May 29, 2004

Charlie's Challenge

My honor patient, Charlie Peters, is now also new celebrity around town! I saw pictures of him posted all over my local area Baker's grocery store in support of Charlie's Challenge to raise money for Children's Hospital. Customer's "round up" their charge at Bakers to the nearest dollar, and that change adds up to potentially $25,000-30,000. Please support "Charlie's Challenge" at your nearest Omaha Bakers!

Posted by bwiese at 01:39 AM | Comments (4)

May 16, 2004

Picnic, Mahoney Run, Pictures

The picnic today was a nice conclusion for my Team in Training (TNT) campaign. As a Team, it looks like we will have raised over $200,000 together for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - "the best season yet" they said. There are many athletes still training though, with the 100 mile bike ride around Lake Tahoe coming up next, along with the Anchorage Alaska and San Diego "Rock 'n Roll" marathons later this summer. It was actually very windy today out at Mahoney state park, and so I have some stories to share below about that, as well as: my run with Roscoe (my dog) at the park, pictures from the race and some other TNT info.

Windy Day
This was definately the windiest day I've seen yet this year, and being out in the middle of Mahoney State Park (in the middle of nowhere of course) on a hill probably didn't help. The little windblock we had from a few trees wasn't much, but that's what made it memorable! There was this kind lady, Angie, who sat at the same table I was, (and had been training for a marathon until recently getting a fracture in her leg) and she navigated carefully in her crutches with her food... then suddenly I saw something I've never seen before! Just as she placed her plate on the table, a strong burst of wind instantly tossed the plate into this other lady who was sitting across the table... but the plate was empty! The food had remained stationary -- and landed right on the table -- while the plate few out straight from underneath! Impressive.

There was a lot of aluminum cans and napkins flying around as well, so I helped pick them up a little (my good turn for the day). This wind also made running quite a challenge at times -- which just makes you stronger right?

Run With Roscoe
Roscoe woke me up this morning (as usual when I stay at my folks house in Plattsmouth) with his wining, a little barking, and poking me with his wet nose as I laid in bed. When I did get up, I put on some shorts and I think he immediately got the wrong impression... that we were going for a "r-u-n" (as we sometimes do in the morning), while actually I had to work around the yard all day and help my parents. He got a bit upset with me (to say the least) and acted all depressed lying on his pillow since we hadn't gone out for a run that morning. So as I'm eating lunch at noon - I just remembered about the TNT picnic, and thought it would be a good opportunity to take Roscoe out for a run around Mahoney State Park. After meeting some TNT people -- including my honor patient Charlie Peters and his father (who took off before I could get a picture) -- and Rosoe got done sniffing the other dogs that were there, went for our run.

Roscoe took off (but stayed close) as we ran around this little lake and made our own trail more or less -- this was mistake. Circling up towards the main lodge, I nearly stepped on one average-sized garder snake, and that was a scarry suprise! Later I ran on this board walk around a pond and waterfall (while Roscoe took a bath in it) and we ran up along side the horse stalls - again off of the concrete trails and in the grass instead. This time I nearly stepped on a 5 foot long snake who was nearly 1" wide in diameter! I don't know what kind it was, but it definately was not a garder snake, and it was a whole lot scarrier than the first. I decided to stay more-or-less on the road and trails after that. Roscoe of course didn't see it, he had also chased out 2 rabbits from some evergreens and missed those as well. (typical Roscoe)

TNT Bulletin Board
Today I was thinking again to myself that some kind of team collaboration would be nice, and instead of a mailing list -- perhaps a bulletin board would be a nice fit! Well, lo and behold, I find the Team in Training BB (in frame). Theres a lot of good discussion, and I even learned that the upcoming Nike Women's marathon is open to men as well -- I was wondering about that! I'd like to run this one in San Francisco, but I'll likely be in Norway (studying abroad) in October. =( I'll be running in Norway though for sure, hopefully they have some marathons there as well. =)

Lincoln Marathon Pictures
Yeah, I was geting so excitied to finally check out my pictures from the Lincoln half-marathon (results) on the action sports website... I was even running alone mostly out in the open so the photographers could get some good shots of me... I found none! I guess the photography was done by brightroom, as they did my Living History Farms 2003 race photos and that was nice (you can even search by last name from their site, and they have TONS of races, especially in San Francisco -- wish I ran there more last summer). I was looking forward to a finish line photo (I kicked it in for the last 200m), but alas, none. My parents couldn't keep up with me in the race, and many of the finish line shots by the photographers where terribly dark with the sun behind everyone's back (these are professional photographers?) There were many good shots though, and it takes skill for those action shots.

I did (waste an hour or so of my time) searching through all the pics, and found a couple shots, but nothing good. =( I found a couple pictures of my shoulder in with Mike's pics around the last mile or so (and me dying). Mike and I finished at nearly the exact same time, yet the results showed him ahead of me... I don't understand this. I found a few other Nebraska TNT runners pics though, and Steph had a nice one, I saw her at the picnic today (but was the only one I recognized there from the photos). I met Melissa briefly before the race. They did get my friend Jerry Hoeshen at the finish line, several shots of John How, and my marathon-running high school cross country coach Todd Nott... but thats all for the people I know (I think). [odd note: coach Nott's race number "477" is the same number of my old Boy Scout Troop in Plattsmouth (I'm an Eagle Scout!)]

TNT Personal Website
If you are participating in Team in Training, and like the format of this web log (blog) I've been using to journal my training and progress... please let me know and I will gladly help set you up on the right path to do the same thing. There are a few free blog sites out there, or get your own domain, setup the DNS, host your own site or find a blogging server, and choose from a variety of blogging software, such as: wordpress, b2evolution, blosxom, easymoblog, moveable type, cafelog/b2, simple phpblog, bblog, serendipity or any number of others... search sourceforge to find a few more. I find it very useful to add updates to my site from any browser I happen to be at.

Thats it -- I think... talk to you all later on another blog, or my main site (whenever that gets back up and running).

Brian

Posted by bwiese at 11:38 PM | Comments (2)

May 11, 2004

TNT Send-Off & Victory Party

On Sunday, May 16, 2004 our Team in Training chapter will host a Send-Off and Victory Party for those team members still preparing for their marathons this summer, as well as to conclude those of us who finished our campaign with the Lincoln half and full marathon. The celebration is from 1:00-3:00pm at Mahoney State Park in the Lakeview Picnic Shelter, 28500 W Park Hwy - Ashland, NE. (402.944.2523). I just rsvp'd so you should see me there.

Posted by bwiese at 08:07 AM | Comments (1)

May 06, 2004

My Cancer Story

They say later is better than never at all... so now that I have most of my finals out of the way, I figured it would be a good time to tell my story with Cancer and why the Team in Training (TNT) event has been so personal and rewarding for me. If you're up for a longer story and just interested in a little piece of my life, please continue on reading. I'd love to hear your comments as well.

My ordeal with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma begins back in Janaury of 1999, when I was just a junior in High School...

(reader beware: the following content does get a bit graphic)

I attended Plattsmouth High School in Plattsmouth, NE as a student of the class of 2000. I particpated in cross country (XC) and soccer in high school and lettered (varsity ranked) all four years, but nontraditionally in my junior and senior years. There's a good reason for that though, as on January 25, 1999 I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (a blood-related cancer of the lymph nodes), and so began an ordeal that would change my life forever.

Indicators Leading Up
Just to jump back about a week or so before this time, I think it's important to mention that I started having severe flashes of pain in my right leg. The pain felt like "fire running through my veins" up and down my right leg. and would perhaps last for 5-10 seconds, and then disappear again. This lasted for about two weeks before I realized what was causing it.

Then on around Thursday January 21st, I started being unable to hold down the food I was eating. I would try eating smaller and smaller amounts of food without vomiting, but that didn't help. No matter what small amount of food I tried to eat, in just a few hours later it would be coming back up. I thought I was just somehow sick and began sleeping more during the day, almost going into a kind of "hibernation" mode to conserve energy. With no improvement seen over the weekend, we visited my family doctor first thing Monday morning, on January 25th.

I had seen the same doctor just a few days earlier about the pain in my leg, but we had not found a cure for that, even though we did remove a suspecious cyst from my calf. Now that I was having trouble eating though and had some side/abdominal pains as well, an X-ray of the abdomen was recommended. The X-ray showed a large mass (about the size of a grapefruit) in my lower right abdomen/pelvic region. The doctor called this a "tumor" and we were on our way to Midlands hospital to get it looked at further. I thought to myself, "Ok - it's a tumor, thats good - it's no big deal. People must get tumors all the time and it shouldn't be a problem to just remove it so that I can get back eating, school and enjoying everything else."

It would turn out that this tumor was also the reason behind the "fire in my veins" pain. The tumor was pinching on my sciatic nerve running down my right leg, so as these nerves were dying out and the electrical signals firing, I could feel it.

Investigation of the "Tumor"
One thing they could tell right away, was that this tumor was "engulfing" my small intestines and preventing me from passing food through. This unique condition made me a prime candiate for another unique experience - enemas. These were conducted with the aid of another X-ray machine and a contrast fluid to see just where the blockage was. I had X-rays taken probably almost every day for my first couple weeks in the hospital. I remember thinking that, "I must be pretty radioactive by now."

So one of the next things they wanted to do of course was "learn more" about this tumor, and that would involve taking a biopsy. I went under a short surgery (it was just a nap for me) as doctors opened me up to grab a piece of the tumor to be sent off to some medical labs for identification and processing purposes. Since it would take several days to get results back from the lab, I just waited it out there in the hospital for a few days and hoped for signs of improvement. I had a couple good friends from high school come visit me in this time and really appreciated that, even though I was sleeping quite a lot and not feeling so well, and actually told people 'not' to come see me. I didn't want my friends to see quite the sad shape I had become in, and didn't want them to think of me as such a sick, weak, and tired person in pain. During this time, I was being fed lipids and vitamins via an IV and was able to walk around the hall a little bit with all my IV bags. (I think I was a little proud of this fact, not of walking around, but by showing off how many more IV bags I was on than everyone else.)

The unique thing was that they were never able to fully classify my tumor into the exact kind of cancer it was (based upon the cells), but it was definately malignant (cancerous) and non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

The Decision
When the word finally came back that this tumor was not just "a tumor" - but cancer - I think my family and I were all pretty shocked. It was something I had never even considered before, and in my prior perfect health (I didn't smoke/drink, ate healthy, ran XC and played soccer, wore sunscreen) I couldn't figure out immediately "how/why could this happen to me?" This wasn't the most disturbing fact at the moment though. I hadn't eaten anything (besides ice) for nearly 2 weeks now, and my oncology doctor wanted to perform an ileostomy (colostomy is for large intestines, illeostomy for small intestines) which would reroute my small intestine out of my abdomen so that I might start passing food again. This idea sounded even worse than the cancer for me at the moment! I didn't want to be a "freak" and carry my feces in a bag around my waist. I remember crying about it, and pleading that "we don't need to do that" and maybe perhaps with some initial chemotherapy the tumor might release its hold on my bowels and I could pass food normallly again without this operation? That wasn't likely though, and even more risky. Luckily I had the support and sanity of my parents to convince me that this was the best option to pursue and hopefully I could start eating again right afterwards!

The act of eating - chewing and tasting something in my mouth, swallowing and feeling the satisfaction - was something I had missed greatly over 2 weeks. Sitting in a hospital bed and watching TV (since there is not much else one can do) I realized just how many commercials there are for "food" in our society. I took a list of everything I saw on TV that I wanted to eat afterwards -- as soon as I got out of this operation. I actually wouldn't begin eating solid foods for a couple more weeks after the surgery though - I think they left this detail out when I was deciding to have the ileostomy surgery.

SPAM was even on my "to eat" list, because I had never even tried it before, and everything just looked so good when I was sick! (I later recovered sanity though, and still have not tried SPAM yet - for better or worse.)

My family and I prayed for strength, hope, a succesful operation and full recovery just before the surgery, and this helped a lot. It helped me accept the things that had to be done, and release my worries to God and place my faith in Him, who wouldn't give us anything in life we could not handle. "Oh Lord, give me the courage to change the things I can, the strength to accept what I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference."

After Surgery
With the ileostomy in place, I was transported that very night after surgery from Midlands to Bergan Mercy Hostpital in Omaha. I remember the ambulance ride and being very talkative. We finally got to my new room and I slept well for the night, I had gotten through the operation successfully, and would have to figure out what all happened the next morning.

My Name... is Neo
I woke up without any pain at all, and it took me a moment to comprehend what had all happened and where I was. Though I hadn't seen the movie The Matrix yet, waking up in this hospital bed I felt perhaps much the same way Neo did after he awoke in the machine world after taking the red pill. (The original movie had a deep impact on me when I first saw it - because I was the hacker-type, and also becuase I happened to identify and understand it so well from my own life experiences.) I had been cut up through my abs and had a huge bandage there to cover the developing scar, I had an ileostomy bag with the stub of my small intestine (stoma) sticking out of my abdomen, I had a nasogastric (NG) tube running through my nose, down my thoat and into my stomach to drain fluids (which I feared of choking on in the middle of the night), as well as a port and a groshong on my left shoulder and chest respectively that serve as semi-permanent IV tubes. (I often refered later to friends and strangers alike that my "port" was actually an alien implant. It sure looked like one.) Later on, when it was time to remove the port, I almost didn't want to. It was a part of who I had been for the past 2 years, and my doctor said that the body literally had "engulfed" the object as part of itself, so it took a little digging to get it out.

Just like Neo, I woke up in a body and world I did not recognize as my own, but I would soon learn to accept this harsh reality as it became a part of who I was, and who I was to become.

Best Compliment of My Life
I discovered pain whenever I tried to move my body around -- any motion that would involve the use of my abs. The surgeon had cut from my belly button down for about 4.5" right through the middle of my abs. I had been running cross country (XC) in high school just months before and had some pretty tight abs. This is where I received perhaps my most favorite compliment of my life: The surgeon said, 'I am so used to performing this operation on much older people, with more fat and less muscle than you. When I tried to cut through your abs, I had to get both hands on the scissors just to do it!' This only made me laugh, which gave me great pain in my abs of course. It was overall a good feeling though, and I appreciated the compliment.

The Pain and Joy of Laughter
I honestly begged people around me not to make me laugh, because it hurt so darn much. If you hang around with someone who is a real jokester, and makes you laugh constantly -- you may beg them to stop, because your gut is just getting sore from laughing so much. Try thinking about this, with your abs just being cut open 24 hours or days before as the muscle fibers are trying to heal and reattach... and then "laughing your guts out" has a whole new meaning. I remember the Jost family even brought over the movie Something About Mary later to watch, and it was a great feeling to watch a movie and escape mentally from being sick and stuck in a hospital, but though watching it was physically painful from the laughter, the inner joy it brought was much needed.

Deep down there was another pain being relieved by the laughter, an inner burden in my spirit that felt uplifted with: every friend I saw come visit me, every smile I received from nurses, doctors, family and friends, every get-well card I received (so many my Dad filled the hospital room walls with them) or flowers even, and every laugh someone would bring to my heart.

I feel the body can endure extreme amounts of physical pain, much more than most people will ever have to experience -- but to suffer pains of the heart and spirit, to loose hope, I feel these pains (that often no one else can see) can be the most damaging. We as humans are so much more than just flesh and blood, we need more in life than just bread and water to survive, we need hope, we need love... and I would pray that this need, more than any others, are met by those in great suffering, especially in suffering from diseases like cancer. To take a quote from the movie The Shawshank Redemption, "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies." I give great thanks to the goodness of humanity for helping me to heal and recover in my time of need, and encourage everyone to be kind to one another and smilie. There's so many great insights to life one can realize when going through an ordeal such as I have, and I'll probably have to dedicate a section of stories just to cover them all - lest I forget, and the strength of their meanings tends to fade with time. One more quote I often encourage others to consider is by Mother Theresa, "Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."

What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger
There's of course some truth in this, or else people wouldn't say it. Going through some of the constant pain I endured while on the chemotherapy, while already having a fairly high threshold for pain I would say, only made me feel that if I can go through this -- I can go through anything! Lance Armstrong at this time was winning his first Tour de France, and was a big inspiration. He of course had testicular cancer that even spread to his brain, and now he has won several consecutive Tour de France races as a cancer survivor. I felt I would be able to do the same. I could train harder now after knowing what the pain of chemotherapy is like, I could push myself harder than ever before -- if only I could run. I couldn't even keep my balance on my right foot alone, and what had once been a pair of well-defined calves from running cross country -- now was only one, with a flesh-and-bone counterpart that looked sadly out of place. After loosing some touch with, understanding, and appreciating my threshold for pain and perseverance -- I now think I could train hard, but the mental road-block has returned in just how hard I want to "push" myself. I admire and respect those who push and define their own limits, those are true champions and leaders, no matter what subject of interest.

Road to Recovery - Summary
I would spend a full month in the hospital, and go through approximately 3 months of chemotherapy with the drug methotrexate, and got my ileostomy reversed after 6 months. For my sophomre year of high school, I had received an award for perfect attendance, while in my junior year I would miss over 50 days of school. My teachers were very flexible and understanding of my situation of course, with the chemotherapy taking 3 week intervals (1 week of health, 1 week treatment, 1 week of recovery). I still missed a lot of school, but was able to complete all my major core assignments for each of my classes. I even tried to keep up with my Spanish 3 class by reading all the medical pamplets en espanol on my floor in the hospital. I created my Pi Day (March 13th, 1999) video presentation for my Pre-Calc class as a parody of the recent movie Pi with a twist on the Y2-Pi bug in computers (instead of Y2K), and included scenes in my video from the hospital with my nurse Jolene, my mother, and myself.

I also missed out on visiting my little-PAL, a kindergarten student I was mentoring at the time, because of my hospital stays. I was a little heart broken in not being able to join the trip to the zoo with the PAL program, but it was a for the best, because my white blood counts were so low I would have likely been in serious condition if I even contacted someone with a cold.

The Hair Story
My hair of course all fell out from the chemotherapy - all over my body. I felt like I was 10 years old again at times. =) The chemo attacks all fast growing cells, just like cancer, but in effect also takes your hair. In all honesty though, I looked pretty sharp being bald, and got a few compliments like, "at least you know you'll look good if you go bald when you get older". My brother and father both shaved their own heads in a sign of family support for me being bald. This reminded me of a olympic U.S. volleyball team that did the same when one of their teamates was bald recovering from chemotherapy as well. I was able to attend a few soccer games as manager though, and when it started to rain... boy is that rain cold on a bald head!

What was incredibly awesome though, was how my hair grew back! Now, I had heard stories of people's hair coming back in different colors and textures even, but it was amazing how my "new" hair was just soft as - if not softer than - a new born baby's hair! It was also very blond and a bit curly, though unfortunately I don't have any pictures available to prove this. =( It was really really soft and thin, and I got a few ladies who liked to touch it, and prefered it to the baldness of course. (See: theres a positive side to everything!)

My Nike Running Hat
My XC coach Todd Nott also brought a heart warming gift of a get-well poster signed by members of our XC team, as well as a black "Nike Running" hat to me while I was in the hospital. The hat definately kept my head warm, but at first I wasn't quite as impressed. I knew my coach ment well and I appreciated the gesture; but I didn't want to "hide" my baldness, already had plenty of hats, and really didn't know if I would ever even be able to run again. This all changed of course. This hat now has become VERY sentimental to me, and I wear it all the time now (though it is showing its wear). I was also very glad to finally show it off to coach Nott as I ran into him just before THIS race on May 2, 2004 - my first 1/2 marathon, while he was off to run the full.

Five years earlier I would have never even imagined running a 1/2 marathon - I would have just hoped to be able to "run" again. This reunion though, of coach and runner, was something I'd been waiting for, and I felt glad to finally show him how much I cared: for the support, for the hat, and for teaching me "how to run" -- a life-long hobby I'll always embrace.

Why I Run
One thing about running has stayed with me, and it was something coach Nott said to us once while we (the team) were running speed workouts in the park - and all of us were running our hearts out to near exhaustion over several hills. He said that we should, 'run as fast as well can. run for those who cannot run. save nothing, give it your all'. Now, at that moment when I first heard this (before my cancer), as my body is ready to just roll over and collapse from running so hard and I don't think I can go on... the words didn't mean much to me. I figured that those in wheel chairs or anyone else who cannot run must surely have at least gotten used to it, and what benefit would they get out of seeing me run? Well, now that I've been on the other side of that line - being able to and unable to run at times - I see the meaning now. As the Shriners motto goes, "Strong legs run so that weak legs may walk", and long distance champion Steve Prefontaine said, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift." I would feel the same way, about anyone who has the ability to run, and doesn't use that gift to glorify God with their abilities, or doesn't make use of the gift when so many others could only wish to walk, let alone run. Don't waste your gifts, use them, and use them for the benefit of others. As you can well imagine, having this renewed ability to run again... after being without it for only a couple years, leaves me both very humble and thankful.

Thanks for reading along some pieces in the life of my "cancer story". There are many more little stories and details I would like to share, and perhaps will online, but feel free to ask me yourself and I'd be glad to talk about it... as well as listen to any stories and comments you might wish to share.
- Brian

Posted by bwiese at 04:05 AM | Comments (5)

May 03, 2004

Half-marathon Success!

I did it! Well, we did it more accurately! I ran the Lincoln 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles) nonstop in just 1:33 and raised over $2,700 -- I think that's pretty good for my first time! And yes, it's a good feeling. I finally got to meetup with the rest of my "Team in Training" the morning of the race, and even ran along side some of them during the run. I think I may actually have finished among the top runners in our "Team"!? The race was just fantastic though, from the nice cool weather, to the supportive fans and TNT supporters in the crowds, and especially the booming motivational tunes along the way - it was all very motivating, and kept me smiling.

I also luckily ran into my old cross country coach Todd Nott before the race (he was doing the full), Anne Medeiros (ran with us in H.S.) at the starting line, found Jerry Hoeschen (my running buddy) right after the race and an old H.S. soccer friend John How who also ran the half. My own parents luckily came along to take a few pictures and support me, and they ran into Marion Berg (my friend's mom) out there running the race as well.

I have a lot to talk about, so please keep reading...

Team Meetup
First of all, we left Plattsmouth around 4:45 to get to the Cornhusker Hotel by 5:45am (got there right on the dot) to meet up with the rest of the Omaha, NE chapter of "Team in Training". That was really a joy, to finally see some of my fellow "team mates" who have been training and fundraising just as much if not more than me over these past couple months. We had a little sea of purple in the lobby area, until we all walked over to the UNL field house at 6:00am, the race would start at 7:00am.

I realized then that I didn't quite pack enough, I was just a little colder than comfortable walking over to the UNL campus. My legs were fine (leg tights, shorts, sweats) but I only had a couple T-shirts on my upper body and forgot my 1st thing - my zippered sweat shirt - in my truck in Plattsmouth. It was fairly chilly out, I think around in the 50s (fahrenheit), but I was ok really. I actually ended up leaving behind all my shirts before the race, either it got warmer outside or my heart and adrenaline were just pumping to get running!

Pre-Race
Before the race though, I chatted with the Help Desk for a bit to get a new racing number! Yeah, unfortunately I forgot that too back in Plattsmouth, 1 hour drive away, and less than 1hr till the race start now. They kindly changed my number to 5329 though from 4835. My good friend Jerry Hoeschen even picked up my race packet for me the day before, then I just forgot it on the couch at home. =( But I was able to run now for sure, and get my time recorded.

So I stretched out just a little bit in the fieldhouse and got to meet some of my Team mates Melissa and Heather just briefly. I wish I could have chatted and stretched more, but it was like 20min till race time and I still needed to get into the pre-race bathroom line. I got some stretching in waiting in line though, and made it out to the starting line well before the race started (a few minutes at least).

I still regret not being more involved with "the team" during the whole training time up before our race, it would have been nice to know more of them just a little better and share the experience with someone. Unfortunately, all the team meetings were during one of my evening classes, and I passed up on the spaghetti feed the night before trying to prepare for finals. (Which I should be doing more of now!) Next time I'll definately stay in the hotel with the rest of the team, I was just hoping to save TNT some extra money for the patients -- but the rooms are like quad occupancy, so it would have been cheap anyways, and well worth it for the team commodarity. (just don't do this again right before finals week!)

The Race
I situated myself between the 7:00 and 8:00 minute signs, and was looking for Jerry, but never found him. This is where I did run into Anne though, which was a pleasant suprise. The army national guard had a cannon-fire start, and that got me pumped -- I was off! I took the average crowd pace and worked my way up the left side for a picture - though my dad lost me in the crowd. =( I only did end up getting a few good pictures, basically only when I was stationary. Oh well, something is better than nothing.

Well, the race was pretty long, 1 hour and 1/2, but I said hello to a lot of people along the way, and many were just sitting outside their houses in the sidewalks cheering us on. One couple said, "You're the show of the day" referring to the marathon. Another interesting quote was a lady pulling out of her alley only to exclaim, "Oh my ! There's a marathon in the way!" (something similiar). The police had many intersections closed off for us and I just tried to find a nice steady pace, where I was not being passed nor passing anyone too much. I don't really have a good feel for my 1/2 marathon pace, so I just winged it, and it worked.

I also did not know that Lincoln had any hills, but it was nice to find a few inclines and declines along the course to spice things up a bit. I relaxed again trying to fall on the downhills (like in cross country) and pumped my arms good to pull myself up the hills, usually passing a few people along the way. Running those 16miles with Jerry last week really helped though, as I'd run past the 8 mile mark and think I'm only half-way there, but really I only had 5 miles left! Theres definately some mental strength in having run longer distances in the past, and knowing you can do it.

Injuries
After about the first 2 miles, I starting getting some minor side aches and shoulder pinches, as a sign of not warming up enough. My side aches worked themselves out, but the shoulder pinch came back around mile 9 and 10. My right inner arch started bothering me again about half-way through the race, but I just ran through it. I tried to run as lightly on my heals as possible to absorb the pressure of running on concrete and that helped slightly. This long distance road run though was just a bit much for me, my knees and body still feels like it's trying to recover tonight yet.

Near the Finish
There was one TNT runner just ahead of me (and behind me for moments) from about the 8 mile mark till the finish. I think his name was Rich, but I'm not sure Mike, and I'm sure now. We kinda pulled each other along those last 2 miles in particular, as we both picked up the pace to finish strong. I had been running hard the last 1.5 miles, but got a little distraught when I couldn't "see" the finish. When I finally turned the last corner for the remaining 200 yards or so, I put in a heart-pumping finishing sprint, and finished right along side Mike.

I picked up some treats then and received my 13.1 mile Team in Training pin which was very cool. I meet Jon Howe (1:35) shortly after this and Jerry Hoeschen (1:37) just behind him. I thought I was standing around longer, but it must have only been about 5 minutes then since I finished. After that, it was basically just time to say good bye and head home for some group meetings and study for finals! And that's what I've got to do now, and get some rest. =)

Thanks for all the support! (and reading this much, lol!)

Brian

Posted by bwiese at 03:21 AM | Comments (3)

May 01, 2004

Race Tomorrow!

I can't believe it, the time has finally come! I run tomorrow at 7am in Lincoln for my first half-marathon! I've been stuck doing homework and fixing misc things today, but I'm heading back home to Plattsmouth now to get some dinner, sleep, and get up early in the morning for a 5am drive to Lincoln. The Team in Training group is meeting up to start the race together. More reports after the race!

Posted by bwiese at 09:09 PM | Comments (1)