When the Runner Write’s too

I started work on a book called “Divorcing Corporate America,” about leaving the traditional 9-5 in search of work/life balance and FREEDOM. I was happy at my corporate job, earning a good living and making a difference in thousands of military lives each year. But I got a new boss who had different ideas about success. In short, he wanted to be a good manager, but he was not a good leader. Trust me, those two roles are very different. I was a SME, Subject Matter Expert on double digit year over year growth, which I learned by having an awesome team. He was an SME on CYA (cover Your A”**). His idea of his role was constant belittlement and nitpicking on minor details that had nothing to do with the job.
I remember one time he asked me to write up a top performing employee for being seven minutes late for work. Nevermind that the employee brought in tens of thousands in revenue annually, he wanted a written piece of paper to discipline the employee. He stated if we could put “them” (employees) on “paper,” we would have ammunition to use if we needed to let them go. Are you kidding me? Why would I want to release a high performing employee for being stuck in traffic? When I refused to document this minor infraction, he put me on a discipline, stating it was a refusal to follow directives. Our relationship deteriorated from there.
I think in corporate America, many employees are in abusive relationships with their boss. And many bosses take advantage of their position, working to cement the status of the relationship. This is why we need to revamp the system, and divorcing corporate America is the start.

I’ve started a publishing and media company to promote my book.  The first book published is a Sci-Fi thriller.  I’ve included the first chapter excerpt below, and a link to Amazon.com where it can be purchased.

But if you send me an email, I’ll send you a pdf copy absolutely free.  No strings except for an email about my KICKSTARTER project supporting the company.

epochtemplar

“Darwin woke to the acrid stench of smoke and soot, the cold oily taste of a blaster barrel in his mouth.

“Speak, demon.”

The Templar’s voice was rough, torn from screaming a battle cry at the approaching mob.  Blood dripped from welts, nicks, and bare misses, dropping onto the wrinkled white lab coat.

“Now,” the voice commanded.

Darwin tried to clear his throat, speak around the barrel.  Stall for time, gather his thoughts.  He needn’t have bothered.

Bruce screamed, fear and mania adding new dimensions to the shrieks he was able to produce.  He bolted for the door.

The Templar moved like coiled lightening.  He lifted the gun barrel, tracked and shot.  But the charge was empty, the shell no more than a small disappointing projectile that barely made it across the room.

Bruce reached the lab door, fumbled the catch, forgetting the Mob, the curfew that trapped them inside.  The only thought in his stricken mind was primeval, pure instinct.  Fight or flight and fighting was not an option.       The Templar threw the gun at his head and chance made Bruce move in time.  The muzzle sank into the plas steel door.  Bruce screamed again and jerked it open.

“Bruce!  No!” Darwin called after him, but all he could hear was faintly retreating footsteps.

He shoved at the Templar’s massive thigh holding him to the ground.  It didn’t budge.

“We have to stop him,” he tried to explain

“Where have you brought me demon?”  The Templar seemed of a mind to strangle the Doctor, one way or another.

Fingers tightened around his throat.

Bruce’s scream was different this time.  He ran back into the room and tried to shut the door.

“They’re after me!”

The Mob hit the door before he could close it.  Their weight was too much, their momentum too strong.  Bruce sailed across the room, landing on the far wall with a dull thunk.

The Templar leaped off Darwin, facing the door and the new menace that growled and grumbled in front of him.

“Stop them!” Darwin mustered all the authority he could think of.  The command triggered something deep in the Templar, training ingrained in the psyche.  He had no flight response in his reasoning.  He only knew fight.  Ripping a small test tube bar from the table with one hand, and waving his mighty sword, he leaped into the crowd.

The Mob’s collective conscience didn’t know what to make of him.  Their existence was dependent on numbing fear, actions played out while prey lay paralyzed in inaction.

The crowd was never the same on any given night.  Members came and left as hunger or death drove them or dragged them down.  The Mob moved about with nothing better to do, no greater purpose than to feed off the leftovers. No one had bothered to challenge them in years, because challenging required too much energy, too many resources.  The Mob claimed the night.  No one could steal that from them.

The Templar did not know about the Mob or what drove them or what anyone else’s perception of them was.  All he knew was the boiling blood under his skin crying for battle, the arrogant assurance that he was a match for any man or beast he came across.  He did not know fear.  It was never taught to him.

He jumped at the first comers pouring through the door and noted that the small aperture would allow easy defense.  No more than three or four people could fit through at one time.

They came at him hesitantly, unsure.  He turned that to his advantage, striking with sword and pipe, laying waste until the bodies piled up to his waist, becoming an effective fortress.

Darwin crawled under the table to Bruce, dragging him to safety.  He hit an emergency button and watched the Templar.

The Mob reacted with fear, then anger, then determination to kill at all costs.  They flowed over him like waves on a beach.  But they were unable to best him, unable to find an advantage on this giant figure of a man in his torn armor and blood soaked visage that grinned at them with a rigor mortis smile.

Their numbers decimated, their courage fled, the Mob turned and slowly leaked back into the hallway.

The Templar clawed over the bodies and followed them, seeking out the fleeing forms and bashing them with the pipe.

Darwin continued to stare from under the table, hoping in the back of his mind that other members of the research facility had either gone home or been able to lock themselves in tight before the Mob arrived.  He stared over the corpses strewn in the doorway, watched the figure of the Templar hunting in the hall.

“Isn’t he magnificent?”

Bruce couldn’t talk.  His outrage was evident in every move.  He crawled to the door, kicking the bodies out of the way with his feet and shut it closed, double bolting it.

“Are you crazy, old man?!” he screamed.  “How could you bring that on us?”

He ripped the black paper covering the glass pane in the door and peeked out at the Templar.

“He’ll kill us.  He’ll kill us all.”

“Or save us,” Darwin offered.

“You’re crazy, old man.”

“A point you’ve all ready suggested.  Now, please stand away from the door.”

Bruce accessed an emergency panel hidden in the wall.

“Did you call the Troops?” he asked, hitting a big red button over and over.  If any Troops were available, they would come to clear out the Mob.

“Don’t do that,” Darwin tried to move on Bruce, but the young man hit a second button twice before his hand was batted away.

Green gas jetted from hidden recesses in the ceiling in the hall.  They watched as the remaining members of the Mob succumbed to sleep.

“I’ll just knock him out, Doc.  But when the Troops get here, you should kill him.  He doesn’t belong here.  Did you see what he did?”

Bruce motioned to the throng of bodies both inside and outside the door.

“He saved our lives from your stupidity.  If you hadn’t opened the outer door-”

“He would have killed us instead.  Better to die at the Mob than be ripped to shreds by him.”

“Is that why you came running back?”

Bruce was about to say something, but the Templar leaned against the glass pane, searching the room with glazed eyes.  He beat against the door, shaking it in the frame.

“He’ll never make it through.  Nighty-night,” Bruce waved.

The door cracked and fell open.  Bruce and Darwin backed away from the gas washing into the room.

“He cracked plas-steel,” Darwin gasped, feeling sleep steal over his frame.  He kneeled on the floor.  “Magnificent.”

Bruce pitched headfirst across a table and slid down.

The Templar stumbled to Darwin, crashing beside him.  He landed on one shoulder and watched for a moment before closing his eyes.

“Five minutes in insta-gas,” thought Darwin as his limbs went numb and his brain slowed.  “And he’s so darn big.”

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It’s good to be a winner

Last night I ran in the Harvest Hustle 5K over in Baldwin Park, Orlando.  This is  my third year running in this race, and I finished with a time of 22 minutes, which made me number one in my division.  Three time legacy, three time winner!

The award is a glass pint cup, which doesn’t seem like much in the way of bling.  But the feeling you get from winning a race more than makes up for it.  I wasn’t number one overall.  I was in the top 10% of finishers for the 3.1 mile run, which had over 300 participants.

But that’s what I like about small local races.  I should have worn a costume, because it was a Halloween run, but maybe I dressed up like a winner?  Or a good runner?

Anyway this was one of my best times in a 5K, and knocked almost 3 minutes off my time from year 1.  Of course year 1 was my first year running seriously, but that just goes to show that with practice you get better.  I may not be able to race the 17 year old who won in 16 minutes, but I can keep up with some of the guys who’ve been running for 20 years.

One of my co-workers ran her first 5K ever, and finished in 45 minutes.  She kept saying how long it took her to finish and I kept reminding her that she did finish.  By the end of the evening, she was ready for her next race and wanted to knock 5 minutes off her time.  That’s how to set real goals in running.  Just plan to knock a little bit off each time and keep at it.

Runners run.  And sometimes runners win.  And both feel pretty darn good.

2012 Beach Running Championships

A small field of 165 participants lined up under the floodlights by the Pier in Cocoa Beach on Sunday morning ready to race across the sand.  It was a pretty amazing sight, and worth getting up at 4:24 am to drive an hour over to the coast to run with them.

I like small running fields like this because you get the chance to talk to other runners and spy a familiar face or two in the crowd.  The RD had set up coffee, donuts, bagels, bananas, water and Gatorade for the pre-race get together and advised that water and sports drink would be availabe every other mile.

The sand was packed tight due to low tide, the beach wasn’t practically deserted as the count down started.  3…2..1 and we were off.  The runners quickly seperated into little clumps by pace.  For me, this was 1/2 marathon number 5 for the year.  With 7 more to go over the next nine weeks, I had to pace myself and couldn’t push… well, not too hard.

The sun started to inch up over the Atlantic turning the water purple and the sand gray.  Simply amazing.  The wind was at our backs and the race was incredible.  I was out and back in an hour and fifty minutes.  One of the women runners, a 20-something up from Ft. Lauderdale run barefoot in 1:23.  Watching her muscled form shift under her suit was reason enough for anyone to start running.  This woman was in shape, and looked amazing.  The men runner’s were no slouches either, these guys were serious about three things.  Being fit, having fun, and enjoying the company of like minded individuals.

They’ll have this run again next year, and I’ll try to be a little faster.  The awards were conch shells, and I wanted one!

Next up, I’m trying to decide if I want to do a 1/2 for Halloween down in Miami.  The medal is two zombies, and I kind of want it.  Do I drive 3 hours to run two then drive back?  Maybe I do.  Then run another 1/2 on Sunday for the Florida Halloween Half a thon.  Man, lined up like that, this runner sounds like he’s nucking futs.  Promise not to stop when I say when.

The Night before…

Top of the World

I’m always just a little anxious the night before a race. I know I’m supposed to take it easy and rest, I should carb up and get everything ready. But I can never go to bed when I’m supposed to. Even though I know I need to be up at 5AM for an hour drive over to the coast, I still can’t go to sleep before 11PM.
I think about the run, the traffic, what I’m doing after, if I’ll know anyone there. My mind revolves around a million little things, as the mind is supposed to do, I suppose. I think about how I spent the day, taking my young daughter to a corn maize and watching her play in the kid area. She didn’t care much for the maize maze, we spent perhaps twenty minutes roaming around. But the farm had a bounce pillow, a giant sixty foot vinyl balloon set in the ground that she wanted to conquer for an hour. I highly recommend any race director who wants to increase the kid count at a race after party to toss one down. This thing was packed, and if it had been adult sized, I would have hopped for an hour too.
Kid’s are pretty amazing. Tristan told me she wanted to run a race with me today, as only an earnest seven year old can. She outlined how we would train, and where, at a run path around a lake not too far from our home, and suspiciously near an ice cream store we frequent. Hmmm.
I’m going to sign us up for a 5K in December, and we’ll run it together, as slow as she likes. Maybe she’ll come to love running the way I do, though for different reasons.
When we’re kids, we exercise as play. I watched her and a dozen others race around a tire field, swing across monkey bars, jump, run and bounce and realized that the obstacle course running craze sweeping the nation right now is exactly what they were doing. Just for fun.
Maybe as we grow up, we kind of forget how much fun playing can be. Maybe it’s not the adult thing to do, playing. But running at any age can kind of be like playing. That old competitive spirit popping up, smiling, laughing and just running along without a care in the world. Trying to be first, to be king of the hill, to finish.
I’ll sleep on that tonight. My running plan tomorrow is to smile. It’s going to hurt, and I like it, and when you like something you should smile. Now that’s a thought to drift off too…

A lopsided love affair

Brittney Spears may have said it best.  Oops, I did it again.  I signed up for another race.  This is by no means nothing new.  I’ve been racing for just over 2 years now, and have quite a collection of medals lined up on the towel rack in my guest bath.

Note to self: get some shadow boxes and put them up on the wall with bibs- sweat stained and creased.  Show off some of your accomplishments!

In my race to reach my 2012 goals of 12/12/12 (12 marathons, 12 Half’s and 12 5K’s) I had to enlist the help of virtual racing.  Have you heard of this?  It’s great if you can’t attend an event, or just don’t have the time to travel, or if you’re an expert procrastinator like me, wait until Oct to knock out 9 marathons of 26.2 miles each just because they don’t have any after April in Florida.  Too hot and wet.

I signed up to run for a charity around Halloween, and added another Run around Thanksgiving to do the same.  Here’s the thing: you register for this run, they send you a tee shirt, and a medal after you post your run results.

The thing I can’t find is a calendar that lists all the virtual runs across the country.  I’ve found a couple of links to some (San Francisco Women’s 1/2 Marathon, the Peachtree Run in Georgia) so I think I’m going to add a giant searchable internet calendar to my to do list.  If you know of a link, post it in your comments, or share this page on Facebook and tell your running buddies to send me links to so I can add them to the database.  I’ll let you know when it goes live.

My personal running calendar for the rest of the year:

10/21     Beach Running Championships 1/2 Marathon  – Cocoa Beach, FL

10/25     Harvest Hustle 5K (should I wear a costume?)

10/29     Halloween Half Marathon (virtual run) http://www.fortheloveofthekids.com/

10/30     Halloween 5K (virtual run)  http://www.fortheloveofthekids.com/

11/4       Wildhorse 1/2 Marathon – Tampa FL

11/10     Disney Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon – Orlando FL

11/11     Baldwin Park 1/2 Marathon – Orlando FL

11/18     St Augustine 1/2 Marathon   –  St Augustine FL

11/19     Turkey Gobbler 5K  (virtual run) http://www.fortheloveofthekids.com/

11/20     Turkey Gobbler 1/2 Marathon (virtual run)   http://www.fortheloveofthekids.com/

11/28     Space Coast Marathon  –  Cocoa Beach FL

I’ll probably post about each of these runs and the 9 other marathon’s I’ll end up adding.  As I looked up the Peachtree run, I saw a link to the Atlanta Marathon on Oct. 28.  Maybe I could sleep in my SUV and call it camping…

The beauty in a lost run

I was updating my race calendar and found a race in November that I forgot I signed up to run.  A big surprise to me!  The great thing about running across a race you signed up for 9 months ago, is the money you saved! I know what I must have been thinking way back when.  Signing up 6 months in advance can save almost half of the entry fee. And I thought that I could take a long weekend with someone I love and go over to the beach to spend some time in the sand after a run. Alas, finding someone to love on the beach has been a little more difficult then signing up for a race 6 months in advance.

It’s the little surprises like this that are going to help me make my 2012 goal of 12 half marathons. Finding the 12 marathons to run will be a bit more problematic. I am already 3 in for the year but to find 9 more around Florida or Georgia in short driving distance will be an adventure unto itself. Note to self,if you set a goal to run 12 marathon next year, start in January and run 1 per month for the year. 

I guess that’s part of my personality though, I am a procrastinator.  I waited until my forties to start running long distance races. I wrote novels, screenplays, and stories for years all the while waiting for someone to discover me and have published 2 novels so far in 2012 with 4 more almost ready to publish. The Mayan calendar says 2012 is the end of the world.  I think they could be right, it is the end of the world as we know it. Time for something better, like running, publishing, playing, travel and giving myself little gifts that I will rediscover 6 month from now.

One easy step to get started on running

Ultra-running, ultra-writing

It was a Thursday night and I was drunk again.  I’m not an alcoholic, but every Thursday night, and some Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s, I would go out for a pitcher or two with my buddies Josh and Elicia.  We would grab some fried bar food, order a round or two and log in to do our MBA classes together.  After class we would hang out and tell war stories, business stories and just how easy it is to change the world.

During this particular boasting session, I announced one of my bucket list items; I was going to run a marathon at the age of 40.  It’s funny how this particular milestone is on everyone’s list.  I meet thousands of people every year and the vast majority of them say they want to run a full marathon.  26.2 miles of goal setting goodness. Josh laughed. Elicia said I could do it and I logged in and signed up the Disney Marathon in January.

It was August.  The furthest I’d run in years was 2 miles.  But I figure, if you’re going to go crazy, go full crazy.  Don’t half ass it.  That night, I started training.  I strapped on a pair of worn out Cross trainer’s and took off on a circle around my neighborhood.  I made it one mile.  Then I turned around and walked back.

The next day I did it again.  I ran out a mile and turned around to run a half mile back. I finished with walking the next half mile.   I did it on Saturday, though I went out two miles on this hot gorgeous August day, and walked back.  And again on Sunday. 

This was my formula.  I would keep the distance at 3 miles until I could run the entire route.  Then I upped to 5 miles, out and back.  I would run until I couldn’t run, and then walk back.  I drank lots of water, because let’s face it, August in Florida is hot!!!  But I just kept going.  I didn’t worry about time, or how I looked or what I wore or my shoes.

I just ran.  One step at a time.

Do you take a running vacation?

I flew into Bentonville on Friday for a weekend away from it all.  I had hoped to visit with my children, but their mom had made plans for them to be out of town, so even though it was piss poor timing on my part, I still made the trip.  I planned to run the River Trail through downtown Little Rock, and even further if I could.

This was my second running vacation.  The first I took over Labor Day weekend, flying out to Los Angeles to run in a 10K, a Half and a Full marathon over three days.  There were no races in Little Rock, just a gorgeous trail that I’d eyeballed many times in town, but never had the chance to run.

The weather was perfect.  It was mid 80’s with a hot sun and a cool breeze that occasionally gusted enough to make headway tough.  I parked at The Big Dam Bridge, no seriously, that’s the name of it, a giant pedestrian bridge that arches over a dam, and took off through Murray Park headed for downtown.  I made it to Cantrell Road before I lost the trail, so my suggestion to Parks and Rec is to mark the trail better.  I turned around and ran back to the bridge, and almost pushed further, but I wanted to save a little bit in the tank for the next day.  It was still a good little 6 or 7 mile run, with a little offshoot adventure over behind some buildings that border the Arkansas River. 

On Sunday, the weather was even better.  The morning dawned rainy and cooler, but the sun quickly warmed it to low 80’s and the wind was still there.   This time I headed North.  The River trail runs under the I-430 bridge to another pedestrian bridge over the Little Maumelle River and winds around into Two Rivers Park.  All I can say is the Parks and Rec department got this one right.  The trail was gorgeous, well marked, well used and with the amazing day, a perfect run.  My legs were a little tired because I skipped dinner and opted for a fro-yo and early bedtime, but other than that, it was simply incredible. 

I have often said if I lived in Little Rock, I would have to be near the River Trail to run up one side and down the other of the river.  The city has put some effort into creating a fitness lover’s paradise, and more people should take advantage of it.  This Sunday the crowds were a little thicker than I’ve seen before, a few hundred walkers, bikers and less than 20 runners scattered along the trail.  Maybe the local runners knew another place to go.  But I found a house I wouldn’t mind living in if I moved back to Little Rock.  Perched right on the edge of the water with a waterview off one side and Pinnacle standing in the distance on the other.  Just yards from the trail.

How many bananas do you eat a year?

I was fueling up for a Sunday run this morning when it hit me.  I eat between 300-500 banana’s a year.  That’s a lot of the yellow fruit and maybe one of the reason’s its the most popular fruit in America. 

Potassium.  Salt.  Protien. Carbs.  It seems like runner’s have to think about fuel and the proper portion all of the time.  I don’t spend as much time on it as I should.  My philosophy is since I run so much, I can eat whatever I want.  I balance that with trying to eat right, not drinking too much beer, but if I could get my diet right, I’d probably be a better runner.

 

 

 

12 12 12 in 2012 so far.

A list of marathons/ half marathons/ and 5 K’s done so far in 2012.

MARATHONS – 1 down, 11 to go

1. A1A Ft. Lauderdale Marathon     http://www.a1amarathon.com/

2. Labor Day Marathon http://www.charliealewineracing.com/

HALF MARATHONS –

1.  Gasparilla Classic Half Marathon  http://www.tampabayrun.com/

2. Swamp House Half Marathon http://www.swamphousehalfmarathon.com/

3. Tour de Pain Half Marathon http://www.1stplacesports.com/extreme.html

4. Disneyland Half Marathon http://www.rundisney.com

5. Beach Running Championships

6. Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

7. St. Augustine Half Marathon

8. Xterra WildHorse

It’s tough to find the long races to run in Florida.  The racing season here is almost too short, from November until February.  Which is good for most, since a marathon is a very time consuming not to mention traumatic event for most bodies. 

Still, when one sets a goal, there should at least be the tools to reach it.  Run Faster.  Run Longer.  Travel more.