Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pres. Bush interrupts TSI training!

Catoctin in the Summer-time!!! Bears, NO; drought, NO; Pres. Bush, YES! With the President headed into Camp David, i was forced to adjust my weekend long hike / run. And, it's all good. Many summers i've been blitzed by the prez's helicopter, Marine Corps One; as the big ole chopper hauled U.S. Citizen Number One; da' president himself into Camp David. I have no reason to believe da' prez is doing it on purpose; but there's no doubt he know's about Team Slug. Particularly after the Houston Marathon in 2006. His old man wanted that shirt bad. Any-who, Cal Ripken is in the Hall of Fame; and I got my long weekend run in; it's ALL GOOD! Slugs; i hope all is swell in your world today. Peace on Earth! flatfoot freddie

Thursday, July 26, 2007

on the comeback trail....again :)

"There will be days you don't think you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime of knowing you have."

i know it's pitiful, but I'm still only walking an hour a day. my goal is to try slogging again come one august. that's next wednesday if your keeping score, and then be ready to deathmarch baltimore by the end of october...sounds reasonable...i spend most of that time in the woods; tomorrow morning will be back at catoctin and take me two or three precious hours; of which i will love every minute. i tell you this because i don't want you to take your daily runs for granted. they are a gift, gliding and breezing through time and space, and for each step you take you should remember just how lucky you are. an injury can quickly set you down; and pull in those reins. so have fun out there; think of me; and hopefully i'll be seeing ya real soon. john.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

From James' website... A GREAT EFFORT...

....CONGRATS JAMES; for giving it your best shot. I remember standing on the starting line at the 100-mile run at 4 A.M. some years back. It was a surreal feeling; the night was at its darkest -- with ominous animal noises threatening our senses --- in the deepest hills of central vermont. Morning dew was trying to find it's way onto leaves, and drizzle was scattering the dust all around us. Glancing around the ultarunner's had a certain look on their faces. A certain glaze in their eyes. These runners were not attempting this feat on a whim, and weren't doing it for trophies, or fame. These folks had an insatiable force inside them, driving them to the limits of their imagination. After finishing the marathon, something inside these folks turned on, and wondered just how far they could go. This force had to know what secrets, what emotional thoughts and feelings may await in their souls. And on this night, they would begin the search for that feeling. Standing on the line of the 100-mile run, was standing among human greatness; sharing fresh air with men and women who knew what they wanted, and were willing to sacrifice for their dream. That night some made it, and some didn't. However, all who stood on that line, were already heroes. Facing the monster that is an all day and all night run, and not giving in. Running, Walking, Crawling; until they can no longer move, and no longer can remember why they came. But the day comes when you remember; and that is a glorious moment in time. Realizing a dream is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. A personal treasure that no one, or time, can ever take away. I was blessed to receive this gift, and it changed my life. There are many folks who were responsible for me getting there and finishing; but i can thank no one any more than i would have to thank James and Rebecca. They're not only running heroes of mine; but rather life heroes; and i am proud and thankful to call them friends. Tonight I say a prayer for all my friends; and hope that each of you come to meet / know / and love the Moore's as my family does. God Bless Each of you, john.

News From California:

"Not Crying in my Beer" James called from Lone Pine. He was upbeat. He didn't feel that there was anything wrong with his training. It was just not his day. He wanted to be sure that all knew that he was fine.

The team will go back to Las Vegas and then fly home tomorrow (Thursday).

The future for James? Right now, it's just regular runs like 50 kms and JFK.

DNF: John Dodds called at about midnight (our time). It wasn't to be. James was not moving fast enough and just was not going to finish within the 60 hour time limit. So James ended his quest at Panamint Springs and drove to Lone Pine.

Badwater is not just hard. It is a very different challenge from other runs. It requires knowledge and experience of its unique environment. It sounds like Jim did not have his eating, drinking, and pace down for this run.

James has done incredible runs. He has not always been successful. When he did the C&O Canal Towpath both ways, he had to cut out one section. James's strength is that he has the courage to set high goals and risk not attaining them. He can do this because he has a positive attitude. That attitude gets him through the runs, the success, and the lack of success.

So Jim is fine. He has had a beer and is smiling. He gave it his shot.

I bet he is thinking about next year already. Just don't tell Rebecca!

BTW: Jim gave us vicarious entertainment. He didn't blood dope, take money to not call fouls, or host a dog fight. It might be a good time to show him that you respect what he is. It's not too late to make a contribution.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Praying for James

What an incredible journey James is on. Always looking forward, always looking up, and always smiling. Wandering around, race to race, sharing joy and love; and extending a hand of friendship. James is one of the good guys, and it is a blessing to share time and space with him on our wonderful planet. James' life and his actions are fine examples for each of us; challenging and inspiring; forcing us to examine just what we're capable of. Tonight I'm praying for him, Rebecca, family, and his crew; whereever they are. I hope you'll all find it in your hearts to do the same. God Bless each of you.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Badwater Update --- James at Furnace Creek!!!

Hope all are following Brother James, and saying "little prayers / sending positive vibes" for him. Badwater Ultramarathon started this morning at 8:00 A.M. and James reached the first stop, Furnace Creek, at 11:51 A.M. Elapsed time is 3:51, and he's averaging 4.5 mph. For the record the current airtemp at Furnace Creek is 111.1 degrees farenheit. I checked it on WeatherBug. Enjoy your cool homes this evening :)
Go James!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Thinkin' of Badwater...

...and brother slug james moore. you can follow his site off the tsi front page, or the badwater site at james has a long list of incredible running achievements over the past couple of decades; and i was blessed to know him much of that time. i met james and his lovely wife rebecca about fifteen years ago. he called me the summer of 1992 and requested information on an upcoming slug run in hampton, virginia in september. i assured him that this could barely be considered a race, gave him the old "ya really don't wanna come here" spiel, but if ya really ain't got nothin' better to do, you are welcome to join us. that fall we ran the september 50k on a middle school cinder track in newport news. james and rebecca arrived early that morning pulling up just in time to observe our slug skeleton crew scuttle around in the heavy rain. we started six runners that morning, and believe james finished second behind bruce "the running man" chituck himself. while that day was the beginning of a long friendship between james / rebecca and da'slugs, there are other fond memories from that overgrown and forgotten cinder track. that day rebecca gained the title "sluggette" and has worn it proudly ever since. for her efforts she was rewarded with a bottle of crazy horse ale (voted "worst beer in america in 1991" --- i ain't making that up --- just ask james). that day also saw one of the great ultra performances of ALL TIME, as john "mr. clean" sorenson, of des moines, iowa finished the 50k following "hitman training - that included lots of beer, and long runs of no more than three miles - all summer long." mr. clean finished the run, lay down on the cinders, and swore never to talk to me again. of course, he lied :) he just didn't know it at the time. fifteen years have passed; and james / rebecca have stuck with da' slugs, for better or worse. tomorrow morning james will wake up with miles to go, across the hot desert. so tonight, james and rebecca are in my prayers. if ya think of it, and yer so inclined; say a little prayer for them too. they'se good folks. happy days, john.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Congrats Pokey-Slug, and all Big Butt Finishers, including Angela Ivory :)

...who took first place in her age group at the Greater Wyoming Buffalo Stampede 10K today in Delaware. She received a very nice Buffalo Trophy for her efforts and in her note referred to it as "pokey slug luck." I think it was the God's smiling down and rewarding her genuine kindness for all around her. Hopefully that energy will carry us both into the fall, and get us a Slug-finish at Baltimore. Good luck at the North Face 50K ms. pokey. I'll be looking for a report :)
P.S. Also congrats to all Big Butt Finishers, the RFH and Claude for yet another outstanding event in Lancaster, SC today. Claude reports, "The race started with the firing of an 1860 Colt 44 Caliber. Tim
Carter of SC led from the start and actually had negative splits the
second half. Ray Krolewicz used the run for a warm-up for the World
Championship 24 hour run next week in Canada. Lisa Arnold of NC also
led from the start and took the female honors. In addition of
getting a shirt they can not wear in public the winners got a wood
plate with the BIG BUTT logo that can't be used to eat out of." Also, big congrats to ms. angela ivory of nashville; representing the slugs well with a sweet 6:14:01.

The Outlaw's Prayer

I heard this song on the radio early on the way home today. I remember it from year's gone by. It was recorded in 1979 by Johnny Paycheck, and written by Billy Sherrill and Glen Sutton. It got me to thinking about the way we treat each other, and all the little chances we have to serve others; yet still pass up. Maybe we don't follow our hearts because we're tired, or lazy, or frightened, or shy. But try to remember that every chance you have to share a smile, or a kind word; you should do it. These positive interactions matter. The past two weeks have been very difficult for me and my family. Whether i've been at WalMart getting groceries, or stopping for gas; somehow i seem to notice those around me more; and appreciate the smiles and kindness they share with me. I hope you're able to share kindness today. I wish each of you peace, love, and eternal joy. Friends always, john.

"You know, I worked the Big Packet show in Fort Worth, Saturday night,
We had all day Sunday to rest and relax, before I caught another flight.
So I decided to walk down town an' get myself a little fresh air.
Before long, I found myself in front of a big church on the corner of the square.

Boy, I could hear that singin' way out in the street, sure was a beautiful sound.
So I just walked up the steps an' opened the door an' started to go inside an' sit down.
But before I could, a young man walked over to me an said: "Excuse me, Sir,
"But I can't let you in with that big black hat, those jeans, that beard an' long hair.

So I just left, went back outside, sat down on that kerbing, an I thought to myself:
That's the house of the Lord. That guy's got the hell of a nerve.
Tellin' me I can't worship anywhere I please.
So right there, in front of that Church, I just knelt down on my knees.

I said: "Lord, I know I don't look like much, but I didn't think you'd mind.
"I just wanted to be with your people, Lord: it's been a long time.
"A while ago, a saw a wino over there in the alley, all bent over in tears,
"An' I thought how one stained glass window, from this Church, would feed his family for years."

"Then there's those fine cars parked outside: too many for me to count.
"Made me think how people walked for days to hear your sermon on the mount.
"Then there's those fine ladies in the choir, Lord, singin' like they really love it.
"Hell, last night, they were dancin' on the front row of my show: drinkin' beer, screamin: 'Sing Shove It.'

"You know, even John the Baptist wouldn't be welcome in this place,
"With his coat made of Camel hair an' sandals on his feet an' a long beard on his face.
"You know, Lord, when you come back to get your children, an' take 'em beyond the clouds,
"To live forever in Heaven with you: well, I'd sure hate to be in this crowd.

"You know, Lord, I'm not perfect; some even call me no count.
"But I'll tell you: I believe a man is judged by what's in his heart, not what's in his bank account.
"So if this is what religion is: a big car, a suit an' a tie,
"Then I might as well forget it Lord, 'cause I can't qualify.

"Oh, by the way, Lord, right before they kicked me out, didn't I see a picture of you?
"With sandals an' a beard. Believe you had long hair too."
"Well, this is Paycheck, signing off.
"I'll be seein' you Lord, I hope."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Black Squirrels, Sore Butt Cheeks, and Ginger Brandy

Waves of emotion continue to roll up onto the shores of my soul; and I joyfully accept each one. Today I am thankful for all feelings, for every moment, and each precious breath of life. Being out alone in the woods brings back childhood. I grew up out here, chasing through the brush with a shotgun and a smile. I don't shoot animals anymore, though I still love venison, and wild game. Now, I find joy in sharing and observing life. Especially the simplicity of feeling a fresh breeze on my face, and being able to move about of my own free will. Another 25 miles on the C & O Canal today; with a perfect blue sky just above me, and just above the strained Potomac River. I reached up to touch the pure beauty, but it moved quickly away from me. If there is one law all long-distance runners observe, and agree upon, it is that "nature is in charge." We humans are simply insignificant in the grand scheme of mother earth and the universe. And, out alone in the woods, hungry and thirsty for hours / days at a time; we can feel it. We know this law to be true and we happily accept it. What choice do we have? It is dry in the hills of Western Maryland. Still, down at the canal, near the river basin; plants and animals thrive. Dozens of turkey hens and their chicks, many dozens of deer with their summer spotted fawns grazing on leaves and seeds, and one very black squirrel. I hadn't seen one for many years, and consider this a positive omen. Life is changing, my well-being is slowly healing, and I will recover, and be strong and happy again. The black squirrel sat steadily on the fence rail, chattering and grinning at me. I pulled the bike over and enjoyed a moment with him. I told him my butt was very sore from the long bike rides; and he laughed out loud. We humans are easy transcendental prey for wildlife. Animals know things we've never thought of. It is true, I swear. A couple of short hours later I was back to the parking lot and my truck, in a small town surrounded by friends. These people know me, know my name; and have known me since I played Little League baseball here in the 1960's. These folks love me; but they are innocently clueless about how I feel inside. An old friend waved from a picnic table, and I tried to tell her about the black squirrel; but she just couldn't take me very seriously. She's known me way too long. No matter, there's no way for her to understand how I feel about being out alone, and moving, in the woods. But runners know. Runners know exactly what I'm feeling. Dang, I am thankful for my friends, and I am thankful for all the blessings in my life. Life is good, one day at a time. Oh, and I found a terrific remedy for sore butt syndrome. Two quick shots of ginger brandy! Hey, I appreciate every single one of you all. Happy days, john.
P.S. Pokey if yer reading this shoot me a note. I'm seriously thinking of slugging into Baltimore undercover with a sweet new alias for the marathon. Yer gonna love this one :)

Monday, July 16, 2007

living life every day...

i've now woke up in my childhood bed for the past week; and i'm enjoying it very much. walking with my mom in the early morning; and then bike riding on the Western Maryland Rail Trail (today 25 miles). it's beautiful out here, and with dozens of "friends i haven't met yet" also out riding; makes for refreshing and lively mornings. Heading west, the path rises a hundred feet above the Potomac on the left, always hugging falling rocks on the right. Most of the ride is in the shade, and while i'm in the worse shape of my life; pedaling hard feels good, real good. I'm hoping to be ready to begin jogging by August. That should get me ready for Baltimore in October. I do miss dad very much; but it's hard for me to stay depressed over his passing. He lived his life every day; and i'm not going to let him down. I'm going to do the same thing. I've gotten a boost from hearing from so many olde friends; and the energy and positive vibes sent to me are real --- i have felt them --- and they have me motivated to keep moving forward. So thanks to each of you, and especially my olde New Orleans marathoning buddy. It was Wonderful to hear from you. Each of you are in my thoughts and prayers, happy days, john.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thanks for the Love and Kindness.

Friends; I can't express how much I appreciate the notes & phone calls i've gotten over the past week. It's always been an open secret that Team Slug is not really a running "club" but rather a large circle of friends; that stretches back nearly two decades. And, hearing from you all during this difficult time has reminded me how important those friendships are. Dad was first diagnosed with lung cancer eleven years ago. He endured numerous chemo treatments, and three major surgeries; battling, and smiling, the entire way. And, thank God, he was generally "healthy" throughout the period. He never lost the will to live, and remained positive until his final peaceful breaths this past Tuesday at home in Warfordsburg. He often spoke during the past year how good his life had been, and how thankful he was for his family and friends. And, our family home has been overrun with those family and friends this week. What stories they tell, and what a joy it is to hear them. Dad decided years ago he wasn't interested in a funeral, and the traditional burial works. He always believed if people wanted to see him; they should call or visit while he was alive, and they did. Plus, he wanted to do something helpful to society with his death, and he did. Dad donated his body to Anatomy Gifts Registry. The site is if interested in exactly what service they provide. It's funny, but what i remember most about dad is he was a good friend. Not just to family and friends, but rather to all; i remember well from childhood, dad stopping on the road to change tires for strangers, taking groceries to some old folks, or financially helping those in need. And, listening to the stories this week; that's what i hear most. Your dad was a good friend. And, I know exactly what they mean; because he was my best friend. Today in Western Maryland is a beautiful day. My mom and I walked on the C & O Canal this morning, enjoying a mother deer and her fawns; a brisk fresh breeze, and dozens of other walkers and bikers out enjoying their lives. Today I pray for each of you that this note finds you healthy and happy. Please enjoy each moment, and love those around you. It may take a bit of time, but I promise to return each note. I appreciate everyone of you. God Bless you and yours. john @

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Father passed.

Friends; Just a quick note to share that my father, Joe Harper, passed away today at about 2 P.M. He was home, surrounded by family, and left very peacefully. He was 75 years young. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers over the past several months. It is deeply appreciated. God Bless each of you, john.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Threads of Time

Our lives are made up of threads of time, colored by individual moments. Recently my thread has been strained, and i suppose it would be easy to look back over the past several years and recognize that cumulative stressors may finally be manifesting themselves in my life. Hard times are not necessarily bad; and there's no doubt that decisions I've made regarding careers; and relationships, have made me exactly who i am today. So many of my running friends have molded me with kindness, learning, and love. And, i've become a better person because of these friendships. While i am not physically in very good running shape, my emotional well-being is stronger than ever. And, it's just in time. For, today my dad is very ill. He is in end-stage cancer; and basic tasks for him are difficult. His movements are measured and slow; only able to move, with hands steadied on a families arm. He doesn't eat, and sleeps most of the time. His eyes are glasslike, meandering around the room in a dreamlike state. He seems to have a limited awareness, with one foot in each world. Each passing day brings him a little closer to death. And he seems at peace. To this point the morphine seems to be effective; and he denies feeling pain. Friends, tonight whereever you are please know that you are each in my thoughts and prayers. The notes and phone calls of condolences, i continue to receive, bring peace to my heart and comfort to my soul. Know for sure that each of you are in my thoughts and prayers daily.