Monday, October 28, 2013

Seventeen Miles

Yesterday I did my longest run ever in my life. 17 miles. I have done the 13 miles a few times as that has always been the bench mark. But anything over that has evaded me. A few weeks ago I did 14 miles along the river in Morgantown. That was great. 13 miles still seems to be the wall. I get slower at that point.

My run yesterday was pretty much boring. It was a straight out and back and for the most part one long continuos line. My goal was just to get the mileage. I needed the distance to prepare my legs for the marathon in January. Only 75 days away.....a 9 more miles......that is just crazy!

I often just drift off during my run and sometimes focus on the music in my head but mostly just flip through pages of thoughts. You can go through a lot in your head when you are by yourself for three hours. Today's primary motivational thought when I began to struggle was, "Don't Think, Just Run". So that is what I did.

Running with diabetes has it challenges too. Afterwards my blood sugar was 63.....and I hadn't even taken my insulin. Yep, a bit dizzy. I also lost 8 pounds during the run.....alas, if I could only keep that water weight off! I burned over 2500 calories too.

I wonder where I am running next?
Run Run Run Away my friends

ET This I Believe
Eugene Thompson

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pokes vs Mountaineers

Well it has been over twenty years since I have seen an Oklahoma State game in person. When we heard that they were coming to WVU to play in 2013 season my wife and I knew we wanted to go watch it. They were going to be the closest ever to us. My wife hadn't ever seen a big college game in person so she was excited to go and watch.

We signed up early to get our tickets with the other locals and planned on making it a heat little weekend getaway before my son's wedding. They initially planned a bus from our area but we decided to drive ourselves so we could control where and when we left. Not sure I could have taken a bus load of Okies anyway. Lol. We had planned to stay in the motel they secured a block of rooms in as well. That would be fun.

So the day arrived, Friday before the big game, and we headed out early for the eight hour drive. Well not so early. I decided to stop at the office for a few minutes and then those few minutes turned into a few always happens that way. I get stuck in the black hole and cannot get out. Finally just before noon we headed out. Before we make it out of town we get stopped......dead stop......on the bridge tunnel due to a car fire. Thankfully that was only about 20-30 minutes. However it always feels like hours......and sometimes it really is. Traffic cleared, we are on our way. 

The next stop is the Star Express in New Kent County. We finished that project early this summer so it is a quick stop for gas, food and potty break. The older we get the more we need those. Back on the road in record time and of course get just outside of DC.......well the traffic in DC is just as stubborn as the politicians......bumper to bumper with little progress. I knew better than to go this way!

We decided to plug in the GPS to guide us to the motel, however something was wrong. It kept coming up in Maryland?! I thought somehow my wife misunderstood the reservations so we called the place thinking it must be the reservations area in the country being a Maryland number. After a short conversation we found out that indeed our reservations were there and the rest of our group was supposed to stay there as well but they only had 3 reservations. Also the motel was over an hour away from Morgantown. And yes of course there were no available rooms close by......the day before the game.

Bummer, being a little irritated at the whole thing I quickly looked up rooms in the area near the stadium on Yelp. I found a few but focused on the one that had four $$$$ behind it. I bet they would have a room. Gave the number to my wife and she called and made us a reservation for the one night. Honey, how much did the room cost? Oh I thought you knew? No, I just knew it was four $$$$. Oh, well it is $299 a night.......really?! Wow, better be a nice room.

We got there an it was a great place to stay. We were so tired from the long drive that we went ahead and enjoyed a fancy meal and drinks in the hotel restaurant. It was a great evening. And amazingly there's were so many people that welcomed us there....even though we were OK STATE fans. We felt great. People would come up and say please do beat us too bad. It was funny.

The next morning we got up and thought we could walk to the stadium. I thought it was like 2 miles away. I was wrong again. It was over six miles, but they had a hotel shuttle that could take us to the PRT....public rural transport. Great, we jumped in the van and off to the station.......oops! I left the tickets in the room. No worries back we go.

Funny side note: couple in the back of the van were WVU fans and they got a call from their son apparently also going to the game. The wife answered the phone and wished him a happy birthday. So funny it was our oldest son's birthday also. The wife quickly handed the phone to the husband and said, There is a problem. He said, What? A brief pause and then he said, How did the grill go through the back window? Oops.

So back to the hotel, up the elevator to the sixth floor while my wife waiting in the van. When I get back the van is full and of course it was all WVU fans except for us. It was very quiet for a brief second while I got in.......I had to break the silence and say, Ok, I will go ahead and say it.....He's from Oklahoma! Everyone laughed and chimed in at my expense. It was funny.

To the game, met people on the PRT that were OSU fans. It was going to be fun. Got the Alumni center and a bunch of people were there. Breakfast was served.....and beer! Pistol Pete and the cheer leaders were there as well as OSU president and his wife. It was a sea of orange. Pretty cool. After the little speech we ran over to the stadium and welcomed the football team and coaches off of the buses. I hadn't seen Gundy since the practice field some 25 years ago. It was fun. Again we walked past all the tailgaters and they were so very nice. Everyone welcomed us and told us good luck...but not too much luck.

Game time was here and we sat in a corner of the stadium all orange! We won't talk much about the game since we didn't play well and I imagine there were some sofas being burned that evening. Best part of the game: watching it in person. Worst part of the game: listening to the two women behind us incessantly complain about the game like a bad sports announcer who never played the game before. Geesh, please go away.

Back on the PRT to the hotel. We had to listen to a couple of rude drunk college guys sing, Country Road a hundred times. The rest of the WVU fans were embarrassed for them. No big deal. We got back and decided to go eat at a local brew pub and pizza place right down from the hotel. It was nice. And there were a few OK STATE fans there drowning their sorrows in some beer and pizza. It was a fun evening with my wife regardless of the game outcome.

We decided earlier to stay another day even though it was expensive. The next morning I got up and planned to run the trail next to the river that butted up to the hotel. I figured it couldn't be too much terrain changes since it used to be where the train track was. I was shooting for a new goal for myself......14 miles. And I did it! Boy was I tired.....and hungry! I burned 2180 calories. It was a nice run. I looked at my Runkeeper map later and saw that I was only a few miles from the Pennsylvania border. I could have ran across the state line and back. Maybe next time. As it was that was probably my max.

Back in the car for the 8 hour drive back. Amazing my legs didn't hurt. I felt good. All in all it was a great relaxing weekend. Go Pokes!

ET This I Believe
Eugene Thompson 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Another Run

If you have been reading any of my blog posts or Facebook posts you know that I have been working towards my first marathon in January 2014.  I recently worked back up to the half marathon distance of 13 miles after my bout with my Achilles. I have found that my old body has troubles getting beyond this wall. That distance and time takes its toll. Three weeks ago I made 14 in Morgantown and yesterday was able to squeeze out about that same distance again around my neighborhood. Not sure of the exact distance because my iPhone tracking my distance died in route. I am guessing somewhere between 13 and 14 miles. I also lost seven pounds of water weight during that two and a half hours. 

Last weekend I ran the Race For The Cure, only 3 miles but ran home afterwards, another ten miles. I lost seven pounds then as well. If only that weight stayed off!

I have slightly more than 80 days to build up the rest of the distance. Nearly double what I have been doing. My cardio isn't too bad so I think I can keep up there. It isn't like I am killing it with my time. The part that worries me is my knees and feet. My feet are sore today. Thankfully my legs are not too bad after this run. A little achy which is probably expected. 

I decided to increase my training during the week with a couple of shorter runs. Every other weekend I will do my personal best to get to the marathon distance. The opposite weekend I will try for 10-13 miles. It is all a bit crazy thinking back in June I couldn't run even two miles without being pain. 

This all is a bit of my own stubbornness to accomplish more than I could even expect. My thought of how I can feel young by pushing myself doing something that I would of have difficulty doing when I was in high school, arguably in my best shape due to football. After all who really wants to grow old? 

Within the next month or so I will become a grandpa. Pretty exciting. I have a bald head but if it grows in, it would be grey. These all point to me being an old man. However, I refuse to accept this and plan on being forever young. 

I will keep you posted on my journeys. Please keep me in your prayers and all the encouragement is gratefully appreciated. I need a cheering group if fans. 

Be forever yong my friends. Don't grow old. 

ET This I Believe
Eugene Thompson 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Because That's How We Roll

Well here we are on the morning of the wedding for the last kid. Three down and one more to go. This is a little bittersweet.  We are certainly excited and love our new daughter in law to be. I think it is just the end to a long journey for my wife and I. This right of passage began with the first born back while we we're still in college. We have been praying for our children's spouses ever since. We didn't know who they were going to be but God did. Honestly, I cannot take credit for the praying. My wife did it faithfully every moment she had.

For me, it confirms the status of empty nesters and leaves us only with our next great adventure. The kids have certainly been fun raising and I am sure if we had it all over again to correct the parenting mistakes we would make a whole set of new mistakes. We did our best and regardless now these young babies are all grown up and off to create there own adventures and lives. That is the exciting part and truly our most important task in life all of these years. To raise them and send them off.

This is the day for the wedding of our youngest son. He was always a shy one growing up, so much that many weren't sure he could talk. Others didn't know he was ours since he was so quiet. Just kind of hidden in the background. I never saw that as a real problem. I was always shy and quiet as a child too and look at me......I developed a pretty big mouth after all these years. There would be a time that would allow him to grow and prosper. I was sure he wouldn't always be so all our kids were destined to do great things!

Our son was the little guy......the little guy that always imagined to do and accomplish much more than his two brothers. It was the competition in his blood that drove him to win.....even if there wasn't a race. That's just how us boys roll! His brothers challenged him at everything and never took it easy on him. As a matter of fact, they would probably more than likely bring him to the point in competition (regardless whatever it was) of allowing him to win......but then swiftly dash those hopes away with a resurgence of a comeback win. He would claim it wasn't fair being significantly younger than both. He would always get the answer, "life isn't always fair.....we are helping you learn about life." My young son wouldn't be happy with that answer but would shrug it off and move on to the next challenge that his brothers would throw at him. And he would gleefully take that challenge without hesitation.......after all.......he believed he would win one day.

His quiet nature would speak for itself. Just because he was quiet, don't you imagine that he would ever be considered weak. He developed a force that built up inside him that would conquer in his own way and time. It would start with soccer. He was too young to begin football so his older brothers ALLOWED their young brother to play. Soccer wasn't considered a real sport in their eyes....only alternative. You know you aren't supposed to keep score when you are four years old......his brothers did! After the game they would take him off to one side and share how many goals he had made and give him high fives. And yes, he was required to make more goals than anyone else on the team. Again, that's how us boys roll.

Then it was football. His oldest brother had size and skill as his advantage over his opponents. The next brother was small like him (weighed in as second smallest in the city football league at 11 years old) but conquered his foes with like determination and beat the challenges with a high knowledge of the game and rigorious practice until perfection. My young son gathered up all the experience and "life lessons" his older brothers had shared and made his own victories. He too weighed in the smallest in the city in the beginning. He was unaware of that as a handicap. He never backed down from a challenge against the biggest player. Other players hated to go against him because they knew they seldom come out on top as the victor. His process in understanding all and striving for perfection allowed him to stand out among all the other players. He no longer was unnoticed. Maybe he was quiet everywhere else but on the gridiron he was the commander and chief. He knew how to play every position and could master just about every one of them as well. He ruled the defense at middle linebacker and adjusted where he saw fit on the field. If other players were out of position, he helped them and instructed them in what they needed to know. And when it came to offense....well he knew all the plays and what to do. If I could of had 11 players just like him we would have won every game. Unfortunately you cannot hand off to yourself or block for yourself or throw to yourself. He was a giant on the field to every opponent and a kind compassionate ally to those on his team. Again, that's how us boys roll.....he just seemed to perfect it better.

Basketball was no differnt. Obviously a height oriented game that was another challenge to over come. He did the best he could and became a pretty outstanding forward. He made sure everyone else got the ball so they could score. He played for rec league teams until he was old enough to play on the home school team, junior varsity and then varsity. Once that was over, back to the rec league again. He played as long as he could play and never quit short. Again, that's how us boys roll.....and he showed it.

Baseball gave him some troubles at first, but having a small strike zone helped. If he didn't get walked  he had a base hit. He tried every position and probably played every position in a game. Pitching was funny to watch, probably not his best spot. Catcher was more amusing since the gear swallowed him up. One of the aspects my son learned along the road was to listen closely to instruction and then to repeat it perfectly. You could tell him specifically how to stand in the batters box, how to hold his hands, how to keep his elbow up, how to time the pitch......and he would do it......every time. Again, that's, not really.....he would do it better.

Music, he played the piano like his brothers and sister, but that was enough. His biggest brother played the biggest instrument, a baritone my young son had to play the big drums. He could have lived inside that drum.

Just like all his siblings, he would set out to conquer the world. There wasn't going to be a challenge that he would deter from. When he asked to go to Texas at age 17 to study to be a missionary, his mother and I were worried. That is a long way and he is our baby boy. He was still so quiet. Would he be able to keep up? With class? To speak to others? About Christ? However his love and passion for the gospel proved to us that he was capable. He convinced AIM (Adventures In Missions) to let him attend even though he wasn't 18 yet. And yes, he was the youngest in his class.....not a challenge in his eyes. Their were struggles but his love and perseverance came to his side and once again he was victorious.

So when he asked if he could go with his team to New, that is a long way. His mom and I were a bit more worried but New Zealand was a pretty neat place and pretty safe. Plans changed and his team would now go to Boliva.....a Spanish speaking third world country. Now mom and I were more worried. You don't know Spanish? His response was simple.....I will learn. Dyslexic would be his challenge.....but not in his eyes. He learned Spanish. Staying for only 12 months? No, going for the longest we can, 18 months. Of course you will....cause that's how you roll.

So when his older brother went off to school in Oklahoma and found him a wife from Colorado Springs, my young son couldn't be out done.......he found himself a wife from Alaska! And a beautiful wife she is. We are so proud of them both as they set out to begin their lives together where they first met in Texas. Now studying to be full time in the ministry. Who knows how far or where this will take them......but I certainly wouldn't doubt any of the goals in front of them......and I certainly won't worry any longer about any of the challenges.

You both......together......will conquer them all...........because that's how you roll!

God Bless you both as I know he will.

ET This I Believe
Eugene Thompson