Thursday, November 29, 2012

How Geno at Home Depot Saved Our Christmas This Year

On Black Friday this year, I waited up for most of the night to go to Home Depot for one specific item my wife really wanted: a Martha Stewart brand Christmas Tree.

We actually needed a tree this year to replace the one from last year.  That tree had served my wife's family, and our family for well over 15 years and to be honest I hated to see it go, but it had been dying for a number of years and last year it finally succumbed to its old age and could no longer be repaired.

So when Home Depot placed a seven and a half foot tall, pre-lit Douglass Fir style Christmas tree on sale for Black Friday for 59 dollars, I was told that this was the tree we needed to replace our last tree.  So I waited up through the night and at 4:45 AM, I drove to the Home Deport we frequently shop at and got in the line that had formed.  The store had 29 trees to sell and when the doors opened at 5:00 AM, I and a few others rushed over to the trees and started snatching them up like they were made of gold.  It was early, I was tired, but my wife would have her tree!

What the Martha Stewart Tree I purchased Black Friday looked like.
Later on in the weekend, we opened the box and assembled the tree, plugging in the lights and moving it to where it needed to go in our living room.  Everything was great, all were happy and Christmas was a joyous time!

Then the lights went out on the tree.

Not all the lights, but just the white lights.  You see, the tree had two settings for it: White Lights and Multicolored Lights.  We could turn on the multicolored lights, but when we tried the white lights, the multicolored lights would simply dim to almost dark and then nothing else would happen.  When you hit the switch again, all the lights would turn off.  Needless to say my wife wasn't happy.  Neither was I.  My wife started taking the ornaments off the tree and I called the Home Depot where I bought the tree.

The first Home Depot associate I spoke with sounded all of 20 something years old, and offered me the standard "bring it in for a refund" line after he put me on hold for a few seconds to see if they had any of the same trees in stock, which they didn't.  I'll be honest here, I wasn't really satisfied with that answer.  I shop at Home Depot a lot; almost everything I buy that is home repair related, lawn related, and gardening/landscaping related is purchased at Home Depot and I trust the brands they carry, and I trust the company itself.  So I did what I think everyone in my situation would have done and told him I would like to speak to the manager on duty please.

That brought me to Geno, who was the manager on duty that night.  Geno listened to my situation and said he'd be happy to replace the tree with a comparable one that was 150 dollars or under for the same price I had bought mine at.  I said that sounded like a winner and my wife and I went up to the store to look at what was available.

What was there was not much.  None of the trees available had the dual lighting feature, and most of the trees available were outside the 150 dollar price range Geno had mentioned.  My wife pointed this out and was upset.  Not really upset at Home Depot or Geno, but upset at the thought of having to find another tree that she liked and would be happy with.  I think Geno saw this and made another offer to us.  "I'm feeling really generous at the moment" were his exact words to my wife, and offered her whatever tree she liked right then for the same price we paid for the original defective tree!

I was floored and my wife was too.  She looked around and pointed to the Martha Stewart T-2 style tree and said that one.  A little while later after returning the defective tree and paying 59.00 dollars for the newer tree, I had loaded it in the van and driven home.  Everyone was happy, and Home Depot and Geno had saved our Christmas.

Our new Martha Stewart Christmas tree from Home Depot
So to everyone out there, a public thank you to Home Depot and Geno Specifically for their help and out of this world customer service!  I am my family greatly appreciate it very much.

Merry Christmas all!

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Conversation With My Nutritionist

Next month marks the sixth month anniversary of my having a sleeve gastrectomy and with that anniversary comes a couple of very important follow up visits for me.  One of them is my follow up with my surgeon, in which blood work will be done, along with certain measurements taken.  The other follow up happened today.  That follow up was with the nutritionist who works with the surgeons at the hospital I was sleeved at, Forrest Park Medical Center in Dallas, TX.

I had several questions for her that I needed answered.  Questions such as:

  1. Do I need to count net carbohydrates or gross?
  2. Am I eating too much?
  3. What should my ideal weight be; what should I be aiming for?
  4. How should I nutritionally balance my meals?
  5. How should I nutritionally prepare for race days?
  6. Is it okay to use fuel gels during an endurance race?
  7. How should I eat to recover after a race is finished?
After going over my weight loss so far and my exercise habits, Sarah (the nutritionist) was very complimentary over what I had accomplished so far.  She told me that it normally took most sleeved patients a year or more to lose 130 pounds and that I was doing quite well for the time I had been sleeved.  She was also complementary on my running and circuit training that I do.

But onto the questions and her answers.

Q:  Do I count net calories or gross calories?  (For those who may not know the difference, Net calories are calories burned during exercise (not BMR/Sedentary burn), minus calories eaten)
A:  I need to count net calories, especially when I am on my exercise or run days.  My net calories need to be between 950 and 1200, which could put my gross calories for those days at anywhere from 1800 to 2500.

Q:  Am I eating too much?  (Please understand that my current caloric intake right now averages about 1000 to 1100 calories, and there are times when the calorie count can reach upwards of 1800 or more, even though my daily goal is 950.)
A:  No I am not.  Right now my caloric intake should be between 950 to 1200 calories on the days in which I don't run or exercise, and up to double that on the days I do run and/or exercise.

Q:  What should my ideal weight be; what weight should I actually be aiming for?
A:  According to the nutritionist, the ideal body weight for my height and body structure should be 178.  However, because I am old and decrepit, well, old enough that my skin really no longer has the elasticity it used to have, the body weight I need to shoot for would be 210.  That would also be with approximately 20 pounds of excess skin hanging on my body.
(It will be nice when I am able to have plastic surgery to have that excess skin removed, but that surgery will not happen for at least another year.)

Q:  How should I nutritionally balance my meals?
A:  Right now my nutritional balance for my meals should be be as follows:
      On days that I do not exercise:
  • 80 to 100 grams of protein
  • 80 to 100 grams of carbohydrates
  • 30% of calories dedicated to be fat grams
      On days that I do exercise:
  • 160 to 200 grams of protein
  • 160 to 200 grams of protein
  • 30% of calories dedicated to fat grams

Q:  How should I nutritionally prepare for race days?
A:  To nutritionally prepare for the days in which I race, whether it is a 5K, 10K, 8M, Half Marathon or Marathon, the nutritionist informed me that I need to start fueling up about three days before the race.  To fuel up properly I will need to start eating as if I had run or completed my circuit training that day, doubling up on both carbohydrates and protein and increasing my caloric intake as well, to 1800 to 2000 calories for those three days.  She also told me that it didn't matter what foods I ate for the carbohydrate count as long as it had carbohydrates.  (So I don't just have to eat pasta.)

Q:  Is it okay to use to use fuel gels during an endurance race?
A:  Absolutely.  If I am going to do endurance races longer than 10K I was encouraged by the nutritionist to make sure I use them to ensure I have the fuel to complete the race.

Q:  How should I eat to recover after a race is finished?
A:  The nutritionist told me that I needed to eat a balanced carbohydrate/protein "meal" as soon after the race as possible.  This could be anything from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to a commercially prepared protein shake.  Usually the meal needs to be eaten within 30 minutes after the finish of the race.

So after my talk with the nutritionist, I feel confident that I have been doing and eating the right things and the right way.  I was concerned that I might have stretched out my sleeved stomach, but that is not the case.  As I continue on this journey of weight loss and healthy living, I can honestly say, so far, so good.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great rest of the day!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review of The 45th Annual Capital One Bank Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot

I ran the Dallas Turkey Trot for the first time this past Thanksgiving and it was quite the experience.  This was my fourth race to run ever and I knew it would be a large race in terms of how many people would participate, but I am not sure I was prepared for over 30,000 people running with me. 

The scene in front of me approximately 35 minutes before the race started.
Humanity begins massing behind me to start the race.  By the time the race started, over 30,000 people had lined up.
The atmosphere of the race felt very carnival like to me with face painting, bounce houses, live music, radio stations reporting live from the race site and other family oriented activities on site.

The weather for the race was absolutely gorgeous with lots of sunshine and high clouds.  The temperatures were in the upper 50s and the wind, when blowing was very light.  A perfect day for running. 

The event had starting lines for the timed runners and depending on what you thought your average per mile time would be is where you lined up.  For me I took a chance and lined up at the 8:45 - 9:15 line and waited 35 minutes for the start to happen.  During the wait, people were loosening up by stretching, jumping in place, and hitting the occasional oversized beach ball that was floating among the crowd.  Some people even started dancing to the Village People's "YMCA" as it played during this time.

At 8:59 participants in wheelchairs were started, so that they could have a head start on those of us running behind them.  At 9:00 the horn sounded and we started filing towards the starting line.  Notice I said "filing" towards the starting line.  I estimate that between me and the official starting line, there were probably 300 people with blue racing bibs on, meaning they had paid to be timed during this race.  So when the horn sounded, you had 300 people moving to get started.  I was towards the back of the 300, so I needed to shuffle and walk to the starting gate.

When I arrived at the starting gate and started my run on Nike+ on my iPhone, I saw why it had taken me almost a minute and a half to simply move 400 feet.  The crowd had surged from the initial 300 or so to literally thousands of people ahead of me!  Everyone the announcers had asked to move to the back of the line, people with strollers, people with dogs on leashes, people with yellow race bibs on who had not paid to be timed, were in front of me!

It wasn't until I watched the race on TV Saturday that I saw why this had happened.  People who were participating in the race, regardless of how they were participating, had lined up on both sides of the street ahead of the start gate and when the timed runners started, they jumped in the front of the runners!  It took me over 2 1/2 minutes to weave my way past strollers, dogs on leashes, walkers and very slow runners, just to get to the point that I could open up my racing pace and get moving.  This is the one takeaway from this race that I was sorely disappointed in.  I firmly believe that if people like me are going to pay extra to be timed in a race event, then the organizers of the event should make a way for those paying extra to be able to start the race without interference from those who chose not to be timed.  I wonder what my time for this race would have been if I had not had to dodge and weave those first few minutes of the race.

My first mile pace?

Once I was past the slower throngs of people and animals and strollers, I caught up with the other runners and matched pace with quite a few.  I have to admit that running through Dallas' Deep Ellum District was really cool and viewing the downtown skyscrapers really made this run memorable.  

My second mile pace?

Once I hit mile two, I started getting my second wind and I hit a really good pace.  I had set the Nike+ running app to provide me with an update as to my distance and pace every minutes, so I knew about where I was distance wise, as well as how much further I had to go, and what my pace was.  With that I could calculate about when I would finish this race.  Between mile two and three, I decided to really go all out and see if I could break that 30 minute barrier I had been trying to reach.

My third mile pace?

After I hit the third mile marker, I was beginning to tire, but I made the decision to not stop, nor slow down.  I felt I could make it in under 30 minutes and I was not going to quit.  At the end I crossed the finish line strong, then slowed down and stopped to catch my breath.  I have to admit the last two tenths of a mile where the hardest.

But I did it.  I crossed the finish line officially at 29:25 for my fourth Personal Record in a row. 

I'll be honest here; I really think that I could have crossed the finish around 27 minutes or so, but for having to dodge the crowd at the beginning.  Nonetheless, I'm happy with the results.  Next year I'll know where to place myself to start the race.  Next year I'll be faster.  Next year I'll be running the eight mile race.

My race results from the Turkey Trot
Overall this is a fun race with lots of activities for the entire family.  It is a race that I will bring the family to next year, and one that I highly encourage all of you to attend in one way or another.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012!

Happy Thanksgiving Day to each and everyone of you!  Yes, this is a day early (it's Wednesday, November 21, 2012) but tomorrow, with the exception of the Dallas Turkey Trot I am running in, will be devoted to family and friends.

Please take the time out to remember what you are thankful for and don't forget to give thanks to the One who is our provider and savior, Jesus Christ.

 So from us here at Dad To 2 (Eric, Angela, Chloe and Morgan) we wish all of you a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why I am leaving for Nike+

There are a few things I really dislike.  One is being ripped off.  Another is being called a liar.  When you actually rip me off and then call me a liar when I call you on it, especially when I have proof that what I am saying is the truth, I am not a happy person.

Such as my current issue with

The problem is, is that I actually love their iPhone/iPad app, MapMyFitness+.  I have used it for over six months without fail.  I love using their website and use it to record and analyze my training runs.  But not anymore.

I started off with the MapMyFitness free app for the iPhone and found I didn't like the apps, so I paid the 2.99 for the app, and got rid of the apps, plus got coaching and live tracking features in the process.  A win-win for me and for MapMyFitness as they got my business and I got an app I love and used.  Until I installed an upgrade for the app.  Then the app I loved turned into the app I can't stand at the moment.

I applied the update to the app.  After all, one of the items the update addressed was "bug fixes" and being a software developer myself, I said, yes, fixing bugs in an application is a good thing so I clicked on the "Update" button.  What I did NOT notice however, was the second line:

That second line took away all of the features I used in the MapMyFitness+ app that I paid for.  Notice that nowhere does it say what these advanced features are.

I sent MapMyFitness Support a not so nice email last night asking what the heck happened to the features I paid for.  Here is the first part of the email exchange:

Eric Dickey, Nov 19 20:56 (CST):
I just installed the latest update for the iOS version of your app. I PAID for the plus version for the features and NOW I find they have been TURNED OFF!!!!
I feel as though I have had my money stolen from me; ripped off! Now I have to pay a friggen MONTHLY FEE?? I have used your app for almost 6 months now with only a couple of issues and have been very happy; I used the coaching to help me train better, I have used your website to help me out but now you may have just lost a customer! I will be tweeting this, blogging this, facebooking this, posting on google and everywhere else I can think about! I want me features I PAID for BACK!!!
Submitted from:

Here is their initial response:
Kristen Dodd, Nov 20 09:27 (CST):
Hi Eric,
Thanks for contacting us! Our +app features only included the music player, integrated camera & being ad free. Our free app previous had Live Tracking available, not just the +app. I apologize for the confusion.
MMF Support
 Now when I read this response I was livid.  First of all they were telling me that the features I cared about most didn't even exist in the app.  So now I felt I was being called a liar.  That did not sit very well with me.

 No, I am sorry.  You see, I actually USED the coaching features of the +App during my last race which was TWO weeks ago.  Please do not insult my intelligence with the fact that I know what I was using when running.  One of the features that I loved (past tense) about your app was the coaching feature.  Want more proof?  My wife purchased the + app as well and has NOT repeat NOT updated it and HAS the coaching feature.  
Would you like screen shots of her app on the her phone which has NOT been updated?  Or perhaps screen shots of the app on my iPad which has NOT been updated and HAS the coaching feature shown?  
I DO NOT like being called a liar.  There is no misunderstanding on MY part.  
So who can I send the screenshots to?  You or your supervisor?
Eric Dickey
As you can tell I am not a happy camper in this email exchange.  Now here is the kicker if you take a look at the screenshots below, you will see that I am correct in what I am saying.

The initial screen.  When you touch the Record button you are taken to the next screen shown below. 
Please notice the coaching part of this app. seems that perhaps I am not lying after all about what I use. 
This screen is to determine what kind of coaching you would like to have tracked.

So here I decided to make the pace to be coached into 8:00 minutes per mile. 
This screen in the Coaching feature that MapMyFitness says was never a part of the "+" version of their app is letting me select the frequency.

I really hope you can appreciate why I was so irate here.  I actually have the screen shots proving me right and them wrong.

The latest response from MapMyFitness is below:
Kristen D., Nov 20 11:36 (CST):
I apologize for the confusion. Yes, this was previously a free feature available on both the free and + apps. It is now part of our premier membership packages. Again, we apologize.

Now, I know that when I had the free app, the coaching was not part of this.  This was the main reason I bought the app.  Not for an ad free environment, as ads do not bother me.  I wanted the coaching features.  I guess what I will need to do now is to open up the free app on my phone, as I have never upgraded it, and take screen shots to prove my point to them again.

For now, my best advice to any of you who are using and it's apps is to ditch them and go with Nike+.  I tried it last night and I actually have a better experience with it than the one I had with MapMyFitness, as well as the same features offered for a monthly fee now by are FREE from the Nike+ app.

It actually hurts to leave, as I have six months worth of running data and maps on their site, and no way to get them that I can see, but I will not tolerate being ripped off and called a liar by a company I trusted.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great rest of the day.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Prepping for the Dallas Turkey Trot

One of the races I have been looking forward to since I started running this year has been the Dallas Turkey Trot.  Seriously, who wouldn't look forward to running with close to 40,000 plus people?  To me this may be the closest I get to running a race like the Boston Marathon in prestige and size for some time to come and I am really looking forward to this.

Here is a little history, directly from the Dallas Turkey Trot website:

The original Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot was held at the Old Fairgrounds back in the early 1940s, but the long string of consecutive years began with the eight mile race back in 1968.
The unique eight mile distance was created when the one hundred and seven participants were instructed to run along the shores of White Rock Lake “to the big oak tree and back”. By 1979, the race had become so popular that it was moved to the downtown area to accommodate more runners and to showcase “Big D”.
The 3 mile Fun Run/Walk was added in 1984 to accommodate the increased participation of individuals and families. In 2009 the distance was changed to 5K and the course was certified.

 Here is a picture of what I am expecting to find this Thursday morning:

Who would NOT want to run in something like this?
To prepare for this race, I actually started Saturday with a 7.68 mile run, just to see how far I could push myself.  I feel like I could do the 8 mile race, but I want to be competitive doing it.  For this year I will be doing the 5K race instead.  Here is the route I will be taking in the 5K race:

The red line designates the 5K distance

I will be honest here; I am not sure what to expect as far as trying to accomplish my current goal of running a 5K in under 30 minutes, especially with as many participants as they are expecting, but I am going to do my best, that is for sure!  I plan on doing two more runs this week: a speed run tonight and a distance run tomorrow night.  I will be taking Wednesday night off to make sure I am rested for the race Thursday morning.

I urge you to come out and see the race if you are not going to be running in it.  Cheer us on as we run this race!  If you don't want to run, there will be other family friendly things to do here.  From the Turkey Trot website, there will be clowns, pony rides, bounce houses, live music, and many other things to do!  I hope to see you there!

It's a new Thanksgiving tradition for me and my family, and I am really going to enjoy this.  If you would like to register then click here and you will be taken to the Turkey Trot's registration page.

Have a great rest of the day and as always, thanks for reading!

Downfalls of Pushing Resistance Training Too Hard -- Possible Injury

I think I have suffered my first injury from training, though I am not quite sure yet.

I had a really good weight lifting session yesterday after church and everything felt good to me.  A tired good but good nonetheless.  Nothing hurt, nothing ached, nothing popped.  I had done a 100 minute resistance circuit training routine, only adding a couple of new exercises to my routine; barbell bent over rows and quadriceps extensions.  Then last night I was stretching and I felt like the right side of my upper back near the shoulder blade had simply caught on fire.  It was very centralized to a small area, but it was one of the sharpest pains I have ever felt.

The black circle is where I feel the pain when it happens.

I believe that I may have partially torn, or pulled my major Rhomboid muscle in that area.  I'm am not going to do any resistance training over the next couple of weeks, which will bug me to no end, but I'm hoping that be resting my body from that exercising, this will give that area time to heal.  I will still run, but weight training is out for at least two weeks, maybe more.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pushing the Running Limits

I'll be honest, I am physically tired.  My legs feel heavy and I thought about going to the gym tonight to do a full body circuit workout, but I cannot do it tonight.  You see, I pushed myself running today and I ran the longest continuous run I have ever done.  Not only in distance, but in duration as well.

The last couple of runs I ran this week were at the gym on the treadmill due to the cold weather.  Normally I am only able to run at night during the week and I really do not feel like running at night in 35+ degree weather.  Plus I get to do my circuit training after my run.  Today however, I was able to run during the day and I made the decision to make this run a distance run, something I have not been able to do in a while. 

So I took off running and decided to take a different route than I normally do.  The route I took today allowed me to add more elevation to my run.  I expected to gain some distance today; I had set my goal at 5.5 miles, and if I pushed it, maybe even run my second 10K distance (6.2 miles).  Well, I pushed it alright.  I pushed it all the way to 7.68 miles in 1:25:32.  What surprised me was my pace.  Normally on my long distance runs I run about a 11:25 to 11:40 pace, but today I finished with an average pace of 11:08 minutes per mile. 

Here is the details of the run:

My longest run ever, both in distance and time.

Here are the splits for the run:

For some reason, I felt like I was getting faster with each mile.
After running this distance, and for this duration today, I really feel good about training for my first half marathon.  I still have as my goal for my first half marathon to be next September, running the Plano Balloon Festival's Half Marathon, but knowing that I can do this distance and duration now, I may move my first half marathon race up to June or July.  Stay tuned.

And the other best part of the day?  I dropped over 3 pounds today in my weight loss!

Thanks for reading.  Have a great rest of the day.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Waiting on the Sidelines During Surgery

My oldest daughter's four hour surgery ended about 3:30 this afternoon.  It was a necessary surgery, one that was needed to fix a hole in her upper palate and her nose, so that she could breathe easier.  You see, my oldest daughter was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate and this is her fifth, sixth surgery.  I know that sounds horrible that I can't remember how many off the top of my head, but that's simply me and my forgetfulness.

As a dad, I want to be able to protect my girls, to let them know that I have their back, and I will take care of them.  I want them to know that they can come to me with whatever problems they have and if I can help, I will.  If they simply want me to listen, then I will listen.  I'm not the best dad out there, but I do my best and I love my girls unconditionally with my whole heart.  Like any parent, I would die for my kids. 

But there are sometimes in life a parent simply must stand on the sideline and silently wait as others take up a mantle the parent cannot.  So I waited at home with our youngest daughter (who was sick herself today) and my wife waited at the hospital. 

The surgeons on the team are some of the best and we trust them, but we both still asked our friends for their prayers, to cover our daughter, this surgery and us as parents.  I personally believe that God answers our prayers, either with a "yes", "no" or "not at this time", and I know He answered these specific prayers with a "yes".  Faith is a great thing to have when you have to stand on the sidelines while others take care of your kids.  Faith in Christ has carried me many times since I surrendered to Him; this was another time.  I give Him all the glory for this successful surgery and I am forever grateful.

She is still at the hospital now, at 6:24 in the evening and is sleeping.  This is supposed to be a day surgery, and she is supposed to be heading home after her recovery from the surgery.  Right now we don't have a timeframe for her to come home, but that's okay.  My time, our time on the sidelines waiting is over and we can go back to being the parents who can be there and protect the girls and take care of their problems.

Thank you God for the opportunity you have given me to be dad to my girls.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great rest of the day.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Today's Spirit Run! 5K Results and Thoughts

Today I ran the Spirit Run! 5K in Richardson, TX and what a great time and a great race it was!  The course was laid out so that we ran on city streets and on concrete paths in a local park at at four different spots, local high school students were set up to cheer on the runners.  One high school had their drum line, cheerleaders and I believe members of their dance team cheering us on, while the other high schools represented had their varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders cheering.  It really was a cool experience to run the gauntlet of the cheering sections that had been set up.

The day itself was very windy, with temperatures in the mid 60's.  In the shade it was actually quite chilly.  I had thought to wear my colder weather gear (long compression pants and long sleeve compression shirt), but had decided against it.  I'm glad I did.  Once we started the race and found our way to the sunshine, it warmed up quickly.  For a while it was partly cloudy, but by the race's end most of the clouds had dispersed.

I decided that I wanted to try and push my pace this race and see about accomplishing a goal I had set, which was to run this 5K in under 30 minutes.  I set the coaching part of my iPhone app I use, MapMyFitness, to track my pace and it would announce the pace I was running every minutes.  The pace I set was a 10:15 mile pace; I realize that I would not really make the goal I set with that pace, but my thoughts centered on running faster than that pace.

I ran this race with a friend of mine and we sort of fed off of each other during the race.  We kept up with each other until the last quarter mile or so.  I started sprinting the very last part as I really wanted that goal.  We both did really well this race and both of us set new personal records!  I was very proud of him as this was the fastest pace he had run yet.

So how did I do?  See for yourself.

Not too bad for my third 5K race!

I finished this race in 30:14 and finished 5th out of 12 racers in my age bracket and 95th out of 317 overall.  I came close to my goal, but despite running a 9:44 mile pace, at 6.15 mph, I didn't hit it.  
Blame it on running faster than I ever have, but I forgot to pause and save right after crossing the finish line, hence the longer than normal 5K distance!

Then after looking at the split times of this race I figured out why.

The race split times.  Notice the time for mile three.

My mile three split was above a 10 minute mile pace.  That one time is what cost me my goal.  Between mile marker two and mile marker three was a circular ramp we had to run up and move from the lower level of the park to the higher level of the street.  This was a difficult time for a lot of runners and for my friend and I, this part of the race course slowed us down and it was this small section that cost me my goal.

Like I stated earlier, I didn't make my goal, but I did set a new personal record (PR).  The last 5K race I ran back in October, the Lost Dog 5K, I ran it in 33:04.  Well, today I ran the Spirit Run! 5K in 30:14.  I shaved 2:50 off my last personal record!  Not too shabby.

So what's next for me?  Looks like it will be the Turkey Trot in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.  It's the largest and oldest Turkey Trot 5K in the nation and they are expecting something like 45,000 runners!  Now that will be an experience I am looking forward to!  My goals for that race?  Run it in under 30 minutes.  That's my biggest goal right now.  When I get that one down it will be time to really turn on the afterburners and move faster.

Thank you for reading.  Have a great rest of the day!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

My Next 5K -- The Spirit Run! 5K

This Saturday, November 10, I am running in the Spirit Run! 5K event in Richardson, TX.  It's a local event for me, which is a definite plus.  It also had a discount code available which allowed me to pay half the normal cost.  Again a plus!

What sets this event apart is the fact that at various points on the race course, there are local high school bands, cheerleaders and dance team members cheering the racers on with cheers and music.  At the end of the event the runners get to choose who had the best cheering section.  I believe that this will be one of the very few races I run in that I will not wear my headphones and listen to music to run.

Here is a video of the event.  I believe it is from last year.

Here is a map of the course I will be running.  The best thing about this course is that this course is my normal course!  I run this at least once a week!  Talk about an advantage! 

Right in My Backyard!
The other good thing about this race is that I will be running it with a good friend of mine.  For the first time I will have somebody to race against I know.  Since he's a better runner than I am it'll be even more challenging for me.  I promise this to you: I will do my best. 

I'll let you know how I did later on Saturday.  If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by and cheer us on! 

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

Catching Up on My Runs for Early November

Eight days into November and I have three runs for the month!  Of course the first three days of the month I spent doing prison ministry, so that does count as something more important than running to me. 

So far for this month I have run on Sunday the 4th, Monday the 5th and Wednesday the 7th.  Here are the details for those runs.

Sunday, November 4, 2012:

I decided to make this a speed run instead of a long run.  I will be running another 5K this Saturday and I needed to see what my pace was right now.  On shorter runs, those under 3.5 miles, I tend to pace myself faster and I needed a bench line to see what to set a PR bar at. 

11-4-2012 Details
11-04-2012 Split Times
I think that I will be able to get close to my goal of running a sub 30 minute 5K during this next race.  It'll be close but I think I can do it.

My next two runs for this month, and this week have been longer runs.  Both have been over 5 miles and both have been in just about one hour in duration.  I'm thinking that in the next three weeks or so I'll be moving on to even longer runs.

Monday, November 5, 2012 run:

11-05-2012 Run Details

11-05-2012 Split Times
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 run:

11-07-2012 Run Details

11-07-2012 Split Times

I have noticed that when I do a long run, well, long for me anyway, I tend to stay on pace for an average 11:30 mile.  I'm not sure if that is a great pace or not; I'll have to look at that, but I am happy with that pace so far.  It won't win me any races, but I think it's a respectable pace for a 248 pound guy who's only been running for 4 months!

Till next time, thanks for reading.

Have a great rest of the day!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Day After Election Day 2012

I have to admit that I am heart broken.  The candidate I voted for, Mitt Romney, lost.  America, for whatever reason, has decided by a narrow margin to give Obama another chance, another four years in office.

I am not going to lament this decision, nor will I vent my frustrations here.  I did enough of that last night to my friends and to my wife.  Instead I will do what the Apostle Paul has said to do:

     “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

No matter what political affiliation you choose to be a part of; no matter if you lean left or right or are in the middle, I ask this one thing of you:  Pray.

Our country stands on the precipice and we need prayer so that the leaders who were elected yesterday may have the wisdom, courage and fortitude to make the right choices and take the high road to compromise with each other.  They must do this to end the partisan bickering and actually get things done in Washington.  Both parties are at fault with this.  Both parties must work for the common good of the people of this country.  God help us all if they don't.

So I simply ask this: pray.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Night Watching Party -- Looking Blue So Far

I'm sitting here at a good friend's house with other good friends watching the election results coming in and let me tell you it is getting stressful in here.  We are a bunch of conservative Christians and are hoping and praying for a Romney victory.  So far it's not looking good.  Hopefully by the end of the night this will change.


I simply do not understand why this many Americans would even want four more years of what we've had so far.  I have a sick feeling about tonight.  I hope and pray to God I'm wrong, but it's looking like an Obama victory.

Two Simple Words for Today

No matter who you vote for, go vote.

Monday, November 05, 2012

DFW Weekend of Champions Wrap Up

This past Saturday marked the end of the 2012 Bill Glass DFW Weekend of Champions, and at 3:30 PM on that Saturday, I and 41 other team mates walked out of the Sanders Estes Prison Unit in Venus, TX to our cars and back to our normal lives.

As I unlocked my car and opened the door, I couldn't help but look back at the grey walls of the prison surrounded by fences topped with razor wire sparkling in the afternoon sunlight and think about the men in white who were staying behind.  They would stay there until each had finished his individual  sentence or was granted parole, but there were a few who had been spiritually paroled over those last two days and their spiritual death sentences had been fully pardoned by the only one who could redeem them from their sins and make them righteous before God.

Out of the over 1000 men in that unit who had the Gospel presented to them, several had made that life changing decision to follow Jesus Christ.  I had the honor to be able to lead two of them.  No, I don't count them as some sort of spiritual notch in my belt; I count them as new brothers in Christ.  You see, one prayer I always pray to God, is that He would use me however He sees fit.  During this weekend this is how He saw fit to use me and I couldn't be happier knowing that these two men had their spiritual shackles thrown off of them, replaced with robes of white.

Then came the email Sunday from Bill Glass' organization giving the totals for the weekend.  Over 800 men and women went into 18 prison units and 4,234 inmates made life changing decisions for Christ. Of those, 1,572 made that decision for the first time.  Talk about an email to smile about and rejoice over!

But that isn't the end of things.  Some may wonder what happens next for those inmates who did make that life changing decision to follow Jesus.  Well, the information is given to the prison chaplains and there is aftercare arranged to help the new Christians grown in their faith.  One of the things they will do is be enrolled in a class called Experiencing God.  When I took this course, I took it through the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and it was a wonderful course that I highly recommend for everyone.  There are also other programs that will come in to help these new brothers and sisters in Christ grow in their faith.

Eventually I am hoping to grow and lead one of those programs.  I love to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to those in prison, but I also want to make sure they have the aftercare they will need as well.  It is one of my goals in life to do this.  But that will happen in God's time.

For now, I and the team mates I was with continue to regain our strength and rest as we go back to our normal lives.  Going into prisons to tell those behind the walls the good news of Jesus Christ is exhausting in every aspect, but it is so worth it.  Not only in this lifetime but in the eternal lifetime to come.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great rest of the day!

Friday, November 02, 2012

DFW Weekend of Champions -- Day One

I'm exhausted, but it's okay.  Today was the first day of the Bill Glass' DFW Weekend of Champions and I and 41 other men ministered to as many men housed at the Sanders Estes Unit in Venus as we could. 

My day started at 4:30 AM as I woke up and got ready to leave.  Leaving at 5:30 I thought I would have plenty of time to arrive at the unit, over an hour away.  I was right as I got to the unit at 6:15 and waited for the rest of the team to arrive.  I'll be very honest when I say that I did not have anyone come up to me asking me what I was doing in a prison unit parking lot, in my car at this time of morning.  I would think that security would have been much tighter, even for a minimum security prison unit.  Goes to show what I know. 


We had one speaker who spoke in the morning and did a great job going over his testimony and the Gospel.  After he finished, he asked the inmates to join up with us teammates and I was privileged to go through our tract with three.  They were already believers, so we talked for a while about them and their families, and towards the end I had the further privilege to pray over and for them. 

After that we split up and went to the individual pods.  We spent four hours with the inmates in their pod and I was able to speak to a few of them.  One of them, whose nickname was "Short Bus" wasn't interested in knowing our message to him, but just wanted to show me his pictures of his son and his family.  His nickname, although derogatory was one given him by the other inmates due to his learning disabilities.  I was more than happy to sit with him and let him show me his family picture.  I may not have been able to go over the Gospel with him today, but hopefully my time with him will allow me to speak about it with him tomorrow.  Tomorrow we go back to the same pod, and the same group of inmates. 

Another one of the inmates wanted to discuss his notes on Lucifer's Flood, also known as the Gap Theory of Genesis 1: 1-2.  I have to admit that he had done several hours of work on his notes and word study, but I tried very hard to make sure he understood why we were there.  I presented the gospel to him, even drawing the bridge between man and God and explaining it.  He was adamant that it did not apply to him.  It was the one time that I was really frustrated during the day.  I ask you to pray for him.  His name is Justin Justice.

We had lunch with them and contrary to what most people believe prison food stinks.  Horribly bland tasting, not very nutritious and downright something I wouldn't serve my dogs, let alone a human being.  I challenge anyone out there that thinks prison is some sort of country club to come with me to one of these events.  Your eyes will be opened.

At 2:30 We left the pod and started back to the gym where we were holding the afternoon event.  We had country music and another speaker and once again after finishing his testimony and the gospel message the inmates were encouraged to come and talk to us.  I had one who came to me and I asked him what he believed and where he thought he'd go when he died.  When he said heaven I asked him why would God let him into His heaven and he didn't know why.  I told him that we needed to go over our gospel tract so I could show him the only reason why God would allow him into heaven. 

We went over the gospel tract and I asked him point blank what side of the line did he want to be on?  He had a choice to make and I challenged him to make it.  To my surprise he excused himself politely and left our table!  A few minutes later he came back and said he was ready.  We prayed together and the angels rejoiced over his decision to surrender to Christ.

A little while later we ended day one and headed out. 

Day two starts in eleven hours from now.