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.