, etc, etc.

Congratulations to ALL the runners!

Next week five miles with a MM

A perfect morning for a twenty mile run

These ladies look like they have another 6.2 miles left in the tank.

Twenty miles? A piece of cake... and I'll take a box of cookies and maybe a half gallon of ice cream and a bunch of babana's and.....

...more smiles

Strong finish. It's time I researched these water belts.

In this photo the tee shirt appears a bit misleading... how about "Just us Girlz and a tired Boy" (sorry, I couldn't help myself)

The "zero" comes at the end of "twenty"

At this rate, I guess a new pair of shoes is a good idea.

Energy drinks? I'll take a six pack, please.

I can't believe Donna let Tim use the camera

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

RITA 5k Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Twenty Blisters

We're running twenty miles on Saturday, October 7th.
(insert Blog title here)
Twenty Blisters,
Twenty Advil,
Twenty Tequila Shots, etc... etc...
you get the point.

A new painting is posted.

A few of my "signed" thank you prints went out this past weekend.
They're worth a dollar on EBAY right now.
When I kick off they'll be worth two bucks so hang on to them.

Thanks for the support to the Donna Hicken Foundation!