Wednesday, May 29, 2013

People Worthy of Post-Apocalyptic Alliance

A couple of months ago, I came across a group of Twitter dads and moms, many of which operate and contribute to, DadsRT, for short.

As some of you may also know, I've been in "training" for a marathon I'm running in early 2014. It's been great and I'm more psyched (I know, the use of "psyched" shows my age) now than I've ever been, despite a knee injury that has kept me off the road for two weeks now. 

When the injury happened, I immediately began thinking I was going to need surgery, out for months, the race is off, and so on. Turns out, none of those appear to be the case and I'll be running again very soon. 

I didn't know I needed any encouragement until I began receiving it. The DadsRT folks immediately began coming through. Let me share just a few of the tweets I've received, pre- and post-injury:

Those were just a handful. There's even more on the DadsRT Challenge on  

I've never met any of them, but we share common ground: we're all parents, plan to be parents, or are close to people who are; we face many of the same challenges; we share the same successes and failures. We come from different backgrounds and have different experiences and beliefs, but provide what we feel and think to others for their betterment, or at least show we're all fighting the same fight, running the same race. Whatever cliche you want to use, we're all doing it together. That's good to know.

Whoever you may be, I strongly recommend you join the DadsRT conversation. Use the following hashtags on twitter and you're there:  #DadsRT, #DadsRT14x14, #DadsRTGeek.

They're good to people to know, at present and in the event of a cataclysm that necessitates the establishment of post-apocalyptic society.

PS - I just finished reading Dan Brown's new book, which can explain my fixation with cataclysm and apocalypse. I'll be over it soon.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Long-Distance Dedication

As some of you may have seen here, about a month ago I decided to train for my first marathon, which will occur in early 2014. Those of you who know me are saying to yourselves, "What is he thinking!?" In short, I've found it's best for me not to think, in most situations.

I'm not a runner. I've ran three 5K races in my life. That's a total of 9.3 competitive miles. The term "competitive" being loosely applicable.  In short, I've ran three races that total significantly less distance than one marathon. In my present training, I'm not even running 26.2 miles per week. 

By some standards I'm young, but not young-young. Forty-five only counts as young-young by my own standard and that of my children, who I have convinced that I am, indeed, a young man. 

At present, I'm not certain I could walk 26.2 miles. By no known standard do I have the physical or mental stamina to finish a marathon. I am, however, going to do it. 

They say after you practice doing something for 30 days it becomes a habit. So, in my estimation, after several months of training a lifestyle change will have occurred; a change that will stand me in good stead for years to come. It will be a change to benefit me and my family. 


Dedication not in the sense of commitment to my goal, that's a given, but rather another sense of the word.

As I'm running, I sometimes listen to audiobooks courtesy of my trusty iPhone. More often than not, I enjoy the lack of noise, which allows me to think. I think about running. I think about how to NOT attack the refrigerator like the Tasmanian Devil when I finish. I think about my dreams. I think about why Ken Griffey, Jr. never got a World Series ring. I think about my faith. 

On one occasion, I began thinking about my dad. Some of you know that this September he will have been gone two years. I reflected on the good qualities that I remember, which made him such a good man to many. I though about how, in his later years, he became a Christian.

Then, my thoughts were shifted to my shuffling feet and the goal I've established. My little quest will be something good for me and the family. But, why not more?  I could dedicate this goal to the memory of my father. Boom!  Done. Dedication complete.

That was too easy. Why not more? So, then I though of what dad had been and had endured. He had been poor as a child and hated seeing other people, particularly children, doing without the necessities of life. My father was the victim of a devastating stroke when he was not much older than I am now, which altered his life and began a slow descent of his health. He kept his faith throughout. 

Faith, Children and Action

Here's the true, complete dedication. I've dedicated my training and the ultimate race to my father, but I'm going a little further. In keeping with those things that my father was, I am also using this whole ordeal to help further the cause of an organization that seeks to aid stroke victims. 

Further, I will also use what I'm doing to assist a local organization that truly exemplifies James 2:26 - "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead." This organization has taken that verse to heart and their faith to some of the poorest and most dangerous places in the world, along with medical aide and the necessities of life to families and children. They are truly one of the most clear examples of faith in action I have ever seen.

I'm working out the details of how to accomplish this and bring the most reward to those who need it, but work them out I will. I feel compelled to do it.

An endeavor that shines a light on faith, helps children and victims of stroke is something that my father would enjoy seeing and being a part of. In a way, he will be. 

I'll drop more details as they come to light, and I hope you'll join me along the way.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Marathon Training Update: Increased Motivation

Really, it isn't so bad. I'm more determined now than at the beginning.

I'm one month into marathon conditioning. Lest you think I'm a "marathoner," or even a "runner," let me be clear that I'm just a 40-something dad trying to get into shape. A dad who has committed himself to running a marathon that is still seven months away.

Here's one of my recent "runs," as an illustration:

And, that was my long run for the week. A far cry from 26.2.

It's Good to Have Knees, I Guess

Without them, we'd have a strange gait.

At 25, and even 35, it was so much easier at the beginning of training: Endure a few days of pain, then start measuring progress. Now, the game has changed. On the outside, I don't look my age, according to my mom, wife and children, but I certainly felt it during mile one and after the run posted above. During the run, my knees ached like I had shin splints in them; a brand new kind of pain. Awesome!  Afterwards, I walked like I was 70.  Two days later, on my next run, I felt great. Now, three days later, I still feel good and ready to run again.

I'm making progress, my kids want to run with me, I haven't hurt myself, and I'm changing my lifestyle. I'm finding that those things are combining, as I had hoped, to strengthen my resolve and motivation to complete the marathon goal.

The Round Table

I've posted a couple of articles at, one of which talks about this goal of mine. I've found the parents involved with DadsRT, on the site, on Twitter and Facebook, to be a great source of support. There's even a challenge at that a group of DadsRT'ers have started.

I usually run alone and the motivations I've mentioned have been enough to keep me putting one foot in front of the other, but the comments and support from the DadsRT community adds something extra. Something that will be a benefit as the months roll by and the miles get longer. We all need that.

Another Source of Motivation

This will all be well and good for me and my family. Hoo-rah, meet the challenge and all that. That's wonderful, for us.  So, I've been envisioning a way to spread the benefit to others. For now, let me say, I have a plan in the works that will enable this little adventure of mine to benefit others.

I have to consider the feasibility of it, the time required to make it a success, and the impact on the important areas of my life (church, family, work, etc.). If all goes well, in a couple of weeks I will roll out this idea. For now, let me say its well past time for me to make an impact.

As always, wish me luck, say a prayer (please) and follow me to see how I'm continuing to make a fool of myself.

ALH (@AlanLHammond)

If you have any training tips, words of encouragement, or even want to poke fun, I'd love to hear it in the comments!