July daily blogs
Daily Blog, Tuesday July 1, 2014
This morning I ran with Chad around the campus of Montana State University. Chad had not brought his cell phone, but as we ran, he spotted a young woman who we asked if she would take our picture with my phone, which has the accessibility features turned on. This means it’s a little more difficult for sighted people to use, because they have to double tap everything. As it turns out, she had just begun working at the MSU in the unit that supports people with disabilities. She said she would be happy to take pictures because she needs to learn how to use accessible technology. What are the odds of running across somebody like this?
After we finished running we went to a bagel shop for breakfast. A man came up to us while we there and said that there was a blind man running around United States for cystic fibrosis and he was heading towards Bozeman. He asked if we had heard about him. I said, “I am him”. As it turns out, he has a son with cystic fibrosis. I gave him my information. Later, the man’s wife called me. She will bring her son by the hotel on the 2nd at 1:00PM so that we can take pictures.
At 4 o’clock, Frank came by to pick me up to go for a trail run. It was a interesting trail run. To minimize the effect of water erosion from rain runoff, they build ridges which are horizontal across a hill. As you run up or down the hill, you encounter several of these ridges in a row. They’re very short, very steep up, and, very steep down. Frank returned me to my hotel, just in time for my 6 o’clock run with a woman named Kyle.
After Kyle picked me up, we then picked up her fiancé, Patrick, who happened to be a little bit down, as the United States lost in the World Cup soccer match. When we got to the campus, I met with many members of the Wind Drinkers Running Club, who were assembled there so that they could do some running drills. The drills were led by Chad, the young man I ran with early in the morning. Patrick and I didn’t do the drills, we went for another trail run. Patrick is outstanding as a guide.
An interesting point here, in Bozeman, is that the trails are part of one, very large network of trails. With every guide I have had so far, it is obvious, that as we run and intersect other trails, there are many choices. The Wind Drinkers running club is where all of my sighted running guides are coming from.
Somehow I lost the rope that I have used for years as a tether.
Today I ran a total of 20.3 miles.
Daily Blog, Wednesday, July 2, 2014
This morning at 6 AM, I ran with Megan and her husband Sean. As we ran through the many trails, they discussed the haze that was in the air, how last night’s sunset was very red and vivid. Both the haze and vivid red sunset are a result of a forest fire, either in Canada, which I heard of later, or in Oregon, where Sean said the particulates were coming from. After they dropped me off at my room at the Holiday Inn, I was pretty exhausted. I had gotten very little sleep the night before, so I took a nap. When I woke up, I went to the back of the hotel parking lot and walked back-and-forth, accumulating a few miles before my newspaper interview at 1 o’clock and before meeting Lindell, the mother of a 17-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis. Her son, Robert, was to accompany her in meeting me at the hotel, however, he was rushed to the hospital the night before with a MRSA infection.
The newspaper reporter mentioned that he was aware that my granddaughter, Kylie, is my motivation for doing this run. I replied to the newspaper reporter that not only is my granddaughter my motivation, but also my daughter, Kelly. It is understood how destructive this diseases to those that have it, but it is also a very difficult struggle for those that are parents of such a disease. I talked about how my daughter often feels defeated, that no matter what she does, her daughter is still losing ground against the battle against cystic fibrosis. With that, I turned and looked at Lindell and said, “You know this better than I do, I’m just a third-party looking in. Maybe you can discuss this” and boy, did she describe what it was like to be a mother of a young person battling this disease.
Later in the interview, the reporter asked me how I was getting from Bozeman to Billings. I told him that I was taking the Greyhound bus, but that I didn’t have a ride from the hotel to the Greyhound station, nor did I have a ride at the other end from Greyhound to my hotel, at that moment I didn’t even have a hotel. His response, like most people, was surprise, but I assured him that’s how this run is unfolding, day by day, moment by moment. With that Lindell, asked me what time the bus was departing Bozeman. I told her 3:20. She asked what time I needed to be at the bus station. I told her they like people to be there one hour before departure. She said, “I can take you, I work till noon”. I looked in the direction of the reporter and said, “See, this is how this run is working”. We completed the interview and everybody went their way.
After the interview, I went back out to the rear of the hotel and began walking back-and-forth on the sidewalk. The sidewalk was then fully exposed to direct sunlight and it was extremely hot. I’m not sure how many miles more I got, but they were really difficult miles. I went back to my room and rested until I was picked up at 6 o’clock by Frank. I was to run with the Wind Drinkers again. This was a pot luck run for the club. Kurt announced to the entire group why I was there in Bozeman and he then said that I and my guide, Bill, would lead the run. The photographer from the paper, Rachel, took many pictures of me, Bill, Kurt, and Frank running. Frank had to leave early, but Bill, and Kurt, and I continued running. We were the last ones back. Everyone cheered for us when we returned, however, the potluck was pretty much over, but I did score a homemade cookie.
Kurt then drove me back to my room at the Holiday Inn, where we met Bill and another gentleman named Kurt. The second Kurt owns an outdoor center store. The three of them presented me with a belt that has places for a water bottle, a GU Energy Gel bottle, and a pouch (for my wallet and iPhone). That was very nice of them. Kurt, the outdoor center storeowner, then said he would run with me in the morning. Everybody went their separate ways and I went back to my room, where later that evening I ate in a hotel restaurant. It was very good food.
Oh yeah, one of my concerns at the potluck run with the Wind Drinkers was with having me photographed in front of the group as we began the run. For those who know how slow I run, to see me leading the Wind Drinkers, well, what would that say about them? Ha, Ha, Ha.
A special thank you to Holiday Inn for supporting us in our efforts.
Today I ran/walked, a total of 14.7 miles
Daily Blog Thursday, July 3, 2014
This morning Curt/Kurt, the man who owns the outdoor store, picked me up to go for a run at 7 AM. We began the run from his store. As we ran, we started to go uphill and came to a street where the choice was, make a left turn to be on some flat ground with a slight upgrade afterward, or, continue running uphill. Having run with Kurt, the banker, and Bill, and Frank, I assumed that Curt/Kurt, the store owner, would prefer to go up the hill, so I said, “Let’s have at it”. Curt/Kurt, the store owner, and I ran all the way up the hill without stopping. When we crested the hill, Curt/ Kurt let me know that that was the first time he had ever run up that hill nonstop. He told me that when he runs with Kurt, the Banker, and Bill, he generally ends up walking. They run ahead to the top of the hill, come back, tag him playfully, then run back up the hill. Sometimes they do this several times before he gets to the top of the hill.
When we got back to Curt/Kurt’s store, a gentleman named George, whose last name I cannot recall, was there. George was the former owner of that store. He sold it to Kurt. George had a daughter who died 10 years ago, at the age of 23, from cystic fibrosis. George and his wife put together a foundation in her name, Cody something, which is designed to help families who have members and their family with cystic fibrosis. The foundation is designed to help them through difficult financial periods. He and I had a very heartfelt discussion about how destructive cystic fibrosis is, to not just those who have the disease, but to the entire family.
After leaving Curt/Kurt’s store, we went out for breakfast. Afterwards, he then brought me back to my hotel room at the Holiday Inn. I packed my things, and then went out to the back of the hotel and walked back-and-forth for several miles until Lindell picked me up to take me to the bus station. Lindell and I went out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. There she told me humorous stories about Robert, who is 17 and has cystic fibrosis, and her grandchildren. When she brought me to the bus station, we sat outside and she began reading the article that was written about me and the run for cystic fibrosis awareness, which she is featured in also. Several times, she had to stop and compose yourself, as she was crying. She read through several parts of the story. With her eyes full of tears, she misread one part of the article, where it said that I temporarily went home to the Midwest during the run, as I went home to the middle east. Thinking that she had read it incorrectly, I interrupted her and said the middle east? We both had a really good, long laugh. She was not able to finish the article as the bus was there and the driver was patiently waiting for me. I got on the bus after hugging her and headed for Billings, Montana.
When I got to Billings, a woman named Cindy and her husband, Darren, picked me up. We went to my hotel room at the Marriott to check in, then next-door to the Texas Roadhouse for lunch/dinner. Cindy told me that the following day, July 4, I would be doing the following things: running an 8 mile race; participating in a parade by walking in it; and then, be involved in two radio spots to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis. When Cindy and Darren were returning me to my hotel, I received a phone call from another hotel that was offering a free night stay, also. The woman who called from the second hotel said that they were going to be talking to the general manager the next day, July 4, to see if I can get a comped stay through July 9. Cindy and Darren returned me to my room, left, and I began to get caught up on my laundry.
Daily Blog, Friday, July 4, 2014
A very unusual day. This morning, Cindy and Darren picked me up at 6:15 AM from my room at the Marriott. I was to run 8 miles in the Chief Joseph run today. When we got to the start line, Cindy found my two guides, Dan, age 68, and his niece Chelsea. Both of them informed me that they had not run in quite sometime. I was impressed that they were about to run 8 miles and told them so. With that, they told me they thought they were to run 2 miles. After a few minutes of conversation, it was decided that they would run what they could with me. We ran 3.5 miles.
After the run, Cindy and Darren took me to a pancake breakfast fund raiser. While we were standing in line, there, in front of us, was a horse (a four-legged large creature with a tail that whinnies) and a cowboy . When the cowboy paid for his breakfast, he handed the horse off to somebody else, who held the reins of the horse while the cowboy ate. We were next, got our breakfast, and sat down, but before we actually sat down, someone came up to us and said they recognized me from the news piece done on television.
Cindy was bound and determined to get me as many miles as she could today. We walked from where the run ended to the pancake breakfast, then, from the pancake breakfast to a friend of hers where they could drop off their dog, then we walked to the parade . We were to walk in it behind a group of young fiddlers. Before the parade got underway, we took some pictures of me with two different groups of roller derby queens. Cindy, and Darren, and I walked behind the float on which the young fiddler players were playing. They were really quite good. Behind us were three horses with riders. One of the horses was familiar to us, as it was the same horse that was in front of us at the pancake breakfast. On at least one occasion, one of the horses came quite close to me and Cindy nudged me ahead, out of its path. After the parade, we picked up their dog from their friends house, brought it to their home, and then went to Darrin’s mother’s boyfriend’s home for a barbecue. Just before we went to the barbecue, we drove quite a distance to take some pictures at a pavilion that had many plaques on it, describing involvements between the US Calvary and American Indians. After the barbecue, Cindy and Darren took me to my new hotel room, the Crowne Plaza, in downtown Billings.
While I was with Cindy and Darren in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel, I received a phone call from someone at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. That was Thursday evening, and the caller indicated that I had a comped stay at the Crowne the following night, Friday, July 4. The caller also indicated that by the time I checked in on July 4, they would know if I had a comped stay from the fourth through the ninth. When we checked in at the Crowne Plaza, it seemed very unlikely that I would get the extended comped stay, as it had not yet been verified. I did receive the comped stay for the evening of July 4, but not from that point forward.
One thing I was looking forward to at the Crowne Plaza Hotel was the ability to walk around the block, instead of back-and-forth through a parking lot, to get my miles in. I was looking forward to having buildings block the direct sunlight as I walked, but after I checked into the Crowne Plaza and Cindy and Darren helped me get once around the block, my thinking changed and I missed those parking lots of the other hotels. The problem was that at ground-level, the buildings were configured in such a way as to make cane travel challenging. Also, the entrance to the building was not on one of the main streets but is a separate driveway.
Here in Billings, Cindy and her husband Darren, have been fantastic. Tina Hoola, whom I have not met and is the mother of a child with cystic fibrosis, has also been very supportive, but Tina is out of town and will not be returning until Sunday. It is strange that even though the news media preceded my arrival here, that I am running for cystic fibrosis, and that I need sighted running guides, we are coming up dry for sighted running guides. This is very frustrating, as my legs are capable of doing 20 to 25 miles a day, but under favorable conditions, one of the favorable conditions being that I find it sighted running guides. They are not showing up here in Billings, plus the city sidewalks around strangely configured buildings are not favorable either.
At this moment I am concerned about North Dakota. I am concerned that North Dakota will be more of the same of what is happening in Billings, more to the point, what is not happening here in Billings, finding sighted running guides. Today’s miles were 10.
Daily Blog, Saturday, July 5, 2014
Cindy’s name is actually Cynthia. I have been calling her by the wrong name all along. This morning Cynthia and Darren picked me up from my room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Cynthia contacted Tina to determine how long I was to be comped at this hotel. Through an email, Tina told Cynthia that I was to be here until Monday morning. When we went down to the lobby, the woman at the counter did confirm that.
Cynthia and Darren took me to the East Billings High School where they dropped me off at the track. They came back later to check on me before going to pick up their son, Thomas, who was returning from a weekend event sponsored by his church. After picking up Thomas, the three of them came back to the track to check on me. Cynthia and Thomas went to get me a very large Coke while Darren and I ran around the track. After giving me the Coke, the three of them left.
A short time later I was telephoned by a television reporter from station KTVQ. The TV reporter wanted to know where I was so he could come out and interview me, but I was unable tell him the name of the track. I described, as well as I could, some of the things that were around me, like a busy street and a set of bleachers. While I was describing all that I could about the track, a figure showed up directly in front of me. It was Darren. Talk about timing!? I asked Darren which track I was on (East Billings)and told the TV reporter. Cynthia and Thomas joined Darren and I and the four of us walked around the track until the TV reporter showed up, then Cynthia, Darren, and Thomas left.
After the interview with KTVQ, I continued around the track, racking up 19.38 miles. Darren, Cynthia, and Thomas brought me another very large Coke while I was racking up those miles. I had dinner at Darren, Cynthia, and Thomas’s home. Darren was the chef for the evening and made a really nice dinner of chicken breast, mashed potatoes, and baby carrots. After dinner, Darren and Cynthia return me to my hotel room.
At a little after 8 o’clock, Lori Almond, three of her children, and her friends, Tracy and Shelley, came by to pick me up to go for a run on Sunny Trail. For the first time this year, I encountered mosquitoes, but because we were running, they weren’t too bad (but they were still there). We ran a little over 1 1/2 miles before turning around. It was beginning to get dark out and there were plenty of rabbits and deer running all over the place. Some of the deer ran across the road close to us and there was a concern that with so many of them around, that we might actually be run into by one or more of them, but we were not and returned safely to their vehicle. They drove me back to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where Laurie and her oldest daughter, Sierra, came up to sign my book. Lori, while signing the book, realized that she and I have run in all three states, Washington, Idaho, and now, Montana.
Today’s miles, July 5, were 23.5 miles.
Daily Blog, Sunday, July 6, 2014
This morning Cynthia and Darren picked me up at 6:45 AM. They drove me to a park where I was to meet some runners from the Rim Runners running club. We got to the park a little after seven, and since the club members were not to meet and begin running until 8 AM, Darren and I walked a little over a mile before the runners showed up. Once they did, I met with Christopher Hernandez and Christopher Perez, as well as about six or seven other runners. I ran with Christopher Hernandez and Christopher Perez. As it turns out, Christopher Hernandez is 64 years old and was losing his spark for running. As we ran uphill, he was not able to keep pace, so we walked up the hill. I’m always worried that I’m holding back some runners as they guide me, as I am slow, so it was nice to know this time that I was actually faster than somebody.
In Illinois, where I live, there are no hills, but from the time I began the run in Seattle I’ve encountered nothing but hills and mountains. I have actually begun to like running up hills and mountains. I expressed that to the Christophers. Since Christopher Perez is in training for the Missoula marathon on July 13, they decided that I should run with him tomorrow at 4:15 PM, after he gets out of work. We will run up to the rim of the huge buttes that are on the edge of the city.
After I completed the run with the Rim Runners, Cynthia and Darren took me to the West Billings High School track. When I began running on the track I had 7 miles already accumulated. In this heat and dry air, I have become addicted to Coca-Cola. I drink them in large cups half filled with ice. They have become my drink of choice for energy. Today I began my run with two of these large cokes. I drank one, then the other, as I ran, and boy, were they needed, as it got extremely hot today. At 2 o’clock, Sean, a reporter from the Billings Gazette, came out with a photographer to interview me for the newspaper.
After the reporter and photographer left, I could immediately feel the intensity of the heat increasing. I had already accumulated a little over 18 miles, and it was too hot to run, so I walked until I felt my Garmin buzz at mile 20. At that time I attempted to call Cynthia so that she and her husband Darren could pick me up from the track, but it was so hot that Siri was delusional! My iPhone was not working properly. The only command it seemed able to do was to call Renee Kopulos, my run manager, which I did twice. The first call it made seemed to have gone through, but then Siri was talking gibberish, so I attempted again and thankfully, Renee picked up and was able to connect me with Cynthia, who was already on her way to pick me up with her husband Darren. First stop, a very large Coke!! Across the street was a Kmart where we went so that I could get some razor blades and shampoo, then a stop at Hardee’s for some food, and then back to my room.
During my run at the track, I was informed that a young couple with a small little girl who has cystic fibrosis wanted to take me to dinner. When Cynthia and Darren returned me to my room it was little after 4 o’clock, and I really would like to have eaten, showered, and slept. The heat was so bad I had nothing left at the end of my run today. Cynthia told me that her car thermometer said that it was 99° when they picked me up. After eating, I showered and did laundry, and a little after 6 o’clock, Randy, Lenore, and their daughter, Adara, picked me up to go to dinner. Little Adara, as I learned, has a feeding tube. This is the only way they can get enough nutrients into her for her to grow. I was very impressed with how knowledgeable Randy and Lenore were about cystic fibrosis. I asked Randy to email Renee some of those details so that she could pass them onto me so that I could learn more about the disease. I was fighting sleep the entire time I was with the couple and their daughter, but managed
to remain alert to learn as much as I could. After dinner they returned me to my room and I called home for a very pleasant conversation with my Chris. After talking with Chris, I received a call from Cynthia who told me I have the room for one more night. She will be picking me up in the morning so I can go to the track. Renée called later to let me know that someone (Tina?Cynthia?) will be taking me to run with Christopher Perez, and then, later on, with a group of running moms in Laurel, Montana.
One thing I learned from Randy and Lenora is that they work together as a team to provide 24/7 maintenance for their little daughter. Daily maintenance is a part of this terrible disease, however, to date, I had not heard that 24 hour maintenance has been necessary. That was one of the many things they told me that really caught my attention. I can’t imagine the amount of stress this couple must be living with, having to perform maintenance for their daughter 24/7.
Total miles run today are 20.66.
Daily Blog, Monday, July 7, 2014
This morning Cynthia picked me up from my hotel and took me to the West Billings High School track. She had four homemade breakfast burritos and two large cokes for me. I ate the burritos on the way to the track. Unlike yesterday, this morning was very cool with a nice breeze. Several miles into my run around the track I heard someone next to me scuffing the pavement. I stopped and asked, is anyone here? A male voice standing just within a few feet of me said yes. I walked towards the voice and explained to him that I could see the white line just a few feet in front of me, but as he could now tell, nothing else. There were a few young ladies, probably high school girls, getting ready to run around the track. This man and another man were there with them. A little while later, there were several other young ladies and another older female voice that I heard. After several more laps around the track, the older female voice introduced herself to me as the coach of the young ladies. Her name is Kelly. I had given the first man one of my cards, and he had given it to Kelly. She wanted to let me know that she talked to her girls and they were all very impressed with what I was doing with my run around the United States.
As I continued to run around the track, all of the girls and coaches left for a while. They later all came back, along with many high school boys who also were all running/walking around the track. Kelly read the newspaper article that was printed in the morning’s paper about the run to me. She called one of her girls over and was trying to work out something where some of the girls and the cross country team would run with me in the next couple of days. She told me that the girls were excited about what I was doing and they wanted to do some fundraising for me. As Kelly and I spoke, she told me that someone was coming across the field towards us, that it looked like someone who was there to pick me up, but it didn’t sound like Cynthia and her son, as instead of one boy with her, there were two. It turned out to be Tina and her two sons, Alex and David. Alex has cystic fibrosis. Tina manages the Great Strides walk here in Billings, Montana. After a few more moments of conversation, Tina and her boys took me back to my room, to drop me off for a break.
Tina and her boys picked me up around 3:30 so I could run with Christopher Perez. We met Christopher at an Applebee’s restaurant parking lot. When I got out of Tina’s car, it was apparent that the heat was once again upon us. I knew that the run we were about to do was mainly uphill, and with the heat as bad as it was, I was second guessing whether I would actually be able run up the hills without stopping. I was about to have a very pleasant surprise. As we ran up the hill, maybe one half of a mile, the temperatures dropped, it became very cool, and there was a nice, gentle breeze. As we ran up one of the hills, we passed a co-worker of Christopher’s . He works at the desk immediately next to Christopher’s. This man and his wife were out walking, as she was three days overdue and they were hoping to induce labor, the old-fashioned way, with exercise.
Shortly after Christopher and I turned around, a single engine airplane flew above us, flying very low. I commented to Christopher about that airplane. It seems we were right next to an airport and
at the end of the runway. It was pretty cool to be that close to the overhead aircraft coming in to land. Christopher took a couple of pictures of these planes to show just how low to us they were. As we ran down the hills, we quickly encountered some very warm air. Oh yeah, that warm air that we started in near the restaurant parking lot. It is just fascinating to me how just a little rise in elevation changes the weather dramatically. Tina and her boys returned me to my room so that I could wait for Melissa to pick me up so that I could run with her group of moms.
Melissa picked me up and we headed off to Laurel, the same town where I had run the Chief Joseph Run, stood in line behind a horse at the pancake breakfast, and walked in the parade. When we got to the track where Melissa’s email friends and moms were running, they informed her that one of their friends had cut herself and would not be joining us. Once I got on the track I began running and a woman named Clara ran next to me. In the lane next to her was another woman who said that she either had someone in her family, or a friend, that had cystic fibrosis. When my Garmin buzzed, indicating that I had reached the 20 mile mark, we stopped running and began organizing to go off to a restaurant. While some of the women drove to the restaurant, Melissa, myself, Clara, and one other woman ran to the restaurant. It was Clara’s birthday and we were going there to celebrate by having some pretty darn nice desserts. For me, I had a brownie with huckleberry ice cream on it. That is the first time I’ve ever had huckleberry. That is really good stuff! The woman who cut herself came late to the restaurant. Sarah is her name and she may have contacts for us in Miles City. The ladies were really enjoying each other’s company and we did not leave there until it was dark out. Dark up here now means we were there very late, at least, late by this non-party animal’s status. Tina was to pick me up at 6:30 the next morning and that would be my last day at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
When Melissa dropped me off at my hotel room, I got to show off my new Tiger Tail, a gift from Christina in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. That Tiger Tail rolling muscle massager has become an invaluable and necessary tool to keeping myself healthy during this run. Melissa, who is originally from Spokane, Washington, told me that when she arrived in Laurel, she wrote on Facebook that she was going to show up at a track to go for a run the next morning. She didn’t expect many people at all, but she was pleasantly surprised. That’s how the go-go-moms// go-go girls group got started.
When I got back to my room I should have showered and packed, however, I had another fun conversation with Renée, after which, I just crashed.
Total miles today, 21.4.
Daily Blog Tuesday July 8, 2014
This morning was a little confusing with the choppy start. Tina picked me up from the Crowne Plaza Hotel and I checked out. When we got out of her vehicle and began walking toward the track, I noticed there was a fence I had not noticed before. I thought I was at the West Billings High School track, but it turned out we were at the Laurel running track. I was to run with Chelsea, so Tina Facebook messaged her to make sure we were at the right track while I called Renee to get Chelsea’s phone number, who happened to be pulling into the parking lot of the Laurel track as I called her. Chelsea and I went out to the track to start the run where we met with Sarah, the woman who had shown up late at the Go-go’s girls run/birthday party for Clara because she accidentally cut herself. There were a lot of people at the track as Chelsea and I began running. After a few laps we heard announcements indicating that there was a track meet there. I asked Chelsea to talk to someone to see if we could be on the track during the meet and it turns out we could until the 400 meter run, when all 10 lanes would be needed. As we ran, Chelsea told me that her father would like to meet me. He would be waiting in a restaurant located just a few blocks away at 9 o’clock. At 9 am, Chelsea and I ran the last lap, and it turned out to be exactly when the 400 m race was to begin. We had run 5 miles.
At the restaurant we sat across the table from her father and his friend, who was a little negative during the many conversations we had. Finally, the man left. Chelsea’s father and I began talking and he indicated that he might be able to help us out with some contacts in Miles City. After Chelsea and I left the restaurant, we headed toward the West Billings High School track where after we ran a few laps, Chelsea left. At some point Tina and her boys came out to check on me and bring me another Coke. She told me that she had a doctor’s appointment at 3 o’clock, so would not be available at that time, but that Cynthia had offered to pick me up.
A little after 3 pm, Cynthia called and wanted to know if I was ready to come off the track yet. I was somewhere around 17 miles into the run and wanted to keep going a little more, plus, I wanted the number for Papa’s pizza so I could order one. A few minutes before 4 o’clock, Cynthia picked me up and we headed off to Papa’s pizza. After that we, along with her son Thomas, headed off to the new motel, the Bighorn Motel, where we were to meet Tina. We got me checked into the hotel, but there wasn’t any time for me to cool down and unwind before my run with Christopher Perez and Christopher Hernandez. We dropped off my bags and pizza and headed to meet the two Christopher’s. There was a little confusion also in knowing where I was to meet the two Christopher’s to go for a run.
At first we went to a park. Somehow it was understood we were at the wrong place, so we all piled into the two cars and headed off to a different location near, or in, downtown Billings, where the two Christopher’s were waiting for me. We went for a short run on sidewalks, then ran the rest on city streets, before coming back to the downtown area. We all then, including Darren who we picked up earlier, sat in the Yellowstone Rim Runners running club meeting. I was given the opportunity to speak to the officers of the club to tell them why I was in their town. We were hoping that I could get additional runners for the next day, and maybe even Thursday, before I left town. It was also determined that I would run with the club the next day, Wednesday. Keep in mind that this is a running club. Two of the officers said they could not run with me, as they themselves were not even runners. Earlier in that meeting, when the officers were speaking casually, I suggested that as a group they may consider a “walk to run” program as a means of increasing membership. Not only had the group not heard of a “walk to run” program, but the membership director didn’t seem very interested in it. Christopher Perez presented me with a T-shirt of their club. After that, Tina, her boys, Cynthia and Darren, their son, Thomas, and I left the meeting.
Cynthia and Darren had some ideas for pictures, so we drove around town to a few statues of horses. Earlier, we had stopped at their home so Darren could pick up a cowboy hat and a lasso for me to use in the pictures. I had never actually held a true lasso rope. That is one stiff rope.
After I was dropped off at the hotel, Lindell called me. She told me that her son Robert was out of the hospital and that they had gone to a lake with her older daughter and son-in-law. Because of his struggle with cystic fibrosis, Robert also suffers from depression, which is very common among those who suffer with the disease. Lindell’s daughter and son-in-law had some ski-dooes for all to ride. Lindell is from California and had not ridden one in 10 years, but she said it was like riding a bike. Robert initially resisted the idea of riding one of those but was eventually coerced into it, and once he got on one, he had a blast. He was on one that you supposed to sit on, but he was having so much fun, he rode it standing up. It was nice to hear that he had a great time. After the conversation with Lindell, I called Renée. Of the many things I learned in our conversation, I have an interview on the telephone with an individual who has a Facebook page who writes articles about running. That interview is set up for tomorrow at 2 pm my time, possible 1 pm his time, as the phone number that Renee has for him is in Oregon.
Total miles today 22
Daily Blog, Wednesday, July 9, 2014
This morning Tina drove me to the West Billings High School track. No doubt, it was going to be another hot one, as the temperatures have been rising from the low to middle 90s.
As I was going around the track,I heard a familiar voice call my name. It was Kelly, the female track coach. She brought me two T-shirts, one for me from her volleyball team and one for my granddaughter, Kylie. She also had a manila envelope which contained some cash collected from her girls so that I might enjoy a nice meal. A few of her girls were with her. We all took pictures and then they were on their way as they had a two hour drive ahead of them. She was taking some of her girls to a volleyball clinic.
When Tina had dropped me off I told her to pick me up at noon, but shortly before 11 o’clock, it was already becoming extremely hot out on the track. I called her and asked her if she could pick me up earlier than planned, like now. She did. When she picked me up I had run just 11 miles. Tina dropped me off at my room and I grabbed a very short nap.
At 2 o’clock I had an interview with a man named Bill who operates a Facebook page called Run Haven. He informed me that he has been running for 30 years and has several very impressive awards from running. He also said that he has roughly 218,000 followers on his Facebook page. He just started that page in March and aggressively marketed it. He was very encouraging about the impact that we are going to have in raising awareness and funds for cystic fibrosis. After the telephone interview I did some laundry and then lay down for another very short nap. Later ,Tina picked me up so that I could run with the Yellowstone Rim Runners in the evening.
Tina and her boys took me to a park where I met up with the Yellowstone Rim Runners. There I met Heather, the young woman who was to be my guide for the 4 mile run. Heather only has the use of one eye, her left eye. She was involved in a terrible accident quite a few years ago, after which a tumor developed and affected the nerve of her right eye and took the sight from it. Heather informed me that she is a very slow runner, but when we began she started very fast and was actually pulling me a bit. It wasn’t long before she slowed down. Heather and I walked a great deal of the 4 miles, jogging usually when we were exposed to the sunlight. We had a lot of fun talking, and laughed through most of the run/walk. When we return to the park, Heather, Christopher Perez, and Christopher Hernandez signed my book. After the run Tina and her boys brought me back to my room where Tina and I had a very nice long conversation talking about a lot of things related to cystic fibrosis.
I ran a total of 16 miles today.
Daily Blog, Thursday, July 10, 2014
This morning I was a little groggy from a lack of good sleep. I was to run with a woman named Dena, but because of a lack of good sleep, I felt as though I had very little drive in me. Tina dropped me off at the West Billings High School track, where I ran a little over 1 mile before Dena came to pick me up.
Dena picked me up on time and we headed off to run up at the rim. This is the same place where I ran with Christopher Perez, but Dena and I were going to add a little more distance to that run. Normally, I keep my guide runners on my left side, but Dena said she preferred to be on my right side, so we switched. It was a beautiful morning and there were a lot of people out on the trail who were also running or walking. We were looking for someone to take our picture when we came across a couple from Iowa. Dena included a picture of me with that couple. When we completed the run up by the rin, Dena brought me back to the track.
Instead of just dropping me off, Dena joined me for some laps around the track, however, she was done running and wanted to walk, so we did. In the many conversations that we had, running marathons came up. I mentioned to her that one of the perks of losing my eyesight is that to qualify for the Boston Marathon I only need to complete a marathon in five hours or less. Dana was going to run the half marathon at Missoula this coming Sunday and suggested that I run the full marathon. She would attempt to get me a free entrance into that marathon. I told her that if she would do that, I would run the marathon. I felt certain that there was not enough time to get that done, so there was nothing to worry about.
As we walked, there were construction workers setting up for Friday’s Relay for Life event. There was also a woman laying down sheets of plywood across the track to keep the small rolling machines (like bobcats) from causing grooves to be made in the track. They even took down fences to prepare the track for the 10,000 people that would be there. As we approached the woman who was laying down the sheets of plywood, she looked at us, more to the point, me, and said, “hey I know you.’ She said, “you’re the one that was in the newspaper”. She announced herself as Robin (I forgot her last name), the wife of the mayor of billings. With that, she said she was going to call her husband, the mayor, but her cell phone was not working properly, so Tina offered her hers. When her husband answered the phone, she said “you will never guess who is here in front of me at the track”. Then she told him. He said he would be right over. In talking with Robin, I told her about the struggles that my granddaughter was having with cystic fibrosis. I also told her how it was difficult for me to see how this was affecting my daughter. I then told her about Tina and her family situation. Tina and her husband, Rod, have to live apart for most of their lives because of their son’s cystic fibrosis. This is in order to get Alex the best medical attention they can, so Tina and the boys live in Billings during the week and go to Tina’s farm in far northern Montana on the weekends.
After telling the mayor’s wife all of this, she said she would like to see Billings do much more for cystic fibrosis. I gave her one of my cards and one of Tina’s cards. When the mayor arrived, he gave me one of his cards. Then we all took pictures together. Afterwards, Dena and I walked around the track a little bit more before she left. In the conversation with the mayor, he called someone, attempting to get them to come out to the track to meet me. I told him I would be out there for at least two more hours.
After Dena left I began to run, as I had about 11 miles for the day. Despite the heat,I ran the rest of it. While talking to the mayor and his wife, she had given me two bottles of ice cold water. As I ran around the track, and slowed down occasionally, the construction workers offered me more ice cold bottles of water. That really helped me a lot. Just after my Garmin buzzed to indicate I had just
accomplished the 19th mile, one of the young construction workers asked how many miles I had run that day. Instead of telling him, I thought it would be much more effective to show him my Garmin so he could see the numbers for himself. He was quite amazed.
This evening,Tina was going to prepare a home-cooked meal for me, then take me to the Greyhound bus station, so shortly after I got my 20th mile, it was time to quit. When Tina picked me up, I gave her the mayor’s card. Now that everyone has each other’s card and since the mayor’s wife would like to see more for done for cystic fibrosis and Billings, I am hoping this helps Tina in building her Great Strides Walk event for cystic fibrosis.
When Tina brought me to their home, I sat down in an easy chair. Sitting in a soft comfortable chair, in the air-conditioning, I could not fight sleep anymore. I caught a quick cat nap, and then it was time to shower. Darren and Cynthia, and their son, Thomas joined us. I took my shower and when I came out, it was time to eat. Tina has been worried for the past few days about what kind of a meal to prepare for me. She wanted to make me something I really wanted. Believe me, after all these meals in restaurants, especially fast food restaurants, a home-cooked meal of just about anything is a real luxury! Tina was more worried about choosing the best meat (the choices were bison, steak, or salmon). I chose bison burgers, but what I really wanted were mashed potatoes and frozen peas, heated up and with butter. I had two plate fulls of the following: one bison burger, a large pile of mashed potatoes with butter, and a large pile of peas with butter. That was really, really, good!!!! For dessert, Cynthia had made applesauce pie. The applesauce was homemade.
Tina and her boys, Darren, Cynthia and their son, Thomas, took me to the Greyhound station. The bus, for whatever reason, was being delayed. Darren, Cynthia, and Thomas left, and Tina and her boys remained with me until the bus departed. It was supposed to leave at 6:30pm but did not leave until 8:15pm. Tina had also made me a homemade banana bread to take with me on the road, plus she gave me some huckleberry candy and chocolates. While I was on the bus, I opened up the container with the banana bread in it. Wow, that was good!! While on route to Miles City, I received an email from Dena. She was letting me know that I have been granted a free entry into Missoula’s marathon.
When I arrived in Miles City, a real sweetheart of a young lady, named Anne-Marie, was there to pick me up from the bus station and take me to my hotel. When we got to the hotel, a Motel 6, there was an immediate discrepancy between what I was told I was going to be charge versus what they were going to charge me. I called Renee to confirm the price that I understood it to be and she confirmed it. The man behind the counter lowered the price to just one dollar over the $66. This hotel had a lot of construction workers from the oilfields in it. They get several days off in a row (as I learned later), so many of them were standing outside of the rooms and the smell of alcohol was very evident. Many of these men kept asking Anne-Marie if she was okay. She told them she was. There was some kind of a problem as one of the employees of the hotel was on the second floor in the area of my room. When Anne-Marie asked him in which direction my room was, he gave us the wrong directions. Yep, this place had a lot to be desired. Anne-Marie had stopped earlier so that I could get something to eat. She dropped me, my bags, and my food off, and then she left. She was a real blessing, a joy to talk to, in the short amount of time we spent together. The email confirmation for the marathon came from Dena.
Total miles today 20.7
Daily Blog, Friday, July 11, 2014
Talk about the stars lining up. In Miles City, I was in a motel hell, that is, a motel that was not very pleasant to be in. I also did not have anyone to take me to the community college track, which I heard was really a very nice track and I only had one person who is going to run with me. That person was a woman named Brenda, who asked Renée if we could move up the run time to 5:30 AM, as she had to leave early to get to a marathon. The only marathon that I was aware of was the Missoula Marathon, could it be?. As it turned out, Brenda was going to run the Missoula half marathon. I asked her if I could ride along with her and she said yes, I could ride with her and her husband. She and I had a very pleasant run for about 3 miles. By the way, when she stopped by to pick me up for the run, she presented me with two sandwiches and a bottle of water. The two sandwiches were scrambled egg sandwiches with bacon. Home made!! Wow, where these good!
They picked me up roughly one hour after Brenda left, and away we headed for Missoula. Brenda’s husband, Aaron/Erin, did all the driving. We had a many great conversations along the way. Along the way I also called the Guesthouse Hotel, where I stayed when I was in Missoula earlier in this run. Annie, the general manager, answered the phone. I requested a room, which she was able to provide for me for two days. As we progressed towards Missoula, I received a call from Pastor Amy Carter. It was great to hear her voice and her laugh again. She asked me if I needed anything or wanted to do anything, and all I could think of was at 50 m pool which I am hoping to use tomorrow after attending the marathon expo. After Aaron/Erin, Brenda, and I got to the hotel and I was all checked into my room, it was nice to just be able to relax.
I had several phone calls lining up running guides for me, and several from Renee getting some of the logistics in order. Renée and I decided since there was little going on in Miles City in the first place, and that if I returned to it according to our schedule, I would only be there one day. We decided instead, after the Missoula marathon, I would just head off to Dickinson, North Dakota.
Among the many things that were being arranged for me while I was back in Missoula was for me to attend a dinner at the home of Tammy and her husband, who owns the Big Sky Brewery. I had run with Tammy on a trail when I was here in Missoula. Dena from Billings, the same woman that I was walking with when I met the mayor’s wife and mayor of Billings, will be attending that dinner with me. I will be riding back to Billings with Dena, her 21-year-old daughter, and her 12-year-old son. They will then take me to the Greyhound station where I will take a bus to Dickinson. This will take place after the marathon.
I find it amusing that when I was here in Missoula originally, Pastor Amy and Annie suggested that I run the Missoula marathon, but I told them logistically and financially it would not work. I went all across the state from Missoula to Mile City, only to find myself enjoying Montana whiplash as I was rocketed back to Missoula to many friends in a friendly environment to run with them in the marathon after all.
Daily Blog Addition July 11, 2014
One thing I am sad about in not going back to Miles City is that I will not be able to run with Annemarie. She was so much fun to talk to, and I was looking forward to more conversations with her, plus she was going to bring some of her friends, or introduce me to them, so we could run together. Also, the newspaper editor had very nicely printed an article before I arrived. That is how Ann-Marie knew that I was going to be in Miles City, and how Brenda knew. If not for the editor, I would not have had anyone to pick me up from the bus station, plus, I would not have met Brenda, run with her, and gotten my ride back to Missoula.
Total miles run today, three.
Daily Blog Saturday, July 12, 2014
Today was a day of seeing many of the friends I had made so far. It began with breakfast. The Guesthouse Hotel has a continental breakfast. The gentleman who takes care of that dining area is named Winchester. As I was walking towards the breakfast area, Winchester intercepted me and led me into that dining area. He remembered everything I ate for breakfast when I was there before-four hard-boiled eggs, four biscuits and gravy, two slices of wheat toast, a cup of coffee, and a cup of orange juice. After breakfast I went back to my room and updated my blogs, as with the short sleep cycles that I have had over the past two days, I got a little behind.
At 10 o’clock, Dennis Norman picked me up so that we could go to the Missoula marathon’s expo. Dennis teaches history and is the cross country coach that organized a group of runners for me while I was here the first time. He was also one of those who ran with us. As Dennis and I were walking through the expo, with Dennis on my left side, someone came up on my right and interlocked his hand with my right hand. It was Christopher Hernandez, the president of the Rim Runners running club in Billings, Montana.
Dennis introduced me to one of my guides for the marathon, his name is David Norman, same last name as Dennis’s, but no relation. As the three of us talked, Christopher Perez came up and joined us. He also is with the Billings Rim Runners club. A few minutes later, Lindsey Hubble, who I ran with in Spokane, along with Lori Almond, came up to say hi. Then Gina Richmond called to let me know she was there at the expo and was looking for me. Dennis gave her a description of where we were and she found us. After Dennis returned me to my room, I call Pastor Amy Carter so that we could go out to lunch. After lunch we went over to the waterpark where the 50 m pool is. We went there to see what it would take for me to swim there in terms of cost or any other rules and regulations. Four bucks and I’m in! We went back to my room, grabbed my swimming suit, and went back to the pool. Amy found a man to lead me to the men’s locker room. His name was David also.
While I was changing from my street clothes (my cystic fibrosis T-shirt and shorts), someone called David! I assumed that that person was looking for the other David, or at least addressing him, but he was not. It was Christopher Perez again. He was taking his son to the waterpark. Once in the pool, it was just as I thought, it was love at first length. I swam 36 lengths before getting out of the pool so that I could be on time for dinner at Tammy and her husband’s home. Tammy and her husband own the Big Sky Brewing Company.
Deana picked me up a little before 6 PM. Tammy and her husband’s home is in a very wooded area. The GPS got us to the wrong address, but Deana talked with Tammy, got the right directions, and we were there within a minute. The dinner was spaghetti, with fruit and chocolate chip cookies. Of course there was plenty of Moose Drool beer available, plus other flavors/brands of beer that he makes, but it was the night before the run, and as I have a lily for a liver, I abstained. There were several beer distributors among the many guests. In the short amount of time that I had
to speak with a few of them, they were very supportive of our efforts and wanted to help in some fashion. As far as Deana and drinking, she is a very dedicated Mormon, so it is not going to happen.
Daily Blog, Sunday, July 13, 2014
Dave Norman picked me up from my hotel at 4:15 AM. There were quite a few people in the hotel lobby who were dressed and ready to run in Missoula’s full and half marathon. We drove to a parking lot that next to the place where the buses were. This is a ‘point to point’ run, which means that the runners are driven by bus to the starting point. In this marathon//half marathon combination, the two groups have two very distinct starting points. Those that run the full marathon are 26.2 miles out when they start, and those that run the half marathon are 13.1 miles from the finish line when they start. At some point the two merge, but for those 6 miles that the two marathons (the full and a half) do merge, they are separated. The reason for this is that many people walk the half, and when the leaders of the full come through they would not otherwise be able to get through all those people that are just walking.
Funny thing– at the expo Deana was hoping that I would meet Jeff Galloway, but I forgot to look for him, and so did she. At the start line of the marathon I mentioned to Dave and Dennis that I would like to meet Jeff. One of them said in a crowd like this, it would be difficult to find him. As fate would have it, he was standing right next to us. I was hoping that Jeff Galloway was planning on coming in under five hours, but he told me he and his wife were just running it for the fun of it, they had no target time at all. They also run a marathon a month, that way they are always in training condition.
Start time was 6 AM, the sun was not up yet, the weather was absolutely beautiful. After the cannon was fired to start the race, there was quite a fireworks display. Dave and I immediately set a nice brisk pace. He did a great job of guiding me. There were two incidents in which runners pulled right in front of me and I banged into them. When I run into other runners, and that means literally run into them, I’m never sure if it’s something my guide missed or if it was just another runner pulling in front of me. Dave was doing such a great job of guiding me I felt that he understood that it is the other runners pulling in front of me. I didn’t lose my nerve and kept up the brisk pace. It was a lot of fun. For clarity, normally if I run into other runners, I begin to lose my nerve and that’s because I’m not sure if my guides missed seeing them. Dave was doing such a great job of guiding me that I maintained a 10 minute mile, plus a few seconds, right to the half. My half time was two hours 14 minutes. Dennis and my second guy were there and at the half Dennis even remarked that I was way ahead of schedule. At mile 16 my new guide was named Rusty.
Dennis joined Rusty at mile 20 and ran to the finish line with us. Dave joined us for the finish line, so as we crossed the finish line there was me, Dave, Dennis, and Rusty. As it turned out, I did not get a qualifying time for Boston. I’m not sure what my time was but it was over five hours. After the run, a quick stop at Dairy Queen for a shake and a chili cheese dog. Dairy Queen could do a lot to improve their chili cheese dogs, that’s all I’m going to say. I got to my room, and as quickly as I could, under the conditions, I showered, changed, and packed. A little after noon, Deana, her 21-year-old daughter Keri, and her 12-year-old son Mike picked me up to take me to Billings. Deana’s
daughter Keri did some of the driving through the mountains. It was obvious she was not used to driving through mountains. She did a great job. Normally, after marathon I like to walk around, maybe at least one-mile, as that helps walk out any pain in my legs, but there was no time for that today, so my legs were a little sore in the car.
We were not able to get me to the Billings Greyhound bus station in time for the bus that was going to Dickinson, North Dakota, so arrangements were made for me to stay at the home of Darren, Cynthia, and their son, Thomas. Darren, that is, Chef Darren, made another great meal. He made pork chops and covered them in a sauce of sour cream and dill, mashed potatoes, and corn. After dinner, my eyelids were at half-mast. There was no need to count to three before I fell asleep, because I would have only made it to one.
Total miles today 27.0
Daily Blog, Monday July 14, 2014
At 6:30 AM I was slowly beginning to awaken when there was a knock on my bedroom door ( either Darren or Cindy). Darren and Cynthia are going to go to the track with me and they were eager to get going, as they were beginning their own ‘walk to run’ program. They want to be ready to run to the finish line with me in Seattle when I get there. Cynthia, who goes by Cindy, had made a plate of scrambled eggs for me. The three of us piled into their vehicle and headed off to the West Billings High School track.
At the West Billings track we all began with a brisk walk followed by a short run. Fortunately for me the runs did not last long. I did not participate in the last of these run cycles, as my legs were little wobbly and stiff. Instead, I just walked to get the lumps out of the wheels. In fact, for nearly every one of the 20.3 miles I did today, I walked. As soon as Darren and Cindy were finished with their ‘walk to run’ program, they went home. Darren begins work at 8 AM.
At some point while I was walking around the track, I passed two women on my right side. I stopped to address them and said, as I turned to revealed the back of my T-shirt, this is for real. One of the women then said “hey, you were in the newspaper”. We had a nice little chat about what I am doing with regard to bringing awareness of cystic fibrosis. The two women are mother and daughter. Vickie, the mother, is in her late 50s and is in training to participate in the Big Sky games over the next two weekends in Billings. Angie, the daughter, was there to time her mother in several distances. Angie used to run track when she was in high school. Later, after Vickie and Angie left, an older couple showed up at the track for the same reason.
When the older couple showed up at the track, the woman, Sherry, said she recognized me from the newspaper. Her 75 year old husband, Roger, was also training on the track to participate in the Big Sky Games. The two live in Melstone, which is 100 miles away from Billings. The Billings track is the closest hard surfaced track that they could find. Imagine, having to drive 100 miles just to run any hard surface, aligned track. Cindy picked me up from the track at 4 o’clock. She had made meatloaf, fried potatoes and spinach for dinner. Boy, was I hungry. After dinner, I showered, and then Darren, Cindy, and their son Thomas took me to the Greyhound bus station. The bus was to depart at 6:30, but once again, it was running late and did not leave until about one hour later. Renée let Mike know I was going to be late in getting to his town of Dickinson, North Dakota. He was fine with this.
A few miles from Dickinson the driver checked with me to make sure I had someone who was going to pick me up. He seemed a little overly concerned about that, but I found out why when I got to Dickinson. Mike was waiting for me when I got off the bus. When I got in his vehicle I found out why the driver was so concerned. It seems that the bus stop was located right next to a bar where there were many fights. In fact, when Mike first got to the bus stop/station, he went inside the bar to make sure the Greyhound bus had not arrived yet. When he stepped inside of the bar, there were two men getting ready to fight. Mike talked one man out of the fight by telling him that if he did fight he might be arrested, and not be
able to get on the bus. That man then became Mike’s best friend. Ha, Ha, Ha. When Mike went outside of the bar and got into his vehicle, the man followed him out and wanted to sit in Mike’s car with him. Mike told him he had to go home, as he had forgotten something. Mike pretended to go home, only to turn around, come back, sit in his vehicle, and wait for me.
Total miles today, 20.3.
Daily Blog, Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I decided I’m starting at 7 AM this morning. For breakfast I have something I had not had an quite a while, Cheerios, at Mike’s home. From there we went to his office to meet his girl Friday, Kylee. After meeting Kylee, we went to the university track. It is a very modern track with a nicely cushioned surface. Mike walked with me around the track until I found the best place to put my book bag down. I need a place that will offer high contrast so that I can find the book bag when I need the water bottles that are in it. Then he left and headed back to his office. I still wasn’t in great running condition, so walked the majority of the miles today. There were several people out there doing sprint exercises and other running trainings, however, I did not have any conversations with anyone. I was glad I had the large jar of peanut butter and Nutella in my bag today, because when I got hungry, they were there for me.
After I completed my miles today, Mike picked me up and we went back to his home so I could shower and get ready for dinner. For dinner we went to the Elks club. We had a larger group, which included a 19-year-old young man from Michigan who sat next to Mike’s mother, Donna, on her flight from Seattle, to Minneapolis, to Dickinson. The young man sat next to her on the flight from Minneapolis to Dickinson. The young man had applied for a job in the Bockin(?) oilfields. He was very nervous about what might lie ahead of him when he got to Dickinson. Also with us was Mike’s sister Michelle, brother-in-law, Paul (both of them are professors at the university, Mike’s brother, Jim, and friend of theirs, Mavis, who is 90 years old. The Elks club is very well-known for its steak dinners on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The place was packed. For dinner I had pike, a large plate of french fries, and a very large salad. After dinner I returned to Mike’s home to get prepared for the next day.
I ran/walked a total of 20.6 miles today.
Daily Blog, Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Today I ran a total of 22.12 miles.
This morning I got out onto the track around 8 AM. Mike’s mother, Donna, who is visiting from Seattle, used to know many of the people that worked at the local newspaper. She said even though she doesn’t know anybody there anymore, she would call them and see what she could do about getting a reporter out to interview me at the track. Around 11:15 Mike stopped by the track to tell me that a reporter was going to interview me there. H said we had better go to lunch now, as he thought she was coming out around noon, but just as we were leaving the track to go to lunch, the reporter called. She set the time at 3:30.
At 3:30 the reporter did show up, and Mike and his mother Diana were there also. The reporter asked me to continue running around the track as she wanted to get some pictures of me running. At the point she asked me to run for the pictures, my Garmin had just buzzed to indicate that I had reached mile 18. I continued to run around the track for 4 miles. As I continued running around the track, I heard the reporter talking to Mike and someone else. At one of my laps after my Garman buzzed for mile 21, I met someone who said I’m going to run a lap with David. It turned out to be Pastor Bruce from New England, North Dakota. After running the one lap with me, Pastor Bruce was spent. Had he not come along, I wondered how many miles the reporter was going to let me run until she interviewed me. When Pastor Bruce stopped running and we were by the reporter and Mike, I stopped with him.
Mike needed to drop me off at his home quickly after the interview, as he was going to play golf that evening. As it turns out, Pastor Bruce was also going to be playing golf at the same course. For dinner this evening, Mike’s brother Jim, who is also living with Mike, and I went to Papa Murphy’s for pizza. This is a place where you order what you want on the pizza, they put it together, and you take it home and bake it. Jim ordered two large pizzas, which we took home and ate. I have to say, they were very good. After we were done eating, Donna, Jim and I sat around talking. During that time, I received a phone call from a woman named Anna. She and her nine-year-old son wanted to run with me at 6:00 AM the next morning, which I agreed to.
total 22.12 miles.
Daily Blog Thursday, July 17, 2014
This morning Jim drove me over to the track and we arrived a little bit before 6 AM. At six, Anna and her nine-year-old son showed up to pick me up to go for a run. It was decided that we were going to run from the university track through the town a little bit. I was a bit uncomfortable with the first leg of it, as we were running on a sidewalk. We then switched to street, then a little bit of a paved trail, and back to the street on our return trip to the university track. On our way back I thought I had not heard my Garman buzz. I asked Anna to take a look at it and sure enough, I had not started it for the day yet. From that point back to the track was .95 miles. I probably ran a mile and a half that did not get recorded.
Anna mentioned that there was an article in a newspaper about me this morning. As I ran around the track after Anna dropped me off, a man came up to me and introduced himself as Greg, a track coach. As he was introducing himself, Mike came up to us. Mike and Greg know each other well, and Mike came up to us to tell me about the article in the paper. It’s because of the article in the paper that Greg came up to talk to me. Greg was there to work with one of his high school’s female runners who was having injury problems. They were trying to look at her running technique to see what could be changed so that she no longer injured herself. After he worked with her, Greg came along and ran with me for 4 miles. Besides being the running coach, Greg has been a science teacher for 16 years. He is a very nice man. Greg took a break from running with me so he could text his wife as to why he was not home yet. After he completed that text he and now three of his high school running girls came over to me for pictures. After the pictures, they all left just as Pastor Bruce was approaching. Essentially there was a handoff from Greg to Pastor Bruce to run with me. While I was running with Pastor Bruce, Greg came back to hand me a cash donation. After 3 miles of mostly walking, Pastor Bruce also left.
At lunchtime, Mike picked me up and we went back to the same restaurant we were at yesterday. This time, his mother Donna , brother Jim, and Jim’s boss joined. Mike read the article to me as we ate. The reporter did a very nice job. As we were leaving the restaurant at lunchtime, a woman asked me, “aren’t you the one that ran in Billings?” With that I said, yes. Then she said,”Do you know that there is a very nice article written about you in the paper here?” I said yes. Then she handed me a cash donation. After lunch, Mike dropped me off back at the track. I ran a total of 23.33 miles today before he picked me up to take me back to his home. Anna, the woman I ran with this morning, called to tell me that she had set it up so that I could run with a couple of people at 5 AM the next morning.
This evening for dinner, Mike, his mother Donna, and I went over to Mavis’s home. She barbecued some pork chops, corn on the cob, potatoes, and asparagus. When we rode over to Mavis’s a little earlier, Mike and I stopped to get a six pack of Moose Drool beer. At dinner we had a couple of Moose Drools. Boy, does that stuff go down nicely.
total 23.33 miles today
Daily Blog Friday, July 18, 2014
I began my running day at 5 AM at the community center. I ran with Jeff, a man in this 60s, and two women, one of them was named Kari. The community center is the town of Dickinson’s version of a very large YMCA. From the community center, we ran to the running track that I had been running on for the past few days. Jeff used to play softball with Mike. When we got to the track, the three of them continued to run laps with me for a while, then Jeff and the other woman left, but Kari remained. Kari ran about two more miles with me, then she left.
Around 7, Mike picked me up so that we could go back to the community center where I could meet Stacy. Stacy is Mike’s personal trainer, and the woman that asked him if he would get involved with us and the run. The entire chain that got Mike involved goes as follows. Sarah is the woman I met in Laurel who is the one who cut herself and could not run with the go-go girls and I. She later joined us at the restaurant to celebrate Clara’s birthday with us. Sarah and I briefly spoke at that restaurant, but she said she would contact her father, Pastor Bruce, in the town of New England, North Dakota. Pastor Bruce made a few phone calls and luckily called Stacy, who he had never met, then Stacy asked Mike to help us.
Mike, Stacy, and I took some pictures, then Mike redeposited me at the track. When I got to mile 10, I was joined by the same three high school girls that ran with me the day before. I remember that one of them is named Emily, and another is Julia. They ran with me until I got to mile 16. As I ran with them I mentioned to them that we had received the largest donation we have to date, a single donation of $1000, and that I had decided to also make Dickinson the town I ran the most miles in, I was going to shoot for 30 miles.
The last few laps it was difficult to hear the young ladies, as the wind was picking up. After they left, the wind got even stronger. The wind continue to pick up and I barely was able to find enough energy in me to walk the last 2 miles. Mike and I agreed that he would pick me up at noon so we could go to lunch. When my Garmin buzzed to indicate mile 21, I headed for the gate to sat outside of the track in the grass next to the wall to block the wind.
Mike was running a little late, as he was putting and plates for his new car, a 2014 Thunderbird convertible. What a sweet ride. This car has an automatic and a stick shift transmission combination. After lunch, I cited I was done running for the day as it was still extremely windy. My eyeballs felt like they dropped out in the dirt, and someone put them back in, with a hammer. Mike dropped me back off at my room at his home, then went back to work. I ran a total of 21 miles today.
For dinner we all went out to a sushi bar. We picked up Jared, the 19-year-old young man from Michigan who has taken a job and the Bakkan shale fields as a forklift driver. At dinner there was Donna, who is Mike’s mother, his brother, Jim, Mike, Jared and myself. After dinner, we dropped Jared off back at his hotel and all of the rest of us went to Mike’s home and called it a day. Tomorrow we will be leaving at 8 o’clock in the morning for Bismarck, North Dakota, that is, Mike and his mother will be taking me to Bismarck on their way to a town in northeast North Dakota.
Daily Blog Saturday, July 19, 2014
Mike, his mother Donna, and I headed off for Bismarck at 8 AM. When we got to Bismarck, we first stopped at the Expressway Inn, who is comping me a room for the night, and I checked in. After I checked in, the three of us went next-door to a Perkins restaurant and had breakfast. Once again, Mike paid for everything. After Mike and his mother left for northeast North Dakota, I sacked out in my room for a couple of hours. I was awakened by a telephone call from a young woman named Lisa. She was offering to take me to a track so I could run on it. She also asked if I needed anything, which I did, a large brim hat, and Body Glide. After she picked me up, we went across the street to a outdoors center where I purchased the hat and the Body Glide. We then headed off to a college track. The track is a newly surfaced track. The basic color is orange, and I found it difficult to follow the white line. Not impossible, just very difficult, as the contrast is not as great as if it were black or dark red. Since Lisa has a one-year-old daughter named Brinley, I cited that the best pick up time would be 7:30 PM. Brinley’s bedtime is 8 o’clock. Lisa and Brinley picked me up at 7:30, took me to a burrito shop so I could purchase dinner and then deposited me back at my room. Lisa told me that she had spoken with her husband Ryan, and that they were offering me a home stay beginning tomorrow. I could sleep in their basement where there is a bed and shower. I mentioned I first had to first check with the hotel and see how many nights I could stay for free.
Today I ran a total of 13.22 miles
Daily Blog, Sunday, July 20, 2014
Today Lisa was heading off to Jamestown to pick up her son. He had stayed at his grandma’s house, and Jamestown was the halfway point where Lisa and grandma could make the hand-off. Before heading out of town, Lisa and Brinley took me to the track. As I was leaving the hotel, I checked with the general manager, who is working on Sunday, to see how many nights free I could stay here at the Expressway Inn. He said I could stay one more day free, then after that I could get the room at a reduced rate. I was wondering why general manager would be working on a Sunday. He said that there was a state fair in Minot, North Dakota this weekend. He told his employees to go to that fair and have a good time and he would work the desk. Pretty nice guy, huh?
Before depositing me at the track, Lisa took me to a McDonald’s so I could purchase two large cokes. She dropped me off at the track and expressed her concern about me being out there on such a hot day. As she, I, and Brinley walked once around the track, we came across a man who was out there jumping rope. The man seemed extremely intense in his workout and mumbled just a few words when we told him about my visual impairment, that is, that I could barely see him.
Lisa found one friend of hers that could pick me up from the track, and Lisa emailed me her telephone number, but that woman would not be available until 1 PM. On her way to Jamestown, Lisa called me to tell me she found a co-worker that could pick me up at any time, and she, Lisa, would email me that woman’s phone number when she got to Jamestown. As I went around the track, that very intense man came over and spoke with me. His name is Steve, and he is a laborer who drifts around the country. He described in great detail that entire track to me.
When Lisa got to Jamestown, sure enough, she emailed me a name and number that I could call if I got into problems and needed to leave the track early. Later, when Lisa was coming back into Bismarck, she called to see how I was doing. I told her I would contact her 30 minutes before I was ready to come off the track, which I did. At 5 o’clock Lisa, Brinley, and her son, Braxton, picked me up.
After an extremely refreshing shower, I ate and then lay down for a while. It felt really good to unwind.
Later on I spoke with Renée, and afterwards, she emailed me information regarding two people who wanted to interview me. I’m not exactly sure why all of a sudden two interviews happened, but the one female reporter that I spoke with said that one of the coaches at the track I was running on saw me and spoke to me. I did speak to a few people, but nobody said anything about being a coach. Also, Lisa had sent emails to the local newspaper and TV stations.
Things also started popping as far as finding sighted running guides. I already was scheduled to run with a group of moms on Monday evening. One of them sent a message through Facebook that on Wednesday evening there was an opportunity to run with a man named Frank, who is a gold medalist in the Olympics.
Today I ran a total of 21 miles.
Daily Blog, Monday, July 21, 2014
Lisa and I had planned on her picking me up at 7:15 AM from my Expressway Inn room, from where I was to be checking out, and then she would take me to the track, however, she called a bit early. I barely had enough time to head down to the continental breakfast and have the attendant, Sharon, put five hard-boiled eggs in a bowl and put salt on them, and grab a glass of orange juice. The reason Lisa was picking me up early was that I was to be interviewed by a TV reporter at 7:30 AM at the track.
As it ends up, the reporter was running a little late, and she had some difficulty with her equipment. As we concluded the interview, the director of the track approached us and wanted to know what was going on. He was not happy that there was a TV interview going on on his track without permission. Once he understood what the interview was about, he was fine with it. I asked him if the bathrooms would be open during the weekdays, as they were not on the weekends. He said no, that they were never open then, however, in my case, he would open them. He also asked me how many days I would be in town, so I will find out each day if he opens them for me while I’m here.
After probably one hour of running, a man came up to me and introduced himself as the man I spoke with yesterday. He said he was a running coach and had contacted the news media, in fact, he said he has a woman from a local TV station with him right now. Her name is Ashley St. Louis. When I mentioned her last name she said yes, most people say, “no, I didn’t ask you where you were from, what is your last name”. After the interview it was back to running on the track.
A number of people from time to time were out on the track, some of whom let me know that they had been out here the day before or on Saturday. At some point Renee called to let me know that the women I might be running with tonight may not be running after all, due to the threat of a severe thunderstorm about the time we would be running. When I got to mile 20, I called Ryan, who is Lisa’s husband, to pick me up from the track. He did, and what a welcome sight. When he picked me up, I had completed 21.14 miles. That is my total for the day. We went to a McDonald’s so I could get a mocha frappe. I needed something very cold, very fast, as once again I was running on the track in 90° plus weather. I also ate a couple of Quarter Pounders. The more fast food I eat, especially burgers, the more I appreciate home cooking.
The women did cancel the run for this evening. I am told it was a quick and severe thunderstorm, but as I was showering then, I heard nothing from in the basement. I am enjoying a homestay with Lisa and Ryan for the duration of my time here in Bismark . I leave on Friday evening.
Later I asked Lisa if I could borrow Ryan to take me to the fast food place for more food. She said she would take me, as she needed to get out of the house. She has a three-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter who is teething. Need I say more? A couple of fish sandwiches, and a couple of burgers, from Burger King, and I was set for the day. Lisa said she felt bad that she could not provide enough food for me, to which I added, nobody can at this point. I need far too many calories.
Daily blog, Tuesday, July 22, 2014
This morning it was overcast and very cool, one of the more pleasant days I’ve had in the past week or two. Jared picked me up at 6:20 AM from Lisa and Ryan’s home. On the way out of the door, Lisa refilled the Tupperware bowl that she loaned me with pretzels. Jared and I went to Sertoma Park to run. As we pulled up, other runners were already beginning their run, so we began in behind them. As Jared and I ran, there was a small truck spraying for mosquitoes on the path/hard surfaced trail that we were running on. When we finished, we stopped and spoke with some of the other runners/walkers. Jared then made a trip through McDonald’s for me, and then dropped me off at the track. As he walked me out to the track, holding the tray with my drinks and my food, he said the one nice thing about running on a track is that you have an aid station every one quarter of a mile. I never thought about it that way, but it’s true, and it’s funny.
At least the morning was cool and pleasant. When Shaylee Meyer from the Bismarck Tribune came out to interview me, the sun was out and once again, the track was like a frying pan.
It turns out that the director of the field and track did open the bathroom for me. In fact, while I was running around the track someone, possibly him, yelled out my name and said the bathroom was open. I was told that an intern for the Bismarck Tribune would be interviewing me at around noon, as that is when she started her day. Somewhere around 12:45 pm, Shaylee Meyer, the intern from the Bismarck Tribune, called me for an interview. She gave me the option of doing it over the phone or in person. I took the in person option. When she came out to the track and saw me for the first time, she told me that she was operating the sprayer in that truck that was spraying for mosquitoes. She said she even told the driver, I think that’s the guy I will be interviewing later.
After the interview I continued running until around 3 o’clock, at which time I sat down to rest a little, as a man named Dan was coming out to run with me at 3:30. Dan was on time, and I was hoping that we would go and run somewhere else for pictures, but he chose running on the track instead. We ran about 4 miles together. After Dan left, I called Ryan to pick me up from the track, however his one-year-old daughter, Brinly was taking a nap, so he called Lisa, who told him to call me back and say that she would pick me up as soon as she got off of work. I got my bookbag and started to walk around the track slowly, waiting for Lisa to pick me up. As I did, three women approached me and we began talking about what I am doing, as they had seen me in the news. One of them asked me if I had a ride, to which I responded, yes, I was waiting for her. Within a few moments, Lisa showed up. It turns out the three women are nurses and work at the same hospital as Lisa, and everyone recognized one another and had a good laugh.
When we got in Lisa’s vehicle, I let her know I was hungry. She thought out some options, including a few sit down restaurants. I asked her what she was going to do, just sit and watch me eat? She answered no, I’ll join you. So we decided on the Olive Garden restaurant. She called her friend Liz to join us. We all had the soup and salad. The two ladies wanted to make sure I had a really rich dessert, which I did (something with a whole lot of the word chocolate in the description), after which, Lisa and I returned to her home and Liz to hers.
I ran a total of 28 miles today.
Daily Blog, Wednesday, July 23, 2014
This morning a young man named Miles was to pick me up at 5:30 AM from the home of Lisa and Ryan. Lisa and I were sitting in their front porch waiting for him. At 5:40 I decided to call him. When he answered, he sounded as though he had forgotten. We changed the pickup/start time to 6 o’clock.
We went to Sertoma Park and ran along a marshy area. At one point there was a very loud splash on our left. He said it was a huge fish that just jumped out of the water. It sure sounded big. Miles has an interesting job. He reallocates electrical energy around the country. If there is an area that needs more electricity, he looks around the power grid for an area that is producing more than is needed, and is able to link the two together. He said that in doing his job however, he cannot rely on power produced at wind farms, or solar farms. These two sources are unreliable as far as energy output. After our run he drove me through a McDonald’s drive up, then to the track.
About an hour into my run I met two women on the track who have been out there regularly. We had a brief and fun conversation. I felt pretty sleepy all morning on the track. At some point I walked up the aluminum stops to the aluminum bleachers and stretched out on them for a nap. I’m not sure, but I think I napped for about one hour. When I resumed working on my miles for the day I had a lot more energy, certainly not 100%, but more.
Initially the bathroom was not open, which gave me a little cause for concern as I was going to be out here for hours on end, but later I checked it again and it was open. Thank you very much Mel!! From time to time a few people came out on the track, but they always ran on the inside lanes so I was not able to talk with them. At about mile 20 I decided to call it a day at the track. It was starting to warm up a great deal, and I knew I would not last long out here anyway, so I called Ryan and he needed about 20 minutes to get the children ready and get over to the track.
After Ryan picked me up, we went through Taco Bell, then to their home. Once there, I ate, showered, and lay down for a few moments. About 5:40 PM Lisa took me over to Sertoma Park so that I could run with the Bismarck running club. They were to meet at 6 o’clock. Among them this evening was a man named Frank, I’m not sure of his last name but Renée has it, who took gold in the 1972 Olympics marathon. He spoke to the group a little bit, kidding around about how slow he is now, and then after he was done talking, we all ran a little over 3 miles in a loop. A man named Mark was my guide. I had forgotten my rope back at Lisa and Ryan’s home, so we used my white cane in it’s folded up state. It actually worked quite well. When we were done running, I took several pictures with Frank and some of the other runners, then Mark took me over to Lisa and Ryan’s home.
Lisa was getting ready to go play volleyball with her local women’s league. She heated up some food she had made for me about two days ago, which I did not know she had done. Once again, there is nothing as good as homemade food. What she made was delicious.
I notice, while I am running around on this track, I hear cars in the distance speeding up quickly and then slamming on the brakes and skating. When Ryan picked me up I asked him what that noise was. I told him, to me, it sounded like it might be an auto test track. Ryan drove in the direction of that sound when
we left the running track, and it turns out it is a police academy training facility where police officers learn defensive driving tactics.
Today I ran a total of 25.14 miles.
Daily Blog, Thursday, July 24, 2014
I slept in this morning and did not wake up until 8 AM. On the way to the track Ryan took me through McDonald’s. It was windy and lightly raining. When he dropped me off at the track, the winds were extremely strong, so instead of putting my water bottle filled book bag in the usual place alongside of the track, I thought it best to put them at the building near the scoreboard. This is where the locker room & bathroom are located. I put on my rain poncho and walked around the track while eating my breakfast. After finishing breakfast I ran a little bit with the poncho on (until the rain stopped), but the wind got worse. My hat flew off several times and luckily, I caught it each time. Even with the string strongly secured against my chin, it still blew off.
Fortunately, the bathrooms were open today, so I enjoyed a few breaks out of the wind. Today I was bound and determined to get 22 miles done at the track, because I was shooting for a total of 24 miles today. 24 miles would give me a total of 1,000 miles run so far. I was to run with Lisa and her friend Janet this evening beginning at 6 o’clock. By leaving 2 miles to go before I hit 1,000 miles, I was ensuring that I would run the 1,000th mile with Lisa and her friend Janet.
Lisa picked me up from the track probably around 5 PM. From there we picked up Janet, and then, headed off to the downtown area so we could run and get pictures of the Capitol building. We began with Janet guiding me while we ran on some trails/passes and took a few pictures. While Lisa was guiding me, my Garmin buzzed to indicate mile 24 for the day. Lisa brought us to a halt so we could all celebrate mile number 1,000. Lisa took pictures of Janet and me jumping up-and-down She had to instruct me to get my hands high in the air to do it right. It was a lot of fun. I am extremely happy to have completed the 1,000th mile with Lisa and Janet. I planned for it all day, and it will be a memory I will hold forever.
From there we ran just a little ways more to the car. Then we headed off to eat at Mandam, a restaurant. When we were in the parking lot of the restaurant, one of them spotted a paddleboats in the Missouri River. We ran like little kids to the river’s edge so that we could take pictures of it. The two ladies were a lot of fun to have dinner with. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that Janet is full-time military. I even remarked that I could see her giving orders followed by the word, please. There is nothing in her personality that comes through as military. She even remarked that she has been told many times she needs to work on her “command voice”, to which her responses are, “not everyone has a command voice”. She is quite a remarkable young woman with an extremely positive attitude (she is battling breast cancer).
Total miles today 24.42.
Daily Blog, Friday, July 25, 2014
This morning, Jessica picked me up from the home of Lisa and Ryan to go for a run at Sertoma Park. Lisa and I said our goodbyes before I left with Jessica. When Jessica and I got to the park, I realized I had forgotten my Garmin and we had to return to the house for it. Lisa ran in and out of the house to get my Garmin for me. Jessica and I then returned to the park to run.
Jessica and Mike have a four-year-old daughter named Adelyn who has cystic fibrosis. Jessica scaled-back her work week from five days a week to four in order to spend more time with her daughter. Adelyn is a real cutie, a real joy. Right now, she is doing very well living with cystic fibrosis, however, Jessica is very aware of how quickly things can turn ugly, and that Adelyn may have a short life. When Adeyn was born she had bowel movements immediately afterwards. This triggered a concern that something was wrong, so her first few days of life were spent in the hospital. A new mom comes pre-packaged with all kinds of worries and concerns for her newborn, but add something like this to the mix and it becomes evening even more worrisome for a new mother. Jessica and Mike immediately began shopping for the best care for their daughter, and those people, the doctors, were found in Minneapolis.
Jessica and I had many pleasant conversations as we ran a little over 7 miles together. The conversations were mostly about our daughters, her Adelyn, and my Kellie and Tiffanie. After we finished running we stopped at a McDonald’s to eat inside where we continued our fun conversations. Then she brought me back to the home of Lisa and Ryan. . I showered and packed and was ready exactly at 11 o’clock when Liz showed up to drive me to Jamestown. On our trip to Jamestown, I learned more about her climb up Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest. At Mount Everest she made it as high as the base camp, which is where she had planned to go to and had paid for. She told me how expensive it is for someone to actually go to the summit of Mount Everest. To climb to the summit is a lot more expensive, somewhere in the area of $50,000-$60,000 as opposed to the $5000 she spent.
When we got to Jamestown, my room was not quite ready, so we went to a Chinese buffet, where we both pigged out. It was sure good to enjoy a Chinese buffet. Afterward, we hit Walmart for a few things that I needed and then she brought me to my room. At 5 o’clock Gina picked me up to go for a run. We ran on a paved trail somewhere near a reservoir. We ran about a little over 3 miles, then a stop at Taco Bell so that I could get 10 burritos, as there is a refrigerator in my room. I wanted to make sure I was stocked up with some food. After Gina left, I received a call from a woman named Nelly Deegan. She will be picking me up tomorrow and taking me to a track and two other places where I can get some pictures and even something concerning the veterans. After talking with Nelly, I sacked out for a nice long much-needed night of sleep. Nelly will be picking me up at 9:00 AM tomorrow.
Each state that I have run-through so far holds special memories for me. North Dakota is the state where we received our first $1000 donation; I ran/completed my first 1000 miles; and we received our first 1000 likes on Facebook. It is also the state where I got to enjoy two back-to- back homestays. One was in the home of an older gentleman, Mike, where his brother Jim also lived with him. The other was with Lisa and Ryan, and their two children, Prax, age 3, and Brinley, age one. I enjoyed the conversations with Mike and his brother Jim, and also their mother, Donna, who was visiting at the time. At the other home I enjoyed the energy of Lisa and Ryan’s children. I also enjoyed meeting the many friends of Mike, Lisa, and Ryan.
Total miles today 10.3.
Daily Blog, Saturday, July 26, 2014
This morning when I went to the continental breakfast at the Comfort Inn, I asked for an attendant to assist me with breakfast. The attendant was not available at the moment, but another patron of the Comfort Inn stepped up to help. He was a retired gentleman who lived in Minneapolis, and was very pleasant and fun to talk to. When I told him that I needed a lot of calories, I also told him why. He was interested in what I was doing, but didn’t quite grasp the concept of me needing a lot of food. Each time he refilled my plate, he put small portions on there.
Nelly picked me up a little bit after 9:00 AM to take me to a track. When she did, I was still in need of some food. We went through McDonald’s so I could get more to eat, plus my two cokes. When we got to the track the bathrooms were not open for me and Nellie stayed on the bench right at the track’s edge making phone calls to see what she could do about getting them open. Nelly also told me that she had intended on staying there the entire time I was running. I told her it would be many hours, but this did not deter her. About every mile or two, as I ran past her, she would ask, “how are you holding up?” This is something I prefer not to think about. I like to get focused and do what needs to be done, but no matter how many times I told Nelly this, she continued to ask, “how are you holding up?” I learned early that Nelly likes to talk. I found out if I stopped to answer any of her questions, I found myself listening for several minutes before I could find a polite way to get back to running. Nelly spent a lot of time on the phone making many telephone calls to people, trying to see what she could do about getting me additional media attention.
Shortly after I arrived on the track, I met a gentleman and his 11 year old daughter. The man’s name is Greg, and his daughter is Hannah. The football field that is in the center of the track was named after his father. The man and his daughter and family live near Minneapolis. Nelly got their contact information. The man said that when I came through Minneapolis, as he is a cross country coach, he might be able to assist me when I get there. After I completed my 20 miles for the day, we went to a memorial wall for veterans where we took pictures. Then we picked her husband up and went to the depot Café for dinner.
I ran a total of 20.4 miles today.
Daily Blog, Sunday, July 27, 2014
This morning Nellie picked me up a little after 8 a.m. from my hotel, and after a quick trip through McDonald’s, we headed off to the track. Yesterday was a little warm but with plenty of trees around the track to provide shade, it wasn’t so bad. Today it was chilly with a light drizzle. I was wondering if Nellie was actually going to stay with me near the track all day (she did), but at some point she got on the telephone and decided that she would be better making the calls from her car. She walked up the small path between the track and the parking lot and remained in her car, from where she could clearly see the track and me.
I’m not sure what I ate yesterday/last night, but something did not agree with me. I think it’s Taco Bell’s black bean burritos. They seem to consistently be a problem with/for me. Black bean burritos from other restaurants have never been a problem like these are, and the result, well, let’s just say I was very grateful the bathroom was available today. I made several trips.
Among the many phone calls that Nellie was making was one where she was trying to get ahold of a reporter to have her meet us at the track rather than at the hotel. At some point while I was running, Greg and his daughter Hannah rode by on bicycles and talked to Nellie. I thought, if the reporter is coming here and she wants a picture of me and the track, it would be best to have someone with me as a sighted guide (like in Bismarck). I asked Nellie to contact Greg to see if his eleven year old daughter, Hannah, would like to be my guide for the picture in the paper. This would be good in so many ways: first of all, the track is named after her grandfather; and, she is 11 years old, one year younger than my granddaughter, Kylie, who I am running for. Greg and Hannah agreed to be here when the reporter came. The reporter pushed back the time to 3 o’clock. Hannah and I got our picture taken for the article, the reporter got my story, plus a little bit from Greg and a little bit from Nellie. The timing for the reporter was perfect in that I was done running for the day. 22 miles. That is my total mileage today, 22 miles completed.
After the reporter was left, Nellie and I headed off to take some pictures in a park where there are buffalo. Here also is the world’s largest buffalo monument. Nellie took a picture of me next to that statue, then she looked across the field where the bison buffalo were. They were heading towards the fence between us and them. Nellie said she had been here many times with her grandchildren, but this was the closest she had ever been to the buffalo. Among them is an albino female, seen laying down in the picture.
Among the attractions here is a stagecoach ride. Nellie and I were invited to ride in it for free. It was the last run of the day and I had a picture taken while holding the horses bridal before we started our ride. I sat in the back of the stagecoach, next to a woman from Canada and her child. Across from us were Nellie, a woman who was relocating from Seattle to North Carolina,and her two small children. All I have to say is, God bless everyone who used stagecoaches in the past. That was the bumpiest ride I have ever been on. The woman from Canada, Debra, and I were doing everything we could to lessen the jarring impact while we were laughing about it too.
When we were inside the stagecoach, I explained to Debra what I was doing and gave her one of my cards. After the ride, she gave me $20. The other woman, Allison, said she will be looking for me when I came through North Carolina. Allison is a runner and is looking forward to running with me when I get there. After Nellie and I left the park, we picked up her husband Bill and went to a Chinese buffet. If I left there hungry, it was my own fault. Nellie quickly loaded up four plates of food and had them in front of me. After they dropped me off at my hotel room, I was still more than stuffed, I was in a little bit of pain.
Daily Blog, Monday, July 28, 2014
This morning Nellie picked me up at 8 AM. She had several copies of the newspaper article about the run. We stopped at two radio stations to see about getting interviews. The first station would squeeze us in at 12:30PM today. The second station would get us in tomorrow morning. After that, we headed off to the track.
It was a beautiful day, very cool, perfect for running. When it was time to head off to the radio station for the 12:30pm interview, I had a little over 10 miles completed. After the interview, we stopped at McDonald’s so I could get a mocha frappe and a large decaf coffee. When I resumed running in the afternoon, I found the break did a lot of good for me as I had a lot of energy, in fact, I did some speed work on the straightaways. It was a little unnerving, as I had to trust that there was no one in front of me, but it sure felt good to run hard and fast. When I stopped running for the day, I had completed 22 miles.
Nellie then drove us to pick up her husband Bill, who was at home, and we then headed off to a Mexican restaurant. At the restaurant, I made it clear I was very thirsty and ordered a lemonade. After drinking the first lemonade very quickly, the waiter decided to bring a pitcher of lemonade to me. He took my straw from the glass and just stuck it into the pitcher. We all found that to be very funny. Nelly is fluent in Spanish and did all over communicating to the waiter and other staff in that language, Mexican Spanish. In her communications to them, the idea was floated that I be allowed to wear is the birthday sombrero, and to hold the guitar as if I were playing it for pictures. The food was excellent. When we left my stomach was full, my taste buds were very satisfied. Then Bill and Nellie dropped me off at my hotel room.
Daily Blog, Tuesday, July 29, 2014
At 8 o’clock Nellie picked me up to take me over to the radio station for an interview, which took place at 8:30. While we sat in the waiting room we listened to someone else being interviewed, a man and a woman. The man who was interviewed came out early while the woman remained. It turns out that the man is a same man I met at the Buffalo/Bison Park, the man was in charge of tourism. When he came out of the room with the radio talk show host, he recognized me and he told me that I was doing a lot for their tourism and expressed his appreciation.
After the radio interview, Nellie and I headed back to the Comfort Inn for pictures with the general manager, Sarah. We wanted to post the pictures on our Facebook page and blog, to show our deep appreciation for Comfort Inn and Sarah’s support (by comping the room). As we concluded the pictures, Nellie suggested to Sarah that the Comfort Inn chain might want to support our efforts around the country. Nellie then asked if Sarah could contact someone in Fargo for us. Sarah agreed and said she would contact somebody at the Cambria Suites Hotel. She said the Cambria Hotel is brand-new and it is where she stays whenever she goes to Fargo. Nellie and I then headed off to the running track.
At 10 o’clock I was joined by a young woman named Mary who came there to run with me. She is a friend of Gina, the woman I ran with on the first day I was in Jamestown. Mary had just graduated with a degree in theology and works at the Basilica. Gina works part-time there, as does Mary. I was curious what a woman with a degree in theology could do in the Catholic Church, so I asked her what her plans were, as she certainly could not become a priest. Mary herself was not sure what she was going to do with that degree within the Catholic Church, but she was not going to change churches. Mary ran a little over 3 miles with me, then she was on her way.
Somewhere around noon, two women with children (2) showed up to run with me. One of them is named Cally, the other woman is named Sherry. Sherry is the mother of Cally and Heather, Heather being the woman who manages the Depot Restaurant, which is the first restaurant I ate at here in Jamestown. What I did not know when I ate at the Depot and took pictures with Heather, was that her hair is very short. This is the result of chemo treatments. Heather had breast cancer and then a double mastectomy. It looked like she beat the cancer, then it came back in a different area of her body. She battled back against that cancer, and now once again cancer has appeared in her body and she is currently fighting it. Heather, like Janet in Bismarck, was deployed to Iraq. Both women had breast cancer and had to have doubled mastectomies. I do not recall the names of the children that were running with us, the two girls were the daughters of Heather. Heather met her husband in Iraq.
As we were ending the run, the two women told me that Cally’s fiancé, Brian, owns and operates a restaurant called the Chicken Ranch. Cally told me that her fiancé had extended an invitation to me, Nellie, and Bill to eat there this evening, free of charge. We all agreed to meet there at 5:15 this evening. As we were concluding our run, it was becoming apparent that it was getting warmer out. Yesterday’s high temperature was 73° and I barely touched any of my water. The Coke I had in the morning got me through most of the day, and then there were the drinks in the afternoon. Today’s high temperature was also to be 73°, so I only brought four bottles of water. Turns out I needed a lot more to drink today. I asked Nellie if she would not mind running off somewhere to get me some cokes to drink, with plenty of ice in them. She gladly agreed to this and also got some french fries.
my miles total for my last day in Jamestown was 21 miles.
Daily Blog, Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Nellie picked me up at 7:30 and took me over to McDonald’s so I could be ready and fed before Charlie picked me up for the trip to Fargo. Charlie was right on time, and off we headed for Fargo. He is a most interesting man to speak too. Charlie is 82 years old, and it is obvious that there is great wisdom in this man. I thoroughly enjoyed my ride with him and the many conversations we had. I would have really enjoyed to get to know him much better.
I am very thankful for Nellie. She did so much for me and the run while I was in Jamestown, and also did so much to get things prepared for me in Fargo. Nellie is a superstar. When Charlie got me to the Cambria Suites, my room was not ready. I let him know it would be okay for him to leave, which he did. Within a few moments of him leaving, my room was ready.
Once I got into my room I called Jodi Buchholz, a contact that Nellie set up for me. Nellie is an ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce in Jamestown. Jodi is an ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce in Fargo. These are volunteer positions, and I learned much more about it from Jodi, as I was now curious about what an ambassador really does. Absolutely fascinating! When I opened up my hotel room to Jodi, she had with her a case of bottled water and a case of power aid. She immediately started putting both into the refrigerator in my room.
Across the street from my hotel room is a middle school running track. Jodi took me over there and did a great job of orientating me to the navigational points that would work for me. For example, following along the parking lot curb, lining up squarely with the two-lane road that I would cross, a light pole and a fire hydrant were located just a few feet apart from one another on the other side of the street. Then, to follow the fence along to the opening in the gate to the track area.; follow the fence back in the same direction I came from, but I’m inside part of it; and counting a post turning right, squaring my back to the fence, walking straightforward, right to the track. Bull’s-eye, nicely done Jodi.
For my route back she found an even better way. I was to find the number two start line on the track, follow that white line that is perpendicular to the lanes to a concrete section for some other type of athletic event, then turn 90°, square my back to that, and I would walk directly to the open gate. Perfect. That is, I would look for the number two start line and use that as a navigational point to the concrete pad. Once at that concrete pad, which is maybe 20 feet from the track, I would square my shoulders to it, and that would lead me directly to the open point/gate in the fence. I am not sure how much I walked on the track with Jodi, but I became very comfortable with it before we left and she returned me to my room.
After Jodi left, I made contact with Britney, who would be available to run with me from noon until five. I briefly went over to the track to make sure I could find it easily and when I returned to my room, I stretched out on the bed and felt instantly asleep. I heard my phone ring, but I was too sleepy to wake up and answer it. It was Britney. When I woke up an hour later, I called her. It was too late for her to run with me today, so we chose a time for tomorrow. Then I called Cameron, who indicated he could run with me at around 6:30 PM. When I talked to him, he asked if it would be okay if we went out to dinner first. Sure, I am all about food. That also let me know we were probably going to be running slowly, which is what I do anyway.
Cameron picked me up on time and we went to a Mexican restaurant. The food was great. Then
we stopped by his house so he could get into his running gear. Cameron has three children, the oldest is a daughter who is married and lives in Minnesota. His two sons have autism. I met the oldest one, Alex, who is 18. Alex is a very likable young man. After Cameron changed, we went off to Linden Park, which is on the west side of the Red River North. Cameron had planned on us running about 4 miles. As we ran, we came up to a bridge that crossed over the Red River North. This bridge is sometimes closed because of high water in the river, but as it was not closed, we ran over to the Minnesota side, Morehead, Minnesota. We ran along the trail on the Morehead side for sometime, then crossed a much larger bridge built for vehicles. By the time we got back to his car we had run a little over 6 miles.
Before we began running, I mentioned to Cameron that I wanted to make two stops. One-stop to get a very good flashlight so I could run on the track at night, the other to a Subway Sandwich shop so I could stock up. We stopped at one store that did not carry flashlights, then we went to a K-mart, but it had just closed. It was much later in the evening than I thought it was. We wound up finding an open Target store where I got my flashlight. We also got my Subway sandwiches and picked up Alex, and then Cameron and Alex returned me to my room. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with Cameron, turns out we had many things in common.
Total miles today, 14.11.
Daily Blog, Thursday, July 31, 2014
Wow! What a jam packed day! !!! The day began at 5:15am (after only a few hours of sleep) when Jodi picked me up to go for a run with her running group. The group met at a gymnasium where members have access 24/7. It was a beautiful, cool morning for a run, perfect. Jodi and I had some fun, interesting conversations on our run, which included two of her friends. After returning to the gymnasium, we then stopped at McDonald’s so I could get something to eat.
We needed to get to the track early, as Jodi had friends who were going to meet us there, plus a TV station had a reporter who was going to meet us at the track at 7 AM. I was able to get a few laps in with Jodi’s friends before the TV reporter showed up. After the TV reporter was done interviewing me, the cameraman wanted some shots of us running around the track in a sighted guide method, so we did this. The cameraman was very creative in filming us. He rode on a skateboard and, as he passed us, he held the camera to get video us. After the reporter and the cameraman were done with the interview, I asked for a picture with them. The reporter seemed very surprised, pleasantly so. After the pictures, we all had a lot of great laughs. The cameraman especially had one of the most fun laughs I’ve ever heard, so much so, it was fun just to get him laughing. After everything was completed with that interview, Michelle and I went for a run on some sidewalks that took us up and over interstate 94 and back to the track again. She too, was a lot of fun to talk to. After Michelle and I wrapped up our run, I headed off to my hotel room to finally eat my breakfast.
As I ate my breakfast I received a phone call from Jodi. She said there would be another television station reporter out on the track at 9:30. Jodi would not be in running gear, she would be dressed in a skirt and high heels, but she would be there. I got to the track a little early and there was an older gentleman and two younger people on the track. I let them know that I was nearly blind and could not see them. They were very understanding of my situation, and, sensing how friendly they were, I explained the situation, that I would soon have a reporter interviewing me and I would benefit from having a sighted running guide running with me. I asked if anyone would like to join me as my guide. A young man named Bo and a young lady named Cass agreed to this. After the interview, myself, Bo, Cass, and their running coach, Miram, all ran around the track. After a few laps Miram dropped off, and Bo, Cass, and I continued to run. Bo is about to enter grad school as a biomechanical engineer. Cass is going to be a senior in high school this coming year. For this interview, the cameraman ran behind us, alongside of us, and backwards, in front of us. I was very impressed that he could run backwards as well as he did, especially since he was dressed in blue jeans. After the reporter and cameraman left, I returned to running around the track, and Bo, Cass, and Miram returned to their running lessons.
While I was running around the track, I checked my email. I received an email from Lisa, who was my host family for my homestay in Bismarck, North Dakota. Lisa would be passing through Fargo and had some goodies for me. She wanted to know if I would be available to receive them. Of course I would. At that time she could not give me an estimated time of arrival.
At some point, I contacted Brittany to make sure we were still going to be running today. The answer was yes, and she would pick me up at 1:45. I was to also run with somebody at 3 o’clock, someone named Connor, and in the car with Brittany, on our way to run, I called Connor. I asked Connor if we could push back the time to 3:15, which she was agreeable to. Connor told me that she has cystic fibrosis. As it so happens, I had a 4 o’clock appointment scheduled at the track to meet a photographer for the newspaper. It was understood that the local paper here, which also owns the newspaper in
Jamestown, would use the Jamestown article about me but use a local picture for the article, but that Connor has cystic fibrosis, to me, was a game changer, and in a very good way. I informed her that there would be a newspaper photographer at the track and that I would like to have her included in the picture, which she agreed to. I immediately called Jodi and explained the situation and I asked her if she would call the paper to consider sending out a reporter, as Connor would add a whole new dimension to the article. Jodi called the newspaper and informed them of the new development for the article, that being that Connor would be running with me and that she has cystic fibrosis. Whoever Jodi contacted at the paper agreed to send a reporter.
Brittany had decided that we would run at Lindenwood Park, which is where Cameron and I had run. It is about a 15 or 20 minute drive. On our way, I learned that Brittney learned of the run on NPR. Brittany and I had a fun run, filled with lots of laughs. She is one of those people that laughs easily. In our discussions, she told me that her longest run was a half marathon. I asked if she belong to a running club, to which she replied no. I talked about how supportive the running club would be and how quickly the miles go by when running with someone else and having good conversations. When we returned to her car, we had completed 4 miles, which was a surprise to her because it did not seem as though we had run that far to her, especially since we had stopped to take a couple of photographs.
When Britney brought me back to the track. Connor was out on it running and her mother Shelley was sitting in the bleachers. I got out onto the track and introduced myself. We then ran a few laps as I took the opportunity to learn about Connor. She is quite an amazing young lady. She just graduated from college majoring in math statistics. She wants to go on to graduate school, including getting a PhD in statistics. Her ultimate goal is to work for the cystic fibrosis foundation with her PhD in statistics and do good for those with the disease. She also told me that she has a brother with cystic fibrosis who is involved in a clinical trial of a new drug.
To help keep herself healthy, she exercises regularly, which includes participating in triathlons, and that she played football. Connor also told me that she flew to Denmark to learn about their cystic fibrosis foundation’s work, that is, how cystic fibrosis patients are cared for in that country. Knowing that people with cystic fibrosis have to do daily maintenance because of the disease, no matter what, I asked her about the difficulties she had an traveling. She went into a great deal of detail, explaining how precisely she had to take care of her long treatments before the flight and after arriving in Denmark. She also told me that when she spends the night at a friends house, she lets them know that she has to get up early and use her vest and nebulizer, and do the same before going to bed, that her stay would not be a normal one, that there would be some periods of interruption.
When the reporter showed up, he asked Connor a few questions, including where she lived. Connor lives on the other side of the river, in Minnesota. The reporter then asked her which high school she had attended, and when she did, he told her he also lives in Minnesota. When he told her the name of the town he is from, she gave the name of the football team for their high school. He was quite impressed that she knew this. He then began asking her a few questions about her life with cycstic fibrosis. After a few of these questions, he asked her what her thoughts were on my run around the country, then he began asking me questions. I already knew he had an article to work from about me, but Connor really needed to tell her side of the story about living with cystic fibrosis, so after answering one of his questions, I immediately said, when you and I travel, it’s no big deal. We simply pack our luggage and go, but when Connor travels, it’s a very different story. I pointed to her and said, “maybe you might want to talk about your trip to Denmark”. With that, I physically stepped back about two steps so that the reporter would focus on Connor, which he did.
Immediately after that newspaper reporter was finished, a TV station reporter showed up. I learned later, that after I spoke with Jodi about Connor going to the track, Jodi then called another TV station to
suggest they may miss a great story. This TV reporter however, also shot video, very much like in Butte and Missoula, Montana.. After the interview the reporter asked if we would run on the track using my rope in a sighted guide fashion. After a few laps, that reporter left, and the photographer for the newspaper showed up. He also wanted us to run a few laps for his pictures.
At some point when I was speaking to Connor, before the reporters showed up, I received a call from Lisa. I told her that I had a dinner engagement at 6 o’clock, to which she replied she would be there before then. After the photographer for the newspaper left, Connor and I continued to walk around the track, as I wanted to know more about her life. She is one fascinating young lady. She will be participating in a triathlon in Duluth, Minnesota this weekend. Go Conner!
After Connor and her mother left, I went around the track a few more miles, then headed off to my hotel room. When I got to the door that I use to get into the building, I discovered I had left my key card in my room. I wasn’t really sure where the front doors were from where I was, but, as fate would have it, Lisa pulled up just then. Lisa then got me to the front desk where I got a new key, then she went to my room to drop off the goodies. I also had something for her. I had been collecting the tabs from the drinks from McDonald’s to give to her at some point. I didn’t know how I would get them to her, but the problem was solved. Then Lisa and her son Prax left to go home to Bismarck, North Dakota.
Jodi picked me up a little after 6 o’clock from my room. Before we went to eat, we stopped at the Fargo Bureau of Tourism. In that building, they have a wood chipper, just like in the movie Fargo. Jody put one of her running shoes on the foot of the leg that is sticking out of that chipper and took a picture of me standing next to it. In that picture, I am standing there with the rope that I use to tether myself to my sighted running guides with a worried expression on my face, as though I am wondering where my sighted running guide went. What we were doing got the attention of the attendant in that building and two women from Seattle. The attendant then gave us two bomber hats to put on to take another picture. We explained to the women what I was doing, that is, about my run around the country for cystic fibrosis, and that we were doing this as a fun picture for the Facebook page. One of the women especially got very excited about the run, so we took pictures with the two women. Then we headed off for dinner.
We checked out a couple of restaurants, but there were lines that extended out of the doors of people waiting to get in to eat. We decided on an Indian restaurant. Neither of us really understood the food choices, but the waiter was really good at describing things and was obviously excited about the food on the menu. Jody told him that what I really needed was a lot of food and he made a suggestion, which I took. When my food came, there were four plates, three of them filled with food, and the empty plate to put them on. Neither Jodi nor I knew the proper way to eat this food. I decided to spoon the curry sauce onto the rice and eat that combination out of the bowl that the rice came in. When the waiter saw how I was doing it, he immediately launched into putting it altogether it the way it was meant to be done. This added to the fun of the meal. On her own, Jodi is fun and fascinating, and add to this the fun of our ignorance about the meal and you have a great evening. After eating dinner, I was stuffed. Jodi brought me back to my hotel room where I quickly fell asleep.
I will be running with Jody at 5:30 AM the next morning. Total miles today, 23.