Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

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On Sunday, I had my yearly joyous fun of running the Shamrocks and Shenanigans 5k to benefit Save a Heart. My wife, my mother, my brother, my sister, my sister’s boyfriend, my niece, and two sister-in-laws also came out for the fun!

The day was MUCH warmer than the week before. I had done a run a little bit longer than a 5k exactly one week before, and I was disappointed with how out of shape I am. I tried pretty hard and ran 3.62 miles in a little over 30 minutes. There used to be a day where I’d run a 5k in 12 or 13 minutes less than that, so I was a little disheartened. Because of this, I set my goal for the 5k to be under 25 minutes.

We all lined up a little after 9:30am and waited for the race to begin. I felt excited to run this race, and I remembered all the times I’d ran that race in the past. Wonderful memories wafted through my mind like colorful fishes swimming through the sunlit corals. I was as ready as I could be and in a good mood. I had already made the peace with myself that I would not do as well as I did in years past, so I was relaxed and ready to really enjoy myself and have a good bit of diversion.

The race began like it always does. Feeling like a cow in a herd being led to the slaughter, I meshed into a large group of people going through “the narrow gate” of the timing pad. Then, I was off!

I passed a bunch of people and bobbed and weaved to the corner, and then after that I settled into a fairly nice pace. I passed a few people, checked my heart rate, and kept on running. Soon, I arrived at the 1st mile marker. I hit my stopwatch and saw a 7:30 sitting on my watch. That was actually a little ahead of where I thought I’d be based on the previous week’s run. I certainly was elated with that, but my high school cross country coach’s words echoed in my mind, “You can’t win it in the first mile.” I laughed at myself to think of that. My high school self would never have been impressed with a 7:30 first mile, but the me that lives today was quite happy with it!

The course has a long stretch that doubles back on itself, which is kind of fun because you can see people ahead of you on the way out and behind you on the way back. I saw my sister’s boyfriend quite early on, so I yelled and told him great job. He was near the top ten runners overall, so that was super exciting for me.

I turned around and saw my sister, to whom I also yelled encouragement. What fun!

I hit the second mile with a split of 7:36. As I passed the marker, I did a quick overview of my feelings and heart rate, and felt that I could up the pace a bit. So, that’s just what I did. I saw my mother not far thereafter and I cheered for her. This is the first time she came out for this race. It certainly was a fine thing to see her do it!

I rounded around a few streets and before long, I saw the 3 mile marker. I started pushing myself into the anaerobic range. I passed a group of people with a good bit of authority. I hit my stopwatch right at the 3 mile marker and saw a split of 7:01. “Yay,” I thought to myself. I was feeling pretty worn, but I knew I only had 0.1 miles to go. That’s nothing!

I charged up the last hill and turned the corner to see the finish line! I sped up a little more. Then, I heard some footsteps coming up quick behind me! I was NOT going to let whoever was behind me pass me without a fight! I gave all my energy and will to my legs to move faster. The person came up almost astride of me and then I pushed it even more and beat him to the finish line by just a few feet! That was super exciting for me! My old competiveness was back in full bore, even if I was quite slow!

My final time on the race was 22:48. I’m pretty sure that’s the slowest I’ve ever ran the Shamrocks race, but I tell you truly that I had a lovely time!

Luan Parle – My Hero

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If you buy this title on iTunes, the proceeds will benefit St. Vincent de Paul (https://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/my-hero/id757654920?i=757654961):


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6oAfzY_ziE

Thai Commercial – True

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s22HX18wDY

On Saturday, I was able to run in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in downtown Detroit. It was a perfect day for a race. The sun was shining and there was a slight wind to keep cool in.

I spent the night before in Ferndale which was quite near Detroit. My friend Adam drove us there because he was able to park where he works in the city. We walked from his parking garage to Comerica Park. There were A LOT of people downtown, and it was fun to mozy through the crowds like a small ant walking amongst a whole host of other ants.

We made our way to the starting line and before we knew it, the race began. Like a school of fish escaping the net, 50,000 runners and walkers shot out of the small opening that was Woodward Avenue. I felt pretty good, and my breathing was constant as we got about a half mile into the race. There were tons of people in front of me and many more behind me, and I felt like I could feel them all breathing and working in the same way that I was. Before long, I got near the one mile marker. I hit my stopwatch and saw that I ran it 6:24. “Not bad,” I told myself, “but I think you can do better.” I tried to push myself a little more as we rounded off on a side street and onto John R for a moment. The wind was “mostly” at my back by the time I curled back over on another side street and headed down Woodward the same way I came. I saw the two-mile-marker ahead, and there was a man calling out splits as I ran past. I hit my stopwatch and checked mine. It was 6:21. “Not bad,” I told myself, “but you might be able to do better.” However, my legs were starting to feel like gelatin and I was starting to fatigue. My heartrate was a few bpm over my normal race rate, so I slowed down a little bit and started taking longer, deeper breaths. After a while, it subsided and I soon found that I could run proper again. By this time, I was running along the north side of comerica park, and I knew that the finish line was on the other side. I started kicking it in a bit, and passed a few people. There was a great downhill on the course for a minute. So, I tried to push myself to lengthen my stride a bit. At last I made the final turn for home. I saw the finish line up ahead. I looked straight ahead and then ran with all the speed I could muster at that point and finished strong.

By my watch, my final time was 19:51. I would say that wasn’t too bad…not too bad at all!

Today, I ran the Big House Big Heart 5k in downtown Ann Arbor. It is a great race that finishes on the fifty yard line of Michigan Stadium. I’ve ran it for a few years now, and it has always been a splendid time.

This year, I woke up early to get ready for it, and there was thunder crashing all around with lightning splitting the sky from where I was all the way to west. I considered perhaps not doing the race.

I took a shower and started to get ready anyway, just to see what the weather would be like. Round about half six in the morning, the weather slackened a little bit as the thunder stopped.

I headed out of my apartment about five minutes to seven and it didn’t seem too bad, though it was still raining pretty heavily.

I met a few friends, and we hung out for a bit before the race.

Preparing for the Big House Big Heart race

Preparing for the Big House Big Heart race

When it came time for the race, I peeled out of my rain gear and shivered my way to the starting line. The rain had slowed to a sprinkle, but my body was still pretty cold. While I was listening to the people giving speeches, I touched my hand to my chest, and I was surprised at how incredibly warm my chest felt. So then, I crossed my arms to warm my hands while I waited for the start. Before too long, the horn sounded for the start of the race.

The race itself went very well. I ran out hard from the beginning and especially worked the hill up Division Street. Then, I drafted a little off a gentleman who seemed to have a similar pace to mine. I hadn’t trained too hard for this race because I have had a bit of knee pain since my bike trip to Lansing. I thought I was prepared for that trip physically, but perhaps I wasn’t! But I digress…

As the race progressed, we wound our way downtown and passed the mile marker. Right about this time, the rain seemed to stop, or more likely, I stopped noticing it. My watch told me I had done that mile in 6:30.5. My heart rate was 171.

I slowed my pace a little bit and that really felt good. This one girl and I kept trading positions during the second mile, though. She was pretty fast on turns and could break away from me, but she didn’t seem to have a sense of pace. I would slowly work back up to her and pass her. A little while later, she would pass me, and that went back and forth for a while.

In all that fun, I missed the second mile marker. I realized as I coasted down the hill on State Street that “the end was near.” So, I started speeding up little by little. As I turned the corner into the last half mile or so, I realized that my breath had become pretty ragged and my heart rate was running upwards of 186. I wondered how long it had been that way.

Nevertheless, I pressed on and tried to really kick it in once I got into the stadium. It was a marvelous feeling to sprint hard and finish with a gusto. I didn’t feel all that marvelous afterwards, though. I had worked my body pretty hard and I found myself really gasping for breath.

My final time (according to my watch) was 20:22.3. Overall, I’m very happy with that. As I said, I haven’t been training all that hard since my bike trip to Lansing, so I think it was a pretty decent time overall, and I will say that I really enjoyed myself doing it!

Update: I came in forty second out of four thousand one hundred twenty four runners, and I came in twelfth out of two hundred thirteen in my age group. My “chip time” was 20:18.7!

If I Won the Lottery

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There is a very large sum of money up for grabs in the lottery. I think it’s always fun to think about what I would do if I won the lottery, even if I never play.

If I won the lottery, I think I would take it all in one lump sum. I would hire a lawyer to figure out how much I would owe in taxes that year and to help me start a nonprofit. I would donate what’s left after taxes and lawyer/accountant fees to a new nonprofit fund. That fund would then pay out all but 20% of its earnings in interest each year to help other people. Of the 20% of the interest that I’m keeping, I would want no more than half (10% of interest earnings) to go to administrative overhead and expenses. The remaining 10% of the interest would go back into the fund to ensure that the principal keeps growing. I think it would be fun to manage something like that. I would try to find nonprofits that I really believe in, but are struggling. I would love to help infuse some cash into their operations. Perhaps I could also pool a group of people together to help solve a lot of nonprofits’ issues, including management, technology, and other administrative costs and help them run more efficiently.

I would want to keep my main job for as long as possible to not be a drain on the fund. However, if it got so large that it would be unwieldy to try to run it and keep my job, I would rather take it over full time myself versus hiring someone else to run it.

That was actually kind of fun to think about. I have a bit of a smile right now while I sit thinking about all the fun I would have if I won the lottery!

For those of you that don’t know, I participate in Movember each year. Movember is a fundraising push to benefit prostate cancer research. According to movember’s web site:

On Movember 1st, guys register at Movember.com with a clean-shaven face. For the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.

I am a very proud Mo Bro and if you would be willing to donate, please do so here:
http://www.movember.com/m/184197

Yesterday, I was able to run the Big House Big Heart five kilometer race. As I rode my bike to the race, I thought that it was a great day for the race as the sun was listing lazily on the horizon. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I was still a little sick. My throat was mostly clear, but my nose was still runny in the crisp air.

I got signed in at the Hope Clinic stand that was just inside the stadium gates. By the way, my thanks to all those who donated to Hope Clinic on my behalf! I met up with Adam and Sarah for a minute since Sarah had also participated in Team Hope. Then, I lost them in the crowd.

I was able to meet up with Andrew and Brittany a little after that. This was going to be Brittany’s first ever 5k, and she was a little nervous. I knew that she was going to do great, though!

I said goodbye to them, and lined up near the start of the race on Keech Road. We listened to a few speeches from various people who were involved in the race or were getting awards. After that, a gentleman named Laurence (I believe) came up and sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” There was a few more announcements, and then it was time to start.

We huddled together for a few moments, and then we were off. There were lots of people, so the first turn was a little tough as we all jockeyed for a good position. I tried to stay loose and just enjoy myself.

The course wound up on Division, and as I climbed the hill, I was feeling pretty good, so I opened it up a little. The course turned onto Madison, and I decided to back off a little bit while I climbed up that hill. From there, I knew it was a fairly level and fast course, though I couldn’t remember where the mile markers were or anything.

We turned onto State Street and passed by a steel drum band. The rousing melody and beat definitely helped me along in my race. I soon spotted the 1 mile marker just a little bit south of North University. As I passed the marker, I hit my stopwatch: 6:15 was my time for the first mile. That was a little slower than I had been going out in some of my races earlier in the year, but I chocked it up to my cold. Nonetheless, I told myself to press on hard for the second mile to see if I could catch up on my time.

The second mile was a lot tougher than I expected it to be. I think that I pushed hard for the first half of the second mile, but as the course made a right onto Church Street, I could feel a very heavy tiredness in my legs and my breathing was coming a lot harder.

We turned onto South University, and I heard the sound of bagpipes. There was a gentleman playing a Scottish tune dressed in a kilt. I told myself that the marching tune he was playing was a good one for a race like this, where I feel so weary so early in the race. So, I pushed ahead on South University for a while.

As I came up on State Street a girl started to pass me with a pretty good stride. I couldn’t keep up with her though, so I spit some phlegm out and tried to keep her in my sight in case I might have some “kick” left at the end of the race. Soon, I let her get too far ahead and a few more people passed me. I didn’t like it, but my body was telling me I couldn’t do much faster of a pace.

I don’t know where the two mile marker was, but as I was halfway down State Street, I realized that I had to have passed it. I told myself to try to push it for the last little while. I turned into a lot that was going to go to the stadium, so I tried to speed up for a little while there. I sped up, then faltered on that speed. Then, I sped up again as I saw the stadium looming ahead.

The course went right into the stadium, and I tried to push myself as I ran down into the stadium and onto the field. I knew the race was nearly over, but I didn’t have the “kick” I am used to . I still pushed hard as I ran across the finish line.

My watch told me that I ran a 19:33. My official time was a 19:35. I came in 5th in my age group (out of 241) and 65th overall (out of 6144). Overall, I am very content with my race, and some of the challenges I overcame to get there!

The Buddy Walk

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Yesterday, I was able to take part in the Ann Arbor version of the Buddy Walk, which is a one-mile walk to help support the DSST (Down Syndrome Support Team) in Ann Arbor. It was a great time because I was able to see quite a few members of my family, as they came out to support it.

I found out about the Buddy Walk through my brother Sam a few years ago, and his son Emanuel has Down Syndrome. I’ve done it for four or more years now, and every year, it is always a great time. I saw a couple of friends that I hadn’t seen in a while, including my friend Michelle and my other friend Dick. His friend Julie’s brother (whose name is Joe) has Down Syndrome, so they were out there to support him.

The day was a great day for a walk, and it was nice to just relax and have some fun times with family. Overall, it was a great time!

The Turtle Trot 5k

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This Saturday, I was able to participate in the Turtle Trot 5k for Re-Member: Working with the Oglala Lakota Nation on Pine Ridge Reservation. They are a great organization that plans non-evangelical trips to Pine Ridge to help build and supply basic needs for the poorest of the poor out there. They think they raised over $8,000.00 for their cause, so that was pretty great!

The race itself was very nice. It was at Hudson Mills Metropark over in Dexter. It wound in one big loop around the park.

As the race began, I started out by drafting behind a guy named Greg. I talked to him after the race and he was a really nice guy. We went out hard for the first 3/4 of a mile, but then he started to slow into his pace. I felt like I had a litttle more energy, so I began to pass him.

He told me to stay on the paved area and not go off on one of the side trails. I was very grateful for his concern, so I said, “Cool, thanks” and continued on my way. The trail wound around in a large loop, and before I knew it, I was coming around the back side of the loop and into the finish. I sped up a bit and finished strong at the end.

My time was 18:47, but since the trail wasn’t marked with mile markers, I’m not sure what my splits were. Overall, it was a great time and it was fun to help out such a worthy cause.