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Monday, November 11, 2013

To Lend a Helping Hand


Since it's inception in 2010, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon has served as the Visually Impaired Half Marathon Championships, where the blind sometimes lead the visually unimpaired athletes.  The event offers a chance for competitive, visually impaired (VI) athletes to take center stage and earn coveted prize money.  Over the past few years the Georgetown Running Club has put it's best foot forward to help make the VI Championships a success by volunteering as guides for the VI runners.  This year was no different.  GRC once again, stepped up to lend support.  However, this time the club did not just find itself guiding competitors.  Due to a last minute schedule change, the VI coordinator slot was empty less than a week before the championships.  That is where I stepped in.

I've been wanting get involved since I saw Dickson Mercer and Chicken Tender Runner (Andy Sovonick) lead their VI athletes to outstanding finishes in prior years.  Being the (self-proclaimed) mid-distance runner that I am, I could not trust myself to guide these exceptional athletes the full 13.1.  So the VI coordinator position offered a special opportunity to interact with the VI athletes during a majority of the race weekend, before and after the race.  Duties involved assisting the athletes to the pre-race VIP dinner, an EARLY morning round up on race day and helping them back to the hotel after many ran their half-marathon PR's.

This year we saw the VI course record go down as reigning champ, Aaron Scheidies, set a personal record with his guide, the ageless wonder, Dangerous Dave Wertz.  Dave was THE guide of the day, leading Scheidies from Mt. Vernon to the finish at National Harbor.  It was an exceptional feat considering the number of turns in the last two miles that required heavy communication from Dave, who had just ran over 10 miles at a (not so modest) 5:50 min/mile pace.  When Dave volunteered to guide Aaron planned his fall race schedule accordingly.  With the, now infamous, government shutdown, Dangerous Dave was forced to make a decision between asking Aaron to find a replacement or drop his fall race plans and reschedule to make the VI championships.  He made the right decision and raced into history with Scheidies.  Next time you run into Dave, be sure to thank him for his unblemished record of selflessness.

When all was said and done, I was glad to be a part of such a unique, fun and rewarding event.  It is opportunities like this that help us realize the bond that ties runners together.  Through running we are connected without bounds and without limits.  At least now I know what I'll be doing during the 5th Annual Woodrow Wilson Half Marathon.

One last thought; I'd like to send a big thank you out to all Veterans who have served and continue to serve our country.  God bless you.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Chocolate Milk: A Historical Libation


There's just something about arriving back at your front steps after an arduous 60 minute run. With one thing on your mind, you worry about catching your breath on the way through the door to the kitchen where you know paradise is waiting for you in a cup.

Once widely regarded as a children's necessity, Chocolate Milk has become a staple to the runner's diet. Fortifying vitamins and minerals such as the calcium and vitamin D provided by the milk and the rich, elegant chocolaty taste provided by, well the chocolate, blend perfectly together to create a recovery drink from Heaven.

Studies often point to the numerous benefits offered by the regular ingestion of Mother Nature's nectar. But what empirical studies don't show is the widespread, understood benefits of this tasty liquid. For instance, it is widely accepted that the consumption of chocolate milk increases happiness and the longevity of life. We don't need a study to observe this. Just ask the people who have died from drinking chocolate milk. As it turns out, you can't (because chocolate milk has never had a fatal side effect).

In ancient times, chocolate milk was believed to flow from the heavens, sometimes even brought to earth by foreign celestial beings. We see evidence of these beings all across the globe, which suggests why chocolate milk has been a point of nutrition for centuries from civilization to civilization.

What do all the great leaders in the history of the world have in common? Well, they all at one point or another indulged in this divine beverage. It's very easy to see that chocolate milk has had more influence on the history of the world than any other substance known to man. Without the drink of the gods, it's terrifying to imagine where our society would be today. I can only offer this insight; the wheel would have been square, fire would only have existed on the sun, and Benjamin Franklin would have never invented electricity, or bifocals for that matter. Imagine the chaos that could have been.

So the next time you raise that cup full of God's delight, remember you are sharing a drink with history, with the best of the human race, and you are contributing to the rise and advancement of human civilization that is bound to extend itself to the far reaches of the universe.

So go ahead, enjoy the taste of immortality

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Witty Year in Review



We are now upon the finale of the year two thousand eleven. As we prepare ourselves for the upcoming twenty 12 and looming apolcalypse it is time to take a peer back into the year gone by.
The beginning of 2011 saw me at my first Notre Dame basketball game (vs St. Johns). It was a good ole fashioned Hoosier butt-spanking, but I digress. It was great to see Notre Dame ranked, in their renovated arena. The drive from Chicago was arduous with over 2 feet of snow falling in 48 hours and continuing on the drive to South Bend.

The new year also saw the beginning of my last semester in college. The final semester proved to be the most productive yet with my highest GPA, a 21 foot long steel bridge, and a design to pull 1200 ton vessels out of the Ohio River, and Evansville hosting the National Concrete Canoe Competition (the smallest school to ever do so). In my down time, the XC team won UE's annual Bike Race again and somehow I found my way onto the cover of the Crescent (UE's publication). I definitely don't have the face to be posterized.

February, I flew to Washington DC for an interview with Clark Construction, one of the Nation's biggest general contractors. I must have made a great impression, because in July I moved away from my home of 23 years to begin my career as a civil engineer. Initially the move shook me as I struggled to find the comfort and familiarity I was used to in Evansville.

After a few weeks I found familiarity in the Georgetown Running Company Race Team. I've been a part of a team all my life. To find a group of guys who share my affinity in post-collegiate running was an answer to my prayers.

Training with the GRC was a blessing to my career. I broke 15 minutes for my 5k on more than one occasion and found myself on the verge of 31 minutes in the 10k (a race I vowed to never run again after NCAA Regionals). GRC has breathed new life into my career and has initiated a new chapter on hopefully a long and fruitful career. Furthermore, the group of guys that I run with is full of jokes, camaraderie, and nicknames. I see a great 2012 with GRC and I am excited to move forward and lend my talents to improve the this team and push my teammates to their limits.

To round out the end of the year, I traveled home for Christmas. While the drive was long (as expected) what I found at home more than made up for the 12 hour trek. Moving away has allowed me to develop a respect for my hometown. This was the most enjoyable Christmas with my family and friends in recent memory.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

George's Town

As I get up for work this morning, I can only but groggily dump myself out of bed and move up the cold dark stairs to the shower. Thursdays are usually difficult to get going in the morning. Ever since I began training with GRC, I find myself lost in excruciating workouts, but the kind of workouts I have been looking for for a long time. My legs have the good kind of aching although stomping around in steel toes all day doesn't sound inviting to me at all.

My boss and the other project engineer are out this week, leaving me with the task of emptying the trailer for its removal on Tuesday. This morning (as it has been the past week) my only help (the head carpenter, who knows so much about this business) came into the trailer freezing his butt off. I needed coffee anyway, so I bought him hot chocolate to help us get through the chilly morning.

Today we had a team building exercise at a low ropes course about an hour away from home. What's peculiar about the low ropes course is I still don't know what one is. I saw no ropes in these team building exercise and they certainly weren't low.

I went running on the Capital Crescent Trail tonight and it was an hour of peace and quiet. No cars, no lights. Just me and the gravel under my feet. A man really has time to think and reflect with time like that.

So I got to thinking about what else other than life (after all "Something Witty" is about the trials and tribulations of a life in a new city). With each new day I feel more like a DC-er. After a much needed trip home for Thanksgiving, it is finally settling in that this move was not just for the summer where I'd move home for school again. This is my new life. I have stepped WAY out of the box, far outside of my comfort zone but this is great.

I found a new team and I am racing better than ever. A day doesn't go by where I haven't learned something new. This is a great city and it is growing on me. At heart, I'm a Midwest boy, but I could certainly get used to the East Coast.