Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas! 2008

Late addition: My Great-Great Aunt Lou Ellen Little (who I went to visit in North Carolina in the middle of December and somehow came away with not a single pictures of the whole trip!) who is now a very special member of my family, as far as I am concerned!

The whole Smith family with Linda, Andrew and I

Linda in her Christmas suit!

And then finally, some new family Christmas time pictures from my Dad's side of the family, including this one of Jayden:

Do You Not Know? Have You Not Heard?

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God"?

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary

and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD

will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:27-31

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

December Wedding in Western Wyoming

At the rehearsal dinner...
Silent Football at the Friday evening party

Jadon & Audrey's house in Kemmerer, WY

Jadon and I after our -0 degree run! Frozen eye lashes!

Well, it was all you would expect from a December wedding in Wyoming: cold, cold, cold. I ended up traveling in a 4x4 truck entourage with from friends from Haviland/Barclay. I would have never made it in my rear wheel drive car through the ice storm on I-70 in Northwest Kansas and the multiple white-out blizzard conditions on I-80 in Wyoming. Thank goodness for 4-wheel drive!

Travis & Amanda's wedding was great - with lots of fun and laughs shared throughout the whole weekend. Friday evenings' bachelor party consisted of a 2 hour game of "Silent Football".

Saturday after the wedding, Justin Kendall (fellow groomsman, friend, and Barclay College's Admissions Rep) and I traveled to Kemmerer, WY (further west and North in Wyoming; in blowing snow of course). I shared the message at Jadon's Valley Evangelical Free Church Sunday morning (awesome church, really nice people, beautiful facility, and they obviously have an excellent pastor!) and then we took off after lunch for the 12+ hour trip home (the least weather eventful portion of the trip - except it was 1 degrees driving through Hays, KS).

I ran every day during the trip and never above 20 degrees! I ran only 2 miles Saturday morning with a negative something degrees with something like -30 with the windchill and then again a 4-miler on Sunday morning with Jadon on a still morning (meaning minimal windchill) but again somewhere near 0 degrees. Our eyebrows and eye lashes froze!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon Pictures Posted

If you've ever noticed the grimmace (pain?) on my face sometimes when running long distances, it's because sometimes there is slight discomfort in running for 4 hours! But, to be clear, it is not excruciating nor is it deabilitating. It is simply just fun!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."

[After the Grinch stole all the Who's Christmas presents...]
last pages of How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess

...the Grinch put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow...

But the sound wasn't sad! Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn't be so! But it WAS merry! VERY!

He stared down at Who-ville!
The Grinch popped his eyes! Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!

He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming!
IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!"
It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

And what happened then...? Who-ville they say
That the Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light
And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast!

And he... ...HE HIMSELF...! The Grinch carved the roast beast!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Crossroads Youth Christmas Party

We made Christmas sugar cookies at our party last Wednesday night.

The party was a Christmas Costume Party - I dressed as an Elf. This is crazy!

Leslea (in the Santa outfit) won the "best costume" award!

Last Tuesday at the office - cold and snowy! My car pictured (248,500 miles).

Thunder Road Marathon

I ran Charlotte, North Carolina's "Thunder Road Marathon" on Saturday. The rolling hills course that goes through downtown and residential neighborhoods in Charlotte was a lot of fun! I ran a 3:55:47 (my third best marathon time ever!). The weather was near perfect - upper 30s at the start, mid 40s by finish time.

The first couple miles I was sore and hobbling with shin splints and aches (probably from last Saturday's 50K!). I was running like 9:30 miles and feeling like I was fading way too soon in a marathon (feeling awful in mile 2 and 3)! I was running in the grass next to the road for a couple miles for a softer surface and I slipped and fell into some wet mud. It's pretty rare that you get to fall in mud during a road marathon! I just got back up and kept going. By one hour in, about six miles, the aches and pains went away and I was able to accelerate. I actually ran a faster 2nd half than first half which is rare, I think. I ran 7:30-8 min splits in the last three miles "just because I still could". It was a fun run and another state checked off the list!

To see official race results: (Hopefully, website pictures to come later...)

Christmas Video

My friend Josh passed on this link to an excellent and interesting video about Christmas that I enjoyed:

Monday, December 8, 2008

One Hill At A Time (Vicarious Ultra-Marathon Version)

My good friend Jesse Penna has now come to watch and crew at 4 ultras (Flatrock 07, 08, Run for Missions, One Hill at a Time) and 1 marathon (Heart of America). He is building quite a vicarious running career! He jokes about how exhausted he is after vicariously running with me during these events.

Dialouge at about mile 12 on Saturday:

[Adam running uphill, of course, sees his car and Jesse standing and cheering, doing the Mexican yell.]
[Running] Adam: How are you holding up?
[Leaning against the car] Jesse: We'll, I'm doing okay, I had a head-ache earlier this morning but finally it went away.
[Running] Adam: Well, hang in there, you're doing great!
Jesse: Thanks!

In the last 8 miles or so when I ran out of energy gels, Jesse delivered 1/2 PB&J sandwiches every other mile that I ate while I ran.

Here's Jesse's Vicarious Ultra-Marathon Version Report:

As I write about my experience this past weekend as I vicariously ran my third ultra, I am still in recovery! My eyelids are heavy, my muscles are sore and my mind is still trying to get back to it's original state of inteligence. I must say that this was probably my most difficult ultra to date. Between a flat tire that needed plugged, a massive headache, the cold, a crop dusting plane that would not leave me alone, and all the deer hunters shooting their guns at me and the deer, I did not know if I would make it through the end of the race. The saving moment of the day was a cup of coffee followed by a wonderful conversation with a good ole boy named Doyle. This man named Doyle, was one of the three persons at the only aid station - of which I returned to several times throughout the day in order to refuel! There is so much more to say about the day, but in order to sum up my exhaustion after the race: all I can say is that I was too tired to drive home. Adam had to take the wheel so that I could recover from the vicarious run that I had just completed. After my nap on the way home, I felt much better - ready to go for our youth party. I am not sure what 2009 may hold, but I have set my aim high! The sky is the limit for my vicarious running career! - Jesse Penna

One Hill At A Time

My final ultra of 2008 went as well as I could have hoped. The 50K (31 mile) on Saturday was called "One Hill At A Time". The course description is advertised as "Long Hills, Short Hills, Large Hills, and Tall Hills" (sounds like good stuff for a Dr. Suess book) on gravel and rocky roads. Total climb of 3,380 feet for 50K. The course was just southeast of Concordia, in north-central Kansas. The event benefited a local non profit org. This inaugural year of the event had a very small crowd. The course and event organizers where both excellent. The weather, which could have been interesting for a December day in Kansas, was awesome as well with 40s for most of the run and cloudy with minimal wind.
There were only two of us in the 50K. Matt from Galva, KS finished in 4:22 and I finished in 5:22. I ran with Matt for the first 7 miles or so at 8 minute/miles on these hills! My finish time was my best 50K time by an hour and six minutes. It averages to 10.4 minute/miles. I ran the first 16 in under 2:30 and faded a little on the steepest hills in the second half. The Aid Station folks were as friendly as can be and Steve the race director did a fine job of charting a challenging and fun event! As I begin to formulate my 09 goals, I see it as a possibility to finish an off-road but not rugged trail 50K in just under 5 hours.

The "monument" was on the course. About 10 miles from nowhere - literally!

Kansas is not flat. I can still feel the Kansas' unflatness in my quads and calves today as proof!

Wind Mills in the distance.

Running downhill is fun. Uphill is fun too. Not!
I think there were about two 200 yard stretches of "flat" on the course.

The finish line! ("turn right at the sign and run to the picnic table!")

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving 08

Linda and Andrew

Andrew helping cook

Adam planning the evening movie viewing options with Linda and Andrew. Selection: Wall-E. Interesting.