Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Warrior Among Us

I just learned that Project Grad Jan has a son who is a U.S. Marine. Jan's son just left last weekend on his second deployment for the war, this time to Afghanistan. If you would, keep Jan and her son in your thoughts and prayers. My son is planning to go to Marine boot camp this summer, so I can sort of understand how Jan is feeling - proud, yet worried for her sons safety.

Please let me know if there is someone you know who could use support. Thanks...


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Still Time to Contribute

Hey Gang,

This Friday, I will be mailing a check to Wounded Warrior Project. Thanks to several of the runners on Sunday who chipped in, along with my contribution, I have collected $200. While this may not sound like a lot, it's just a start. In addition, $200 is enough to purchase two Wounded Warrior Backpacks ($99 each). These backpacks are filled with small items which are given to Wounded Warriors while they are in the hospital undergoing treatment and care. The items include playing cards, a CD player, clothing, toiletries, a calling card, etc.; comfort items which can make a difficult time a little easier and help boost morale. A smaller version is also sent directly to Iraq and Afghanistan to provide immediate comfort during a Warriors relocation to the U.S. military trauma center. We are off to a good start and I have several ideas and events planned to help raise awareness and donations for WWP.

If you were unable to attend Sunday's trail run and would like to donate, it's not too late! Just click on the WWP image below. This link takes you to my donation page where you can make your contribution online via a secure web site. You can print your receipt when you make your donation and use this if you would like to note your donation for tax purposes. I've established a lofty goal of raising $10,000, yet I am confident we can reach this mark in the upcoming months, or years. And, as you may know, I like to set my personal goals a little high : )

Thank you for your consideration.

Please note that in 2008, nearly 90 cents of each dollar donated to the WWP went directly to the wounded soldiers and this will continue to improve each year. Know that your dollars will truly make a difference!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Enjoy your Memorial Day and please take a moment to reflect on the reason and meaning of the day.

Yesterdays 1st Annual Memorial Day Trail Run for Vets was great, with several friends showing up, new personal bests established, old limits broken, and on top of it all (along with my contribution) we raised $200. All the money is going to the "Wounded Warriors Project" (I switched from the DAV to the WWP, which everyone agreed upon yesterday). To learn more about the Wounded Warriors Project, visit their web site (, or click on the image below. Our trail run was the first of many fund raising opportunities I have planned for the WWP and look forward to sharing more news soon.

A full event report and pictures from our run will be posted later this week.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This Just In...

Check out the happy couple. This is from the reception celebrating the wedding between Chelsy, my daughter, and her new hubby, Cody. Congratulations, guys! Pic from my big sis, Lynn Murphy.

Tabata Intervals on the Dreadmill and the Forum

Here is a great note from Project Grad, Paul, which he sent after doing the "Tababa Interval" workout that I suggested to the Project: Summer School gang:

"OK- I know that I will be better for it- but what torture chamber guide book did you get this out of? I think that I am getting to be in pretty decent shape compared to my old self and the basic public- but I thought that I would have to call the paramedics after that workout. I thought that I could put it on 8 mph- ha- by the 8th one I was down to 6.2 and almost fell off the back."

See what you are missing out on?

Though, Kelly said she thought they were "a blast"!?!?!? How sick is that?

Yesterday, I was notified that my forum is officially one year old. Happy Birthday, forum! Unfortunately, after the first few weeks of the last Project getting underway, the forum has been silent. I attribute this, in part, to the fact that we also have the Project blogs and folks leave comments for each other, so this provides an avenue to communication. I created the forum as a resource and a place to create more of a sense of community. Let's see if we can get some activity going over there once again. Remember, if you have questions, this is a great place to post them to get some help from Project Grads and your friends. You can also post your challenges and progress and more.

If you were not aware of the forum, just scroll down on this blog to the "Other Sites of Interest" list and click on "Chris' Forum".

Fire it up!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sunday's Trail Run

Someone recently asked if the $25 donation is required to participate in Sunday's run. Answer: No, it isn't required, just requested. Hope this helps.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

1st Annual Memorial Day Trail Run for Vets

Hey Gang,

Okay, I realize this is incredibly short notice, yet when inspiration comes, I just gotta trust it and go with it. In the midst of my daughters recent wedding (last Monday) and following reception on Friday, along with juggling several other balls, I failed to realize that Memorial Day is next weekend; I thought it was in two weeks. So, again, I apologize for the short notice. Many of you may have plans or may be attending the Indy 500, so I understand if you cannot participate. If you can't make it out to Eagle Creek, you can still be a part of this special event. More on that in a moment.

Each Memorial Day, I do my best to remind folks to truly take a moment and reflect on why many Americans have a long weekend and get to enjoy a couple days filled with sleeping in, cookouts, wiffle ball, sipping a few cold and frosty beverages, watching/listening to the Indy 500 and spending some leisure time with family. It's due to the sacrifices of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Services and those who made the ultimate sacrifice of dying while serving. Whether you are one who agrees with war and our nations history of wars is not a part of the equation. The fact remains that we enjoy our liberties, our freedoms, and our rights due to the sacrifices of those who have served our nation and died. This year, I could think of no better way to remember and honor those who gave their life than to host a trail run with the proceeds going to the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust.

The First Annual, BTWG Memorial Day Trail Run for Vets.

What: A trail run along a (approx.) 5 mile loop around Eagle Creek Park. The pace will be moderate, so don't feel like you have to be Speedy Gonzales to keep up. No one will be left behind and you shouldn't feel like you will hold anyone up. For those familiar with the route, if you want to crank it, go for it! Otherwise, it's all about participating in a worthy cause, getting outside, and being with friends for some fun, fitness, and reflection.

If anyone is interested in doing a power hike rather than run, post your comments here and let's see if we can put something together!

Where: Eagle Creek Park. Peace Learning Center/Peace Through Yoga

When: Sunday, May 24 8:00-11:00a.m. Please arrive early as we will be departing for lap 1 at 8am sharp!

How Much? I am asking a minimum donation of $25 per runner. This is a no frills run in order to keep the expenses down and allow the donations to go to charity. Feel free to give more. Better yet, tell others what you are doing and ask for contributions to support your adventure or invite them to run with us!

Why: Along with sharing in the fun, fitness, and fellowship, you will be helping to raise money for a great charity which happens to be one of the highest rated charities for veterans, the DAV Charitable Service Trust. From their web site:

"The DAV Charitable Service Trust supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs, meets the special needs of veterans with specific disabilities – such as amputation and blindness – and aids and shelters homeless veterans."

I've looked to get behind a veterans charity for some time and feel this group is a good fit with BTWG. In many ways, we will be running for those who cannot and perhaps help motivate those with injuries to resume a lifestyle of health, fitness, and well-being within the context of their challenges.

To learn more, please visit:

How Far? The original route is around 4.9 miles. However, due to all the rain this spring, we have to take a detour which adds a little to the loop. I'm guessing it to be right at 5 miles. Here are you options.
  • Lap 1 departs at 8am. Go out with the 8am runners and do one lap. We should be back to the start/finish right at 9am where we can grab some fuel, refill water bottles, etc. and be ready for lap 2. Lap 1 usually starts pretty slow and the pace may increase slightly.
  • Lap 2 departs shortly after 9am. If you want to sleep in a little, come out and join us for the second lap; some folks from lap 1 will stick around for this one as well. The pace will be about the same as lap 1.
  • Lap 3 departs shortly after 10am. A handful may be up for the full 15 miles, others may want to join in for just one lap, our final loop around the park. For those who feel they are slow and don't want to hold anything up - this is YOUR lap. By this point the pace should be the slowest of the 3.
What to bring: Along with your donations, bring the appropriate gear/clothing, as well as any water, snacks, fuel, and post run goodies you might need or want to share.

As always, I may have a few surprises up my sleeve for this event, though trust me, it won't be anything that makes the run more challenging; it might make it worth your while to attend...

Email me with any questions and please let me know if you plan to participate and include what time you plan to join in and how far you plan to go. Also, I am open to other suggestions and ideas which might make this special event even more special.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Few More Things

First, I apologize that I failed to thank a couple other folks that were really important to the DWD adventure: Patrick, for teaching my yoga class - thanks, Dude! And Project Grad and fellow adventurer, Corbin, who was at the start line to show his support for a few of us that he knew in the race. I'm sure you will be toeing the line soon, bro!

Next, last weekend was an "Ultra" weekend in many ways - the race on Saturday, celebrating Mothers Day Saturday evening, spending all day Sunday getting caught up with some work, and Monday my Daughter, Chelsy and her fiance, Cody, tied the knot. So we made a quick trip down to Vincennes to join in the celebration; the big party is this weekend.

For those wondering and emailing, my knee is much better and is only a little cranky going down stairs, but not too bad. Thanks for asking and for your concern. It's all good. In fact, I resumed my training last night and should be fully up to speed on Monday. While my long term goal is in November, earlier today I think I found my next race, which is in August. More soon...


Sunday, May 10, 2009


"He who fight and run away, live to fight another day" - Bob Marley.

I was planning to post how I completed the 50K course yesterday, and how I now joined the ranks of the "Ultrarunner" crowd. Instead, I'm posting how I joined the ranks of the DNF, or Did Not Finish crowd.
Team BTWG/Team Roche pre-race. Note the new BTWG shirts!

Overall, I felt the strongest I've ever felt especially for the first few hours. The first 45+ minutes were all up hill and through an ankle-deep mixture of mud and water, no joke. People were losing shoes left and right; my heel actually came out at one point but I was able to get it back and keep going.

I remained within my own edge and effort and was it was keeping me within the middle of the field and I came in to the first aid station (mile 5.5) feeling really, really strong and confident. I thought this was going to be a really good day, but didn't want to think that far ahead and just stayed in the moment.

As soon as I left the aid station, I hit a wall, which was really weird and it lasted until the next aid station (3.3 miles away). It was a miserable experience, and I lost some ground. Looking back, I realize the error was a fueling issue. Once I corrected for my mistakes, I felt a lot better and really didn't have any more low points until around mile 15 (more on that shortly).

At the 3rd aid station I changed socks, as my feet had been wet from the get-go, yet within 20 minutes of leaving the station, they were soaked again, so my feet were wet the entire run... no biggie.

After the 2nd aid station, the course was just amazing and beautiful, still areas of deep water/mud mixture; some of the best trails I've ever seen. While the course was challenging with plenty of hills, steep descents (especially the one's that left the trail and went straight down a 400+ foot ridge!), more ankle deep mud, several stream crossings and plenty of sticker bushes to add to the challenge.

Around mile 15 I noticed some mild knee pain during a descent, which became more and more debilitating. Unfortunately, I was reduced to a walk by mile 17 and realized that it was only getting worse with each down hill. I was able to make some short running efforts but not without pain. I ended up walking the last mile to the aid station.

While I was determined to continue on, at the aid station I consulted with my "Chief Medical Crew" (Jody, my most awesome wife and a skilled nurse). With a half marathon in front of me to the finish, most of which I would have to walk, it didn't make sense to keep going. I felt "I didn't come here to walk, I can here to run." Plus, as Jody made very clear, maybe I could continue on, and maybe I could finish, but what would be the extent of the damage? I could stop now, minimize the damage, and resume training right away. I've learned from other ultra runners mistakes, continuing on could cost me 6 months of training. Then, Jody asked me the pivotal question, "what would you advise one of your students?" Of course the answer was, "to call it a day". So with that, we pulled the plug at mile 18. It was a difficult and emotional decision, and something that is just a part of ultra running. I have to thank one of the coolest dudes I've ever met for helping to soften the blow; an old-school ultra runner who was working the aid station. He saw me with my head hanging low, weighing my options and trying to figure out what to do. His name was "Punch" and he gave me some great words of advise that I will always carry with me. Plus, he reminded me that even if I don't finish, I can still head back to the start/finish for a cold beer and participate in the celebration. We packed it in, shared some hugs and headed back to enjoy some of the bittersweet festivities.
Christian had a ball at the aid stations, most of which were in the parks. Here he is exploring one of the cabins...

The upside: I attribute the knee pain to my own fault and lack of training for such aggressive downhills. I also offer "No Excuses" for the low point I had as it was just a rookie mistake with fueling. I just mark it up as a lesson learned.

I'm sold on my current approach to ultra training, which is not the usual LSD (Long Steady/Slow Distance), rather it is shorter training sessions at a much higher intensity. I am fully confident that my training could have carried me through the 31 miles, even on a tough course like this. After each hill or surge, I quickly recovered and had only a couple brief moments where I felt I was hitting a "low", yet I rebounded and felt really good for the majority of the time on the trails. Since incorporating this style of training I've seen a huge improvement in my power, climbing ability, descending skills, and faster recovery after hard efforts (hills, surges, etc.).

While I thought I was going to end the day as an "Ultra Runner", I'm still just a runner and I'm okay with that, and I'm left feeling super motivated to train for my next Ultra goal, which will hit later this year. There's no shame in my game for calling it quits and I'm looking forward to resuming my training this week; I have bigger fish to fry...

Parting Shots:
First I want to thank my awesome crew of Jody and Christian, thanks for being such a huge support. I also thank all of you for your emails, texts, voice mails, thoughts, and prayers. Though I didn't finish, I could feel the love and the energy, and it truly helped. Finally, thanks for Project Grads, Pam the Blam and Cindy for showing up at the finish line to show some love and big hugs. It really helped the ease the sting of not finishing. You ladies rock!

Thanks to everyone!

With my crew, at the finish. Note the cold long-neck in my left hand. The first I've had in at least 6 months. And yes, it did taste gooooood!!!

BTWG'ers Pam (left) and Cindy aka CB36 (right).
One of the numerous scratches obtained along the way. Funny, I didn't feel any of them, at the time...

Sorry for the sqeemish, this is what my foot looked like when I took off my shoe. a blister began for form under the blister that had popped. I could have run on that all day, no biggie; knee pain is a whole different animal : )

Friday, May 8, 2009

Off We Go...

The final preparations have been made, the car is packed, everything is staged, the training is done. Now, it's off for meditation/devotions and a few hours rack time; reveille is at 0400 tomorrow. Race start time is 0700. Estimated time of finish... hummm, now that's a whole other story. If I have a REALLY good day, it will be around 7 hours. If I'm having an okay day, it will be around 7.5 hours. If things aren't going so hot, it will be 8+ hours. I have no concern for where I finish. It's early in the season and this is my first venture into ultra distance running. My only goal is to finish. For me, it's about the journey and the inner/spiritual lessons that come tomorrow. What I can tell you is the only way I won't cross the finish line is if a race official pulls me from the course at gun point, if my body completely shuts down, or if my chief medical crew (Jody, my wife, the RN, aka: "Nurse Jody") says "pack it in, dude. You are done". I'll listen to her, that's about it.

Thanks to everyone for your support and prayers; for the text messages sent the last couple days, as well as the emails, voice mails, and even a blog post from Patti!

I'll post a brief summary tomorrow and more when I get a chance.

Thanks, again, gang! I know it's going to be a great day. How can it not when I have so many amazing people backing me and my awesome crew (Jody and Christian) supporting me each step of the way.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Indy Mini

Congrats to eveyone who completed the Indy Mini on Saturday and to those who provided support. A special shout-out to our BTWG Grads who used the Project Principles and workouts to finish strong. Way to go guys! So far I have heard from Cindy, a.k.a. - CB36 who was smiling ear to ear and, rightfully, filled with energy and joy. I also spoke with Joe and received an email from Alison, both finished in just over 2 hours eventhough they had to pick there way through the traffic if slower runners and walkers who were mixed into the crowd.

Here's a little of what Joe had to say:
"As I mentioned at the meeting, due to the hotel construction at the starting line, (the road went from 4 lanes down to 2 lanes)
the coral system (slower runners/walkers starting after faster ones) failed miserably.

The race clock was 32:10 when I crossed the start line . (I did like the 3...2...1... go aspect of that time.) A friend of mine who was in coral W started the race 10 minutes before me and I was in coral K...
So now I wonder If I had not been held up by slower traffic for the first 10 miles would if have burned out and not finished strong? One positive about weaving through slower runners and walkers is that it made me stay focused, in the moment and mindful. I also had to remind myself that it was an unavoidable situation and the people who in my way were not to blame, and they could go as fast as they wanted."

Very cool attitude!

And a few words from Alison:
"The race went really well yesterday from the standpoint that my core and mind remained strong thru out the entire race. I never hit a brick wall. Moving thru Milestones (Like the 5 mile, the track, the last three miles) all just seemed to come to ease and faster (clockwise) than I anticipated. If felt all great. My legs and feet, on the other hand, were hurting quite a bit the last leg of the race. Drag. My overall time was 9:45 pace per mile -- slower than for the 15K but it was hard to maneveau thru the crowds, actually."
Alison: All smiles at the finish. Photo from John Singleton.

Project Grad, Pam the Blam also wanted to give a shout out to everyone:
"I was really honored to be Cindy's support crew this year. I had a great time sending updates to Chris as the BTWG reporter. What a great end to the morning to meet up with all the Bridgers at Au Bon Pain. Thanks to Wendy and John who provided hospitality for me throughout the morning at their ProMotion recovery tent. Congratulations to all BTWG Mini participants!"
Pam, the Blam, hanging at the ProMotion tent. Pam was providing "crewing" duties for Cindy. Speaking from experience, Pam is the best crew around! Love the BTWG hat! Photo from John Singleton