My daughter Kate getting in some miles for the Country Music Kids Marathon on the trails at Percy Warner Park!
I have been fortunate to be able to go with my Dad to the Pinehurst Resort for the last three years on a father-son golf vacation. In 2008, we played 3 rounds of golf in 3 days (Course No’s 7, 8, & 2). In 2009, we played 4 rounds of golf in 3 days (Course No’s 6, 4, 5, & 2). Our plan for this year was to complete 5 rounds in 3 days, and to include Course No’s 1 & 3 that we had never played before, along with 4, 8, & 2.
Pinehurst is like the Walt Disney World of Golf. 8 golf courses and 3 resort hotels. The service is first-class, the employees are fantastic, the food is wonderful, and the golf courses are superb. By far the most famous course is No. 2, designed by Donald Ross, which has hosted 2 U.S. Opens, along with multiple other championship tournaments (Ryder Cup, Tour Championship, U.S. Women’s Open, etc.) Both No’s 4 & 8, designed by Tom Fazio, are consistently ranked in the top 100 public golf courses by Golf Digest magazine. No. 4 played host to the first two rounds of the 2008 U.S. Amateur Championship.
This year we were joined by my good friend, Anthony Tucker, and my cousin (and friend), Ricky Haskins. Both Anthony and Ricky came with us in 2009, and it was great to have them join us again!
When we arrived on Monday, we checked in to the Carolina Inn and proceed to play the No. 4 course at the Pinehurst Resort. This course has 180 pot-bunkers, is impeccably manicured, and is quite a challenge. It is probably my 3rd favorite course at the resort.
On Tuesday morning, we played course No. 1 for the first time, which was also designed by Donald Ross, and was redone in 2009. What a golf course! Probably the best conditioned greens I’ve ever played on. It has the classic feel of a Ross course, and is in superb condition. I think I would rank it as my new, 2nd favorite course on the property.
On Tuesday afternoon, we took the resort shuttle over to course No. 8. This is the “Centennial” course at Pinehurst, as it was opened in 1995 on the 100th anniversary of the resort. This is a great layout, but it is brutal! Tom Fazio absolutely ate my lunch on No. 8 this year (much as he did in 2008 when I played it before). This course would rank 4th on my list.
On Tuesday night at dinner we sat at a table right next to Tony Kornheiser from ESPN (PTI and formerly MNF). This was quite a treat for me, because I watch PTI ever day. We also saw him again at breakfast the next morning.
On Wednesday morning, we played course No. 2 for the third time. No. 2 is not only my favorite course at Pinehurst, but also my favorite course that I have ever played. I think I could play it every day and never get tired of it. It is a beautiful and challenging course, but very playable. The greens are the most distinguishing characteristic of No. 2, kind of like upside down soup bowls. Really have to use the bump and run shot a lot around the greens. Just like last year, Anthony and I played No. 2 with a caddie (Eddie…above). I really think that you have to walk No. 2 to get the full experience.
I played very well (for me) on the front nine, and not quite so well on the back. However, as always the round at No. 2 was something special. The picture above is of the 4 of us on the 18th green of No. 2, just after our round.
On Wednesday afternoon, we were barely able to squeeze in a round on No. 3 before we had to zip off to the airport to fly home. No. 3 was the only course my Dad and I had not played at Pinehurst. It is another Donald Ross design, and has similarly shaped greens as No. 2. This course is not as well conditioned as the other courses we played on this trip, and is quite a bit shorter than most at Pinehurst. However, it was another enjoyable course, and an enjoyable round with my Dad and the guys.
All in all….what a trip! If you love to play golf, and you’ve never been to Pinehurst, it needs to be on your bucket list. It has been really special to share all of these trips with my Dad, and I hope we are blessed to be able to do it again next year. What are some other good places for 2 to 3 day golf trips?
Well, I found out today that I was not selected in the lottery for the 2010 New York City Marathon. I’m disappointed, but still want to compete in one or maybe two fall marathons. I would really like for one of these marathons to either be a big event, or a great destination (or both). My fallback plan was originally to go to Chicago, but it filled up back in March. My running group is headed to the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C, but this race falls on Halloween in 2010, and I really don’t want to miss this with my kids. Now I’m strongly considering the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis in early October. Anybody else have any suggestions for the fall? Anybody want to join me at Twin Cities?
Now that I’m hopelessly addicted to running Marathons (have finished Chicago, St. Jude & Knoxville), I’ve started compiling a list of races that I want to finish before I leave this earth….
- Boston – My goal is to qualify before my 40th birthday (I’m 35). To do that I will have to run a 3:15, which is 24 minutes faster than my PR.
- New York – As the intro to Letterman says – “The greatest city in the world!” NYC is my favorite place on earth, and I can’t wait to run this marathon. All 5 boroughs, 2 Million+ spectators, 44K+ runners!! I’m in the lottery for 2010, and will find out on April 7th.
- Big Sur (Monterey, CA) – 26.2 + The Monterey Coast = WOW! Might have to combine with a trip to play Pebble Beach.
- St George (Utah) – 5240’ at the start and 2600’ at the finish, running through beautiful St George, Utah. I’ve been told it is one of the best organized races in the country.
- Walt Disney World Goofy’s Challenge – My wife and I have been to DW 7 times since we were married in 1997, so we obviously love the place. The Goofy’s Challenge is to run the 1/2 marathon on Saturday and the full on Sunday. Runners get a Donald Duck medal for the 1/2, a Mickey Mouse medal for the full, and a Goofy Medal if they can complete both. I am registered for the Challenge in 2011 (my wife is registered for the 1/2).
- Marine Corps. (Washington, DC) – Running through the monuments in DC with Marines handing out water & Gatorade at the aid stations. Sounds pretty special. Would probably register for this year if it didn’t fall on Halloween. I really don’t want to miss Halloween with my kids.
- Rock n’ Roll San Diego – The original Rock n’ Roll marathon in the city known for perfect weather. I know that all of the Rock n’ Roll events are incredibly well run, and are BIG!
- Twin Cities – My friend Mary Anne says this is the most scenic marathon she has ever run, and she has run a LOT of marathons. Starts in Minneapolis and runs to St. Paul. Course passes by numerous lakes, and the Mississippi River.
- Country Music Marathon (Nashville, TN) – I’ve completed the 1/2 marathon, but never the full. Registered for the full in 3 weeks. Love running through the streets of Nashville.
- Miami – A flat, sea-level course in beautiful Miami. Finishers get a spinning palm tree medal.
- P.F. Chang’s Rock n’ Roll Phoenix – I love running in the Phoenix area.
- Mercedes (Birmingham, AL) – I’m not particularly excited about the course (a double loop), but really want the Mercedes hood ornament medal.
- Little Rock – Another one that is about the medal. Like having a dinner plate around your neck.
- Cincinnati Flying Pig – Why? – Two-Sided Flying Pig Medal….
- Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey (Nashville, TN) – Basically 2 laps around the main drive in Percy Warner park (1 in each direction). I regularly train in PW park, and to say it is challenging would be an understatement. Each lap has over 3500’ of elevation change. Not certified, not a BQ, but I really want to do this one. Part of it is because it is my home town. Part of it is the beauty of the park. Part of it is the cool, wood, flying monkey medal. Part of it is getting the bragging rights for finishing this brutal course.
So what great races are missing from my list?
We have arrived at Pinehurst!
Romans 3:21-26 (ESV)
21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
I think that most of us who spend any time reading the Bible have a favorite passage of scripture. For me, it is Romans 3:21-26, because this passage reveals God’s great mystery of redemption, and answers one of the most pivotal questions of the entire Bible: “Why did Jesus have to die?” Perhaps we sometimes allow ourselves to think that certainly God could have come up with a different way. However, Paul explains here how God in his infinite wisdom overcame what to most would seem like an impossible dilemma.
If our transgressions truly separate us from God (v. 23), then how could God freely give salvation (v. 24) without trivializing sin? If God simply forgave us of our failings, without a payment being made, then sin would have no weight. The only way was to offer Himself, through His Son,as the sacrifice for our sins (v. 25). With this plan, God ensured that justice was served and that salvation could be given to mankind as a free gift through His grace (vv. 24 & 26)
However, this gift is only available to those who have faith in the one who made the payment for us (vv. 22, 25-26). “Faith in Jesus Christ” specifies the necessary object of our faith, Jesus Christ, and indicates that one has dedicated their life to following the will of God and His Son.
Follow-up: What is your favorite scripture, and why?
Lord, we recognize you as being the author of our salvation through the sacrifice of your Son, Jesus Christ. We praise you for the free gift of grace that you pour out on all those who have faith in your Son. Please help us to fully understand the significance of His payment, and to never take it for granted. Please give us the courage to take the good news about your Son to a lost and dying world. In your Son’s most holy name, Amen.
While I am a huge Apple fan (my family owns 5 Macs, 2 iPhones, & 5+ iPods), I have been openly critical of the iPad since it’s introduction by Steve Jobs. My criticisms have included the lack of Flash support, the inability to run multiple apps simultaneously, using the iPhone OS instead of full OS X, and lastly my failure to understand the niche it is designed to fill.
Well, today I got my first opportunity to spend some hands-on time with the 16gb iPad, and thought I might share some of my impressions.
*At 8pm the Apple store in Nashville still had plenty available with no line. Not sure what to read of this. Could be lack of demand or could be that Apple was better prepared for the volume than with the iPhone. Only time will tell.
*The device is slightly smaller than I pictured in my head and incredibly elegant. Feels extremely sturdy. No surprises here. Apple gets design in a way that no other computer/device company does.
*Native iPhone apps that have not been updated for the iPad look ridiculous, especially in 2x mode.
*The keyboard is awkward, but usable. No way to thumb type in portrait mode, so the user will be forced to use one finger or set it down on something. Using the keyboard with all fingers in portrait mode is difficult.
*iBooks are pretty slick, but I worry about the glare. Do not like the two-page view in landscape mode. Very nice that you can also read Kindle and Nook titles that are not available from the iBookstore through downloadable apps.
*The mail application is great for displaying and reading messages but suffers from the same problems as it’s iPhone sibling when using multiple mail accounts. From what I can tell there is no universal inbox and switching mail accounts takes multiple taps.
*The screen is beautiful for viewing photos and videos. Really is a great media viewing device.
*The iPhone OS does not translate well to a slate form factor. Really amplifies the need for some type of dashboard. Flipping through twelve screens to get to an app seems very cumbersome.
*The new, touch-enabled iWork apps are not intuitive at all. Very frustrating to try to do what should be the simplest tasks. Really amplifies the fact that this device is for “consuming” media/data and not “creating” it. Also, with Microsoft announcing this week that they have no plans to bring MS Office to the iPad, it is really hard to see this as a business tool.
*Games look really great. Was only able to watch someone else play them, so I can’t provide feedback on playability. However, I can see this being a great gaming device.
Well, that’s my 2 cents after my first use. If you are looking for something small and elegant that can be used for web, email, photos, books, videos, & games, then the iPad is definitely worth a look. However, if you are looking for an extremely portable device that can be used for business travel, then I would recommend looking elsewhere for now.
I’m still not convinced there is a solid, long-term niche for this product, but I hope I’m wrong. The thing I’m most interest in watching is the app development. For example, will there be EMR/EHR apps written for the iPad for clinical environments? Will there be usable Office Productivity apps that will make this viable for business travelers? I’m also interested in hearing about how the screen glare affects those who read a lot of titles on the iPad.
I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts as I get further exposure to the iPad, but that’s all for now. If you have an iPad, I would love to hear your impressions (strengths & weaknesses). Good night!
Just some random thoughts about my favorite sports team…from section 310
- I don’t know how much longer Patric Hornqvist is under contract, but the Preds need to make sure he stays with the organization for a very long time. He always seems to be the hardest working player on the ice. Most of his 30+ goals this season have been down and dirty in front of the net.
- I don’t understand all of the “fans” that do nothing but criticize the team, the coaches, the management, etc. even when the Preds are doing really well. If you hate the team so much, why do you come to the games? I hear this constantly at the arena. We are lucky to have one of the best coaches and GMs in this league. The system that Trotz uses is not always the most fun to watch, but it gets the most possible out of a team built with limited funds.
- To piggy-back on the previous thought, why is David Legwand such a reviled player? I realize that he has never had the offensive production you would expect from a #2 overall draft pick, but he has been the Preds most consistent two-way player for a very long time. His line is always matched up against the opponent’s #1 line, and he consistently does a good job of shutting them down. I would also argue that he is our best and most consistent penalty killer. I for one am glad that he is a Nashville Predator.
- I don’t understand what Wade Belak brings to our team. Maybe someone can explain it to me.
- Dustin Boyd was a great pickup by Poile at the deadline. Really enjoy watching him play.
- I hope we can bring Dan Ellis back next year, though I realize this is highly unlikely.
- I’m looking forward to the playoffs, and hoping we can avoid San Jose or Detroit.
Well….that’s all for now.
By far the most common reaction I get from non-runners when they find out I’m a long distance runner and marathoner is some type of obligatory comment like “that’s great!” or “wow!” but their body language is saying “I don’t get it” or “You’re Nuts!” Some people are even more direct in voicing their bewilderment. My favorite comments include:
- Running a marathon is more dangerous than smoking
- You know that you’re destroying your body
- Well, I only run when being chased
While these reactions are frustrating, it is something I understand. For the first 30 years of my life, I hated running with a flaming passion. Running was punishment. Something you had to do when you made a mistake in practice. I always looked at marathoners with a sense of amazement, but also with a feeling that they were some type of freak of nature (like an alien).
I tried numerous times to become a runner, but I never seemed to be able to go farther than 3 miles without feeling like I would (a) collapse or (b) die of boredom.
When I reached my 30s, I started a new job, and began working with a lady named Mary Anne who had run over 30 marathons. I told her over and over again about my hatred of running, and she continued to encourage me to try it again. Eventually I did try it again, and again I seemed to get stuck on my 3 mile limit.
On one particular Saturday, I decided that I was just going to push past mile 3 no matter how tired I was, and right on schedule I thought that mile 3 was going to be the end of me. Then somewhere in the middle of mile 4, something clicked. I fell into this trance-like rhythm, and was able to complete 6 miles. I was ecstatic. From that moment in the middle of mile 4, I have been hooked. How could this be? I hated running? Yet, the next weekend I ran 7 miles, and then next weekend 8 miles, and so on.
So what is it that “clicked” on that particular Saturday? How did this moment transform me from someone that hated running into a hopeless addict. How did I become a person that has completed 11 half and 11 full marathons? I guess on some level I agree with the one who says they only run when being chased. However, the things that are chasing me are not wild animals or bad guys. They are the things that drive me, that push me to run, and run, and run.
So What is Chasing Me?
A High Stress Life – While I love my life, I have to admit that it is extremely high stress. From my job, to frequent speaking/teaching engagements, to family and church responsibilities, I can’t seem to slow down. Running has become my outlet, and my solace. Nothing can drown out the noise of the world like the rhythm of running long distances. I used to think that activities like golf and tennis were good outlets for stress, but they bring their own stress, especially golf. The only thing stressful about running is finding the time to do it. Otherwise, running is like the greatest drug in the world to me.
An Inferiority Complex / Scars from High School – To say that I was not very popular in high school would be a big understatement. I was shy. I was a nerd. I didn’t date a lot. I didn’t “party” with the cool kids. I did not play football. I was the last one that got selected for teams in PE and recess. I got picked on constantly. Now, I often wonder to myself how many of those that tormented me through those years can do what I can do. All of this just adds fuel to my addiction.
Small Fiber Sensory Neuropathy – Approximately 6 months after the moment when running “clicked” for me, and 1 month before I was supposed to run my first half marathon, I began experiencing some bizarre neurological symptoms that started in my legs, and quickly moved throughout my entire body. Running only intensified these symptoms (including numbness in my feet, arms, and face), and I was forced to stop. It took 7 months, and a trip to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore to discover that I have a rare neurological disorder called Small Fiber Sensory Neuropathy. This is an auto-imune condition that destroys the small nerve fibers in the skin, leading to intense feelings of burning and numbness. The good news that I received at Hopkins was that this condition would not affect my motor skills, and the symptoms could be controlled by medication. Even though I lost a year of running due to the disorder, the medication allowed me to return to training, and complete my first 1/2 marathon 8 months after being diagnosed. When I started running again after my diagnosis, I was even more driven than before to run, no longer taking this ability for granted. It continues to be a major motivation for me.
Family History of Hypertension – Almost every member of my immediate family is on some type of high blood pressure medication, and I began to see signs of this in my own life very soon after I graduated from college (1996). However, since I began running in 2007, my Systolic pressure has consistently been less than 125, and my Diastolic less than 75.
A “Type A” Personality – Mary Anne often tells me that she knew I had a personality that was perfectly suited to long distance running, and that is why she talked to me about it so frequently. I am a “Type A” perfectionist, to the extreme. I think this is ultimately why running “clicked” on that Saturday in 2007. Once I pushed past that 3-mile barrier, it was something I knew I could do, and I wanted to do it really well. For the first time in my life I saw the possibility of completing a half, or possibly a full marathon, and I wanted to go for it. This insatiable drive to get better continues to push me through every training run, every track workout, every cross-training exercise.
Fear of Failure – I set lots of running goals, though I rarely share them with others. However, part of my motivation to continue running is a fear of not meeting these goals. This fear is exponentially intensified if I do share a goal with someone.
Well, there it is….the reasons why I run (at least many of them). Why do you run? What is chasing you?
Last Updated: 04/08/2012
Stop! The puck is in play! ….There’s a new sheriff in town at Bridgestone Arena!
My thoughts on the 6th annual Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon…
Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon
March 28, 2010
My Run: Overall, the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon was my third full marathon. For a number of reasons, I came into this race with very few expectations. I had been battling significant shin splints during the week leading up to the run, and feared trying to navigate a hilly course while dealing with an injury. Also, my fourth marathon (The Country Music Marathon) is only 4 weeks away, so I was unsure of how hard I wanted to push it. My marathon PR was 3:42:22 at the St. Jude last December, so I decided that I would just join up with the 3:45 pace group and then take it from there.
That plan was quickly foiled when I arrived at the expo on Saturday, and found that there were no pace groups between 3:15 and 4:00 (more on this later). I decided Saturday night that I would just start off at a 3:45 pace (8:34 per mile), and then see how I felt. The forecast for Sunday was for rain throughout the race. Luckily we caught a break, and the rain let up just as the marathon started, and the sun even came out occasionally. The temps were in the mid 50s. As planned, I started off conservatively until we came to the Tennessee River (about 2 miles in). I was feeling fantastic. No shin pain, great running rhythm, high energy level. I carried this throughout the first half, and was able to maintain an 8:12 per mile pace.
Once the 1/2 marathon runners split off and headed toward the stadium at mile 13, I felt pretty good about my chances of holding this pace to the end. I continued to feel good through mile 20, 21, 22, 23 … with my overall average pace fluctuating between 8:12 and 8:13. As I approached the 24 mile marker I could feel my legs getting heavier, but I still felt like I could hold the pace. However, just as I reached the marker, the heavens opened and a torrential rain followed, accompanied by high winds.