Friday, October 31, 2008


I watched a show called Kitchen Nightmares last night.
It is the guy from Hell's Kitchen and he has a reality show. He goes into a failing restaurant and tries to fix it up.
Now you have a world renown chef going into a failing mom and pop restaurant and trying to fix the restaurants many ills in five days.
This particular BBQ joint had three owners. A managing partner and a husband and wife "silent" partners.
The restaurant sucks and it is losing money so everyone starts to crucify the managing partner. He starts to lose more money so he starts to skimp on the quality of the cheese. Then the quality of the potatoes, then the quality of the carpet. Then the next thing you know nothing in this place is quality.
I mean this is a place with three dudes as "cooks". They certainly are not chefs. They can flip a burger and throw fries in the deep fryer but they don't know how to "cook".
So he starts in on the poor cooks.
He tells them how to do it right in the afternoon and says we are going to try the new menu and the new attitude TONIGHT.
Then they are suppose to execute things that he has learned in a lifetime of restaurant consultation in one night.
The night is seizure inducing chaos. He is a total spaz but somehow the restaurant makes it through the night. At the end of the night (day five) he says good job, gives them a pep talk and leaves.
WOW. What a crazy show. I think I will DVR it.
Have you seen it?

One thing I do envy is the ability for a person to say it like it is. I am this "no confrontation at any cost" kind of guy.
I envy someones ability to say what he or she is thinking. I know in my heart that things will be okay and probably better if I just tell people what I expect. But that may lead to confrontation and that is not okay.
I am working on it but when I see someone laying into someone it just makes me uncomfortable. Now maybe the dude deserved it and it will make him a better employee but just watching someone else being forceful makes me uncomfortable.
Crazy...I know.

The marathon...
Where was I?
I think I was telling you about the beginning of the marathon. I started with two of my friends and by the second mile they were gone, they wanted to get out of the they bolted. I know that when you are running with 25,000 people there is always going to be crowds. I was using too much energy trying to keep up with them, so I let them go. Okay so here I am 24.2 miles from the finish line and alone.
I was freaking out. Am I just going to run for 4 more hours by myself? Will I be able to do it? Am I going to totally blow my time?
So I just started to run. During my training I run for two miles and then walk for a minute or two. You know for me running is a social event. If there was a lot of people at the water stop I would talk and the next thing you know it is 3-4 minutes later.
So during the marathon I didn't stop. I don't know why I didn't stop. I don't know if I was mad about my "friends" leaving me or I was not very tired or I was just out of sorts.
At mile 10 I started to walk for the first time. I got some water and walked. I used this time to have a GOO and drink without choking.
Remember last week I was telling you how excited I was about seeing all the military vehicles and all the monuments and memorials. Well I didn't see any of it. First there wasn't any Hummers or anything like that along the way. But the things that were there, like the Washington Monument, I didn't even see. I did see the Capital Building but that was at mile 18 and I didn't give a sh#$$!#%&t about it.
All I cared about was the looking for the next mile marker.
So things were going pretty good.
One thing that was golden for me was my shirt. I wrote my name in big letters on the front of my shirt. JOHN
So everyone was yelling at me, "Go John", " Way to go John", "Looking great John".
It was awesome. So some of the other runners would talk to me, "So you are JOHN."
Then we would get to talking. And if they talked to me I would hang with them for as long as I could.
So I finished the half mile and I couldn't tell how I felt. But I did feel okay.
I knew the clock time was 2:07. I was a little disappointed. But I didn't know how far from my chip time was from the clock time. It turned out it took me 7 minutes to get to the start line after then gun.
So it took me exactly 2 hours to do the first 13.1. This is pretty good.
So I was thinking 2:03 which isn't bad but I was not thinking very clearly. I just wanted to hang on.
But according to the clock I picked up speed. I was as low as 9:11 pace. This is pretty fast by my standards. But the other guys are usually my pace cars. They both wear GPS watches. They have the time, your pace, elevation on this watch. During our training runs they would always be the watchers of the pace.
Mile 17 I saw my family for the first time. It was cool. Everyone was so excited. But my daughter was like, "Ewh, don't touch me, you are disgusting."
They ran across the Mall and I ran around it and I saw them again at mile 19.
I was getting close. My wife told me that Rakesh was about 10 minutes ahead of me and Chris was about 5 minutes ahead...the bastards.
So I made it to about 21 miles before I hit the wall. Okay maybe the wall hit me.
I was feeling good mind and lungs but my legs started to go. I mean my calves were starting to cramp up. I would stop a minute and stretch and I could go a half mile or so before they froze up again. At the 21 mile mark I was on a 3:58 pace.
I would look down and I could see every muscle in my calves tight. This was not good.
At mile 22 the course bended on itself. I saw Rakesh and Chris. I was reeling them in.
But when I was running and I could see the other runners behind me I saw the 4:15 balloon. This means if this person holding this balloon catches me...I am pooping out.
I ran the next 4 miles willing myself NOT to be caught by the 4:15 balloon. I was hurting so bad. My legs were in full on rejection mode. They were like rocks. I sometimes run about 10 strides before I couldn't again. I was willing myself to continue. I kept looking back for that balloon. I was convinced she was going to catch me. The next couple of miles were a blur of pain. But next thing I know I saw 25 miles. I only had 5 laps around a track to go. But I might have to crawl to get there but I was going to get there. Even if I had to beat up the woman with the 4:15 balloons.
I saw the 26 mile sign. I am cussing at my legs at this point.
The last .2 miles are straight up a hill. It was a cruel joke. I pushed it. I did it.
My friends were still at the finish line. We all finished 4 minutes of each other. Chris 4:07, Rakesh 4:08 and me 4:11.
I was so happy it was over. I was such a mess.
I didn't cry this time but a mess none the less.
We got some pictures next to the Iwo Jima Memorial and walked to our families.
What a mess of people. It was crazy.
Then I started to realize that I had finished and I cut 19 minutes off my time. I started to process the race.
Wow. What a blessing. A beautiful day, a great time, I got to be with my friends and family.
It doesn't get any better than this.

I have to go
First flag football practice today. I am only the assistant coach this year.
I will be telling you more as the weeks go on.
Have a great weekend.


Anonymous said...

Great story, JOHN. I could feel your pain. I just opted out of my marathon plan for January with team-in-training in Disneyworld. Too much pressure for the fund raising AND the training. Just made it through Olympic triathlon with them at Des Moines in June. Going back to 5 and 10 K's and slowly build up. My fundraising approach this time was to appeal to patient base and give them a credit toward dental treatment on any amount of donation they gave me for the marathon. Then I thought better of it because I might be undermining my front office collection efforts. I'l take all the cash I can get during this uncertain time. All for now

Tim Taylor

Anonymous said...


You are truly amazing. How satisfying is it to push yourself to your absolute limit, have your body give out on you, and then continue to push yourself further? You sir, are an inspiration. Way to run smart and finish the race with a PR. I couldn't imagine running a marathon alone but it sounds like you made the right choice by not sticking with your buddies in the beginning. Imagine how much more you would have hurt had you kept up with them from the start. It is easy to get caught up in the energy of the race early on and pay for it later. Job well done. Keep working hard and keep us (blog readers) up to date on any future marathon plans.

Drew Byrnes


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