March 27, 2009

Thames Valley School District Talks, London, Ontario, Canada

London, Ontario is a beautiful city located about halfway between Detroit, Michigan and Toronto, Canada. Like London, England, it's located on the Thames River. I arrived in London on Tuesday and Chris McCrady, the Vice-Principal at West Elgin Secondary School picked my up and took me to my hotel, the Spencer Conference Center. I took a short nap, then headed for the fitness center for a workout. Chris picked me back up at 6pm and we had a wonderful supper with some friends of his. One of the folks there, Jerry, was such a fun guy to talk with! He is a walking encyclopedia of running over the years! Friends of mine, Paul and Cathy Roberts who own Runners Choice specialty running store along with their son, Matthew were also there. I was in London a few years ago to speak at the London Marathon that Paul directs, it was wonderful to see them again!

Chris picked my back up early Wednesday morning, we stopped and had a nice breakfast in a small town cafe on our way to West Elgin School. I spoke for a hour to around 600 kids and faculty, my talk went very well and the kids were awesome! After my talk, it was back to the hotel for a short break and then onto Beal High School, it's a large tech school in the heart of London. I spoke to around 1000 kids in a beautiful auditorium, once again my talk went very well and the kids were wonderful!

After some down time at the hotel, I gave my final talk of the day that evening that was open to the public. We had a great turnout, my talk went very well. Afterwards, I signed New Balance cards and chatted with folks for over a hour, what a nice bunch of people!

Thursday morning I gave my last talk of my trip to the students and faculty at Park Dale High School. Once again I was fortunate that my talk went well, and once again the kids were awesome!

It was then onto the airport for my trip back home to Austin. A huge thank you to Chris McCrady who set my whole trip up and shuttled me everywhere I needed to be! Also a big thanks to all the schools that I spoke at, the students, and Paul and Cathy Roberts, along with New Balance.

I had a wonderful time and I sure look forward to my next trip to London, Ontario!

March 17, 2009

Dick Beardsley Marathon Running Camp

Hi everyone!
Just wanted to let you know that registration is now open for the 8th annual Dick Beardsley Marathon Running Camp held at Rainbow Resort in beautiful Northern Minnesota lakes country! We only take 35 campers and it fills up quite quickly! Jan Seeley of Marathon & Beyond is our Camp Director and does a fantastic job of putting on a great camp! It's held in early September when the bugs are gone and we get nice mild days and nice cool nights! Running in the north woods is breathtaking! Like one of our campers said a few years ago "I came to Dick's camp to become a better runner, I left a better person" It's a running camp like no other! If you'd like more information please check out the brochure.

Take care and I hope to see you in September!

March 16, 2009

Pole, Pedal, and Pant Winter Triathlon

I left Fargo Friday morning and headed to Lake Park, Minnesota which is about 40 miles east of Fargo on Hwy 10. My very close friends Bud and Judy Buchta live on a small farm just north of Lake Park and they are like family to me! I stopped into say hello and we enjoyed catching up with each other along with their son Steve who stopped in. It was then on to the Twin Cities!

I was invited by Amy Xu the race director and a good friend to help announce at the Pole Pedal Pant Winter Triathlon, held at Elm Creek Park Reserve. I arrived into the Twin Cities around 5pm, worked out at the fitness center then headed for the park for a meeting of all those involved.

After our meeting I grabbed a quick bite to eat and then headed to Amy's house or at least that's where I thought I was! I pulled into their driveway around 9pm, drug my big ole suitcase up to the front door and rang the doorbell, no one answered so I started knocking on the door, still no one answered. I called Amy on my cell phone and she was surprised Mike was not home yet. She told me to hang tight and she would call Mike. To make a long story short, I was at the neighbors house not theirs! That wasn't the first time that has happened to me! We all had a good laugh and then it was off to bed.

Saturday morning I was up real early to workout and then headed to the park to start my announcing. They had close to a 100 entrants that XC skied 10k, biked for 7k, then ran 7k all out on the snowy trails through the park. It was a beautiful day and everyone had a great time!

A big thanks to Mike and Amy who's hospitality is second to none!

March 14, 2009

The Dick Beardsley Running Company

The day before I left for North Dakota, a huge blizzard shut down the interstate from Fergus Falls, Minnesota to Jamestown, North Dakota! They had a foot of snow and winds of 50 mph! I didn't think I'd be able to make it when I landed in Minneapolis on Wednesday for my drive to Fargo, North Dakota. I should have known better! I lived in the area for 50 years and there is no one better then clearing the roads then the Minnesota DOT! I had clear sailing all the way to Fargo but boy was there ever a lot of snow, especially when you got about 100 miles NW of the Twin Cities!

I arrived to Fargo around 4pm, went to our store, the Dick Beardsley Running Company, then went next door and worked out at the fitness center. That evening we had dinner and a meeting with all of the owners, and the great news is the store is doing real well! We will be open 2 years now in April.

When I'm up at the store, I always stay with my good friends Greg and Stephanie Hammes (also part owners) they have three of the nicest cutest daughters you'd ever meet, it's always great to see them!

Thursday morning Greg and I were up early to meet the runners at our store at 5:30, over 20 runners showed up on a morning that was 21 degrees below zero! Since I'm still recovering from my total knee replacement, I ran on the treadmill as I didn't want to slip on the snow and ice, plus living in Texas now, my blood hadn't had a chance to thicken up and it felt to me like it was a 121 degrees below zero!

After our runs I had two radio interviews to do that morning. Thursday evening I gave a talk to our Fargo Marathon/Half Marathon training group. We had a great turnout and afterwards I signed books and took pictures with lots of folks, it was a fun evening!

Thanks to everyone in the Fargo area and especially the folks at the Dick Beardsley Running Company for making my trip such a fun one!

March 7, 2009

The Texas Independence Relay

I had the opportunity to travel to the nice town of Gonzalas, Texas on March 6th to give a talk before the start of the Texas Independence Relay, a 8-12 person relay team that runs from Gonzalas to Houston, Texas, a span of about 200 miles. Joy and Jay Hilscher are the race directors and started this race last year. I'm sure it will continue to grow and grow!

I spoke at the registration area the afternoon before the race in this neat old courthouse. I was there on behalf of Mark Connell who owns Nubound. I've been taking this recovery supplement for a few years now and it really does help you recover faster from hard workouts or races. Since I was on at 3pm, I will be honest with you, there were not a lot of folks in attendance at that time of day as the pasta dinner didn't start till around 7. Saying that, I had a great group of folks from the Houston area who got there early and came to listen and they were a fun bunch! I told a few stories, answered some questions, and then we all took a group picture.

A big thanks to Mark Connell, Joy and Jay Hilscher, and the folks from Houston for making my trip to Gonzalas Texas a fun one!

March 6, 2009

The New Balance Michigan Summit

After Napa, Jill and I were to fly home from San Francisco, but with the rainy weather in San Francisco our flight got delayed to Denver and we would miss the one flight that evening from Denver back to Austin. I made a quick call to Dave Shelbourne at New Balance and got the OK to fly directly from Denver to Detroit. So after a night in Denver I was on my way to Detroit.

New Balance rep Ken Larschfield picked up myself along with Dave, Claire Wood, Eric Vassall, and Tera Linafelter all of New Balance. On our hour and a half ride to Lansing, Ken had picked up some sandwiches for all of us to eat on the way. With all the luggage and 6 people in the Tahoe we were packed in there tightly!

We arrived at Playmakers, a specialty running store, around 2:30pm. I'd been there once before and talk about a awesome store with awesome employees, Playmakers is it! We met with some of the top folks at Playmakers and Dave, Claire, Eric, and Tera did there magic about New Balance shoes and clothing, they really know their stuff! Afterwards we all went out for a nice supper and then headed back to the store where it was my turn to speak.

I signed books and New Balance posters for about a hour and my cousin Sue and her husband Tom drove from Cheasaning, Michigan to hear me speak, what a wonderful surprise it was to see them! Curt and Brian and the rest of the crew really know how to promote an event! We had a packed house for my talk which went well! Afterwards I signed more books and posters and then we headed for our hotel.

Wednesday morning I was up early to workout and then we headed for Grand Rapids, Michigan to meet with Ken Sung and his staff at Gazelle Sports. WOW, what another wonderful store with awesome people! Wednesday night I gave a talk at Celebration Cinema to a full house, and my talk went really well! Afterwards they watched the movie "Spirit of the Marathon" then after that I signed books and New Balance posters, took pictures and talked to folks attending the event, what a wonderful evening we all had!

Thursday morning I was up early to workout and then we headed back to Gazelle Sports for breakfast and the New Balance presentation to the staff. Now it was off for the Detroit area and Hanson's Running Store in Royal Oak, Michigan to meet with owners Kevin and Keith Hanson. I've known Kevin and Keith for a number of years and spoke at their store a couple of years ago. They are so enthusiastic about the sport of running and over the years have put their own hard earned money into the Hanson/Brooks Distance Project. They have given a number of post collegiate runners, men and women a chance to continue there running by offering free housing and insurance, a job, coaching, travel, gear, and so on. They have been very successful at what they do and last year produced Olympic Marathoner, Brian Sell. We had a great lunch together and then went to their store and chatted for a bit before it was time to leave for the airport to catch our flights home.

I'd like to give a big thanks to Playmakers, Gazelle Sports, the Hanson's, and Dave, Ken, Eric, Tera, and Clair from New Balance for making my trip so enjoyable!

March 2, 2009

Minnesota and Washington and California Oh My!

My goodness its been awhile since I wrote on my blog, sorry about that! On Monday February 23 I flew to Minneapolis, then drove to Eveleth, Minnesota arriving there around 6pm. Tuesday morning I gave a talk to the students and faculty at East Range Academy of Technology and Science, the students were wonderful and had lots of good questions after my talk. After speaking, I headed back to the Twin Cities and stayed with my sister Sheila and her family, its always nice to see them!

Wednesday I checked into the Millennium Hotel in downtown Minneapolis and that night gave a talk at the Land O'Lakes annual meeting. I got to see my old boss Gary Weber, for a year back in the late 80's, I was a Livestock Production Specialist for Land O'Lakes and worked in the Volga, South Dakota area. Since that time Gary has moved up in the company and continues to do a great job for Land O Lakes! My talk went very well and afterwards I signed a bunch of my books that Land O'Lakes had bought for the folks that were there, all in all it was a very fun night!

Thursday morning I was up early to work out and then onto the airport to catch my 6am flight to Spokane, Washington. I arrived around 10:30am and my good friend Don Kardong picked me up at the airport and took me to my hotel where I checked in and then took a nap, I was whooped! Don, who was a 4th place finisher at the 1976 Olympic Marathon is also the race director of the huge Lilac Bloomsday Run held in early May, they usually have over 50,000 runners every year! Thursday evening Don picked me up along with a friend and we went out and had a great supper, I had ribs and were they ever good! After supper it was time to head to the high school and deliver my talk. They had a nice turnout and my talk went well! It was now time to get back to the hotel and get to bed as I had a very early flight the next morning!

Friday morning I was up at 3am to workout at the fitness center, then grabbed a shuttle to the airport at 4:30 to catch a flight for San Francisco.

I was heading to Napa, CA to speak at the Napa Valley Marathon, and the great thing was, Jill was coming in from Austin and would meet me at the airport! I got in around 1:30pm and saw a message on my phone from Jill, their flight from Austin was canceled and they would be in later.

Jill along with John and Stacey Conley who were special guests of the Napa Valley Marathon arrived around 4pm and I was waiting with our rental car for the ride to Napa. For some reason even with my Garmin I always have trouble getting to the Golden Gate Bridge, I finally got there and it was worth all the missed turns, as crossing the bridge it was kind of foggy and cloudy, it was gorgeous!

We arrived to Napa around 7pm and went right to the restaurant to meet our good friends Paul Martin and his wife Patti and Janet Cain and her husband David. We all had a great time and shared lots of laughs and stories! We got back to the hotel late and needless to say were very tired so we went straight to bed to get some rest for the busy weekend.

The Napa Valley Marathon is one of the best races you could ever be part of! They cap the race at 2,300 runners and it's held on the old Silverado Trail from Calistoga to Napa. The road is closed to traffic and the many volunteers and aid stations along with the stunning views makes it one of my all time favorite races! I got up early Saturday morning and worked out at the fitness center, my knee seems to be getting stronger every day and can handle more and more work. Jill and I then had a nice breakfast with the John and Stacey and met some of our wonderful friends we see every year at Napa. I then spent about a hour and a half at the Marathon & Beyond booth signing books, taking pictures, and chatting with the runners at the expo. At 1pm, I was the keynote speaker and we had a fun time telling some funny stories to a packed house. Afterwards I helped with the incredible gift baskets they raffle off and then it was back to Marathon and Beyond for another hour and a half.

Jill and I were in the 6:30 pm sitting for the pasta dinner, one of the best pasta dinners you will find anywhere! It was fun talking with everyone and listening to some funny stories from folks. It was time for some shut eye after that as we had a early morning wakeup call.

I was up very early Sunday morning to workout and then we headed for the starting line on a cloudy rainy but fairly warm morning. The race started right at 7am. Jill and I then drove our car to the different cross roads along the route to cheer on the runners as they came by. Luckily we were able to buy a couple of umbrellas at a gas station or we would have really gotten soaked! My good friend Mary Coordt won the women's race for a third time and ran around 2:48, Peter Gilmore running the race for the first time and only as a long hard run, won the race in around 2:22. Peter is getting ready for a spring marathon and he really looked good coming across the finish line. Peter is a 2:12 marathoner and he wasn't even breathing hard when he came in.

Sunday afternoon all the invited guests headed up to a bed and breakfast for the night where we also had a wonderful dinner with all of the Napa Valley Marathon board. One of the invited guest was my very good friend Rob Reid and his wife Joan from Victoria BC, Rob, who is the race director of the Royal Victoria Marathon and I are like brothers so it was really good to see him again!

Jill and I would like to thank so very much Rich Benyo, David Hill and the entire Napa Valley Marathon board for the wonderful time we had, keep up the AWESOME work you do!

Here are the pictures from the Napa Valley Marathon.