October 30, 2008

Black Hills State University

I flew into Rapid City, South Dakota, and my good friend and the Dean of the Business School at Black Hills State University, Priscilla Romkema picked me up and we made the beautiful 45 minute drive to Spearfish, South Dakota. I've been to Spearfish a few times over the years to speak and it's a great town of 12,000 people on the northern end of the gorgeous Black Hills.

Monday evening I had the pleasure of having dinner with Paul and Kathy Young, I've known Paul and Kathy for over 20 years and they are wonderful people! Paul is Priscilla's brother and was on our staff when my best friend Mike Dunlap and I had a running camp out in the Black Hills back in the mid 80's.

Tuesday morning it was out early for a nice eight mile run and then off to BHSU for the first of a few talks that day that I gave to different student classes. Tuesday afternoon, I spent with Scott Walkinshaw and the BHSU Men's and Women's XC Team, I was invited to run their workout with them, but I decided to watch and cheer instead, as they were doing mile repeats on the track, way faster then I could ever do them now!

Tuesday evening I had dinner with Priscilla and her husband Fred, and Jerry and Elaine Dunn, all of us runners, so we had lots to talk about!

I was up early Wednesday morning for a nice 8 mile run with the men's XC team, thankfully they were very kind to me and didn't run to fast! Afterwards I spoke to one of Coach Walkinshaw's sports psychology class, it was lots of fun!

Wednesday afternoon I spoke to a bunch of business graduate students and then it was time for my keynote address to the students, faculty, and also open to the public, we had a nice crowd and my talk went real well.

Afterwards the XC team hosted a get together along with a silent auction to raise money for the team, during the get together a microphone was passed around the crowd and I answered many questions, it was really a great time!

Thursday morning it was up early for a beautiful run along the rolling hills and pines of Spearfish, then onto the airport for my trip to Springfield, MO.

I'd like to say a big thanks to Priscilla, Coach Walkinshaw, the faculty of BHSU, and the entire community of Spearfish for making my stay such a enjoyable one!

October 24, 2008

New Balance Chicago area trip

Dick and Jayne (from Dick Pond Athletics in Elmhurst)

What a busy fun time I had in the Chicago area this past week! I flew from Austin into Chicago's O'Hare airport and arrived around 4 PM on Monday, that is one busy place! After grabbing my luggage, I jumped into a shuttle van with 10 others and we headed for downtown Chicago. Leaving the airport for downtown that time of the day is never ideal, but with it raining, that makes it even worse! It took us a hour and fifteen minutes just to get to downtown because of the traffic! I was suppose to be at Fleet Feet Sports - Piper's Alley for a group fun run at 6:30, but it was 6:45 when I finally arrived. I quickly said hi to Dave Shelbourne, Jen Kelly, and Ha-Lee all from New Balance and then changed into my running gear and out the door we went for a easy 4 mile run along Chicago's lakefront.

After our run I gave a 45 minute talk to all who were there and afterwards signed New Balance posters and copies of my book, Staying the Course, A Runner's Toughest Race, for whoever wanted them. Afterwards we went out for dinner with some of the Fleet Feet staff to Twin Anchors, I had the best ribs I've ever had! Jen then took myself, Dave, and Ha-Lee to our hotel in Naperville, Illinois, west of Chicago. By the time I crawled into bed it was 12:30, I was whooped!

I got up real early for a nice run and then met everyone at 8 for our first stop of the day Runner's High N' Tri in Arlington Heights. Mark Rouse is one of the owners along with his wife Pom and dear friend Teresa. I've been fortunate over the last couple of years to have become good friends with Mark and have been at his store twice before to do some talks. They have a great store that caters to both runner's and triathletes. After our nice visit it was off to Elmhurst to meet with Jayne and staff at Dick Pond Athletics, from there we headed to the Fleet Feet Store a few blocks away and met with the staff and had some lunch (I was hunnnnngry!) Afterwards we headed to Palantine and met with Eric, Maureen, and Tim from Running Unlimited a very nice running specialty store.

It was then back to Naperville and we had a great dinner with Naperville Running Co. owner Kris Hartner and some of his staff. Kris is a Minnesota boy and I actually had met Kris back in 1982 after the Boston Marathon when he was a 16 year old working at a running store in the Minneapolis area. After our dinner we went to his store and I gave a hour talk to his staff. Kris has a awesome store and has consistently been one of the top running specialty stores in the country! After my talk I signed New Balance posters for everyone and then headed back to our hotel.

Wednesday morning up early for a nice run and then we were back on the road by 8. Our first stop was at the Dick Pond Athletics corporate headquarters, where I gave a talk to their managers, it went very well and we all had a wonderful visit!

We then were off to the Running for Kicks store and met with owner Mel Diab and his staff and other folks who were at the store. We all had a little lunch and I told a few stories and then it was time to head to North Central College and speak with the men's XC team. I gave about a 45 minute talk. I was really impressed with these young men and their coaches! They are one of the top college XC teams in the NCAA Division III, after my talk, every one of the runners and coaches came up and shook my hand and personally thanked me for coming to speak to them, that was something!

We then had a short break back to our hotel and then it was out for a quick dinner and then off to Neuqua Valley High School for my final talk of my trip. You talk about a beautiful high school!

I spoke to around a 100 or so boy and girl cross country runners along with many coaches and parents. My talk went very well and afterwards I signed many New Balance posters, books and we took lots of pictures. All of the dollars that came from my books we sold all went to the Dick Beardsley Foundation, and for every book I sold at the Neuqua Valley High School, Kris Hartner from Naperville Running Co. matched each book in dollars sold!

I can't thank all of the folks we met in the Chicago area enough for allowing me to come and visit and speak to them, they are all doing a marvelous job!

A huge thanks for my good friend Dave Shelbourne from New Balance, and to the New Balance Elite Dealer rep Jen Kelly, for setting up the schedule and helping make it all happen. Jen is the New Balance rep for running specialty stores in Illinois and Wisconsin and does one heck of a great job! To all of you, keep up the incredible job you all do and thanks again for letting me be a part of it!

October 19, 2008

Kansas City Marathon

I was in Kansas City back in 1990 to speak at the Kansas City Marathon, it was a wonderful event, but the Kansas City Marathon in 2008 was incredible! Many changes have been made since 1990 and one of the biggest was the title sponsor Waddell & Reed Financial Advisors.

I arrived in Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon and race volunteer, Lisa Fleming picked me up, what a wonderful person she is! I stayed at the host hotel, the Kansas City Hyatt Regency.

Thursday morning I was up early for a run and then Lisa picked me up at 8:30 and we headed for Waddell & Reed. I gave a talk to many of the 250+ volunteers from Waddell and Reed. It is absolutely amazing to me that so many volunteers from one company come out to support the runners! Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Bob Williams introduced me after saying a few words to his staff. Bob was so excited they were involved with the race and is a very motivating person himself!

I gave a 30 minute talk that went very well and helped with handing out door prizes to everyone that was there.

After my talk at Waddell & Reed, I met the kids race director Steve Koranda who took me over to the Nobles Prentis Elementary School where I spoke to all the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. I love talking to the kids as they are all so wide eyed! The kids were great and had many questions after my talk!

After my visit to to the school I headed back to the hotel and the race expo where I said a few words to everyone as the expo opened.

Lisa then picked me up and we headed over to the Johnson County Community College where I spoke to high school cross-country runners and their coaches and parents. My talk went very well and afterwards I answered questions and had pictures taken.

Friday morning I was up early for a run and then off to the race expo where I gave a talk at 10:15 and answered questions, right after my talk I went and spent time in the Runner's Edge booth signing books and talking to many of the people attending the expo.

From 5-7 PM they had their pasta dinner, the $15.00 price tag was a great bargain as they had a wonderful pasta dinner! At 6 PM I gave my keynote talk to a packed pasta dinner crowd and it went very well. Afterwards I signed books and chatted with many of the folks and had lots of pictures taken.

Saturday morning I was up very early for a run. I was scheduled to run in the half marathon but because of the knee injury I have (surgery is set for Nov. 17) I decided against it. I can run without too much trouble if I keep it slow and not to far. I knew if I entered the half the competitive juices would start flowing and that would not be good for my knee! The race started at 7 on a clear cool morning. I arrived around 6:45 and met Bob Williams from Waddell & Reed. I was asked to say a few words to the 7000+ runners they had, they were fired up to get going!

Not only do they have a full marathon but also a half marathon, marathon relay, 5K, and a 1.2 mile kids run. They had over 500 kids participating! That was so exciting to see all the kids!

I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone that made my visit possible, but especially Lisa Fleming (volunteer extraordinaire!) and Bob Williams (from the title sponsor Waddell & Reed) You folks really know how to put on a incredible fun event, keep up the GREAT work you do!

October 14, 2008

Royal Victoria Marathon

Laura presenting me with a beautiful drawing!

Dylan was wonderful to meet at the Pasta Dinner

Laura and Jill

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Rob Reid and I at Frontrunners

What a gorgeous city Victoria, BC is! I've been to the Royal Victoria Marathon three times now to speak, but it was my wife Jill's first time and she also loved it! We took off from Austin last Thursday morning and flew to Denver, then onto Vancouver, then finally landed in Victoria. My good friend and race director Rob Reid picked us up at the airport and we headed to the VIP reception. Rob is one busy guy! He owns Frontrunners Footwear, a running specialty store, the New Balance running specialty store, and is also running for Mayor of Victoria! I've known Rob for a number of years, and he would be a outstanding mayor for the City of Victoria!

After the VIP reception, Rob took us back to our hotel to check in. We stayed at The Fairmont Express Hotel, what a beautiful place!!!

Friday morning Rob and I went for a nice easy run along the ocean front then after breakfast, Jill and I went to Rob's Frontrunners store where they were having a press conference for the race.

Afterwards, one of Robs good friends, Brian, took Jill and I to Butchart Gardens.......unbelievable! If your ever to Victoria it's, the gardens are a must see!

At 3, I helped Rob open the beginning of the expo, there were people lining outside the door waiting to get in! I gave my first talk at the expo at 4:30 and it went very well! Friday evening Jill and I went out with our good friends Mark and Jenny Stinson from Chicago/Boise. Mark was getting ready to run his first marathon in almost 5 years, we enjoyed a great meal and even better conversation.

Saturday morning up early for a easy run, then over to Frontrunners where I delivered a talk to some of the folks that were in a training program to get ready for the race. We had a lot of fun and took lots of pictures. After our talk, we went over to the showing of Spirit of the Marathon. What a great movie this is! Afterwards, Jill and I found a nice little cafe where we had breakfast. There are neat little cafes on every corner and they all seem to have great food!

I gave my next talk at the expo at 12:45 to a full house, the crowd was wonderful, afterwards I spent about a hour at the Russell Books booth and signed books and took pictures with folks, really enjoyed that!

Jill and I had a little time to explore downtown Victoria before we had to be at the pasta dinner at 6. You talk about a incredible pasta dinner, I think its probably the best one I've ever been to! It was sold out with about 300 people. New Balance provided over 30 door prizes and I also gave a short 15 minute talk and had everyone fired up for the race on Sunday.

Sunday morning I got up early and did a easy 5 miler and met Jill back at the hotel at 7AM to get her warmed up for the 8K race she was going to run. They had almost 2500 runners in that race. Jill wanted to break 50 minutes and she smashed it with 47:17, and I am very proud of her! I ran it with her and she did awesome! She was racing her friend in Austin, Laura Nye, who was doing a 5 mile race at the same time. Laura had her game face on and beat her, running 45:41.

After the 8K, we had a quick breakfast then headed on over for the start of the kids 1K run. They had over 900 kids on a perfect morning for running! We then went down to the finish area and helped with making sure all the kids got paired back up with their parents.

We then spent some time at the finish line watching the marathoners and half marathoners come in.

Jill and I had a wonderful time and would like to thank everyone that made our visit such a special one! A very special thanks goes out to Rob Reid, Cathy, Laura, Brian and Norma, Steve King, and of course the great folks at New Balance for making our trip all possible!

If you're looking for a beautiful fall get away to run a marathon, the Royal Victoria Marathon is the place to be! Next year will be their 30th anniversary so I'm sure it will be extra special!

Here are all of the pictures that we took this weekend!

October 8, 2008

Team Spiridon

Last night for the second year in a row, I had the chance to spend time with Team Spiridon here in Austin. Rob Hill is the founder and director of Team Spiridon. Team Spiridon is a training group here in Austin that gets folks ready to compete in races from 5K's to marathons and triathlons!

Rob does a great job with this group and he is a huge supporter of the Dick Beardsley Foundation!

We met last night at a wonderful restaurant called Little Mexico 6:15 and headed out for a nice 3 mile room with many of the group including my wife Jill. It was a beautiful evening for a nice run!

After our run we enjoyed each others company and a great meal, then it was time for me to speak. My talk went well and I really appreciate everyone for coming out and supporting Rob and the Dick Beardsley Foundation!

After my talk I sold and signed copies of my book "Staying the Course" and had a nice visit with many of the members of Team Spiridon.

Many in the group are training to run the Austin Marathon in February, Team Spiridon members will also be raising money for two different charities, one of those being the Dick Beardsley Foundation! I can't tell you how much that means to Jill and I!

Thanks Rob and Team Spiridon for a wonderful evening, keep up the awesome work!

October 6, 2008

Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon

What a wonderful time I had at the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee! I arrived on Thursday afternoon and was picked up by race volunteer Dennis Wantland. Dennis made sure I got everywhere I needed to be during my visit. I can't thank Dennis and his wife Julie for everything they did for me, you talk about nice people!

Besides being in Milwaukee as their invited guest to speak, I also had been training all summer long to race the Lakefront Marathon, needless to say I was very excited, although my excitement to run was a little tempered because I had hurt my knee a couple of weeks before, not running, but goofing around in the Atlantic Ocean and I got hit in the right knee by a big wave! My doctor said I could give the race a try and see what happens, more on that later!

Friday I was up early for a nice easy 3 mile run as I was in my last couple of days tapering. It was then down to the lake front where I was greeted by 2000 Milwaukee elementary school kids who were there to get pumped up about leading a healthy active lifestyle! I, along with some others, got up on the stage and said a few words and then it was off for a mile and a half walk with all the kids, it was wonderful!

Friday afternoon I had the opportunity to speak a couple of times to a large group of students at Brookfield East High School and the boys and girls cross-country teams, the kids were super! A big thanks to teacher and Coach Kim who helped make it all possible!

After my high school talks it was back over the the Lakefront Marathon Expo and I gave a short talk along with Jen who is from the Detroit, Michigan area and has a written program for getting kids into a running program.

Friday night it was on to In-Step Running for a VIP reception for many of the team leaders who help with volunteering for the race. We had a wonderful time, I told a few stories, had pictures taken, and answered questions from the folks that were there.

Saturday morning Dennis picked me up at 6:30 and it was off to the local FOX TV station for a interview, then back to the expo center and a nice fun run with about 10 other folks for about 3 miles then off for my favorite meal of the day, breakfast!

Saturday afternoon I gave two different talks to a full house, sold and signed books and had a super time just chatting with people!

On Saturday evening it was out to supper with Dennis and Julie along with others including race director Kris Hinrichs. What a energized person Kris is! She along with her volunteers do a amazing job!

Sunday morning was the perfect day for a marathon! They were talking rain but not til later in the day. Dennis picked me up at 6:30 and off we went, north to the Grafton, Wisc. high school. The race started there and the school was open for everyone to get into before the race started.

At 8AM the gun was fired and off we went on a gorgeous morning! It was about 42 degrees, sunshine and no wind! I felt really good for the first 5-6 mile and was in a nice group of guys running 6:15-6:20 pace. By 7 miles my right knee started to really bother me, by 8 miles I noticed a limp, by 9 I'm really hobbling, and at 10 miles my day was done! Running means to much to me to try and hobble in just to finish and perhaps really wreck my knee, so I saw race volunteer Judy and she was kind enough to give me a ride back to my hotel.

The hot shower along with breakfast felt good, and then it was over to the finish area to help with the awards.

I had such a great time in Milwaukee! Thanks to everyone who made my trip there such a memorable one!

If any of you are looking for a great fall race, that is not too big, really well organized, and is run on a beautiful course, the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon is the one to run!

October 1, 2008

Lake Tahoe Marathon

Robert E. Decelle family. Mom Ludine, and her daughters, April and Karen

As you can see by the title, it says Lake Tahoe Marathon, that's only a small part of the great things happening there! I've known race director Les Wright for a number of years seeing him at many race expo's throughout the year. Last week I was the guest speaker at his races, what a wonderful time I had!

I flew from Austin into Reno, Nevada and then took a bus for the one and a half hour trip to South Lake Tahoe. I stayed at the Horizon Casino Resort which is in Nevada but only two blocks from California! It's a two hours time change so by the time I got in and unpacked I was whooped from traveling all day!

Wednesday morning it was up early for a track workout, I was a little worried about the altitude (6500 feet) and how it would affect my workout. I wore my heart rate monitor and to my surprise, it was like I was running back home in Austin! (It really hit me the next day though!) After my track work out I went to Les's home where I did a fun run on the mountain trails with Les and a bunch of other runners that were in town, it was gorgeous!

The rest of Wednesday was spent walking around town and doing a little sightseeing.

Thursday morning I was up early for a nice run, and my quads were killing me! It felt like I had just got done running a downhill marathon! I was later told by my good friend Bart Yasso from Runners World Magazine that because I had done a hard workout the day before in high altitude that's why my quads felt the way they did, makes sense to me! After my morning run I quickly jumped into the car and went to the local golf course where I was the invited guest to play 18 holes of speed golf! In speed golf you can carry up to 3 clubs and you run the course. I played with just one club (5 iron) and at 9AM I took my first shot and off I went! It was the most fun I'd ever had playing golf! It took me just a little over 45 minutes and I shot 116 for 18 holes, I should play golf like that all the time!

Thursday evening I was the guest speaker at the "Triple Marathon" banquet. What's the Triple Marathon you might be asking? On Friday they run a marathon, on Saturday they run a marathon, then on Sunday they run their last one as part of the regular Lake Tahoe Marathon! Then there was the Super Triple......a marathon Friday, marathon Saturday, then at midnight Saturday they ran the entire 72 miles around Lake Tahoe!!!

My talk went very well and I had everyone laughing and nice and loose for their big endeavor over the next few days.

Friday was another nice sightseeing day for me, the Lake Tahoe area is stunning in its beauty!

Saturday I gave two different talks at the race expo then on Saturday night was a guest on the "Pasta Cruise" out on Lake Tahoe for the runners....incredible! While at one of my talks I met April Carter along with her sister Karen and their mom Ludine. We got to talking about things and I find out that her dad is Robert E. Decelle, it made the hair on the back of my head stand up and I got goose bumps! In 1982 I was awarded the Robert E. Decelle Award for the outstanding distance runner in the United States. That award has always meant a lot to me but even more now that I know who the man really is and what its all about! Here is a little information on Robert E. Decelle and his brave son, I'm very touched!

Captain Robert DeCelle Jr.
Robert Jr.

Born in 1945, Bobby was always active in a variety of activities. He earned his Eagle Scout award, outstanding track runner for Alameda High School, running 1:58 in 880 and 4:20 for the mile. He served as a Missionary to Japan for the LDS church and upon his return was drafted into the army in 1966. Bobby graduated from Officers Candidate school in 1967, attended flight schools for helicopters in 1968. In 1970 he was assigned to So. Vietnam, where he was awarded the Bronze Star with 5 palms.

On February 15, 1971 while attempting to draw fire away from ground troops, his helicopter came under heavy fire. Though he was critically wounded, he managed to fly from the scene, saving his crew members and his helicopter. He was awarded the Silver Star, National Order of Vietnam, and the Purple Heart award. He passed away February 21, 1971 in Bien Hoa due to complications from his injuries. The Lake Tahoe Relay was then named in his memory.

Vietnam fort named in honor of Robert Jr.
Robert DeCelle Sr. Marking the Course

Robert E. De Celle, Sr. Robert E. De Celle Sr., De Celle Memorial Tahoe Relay founder and president, passed away in 1997, two weeks after the 33rd annual relay had taken place. He was 78 years old. Bob was an active participant in the sport of running for all of his adult life. His interest was kindled when he discovered the running talent of his son. Robert, Jr., for whom the Relay was named, after he died of wounds received in Vietnam.

He began a long career in the administrative areas in U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country through many position in the AAU. Some of his accomplishments included: Traveling over 10,000 miles to measure and certify courses, such as the Dipsea, and reinstating the Bay-to Breakers. He increased the number of long distance events from 10 to 46 in the PA AAU, and campaigned to allow women to compete in distance events.

Bob was an Administrative Assistant at the 1968 & 1972 Olympic Games, Team leader to World Cross Country Championships in Morocco and South East Asia, and Liaison Officer to the Pan American games in Columbia. He was meet Director for the Oakland Indoor Invitational, and the list goes on…

Bob was also active his entire adult life in the Boy Scouts of America, earning his Silver Beaver, and in improving his beloved city of Alameda, Ca.

The De Celle family feel that Bob's most significant contribution to running was his devotion to high school athletes and their programs, in improving the quality of these programs, and in making sure that the high school arena had a voice in the sport at large.
Bob's spirit and influence will live on in the De Celle Memorial Tahoe Relays in this year, and in the years to come. We will miss him!

Bob's daughter April Carter will serve as the race director.

What a incredible family!

Sunday morning it was up early for a nice 12 mile trail run in the forest and then time for me to take the bus back to Reno for my flight home.

My huge thanks goes out to Les and his staff for the wonderful time I had! I once put on a 10K race years ago and said never again, that's a lot of work!

For Les and his staff that would be like going on a vacation! Here is a list of the events they put on over a period of 3 days:

Friday: Kayak and Swim
Saturday: Bike, Tahoe Triple, Tahoe Super, Triple A la Cart and Marathon
Sunday: 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, 20 Miler, Marathon, 72 Mile Ultra, Triple Marathon,
Marathon Relay, Swim Triathalon and Kayak Triathlon

Thanks again Les, keep up the great work you do promoting health and fitness, you are a true winner and inspiration!