Monday, October 12, 2015

439 Mile Honor Run notes

My daily Facebook post at the end of each day.

Day 1 in the books, 41 miles. It was a hot day on the concrete trail. Thank you all for the amazing support! Let us never forget our fallen!

Day 2 is in the books. 41miles again today. Feeling like I should with 82 miles on the legs.

Day 3 is in the books, 40 miles. Making a three day total of 122 miles. Body is feeling great! Team Footsteps is doing an amazing job caring for me. I do see all yalls post, and it moves me to tears reading them. Thank you all, and let us never forget our fallen.

Day 4 done, 38 miles today. Total for the four day is 160 miles. Body still feeling great.

Day 5 in the books. 41 miles today, totaling 201 miles. Not sure how the body should feel with 200 miles on it. But things are starting to talk to me. Team Footsteps is doing an amazing job caring for me. I do feel the energy of our fallen with me. Thank you all for all the very kind post.

Day 6 in the books, 43 miles, totaling 244 miles. Today hurt, sorry but I walked 99% of today. Team Footsteps is doing an amazing job keeping me moving forward. I could use some extra prayers, my friends.

Day 7 in the books, 41 miles, totaling around 280. Today was a little better day. I had a god talk with the Big Guy, and it's ok to walk. Big Shout out to Waco Fire, Engine 4, A Shift for the escort. Nothing like turning around at mile 34 and seeing some brothers in a big fire truck with their light on. Thank you all for the prayers.

Day 8 done, 42 miles. Legs feeling a little better, a little. Totaling around 347 miles. It's getting close friends.

Day 9 in the books, 38.9 miles. Totaling 366.7 miles. Today was amazing. It started with Waco Fire escorting me until Hewitt Fire could pick me up. Then Lorena Fire escorted until Bruceville-Eddy Fire pick me up. Then the most amazing thing in Bruceville happen. The school let all the kids come out 1st-12th grade, lined the street cheering. Then once in Moody, Moody Fire and PD escorted to the county line. Today was amazing friends. I cried more today then over the last 9 days. Keep praying I can just keep one foot in front of the other.

Day 10 in the books, 38 miles, totaling 404 miles. Today I met a run on the road, great guy. We shared stories and he went on his way. Then a few miles down a lady and her son stopped and gave me a bottle of water, so sweet of them. Then we had to deal with lots of road work, fun fun. Once out of that, we found fresh blacktop for the last 15 miles, was it ever hot. Tomorrow this amazing journey ends, but in one way the next journey begins. Team Footsteps has done an amazing job. There is no way anyone could do anything like this without a team like Tram Footsteps. Thank you all for all the support to all of us as we roll down the road. Let us never forget our fallen or their families.

Day 11 finished, 34 miles, totaling 439 miles. What an amazing life journey. Thank you all for all your support and kind words. Let us never forget our fallen.

Let us never forget our fallen!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Snowdrop 55 Hour Ultra 2014-2015

Footsteps For The Fallen

A 55 hour race, yes thats right 55 hours!

Lets make it even more fun by saying it's ran on a .75 mile loop!

This is my second year for this race. It's put on by the Snowdrop Foundation, based out of Houston.

With this race being 55 hours, most people are seeing just how far they can push themselves. For me it would just be a training run, stopping at 100 miles. It's really hard to have a game plan as to just how am I going to manage 55 hours. Then on the first day, somewhere around the 30 mile mark it hit me, 50-40-10. I would do 50 miles the first day, 40 miles the second day, and 10 the last day. This would give me some much needed down time, and being I paid for 55 hours of fun, I wanted to enjoy all 55 hours!

I would be going it solo, but we would be fielding a relay team also. The relay team would be made up of 10 runners and would have someone on the course at all times.

Monday, 12-29-2014 was move in day some runners could set up their tents and packets. We would have a 10x30 enclosed tent with heat so the relay team along with myself could get out of the weather and get so good rest.

The weather over the 55 hours stayed about the same, mid to low 40'sF with rain at times. The course is crushed granite.

Crew, same as last year, my son. I can't say enough good about him for helping not only me, but being the go to person for the relay team!

Tuesday, 12-30-2014 race morning! The race would start at 7am, and the course would have tower lights around it, so no need of any light system, one less thing to deal with! Unlike last year, I would be carrying a 20oz handheld this year. This would let me go 4-5 miles before have to stop and refill and get food, just like any other trail 100 miler. For my hydration I would be using Nuun. Once all the pre-race photos were taken, it was time to toe the line! Like most 100 milers, I would start way back in the pack, making myself start slow! Like most 100 milers, it started uneventful. I walked the first half mile so I could get warm and not hurt anything, then I started a slow run. After that, it was round and round we go, .75 miles at a time. Now this can be so crazy on the mind seeing the same thing, but the good thing is, you're never that far from your gear or help if needed. The course had a lot of water in areas, so I told myself, lets stop at mile 25 and do a sock and shoe change. I was wearing Drymax trail socks and Hoka One One, Stinson lites. So at the 25 mile mark I stopped and did a change and also had some lunch, rice and beans, then off I go. Then somewhere around the 30 mile mark it hit me, 50-40-10, thats the plan! Last year I was one of the runners that got to run into Texas Childrens Hospital on the last day, so I missed all the epic stuff that happen at the end of a race. By doing a 50-40-10, this would let me be in good shape to see everything, and be rested enough to help anyone fighting the clock. It was around 8pm I finished up the first 50 miles. Now it was time for a fast meal and get some rest. The plan was to be back out on the course at 6am.

Wednesday, 12-31-2014, day 2. Back out on the course at 5am, couldn't sleep, and I was telling myself, if you get out there a hour early, you'll be finished a hour early! It took a few loops for the body to wake up. I wanted to keep a 15min mile pace for the 40 miles. Sounds so easy when the body is fresh, but after 50 miles, it's like, what is this! But it's all a matter of fueling the machine and hydrating, with Nuun of course! The course was getting dry, so the feet were happy about that! Around and around I go, until lunch, then I would stop and eat a warm meal. What was for lunch, hamburgers and beer! Yes you got it, Beer! Not sure what my mile was, I decided to not wear my Garmin after the first day. I just knew I need to hit the 119 loop and stop, that would put me at 90 miles. The reason for not wearing the Garmin was, doesn't matter what the miles it may say, it's what the official timer is saying, don't need anymore mind games than already may be there. Once I hit the 119 loop mark, it was a quick meal and bed time! To my surprise dinner would be nice fatty Pizza, OMG was it so good, so good that at midnight I got up for more! I told myself I would like to be back out on the course by 6am.

Thursday, 01-01-2015 day 3, Happy New Year! I was back out on the course right at 6am, feeling so amazingly great! I had 13 loops, thats 10 miles to do by 2pm, that the end of the 55 hours. I couldn't get over just how great I was feeling! I was running like any other day! It took around 2 hours to finish the 13 loops, not bad. I ask two of the relay team members to walk the last loop with me, thanks Scott & John M.! I crossed the line in the 49 hour time frame, feeling great! That a long ways from my 100 mile PR of 28hrs 27mins 52secs, but I got to enjoy this 100 miles so much more!

BUCKLE time baby!! The feeling of being handed a 100 mile buckle is like nothing else! This would be my third buckle, and the meaning of what it takes to earn one gets deeper with each one.

Time to break down camp, but still be there for the relay team. Once we had most of the camp loaded up in the truck, my son and I walked over to the aid station to get some food. This is when Kevin, the Founder and President of the Snowdrop Foundation, was telling me about two runners digging deep and not sure if they would make cutoff. Not on my watch, I'll do everything I can to help anyone earn their buckle! The first runner was in some of the best hand out there, Frank, he knew what needed to be done to help that runner earn their buckle! The second runner was still in need of someone. After grabbing a bottle of water and pedialyte for them, off I go to aid them. They needed 5 loops to finish, having around 2 hours to do it, easy cake, so I say. One loop down, two loops down, three the victory loop! But before that, I ask them if they had one the shirt they wanted to finish in, no it's in my bag in the tent. Boom, off I go to get her shirt and hat she wanted to finish in. We made the change on the backside of the course, and it was like a force field of energy came over her! We told her that it was going to be all her once we got about hundred feet from the finish line. WOW, did she ever take off when we said go! And just like that, we had the newest member of the 100 mile buckle club! What an amazing finish to an amazing 55 hour race!

In closing. It doesn't matter how fast or slow you are, it's the drive you have deep inside that will get you to the finish line. To see someone earn their first 100 mile buckle, way past the point that they wanted to quit, priceless!

Sometimes to give your all, you have to give away all your control

Nuun Hydration #TeamNuun
Garmin 310XT
Drymax trail socks
Hoka OneOne, Stinson Lites
CWX, proshorts
VOmax custom Footsteps For The Fallen shirt
Hydropel lube

The relay team ended up with 307 loops, 233.3 miles!!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Damon deployment


Early morning on April 22, 2014, we started hearing about a Line of Duty Death in Damon, Texas. As the morning went on, it was reported that the Chief Ferguson with the Damon Fire Dept had went down on a fire scene. At this time the Task Force was on standby waiting for more info to come in. The call came in mid morning that the Task Force has been ask to deploy to Damon. We sent a member to Damon to start a needs assessment, with the first need being, post Honor Guards with Chief Ferguson. After the needs assessment was done, I was ask to deploy as the Logistics Officer.


Day 1 in Damon. The day started with getting Chief Ferguson back home. Once paperwork was done and a full Fire escort was in place, Chief Ferguson was on his way home. Once Chief was back and Honor Guards here in place the next stop would be Damon ISD to check on a location for the memorial service.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Seabrook Lucky Trail Challenge, 2014

This was my third year to do the challenge.

As a team member of Running Alliance Sport that puts on this race along with the Texas Bridge Series and the Bud Heat Wave, this is the only race I run, I work the finish line area for the others. The challenge is made up of a half marathon on Saturday than a full on Sunday, 39.3 miles for the weekend.

Saturday, half marathon: It's a loop course, 2 loops for the half. The day started at 3;30am so that I could get to the course and help finish setting up the after race party area, along with helping to setup the finish line and start line blowups.  By the time all of this was done, it was time to toe the line! For this years challenge I would be wearing new race shirts to show my support for the Texas Line of Duty Death Task Force along with it being my bib name. Once the race started the plan was to go easy being I would be doing a full the next day, so I was going to just hold it at a 11min pace. The first loop went as planned, just played some with fueling and hydration, pace was right at 11. The next loop it was started to get a little warm.  This loop went super also, finished in 2hrs 24mins, right at a 11min pace. The day wasn't over, needed to stay around to help cleanup and get the area ready for the next day.

Sunday, full marathon: This would be 4 loops.  The body was a little tired, but over all feeling good. The plan for today was to keep it around a 13min pace. At the start of the race, there was thunder storms in the area, but not close enough to have a delay. About an hour into the race it started to rain, real hard! The course started to get real muddy in areas, no big deal for trail runners, but you sure could tell who the road runners were! The first two loops went real good, on the third loop about 2,5 miles out other runners were saying that there was a runner that went down about 200 yards ahead of me. Once I got to the runner, there was two other runners that stop to help her. I stop to see what I could do, she told me her right hip just gave out and she went down. With the help of a other runner we carried her to a park bench where a radio operator was at, he had already called for EMS to make the scene. Time to finish my race. The last loop was a planned power walk loop, always good to train to power walk! The course was getting crazy muddy by now! The body was starting to get tired, but the job was not over just yet! I put it in high gear and didn't look back! Ended up finishing in 5hrs 44mins, right at a 13min pace!

One more great weekend of racing! Hit the two goals I was looking for, could ask for anything better.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2014 Rocky Raccoon 100 mile weekend

I passed on running the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile this year in hopes of helping everyone I could earn their first buckle.

The weekend started for me on Thursday by getting to Huntsville State Park and helping to set up the start/finish line area and helping to get race supplies to the outlying aid stations. After a long day of getting everything in place, it was time for a nice dinner with Joe & Joyce and the rest of the gang.

Friday, race eve!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Snowdrop 55 Hour Ultra Run, 8 Days Out From Race Morning!

Wow, it's here!!

This will be the most epic thing I have even done, 55 hours of relentless forward progress!

A little background on the Snowdrop Foundation. Snowdrop is a Houston based organization that is dedicated to funding continued research to eliminate childhood cancer and scholarships for college bound pediatric cancer patients and survivors. All of this came to be after an amazing teenager lost her battle with cancer. I encourage you to watch Dear Chelsey to find out more about this amazing teenager and Snowdrop.

Now for the race. I found out about this race a year ago from this crazy fellow ultra runner and his wife, amazing people!

The race will take place Dec 30, 31 & Jan 1 at Sugar land Memorial Park, 15300 University Boulevard, Sugar Land, TX 77479. Starting the morning of Dec 30th at 7am and then going around the clock until 2pm on Jan 1st. At this time there are 51 solo runners and 10 teams, all on a .75 mile course! Yes a .75 mile course for 55 hours! The best thing about it is, you shouldn't get lost!

I have no clue as to what my body will do after 100 miles, every step becoming a new record for me! I have set a high goal, but only time will tell if I reach them. I'll just say, there is a real nice prize for the top solo miles that would be nice to enjoy! My guess is, it's going to take 150-200 miles if not more, to win it! But with the help of my amazing crew, I sure hope to be in the running for it! I promise to bring them back a t-shirt.

Now there is a little kicker to the 55 hours. I have been invited, along with 11 other amazing runners, to run into Texas Children's Hospital Cancer Center on Jan 1st. We will be leaving the course at 10am on Jan 1st and start our way to TCHCC, 21 miles away! This only puts me on the course for 51 hours. Our route takes us along the 59 feeder road to Bellaire. Right on Bellaire which turns into Holcombe. We turn left off of Holcombe onto Richard Jefferson, taking us to the front doors of TCHCC. The plan is to finish at 3pm, making for a total of 56 hours of relentless forward progress!

It would be so awesome to see your smiling face at the course or along the route going into TCHCC.

So my friends, I hope to have an amazing race report to share, soon!

It's All Of The Kids!


Monday, April 29, 2013

Texas Line of Duty Death Task Force deployment to West

This by far is the hardest Blog I've even done!

Wednesday April 17th

I started getting news reports of a major explosion in the town of West just north of Waco, Texas with an unknown amount of firefighters hurt or killed. As a response member of the Texas Line of Duty Death Task Force I was asked to be on standby for deployment, around midnight that call came in, we would be deploying at 5am

Thursday April 18th

The director of the Task Force and myself would be making the 4.5 hour drive from Houston together with other Task Force members coming in from around the State of Texas.

Once in the town of West, the first meeting was with the Mayor of West and a West Fire Dept rep, the news was not good, 11 firefighters missing and presumed dead. This was quickly becoming a worst case scenario! If this was true, this would be the largest loss of firefighters since The Charleston 9, June 18, 2007 outside of 9/11. We started putting the call out to a large number of Task Force members for deployment. In the days to come we would know that 12 brothers have fallen, 2 of the 12 being honorary firefighters.

The first big challenge would be finding hotel rooms for all the Task Force members, we needed 14 rooms. With the help of a number of Task Force friends we had them all at one hotel within a few hours in Hillsboro, Texas.

The next and most important thing was setting up our organizational chart better known as "Org Chart", did it ever get big. I don't want to list the names of the command staff, but we had the best people for that job in place, my role would be Logistics Officer. At the time little did I know just how big this role would become.

Friday, April 19th

After our morning meeting with the Fire Chiefs of the affected Depts., the decision was made, a memorial service would take place on Thursday, time and place to be found. After this meeting the Abbett Fire Chief told me he had a contact at Baylor University. The call was made to make a site survey on Saturday.

This would also be the day we recover the bodies of our fallen brothers. The planning for this would take most of the day so that our fallen brothers would be honored during this process. The plan quickly became, this would be done at night so that no media could see it. There would be a wall of honor with every one of our brothers drapped with an American flag. This process started around 10:30pm and finished around 2:30am.

Saturday, April 20th

Site survey at Baylor University, Ferrell Center, 3 of us went to do a site survey along with 2 Baylor staff members at Ferrell Center. The moment we walked onto the floor of the Center, we know this was the place we needed, with seating for 10,000, also this was the biggest place in that part of Texas. A walk though with most of the command staff would take place on Monday.

Our Family Liaison Officer would be assigning each family a Liaison Officer "FLO" as we call them. The job of the FLO is to help the family in just about any way possible and be the voice of the family along with so much more. By far the hardest job of any deployment.

Our Honor Guard Officer would also start placing Honor Guards at all locations our fallen brothers would be at. This would be a large undertaking, calling in Honor Guard units from around the State of Texas and around the country.

The call went out to the Charleston Fire Dept to see if they would be willing to come into town for some guidance, they would be sending 3 people our way within 24 hours!

Catch up on paperwork and phone calls

Daily Chiefs and FLO meeting

Sunday, April 21st

We had a lunch for all the affected families at a secret location due to the high amount of media in West, it went off just as we planned it.

The news media was asking for all kinds of interviews with the Task Force and the families. So we decided to give them something in hopes they would back off a little.  So Sunday night we let them do a story on Honor Guards and why we post guards for our fallen brothers.

Catch up on paperwork and phone calls

Daily Chiefs and FLO meeting

Monday, April 22nd

This would be the first of very long meeting filled days.

Once we arrived at Ferrell Center, we were told that the Secret Service & White House advance teams would be on the ground Monday night. It wasn't 20 minutes later we all started getting new reports that the President would be in West on Thursday. We had no clue as to just how this could or would change our planning for the memorial service. We would have our first meeting with them on Tuesday morning.

Catch up on paperwork and phone calls

Daily Chiefs and FLO meeting

Tuesday, April 23rd

Meeting at 10am with Baylor,  Secret Service & White House at Ferrell Center, but first a 9am meeting with West, City Council. After City Council was updated we needed to be 25 miles away in 30 minutes! Once we made it to Ferrell Center and started our meeting with Baylor, Service & House, little did we know it would be a 6 hour meeting to just get all party's up to speed. Can't really talk about want was covered in this meeting but very little changed as for the memorial service. More meetings with all party's on Tuesday.

Catch up on paperwork and phone calls

Daily Chiefs and FLO meeting

Wednesday, April 24th

Last day to make it right!

Meeting starts at 10am at Ferrell, 6 hours later our plan for the memorial service was set, all party's working it were in place, we were happy along with Baylor, Service & House.

But nothing like a last-minute change. Myself and our IC were pulled from a Baylor, Service & House meeting by the DPS-DDC Captain to go over our plans as to getting the families to Ferrell. We reviewed our plan with him. He ask why we are not using charter buses. No resource, sir. Not 20 minutes later we had 10 charter buses coming our way at no cost! Wow, we made so good friends high up! 

This would also be the day all Honor Guards having a roll in the memorial service would do their walk though. Once the caskets were in place on the floor of Ferrell and flag drapped. Let me add here. When I walked out onto the floor and seen all 12 in places with the photo's of the fallen, its was just about more than I could take.

The walk through went awesome, the Ferrell Center was set to be seen by an untold amount of people world-wide!

I could not wait for the world to see how Texas Firefighters take care of our fallen brothers!

Thursday, April 25th

The day the Fire Service honors our fallen brothers!

This day started early for some of our staff, 5:30am.

Service would be doing their last sweep of Ferrell starting at 7:00am with plans of a soft opening for staff at 10:00am, they opened it at 9:30am, awesome job guys!

Our families would have a van pick them up where ever they were staying, starting at 9:00am. The van would then take them to a secret location, transferring  them to charter buses for transport to Ferrell at 11:00am. Our FLO's did an amazing job getting all of them to the needed locations!

All 500 plus Family members made it to Ferrell Center safe and sound, yes 500 plus!

Baylor had lunch waiting for all 500 plus.

The doors to Ferrell open at 11:00am for the public. This is when things started moving real fast!

Just getting all 500 plus down onto the floor to their seating was a large job. Then we had what we called the Platinum 60, this was the group of family members that would be meeting the President after the service.

As you know, the memorial service was amazing, again more than I could take at times. The Pipe's & Drum's were amazing, I even seen a few Secret Service with a tear in their eyes. That is what we had hope for, to bring a tear to everyone's eye.

After the service the families started making their way back to their holding area. I had so many of them come up to me and say. it was amazing, Thank You. No thanks needed, that what firefighters do for our fallen.

All the families were loaded back onto the charter buses, back to secret location and back home safe and sound.

My Reflection of the week

As a 29 year firefighter, it was an honor to work alongside some of the most amazing people in the world! I'm not even going to try to put it into words the feels I had over the week, other than I hurt deep down inside at times. For my wife and son to support me like they did and do in my time of need, Thank You, I love y'all more than ever! For my friends that would text or call me to see if I was ok, Thank You with all my heart! This was only my second deployment with the Task Force, WOW was it ever one for the sad record books! I pray the fire service never has to go though this again, but if it does happen, I will be right there in the front of the line waiting to go help my brothers.

I have a long list of Thank You's

I just know I'm missing a few, I'm so sorry for that, you are all ROCKSTARS!

To our FLO's.

Guy's I can't begin to say just what you mean to all of us. Y'all had the hardest job of all and did it and continue to do it like no other! To go into the home of a fallen brother and develop the trust that you did with the families, that's the true meaning of Brotherhood! You all have my number, if you need anything, call!

The Command Staff

I was truly an honor to work alongside each and every one of you! I know we had some real tough times over the last week and vented a few times, but we honored our fallen brothers in the end as a TEAM! I love all of you but I hope it's a long time before I see y'all agian.

Now Again For Some Hard Part

When the group you care so much about comes to a point of needing some help itself. Due to the high number of firefighters killed in the line of duty in the last year in the State of Texas and the cost that goes along with a deployment. The Texas Line of Duty Death Task Force is in need of help itself. If you could find it in your heart to give a little, please visit our website, Thank You