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.