The world lost an incredible mother, wife, daughter, friend, attorney, underprivileged advocate, and community member suddenly and unexpectedly on October 16, 2013. In honor of my late wife, Holli Wallace, I am training for the Hallucination 100 mile trail run and raising money for the Children's Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region.

My training progress

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Countdown to the race and TEDx


As I write this it is just over 8 days until the start of the race.  Honestly, that's sort of intense.  It's too late for any running that I do to make a difference physically.  I think that I have my equipment pretty much dialed in so, other than assembling everything into one place, I think that I am pretty set there.  I'm working with the Children't Grief Center on materials to have at a table that will be located at the campsite we will have set up.  That's where Elliott and Oliver will be collecting donations in exchange for the tie dye shirts that they made.  I'll be there at 11:00 AM settings things up before the race starts at 4:00 PM.  Of course, I'm still taking donations here: https://www.crowdrise.com/runforholliinsupportofthechildrensgriefcenteroftheglbr1/fundraiser/brianthomas5

I guess I'm mostly working on getting emotionally prepared for the race.  Even a normal race carries a certain emotional weight as you confront physical discomfort and exhaustion.  Of course, this isn't a normal race and the races that I have run preparing for this one have given some insight into how I might feel this time around.  In that typical male manner, I'm no superstar at communicating feelings and emotions, but I know that there will be a flood of feelings over the 28 to 30 hours I'll be on the course.  Some of those feelings will be good and some won't.

So I'm pleased to announce, with an ironic nod to the challenges I face talking openly about feelings, that I've been accepted to give a TEDx talk on ultrarunning and grief on September 30 at SVSU (http://www.tedxsvsu.com/). My hope is to talk about how running has helped me frame my life since losing Holli. The point that I hope to pass along is that the training for a race is more important than the race itself.  The race is the easy part (er, easier).  Training for the race is the hard part. But, of course, the talk isn't really about running. It's about trying to carve out a meaningful and fulfilling life after suffering significant loss. My life is certainly and unfinished and imperfect project, but perhaps some people will benefit from hearing about some of the things that have worked for me.  You would be surprised at the number of hours I have already spent trying to put things into words, tossing drafts, and starting again.  Perhaps to reiterate the point of the talk, my plan is not to "let words come" but to craft my talk and practice until it is something worthwhile. Keep your fingers crossed.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Back to Burning River


Where has the summer gone?  I'm heading down to Cleveland this weekend to run the Burning River 50 Mile Endurance Run.  This will be the first half of the 100 mile run that I did in 2009.  Was it really 7 years ago?  I've been keeping up with my running (mostly) and this weekend will be significant because I have always peaked out at 50 miles before each of my 100 mile runs.  Actually, as I think about it, out of 5 attempts at 100 mile runs the only two times that I dropped out I had not completed a 50 mile training run at the peak of my training.  So keep your fingers crossed for me.

The other reason this feels like a big run is that it means that the Hallucination 100 is only a month away.  I confess that I haven't hammered out all the details of that weekend, but I thought that I would give a general overview for anyone who is interested in coming for all or part of the weekend (you can find a complete schedule here http://www.runwoodstock.com/index.php/info/schedule-of-events.)

1)  Where can I find everyone at the race?  We will have a campsite at the start/finish with a table for the Children's Grief Center.  We'll be selling bracelets for donations and have some information about the Center.  We will probably begin setting up in this area around 11:00 AM on Friday the 9th.  Come and spend some time with us.

2)  Will I be able to watch the race?  Sort of.  Races take up to 30 hours so it isn't really a spectator sport.  The race is a series of 16 mile loops that go through the camp group where our campsite is located.  Obviously, I'll be spending most of my time on the loop, but you will probably be able to predict when I am passing by the start/finish based on my time in the previous loop.  Of course, I'll probably be slowing down each loop.  I'll also be at the start at 4:00 PM on Friday and, if all goes well, crossing the finish line sometime before 10 PM Saturday night.

3)  What can I do?  You are certainly welcome to join us at the campsite.  The weekend is full of events with live music, yoga, food, tye dying, and other activities.  Check the schedule above.  Please note that you will need weekend passes or Saturday concert passes (https://runningfitevents.redpodium.com/2016-run-woodstock).

4)  Can I run (or walk) too?  Yes!  I think that it would be awesome to see Run for Holli shirts at the various races that they will be holding that weekend.  There are three 5k runs that are free if you get a weekend pass.  That's only 3.1 miles!  Walk one with a Run for Holli shirt!  If you are interested in pacing, shoot me an email too.  Pacers are allowed after the first loop.

5) Can I still donate?  Of course!  We have exceeded my initial goal of $5,000, but I would like to hit $7,500 by the end of the race!  You can donate here:  https://www.crowdrise.com/runforholliinsupportofthechildrensgriefcenteroftheglbr1.

I'm going to put an event on the Facebook page so that I can keep track of who is planning on coming that weekend.  Thanks to everyone for their support to this point!