Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Rarest Flower Of Them All


     "I'm not an actor, but I play one on TV."  That is by far one of my favorite things I've ever said.  It always makes me laugh, a lot.  And yet, it's probably one of the dumbest jokes I've ever came up with.  I'm not really a comedian either.

     I've also never claimed to be a writer yet here I am writing a blog.  Even still, I don't consider myself to be a writer.  I've never gone to school for writing, nor do I have a degree telling me that I'm writer.  I'm just a regular guy that always has a million thoughts occupying his mind at once.  Now and again, I simply need to get them out.  So, I do.  I do so by pounding my fingers away on a keyboard and hope that what I'm typing makes sense.  Like, right now, because I'm about to talk about something near and dear to all of us.

     Just a little over a week ago the Pittsburgh Penguins (my beloved hometown hockey team) got to hoist their fifth Stanley Cup, and their second in a row (for the second time.)  It was nothing short of amazing to watch.  There seemed to be something different about this cup run, something that seemed way more special than even last year's.  Maybe it was because that the majority of last year's team was still intact.  Maybe it was because of this special guy named Guentzel that came out of no where and made a run at MVP at the age of 22.  Maybe it was because Sid and Geno showed us why they too, were MVP candidates for the playoffs (and we all know how that turned out.)  Or maybe, just maybe, it was because this was the last time we would ever see Marc-Andre Fleury play in a Penguins Jersey.  He may also be playing his final game as a Penguin not with his teammates or friends, but with his brothers.

     He wasn't playing his last game in front of his fans, either.  He was playing in front of his family.  I say that because we are his family, and he is ours.  You hear it said in national broadcasts on a regular basis: when you play Pittsburgh, you play the entire city.  If you didn't think that was true, you are not from here, and you really need visit just to see how true that really is.  It's one of those gotta see it to believe it deals.

     I can't say I've always been a hockey fan.  I jumped on the band wagon in '91 and '92 thanks to Lemieux, Jagr, and my friends.  I just never jumped off.   Why would I want to anyway?  This sport was awesome!  I continued to watch and still continue to try and remember all the rules (I think every time a Penguin gets hit it's a penalty.  It is.)  I remember staying up all night in Seattle while in the Navy to see the outcome of the Peter Nedved game.  I remember Jagr being sent to Washington.  I remember the tough times with players like Rico Fata.  Those are all fond memories (well except for maybe the Fata one) but one of my fondest memories will always be one from the 2009 Penguins Victory Parade.

     The Pens of course had to fight to get back to the Stanley Cup Final in 2009, because in 2008 they made it and lost.  Making the final two years in a row is not an easy thing to do.  When they got there in 2008, everyone was so young, Fleury included.  You could tell the team was young, too.  The nervousness showed the minute they stepped on the ice.  I remember seeing Flower trip as he took the ice prior to the start of game one, and my superstitious sports mind felt that was an omen and the Pens were screwed.  We all know that they didn't win, and it wasn't because of that.  I know how I felt when it was all over, but I could not imagine how Sid felt, or how Geno felt. I was there, but they were the ones on the ice, and the ones that were playing their hearts out.  I could not even begin to image how Fleury felt.  But, none of that was any of their faults.  Detroit was just too damn good.  However, the Penguins now had a taste of what it was like to be that close to hoisting the Stanley Cup, and they made damn sure to get back there in 2009.  They also made damn sure they won it.

     I'll never forget those final seconds of game seven in 2009, either.  Detroit was desperate to tie the game.  The Pens were desperate to make sure they didn't.  As the final seconds ticked away, Detroit had the defense beat.  They had an open net on the right side of Fleury and fired away a shot.  All of a sudden, time stood still.  We've all seen goalies make a save like that before, but when Fleury did it, he seemed to move like lightning.  As he shuffled on his knees to the right, he raised his chest directly in front of the shot.  The puck bounced away, the clock struck down to zero, and the Pens won their third Stanley Cup.  They would not have been able to do it had it not been for Fleury.  What an immaculate save, from an immaculate goalie.

"Is that for me?" - Yup, sure is.
Photo Credit - Mike Bober

Photo Credit: Mike Bober. Fleury opening
the champagne.

Circles Mike's and My Heads.  Photo Credit: The Pittsburgh
Post Gazette, used without permission so I hope they
don't get mad.
     He bounced back after a tough game 5 loss, and led the Penguins the rest of the way.  That was reason enough for my buddy Mike to bring a bottle of champagne to the parade in order to give it to the Flower.  When he and Sid got to where we were, we were able to get his attention.  "For me?"  Oh yeah, it was for you.  We handed him the bottle and they drove off  the rest of the way down the parade route.  As we turned, we saw Fleury begin to open the bottle.  The next thing we saw was number 29 spraying the crowd, and everyone in it erupting with thunderous applause and cheers.  It was fantastic!  That scene ended up making it onto the front page of the Post Gazette (Mike's and my face included.)  But, that was the last celebration we'd see for many years.

Pre-game warm ups
     Now, we all know what happened last year.  The Penguins were headed to the playoffs again, but were they going to win the Stanley Cup?  They kept making the playoffs year after year, but were constantly plagued with injuries.  Sid had been concussed multiple times.  Other players suffered ankle spains, broken feet, you name it.  Some were even suspended for questionable hits (and some of those calls were the right ones.) It was always just a mess and never meant to be.  But, every year they made it, and Fleury was a big reason why.  I realize that it's a team effort, but when your goalie plays like he did, the rest of the team shines as well.  They know that they can't let him down, especially when time and again he was keeping them in the game.  But, even still, the closest they came was in 2013 when they were swept by Boston in the conference finals.  Ouch.

Thank you pats to the head for another Pens win.
     When things were looking very promising last year, we were all excited and all thought, could this finally be the year?  Would our core group of guys, led by Sid, Geno, Kuni, Tanger, and Flower be able to win a fourth Stanley Cup for the franchise?  It looked that way, that is until the Flower got hurt. My heart broke, but probably not more than his did.

     Fleury had been incredible all season long, but he was always pretty much amazing throughout the years.  Not every save can be perfect and not every puck can be saved, but when I watched him play, there was no doubt in my mind that he was on fire and he was going to lead us to another cup.  When he got hurt, it felt like the world (at least our hockey loving world in Pittsburgh) had been shattered.  We wouldn't see him for the rest of the regular season, and only started once in the playoffs. But, the Pens persevered and still won their fourth Stanley Cup.  This time, Matt Murray led the way in the net (except for when Jeff Zatkoff won the first game of the playoffs.)  Sure we loved him too, and we're thankful for him being able to fill in for Fleury, but Marc-Andre was our guy, and our goalie.  He got us so far last year, and injury aside, he still led the way.  Well, in my mind he did.  In the minds of many of my friends he did.


"Haven't faces a shot in while. I'd better loosen up."

     When the Cup was brought out to the team, we all noticed that Fleury barely touched the cup.  But, what we didn't understand was why.  Sure a lot of folks were saying that Fleury didn't feel that this was his cup.  I'm sorry but he was wrong.  It was just as much his as it was everyone else's.  The Penguins would never have gotten as far as they did without him.  I really wish he knew that, and believe it, because I certainly did.  When we saw him at the victory parade, he was still all smiles with the fans and signing autographs, but you could almost tell by his demeanor how he felt.  He seemed to be missing that normal sparkle in his eyes that we've seen for so many years.  However, that's just my perception, and I hope he understands that.

2016 Stanley Cup Champs

TV Screen Grab! My bearded mug looking like a way too
grown up fan boy.

     Fast forward again to this year, and the Penguins win back to back championships.  As I stated before, this win felt different, even more special than in 2009 and in 2016.  The Flower was splitting duties with Matt Murray as we all know, and it worked out quite well for the Pens.  Our team had the perfect one-two punch, and that punch got us all the way through the regular season.  But, no sooner did the Penguins win the cup than the talk about Vegas began.  I mean, really?  They win the Stanely Cup for the fifth time in franchise history and the first thing they want to talk about is Fleury being drafted by Vegas?  Did they forget what just happened? I sure didn't!  I don't want to talk about Vegas! I want to talk about my goalie, our goalie, and how awesome he was in the first two rounds of the playoffs!

   When Murray got hurt at the end of the season we were blessed to see the Flower blossom once more.  We watched him send Columbus to the golf course.  We watched him show Ovechkin that he can't put a puck past him when it counts in the second round, and it was beautiful!  (That game 7 against Washington was probably my favorite Flower game.)  The smile on his face is what everyone loves about him.  It sparkles. It shines.  I'm a guy and even I know a winning smile when I see it (I've got one, too.  Just ask anyone.)  But soon enough, Murray was feeling better, ready to go, and back in the net to close out this playoff run.

     When the final seconds ticked away in game 6 all I could think about was, "I hope the Flower takes the Cup and skates around with it.  He's earned it."  This was true.  You knew it.  I knew it. Matt Murray knew it.  Everyone knew it.  If anyone said otherwise they'd be wrong.  Now, I'd be lying if I say that it didn't bring a tear to my eye because it did.  Would that be the last time I would ever see Marc-Andre Fleury in a Pens jersey?  If so, it was OK because he hoisted that cup and took a quick spin with it.  However, as it turned out, that would not in fact be the last time I would get see the Flower in a Pens Jersey.  The last time would be on June 14th, 2017, at the victory parade.

Photo Credit - Jennifer Plunkett

     As Marc-Andre stopped in front of us, we could see that familiar glimmer in his eyes again.  He really looked happy.  I'm sure he knew more about his future on that day than we did, and he still just lived in the moment and took it all in.  He looked as though he was having more fun than the year before.  He was shaking hands, signing autographs, taking pictures, you name it.  On a hot sunny summer day, he was shining brighter than the sun itself.  This may have been his very last hoorah in Pittsburgh.  This may have been the last time he was seeing us, and the very last time we were seeing him.  This may have been the last moments that we got to spend together with our friend, our brother, OUR goalie.

     In Pittsburgh, you can always see the flowers in the spring, fall, and summer. You could also see them in the winter.  Sure, you'd head over to Schenley Drive to Phipps Conservatory on any given day.  We know that they have a rare flower or two on display all year long.  But, if you wanted to see the rarest flower of them all, you'd head on down town between the months of October through April (and hopefully in May and June.)  This particular flower always shined under the lights and was drenched in black and gold, and there will never be another flower quite like it in the city of Pittsburgh.  This flower had been planted, grew, and began to bloom at the Igloo.  But, it fully blossomed for all to see, at The Paint Can.

I wish I took a better shot here. Too blurry, clearly.
And as the Old 2-niner would say, "He may be number 29
in your program, but he was number 1 in your hearts."  - #1
star of the night.

     On behalf of the entire city of Pittsburgh, Marc-Andre Fleury, I'd like to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, of all of our hearts.  We may have seen the last of you here in Pittsburgh and in a Penguins jersey, but you've not seen the last of us.  It doesn't matter what you are wearing next year because one thing will never change:  you are our friend and a part of our family.  You are one of us.  You are a Pittsburgher, and more importantly, you are a Yinzer.  Take care of yourself and your family and always come visit whenever you want.  Our door is always open for you, our brother.  (Our three rivers, too.)

Sinceriously,

Chuck Hull, and the entire Penguins Nation

PS - All Photos were taken by me, unless of course credit was given, which I make sure I do.  Thanks folks!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Twice As Nice


     Here were are a week from the Pittsburgh Marathon of 2017.  Like last year, it pretty much has taken me a while to process all that has happened leading up to race, as well as the race itself.  My emotions have definitely been running high since then, but I think I'm finally able to settle down.

Myself, Amy, and Sara

     The week leading up to the marathon, everyone I know that was running checked the weather non-stop.  In true fashion, the weather was unpredictable.  Sure, news channels pay people to do that, but we all know far too well that the weather can change at any minute.  One day it was going to be seventy degrees.  The next day it was going to be 35 and rainy.  But, what we got, was the perfect day.

     As calm as I kept telling myself I was, it was very apparent that I was pretty excited.   The day before the race I volunteered to help the Steel City Road Runner's both in the earlier part of the day.  I was told numerous times by Coach Betsy that I needed to just sit down and relax.  I couldn't though.  I was in such a good mood. After I was done with my shift, I picked up my bib and race packet, and then I walked around a little bit.   I checked a few vendors out, grabbed some gels, and then just happened to glance over at these video screens that Dick's had showing pictures from past races.  As soon as I looked at the screen I saw none other than myself...running in a tutu from 2014.  I stood there and bust out laughing,   Of all pictures to use in their rotation, they happened to find that gem!  It was a nice laugh to have before I headed home.


Look who made the 2017 Marathon program.
I'm in green and Kim Jurica next to me in the
blue tank top.

     As I relaxed at home and got my dinner ready, I felt myself becoming tired.  This was good.  I thought that if I was feeling tired, I would be able to sleep prior to the race.  But, when I finally crawled into bed sure enough I could feel my heart beating as well as the blood flowing.  It looked like I was in for a long night.  I kept checking the time, getting up to use the rest room, and the last thing I remember was it being just past 11:00 PM.  The next thing I knew, my alarm was going off at 4:00 AM and it was time to get ready to run.

     I got down to the Westin hotel where there was a waiting area for members of the Steel City Road Runners group.   It was nice to be able to get something to eat prior to running, as well as a place to keep warm on that chilly morning.  I kept texting my friends to see where they were at as well as how they were doing.  I really wanted to be sure I got to see everyone prior to the start of their races.  I did get to see half of them, but not all, but that didn't change the fact that we were all encouraging each other as much as possible.  All I wanted for everyone was to have a good time and a good day, and it looked like we were about to do just that.

Sara, Chad, Marty, Kim Kirsten, and I

Steph, Amy, and Sara

All of my dedications
The Steel City Road Runners Group
Photo Cred: SCRR
     I said in my previous post how there seemed to be something in the air, a special buzz.  That didn't change on race morning.  You could feel the excitement in the crowd.  Everyone was smiling and laughing, taking pictures, and just plain ready to go.  I was able to meet up with a few of my friends prior to heading to the corral which I really wanted to do.  There were a few others who were already in their corrals, but again the texting made us all feel a little more at ease.  But now it was time to head to the coral, and before I knew it, I was running.

     Within the first mile we came upon the SCRR cheer station where coach Suzanne and Coach Betsy excitedly told us they would see us at mile 25.  I was looking forward to that, but mainly because they had margaritas and I would be very thirsty by that point in the race.  The first few miles in the city were going great.  I was running with two folks from the group, Ryan Walker and Adrienne Tolentino Essey, and we were having a really good time.  We were chatty.  We were goofy.  We were not really bothered by the fact that we were about to spend the next 4 hours together doing nothing but running.  Well, that soon changed.  About mile 5 it was down to two of us as Ryan had to take care of personal business (sorry Ryan.)  A short time after that, Adrienne told me to just go ahead and not worry about her and to have a great race.   So, I did.

Coach Suzanne and Coach Betsy ready to cheer
Photo Cred: Coach Suzanne
     I passed the 4:30 pacer on the West End bridge and I'd be lying if I didn't have a smile on my face at that point.  I knew I was running well, and I knew I felt well.  Even with the cloud cover going away and the sun pounding my face, the temperature was still very cool.   Compared to the previous year, this was my kind of running weather.  On a recommendation from Ryan, I protected myself with this liquid band-aid stuff.  He told me how well it worked for him so I figured I'd give it a shot.   Bad move on my part.  Around mile 8 I noticed the discomfort and when I saw the aid station volunteers with sticks of Vaseline, I bolted towards them.  TMI?  Maybe, but my nipples were in bad shape.  The rest of me wasn't.  My legs were moving and I was still smiling.
Mile 1 done! Photo Cred: Coach Suzanne

Steel City Cheer Section. Photo Cred: Coach Suzanne
and SCRR

     I was approaching the South Side when I heard someone yell my name.  I turned around it was my friend Sara.  Sara was doing great.   She told me that she was tired but I knew she was making good time.  This was her second year doing the half, and seeing her made me proud knowing how far she and some of my other friends have come since they took up running.   We stopped for a quick picture and again off I went.


Sara and I in the South Side
I know her! I know her!
     The most treacherous part of our course was just ahead: Forbes Avenue.   As I ran across the Birmingham Bridge I knew what was looming, but, if I could get up the hill last year, I could do it again this year.  It's such a huge relief when you get to the top of that hill.  However, another mile and a half later I felt it.  It was about this time last year when I started to get tired, also.  I told myself to keep going but once I got to mile 16 I began to walk for a little bit.  But you know what?  That didn't bother me at all.  It actually helped me a lot.  Sure my miles would be a little slower, but I was running my second marathon, and I was going to finish yet again.  This time though, it didn't seem so crazy.

Joe Glozzer and I after 22 was in the books.
   
     At the mile 21 marker I heard my name again and there was my buddy Joe.  I stopped and gave Joe a hug and told him how good it was to see him.  I only had 5 miles to go, and I was exhausted so Joe being in the right place at the right time truly was what I needed.  He asked me why I was stopping and I said to say hi to him.   He looked it me and said, "but I'm going to run with you for a little bit."   I looked at him and said, "really?  That's awesome!"  I asked him how far he was running and he told me just to the mile 22 marker.  I made sure to take a quick picture with Joe at the end of the mile and with another hug I kept at it.  Funny story though, is that it wasn't until later in the day when Joe posted the picture that it hit me why he ran that mile with me.  That was the mile that I dedicated to his late father in law.  He told me he was honored to run that mile with me, but it was really my honor.  When I told him that he just laughed and said, "if I ran the first 21 miles I would have been in the hospital so I'll let you slide on this one."  Hey, after running 21 miles, you tend to forget about everything except how to put one foot in front of the other.

     Another one of my friends was waiting around the corner as she lives in the area.  Little did I know was that Shelby would spell my name wrong on the sign she made for I and another friend of ours that was also running that day.  I rewarded her with a nice gross hug as I had just run through a misting station.  See what happens when you forget the K in my name?  1 point to Gryfndor.  After seeing her I knew what was coming: only about three and a half miles.   I was still smiling.  I was still feeling good.  I didn't regret this decision a second time.  I saw the clock time when I finished the mile and seeing what I saw reassured me how well I was doing over the previous year.  No matter how tired I was at that point, it was nothing like my first marathon.

     As I got close to finishing mile 24, the band entertaining everyone running was playing the Foo Fighters and a song I knew.  It only took 24 miles (and I tell you I was dying to do this all day,) so I made a straight shot over to the band and looked at their singer with my cheesy grin.  He knew what was going to happen, so he just stepped back, I belted out a lyric and then went back to running.  The whole band erupted with a cheer as I took off and I just chuckled and called myself a dork.

(enjoy this video of our coaches having fun - acquired from them)

video     I decided to take another short break when two guys that I had trained with came up from behind me and passed me.  I told them they were both doing a great job, and seeing as they were running, I picked my pace back up.   I then got to the Steel City cheering station and was greeted with smiles and high fives all around.  It was pretty awesome.  Coach Betsy and Coach Suzanne were all over the middle of the street giving everyone the extra boost they needed to finish.  I gave Betsy a nice hug and thanked her for being a great coach, and still felt the need to walk just a little more.  As I did that out of no where came our friend Deanna.  She's tiny and hard to spot and kinda scared the crap out of me when she asked me how I was feeling.  I said pretty tired but she too encouraged me to keep running and walked me to to Coach Suzanne.  Suzanne grabbed my hand and ran me the next two blocks and said I was making great time and she was extremely proud and happy for me and everyone else.  As soon as she was out of ear shot I had to walk again.  That's when Tom and Kevin passed me again.



     Tom and Kevin made sure I knew I only had a half mile left so I picked it back up and turned the corner prior too Mile Marker 26.   I was so close.  I was making good time, and I was still happy.  I was tired as all hell, but I was happy.  Tom and Kevin passed me up again so needless to say they gave me another boost and they were right.  It wasn't time to walk.  It was time to finish.  I took my phone out and turned off the music.  I didn't need it as I could hear the crowd.  I also saw a text from Kim that said I was almost there and killing it (thank you Garmin Live Tracker.  And thank you Kim.)



     As the crowd grew larger, so did the noise and the cheers.   And then, there I saw it: two outstretched arms holding in the air two cans of beer.  Bryan you beautiful S.O.B.  I saw everyone there even though I was focused on the beer.  It was so awesome seeing my friends at the finish.  I've known these people for so long and being able to share moments like that with them is just something you will always remember.  I grabbed my beers, turned the corner, and just like last year I crossed the finish line.



     It's hard to believe that I ran a marathon last year, but now I've run two.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around that.  I'm the kind of person that doesn't like to give myself much credit for anything,  but I really to  here.  I've done something I never thought I would ever do, and I've now done it for the second time.  However I couldn't do it alone.  I didn't do it alone.

     I ran with Sara, Steph, and Amy.  I ran with Ryan, Adrienne, Jessie, and Diana and all of SCRR.  I ran with Kirsten, Chad, and Marty.  I ran with Kim.  These people trained with me.  They sweated with me.  They shared my aches, and they shared my pains.  But, more importantly, they crossed that finish line with me.  Because of them, my coaches, SCRR, Team RWB, my friends and family, I am able to continue doing things I never thought I'd be able to do.  Every step and every mile of this and every race is something I could never do alone.  A marathon is tiring.  It's grueling.  It's mind numbing.  But, it's also amazing, and I'm glad I didn't have to do it alone.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

     God I love this town, and I love all of you.

     Thank you.

     Now, on to the next journey!  I'll see you on the trails next month, and then I'll see you in Chicago.


     Until then....keep on running Pittsburgh.


     Sinceriously,

     Chuck Hull,   The Running Jedi.








I rang the hell out of that bell, and walked away
like a champ.

Coming in 2018????  Only time will tell!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Ready For Round 2

   
Thank you to David and Bonnie for this awesome t-shirt
     Here we are 3 days away from the Pittsburgh Marathon, and I'm somehow still eerily calm.  I'm not sure why that is.   I know the challenge that running a marathon brings, especially after my first go at it a year ago.  Facebook was nice enough to remind me of that this past Monday.


     This year, I feel like I have a good idea of what to expect.  What I really should expect, however, is actually the unexpected.  Anything can happen in three days.  Heck, anything could happen in one, but I'm not going to think like that.  I've been training for months now, and there is only one goal in mind.   I'm not the only one either.

     So many of us have trained for this day.  We've trained alone.  We've trained with a partner.  We've trained in a group.  I've followed conversations online between other runners, as well those with my friends.  Everyone is nervous, and have the jitters.  But at the same time, all of us are excited.  Knowing all of this, I think I may be looking more forward to this Sunday than I was last year.
     When I lined up in my corral with my friend Kirsten and Kim a year ago, I knew there was no turning back.  I had gotten that far, and I only had a little ways to go (if you want to call running 26 miles a little way.)  I crossed that starting line and everything that I trained for had become surreal.  Seeing everyone at the finish line was nothing sort of amazing as well, and despite my brain telling me otherwise, I knew I was going to do it again.  That brings us to today, where I and so many others are at - 3 days out from the Pittsburgh Marathon and Half Marathon.

Photo cred: Coach Suzanne.  Heck all these photos
are courtesy of her unless otherwise noted. Thanks Coach!
     Everything about this year's race seems....different.   I don't mean that in a negative way either.  There seems to be something in the air, like this vast wave of positive energy and good vibes.  My closest friends, the people I've trained with, all of us really, truly are getting more and more excited for Sunday.  Sure, we have jitters like I've already said, but you can still sense the excitement.  We're all making our plans to meet at the starting line, stay together, and provide the support that we've grown accustomed to having since we began our journeys in January and February.   That is a truly wondrous thing.
   

My longtime friend Stephanie Haas
who is probably going to kill me for sharing
this pic.
My lifelong friend Sara Majetic's Race attire.
All races are for her brother Lou.  RIP.


     In my spare time I've kept on top of training tips from those that have run countless miles on the road.   I've spent time reading articles from running magazines that I've never bothered to so much as glance at before.  I feel as though I'm more focused than I was a year ago, and yet that was the first time I took a shot at something this big.  I not obsessing over my finish time, my pace, or trying to beat someone.  I'm just focused on the task at hand, just like everyone else.
Coach Betsy happy to be back in action!
     Most of us have always had a vague picture of what we felt a runner should look like, and it's just like any other stereo type.  But really, what is a runner supposed to look like?  What I've learned since I began running is that runners are nothing more than this beautiful melting pot of people, each one so different, yet also the same.  A runner looks like him and like her.  A runner looks like me.  A runner looks like you.

     Our sizes and our shapes do not determine whether or not we can or cannot run.  It also doesn't determine what we can and cannot do.  So what is it that makes all of us runners?  That's easy.  It's our heart and it's our soul.  Those the two things that have gotten us this far.  We just now have to go a little bit further (you know, if you want to call 13 or 26 miles a little further to go.)


     Have a great time Sunday morning Pittsburgh.  I'll see you all at the finish line.

Sinceriously,

Chuck Hull,     The Running Jedi

Oh, and May the 4th be with you.... (you knew I was sneaking this in here.)


STILL TIME TO DONATE AND ONLY $570 from goal!!!! If I get $500 today, I'll put in the last bit my self!