Sunday, December 14, 2008

What's new in Portland...

So I am trimming my beard the other night, and I don't see a ton of trimmings in the sink, huh. Then I look down and see the hairs of my beard resting peacefully on my belly, ouch. So in case anyone was wondering how much I've been running, or just how good of shape I am in since the marathon, there's your answer. Yeah I am pretty much at my fattest weight ever. But I'm still under 200, for now..So with the pregnancy, supposedly it's a whole thing where the guy puts on weight with the mom, ya know to make her feel better about her weight gain. Yeah, that's what I've been doing...

On a serious note, I am very happy to report that our lovely Bonnie is doing awesome. She is very lucky, and grateful. And speaking of being grateful, I am very happy to report all tests have come back fine with the baby thus far. And Bonnie is officially showing!!! So funny, she was getting a little perturbed that at like the 5 month mark, she was still not showing. She has a little poochy, nothing too crazy, yet. I hear the last few months of the pregnancy fly by, so here we go. We are now just under the 6 month mark. They say the baby is fully developed and is just growing now. By the way, I love saying “we” are pregnant. As if I am carrying a little bambino inside of me too. Not the case. But on that note, “we” are due on April 18th. I plan on frolicking and doing the no pants dance for at least part of that day. We are not finding out the sex which has both of us so excited and constantly guessing. I think her insane running kick she was on this summer has helped her out a bunch. We had our 3rd ultrasound recently, these things are like crack. You cannot get enough of these things. I am sure the baby would love that analogy.

So I finally got engaged, God it took her long enough….But man it was worth the wait. I totally said yes! I took Bonnie for a nice get away weekend down to Bend, OR and did the old “knee-dance”. It was cool, she had no idea, which was my biggest concern. We went for a Mt bike ride through this cool park and we pulled over and I finally got her to put her bike down after asking her to like five or six times. I swear at one point I almost grabbed the damn bike and threw it on the ground. That would have gone over smooth I’m sure…I had my bottle of expensive (ha) champagne in my backpack ready to go. I tried to buy non-alcoholic before I left but I guess who bothers to drink that? Well no one is making it, at least not out here in alcy-ville. It was funny bc I popped it out after she said yes, and Bonnie was like “well I guess you have to drink the whole bottle now, I'm pregnant”. The cork went flying off and probably killed a deer when I popped it. So we sipped and dumped, and then I just tossed the empty bottle out into the woods...I am kidding, we smashed it off a rock by the

On a different note, Bonnie, the dogs and myself, and most likely the baby are moving back to Boston. I guess we just want to see how much or little the baby actually cries at night...jk. But seriously, it is just “back” to Boston for me, but I think Bonnie is ready to take on the Bostonian ways. I have been teaching her to use her horn when she drives to get ready. We do not have any set date for the move, but we are for sure having the baby here in Portland. Tentatively I guess we think the end of next summer or early fall is when we would like to move.

It was a tough decision to make seeing as neither one of us are from Portland. The main deciding factor for us was that if we are moving mostly bc we are having the baby, we should keep the baby’s best interests at heart. With Thomas James and Sophia both being so young, he/she will have cousins to grow up with as kids. And the fact that Neil and Jessica are just baby making machines and are now having their THIRD baby, how couldn't we be back there? And Jess is due now officially ONE WEEK AFTER US!!! Are you kidding me??? It feels like a sign. These little rugrats could come popping out on the same day, unreal.

I really don’t have too much more to report at this time. Oh actually, Bonnie and I had our first official adult snow day today, and we only had 4 inches, and it was all last night. Man, we didn't even get a day off of school back home unless we had 6 inches the morning of....We miss all you guys and we hope to see you all soon. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone reading from Bonnie and I, Cheers!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008


So what it is they say about laughing at yourself? Fool me once....we won't be fooled again? Wait no, well whatever, let's just say this: if you laugh at yourself, shouldn't the people you know be able to laugh at you as well? Sure, why not.

So yesterday my company was putting on a software release kickoff for the new 2009 software. It was at OMSI here in Portland, the Oregon Museum of Science Institute. . Anyways, it was about midway through the morning session and I needed to use the restroom. So I walk out of the room and walk towards the bathrooms, right outside the room actually. So I am in there and the door opens next to me. Almost annoyed because there was 3 stalls and no one else in the other one, but whatever. So I look down because you always do when you can see the shoes, but something threw me off.

The shoes were small and the socks weren't socks, no they were, they were STOCKINGS! Holy crap I was in the wrong goddamn bathroom!!!! I started to freak. I was actually looking now thinking is there anyway those could be a dude's shoes? No frigging way. My heart almost stopped, and of course, since she is not a dude, she will be joining me for sure. Zikes! So she turns around (obviously) and watching a pair of shoes turn around has never been so scary in a stall. My first thought now is if I can see HER shoes.....Oh shit! I now slide my size 12 Freddy Flintstone shoes over as far as I can to the right. At least I was in the end stall if we had company. I am dying right now. How did I do this? So my hairy legs are literally as far off to the right as they can be without me falling off. Now I am in complete freak out mode. Do I try and beat her outta there, or do I wait it out? What if we have company? Oh my God, I am like how the hell did you screw this up, and how do I get out of here unnoticed.

So I decide to play beat the clock and get the hell outta there. All I am thinking now is it probably smells like a dude in here, and can she, or has she seen my feet? She would totally know those were not women's feet/legs. So I am almost ready to go and the door opens, crap! Now I have no clue when I am getting out of here. And of course it's a woman and a kid, chaperone probably, it's the frigging Museum of Science! And of course the place is already crawling with kids. I have to get outta here. The woman next to me leaves the stall, thank God. The other woman is in the third stall and the little girl is just washing her hands, I think. A lot of chatter was going on, I know that, and it wasn't helping. I knew I could get by the little girl, well because she is small. I was ready to run but I couldn't do it because the ladies toilet flushed. Damn it! Now I wait again. They finally leave and I am so embarrassed it is not even funny. I now start to walk out PRAYING no one else is coming in and no one did. I saw the woman and the kid outside but they missed me (I think). I ran into the men's room, washed up, and there was a dude in there, I felt like high fiving the guy, but I didn't.. I got out of it I think, but what a horrifying experience. And then I had to go back to my professional work event. It was fine though, I shook it off like a relief pitcher. We can all laugh about it now, Bonnie and I sure did last night. Whalzy, this one was for you brother, get well soon.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Let's move to Portland and make some babies!

Who knew that when I spoke these words to Bonnie, the first time I mentioned I wanted to move to Portland, that they would be taken so literally? Not me. Seriously the first time I told Bonnie I wanted to move to Portland, those were the exact words I said to her. And here we are 8 months later and we can officially say we moved to Portland and we are going to have a baby! Careful what you wish for eh Sully?

We have a "bun in the oven"
Bonnie is El Preggers
My boys can swim
Bonnie is knocked up
Bonnie is "eating for two"

You see where this is going. We just found out on August 22nd, on good ol' Tim McLoughlin's birthday! Happy bday Timmy! We are 6 weeks under way, well 7 now. We had our first ultra sound last week at 6 weeks, and it changed my life. Seeing your baby on the monitor for the first time, as I am sure all you first time parents know, is nothing short of mind blowing! You now KNOW you are pregnant. The baby is the size of a grain of rice, but has this amazing little heart beat that could bring the toughest of guys to their knees. We were not trying, we just got lucky. And I love thinking Big Neil may have played a hand in this. This was meant to be for us.

I feel very blessed. That 24 hours after first finding out I was going to be a dad, was the greatest 24 hours of my life, aside from the day I met Bonnie. We are both extremely excited and maybe a bit nervous.

Are we going to find out the sex of the baby? We have not decided, but funny thing is Bonnie swears it's a boy, I concur. I think we are leaning towards finding out, it might kill me to know I could know and don't. People are asking us what we would prefer, and I think we would both love to have a boy first, but we will both be very, very excited to have a baby girl as well. We will be stoked for different reasons for either, just a healthy baby please. I come from a family of four boys, I have always dreamed of having my daddy's little girl, so we shall see.

Anyways, I wanted to share this with everyone. Our due date is April 19th.
I wish I could have called and personally told everyone who reads these blogs the news, but there are not enough hours in the day. And on that note, I am still planning on calling everyone from donating for the marathon. Sorry it has taken me so long. I changed phones and I have not re-entered everyone's phone numbers. No sim in my phone, so it takes so damn long to do them all manually. I may need some of your phone numbers as well, but I will let you know if I do. I will call at some point, hopefully sooner than later, unless I have already seen you in person and thanked you.

Anyways, I hope everyone reading this is doing great, Bonnie and I sure are. Cheers!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

A chat with Bonnie

It is not often that we get the opportunity to sit down and speak with people that have accomplished amazing feats. And when someone accomplishes a few of them in a relatively short time span, I feel it's worth hearing about. Especially when that someone is the one and only Bonnie Killion. I know my last post was pretty random, I will be honest, I was looking for something to put out there. I miss writing to everyone. This is not that; this is a pretty cool story.

So I told Bonnie I wanted to interview her, she laughed, then she realized I was being serious, and agreed. Bonnie just completed a daunting task, she hiked Mt. St Helens, which is quite an accomplishment. It is a volcano located in Skamania County, WA. Bonnie had no idea what lay in store for her and a few others last Friday when they took on Mt. St. Helens, but there was just no way they could have really.

The Interview:

So you hiked Mt St Helens, how did you get involved in hiking it?

I went to a barbeque with Kurt at his friend Kristy’s house. She and her boyfriend Cliff were getting a group together to hike Mt St Helens and they asked me to go.

Did you know much about the volcano that is Mt St Helens or the hike itself?

I knew nothing of the hike, just that it was a volcano that exploded.

How much in advance was the barbeque from the hike?

A little over a month

On a scale of 1 to 10 how much of a hiker would u consider yourself?


Tell me how your day starts the day of the hike?

I woke up at 4:20 am, but I didn’t eat anything.

What? Why?

I don’t know I think bc I had a ton of bars and snacks in my back pack.

How many of you were going?

There were 12 of us going.

So you get to Mt St Helens?

Yeah, and it takes about 45 minutes to get the permits, and then another 20 minutes to the parking lot to begin the hike.

So how was check in?

We got there at 7 30 am and bc there was a glitch in the computer system, they sold 450 permits and they normally sell 100 per day. So by the time we arrived, 300 people already checked in

How was the weather?

Crappy, rainy, no sun, overcast. About 60 degrees maybe

What is the elevation of St Helens?

8400 ft, and as Cliff explains it, the temp drops 3 degrees every 1000 ft in elevation.

So take me to the beginning of your hike?

We drive to the lot at 3700 ft and that’s where you start your hike. We were all pumped and ready to go. We were hoping it would be sunny by the time we reached the summit. We begin the hike and the first 2 miles are through a forest area. There’s some incline but it’s super easy.

Ok then what?

Well as we’re hiking through the forest, people are coming back down towards the lot.
And everyone that passes you, you ask them how it was, and they are all saying that the conditions are miserable. They are all bailing. Once you step out of the tree line, you have no shelter from the weather. So most of the people are turning back at the end of the tree line because the weather is that bad.

How far in is that?

2 miles in.

Out of how many miles?

5 miles up, 5 down

So people are just giving up it’s so bad?

It’s so bad that no one wanted to go. The thing with St Helens is the view, so why the agony with no views.

So what did the 12 of you do?

We’re kinda spread out throughout the forest, and its Tara and I in the lead. So right out of the forest, Tara and I wait for everyone. A couple other people are with us, and then Cliff comes. He says most of the others (out of the 12) have turned back; they do not want to continue. Now we have 5 out of 12 left. And some of the people are out here from Wisconsin.

So they just bailed even though they came all the way from the Midwest for this?

Actually, the wife bailed, the guy was one of the 5 still left. The weather was just brutal.

So now there are 5 out of the 12 left, then what?

It’s me, Tara, Cliff, Chris and Joe. So we leave the trees and we come to this huge incline field of boulders, like huge boulders, bigger than 3 people put together. There are different ways you can hike up; there’s a field of boulders in the middle of 2 exit glaciers, or you can go up the 2 narrow exit glaciers. Some are hiking up the glaciers with their poles.

So it’s either go up through boulders or through the glaciers?

Yes. We went boulders. So Chris heads for the glaciers bc he has poles. Tara and I are following Cliff. And he is going fast as hell, his fastest pace doing St Helens. He is the only one of the 5 who has done it before, it’s his 5th time.

So you guys hike the boulders, how long does that take, and how hard is it?

It’s about 2 miles, and the steep incline starts. The boulders are a steep 2 miles. Not that hard but it took about 2 hours to hike 2 miles. It was very strategic, hoisting myself up and not falling in between boulders. And the weather is getting worse and worse. My weather proof boots are soaked. While in the boulders, people are coming back down saying you can’t make it past the boulders, it’s too miserable and too windy. One couple even said its 20 degrees colder at the top of the boulders bc of the wind, and it is cold in the boulders. Meanwhile Cliff is hiking in shorts right now.

So as far as you know, has anyone hiked past the boulders?

No, no one has gone to the top.

How many people did you see turn around so far roughly?

Over a hundred.

Wow. So why did you guys think you could make it?

At this point we are not thinking we can or can’t, we are just hiking. We are kinda bothered by everyone saying it can’t be done. The consensus was let’s see if we can do what everyone says cannot be done.

So you get through the boulders, then what?

Right before we are done with the boulders, we stop and Cliff puts on 2 layers of hiking pants and rain pants. Tara already has on 2 layers, and puts on her wind pants.

How bout you?

I take off my shoes and wring out my socks. And I have no extra layers, and I am still in my one layer of hiking pants soaked to the bone.

What about up top?

I have a tank top, a running shirt and a thin rain coat. All 3 are completely soaked already. I have a fleece in my backpack but everything is entirely soaked in there. Tara gave me a pair of socks soon after and as soon as I put em on, they were soaked bc my shoes are soaked.

So you have no dry shelter?


So then what?

Now we see the last couple we can actually hear with the wind, and they said they made it up about 200 ft up the volcanic ash. From the boulders to the summit, its 1000ft and it’s a 70 degree incline, and it’s all ash.

So the couple made it up 200 ft?

Yeah and they could not take the wind and cold. We still have yet to meet anyone who has made it to the top. Oh wait, we saw one other couple after them that made it within 100 ft of the summit and turned around bc they could not do it.

How could you get that far and turn around?

That’s what we were thinking. But we have already lost Chris and Joe awhile ago. So it’s just me Tara and Cliff. By the way, Tara and Cliff are complete rock stars.

Sounds like it. How is the hike through the 1000 ft of ash?

Miserable, it was the hardest part of the whole hike.

Because of the weather or the ash?

The weather.

How bad was the weather now?

50 -55 mph winds with rain and volcanic ash pelting you all over. You had to keep turning the other way so it didn’t pelt you in the face.

How long did it take for you to hike the ash?

About an hour, and we didn’t stop. We stopped once to take cover behind a big boulder for like 2 minutes. I had asked Cliff earlier when we were hiking up the boulders what the hardest hike he had ever done was, and he wasn't sure. Now as we are all 3 huddled behind this boulder he looks at me and says "this is the hardest hike I have ever done". Made me feel alot better because I was thinking in my head that I was a wuss compared to him & Tara.

Describe your approach to the summit?

You can’t even see it, Cliff and Tara were about 20 ft ahead of me and I could not really even see them with the wind and the rain. Picture trying to climb up gravely beach sand where every step you take you slide back down.

Did you even know you were reaching the summit when you did?

We finally meet the first guy that reached the top. He said you're almost there, just 700 ft to go, which made me want to cry. So we continue on, and now we meet a few others who have reached the top and they say about 300 ft to go. I am now bending over to avoid getting blown off the mountain. I could not even open the hiking poles Dave and Jenn gave me.

So are you the only lunatic out there with no poles?

No, Cliff and Tara didn’t have them either.

That’s good. Describe the summit?

I finally see them stop just ahead of me but it looks like more mountain to go so I am trying just to catch up to them so I can have a break. I get there and I see it’s the top. I asked them if this is it? I thought we had more to go so I did not want to think it was the top and be wrong. But yes, we reached the summit!

How was the summit, the views must have been awesome with that weather?

You could see about 50 ft into the crater, but nothing around you. We could not even see 10 ft down from where we came from.

How long did you stay?

About 5 minutes, about all we could bear. A quick video and some satisfaction for getting there. We were the 5th 6th and 7th people that day to reach the top.

Was the hike down much easier?

Going down the ash was easier bc you could slide and sprint down the ash. Every step you took you slid 5 ft. With the boulders you were now hidden from the wind a little. But the boulders going down was the 2nd hardest part for me bc it was never ending, and going down boulder to boulder was so time consuming bc you have to guess on what boulder to go to next.

How long did it take you to get up and down?

4 hrs up and 2 ½ hrs down.

How great did it feel to reach the summit?

I didn't know I reached the summit. I saw Tara and Clidd standing there but I did not want to get too excited and realize we were not there.

What did you say when I first saw you about what you would rather do than hike that again in those conditions?

Oh I said I would get up and run a full marathon the next day hands down before doing that again.

I am proud of you babe, you should be too.


*Here is a video taken by Tara at the summit of St Helens. The person walking in on the video that looks like a killer in a scary movie is Bonnie. Check out that weather, makes you really want to go, hiking eh?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Haircut

So I figure if I have something meaningful or kinda funny to share, then why not.
So I go to get my haircut the other day, and the funniest thing happens to me. But for it to be funny to anyone else, allow me to tell you where I go, and who cuts my hair.

When I first moved out here and needed a haircut, I googled hair salons in portland, anywhere near my house. Supercuts in el cajon has runied any chance of me ever going to one of those places again, thanks. So it's strictly salons now. So that day, I find a place kinda close by and it's called LA Hair, and they were accepting new clients, so I make an appt. I go and it is this lovely Asian couple that run the salon. She is a super nice woman and her husband is Tom. And the wife is just Tom's wife unfortunately. And they are both such nice people.

That first day Tom cuts my hair. It was kinda weird at first, but then I was ok with it, although a 50 year old asian man had never cut my hair before. But no big deal, it's 2008, and guess what? The guy is a SURGEON! I mean no joke with the scissors. He would give Louie Volpa a hell of a run...

Now to the other day. I walk in there, no appt, bc they are just never busy. But this is my first drop in on them. Of course I walk in and no one is in there.
THAT'S WHY I CAN DO THE DROP IN THERE! So I walk in and Tom is eating some heated up lunch (looked like lasagna), and Tom's wife is watching TV, and watching Tom eat. So she greets me in the usual very welconing way, which is always appreciated. I mean she is so stoked when I walk in, big time. Probably bc it's only me and some other lady as their clients. Then Tom walks out of the room with his lunch and the wifey says:
"please sit down Shin", so I do. We catch up in like 3 seconds, and I am now looking for my man Tom. She notices and says:

"Shin, is it ok if Tom cut your hair in fifteen minute after he finish his lunch?"

I say "huh?". Is she serious?

She repeats, I heard her. I say no. I tell her I am leaving for a job interview up in Seattle when I leave there. (the truth)

She asks when am I leaving? Like let's see if I can work around Tom's lunch. Like if I said in a few hours, she was going to say "c'mon shin, please let Tom eat..." I tell her right when I get out of there is when I am leaving. She says, oh, ok. She says she will tell him to hurry. She walks over to the back room and says something to Tom, still hiding and eating. I am pissed I can't see him now, just her talking to him.

She comes back and sits down with me in the waiting area, with the crappy tv in front of us, blinking up and down every other second. The daily news is on. We both sit and I am now realizing that I am in an empty hair salon and my haircutter is making me wait why he eats his lunch, and I ma getting a headache watching the news. The wifey and I are watching their terrible tv screen blur up and down for like 5 minutes, and it felt like 10. But we had to wait til Tom was done eating. I literally was staring down where Tom was eating to make her uncomfortable. She eventually sensed it and walked to the back again. She got Tom to either finish or put the lasagna down. He came out and crushed it on my noodle like he always does. Tom is very much still the man, and despite all of this, I will be going back. I hope this did not offend anyone, that was not my intention, just a funny story I thought. And without the exact play by play, this story is just not that funny right? Later


Oh and Bonnie sent out the pics from our marathon, I am sure a lot of you received them, but here is the link if you didn't. I think this will work, but if not, please let me know. Cheers!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Well, I did it, we all did it! We finished the marathon, so it has been done! And done by some bad ass North westerners I might add! And the next most important piece of information is that no one got hurt. But yes, it hurt.

I have to say, I am pumped bc I am here. I am psyched to sit here, on my couch, where I sit every night when I do my blogs. I am sitting extra proudly tonight, at my laptop, with my glass of red wine, as I do my pinnacle blog. The one where I tell you I ran this thing and I kicked it's ass, and it kicked my ass. But I kicked it's ass last! (Mulcahy)

The rundown on the race is this: It was rough. But nothing short of amazing. It is a very scenic course for the middle part of the race. Nine miles are run on a gravel trail called the tank trail. This is where it got real interesting for me. The race starts off with all of us together. Most of my TNT running mates and Mark, Talin, Tika, Dave "the brewman" Brewer, Bonzai and myself. Great weather to start, high
50's and cloudy. At 8am we are off. It was so exciting taking off with everyone. I mean everyone is so fricking pumped! I remember Mark being so pumped, I really enjoyed the adrenalin rush of my first marathon. Unofficial numbers say about 1,600 total for the full marathon. Kinda small, which is so great in this environment. And it is almost entirely TNT by the way, and the support from the crowd was top notch. Just a sea of purple jerseys everywhere.

So we are at mile 3 or so and it starts raining, then it starts to rain pretty good. It didn't last too long though. And as I am sure this is to no one's surprise, Bonnie and Talin are not seen again by me after around mile 3. It was cool seeing that happen though, they were so ready to rip it up. Everyone of us were pumped. My achilles for this race would be the gravel trail, which I already know bothers my knees. I knew this going in, no surprise here. I do not like that name at all by the way, tank trail. But especially after I tell you what it did to this old boy's already achey knees. That trail shredded up my knees like swiss cheese. When I say 9 miles could never again seem so long, I truly mean that.

I do not want to come across as negative here, this whole race was the best experience for me, in large part bc it was so hard. I just want you to know what it was like out there for me. Dave decided to hang back with me, thank God! The picture up top is of Mark, Dave and I entering the tank trail at mile 7. I am so glad looking at that picture (our unbelievable Coach Joe took) bc I can now remember how pumped I was heading into the tank trail, oh if I could have stayed that way for those 9 miles. It is now also known as the trail of death to me. But going into it, there was music pumping and you drop down what was like a small driveway to get onto the trail. This was the only music of the day, the song we heard was killer! It was some kick ass 70's jam. There was an aid station there, and the three of us stopped and were all dancing while drinking and eating our oranges. We were so pumped up! From this point on to mile 8 would be the last time the three of us would run together. We got to 8 and we cut Mark loose. My knee is hurting so bad just after the one mile that I know this is going to be a long run for me. Again, thank God for Dave. The next 8 miles on the gravel trail were just brutal. It is scenic at least, but I had to run for one minute and then have to walk for a few. Picture this for 9 miles, and now Dave is doing it with me. His knees hurt too, but he pulled back for me. Team.

We suffer through 9 miles of this and come out of mile sixteen all excited to be back on concrete. But before we left the trail, we did get to see a baby moose. I guess we ran right by a bear and baby cubs, never saw it. I had my sights set on concrete. Dave and I leave mile 17 and I am like, hey I can run again. Dave is like, me too. So we start hauling, flying by people. We must have run around a 9 minute mile, felt like a 5 minute. We saw Jenn at mile 18 and stopped to say hi. We then realized we had to slow it down anyways, we still had 8miles left.

So the pain in my knee was gone til about mile 20 or so. God that was an amazing 3 miles. Dave and I would high five the rest of the trip over our mile 17, good times, good times! At mile 20 we catch up to our teammate Debbie. We were pumped and she was so psyched bc she was running solo. She had been solo since I last ran a bit with her at like mile 5. We finished the race together. At around mile 22 the knee is killing. I can only describe the pain as running with a badly sprained knee. We all decided we would cross the finish line hands locked in with our arms in the air, as a team. It was unbelievable to finish like that! My official time was
5:51:02. So I broke 6 hours, thank God. No records broken here.

Crossing the line was the best feeling ever. I am so glad I did this and that I did it with the other people involved. I am lucky to have been able to be a part of something so big, and it made you realize how much bigger this whole thing is than you. Everyone involved has a story. Mine was we just honored my dad in the best way possible. Thank you all for reading and keeping me focused and pumped up throughout this whole experience! And once again thank you for all the support and for being such a huge part of this with me. Cheers!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Adios amigos

Its kinda late Tues night, the Celts won! And they “beat LA”!Unreal! My computer has been down so I typed this up and saved it to send today, the guy was coming out this morning to fix the problem.

We leave for Anchorage in 2 days for the pinnacle of our journey. This thing was always months away, now it’s just days away. What a journey. Talin is the one to get us all involved in this, I will always be forever grateful to you for that sis! When my dad died it was a life changing experience bc it was the worst experience of my life. But this experience has also changed my life for sure, and not even in a little ways either, where something cool and positive happens to us, and we say, I am gonna change bc I experienced that. And the next day we are right back to whatever we were like. We all do it, its human nature. But this whole experience has changed my life, and my perspective on life. Don’t worry; I am not going to start writing about how, ha! Man I have been long winded at times with this thing eh?

Now onto the marathon, which by the way, all of us are finishing, it is the only option. Injuries and all. It is so funny, how the injuries are just popping up like crazy. I mean it’s funny what is starting to take place. We are the walking wounded, that’s ok though bc it will just be that much sweeter when we finish. And Bon got x-rays on her foot and they are all negative, very nice. Because all everyone is trying to do at this point is get your body so you can just get through the marathon, afterwards, who cares. At least right now who cares. Well the next time I reach out to all of you, I will be a different man. I will be a man that ran a marathon. I am curious to see what that will feel like. I do not like cliché sayings, but this one has run through my mind more than once during my training: Ordinary men can accomplish great things. I feel that sums me up to a T. Think of the crew and I on Saturday morning, I know I will be thinking about all of you guys. I will need to for me to get through the last 6 miles. And the Celtics, I mean wow, what a showing, and what a complete and utter arse kicking! Big Neil gets another championship from title town baby! I wore his ring for the games, Celts owe him..ha! The Truth shall set you free! Oh and Anchorage has no clue what is coming their way this weekend, Anchorage, look the f$#^ out! Brothers McSullivan are a’coming for you! Oh and I had no beers tonight at the bar watching the game, instead I had 2 pitchers of water. Now that’s discipline. Later guys, thanks for reading!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's funny how when you do not have something good or positive to write about, how less of a hurry you are in to write about it. Thus I am posting Monday's blog on Wednesday. And to be honest, I do not want to spend a lot, if not hardly any time on any negative stuff, so let's just get this out of the way now. Last week sucked. It sucked for Bonnie and it sucked for me. We both ran fine, but the after affects are not bueno. I ran 9 miles on the trail and it ripped up my knees pretty good. I have been pretty much limping or half limping up until today (Wed). I am not sure why this trail kills me, but it does. But I am seeing someone awesome tomorrow from TNT who can look at them and see what's up. Both my knees are banged up, it really does suck to have this right now.

But I shouldn't complain really. Poor Bonnie is dealing with serious foot issues. She has been for the last 3 weeks or so, and it has gotten worse. The arch of her foot now kills her. She is trying to ice it regularly and all, and it is getting better supposedly, but it is still a concern. Mark is up in Seattle with knee issues that he has been dealing with all season. I talk to Mark all the time and he should have been doing a blog, his runs are hilarious too. He has had some classic runs like me, and half of his long runs have been really hard bc of his knee. He has finished every one of them. And our poor friend Dave is now just going balls out and saying the hell with my knee problem, which by the way is the worst injury of all by a lot probably, and he is just going out to the marathon like a warrior takes his battlefield. It is a battlefield in a lot of ways. You go out and put everything you can muster up to finish this one task. And on this one day, you just know there is not one ounce of holding back. I have never tested myself this much, but it is so great to take on such a huge challenge.

So we are less than 2 weeks away form the big dance. I cannot even tell you how crazy it is for this to be as close as it is. We had our Team in Training (TNT) send off party tonight. And it was awesome bc I had the best day today. So this awesome person from TNT opened up her house to us for the party. It started at 6:30, I was an hr late, that sucked. We went over all the details of the weekend for us. Then the coaches and mentors spoke to us. It was really cool. Karl, who I have written about, shows up just after me with our other coach julie (rockstar). They both spoke and were awesome. So did Joe, our running coach for Anchorage. He has been coaching TNT for the last four years, and this is his last one. I did not know til the party, we were losing one of their best coaches. He has us all very well prepared.

So Karl starts talking about the TNT Rock-n-Roll marathon that he and Julie were just coaching at in San Diego. Karl is talking about the race and just starts getting choked up talking about the runners. And how some of the members had a hard time, and how he and Julie were out there looking for them and walking or running with them the whole day. And how they both walked and ran about 20 miles each as coaches. And how one girl from Portland took 7 hours to finish, and how all the Portland runners that we ran and trained with (Krazy Kurt, Cassie etc.) stayed at the finish line until she came across. That is what TNT is all about, the ultimate team. And you just have to really try and picture how amazing ALL of these people are involved. I said to one of the people I was running with this earlier this year, that it's great how awesome everyone involved in this TNT thing is. And they said well, think about it, it is one big group of selfless people. And it really is.

I know I am starting to write a lot in these, I appologize. I recently realized that this is going to be something I will look back on for the rest of my life to remember this whole experience from. So I guess I write these for me too, sorry. By the way, the emails that I have received from all of you are the best. The support I have recieved from you all is something I will continue to reference and it's only bc all of your support has gotten me to this stage. I would not be here, mentally or pysically, without all of you guys.

So at the party, the coaches finish talkiing and then I find out Laura, my new friend and teamate, is a cancer survivor. I had no idea. Mary, Laura's best friend, who is also awesome, spoke about why she is doing TNT. Her son Brian has Lynphopma and was diagnosed with it 13 months ago. Since then he has completed 2 triathalons and a full marathon, all somewhat recently. Can you believe that? And he is currently undergoing chemo. Mary and Laura are running the half marathon in Anchorage, and her son Brian is doing the full with us. I plan on running next to him the whole time....HA! I mean does it get any tougher than that? The one he ran 13 months ago, he won! And he told Mary, his mom that he was tired afterwards. She said you should be you, just ran a marathon. He said no ma, that guy almost caught me. Brian had a lump and went to get it checked out. He is in stage 4 of Lymphoma. My eyes, like everyone else's in the room, all welled up as Mary spoke. And I remember Mary from my first day running with TNT, and I knew about Brian already. We had a turn and meet people deal for a few minutes, and Mary and I kind of bonded that day. But then you hear about what he is going through today, from her, and it really hits ya. So Mary and Laura are just the sweetest and cutest people you could ever meet.

Then the coaches finished speaking and I asked if I could say a few words. I knew I was going to kinda lose it, but I knew that was ok with these people. I had no idea I was going to completely lose it though. But I had something I had to say to everyone of these people, and there was never going to be a better time to say it. I don't even get more than "I" out of my mouth and I started to lose it. I tell everyone there that this has been the most amazing experience I have ever had. I am already in a full flood of tears. At least I knew I didn't have to try and fight them back with these guys. And the main thing I just wanted to say was that it was an honor to run with all of them. It was the hardest thing to say. I am so emotional at this point that nothing but big breaths are coming out. I am borderline speechless. I, in a midst of tears, tell everyone there, twice somehow, how honored I am to have shared this with them, and to run with them. And then I said how much Bonnie wanted to be here, and how sad she was to have to miss it. It's nice to not have to feel embarassed about outbursts of emotion like that with these people. They are like a second family.

So that's it, and again, sorry it was so long. Before I go, I wanted to say hello in a huge way to my new friends I made recently up here ion Portland, Tracey and Caren. Life is so great when it puts you in situations that allow you to meet amazing people. Thanks for reading guys. Cheers!


Friday, June 6, 2008

The Garden State

Friday Night 10:50pm - the night before

I just figured I would do a quick post in anticipation of tomorrow's run. It is a 16 miler, and our last long one before the big dance. Bonnie will not be able to run with us which is such a bummer. She is in NJ (since Monday) for 3 a three week training. For anyone who may not know, Bonnie accepted a pharmaceutical sales position with Johnson and Johnson. She is very excited. She does not fly back to Portland until the 19th, which is just 2 days before the marathon. It's also the morning we are supposed to be flying out with TNT. In fact, she lands at 9pm, and our flight to Anchorage is leaving at 9:30. At least we will not be cutting it close right...We will be fine, and that is the only way we would travel. Anyone who knows our travel history knows this. And of course, Bonnie has to run 16 miles on her own on Sunday. She will be fine though, she is such a trooper. Also a bummer is she will not get to train with us the last 3 weeks, or go to the TNT send off party. She has to get up at 5:30 in the morning to run on Sunday by herself, and they are expecting a heat wave, ouch. The girl is dedicated. And I am sure she would love to hear from people if anyone feels like shooting her a quick email to encourage her. Cheers guys, and thanks!


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Chalk it up

What is it about running 20 miles that is just so damn satisfying? Oh yeah, it's the actual running of 20 miles. The run took place up in Vancouver, WA. We have done a few long runs up there, beautiful city. The best part about this run was how unbelievably flat it was. Joe, our running coach, selected an awesome route for us, and everyone was very pleased. The route was in a very remote area which provided us very little road traffic. It's always a huge plus because it allows us a to run a good part of the way on the crowns of the road, as opposed to running on the side of the roads where you are running on a declined surface. It really does make a huge difference on long runs. And the weather was just perfect, man have we been lucky with the weather on our longs runs. It was in the low 50's when we started, which was kind of cool, but it warmed up beautifuly during the run. The sun was out and it was in the 60's about 5 miles in.

Bonnie and I ran mostly with out mentor for the Anchorage marathon, Mich, and our other good friend Megan. We have been running a lot with Megan this whole time and she is so great to run with, always great conversation. So the run starts off pretty damn good, everyone seems to be feeling strong. I was a little concerned with my knee from last Saturday, but it really was not an issue for most of the run. The run takes place on these 2 very rural roads mostly, it was pretty much two out and backs. It was nice though bc you ran along just wide open grassy areas, real farm town stuff. Not a lot of shade on the route but it did not get over 75 probably the entire run, and it was not even that warm til towards the end.

Dave ran with us as well, for about 6 miles and had to cut it. I could tell he was dying with his IT band, so he called it. I hated seeing how bummed out he was. So at around mile 14 or so Bonnie starts to get going. Bye babe. Mich, Megan and I stayed together. It was good bc the three of us were chatting it up. Anything to take your mind off the task at hand. The last part of the run was straight out 4 miles on this one road, and then turn around and head back for 4 more to complete the run. At mile 17 we stopped at our last aid station. We came in and had our water and snacks, and off we went. The thing is about stopping this late is it can really be hard to start up when you leave, even if you only stop for a minute or so. As I pull outta there, I feel my knee tighteneing. I was bummed bc it was hardly bothering me at all up until this point. For the last 3 miles it was an issue, but I was able to run through it. It was never too too bad. But as soon as we stopped it was hurting. But of course we did our ice bath afterwards and that seemed to help.

But on the last 3 miles or so, Bonnie had already pulled away and Mich was feeling it and took off as well. I was very stoked for Mich bc she has been having problems during her training with injuries. It ended up being her best run this whole year, nice work Mich! So THANK GOD Megan and I were at the same pace. Her and I finished together, and I needed it. We were saying how nice is it to be able to talk the entire time running 20 miles, and how impressed we were to not be so outta breath or too tired to talk at this stage of the run, it really does keep ya sane. So our conversation the last 3 miles got us both through it. The road just started to get so damn long for the last 3 miles, and as good of a run as it was for her and I, 20 was going to be as far as either one of us were going to go on this day.

Bonnie on the other hand just cruised the entire way. She was like me 2 weeks ago when we ran 20; she could have run the full 26 on Saturday. I was so psyched for Bonnie bc her last 20 miler was a tough run for her. These 20 mile runs allow us all to build up so much confidence for this marathon. Mark and Talin and our friend Tika are all kicking butt up in Seattle with their training as well. Last week they ran 20 and this week they ran 14 on their own, always a daunting task. They said it was one of their best runs, whoo hoo!

So the marathon is now just 3 weeks away, I cannot believe it. It should be amazing. I am also very excited bc we are all staying up in Anchorage for a few days to explore AK. And I just wanted to say congratulations to all our TNT friends who ran the San Diego Rock-n-Roll marathon today. Everyone finished and our friend Kurt ended up doing it in 3:40!!!! That is his first marathon and he ripped it off doing 8:24 miles, that is insane! And a huge congrats to you Cassie, John and Erica, good job! I hear the TNT support in SD is just unbelievable. Supposedly it is pretty strong up in Anchorage as well, can't wait! Thanks for reading everyone. And go Celtics! This series is gonna be all time.


Monday, May 26, 2008

We're getting close...

Kind of a random week this week for the run. The distance planned was 16 going into it. A little background for the crowd: We got our now great friend Dave Brewer to get on board and join us in doing the marathon months ago over some beers. We were drinking after watching the Pats win a playoff game, so it was easy. Dave's also a Pats fan. That is Dave's claim to fame by the way, that he is runnng a marathon bc I got him toasted and got him to agree to do the marathon. I can neither confirm nor deny...

So Dave has been training on his own for the last few months, just bc of his work schedule (he works nights), but this week he was going to run with us for the first time in awhile, and we were all stoked. Bon and I have been bummed bc we have not been able to run with him on Saturdays, huge bummer for Dave as well. But the good news is we were able to hook it up on Saturday. So we head out and the run is going great, the weather was awesome; overcast, 50's and cool.

Ten miles or so of our run in Anchorage is on a gravel trail, pretty interesting. It has been something that has been on all of our minds bc we have only been running on tracks and city streets up until now. So this run we were doing somewhat of a new course, and part of it was going to be on a gravel trail. This is good, we need to do this to get ourselves acclamated to running on this type of surface. At mile 5, we start running up this hilly street, and this hilly street will lead us into our "trail run". We run 1.5 uphill on the street, then 1.5 uphill in the park on the trail. So we end up doing 3 miles of straight uphill, ouch. Picture this hiking trail though, it's in this beautiful park with tall green trees everywhere. And the trail is big enough to let a car drive through it. Tons of people out running, walking and biking. On the trail, there are rocks pertruding through the ground, and when you run on it, it makes the ground very uneven. Not good on the feet or the knees.

As we are leaving the park, it's just Dave and I. Bonnie has already left us losers in the dust, again....mile 8, you could set a clock to her bursts. So we leave the trail we were running on, and we are running downhill on the street and Dave's knee pulls up lame. We are at the 9 mile mark, and we stop to see what the deal is with Dave's knee. Well he's all banged up and can't finish the run. I was so pissed. I mean, you come out for the first time in awhile and you cut my run short???

Dave, totally kidding bro. I am busting em on you. Dave felt so bad bc I decied to walk back with him, but I was so fine with calling it off. I could not have cared less, and in fact, as Dave knows, my knee was feeling tweaked as well from running on the trail, and the last thing I wanted was for either one of us to get hurt at this point in our training. I could not have been happier to call it a day after running 9, believe me. Bonnie went on to do her 16 miler, and she did it well she said. But she did say she was very ready to be done running at mile 16.

In hindsight, it was not all that interesting of a run really, so I figured I would take this opportunity to quickly answer a few of the most frequent questions people have been asking us about our training: How has our weight loss been going, and what do we do during the week?

People keep wondering about how much weight we have lost, and not as much as we thought we would. I have lost just under 10 lbs, which is fine by me. Although I was hoping to shed 15. Bon has lost around 4-5lbs, not fine with her. She still looks phenomenal though! Part of it is we are building muscle, and for me, part of it may be bc of my diet, as I have officially turned into the Hamburgler. I crave cheeseburgers all the time. The protein is good for you, the fast food is not.

People have also inquired about how much we train. During the week, it's hit or miss with us. We usually do a strength and endurance run on Wednesday nights with TNT. What we do is run 400 meters(1 lap)or 800 meters at a fast pace, just in betw a yog and a sprint. We stop for 2 mins, catch our breath and do it again for like 4 or 8 more times, depending. Bonnie and I also try to rip off at least 6 miles on our own as well, but even that has been hard lately.

The training has taken it's toll on us, as I am sure it does at some point with everyone training. For starters, we are constantly tired. I take siestas all the time. If I am in the car driving with Bonnie for more than 7 minutes, I am good for a siesta. The other day we were in the car for about a half hr, I took two. You just get to a point where you get tired of running long distances to train, partly bc you feel ready. And that's where we are at. We just want to run the marathon. We still have two long runs to go, and we have already run about 400 miles. And it is hard on the weekends bc your Friday nights are pretty much shot, and good luck doing anything normal on Satuday night. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining at all, just telling you how it can be. We love what we are doing and could not be happier doing this for my dad. Oh and we take ice baths after our long runs, so funny. We get a big bag of ice from the store on the way home each, and then fill the tub with cold water. Oh mama! Man is it cold, but it does wonders beyond belief for your legs. I mean I go from walking to the tub like Frankenstein, to bee-bopping around the house after 20 minutes in the artic ocean. We wear sweatshirts and sometime socks, and we always try to have a nice big glass of red wine on hand as well, along with the ipods and a magazine of course. And bring the phone, it's always fun to chat it up while your man jewels are disintegratring before your very eyes.

Anyways that's all I got this week kids. Oh and I have to say how cool it was for John Lester from the Sox to go ahead and throw a no hitter on the week of my dad's anniversary. For any of you who do not know, Lester went ahead and battled Lymphoma cancer and won. Not only did he successfully go through chemotherapy, he came back to pitch in the bigs and threw a no hitter. And he and my dad both had Lymphoma. And then on Ths, on my dad's actual anniversary date, the Sox hit 2 grandslams against the Royals to win. Same team Lester threw a no hitter against, thanks for playing Royals. Pretty cool bc Big Neil was a huge Sox fan, and thanks Lester and to the Sox. And before I sign off, a quick shout out from Brady and Jake to their favorite crew in SD, they miss you guys, as do I, Junior, Tessa, Seamus and Rosie. They can't wait to visit. Thanks for reading everyone, your support means the world.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

I can run 20, can you?

Well, it happened, I went and ripped off 20! As did my lovely sidekick the Bonnerator! It was an interesting week leading up to this huge day. There were a lot of mixed feelings going on, most of them not good to be honest. As most of you can understand, the thought of going out and running 20 miles can be quite intimidating. And we had run 18 twice, but still, it can just get to you mentally. And that 2 extra miles may not seem like a lot, but menatlly it sure is. Just that number, 20, it sounds so damn far. And where I had such a terrible run on Monday, coupled with the fact that I chose not to run again this week, I really had no idea how this was going to go. The funny thing is, every run is different. Just cause I ran 18 two weeks ago really well, does not for a second mean this 20 miler will be good. It will help you prepare for it of course, but you just never know how you are going to feel once you get out there.

So needless to say, it was one hell of a run for me!!! I kicked 20 miles of ass! So let me set the scene: We knew it would be a scorcha. We got this heat wave that has been up and down the whole left coast. Temperatures reaching 90 degrees Ths-Sat. It has not been that hot, in fact, not even close to that hot all year. So we knew the heat would play a big factor in our run. We show up to run at 6:30 and we are
off at 6:45. It was around 70 when we got there. And as we are told by our runing coach Joe, when you run add 20 degrees to the temperature for what your running temperature will be. Our high for our run was 86 I believe. You do the math.

The run starts off great for me. Towards the end of the week, Bonnie and I decided we were taking a no fear approach to this run, and it helped out a lot. Mentally I was not worried come the day of the run. Our first aid station (where there is water, etc)was at the mile 3 marker. I felt great, it was hot, but I knew it would be a good run for me. By mile 6 I started getting so pumped up for what I was about to accomplish on this run. I had never run this long and I was now glad it was going to be hotter than hell for the entire run. It would make the victory that much sweeter. This attitude helped me through the entire run. Bring it on!

Our friend Kurt caught up with us around mile 9 or so. He is training for the Rock n Roll marathon in San Diego, which is June 1st. Great guy, a good buddy of ours, and he's from Maine. Huge Sox fan. So he was supposed to run 14 for his run and ends up doing our 20 miler with us instead. What a stud. He was having a bbq later on, and he was not going to upstaged by running less than us at his bbq, love it! It was so great bc it was only bonnie and I running, and the more the merrier. It's nice having another new person to talk to. So the run is going good for me. I am sweating my butt off the entire time, but we have aid stations every couple of miles. And our coaches were driving around and offering water in between aid stations. This is what I mean about how nice it is to train with these guys, as opposed to doing it on your own. So no problems for me physically on the run, except my feet kinda bothered me for parts of the run, which was weird, they never do. But not after mile 16. At mile 16, I got into the zone. I mean I felt like I could have run the full at this point. And how sweet is that to feel that good at this point in the run. I started running a little ahead of Bonnie and Kurt. So at mile 18, we are along the water downtown, and I am still feeling good. At mile 19 or so, I start going at probably a 9 mile clip, and suddenly Kurt pulls up next to me. And he is obviously feeling good bc he starts running even faster than I am. So of course I am keeping up with him. I already decided during the run that I was going to finsih this run first out of us three, but Kurt had other ideas.

For the last mile, he and I are now running like 8 minute miles, holy crap. I was not expecting to be sprinting the last of my 20 miles, but oh well. Again, I am not losing. And I just love that silent competition between 2 men. Nothing needed to be said. So we are hauling, and Kurt suddenly forgets about our turn to get back to finish, so I slap him on the back to let him know he was about to now lose. He couldn't recover from his mistake and I finished like a bat out of hell. And I was greeted by Kurt when he pulled in with a nice soaking from his water bottle, ha! So Bonie comes pulling in and I was standing there watching her finish, and I was thinking about what we had just accomplished, and for whom I had done it for, and it was very emotional. This whole damn experience is unbelievably emotional, I swear I am not this sensitive usually.

So Bonnie comes over to me and tells me her GPS says we only ran 19. I am like you gotta be shitting me. Without even thinking, I ask her for her GPS and off I go again. I will not be denied 20 on this day. That last mile was so brutal it wasn't even funny. I was hobbling/running. Every muscle in my legs killed. But I kept talking to my dad saying this is all for you, I do this all for you. I ran my last mile and it hurt so bad, but I did it. I was so damn proud of myself. And imagine how my legs felt after just hauling for what I thought was my last mile on mile 19. I come running in and Kurt asks me if I ran that last mile for bragging rights, and I say no man, I ran it for Big Neil. It was my biggest accomplishment ever, and I will not soon forget the run, but even more than that, how I felt when it was comleted. And how pumped am I to have had such a good run for my first 20 miler. So the good news is, all my real long runs have been a huge success. Let's hope this trend continues.

So we do have a special guest speaker today. That is why I did not write about her run, she has a few words of her own to share. Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only, Bonnie Killion:

Like we say every run, every is all mental. I was freaked out all week because I have not run in 2 weeks! Bright idea blondie, lets get lazy before your biggest run this training season. On top of that I had a few other issues to deal with but I don't want to make this a whining session. So like Sean said, we decided to change our way of thinking about this run this week. Our coach has us running 20 twice so we decided to chalk this one up to NBD (No Big Deal). If we are dying and can't do it or need to stop then we will because we get to rock 20 in 2 weeks. So with this plan in my head, I took it super slow (no personal record's for me on this one!). I'm doing alright pretty much the whole run besides the fact that it is FREAKIN hot, but I think of when I trained in Dallas in midst summer (102 degrees w/ 95% humidity), so this is nothing. At mile 15 was when I started to struggle because of this nice big hill we had to run up for almost a mile, then we turn around and get to go back down the hill - thank god, now I'm feeling OK again.....for about a mile. So at mile 16, Sean & Kurt kick it into high gear and I start getting those damn chills that kill - my body is saying I don't think so. Kurt turns to wait but I tell him to get outta here! (I am at the point right now where I just want to punch somebody, don't care who, anybody.) Long story short, I made it and all because of the 3 men than ran those last 3 torturous miles with me. Thanks Papaw, Dad & Dad(Big Neil)...Love yall.

It's Sean again. Well done Bonnie, not bad for her first blog eh? Before I sign off, I wanted to ask everyone if you remember, please take a moment out of your day on Thursday, May 22nd, to have a moment of acknowledgement on Big Neil's one year anniversary. I can't believe it has already been a year. I would appreciate it, so would my mom. Thanks for reading everyone, and your support helps us out more than you will ever know.


Friday, May 16, 2008

The Deuce is Loose

Before I begin, I wanted to post a picture of the infamous wild man Jake. Some of you know him. Appropriately, Jake is seen here sporting my dad's Ladder 23 winter fire hat he used to wear on the job. My dad spent most of his years on Ladder 23, and that barn is located in Roxbury, MA. I found it in the basement on father's day when I was home last summer. I love it, so does Jake.

I usually do my blog on Sunday, and I will be. But this week I had to go out and run on my own, and I felt this run deserved it's own posting. I will be doing my regular blog following my 20 MILER on Saturday. God that sounds scary. So since Bonnie and I missed our long run last Saturday, we had to make it up during the week, no big deal right???

The only day I could really do my run was on Monday, and Bon could not do it at the same time, so solo mission for Sean, and off I went. I ran the route we (on group runs) usually run with TNT. I tell Bon I am gonna do 14, like we were supposed to do on sat. I did 14 after tying one on a few weeks ago, and I just crushed 18, so why not. I start the run and I instantly am struggling. I am slow and I do not feel good. But it's early on, and it usually takes a few miles to get your mojo working. The run is on a 3 mile paved trail. So it is 3 miles out, then you turn around and head back. Right away you knock down 6 miles. But today, this paved trail has never seemed so damn long . The first 3 miles took forever. Once I turned around, I started thinking, am I even going to be able to rip off 14? Yeah I say, for sure, don't quit on the 14 Sean. Well I cannot get into the zone, no groove for this kid after about 4 miles. Red flags are up. It's never taken me that long to get into a comfortable place. And I am running really slow for me, like I have rocks in my shoes. I suddenly feel like I may need to use a bathroom, great...

I get off the trail (finally-I am doing between 11 and 12 minute miles-I usually do under 10). I get to my car for my water break after 6 miles. Wow- that was rough is all I can think. The second half of this run has to get better, it can't get worse. But I am now thinking I may need to find a public facility, and I just can't wait for that. I am so lucky though bc up until this run, I have not had to deal with "that". It is so annoying, it messes up your whole run. Anyone who has ran with "that" knows how miserable it is. Your stomach hurts and you cannnot stop thinking about it, bc it hurts your stomach. Maybe I can hold off I think, I dread the public restrooms at times like these....

I start out the second half of my run with just over 6 miles under my belt. I cross the bridge going into downtown Portland, and I am still not feeling well. All my focus now is on finding a bathroom. I am optimistic knowing that this sucky run could get so much better soon. I am along Naito Parkway on the water and I see one, sweet! There are 2 restrooms (men's or womens). I always find that strange when there are coed bathrooms in public. The doors are locked, no biggie. Soon a nice older woman comes out of one and lets me in. Now I am not trying to gross anyone out, and I will use my best vague judgement on this, but these types of situations just suck. I am agitated from my run, I am sweaty, and the bathroom is small, dungy, and it has water all over the place. Hopefully leaky pipes or something.

So I am in there for not even 2 minutes, and I feel this power pull on the door. Like if the door wasn't locked, it might have come off the hinges. Right after the pull on the door, I hear "Hey, we got a line out here!"

Yeah so. There wasn't 2 minutes ago, there are 2 bathrooms, and I could care less. I immediately yell back "Oh ok, I am just hanging out in here". Asshole. Please do not mess with me right now guy.

Maybe 30 seconds later, same thing, but this time an even harder pull on the door, and an even more pissed off "HEY MAN, THERE IS A LINE OUT HERE YA KNOW!!!"

I am bullshit now. Are you kidding me guy? And by the way, I did not escape from underneath the bathroom, so yeah, I still know about the line. And pal, if someone is still in there, wouldn't they maybe need a few minutes? I am ready to leave and of course, there's no soap, ugh!!!! Get me outta here! I pop the door open and I am gunning for someone. There are actually a few people waiting, but I don't care. And I look and I see him standing there front and center. I know it was him. This big goofy son of a bitch, 6'5", beard, and his cheezy bright red shirt. He looks at me and says

"Oh hey, thanks man".


I go "Oh yeah, you're welcome, because I was just in there checking my email you fuc^&% idiot!!!!" He looks away and walks away. I was pleasantly suprised. He knew not to go there. I was not expecting a man of his size of course, but I had to do it. So I go running off looking over my shoulder to make sure he was not following me. Dude probably would have crushed me. And the way I was running on this day, he may have caught me. I think he just realized what a loser he was being.

Anyways, I now decided I would only do 12, and I finished somehow. The run did get better after that, but it was never good. It was so bad I decided I am not doing any training runs this week for the 20 miler tomorrow. I didn't care. So this 20 miler should be interesting. But Bonie and I decided we are not going to get all nervous about it. We are officially taking a who cares attitude. And we have a heat wave going on, and tomorrow is going to be a scorcher! But we are starting at 6:30 instead of 7am. I hope that helps. Wish us luck!

Thank God I do not have to train by myself, and I have a ton of respect for people out there that have done that. Man is it tough. And sorry if my blog grossed anyone out, it was not my intentions. It just so happened that the restroom was the highlight of this crappy run (no pun intened). Til Sunday, adios, and thanks for reading.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Day of the Dog

Please let me first start by saying how appreciative I am from the unbelievable feedback I have been getting from people reading up on the blog, it means a lot. It is funny bc lately it seems the night before our long runs can be more interesting than the day of the run. Let's begin by saying this Saturday, Bonnie and I were set to run 14 miles. But on Friday night, Bonnie and I went to Tacoma WA (2 hours away) to go see Alan Jackson in concert. Mark got us free tickets through his work, we were pumped! I never listened to country music until last summer when everything happened with my dad, and I started working with Neil painting, and Mark was home, and I decided to listen to his ipod one day while painting. I let my guard down and listened to his counry playlist, and I have been hooked ever since. It's so cool bc oftentimes I feel like a cowboy, and I just wanna go wrangle up cattle, but since I do not have cattle and just have dogs, I just let them run wild in the yard and then I run and tackle them around their necks. Sometimes we do end up landing in their crap, and that's just no fun for any of us. I wish I could just do the rope thing instead..

So we didn't get home til like 1 am from the concert, and needless to say, we were beat down on Sat morning. So the deal was, we were not going to be running with our TNT group that morning like we normally do; we were just going to run the 14 on our own later that day. Bonnie had signed us up for this "Doggie Dash" on Sat morning. It was at 9:15 am, a little 2 miler that a ton of people do in downtown Portland. It's a big dog city up here in Portland. But the plan was to get up early to go meet with our group before their run at 7am, bc our new new found friend Cassie was going to speak to the group before the run about why she was doing TNT. (I spoke a few weeks ago).

The reason this was such a big deal for us to go support Cassie for her speech is bc first and foremost, she is a total sweetheart, and also bc the reason she is doing TNT is bc her dad passed away from non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, (same as Big Neil) a year ago on this day. So her dad passed away a year ago on May 10th, now the day of her longest run ever. Just 12 days before we lost the big guy. I am not sure, but I don't think any of our TNT members have lost someone so dear to us so recently, so we share a common bond. Cassie is doing the San Diego "Rock-n-Roll Marathon". And her mom Patty came down from WA to be there to support her on her run too, very cool.

We ended up missing her speech bc we got kinda lost on the way, which sucked, but everyone waited to run til we got there, which was awesome. At least we got there to see our crew off before their run. And none of the TNT groups are doing short runs right now, and these people have become like family in a way, so to be there to support them even when we were not running with them was great, especially Cassie. And we had time before our doggie dash to go work an aid station so we could give out water to our runners. Cassie's mom Patty went to the same aid station as well, and we spent an awesome 20 minutes talking with her about her husband Ron, and my dad. He was a State Trooper in WA for many years, and he fought the good fight for 10years, but lost. Patty was blown away to find out my dad was diagnosed and passed after only 13 weeks. Anyways, it was an UNBELIEVABLY POSITIVE way to start our day, and how cool is this, her mom's full name is Patty Neil Looker! Has anyone ever heard of Neil being a woman's name? I haven't, but Patty if you are reading this, let me tell you how cool I think it is! I tell ya, his name just keeps popping up with my training, too funny. Another God wink, eh ma??? ;)

So now Bonnie and I head off to downtown Portland to do our 2 mile dog run, and Brady and Jake are frigging loving it! Bon ran with Brady and he just took off out the gates. Bonnie told me afterwards he was trying to win it. I guess he was dodging and weaving in between runners and dogs for the whole race. With a name like Brady, dude's gotta be a winner right? Hells yeah! And I got to run with crazy Jake. I have never run with psycho Jake before, and now I kinda know why. He is the worst to run with ever! What a nut. All he did was cut in and out in front of me for the first mile. I eventualy had to make him stay on one side, and he did. But from the minute we got there, he was going nuts with all the dogs. There were like 1500 dogs at this event, it's a big deal out here. But it would be like putting me in an open area with 1500 beers to sample and having me leashed up. Now jake is just over a year old, so he is still very much a puppy, a big headed 85lb black lab puppy. He was just dragging me around sniffing dog's asses and playing the whole day. I couldn't even have stopped him if I tried. Jake was in his happy place, so was Brady.

So the race ends, and there are these little swimming pools set up for the dogs to drink out of, or step in to cool down. So Jake LOVES to cool his belly, so we knew he what he was gonna do. So he goes in the pool, which is right near this long line of people waiting for their free pancakes, and jake just lays down, hind legs out like a frog. Now the pool barely fits him just laying in it, it's small. So he lays down and starts spinning around the pool as if he is swimming but he can only go in circles. Everybody in line is watching and ROLLING! Later on there was a dog kissing contest for a free night stay at a nice hotel, so Bonnie decides to do it with jake for a laugh. I mean you are lucky half the time if Brady let's you pet him, so Jake got the nod.

So they call Bonnie and Jake into the ring and I am laughing so hard bc I know Jake is going to blow this. And so does Bonnie, but she does it for the laugh anyways. Sure enough, Jake barely pays attention to her in there and is juist checking out the scene around him. Hilarious to us bc the other people in this contest should have gotten a room with their dogs the way they got mauled, jake by far was clearly the worst, love it though! Jake ends up giving her a quick kiss at the end, good dog.

Bon and jake leave the ring, and Bonnie and I are rolling. Then all of a sudden jake starts rolling around on the ground submissively, but into groups of dogs to play with them. Now there are like 10 dogs standing around him and he just keeps bowling into them all. He is not just laying down, he is literally tucking and rolling into a bunch of them as if to say, frigging play with me already!!! But he is going so nuts doing this to all these dogs, none of them even know what to do with him. Now
10 dogs are all just standing ther watching Jake go wild, it was one of the funniest things I have ever seens a dog do. There were almost 2,00 dogs there, and I would bet anything no dog was funnier or crazier than jake. Dude's a nut. It was just so funny to see how excited he was to be around so many dogs. Brady was chill and just tried to hump a few dogs along the way. No Giselle's were there, but Brady got his swerve on anyways. I think he could could've used a little Tessa loving Murph...

After the dog dash, Bon and I decided we would take this week off from doing a long run. We were just not feeling it. And we figure we can just make up the run this week on our own. I do not want to try to do long runs when I am just not in it to win it. And on a sidenote, Mark and Talin ran 18 on Saturday!!!! Mark's longest run ever! And they ran it at 9 minute miles!!!!!! Damn!!! What a couple of studs! We are going to have to work to keep up with the Jenner's come gameday...

So our run went from 14 miles to 2 miles, but it was such an exhilariting 2 let me tell ya....Thanks for reading guys!


Sunday, May 4, 2008

A huge accomplishment, and a couple of jakes's...

Eighteen ain't got nothing on me!!!

This week Bonnie and I had the honor of taking on 18, and we did so in true marathon fashion. It was a great run, for both of us. The preperation for this race did not include beer and wine like last week. This time, I was in bed and asleep by 10pm on Friday night. Our run began at 7am, so I was up at 5:15. Bon stayed up a bit later than me, and got up a bit later than me. I ate my bagels; I had 2 this week just for the extra carbs. I Got a hell of a stretch on and off we went. This week's run took place up in Vancouver, WA, and we are literally 5 miles from the WA border. The weather was perfect for running, it was 60 and cloudy. We are driving there and I hear this Alan Jackson song "Small town Southern Man" on the way I love. Well the guy dies at the end of the song, and of course I start thinking about Big Neil and I get upset on the way there, first time before a run I think. But the song ended (thank God) and I was fine. Gotta get my game face on. And keep in mind that I was excited to run 18 all week, and we were psyched bc this was a new course for us, and it was going to be nice and flat. It's always nice to run a new course.

So we had done 18 once 2 weeks ago, but that was the week we were supposed to only do 16 and things got messed up. But I was getting mentally prepared to do 18 all week. It's that number (18 miles) you hear, the one that wakes you up in a cold sweat. The distance you always hear the phrase "hitting the wall" associated with. But knowing I had done this distance once before was huge for me mentally. The run ended up being very enjoyable. Bon and I ran with 2 other girls, their names are Liz and Karie. We did a lot of fun runnng with them. We ran with them last week in lake Oswego on the crazy hilly run. We all ran together at different times, but Liz and I mostly ran together, as did bon and Karie. Just more experienced runners matched up. We ran with them for our last 18 mile run, so it was good to know we run at the same pace. Awesome conversation the entire time, which is so important bc anything to take your mind off the run. And Bonnie and I recently abandoned our ipods, so the chatter is even more key. So I mostly ran with Liz, and i ended up telling her about my dad and my brother Neil's accident. I am not afraid to talk about any of that, and with Neil, it is actually a good positive story bc it ends with him being the biggest bad ass and not at all letting his new situatiuon make his life bother him. Why would he? He has a shit load to live for. Best kids, friends and wife, so
bum leg = big deal. Man is that kid the epitome of tough. Dad was and still is so goddamn proud of his oldest and to the one son that took on the reigns of firefighting, and who sacraficed things by taking on the most noble job IN THE WORLD!!! I love you for that Neiile, I mean I love ya to death to begin with, as if you needed extra love from me. It's here anyways.

Our time was 9 min 12 second miles. I was so pumped about that. I had been running at just under 10 minute miles, so I was real pleased with my time. I felt like we were hauling at times. So we are getting close to finishing, and we are ALL ready to be done running for sure, and Bonnie tells us we are going to be at 17.6 when we get to the finish, bc she has the mileage tracker. So the 4 of us all agree to keep running til we hit 18. It was pretty cool. The people from TNT and the other people who had just finished running their runs were looking at us run by them at the finsih like what the hell are they doing. We would not be deprived of our 18 mile accomplishment!!!!

My most annoying thing was my kankles, and I can tell that's going to be my achilles come gametime. I broke one as a kid, and I sprained the other one a few years ago. The good thing is I handled my business with my ankles hurting pretty bad for the last few miles. So I will just push through, but I know the tail end of the marathon is going be the kankle challenge. But to be honest, I could care less come race day anyways, nothing is going to stop me.

But the highlight of the day was not completing 18 miles if you can believe that, it was this:

So after the run, Bon and I went to the supermarket to buy our ice for our much needed ice bath. So as we are walking in from the lot, I see two of Portland's finest (firefighters) walking in ahead of us. As soon as I see them, I decide on something, I decide that I am going to get these studs a cup of coffee. So I hobble into Safwway and I chase them down once we get in the door, as they are standing in the frozen food section. And I am half limping for sure, and I walk up and tell them I would like to buy them a cup of coffee from the Starbucks inside. They (of course) politely decline, and smiling, say no way. I tell them my dad and brother are firefighter's in Boston and I think the world of the profession, and c'mon, it's just a cup of coffee. They still tried to decline in true-jake fashion, but they looked at each other as if to say this might just be easier letting him do this. I think they realized I was not taking no for an answer, and they reluctantly obliged. I know they could tell by my face how much it meant to me to buy them a cup of coffee.

Now one of them is an older guy, about my dad's age. And the other guy is a young handsome hawaiin looking kid, what a good due, you could just tell. He is just about Neil Jr's age. So we start walking to the coffee stand and they're thanking me, and then the young guy sticks out his hand and says "what's your name by the way?". I tell them both that it's Sean, I reach out my hand and say "what's yours?"

They young kid says "it's Neil". I tell him that's my brother's name.

I am immediately drawn back. And then I reach out my hand to meet the older guy, and he says "I'm Neil too."

Are you kidding me????? These 2 firefighters have the same names as my dad and my brother. And Neil is not the most common name out there. I was blown away. And they were 2 of the nicest and most appreciative guys you could ever meet. And my dad's one year anniversary is upon us, May 22nd. Just weird, but in the best way weird can be. I have never been able to successfully buy two Jake's a cup of coffee before in my life. They always insist no, but these two guys let me. Unreal!

Oh and by the way, once we finsihed running, it started to rain. And let me tell you that the timing could not have been better because it rained so soon after we finished. I am talking minutes here. Therefore, I chalked this day up as a total dad day. From the song on the way to inspire me, to the 2 firefighters named Neil, to the weather being perfect just moments after we stopped our run. I think someone was saying hello, and maybe just looking out for us. Thanks for reading.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

No big deal...

This marathon training is actually becoming hilarious to me at times. Meaning, it is so funny for me to think that this was my mentality Friday night before our long run:

"We only have to run 14 tomorrow, whoo hoo!!!!"

The fact that Sean Sullivan is saying that is funny. This coming from the guy that used to run one mile on the treadmill and say, "yeah that will just about do it for today". So Friday night Bonnie and I knew we were going to a silent auction/raffle to help raise money for some other girls we know that were trying to raise money for their fundraising. The girls are Megan, Debbie and Linda and they are all sweethearts, so for sure Bonnie and I were going to attend to try and help. I will be honest, I all of a sudden had the itch to toss a few back before the event, and seeing as we ONLY HAD TO RUN 14 THE NEXT DAY, it was kinda on.

I definitely whacked back some BL's before we left, and much to my suprise and happiness, they were serving wine at the function. Stellar! My point is not that I acted like a jackass the night before I had to do a long run, but that my confidence level of "tying one on" the night before I had to run 14 miles at 7:30 am the next day was obviously very high. And the run went just according to plan. So I get dressed up a bit, I put on a jacket with jeans or whatever. But I did for sure take 3 BL's to sneak in with me to the event. We get there and it is a small cozy office suite, I am pretty sure it's Linds'a works law firm. So I go right down the hall to find out where I am going to hide my BL's. I see some empties down on the floor by the bathroom. Maybe they are from the other ofices, either way, I have the perfect place to leave full BL's, with empty BL's!!!! I felt 16 putting them dowlike I was 16 doing this, but I loved it! So I got sauced all night, Bon did too. And Bon won the best prize of the night, and the last one too I believe. She won a bunch of good organic frozen food from Aimee's, wholefood store. Delicious basket of food what was delivered a few weeks later on. Bonnie and i went out for sushi that night before we went home, just some random bar in the NW area of the Pearl District. I knew we were stoked just to get food so late. We sat at the bar, ate cheap rolls and appologized fopr chugging water to the bartender. She was cool and didn't seem to care we weren't drinking. I mean we had a long run tom, and we had to be hydrated. She was cool, understood, but I am sure was pissed her last bill was just food and no booze.

Now in regards to our run, we did our normal route of the downtown Portland area and Bonnie and I killed it! Bonnie, myself and our friend Meg all ran together and and just crushed it! The three of us ran together for about 8 miles and then we bid our farwell to our Superwoman Bonnie. I am so psyched for Bon bc she is starting to consistently turn it on right in the middle of her runs. What she can do now (and I have NO IDEA how she does this) is right around the 7 or 8 mile mark, she can just turn it up. She just hits her stride, and she goes from running 10 minute miles, to running between 9-9 1/2 minute miles. And it is not hard for her to do this. It is cool to see it bc you just say to yourself, there she goes. And not for one split second do I even debate on keeping up with her. I am not that stupid.

So needless to say, our run was awesome, and I was able to get after it the night before and still kick butt. Next week we run 18 again, but this time we know it going into our run. Say a prayer for me please, as I will need them all. And I do not plan on scratching that itch next weekend if that itch comes up. I will just use calamine lotion or something. It's game face time for next weekend kids. Kill or be killed. But that's my point I guess, I am so proud of us for being able to take running 14 miles as just no big deal, and then having it not be. Thanks for reading!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

16....I don't think so!

So the plan this last Saturday was for us to run 16 miles. Last week we ran 14, so the 2 mile increase is natural for the training. The run took place in one of the nicest areas of Portland, Lake Oswego. I think everyone was pretty nervous about the weather going into this run. All week on the news we heard Saturday's forecast was hail, snow, rain and really cold temperatures. Just what you want to run long distances in...

So we show up to run at 7:30 am and it is FREEZING! It was in the 30's which is so ridiculously cold for this time of year here. I mean is Boston even that cold right now? Alaska anyone? So off we go and this is going to be an interesting run bc we know going into it it's a hilly course that was mapped out. And we have never run here before. Perfect...So the run starts off ok, but it did start snowing in the first 5 miles. Thank God it did not last too long. Bonnie and I both felt good, in part because we are both running in our new Nike Vomero running shoes, which are awesome and are helping us a ton.

So for the first 12 miles or so, there were a ton of hills, but we were doing great. And we only had 4 more to go, or so we thought...The course that was mapped out became less and less clear, and next thing you know we are off track. Bonnie and I are running with 3 other people, and we meet up with our running coach Karl. He gets us in the right direction, but we now realize there is no way we will be back at the starting point by only running 16. Now the thing is, when your mind and body know you are only supposed to run a certain distance, they act accordingly. We all now realize we will be doing at least 17, very possibly 18 before we are done. Sweet. This is where the mental toughness takes over, bc I now have to convince myself that I can run further than I was supposed to, even though my body is just about done for the day. My body wants nothing to do with that thought, but there is really no choice. I am not walking 2 miles to finish.

We push through and ended up doing 18.2! Bonnie has a mileage tracker she wears. Unbelievable! I realized what "the wall" will feel like when we run our full. I mean my ankles were killing me, Bon's knees were killing her. So not only was it a few miles longer than expected, but it was hilly as hell. This will almost definitely be the hardest run we do, including the marathon. Oh and to boot, I got the pleasure of enjoying what I have only dreamed about experiencing, the bloody nipples. Yes, and let me tell you how fun those are when you are running long distances.

This week was all about accomplishment, and a huge one we did. It was also one of the most emotional runs for me. I think about my dad on every run, but on some days a lot more than others. Today he was on my mind all day. Towards the end, I remember asking Bon how far we had run, and she tells me we have run 17.6. Next thing you know I lose it, and I feel them running down my face. Nothing like running in this emotional state. I pulled it together and thought about all the crap he had to deal with during his chemo. And to finish our run, of course we had to go up this last hill. Now my body beaten, my ankles killing, my damn nipples bleeding, this hill to run, things suddenly seemed so damn easy. And I finished the run like a nut like I always do, full on sprinting. Thanks again for the much needed inspiration dad.
And thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


In honor of the beloved Eminem, we did the 8 mile baby!

This last Saturdays run was a little shorter than last weeks run, and a heck of a lot easier. Last week was the Shamrock at 9.3 miles, this week was another 8 mile run. (I believe our third 8 mile run)It's funny because I am starting to not mind running 8 miles, because I know what is to come. And I was not at the Pub the night before, so I must be learning. Bon and I ran part of the way with Bonnie's new friend with TNT, Cassie. She is a total sweetheart. Her dad passed away just last May of cancer too, May 10th to be exact. So sad, I think he had brain cancer.But Bon kicked butt again, she just rocks it. I did alright, second half was tough for me to get in the rhythm. Sometimes it's there, and sometimes it just ain't.

I am realizing how mental running is, you have to convince yourself that the run is not that bad often, or at least I do. I guess the trick is to get good enough where you don't have to lie to yourself. Thanks for reading, whomever is reading, comments welcome...Next week Bonnie and I take on our first 12 mile endeavor, whoa mama!