Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Coffee - The first step in your morning routine

I have not always enjoyed coffee. Matter fact I once hated coffee. Never really set well on my stomach in the morning. My wife used to joke me about not being a grown-up because I didn't drink coffee. These days I have my coffee every morning. 2 cups typically. I drink it in the bed while I do my morning routine of running through part of my readings and writings. My wife gets up and it brings me my hot Java to start my day off. 

I could probably do without it. But now it is become part of my routine and it is nice to sit in bed with my wife chat in the morning and share a cuppa coffee together. When I go out of town by myself and I have to figure out the hotel room's coffee maker, it is a disaster! You see I really don't know how to make coffee. I'm spoiled. I rarely ever make it at home so when I have to make it we are probably all in trouble. Or at least for those that are drinking my coffee concoction.

Have you noticed out in your neighborhoods how many places serve coffee? There are a lot of specialty stores and barista adorned establishments that are specializing in coffees. I think you could become a coffee architect ( or should we call it a JAVATECT? ) and assist all of those businesses with their design efforts that are centered around this black cup of juju juice.

I must pause for a moment to go get my 2nd cup of coffee. I'll be right back.

OK now that I have returned we can continue.

The biggest part of my new found coffee infatuation is that it has become a regular part of my routine......everyday! It sets the comfortable tone when I run through my tasks and schedules for the day. No matter where I am, home or the Richmond office hotel or away on a business trip or even on coffee sets my volume for the day.

You say volume? Yes.....absolutely! If I intend on accomplish my goals for the day.....which are goals for the week.....which are monthly get it.....yearly budget accomplishments......then it starts with turning up the volume everyday and meeting my own expectations I have set for myself. All of that.....beginning with just a cup of coffee in the morning......ROUTINE!

So my friends, enjoy that last cup of coffee......and then get on to your task at a time.

D. Eugene Thompson
ET This I Believe

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Dopey Start to 2016

So it has been a long time coming.....the running of the Dopey. Yet another bucket list item. I put the Dopey Challenge on my list only after I had already finished the Goofy Challenge last year. You actually get the Goofy medal when you run the Dopey.....I didn't realize that! So for some of you that are unaware of what the heck I'm talking about, here is the explanation. Disney has a marathon challenge every year in January in Orlando. I first ran the half in 2008 and then didn't run a lick for nearly five years after. Each race is a character......of would expect anything less from Disney!

5k (3.1 miles) - Thursday - Pluto
10k (6.2 miles) - Friday - Minni Mouse
Half Marathon (13.1 miles) - Saturday - Donald Duck
Full Marathon (26.2 miles) - Sunday - Mickey Mouse

Now if you are crazy enough you can double up on these races and do the half and the full back to back. That challenge has a name: The Goofy Challenge and you get three medals. One for the half, one for the full and an extra for the goofy inside of you. I did this in 2015.....a bucket list goal.

Now if you are really really crazy you can run all four and then you will have entered the Dopey Challenge. Yes, all the races....waking up at 3:30AM for four mornings in a row (5 if you are flying back the following morning) may be biggest challenge. So yes, you guessed it, a medal for each of the four races plus the Goofy medal for doing the half and full and of course the Dopey medal for doing all four. Needless to say there are challenges far more than the running to overcome as well.

The cost of the races, the flight there, the stay there, the waking up each day really really early, the crowds and the time off to do such a ridiculous task. But it's fun.

So let me first say that my wife and I had a blast. It's always fun. Running together in our INCREDIBLES outfits was hilarious. Lots of fun comments from people. And of course we made it on the RunDisney post video. That's right.....because we're Dopey. It was a nice surprise and a bonus to continue marketing Run Eugene Run.

We ran our own 10k races in the rain. I was soaked. It wasn't that bad though.

Together we did the 13.1 taking the opportunity to create a plethora of "selfies" along the race. I never stop for pictures but this was all about having mile .75 (yes you read correctly) I had to pee. We were pretty much in the back of the race. The last 50 or so there's an experience.

Regardless of how we finished in the race, we finished together. It was a fun run to encourage each other and share in the adventure. We reminded ourselves that this half marathon was just a warm up for the full marathon the next day. My wife took an ice bath to ......errr....celebrate!

The next day was déjà vu all over again. Early morning again but great weather was expected. Super crowded with an expected 26,000 runners. As always I get to share my story while sitting in the corrals in the morning waiting. Met several people and chatted about why we were there and what we intended to accomplish. Some I would never see again after the race starts but others have become my Facebook friends. FLASHFORWARD:   I passed one guy  (forgot this name....I hate that) back and forth during the course of the 26.2 miles.

I actually had my best marathon ever. Not my best time.....second best....but my strongest finish. I kept really close to the pace I wanted to maintain throughout the entire race. During the course I knew I had to figure out how to refuel.....I haven't been good at that. This time I was able to rehydrate easily and eat two  bananas without getting sick. I think that was an accomplishment in itself.

The race is very crowded, almost entirely, except when we were on the highway portions. Other times we are squeezed into small paths or walkways. Often I found myself behind slower runners and could not pass them. I'm sure that hurt my time. At the half way point I was only 3 minutes off of my overall time. I didn't think that was too bad. I knew I still needed to conserve energy at this point in the race to push past my wall. It was beginning to get really warm out there too. When was that dreaded wall going to show up?

Mile 20 came and is always right near the Wide World of Sports. Yes I ran around the ball field and at the right field wall I once again pretended to jump up and catch a fly ball from going over the fence saving a home run and in effect winning the World Series......everyone always looks at me strangely! Well I felt great at that point.....everyone around me looked dogged. However my time has now slipped to 6 minutes off of my desired I kicked it in gear!

That never has been an option for me at this point in a marathon. I've been way too tired. I'm just trying to maintain a pace to finish. This last six miles is also the most crowded due to the tight sections  while we are running through the parks or resorts. I am often able  to push a 8 min/mile pace until having to slow down until I can get around the crowds. I have to pass in the grass, on the median wherever and however to keep pushing. I have my eyes set on a goal. Despite my efforts I can't really gain enough time. It's a great effort if I say so myself. I finished in 5:20:15 which is about 11 minutes slower than my best time which was here in Virginia Beach during the Shamrock.

Now that I'm done, I collect my medals and get my photograph taken and head to pick up my gear bag. I knew my wife would be a while and I needed to get out of this nasty sticky wet clothes. I sit and wait and chat with a few people. Congratulating them on their completion. That is always so awesome to see others finish and happy of meeting their goals. Especially the first timers.

Finally my wife came through.....she was exhausted but SHE DID IT! Grandma ran the Dopey! She said she struggled with keeping the pace up ahead of who she called "The Balloon Ladies". They were the pacers at th end of the pack. If you fell behind them at any point you were picked up and escorted off the course. She said they were right over her shoulder at one point. She has a great story as well. I'll let her tell it. I'm so proud of her.......she said she has now officially retired from marathons!

Don't care where you finish in a race.....just finish. That is the reward. As competitive as I am I know I am not an elite runner. I will never finish in first place.....not even in my age group. Just a fact. But I can run against myself and push myself to be better than I was before. Running a marathon allows you to find yourself. Find something down deep where you can draw amazing energy from. It's real....and its powerful!

Until next time my friends.....see you out on the course.....and remember.....HAVE A FUN RUN!

Eugene Thompson

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Setting Your Goals

I recently delivered a sermon at church while the minister was away for the holidays. It's no big deal, I've done it many times before.....that wasn't my 'goal'. I decided to speak on New Years Resolutions and the goals we set for ourselves. Is it Christian like to set high standards and goals. Is it appropriate to say affirmations to yourself. I not recap my lesson but I will say this, YES! It certainly is and there are several scriptures in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament that gives us examples.

The key? Do ALL things for the glory of God. Don't get carried away with yourself and your goals/accomplishments. He is the one who provides us with the blessings that we enjoy. The blessings of success are evident in the work that I've been able to accomplish. I certainly couldn't have done it without him.

Oh sure, I was worn out and tired at the end of last year. I asked for his guidance and help and he provided. He didn't just hand me over 13 marathon medals and say POOF! You've met your crazy goals. He made me work for it. God isn't a Genie that grants wishes. He is our Father that teaches us and cares for us. I have felt very blessed to have learned so much along my path in 2015. I look forward to what he wishes to share with me in this coming year.

So I share that if you have already set your goals for 2016, take a look at them again. Do they give you the right focus? Are they for the right reason? Are you being grateful for them along the way? I think it is wonderful to set high goals. Maybe even ridiculous goals. Many motivational speakers will say that you should plan realistically. That makes sense.....and it is the safe way. Not necessarily setting a crazy number of marathons when you haven't ever done that before. I just recall the scriptures where he tells us that we will be blessed because he can accomplish "immeasurably more than we can imagine".

IMMEASURABLY MORE......THAN WE CAN IMAGINE! So right now your goals you set are potentially too small. That's right, too small. We cannot even imagine what he can do in our lives......if you have the right reason.....and the right purpose. He does ask a few things in return. To love him, your neighbor and follow his commandments. Pretty simple.

I am reminded of the story about Gideon in the bible where God wanted to show his power. He didn't send the entire army with Gideon....that would be too easy. He kept sending away the troops until he got down to only 300. And what kind of soldiers were they? I say soldiers loosely. I think they were more animals.....maybe a bit crazy. After all they were facing a HUGE force against them and God had narrowed it down to have only 300...... Great warriors? about 300 that drank water like a dog. a dog! And they won, without one causality. God can do immeasurably more than you can imagine. Just let him.

Just believe my friends and enjoy your day. Set your goals and follow your dreams....along with your prayers.

Eugene Thompson
ET This I Believe

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

50 Days of Birthday

Well I really hadn't been looking forward to turning THE BIG FIVE O this year. For the last eighteen months I've probably fought it harder than most. Partly because I feel to young to be 50, partly because I'm a grandpa now and the rest because honestly I fear the result of getting older. My father passed away at 52 so I've resisting this inevitable progression of age myself. Running, self improvement, peaceful minded activities.....on and on. That isn't the point of this blog post. I'm also just now posting this because I wanted to be selfish and keep this gift to myself for a little while and cherish it. So now it has been 50 days since my birthday do I can share.

So fifty days before my birthday you can't imagine what my wonderful wife did......she began celebrating my birthday! Every day for the fifty days leading up to my birthday she gave me a gift. All different kinds, all different sizes, all different ways to tug on my heart strings. 

It has been fun each and every day waiting to see what she has planned for me. Little or big they are all a fun surprise. Sometimes it is as simple as a salt and pepper shaker......I love S&P.....I don't know why but I have a nice collection. I hav received a song a few times. Songs that encourage, songs that remind me of our wedding day. Yes, I remember the songs that were sung that day so many years ago.

My wife says that she isn't creative, that she isn't thoughtful. I'll tell her right now that that this is the most creative thing and the most wonderful gift I could have ever received. It is truly awesome. I'll never be able to match I guess I will spend the rest of my life trying to. Thank you sweetheart for your wonderful caring gifts!

You are awesome! Best wife ever!

Eugene Thompson
ET This I Believe