It's All I Can Do

June 22-30 Archives

All the blogs prior to this date of June 22 are lost/gone.

David will need to to re-create them from the facebook pages.

A heartfelt Sorry! to those affected.
Daily Blog Sunday June 22, 2014
This was one of those days when sighted guides were not to be found. Even a ride to the track wasn’t that easy to get. Thankfully, Winona Newman was available to give me a ride to the Centennial High School track. On our way to Centennial’s track I mentioned to Winona that I wished there was a bathroom at that running track. She suggested that there were two other tracks that we might want to look at, so we went to those. The first one is the Big Sky High School track, but it was all locked up. The second track was a dirt track and did not have lines that I could see. We ended up back at Centennial High school running track. Winona stuck around to watch me run around the track for several laps. She wanted to see how this was done. The weather was fantastic, skies were clear and the wind was light and the temperature was in the low 70s. After about 10 miles into today’s run, I began experiencing pain in both of my feet. That is because yesterday I made a rookie mistake. When I’m home in DeKalb, Illinois, I enjoy running barefoot on a blacktop stretch of road called Nelson Road, so I thought I would run barefoot on this track. I quickly learned this is not road surface. The high school track is not smooth, but is instead, very abrasive. I chewed up some of the skin of my feet yesterday, and today I was paying for it.
Today I was wearing my Merrill running shoes and I also was wearing socks with them. At some point I decided to try running without the socks on, that is, just with the shoes. At first, the pain was lightened by this action, however, after a while, it got a little rougher. After a while, I also loosened up to shoestrings and my shoes as I ran, which turned out to be rookie mistake number two. I was bound and determined to get my 20 miles in today, regardless of how badly my feet were hurting. Sometime around 5 PM the weather started to turn bad; the skies were overcast and I could hear thunder off in the distance. I checked with good old Siri and she told me there was no rain in the forecast, so I kept running. Suddenly, the winds picked up and became extremely cold, the temperature dropped sharply, and it began to rain.
I did not have anybody already designated that was going to pick me up from the track today, that’s how few people were available this day. Annie, the manager of the hotel where I am at, told me once that I could use the shuttle. The shuttle is used mainly just to pick up and drop off people to the airport, for me though she extended that to wherever I needed a ride. I called the hotel to get a ride from the track back to the hotel. The desk clerk at the time then informed me that generally people call well in advance so they can schedule somebody to make the pick up/drop off. Fortunately, the desk clerk had just been outside and saw how badly and how quickly the weather had turned. She then called Alyssa/Alissa. Alyssa/Alissa is the woman who connected us with the TV station for the very nice TV interview that was done on my run. Alyssa/Alissa was off-duty and at home, however, she did come out to pick me up. She also went with me, that is, took me to a Taco Bell so I could get something to eat. When Alyssa/Alissia brought me back to the hotel my right foot hurt badly and I was limping severely, however, after showering and soaking in the bathtub for a while it began to feel better very quickly.
The problem with my right foot was that I had developed a very large blister, in the area of the pad, just behind the toes. It was extremely swollen, almost comical in its size.
Oh yeah, putting on a poncho in high winds, when you cannot see, is very interesting!

Daily Blog Monday, June 23, 2014
Today I took a Greyhound bus from Missoula to Butte, Montana. Pastor Amy Carter had picked me up from my hotel in Missoula and brought me to the station. She is so much fun and interesting to talk to. One of the problems that I have with this run is leaving certain areas after I get to know people. Today was no different. It was very difficult to leave the so many wonderful people that I have met.
At Butte, Montana, a very nice couple named Mike and Sherry picked me up from the station. They took me to a pharmacy so that I could get Neosporin and moleskin for my blister. They then took me to my hotel room, where I got ready to go to the track. Then they took me to the track. Mike and Sherry are both retired, she was a banker and he was a mechanic who worked on autos and heavy machinery. The track today is a middle school track and is one of the nicest tracks I have ever run on. It is very cushioned and the lines are clearly painted on the surface. By clearly, I mean that I can see the lines on the track consistently for about four or 5 feet in front of me, but those lines that I do see are very blurry, almost diluted into the background of the dark colored track. To me, the track looks black. I am told that it actually is red.
After running on the track for about 5 miles, the weather turned sharply colder with wind and rain. There is a facility at the track that has bathrooms, which were closed. At least once a year, in the summer when the weather warms up, my internal organs make some sort of an adjustment. I was experiencing one of those moments as the rain began to fall. Something took place, that if I write a book about this run, I will discuss, but not now. The end result was that I wound up falling backwards onto my butt and am nursing a sore backside and a very, very sore back.
Once the rain ended, I began walking around the track again, hoping to walk out the pain. It wasn’t going away: pain in my right foot from the blister, pain in my right butt cheek, and pain in my back. A woman named Karen, who lives about a block away from the track, picked me up so that I could go to her home and have dinner with her, her husband (Eric), and their son. They are in their early 40s and their son is two. Karen told me that having a child in later life is very energy taxing. After their son goes to bed they go to bed soon afterwards. I enjoyed a very nice dinner and then Eric took me to my hotel room. I called it a day. After showering I filled the tub up to soak. I pressed my foot with the blister against the end of the tub. I kept pressing it and releasing it, pressing it, releasing it, hoping to flush out some of the fluid that was in there from the blister. Then, after showering I plastered Neosporin all around that affected area of the foot, slipped on a sock, and went to bed. Mental note, when I am in that much pain, do not call Chris, my wife. All I can say is the devil made me do it. Actually it was the pain and…

Daily Blog Tuesday, June 24, 2014
This morning the blister on my right foot felt significantly better. I packed the foot with more Neosporin, put some moleskin over the blister area, more Neosporin, then a sock to cover everything. This hotel where I am staying, the Best Western Plus, has a great continental breakfast (which I thoroughly enjoyed). I met with Bill Foley, a local radio reporter, Leo McCarthy, an insurance salesman who lost his teenage daughter in an accident involving an underage drunk driver, and a local TV reporter named Gordon, after breakfast. Borden is from the Chicago area. His job with the local TV station is his first job out of college.
Before we went running we took a group photo with Bill, Leo, Gordon, myself, and the wonderful general manager of this hotel, Tammy. Bill, Leo, and I then headed for the trail. I had lost my eyesight due to an accident with a drunk driver and Leo had lost his daughter to, as he calls it, a tragedy with a drunk driver. We had an intensely deep and heartfelt conversation about those losses. I expressed to him that I have no anger towards the man who went drinking the night of my accident, as I know he did not purposely wake up that morning and say to himself, I am going to go drinking after work and alter somebody’s life. It was an accident. I expressed that my loss is much, much less than his. If I had the choice between losing my eyesight or losing one of my daughters to a drunk driver, the choice would be quick, clear, and easy. Take my eyesight.
Leo had to leave early for an appointment. Gordon, the local reporter, interviewed him after he was done running with us. Bill and I continued on. Bill told me that Leo has made a huge difference in his life. Leo took the tragic loss of his daughter and did something very positive with it. He has started a scholarship in which the recipient would be someone who is in high school, does not drink, does not take rides with people who are drinking, and who does some type of benefit work for the local community. Bill told me that when he heard that Leo’s daughter was killed in an accident with the underage drunk driver, he stopped drinking completely. He realizes that had he not stopped, that his life would be very different now, and not very good. For clarity, the scholarship goes to someone who is in high school and who is college bound. Bill and I ran a little bit more, and then Gordon stopped both of us so that he could interview Bill pertaining, I guess, to me. And then Bill and I continued back to the hotel. Gordon then took me back to the middle school track where he videotaped me running on the track and interviewed me.
After wrapping up the interview, Gordon asked if I would be open to him praying for me. I told him I would appreciate that if he would include my granddaughter Kylie in his prayer. I have to say, in listening to this young man’s prayer for myself and my granddaughter, his belief is genuine and is a part of who he is. Later, around 3 o’clock, a woman named Janette and her nine-year-old son, Colt, came to the track to run with me. She told me that she had broken her foot fairly recently and that her doctor advised against her running. She did not want to listen to her doctor as she misses running. She suggested that we going to Sand Trail where Bill, Leo, and I had run earlier today. When I told her I had just been there, she suggested that we go to the area by the mining museum. Instead of running for the sake of scenery, she decided that maybe we would want to browse around in the museum, so we did. It was very interesting to see the many buildings and signs there. One of them that really caught my attention was the dentist. There was an old wooden chair the patients would sit in where dentist had a drill that was foot driven. Ouch! There was also an old fire engine there that Janette and her son Colt, as in colt 45, we’re trying to describe to me. They took pictures of it and I hope the pictures explain the fire truck, as it sounds very unique. Afterwards, we went to a restaurant so that I could try one of the local foods, a pasty. Pasty’s were the foods that miners ate. While we were at the museum it had begun to rain. While we were at the restaurant, a thunderstorm broke out and there was lightning everywhere. I was supposed to run with another woman, Nancy, today, but she and I decided that running in a lightning storm probably is not advisable. Today I only ran, walked, 9 miles. My foot was feeling a little tender, much better than I was, so I was not unhappy that my mileage was not very high.
The people of Butte, Montana, are very proud of their history. I have learned much more about Butte than any other town I have been in so far. Their statue, Our Lady of the Rockies, is the second tallest statue in the United States. It was finished in 1985. In its heyday, Montana had a population of 110,000 people when the copper mines were all fully running. Now the population is 32,000. The statute, Our Lady of the Rockies, is 95 feet tall, though originally it was supposed to only be 12 feet. It is built in five sections and huge helicopters were used to put each piece in place. Once electricity was being developed and distributed nationwide, Montana copper was used for, of course, the production of copper wire.

Daily Blog Wednesday, June 25, 2014
This morning Mike and Sherry brought me to the middle school track to run. They are an amazing and fun couple and very supportive of me. I told him that I needed to go behind this one building to get a white board which helps to mark my bookbag’s location. Mike went ahead and got it so that I didn’t have to. After I ran around the track, I finished off a bottle of water and went behind that same building looking for trashcan. As I felt around with my white cane, a voice yelled, “Hi, I’m Charlie”, and he said his last name, which I can’t remember, and I introduced myself. He announced himself as Charlie, the track coach. I told him then what a beautiful track this was and how I enjoyed running on it. Charlie told me that this is the only 10 lap /lane track within a certain radius. He said it took a lot of hard effort on his part to get it built, but with a chuckle in his voice, he said, “but, I got ‘er done”, to which I responded, “nicely done, Charlie”. I asked him if it would be possible to have access to the men’s bathroom in that building. Without so much as a hesitation he said, “sure”, and pulled out a key to unlock the door, swung it open, and it told me the bathroom is straight back. With that, he turned and started to walk away, and I quickly got out one of my cards and gave it to them. I was really amazed that he was so open to giving me access to that bathroom, as he had never met me before, but that’s how people are here and Butte.
Later Jeanette came out to walk with me. Her foot is still healing, so walking was the best option. I told her about Charlie, and she told me that Charlie used to be her coach in middle school. She is 32 years old. Charlie has been around for a while. Later, I learned that he is 80 years old and still the coach. After Jeanette and I were done at the track she brought me back to my hotel. I rested a little bit before running with Alli/Allie, as she had sent me a text indicating she was running a little bit late, as she was caught in a storm. When she got to the hotel, she let me know that she rode her bike home from work, and that’s where the problem was, that she was on a bike, and not in a car, during the storm. While I was waiting for her I noticed how quickly the temperatures drop off here after the sun goes down. I mentioned this to the desk clerk at the hotel. She told me that when people call and ask what they should wear when coming out to Butte, she tells them, she said jokingly, bring snowshoes, sandals, and something in between; bring a winter jacket, a tank top and something in between. You will be wearing all of that each day.
Alli/Allie and I went to the track to finish off the little over 4 miles I had left in order to complete 20 miles for the day. As we ran around the track, my daughter, Kellie, called to let me know that she is going to try another doctor for her daughter, my granddaughter, Kylie. She learned that Kylie’s current doctor doesn’t know about the new medications that are out there that could potentially help Kylie. For me, Kellie’s father, to hear new energy, that new fire, in her voice, is very motivating. After I finished the conversation with Kellie, I told Alli/Allie about the renewed energy I heard in my daughter’s voice. Alli/Allie then reminded me that we needed to hurry and get to the location of the radio program I was to participate in. It was being broadcast from a bar, from 7 PM until 9 PM. As I did not have to be there for the entire broadcast, it was understood that I would get there as soon as I could. I told Allie that I wanted to get my 20 miles in first. We were at 19.11 at that moment, so we continued running. When my Garmin buzzed to indicate we had reached
another mile, the 20 mile mark, Allie/Alli got really excited and yelled “you got your 20 miles, let’s go!!!!”. After we exited the track and were walking towards her car, a man came up to me and said he saw the piece about me on the evening news. He told me his name and said, “I have $20 here for you”. I was a little unclear what was happening, since it was happening so fast, but Alli/Allie restated everything he said, and sure enough, he handed me a $20 bill.
Alli/Allie and I went to the live radio program location where I would talk about cystic fibrosis, my run around the United States, and promote awareness of the disease. The radio program was being hosted by Bill Foley and the man he does the morning programs with, Paul Panisko. I got there at 8 o’clock, and Paul interviewed me after the 8PM break until it was time to end, close to 9PM. It was a lot of fun and Paul asked some great questions. Paul suggested that I call into them every couple of months and participate in that same program so people could follow my progress around the United States.
Total miles 21.03

Daily Blog Thursday June 26, 2014
This morning, Mike and Sherry again brought me to the track. As usual, each morning starts quite chilly, but when the sun comes up, it gets warm rather quickly. As I walked around the track, I ‘wrote’ my blog. I talk into my IPhone/Siri, sending myself an email with the blog. I forgot, however, to turn my Garmin on. I have no idea how many miles I walked. At 11 am, Dan came by to pick me up to go for run. We went to the Granite Mountain Mine, where there was a tragic accident in 1917. At the top of this hill is a memorial for those lost lives. As Dan and I were running up the mountain, there was a man running downhill. I yelled out to him and asked him if he would take a picture of us. He stopped, looked at us, and said, “Hey, I saw you on the news last night”. Dan and I got to the top of the mountain, the man took some pictures of us, and we ran back downhill. Dan did a great job of explaining to me the mine’s headframes design and how they were used in mining operations. He and I were running towards the University, hoping to get to the gate, but a thunderstorm broke out and we had to reverse course to get to his car before we got caught in the storm. After Dan dropped me off at the track, the rain and thunderstorm intensified. I called Samantha, who is to run with me next, and we both agreed that running in the rain is okay, so she decided that she was going to come over and take a chance. As I waited for Samantha, the lightning moved off into the distance, but it was still windy, cold, and raining. I put on several layers of long sleeve tech shirts and then my rain poncho. I no sooner did that than the rain stopped and the sun came out. It got hot with all the clothing. This is exactly when Samantha showed up. We went back to the trail were Dan and I had ended so we could run to the university and get a picture of the university’s arched gate entrance. As we began to run, it was obvious that Samantha was struggling a bit. It turns out she had just given birth three weeks ago and had not run in several months. After a short while of running, Samantha asked if we could walk, so we did. At age 14, Samantha was in a very bad auto accident and was told that she would never be able to conceive, and if she did, she would not be able to carry the baby full-term. She is now the mother of three daughters. After Samantha and I finished our walk/run, she took me to Burger King and then dropped me off at my hotel room. No sooner did I finishe eating than another thunderstorm broke out. There was one thunderstorm after another, so I just decided to relax and take it easy for that day, or, at least the rest of the evening. Total miles today 12 miles.
PS. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and live not too far from there now. They have a saying in Chicago that goes, if you don’t like the weather, just stick around for a moment, it’ll change. That phrase actually is much more descriptive of Butte, Montana’s, weather. You cannot change your clothes fast enough here to keep up with the weather.

Daily Blog Friday, June 27, 2014
Mike and Sherry brought me to the track again. They picked me up at 8 am, our usual pick up time. I ran/walked 15.5 miles before they picked me up to bring me back to my room. If I’m lying I’m dying… for the first 10 to 11 miles, the weather changed every one or two laps around the track. One lap the sun would be out and warm, the next lap it would be cold, windy, and raining. Even when it was warm, it was windy. All of that really drained a lot of energy from me. It wasn’t just the constant fluctuation in the weather that drained my energy. It was that I would stop by my book bag and put on clothes, or take them off, as needed, to adjust to the changing weather.
After Mike and Sherry dropped me off at my hotel room, I couldn’t get into bed quick enough. I laid there shivering for the first few moments and then finally drifted off to sleep. Bill Foley and I had decided a few days ago that we would run at 5:30 PM in the evening. He called me around 5:15 to let me know he was on the way. We went to a place called Whiskey Gulch. What a wonderful scent in the air! I don’t know if it was a certain flower or the location in general, but it was heavenly. We ran on a path recently built for runners and bicyclists. It was a nice, easy, smooth run. After Bill and I finished running, we went to place called Porkchop Joe’s. It is one of the places I was told that I needed to visit when I got to Butte, Montana. People in Missoula told me about that place and they also told me that I had to try some of the pasties sold in Butte.
I ran a total of 20.6 miles today.

Daily Blog, Saturday, June 28, 2014
Mike and Sherry once again brought me to the track. Mike is great about going behind the building beneath the bleachers, bringing out a white board, and then placing it alongside of the track. That board makes it easier for me to find the spot to turn to get to that building, otherwise, I completely miss the building. I would walk past it. As big as the building is, and with the bleachers up above it, I cannot see them. That white board, which is probably one foot-wide and two feet-long, is easy, well, relatively easy, for me to spot on the ground.
This morning it was cold, 48°, windy, and raining. Sherry helped me to figure out where the hood was for my poncho, as I was getting a little confused. I kept wanting to put my head through a sleeve. They left, and away I went into the cold, dark, windy, rainy, morning. I seriously thought about huddling underneath the building that houses the bleachers until the rain had passed, but, as I have learned, the rain could stop any minute, and then, start again. I continued walking/running into that cold, windy, rainy morning, around and around the track. Eventually, the rain did stop, and the sun did come out, but only for short periods of time. As soon as the sun goes behind a cloud, the temperature drops. Somewhere around 11 am, I checked the temperature. It was 55°, but it was also very windy. Mike and Sherry came back to pick me up when I was almost at 19 miles, so we walked a little bit until my Garmin buzzed for the 19th mile.
On my way back to the hotel room, Mike and Sherry brought me to a CVS pharmacy. I needed to get more Neosporin, plus, Chapstick with sunblock, for my lips. Several days ago, my bottom lip blistered from the sun. It has not healed and is quite painful. I also bought a half gallon of chocolate milk, which I was really looking forward to drinking. We then stopped at a Taco Bell so that I could get four black bean burritos. They are small, but still have black beans (I sure do miss my black beans and rice that I make it home and always keep on hand.).
Later, Gordon Voit, the TV reporter, stopped by my room to give me a plaque and a CD with the audio of the news piece that he did of me, and, the recordings of me, Bill Foley, and Leo McCarthy. This constant fluctuating weather is really taking its toll on me. I feel so beat up. The people here are great but, do not go to Butte, Montana for the weather.
Today I ran 20 miles.

Daily blog, Sunday, June 29, 2014
Before going to church this morning, Mike and Sherry dropped me off at the track. Finally, the weather was beautiful. I had run 13 miles by the time Bill Foley and his young son, Grady, joined me. Both of them ran one lap around the track with me until Grady decided to leave us and run up into the bleachers. Bill and I ran a few more laps, then Grady joined us for one more lap. After that, the two of them left. When Mike and Sherry came by to pick me up at 12:30, I had run a little over 16 miles. It was time to head off to the Greyhound bus station. Butte’s elevation is 5200 feet, Bozeman is lower (though I’m not sure what the altitude is), but one thing that caught my attention during the 1 1/2 hour bus ride from Butte to Bozeman is that my ears popped a few times as we descended.
When I got to Bozeman, a young man named Matt was waiting for me. He had just graduated from high school. We sat in his car until Nancy came by to pick me up. She and her husband, John, live in Manhattan, Montana, and that is where we went. After I got to their home and was settled in, Nancy took me to a track that is not too far from their home. It’s a gravel surface track and there are no lines for me to follow, but I can use my cane to follow around on the inside part of the track, as there was a curb that I could tap my cane against all the way around.
In the middle of this track in the grassy area was a young man working out with a football. He, as it turns out, is the grandson of Evel Knievel. In Butte, Montana, since it is his hometown, they have an Evel Knievel Day celebration every year. Later, Nancy came back to pick me up from the track. I had completed 20.6 miles for the day. For dinner, Nancy, John, and I had chicken parmesan. As we ate, John told me something I certainly didn’t know. In this area of Montana they grow seed potatoes. John’s son owns a farm and all that he raises is seed potatoes. They are grown here because soil conditions are perfect and the cold kills off any bacteria that might otherwise destroy the plant. Sitting on the patio of John and Nancy’s home, one can clearly see the Spanish Peaks and the Bridger Range, part of the Rocky Mountains. I spent the night at Nancy and John’s home.
Today I ran 20.6 miles.

Daily Blog, Monday, June 30, 2014
This morning I started with a very nice breakfast at John and Nancy’s home. John went off to work early, then Nancy left, but John came back to give me a ride to my hotel in Bozeman. Before leaving, John took a picture of the Spanish Peaks Mountains, which you can see out of their back door. On our way to Bozeman, we stopped to take several other pictures, including the seed potato farm that his son owns, plus pictures of other mountains.
After John dropped me off at the Holiday Inn, I guess I was a little more tired than I had thought, so I caught a nap. Later, Kurt came by to pick me up to go for a run. He also had his friend, Bill, join us. The three of us went on a trail run. The surface was fairly smooth, but it was a narrow trail. When a bicyclist or other runners/walkers were coming at us, or, if we were passing, we had to run single file or pull over to the side.
After the run, we returned to Kurt’s home, where we had begun. We sat on his patio and had pistachio nuts and red wine. Kurt, Bill, and I had some very pleasant conversations, including some stories about the history of Montana. They suggested several book titles that I may want to read in the future. Kurt gave me a gift of a long sleeve tech shirt from the running club and a well-insulated water bottle. I also learned yesterday that Bill Foley, back in Butte, went on the radio in the morning and told everyone how much fun he had running with me. He also encouraged people to follow me and to donate to either me or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Then Kurt and Bill returned me to my room at the Holiday Inn.
Total miles today 7.8.

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