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Up next, Memphis Marathon December 15, 2010

Posted by whereschrisscotch in Races/Events Schedule, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized.
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Memphis Recap

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The Memphis Marathon was originally the end-cap of  the Where’s Chris Scotch Campaign for Katelyn and St. Jude, but I can do more.  I want to do more.  Stay tuned…

Friday, December 3, I boarded a plane and headed for Memphis.  Helen flew with me and my parents were in route by way of Jeep.  My brother Nick was driving over from Alabama (spending time there for work).  Mari and Jodi were already on Beale dodging the store salesmen.  St. Jude’s hospital campus is in Memphis, and St. Jude sponsors the Memphis marathon.  This past Easter, over a family gathering with my parents, Grandma S., Aunt Mari and Jodi, we started talking about the St. Jude Heroes program.  Aunt Mari and Jodi suggested that I add the Memphis Marathon to the the two I was going to run this year (Grandma’s and TCM).  I was hesitant.  I didn’t think I would be recovered from Twin Cities in October to be able to run Memphis in December.  My how things have changed!!  This marathon will my 15th event in the Where’s Chris Scotch campaign for St. Jude this year.
Perspective is one of those little things in life that can make a big difference, in most any aspect of your life. We can’t control some of things that happen in our lives, but we always have the ability to control our perspective. When I heard Katelyn speak at the Valentine’s Day fundraiser in 2009 I had a sudden and stark realization that the things that were keeping me down at the time really weren’t worth all the angst.  In reality,  I had things pretty damn good.  Perspective.

Fast forward a year later, to this past April. My perspective on running was that I didn’t know if I really liked it all that much and I didn’t think it was possible for me to run 3 marathons between June and December. I felt like I was undertaking a huge task by committing to 3 marathons for the Heroes campaign. Now fast forward to today and I realize again how my perspective has changed. Not only are three marathons possible in 5 months, but 7 ultra marathons can be squeezed in as well. The first time I stepped on the trail, at the Afton 50km race,  I somehow thought that maybe I would spontaneously combust the moment I ran further than 26.2 miles. Turns out a person can run much further than they think. Perspective.

The trip to Memphis was 2 and a half days, and the proximity of the St. Jude Campus, downtown and marathon made for a pleasant logistic experience.  We toured St. Jude on Friday afternoon.  I  was looking forward to  visiting the hospital, albeit with a slight trepidation.  I was eager to see where all the magic happens, where children’s  lives are saved and research is done to save many more.   The hard part is knowing the children go through so much pain.  The hospital campus is big, modern and bright.  The capabilities of the hospital are impressive and there is generally a very happy energy about the areas we saw.

Saturday was the highlight of the trip.  I got a chance to talk with Katelyn for about 40 minutes.  She had done the 5k with her dad and were waiting for me when they finished.  I had been looking forward to the meeting for months.  We talked about life, running and St. Jude.  We laughed a lot and had such a great time.   Not that I needed a renewal of inspiration, but to spend time with Katelyn and let her infectious happiness fill the air was so refreshing.  She is an amazing person and I think about how much my life has changed for the better since I first heard her speak.  I look forward to working with her in the future as she continues to raise funds for St. Jude.

Oh, and it turns out the marathon is sort of a nice little course.  I enjoyed my  run as I toured downtown Memphis, Beale Street, and the St. Jude Campus (at mile 5, but with the arch, the band and the energy it felt like the finish line) on my way into the finish, which is in the stadium of local minor league baseball team.  The stadium finish is really cool (the Boulder Boulder is also a stadium finish) and allows friends and family to spectate the finish with ease.   The trip to Memphis “put a face to the name” regarding St. Jude and the hospital.  It was wonderful to see  the patients  and the place where the dollars we are raising go.  I loved getting a chance to talk with Katelyn and introduce her to my family.  Thanks to Mom and Dad, who drove from Wisconsin to make sure they keep the streak alive (they have been at every marathon I have run).  Thanks to brother Nick, who drove over from Alabama.  Thanks to Mari and Jodi for their continued support with my fund-raising and also getting me to Memphis.  And thanks to Helen for making sure I don’t forget my shoes, for crewing, for pacing and for understanding and supporting  my campaign.  It was really a special weekend.



The next chapter. . . July 16, 2010

Posted by whereschrisscotch in Races/Events Schedule, Random Thoughts.

I believe I am on the threshold of a new chapter in my running journey.   The Where’s Chris Scotch campaign for Katelyn Atwell and St. Jude has provided me the intention and motivation to more deeply explore my own inner limits and running is the vehicle by which this is happening.  More specifically, trail running. Longer distances.

On the morning of the Afton Trail Run, everything that was clouding my mind going into the run –  (can I trail run?  Can I run 31 miles?  Can I survive the 90 degree heat for 7 or 8 hours? will my body hold up?)  – all  quickly faded  into the background allowing me to fully submerse myself in the present moment.   And that moment was glorious and magically  lasted for the next 6 hours.  The lines to run became crystal clear as I floated carefree over the rocks and roots.  The fragrance of the ferns and trees intertwined producing an intoxicating aroma that permeated my nose and reached all the way through my body to the ends of my toes.   The rays of sun filtering through the canopy were soft fingers gentling touching  my skin.  It felt  as though I was  on the verge of being swept off  my feet.  There were some hard parts and growing pains, as there always are when experiencing something new.  But even in the challenges I faced, I was able to remain in the present moment.  And  I learned from each obstacle that I encountered.  I learned the symbiosis  between the runner and the trail requires constant awareness of where my feet are, lest I misstep and disrupt the dance  (and fall on my face).  I continued to learn how to run faster and farther – with joy and lightheartedness.  I learned that perseverance is a quality I do not yet fully comprehend the depths of, but that to ever have a chance at comprehension requires a decision to explore.     I want to see how far this can go – it almost feels like meeting someone for the first time and feeling a spark of chemistry while at the same time feeling self-conscious and intimidated by them.  There are two choices at this point – go for it or  settle for comfort and turn and walk away.  I don’t want to wonder what could happen.  I want to throw caution to the wind and jump outside my comfort zone.   I don’t want to only live outside the box – I want to tear the box up and be rid of its constraints.   For that extra little push of encouragement, I think to myself – What Would Katelyn Say?  I bet she might say something like ” Running scared is no way to run”.

And thus, I announce my next event in the Where’s Chris Scotch campaign, my second date with trail running, and this time I will find out a lot about just how far this journey could go, and I couldn’t be more nervous….I mean excited!!  I mean nervous….    🙂

Minnesota Voyageur Trail 50 Ultra

July 24th, 2010

7am start

Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra, a 50 mile trail endurance run in Northern Minnesota. The Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra is one of the oldest trail ultramarathons in the nation. 2011 will be its’ 30th Anniversary. The rugged, varied course takes runners from Carlton High School on difficult, rough woodland trails with scenic overlooks of Duluth, MN and St. Louis Bay of Lake Superior, and the infamous “power lines” to the Duluth Zoo and back.

My lodging is still up in the air – figure I have a few days to figure it out.  Will likely end up camping – haven’t been in a tent since February  – waaay too long!