February 25, 2008

Running Symposium, Iowa City

I had never been to Iowa City, Iowa. For those of you that don't know, it’s the home of the University of Iowa and is a beautiful city! Talk about a lot of snow! Record amounts this year.

The good news is that did not deter the hardy folks who came out the next day to hear myself, along with my very good friend, Joe Henderson and others to talk about running.

Normally when I'm brought into a talk, it’s a motivational type of talk. I did that in my keynote address but before that I gave 3 lectures on how to prepare for a half or full marathon, needless to say it was a lot of fun!

A big thanks to the students in the Physical Therapy Department who put the whole running symposium together, they did a wonderful job!

February 21, 2008

Runner's Tri 'N High

My good friend and owner of Runners High 'n Tri in Arlington Heights, Illinois, Mark Rouse invited me in to give a talk at his store.

Mark picked me up at O'Hare Airport and we went right to an alternative high school in the area where I had the fortune of speaking to the students there. I'm always a little more nervous about speaking to high school kids, as their attention span is not the greatest, I was even more worried about speaking at a alternative high school, as many of these kids have faced problems in their lives. They were awesome!

That night I spoke to a packed house at Runners High 'N Tri, close to 200 people, you could not find a better audience! If you'd like to hear my talk from that night you can go click here.
The next morning it was onto Hersey High School where I spoke to the varsity athletes from the various sports teams at the school, once again the kids were super!

A big thanks to Mark, Pom, Teresa, and the whole staff at Runners High 'N Tri for having me back!


February 20, 2008

Austin Runner's Club Winter Party

I no sooner got back to Austin from Runners High ‘N Tri and my wife, Jill, picked me up and whisked me over to the Austin Runner’s Club Winter Party.

The Austin Runner’s Club is the largest running club in the Central Texas area that has many many members and I really appreciated the opportunity to speak to them.

We had a great meal of Mexican food and lots of great socializing and then I gave about a 40 minute talk and then sold and signed books afterwards.

I can't thank the Austin Runner’s Club enough for my invitation to speak and especially for their generous donation to the Dick Beardsley Foundation!

Austin is a great town!

February 18, 2008

Austin Marathon

What a wonderful time I had at 2008 AT&T Austin Marathon! My wife, Jill has a very active role as a volunteer for the marathon. She is in charge of most VIP and Hospitality related events, like the pasta dinner, the VIP reception, the VIP room at the Finish Line. This year she also acted at the "Mother Hen" for the Hansons Brooks Distance Project. I acted as her second hand to help her in any aspect during the week.

Jill and I were to pick up Keith Hanson and his family along with six of their top distance runners including Olympian Brian Sell. Their arrival time was 9:30 Tuesday evening but because of bad weather in Detroit, their actual arrival time was around 1:30 in the morning. I got them to their apartments where they were going to be spending a week around 2:30, needless to say they were all very tired!

Wednesday evening Jill and I took them all out to a good ole fashioned Texas barbecue for supper and we all really enjoyed eating and visiting!

Thursday, all the guys from Hanson's team went and visited with the children at the Dell's Children's Hospital. Thursday night was a dinner for all the invited elite runners from around the world, lots of fun!

Friday was when my marathon activities officially began. Friday afternoon, I spent part of my time at the Marathon & Beyond booth chatting with folks and signing books and New Balance cards. At 3, I gave a talk at the expo and then opened it up for questions, that's always very enjoyable!

Friday night was the VIP reception at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The guests included, invited elite runners, sponsors, running legends like Steve Jones and Henry Rono and various other VIP’s. Marcus Grunewald, the Race Director for the Dallas White Rock Marathon, surprised me with a cake to celebrate my 11th year of sobriety! How incredibly special that was!

Saturday was a busy day at the expo. I spoke at the Race Directors Conference they had in conjunction with the marathon.

Saturday night was the Pasta Dinner where there was a short program and introductions of some of the elite runners.

Sunday morning was race day and what a beautiful day it was! Clear skies and temperatures in the mid 40's. I picked up the Hanson runners at 5:00 and had them to the starting area by 5:30 am for the 7 am start of the race.

Jill was busy getting everything ready in the VIP room which was right at the finish line up in the second floor of the Stephen F. Austin Hotel. Part of the cost to be in the VIP room went for food and drinks for everyone and the rest of the proceeds went to the Dick Beardsley Foundation!

My job that morning was the race announcer for FOX TV and talk about a great place to watch a race from, I was sitting in the back of the lead vehicle! Announcing for the race was lots of fun.The marathon and half marathon started together under an incredible shower of fireworks that started the race. Right away, Olympian Brian Sell went right to the front and had no problems winning the half marathon in a little over 1:04, the next 5 runners were all from the Hansons Brooks Distance Project!

In the marathon what a great race it was! There was a group of about 6 runners until Wesley Ochoro made a hard surge up a hill at the nine mile point and really broke things open. At one point he had almost a two minute lead, but by around 19 miles he started to slow and then for the first time in almost 10 miles we could start to see the pack moving up on him.

Three runners, Mike Sayenco, Jacob Frey, and Joseph Mutinda caught Ochoro at twenty-three miles and went flying by, the race for the finish was now on! For the next two miles Sayenco from Team USA was pushing the pace trying to break Frey also from the USA and Mutinda from Team Kenya. We all thought that Mutinda now with a mile to go would throw in a big surge and break the Americans, but Frey and Sayenco were up for the challenge.

It came down to a sprint finish the last 600 meters with Jacob Frey winning with a time of 2:20:38 followed by Mike Sayenco in 2:20:42, followed in his hip pocket was Joseph Mutinda in 2:20:43, WOW! What a race!!!

After the race I spent the day at the VIP room greeting and chatting with folks until that ended at 2 pm. A very busy but fun week!

A huge thank you goes out to race directors John and Stacey Conley for inviting me to the 2008 AT&T Austin Marathon and for all the wonderful volunteers that helped make this event such a great one!

A huge thank you goes to my wife Jill who let me be her sidekick and helped make my race week that much more enjoyable!

February 12, 2008

Celebrating My Re-Birth

February 12 is a very special day for me. Most people celebrate their birthday on the day they were born, for me, I celebrate my "rebirth" day today. Today I celebrate life and my 11 years of sobriety. I tell you this not for you to applaud me, that's not who I am, I tell you this to give those dealing with an addiction, that, yes you can get your life back!

Going through an addiction to drugs or alcohol is a terrible ordeal that affects not only that person, but all those around them. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think it would happen to me! I've said it many times before, "If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone!” I saw what alcohol did to my parents and remember saying "that's not going to be me when I grow up" yet I fell victim to drugs.As a competitive distance runner for many years, the thought never ever crossed my mind about using anything.

After retiring from that stage of running in 1988, I moved back to my dairy farm in Minnesota and was in a very bad farm accident. I was very fortunate to survive. I was hospitalized for a long time and had numerous surgery's, but I survived, a couple of years later a car crash, then hit by a truck while running, another car accident, fell off a cliff, I know it almost sounds comical!

Through it all I was on a lot of narcotic pain medication and eventually became addicted to them. My life was totally out of control! Taking the drugs, getting the drugs, and making sure no one knew was at the time my number one goal in my life. It got so bad I was even forging my own prescriptions, I'd never stolen as much as a piece of bubble gum or ever been in any kind of trouble, and now I was doing something that I could have gone to prison for!

By the summer of 1996 I was taking a cocktail of Percocet, Valium, and Demerol, 80-90 pills per day! I thank God everyday that I finally got caught before I died! I knew I was in a lot of trouble but I was so thankful and blessed that I was still alive! I knew the only chance I had to try and get better and get my life back, was to be 100% truthful and take responsibility for my actions.

Over the years so many people have told me, "Dick, it’s not your fault, It’s those doctors who gave you all those pills" I say baloney! Not one doctor ever forced me to take the pills, they all warned me about the dangers of being on that kind of medicine for too long, it was me who chose to take the pills and it was me who had to suffer the consequences!

I can’t begin to thank all of the people who were there to help me straighten myself out, who never gave up on me when at times I wanted to give up on myself, I was given a second chance and for that I will be forever grateful!

I have an incredible passion to help others with the terrible disease of addiction and that is why I started the Dick Beardsley Foundation. It’s to help those get their lives back and to let them know that life can be better than ever before!

Is it going to be easy? Are you kidding! It’s the hardest thing I've ever had to do, nothing and I mean nothing even comes close, but it is worth every ounce of energy you put into it!

They say you can live for 40 days without food, 7 days without water, a few minutes without air, but you can't live one second without hope. Hope is what we are trying to bring through our foundation!

Thank you to all of you who have kept me in your prayers, who have sent me messages on my "rebirth" day every year, and for your generous donations to the Dick Beardsley Foundation!

Today life for Dick Beardsley is better than it has ever been! Keep a smile on your face, enthusiasm in your voice, and joy in your heart!

Take care and God Bless, Dick

February 11, 2008

New Balance - Vancouver, BC

What a wonderful trip I had to Vancouver, BC this past weekend!

With the ocean, snow covered mountains, and the city's Stanley Park, Vancouver should be a destination for everyone! I was out in Vancouver on behalf of the New Balance Shoe Company.

Stewart Weepers the NB rep for that part of Canada was my great host! Friday, I had much of the day to myself to run in Stanley Park and even do a little sightseeing.

Friday evening, I gave a talk that was open to the public at the Roundhouse Community Centre. The Roundhouse is an old railroad building that is now renovated and used for a community center, and they have a wonderful theater area where I give my talk.

Before I spoke, one of my friends, Bruce Deacon spoke to the crowd and did a great job! Bruce is a two-time Olympian for Canada, competing in the marathon. Bruce is now a Masters runner and can still really get after it!!

I spoke for about one hour and then chatted with folks and signed many of my books, Staying the Course.

Saturday morning, I went to Port Moody (a suburb of Vancouver) and gave a short talk at Paul Slaymakers, The Runners Den's, a running specialty store. Afterwards we all went out on a beautiful run along one of the bays.

Saturday afternoon I spent a few hours at Peter Butler's, Forerunners, another running specialty store. I chatted with folks, signed books, and many got a kick out of watching the tape of the 1982 Boston Marathon, The Duel in the Sun. Watching the tape, even to this day, still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up!

Peter was a 2:10 marathoner and also represented Canada in the Olympics and other International running events.

Saturday evening had a great time with a bunch of runners, we had a pasta buffet and then we had a panel discussion for everyone about running.

Sunday morning was the 20th Anniversary of the First Half- ½ Marathon, what a great event this is! It is hosted by the Pacific Coast Runners Club, this race limits itself to 2000 runners and it fills up in about four hours! The race starts in downtown Vancouver and then works its way to Stanley Park, you follow the sea wall around the park and finish back downtown. I ran 1:20:49 and was pretty tickled as that was what I was hoping to run.

This I can't even begin to thank everyone enough for their generosity, over $2,000.00 was raised over the weekend for the Dick Beardsley Foundation! I'm speechless!

A huge THANK YOU goes out to Stewart Weepers and Mark Rosenthal from New Balance, Paul Slaymaker and his wife Penny from "The Runners Den", Peter Butler and his wife Karen from "Forerunners", and all the great people of Vancouver for helping make my trip so enjoyable!

Keep a smile on your face, enthusiasm in your voice, and joy in your heart,