Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One of my running heroes

I figured that since I had both a picture *and* a story for today's post, it would be good cross-post fodder, so I put this on my photo blog also.

Last Sunday, my friend Roger and I went to the opening of a Road Runner Sports store nearby. We went not only to check out the store, but to meet one of my running heroes who happened to be doing an appearance there that day. His name is John Bingham, but if you're into running or read Runners' World, you might know him as "The Penguin."He came to running late in life, but since has completed 40 marathons and hundreds of 5K and 10K races. He also wrote a book on marathon training for non-runners, and another on how to start running--how to train, how to work it into your schedule, etc. He's also the man responsible for one of my favorite quotes for runners training for their first race: "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." It definitely made me feel not quite so bad about my failed marathon attempts...the hard work, and the accomplishment, is just as much in the training as it is in the race itself.

Anyway...there wasn't much of a crowd there, so we stood and talked with John and his wife for probably 15-20 minutes. John's company organizes and manages the Chicago Distance Classic half marathon, so he was handing out and signing technical t-shirts (synthetic fabric, they carry the sweat away from your body--VERY good shirt to do training runs in!). John is a very personable and engaging guy with a big smile and words of encouragement for runners of any level.

One last kinda funny thing--John's wife was nice enough to take this picture of the three of us with my camera phone. She then took another shot with her camera--so the same picture showed up on his blog Monday. Hey, wow, I'm famous now!

More later...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Hey y'all. I got an email yesterday (edited version, below) after my post about training for the 2008 Chicago Marathon. Dana found my site kind of out of the blue, and reached out to me to spread the word. I normally wouldn't promote a fund raiser (unless, of course, I was a participant!), but this one was different. Since it benefits our servicemen and women who protect and defend our country, I thought this was worth passing on. You'll have to evaluate this for yourself: I don't know Dana and make no endorsements of her or of the team she's running for--but it's worth checking out.

My name is Dana Anello White, and I am a military spouse...My husband, MAJ
Paul White, has served two tours in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On October 26th, 2008, I will run 26.2 miles across the streets of Washington,
DC as part of Team Fisher House in the 33rd Annual Marine Corps Marathon. As
part of this mission, I will raise money and awareness for The Fisher House
Foundation, a unique private-public partnership that supports America's military
in a time of need (often times following combat-related injuries in the war

Here's a great You Tube Video about The Fisher House Foundation:

As you can imagine, a long-term stay in a military hospital, sometimes
thousands of miles from home, could mean expensive lodging and long separations
from loved ones. The Fisher House Foundation donates "comfort homes" in various
places across the country so that our military families can be together during
extended treatment for serious injury or lengthy physical and/or occupation
therapy...Currently, there are 38 Fisher Houses operating at 18 military bases
and nine Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers throughout the nation
and overseas in Germany.

My website can be found here:

I thank you in advance for your support and feel free to pass this
information along to others who might want to support this worthy cause...If you
have any questions, I can be reached via email at:

So, check it out--and you runners, consider helping a fellow runner!

More later...

Friday, July 18, 2008

I totally forgot to tell you...

So yesterday I mentioned I might post twice...obviously, I didn't. I thought about it as I was drifting off to sleep and was going to get up and write something, but I figured it didn't make that much difference. Plus, I was tired. :-)

Anyway, so what I was going to post about...I totally forgot to tell all y'all that I'm in training for a marathon. Again. If you're new to the blog, let me just tell you this will be the 4th time I've started marathon training in the past 3 years. My history:

  • 2006, trained for the Chicago Marathon. Dropped out in week 12 because of an injury.
  • 2007, trained for the Chicago Marathon again. Started, but stopped when they closed the course after 4 hours (I was at mile 16).
  • 2007/08, trained for the St. Louis Marathon. 2 weeks before the marathon I came down with pneumonia and had to drop out.

Needless to say, I'm feeling less-than-100% confident that I can make it through the actual marathon itself. Now the good news this year is that Chicago is a bit later in the month, I won't be travelling the week before the race, and I've got 3 years of long-distance training under my belt.

I'm sort of tracking to Hal Higdon's novice training plan but am not as strict about it as I've been in past years. Part of it is that training started while we were on vacation, and part of it is I've got lots of other things going on and my time to devote to running is limited this year. Still, I can get enough training under my belt to finish, provided the weather is more cooperative than last year!

Last year I posted training updates on my now-defunct (but still on the web) blog, Runs With Perseverance. I haven't decided whether it's coming back to life or not. I'm leaning against it at this point...again, too many work/life things to get done, and keeping jtj3 plus my photo blog active is about all I can manage. But we'll see.

Wish me luck on the training! More later...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Returning the favor - a shoutout

A couple days ago, my blog friend Sue gave me a nice shout-out the other day, calling me one of the photogs she adores. I'm blushing! For the record, Sue is also a great photographer...she's got a good sense of composition/design, and can make art out of just about anything.

So, today is my turn to give her a shoutout. In her latest post, she talks about how one of her photos got used in an online article on Excellent! This is the first of many published photos for Sue, I'm sure. Oh, and in a shameless shill for her...her work is also featured for sale on

Stop by her photo site and take a look--she does really good stuff.

I'd intended to post on something else look for another post from me later today...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What would you do if you had 30 days left?

"...and I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter
and I gave forgiveness I'd been denying
and he said 'Someday I hope you get the chance
to live like you were dying...'" - Tim McGraw, Live Like You Were Dying

Let me start this post by saying I'm NOT trying to tell you guys anything--as far as I know I'm healthy as a horse and have MANY more days to live!

The reason I bring this up, though...Mrs jtj3 and I started of a book called "One Month to Live" with some friends in our neighborhood last night. The main question behind the study is this: how would you live your life differently if you only had a month?

It's been making me think--a lot--since last night. By coincidence (are you listening, Snow???), I had two fairly major decisions to make today. Finally I asked myself "How would I decide on 'a' and 'b' if I had 30 days to live?" It was amazing the clarity that question brings.

Which leads me to ask all of you, gentle readers--have you ever thought about what you would do? What would you do differently, or stop doing, or start doing, or do more of? Who would you call, write, or talk to? Would you travel more, or less?

There's no right or wrong answer--just what works for you. I can tell you, though, some of the things I'd do:

  • Fulfill my life goal of visiting 50 countries and all 50 U.S. states
  • Spend more time outside experiencing nature
  • Tell all my friends how much I love them (that includes you guys--so "Love you all!")
  • Not sweat the small stuff, and not get so easily offended at perceived slights or digs
  • Run--no, wait, FINISH--a marathon
  • Pray more
  • Read the Bible more

That's just the "off the top of my head" list, which I'm sure I will refine the list as I go along. Even though I'm not (again, as far as I know) at the end of my life, this is a good exercise to help me focus on the most important things.

By the way--there's a website to accompany the book, and it's at The book and web site are written from a Christian perspective and have Bible references...however, the principles really apply to those of all faiths, or those with none.

More later...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Nothin' better to do today...

So I thought I'd do a meme! I stole this from my very good blogging pal KathleenyBeany. Truth be told I think Penelope did it also and I intended to take it from her, I, never got around to it. Then again, I got inspiration from KB and from Penelope, so they both get the credit. So without further ado, here it is...

Accent: None. Which is surprising, because I grew up in a small town where almost everyone has a Southern accent, and my mom and dad both came from the south and had an ever-so-slight twang when I was growing up.

Breakfast or no breakfast: Breakfast, of's the most important meal of the day!

Chore I don’t care for: I don't love any of them, but I guess I don't mind them too much either...

Dog or cat: Cats. We have 2, and I think they have way more personality than dogs do.

Essential Electronics: Oh, gosh...I could go on and on. Let's see...Blackberry, iPod (both the regular one and a nano), Dell laptop computer, digital cameras (2 DSLRs and 1 point and shoot--yes, I have a problem...),, that's it for now I guess.

Favorite Cologne: Glacier Bay men's fragrance by Bath & Body Works (OMG do I sound like a metrosexual now?).

Gold or Silver: Gold, I guess.

Handbag I carry most often: Real men do not carry bags! :-)

Insomnia: Once in a while, but not more than one night in a row which I guess is good.

Job Title: Director, Customer Support.

Kids: 2 legged kids, none. 4 legged kids, 2 of ' Bella (just a year old) and Tigger (12 years).

Living Arrangements: "Our house/is a very very very fine house/with two cats in the yard/life used to be so hard/now everything is easy 'cause of you" (Our House, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young).

Most Admirable Trait: Well...I'll let y'all decide. Those who read this know me pretty well, I what do you like about me? Add a comment, let me know (of course I will return the favor).

Overnight hospital stays: Two--one when I was 7 for pneumonia, one about 15 years ago for surgery on a torn ACL.

Phobias: Many, but I don't let them stop me (which ties into my quote, below).

Quote: I love quotes. I collect them, and read them at least every week or two for inspiration. I've been thinking a lot about my phobias (see above), fears, and insecurities, and the quote that inspires me the most right now is this: “Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway.” - John Wayne.

Reason to smile: My friends (that includes all of you!), my life, my job, running, freedom, good jokes, pleasant memories, a nice cup of coffee--basically, just about anything.

Siblings: One brother, one sister...I'm the youngest.

Time I wake up: Usually around 6AM, so I can get an early run in before work.

Unusual Talent or Skill: I'm-hay uent-flay in-hay ig-Pay atin-Lay. I-hay an-cay eak-spay it-hay ike-lay a-hay econd-say anguage-lay.

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: Hm...several I haven't tried, and that don't really appeal (Mrs jtj3 always says "beets taste like dirt", and I'm kinda inclined to take her word for it), but I guess I'd try any veggie at least once.

Worst Habit: Trying to please all the people all the time.

X-rays: Had 'em. Beany is right--this is a lame question, but I guess the choice of words starting with "x" is a little limited...

Yummy Stuff: Let's see...dark chocolate, peanut butter, Concord grapes, pluots, steak, pasta, and goat cheese. Wow, I need to go get something to eat now--this is making me hungry!

Zoo Animal I Like Most: Hm, never thought about it much. Uh, some kind of bird, I guess...

One last question since the xray question was so lame — what do you think of the person you got this meme from? Beany is an absolute sweetheart. I found her blog through our mutual friend Sue, and Beany has become a dear friend to me. She's very warm, outgoing, kind, supportive, and friendly. She's got a very deep faith, and she just gives off this vibe of being a very humble person who is grateful for everything God gives her. She's awesome. :-)

That's it for now...more later.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back home...

Made it home safe and sound last night (more like 2AM this morning!) from our Alaska trip. The word for those two weeks was "Wow!" Everything was just...WOW. The mountains, the wildlife, the scenery, the people, the...everything.

My pal Kathleen is an Alaskan, and I got a little taste of the heaven she lives in. Heaven, that is, during the summer--during the winter, not so much. I got the idea it'd be WAAAAAAAY too cold for me up there, so I'm happy to visit but wouldn't want to live there.

I was struck, over and over again, by a sense of amazement and wonder at all of the natural beauty God created. I tend to feel God's presence most strongly when I'm surrounded by nature, and I practically overdosed on it the past couple weeks!

Oh, and photos? I'm not kidding y'all, I took easily 200 pix a day. Now, some of those I tossed out, but I'm going through and editing others. I've already posted some of my shots on Picasa, and this one went on my photo blog today.

More (possibly stories, but definitely photos!) later...

Friday, June 20, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation...

I mentioned in my last post I was going to be gone on vacation for a while, but didn't say where we were going. Well...we're in the middle of a vacation in Alaska--5 days on land, then 7 days on a cruise ship. We've been talking about doing this for a few years, and we decided to just make it happen. We both really like to travel for fun, and so we make it a priority to take one really cool trip every year or so.

Yesterday we spent the entire day inside Denali National Park. I took a ton of pictures, and the ones below were a couple of my favorites. I posted this to my photoblog also, but I thought I'd go ahead and cross-post it here.

We saw this yearling caribou toward the end of our trip. It caught everyone by surprise--it wasn't more than 100 yards from our bus. Quite a rare sighting, from what I hear. I still need to process lots and lots of pictures but I thought this would be a nice sampler.

Tomorrow we're headed to the cruise ship to go south from Anchorage. There will be lots more stories, pictures, more later...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Finally, something interesting!!!

Oh, and not just one interesting thing today but TWO things. WHOOHOO! Life has been work-school-eat-sleep for a few weeks, with a little travel thrown in, so there's not been much to write about. Shameless self-cross-promotion...I was able to work in an afternoon shooting around San Francisco (pictures, not bullets...) and I posted some of my favorite shots from that trip on my photo blog.

Interesting thing #1 - got to go to a book signing last night. One of my favorite authors is Lee Child, who's written a series of 12 books (so far) about a drifter, ex-military, loner, tough-guy named Jack Reacher. Interesting factoid--according to sources, Child's books sell at the rate of one per second. CHA-CHING! Anyway, his latest novel, Nothing To Lose, was just released so he's touring the world to promote it. He's a very engaging speaker and took lots of questions (including 2 from me). I went with a good friend of mine--the friend who turned me on to Child's books a few years ago. We both had a great time last night, and I can't wait to dive into the book. I got a couple of decent pictures, also...

Interesting thing #2: I was poking around on a couple friend's blogs, and found this hysterical photo essay from Sue's blog: The Top 25 Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians. Just wait until you get to the last one on the list. I about died laughing.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'm off on yet another business trip, and then on vacation for 2 weeks (double YAY!). I'm still trying to work out how, when, and whether I will post while I'm gone. Worst case, I'll see you in a couple weeks...

More later...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thank you!!! Thank you all!!!!!

Editorial note...AAAACK! I wrote this post a couple weeks ago--I *swear* I did...but it ended up as a draft. Yeah, right, you're thinking...the 21st century version of "The dog ate my homework!!!" Whatever. But here it is...

Boys and girls I got an award today!!!

My good pal Sue gave me this award...she was, in turn, given it by our mutual blog friend Penelope. Wow, I'm touched and honored! In the immortal words of Sally Field..."You love me! You really love me!"
So who do I "love this much?" Hm, let's see...Snowelf, Rick, Sue (back), Penelope (looping back), Christine, Daniel, and, of course, "my" Kathleenybeany. :-)
You are all entertain me, make me laugh, and give me something to look forward to. Thanks.
More later...