Category Archives: Inspiration and Motivation

100 mile Ultra Marathon – Hallucinations at Woodstock

No, the runner was not me… and I can’t believe I haven’t posted here in a year!  But I thought this might be the best place to put my little recap of my recent visit to Michigan and a perspective from my side of the Ultra Marathon as a support person…  also created a video to recap the event… link is at the end. Hallucinations… almost! LOL Hope you enjoy!


What was I doing in Michigan besides visiting my great family?

Run Woodstock 100 miles Besides a visit, I was here to be a support person for my brother’s first 100 mile ultra trail race… at the 3-Day “Woodstock” running festival. Thanks to my brother and his wife, Pam, who allowed me to share in this… and helped make it happen.


Getting into Woodstock with a 9.8 Mud Roll

Arriving Thursday… Friday, we packed up and headed out to the festival campground to set up camp. Staying with the Woodstock tradition, we had to decorate! And of course, Pam wanted to stay in character, so we first had to pick Pam up out of the mud after her dive into it! (rated a 9.8, BTW)

Then, we started to prepare for the race start, which would be the 100 mile ultra. Starting at 4 pm, it would run all night and through the next day.

This was my brother’s race… and his fundraising cause. (Rheumatoid Arthritis, known as RA). My sister-in-law, Pam, and I were to run support for 24+ hours straight, so although we didn’t run… it’s a tough job on its own.

You may wonder what we did. Well, we drove the dirt roads to get close to the official aid stations. We cheered, we encouraged, we got him any stuff he needed… and then on he went, and on we went to the next one, or back to the campground for a quick refuel and then on to the next… to wait, and cheer, and try to supply whatever he needed.

Running in the dark

Running in the dark...and the mud

Sometimes the grandkids, or another family member or friend came along; and sometimes one of his “pacers” when not running. He had three amazing friends who volunteered to come out in the middle of the night to rotate and run with him; and ran along with him on those loops where he was allowed to have a pacer. After the first two loops were in the bag – in the dark of night, and later as the miles piled up — well, that seemed to make all the difference in the world.

Running in the mud

What mud? Whoa Nellie!

Each “loop” was just over 16 miles… mostly trails in the woods, some fire roads; dirt roads and a few rails to trails. The course was said to include some good climbs and challenging terrain. In chatting with those experienced in that sort of running… was coined a “challenging course”… and that was without the steady and occasionally torrential rain and resulting mud “bogs”. The race, the distance, the course was challenging enough… and the gotcha was that it RAINED almost the whole time… lightning included. Pictures show the race started with a peek of sunshine and ended that way… but we think it may have been a joke from Mother Nature! Otherwise, nothing but rain, some thunder, lightning, etc. with the trails turning into literal mud bogs and rivers… I continue to be amazed at all those who stuck with it and finished… as there were many “DNF”… (did not finish)… due to conditions… but “pressed on” , Chuck did.

So, we donned raincoats; headlamps and smiles and could have no worries about our fashion statement (Believe me, I was at my worst… and was reminded not to expect to be picking up any available men!) We organized and supplied his regime – mixed bottles; prepared other nutrition; packed glide for non chafing, salt pills, changes of shirts, shoes and socks… morale support and more. Sometimes we “served” from the car trunk, but many times carrying it and a chair for Chuck for a brief reprieve, or whatever was needed to where we would wait. Two of the aid stations had other things that he would also partake in, such as chicken noodle soup, baked potato, and coke. But otherwise, it was all his own supplied nutrition (Hammer Perpetuum and Heed to be specific).

The day almost didn’t seem real… sometimes we got a bit slap happy as we waited… lack of sleep can do that. And on one trip back to the campground; we confounded the fellow at the gate. We also got some chuckles when we noticed the bare running optional group who had gathered in the pool. (yikes!)

getting support Other times we were quiet with concern if we saw his physical condition start to struggle with the challenge. It was interesting to see the ups and downs with each encounter… and for us, trying to figure out how to encourage, when you had no idea how to put yourself “in his shoes” and we couldn’t help but wonder what would truly be an encouragement and inspiration to him to “press on”.

getting supportOf course, he took care of that for us without realizing it… with emotional hugs of wife and their friend Lorrie, who suffers from RA… his “cause” for running that day. He had been inspired by her to run in order to raise awareness and money for Rheumatoid Arthritis — a prevalent and difficult disease to treat and one that turns many lives upside down, yet gets very little press. Lori’s perky attitude and smile; and the occasional emotional moments as they bonded over the cause created a tight chest and welling of tears for many of us.

Then, onward he would go… giving us a smile and thumbs up as he pressed on… depending on his pacer to keep him putting one foot in front of the other as the miles piled up… and knowing he could depend on us for words of encouragement, hugs and assistance as our aid assistance got closer together the last 25+ miles.

Pacer KateI know that sometimes his own anxiety, doubts, and interestingly, his fear of disappointing others seemed to inject into his thoughts at times right up until race day… but the reality, is that he had a deep well to draw on. And, the way he inspires others helped sustain him that day… everyone wanted to be there for him in some way… before, during, after… many friends were there and others that he had inspired along the way. But, of course, we all knew he had it in him… it was just a matter of reminding him!

In the rainSo, that’s a little, but powerful slice of my brother… a big reason for my “vacation” and trip to Michigan and also from the eyes of a support person… I was a bit sore the next day and I didn’t run a lick! My desire was to be there to mark his milestone – his first 100, and Chuck and his wife, Pam, helped me realize that by getting me there with their generosity on the airfare. I also knew, as a result of the experience, I would be inspired in my own life… which has been one of more downs than ups the last few years.

In a nutshell, that is a very small part of what “pressing on” is all about… which has become Chuck’s mantra… and one that others have adopted, too! But, it’s not just about one race, or another. It’s part of the bigger picture of who Chuck is and what his belief system and philosophy is all about – Sure, he is my brother, but in my eyes, he is an amazing “person” and a man I’m so very proud to know and love.

100 Mile Success

Success! 100 Miles for RA... 24:06

So, how did it end? Well, he finished… Wahoo! And of course, that is the first huge accomplishment… rain, mud, and all. Only about 27 of the original 86 who started, completed the race. The frosting on the cake… he finished with an overall 4th place at 24:06 – and an AG 1st place… a 2nd major accomplishment. Third, and probably most important… he was successful in starting to bring more awareness to RA. I doubt it will stop with this one event.

When the race was over… first euphoria, then total exhaustion. A day later, lots of sore spots, stiffness and some fatigue… but still wired enough to prevent solid sleep. And, likely more recovery needed then he realized … but the same attitude and fortitude remain… forever “pressing on”. Thanks again, Bro!

Woodstock 100 Mile Ultra Video Recap

Woodstock 100 Mile Ultra Video Recap

I CREATED THIS VIDEO RECAP...  It’s a bit long, but worth the watch… hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it. I didn’t post it on YouTube due to some of the music I used. 😉

Chuck's inspiration for the run, Lorrie

Chuck's inspiration for the run, Lorrie

READ MORE…Recently, he was front page in the local news as a result!  Check it out here >>

AND… please visit the Facebook page that was set up for this whole challenge and working toward the culmination of this event…and a very fun INTRO VIDEO is located there, also… hope that you check it out!

DONATE… please consider a donation to help further the cause and awareness for RA... if the link is no longer valid, please contact Chuck via his blogspot and he will advise you. (Plus, some great reading there, too!



Filed under Family video exploits, Inspiration and Motivation, Journey to success, Videos


It’s a Friday.  If you want a heartwarming break from your daily grind,  READ ABOUT THE RED MARBLES…

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes… I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.

Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

‘Hello Barry, how are you today?’

‘H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them peas. They sure look good.’

‘They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?’

‘Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.’

‘Good. Anything I can help you with?’

‘No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.’

‘Would you like to take some home?’ Asked Mr. Miller.

‘No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ‘em with.’

‘Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?’

‘All I got’s my prize marble here.’

‘Is that right? Let me see it’ said Miller.

‘Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.’

‘I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?’ the store owner asked..

‘Not zackley but almost.’

‘Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble’. Mr. Miller told the boy.

‘Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.’

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.

With a smile she said, ‘There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.

When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.’

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado, but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts…all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket.

Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband’s bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

‘Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about.

They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size……they came to pay their debt.’

‘We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,’ she confided, ‘but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho ..’

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral:

We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

  • Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~
  • A fresh pot of coffee you didn’t make yourself…
  • An unexpected phone call from an old friend….
  • Green stoplights on your way to work….
  • The fastest line at the grocery store….
  • A good sing-along song on the radio…
  • Your keys found right where you left them.


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Filed under Inspiration and Motivation, Thoughts and musings

Expose myself — generate motivation?

OK, I’ve been doing the Dr. Fuhrman “nutritarian” thing a couple weeks, but slowly adding back some “non vegetarian” elements, like fish and chicken. I was just too hungry and too tired.  I am discovering I’m not a very good vegetarian but I do find I like more vegetarian dishes than I thought I would.

I’m doing the personal training thing twice a week and still trying to implement a routine on the other days (and feel motivated to accomplish it). The personal training stuff is hard for me. I don’t really enjoy it very much… with my inflexibility, extra weight, and I always feel so sore and creaky afterward. I have to trust that it will start to get easier at some point.

I remember years ago when motivation wasn’t a problem at all. Now it feels like a supreme effort to get out and do that walk or bike ride and feel good about it. Perhaps it’s the effects of “life” bearing down and wearing me out, I don’t know.. afterall, I have gone through many challenging experiences recently and in years past.  Or perhaps it is really a bit of clinical depression, as the doctor has suggested and said I may be in denial about.  I have only entertained filling the RX he gave me a few times.

Who knows…  I argue with myself internally tooth and nail… that I do NOT want to be depressed.  I keep searching for that joy I used to have with my life and feel so guilty I can’t find it… After all, the old saying goes, I do have much to be thankful for… and there are always others much worse off than me.  And there is the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” philosophy that alot of us grew up with… and with that I chastise myself for feeling blah and sad.

I have to assume it’s always good to dump, huh?  🙂 So, bear with me here.

I DID lose some weight but have so far to go that it overwhelms me and the hopeless feeling overcomes my brief happy thought. I keep fantasizing that I’m going to go into a long sleep and when I wake up I’m going to be 30 or 40 lbs. lighter, fit and healthy, and have lots of joy and energy.  Quite a dream, huh?

OK… time to get onto other tasks. My corporate taxes for 2009 are due next week…yikes! A procrastinator I always am when it comes to that stuff.  So, I’ve put those tasks ahead of my riding today and will take that urban ride through the park later when I’ve gotten those items completed for my accountant.

Another thought I’ve entertained for creating accountability in this weight loss quest… is that maybe I’ll actually expose myself here with a “before” picture, and my goals, and document my successes (and failures)… but with the idea there IS GOING to be an “after” picture that I’ll be proud to put up.  We shall see, huh?

To whoever is reading this… have a wonderful day.

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Filed under Getting fit, Inspiration and Motivation, Journey to success, Thoughts and musings, Uncategorized, Weight loss challenges

I hope this isn’t just another waste of time for me…

I just signed on for Dr. Fuhrman’s “Nutritarian” program… to lose some weight, lower my cholesterol naturally, and also as an aside, hopefully to feel better, have more energy and also more “joy” in life in general.

Of course, the “doc” wants me to take a cholesterol med and even an anti-depressant…. and since we discovered I’m insufficient in Vit. D, I AM taking some massive doses of that right now.  But for the other…  I want to give it my best effort to resolve those issues utilizing more natural means.

We’ll see how it goes… and perhaps I’ll post here with an update every so often.

Feel free to leave a note to cheer me on… I could use a few more folks in my cheering section as I challenge myself with this, in addition to the other challenges that have been going on in my life also.

Thanks for listening… whoever is out there!   🙂

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Reminiscing while waiting for the coffee to kick in…

I was scrolling through my blog (I can do that fairly quickly as there aren’t that many posts) and ran across one of my very early posts… and it was kind of an eye opener, ah ha moment, or whatever they call it.  (

It struck home because I realized I was still struggling with some of the same issues and situations… Makes me wonder if I’m just totally oblivious to understanding how to address making changes or am in denial about it all.

Anyway, sipping some coffee this morning, trying to wake up, after yet another lousy night’s sleep…. thinking I “should” be on my bike or “should” be doing this or that, and feeling stuck and obviously not doing anything because I’m sitting here writing in my blog instead!  Continue reading


Filed under Inspiration and Motivation, Thoughts and musings, Uncategorized

It always seems when I’m wallowing, I’ll see something like this inspirational little movie…

Lately, I’ve had more than a few days where I struggled not to feel despair or sorry for myself.  And, I’m certain others of you have had your own struggles or challenges.

It always seems when I’m wallowing, I’ll see something like this little movie, or get a peek inside an inspirational little book like “Living a Five Star Life” by Betty Mahalik; great reminders that with the right attitude and persistence, things can always get turned around. And not only for myself, but with some minimal commitment, also very likely for someone else. It takes realizing “less can be more” and remembering that there are many others in more need than I am.

This is one poignant reminder that we do have the power to make changes in our world. I hope you’ll find the same inspiration that I did from this little movie and a take a peek through the book mentioned above.  Enjoy.


And as Ralph Waldo Emerson so aptly stated:  “The ancestor of every action is a thought”.

And another great quote by Langston Hughes:  “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”

Have a great day and a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

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Filed under Inspiration and Motivation, Thoughts and musings, Uncategorized, Videos

For those that replied to my photo request… thank you!

I got some interesting picks from friends and family out of my photos to help me narrow down my choices.

It was SO HARD to pick just two to submit. And the ones I thought I liked best and thought would be the favorites were not what others chose so it was quite interesting what others preferences were.

Here are the two I submitted.  I am not convinced they were my best, but I liked them.  I got so weary trying to figure it out, I just sort of pointed and clicked and those were it!   I have named them “Celestial Flower” and “Ahhhh-Green”.   🙂   Please click to see them larger.

I’ll share some of the winners with you after all the dust settles. Thanks again!



Filed under Inspiration and Motivation, Journey to success, Photos, Thoughts and musings, Uncategorized