November 6, 2012

Bass Pro Outdoor Fitness Festival

What a wonderful time I had at Bass Pro Outdoor Fitness Festival! A huge thanks to Melissa Bondy, Dean Cheatham, and Martin McDonald of Bass Pro, those three are the force behind this great event! Also, a big thanks to my friend Danny Correll and his family! Danny is my host and always picks me up at the airport and gets me to all the different venues I need to be at, but more importantly, Danny has become a true friend to Jilly and me.  

Right on schedule, I arrived into Springfield on Wednesday and Danny was there to greet me and take me to my hotel.  After a short nap I went out for an easy run around town. I've been coming to the Bass Pro Outdoor Fitness Festival since its inception and love the people, and the town of Springfield.  Springfield has some of the most beautiful places to run.  

For dinner, I went to Hemingway's Restaurant located inside Bass Pro Shops, never ever have I not had a super meal eating there!  Anything within the Bass Pro Shop is awesome, to this outdoorsman!  


I usually come in on Wednesday as Bass Pro is kind enough to send me out on Thursday for a day of fishing with one of their guides. Unfortunately they were all fishing in a big bass tournament so fishing for this year was out but that's OK as I'm fortunate to fish around Austin when I'm home and not out on the road speaking. 

Instead I was invited over to the Bass Pro Wellness Conference in the brand new White River Conference Center, I got to tour the half completed facility last year, and you should see it now, unbelievable! So after my morning run it was onto the Wellness Conference, I met some super folks there!

Thursday I went for a run and saw a beautiful track at one of the local high schools.  A gate was opened so I ran onto the track and noticed a cart with someone getting things ready for the football teams practice. You talk about a beautiful track! I thought to myself I wonder how many laps I will run before I'm kicked off and asked to leave as I've been asked to many times before on public school tracks!  I ran right by the guy and not a word, and I'm thinking well that's a good sign! I then got on the back stretch and started doing some 100 meter stride outs when I saw the grounds keeper and his cart coming right at me, but instead of kicking me off he handed me a bottle of ice cold water! Now that's my kind of town!

Thursday evening I went to supper with Danny and his wife Crystal, daughter Hannah, and son Brian. It was so good to see all of them and get caught up as they have become such great friends of Jilly and I!

Friday morning I did an early morning interview on the local NBC TV station KYTV3 with anchorman Paul Adler. Paul is an accomplished runner himself and ran the Bass Pro Marathon on Sunday.  After my interview it was off for an early morning run. That afternoon myself along with my friend Frank Shorter, yes that Frank Shorter, 1972 Gold medal winner in the Olympic Marathon went to Danny's printing company, First Impressions.   We met his staff for some pictures and autographs then it was on to Boys and Girls Town of Missouri along with another good friend Chris Gillespie, founder of Team 413.   All of us told a story or two to the kids and then after our talks we enjoyed visiting with the kids and signed autographs for them. They are such a sweet bunch of kids who have all been through some pretty traumatic things in their lives but Boys and Girls Town is working with them helping them get their precious young lives back, they do an incredible job! A big thanks to all of them and what they do and for letting us come out every year and visit with the kids!   Definitely one of the highlights of my trip.   

After our visit with the kids I went to the expo held at the Whitewater Conference Center and visited with runners and the vendors, it’s really a nice expo!  That night Bass Pro hosted a wonderful reception, the highlight of that night was my visit with Jeanne Cohick who is such a wonderful person! Last year when Jilly came with me, she and Jeanne spent much time together and became good friends, Jilly so wanted to come this year again to spend time with Jeanne! 

Saturday morning was the Camo Run, what fun! The runners ran 2 miles and they had various spots along the way where volunteers would throw this powdered paint like stuff at them, they came in looking like they rolled around in a paint can! They had close to 500 Moms, Dads, and kids that signed up had a super time, I know next year I'm bringing some old running clothes so I can get all "painted" up! Frank and Brian had a ball.

Saturday night was the Pasta Dinner held at the Whitewater Conference Center. Without doubt one of the best pasta dinners you will find anywhere! All you can eat, Chris, Frank, and I all spoke, they had some nice door prizes, and all that for only 10 bucks!

Sunday morning dawned perfect for running the marathon, half, relay or 5k! Cool temps, sunshine, and no wind! I ran the Maynard Cohick Half Marathon which was named after Jeanne Cohick’s amazing husband.  I am very pleased with how I ran.  I ran 1:30:36 on a fairly hilly course (new PR post knee replacements!) but at around 10 miles I'm saying to myself, "Richard, why didn't you taper some for this, if you had perhaps your legs wouldn't feel quite so tired!”  I guess I'm not 25 anymore! 

After a quick shower I returned to the finish area where Frank and I along with Jeanne helped with the awards ceremony and I was waiting for Danny as he was running his first marathon in 10 years! He finished well under 4 hours, qualified for Boston and 1st in his age group!  Congratulations my friend! 

It was then off to pack and then the entire Correll family drove me out to the airport for my flight back to Austin and to my Jilly and critters (Moose, Sophie, Winkie, Copper, Dexter, Neddy and Snowy)!!

What a wonderful time I had! If you’re looking for a well-run event in a beautiful area of the country, head to the Bass Pro Outdoor Fitness Festival the first weekend in November every fall, I promise you will want to come back again and again, and again!   Thanks Bass Pro for the super duper time I had!

This entry would not be complete without mention of my dear friend Jerry Friesen.  This time last year Jilly and I received a devastating phone call.  Jerry, age 51, had a heart attack while out for a run.  Jilly and I got know Jerry and his bride, Jody via Cruise to Run.  Jerry and Jody are the race directors for this event.  I think of Jerry every day, his amazing smile and infectious laugh.  My heart and love goes out to Jody and her two girls and son.  (and Zoey).

October 17, 2012

Red Ribbon Week - Ketchikan, Alaska

Not only is October the anniversary date of the opening of the Dick Beardsley Foundation, but it is also the month which brings millions of people together to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, and encourage prevention, early intervention, and treatment services. It is the largest, most visible prevention awareness campaign observed annually in the United States, also known as Red Ribbon Week.  The Ketchikan Police Department invited me to be their keynote speaker at their kickoff event for the community. 

Myself along with my wife Jilly, and friends Beth and Stacey flew from Austin to Salt Lake to Seattle to Ketchikan. Whew.  And, every flight was timely, thank you Delta and the weather!

Salmon Capital of the World "in season" 

The girls had goals for this trip.  A) to see a bear B) to see the Northern Lights C) to see a bald eagle D) to see a whale E) to see salmon F) to see seals G) to see a Moose.

We were met by our host, Detective Mike Purcell, from the Ketchikan Police Department.  The Ketchikan International Airport sits out on an island so we loaded up our gear in Mike's car and then made the very short trip across the bay on a ferry to the mainland and downtown Ketchikan.

Ketchikan is a city of around 8,000 people and is actually the 5th biggest city in Alaska. We were given a car to use while there and the funny story about the car is that it is property of the KPD and was a “seized” vehicle.  We had our fingers crossed that no one saw us and thought we were the original owners and then chaos ensued and this blog would have a very different ending.  

We headed for Chinook Shores, our home for the next 5 days.  The lodge is about 12 miles north of Ketchikan.  Man, talk about a beautiful place!  Jeff owns Chinook Shores but since the salmon fishing season was over he was visiting friends in Seattle, so his dad, Jerry, took over as host.  Jerry was great and it was fun to spend some time with him.  

I was hoping to have done some fishing but will have to go back during the main season and I know when we do we will be staying at Chinook Shores!  


Morning out on the dock
Morning out on the dock

View from our deck
Afternoon...the 5 minutes of sun we saw all week

Thursday I got up and went out for a 10 mile run on the Tongass Highway.  I headed north and got 5 miles out and never before have I ever run any place where when I got to the end of the road, I was literally at the end of the road! Nothing but wilderness after that, I loved it! I turned around and went back to the lodge, and boy, let me tell you, there are some hills in Ketchikan! 

Ketchikan receives about 185 inches of rain a year and October is the rainiest month and it proved so while we were there. It rained virtually nonstop our entire time but we loved it!   

Jilly rocks her Frogg Toggs

That afternoon we went for a long 4 (felt like at least 10, or at least that is what Jilly keeps saying) hour hike in the forest, absolutely beautiful! If you've never been in a rain forest before, it needs to be on your bucket list, it’s incredible! This was no ordinary hike on a well maintained trail! It was that way the first half mile or so but then it got very rugged with lots of hills, creeks, bogs, rivers, and mud! We all took a fall a time or two, Stacey got her shoe stuck in the mud, but no sprained ankles, broken bones or the need for a helicopter to come find us, just lots and lots of fun!    

Being silly pretending a bear was in the tree

This was growing out of a tree

We kept our eyes peeled for bears and moose and eagles but the only wildlife sighting so far and in the forest was a slug.  At this point, Ketchikan was going to have to change their postcards of glamorous wildlife to a slug. 

Ketchikan wildlife

We had planned to go out to dinner for fresh fish and all during the hike we talked about how amazing salmon dinner was going to be.  We got to the restaurant and nary a fish was on the menu.  Nada.  We settled for lamb, prime rib, and pasta.  A fantastic alternative for sure!  It’s all about being in town during the prime time of the season.

Windows open, fresh air, sound of the ocean lulled us all to have one of the best night’s sleep ever! 

Friday morning I drove over to Ward Lake to run on the trail.  I've been fortunate to have run in a lot of neat places around the world but I honestly think that the run I had along Ward Lake may have been the most beautiful place ever!   It was pouring rain but I was having a ball! I came around a turn on the trail and there was Mr. Black Bear going potty right in the middle of the trail! By the time I got my iPhone out of my SPIbelt to take a picture he had taken off but I was able to get a nice picture of his "pile"!

See....bear poo.

I told the story to the girls, but they were disbelieving of the Mr. Black Bear sighting. 

That afternoon I was a guest on a local radio show to promote my talk to the community.  I initially thought was going to be a 5 or 10 minute interview, but we talked for at least an hour.  Not sure if that was the original intent, or I just can't stop talking.  :-)

Flyers on the door promoting my visit and Jilly looking amused!

After another short run close to the lodge we headed into the Ketchikan High School for my talk.  We had a nice turnout and my talk went very well.  Afterwards I signed lots of Duel in the Sun and my autobiography Staying the Course and chatted with folks, it was a fun time had by all!

Detective Mike Purcell with Jilly and I

Saturday morning I got in a 15 miler. I left the lodge around 7AM and headed for Ward Lake, the girls were going to meet me there and do their own run around the lake. My run started off dry but very windy, but a few miles into the run it started raining hard but it was so much fun and the scenery was second to none!   The girls ran around the trail were Mr. Black Bear was the day before but no sign of him.  Just poop. 

Part of Ward Lake
Ward Lake
Bald Eagle at Ward Lake

That afternoon we drove south through town on the Tongass Highway to the other end of the road. We saw some gorgeous waterfalls along our drive. 

This is along the side of the road, hidden in the trees

The mist and breeze from the waterfall was chilly!

We then stopped at the fish hatchery that is located on a river that flows into the ocean. In the river there were a bunch of seals that were feeding on a few wild salmon still in the river, talk about fun to watch! Also cleaning up the scraps were lots of seagulls and a half dozen bald eagles.  

Bald Eagle sighting!  I had binoculars and could confirm it was not a seagull.

Seal sighting

Super Serious Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle Number 1 is devouring what remains of a Salmon

A Seagull attempting to taunt an Eagle.  Good luck with that.


We stopped at Saxman Native Village, to see native Totem Pole Art. So gorgeous!

That evening friends of mine, Bill and Laurie invited us all over for supper. What a wonderful time we had! Personally caught halibut and fresh caught Alaskan King Crabs for dinner, my goodness was it good!   Apparently we didn’t need to go to a restaurant for the finest seafood in Ketchikan!

Bill and Laurie are two of the nicest people you could ever know, thanks you two for the great time we had!  And shout out to Cody and Trig, two of the cutest rescue dogs ever!

Growing up and living in Minnesota for 51 years I've seen some spectacular Northern Lights over the years, but the girls had never seen them before. We talked with some locals and they said they were out the night before and there was a small break in the clouds and they said the lights were incredible.  Unfortunately with all the clouds and rain the chance for us to see them was pretty limited. I give Beth and Stacey a lot of credit, our last night they got up numerous times to check and see if the clouds had cleared.  And when I say “got up” I mean, got up, put on their coats, and headed out on the dark out to the end of the fishing dock.  Impressive, given that Jilly was sleeping with one ear open listening for them to shout out so she could scramble down to see them if they were out.  The clouds never cleared but it now makes for a good excuse to come back! (no excuse needed for me to go back, I'd go back in a heartbeat!)

**this is where a glorious picture of Northern Lights would be, if we had seen any**  

Sunday morning I got up really early to get a run in, and I had to wear my headlamp as it is really dark up there, especially when it’s raining!  Detective Mike met us at the Lodge and took us to the Ferry back over to the airport our trip now over and time to head back home. I can't begin to thank Detective Purcell and the entire Ketchikan Police Department for all the hard work they did to promote drug awareness in the Ketchikan area! Their hard work is a wonderful gift they are giving to all their citizens!

Here is part of the article that Danelle Landis of the Ketchikan Daily News wrote.  I have to giggle, it looks like I'm trying to touch my toes, which I haven't been able to do that in years! I admit, I move around *alot* when I speak and I am photographers' nightmare/challenge. 

Goals C) to see a bald eagle, E) to see salmon and F) to see seals, were met, not too bad! 

Making friends with the bears
Could this be any cuter?

October 7, 2012

Texas Workers' Comp Forum

I had the wonderful opportunity of being the Keynote speaker at the Texas Workers' Comp Forum.  The conference was held in Austin, which is where I live, so it made the day quite nice.  My talk was sponsored by Big Speak, with whom I am fortunate to work with.

Part of the focus of the conference was strategies to combat drug abuse in workers’ compensation and rein in prescription drug costs.  I was asked to speak on my addiction to narcotic pain killers and also, talk a bit about my two artificial knees.

I was alloted 30 minutes to tell my story and if you know me, you know I love to talk and when you ask me what time it is, I tell you how to build a watch!   I realize that there was a schedule in place and no one likes when a speaker blows the schedule by going over his time.

I got it done and everything went super, the attendees were great, and I came pretty close to keeping my talk to 30 minutes! A big thanks to everyone including my wife Jilly who coordinated everything!

October 1, 2012

Maine Marathon and Maine Running Company

I hope you guys had a great weekend! I know I sure did in Portland, Maine! One word.  Gorgeous!  See...


A big thanks to Sean & Matt of New Balance for having everything set up and ready to go when I arrived there for my different functions! I did a talk at the Maine Running Company on Thursday evening then afterwards signed lots of of Duel in the Sun and my autobiography Staying the Course and posters that New Balance provided.

The next morning I met John, who not only owns the Maine Running Company, but is the Assistant Cross Country Coach at Yarmouth High School and has a daughter that attends there.

After we arrived at the school I met Principal Ted Hall, we had actually met and ran against each other back in 1980 at the Midnight Madness Race in Ames, Iowa!  Such a small world.

I also got to meet and speak with a small group of the high school XC team before my main talk.  My talk went really well and there really felt like there was magic in the air, the kids and staff were awesome! After my talk I signed posters and talked with kids until we ran out of posters.

Saturday was the Maine Marathon expo and I spent a couple hours signing posters, books, taking pictures, and chatting with folks.  Sunday was race day and I was running the half.  I knew I would not have much wiggle room to run, get back to the hotel, shower, and catch my flight home to Jilly and the critters!  So I had better run as fast as I could and not diddle around.

What a great morning to run! 54 degrees with a little light rain with light winds. I was tickled with how it went! I was fortunate to have won my age division (55-59) and ran 1:30:45 which was a huge PR for me since I had my knees replaced! The best news is that my knees felt fine and I was able to get out and run this morning, just a day after!   I still have a ways to go but its heading in the right direction.

I was also trying out my new pair of New Balance 1600's.   Super fast, super light and I am giddy about how they felt on my feet!

Since I spoke at the school, I've received some heart warming emails from student, parents, and staff. None of this would have been possible without the generous help from New Balance.  New Balance has helped me touch people in a very special way and for that I will always be forever grateful!

September 27, 2012

Engine 2 Immersion

On Monday I had the opportunity to speak at the Engine 2 Immersion Event held at The Retreat at Balcones Springs outside of Austin, closer to Marble Falls.  

Marble Falls is known for the Bluebonnet CafĂ©, so of course, Jilly and I had to stop there first.  Definitely down home, country cooking and best of all, we bought a cookbook so Jilly can recreate some of their pies!

This was my fifth time to speak at an Engine 2 Immersion Event which are put on by Rip Esselstyn and Adam Reiser, of Health Talent Group.  

They do a wonderful job and the event brings in people from all over the country who work for Whole Foods whose world headquarters are based here in Austin to revitalize their lives in all areas of it through nutrition, exercise, and motivation. 

For many it’s a very hard change to make and it won't happen overnight but as I told them in my talk "It’s worth every ounce of energy that you put into it"! 

After my talk, Jilly and I stayed and chatted with many people, signed lots of Duel in the Sun and my autobiography Staying the Course and listened as we heard many stories from folks wanting to change their lifestyle for the better. It was very heartwarming! 

Thank you Rip and Adam!