Saturday, December 29, 2007

Twenty Three Miles


Have you made your resolutions? Do you even care about making resolutions? After 46 years and more than three decades of trying to make New Years resolutions I realize this concept does not suit me. Resolutions (as defined by one on line resource) are:

1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. Compare CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, JOINT RESOLUTION.

2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.

A formal expression of opinion or intention made…? Determining upon an action…?
I mean reeeaaally! Why does this kind of personal effort come into focus at the end of each year? It’s like imagining something life changing takes place and all of a sudden you find it necessary to adjust your priorities and “make a firm resolution to do something” Why does it takes December 31st for so many of us to reconcile?
This is what I asked myself this morning during our 23 mile training run.
Why not approach each day with a resolute attitude? Determine what I want out of every day and then my week. Set monthly and annual goals but always pay attention to each day with the same resolve I have on New Years day.
I guess my resolution is to be resolute.
I’ve got a lot of ideas, hopes, wishes and goals for 2008. My focus is always family, personal and then business (in that order of priority). Priorities will get skewed and sometimes I’m scrambling to get the right balance back. This usually happens because I allow it to happen. Granted, some things are simply out of my control but, I know most of my own failures and disappointments have come from a lack of being resolute.
I like this definition:

1. firmly resolved or determined; set in purpose or opinion.
2. characterized by firmness and determination, as the temper, spirit, actions, etc.

“Set in purpose”
Not just “having” purpose but “set” in purpose. If each day you are set in purpose (and it’s principled) then I can’t imagine a year ending with a challenge to make resolutions for the year ahead.
As I already mentioned — we ran 23 miles this morning (WOW!!!)
Congratulations to all the runners and walkers! Donna and Tim were not with us but they would be proud to know that apx. 150 individuals were out on the rail trail.
A lot of resolute souls.

Happy New Year!
Take care and be safe.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Twenty Miles

No Time to Bore Anyone

Holiday distractions abound. I’m still training but I know most of you are short of time and might not be that interested in reading my running ramblings. The 26.2 with Donna group is kicking butt. Two weeks ago part of the group participated in a short training run in Jacksonville Beach while another portion of the group ran a 5k race supporting breast cancer. Last weekend, Saturday morning (December 8) about 180 foundation runners showed up at the Baldwin Rail Trail for a mixed bag of running efforts. All runners training for the February 17 marathon and half marathon started the twenty mile run in the darkness at 6:15 am. IT WAS AWESOME!!!
Oh wait…..
You just read that and thought to yourself…. NOOOO!!!!!
Saturday morning…sleep in, comfy bed, big breakfast, read the newspaper, cleaning, etc….

Ok, I understand… no time to bore you with the details but, WE HAD A GREAT TIME!

So, a quick reference to this weeks sketch:
I’ve spent the last three weeks trying to figure out a design for the inaugural 26.2 run t-shirt. My original thought was to use runners in the final design however I never liked any of the graphic solutions. The runners in the sketch (with this post) were part of my process. Eventually I gave up on using runners for the final marathon t-shirt but I wanted to share the sketch that was developed.
Hopefully I will be able to present the final design for the shirt in the next couple weeks.

Please keep the support coming.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Finish

Half Marathon

My Thanksgiving morning began like it has for the past several years — early alarm and a drive over to Mandarin from the beach. The morning regiment included Advil, coffee, 16 ozs of water and powder vitamin supplements. I felt pretty good but worried about the impending thirteen miles of running. Training for our marathon in February ‘08 has been progressing but I’m still not as strong as I would like to be. Morning weather was cool with a light drizzle blanketing the First Coast. Running in rain is not always a bad thing but it can hamper efforts on a long distance trek. My goal was to finish in 1:38. Setting goals and accomplishing them is part of the process — I had no idea (or confidence) that I could post a sub 1:40 time.
Reaching the start line and sharing Thanksgiving morning with fellow runners is very special. Approximately 3500 individuals packed the six lanes of San Jose Blvd. — everyone with their own goal (or interest). Chris, Phil, Brad, Jonathan and Tim were part of the small group that would help set my pace. Unfortunately, when the start gun sounded we split up — I was going to run without my group. If you have never run a half marathon it’s hard to explain managing pace and distance but your body dictates a large portion of the effort and your mind has to be willing to ignore the obvious challenges in order to accomplish the task. Running alone was not what my mind had intended but my body was “set” and the race went well for the first seven miles.
I think the vitamin powder and coffee was a bad mix and my stomach began rebelling during mile eight. Stopping to deal with an upset stomach became an unexpected factor in my goal to complete a decent run. I walked three times over the final six miles in hopes of calming my gut. Legs and breathing were good but the mid section was tight.
Fortunately I started with a faster pace than the average pace time I set for myself.
With 1.5 miles left I was struggling but felt my time was still inside the projected goal.
Imagine the shock when I rounded the last corner to see the finish clock at 1:37:35 with over 200 feet to go! I had to sprint. The clock hit 1:38 exactly as I ran across the finish pad. Wow, that was unexpected and my stomach reaction was even MORE unexpected.
I dropped to the ground and spent the next couple minutes with dry heaves and stomach cramps so severe I was uncertain what physical reaction would come next.
Thankfully it only took a couple minutes to recover. It wasn’t a pretty run or a memorable finish but I have to admit a small amount of satisfaction in the accomplishment.
Thanksgiving was spent early with running friends, later with an old friend and in the afternoon with family. I spent the day in an endorphin filled zone relaxing with people that are close and eating like a king. Not bad when you think about it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Thanksgiving Club

Waking up two hours before running 18 miles sounds nuts but an early morning visit with Dr. Advil was the only way I could imagine getting through 3.5 hours of foot pounding — eight hundred mgs and 30 ounces of water is my new “magic cure”.
The morning temp hovered in the low to mid 40’s. Vehicles loaded with determined runners flowed into the southbank parking lot. It was 6:45 and all of the 26.2 with Donna participants were ready to put body and mind toward an important test.
Just showing up is worthy of recognition.
Committing to a run that would get you from downtown Jacksonville out to the beach is especially terrific.

Race Directors, runners and water handlers (unsung heroes out on the course making sure our dedicated group has the necessary hydration).

I’m not certain what time all of the running efforts wrapped up on Saturday but I bet it was close to noon.
FIVE to SIX HOURS of a Saturday morning!!!!!
How impressive. HOW UNSELFISH!!!
When individuals give of their time and build on a cause through self sacrifice we know that the work gets blessed. The larger the masses the larger the blessing.
We have some great people and this will be a great race.

At mile eight I allowed myself to begin talking out loud about food.
Eggs over easy, wheat toast, cheese grits, sausage patties and fresh squeezed OJ…
Metro Diner…
Thinking (and talking) about my breakfast reward helped the last 10 miles go a little easier. I guess this is where I could pick on Phil or Chris for messing up the directions and adding another mile (19) to the run but I won’t point fingers... cough, Chris, cough.. . The breakfast was much to good to complain about an additional mile. After Dr. Advil the best cure for what ails a runner is FOOD. Good food with good friends (that have spent 4 hours doing something that seems “nuts” to a large percentage of the world) is a marvelous way to start your day.

So, I’m running a half marathon Thanksgiving morning. Thirteen plus miles and 1.5 hours of running — it will be fast and I will be hungry! I think Mom’s turkey just might hit the spot.

Thanks for ALL the encouraging support!!

Study - Donna 2

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Marathon Training – By the numbers

The Numbers

3000 - Individuals currently signed up to run the marathon and half marathon
50 – Every US state represented with runners participating from across the country
18 – Miles the training group will run on Saturday, November 17
2.5 – Months until our marathon

I ran this morning on the beach. Oooooh my Goooosh!
Fall weather in Jacksonville Beach is THE BEST!!!
When I stepped outside for my early morning beach run the only thing on my mind was how my feet would handle the next six miles of pounding.
Mile two was exceptional.
The foot pain was gone and my body was in a rhythm.
Early brilliant blue sunlit sky and crisp salt air recharged my efforts.
I owned the beach - an occasional jogger or some random couple would intrude my peripheral view but (for the most part) the only distractions were the masses of seagulls lingering by the oceans edge.
It was special!
When you’re in the zone the flood gates open – self-realization, self-actualization, unbounded goals are open for personal observation.
How often do you have an opportunity to confront self-actualization?
I’m so fortunate for the life I live and the people I know.
It’s not always simple or easy but, I embrace the moment.
This morning will spill over to tomorrow.
Tomorrow will be new and it will bring new challenges.
Nothing can stand in the way if you set your mind to it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sneak Peek

This month I will start producing paintings for my fundraising show that is planned for early February. I am dedicated to creating original art that captures the spirit of running. These paintings will be filled with energy, emotion and a personal mark that I hope connects with everyone that knows me. My commitment is to complete 10 original pieces. The fundraising goal is 10,000.00.

Please take a look at the first "study" that I've produced.
The final piece will be developed using several mediums.
I am interested in your feedback.
You can reply directly to my email or post a reply.

Thank you for continuing your support.

Study of Tim

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Race For The Cure (Saturday Oct 20)

Base Line

I finally ran a race this year. I finally committed to facing the reality of how much slower I have become. Race For The Cure is the 5k I ran last year — I came up short of breaking 20 minutes after some confusion about the course and clock time. This year I wouldn’t get close to that time. Running a 6.25 minute pace for 3.1 miles was not in my bag of tricks. I was avoiding the magic mile with the group because my training was off and I did not want to face short comings. Yea, yea, you’re thinking it’s not a competition, it’s a fundraising effort!
Still, I want to run strong. Everyone wants to run (or walk) strong.
Strength and commitment is at the core of any successful endeavor. My decision to participate in this training (and money raising) effort for a second year was not easily made. It took a lot out of me last year however, I also realized how much still needed to be done. Everyone that has been through this before KNOWS how much sacrifice is required in order to advance this cause.
I ran the course in 21 minutes — about a minute slower than last year. Not a bad time but not my best time. The important thing is that I ran the race and finished without stopping to walk because I was tired or discouraged. I wanted to stop —
my feet hurt, the lungs struggled and my mind was working against me. I finished.
A base line is established. There will be more 5ks and 10ks. There will be at least one half marathon and then the February 26.2 with Donna Marathon.

Please keep all the kind words of support coming.
I will begin working on a series of final paintings and organizing an art show that will happen prior to the race (hopefully the first weekend in February).
I’ll let you know.

Race For The Cure sketches

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Catching Up

rainbows and rv's

Just because you haven't heard from me in a while doesn't mean I’m not training. On the contrary — beginning October 1st I stepped up my running and workouts. Personally, I'm doing well. Family is awesome and work has been rewarding. I guess I’ve just been too busy to post.
Last weekend I stole away some personal time and traveled with a few friends to Cape Hatteras to relax and surf.
More on the trip in a moment.
I’m looking forward to seeing the group Saturday morning October 20.


The last time I joined the 26.2 with Donna group we ran 5 miles at UNF (and some of us ran an additional "magic mile").
It was October 6th and NE Florida was on the backside of several weeks of torrential rain.
Beds are the best place to be at 5:00 am when it’s pouring down rain.
Running in the rainy darkness might seem miserable but it does have some advantages.
The temp is a bit cooler with rain and if the dew point (thanks Tim) is favorable a rainy morning run can be very enjoyable.
Getting up and showing up is the tough part.
The group that morning was smaller than the 180 (or so) that I had gotten used to seeing. But, it’s still amazing to see 80 to 100 committed fund raising runners out at 5:30 in challenging elements.
After the "fasties" completed our run on Saturday I allowed myself some time to study the development of a rainbow in the western sky over the UNF pines. It reminded me of a sunrise. A whisper of refracting light in the sky gradually forcing it's full presence on the earth below. I determined that this emerging double rainbow was an appropriate finish for all of the selfless runners that managed to show up and participate on behalf of the Donna Hicken Foundation.
I'm glad I did not argue and grumble myself back to sleep!

The five day surf trip to Cape Hatteras (we stayed in Duck) was planned as a surprise for Scott "Doc" Wagner.
Thursday, October 11 thru Monday, October 15 was a well kept secret for nearly two months
His wife Kate took care of ALL the details. We traveled by rented RV to a rented house and relaxed and surfed for four days.
It was a great trip.
My only challenge was how to fit a fourteen mile run into the weekend.
If the Galloway group was running that distance on Saturday morning, October 13, I was determined to keep pace.
I awoke early Saturday morning to witness a sunrise from our "rented" North Carolina beach and thought back to the morning rainbow a week earlier in Jacksonville. It can be extraordinary and comforting to watch light grow and consume space. This would be a good day for a long run.
Sixteen miles and two hours later I was back at the house with my surf companions. They were all amazed that I managed to pull off a sixteen mile run in the middle of a surf trip. The run did not seem out of place to me. I'm not sure why but, I felt my day was more complete because of the time I spent outside that morning. Anyway, two hours later we were in the trusty RV heading south to catch perfect waist high waves. We would surf until the sun worked it's way down into the low western sky. The temperature dropped, the sky changed colors and as I watched my friends catch their last waves into the beach I felt at home.

View of Sunrise from Duck Beach

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Good Fight

How much more can I carry?

How much more can I carry?

I ask myself this question almost every day.
Actually, it’s directed at God and I know his answer.
He will give me no more than I can bear.
Isn’t it amazing how we can be pressed and molded through our daily walk and somehow grow stronger and wiser if we are willing to open our hearts and minds.

This year my training has been sporadic. Work has been excessive and is affecting my priorities. I feel burdened at times and desperately search for balance. I am more prayerful and I have left myself open for answers that come from beyond myself.

My prayers are for my family and friends — with a very special prayer for Donna.
I know where she draws her strength from and I am confident that she will be strengthened beyond measure with all of our prayers.

I look forward to seeing everyone next Saturday.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Week 6

Sketch 2

Sketch 1


At 3:30 Monday morning I awoke to heavy rain and wind. Oddly the weather wouldn’t keep me from falling back to sleep, my mind was already grappling with the morning ahead — a day filled with multiple presses. I reminded myself 6x’s to tell my oldest daughter to be careful on her drive to school (in the stormy weather). I worked my thoughts through an early morning meeting with an important client — I thought about the photo shoot we would have to reschedule and the final illustrations that needed to be done for a TV commercial before settling back to sleep (the entire time struggling to understand how I cut my foot during a late afternoon surf session). I was glad to get at least a small amount of rest.

Saturday morning the hotel bed in Orlando was comfortable but not my own.
Surf Expo was taking place and for the 17th year I was attending with several of my Kurtis Group associates as the creative team supporting Surf Expo’s marketing department. It was a busy weekend and I missed my run with the 26.2 group. On Sunday the Jacksonville Jaguars took on the Atlanta Falcons and from 9:00am until 11:00am I worked on retooling the “Jag Hammer” (see previous post). After the game I surfed Sunday evening for two hours and did some office work as well as some brief help with homework before calling it quits Sunday night.

Everyone gets to that point of exhaustion — where clear becomes blurred, black & white goes grey, definitely means maybe and sharp feels dull….

…I think I’ve been there for a short while.

Running and the 26.2 group are huge benefits in my life balance. I look forward to getting back into training and seeing everyone next Saturday.
Distractions and complications try and take hold in life but family and friendships cut through the clutter.

Tuesday morning I will run six miles on the beach in wind and rain.
It will invigorate and encourage me. I will remind myself how blessed and fortunate I am.

At 8:00 I will get back to work.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Week 5

Drawing Lines

Week 4 there was fun surf so I missed the Galloway group training session (and the magic mile). It’s not that I really have a sense of guilt for missing the training run (I know it can be made up) — I know how much fun the drawing opportunity can be and it sets me back when I don’t take advantage of it.
I worked on some new sketches from the September 1, Saturday morning run. The run was a quick seven miles at the beach and close to my home. At 4:30 a.m. I was awake because (for whatever reason) my oldest daughter was awake. The doors in our house SQUEEEEEEK and later Saturday evening I made certain all ten of them no longer made any noise. It was easy for me to decide on a three mile run before joining the group for seven miles.We had a great time talking about Jags football, teaching and education, statistics, human physiology, weather (including our next potential tropical system), travel, marriage, etc., etc…yada, yada.
So, I’m at my computer and it’s Labor Day weekend. The 26.2 update is not really about anything however, when I look at my sketches I smile because within the lines there is so much that is meaningful. Loretta is my main subject. She is a wonderful person that runs with grace and has a comforting demeanor. If my sketches could capture her spirit I think it would be easy for people that don’t understand running to “get it”.

I hope that all of you are doing well.
Please take some time to do some additional research on the upcoming marathon.

The race medal has been designed and will be going into production next week.
Hopefully you will get a sneak peek very soon.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Week 3 (and the Hammer)

Saturday, August 18, was a very busy day. Check out the image of "yours truly" shot by Paul Figura at the first Jaguar preseason game and find out what took place before the game.

Training - Week 3

I wasn’t supposed to run 17 miles on Saturday

I’m still trying to decide who I can blame.

Oh wait,… that would be the dumb, freckled guy with the bad haircut!!!

Apparently my large skull (filled with very little grey matter) seemed to think it was a good idea to run additional miles after finishing the quick five mile run with our group.
Tim and Donna Deegan are training for the New York Marathon and they had some additional miles to put in on Saturday. For some reason I thought it was only five miles.
My heart sunk after starting the run and learning we were going six miles out and six miles back.

Damn! — the beach gets hot after 3 hours of sloggin’ down small back roads at a “blistering” 3 mph. Eventually my feet were negotiating with Kurtis “the Shoe Bomber” in hopes of an immediate extraction from the painful pounding.
Unfortunately, the hardest part of the run was yet to come…

Jonathan (Nike Swoosh, speed demon, extraordinaire) was part of our comfortable run picnic and I knew we would not finish quietly. After separating from most of the group at 15 miles I realized the final two miles back to my car with Jonathan would be quick.

The pace was reasonable but my feet were toast. I could not wait to complete the “meat tenderizing”. I thanked Jonathan (forcing a smile) and then hobbled back to my car, opened the driver side door and placed my tired legs and butt into the most comfortable seat I had ever known. It was around 11:00 am and I had run the streets of Atlantic, Neptune, Jacksonville and PonteVedra Beach for the past four hours. Why? Who knows?

Early Saturday afternoon I was back at my office getting ready for the first Jaguar Preseason football game. My legs were cramping, the mind and body were exhausted however I was preparing for an annual ritual I share with my oldest daughter. Jaguar football is something we NEVER miss. This year I have a new weapon in my arsenal.
“Jag Hammer”
I’m crazy.
I understand.
One day I’ll come to terms with it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Week 2 (Kurtis schedule)


Thinking back on last year I would have managed to steal away 1 hour of my weekend to update my blog. It’s Wednesday evening and I really don’t have the time to post my “running ramblings” but then I worry (in my OCD mind) if this is a sign of growing laziness. Maybe I’m experiencing a slight disconnect from this new group of runners because there are so many of us…

Nope, I think I’m getting lazy.

It’s funny how an older mind outwits a younger body.
Most people my age have bodies that tell their mind… “Are you kidding me!... six miles!... I’m not in shape for that!... lets go back to bed. I’m fortunate enough to have a body that is willing to run but, my mind is distracted and disconnected from the current running and fund raising goals. I’m certain a “Top Ten — Why I’m Distracted” list could be developed however, we know it would be a “Top Ten — Excuses” list.

The four mile run on Saturday, August 10, was slightly chaotic. Runners (200+) are still trying to figure out where they should be slotted with pace groups. The Galloway team is doing a terrific job of managing the herd but, it’s a work in progress. I’m hopeful that we hold our size and possibly expand over time.

After the run we hung together in a sweaty mass and slowly began the process of connecting with each other. There really is something unique about the training concept for 26.2 with Donna. I am confident that I will get my body to outwit my mind so that the 6 months ahead are filled with personal goals exceeded.

Stay with me and please try to be engaged.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Week 1

Punching the Clock

When I get up for an early morning weekend surf session and I know the waves are going to be rough the phrase that comes to mind is "Punching the Clock". Weekends are reserved for "sleeping in". Setting the alarm for an early morning exit from the comfort of warm, soft, familiar cushioning to throw oneself into cold, unpredictable waters seems a bit crazy. “Punching the Clock” means work but, it’s good work. Thirty five years of surfing has taught me that the sacrifice of minimized sleep for several hours of riding challenging waves is worth it.
Pre-dawn, weekend training runs hold similar benefits.

Saturday, August 4, 7:00 am
Several hundred runners “Punched the Clock” this morning with a purpose far greater than self gratification. I am certain mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, young and old singles separated themselves from each and their beds this morning in order to participate in the first (collective) training run on behalf of the Donna Hicken Foundation and Mayo Clinics 26.2 Inaugural Marathon. The effort of so many individuals focused on helping to rid the world of breast cancer (and ALL its disastrous consequences) was impressive. Enthusiasm and encouragement will be the fuel to get us through to the finish.

My training artwork will take on a different look. I plan on shooting a lot of photo reference and then using the images for quick sketches that will be compiled into a meaningful composite of each of our training experiences. The composite drawings will be tightened up and final illustrations will be produced over the course of six months.

I hope you enjoy the energy and effort from this approach.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I'm Back

I can hear the groans throughout my small Blogosphere.

The decision to blast my family, friends and business acquaintances with a new round of marathon training stories did not come easily. I am extremely sensitive of your time and understand that weekly updates from a fundraising marathoner can be disruptive. Please do not hesitate to email me with a request to be removed from the list. It WILL NOT HURT MY FEELINGS. My posts will be more meaningful because I will allow them to be more personal.
With that out of the way — How is everyone?
This Blog is meant to be interactive so please share your comments.
Last year I was encouraged and sustained not only by the financial giving you provided the Donna Hicken Foundation.but through your comments of support over the six months of my training. This year I have some exciting news.
The Donna Hicken Foundation has teamed with Mayo Clinic (and many other large corporate sponsors) to host a nationally sanctioned marathon with a sole purpose of raising funds (and awareness) for breast cancer research and regional support for breast cancer survivors. This is a very unique concept with incredible potential.
So much has already taken place “behind the scenes” to make this event a success that I could write for hours… I won’t. There are some links with my first post (scroll past images below). Besides the training I will probably try some artwork but with a new angle on the images. This year I will talk with the runners and paint in a personal portraiture approach. We’ll see how that goes.
Finally, I was honored with the opportunity to paint the Inaugural 26.2 with Donna poster.
Below are images of the final art, preliminary paintings and some of the reference I shot in order to produce the painting. You can order signed copies on line.

This year my primary fundraising and financial goal will be met through an exhibit of original work at the end of the training. I will hope to produce 15 large paintings that I will sell at prices between $800 and $2400. If this is a success I should be able to provide a minimum of $10,000 to the foundation. With that said you are welcome to enhance that goal with personal donations to the foundation.

Reference for final painting