Why am I doing this again?

Again, a big thank you to everyone that’s supported me! The run could be an end to itself, but it’s much more than that. SouthSide has published a piece that I think says it better than I ever could. Take a look here

Oh, and we’re over $25,000! (Blackboard will be updated when I get home) If you want to wait to see if I actually finish the run, no problem! As I’ve found, inspiration can strike at any time!

In the meantime, drink plenty of fluid, and stay out of the direct sun!

See everyone soon!


This is it!

I am overwhelmed by the support everyone has shown and want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your donations, words of encouragement, and for holding back on how you really feel about me taking on this ridiculous challenge! The kids at SouthSide are going to enjoy a nurturing educational environment for decades because of what you’ve done. THANK YOU!

I wanted to take you through the course (you can click on the map in Column 3 for a visual depiction) and my schedule. This is a very conservative schedule and we could go faster (or slower) depending on conditions. So, here it is:

Monday, July 2
0300 – 2000

42 miles- Badwater to Stovepipe Wells
Conditions- Flat and HOT!
Notes- Most drop outs in the race happen in this section because runners push themselves too hard. We will be extra cautious here.

July 2-3
2000 – 1000

30 miles- Stovepipe Wells to Panamint Springs
Conditions- Hilly and hot at first, but cooling off to about 100 at night
Notes- First 17 miles, straight up in the DARK (5000 feet). Then 6 miles straight down (those same 5,000 feet). Last 7 miles across the Panamint Valley (hopefully not too hot!)

1000 – 2400

28 Miles- Panamint Springs to Owens Lake (First 100 miles done!)
Conditions- Pleasant? Hopefully, should stay below 100
Notes- 8 miles again, straight up 3,000 feet, then a meandering downhill section over the next 20 miles

July 4         No running- Independence Day! (just kidding)
2400 – 1000

22 Miles- Owens Lake to Lone Pine
Conditions- Dark for most of the time
Notes- “Easiest” part of the course, except for the fact that we’ve already run 100 miles.

1000 – 1800

13 Miles- Lone Pine to Mt. Whitney Trail head
Conditions- Hopefully only in the 90s (I will guard against hypothermia)
Notes- After the easiest, the hardest climb on the road (great). 13 miles…wait for it…straight up (about another 5,000 feet). Then we rest. Because we have to have a permit for the final 6,000 feet to the summit, we have to wait until 0400 on July 5 to start that section.

July 5
0400 – 2100

22 Miles- Up the Mountain, Down the Mountain
Conditions- Even cooler. In fact, downright cold is possible going to 14,500 feet
Notes- This will be the hardest climb (but after a rest). 11 miles, up 6,000 feet, hang out at the summit, then 11 miles down. That’s it!

This will be my last blog entry before the run. I will be tweeting between then and now and will be able to tweet from time to time from the course. Also, you can follow my progress via one of two GPS linked maps here: SPOT TRACKER

and here:

TRACKING THE WORLD (this one relies on the cellular network to transmit to the map, so if I appear to be stopped for a long period of time, don’t worry!)

Thank you again, especially to my wife for putting up with all the crazy hours of training I’ve done to prepare myself for this. I wouldn’t be here without you!

Look forward to hearing from everyone on “the Twitter” (if it doesn’t crash again).

Here’s how the fundraising is going so far!


Is it really that bad?

While running in the park yesterday, I was on a shared biking/running path.  Coming the other way, a cyclist had to make a slight (maybe 6 inch) detour around a runner.  Their look of irritation at having to move 6 inches to the right got me thinking: Have we really gotten to the point that having to move 6 inches one way or the other is really that big of an inconvenience?  How did we get here?  My first thought: It’s the airlines fault.

Think about it.  For years, the airlines have been reinforcing the idea that the 3-4 inches the seats recline is the true dividing line between comfort and discomfort.  (also, evidently, life and death because woe is the person that is “reclined” during takeoff and landing). So, diverting from your normal path by twice that distance is more than discomfort, it’s downright painful (and, again, could lead to the light at the end of the tunnel).

I think it’s time to fight back, time to break the cycle.  Here’s my suggestion: Step 1- Commit to focusing on something that actually matters- like helping our kids (did you think I wasn’t going to mention it?) rather than the minor inconveniences in our lives.  Tomorrow, agree to let one thing that irritates you slide, then use that energy to help someone else out.  Step 2- Next time you fly, don’t recline that seat at all.  Show them you’re on to them.

Now if you haven’t stopped reading yet, I wanted to throw out another challenge.  In addition to running to raise awareness I’m putting my money where my feet are (so to speak).  I’m putting out a personal challenge and will match donations between now and the run.  I’ve heard from a number of you how crazy you think I am, how important the cause is, and how inspired you’ve become.  Here’s your chance to double down.

Help me help these kids break through their barriers and have a chance at a life we can sometimes take for granted. Help us recline their seats back a few more inches for them.  The least you can do is nothing, but when has that ever made a difference? 🙂


“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”- Calvin Coolidge

I have this quote on my wall in my office.  My dad gave it to me to remind me that whatever gets handed to us, moving forward tends to solve things.  That’s what he’s always counseled me on whenever things looked too tough.  When I was in high school, I started at quarterback for the first time and threw more passes to the opposing team’s cornerback then total passes (the math doesn’t seem to work logically, but I know that’s how I felt).  His advice was “figure out what you did wrong, fix it and get back in there.”  My freshman year in college, when the engineering school and I mutually agreed that it wasn’t in my best interest to continue there because of my grades and lack of attention.  He sat me down, helped me figure out what to do, and then press forward with something I could do well.  It prepared me for the difficult decision to not fight a birth father for custody of the little girl we were adopting even though we had raised her for 10 months and he had shown up at the absolute last minute, not wanting anything to do with her until that point.  By moving forward, we were ready for our first and then our second beautiful sons, the center of our lives. The advice and guidance I was given helped make me who I am.

What concerns me, and why I really want to help these kids is, many of them go through far worse, with much less, if any guidance. Without schools like SouthSide, they don’t stand a chance.  Without guidance, they have no direction.  Without direction, they’ll founder.

The expert staff we have at SouthSide, however, are trained to recognize these needs.  They design individual programs for each child, programs that will get them ready for what lies ahead and fills in the gaps, socially, educationally, and emotionally.  Whatever barriers they face, we can help them.  With persistence, they will succeed.

That’s why I’m running.  To raise the awareness that we can make a difference with these kids right now. Thanks for helping me make this possible.

And yes, even after this run, I’m going to keep looking for ways to help them.  You can blame my dad for that… 🙂

Meet one of our great kids!

Kirby is one of the kids at SouthSide that I’m running for. He’s only five, and he’s had more challenges thrown his way than I’ve ever had to deal with. The teachers, staff and specialists at SouthSide are incredible in their dedication to Kirby and all of his classmates. Just like I’m continually fueling during my long training runs with water, food and electrolytes, they are bolstering Kirby with hours and hours of targeted services that will make it possible for him to make it academically and socially.

SouthSide’s new school will be great for children like Kirby. Right now, when he has individual therapy, he and his therapist have to sit at a table in the hallway, because there just isn’t space anywhere else. And there are about 25 children like Kirby who need those services. We need more space!

If you want to read more about Kirby click here

Perspective on Challenges

This guy runs into the desert….

I did my first and only Death Valley training run this weekend, and I gained a bit of perspective. Here’s what I learned: With the temperature at 118 degrees, when you step out of your car, you don’t feel the heat as much as bathe in it.  Then the wind starts and the heat rolls over you like a boiling wave and you know if you don’t pay attention, something is going to go terribly wrong.  So, you wear the appropriate clothing, with little regard for fashion as evidenced here, wet it down, take a drink of water, put a full cup of ice in your hat and set off down the road.  A mile later, you meet your crew, and do it all again.  At certain intervals, you suck down a carbohydrate gel pack or take a salt tablet, but that’s pretty much it, mile after mile.  We started the training run at noon, so a month from now, with a 6 am start, it should be a bit cooler in the beginning (only about 110), but the wave will be waiting for us later that afternoon.

18 miles and four hours later, I was feeling the heat and started to wonder about the challenge I had taken on.  Was it too difficult?  Am I too much of an idiot?  Is that lizard laughing at me?  After the third question, I knew it was time to take a break.  I sat down in the car, ate some ice, drank a bit more, and generally cooled down.  My coach had seen this before and knew what to do, and in about 15 minutes, I was up and running again, and finished another 4 miles.  On the second day, during my second 9 mile, 4000 foot climb of the day, my coach drove by (slowly, I was walking at the time) and said: “Why don’t you try to run a bit?”  I bit back my first response, and simply asked “Why?”  (I was making OK time, and not trying to set a record). “How do you know where your limits are if you don’t test them?” he answered.  So, I started running for 20 breaths and then walking for 20 breaths up an 8 degree incline. Yes, the 20 breaths running was a shorter distance, but I did something that I hadn’t even thought was possible at that point of the training.

Those 15 minutes and 4 miles on day one and the 3 miles I ran/walked on day two answered a lot of questions for me (unfortunately not the one about the lizard).  I can make this.  It will be difficult, but with the right support, we’ll be successful.  I don’t have to draw the parallels to our kids and their parents’ struggles for you, because I think you can consider your own challenges and make the connection.  At the end of the day, the end isn’t even what’s important.  What’s important is that after taking on a challenge and breaking through a barrier, you get better and things improve.  Maybe they improve for you, maybe (and hopefully in this case) they’ll improve for others as well.