Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, June 29, 2009
We've finished our marathon! I've got some new photos posted here so even those who followed me on twitter ( wasn't that fun?!) will see some new stuff.
First up, this is Julie at the Seattle Rock and Roll trade show, which was a cool. I realized that like so many other common human endeavors, Running is a world unto itself, with its own vocabulary, its own heroes, and culture. Runners eat well, they're usually nature-centric, and some like technology, like special socks that compress your feet, and $120 shirts that "adapt well to the changing environmental conditions". Others eschew even shoes. Some drink beer after they race, some drink salt-laden fluids or stuff called CytoMax. Many are very competitive in a way most similar to what I see in golf in that their primary competition is themselves and their last time. It is a deeply personal, seemingly insatiable kind of competition.
Friday was an all too-brief stay in the Renaissance hotel, a nice corner room with a great view, from the 19th floor. By staying in Seattle we avoided what my daughter would call "EPIC TRAFFIC".... Many of our co-runners told us it was just that. That night, despite the Maximum Comfort Sleeper Mattress, my sleep was unfruitful. Too much stress. We woke up at 4:00 am in our hotel, and those that know me know this isn't something I take lightly. At about 5:00 we shambled on over to the shuttle, which took us down to the start line, McGraw seeing us off.... I’m embarrassed to say I don't know who he is....
When we got to the starting area, what you are told first (in the program guide) is to seek out potty-chairs. And there was A L O T of potty-chairs
This is just one row of many like this. I never knew a city could have so many (where do they store these things?). Amazingly there were still lines at them...sometimes 20 people long. This must be a downside of a well-hydrated, high metabolic population.
I have only a few shots from within the race...its hard to twitter during it. The course is best described by the Seattle Times, who did an excellent job covering this event.
The race started in Tukwila, on Interurban Avenue, and made its way along Lake Washington before turning towards downtown Seattle on I-90 for the full. The course runs up and back Alaskan Way Viaduct / Aurora Ave (Highway 99), and both routes will finish outside Qwest Field.
For those not from Seattle who read that, just know that the route for the Marathon was wonderful. Tukwila, the starting point, they had the absolute busiest Starbucks ever, like ants on a lollipop. (Could this explain the potty chairs? Hmmm.)
Later down the race, a CytoMax statio with an array of amazing volunteers....
....through wonderful Steward Park...with an eagle watching the action!
Eventually into the tunnel, where they actually put one of the bands. This made for a strange, eerie distortion, which made it even more surreal. Julie made a funny in here: Run towards the light!
Here I'm getting pretty close, and start thinking that this thing may not kill me after all ....
After the tunnel we emerged in Seattle to massive cheers...
The cheerleaders were amazing. Remember we were about 3 hours into this thing, and they're cheering like we're going to win it. Amazingly encouraging, all the cheering and it was now that we needed it the most. I'm certain that these girls burned more calories that I did that day. :)
My cellphone was dead about now, so I stopped taking pictures, saved one tweet for the Finish Line ("done!") and went to blaze across the finish line. I'll be posting the professional pictures when we get them. They're nice, but pricey.
They gave us a really nice medal, and the after event, with bananas and bagels and juice, was great. I was proud of Seattle and impressed by the company who put this on. A great example I think of public sector and private getting together, with a huge core of volunteers. You'd never guess this was the first RNR marathon in Seattle.
I was of course proud of my wife, who was the rock in all of this. She did it right, and she looks it. She also made it easy for me to fall into it, and I'm very appreciative today. It was a great memory to cross the finish line together, and then hobble back the MILE to our hotel (too cheap to get a cab).
You ask about our time? Well, I beat my wife by 1 second ...woot!
We ran a ratio of 4:2 run to walk. This was intentionally leisurely, due to the fact that when we started this thing we couldn't run 40 minutes without getting shin splints. We had a pace of about a 15 minute mile, which is good if you're a turtle.
However, I did attain one competitive goal. There was a 65-year old woman, Laurel Busse-Johnston, you may have read, that who wore tap shoes the entire 1/2 marathon. I decided that if it killed me I would not lose to this woman, so we jumped out ahead of her. I unfortunately had to take a potty break within the first two miles ( I was up for like 4 hours by this time...) and that took forever since the line was long (amazing). Anyway, when we got done with that, we heard the "click click tap" of Laurel passing us by! This lady can run (or dance)! We quickly jetted ahead of her a second time, and didn't see her again. But I was having daymares of hearing the click-click-tap right behind me! She was my pace car, and I wouldn't lose!
Fortunately, after the potty break, we didn't' see her. However, my victory was short lived..the next day I looked up the results. We only beat Laurel by....get ready for this....six minutes! In TAP SHOES!? WHAT!? LOL! So speed is something Julie and I will definitely try to improve upon! click-click-tap....AHHGGH! I could despair, but when you realize that of the 25,000 people who started (or were at least registered), nearly 5,000 didn't finish at all, if my math is right. So, victory is in the eye of the beholder. :)
Switching gears, I'll bring this entry and this blog to a close. One thing I didn't take a picture of was all of the shirts that the people from the various societies were wearing, like the LLS. They would commonly place pictures or words on their shirts, as we did, about who we were running in honor of, or in memory of. We are fortunate that our friend, Autumn, still fights the fight bravely at 13 years old. Heartbreaking shirts were common, with pictures of children who lost their fight to cancer. Some were running for parents or friends long gone, some had lists on their shirts, others were survivors themselves. I really like to thank all of you who supported the LLS financially. We exceeded our target of $1800, and raised $1,931.61 ! Additionally, thank you to those who gave us kind words of encouragement and support -- you gave us courage and knowledge and faith.
I used to wonder why those who did these weird marches or runs did it. "What does running have to do with curing cancer?" I would ask. Well, this was before I realized how important physical movement is, how important public gathering is, how important human connection is. These marathoners who ran in honor of others were there on a mission to publicly show their defiance to the cursed diseases that afflict our loved ones. It is a way to take back some of the power, to show our oneness, our unity in pain, in suffering and in triumph.
Peter Omae ran the full marathon in 2:18:17, Michele Suszek did it in 2:38:37.
Elija Nyabuti ran the half in 1:05:14, which means 5 mintues after we started, he finished. For the ladies, Berhane Adere rang up an impressive 1:11:19 half marathon finish.
Yet in my mind their feats of strength are matched if not surpassed by the moxie of Laurel Busse-Johnston, the Tap Dancer. That lady who tap danced for 13.1 miles at 65 years old to fight cancer that someone else has. My work to keep myself fit will continue, but so shall my efforts, in whatever form, to match the very high bar the Tap Dance Lady has set for me. You see, I can never run as fast as Peter or Elija - I'm off that hook. But Laurel puts me right back on the hook.
Click click tap...time for me to act.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
If you have nothing else to do on Saturday, you can follow us if you go to this url.... www.rnrseattle.com and you can watch us live (though I'm not sure that description will fit )
With the hoopla, there is a certain degree of fear. I don't like failing (or falling for that matter), especially in front crowds, and 25,000 people is a big crowd. I guess the advantages of a mega event like this is that there are probably going to be several ambulances/medical facilities around just in case my legs fall off or my feet explode. I take this advice on fear from a few respected mentors.....
"The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there's no risk of accident for someone who's dead." - Einstein
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” - Yoda
In closing, for those who don't get the Seattle Times, they've been doing a great job covering the event. They had some great stats on what it takes to orchestrate this thing:
710,000 drinking cups
40,000 pounds of ice
18,000 bagels (no lox? )
600 portable toilets (whew!)
3,675 boxes of gauze
100 1-pound jars of Vaseline (eeewwww!)
2,785 tongue depressors ( ? really? )
Source: The Competitor Group
Finally, I'd like to briefly thank everyone who contributed to the LLS. Julie and I made and passed our goal of $1800 to fight this dreaded disease. Thank you!
Here's my list of things to do for this micro-blog
- I'll get a final tally of the funds
- An after action report on my physical condition after the run (with pics!)
- And a close out of this microblog with information on Autumn, the little girl we're running for
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
So, first, a quiz -- what is this:
A land mass on Mars?
Evidence of Swine Flu?
Lets call this Challenge #1 -- its a blister, measuring about the size of quarter on each heel.
This beauty grew exponentially from February to April -- even with my $SUPER PRICEY SNEAKERS$ it kept growing and growing. Afraid that I'd detonate my foot, I tried every type of band aid out there, to no avail.
Lesson #1 Two pairs of socks....I guess my shoes were too loose. It worked. I am now blister free.
Challenge #2 -- Gas and protecting the innocent
As many runners know, diet matters. What I didn't know is what happens when you eat a banana only and then decide to jog six miles. During this time your intestines are protesting along with every other body part. The difference is that the intestines have a voice.
Now with out getting too graphic, let me describe the scene. it is an Idyllic run in Tacoma's Ft. Nisquallly Park. Julie and I are typically alone, due to chronic lateness of start and slowness of step. So, I am free to, um, let nature take its course during my runs. I even tend to add a little skip to the event for humor effect ( jogging can get dull without humor). All of this gives me the appearance of having a jet-booster....which is a funny thing.
That is until someone pulls up behind you.
I let one of my little boosters fire this sunny morning, and sure enough a lady came up right beside me, right as I came down from a little hop. My wife scurried to the other side of the road and slowed down, pretending, rightly so, to not know me.
"That guy, nope, not mine...." I could almost hear Julie mutter.
The young lady who I inadvertently blasted kept jogging, seemingly not noticing, but its hard to believe that a skipping, gaseous, 40+ year-old man could be ignored that effectively.
This is all very embarrassing - but it gets worse.
The very next day, we're sitting down preparing for the Sunday events at Church and, well, you know...the same lady who was affected by my jet wash was now sitting 4 feet in front of me and my wife. She gratefully was (or pretended to be) oblivious to my transgressions against her merely 24 hours prior.
Lesson: Be cautious before any jet-boosting happens, and try to eat better in the morning.
Challenge #3 - Chaffing
Don't worry dear reader, I won't include pictures on this one. Well, I will, but only of the product that relieved the friction that occurs when you're jogging literally for hours.
May God bless the men and women who invented these wonderful items:
Lesson: Buy these things
And, what would we do without Spandex?
Sneakers are so very important. Go to a jogging store (RoadRunner) and plunk down a Benjamin for something like this:
We've done up to 10 mile events using these items, so don't laugh! Okay, you can laugh....but only at me. Next posting....What Happens When Joints Go Bad.
- Joe "Jet Pack" Fecarotta
Friday, March 27, 2009
We were jogging a few weeks ago in the Orting park system, and it was a great time. We were doing an hour, and we were about 50 minutes into it and were returning too soon to our minivan. Well, we turned around one time to get that last 10 minutes. Feeling fresh, I sprinted back alone the last 100 yards. While I was doing the Bruce Jenner (dating myself), I saw a strange sight....some idiot parked their van illegally. In the space of maybe one second I heard my wife scream, and I realized that the green van on the truck was mine, and I was the idiot.
We were towed. And so were a bunch of people who parked in the middle of NOWHERE. I mean seriously....this is Orting people, not New York City!! There were 80 LLS people jogging in this town, which probably doubled its population.
My van was long gone, not having enough juice in my legs to catch the tow truck. They had three tow trucks lined up grabbing cars off the lot like donuts off of a tray. It was outrageous. Here these fine folks are raising money for charity and this subhuman calls the towing company and orders them to remove all of our vehicles. The cost? $300 bucks per car if they made it back to the station.
We were lucky. We asked the guy to call the truck and bring it back, lowering our extortion to $100. But we as a team of sweaty, tired, spandex-clad do-gooders weren't going to watch one more vehicle depart the station. (go team!)
The tow guys (what is their official title? A few words come to mind...) really slowed down the process, but they were hooking up their next victim....a cute little VW Bug. Well, I think Don had the great idea to get a critical mass of people around this little guy and physically drag the car to safety (shown in action above) . The whole exercise was ridiculous. I mean, did we REALLY have to muscle this thing 50 feet while this burly tow-truck guy watched with his 5000 hp tow truck in idle?
Nevertheless, we all got around, found a hold, and moved that Bug with relative ease. Who knew? The same solution wouldn't have worked for my poor minivan ( almost 6000 lbs) but it was very satisfying to save this person money, and stick it to the greedy, heartless owner of that land. We've really lost our way in this culture...we've lost our humanity in so many ways. The owner of that land was there. He was on his little bike, and scurried away when the mass of LLS people got to high. Coward. He said there was a shipment coming on the rail system. Knowing that by the time that arrived the LLS people would be long gone, icing their sore body parts by then didn't change his soulless attack. Shame on him. But having done that little save made our wonderful team breakfast taste all the better, and thank you to the leaders who donate to Julie and i to offset the towing costs. You're all very cool people.
To end this post I want to show a picture of the little girl, Autumn, that Julie and I are running for. Autumn is a soccer player, an athlete and a charming girl. You can see her energy and strength in this picture, despite the tether to the life-giving machinery. She's getting better and that's the point of it all.
Here's a link to a very nice story about her that was done last summer. The picture above is more recent, and shows us how far she's really come.
Monday, February 23, 2009
In the great tree of human abilities I am very blessed and thankful for the many gifts that God has given me. Unfortunately, running isn't among them - I'm comparatively slow, my feet point in weird directions, my knees pop like popcorn in a microwave, and I do not have the legs for it.
Don't believe me? You tell me:
which look suspiciously like these:
So, despite all of that and an already oppressive schedule, I, with my wife, have started to train for the LLS Marathon, and committed to raise a lot of money for them, namely $3600 clams.
I'll be documenting my effort to drag my carcass through the Northwest park system despite my genetic predisposition towards couch potato.
While this blog will be of a humorous bent, the cause we are running for is of course quite serious. Please open your hearts and wallets for people with Leukemia and Lymphoma with us. The society has been around for decades, and has seen real success with over 80% survival rate and climbing! We could in our generation see the end of this horrendous disease, dollar by dollar.
Joe and Julie!