February 22, 2009

6 week post knee replacement surgery

Hi everyone one, time for a update as I just saw my surgeon Dr. Matt Heinrich this past Friday. They took x-rays for the first time since surgery and everything looks great!

I can pretty do everything like a normal person now. I walk without a limp, can go up and down stairs like you should be able to, I "run" on the elliptical machine, do weights, power walk with nordic poles, and have been doing quite a bit of biking. In fact today I did a 35 mile ride and felt quite good! Sure feels good to work out again and get back into shape! I haven't tried running yet but as I continue to work on strengthening my right quad, I hope to give a try in the next few weeks.

Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers, I really appreciate it! Have a great day!

February 19, 2009

Austin Runners Club Winter Party

On Wednesday evening my wife Jill and I along with our good friend Laura Nye went to the Winter Party of the Austin Runner's Club held at Fiddlers Hearth in Austin. What a great time that was had by all! Our good friend Clemmie Cummins sat with us and we had lots of fun visiting with everyone and enjoying a great meal. After dinner the Dick Beardsley Foundation was presented with a check for $1,000.00! In December the Austin Runners Club hosted the Decker Half Marathon and the Double Decker Marathon, and the Dick Beardsley Foundation was the beneficiary of the folks that ran the Double Decker. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the generous donation to the Dick Beardsley Foundation. It will be of huge benefit in helping those fighting the terrible disease of chemical dependency!

February 16, 2009

Austin Marathon

What a wonderful event the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon is! I first was invited to speak at the Austin Marathon back in 2004 and if my memory serves me correctly this was my 4th time to speak here. This was the first year they did not have a title sponsor but as always race directors John and Stacey Conley put on another great race! I spoke at the expo on Friday afternoon to a full house and my talk went well. I then spent the next hour in Jan Seeley's and Rich Benyo's Marathon & Beyond magazine booth selling my book, Staying the Course, a Runner's Toughest Race, signing New Balance cards and posters, and taking pictures with folks, it was a lot of fun! That evening at the Hyatt was the VIP get together and I was there with my wife Jill and we had fun mingling with lots of people.

After a good workout on the elliptical machine early Saturday morning Jill and I headed for the expo where from 10-11am I spent time in the Marathon and Beyond booth, afterwards I spent the next hour and a half at the New Balance booth that was part of Hill Country Running Company's booth. I so enjoy speaking to people and hearing their stories about their running and what they were hoping for in the marathon or half marathon. After that I went to the other end of the expo and spent time with New Balance rep Len Chatwin and again signing things for people and chatting about running. After my hour and a half there, I had a hour to get my head together for my final talk at the expo. My talk went well to a full house and afterwards it was back to the Marathon and Beyond booth for the final hour of the expo. After my time there I had to skedaddle back over the the Hyatt for the annual Austin Marathon pasta dinner. Myself along with my good friend Bart Yasso of Runner's World Magazine, told a couple of stories, we introduced the veterans that had run all previous 17 Austin Marathons and then it was on to race director John Conley for his final words before next mornings race.

Sunday morning Jill and I were up early to get over to the Stephen F. Austin Hotel where Jill was in charge of the VIP area. People could buy tickets with part of the proceeds going to the Dick Beardsley Foundation, they could leave their clothing there, get something to drink and eat, and then afterwards could come back to a great breakfast or lunch, get a massage and meet with family and friends. Thanks to everyone of the volunteers that helped make the VIP area so special.

The race started at 7am and I was fortunate to be able to ride in the lead vehicle to watch the race. Jeremy Borling, 28 of Chicago, saw the lead pack move away from him after the first mile, but decided to run his own race. Later Borling learned that he was, in fact, already leading the marathon and that the pack ahead of him consisted solely of half-marathon runners. Borling, whose past achievements include a third-place finish at the 2005 Disney World Marathon, continued alone to win the 2009 Austin Marathon in 2:30:05. Local favorite and my good friend Gilbert Tuhabonye, who was the eighth place finisher at the 2004 Austin Marathon in 2:22:37 - during the days of big prize money, finished second in 2:31:58. Adam Nevens, 29 of Santa Monica CA, set a nearly ten minute PR!?! to finish third in 2:33:48.

Among the women, Elle Pishny, 23 of Durham NC, was the winner in 2:52:32. Nora Colligan, 26 of Austin who was the runner-up at the 2008 Nike Women's Marathon, finished second in 2:58:32. Maria Yamin, 44 of Mexico who was 17th in 2:49:47 at the 2006 Austin Marathon, finished third in 2:58:32.

I do need to mention that I had two athletes that I coach, George Uribe set a new Personal Best by 3 minutes with a time of just a tad over 3:09 and Stephen Fuentes ran the half and did a Personal Best by 4 minutes with a 1:21. Way to go guys, I'm so very proud of both of you!

For you folks looking for a great winter marathon or half marathon to run, I promise you there is no better one then the Austin Marathon! A big thanks to John and Stacey Conley for having me back, keep up the awesome work your doing!

February 12, 2009

12th Anniversary of Sobriety

Today is a very special day for me as I celebrate my 12th anniversary of sobriety.
My sobriety means the world to me, with it I have everything in the world to live for, without it, I'm nothing. Has this past 12 years been a breeze? Not at all! In the early years it was always on my mind, would I make it or would I fail. As the years have gone by it has gotten easier but it is still my number one priority when I wake up in the morning! Recently I was tested big time. This past fall my right knee really started giving me lots of trouble. I had to go in for surgery to clean it out, unfortunately I came down with a bad infection, more surgery and lots of pain. I was given narcotic pain pills to help with the pain. The good thing is this time I was NOT in control of my medicine, my wife Jill had them and when I would need some she would dispense them out to me the way they were supposed to be taken. This time the doctors knew about my addiction and I was monitored very carefully. On January 7th I had a total knee replacement of my right knee, major surgery and more pain meds. Could I have gotten by without them? I suppose I could have but it would have been very difficult as the pain was relentless for the first 3 weeks after surgery. As the pain decreased I was able to use less and less pain meds, I'm happy to say that I no longer need the pain meds, only some ibuprofen or Tylenol from time to time. It was scary going back on the pain meds, but knowing the support I had surrounding me was very reassuring that everything would be OK. Over the years I have received so much support from so many people, I want to say thank you to all of you from the bottom of my heart. Your thoughts and prayer mean so much to me. I give my word that I will continue to do my best through the Dick Beardsley Foundation (www.dickbeardsleyfoundation.org) to get the word out about the terrible disease of chemical dependency, to work with all my passion to raise money to help those afflicted with a chemical dependency to get the treatment they need so they can get there lives back, to talk to our young kids about leading a healthy, active lifestyle, chemically free. This is my mission, we have a long way to go but with your help I am certain we can get it done. For those of you who would like to donate to the Dick Beardsley Foundation you can do that through our website. Please don't think for one minute that even one dollar won't help us, I promise you it will help tremendously!

Thank you for your kindness and continued support, I really appreciate it!

Have a great day "one day at a time"!

God Bless you all!


February 11, 2009

5 weeks post-op total knee replacement

Hi everyone,

Today is exactly 5 weeks out since I had my total knee replacement surgery of my right knee. Things have been going very well but I've really made some big improvements in the last three days! For the past two and a half weeks I've been able to workout on the elliptical machine without any problem at all. I've also been doing weights, worked on bending and straightening my leg, things like that. The worst part of the day has been the night time and trying to sleep! For some reason my knee would just throb terribly at night. It seemed like not only the knee my my quad muscle especially. I knew I had lost a lot of muscle in the quad and I was working hard trying to build it back up. When laying down that was when my knee hurt the worst. Finally all the hard work has paid off and for the last three nights I've actually slept quite well! I can now lay down without my knee hurting anymore! I can't begin to tell you what a relief that is! It gets a little stiff during the night from being in one position for so long, I do a little bending of the knee and that seems to really help.

Yesterday I actually got on my mountain bike and did a 40 minute bike ride! This morning I grabbed my Nordic Poles and did a 3 mile brisk power walk and felt very good, although my knee did start to tire towards the end of my walk. Needless to say I'm tickled pink about how things are progressing! I still have a lot of work left to do though. My physical therapist wants me to be able to bend it to at least 120 degrees, presently I'm at 115 degrees so that is good. I can now walk up and down stairs like a normal person and I can even sit on the floor and rest on my knees! My main work now is trying to get it to straighten out more. Ideally zero degrees is what everyone strives for but anything under 5 degrees is considered good. As of yesterday I'm at 14 degrees so that is a little disappointing but I'm working hard at it! I see the doctor next Friday, February 20. Hopefully I will have much better extension by then, if not the doctor may decide he might have to put me to sleep and manipulate the knee to break up any scar tissue that is keeping me from extending it, I will keep you posted on how things are going. Thanks to everyone who has sent me well wishes, thoughts and prayers, I really appreciate it! Have a great day!

Cruise to Run 2009

Jerry, Bart and Wallace Williams

Shoes for kids!

The ship in the background!

Wow, what a wonderful time my wife Jill and I had on the 2009 Cruise to Run! Jill and I flew from Austin to San Juan on Saturday, January 31, we arrived to our hotel around midnight and went right to bed. I woke early as my knee was not feeling the best and went for a nice walk along the ocean. Once Jill woke up we had a nice walk along the beautiful beach and found a nice place for breakfast. Once breakfast was over we walked around San Juan for a bit and then packed our bags and took a taxi to where our ship was docked.

I've never seen such a huge ship! It was over three football fields long and it weighed 113 thousand tons! That a ship that large can float is more amazing to me then how a plane can fly! Boarding the ship was very orderly and we got into our state room around 1 PM. The rooms on these ships are quite small but they were very nice. We were fortunate in that our room also had an outside balcony so it made the room seem larger.

Our hosts Jerry and Jody Friesen came by our room around 4pm along with Bart Yasso and his bride, Laura. I had only met Jerry a year earlier at the Toronto Marathon so it was wonderful to reintroduce ourselves and meet his wife Jody, they are wonderful people and were very excited to have us on board!

That evening we had a meet and greet with the rest of the Cruise to Run folks, over 300 in all! Besides myself and Bart, Lisa Bentley was also one of the invited speakers. I had the pleasure to meet Lisa and her husband Dave, great down to earth folks! Lisa and Dave are from Canada and she is a 11 time Ironman Champion!

We set sail that night at 11pm and were heading for Barbados. I had a patch I put behind my ear to prevent me from getting sea sick and it seemed to work. I have to admit though, there was very little rocking on this huge ship! We docked in Barbados early on Tuesday morning and Jerry and Jody had a wonderful very organized 5k race all planned. It was awesome with chip timing and a police escort along with the help of the local running club! All of us brought extra running shoes to donate to the local runners, many who can't afford running shoes. They greatly appreciated our donations! Because of my recent knee surgery I was unable to run but Jill did and I was there to cheer everyone on! It was very warm that morning but everyone had a wonderful time.

That afternoon we all took buses to a beautiful beach on Carlisle Bay, Lisa Bentley led everyone who wanted to on a half mile swim in the ocean, I bailed out on the swim as I'm not the best swimmer plus the water seemed a little chilly to me! That night Jill started not feeling well and unfortunately came down with a bad cold/flu and had to spend the next two and a half days in bed with a fever!

The ship had a beautiful fitness center so I was up bright and early each morning working out on the elliptical machine, stationary bike, weights, etc, working on rehabbing my knee. For me the worst part of the day was the night time. My knee would just throb at night and no matter what position I tried to get in I was very uncomfortable, if I got a couple hours of sleep at night that was pretty good! Each night I would wake around 1 or 2 am and go for a walk on the deck, it was very peaceful and the moving seemed to help my knee feel better.

Wednesday morning we docked on the island of St. Lucia and everyone had a beautiful 5 mile run to the Vigie Lighthouse. We also donated more running shoes and again they were greatly appreciated! After the runs in the morning, the rest of the day was free to do whatever we wanted, many folks went on extra excursions or just hung out on the ship and enjoyed the 5 swimming pools that were on board!

Wednesday evening, Lisa gave her talk to the group and it was very inspiring! She is an incredible athlete who has competed in triathlons around the world, but she and her husband Dave, are as down to earth people as you will find anywhere!

Thursday morning we docked on the island of Antigua, and everyone that wanted to ran around the harbor and past beaches to Fort Barrington and a climb to the top with a incredible view of the bay! We also were asked to bring a book to donate to the Antigua Public Library, it was amazing seeing the hundreds of books donated to their library, runners are some of the most giving people I know!

Thursday afternoon we took a bus to a beautiful beach where we all enjoyed the ocean and some of the runners did a "Hash Run" set up by the local running club. A hash run is a non-competitive run with blobs of paper set out for the runners to follow on a trail. There are false trails set and runners are redirected. Everyone had lots of fun.

Thursday evening it was my turn to give my talk, my talk went very well and I so enjoy speaking to runners, they are already so motivated, it makes my job that much easier!

Friday morning we docked at the island of Tortola and everyone was excited about the run up to Fort Charlotte. It's a run out and back for a total of about 6K but there is a climb of 947 feet that is at a 25% grade! Jill and I were stationed about 3/4 of the way up to cheer everyone on, everyone made it! Jill was feeling a little better and we got to enjoy some time together on the beach. Friday evening my good friend Bart Yasso of Runner's World Magazine gave his talk which is a very funny slide show presentation of some of the many races Bart has been to around the world.

Saturday morning was our final port before heading back to San Juan. We landed in beautiful St.Thomas and we all headed out for a 5K prediction run. Some of the local runners from St.Thomas were there to run with everyone including three Virgin Island Olympians! Wallace Williams, the first athlete to represent the Virgin Islands in international competition in 1979 and 1988 Olympian, Marlon Williams, a four time Olympian in the 5k, 10k, and the marathon, and Calvin Dallas who represented the Virgin Islands at the 1988 Olympics and holds the Virgin Island Marathon record of 2:27.

Saturday evening Jill and I enjoyed a great meal with Jerry and Jody, Mike and Helen, and Bart and Laura.

Sunday morning when we awoke we were at the dock in San Juan where we started from. Jill and I departed the ship at 8:15 am and took a taxi to the airport for our trip back home to Austin.

We can not thank Jerry and Jody enough for inviting us along on this wonderful trip! It was wonderful to meet so many fine people on board and we wish you all the best!

Jill and I look forward to our "Cruise to Run" trip next January, we hope you can join us for a fabulous time!

Here are all of the photos from the trip!