Friday, January 30, 2009
What a day...I have decided to spend two nights in New Orleans. You could say that I am resting for my half here on Sunday, but that would be a lie. I am living my dream. I left Pensacola after a good night sleep and followed I-10 West for 2 hours. Suddenly I had an idea. My Garmen showed that the Gulf Coast was a hop to my south. I got off 10 and found 90. What a drive. Shimmering ocean, a constant 50mph and the radio blasting. This went on for about 45 minutes until I needed to eat. Let me tell you, southern sea food is where it's at. I have eaten more food in the last couple days then I ate all fall in Vermont. But that is not the point. I made it to New Orleans and walked Bourbon Street. It was as wild and crazy as you have seen on Tv. After a shrimp dinner at Deanie's Seafood, I found some shiny reflective coats. Marathoners for sure. I strode up and introduced myself. Had a brief conversation. Decided I wasn't that impressed with these folk. The halfer in the crew was shooting for 1:08 and a win. "Good for you I said." He hardly even looked at me. I wanted to tell him that my dad ran 1:06, twice in one race. Oh well, no harm. When people tell me what they want to run, like 1:08, I snicker to myself. Because I know, that JD could have trumped them on one leg. It's almost inconceivable to me how good he really was. I mean, he is my dad. I have never asked, never complimented and never really cared. Well hopefully, my dream here....hopefully he will push me to my ultimate limit when I get home.....The miles are rolling and I'm in paradise...
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Last Sunday I competed in my favorite race since leaving Vermont. The Florida Challenge Trail Half Marathon was mainly a single track technical course. Going into this race, comparing times with previous years, I was confident. Alas, I made several rookie mistakes. My major mistake, two minutes before the race began, I opted out of wearing socks. On a road half, where the path is long and straight. My feet can handle the pounding with no problem. This was a different beast. Six or seven miles into the race. The loose beach like sand had worked its way into my shoes and the quick turns and acceleration were turning the balls of my feet into hamburger. I spent the remainder of the race thinking about my feet rather then racing. Number two, I started way to slow. I went into the woods placed in the 30's or 40's. Single track prevents easy passing. I know I am getting stronger because I had no problem running down groups of 3's and 4's. But I ran out of trail. I finished 7th, 3.5 minutes off the leader. Had I run smarter I could have won. Live and learn. I met an interesting triathlete on the trails. Heather Gollnick is a five time Ironman winner. She is a full time professional athlete. I caught her shortly after my feet started to go and we ran together for several miles. We had a conversation midrace. Its not often I do that on the roads. But for some reason, trails invite that sort of thing. I think I may have found my calling. XC. It was always my favorite.
It's been awhile. I've left the comfort of Florida and settled at my Uncle's house for several nights. I feel like the first leg of my journey has just ended and I'm building the energy for the second leg. I've had a lot of time so far. Driving, running, relaxing and meeting people. I've noticed one constant. When I ask a young adult whats fun to do in their town, I get the response, "Nothing". I wonder why that is. My advice, if you are not happy or feel stuck. Do the leg work and find fun and adventurous things. They are out there.
Thus far, my two weeks in the North were cold, often times wet but everything was new. The road offered endless opportunities. Other then my races. I went where the road lead. Chicago was a whim, and it turned out to offer one of my favorite stories. My two weeks in Florida went well. The sun and heat tried to hide. I was blamed for bringing the weather with me. It took about 9 days before I finally found the sun. As for Florida, not that impressive. It's a concrete paradise. Oh, don't get me wrong. Florida has some gems. In general, not for me.
So, here I am. Marietta Ga. My atlas shows me a lot of ground westward. Not a lot of couches. I'm excited. I've got this itch that is willing me to go. I've spent three nights here but now is the time. North route or South route. New Orleans by Sunday.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I've spent the last few days in south Florida. I had a really fun night with Charlie Bergh in Delray Beach. His girlfriend, Julie, was a really cool girl who had some great ideas for my marketing campaign. I left Delray Beach and headed to the Keys. The drive down was beautiful. The Gulf of Mexico shimmered green and the Atlantic Ocean was sky blue. The only downside was a slight rain storm but I loved that too. Now, the keys were more then I could handle. Duval Street was a tourist haven. Lots of visitors made me feel at home. I couldn't believe the amount of scooters cruising along with no real care for pedestrians. I spent my evening at the Hard Rock with a cool bartender and a couple from Boston. My challenge for the night was to visit a bar. I went to the 801 and watched a "Drag Show", probably my first and only time in my life. It was interesting, yet fun. Needless to say, I left the Keys and drove back to the main land. Arriving in Florida City around 3am. I spent the following day relaxing at Miami Beach and drove through the Miami rush hour. I no longer worry about Brattleboro's rush hour. I spent the night with Leigh and Craig in Tamarac. Car trouble. The check engine light begged me for some time and money. My car is currently at Firestone and I'm spending another night here.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I had a great weekend in Fort Myers. The sun was out and this cold front I heard so much about, didn't seem to happen. Sunny and 70. I spent the weekend hanging out with my friend Laurie and her two wonderful girls Kaitlyn and Taylor. I had a blast, we ate out, went to Mall Cop, watched a lot of tv and cruised around Ft. Myers. The highlight of my time was watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. I must admit, the girls beat me badly at the Wheel but I think that I did okay with Jeopardy. As for race number 3. I ran my smartest race thus far. An even manageable pace off the gun and 1:27:03 later, I cruised in for 67th place out of 1500. I felt solid. If this is anything to look forward to then things are looking up.
To this point: (18 days)
I have raise 2900 dollars.
I have driven 5088 miles.
I have run 110 miles.
I arrived to Fort Myers several hours earlier then I had expected and began searching for a good place to run. Generally I search for parks via my Garmin. Today she found the Boys and Girls Club of Shady Oaks Park. I walked into the building as if it were any other building I had seen so far. Most of the activity stopped and I instantly became the center of attention. The complete population were African American kids. Its as if they could tell I was from somewhere else. But alas, I found the program director and started up a conversation. He was a well spoken man who spoke highly of his program. He showed me his Wall of Fame, which included several division 1 college football stars and a wall of National Championship Flag Football Banners. I could tell he was extremely proud of his kids and their accomplishment. He spoke of hard work and becoming a better person. He pushed education. His name was Coach Leo. I had a great time talking with Coach Leo and hopefully on my return through Lee County, I will have some time to watch his track team fly.
Boys and Girls Club of Shady Oaks Park
Boys and Girls Club of Shady Oaks Park
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I called Larry Kimball at 11:30 on my way through Atlanta to check in on his afternoon schedule. His response was. "Well, practice starts at 4! I can hold the boys off till 4:30! You gonna make it?" Hold on one second here. I'm running with your team. A group of young college kids who run all the time. This didn't sound good. Four hours of driving I pull onto campus. Ten minutes later we are running an easy hour. It was a breeze for about 6 miles. Running with a team is a hundred times easier then running by yourself. The kids chatted casually about all things that young runners talk about. Food, workouts, gilrs, tattoos, etc. It was awesome. I had forgotten how much I missed running with my UVM team. It was great to see that things haven't changed all that much and that I'm not actually that old!!!
Links: The Sand Sharks
Links: The Sand Sharks
Friday, January 16, 2009
I finally found the beach. It was glorious. Miles of flat sandy low tide beach. I ran and ran and ran. Then I got tired of running and stopped because yesterdays workout killed me. I may have found the beach, but I have yet to find really warm weather. I am visiting Sara O'Brien-Gould, a BUHS alum. Since high school, she has done the college thing and settled with beauty school. She worked in Jax Beach as a stylist for five year. In October, she opened her own hair studio with her partner. To me, that might be one of the hardest things to do. The amount of work is beyond my comprehension. Three months of working days, meeting with lawyers and doing paperwork till 3am. Sara and Malcolm showed me a good time in Jax Beach. Keep up the hard work and good luck with the new business.
I might have the best family in the world. Now I'm sure that many people say that, but I'm sorry. I, in fact do have the best family in the world. Ok, sorry. "In my opinion." Now onward. The Dimicks. I am a Dimick so I'm partial to the name. My two little cousins, Connor and Clay live in Marietta Ga. They have bounced around a good bit through they're lives living in San Antonio, Dallas, Massachusetts and now Marietta. Had that been my childhood, I wouldn't have survived socially. Now these two boys. I believe that they have done well. They have excelled in sport and grown to be fine teenagers. Both kids specialize in sports but can pick up a new game and become expert in moments. Funny story, this winter on a visit to Vermont they literally mopped the basketball court with my face for an hour. They have talent. It has been my pleasure to see them grow. They help inspire me each day. On a side to Connor and Clay. You may beat me on the court, pitch, mat, etc. But always remember! I have the trails, roads and ICE! See you guys in a couple weeks.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
So the story goes something like this...Danny Thomas was a struggling entertainer with a new wife and young child. Desperate and near the end of his money, he prayed to St. Jude, the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes. He asked for a sign and vowed that he would build a shrine to St. Jude if he were shown the way. Within a year, he had found his way and began building a career in show business. Overtime he did not forget that promise to St. Jude. His idea was to build a hospital dedicated to children. Today we now have St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. It is a huge campus and the attention to detail is amazing. I received a VIP tour from Sara Massengill, Heroes Program Director. It was interesting to spend some time with her. In true Dimick fashion, I picked her brain. Asking questions about the who and why that lead her to St. Jude. All together my experience in Memphis was pretty special. I finally got to see the Hospital and walked the famous Beale Street.
Links: St. Judes
Music: Live Your Life
Monday, January 12, 2009
Here I am...hanging out in Nashville Tennessee. Country music country. I arrived after a nine hour drive. Tired but excited to see a new city and re-meet the Carroll twins from Vernon, Vermont. Nikki, laughs with her fiancee...she has developed a southern accent. Ashley, from Georgia was a high school cross country runner. We are a pretty interesting crew us cross county guys. Jamie has more energy then six of me put together. She works a full time job and teaches several dance classes in Nashville. After a quick 7 miler through downtown Nashville, I returned to the YMCA and attempted one of Jamie's Zumba classes. I am fit, but couldn't keep up. She is an amazing dancer who loves teaching. Both the Carroll girls have volunteered at the Make a Wish Foundation for three years and enjoy the easy pace of Nashville Tennessee.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I spent the night in Fayetteville NC with Jamie Carmichael. Jamie grew up in Windsor Vermont and was a teammate of mine at UVM. He was an excellent runner who transfered to Providence College our Junior year. Through college he was in ROTC. After graduating from college Jamie joined the United States Military and has served overseas twice. He is currently not in the military but live near Fort Bragg and works on base training soldiers who are about to be deployed. He lives with his girlfriend Catie Barthelme who is still enlisted. I would like to thank them and all service members for their sacrifice. Whether you agree with war or not. These are normal people who sacrifice their time for us.
My northern section is complete. I ran my second half marathon yesterday in Fairmont, WV. It was 34 degrees and raining. I went out to hard and struggled through the last 3 miles but improved my time to 1:31:30. My drive south was harder then the half. It poured through West Virginia and got dark quick. My legs were cramped and I was tired. Upon reaching Virginia I stopped for gas and a quick stretch. To my surprise, the rains had receded and the temperature had risen to 50. Thank you lord. Winter is gone. This is what I've been waiting patiently for.
To this point (10 days):
I have raised around 2100 dollars.
I have driven 2900 miles through snow, freezing rain, down pours and sunshine.
I have run 65.8 miles to average 6.6 miles per day.
I ran a 1:45:33 in Albany NY and a 1:31:30 in Fairmont WV.
Friday, January 9, 2009
I made it to The Gettysburg Battle Field today for the third time in my life. This time was special because I was on my own. Just me and my shoes at sunset. Even though time was short, I managed to cover about 5 miles of historic battle fields fairly quickly. It was chilly but my legs felt good. Even though today was supposed to be an easy pre-race day, I couldn't help myself. Knowing that these rolling hills were once the place where America was made spurred me on. I had to continuously hold myself back. Today was a great day. Thank you Vermont for giving us your sons who fought and died to make this a better place!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Home is where your family and friends live. Brattleboro Vermont is an artsy town in Southern Vermont. We have a friendly downtown with several locally owned stores. In the past I've enjoyed our monthly Gallery Walk where local artists show their works in the stores on the first Friday of each month. I love the friendliness of The R and B deli gals who act as my personal therapists each morning before work. I love hanging out on the Stoop at the Flat Street Brew Pub. Although I've left Brattleboro, its still my home. I am proud to have grown up there. Its a strong community with a lot to offer, if your willing to go out of your normal routine and find it. One problem I have with Brattleboro, which I'm realizing is a constant in all towns across the country. The, I can't make it big idea. Or using the excuse...Nobody from Brattleboro does anything. With that attitude I can see why. I am challanging anyone who reads this to do something today. Go hike Wantastiquet, go ski the outing club, relax at the R and B Deli in Harmony....just do something different.
This is for all my Flat Street Stoopmates. I already miss you all.
I'm in Lancaster Pennsylvania visiting a Brattleboro Alum from the class of 99'. Rachel Hamilton was an excellent athlete in high school. She loved to play basketball, softball and field hockey. I believe she made varsity in all three as a freshman. After high school she fell asleep at the wheel and suffered a spinal cord injury. That was in 2001. Over time, with help from her family and a strong will she has overcome this injury. She currently works for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation helping others with disabilities find amazing careers despite their limitations. She coaches youth basketball at the local park and recreation department. In talking with Rachel, she expressed the idea of having experienced two lives. One walking and one in a wheelchair. She feels blessed to have had both perspectives. She sees the little things in life and is able to enjoy them. Life is never easy, it takes hard work at all levels to find happiness. To contact Rachel, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Links: Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
I have really enjoyed my time in Cleveland over the years. The main drag where my little sister hangs out is a lot of fun. My go to spot that I have to visit at least twice during each visit is the Winking Lizard on Coventry. They have a world tour of beers option for regulars where you sample 100 beers from all over the world. Boy I wish I were a local. Lucky for Jodi she is but for some reason hasn't joined the tour yet. Maybe this year will be her year. Speaking of the Wink, thats where we spent our night. A good crew which included Frank, Chris, Brad, Megan, Jeff, Jo and me enjoyed wings and pizza's while Ohio State football and Notre Dame basketball played on the tv's. We had good talks about life, goals, school and Brad's shirt. "Its all about you" My goal on this trip is to make it a little more about, "you". Whoever you may be. Today its my friend Rachel Hamilton in Lancaster Pa.
Links: Winking Lizard
Monday, January 5, 2009
It seems that the high school runner of my caliber, naturally evolves from high school athlete, into college athlete and finally into Coach. I have had the pleasure of witnessing this transition in several of my friends. In talking to them in recent weeks, it is easy to see how much coaching means to them. Its impressive to me how much these high school teenagers can change our lives for the better. While we mold their minds and bodies. They in turn mold our minds and bodies.
Pete Raak UVMXC 2002 -
Pete coaches the Geneva Viking in Illinois. He has helped the head coach build a dominate program in a very competitive state.
-1st place women in state 2007 and 2008, 1st place midwest NXN 2008
-3rd place me in state 2008, 4th place midwest NXN 2008
Kent Taylor UVMXC 2003 -
Kent coaches the Norton Lancers in Massachusetts. He has had several athletes who made All State Scholastic Honorable Mention and one athlete who made All States.
Chris Van Cott UVMXC 2003 -
Chris coaches the Needham Rockets in Massachusetts. He took his boys 4x8 team to all states. They ran 8:16 to qualify. He coached one girl to a 5:13 mile and 11:12 two mile.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
It seems to just get better and better. My whim travel to Chicago lead me to South Bend In. Because of winter vacation, I had free run of Notre Dame University. I literally wandered the Edmund P. Joyce Athletic Center for an hour. I found my way to the Hall of Fame where they keep their trophies. Heisman Trophies in the same hall as a tribute to the late Ryan Shay. It was dark and silent. I felt I was in a Hall of Heroes. From behind me I heard the dull thud of a basketball. Interested, I went to investigate and found myself in the basketball arena with the starting point guards brother. It was a pretty impressive feeling to stand center court. And that was only the beginning of my day at Notre Dame. Walking the campus, seeing the church and the prayer grotto. It was an impressive experience.
I'm not sure if there is such a thing as perfection. But, a million small things can lead pretty close. I traveled west 5 hours on a whim to Chicago to see an x'team mate from UVM. My trip was long but had several fun points. I passed a group of college kids from Pa. and I think they enjoyed my air drum session. Upon arrival to Chicago, Pete made an excellent tour guide. We saw the Giant Silver Bean, The John Hancock Tower and Pizzaria Due. Our waitress accidentally spilled water on my pack and felt bad enough to give us a free dessert. I didn't really want the dessert but it did lead into an interesting conversion with a couple of ladies also visiting Chicago. Heather and Annie, a neice/aunt combo who will hopefully dust of their running shoes after meeting Pete an me. I had a good time in Aurora Il. and was lucky enough to watch the Geneva Vikings 2008 cross country video. Now that was truly PERFECT.
Links: Geneva Vikings XC
Friday, January 2, 2009
Life is good. My New Years Eve was excellent. I had a lot of fun in Alstead NH with some friends from home. Partied a little to much, but its best to start the new year out right. My trip to Albany went flawlessly and I arrived with plenty of time to spare, ready to face the arctic weather. The horn sounded and I started running. I moved up for several miles and felt great. Whoops! Mile 8 hit and I believe I experienced muscle failure. Lack of sleep, illness, no breakfast and the Hung Over Half Marathon caught up to me. I died. I couldn't make my legs move. So I walked in the -2 degree winds. Several friendly people gave me encouraging words. One participant even pulled me along for a mile or so. I finished 18 minutes off my goal pace in 1:45:33 in 57th place, but I finished. Thank you to the members of HMRRC for your encouragement! I then traveled to Adams NY and spent the night with my good friend Troy and his wife Ami. And Bob the dog, who loved to run laps around the couch. I am lucky to have experienced such kindness so early in my trip. I can only hope that the days to come will bring me such joy. I am spending the night in Cleveland Heights OH at my sisters apartment. Bummer, she has to work but I will be back after a quick 6 hour drive to Chicago to see an XUVMXC member tomorrow. Cheers to all, thank you for your support!
The Hudson-Mohawk Road Runners Club
It was the perfect storm. My life was ruling me. I was unhappy with who I was and needed some change. Winter, low gas prices, my need for adventure among other things lead me towards a pivotal decision in my life. I would choose to road trip around the country, running half marathons while fund raising for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. To make a contribution click here. My final three weeks after deciding to do this were crazy and chaotic. With the help of my family, friends, Father Rich O'Donnell and the Brattleboro Community this wild ride has actually begun.
St. Jude Heroes
St. Jude Heroes