Driving to Columbus

Friday, May 4th

I’ve never been to Ohio before.  The furthest that I’ve personally every driven east was to Bloomington, IN to visit my cousins at Indiana University back in the late 90’s.  I must admit that this was rather exciting.  My brother rented a car, a 2011 Dodge Avenger, and off we went.Photographed by Matt Kazmierski

My youngest brother, Joey, is 10 years younger than I.  I would say the relationship that I’ve had with him has been different than with my other two brothers.  I’m really not sure why.  It could be that the ages of my other two other brothers and I only span about 5 years.  It could be that I had protective posture of him because he was the ‘baby’ of the family.  I remember when I was in college and shortly after, I would come home and spend time with him whether it be going to the store, going out to eat, or going out to a movie.  I attended some of his high school performances when he was involved in swing choir and the variety show.  I also attended one of his cheerleading competitions at Northern Illinois University.  Without even knowing it at the time, I was intentionally investing in our relationship.

This ride to Columbus, OH was estimated to take just under 8 hours.  I don’t think that I’ve ever spent that much time with any of my brothers in one place where we were each other’s captive audience.  Joey took the first shift in driving.  As you can imagine, there was a good amount of ‘runner talk’.  Since, Joey was one of the major influences in my starting to run, I had much to talk about.  We discussed topics as it pertained to nutrition, hydration, shoes, apparel, the Chicago Marathon, the New York Half Marathon, the New York Marathon, cross training, and the list goes on.  I was surprised about how fast that first driving shift passed, not only because he was driving but also because of the conversation that was taking place, the laughter that had been shared, and the bonding that was occurring.

Near Indianapolis, we decided that it was time to each lunch.  As we pulled off we knew that we needed to nourish ourselves with some healthy food since we would be running 13.1 in less that 24 hours.  Well, it was a no brainer when we saw the Chick-Fil-A sign.  Mmmm…so good!

It was my turn to drive and take the second half of the trip.  I’m not sure what happened, but the amount of ‘runner talk’ greatly decreased as our conversation revolved around childhood, growing up, getting married, having our own families, work, the challenges we face, and the like.  I guess you can say we talked about life in general; something that we really have never had an opportunity to discuss one on one.  Time flew by again, but even faster!

Before we knew it, we were pulling into Columbus looking for the hotel where we would attend my first health and fitness expo.  I was giddy with excitement!  It was here where we would pick up our racing bib, shirt, and other race materials.  You could feel the energy in the room as fellow runners were also doing the same thing; a community of people just as crazy as I am!   We’d visit the different vendor booths to check out running gear, shoes, apparel, etc…  I walked through the expo with a permanent smile and eyes wide open just soaking it all in.  Afterwards we checked into our hotel, went out for dinner to carb up, and then came back to get some rest for 6 AM EST was coming fast and furious.

This day had to have been one of the best days that I’ve spent with my brother Joey!

Stay tuned for Race Day!



Leading Up to the Race

I’m so glad to finally share with you the events that have occurred since I last posted.

Have you ever said, “I feel like I’m working more just to take some time off”. I’ve actually said this not only before taking some time off, but also afterwards. I sort of felt this way just recently.

I contrast this with what’s known as “tapering” or “cut back” in a running training program. For me, I have been in a 14 week half marathon training program that is pretty structured so that there is no guesswork as to how far and how long I run on a given day. Towards the end of the program, you taper or cut back the activity in order to allow your muscles to heal in time for the big race. I’ve often been told to fight the urge to do more than what is laid out in the program. I guess I would attribute that to the whole phenomenon that takes place at work before going on vacation.

I was did pretty well in sticking to my running program; tapering and all. I’m thankful for that because activity in the other areas of my life ramped up…as I should have expected. I’m just going to list what took place in the two weeks leading up to my race.

      – Participated in an all day workshop focusing on the ministry partnership that exists between churches and Christian counselors


      – Coordinated and executed the audio/visual details for the launch event of our global outreach ministry


      – Executed the third of three Saturday morning trainings for care ministers at our Barrington campus


      – Conducted two mid course performance reviews for two awesome staff members of whom I get to work alongside


      – Participated in a tour of what started out as a food pantry 30 years ago and now provides not only food but also clothing, adult literacy, GED, and citizenship programs, art programs, among many others for their community.


      – Participated in an all day seminar downtown on team building, coaching and mentoring.


    – With my family not being able to go with me to the race, I coordinated with friends for my boys to hang out for the weekend while Jen is at a women’s retreat.

Whew! I’m tired just reading that! I have to confess that during those last two weeks, I asked myself if this was really worth it? Is going through all this really worth the trouble? I should just cancel. Why don’t I just give up…I’m going to die of stress in the process anyway (exaggerating, of course)

I’m reminded again of a statement by Greg Anderson, athlete/author, that I’ve heard throughout my 43 years of life,

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.

Stay tuned and I’ll give you an summary of how my race actually went.

In His love,