Wednesday, February 29, 2012

LEAP for Joy!!!

Happy Leap Day!

I just watched as my fundraising campaign crossed the $1,000 mark, which is the goal I set. I'm so thankful for everyone who has donated so far, and everyone else who still might.

I'm not surprised that we made it to the goal - as Tim touched every single life he touched. I remember this past July, when I was helping my mom out with various things, I met and unfortunately had to break the news of Tim's passing to his tax preparer, and she began to cry. Come to think of it, I don't think there is anyone in Tim's life who wasn't brought to their knees by word of his illness and passing.

I was surprised that we got here so quickly. I was shocked to see that instead of a bunch of $5, $10, and $20 donations, that I saw several people donating $50 or more. People really loved Tim. Everyone I have spoken to has confirmed that they think the McKenzie River Trust is a great representation of Tim's love and what he stood for, and I hope that we can give even more to support their conservation of the rivers.

I want to leave you today with a fun story relating to a leap, and another one of my cherished memories of Tim.

For those of you have have never moved furniture on a semi, you might not know the value of ramps. Whether loading or unloading, we always have to slide ramps up to one of the doors on the trailer, so that we can carry things onto and off of the truck. Simple enough, right? Well, not quite. First off all, connecting the two sides of the ramps can be a little frustrating... but the real problem is lining up the truck doors to the ramps, so that that the path between the house and truck are as clear as possible. In order to get the right alignment, we lay the ramps down approximately where we want them to line up, and then Tim backs up the truck, while watching us in his side mirror, and we tell him to keep going or to stop when the door gets to the right place.

Me in the Truck

Sorry for the digression and impromptu lesson in ramps, but you really have to understand the process to understand the story. I'll always remember one day In Georgia, we were preparing to unload the truck. We lined up the ramps and Tim hopped in the truck to back it up. In order for him to see me in his mirror, I placed myself at the far end of the ramps, waving at him to continue backing up. I waved and waved (you all know the motion you make when you're trying to help someone parallel park), looking from the truck door, to Timmy in the mirror, and back.

Next thing I know, I'm looking over the top of the truck. It's over 13 feet tall, and I had a line of sight clear over the top. In case you were curious, I am not superman, and I cannot leap tall buildings in a single bound. How then, did I leap higher than a semi? And how did it happen without me wanting it to happen?

Well, I was focused on the door, and on Tim. He was focused on me. Neither of us was focused on the truck's rear wheels, which ran over the near end of the ramps, catapulting me into the air unexpectedly.

As Timmy flew out of the truck to make sure I was okay, he told me that, suddenly, he could only see my shoes where my face had been. We both started laughing, and (sensing that I wasn't hurt), he asked me the question that was always on the forefront of his mind: "So... are we ready to start working?"

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunny Days

It's getting warmer out here.

We had a beautiful day, nearly 70 degrees this Thursday, and I used it to achieve a new longest run - 12 miles. It was also a very busy week, where I only ran 13.5 miles all together (the other, really short, run was with a group I volunteer with)

The highlight of the week, however, was that I got a new pair of running shoes! At the height of my fitness, I was running about 150 miles a month, and had to get a new pair of shoes once every 3 months or so (who said running was cheap?). As I am now ramping up, I think this pair, or maybe one more, will be all I need to prepare for July. Looking forward to seeing more and more people on the trails now that it's warm!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Mighty McKenzie

There was recently a substantial amount of rain in Oregon, and my mom took the opportunity to go check out the high water levels of the McKenzie. Her dog Missy seemed pretty excited about all the sound and fury of the river!


video

Seeing like this is a pretty stark change from the image of lazily tubing down the river, like Tim liked to do in the summer, and it definitely is a reminder to respect the power of the river, and the importance of McKenzie River Trust's protection of river land and floodplains (and the beach). If you want to help, and support my fundraising in Tim's memory, make sure to check out the DONATIONS page.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Smile, dammit!

Something that sticks with me to this very day was Timmy telling me over and over to 'smile dammit!'

Especially on hot days (read: 100+ outside, plus humidity that brings the heat index to 110+, plus it being at least 10 degrees hotter in the trailer, which is basically a steel oven), when we were working (you know, moving furniture), at the first sign of my distress, he never hesitated to stop me (outside of earshot of our customers) and shout 'smile, dammit!' Sometimes, he even added a 'if you can't smile while working, then you should just go sit in the tractor, turn on the A/C, and wait for us to finish.

I would always smile, and keep working. And then forget about smiling because it something was particularly heavy, and because damn it was hot, and because I couldn't concentrate on ANYTHING for more than five minutes (a trait that I still have to do this day), and he would catch me and tell me 'smile, dammit!'

Nowadays my job is (physically) much easier. No matter what stress lands on my head, it's fairly easy to remember to smile, DAMMIT! It's one of the many lessons about working hard and taking pride in that work that Timmy taught me. I only regret that there aren't more lessons to come.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Current Progress and Plans

My last marathon was run in 3:39. At that time I weighed 160 pounds and felt pretty indestructible. I was aiming for a 3:10, but had a cold (which turned out to be pneumonia), and didn't quite make my goal. 3:39, however, was more than an hour faster than my only other marathon, which I ran in 4:45 after failing to consider that training might be important.

After Tim passed, two things happened. First, my exercise went out the window. Second, I ate everything I could find. Eating really helped me to not think. By November, I crossed the 200 lb mark. It was at this point that I started earnestly thinking that I needed some motivation to get back on track, and that's when the idea of running a marathon took shape.

I ran a few times in November and December, while battling the eating that accompanies the holidays, and got down to 195 by January 1st. Then, I started to ramp up the running. I ran about 75 all purpose miles in January, and got down below 180. My best run of the month was my first 10k distance. It was my first run of more than 5 miles since re-starting, and it was my fastest pace of the entire month! It felt really good to have time and distance records combined into one run! I look forward to sharing more about my February runs and progress toward my pace goals in future posts!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Introduction.

I lost my stepfather on July 9, 2011. He died after a sudden and short illness that included liver failure and cancer. Although I live in Washington DC and he lived in Eugene, OR, I was able to spend much of his final two months with him. Throughout that time, he was sometimes in better condition than others, he seemed to come into and out of awareness. He was only 52 years old. The highlight of the last few weeks with him, if such a thing could exist, was the 4th of July. Most of his family visited, we spent time together, there were fireworks, and he seemed genuinely happy. It was one of the last times he would seem to be in a normal mental state, aware of the situation and also able to talk to each of us.

This year, on the 4th of July, I will be running the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon. When I signed up, I knew I wanted to raise money for something in his honor and memory, but it wasn't immediately clear what that would be. After some soul searching about Tim, I decided that his love for the McKenzie River would guide my choice, and I reached out to the McKenzie River Trust. After sharing our story, the trust agreed to accept any donations I could generate as a tribute donation in Tim's memory.

I have two major goals: The first is to raise $1,000 in memory of Tim for the McKenzie River Trust. I think their work to conserve the beauty surrounding the river is a cause that Tim would have supported with all of his heart. The second is to run a personal record marathon time. Actually, to shatter my current record of 3 hours and 39 minutes, running closer to 3 hours flat, and qualifying for the Boston Marathon. This blog will be my way to track both goals, and interim goals as I progress. Please check out the links to the McKenzie River Trust and my donation page on the left, and thanks for any support you can give.

-Steven

Tim at Sahalie Falls with Missy