November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Ramblings

As I sit at our kitchen table a couple of days after Thanksgiving, my how much I have to be thankful for! I have been running for over 35 years now, not once have I ever taken my running for granted, I’ve always felt I’ve been given this incredible gift and I thank the good Lord every day for it! As planned, I headed in for surgery on my right knee (the 10th on that knee) on November 17, I hurt my knee not from running but from getting hit by a wave in the Atlantic Ocean back in September.

I had my surgery; the surgery itself went very well. November 18, Jill and I celebrated our one year anniversary. Life is good. The next day I went back to the doctor and things looked great! I had my first meeting with my physical therapist and that went great, was even able to pedal the stationary bike all the way around without much of a problem. As each day went by I felt better and better, I was biking more, walking a couple of miles a day, I could bend the knee almost as much as my left one. I was beginning to think that it won’t be but two or three more weeks and I will be back out running again, life was good!......And then came Saturday.

My best friend of thirty years, Mike Dunlap and his wife Karen flew down to Austin to visit my wife Jill and I. They had never been here before and Mike who at one time was a 2:18 marathoner, was now a big time cyclist, needless to say he was excited to be here out of the cold of Sioux Falls, South Dakota to get a few good miles on the bike!

By Saturday afternoon I noticed my right knee getting sore and puffy, I just figured I’d been up on it too much the past couple of days. Saturday night I barely could sleep as my knee kept getting swelled up and more painful by the minute! Sunday I spent most of the day on the couch, Sunday night was brutal! I could not get comfortable at all, I could hardly wait until morning so I could call the doctor and get in to see him. My wife Jill left early that morning for work, and I tried not to let her see the agony I was in, she has always said she is the worrier of the family, but my knee was the last thing I wanted to have her worrying about!

Monday morning I could barely move, I could put absolutely no weight on my right leg at all, my knee was swollen up like a large softball. When I had my farm accident back in 1989, I went through something similar, this time though the pain was even worse! Mike and Karen got me to the doctor’s clinic on their way to the airport, Jill met us at the clinic. By this point I was hurting so bad, I was crying! If you know me, you know I can cry about most anything sentimental, but not over pain. They wheeled me right into a room and my PA, checked things out and immediately numbed up the knee as best she could and withdrew 60cc’s of some nasty looking stuff from my knee. They had to do that same procedure three days in a row, 60 cc’s each day. They put me on some heavy duty anti-inflammatory, but that did nothing, each day it would swell all back up and the pain was excruciating!

The lab results were not showing any type of infection, but with no relief from the anti-inflammatory meds, on Wednesday they injected a cortisone shot directly into the knee, no relief from that either.

Thanksgiving night we got a text from my doctorand he had talked about taking me back into surgery but wanted more confirmation from the lab, that would be available Friday morning.

Jill received a phone call from my doctor Friday morning, and it wasn’t the best of news, yes I had an infection growing in my knee! Friday afternoon they wheeled me back into surgery (now the 11th on that knee, for anyone that is counting besides me) to clean out the infected knee and they put heavy duty antibiotics right into the joint. Now for three weeks I will have the antibiotics delivered right into my body via a Picc Line, kinda like an IV in your arm.
Infections are never a good thing but especially ones you get inside your joints, can problems arise from such a thing, yes they can and it can be very serious, do I worry about what might happen? Nope, I will cross that bridge if and when the time comes, if we were to sit and worry about all the possible things that could happen to us each and every day, what kind of life would that be?
What am I thinking about during this trying time? I think about how fortunate I am to be able to wake up each morning and see the sunrise, to enjoy our pet finches sing to their hearts content like today is the best day ever, to have our dog Sophie give me her loving nudge or our cat Tigger sit on my chest purring like she’s in heaven, I think about the wonderful friends and people I don’t even know who have me in their thoughts and prayers, to my son Andrew who is serving our country in the United States Army, I think about how its going to feel back out on another run down on Lady Bird Trail, and I think about how fortunate I am to have my loving wife Jill by my side 24/7, she is my light at the end of the tunnel.

November 17, 2008

Rock & Roll San Antonio Marathon

Khalid Khannouchi
Jay Hilsher

Roger Soler

Frank, Khalid and Dick

WOW, is all I can say for the very first Rock & Roll Marathon in San Antonio! The Rock and Roll Marathons have been around for a few years now held in various cities around the country and have drawn huge crowds in a very fun atmosphere. Not only is it open for runners of all abilities, it also attracts a good elite field of men and women. A little over a year ago Rock and Roll decided to have one of their events in San Antonio, they said right off the get go that they would have 15,000 runners for the half and full marathon, that's huge, especially for a first time event! They didn't come close to that number, they had over 24,000 official starters, incredible!

My wife Jill and I drove down from Austin on Thursday evening and checked into our hotel. I was there on behalf of the New Balance Shoe Co. to give a few talks and also sign posters, bib numbers, have pictures taken, and so on at the New Balance booth, we had a wonderful time!

I attended the press conference and was asked to come up on stage with Gold Medalist, Frank Shorter, and former world record holder, Khalid Khannouchi. My old friend Tony Reavis was the MC and asked us questions about the state of running today and other running related questions.

My talks went well, and each talk was proceeded by my good friend Bart Yasso from Runners World Magazine. After Bart's talk, Bart would introduce me, he's a tough act to follow!

I also had a great visit with Roger Soler. Roger owns several running stores in the San Antonio area, Soler's Sports, and he has a great set up at the expo. He puts on several area events, including Sunmart, which is Texas Trail Endurance Run, which is either a 50 miler or 50k, your choice. This has always been in the back of my head to do.

Jill does a great job of taking pictures with folks and making sure they receive them, she also helps with my book sales, what a pleasure to have her with me at some of my speaking engagements!

Sunday morning was perfect for weather for a marathon, sunshine, cool, and no wind!

Thanks San Antonio for putting on such a wonderful event, keep up the great work!

November 13, 2008

The Running Event

Jim Davis, Dick Beardsley and Dave Shelbourne
Bart Yasso, Dick Beardsley and John Bingham

The Running Event, is usually held in Austin, Texas every year, but because the Austin Convention Center was unavailable this year, it was moved to Dallas, the folks in Dallas did a great job!

The Running Event is a convention held each November for owners and managers of specialty running stores around the country. I'm one of the owners of the Dick Beardsley Running Company store in Fargo, ND. We were the very first running specialty store in the whole state of North Dakota! With many things that I have my name attached to, I get way too much credit for its success! All of our partners work so hard and do such a incredible job, I couldn't be more proud of a group of people!

I arrived Sunday evening after the Fort Worth Marathon and checked into the Adolphus Hotel in downtown Dallas, what a gorgeous hotel! I picked up my good friend Dave Shelbourne from the New Balance Shoe Co. at the airport and we drove right to Bob and Rebbecca Wallace's home for a little get together. Bob and Rebbecca own one of the top running stores in the entire country, called Run On!

Monday morning I was up bright and early to go for a run, I met Thom Abrams from Superfeet and we hooked up for a nice 5 mile run. The rest of Monday was attending different seminars and seeing lots of old friends I hadn't seen for quite sometime. Monday evening I was heading back to the airport to pick up Greg Hammes and Greg Liebl, (we call him Junior), two of my good friends and partners in our running store. It was raining so hard that I had to turn back! I was able to get a hold of the Greg and they were able to take a cab to the hotel.

Tuesday morning it was up early for a nice 8 mile run with Greg and Junior, it was then onto another busy day of meetings. At 4pm, it was back to the airport to pick up my wife, Jill. She was flying in to attend the special Hall of Fame Banquet set for Tuesday night.

The Hall of Fame Banquet was wonderful! Jim Davis the owner of the New Balance Shoe Company was one of 3 people inducted into The Running Event Hall of Fame, they could not have inducted a more deserving person! I first met Jim back in the summer of 1980, he is the same wonderful person today as he was the first time I met him 28 years ago!

Wednesday morning I took Jill to the airport at 6AM for her flight home, she was back at work by 8! That morning they had a 5K road race for all the attendees, our own Greg Liebl (Junior) took second overall (15:30) and first among store owners, way to go Junior!!!

Wednesday was the opening of the incredible expo they put on! We got to see all the latest in running shoes and gear, much of it not even on the market yet! I spent about 3 hours that afternoon in the New Balance booth signing special posters New Balance had made up for me to sign.

Afterwards, it was time for me to pack up and head for home to get ready to head to San Antonio for the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon. I'd like to give a big thanks to Dave Shelbourne and New Balance for making my trip to The Running Event all possible, I had a great time!

November 10, 2008

Fort Worth Marathon

The Fort Worth Marathon is a brand new event, thanks to race director Steve Looney. Steve is a massage therapist in the Fort Worth area and has a organization called Run Like a Cheetah Training Program. This organization targets childhood obesity in Tarrant County public schools. by providing after-school running programs to promote health and fitness.

I arrived to the Fort Worth Hilton Hotel on Saturday afternoon, I parked my car across from the hotel, checked in, and then rested for a couple of hours before I went and spoke at the pasta dinner. I came out of the hotel around 5:45 to get into my car and head to the dinner, when I came out, my car was gone!!! I thought maybe I had come out the wrong side of the hotel, but nope, it was the right one.

I headed across the street and the manager of Del Frisco restaurant owner pointed to a sign that said "No Parking" I was parked a half block down the other direction where there was no sign. To make a long story short, it cost me $245 to get my car out of the impound lot!

The pasta dinner was nice, a small crowd with lots of great food! I gave a talk to the folks and it all went very well.

Sunday morning was cool and clear, a great day to run! All of the start and finish activities were at the LaGrave Field, which is the Fort Worth Cats baseball field, it was a super location for everything! At exactly 8AM the gun was fired and the 150 or so runners took off in either the half or the full marathon. I ran the half easy as I'm heading in for knee surgery on November 17. The race took a loop around the inside of the stadium and then off we went onto the trail system along the river. It is a very pretty course that is mostly flat as a pancake.

There was lots of good post race food and drink and they gave in a random drawing $1000 and $500!

The Fort Worth Marathon is a great little event that will continue to grow and be a staple in the Fort Worth running community! A big thanks to Steve Looney for putting on a fun well organized race that I look forward to years to come!

November 6, 2008

New England Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association Sports Conference

I flew to Providence, Rhode Island on Wednesday to speak at the New England Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association Sports Conference. I arrived around 4:30 PM and took a short shuttle ride to the downtown Providence Hilton Hotel. I had been traveling all day, so I had a nice dinner and then watched the election returns on television. No matter who you voted for it was truly a historic event, one that I will never forget!

Wednesday morning I was up early for a beautiful 8 mile run through the Brown University campus and the surrounding neighborhoods, I can't tell you how beautiful New England is in the fall!

After my run, a quick shower and breakfast, I had time to go over what I was going to speak about at the noontime luncheon where I was the keynote speaker. After a nice lunch with many of the attendees, I delivered a one hour talk that went very well. I stayed afterwards just long enough to shake peoples hands and say my thank you's and then it was off for the airport as I had a flight back home to Austin at 4PM. It was a very quick but also a very enjoyable trip to Providence!

I want to thank Executive Director, Jan Woodman along with the NEHRSA Board of Directors, for inviting me to speak at their annual fall conference, keep up the great work you all do in promoting fitness and leading a healthy, active, lifestyle!

November 3, 2008

Bass Pro Shops Fitness Festival

Bill Rodgers, Brian Correll and me!
Brian Correll, looking very strong!

Beautiful countryside

I flew from Rapid City, South Dakota on Thursday and got into Springfield, MO at around 7:30 PM. My good friend Danny Correll and his daughter Hannah picked me and Frank Shorter up at the airport and took us to our hotel, needless to say, I was very tired and pretty much went right to bed.

Friday morning I was up early and Danny picked me up and took me to the local CBS TV station for a early morning interview about the Bass Pro Fitness Festival. I wore my running clothes and did a 8 mile run back to my hotel after my interview. Around noon, Danny picked me up and took me to Hannah's high school, Rogersville High where I delivered a one hour talk to the entire student body, the kids were absolutely super! After my talk to it was back over to Bass Pro's World Headquarters where I hung out with Bob Woods and Andrea, both work with New Balance . I chatted with folks, signed a few autographs, and had some pictures taken.

At 6PM, I attended the Missouri Valley Conference XC Banquet along with my ole friends Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, and Jeff Galloway.

Saturday morning was the Bass Pro Fitness Festival 5 & 10K road races, hundreds of folks were there on a beautiful morning for running. Because of my injured knee (having surgery on it on Nov.17) I couldn't race but I ran the 10K and had wonderful time running with everyone!

After a quick breakfast, I was back to Bass Pro to help with the awards ceremony along with Frank, Bill, and Jeff. Saturday I gave a informal "round table" talk with runners and it was really a good time!

Saturday evening I made a appearance at the Team n' Training get together and then headed back over for the pasta dinner. Bass Pro put on the free dinner for all the runners and many took advantage of this great meal. I gave about a 20 minute talk and had people all revved up to run the next morning!

Sunday morning was another great fall morning to run! Today they had the full marathon and the half, I ran the half at about a 7 minute/mile pace and felt good up until around 9 miles and then my right knee really started to bother me! Can't hardly wait to get it fixed!

Sunday afternoon was the awards ceremony and all of us invited guests helped with that, signed autographs, sold books, had pictures taken, and chatted with many of the runners.

This was the second year of the Bass Pro Shop's Fitness Festival and it was bigger and better then last year! They have a great event going here and I expect it to continue to grow in the years ahead!

A huge thank you goes out to Carol and Martin from Bass Pro, Bob and Andrea from New Balance, and Danny , Hannah, and Brian Correll for making my weekend such a fun one!