Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Finish

Thank you Deb and Lee for the recent donation!
Thank you to all my supporters!!!!
The latest painting has a lot of emotion.
It depicts the final six miles of the marathon run.


I spent some time putting the marathon route into "map my run".

Since my measurements are off by a half mile I will need to recheck the info. This is NOT AN OFFICIAL MAP. I just wanted to provide you with a "rough" view of the course so that it might help visualize the distance.

26.2 Map (almost)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rain Sloggin’ & Mud Boggin’

(run photo's posted)

The U.S. Postal Service has a well known motto for their carriers — "Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds.” It’s an inspirational statement that was adopted by the U.S.P.S. in the late 1800’s. I’m not certain that today’s carriers still identify with their hearty predecessors but, if they do — the 26.2 with Donna marathon training group has a lot of folks who would do the mail service proud.
I was 100% positive the Saturday morning marathon distance training run would be cancelled. The weather was horrible at 4:30 a.m. as I prepared for my 40 minute drive to the Baldwin Rail Trail. It had rained (poured) throughout the early morning and temperatures were dropping. However, determining to follow thru with the most important training run on our schedule was a matter of routine for me. On the interstate my 4 Runner hydroplaned along rain soaked pavement as the windshield wipers struggled to permit a reasonable view of the traffic 30 feet ahead.
I imagined a rain-drenched individual standing at the entrance to the Rail Trail telling the runners “We’re sorry, the marathon is postponed, go back home to your comfortable beds.” At least my effort would be seen (and noted) and my commitment to the training would remain intact. My announcement when I returned to a sleepy home — “At least I tried.”

My heart sunk when I saw the spattering of cars and people preparing to run in the dark, cold morning rain. What?!! "Do these people know it could rain for the next 2 hours?" "Do they know that the temps are in the high 40’s — not to mention wind chill!"
Running in rain soaked clothes (and shoes) for 4.5 hours is punishment deserving of wayward Marines who fail their leaders, NOT ME! There were at least sixty runners out on the trail. Several groups actually arrived at 5:00 a.m. to start their runs.
Our entire “Fasties” group was in attendance — Chris, Phil, Tim, Brad, Jonathan, Loretta, Joe, Garrett, Stephanie, Sky, Nancy and yours truly. Very impressive (or insane).
Starting our long run in rotten conditions with a pessimistic sense of worsening weather was difficult for me. If the group hadn’t been so upbeat I would never have gone.

Ready for some good news?
The rain stopped at mile four and did not return! The sky remained overcast but, the cold grey morning was extraordinarily refreshing. We stripped off the rain protection and extra layers. By mile six, joking and stories enveloped the group.
Phil did a masterful job keeping us on pace and attentive to walk breaks. Mile eight soon became mile ten and then twelve, thirteen and quickly 13.1. Half way home!
Fortunate for Chris he turned at mile thirteen and beat the train crossing. The quarter-mile long train would come to a complete halt as we jogged up to the crossing arm. The Fasties were stuck at a train crossing and not going anywhere fast. Impatient to stand in place, a few runners wanted go around or under the train. Better sense prevailed and the train finally cleared after ten minutes.
Everyone appeared strong and upbeat during the final eight miles. Stephanie was getting ready to complete her first marathon distance and her energy was being felt by everyone.
Two weeks earlier she had a very difficult (and I guess disappointing) 23 mile run with the group. She was nervous all week leading up to the marathon distance. Getting her to slow down was nearly impossible. She was Fired UP and feeling strong!
The pace and stop breaks were pushed in the final four miles. With two miles left Phil announced that everyone should finish their own run.
Jonathan, Brad, Garrett and Joe started to separate from the group. I was going to let Stephanie’s energy pull me in. Tim and Phil followed close behind. What a Finish!
I stayed to celebrate for a short time but, as I reflect back on the morning, it really was a lesson in dichotomy. Thankfully my early morning pessimism was changed through faith, effort and a little luck. I appreciate my running partners and applaud everyone that completed their morning marathon. Way to go!

P.S. The Mud Boggin’ title is a reference to the Rail Trails' rain-soaked grass/mud lot where a few of our vehicles got stuck.

Photo's — Marathon Training Distance

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Paintings. A Post. A Thank You!

Thanks Ike

Goose Bumps

As I look through the pictures from Saturday mornings 7.5 mile training run the obvious struck. In just over a month the runners that will share our beach roads will not be twenty or 200 it will be at least five thousand. Reality is beginning to set in. Chills, goose bumps, nervous energy, you name it, I’ve got it (and I’m not even in charge).
This is a very exciting time for SOOOOOOOOO many reasons.
Here’s my top 10 list of “Why it’s exciting to be a participant in the Inaugural 26.2 with Donna Marathon”.

10) The first “national” marathon (worldwide) to ever target breast cancer research and support.
9) Over five thousand running participants from all over the world.
8) Five to Ten thousand local volunteers.
7) Major money and awareness
6) Hundreds of people getting into shape
5) Thousands of people getting life changing support.
4) North East Florida beach communities will be showcased
3) North East Florida hospitality will be shared
2) New friendships will be made
1) This is only the beginning

WOW, this is fun!!
Next week we run 26.2 miles (gulp!)
I hope my feet hold out. This past week I put about 36 miles of running into my schedule.
Every morning I limped out of bed questioning what I was trying to do.
I know what’s going on and should be able to fix the problem. I just have to make the time.

Before I end my post, I want to give a shout out to Ike.
After our Saturday morning run I shared breakfast with Ike — another representative of Jacksonville’s finest (sheriffs department). I am so encouraged that men like Ike exist and work so tirelessly on behalf of local citizenry. There was no reason I expected my day to be any different than a typical run with our group but, Ike shared wisdom and personal knowledge that left me feeling so grateful and optimistic about the men that protect us.

Thank you for your courage.


I’m looking forward to Saturday.
Hope you like the new paintings and photos.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Marathon Art 2008

The 26.2 with Donna paintings are under way.
Currently I am working with Donna (and the foundation team) to establish avenues for fundraising opportunities for this work. Preliminary plans are to promote the sale of paintings and prints through a couple VIP events as well as a booth at the race expo before the marathon. I’ll keep you posted.
I’m really enjoying the painting process. My original studies were loose enough to allow me to push colors and make slight adjustments to the compositions. Hopefully the energy of the painted figures and their distinctive sunlit surroundings will inspire people and help tell the marathon training story.
I will post additional paintings next week.
The team will be running on the beach this Saturday, January 12.
January 19 (week 34 of training), we will run a full marathon on the Rail Trail.
February 17 (race day) is getting close…


2008 Marathon Paintings - Group 1