Wicked Awesome!! B is for Boston!!

January 24, 2014

planbBoston or Bust could be Boston after all.  Knowing my aging, larger than desired and injury prone body is never going to get to a sub 8 min per mile pace for 26.2 miles to qualify for the Boston Marathon I went to Plan B.

Each year the Boston Marathon selects twenty-nine organizations to raise money for charity.  In return they distribute a limited number of race numbers for individuals who are raising the funds.  So…Plan B had me applying to two charities that hit close to home – the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Melanoma Foundation of New England.  It is not at all easy to be selected.  They only have around 30-35 team members per charity.  And you need to guarantee a minimum amount of money you’ll raise, write a personal essay on how you are connected with the particular charity and be interviewed by a selection committee.  They then go off and deliberate and let you know.  As you can imagine, the applicants this year are through the roof given the horrible events this past year.  But after all of this and after months of waiting, this week I was selected to be a team member of the Running for Cover Melanoma Foundation charity!  [Plan] B is for “Boston”!  Holy *hit!  I’m running the Boston Marathon this April!

I think this is beyond belief not only because I will get to fulfill a bucket list dream of running in this marathon but I’ll be raising funds for a disease that could have taken my wife from me and my family not too long ago.  Even I took it in stride early on as we’ve all most likely had spots checked, frozen by liquid nitrogen and such.  I don’t take it lightly any longer.  You may not know this but if the cancer that has been found and diagnosed as Melanoma spreads beyond the local area into another organ and reaches Stage IV the prognosis has survival rates of 7-19% of making it five years longer.  In layman’s terms – those aren’t good odds.  This is cancer.  When her spot started to spread significantly (50 cent piece size) they took a big old chunk out of my wife’s calf to try to make sure this sucker didn’t spread any further.  She is very lucky to have caught it early and had it treated.  And now, I feel lucky to be able to give back to the charity to raise awareness and try to find even better treatments to eliminate this disease.

Here is where I need your help (keep reading; and then click link below or click here:  http://www.crowdrise.com/mfneboston2014/fundraiser/paulgourley).   I’ve been writing these blogs for the past 3 years or so.  I try to brighten people’s days and make them as light and humorous as I can.  Remember the “Got a Hemi in There?” one?  Or maybe the “Get in Mah Belly?!” one?  Or there is always the classic “Crop Dusting” issue?  I’ve also had several serious moments when I wrote about getting caught in Mumbai while serious bad guy terrorists were bombing three parts of the city where I had just been.  (Yes, they may have been chasing me – or so I thought.)  And of course the most relevant to this blog – last year’s bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon.  It has been fun and sad to write all of these and now I think I’m nearing the final six point two miles.  I’ll write more between now and April 21, 2014 (Patriot’s Day) when I run this year’s race.  And I’ll also be asking for you to help me raise funds for Melanoma and to support my efforts and America’s stance against terrorism.  Think of it as a way of saying to these nuts (in a powerful way) that you may have tried to break our spirit but once again the people of Boston and all of America proved that we are unstoppable.  We go on and on and on.  And we will continue to do so.

Here is a link to team Running for Cover’s donation site where you can join my team and contribute.  I’ve never asked for donations on any other run or event I’ve done and kind of feel strange doing so now.  I’ll also commit to not asking you again in the future!  But I do need your help.  This provides a strong combination of supporting Melanoma awareness and research and making a statement in support of my efforts in this year’s Boston Marathon!  I’d appreciate anything you can do.  And I’d also appreciate it if you’d tell your friends about my efforts and pass them the link so they can join in.  Thank you!

http://www.crowdrise.com/mfneboston2014/fundraiser/paulgourley

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips:  Instead of Running Updates I am shifting gears and giving you all a few tips to prevent skin cancer each blog post.  Some of this is common sense but even if it has you putting on sunscreen on a more regular basis I’ll call it success.  Here you go.

  • Do Not Burn or Tan (Avoid intentional tanning; avoid tanning beds (Todd?)) – Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds causes skin cancer and wrinkling.
  • Seek Shade – when the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (go to the Tiki Bar instead)
  • Apply Sunscreen – SPF 30 or higher (on you AND your wife)
  • Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow and Sand – these surfaces reflect the sun and increase chance of sunburn (think Shark week)

Early detection of melanoma can save your life.  Carefully examine all of your skin once a month.  A new or changing spot should be evaluated.  and click the link above to help Paul.  Or click here:  http://www.crowdrise.com/mfneboston2014/fundraiser/paulgourley  🙂

Boston Strong!

Boston Strong!


Deep Fried And On A Stick

August 5, 2013

Deep Fried and On a Stick was the food of the day at the Wisconsin State Fair this year.  There is absolutely no food that is off-limits.  Everything is good when it is deep fried and even better when it is deep fried AND on a stick.  They’ve found the answer!

Last week my family and I spent a sunny 70 degree day in West Allis, Wisconsin at this fair looking at fancy cows, shiny Clydesdales and big, big pigs.  We watched some of these (smaller) pigs with names like Jean-Claude Van Ham, Chewbacon and Jerry Swinefeld race around a track for an Oreo.  We rode the Carney rides.  And we ate.  I got such a kick out of the creativity of the food vendors I thought it was worthy of a blog post.  Truly, if you ever get the chance you need to go to this state fair.   Deep Fried and Awesome!

I thought instead of a bunch of babble you blog fans out there would get a much bigger kick out of pictures capturing the event.  So here are a few of the sights and sounds of the fair in my own personal Top 10 favorite list.

#10 – Free Bacon For A Year!

Free Bacon for a Year?!  Whaaaat?

Free Bacon for a Year?! Whaaaat?

#9 – Steak and Eggs (On a Stick of Course)

Not deep fried but still looks good!

Not deep fried but still looks good!

#8 – Deep Fried Snickers (On a Stick)

(or Milky Way of course)

(or MilkyWay of course)

#7 – Pizza Cones

Why didn't I think of this?

Why didn’t I think of this?

#6 – Deep Fried Cookie Dough

My wife says this must be good.

My wife says this must be good. And yes, there is a stick inserted.

#5 – Deep Fried Mac & Cheese (On a Stick)

Yep

Yep

#4 – Deep Fried Crab Cakes (On a Stick)

Seemed fancy so I let it make the list.

Seemed fancy so I let it make the list.

#3 – Beer Sorbet (On a Stick)

I'm not sure what Sorbet is but it is with Beer so makes the top 5.

I’m not sure what Sorbet is but it is with Beer so makes the top 5.

#2 – Cheese (On a Stick)

They didn't specify but I have to believe this is (Deep Fried) Cheese on a Stick!

They didn’t specify but I have to believe this is (Deep Fried) Cheese on a Stick!

#1 – Doughnut Burger!

This looks like a Krispy Kreme cut in half with a burger and some healthy lettuce and tomato inserted.  Wins just because it makes you gag looking at it.  (Edged out the Pork Doughnut (Bismark filled with Pork).

This looks like a Krispy Kreme cut in half with a burger and some healthy lettuce and tomato inserted. Wins just because it makes you gag looking at it. Edged out the Pork Doughnut (Bismark filled with Pork).

Running Update:  Ok, we didn’t eat all that stuff.  Honest.  We did have some Frozen Bananas dipped in chocolate and sprinkles and we did have some sort of disgusting sausage reuben bites with a pretzel stick inserted.  But other than that, no Deep Fried anything.  I think it may have had to do with the fact that the previous night we ate at Food War’s winner for Best Burger – AJ Bombers!  Between their monstrous (and very good) burgers and the Bloody Mary’s (with bacon wrapped cheeseburger, pickles, lemon, lime and other such stuff) we had already stepped a bit off the training program.  Not much running news to report but I did, however, get an 8 mile run in on Saturday under a bright blue sky out on the country farm roads.  Pretty uneventful other than the Beast dog that came flying across the farm at me barking up a storm, hair on end and running one hundred miles per hour.  It was either my last run or he was just kidding.  Luckily he was just kidding.  He came screeching to a halt at the ditch and then just wagged his tail.  Good one Beast!

Wife's Bloody Mary.  Cheeseburger was hot and good!  And the pickles were "on a stick".

Wife’s Bloody Mary. Cheeseburger was hot and good! And the pickles were “on a stick”.

Only 20 months and 26.2 miles to go…


Wanda the Bang Bang Lady

June 25, 2013

bangbanglady

Wanda is the Bang Bang Lady from Bangbanglady.com.  And Wanda knows marketing.  Her sign works!  When I was in Columbus, GA this past weekend for my daughter’s tennis tournament Wanda the Bang Bang Lady was everywhere.  You couldn’t miss her.  I too am in marketing and my only suggestion is to maybe use a fake Bang Bang Lady model when you’re posting these on 10′ x 20′ billboards (sorry Wanda).  But still, it works.  I’m writing and thinking about it as we speak.

So it is almost the Fourth of July and Wanda inspired me to talk a little bit about what is most popular these days in the world of fireworks.

#1 on the Bang Bang Lady’s list is “The American Trucker”.  It shoots off red white and blue sparks out of the exhaust pipes of a semi.  That is just plain cool and American.  I’d buy that.

#2 is “The Blonde Joke”.  I’m not sure what this one does but the packaging has a bunch of blondes pictured on the box and I am envisioning it telling one liner blonde jokes as the fireworks go off.  Something like “Why did the blonde runner stare at the orange juice container?  It said concentrate on it.” or “Why did the blonde runner cross the road?  I don’t know.  Neither did she.”  or “Why do blondes write TGIF on their running shoes?  Toes go in first.”  or “A blonde goes out for a run. She comes to a river and cannot see a bridge anywhere nearby. She spots another blonde on the opposite bank.  “Yoohoo!” she shouts, “How can I get to the other side?” The second blonde looks up the river then down the river then shouts back, You’re already on the other side!”  Ok, I’ll stop right there as I know I have plenty of blonde followers and friends and I want to keep them (even Wanda is blonde which may be why subconsciously I’ve resorted to stupid blonde jokes for a laugh; I apologize).

#3 is “The Killer Alligator”.  This is another one where I have no idea what would be inside.  I am imagining an alligator head that opens slowly and out spews more blonde jokes like this one – A blonde was on vacation in the depths of Louisiana. She wanted a pair of genuine alligator shoes, but didn’t want to pay the high prices.  After unsuccessfully haggling with of one of the shopkeepers, the blonde said, “Maybe I’ll just go out and catch my own alligator, so I can get a pair of shoes at a reasonable price.”  Later in the day, the shopkeeper spotted the young woman standing waist deep in the water, shotgun in hand. She took aim at an alligator, killed it and hauled it onto the swamp bank.  Lying nearby were several more of the dead creatures. The shopkeeper watched in amazement as the blonde flipped the alligator on its back and shouted in frustration, “Damn it, this one isn’t wearing any shoes either.”

What is with me and these blonde jokes tonight!  It’s Wanda I tell ya!  Again, I am sorry.

Running Update:  Week 1 of 20 is in the books.  Savannah Marathon here I come.  I have stuck to the training plan without a problem.  The old body is falling apart but no misses yet.  And why write about signs?  Summer is my daughter’s tennis season months where we visit and I run in all the small towns in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama.  They like their signs.  In fact, I may just pick a sign in each small town we go to and write about it.  Truly, I think I could write a book on the signs I see and the smile and inside laughs they bring me.  People are very creative in these small towns.  If only they had a blog!  And if I only had a camera on my runs!

Still only 22 months and 26.2 miles to go…


Crop Dusting

May 30, 2013

cropdusterFlatulence.  That is the nicest thesaurus alternative to what I recently learned is called “Crop Dusting” in runners vernacular.  Have you ever been in a race and had the headphones blaring and then, wait for it…flatulence.  And then you run as fast you possibly can to make sure they have no idea it was you.  That is called “Crop Dusting” I am told.  And I found that pretty darn funny!  Been there, done that if you know what I mean.

My wife says “you’ve never been there done that and I’ve never heard it called that”.  And then she laughed.  Well, she may have never heard it called that but she is wrong on the first point.  I don’t even look back.  I just run my arse off to the next water station and hope to god those people don’t catch me.

One guy crop dusted me in Nashville.  I didn’t know he did by the sound but by the pungency of his presence.  See how I’m using that thesaurus?  That’s what us runner writers do.  And pungency is what us runners do too.  It’s disgusting I know; but it is natural.  And you don’t even have to worry about it.  Move on people, there’s nothing to see here.

I just wonder if this is a male thing or an equal opportunity thing?  I bet it goes both ways.  It would be one heck of a Survey Monkey survey if I asked questions like “which mile causes you the most flatulence?” or “have you ever looked back after crop dusting someone?” or “does GU make you crop dust?”?  I bet we’d hear from both sexes on this one.

I was “uninspired” until my wife and I both bust out laughing on this particular topic.  So now?   Call me inspired.  People laugh at bodily functions.  That’s just the way it is.  I’m gonna run with it.  No pun intended.

As runners we like to label things – like “the last mile” or “the wall” or “tapering” or “tempo” or “pacing”.  Let’s add some new terms to our runner thesaurus.  How about “crop duster” or “love spreader” or “stinky *astard” or “the rumble in the jungle” or “fart-lek” or “Russian roulette” or “carb bomb”?  I could go on all day.  I just know that virtually any sentence or any joke with the word fart in it makes me chuckle.  So next time you’re crop dusted, just smile and slow down a bit.  You can thank me later.

Running Update:  Back on track.  24 miles this week with a 9 mile trail run in Jackson, GA of all places coming up.  I hurt.  I take a lot of ibuprofen.  And I stretch more than I used to.  But I’m running again so away we go.  Official plan is in place and I am on track to kick my fellow crop duster, N. Moro, in the arse in Savannah.  He’ll be the one slightly behind me as we cross the finish line.  That mental image inspires me.

Still only 23 months and 26.2 miles to go…


Jetlagged Musings

May 10, 2013

IMG_0652The travels have begun again in earnest.  I was in Argentina, Chile and the UK all in the span of the last ten days.  Can you say jetlagged?  What the heck is jet lag anyway?  I looked this term up in the Urban Dictionary as I figured since I liked this phrase so much it must be used by the cool hipster underground.  They say it is a euphemism for a hangover.  Ok, so they don’t actually use the word euphemism.  Instead they say “Dude, that stuff we smoked last night was tight but now I’ve got some serious jet lag.”  You can always count on the Urban Dictionary folks to clear things up.

That picture above?  That is the Tower of London.  I took this shot Wednesday night of this week when we brought a bunch of our biggest UK customers on a guided tour.  I’m sure many of you have hit this same tourist destination on your visits to London.  It doesn’t get old;  what an awesome place!  And to top it off this week we saw all the crown jewels without the masses and a Beefeater guy explaining how big each of the diamonds are and such.  But the best part of the jewel tour was to see the very same crown the Queen wore earlier that day as she opened Parliament.

IMG_0660

This Wednesday, May 8th, was a big day at the tower.  Besides the Queen stopping by to pick up her crown, they were holding the Tower of London Run.  It is a 1k up to 10K run in the Tower’s moat.  It is the oldest running event in London and looked awesome.  I wanted to get out of my monkey suit and into a red Tower of London Run t-shirt and jump the fence!  Maybe next year.

IMG_0662A little trivia for you blog followers – did you know that if the ravens that live at the Tower were to leave one day the entire country would fall apart?  I guess that is why they have one in a cage now to protect against this?   The last time I was here I completely missed the ravens for some reason.  There is even one named “Jubilee” who was given to Queen Elizabeth this past year to mark the event.  And once a week they enjoy an egg and an occasional rabbit.  Who’d have thought, right?

IMG_0621Running Update:  I have really fallen off the wagon when it comes to running (other than a recent Nashville Country Music Half Marathon) but I do have a new Google Drive training plan that takes me through November 9th where I’ll run the Savannah Marathon again.  I guess given the travels I have an excuse including my complete annoyance with treadmills and having to convert kilometers to miles in my head since that is all they have in these other countries.  My best run of the year so far was in Chile as I was able to run four miles in a park that sits at the base of the Andes.  It was a holiday there so the park was full of families and food vendors and dogs and normal Chilean life.  They live in a very beautiful part of the world.  If I ever get a chance to go back I’ll be blogging about my time running in Patagonia.  Bucket list.  Oh, and I have no idea who that cowgirl is in our picture from the Nashville Country Music Half Marathon expo.  She worked for Women’s Running and was promoting for subscriptions I suppose.  If it works for their magazine I figured it can’t hurt with the blog.

Only 23 months and 26.2 miles to go…