I’m a 40-year-old happy hubby and father of two great kids (Garrett born in ’05, and Gillian born in ’08), a full-time school administrator, and endurance running geek living in the Boulder, Colorado area. I used to hate running. Really. I just couldn’t understand why someone would run just for the sake of running. I played soccer from childhood through college, and was able to motivate myself (periodically anyway) to run a bit in training…but that was just so I could make the team! Especially when I had to do 2 miles in 12-minutes or less to even be considered for my college team.
But, when my wife decided to get us a dog for an anniversary gift in 2001, everything changed. I remember when we were at the Denver Dumb Friends League, looking for a dog to adopt. We spotted this beautiful Siberian Husky, but were initially told that she was not up for adoption because she was pure-bred. As a result, professional breeders had first choice of her, and she wasn’t available to the public. Later during our visit, the “adoption counselor” came back to us with the news that she actually had only one more day on her “breeder wait-list” and would be available to us after all!
She then got a bit more serious and asked, “Do you know what you’re getting into? Are you familiar with Siberian Huskies?” Bethany and I looked at each other and then said, “Um, sure…they like snow?” Our counselor then proceeded to politely address our ignorance by explaining that Huskies, especially pure-bred ones, are like the world-class athletes among dogs. They’re bred for efficiency, endurance, and adventure, and if we didn’t give her enough exercise, she’d take it out on our yard, our home, and anything else she could get her destructive skills into.
So, Bethany and I decided we could handle her…we’d just each start taking her for runs. I started taking her in the mornings, and Bethany took her at night. Our runs gradually got longer and longer, and we hadn’t figured out how to tire this dog out! Veya was just under a year old, and full of energy…Husky energy. It really is a different kind of energy. And efficiency too…she’d eat a whole bowl of food in the morning and another at night, and we’d only pick up a teeny-tiny bit of poop once a day. What an amazing animal!
And so, as my runs got longer and longer, she eventually coaxed me into marathons and Bethany into triathlons. Soon, I was reading an article in the paper entitled “Husky Runner” about my effort to raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation by doing the Honolulu Marathon in 2002. It was the start of this challenge, though I didn’t know it at the time.
Sadly, Veya died at the young age of 7 in August 2008 from a quick-onset blood disorder called Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA). You can read more about that by going to the blog post entitled, “The Hardest Decision“. Just a few days after a great 7-mile run with her (easy, by her standards), and a clean bill of health at her annual vet checkup, I was faced with the painful decision to put her to sleep as the only humane option remaining to end her suffering from IMHA. Her lungs were quickly filling with fluid, and she was literally drowning. We miss her terribly, and before she died, I promised her I would finish this challenge we started together.
Beyond my family and running, there are lots of other things that keep me busy and provide important creative outlets for me. I work full-time as the Dean of School Culture for Flagstaff Academy, a Pre-K through 8th-grade public charter school in Longmont, CO. Prior to that, I worked for the Lafayette Police Department as the Director of Community Affairs and Restorative Justice for almost 5 years. Before that, I had a 12-year career in Higher Education Administration & College Student Development, working at a variety of colleges and universities (Elizabethtown College, Baldwin-Wallace College, SUNY-New Paltz, Syracuse University, and University of Colorado-Boulder). On the side, I am co-founder and partner of Evergreen3 Consulting, and the co-author of “The Personal Vision Workbook“, a top-50 vocational guidance and personal development book on Amazon.com in 2006. I also have been a professional photographer for over 15 years. I co-founded a wedding photography business called PhotoEpic, which quickly had my partners and I telling people’s love-stories through our photography all over the country and even outside the US. We’ve recently ended that business, and I’ve just started a new solo business recently, keeping busy enough just with word-of-mouth jobs (weddings, maternity portraits, and babies mostly). There’s lots of other “on-the-side” stuff too, but those are the main things.
With everything on my plate, I’ve come to see running as the glue that keeps me sane. I love having the beautiful Colorado mornings all to myself, cruising along a trail while everyone else is still asleep. I’ve noticed that I can very easily slip into a funk when I’m not training…so I’ve learned to keep some marathons on my calendar to keep me going. For me, it’s more about the training and the lifestyle than the races themselves. Marathon day is more like the celebration of a training cycle’s peak, before moving on to the next training cycle. It’s the last day of school…if you enjoyed school, that is.
Wow, thanks for reading this far. Hopefully this has given you a bit more context to know where I’m coming from. Maybe you can let me know…I’m still trying to figure that out! Please take a minute to sign my guestbook or leave a comment on a blog post. Knowing someone is reading this is strong motivation for writing new posts!