Monday, December 18, 2006

where it all ends and then begins again


So is it ok to have sex before the marathon?
Yes, as long as you don’t distract the starter.

It’s an old worn out marathon joke but this is my last marathon blog entry and I felt inclined to utilize a salacious writing tactic to guarantee as many eyes as possible.

By the numbers:

2,180 — Combined runners in the half and full marathon
80 — Donna Hicken runners (congratulations team!!!!!)
2:30:07 — First place time for men
3:44:35 — Kurtis Loftus (wow the guy that won is fast)
242 — Overall finish for Kurtis
8:34 — mile pace for Kurtis
30 — walk breaks (12 more than the Galloway plan suggests)
110 — heat index at 10:30 am (not really, but it was hot)
6 — Advil consumed…

…the list could go on and on.

“We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves. It also does us good because it helps us to do other things better. It gives a man or woman the chance to bring out power that might otherwise remain locked away inside. The urge to struggle lies latent in everyone.”

Roger Bannister, “The Four-Minute Mile”

I’ve been told that the last eight miles of a marathon run is the most difficult — now I can confirm it.
I’ve been asked if I plan to do another marathon — Definitely (but if you had asked me during my marathon run, I would have said “no” at mile 23).


I experienced two uniquely different psycho-physical appeals to finish the marathon beginning at mile 24.
The first opportunity was to finish with a young man (19 - 22 years old). I greeted him as he walked along San Jose Blvd. I thought if I could finish the marathon with someone that looked like a strong runner and was half my age it might reflect well on me. We walked and then I encouraged him to jog. He mentioned that his longest training run was 20 miles. At the 25 mile mark he said he was going to commit to running the rest of the way in. The next time we spoke was after he crossed the finish (at least 1 minute behind me).
My second opportunity for inspiration came during mile 25. With less than a mile to go I heard labored breathing and strong footsteps slowly gaining on me. When the breathing was just to my right side I looked over to find a red-faced older gentleman (certainly in his 60’s). He appeared ready to pass out as we trudged along together. I thought I would at least hang with him all the way to the finish. I could not. He beat my time by almost 30 seconds.


Dona Hicken and the Galloway Team!!!!!!!!!!
Loretta (first place in her age group)!!!!!!!!!!!!
Phil — One of Jacksonville’s finest and proving why (River Run is next)!!!!!!!!!!!


I’m getting a much deserved massage.
Health Elements is owned by Cynthia DeWitt, a marathon runner.
If any Donna Hicken/Galloway runners have not taken advantage of a good massage I recommend calling Cynthia. 249-0921

Thank you to all my supporters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pasta Party

Great food and friends.


the Napolitano's

sorry Tim (Loretta and Jonathan kept their eyes open)


we've seen this group before. How did you do Kevin?

big smiles

the future "rabbits"

brad, congrats on your finish!!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

the long road short

I ran a quick six miles on Tuesday morning. It was a familiar run with my thoughts focused on work related issues and the upcoming marathon.
My training is coming to a close and I've experienced a variety of physical and emotional ups and downs.
I've been humbled and encouraged, torn down and built back up.
The process has brought new friendships and given me a deeper appreciation of the ones I have.
More importantly, I will gratefully finish this short chapter with the satisfacction that there will be “very real” positive influence beyond my reach.
Writing this journal has been enjoyable. Painting has been a selfish reward.
Dozens of emails from friends and family have helped to feed my soul.

I realized during my Tuesday morning run that just finishing the marathon is all that matters.
The Donna Hicken Foundation/Galloway runners will have a (pre race) pasta dinner on Monday, December 11.
My fundraising goal is $5000.00. Twenty-two checks have come in totaling $3,500.00.
If you are still interested in supporting the foundation PLEASE try and get your checks in before that evening.
The gallery is posted at
Make a donation and let me know which print I can sign and send your way.

I will probably have two final posts including a wrap-up.

Thank you for ALL the support!

Make checks payable to:
The Donna Hicken Foundation

Mail to:
The Kurtis Group
425 8th ave. n.
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

Sunday, November 26, 2006

We're Getting Close

Saturday, November 18, the group ran 26.2 miles.
Thursday, November 23 (Thanksgiving morning) we ran a relatively fast 13.1 miles.

We are now officially “tapering down” with a recent (Saturday, November 25) training run of seven miles.
The Jacksonville Marathon is less than three weeks out.
A few more short training runs with the group and then we meet on December 17, at Bolles School to complete this journey.

Photo’s and recent artwork are posted.

loretta brad jonathan kurtis phil tim and chris

I finally joined the "breakfast club"

chris donna and amanda

so fast they're blurred

brad kevin and jonathan


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Big Dogs, Cats and Tough Turkey

The Donna Hicken Foundation Galloway Training Group (take a breath) completed a 26.2 mile training run on Saturday, November 18.
(insert applause here)
Yes, there was plenty of enthusiasm and “Oh My Gosh, I did it!” energy when the runners were greeted with congratulatory medals at the finish — but even more encouraging was the absence of any serious pain or angst from most of the runners. Twenty-six miles and almost everyone was behaving as if they had just finished a Saturday morning jog. That’s pretty amazing.

A thick blanket of stars illuminated the 5:00am sky over Baldwin Trail. The cold morning air stung and made it difficult to appreciate Amanda’s words of encouragement. This was our final long run and we all understood why she was enthusiastic (but it was just so darn cold, and early and …).
Tim wouldn’t be running with us but I was surprised that Jonathan was a “no show”. We began the outbound 13.1 mile run assuming Jonathan would catch us sometime before the turn around. This would not be his first “late arrival catch up run” with the group. If I didn’t know any better I would tell you he enjoys the late starts because it gives him a chance to run fast. I mean, think about it… he’s an attorney. What attorney does not live by the words prompt? Their entire lives are built around time.
Billings, depositions, case filings, timelines etc…

Jonathan never showed before the turn.

I’ve been asked by friends how I’m able to carry on a conversation and run at the same time. “It’s not hard” is my usual uninspired answer. But ask me how I can joke and laugh while I’m running… well this takes skill that I’m becoming expert in.
Saturday morning we were all practicing our running and laughing talents for several miles — most often laughing at ourselves. It’s easy to come up with amusing stories and self-deprecating analysis when you’re running in the cold dark with four friends and most of the sane world is still asleep.
The best line was delivered by Chris after we finished… “Jonathan is now our Big Dog and Loretta is our Big Cat”.
Ok, only five people reading this blog find that funny… but I guarantee you, those five are laughing right now.

Speaking of “Big Dog”…
Somewhere between mile 16 mile and 18 Phil spots a distant lone runner coming toward us at a relatively fast pace. Jonathan’s familiar stride could be spotted from three hundred yards away. He basically blew by us with just a few words and was gone. We all shared the same thought… “He better not catch us”.
Impossible………….or……….. hhmmmmm………. It is Jonathan.
Nahh he’s to far behind.
Funny thing, he put the same fear into the minds of the second group following us.

The entire run took about 4.5 hours to complete. During the last six miles my calves were tightening up, my feet were sore and I was so hungry I could have eaten Phil’s beans (twisted unnecessary comment but five of us are laughing again).
Real food awaited us at the finish.
Every one has a favorite dish and a favorite place to eat. My new favorite dish is hot shrimp soup served over a bed of white rice with a huge mound of potato salad on the side and an Endourox chaser. This meal should be prepared the night before and then served from the trunk of a car on the following morning. Now that’s PERFECT dining.
Thank you Lisa!
At 10:17am Jonathan finished his marathon run. I was barely finished with my first plate of food. The young man is fast. He almost caught the second group that left two hours before he started.
Twenty-six miles in 3:17
Big Dog.

Tough Turkey

Thanksgiving, no holding back.
If you’re family and you haven’t sent money… I know where you’ll be.
Have your checks ready.

Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Baldwin Trail 26.2 miles

I shot a lot of pics from the run and wanted to post before getting the journal entry done. Congratulations runners!

This is how you finish a twenty six mile run with friends

pre race4

pre race 3

pre race 2

pre race1

pre race brad






post race brunch


brad (way to thrilled with the finish)

shrimp soup, rice, potato salad... thanks Lisa and family



arrive two hours late and smoke the trail



mission accomplished

michael jackson wannabe

post race

jonathan (3 hrs and 17 min.) congrats

post race

post race


chris & phil

Friday, November 17, 2006


The Long Run

Many of you will probably read this after I finish my twenty-six mile training run Saturday morning. My health appears close to 100% and I've learned a valuable lesson about donating blood.
The painting posted with this journal entry is from the Ortega area.
Fourteen paintings have been completed. Check the gulp gallery for an easy preview.

Two more checks came in today.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Good Work

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally, and does not taunt; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, without hesitation. For he that hesitates is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For don't let that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded (two-spirited) man, unstable (inconstant) in all his ways (roads, paths, journeys)." James 1:5-8

I’ve trained with The Donna Hicken Foundation for twenty-eight weeks, run over 1000 miles and raised $2500.00. The marathon is a month away and I just spent the last couple weeks questioning what I was “really” trying to accomplish. Honestly, I can share a handful of very important personal priorities that will always force training down to the bottom of the pile — so deep that it should no longer have a place in my schedule or thoughts. So what’s the deal?

I believe that good work and positive energy can (and will) be met with equal portions of negative energy if we are not strong in our beliefs and faithful toward what we seek to accomplish. I also believe that stepping outside of our “normal (or safe) comfort zones” creates disruption and makes it easy for us to stand back and wait. Having purpose is motivating — determining how to balance and keep priorities in order is challenging. Positive influence is the reward.
Positive influence however, should not fill the empty space left by the gesture of a selfish action (wow did I just write that? hmmmm, not bad).

So it’s a difficult balance that requires internal strength and wisdom. Decisions to accomplish good deeds come fraught with opportunity to fail. The idea of failure will stop most people before they even give opportunity a chance.

The Ortega run on Saturday morning was a short 7 miler with a 1.5 mile “bonus” run tacked on for my group.
Before starting the run Tim mentioned the view from the river back toward downtown. He thought it would make a nice backdrop for a new painting. Unfortunately, the route was not designed to take us out to the river by the Ortega Bridge — so we added it at the end of our run.
The morning light, cool temps and calm winds helped create the perfect scene.
I’m anxious to start my next painting.

My commitment is faithful. I look forward to the marathon.
Thank you for the continued support.

I'm still hoping to raise another $2500.00.
I know I have some family and friends that can help.

Make checks payable to:
The Donna Hicken Foundation

Mail to:
The Kurtis Group
425 8th Ave. N.
Jax. Bch. FL 32250

Early morning walk break. Checking the view from the Ortega river.

distant skyline

walk break (medium)

walk break close