Half Marathon Results

Click the image to view the entire photo gallery
Click the image to view the entire photo gallery

This past weekend, Saturday, November 28, 2009 to be exact, I ran in (and completed!) the Kaiser Realty Coastal 1/2 Marathon. This was one of the major landmarks in my #1 New Year’s Resolution of 2009 and I am extremely satisfied to have made the goal.

Early Start

It was a very early morning; we got the kids up and in the van and headed over to Orange Beach, AL around 5:30 AM arriving at the sport complex around 6:45 AM. The weather was perfect; partly cloudy and in the 50’s (Farenheit). The event was very well organized so it was easy checking in and getting everything I needed (time chip, racing bib, schwag packet [promotion stuff… NOT marijuana], etc). Of course there were only just over 300 entrants pre-registered and I believe the total ended up being around four hundred and change, so it wasn’t extremely crowded. There were actual bathrooms to be used instead of porta-potties; that was a plus.

The Run

The run overall was a really nice one. Most of it was on paved nature trails and provided a really beautiful backdrop to distract from the grind of running over 13 miles. There was also a portion run along the coast that offered a change. The run went about as usual for an average person; I passed some people and some people passed me. There were some groups that kept together and held conversations and then there were some loners. There were the quiet types and then there were the very encouraging, vocal types. Everyone was friendly.

I did really well during the run and felt great. The part that was really difficult was just after the ten mile marker. That’s when I really started to work. After the eleven mile marker my legs and arms went all numb and tingley… that’s probably not a good sign. Finally, seeing the Finish line ahead and hearing the cheers of the crowd waiting I dragged it in ready to pass out from exhaustion. It was the longest run I’ve ever done and I really had to work for it at the end.


I finished the half marathon in 2 hours 5 minutes and 56 seconds according to the official results. I was actually aiming for at least 2 hours and 10 minutes so I beat my target time by 5 minutes! So for a half marathon (13.1 miles) that would make my average pace about 9 minutes and 37 seconds per mile. That’s great for me, though I know it’s not all that fast.

But here is some news! I received a “Thanks for Running” email from the organizers and they said that they accidentally misplaced one of the turnaround markers between mile 10 and mile 11 and we actually ran about 13.5 miles. WHAT!? Well, that changes things a little. That would actually make my average pace about 9 minutes and 20 seconds per mile. Yeah, yeah… I know it’s not a big difference but it means a lot to me.


My in-laws came out to support me and so after the awards ceremony we all headed out to eat. We ended up at Cosmos in Orange Beach for some very well cooked seafood. I was feeling pretty miserable at that point so I probably didn’t make for great lunch conversation, but I was very glad for the company of my family. It meant a lot for them to have traveled out over an hour to watch me run, especially since my father in-law is still recovering from a shoulder surgery this past week. My wife drove home… and I slept. It was a good day.

Friday Song Of The Day – Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground)

On my other blog (a geeky technical site) I have a tradition of posting a Friday Song Of The Day. I figured that it might be a fun idea for this blog as well, only with a more family oriented focus. So for this very first FSOTD of the Franzone Family Blog I give you Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground), which also brings in the Christmas season quite nicely. Here are the lyrics:

Verse 1
What hope we hold this starlit night
a King is born in Bethlehem
Our journey long, we seek the light
that leads to the hallowed manger ground

Verse 2
What fear we felt in the silent age
four hundred years can he be found
But broken by a baby’s cry
rejoice in the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
God incarnate here to dwell
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Praise His name Emmanuel

Verse 3
The son of God, here, born to bleed
a crown of thorns would pierce His brow
And we beheld this offering, exalted now, the King of kings
Praise God for the hallowed manger ground

And here is a YouTube video with the music, some nice pictures and the lyrics embedded as well. Enjoy!

* Click through to the site if you cannot see the video above

Happy Thanksgiving 2009 – 5 Things I’m Thankful For


Happy Thanksgiving! For today I wanted to just take a second and list out five things that I am extremely thankful for this year.

1) Jesus Christ and Salvation

First and foremost I am thankful that the creator of the universe calls me His son. John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” So how can you become a child of God as well?  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” All you have to do is believe that and ask and He will call you his son (or daughter) as well. All it takes is a little bit of faith, which Hebrews 11:6 says is this: a) believe that God exists and b) that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

2) My Wife

I am extremely thankful for my wife who is my best friend, my partner, my life mate, my soul mate, my better half… the list could go on. I consider myself the luckiest man on Earth to be married to such an awesome woman. Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous and sexy, but she is kind, gentle, helpful and a great mother to my children. She basically runs our household and keeps me organized. I really would be lost without her in so many ways.

3) My Children

I have three totally great children. My oldest daughter is ten followed by a seven year old boy (who is JUST like me) and a little three (and a half) year old girl. I’m probably a little partial to my own children, but I think that they are very well behaved, respectful and loving. I love my kids!

4) My Church

God has placed us into a really great church. It’s not a mega church with a huge budget and high production for worship and all the flashy stuff that some (me) would like. What it does have though is really awesome people who genuinely love each other and truly display the body of Christ to one another, the community and the world. I’ve connected with some good friends there who I trust. The pastor is an excellent teacher of God’s Word and he is very personable. Of course this may all be because Grace Community Church is where God has placed me during this time and there is no better place to be than in the will of God.

5) My Job

I am currently employed at Columbia Southern University, a completely online college, where I am a senior software engineer. The company is owned by a really great Christian family and it shows. They really care about their employees and strive for what is best for the students and the employees. Not only that but the executive staff listens to the judgment of the I.T. staff and genuinely desires to do what is the best for the company. I also work with a really great group of people, some of whom I would call very close friends. In such hard economic times I am really blessed to have such a great job.

What Are You Thankful For?

Can you name a few things that you are thankful for this year? this day? this life?

Gearing Up For The Race


Well, it is Wednesday before the big race and I’m getting mentally and physically prepared. I ran a quick 2 miles yesterday and will do the same today just to stay loose, but no running after today. I want to be fully recovered and rested before the half marathon.

The bad thing is my son just got sick this week with some sort of stomach virus, which the doctor’s office is saying lasts around 5 days… swell. My wife has officially quarantined me from interacting much with him to prevent my getting sick before race day. Not only that but I’m eating multi-vitamins, vitamin C and Airborne like it was candy.

Also, we are looking forward to Thanksgiving with the family though I’m not sure how that is going to work with my son being sick. I guess we’ll see.

Daddy Wants A New Hair-Do


I’m not sure any of you remember my hair braiding incident earlier this year, but it really got me to thinking about hair styles and more importantly… experimenting with mine. I have a long standing agreement with a good friend of mine that before I cut my hair short the next time I will wear a mullet for at least a week and be sure to go into the office of wherever it is I work for at least one meeting. The corn-rows got me to thinking about another style that I want to try out before I cut off the length (from the front) of my hair. Why not dread locks?

Dread Locks Research

The first thing that I needed to do was some research. I found this site, which had explanations of all of the commonly held myths about dread locks (i.e. “you can’t wash your hair”, “you are going to stink”, “it’ll destroy your hair”). That wasn’t my only resource but it gave me a good starting point. I quickly found out that not only was I eligible to dread my hair as a white dude with straight hair, but there was a ton of information on exactly how to do it. There are quite a few different methods.

UltraDreadKitNext I found a good place for the supplies I’d need to get the job done. DreadHeadHQ has not only videos and tutorials on how to dread your hair but they have products to do it as well. I went ahead and sprung for the Ultra Dread Kit, which arrived yesterday! Of course, if you read my post from yesterday you’ll know that I have to run a half marathon this coming Saturday, November 28, 2009. So I will NOT be dreading my hair this week. And actually my wife is going to be doing most of the work.


This is somewhat of a funny topic and a little confusing to me personally. I first started talking about dreading my hair right after the corn row incident. From that point to now the reactions of most people I tell is almost the same, “Don’t do it!!!” I mean coworkers, friends, family… all just about the same reaction. Some more adamant than others. I could understand this from my wife because she is married to me and has to live with me, but I’m not real sure I understand it from other people. Is it because I just look so dashingly handsome now that they don’t want me to change? lol – yeah right!

Well, to all those neigh-sayers I say this, “it’s just hair!” It’s not like I’m converting to Islam or something. It’s not even a body piercing or something that would affect me permanently… it’s hair. If I don’t like it I can just cut it off and start over. So relax and get used to the soon-to-be new me, because it is going to happen and hopefully before Christmas. 🙂

2009 New Year’s Resolutions Update


January 1st of this year I posted a fairly aggressive list of New Year’s Resolutions. So how did I do? Well, I’ve only really succeeded at one of the resolutions. I guess that is better than none, right? It is now coming to the close of the year 2009 so I figured I’d list them all out again and see what happened.

1. Running / Training


For this resolution I had several sub-goals. They were:

  1. Run the 15k portion of the Pensacola Double Bridge Run – DONE!
  2. Run in a half-marathon – I’m actually registered and ready to run in the Kaiser Realty Coastal 1/2 Marathon this saturday (November 28, 2009). I’ve trained very hard for this and am ready. I did have a running partner, my father in law, who unfortunately is having some medical problems which will prevent him from running with me. I know he is going to get back to it quickly though and we’ll soon be running together again. I’ll post my results next week!
  3. Train to run in a marathon for 2010 – I had hoped to already be past the half marathon at this point, but I’m fully confident that I’ll be able to run in a marathon next year. The Pensacola Marathon has been moved to November so I may be picking another one that is in the first half of the year. We’ll see.

2. Scripture Memorization

I had a fairly lofty goal of memorizing the entire Gospel of John. Later in the year I had actually modified this goal of memorizing just the portion of John that is commonly held as Jesus’s Farewell Discourse (John 13:31 – John 17:26). So how did I do? Terrible. I had memorized most of John 14 before the start of the New Year, but haven’t only made it to that entire chapter… and that is a bit rusty. So is there any hope? I believe I might be able to get another chapter (15) under my belt if I really get to it, but I seriously doubt I could manage the entire section. That’s OK, though, I’m still forging ahead even if at a snails pace.

3. Obtain my 2nd degree black belt in TaeKwonDo

I got as far as contacting my old studio and inquiring about times and cost. I don’t really have the finances in order to be able to drop money into something that I’m not going to stick with and I don’t think I would have devoted the time into this that I needed to. So… maybe next year!

4. Try to write a book

LOL – that’s about all I have to say. Attempted? No. Going to? Probably not.

5. Pay Off Debts

Well, we made some really good progress in the first part of the year and paid of a couple of our debts. Yay! However, the second half of the year (following the flooding of our old house and subsequent search for new headquarters) has gone miserably. Not only have I not made progress towards this goal, I’ve gone pretty behind on several of the debts and am feeling like a terrible failure at anything having to do with finances at the moment. At this point the only thing I’m holding on to is the hope of another decent income tax return to get our heads above water again. Sigh

6. Improve Church Website

The site is pretty much the same as it was. No work done, no time, no effort. Again… sigh.

7. Learn entire 48 Tai Chi form

Well, I learned about the first 12 steps but that’s about it. This went the path of so many other resolutions and just fizzled out after a month or so. I could conceivably knock this one out before the end of the year, but that would take a pretty focused effort which I doubt will happen.

8. Increase Quality/Quantity of Blogging

I’ll go ahead and “sigh” at the beginning on this one. I’ve actually done severely worse this year than previously. Let’s look at some numbers on just the main two of my blogs (Technology Site and Family Site (this one)).


Total posts in 2007 = 285
Total posts in 2008 = 182
Total posts in 2009 (to date) = 37


Total posts in 2007 = 43
Total posts in 2008 = 37
Total posts in 2009 (to date) = 12

Wow… not only fail, but epic fail! There’s no way I could catch up on this one, but I can at least try to start making regular posts. Why? Hmmm… I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

9. Journal

LOL – I probably made one or two journal entries. Oh well, I just don’t think I’m the journaling type.

10. Build Something!

Yeah, I’ve still got a huge list of TO-DO items that have had no love. Maybe next year.

11. Resolutions/Goal Tracking

This one kind of goes hand in hand with #8 above, so it is an obvious fail.

So What Now?

Well, holiday season is about to be in full swing so I don’t think any of these will get much love except for my running which I’m pretty adamant about. I may make a few feeble attempts to take some steps on a couple of them before the end of year, but that’s about it. Will I set more resolutions for next year? I’ll have to get back to you on that one too. I know I’ll at least keep #1!