Sunday, January 27, 2013

Running Has

1.  Given me HOPE for the future. There is always a next run, a next race, a next PR.  As long as I run the future is endless.

2.  Delivered PRIDE in myself...and in a good way.  The prides comes from within, the old me compared to the runner in me.

3.  Set aside TIME for prayer and meditation.  The world is a busy place, but on the road it's just me and my creator.  He is always there for me.

4.  Tested my LIMITS, but has not limited my tests.  The toughest opponent you will face, is inside your head.

5.  Taught me PATIENCE.  You can train hard, run fast but you just can't rush a marathon.

6.  Given me HAPPINESS...the feeling of meeting or exceeding your goals will always put a smile on your face.

7.  Introduced me to a great COMMUNITY of runners.  Running is a singular sport, run within a community of support.

8.  Allowed me to SUPPORT others.  Nothing compares to meeting your goals, except helping others achieve theirs.

9  Shown me HUMILITY...there no hiding that moment in every race where you wonder if you have enough.

10.  Proven to me that I can ACCOMPLISH anything, I set my mind and heart too.

What has Running Given you?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

One of My Running Bucket List Items Is To Run, (pause for effect)

The GRAND CANYON Rim to Rim to Rim

Not sure when, where or how I came up with this idea, I might have read about it on another blog, or in Runners World or maybe it was a feature in, (what I believe is the best running publication on the planet), Marathon and Beyond,  I'm not sure.  But this run sounds like the ultimate ultra run.  There are longer runs, there maybe steeper climbs and there may just be more challenging terrain, but running the Grand after all RUNNING




As of today, I'm only in the information gathering phase of my planned run.  I'm going to review as many Rim to Rim to Rim accounts as I can find.  I'm going to get a feel for the logistics, I'm going to study the route and I'm going to learn from theose who have run the Canyon.  Right now I'm thinking May 2014/15.  

The Rim to Rim to Rim (south rim to north rim and back) run is a 46 mile course with over 11,000 feet of elevation change. This is one of those bucket list runs for ultra marathoners and it will be a great experience, a one of a kind way to see the Grand Canyon.

I've found a few inspiring reads and videos.

Grand Canyon Basics: Rim to Rim to Rim

Running the Grand Canyon: Logistics

Davy Crockett's Canyon Run Blog

Some inspiring Grand Canyon running videos.


Are you interested in running the Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim, are you planning are trip to run the canyon?  Drop me a line...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Weird Wednesday

You use 200 muscles to take one step. Depending on how you divide up muscle groups, just to take a single step you use somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 muscles. That’s a lot of work for the muscles considering most of us take about 10,000 steps a day. AND to run a marathon it would take approx 33,000 steps!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Still Easier Than Chemo's



I know, everyone is asking for a donation or a hand out, and times are tough.  But if you can help...this is a really great cause!

If you sponsor me at the Marathon level, $26.00 I will run the Cleveland Marathon with a shot out to your Cancer Hero on my back to honor them and their fight.

(Example of shout out I wore during
 Marine Corp Marathon 2012)

Cancer Hater Challenge run to raise funds for Cancer research.

Could you help us WIN the fight?

Cancer sucks, will take all of us to beat it, be a CANCER HATER, You fund & I'll run...donate today.

Thanks, Brian

More information of this fund raising campaign.

January Posting:

I received this e-mail from a local running club, and figured I should pass it on as it is very inspiring.  Please Retweet, Pass along and help draw attention to this cause.

Briana will be at the VA 24 Hour Run For Cancer in April, she is going for 50 miles.


The wonderful people at USA Today have picked up Still Easier Than Chemo's YouTube video and we need your help to blast it to the universe.

As some of you may know, I, along with my family, am raising money for VCU Massey Cancer Center. I run in honor of my mom, Cindy Easter, and for all those who cannot. Please help me meet the goal of $10,000 to benefit VCU Massey Cancer Center by going to and clicking on the donate button. All donations made from that page go directly to VCU Massey Cancer Center and are tax-deductible.

USA TODAY feature.

USA Today wants to spark interest in this story but has not yet fully committed to it. Please help us bring awareness to cancer research, VCU Massey Cancer Center, and my family's journey by clicking on the link above and add a comment, like it and share. 

Nothing brings us together like the loss of a loved one by a devastating disease. The fight against cancer is a fight for our families, friends and neighbors.

Many thanks,
Briana Easter Kirby

Still Easier Than Chemo

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Oh Lance

Lance, I believed in you...

I read the book, both of them.

I bought into your recovery and hope for the future.

I cheered as you won the tour(s).

I defended you when they said you did.

I enjoyed our one on one talk about marathon running.

(Qatar 2007)

I pulled for you in your private life.

I enjoyed your success in business.

I wore the NIKE brand when I trained.

I knew #LIVESTRONG would beat cancer.

I read the 1000 page document.

I read your former wife's blog.

And I realized, you did it.

Now I'll watch Oprah and see what you have to say, not sure I will believe your reason or your apology.

I forgive you, because that is what God teaches us.

But, I'm bummed!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Weird Stuff Wednesday

Weird Stuff Wednesday
The human lungs contain approximately 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) of airways and 300 to 500 million hollow cavities, having a total surface area of about 70 square metres, roughly  the same area as one side of a tennis court.  Furthermore, if all of the capillaries that surround the lung cavities were unwound and laid end to end, they would extend for about 992 kilometres.  Also, your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart.

Take Care of your Lungs...

Monday, January 14, 2013


Running and the Greeting…

Unless you run all your miles on the treadmill, unless you run in a vacuum or unless you train on the moon, every runner, sooner or later has to greet a fellow runner who’s coming from the opposite direction.  It’s at that time that you have to decide…are you a waver, a high five giver or are you not?

Myself,  I give a half wave or a peace sign and a “Howdy”, as I run on past….not that I’m from Texas.

(No, this is not me...
only wish I looked this cool)

But I’m surprised at some of the responses I get from other runners, walkers or just plain people along my path.  The majority of people are polite, friendly and return my gesture.  I routinely get a smile, a wave, "the Howdy to you too," and the ever popular return high five and/or fist pump.

But there are a few responses I just don’t understand.

1.  The “Alright” verbal response.  This one I just don’t understand.  This one leaves me running down the road with if not a puzzled look on my face…a puzzled question on my brain.   Is it alright that I said Hi?  Are you having an alright day?  I’m left to continue my run wondering…Alright what?   

2.  The “Roll The Eyes and Look The Other Way” response.  This is the one I feel most uncomfortable with.  I’m not sure if they are trying to avoid the world or if I have a boogey hanging from my nose.  I spend the next few miles with my feelings hurt and/or wiping my nose a million times.  NOTE:  If I do have a boogey, PLS tell me!

3.  The “Make No Eye Contact and Avoid Any Acknowledgment” response.  Nothing, not a wink, or a half wave, not as much as a two finger wave, or even a nod of the head.  Oh the "Hanging Hello" might just be the worst.   

And then there is the not so friendly “GRUNT” response.  Now this is not the friendly Tim “The Tool-man” Taylor Grunt.  I am talking about the Don’t talk to me I’m in training, I lack coffee, or the very fearful, "I’m at mile 19 and my spleen feel out 2 miles ago" Grunt.

Now all fun aside…99% of the time a wave is met with a wave or a pleasant hello. Remember a smile makes the world go round.

“Hello, Fist Pump, and Thanks for reading my blog.”

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thule Greenland

My Year On Top Of The World

During my 20 year U.S. Military Career, I traveled all over the world.  My family and I had seven different assignments in the United States and living overseas, it was a great adventure.  From a running standpoint, the military offered me a opportunity to run in some outstanding and scenic locations, 15 different states, and overseas locations like Cyprus, Crete, Iraq, Sicily, the United Kingdom, and Qatar.  But none of these locations was on "Top Of The World" like Thule Air Base, Greenland.

I arrived at Thule, Aug 2000, 20 pounds overweight and barley able to run 2 miles...I left Thule 371 days later in, at that time, the best shape of my life, 20 pounds lighter and ready to run a marathon.  But it is the memories of that one year remote tour that are the real treasure of the Thule Experience.

My military career has taken me many places but none so remote as Thule. The word remote in the military community means serving a tour without your family. But a tour at Thule is truly a remote tour. Thule, Air Base is located 900 miles above the Arctic Circle and 900 miles south of the North Pole along Greenland's western coast. The word remote fits it to a T, because other then the base there isn't nothing around the surrounding country side.  A small village called Qaanaaq lies approx. 100 miles north although there's, "no way to get any where from here" as the old saying goes.  Unless you own a dog sled or helicopter. To the south nothing for 100s of miles. I enjoyed my time at Thule which is hard for me to say, cause I missed my family so much, but even with this hardship I was able to see some sites that many can only read about.

(My running routes are outlined with red and blue lines on this map, 
the red line was my longest run on Thule (19.5 miles))

This is an overhead shot of Thule in the summer. You can see in the foreground the ice cap which covers the entire top of the world, and do not let the green foul you, it's only green for a little while. One thing you should notice on this picture is the three glaciers that come together in the Fjord (Bay). I was told this is the only place in the world that 3 glaciers come together in one spot, a wonderful site. In the right corner of the [picture is Thule's runway with the base being just to the left. Approx 130 U.S. Air Force personnel serve at Thule and have since 1951.

Why Thule? Ballistic Missile Early Warning...that's why. The initial airfield and base, code name "Blue Jay”, was built by the US Government in 1951 in 104 days under total secrecy. The base was to provide a refueling point for long range bombers. But since the early 1970's the main mission has been to support early warning for Ballistic Missile attacks on the U.S.   This mission, the USAF and Thule still provide to this day.

This picture best displays how our early warning shield protects the United States from missile attacks. Thule (site 1) along with a site in Alaska and another in the United Kingdom provide advance missile warning.

This is a photo of me at the BMEWS site (May 2001) located 12.5 miles further north of Thule main base on a rise of about 1500 feet. Guess who ran all the way up to BMEWS and back (well almost I bonked at 19.5 miles). What other reasons is the U.S. Military at Thule? Thule hosts a number of research projects from global warming to the study of birds of prey not to mention it is the northern most staging port for the re-supply of two weather stations even further north, Station NORD (Danish) and Boxtop (Canadian). How did they get that ship anchor all the way up to the BMEWS site?  I have no idea?

Many people have asked me if I saw any Polar bears while at Thule and I can say yes.  I ran across this friendly family of bears near base one day. They were really nice and loved to play, but that one little bear was always licking his lips? I kind of felt like he was up to something, maybe it was just me?

Another wonderful shot of one of the three glaciers. This photo does not do justice, truly a site you have to see for yourself.

During one Thule Trippin (site seeing) adventure I was lucky enough to witness icebergs break off of one of the glaciers and fall into the bay. This massive hunk of ice must have been thousands of years old. This photo was taken up at the BMEWS site in May you'll notice the bay is still frozen. The bay opened up around late June or early July. Once the bay opens up the icebergs are free to drift into the ocean waters and points unknown.

During a Sept 2000 outing myself and a few of my dorm mates went to explore Thule's well know ice cave settled along the edge of the ice cap. This was a wonderful site, witness to thousands of years of ice build up. A small steam ran through the ice cave, much like the Grand Canyon, craving out this wonderful spectacle of nature. Just like the growth rings on a tree the walls of the cave were lined with age layers, made of frozen soil, ice and stone from years gone by. I kept thinking that if these walls could take what a story they might tell.

After living on Top Of the World for a few months the reality of where you are starts to sink in. I can best describe it as living on the moon, sure your still part of the world but so far north cut off from the daily conveniences. A tour at Thule Air Base is the remote of remotes. And to think I had to suffer through this tour with the speed of instant e-mail home, Internet news at my finger tips, liberal moral telephone calls weekly re-supply via airlift out of the states and mid-tour leave to get reacquainted with the family. Wow I had it rough, NOT. When this base first opened up were no phone calls home, calls home were via short wave radio, no e-mail, a yearly re-supply via the seaport and NO mid tour leave. Those dudes had it tuff. I'm grateful I had my tour when I did.

This shot looks directly into the ice cave and clearly shows the ice rings, periods of time trapped forever in the ice. The cave was approx 30 yds wide by 150 yds long. Walking through the cave you got the spooky feeling that if it fell in on you, you were dead, but hey it’s been there for thousands of years.

What else do you do in the high arctic for fun?  Why not swim in the bay when the water is 28 degrees?  Thule's annual Polar Bear Swim, and guess who had be in on it?  That's me on the left.

Thule Air base, Greenland on map. How far north is Thule? Most people just don't get when I try and tell them how remote Thule is. This map best shows just how far north we were. "Top of the World' baby.

One of Thule's natural phenomenon is the halo effect around the sun caused by frozen particles in the atmosphere. Thule is to far North for the Northern Lights but this is a pretty cool second. This photo has Dundas Mt in the background, a favorite get away spot. On nice days many of us would climb to the top taking in some wonderful views of the bay, glacier, icebergs and the base. I made it to the top 3 times once in just over 14 minutes the record being 6 min 36 seconds.

Another wonderful photo of Thule Air Base with Saunders Island in the foreground .

What did I do that I enjoyed the most at Thule? Sounds crazy but I enjoyed throwing rocks at Icebergs. One nice weeks I would hike out to this point near Dundas Mt. and throw rocks at icebergs as they sailed by. How much fun could that be? Well if you hit the iceberg just right, knocking off a big enough piece of ice, it would upset the balance causing the whole iceberg to roll over in the bay. If you were really lucky the iceberg might split in two and cause a big splash. That was the reward, plus what else was I going to do.

Did I get to run much at Thule, yes over 1200 miles, 90% of which was run indoors and on the base treadmills.  When I did get to run was always an adventure.  More on that in my next post on LIVING ON TOP OF THE WORLD!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Weird Wednesday

Feet have 500,000 sweat glands and can produce more than a pint of sweat a day.

FYI: I've heard of marathon runners using Antiperspirant  to keep their feet from sweating so much during a marathon run...kind of makes sense.  Althought I've yet to try it?


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Distance Series Race 1

The 15.5 Mile 20K Training Race.

When does a 20k equal 15.5 miles?  When you run 3.1 miles before the race…  In prep for this years Shamrock Marathon I decided to use a local running clubs (Tidewaters Striders) winter distance series to train for my goal of a 9:00 minute mile marathon pace.  The Distance Series consist of three races;  20k, 25k and 30k races…since this series does not get you up to the 20 mile norm for marathon training, I add a few miles.

PRE RACE:  The Tidewater Striders have hosted this event for as long as I have been running in the 757 area code, and they always do an excellent job.  In the past this event was held on Fort Story, First Landing State Park and this year at the Great DismalSwamp Canal Trail.  And again they hosted a first class event.

I got on site about an hour before start time, I’m the early bird, and found everything set up and ready to go.  I picked up my race packet, including my race goodie (Striders beanie hat), the timing chip and headed back to my car to chill out.  To get the required miles in my plan going in was to add 3.1 miles to this race.  I set off 30 minutes prior to race start and knocked out the extra miles in hopes of rolling right into the start of the race.  This race (and the next two in the series 25k, 30k) would provide an excellent opportunity to stage tempo runs at my goal marathon pace.

Being a cool January morning, the biggest decision I had to make this day was to go out in shorts or long pants.  The temps were not expected much above the mids 40s, but at start it was closer to 30.  I chose long pants, wish I was brave enough for tights but ghosts of George Constanza keep me more modest.  Ha ha ha  

I went out in lose fitting long pants over my shorts, two long sleeve tech t-shirts, a fleece top, my Garmin 201 GPS, gloves, beanie hat and my hand carried water bottle.

RACE:  Held at the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, This multipurpose-linear nature trail threads through some of the most uniquely historical and ecologically-significant habitats in the United States. The Dismal Swamp Canal Trail is an historic, environmental and outdoor recreation delight.  The trail/race course is an out and back loop, which is nearly flat with only slight crests in the road.  This is the same course used for the Dismal Swamp Half Marathon held in April and is extremely fast.  The trail runs along the canal and is lined with trees which provide a natural wind break and shade during the hot summer months.  If you have not raced or trained at Dismal Swamp, I would give it a try.

Opening:  3.1
Mile 1  9:44 / Mile 2  9:05

Mile 3  9:10  I attempted to time the extra 3 miles so I could roll up to the start chute just as the gun went off. Today I arrived just a bit early but I did not have enough time to move up to my normal starting spot in the middle of the pack.  I started today’s race near the very end.  The start was uneventful but it took a minute or two to make my way forward to the timing mats.

20k Distance Series Race 12.4
Mile 4  8:41  My plan was to go out conservative for the opening half of the race, keeping the pace around the 9:00 mark, but my legs were feeling pretty good.  As the miles went along I decided to pick up the pace some and catch up with the middle of the pack.

Mile 5  8:41 / Mile 6  8:33 / Mile 7  8:34 / Mile 8  8:39

Mile 9  8:29  At the turn around, I was feeling good even with the faster then planned opening miles, I decided to play a running game with my mind to keep me focused.  During the longer races it is helpful to come up with something to focus on to not allow yourself to get off of your race plan when fatigue sets in.  Today, I decided to play, “catch the runner in front of you.”  The object of this game to catch the runner in front of you, no matter what.  At times this is easy and only requires a slight adjustment to pace and at other times it is a major effort to chase down a runner off in the distance.  I scored a few easy kills early on, but also had a few that took some effort.  In the long run the game paid off, I was able to tackle the closing miles in bite size chunks and it kept my mind focused on my pace.

Mile 10  8:13 / Mile 11  8:15 / Mile 12  8:12

Mile 13  8:16  As we passed the 10k turn around sign I may have been short on oxygen, but my brain figured out I only had 3.1 miles left.  I felt like I picked up the pace and began to make up some time, but looking at my GPS I realized that even if I was not going faster…maintaining my pace was a WIN.

Mile 14  8:18 / Mile 15  8:18 / Mile 15.5  7:57

This being a flat out and back run, the finishing line was visible for the last ¾ of a mile or more and this allowed me to really keep the pace up and focus on finishing strong.  By race end 17 runners fell victim to the runner behind them, ME!

Total Elapse Time:  (15.5 miles): 2:12:53/Avg. pace 8:36
Official Race Time  (12.4 miles): 1:44:43/Avg. pace 8:26
4th in my age group

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Weird Stuff Wednesday

Weird Stuff Wednesday

1/4 of your bones are in your feet: There are 26 bones in each foot, 52 bones combined out of your body’s 206 bones. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 In Review

2012 My Year In Review:

(Seashore 50k, dec)

This has been a successful year and yet a challenging one just the same.  I've been running at marathon plus level since 2000.  During this time I've been blessed to only have had one period where my body let me down, until 2012, that is.  Until this past June, my legs pretty much did whatever I asked them to do.  Run a marathon, they did it.  Run a 50k, okay lets knock it out.  A 24 hour run, no problems.  Run 66 miles of hills in a 30 day period...Huston we have a problem.  A case of Patellar tendinitis in my right knee, side tracked me for the better part of two months.

This two month interruption was tough to deal with, but slowly with the aide of a running knee strap my body healed itself in time to begin training preparations for my 7th marathon.

(Colonial 206.8 Mile Relay, Sept)

This year, I ran 15 races, most ever, my legs carried me to my 6th, 7th and 8th which two of them where run within 15 days of one another.  I also asked my legs to run a 206 mile relay where my part covered 40+ miles over eight legs of the race.  Again, I asked my legs to run another 24 hour Ultra event.  This year they were able to propel me to a PB of 75 miles in 20.5 hours.  This year I also scored six PR/PBs (5k, 10k, 10 Miles, 24 Hour, 50k and monthly miles record of 178.95).  This year was also the first time I was able to put together back to back 1,000 mile years (1226 in 2011 and 1373 in 2012). It was a good racing and training year, except for that blip.

The years totals equaled 1373.1 miles which pushed my career miles (since 2000) to 10337.7.  I logged 169 running days averaging 8.1 miles.  10 out of 12 months I scored more then 100 miles and December was my best month, setting a new monthly miles PB of 178.95 miles.

(Wife and I at St. Charles 10 Miler, Apr)

Enough of the numbers:

My favorite running events:
1.  Running the Shamrock Marathon with my friend Susan who was running her first
2.  Running the 24 Hour Ultra with five of my friends
3.  The Monument Ave 10k, 40,000 runners and no issues
4.  Running the Marine Corp Marathon and the Freedom Marathon 15 days apart
5.  Running a number of events with my wife while she walked the event

(Marine Corp Marathon, Oct)

 My favorite running happenings:
1.  Connecting with fellow runners via social media on Twitter/Facebook
2.  Running with friends and making new friends during training runs
3.  Helping other runners reach their goals
4.  Having my wife accompany me on my long runs, we bought her a nice bike
5.  Being able to get back to a high level of fitness after my down time

(Susan and I at 24 Hour Run, Apr)

2012 was a good year, God blessed me any times over and I am thankful.  Whatever you achieved in 2012 or if you fell short, 2013 is a blank page,  You have 365 pages to write your story for the year.

Let's go run....