Finished What We Started

Some of you will already know this. And for those of you who do not, I am pleased to share we finished what we started. Yesterday was a much longer day than I anticipated. Not sure of exact time. We started at approximately 5:40 a.m. and finished the day shortly after Noon. The course was beautiful; orange groves with a mixture of up-and-down dirt trails and asphalt. If you can do this course, you are prepared for almost any event. It was likely the most challenging I have ever worked at any distance in over 30 years of participating in events.

Some things to share about yesterday:

Riverside Road Runners and their volunteers were great!! Thank you Moe, and all who worked with you for so generously accommodating my needs. You all stayed with us right to the end. I understand there was quite a delegation of law enforcement personnel, Explorer Scouts and others who followed us in. Moe even came out to stay with all of us for the last mile or so. She had the finishers’ bling in her hand. No. She did not let me have it until crossing the finish mat. There was food waiting to begin rebuilding energy.

Thank you to my support crew; Nicole Holt, Sky Holt, Head Kahuna…AKA…Dr. Marrs, Kim Marrs, Bob and Maria Gill, Laura Johnson. You all were amazing!! There’s no way the day would have been gotten through without you. Thank you for your encouragement and patience. You all made doing the difficult as easy as it could be made. You made a long day that started with a 3 a.m. get-out-of-bed so much fun!! I’m so proud of you all.

And to Nicole…Thank you for having us all so organized and the day so well thought out. You did it all just right. You’re on my team for life!!

I feel good about the way I trained/prepared. Can honestly say I was never tired the entire day. My conditioning was great. As I had hoped, we were laughing and telling jokes the entire day. I’m very happy with what was accomplished. Dylan and Linda…We did it!! We finished what we started!! But ankle and hamstring spasms were not my friends. They took their toll. They made a slow, measured pace even slower. The course was not easy. My guess is a combination of two kinds of spasms, spasms caused by the C P and “Life spasms”, as Dr. Weatherwax…AKA…Fearless Leader always calls them, compromised my balance in the latter miles. My right ankle and hamstrings in both legs were not happy. The spasms were painful. Had the decision been left to the ankle and hamstrings, I would have spent time on the ground. But my support team made sure I stayed upright, moving and safe. They made this day and its success their own. Other than more core/strength/balance work, I don’t think I could have prepared any better. Thank you, Fearless Leader, for all you shared/ taught me about how to train effectively. Perhaps you, Dr. Marrs and others will have suggestions of things to incorporate into my routine both for running and for life.

Thank you, Warrendini, for coming from Florida to be part of this weekend and run the race. You go home tomorrow. I miss you already.

Thank you to all who cheered us on whether in person or in spirit.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the post-race breakfast/lunch. My bacon craving was well satisfied. And Cheryl enjoyed chicken fingers and fries in Dylan’s honor.

This was also Disney Marathon Weekend in Orlando. Congratulations to my friend, Bruce Hahn. He completed his first half-marathon. Maybe running will improve your golf game!! Proud of you and all others who participated in the event(s) of their choice.

There was an article in yesterday’s Press Enterprise about the race, Gary’s Project, my friend Dylan, and his mother, Linda. Thank you Diane Rhodes. Have already be contacted about speaking/doing a presentation January, 21 at First Christian Church in Hemet. Will be happy to share a link to the story for anyone who is interested.

Thank you, Cheryl, for letting me be me and take on the difficult one more time. You are my biggest cheer leader and supporter. You tell me you are proud of me and that you love me every day. I’m proud of you and I love you too.

Finally, thank you, Dylan and Linda Henke for the inspiration to see this through. “Uncle Gary” and Cheryl are hoping to see you soon.

What’s next?? We’ll see. There’s much to do to keep life rewarding and interesting, including Gary’s Project. I’ll continue to be at Gibbel Park, Wednesday mornings, 6:30 a.m. for anyone who wants to join me. I’ll bother Laura at the gym when doing core/strength/balance work. I’ll continue to train, keep moving and see Dr. Marrs, Nicole and staff regularly. Even if I’m not preparing for a race, all of this is needed in order to keep the world’s oldest preteen living life at the level he desires. Maybe there will be more speaking opportunities and community events to do. Cheryl is certain to have some travel plans in mind. As already mentioned, we want to see Dylan and Linda. I’m sure to find some races to run. Whatever is to be, can’t wait to see what the next life journeys will be. Bring it on!! It’s all about living!! Will continue to keep you posted. I’m just sayin’. Yeah, baby!!

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It’s Time To Go!!

This will be perhaps the final update prior to next weekend’s Citrus Heritage half-marathon. Packet pickup is a week from today. Had a very good weekend following last Friday’s stroll. Other than daily stretching, followed Dr. Marrs recommendation and took the remainder of the weekend to rest. Moved the legs on the road for about an hour Monday and Wednesday. Worked out on bike for an hour Tuesday and today to change things up. Very pleased with Monday/Wednesday road work. Legs were much lighter. Turnover was faster. Low back, hamstrings, quads, right ankle much more cooperative. Saw Dr. Marrs and staff three times this week for extra work to aid healing and recovery.

Brought 2014 to a happy conclusion enjoying a night of games and snacks with friends New Years Eve. Smiles and laughter rule the room when Cheryl and I are surrounded by our game night group. It’s a great way for all of us to step away from whatever else may be going on in our daily lives.

Took New Years Day to relax and travel to Pasadena for the Rose Parade. Cheryl, her sister, Jennise, the Marrs and I had a great time enjoying the music, beautiful floats. Lots of eating and laughter was also interspersed throughout the day.

Bumps and bruises are healing nicely from last weekend’s fall, including the black eye. Toughest heal seems to be right index finger. Not really surprised since brunt of injury/bruise is around a joint. I know those types of injuries can take longer to feel better than we would like.

Hard to believe we’ll be in Riverside this time next week. But that’s been the goal since this journey began shortly after Cheryl and I arrived and called Hemet home. In spite of hitting a bump last week and at various times along the way, I’m entering race week healthy and looking forward to the challenge. I’ll do enough to keep moving, eating, resting while having Dr. Marrs and staff work out any kinks they find…all the standard stuff that’s been found to work best for me when in taper mode. Haven’t taken on 13 miles or more since training for New York in 2012. Looking forward to Warren being here to join in on the fun. Thankful for the opportunity to dedicate the weekend and the miles that come with it to my young friend, Dylan, and his mother, Linda. Dylan has C P. But Dylan doesn’t live with Cerebral Palsy. It lives with him. And his mother expects nothing less. Thankful for all who will be there on Saturday whether in person or in spirit to provide support and encouragement. Thankful for Cheryl. She’s not only my wife. She’s my biggest encourager and supporter. Other than the two people who brought me into the world, I know she loves me unconditionally like no one else. She was the first one to tell me to take this on. She tells me it’s important for me to keep doing what I do and share it with the world. I can promise her this. I’ll keep doing what I do for as long as God allows. Life is more than about a half-marathon. It’s about living life to the fullest. It’s about using the gifts God has given me to serve Him and those around us. He expects nothing less from me.

Thanks to all who have held me accountable throughout this journey. Excited to see what the body of an old dude with an attitude can do. So let’s do this!! It’s time to go. I’m just sayin’. Yeah baby!!