It's All I Can Do

Day 81 – August 19, 2014

Yesterday I got a call from a local TV reporter who is stationed in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. He said he wasn’t sure if he could interview me because I am staying in a neighboring town called Champlin. Renee and I had a lot of fun with this one. I mean, did he really need permission to cross into another suburb? Did he need special papers or something? Anyway, he called again today and said he thought he could do the interview because the High School track is actually in Brooklyn Park.

Last night Teresa made four sandwiches for me, and put them in the refrigerator. Two peanut butter and jelly, and two huge lunch-meat sandwiches, those puppies has some bulk to them. For breakfast I ate the meat sandwiches.

Tonight I have a dinner appointment with my friend Gregg Greeno, who I originally met in Jamestown, North Dakota, on Day 57 of the run. The track I ran on in Jamestown, and the football field, were named in honor of his father Rollie Greeno. Gregg and his family were in Jamestown for a funeral that weekend. When a local newspaper wrote an article about the run in Jamestown, Gregg’s daughter Hannah was my sighted guide for the picture. Hannah is 11, one year younger than my granddaughter, Kylie, who has cystic fibrosis.

Even though the High School track is across the street from Theresa’s home in Champlin, MN, it is apparently a complicated walk, so Theresa drove me this morning. Shortly after I started running, I received a phone call from CNN Headline News asking me to do a live interview. They said they would call me at at 11:10, and we would go live at 11:15.

When CNN called my phone I was transferred to a man who said he would connect me to Mike, the interviewer. He said Mike was on the air, and would prompt me when to speak. I could hear Mike on the line, but he could not hear me. Then the line went dead. Not a sound. This has never happened before. Thinking that maybe they do things a bit differently, I continued holding on. If I had been disconnected, I thought, it would probably be better if they called me, rather than me calling them. I have done several of these live phone interviews since I have been on this run, so this is not my first rodeo.

Around 11:18, I received a call from the man who “connected” me with Mike. He asked me what happened. I said, “I’m not sure, all I know is that I heard Mike on air for a split second, then the phone went dead.”

“Hmm, let’s try this again.” he said. And the phone went dead immediately.

At 11:23, I called the number that made the initial call to me, and spoke to the same man as before. “I’m not sure what happened,” he said. “We’ll have to get back to you.”

Later on I got a call from Fox News. They asked me if I could come to the studio for either the 3:30pm or the 5:00pm live news cast. Renee called Gregg Greeno to see if he would be able to pick me up from the track, take me to Theresa’s so I could shower, and to the studio for the 5:00 news cast. Gregg called me and said he would pick me up from the track at 3:00.

Just before noon, I received another call from CNN. They wanted to reschedule the Headline News interview for later today. The earliest they could do it was 3:00. I told them, unfortunately that would not work for me. The woman said she would get back to me later.

One problem I have with running on this track is that there isn’t an accessible bathroom nearby, and by noon, nature was calling. However, I was not alone. I could hear the High School band practicing on the field in the center of the track. So I knew that I would not be able to let loose in the great outdoors.

Talk about Buddha providing. Theresa had posted on her facebook page asking if anyone could check on me while I was on the track. Just as my bathroom situation was becoming serious, I heard a female voice talking to me.

It was a woman named Kelly. We shook hands, and she apologized for her hands being wet and cold because she just got out of the swimming pool. She said she brought me a bottle of cold water and a banana. Before we got into much of a discussion, I announced that I needed to find “The Little King’s Room.”

We got into her vehicle with her children, one boy one girl, and she drove to the High School. She corralled a high school student and asked him to take me inside the school, to the men’s room. I have to say, he seemed very mature for his age, and we had a great conversation to and from the men’s room.

When the young man returned me to Kelly, she explained that she thought it best that she find someone else to take me into the building, because she was wearing a bathing suit. “Yep,” I said in agreement,  “Especially with all those raging hormones going on in there.” She laughed then said, “Well, it’s not as if I am in a bikini.”

Kelly deposited me back to the track. She said she wished she could spend more time walking and talking with me, and she told me that she is not a runner. Non-runners like to flaunt that I’ve noticed. You know, that they are much too sane to do something crazy like running. Then she went on her way.

Shortly after noon, I received another call from the woman at CNN. They wanted to try and do the audio interview tomorrow at the same time as today. I told her that would work for me.

I wanted to get in 20 miles for the day before Gregg picked me up for the Fox interview. That way I could show the reporter my Garman with the 20 miles on it. I started to pick up the pace, but I knew it was going to be close. Just then Gregg called to let me know he was running a little late. Perfect, good old Buddha there for me again.

When Gregg showed up I had one lap to go. When we got into Gregg’s vehicle, he looked around and saw some homes across a road from the high school and said, “Theresa must live over there.”

As it turned out, we couldn’t find Theresa’s home and were driving around the neighborhood for a while. Just then Gregg got a call on his cell from Theresa and Renee together, asking him asking where we were. Theresa provided on site navigation and ran out to the corner so Gregg would know where to turn to get to her house.

When we got there, Theresa was on her way out the door to teach an aerobics class. She explained to Gregg how to get to the Fox studio. It didn’t seem like he fully understood, and said he would call his wife for directions. I said I willing to forgo the shower to give us more time to get to the studio, but both Theresa and Gregg insisted that I take a shower. Guess they were trying to tell me something.

While I was in the shower, Renee, having figured out that Gregg has a propensity for getting lost, called him back and gave explicit directions to the studio, because she knew we were already running late. As Gregg and I left Theresa’s, he said Renee had also texted turn by turn directions to his cell. We drove on a highway then exited. After a few blocks Gregg announced that we were going the wrong way, and turned around. The clock was ticking, and I was getting a bit nervous. Just then he announced, “Here it is,” and whipped into a parking lot.

When we got into the building, the security guard had to sign us in, and made a call for someone to come get us. A man came and took us to the “Green Room”. It really is green.

A gentleman named Vince introduced himself to us and asked if we needed anything. He said he would escort us in when it was time. He told Gregg he could come with also. I thought that was very cool. That way Gregg could be close to the action.

I was brought in and seated on a very large couch. The studio was very chilly. The reporter Karen Scullin sat down on my right side, and said she would be conducting the interview. She told me how she used to run a lot, but got injured. She said she still runs three or four miles, a few times a week.

Karen was very professional and went over the bullet points that we would be discussing. Then she asked if there was anything I would like to include, and I said “No.” Then she started to ask me about Kylie, what she was like, and how she was doing. However, in the background I heard a booming male voice counting down. “30 seconds.” “20 seconds.” “10 seconds.” “5, 4, 3, 2, 1.”

She of course was quite used to all of what was going on around us. For me, I thought it best to shut-up and be fully ready. This was the first time I had ever been interviewed in this fashion on live TV. In all other the interviews I had done, I stood in front of the person interviewing me.

I was not sure if I was supposed to look at Karen or face the camera. And there was no opportunity to ask once it all got under way. Instinctively I turned in her direction each time she asked a question. After answering each question, I thought I probably should look forward. Then she would ask another question and I would look in her direction.

At the end of the interview, when I knew we were off camera, I told her about my confusion. She said I did fine, and there were cameras all around us. She said it is their job to follow me and make it look right. Here is a link to the video.

Karen began asking me more about Kylie. However, as we were speaking softly, I could hear a male anchor doing the news. I felt uncomfortable and said, “Maybe we shouldn’t be talking now.” She said it was alright, and this level of conversation goes on all the time while someone else is on the air. She said It was probably happening while she was interviewing me. I answered her questions about Kylie. She was a very caring person.

After the interview, Gregg and I went to dinner at a restaurant where his neighbor Carmen works. He asked for her when we were seated. Gregg told her about me and what I am doing. She was very interesting to talk to and had a lot of positive energy. As we left the restaurant, the manager opened the door for us and said that Carmen told him about the run.

We stopped at a Dairy Queen for a couple of Blizzards. Then Gregg brought me back to Theresa’s. Theresa told me about the workout she put her students through. No doubt they love her and get a lot out of her routines.

She said she talked to Renee and they agreed that she should send emails to various Lutheran churches in the Eau Clare, Wisconsin.

Renee usually sends out emails to all of the Lutheran churches in each of the towns I go to. We ask that the pastor ask their parishioners if someone would volunteer to pick me up from my hotel, take me through the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant, then drop me off at a running track, and in the afternoon, reverse this process. So far there have been some retired folks who have helped me out, and they seem to thoroughly enjoy it.

When Theresa picked me up from the hotel yesterday, I asked her to do two things. Take me to a track, and drop me off at a Lutheran church afterwards, but she refused to drop me off at a church and drive away. I told her, “The idea is for me to just walk in on them and tell them what I need.” That is probably why she offered me her spare bedroom.

The only Lutheran pastor that has helped us out so far is Pastor Dale. I met him when Katherine dropped me off at his church in Fergus Falls. I caught him off guard, and he offered to take me to a track and pick me up that night. Instead of asking members of his congregation to help out, he did all the pick-ups and drop-offs. On my last day in Fergus Falls, Pastor Dale told me that he got several ideas to use in his future sermons from our time spent together.

But so far, no other pastors have gotten on board from a cold-call (or email). It has been the same with Masonic lodges. The only Mason we got support from was Roger Nelson in Spokane. He is the Worshipful Master of his lodge and a runner. And he also had experience guiding a blind runner for the past seven years.

20.1 miles
1453.78 total miles
$5,175.37 total funds raised

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