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!


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!


U Betcha!

December 1, 2011

“You know what they say, if Dick Cheney comes out of his hole and shoots an old man in the face, six more weeks of winter.” — Jimmy Kimmel

They also say when you’ve finished training and running a marathon that you’re supposed to let your body recovery for about a month and eat and drink like you’re back in (old) school.  I’ve followed that advice to a T.  In fact, I went up north to Wisconsin this past month for our annual deer hunting excursion with my son, my dad, my best friend from high school and a good family friend my dad’s age.  If drinking beer, eating cheese and crackers, eating cheeseburgers, eating beef jerky, eating Mrs. Fishers potato chips, eating skin on wieners and eating chili helps you recover from a marathon – I should be fully recovered now (or dead soon).  I figured this month I could give you all a little taste of what this kind of trip looks like.

There was absolutely no running and definitely no elliptical or bikes involved.  Just traipsing around the north woods in my blaze orange hunting suit (looking like Ralphie) and sneaking a peek at my watch to see if I could theoretically go back in to the cabin to play cards and stay warm without getting verbally abused by my fellow hunters.  I have thin southern blood now days so I don’t think the cold is good for me.  That, and the cabin is just so much warmer than being 15′ up in the air in a tree in 10 degree wind chill weather.  Only fun I had in the woods this year was watching the little chick-a-dees (since I never saw any deer).  And one of those crazy birds actually landed on the tip of my rifle.  They are brave little suckers.

For those of you violently opposed to this annual tradition (yeah you Disney), don’t worry, I don’t ever get anything and didn’t again this year.  And neither does my group (usually).  It’s really just a way to bond with my son, my dad and my buddies/cousins for a weekend in a place that has nothing but woods surrounding it and gravel roads in all directions.  I’ve been going up there for 40 years now with my Dad.  I’m very fortunate and glad to be able to say that.

Speaking of gravel roads – if you take the gravel road out of our place to the left one mile and then turn left on another gravel road and right on another you end up in a small town called Pray, Wisconsin.  I’m pretty sure the name has nothing to do with what it implies as all they have there are two bars and a railroad track.  That’s it.  Here is how simple life is for the bartender at the Pray’s Saddle Mound Tap.  Every day around noon, the train that comes within about 50 yards of the place slows down to a crawl as it passes through town.  It blares its whistle and out she runs with the hamburger and fries.  And then on his way he goes.  Same thing, day after day.  I bet they have a little something going on other than the burger in that coal car if you know what I mean.  I’m sure that train sometimes stops a bit longer on some days than on other days but then again what else is there to do?  Playing Golden Eye and eating pork rinds can only take you so far.  Needless to say, we didn’t talk much about running during my time in Pray.

Another town we go to is called Hatfield, Wisconsin.  That is the town with the population disclaimer above.  Its much bigger than Pray.  There are at least four bars in this place.  And their claim to fame is that they used to have a skating rink.  They do have a lake and I suppose that is what draws people in during the summer.  But during the winter this influx of deer hunters is probably their last hoo-rah.  What you’ll find to draw in the hunters includes:  a roulette wheel on the ceiling to win bottles of Windsor, shake of the day dice cups (I won a 12 pack of Leinenkugel!), venison jerky, 30-06 rifle raffles, pickled eggs, Funyons, Orange Crush pop, signs above the bar that say “you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning”, Green Bay Packer pictures from the past 40 years, mounted deer heads, Da Yoopers on the jukebox and thankfully and finally no smoke.  These places used to be a smog.  No talk about running in these joints either.  I could just never find the right time to say “hey guys, any of you ever run a marathon?” or “hey, any of you guys still experience chafing during your long runs?” or “hey, did you guys know that if you were to start running every day you’ll die healthier?”  I’m pretty sure that was a wise move.  Awkward is the word that comes to mind.

Running Update:  So what does all this have to do with running?  Absolutely nothing.  That is what is supposed to be the case the weeks following running a marathon.  What I can do is give you an update on the Boston or Bust situation.  Last month I said the odds were 70:30 Bust vs. Boston.  I think the odds have changed since I’ve read the new qualification requirements.  Odds are now 90:10 Bust vs. Boston but I’m going to keep writing and keep the dream alive.  The reason for this odds adjustment?  These new qualification requirements are beyond crazy.  When I go for it in 2013/2014 to qualify I’ll have to run a marathon in 3:30:00 or less.  They now are doing a rolling qualification which means I really need to run like 3:25:00 or less to be able to register early for my 2015 50-year-old age group.  That is 7.82 minute miles.  My body doesn’t respond to or even know what 7.82 minute miles are at this point.  There are still lots of FB pounds on me that need to go away before that is even something to consider.  But at least I know what they require now.  They’ve changed it to be this hard to weed out the riff raff I suppose.   That would be me.  But I won’t let those snooty elite Boston Athletic Association organizers spoil my blogging and running goals.  I’m hopeful they won’t change this again anytime soon.  I think they did it this time just to spite me as this was the first time its been changed in 33 years.

Optimist (Boston Side of Me): One thing Slider did on the ride over to complete our Savannah Marathon quest was pop in a Jim Valvano motivational speech from before he had cancer.  It was in the context of how NC State won the 1983 National Championship against a Houston team with Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajawon.  Truly it was one of the biggest upsets and underdog wins ever.  In this speech he said something that stuck with me.  He had told his team before the season “How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you must have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal, and you have to be willing to work for it.”  So these new qualifier standards?  They’re just bumps in the road and something I have to work towards getting past in pursuit of this next goal.  Ain’t nothing. [By the way – this week is the ESPN 2011 Jimmy V Week for Cancer.  Go check out www.jimmyv.org]

Pessimist (Bust Side of Me):  Holy crap.  I’m screwed.  I know that being public about these goals is good motivation but c’mon man.  7 minute miles?  Maybe I just need to hydrate a bit more (like the guy below) than I did last time.  That ought to speed things up.

Only 40 months and 26.2 miles to go…