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

lone runner on Ortega bridge in the morning light

quiet streets all to ourselves

say cheesy

Donna, adding to her journal

post run

looking strong

someone is making a lot of money

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Blood IS thicker than water - but don't give a pint and imagine it to be AS thick.

I'm still learning about human physiology.
Donating blood has been an "on-again, off-again" personal effort since I was in college.
Blood is life and you're reminded every time that you enter a blood donation center that your gift of blood will possibly save a life. A small amount of selfless energy and someone in a possible life struggle is given renewed opportunity. The blood I donated Friday afternoon (one day before I ran 23 miles) was going to a young girl with Leukemia.
When I got the call Thursday evening with a request to come in the next day to donate blood I did not think twice. "Sure I'll be there." Giving blood takes about 45 minutes. Recovery from a blood donation takes a little longer. If you are a distance runner losing a pint of blood is a bigger deal than I understood.
I attempted short runs on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after the blood donation and a twenty three mile training run. Lethargic is an understatement. Thursday and Friday I did not run. Saturday morning I ran the slowest 10k (6.2 miles) in recent memory.
Disappointed about my past week of training and another poor race finish I determined to learn more about the effects of blood donation on runners. It turns out that runner/blood donors are not an unusual breed.
I found dozens of articles on line that were related to this topic. The link below is not deep in science but helped me come to terms with what had taken place. I am hopeful that my final month of training is productive. I expect to return to my previous strength this week. The doubts are still a burden. Live and learn.
Thanks for your support.