Earning My Stripes

Featured

Julie's pic
This is my friend Julie. And this post is for her.

Julie has been one of my wife’s best friends for years and she suffers from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. In Julie’s own words, “EDS is genetic connective tissue order that causes defects in the collagen or glue that holds our body, especially joints together.” This is a very simple explanation of something that’s a lot more complex. Over the past year Julie’s symptoms have gotten a lot worse and she’s struggled to get things figured out after meeting with doctors. She’s finally narrowed down some of her problems and has found out that she has Chiari Malformation and Craniocervical malformation (a serious neurological disorder where the bottom part of the brain, the cerebellum, descends out of the skull and crowds the spinal cord, putting pressure on both the brain and spine and causing many symptoms.)

So now the good news. Julie has been approved to meet with one of the few specialists in the world that can help her with some of her problems and in mid August she gets to travel to New York to meet with him and have two surgeries. She needs help getting there, and that is my reason for this post.

In 17 days Julie has raised almost $4300 with a goal of $5000. This money will help cover travel and other expenses for the two weeks she is there. She is hoping this will be enough and may need more. My goal is to raise $1000 for her, and I will do whatever I can to make it happen.

So the plan…

On Saturday July 27th I will be running the Idaho Falls M.A.D. half marathon and would like to use that opportunity to raise awareness and funds for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. The Mascot for EDS is a zebra and I would like to run this half marathon in zebra attire. I do not have a zebra costume and that is where you all come in. I need you to purchase a stripe. The more stripes purchased the better the costume. A minimum of $10 a stripe but no maximum so feel free to be generous if you can. You buy the stripe, I make the costume, and I will even write a name, phrase, or saying of your choice on the stripe. 100 stripes = $1000 that’s 3 days without a starbucks, 2 meals at home instead of fast food, or even better riding your bike to work for a week instead of driving. 🙂

Now for a little motivation. For the first few people who contribute to this cause I have some ummmm… “prizes”

$30 donation = 3 pounds of my famous homemade fudge (10+ flavors to choose from)
$30 donation = 1/2 batch of my famous homemade caramels
$50 donation = Map My Run. Get a map, pick a run for me, anywhere in Pocatello Idaho. As few as 1 mile, as many as 20. Have me run around the walmart parking lots for 100 laps, in front of my house for 3 hours straight, all around town, or something more scenic. (it’s all your choice)
$20 I’ll print off a beautiful color copy of your favorite #onmyrun photo from facebook and instagram and mail it to you. (I will have a gallery to choose from)
$100 = I’ll shave my head bald, bic it so it’s shiny, and let my kids draw a nice picture on it with the dry erase markers. (Photo included) (only 1 available)
$40 = 10 mile run in an outfit of your choice. (Mostly your choice, I do draw the line at dresses and sports bra’s but I would wear a tutu or other things in pink. Not that I prefer pink 😉

I may add to the list if I can think of anything else.

Please email me if you’d like to help, @ krumtod@gmail.com and lets make this thing happen.

Oh and one more thing, because of her illness Julie has gone to school to be a Preschool Special education teacher but has had to give up on that because of her illness. She is now working on a masters in Counseling and Career development and is going to use this to pursue a doctorate that will help her focus on working with and helping adolescents who live with chronic conditions. So you can know that your little bit of help for Julie will be passed on to help many others.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Tod

PS. If you want to take a much simpler route, you can also go directly to Julie’s fundraising site and donate.
http://www.gofundme.com/3di33s

Advertisements

Fear

Featured

Tags

, , ,

So today’s post is especially for Halloween. Halloween is great for runners for a lot of reasons. Halloween candy for carb loading, an excuse to feel a little less self conscious when wearing runners tights or short shorts, and of course all the different cool costume themed races. I get to participate in one of these awesome runs on Saturday, The Just Cuz Half Marathon. In my case you get to scratch out the HALF in that title. Yep, a full marathon and guess what? I’m going to make a little confession. I’m scared… Not a lot scared, just a little scared. But hey it’s Halloween so it’s okay to be scared. Over the past few weeks as I’ve continued to prepare for this marathon I’ve had a whole gamut of emotions running through my head. I am very excited but I’m also pessimisticly optimistic (which I think translates to optessimistic) about running the full 26miles 385 yards. Don’t get me wrong, I know I can do it, but can I do it?

A little over a month ago I did a little bit of trail running on some nice steep hills and in the process exercised my left knee in a new and wonderful way in which it’s never been exercised before. The problem is, it hasn’t quite recovered yet. It’s improved quite a bit and I’ve met with a chiropractor and a physical therapist. But sometimes when I run I feel that little twinge of pain start to come back and I worry. So here I am 3 days before one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done, and my mind goes from absolute excitement, to nervousness about the distance, to confidence and back to worries about my knee.

So how do I ignore these worries, or is it possible that maybe I can harness these nerves, this fear I feel, and use it, and if I can Then how do I do so?

Let me tell you a spooky Halloween story… I listened to a radio program yesterday where someone spoke about a recurring dream they had. In this dream they woke up in the middle of the night, and paced aimlessly through their house. Suddenly they felt an apprehension, like the walls were closing in. They looked out a window and saw a face looking in at them. Eventually this “face” at the window broke into their house and began fighting with them. This person had this recurring dream for over 20 years. Finally they decided to do something about it. They began to focus during this dream, trying to take control of it. Finally one night it happened, they had the same dream. In the dream they went through the same scenario of waking up and seeing the face at the window, and then this time instead of waiting for the person to break in they went and opened the door. When the person came in instead of fighting them they just stood and waited. After a few moments the person pulled out a gun and pointed it at them, waited and then began firing shots right at the dreamers chest, but… In the dream the person looked down and slowly realized that the bullets were doing nothing. He said that, ” I felt like Neo, or Superman” and “I realized that I was invincible, he couldn’t touch me.” From that time on he never again had the dream, he had conquered it.

Is it the same for us? Do we sometimes stand there and wait for our fears to do us in, only to find out we are stronger then they are? That after we are hit by what we thought might kill us we remain standing and realize we are stronger than whatever might come at us? Easy for me to say, my biggest worry is whether I can run up a couple hills and back down to where I started from. A lot of others have a lot worse to worry about than that. But the point is, whatever life throws at us we can be stronger. And we may encounter things that scare us, hurt us, and test us in ways we that we may think that there’s no way we’ll make it through, but… We are stronger than that. Or let me rephrase, we are Made to be stronger than that. We are not made to fear, we are made to Hope and to Love. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2nd Timothy 1:7)

So, yeah 3 days. Halloween is officially over in about 20 minutes and I no longer have an excuse to be scared. I have been blessed with this wonderful talent of running, doing things I’ve never dreamed of, and hey, if my knee chooses to yell at me or give out on me, big deal. I will do my best I will fight a good fight, and I darn well am going to earn that piece of peanut butter pie that will be waiting for me Saturday night.

20121101-083237.jpg

20121101-083249.jpg

Boston…

boston
When I was little I shared a room with my brother. In our room we had a little tiny black and white tv. The tv’s screen was probably about 5 inches by 5 inches. We would plug it in, set it on a chair, and after 20 minutes of fiddling with the coat hanger stuck where the antenna goes we were able to tune into something on basic cable. At least twice a year the circus would come on. I didn’t care about anything but the magician. I couldn’t wait to see him. I would lay on the bed watching the tv just waiting for the magician to come on. I remember at least two times where I fell asleep and woke up to find that I had missed the magician, and I laid there and cried. This was a big deal to me; I spent all my spare money on magic tricks, put on mini magic shows at school for my classes, dressed as a wizard for Halloween and as Houdini for a 5th grade character report. Being a magician was my dream. Years have passed and that dream has faded. I still have a few magic tricks lying around and I love to bring out the deck of cards and play around but I have traded my wand and hat for a degree in accounting and finance. I remember that amazing feeling I would get as I watched those magicians and thought, “Someday that will be me.”
Now it’s been over 15 years since I’ve even considered that dream and today, after all those years that feeling returned. I sat in my bedroom studying for a corporate finance test and I suggested to my wife that she turn on the Boston Marathon on the computer and keep an eye on Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher for me. They were familiar names and I thought it would be fun to see how they did. I sat in the bedroom and once or twice she came in and gave me an update. When they hit mile 25 she let me know and I had to go and watch the last two miles. As I watched the screen cut back and forth between the women’s and the men’s race I was surprised at how I was feeling.
In two weeks it will be the one year anniversary of my first race ever. It was a 10k and at that time I had given about as much thought to running the Boston Marathon as I had to when I would be getting my first colonoscopy. I didn’t know it then but later that year I would run my first marathon and set a very informal goal of running the Boston Marathon by the time I was 40 years old. Now fast forward back to today. There I am standing in my kitchen and watching Rita Jeptoo and Lelisa Desisa cross the finish line and I felt like a kid at Christmas. I knew that someday I would be crossing that finish line. It’s hard to explain but I got a little choked up, and as I drove to class I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry. I had a dream.
As I was driving home from class a few hours later I received a text message from a friend that said, “Explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line, crazy huh?” I assumed it was fireworks or something for the other runners and I went home and googled it. I couldn’t believe it. Here was this beautiful thing that I had been so inspired by this morning and suddenly it was filled with tragedy, and horror. I didn’t know how to react so I put on my running shorts, laced up my shoes, and ran. No Garmin, no music, no distance, and no time. I ran, and for the second time today the Boston Marathon made me cry.
When asked about his win for the Elite Men’s division, Lelisa Desisa said of the group he was running with , “We push, we push, we push… I push and I see the finish line and I sprint because I had the force[strength]” I thought about this as I ran. So many people who were waiting for this triumphant moment, who have worked and trained so hard, only to have it tainted and ruined by this horrible act. But it will not last. My heart and prayers go out to them. We as a people will pick ourselves up and rise up stronger than ever. The Boston Marathon has always been a symbol of excellence, hard work, and dedication and it will continue to be. And for the amazing community of runners it will represent triumph over tragedy, pride over pain, and community and courage over crushed dreams. It’s not about the distance or the speed, it’s about the run and nothing can take that from us. We will push and push and when we see that finish line we will push again and sprint to the win!
boston<
(Photo courtesy of Paul, @runaday instagram.com)

Facing a new year (and an overly used cliche comparing a marathon to life)

076

 

It’s been a while since I’ve written and it’s all because I have been waiting for that unique, original, perfect, title for this next post and here ya go, what do you think?

In my last post I talked a lot about fear and my upcoming marathon.  It’s now been a little over two months and of course the marathon has come and passed.  I bet all of you loyal readers (all 6 of you, thanks Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, cashier lady at the grocery store, and mailman.) have been wondering how it went? Right? Well I finished, my knee gave me no problems at all, and in all seriousness I am grateful and blessed to have been able to have finished.  Not only did I finish, I didn’t collapse at the finish line although I did get pretty close.  I can picture all of you (Mom, Dad, Grandma, etc… hunkered over your computer faces inches from the monitor waiting for me to post the extremely interesting stats from the aforementioned marathon.) Well here ya go…

1st in my age group*

* There was a total of 1 runner in my age group.

There were a total of 18 participants, and I came in 8th.

My time was 4:33:10.

There were no professional photographers but here is my official, glorious, moments before the finish line, photo.Just Cuz photo

And if you can’t tell, I’m the handsome fellow in the back, not the one with the bright green hair.

So I’ve been anxious to share my marathon story for months and my time has finally come, and here it is in all of it’s glorious details. (minus most of them)

So the morning of the marathon I show up at 7:45 am, about 15 minutes early.  There’s a very small group of people huddled around a couple of small fires at the park shelter where the marathon starts. It’s a very quiet and relaxed, not really many people jogging around to warm up or stretching, everyone was just trying to keep warm.  All 18 runners lined up at the starting line, pictured below (photo taken prior to race day),

078*Note,  it says Hero Start, not Head Start. 🙂

At the starting line they let us know that the Shotgun was at the start line for the half marathon (our halfway/turn around point) so we would have to make our own bang noise.  So right at 8 all of 18 of us yelled bang and took off running.

I’m not going to bore you with all the details but I have a few highlights to share. First of all, my playlist…

For quite a while I had decided against running with music and wanted to be able to hear and focus on everything around me.  About 2 days before the race I changed my mind.  So what was on my playlist?  The Decemberists, Sigur Ros, and LDS General Conference.  Yeah, quite the mix.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the first two bands on the playlist you definitely need to check out the Decemberists and Sigur Ros, great running music.

And LDS General Conference, is a collection of religious talks that are given twice yearly by leaders of my church.  I know, kind of odd for running a marathon to, but I had some reasoning behind this.  In my last post I spoke a lot about my fear of whether or not I would be able to finish this marathon.  Even a week prior to the marathon my IT Band had been giving me a lot of problems.  This marathon had become very important to me and I was so worried that I would not be able to finish.  These religious talks tend to focus on serving others, strengthening family, and drawing closer to Jesus Christ.  I felt that if I listened to these it would help take my mind off of my worries about my knee and myself and help me get through the first half (a very tough first half) of this marathon.

Well it worked, and I spent the first 8 miles of the marathon running just behind a runner from Star Valley Wyoming.  She had family that would follow her and every mile they would get out of their car, cheer for her, and hurry and drive up to the next mile.  I liked to pretend they were cheering for me and I like to think that a few times maybe they were. At mile 9 I passed this lady (all credit goes to the porta potty that distracted her) and hit the tough stretch of the marathon.  Miles 10 -13 were a nice, steep, uphill stretch, and they really tired me out.

I need to point out, before I go any farther, that the halfway point for the marathon was also a turnaround point/starting line for the Half Marathon, and while there were only 18 participants in the Marathon there were at least several hundred runners in the half marathon.

My goal was to reach the halfway point at about the time the half marathon started (2 hours and 10 minutes after my start).  Well that is exactly what happened but I quickly realized this wasn’t a good idea.  I rounded the turn in the road and about 100 yards away was the start line and my turn around point.  There I was, one person, running straight towards a crowd of 300+ runners, all waiting for one little signal to go charging down a hill as fast as they can.  I got about 100 feet from them and the gun went off.  I QUICKLY realized exactly how bad of an idea it was to keep running the direction I was.  I yelled out a couple of quick sorrys to those who were about to trample me did a 360 faster than Michael Jackson and headed back down for the second half of my marathon.

It was nice to be running with a crowd now and I saw a few people that I knew.  Things were going fairly smooth and I tried to take advantage of the downhill.  I thought a bit about the wall as I neared mile 20.  I had never ran farther than 22 miles and was wondering what it might feel like, if and when I hit it. Well at mile 23 I passed the table of temptation. This was a special aid station with an assortment of goodies such as pickles, oreos, licorice, twinkies (If only I had known I would have partaken), jolly ranchers, ding dongs, etc etc.  I had a nice cup of water at this table, although the nice volunteer lady mistakenly tried to give me Jack & Coke two different times.

012

Me in a marathon daze holding my 4 month old.

About mile 24 I had to walk.  I was so ready to be done, so I walked, and then every couple of minutes I would run for a minute and then walk some more.  Finally I came up to the final hill before the finish line and I started running again.  (Well, I guess you could call it running), I saw my family and friends there to cheer me on and I finally crossed the finish line.  I had done it and I felt ummmm… great.  Yeah, I think that’s the word for it. Oh and exhausted, slightly disoriented, very hungry, and that sun in the sky was about 3 times brighter than it’s seemed before.

But really I felt awesome!! I was so excited and grateful for what I had just done.  Couch to marathon in 9 months. 🙂

So what did I learn from all this?  It took me a few months but as I was talking about this later on I realized the big lesson I learned from my whole marathon experience.  From the time I hurt my IT Band back in the middle of September up until the day of the marathon, I had been scared and worried about what I may or may not be able to accomplish.  This fear did nothing to help me.  Even during my taper I still had some knee pain and felt worried about what I would be able to do.  But at that start line I started my playlist and started running.  The first two hours of that marathon were spent listening to inspired men speak about serving others, bettering self, and drawing closer to Christ.  Instead of worrying about my knee I just listened and ran.

Reflecting on that later, I realized it’s just like life.  As we go through this brand new year who knows what we will face.  There will be joy and sorrow, trials and blessings, tragedy and triumph.  But chances are it won’t always be easy. But, when the times get tough, if instead of worrying, fretting, being scared, or losing hope, if we look outside ourselves and look towards serving others and drawing closer to Christ we will make it through ANYTHING that life brings to us. It might be the longest 26 miles of our lives but we will find ourselves on the other side exhausted, tired, hungry, and feeling so grateful that we made it.

Just cuz shirt and cup

My finishers shirt and one of the set of 4 cups that were given to marathon finishers.

 

Crying?? There’s no crying in Running!

So there I was, mile 11 of my first Half Marathon, and yep you guessed… I was crying.  I don’t want to ruin my Manly  image so I will say that it was just a little, and in fact it may not have been crying, I may have just had a little bit of eye sweat, but there was definitely some emotional upheaval running through my well toned runners physique.

So have I ever mentioned before, that I never really did like running?  When I was in middle school, Mr Higley, my PE teacher, liked to make us run a mile.  It was hot, I had to run around the track 4 whole times, and I pretty much always got lapped by the entire class, including that kid who always managed to do the first lap in the wrong direction and had to start over in the right direction. Yep even he lapped me.  Things got a little easier when I hit eighth grade, not because I was faster or better at running a mile, but because usually around the beginning of lap 2 I would get this sharp shooting pain through the top of my right foot.  It really hurt, and I never figured out what it was, but the teacher never made me finish the mile after that.

So here I am 16 or so years later, and I’m starting to make up for lost time just a little.  I have to add a little disclaimer here.  I’ve never been athletic.  I never played football because I was scared of being tackled. I never played basketball because everyone was two feet taller then me and you can only run between someones legs so many times before they catch on.  I did like volleyball but could never hit the ball anywhere but my own face.  And yeah, I had great hopes of being a pickleball champ but never quite caught on to that one very well.

So if we fastforward back to the present and then rewind back a little over a week to the morning of September 1st.  The Pocatello Marathon…  I signed up for the half on that day. It was 5 am, I had gotten 4 and 1/2 hours of sleep and I was up eating my bagel with peanut butter and bananas and I was nervous.  And you know me, I tend to spend a little too much time on facebook. One my friends, who happens to be a superstar runner and who was running the marathon that morning posted this comment, “For all my friends running the Pocatello Marathon tomorrow, whatever your event, I wish you success and remember…Run like hell and get the agony over with! See you at the finish line!”  So I had already thought it over some but that comment solidified my goal of a sub 2 hour half marathon.  My quickest half marathon time prior to that was about 2 hours and ten minutes.  So as I finished my bagel I glanced at good old facebook one more time and this same friend posted one more comment, which became my mantra for the day, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31″
So I went to the marathon with that thought in my mind, I had trained, I had prepared, I had worked hard at making my body healthy, and I felt like I had done all that I could, and I knew that I could do my best and the rest was up to the Lord.

When I got to the starting line I decided to find a pace group.  I found Rachel, the pacer for a 2 hour half marathon, and knew that if I stayed with her and the pacing group I could achieve my goal of a 2 hour half.  This was a great decision, Rachel was awesome and it was great to  run in a group.  We started off at a good pace and the race seemed to go by pretty quick. About mile 9 and 1/2 I was feeling pretty good and decided to pull ahead and see if maybe I could eek a time a little lower than 2 hours.  I ran with someone else from our group for about a mile and we picked up the pace a little. Finally I pulled away from him and went for it.  For about 9 miles I had been running a steady pace of 9 minutes per mile, which is great for me at a long distance.  I finished mile 11, looked down at my watch and I was running a 7 minute and 37 second mile. I’ve never ran a mile that quick and it was at that point that I realized that I was being given a gift, and was running on strength beyond my own. And yep, I was crying.  It’s hard to run when you’re crying, that whole tightening of the throat thing kind of makes it hard to breath. So I sucked it up, picked up the pace just a smidge and booked it to the finish line.  I beat my goal of 2 hours by coming in at 1:54:04.  It was truly a gift from God.

I know what you’re thinking, now he’s going to get cheesey and bring out the life Metaphors… Well Isn’t this whole story an extremely obvious metaphor for life?  We WILL hit points when we know that we just can’t handle it, we aren’t strong enough.  But if we give it our all then we will be given the help we need and push through that wall, climb that mountain, beat that challenge, and Keep Running!

And yes it is okay to cry…

 

KeepRunning

Keep Running, or how I learned to stop worrying and love overused cliches and metaphors.

Keep Running.  That’s a phrase that’s been going through my mind a lot lately. It’s kind of become my motto.  There was a brief period of time, after I was fully into this whole running thing, that I asked myself, “What if one day I decide I don’t really like this? What if I decide I don’t want to run anymore?” Yes, there are some days that I just keep looking at my watch and asking the age old, proverbial question, “Are we there yet?”  Is it a big deal if I don’t want to run anymore, it’s not like it’s the end of the world.  The thing I’ve realized is it’s about so much more than the run.

Let me ask you a question, Why do you run? What is it that makes you get up at 5 am and hit the streets? What drives you to run a ridiculous amount of miles in 95 degree weather?  Or as the comic in the paper touched on the other day, what makes you want to pay perfectly good money, to run on a boring old street, to do something you enjoy, with a goal to be done doing it as quick as possible??
Let me tell you why I run.

  1. I run for my health.  30 pounds lost and in better shape than I have been in my entire life.
  2. I run for my family.  My children love seeing me run, love asking about my next race, and through running I know that I can stay healthy and will be around a lot longer to see them grow.
  3. I run to see myself improve.  I played little league quite a few years ago.  I was center fielder.  Not once did the ball ever get hit to me, and when up to bat I never hit the ball once.  I didn’t play football because I was scared to be tackled and get hurt.  (yep, hope I didn’t just ruin my manly image.)  I loved volleyball but could never manage to hit the ball with both hands and it always seemed to go behind me when I did hit it. When running I don’t get tackled and I am improving, it’s great!
  4. I run to race…  Yep, I love a little competition even if most of them are faster than me.
  5. I run to inspire.  When I run I hope that someone realizes that, Hey if Tod can do it, anyone can.

So I have a lot of reasons to run, but not all of them are about the running.  It’s about what’s at the finish line.  Have I improved?  Am I healthier from what I am doing? Have I inspired someone?

Today I ran a 10k,  My goal was 8 minutes per mile.  I have a strategy where I peg someone ahead of me and make it my goal to pass them by the end of the race.  Today I pegged the “gray haired older lady in the pink shirt” who was just ahead of me.  She had a good pace (for an older lady 😉  ) and I figured I’d pass her up and start working on the next person to pass.  Yep, about mile 4 she kicked it in gear and I could hardly see her by the time I finished mile six and she was gone.  But the fast guy I passed at the start of mile 6, I was feeling pretty good about passing him, until he blitzed past me during the last two tenths of a mile and there was nothing I could do to keep up.  Oh and the green shirt lady, yeah not a chance.  But when I got to the finish line there was my wife cheering me on and there was my PR of 48.07, and a pace of 7 minutes 52 seconds per mile,  And I knew that I had won that race.

So I was doing some “light reading”  the other day, and for someone my age and gender to qualify to run in the Boston Marathon, I would have to run a marathon in 3 hours and 5 minutes or less.  That’s only 45 seconds off my current fastest pace with over 4 times the distance.  But you know what? By the time I reach 40 years old, I’m going to do it.  How? I don’t know, but I will keep running.

This post isn’t really about running though, it’s about life.  I met an amazing man while on my mission in Canada.  His name was Brother Garry Stark.  I used to think of him as kind of awkward and different, but the more I got to know him the more I realized I had a lot to learn from him.  I’ll never forget one of the last times I saw him.  He let me know that his wife was in the hospital, very ill, and was not expected to live much longer.  His response was something along the lines of “But I know I’ll see her again, and I’ll do what the Lord wants me to do and go where he wants me to go.”  He didn’t say this while choking back tears, or with a hopeful sound in his voice.  He made this statement with utter conviction in the most matter-of-fact voice.  I knew he meant, believed, and knew every bit of that.  So that’s life, we keep on running, there’s a lot to learn on the way.  Some days our pace may be off, we may never catch up, we may get passed by that old lady, and who knows, we might stop to catch our breath and realize we haven’t gotten as far as we thought, but there’s plenty more road or trail out there and when we reach our finish line I can guarantee that we’ll have someone cheering us on and it won’t matter who finished first, as long as we kept running!

 

PS. I’m always asking for comments and when I get them I often forget to respond, but I appreciate them all and will do better at responding like I should. 🙂

 

Mezamashii and the 4:30am throwups.

The shoes, the degree, the ummm hat thingy?

So I’ve had some krumthoughts going through my head for the past two weeks but not enough time to post them.  Now thanks to a case of the 4:30 am throwups I should have plenty of time to complete this blog post before everyone else wakes up.  This post seems to be a jumble but I think it all ties together and I hope it gives you as much to think about as it did me.

It’s 5:30 am, and I’m sitting here watching veggie tales with my recently turned 4 year old, hoping that he feels better and wishing that my wife hadn’t finished his glass of milk from when he woke up an hour ago.  The other day, this same 4 year old, Asher,  my 5 year old, Andon, and I, had a short conversation that went something like this:

Me:    Asher,  do you know you are a child of God?

Asher:  Yes dad, and you are a daddy of God.

Andon:  You are a dad of God, a man of God.

Yep, those kids know how to put the pressure on.

So, as you, my few and faithful readers probably already know, I just started running back around March of this year and I’m preparing myself for a half Marathon on September 1st and a full marathon on November 3rd.  It’s a little intimidating that in a little over 3 months I will be running 26.2 miles straight.  This is something that I am preparing for, in one way or another, every single day.  It will take a lot of work but I know I can achieve it.

To train for my marathon I start out running a total of 26 miles in the first week, with my final run on Saturday, being a total of ten miles.  I work up from this to several weeks of 50 miles each with my final Saturday run being 20 miles. As I was looking at my training program the other day and getting a little nervous about the long runs ahead something occurred to me.   I have lost almost 30 pounds since November and have increased my health greatly, but what I have I done to strengthen myself spiritually?   I am, or at least try to be, a daddy of God, a man of God, yet spiritually I’m still running the same couple of miles every few days.  For my marathon training I can’t just keep running the same 15 miles each week, split between the same 3 days. I have to progress and build up to that 26.2 miles.

Chances are, at some point I will be asked to run some sort of “spiritual marathon” but will I have the strength and endurance to make it to the finish line?  What can I do to train for this spiritual marathon?  In order for us to progress in the gospel, and of course many other aspects of life, we need to be constantly moving and improving.

Leah, likes to point out, since I’ve started exercising, running, and eating healthy, how much my kids like to do the same.  So how important is it that I set a similar example spiritually?  Will they see me training for my spiritual marathon and get that excitement?

Mezamashii…

Some of you have probably heard me talk about my favorite running shoes, my Mizuno Wave Mushas.  They are an awesome pair of minimalist running shoes, in bright, superhero style, colors.  They are light, breath well, super comfy, and awesome to run in.  Recently Mizuno has launched the Mezamashii project.  According to their website, Mezamashii is the Japanese word for eye-opening, or brilliant.”  While I keep hoping for an invitation to this project, in the meanwhile, I have been trying to apply Mezamashii to other aspects of my life.  This last weekend I went with my family to Salt Lake City to celebrate a brilliant run.  The trip was to attend my graduation ceremony for my bachelors degree in accounting.  This has been a long time coming for me.  7 years, 2 schools, and 4 kids later and I finally have my degree. These last 4 years earning my bachelors degree have been tough and doing strictly online & independent learning has been tough.  But I did it!  If you look close at my graduation picture you can see me wearing my super hero running shoes, I did so to symbolize Mezamashii or the brilliant run that was the last 7 years of earning my degree.

Graduation, Asher didn’t want to be in the picture and Ane was sleeping.

So a brilliant run? Mezamashii? Every time I go out running lately I think about what will make this run brilliant. What can I do to push myself a little bit more, to improve, and of course to find joy in what I am doing?

So being a dad of God?  What will I do to make today a brilliant run as a man of God?  What will I do to increase my “distance”  have a faster “pace”, or maybe set a new “PR”?  I’m still working on my “training plan” but I hope to share some insights and lessons learned in the future.  What do you do to strengthen your spiritual muscles?? Please share and comment…

An heritage…

It’s been a busy few weeks and I haven’t posted for at least two weeks, I’ve really thought a lot about what I wanted to talk about and even had a really long rough draft which I’ve completely deleted.  So here I am, just sitting down to dinner after a way to busy Sunday, (I don’t like busy Sundays but this one was “good busy”)  and trying to think about what to write.  The whole purpose of this Blog is to talk about my love for running and the joy I find in my family. Well…

On Saturday, June 23rd, at 12:57 pm, AnaLee Mae Krumenacker came into this world.  We had a healthy delivery and a healthy baby.  This makes 4 for us. 4 kids by the age of 32 doesn’t sound too bad.  I don’t know if I feel quite prepared to support a family of 6 on one income, or come September, no income while I go to school full time.  I honestly don’t know how we’ll do it, but if I’ve learned anything since Leah and I have decided to start having children and not have her work outside the home, it’s that The Lord Will Provide.  Sometimes I see couples who can go out to the movies and dinner whenever they want, who can sit down and eat warm meal at the same time,  who can take a week long road trip, or who can go shopping at Costco and be done in half an hour.  We used to be able to do those things often but after almost 7 years of marriage and 4 children later, our focus has shifted.  We can go to the movies and dinner but now it’s the dollar menu and a cartoon at the dollar theater,  dinner is no longer a sit down and eat affair, it’s an “Eat your vegetables, quit playing with your food, and 3 more bites” sort of thing now, and 3 of our week long “road trips” in the past 6 years have been to the hospital for the delivery of our next child.  And don’t get me started on the Costco trips. (3 hours instead of half an hour and trying to cut up those huge pieces of pizza on a one ply plate with a plastic fork and knife is ridiculous.)

But would I trade it? Not for anything!  The Lord has always provided.  3 years ago I was out of work for a time, we had no idea how we would make ends meet.  We tried to live thriftily off of the money we had and when we finally got to the point when we started to ask people for help, that very week, I got a job.  The Lord Provided.  Another example, we had two children and small two bedroom apartment.  The apartment was great but probably would’ve been a little cramped for any additional members of the family.  We started looking at houses but payments were just too much and we had no idea how we could afford any of the ones we looked at.  One day we drove past a cute little house with a For Sale By Owner sign out front.  I glanced at it and drove right past but felt prompted that I should turn back around. So I turned around, pulled in the driveway, and got the phone number off of the sign.  I called the person and asked to know a little bit more about the house, they said it was a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, new paint, new floors, and new appliances.  I asked how much and they said, $15,000. I asked if they meant $115,000 or even $50,000 and they said no, $15,000.  So we set up an appointment to see it and ordered a home inspection immediately to see what was wrong with it.  To make a long story short, we bought a beautiful $15,000 home, that the year before had sold for $100,000.  The couple we bought it from said that they didn’t want “who gets the house” to cause problems amongst their adult children and that they wanted to give it to someone cheap so they could afford to fix some of the little problems in the house.  I continue to be amazed that I could deserve a blessing like this, but I know that I my wife and I have done all we can to put family ahead of ourselves and I strongly feel that we were given this house to support us in having the beautiful family that the Lord intended for us. (and 2 months later we were pregnant with our 3rd child.)

Really this is all beside the point.  What have I gotten from choosing to forgo some of these things is 4 beautiful children. These children bring me more joy than I have ever felt in my life, and it is great to see them love each other and love and serve their mom.

Right now I go running about 3 -4 times a week.  I have a 4 year old, who every time I step out the door, asks, “Are you going on a race? Or are you just going to run around a bit?”  He loves to hear about my races, and lately every where we go he wants to race to see who gets their first.  This small example reminds me of how much we influence our children.  What or who do we love in our lives? How do we treat others, what do we do in our spare time?  Sometimes I apologize to my wife for the time away from home running or at the gym, or the money spent on shoes, workout clothes, and running magazines.  She reminds me that I am building a sort of heritage for the kids.  They see me running, exercising, and making choices that allow me to be healthier and be around for them for a long time.  For me to be able to pass that on to them is priceless.  I am reminded of the scripture that states, “Children are an heritage of The Lord.” (Psalm 127:3)  These children are a gift from God and a great responsibility and we pass ourselves onto them, so who are we??

I’d like to end with a quote from Elder Robert D. Hales, “In many ways earthly parents represent their Heavenly Father in the process of nurturing, loving, caring [for], and teaching children. Children naturally look to their parents to learn of the characteristics of their Heavenly Father. After they come to love, respect, and have confidence in their earthly parents, they often unknowingly develop the same feelings toward their Heavenly Father”  In order for us to teach our children about our Heavenly Father it is important that we show them who he is through our actions and our lives and in so doing we will see the light of Heavenly Father and The Savior in their lives and this will bring us one of the greatest joys imaginable.

Running and milking a cow at the same time!

This morning we were enjoying “special daddy breakfast” (a Saturday or Sunday morning tradition at my house) and we had been telling jokes and trying to get the kids to understand how knock knock jokes work.  At some point, I can’t even remember why, I was pantomiming the act of driving a car.  Well apparently in the little world inside my head driving a car involves moving your hands up and down, kind of like using a steering wheel, and moving your feet up and down like you’re riding a bike or maybe crushing grapes with your feet, just like they do in the movies.  So while I am demonstrating this complicated act to my children Leah looks at me and says, “You’re running and milking a cow at the same time?”  Yeah, I know, this concept might sound a little strange to some of you, but you have to understand a little bit of Leah’s background, let me explain.

Leah was born in a small town on the eastern coast, you’ve probably never heard of it, but it was called Bergsberg, named after the original settler of the town, Henry Quarlington Jones.  Where does any of his name fit in with Bergsberg you may ask?  Well Henry had a nickname growing up, Iceberg Jones, and without going into too much detail we’ll just say that his nickname came from an unfortunate incident at the town pool, a metaphorical “sinking of the Titanic” you could say. Anyways, Bergsberg was a small town that was known for primarily two things, its strong background in dairy farming and its beautiful running paths.  Henry “Iceberg” Jones pretty much owned the entire town.  His dairy farm provided many jobs for the townfolk and kept the economy running smoothly.  Henry had two sons,  Stephen and Lorenzo.  As Henry got older he prepared to pass his dairy farm on to his two sons.  When he sat down to talk with his sons about passing on the business Stephen was all for it but Lorenzo was less than excited.  Lorenzo had grown up very athletic and had a strong love for running and had, 2 years prior, organized the towns first official marathon, The Bergsberg Hurlberg. (The named was changed in later years after participants began to realize that chili dogs and banana cream pie were not appropriate for the pre-race morning celebration.) The Jones were a very tight knit family and Lorenzo did not want to leave his family legacy behind but he wanted to keep running.  It was this train of thought that lead Lorenzo to combine the family business and the toughest marathon on the east coast (at that time) into one spectacular sporting event, appropriately named The Other Brother Udder Nutter Relay.  This race combined the fun of a team relay with the sheer skill of the lost art of handmilking. It may sound hard but scientists in Bergsberg have studied the best arm movements for appropriate economy of motion during running and found that they very similarly mimic the movements used in the “Under Udder Teat tweet” method of dairy cow milking.

So to make a short story long, when Leah saw me doing my “car driving motions” at the breakfast table this morning she was reminded of her hometown of Bergsberg.  Now why am I telling you all this you may ask?  Well, when Leah first made her comment about running and milking a cow I thought, “That is impossible” but as you can tell from the story I just told, it is very possible.  While it took a few years for the “Other Brother Utter Nudder” to catch on, catch on it did and it is now a great success and people travel from all over the world to see these world class athletes milk cows and run top speeds at the same time.

When I started running a few months ago I had hoped to be able to do a 5k by the end of the summer.  Then someone (thanks coach!) said, “If you can do a 5k you can do a 10k!”  Well, I wasn’t convinced but I decided to give it a shot.  Soon after that it got warm enough that I gave up running on the good old treadmill, forked over $90 for a pair of running shoes, bought some short shorts… and tight tights… and went for it.  I began by trying to run a mile straight without stopping.  I usually made it about half a mile, got tired, walked a bit, and then ran the other half mile and walked a bit more.  This went on for about a week and one day I decided that I was going to do that mile.  I hit that mile, was feeling tired, and decided I’d go just a little farther to see what I could do.  I ran for 3 miles straight and could hardly believe it.  The day before I couldn’t do a mile and suddenly I was doing 3?  What was the difference?  This last Saturday I ran my 2nd race, a 10k that was a very challenging course full of lots of ups and downs.  I ran a practice run of the course at the beginning of the week just to see what it would be like and after running it I knew it would be a challenge.  Saturday came and about 1 mile into the race on I had a runner pass me that I had overheard talking with someone just a little and had gotten the impression she was a “runner” who probably had some running experience.  As she passed me I decided to use her as motivation and told myself that I would pass her by the end of the race.  Throughout the first 4 miles I watched as she she slowly got farther ahead of me but never so far that I couldn’t see her.  The last two miles of the race were mostly an uphill slope and I noticed that I could gain on her a little whenever we started going uphill.  So I started pushing myself a bit more.  I finally passed her but I could hear her behind me as I ran.  I hit the final stretch, which was a good uphill run back to the hospital parking lot where we started, and she started to pass me again so I pushed it a little bit more.  My legs burned and I felt my stomach starting to protest a little. In the little reading on running that I’ve done I’ve heard the phrase, “pushing past the wall” used before.  While this was no full or even close to a half marathon, I felt like I had hit my wall.  But I knew I could push past it, so to tie this whole random set of thoughts together, I grabbed the cow by the udders and milked it for all it was worth.  I ran hard up that hill, and finished the race just seconds before the “runner” I had used as my motivation.  I finished in 51 minutes and 43 seconds, over seven minutes quicker than my practice run days before and almost a minute quicker per mile.  Also I placed 25th out of 85 runners.  Yes, I am proud of myself, but I hope not to sound like I am bragging.  My point is, we all hit that wall, we all feel like it’s time to stop, but we can push through it.  As I write this I look at my beautiful wife sleeping and think about how long the last 9 months have been for her.  We have our 4th child due in 3 weeks and she has said several times today, “I’m done, I want this baby to come now!”  I can’t imagine how hard pregnancy and childbirth are.  She can’t change when this baby will come, but I know she will push through that wall and keep doing what she needs to do for this family and our home as much as she can right up to when the baby comes, and then get right back to it afterwards.

It’s the same for all of us, we will encounter challenges and trials.  They may seem impossible and we will hit that wall, when we do we have to think of those things that drive us, pray for strength, and grab that cow by the udders and milk it for all it’s worth.

Please share any “cow milking” experiences, I would love to hear them.

 

**Some parts of this blog involving the past history of my wife may have been embellished, or completely made up**

Who’s your hero?

My kids have a favorite set of books, they are sort of like a comic book version of scripture stories, and they are called “Who’s Your Hero?”   This morning I was looking at one and on the front cover it says, “NEPHI never complains,  ABINADI, shows courage, and AMMON loves to serve.”  I read those and thought about myself and how I would be described on the cover of one of these books.  TOD, complains too much,  TOD, laughs at potty humor when he shouldn’t, TOD, leaves his dirty laundry lying around the house, they probably won’t be writing a book about me any time soon.  It wouldn’t be nearly as interesting, and I definitely don’t have the strongman physique of Ammon or Nephi.  But as I thought more about it I did come up with what I would hope they would use to describe me on the front cover of one of these books.

TOD is grateful

Back in November I was two weeks away from a trip to Jacksonville Florida.  I had recently joined the Association of Financial Counseling, Planning, and Education and was headed to their national convention in hopes of learning what I would need to get started on what I hope to be my career.  (Maybe more on this later in another post)  A few weeks before I was scheduled to go I got a really bad cold or virus.  I really didn’t want anything to get in the way of this trip so I went to the doctor.  (I never go to the doctor, not one of my favorite things.)  The good news was that whatever I had wasn’t a big deal and should go away soon.  The bad news is that my blood pressure was way too high and the doc wanted me to get some blood tests.  I went in several days later for a fasting blood test.  I’m a bit of a hypochondriac so it was a long 3 weeks waiting for the results to come back.  When they did come back I was told that my lipids were through the roof and I had a lot of inflammation in my blood stream and that I needed to lost some weight and exercise ASAP.  So it began…  (yeah, sounds dramatic, but not really.)

*Disclaimer*  Boring part about diet and weight loss

So I went back to the doctor to meet with him and a dietician.  I weighed in at 163 pounds and 31.3% body fat, not so good.  After some questions and measurements the dietician made a personalized diet and exercise plan and put me on high blood pressure meds.  The first two weeks were pure joy of zero carbs and 60% fat in my diet.  I was going on what was called a Keto run.  Meaning that I would eat lots of meat, cheese, butter, eggs, and low carb, no starch, veggies ONLY.  I never thought I would get sick of cheese but it is possible.  After about 2 to 3 days on a Keto run the body runs out of carbs and starts to convert fat to sugar to function and it feels kind of odd. (Understatement)  It was tough to make it through those 2 weeks (no cheating allowed, and I never did 🙂  )  But counting those 2 weeks and 1 week of low carb the week after I lost about 8 and 1/2 pounds.  Since then I’ve been doing a higher carb for breakfast, lower carb for lunch, and zero carb for dinner, sort of diet.  With snacks in between.  I’m happy to say that it’s since become a lot more of a lifestyle and less of a diet. I’ve lost a total of about 26 pounds, and dropped my body fat from 31.3% to 19% and I haven’t had a weigh in for about 2 months and I’m pretty sure it’s dropped some more.

I hope to not sound like I am bragging, but I must say I am pretty proud of myself.  The diet hasn’t been as hard as I thought, but what has really surprised me is the changes that have come about in my life.  I have never been one to exercise much, I don’t enjoy sports and prior to March of this year I have never ran farther than one mile.

So what does all this have to do with being grateful?  I guess it’s probably obvious by now.

The reason I write all this is that I feel enormously grateful.  Yesterday I ran 10.25 miles.  4 months ago I could hardly run a mile.  I am running 4 10k’s this year and a half marathon (possible marathon instead)  I never would’ve thought I could do this and I never really had much desire to.  I go to the gym 3 times a week and have discovered that hidden somewhere in this 5 ft 4″ frame are a few muscles.  I consider all of these things wonderful blessings from my Heavenly Father, and know that I would not be able to do these things without the support of God and My Savior.  I have a found a great joy in being healthy and active,  each and every day I find precious time with my family and enjoy the sweet smiles of my children and have learned not to take these things for granted.

One of the greatest blessings of all, that dumb cold I got back in November.  If I had not gotten that cold and gone to the doctor things could be a lot different now.  The worlds most amazing wife, 3 beautiful children and one on the way; and there I was at high risk for not being around for them for half as long as I should be. I get a cold, go the doctor, and my life is changed forever.  It seems silly but I am so grateful for that cold.  And I am very very grateful for a supportive wife who lets me spend too much money on funny shoes and workout clothes and disappear for an hour or two every day while she takes care of 3 kids, two dogs, one cat, and ignores aches pains and contractions so that I can go run and lift weights. 🙂

Closing thoughts…  YOU CAN DO IT!!  If I can make these changes and do this, anyone can, trust me! The Lord will bless you.  Also, if you’ve ever thought about starting running, or starting running again, do it!  I am surprised at how much peace and joy I find just by going on a run, and it feels so good.  Find some encouragement or an example (thanks Kandie and Michelle.  🙂  )

So to answer my own question… Who is my Hero?  There are many, but I must say my Hero for today are those who push themselves to achieve greater things beyond what they thought they could.  The body is a temple and when treated as such it can do amazing things.  Whether it’s running 13, 26, or 50 miles, or carrying a child for 9 months and and taking care of a house and a family of 5 the body is a gift from God and capable of more then we realize.  If we push ourselves and respect what we have been given we can achieve greater things than we ever imagined and who knows we might just be someone elses hero for a day.

Who’s your hero?