Monday, November 26, 2012

What's Next: Blue Ridge Marathon!

It's been almost 2 months since the Chicago marathon.  It's hard to believe that it's been that long already... but it has.  Last week, I jumped in on a turkey trot in Columbus and felt really good.  So it's time to get back into the training ring.

So... I thought I'd tell you all what's next for me and how you can be a part of it!

Some have called me crazy... and there may be some precedent for that.  But I've decided to set my eyes on America's Toughest Road Marathon... The Blue Ridge Marathon.

I know what you're thinking, "Really Jim, how could they know that?"  Take a look at the course map and the elevation map if you don't believe me... about 7,200 feet of elevation change over the course of the marathon.  (The Chicago Marathon... that I just did... elevation change of about 30 feet...)

Needless to say: I'm going to be spending some time on the hills training for this marathon.

But I've picked this marathon for a couple of reasons (and I think you should too):

  • First, It's small! After Chicago (45,000 runners), I'm ready for something a little smaller.
  • Second, it's a challenge.  It's going to be really, really hilly.  I've never done anything like that so it's going to force me to change my training cycle to get the job done.  
  • Third, it's in an area of the country that I've never run in before... Roanoke, VA and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  
  • Fourth, some friends of mine are going to be a part of it... and I've never had the chance to run a marathon with them!

So...  I've teamed up with them as an "official blogger" for this year's coming marathon.  "What does that mean?" you ask.

A couple of things...
First, I'll be blogging about my experiences in training, running and after the race in evaluation.

Second, I'm helping them out with some promotion of the event!

But third, it means that you could win a free entry into either the half marathon or the full marathon.  I'll tell you how you can do that in a second.

Take a look at the course video... along a map and elevation marker... and see if this is something YOU want to tackle:

If you think you'd like to put the Blue Ridge Marathon on your calendar for April 19 and 20 and run with me, here's how you can do that:

  1. First, follow me on Twitter... @jimmclark.
  2. Second, follow the Blue Ridge Marathon on Twitter... @BRM26pt2.
  3. Third, post this tweet exactly (without the quotation marks, of course) to your Twitter feed: "thinking about running America's toughest road marathon: crazy? You could win a free registration! @jimmclark @BRM26pt2 "
  4. Fourth, post that tweet each day to your twitter feed to receive another entry per day through Friday 9 pm (eastern time). 
  5. Fifth, post in the comments below that you did all those and you'll receive up to seven entries (2 for the follows and up to 5 for the Tweets) for the race entry of your choice: half marathon or full marathon.  Include in the comments below your name, your email address (so I know how to get in touch with you if you win), your Twitter name (so I can count the entries) and what you would prefer: a half marathon entry or a full marathon entry.  
I will choose a random winner on Saturday morning and contact that individual.  

Happy Running... and Good Luck! 

Keep running friends!

Jim Clark

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): As an official blogger for the Blue Ridge Marathon, I am receiving a free entry into the Blue Ridge Marathon in exchange for promoting this event.  This in no way discredits any opinion I may or may not have about the marathon or my excitement about participating in the marathon.  My opinions and excitement about the race are solely mine and are not the product of anyone other than the author.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Returning to the Turkey Trotting World...

My first race 3 years ago was a turkey trot... the Naperville Lion's Turkey Trot.  I haven't run a turkey trot... or Thanksgiving Day run... since.

This Thursday, I return to the turkey trot crew... I'm running the sold-out Flying Feather Four-Miler in Dublin, Ohio.  And I couldn't be happier.  I'm running with one of the ministers on staff, Donnie, and it should be rad!

It will be my first time running a 4 mile race.  I've done the 3.1 miler... and obviously further... but never just a 4 miler.

Overall... I'm feeling good.  I have been resting quite a bit since Chicago and am ready to get back into the ring and back into a regular training cycle.

Just thought I'd share!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Fun... Skydiving Cats!!

I'm not sure exactly what they are advertising... but I think it's insurance...
But you can't beat skydiving cats!

Now, there's a tag I never thought I'd put on a blog post...


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Evernote - Youth Ministry Tech

I'm just going to put it out there...

Evernote helps me get stuff done.  Flat out.  

I'm not being paid for this spot... I am receiving no benefit whatsoever other than passing along a good thing.  So, this is a genuine recommendation. 

I love Evernote.

Saturday, I was sitting in a gathering/meeting with some other youth pastors.  As my faithful readers will know, last summer I declared the age of the Moleskine in my workflow dead.  At that point, I moved exclusively to working in Evernote.  In this meeting, one of the other youth pastors commented that he had been saving notes in the "notes" app on his iPhone.  When I asked him if he used Evernote, he looked at me like I had 3 heads and 7 eyes (which I don't... in case you were wondering...).  Briefly, in about 2 minutes, I explained the awesomeness that is Evernote and we moved on.  Then he said, "we should have a tech day at our youth ministry gathering."

Then it dawned on me... There are still some who don't know about this wonderful Evernote service.

If you haven't heard, Evernote is an amazing program for just about any device you have.  My experience is Mac-based... sorry PC users... But I have Evernote as an app on my MacBook Pro, my iPhone 3Gs (yeah, still rockin it old school) and my iPad (3rd gen).  Basically, it allows you to create a note... about just about anything... and then tag it and upload it so you have access to it on any of your other devices.  Additionally, you can created notebooks where you can keep notes organized according to type or function.

Currently, I have approximately 1,100 notes in Evernote in a handful of notebooks.  Everything from shopping lists at Home Depot to ideas for upcoming events (like our Holiday Lock-In that I'm planning right now).  The tagging option is great because then I can go back and search for a note and find it. Additionally, most web browsers (I use Safari... but they also have a Firefox app... no idea if Internet Explorer does (does anyone actually still use IE?)) have a clipping option where you can clip articles or pages and save them in Evernote.  I clip blogs... games... ideas... pictures... just about everything that I think I might have a use for down the line.  Then I tag it and I can find it quickly in the future.

As if that wasn't enough... you can email email messages to Evernote and it will add them as notes... You can send tweets to it and it will save them as well.  It really is a handy tool.

One of the best parts: it's free (up to 60mg a month)!!! For a small investment, you can get more storage.  But honestly, I have rarely gotten close to maxing out my monthly free limit (only a couple of times when uploading hi-res photos).  Want to check it out for yourself, head right over here and get rolling.  They just released new apps for the Mac iOS and they are really slick and well put together.

Good stuff...
Check it out and get stuff done!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Chicago Medal and Catch Up

It's nothing personal...
Honest... it isn't...

I haven't blogged in quite some time.  And honestly, its not you, it's me.  My life has been so crazy lately that I really haven't had time.  I know, I know, you make time for what's important.  I guess you know where that puts my blog.  Over the past month, we have bought a house... painted... cleaned...  packed... moved... unpacked some... had a baby shower... unpacked some more... and there is still more to do and more to unpack.

But I'll try to do better.

Here are a few pictures wrapping up my Chicago marathon experience.  It was a great experience.  But now I know why marathon runners say not to try to do amazing things at a major marathon, like Chicago.  It was huge!  This was one of the biggest marathons in Chicago history... 45,000 runners and about 39,000 finishers.

To the left, you can see my official Garmin time. (All the watch data is here... including splits... if you're into that sort of thing.)

But it was fun.
I did well.  I set a new Personal Record by 6 minutes.  It wasn't was I had hoped for... but I think I set my sights too high.  So, I'll take the new PR.  Below is my official data from the Chicago Marathon's website.

Not bad.

The best thing about the Chicago marathon was the money raised for Active Water.  I raised, through the help of some awesome people, $820 for clean water in Africa!

That's amazing and made the experience all the better.
I have a new piece of hardware... and a new shadowbox to do.  Actually, I think I have two to do... which shows I'm not only behind in my blogging.

Oh well.

Keep running friends!