3rd Annual Prairie Spirit Trail 50 mile

March 28th, 2015 finally came.  This was my second attempt at running 50 miles.  The first did not go so well.  Heat, humidity, and not adjusting my race strategy to those factors combined for a DNF at mile 32 in October.

This race went a lot better.  Better weather, better planning, better expectations, better outcome.  Did I mention this race went better?  It did not come without apprehension, as a fall on the ice two months out left my training in shambles. That’s a long taper going into a race!  Like most runs, there were ups and downs.  At Garnett, which is the turn around, I started to walk 1/2 mile, and run 1/2 mile.  What a positive feeling at mile 30 knowing I only had to “run” 10 more miles.  A silly head game, but it worked.   There was always a muscle that was a little sore or tired.  They were kind enough to take turns until the 40 mile mark, at which point everything was saying Enough!

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Highlights of the day were many:

I ran for a bit with a fellow Grand Island grad, whom I had not seen in 28 years.

There were two 13 yr olds running the 50 miler.  One in particular stood out.  His gear for the day included a water bottle.  No pack, no headphones, no fear.  Just a pair of shoes and some water.

Good food and great staff at each aid station. Always there with a smile and words of encouragement.  Ramon noodles were on the menu again, which was great.  Although they tasted a lot better at mile 18 than they did at mile 36.  The support crews for other runners were also a highlight as I kept seeing some of the same people at multiple stations.

Having Trish at each aid station.  Always with words of encouragement of her own, or sharing a response to her posts on FB.

FYI, I did not get dairy queen until the next day.

I knew in my heart that there was no way I was stopping this day.   I started with less focus on just getting to the finish, and more on being in the moment.  Not worrying about we have going on next, where we need to be, and what all has to get done.  This day was a reminder to enjoy where I am at and who is there with me.

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Everyone said I was crazy for doing this.  Not a negative crazy, just crazy.  They are right. Who spends 10 hrs running 50 miles?  Well, I guess now this guy does.  And you can too!!! Just exercise the muscle between your ears, and anything is possible.  How about a 100 next year?  Join me?       🙂

So, to friends and family, a huge thank you for your words of encouragement; before, during, and after.  I love you all!

Lastly, a quick thanks again to Eric Steele and the crew at Epic Ultras for an awesome experience!

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GoRuck Challenge: Class 780

New Years Eve 2012, I was introduced to a company called GoRuck. It’s 11:30 p.m., and a “friend” asked me if I wanted to sign up for a GoRuck Challenge. I was informed I needed to decide quickly, there is a deadline 12:00 a.m. for the buddy pass to get in for a lower rate. What is it, I naively ask? A short discussion, another cocktail, some clicks of the mouse, and I’m in.

I debated a long time whether or not to buy the highly touted, GR1 ruck. I loved the story, the life-time guarantee, the look, but the price, not so much. Geez, it’s just a back pack. Right?  Long story short, I bought it.

After completing the challenge, I will use that bag forever. I am not sure I have ever been so emotionally attached to an inanimate object.  I look for reasons to take it everywhere I go.

3 months out, I started strength training using the training pages on the GoRuck website. Not sure what I enjoy more, the pictures, quotes, and back stories that go along with the work out, or the work out itself. As I transitioned from strictly cardio work outs, I found muscles long since forgotten and a big dose of humble pie as I found out how few pull-ups I could do.

The big night finally arrived, 9/21/13. I travelled to Omaha with the “friend”; who was no longer my friend an hour into the welcoming party. Thank goodness for pride, because without that, I may have not seen the end of the welcoming party. At one point, my face was soaked and I wasn’t sure if I was sweating or crying”.

Each challenge is unique in its own way. Sign up and discover for yourself. Find a “friend” to do it with.
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During the challenge, I think we all learned something about ourselves. I know I did. The biggest thing I took away is that when others are depending on you, failure is not an option. If you quit, don’t pull your weight, etc… that will just create more work for everyone else.

A multitude of memories were created during the challenge. A couple of highlights were:  The public support shown to a group of people carrying heavy stuff (each other included) and a U.S. flag around Omaha. The physical and mental strength displayed by the group as we worked through each of our missions. Cadre Dakota carrying a 100# sandbag for 2 miles without breaking a sweat.

At the end of the challenge, we were given the opportunity to honor those who were involved in the Battle of Mogadishu. There was no hesitation from the group to ruck one last mile, in honor of those fallen heroes.

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What makes us do the things we do? With a GoRuck Challenge, as with anything in life, you have to find your why. So, if you ask me why, here are some reasons:

To be a better man. Not for myself, but for my wife, my son, and my daughter.

To be a better human being. Not for myself, but for humanity.

To inspire others to embark upon their own journey.

To discover just how much I can accomplish, not just in GoRuck Challenge, but in all facets of life. To take the lessons I learn, and apply them in everything that I do.

To meet people like Chris, Sharity, Amber, Matt, Jeff, Steve, Pat, Jeremy, Justin, and Cadre Dakota.

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Will I do another Challenge? Who knows, but I did get a text recently informing me that the buddy passes are available again. It was sent by that same “friend”.

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Is this my mid-life crisis?

Never having been 40 until last November, I am not sure if the things in my head are normal or not. Turning 40 didn’t and doesn’t bother me. In fact, physically I feel better now than I did 10 years ago. Mentally, well that depends on the day. Is what I worry about today any better or worse than 10 years ago? For me, a lot has transpired in the last 5 years, and for the most part, those things have been good. So then, why would I ponder the existence of a mid-life crisis? I give you a small sampling of the constant buzz between my ears:

Am I doing what I was meant to?
Is it my passion? If not, what is my passion?
What do I want to be when I grow up?
Do I really have 30 years until I retire?
Will I be able to afford to retire?
Will my kids turn out okay?
Can we afford to go to Disney World?
What about money for a new garage?
Will my kids be able to afford to go to college?
Wait, were those roses I just flew by? Maybe I should stop and smell.
Why is life so hard sometimes, yet other times so easy?

Are we on the go so much now, that in the quiet moments, we struggle to be content?

Are we making things more complicated than what needs to be? To this question, I am sure I know the answer, and the answer is yes.

I think that life boils down to figuring out what is important, and what’s not. Then purging what is not. Life’s challenge lies in not only answering that question, but knowing that different days will yield different answers.

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2012 Christmas letter

I figured what better way to get started than submit something already written.  So here is our family Christmas letter for 2012.

Merry Christmas!!!  You will have a new flavor to the letter this year as I, Andy, have taken upon myself the task of our letter.  Not without input from Trish of course.  Wives/mothers/women have such better memories. 

Why am I writing you may ask?  Well, Trish likes to debunk the myth that teachers only work until the bell rings!  This school year may be her busiest ever.  If you want to find her in the evenings and weekends, look no further than our kitchen table.  Always checking papers and quizzing me on my algebra skills, to see if her expectations of today’s youth are too high.  (I’m probably not the best bench mark).  She enjoys her profession, and is definitely doing what she was called to do. 

We have settled into soccer mom/dad roles, chasing the kids to various activities throughout the weeks, and managing to sprinkle in a sit down meal every now and then.  

Alec’s passions are still soccer, baseball, his toys, reading, and the Wii.  This fall Alec started taking piano lessons.  His choice, honest.  He continues to grow like a weed, and enjoys getting together with family so he can see which aunt he is now taller than.  It won’t be long, and he’ll be looking me in the eye! 

Taylor had a great year of soccer, volleyball, judo, softball, and piano.  It is enjoyable to hear music in the house.  If she had her way, there would also be dance and gymnastics.  Once the 48 hr day is invented, she will have her wish.  She continues to hone her skills on talking dad into things she wants, and making us laugh with her story telling.  

They both continue to make us proud with all they have accomplished and all they have become.  

Running wise-Trish was sane, I got a little crazy! Trish accomplished some small fun runs, and participated in GI’s first annual mud run.  Her main role this year ended up being Team Support.  Along with bleacher butt from the kids, her support was invaluable to me as I ran a marathon at Valentine in June and Pikes Peak in August.  Our friend Jade joined Trish to witness the crazy man running up and back down a mountain.  Plans are to go back for another round of torture.  I invited both of them to run with me, but haven’t gotten much buy in.  So, if you’re free in August……

As a family we skied this year in March, which made for some warm days on the mountain, and tough snow.  Fred and Carol joined us again.  A couple of highlights were Taylor flying down the mountain trying to kill herself; almost succeeding in giving us a heart attack.  Alec coming down with the flu, and not getting his full 3 days of skiing in.  

We took our annual trip to Table Rock Lake with Trish’s parents and Dan and Connie.  We had a great time as always.  We even made down and back with trailer bearings intact and no boat repairs.  We had a blast jumping off of the cliffs into the water, swimming, inner-tubing, and water skiing.  

That about wraps up 2012: we didn’t move, change jobs, or add a new child.  Kind of a tame year. 

From our family to yours, we hope you have a happy and safe holiday season.  We miss all of those who we don’t see often enough, remember those who have passed before us, and celebrate the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us.  God Bless you and your families!  

                                    Andy, Trish, Alec, Taylor, and fish

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