JoyfilmposterSue and I went to River Cinema 15 Saturday to see “Joy,” starring Jennifer Lawrence as the title character. The story sounded kind of interesting, but after Lawrence was nominated for this year’s Best Actress Oscar, the movie became a must see. Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro having roles in the film didn’t hurt either.

Thinking about the movie a day later, I realize I was left with several lingering thoughts…

Family, family, family… We all have roles within our larger family, and there is enormous pressure to stay within these roles. Joy role is caregiver, and everyone demands that she attend to each of their individual needs, often at the same time! The picture did a great job of enacting the whirlwind life of this poor creature as she struggled through one crisis after another. Caring for her children was one thing, but the demands placed on her by her parents made me feel anger and frustration.

Change frightens people… Joy is divorced from her husband, but he still lives in their basement. Neither one is prepared to move on even though it’s obvious that their marriage was a disaster. Joy’s parents are in the same boat. They can’t handle being in the same room, but they can’t seem to live without each other either. Her sister Peggy is accustomed to being the smart child and it seems as though her main purpose in life is making sure everyone is aware of Joy’s many failures. I found Peggy to be one of the most loathsome characters I’ve come across in some time! Joy’s father, played by De Niro, was nearly as despicable as his daughter Peggy. The things he says about Joy, his own daughter, as he tries to persuade her to file for bankruptcy broke my heart and made me want to reach onto the screen and punch his lights out!

All it takes is one positive influence in your life… Even though Joy’s entire family doesn’t believe she will ever amount to anything, her Grandmother’s kind words are what eventually gives her the strength to rise above it all and succeed. Joy also had the blessing of one awesome friend that always seemed to give her just the right lift when she needed it the most. Everyone needs that one special friend in their life who will stick with them through thick and thin!

It’s a dog eat dog world out there… “Joy” presents the business world as a cutthroat place of epic proportions! Joy was simply looking for a break, but person after person used her, took her money, and cheated her out of everything she worked for. The movie is a nasty, nasty indictment of corporate America. It wasn’t until Joy quit looking to others for a break and instead took matters into her own hands that she finally succeeded. I’m glad that “Joy had somewhat of a happy ending.

I thought “Joy” was somewhat depressing with a few moments of enlightenment thrown in. Sue viewed it generally more uplifting and really enjoyed the historical nature of the film. I thought Lawrence was good, but enjoyed her performance more in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

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Viking Fans are Made

Football fans aren’t born they are made. My father grew up listening to the Minnesota Gophers on the radio in the 50’s. I grew up watching the Minnesota Vikings on black and white television in the 70’s. Dad explained scoring, downs, forward passes, and punting while we watched the Vikings play the Packers, Bears, and Lions. It was a good time to be a Viking fan!

The Vikings were a great team during the 70’s and they played exceptionally well at their home, Metropolitan Stadium. I remember watching them play games late in the season, seeing the player’s breath shoot out of their helmets like steam from an angry bull’s nose. They were tough, and their domination of teams from warmer climates was legendary!

Minnesota Vikings players (from left) John Henderson (#80), Jim Vellone (#63), John Beasley (#87), Gene Washington (#84), and Ron Yary (#73) on the field during the 1970 NFL Championship game versus the Cleveland Browns at Metropolitan Stadium.  Bloomington, Minnesota 1/4/1970 (Image # 1266 )

Minnesota Vikings players (from left) John Henderson (#80), Jim Vellone (#63), John Beasley (#87), Gene Washington (#84), and Ron Yary (#73) on the field during the 1970 NFL Championship game versus the Cleveland Browns at Metropolitan Stadium.
Bloomington, Minnesota 1/4/1970
(Image # 1266 )

I’ve been a die-hard Vikings fan my entire life, and have remained behind them through both good seasons and bad ones. This season they’ve gone 11-5, but yet nobody is taking them seriously. Maybe it’s just that old tired hope that this will finally be “The Year,” but I sense that there’s something special about this team.

The 2015 Vikings weren’t expected to win the NFC North, but yet they went into Green Bay and knocked out the defending champions on the last day of the season. The Seattle Seahawks are expected to win tomorrow’s playoff game, but I see them overlooking what they obviously believe to be an inferior team. They believe they scared Teddy Bridgewater so much during their last game that he won’t show up to play. They believe Adrian Peterson is washed up and that their own Marshawn Lynch is the premier running back in the NFL. I even believe that Lynch is capable of playing tomorrow, but that the Seahawks want to rest him for next week’s game against the Panthers. Russel Wilson says he’s played in cold games before and that he won’t be wearing gloves.

I’ve been flooded with memories this week of the 1970’s Vikings dominating playoff games at Metropolitan Stadium. Win or lose, this Viking team has given me a return to the glory years, and for that I’ll always consider this one special!

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2015 Running Recap

2015 was a great year of physical activity for me. I logged 1,613 miles running and cross trained 358 miles on my Trek bike and 155 miles on stationary bikes. I guess I will maintain my status as a runner who cross trains by biking! I worked my year around running two marathons and they were my primary focus. I also fit in three 5K races and three half marathons. The highlight of the year was getting my family involved in running and completing several “first” races with them!

Fargo Half Marathon, May 9th (1 hour, 42 minutes, 52 seconds)
I was concentrated on Grandma’s marathon at this time, and was probably in the best shape of my life! I didn’t run this race to attempt a PR, but only as a time trial prior to Grandma’s. After a normal week of working out, I went into Fargo and did exactly what I planned to do, and felt great doing it!297552_196860914_XLarge

Grandma’s Marathon, June 20th (3 hours, 49 minutes, 49 seconds)
I was extremely well prepared for Grandma’s, but instead of shattering my PR (personal record) set last fall, I ended up falling a 5 minutes short of it. Many factors came into play, but the one that sticks out was standing in the pouring rain for 90 minutes prior to the race starting. I didn’t dwell on the disappointment but instead focused on having just completed my ninth marathon! Olympian Carrie Tollefson even put this photograph of me finishing on her web site!Grandma's 2015 finish

Fire Cracker 5K, July 4th (23 minutes, 6 seconds)
I didn’t attempt to eclipse my PR set last year in this same race, but instead truly relished having my entire family running the same race for the first time ever. I paced Carl to a new PR and then had the pleasure to watch Sue cross the finish line with a new PR as well! I ended up winning my age division and received a Scheel’s gift card. It was a day to celebrate for all of us, and I was beaming with pride for my family!Firecracker2015 with CarlFirecracker2015winners

Dick Beardsley Half Marathon, September 12th (1 hour, 43 minutes, 55 seconds)
This was Carl’s first half marathon so my focus was getting him across the finish line in under his goal of 1 hour 45 minutes. I reined him in during the first 5 miles, encouraged him along during the next 4, and then let him go for the final 4. Carl finished strong with negative splits down the stretch! Running at the side of my son as he completed his first half marathon was an experience I’ll never forget.Carl's First Half Marathon

Wild Hog 5K, September 25th (41 minutes, 54 seconds)
This was the first time I ran a race with Sue, and marked the first race ever for my niece Ana. I paced the two along, giving them words of encouragement along the way.WildHog5K 2015

Wild Hog Half Marathon, September 26th (2 hours, 19 minutes, 54 seconds)
This was my second consecutive year leading a pace group and the most rewarding one yet. I provided a steady base for my friend Gene and his daughter Kristina as well as having the fun of pushing a group of tired runners down the final half mile. I was the 2 hour 20 minute pacer and ended up winning a gift card for being the pacer most ideally meeting their time goal.Wild Hog 2.20 Pacer 2015 Finish

Twin Cities Marathon, October 4th (4 hours, 13 minutes, 2 seconds)
I decided to take it relatively easy and just enjoy the beautiful Twin Cities as I completed my 10th marathon!Twin Cities 2015 Finish

Boo Bees 5K, October 17 (33 minutes, 37 seconds)
I paced my niece Jocelyn along as she completed her first ever race. I also got to once again be in the same race with Sue and my niece Ana. It was a cool October morning, but there was a lot of excitement in the air for this American Cancer Society fund raiser!Boo Bees 2015 All

Eight races in 2015 and not a single PR: Have I already peaked in my ability and now look forward to a steady decline in performance as I get older? That may be the case, but I like to believe my best running is still ahead of me at age 52. I’m working harder than ever, but I think what will put me over the top is the fact that Carl still wants to run with me and I want to keep up with him. He is making the 2016 Grandma’s marathon his debut, and he wants me at his side. I’m currently on a mission to make 2016 my best year of running yet, and I hope it will soon be my son who is pacing me to some PR’s!

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The Best of Me

Best of MeI was in the mood for a romantic movie this afternoon, and “The Best of Me” (2014) was sitting by my DVD player, so that’s what I watched.

I have to be in the mood for a Nicholas Sparks story, but when I am he always delivers. You have to understand that his stories almost always are about love that transcends life itself so they have to involve both love and death. If you become uncomfortable shedding a tear while watching a movie, you should stay away from anything written by Mr. Sparks!

“The Best of Me” is about Dawson, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and Amanda, a girl who has it all. They are brought together back in their home town by the death of a friend twenty years after they had been involved in a high school romance. As they deal with their friend’s estate, they flash back and the viewer becomes involved in the two stories simultaneously.

The young Amanda is rich, but has a genuine pure heart. She sees something special in Dawson and pursues him even though he seemingly has no interest in a girl from her social circle. She eventually gains his trust and it is her love that changes his life.

Dawson comes from a family of drug dealers and after suffering a lifetime of abuse at the hands of his father and older brothers, he finally runs away and is given shelter by a kind old man named Tuck. Amanda’s love slowly begins to heal his wounds, and with her encouragement, Dawson begins to dream of a future with her.

Like in any good love story, the young couple has many obstacles to overcome, and in this case the obstacles are created by their families. Amanda’s father thinks her daughter can do better than the son of a drug dealer. Dawson’s father is determined to ensure that his son is as miserable and unhappy as he is. His father is a despicable human being and it’s his violence against Tuck that eventually brings ruin to Dawson. Amanda and Dawson go their separate ways.

Now, twenty years later, the two care together once again. Dawson has finally made a good life for himself, but has no one to share it with because nobody has measured up to his only love Amanda. Amanda married a man she didn’t love and had two children. She lost her daughter to leukemia a few years earlier and the grief created an insurmountable chasm between her and her husband. She has never stopped loving Dawson.

Dawson knows he can’t ask Amanda to leave her husband. He tells her that the gift of her love is enough for him to carry in his heart forever: It’s all he will ever need. Amanda goes back to her husband.

Of course the story doesn’t end here. It’s written by Nicholas Sparks and nobody has died yet. I won’t spoil the ending but I will let you know that Amanda and Dawson’s love does stay with them for the remainder of their lives and it does transcend their time together. I enjoyed “The Best of Me” and I’m sure both Amanda and Dawson will remain in my heart for some time!

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Sue is gone for the weekend, so you know what that means: Time to watch a movie that she would never sit through! Tonight was “Remembrance,” a film suggested by my sister Angie for our family’s movie club. Just a note that there are several spoilers coming up.

I thoroughly enjoyed “Remembrance,” as it incorporated several subjects that I usually find quite interesting. World War II, and especially anything to do with the Nazis. Lost love, found again. Scenes which bring tears to the eye. Scenes which have the viewer on the edge of the seat with suspense. “Remembrance” had all of these things!

Tomasz is a Polish political prisoner being held in a Nazi concentration camp in 1944. Hannah, a young Jewish woman, is in the same camp. Even in the most unlikely of places for a romance, these two somehow fall in love.

The movie jumps forward to 1976, where we see Hannah living in New York with a husband and daughter. She was told years ago by the Red Cross that Tomasz didn’t survive the war, but when she briefly sees a man on television that resembles Tomasz, talking about falling in love in a Nazi concentration camp, her world is shaken.

The movie jumps back and forth between the two years, telling two stories at the same time. The 1944 version is full of edge of your seat excitement as the two escape from the camp and get chased around the Polish countryside by the Nazis. The 1976 version shows Hannah pursuing the hope that Tomasz may be alive which threatens everything she holds dear.

The 1944 story eventually ends with both Hannah and Tomasz being very much alive while believing the other was dead. The film then turns to 1976 for a series of emotional scenes that left me in tears. Hannah makes contact with Tomasz over the telephone. Hannah travels to Poland to see Tomasz. The two see each other from across the parking lot, and the movie ends.

It was a brilliant way to end the movie, in my opinion. Sensible, reasonable people can imagine that Hannah will simply catch up with her old friend, then fly back to New York and resume her life as it was. Romantic people (like me) just know that the two have to end up together. There is enough evidence given during the film to support both conclusions, so every viewer can go home happy.

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Jocelyn’s First Race

When you run as many miles as I do, those around you notice. Sometimes it makes them uncomfortable, but sometimes it makes them want to join in. When a loved one wants to join you for a run, that is simply one of the best things there is about running! This summer I’ve enjoyed the company of my wife Sue, my son Carl, my niece Ana, my nephew Danny, my nephew August, and my brother Jeff for some great runs.

Today I got yet another loved one to join me for a run when my 11 year old niece Jocelyn joined me for the Boo Bees 5K in East Grand Forks. The Boo Bees 5K has been going on for several years now as a fund raiser for the American Cancer Society under the careful guidance of my friend Denae, who just happens to be a two time survivor of the cursed disease. As always, there were several members of Red River Runners present to offer support to our longtime friend!
Boo Bees 2015 RRR
Sue and Ana had been planning on doing this race for a few weeks, and it was great when Jocelyn said she wanted to join us. She told me she had been training for several days now and felt ready to tackle her first race!

Sue and Ana were planning on running together like they had during the Wild Hog 5K a few weeks earlier, and I was going to run with Jocelyn. The two if us discussed race strategy for a few minutes before the start and planned on beginning slow. We warmed up with a few stretches and a little jogging around the parking lot before lining up behind the starting line.

When the gun went off, Jocelyn took off faster than I thought she would, but she also held the fast pace longer than I thought possible. We made it over a half mile before my little running buddy told me she had to walk. After walking about 10 seconds, she was ready to go again, so off we went. We continued along the course in similar fashion, running for a few minutes, then walking for a few seconds.

Jocelyn did fantastic, finishing in 33 minutes and 37 seconds, and even had enough energy at the end to leave her uncle in the dust! When she turned around to watch me finish, I could see the excitement in her eyes, and I knew this wouldn’t be her last 5K! While we all cooled down and enjoyed some finisher food a few minutes later my little niece was already asking her mom when she could run another. I will never tire of watching the next generation of runners enjoying this great family sport!
Boo Bees 2015 All

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The Martian

When I was in the Twin Cities this last weekend, Sue’s family took us to see “The Martian.” I like Matt Damon, and I had planned to see this movie eventually, so going on opening weekend, and viewing it while eating lunch at The Marcus Theater in Oakdale made the whole experience extra special! Thanks Nancy and Jim!

In the near future, Americans travel to Mars to conduct an extended scientific expedition. A storm arrives with little advance notice and threatens their escape ship to the point where they need to immediately abandon their mission and return to Earth. The botanist, Mark Watney (Damon), is hit by a flying antenna in the heat of the storm and he ends up being left for dead by his team. The entire movie centers around Mark’s struggle to survive on the desolate Martian surface. I will try not to give away any spoilers during this brief review.

I had feared that most of the film would be Matt Damon talking to himself just like Tom Hanks did in “The Castaway,” but I was pleasantly surprised. “The Martian” included a large cast of well-developed characters and they added much depth to the story.

It was refreshing to watch Mark Watney use a sharp sense of humor and his intellect to battle his problems instead of fists and guns like most current heroes do. When catastrophic events threatened him over and over again, he doesn’t throw his hands in the air and give up like most of us would; he takes hold of his emotions, makes a plan and starts fixing the problem, improvising as he goes along. I want to be more like Mark Watney!

When I thought about the story over the last couple of days, it occurred to me that there weren’t any “bad guys.” There were loads of bad things happening to good people, and many people argued about what to do, but it was amazing that not a single person ended up looking bad at the end.

Lastly, “The Martian” made a bold statement about international cooperation. In an age where people don’t trust anyone outside their own borders, “Martian” wants its audience to believe that a single event can unite us all, even if for just a few minutes. Deep inside my soul I want to believe that the good in mankind will always eventually triumph over the bad. “The Martian” left me with hope that maybe someday we will be able to see past are differences and work together to forge a better world! Let me tell you: That’s not a bad way to leave a theater!

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2015 Twin Cities Marathon

Twin Cities 2015 Finish

“As a marathoner, if you take 26.2 miles for granted, you will have a bad day.”
Steve Wagner

I woke up Sunday morning in my Twin Cities Hotel and like I do before every marathon, I began fighting the little voice in my head. Those of you who have run a marathon know what I’m talking about. Did I train hard enough? Will that muscle or tendon that has been giving me issues flare up today? Will the clothing I select for the race keep me warm/cool enough? Did I eat well enough during the past couple of days? What can possibly go wrong that I haven’t already worried about?

I lined up at the starting line and for the first time ever, I told myself I wasn’t physically capable of a personal record (PR), and I believed it. I hadn’t done any strength training since Grandma’s Marathon in June. I was at least 8 pounds heavier than I was last year at this time. I’m usually extremely focused, but September had been full of distractions (some good), and I felt mentally unprepared. I had told myself that I couldn’t do it, and I believed it: The little voice had won!

I then took consolation in the fact that this was my 10th marathon. I ran all of the previous ones as hard as I could, so why not make this one sort of a victory lap? After struggling through my first four marathons to break the 4 hour barrier, I had been under 4 hours for the last five. Yes, I would be able to take it easy and still finish in under 4 hours and I would simply enjoy the entire race experience this time around.

I was a veteran marathon runner but I had already allowed the little voice to win: Now I was taking it for granted that I could complete 26.2 miles! It was going to be a long day…

As always happens to me during the Twin Cities marathon, my Garmin GPS watch can’t give me accurate readings though the first mile because of the sky scrapers, so I end up running a little too fast. Miles 5-7 were spent getting my running clothes squared away as a couple of chafe spots were already beginning to form. It’s not easy running while trying to rotate spandex briefs!

By mile 9 my feet already felt like they had completed 26 miles and I made a mental note to replace my racing shoes more frequently. I had already seen at least a half dozen spectators holding signs asking “Why are YOU running today,” and it bothered me greatly that I really didn’t have an answer. I stopped into a porta-potty about that time and while I stood in the relative darkness and inhaled the citrus deodorizer, I did a little self-examination. Runners need something deep inside to latch onto in order to make it through a marathon and at the moment I had nothing: I realized how unfocused and unprepared I really was.

I reached the halfway point in 1:52:04. I was on pace for a marathon PR, even with the porta-potty stop, but I was already hitting a wall. I walked through my first water stop at mile 14, and I knew there would be much more walking before the day was through. My feet were screaming at me to stop, but they weren’t too happy about walking either. At mile 16 I began walking about 15 seconds every few minutes, a strategy I would mostly continue through the rest of the race.

I received a huge dose of encouragement when my friends Martin and Robyn passed me about mile 23. Martin patted me on the back and urged me to keep running. Three years ago, Martin had come to the Twin Cities to help me break the 4 hour barrier by running at my side for the entire race, and today, he was doing the exact same thing with Robyn! Robyn looked focused and determined, and I knew she was finally going to do it. I wanted so badly to continue with them, but after a half mile or so, I had to stop and walk again.

I somehow made it to the finish line and completed my 10th marathon in 4 hours, 13 minutes, and 2 seconds; my slowest time in 4 years. Robyn broke the four hour barrier for the first time, as did my friend Matt, and I know from personal experience they must be extremely happy. As for me, I was once again reminded how brutal a marathon can be and how physically and mentally prepared one must be to complete it. I took 26.2 miles for granted and while I didn’t necessarily have a bad day, I know I must be better prepared in the future.

I often tell friends that any marathon finished is a successful one, and I certainly feel that way about my 10th. Yesterday’s Twin Cities finish was satisfying and I plan on savoring it for a few weeks before I take what I learned from the experience and begin training for number 11!

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Pace the Race 2015

Wild Hog 2.20 Pacer 2015
As a member of Red River Runners for the last 6 years, I’ve made many friends in the Grand Forks Running community. I’ve often said that I believe RRR is the finest group of people I’ve ever been associated. My running friends are always fun to be around, but perhaps more importantly, they are a continuous source of encouragement.

Training and running races are loads of fun, but most of us at Red River Runners also volunteer at many of the local events in an attempt to encourage other runners. I’ve worked with beginners for a few years now and it’s always rewarding watching them finish their first race. My heart swells with pride when I find that they are still running years later. I’ve also volunteered to work as a pacer for the Grand Forks Wild Hog Half Marathon.

For those of you who don’t know what a pacer is, allow me to explain. The best strategy for running any kind of distance race is to run a steady, consistent pace through the entire distance. This can be extremely challenging for even the most experienced runners, so many of the larger races seek volunteers to help race participants. I volunteered to run as the 2:20 pacer, which means I’m supposed to finish the race in just under 2 hours and 20 minutes. This works out to 10 minutes and 41 seconds per mile average, so my task is to run each mile as close to that time as possible while holding a steady pace. Pacers carry signs on dowels so participants know which pace they are running.

The Wild Hog Half Marathon used 11 pacers this year running at various finishing times between 1:35 and 3:30. My chiropractor, Dr. Carson Muth of Plains Chiropractic, sponsored us and purchased some great racing singlets for us to wear!
Wild Hog Pacers 2015
While I stood in the starting corral waiting to begin, a few racers came up and said they hoped to remain in my general vicinity throughout the race. Most I hadn’t met before, but my friend Gene from Northwood, along with his daughter Kristina, I had paced last year.

We started out and during the first few miles I learned that Kristina has paced dozens of races, and 2:20 was her favorite! She did say however, that they hoped to finish this race a little faster, so they gradually pulled away and eventually left me behind. Nobody was running by my side after that, but I could tell a few were still trailing me a few yards back. I kept the little group behind me through mile 7, and Sue got this picture of me calculating my mile split as I passed the mile marker.
Wild Hog 2.20 Pacer 2015 Mile 7
I crossed the Point Bridge into Minnesota next, and as I headed south, into a brutal head wind, I slowly lost my pace group one by one. I entered back into North Dakota a few miles later all by myself: All of the runners I had passed while in Minnesota were too exhausted from the wind to keep up with me.

As I left the Greenway and returned to the streets on Belmont Road, some of the tired runners I passed during the next few miles began staying with me. The 2:20 pace group was back in business and I was thrilled! We came through the trees and I knew that in a block we would be turning back into the wind for the final half mile sprint to the finish line. I turned around to the half dozen tired runners behind me and yelled “I want all of you to pass me as we round this corner and finish strong! You all can be under 2 hours and 20 minutes if you finish strong! I know you can do it!” They all did as I asked and took off with a new determination in their eyes! The end was in sight!

I encountered four more runners down that final half mile and yelled the same encouragement as I drew even with them. I wasn’t leaving anyone behind me!

I completed the 13.1 miles in 1 hour, 19 minutes, and 54 seconds; six seconds under my goal time! But what made me even happier was that all of the tired runners I had encouraged at the end had finished under 2:20! The best part of the morning however, was when Heather Gilbert, one of the runners I had encouraged down the stretch, thanked me on Facebook! Pacing this year’s race was a great experience!
Wild Hog 2.20 Pacer 2015 Finish

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Carl’s First Half Marathon

Carl's First Half Marathon
I’ve been a runner for almost seven years. You can’t train for as many races as I have without the support of those close to you. I’m frequently tired after weeks of high mileage running, and when work becomes more demanding than usual, I can become cranky. Unfortunately, Sue and Carl are the ones that suffer because of it. I often tell them that the great feeling you get after even one good run makes it all worthwhile, but when I suggest that they try it too, they just shrug and politely say “No Thanks!”

Carl has set his focus on weight lifting and he’s become quite good at it. The plan that he follows calls for a period of bulking followed by a period of cutting, so when he began his recent cut in weight, he decided to incorporate some running into his routine. I was so excited to have someone else in my home running, and even though we didn’t frequently run together, we shared our stores of success and defeat, and as any runner knows, that made us “running buddies.”

Carl trained for the Firecracker 5K, and we ran it together, filling my father’s heart with pride! His next scheduled bulking period was in mid-September, so almost immediately he began talking about training for a 10K. Looking at the calendar, though, we didn’t find any 10Ks in early September. The Dick Beardsley half marathon, however, did catch his attention, and since I’ve run the race the previous 3 years, that was the one we decide to do.

Carl and I spent hours talking about training for a half marathon, and as he progressed through the most difficult training runs, his confidence grew quickly. His initial goal was to complete the race in under 2 hours (2:00). After a successful long tempo run, he wanted to shoot for under 1:50. After he completed an 11 mile progression run, he wanted to shoot for under 1:45. After another few weeks of training, he began wondering if 1:40 was possible.

Last Saturday, a father and his son lined up at the start of the Dick Beardsley Half Marathon in Detroit Lakes Minnesota. The weather was perfect and we both felt great.

We began in front of the 1:50 pace group, but within 2 miles we were right behind the 1:45 group. We followed for a mile, then I asked Carl if he wanted to go around them. He shook his head no so we settled in. At mile 5, Carl was right beside the pacer, and I was a few feet behind, to his side. As the mile progressed, Carl inched in front of the pacer so I whipped around to his left and felt it my duty to put a little comfortable distance between us and the pace group. I sped up to a 7:45 pace and Carl looked good, so we stayed there. Mile 7 included a steep, short uphill, followed by a long downhill stretch. We slowed going up, sped up going down, and ended up averaging 7:45 though the mile, although Carl looked pretty tired. He asked to slow down, telling me he just wanted to average under an eight minute pace for the rest of the race, so that’s what we did for the next two miles.

We reached mile 10 and I encouraged Carl by telling him we only had a 5K remaining. My son appeared reenergized so we picked up the pace a little and mile 11 was 7:56. Mile 12 was back down to 7:46 and Carl had that determined look on his face so I let him set the pace for the final mile. We flew through the city of Detroit Lakes towards the finish line averaging 7:28 during mile 13. Carl surged through the finish tube with an official time of 1 hour, 43 minutes, and 54 seconds!

Running my ninth half marathon in Detroit Lakes on a picture perfect September morning? $85. Crossing the finish line with my son? Priceless!

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