It's All I Can Do

Day 88 Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This was move day; from Eau Claire to Tomah, but not before getting my miles in for the day.

John Fibeger picked me up from my hotel around 7:00 a.m. First stop? Would it surprise you to know it was… . Yep, McDonald’s for a couple of breakfast burrito meals. No, really!

We began at good old Owens’s Park, the starting and finishing place for nearly all of my runs in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

John is a stay at home dad. His wife is a medical doctor. That is now the fourth couple that I have met on the run around the country that have that same combination; mom, a medical doctor, dad, a stay at home dad. I have to say, John is really into being a stay at home dad. He told me about a birthday cake he made for one of his children that was very creative. The excitement in his voice as he told me about it said it all. John was/is a physical therapist, but the couple thought it best for the sake of the children that one of them give up their career.

After the five mile loop and return to Owens’s Park, it was time to run with Zach Halmstead and JAMF software group.

Zach is an amazing success story. He moved away from Eau Claire for a number of years and began his software company. He decided to continue to grow his business in Eau Claire and purchased some land to build a new building on. The land was the site of an eye sore of some kind, I think a former construction materials site. Everyone I talked to has the greatest amount of respect for this man and what he is doing for Eau Claire.

I am not sure how many of his employees joined us, but it was a lot, and a lot of fun. Zach guided me, and on my right was one of his best friends and employees/business partners. These two went back a long way together and had a lot of funny stories to tell about their friendship. .

Later Zach donated $500 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation through us. Thank you very much, Zach, for guiding me and such a generous donation.

Next up were the dynamic duo, mother and daughter, Debbie and Katie, who I ran with on Sunday. Good, because rumor had it that Debbie had offered to give me a ride to Tomah today, at least, that’s what I thought she said on Sunday, and yes, the offer was still good.

Katie told me something interesting about a man with cystic fibrosis who decided to run a marathon. He was not able to complete it. Why? Because his body went through salt at a high rate of speed, way too fast, in fact.

When testing for cystic fibrosis, what is tested is the sweat. It is tested for its salt content. If too high, that generally is an indication of cystic fibrosis. It would make sense that physical exertion would accelerate the amount of salt lost through perspiration. My guess is that this man could run a marathon if he would increase his salt intake before and during the run. It’s just a guess, and I would be interested to know if this is true. . .

Next up was Jessica, the statistics professor. She and Matt (The human guard rail) ran with me the first evening I was in Eau Claire. She was to run with me yesterday also, but because of all the confusion and timing issues around the media, we waved it off. I was glad for another opportunity to run with her.

She had worked hard to clear it with the people at the university that we could run on the university track, but, first stop? Would it surprise you to know it was McDonald’s, as I had a hankering for a Mocha Frappe. When we arrived at the university, Jessica was safely guiding me through a maze of sidewalks and outdoor concrete steps. As we approached a set of concrete steps going up, she warned me about them, but my mind wandered to my addiction – the cold, chocolaty, sweet, mocha frappe in my hand. I missed the first step, grazing it and tripping forward. Jessica felt badly, but I assured her, it was all on me. You can lead a horse to water, but … . You can warn someone, but … .

As soon as we began running we got into an incredible conversation. I am not sure how many laps or miles we had run when Jessica said she needed to use the ladies room. Good thing, my bladder was about to burst, but I was so into our conversation that I didn’t want to interrupt it. Once back on the track and at running speed, we picked up where we left off in the conversation, then I felt like someone shook me from a sound comfortable sleep – Jessica said we were running late to get me to the next group of people who were already waiting to run with me.

The conversation with Jessica was perhaps the single most in depth conversation I have ever had. The gist of it was that we were each comfortable with who we are. We understood that to get where we are was a process; a process of trials and errors; a process of gains and losses; a process of always moving, if even in what turned out to be the wrong direction. We were comfortable with the process of being developing human beings. No blaming, no complaining, no shaming, no judgments. Essentially, we both felt safe enough to take off our masks and reveal who we really were. We found no fault with each other, nor the world around us.

To run with the next group, Jessica took me to? Nope, not Owens Park this time. Where? Beats me. Jessica and I said our good-bye’s, and I got on with running with Shelly, Sharon and, oops, I forgot her name, but, what I do remember about her is that she ran more with us than she ever did before. Her longest run to date was a 5k she had recently done. Today she ran a tad over five miles. Pretty good, I say.

Shelly guided me as Sharon and the other woman ran in front of us. I have to tell you, Shelly had her work cut out for her. There was a section of sidewalk that had somewhat of a roller coaster surface to it. Fortunately I had just run this section earlier with Debbie and Katie, so I knew we needed to take it slow. We also crossed a bridge. It seemed like a really cool bridge, but bridges often have “lips” to them. This one was no different.

Where Shelly really had her work cut out for her was in keeping up with Sharon and the other woman. Generally, when I run in a group, my guide and I lead, as we set the pace, slow when we need to for safety reasons, and cruise where we can. Following someone over ever changing surfaces and attempting to keep up with them is a bit tricky for a guide. There were a few times when I stumbled and Shelly thought it was because of her. That made her nervous. I didn’t realize the effect of following others was having on us until later that night when I mentally reviewed the day, so, kudos to Shelly and an awesome job of guiding me.

Shelly took me back to my hotel where I waited just a short time for Debbie and away we went to Tomah. We had a great conversation and the ride went far too quickly. She dropped me off and away she went back home to Eau Claire.

Before she dropped me off, we had stopped so I could grab something to eat, so all that was left was a shower. A much needed shower, and, to let everyone back home know where I was, um, but my cell phone wasn’t working. I went to the front desk to ask if they had any ideas why that is.

You know, I went across Montana and North Dakota, where populations are sparse, yet I never had any problems with cell phone reception. Turns out Tomah has very poor cell phone reception. I have A T & T. Tomah is Sprint and one other carrier. Even at that, everyone said that Sprint works better during one part of the day, while the other carrier works better during the other part of the day. Not good.

The hotel clerk even attempted to set my iPhone up to work through their Wi-Fi, but, no stogie. The clerk let me use his phone so I could call Renee. She then relayed to Chris that I was unable to make and take calls.

Total miles today: 20.66.


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