500 Miles for SMA: The Finale Part 2 – My right arm is missing

So Thursday Joe crossed the finish line at the Disneyland Esplanade.

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I was there, his wife was there, his daughter was there, his team support was there and it was recorded live on Periscope for his mom and others to watch.

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It was pretty emotional for most of us. Not everyone understands what exactly happened or how incredibly difficult it was for him. Over $11 000.00 was raised and more donations keep coming in so a final tally hasn’t been completed yet.

We had big plans for all the DAWS team to be there, hang out and have a fantastic time. Fatigue and post event stress disorder took over and made the weekend less epic than expected, but lovely just the same.

I cannot express how in awe I am of this man.

Here is Day 1 and Day 17:

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I am guessing he lost around 20lbs and his muscles became more defined.

I am currently retracing the steps he ran, while driving home from LA. Lets recap: I drove to Monterey today. and it took 10 hours in my CAR, and I speed. Joe ran everyday without complaint and it took him 17 days…on foot. IT IS FREAKIN FAR PEOPLE!

I cried a lot these past few days. I knew I would be feeling post event stress and let down. It is better and worse than expected.

Better because it was a ton of work and I am exhausted, I am happy to not be doing it.

Worse because I didn’t anticipate how much I would miss him.

He is my pal. He apparently is also my right arm and it feels like its missing. It’s in New York tonight so I am typing this one handed. Not easy for me.

Also worse because we had an epic crew of 2, his daughter and my daughter. They are also great pals. A piece of my heart flew to Florida yesterday and the rest of my heart flew to Edmonton today. So here is me, homesick like crazy, still sleeping in a hotel, without my heart and right arm.

There is also the factor of the missing half of me who was my stress support. She also left for New York yesterday. She was my medical back up and sounding board. She calmed me down when I was hysterical and when I cried for no reason. I miss her like a sister. I am a disaster.

Post event fun came and went with unmet expectations and experiences that were unexpected. I think I was too tired for Disneyland to enjoy it properly. Effects of being in the car endlessly enhanced some of my symptoms that I live with and caused me to miss my races. I am a disaster in the truest form.

I miss things I never expected to and hate things I also didn’t expect to. I have the marathon blues in the worst way.

But wait: I just had a life altering experience. I learned things I never would have without this. I know myself better. I gained personal and professional experience on a level I had never fathomed. I learned that not everyone is good at keeping secrets and now I know who I can share with and who has my back. I learned that supporting your friend in achieving his goal is likely one of the most rewarding experiences I will will ever have. There were very few of us involved in this. Some were on the phone and some were in the car. Their  worth and contribution was as valuable as the next. I got to know people I never met before and had a chance to experience their perspective. I became part of a larger family. I also felt more alone that humanly possible.

My daughter said it best, you think you know what is going on and then you actually live it. Two completely different things. Amen sister.

Tonight I feel alone. Everyone is tucked up in their beds at home and I am frying in a Super 8…ITS SO HoT!

I miss my kids, I miss my puppy, I miss my bed,and I miss fall.

I miss my team and my right arm.

We did great team because tonight, plans are in place to change lives all because a boy from the Bronx decided to run 500 miles so people do not have to go through what he and his mom went through when his 2 baby brothers dies in infancy.

Here is to Jonathan and Robert, two young boys who lived a very short time but made a giant impact on those around them so their brother could do great things in their name.

500 miles for SMA: Day 4 – Lessons Learned

This is something Joe published over on 500 Miles for SMA. How the man can still think a coherent thought is beyond me. He feels pressure from everyone. Pressure to blog, pressure to post photos, pressure to run every second. I try to get him to get out of the game at dinner time and we talk about stuff that isn’t charity or run related. The mental break is important. We came back, bid good night until 6:00 AM tomorrow and I find him publishing blogs at 9:30 PM.

He needs sleep in the worst way.

This is how far he has come:

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When we drove to the start line this morning he couldn’t believe how far he ran. These are his words:

500 MILES FOR SMA – LESSONS LEARNED FROM DAYS ONE THROUGH FOUR…

So I am four days in to this long distance run, and the education I’ve gotten thus far is truly fascinating.

Day 1: The hills were a killer from the Presidio to my stopping point south of Daly City.  You’ve heard me say this a bunch of times: hills are stupid.  But…not training on them is stupider.  That’s right – I used a word that isn’t even a real word in order to get the idea across.  Lesson learned: don’t just recommend hill repeats to other people – actually step up the hill work yourself.  Because I did not do enough training on hills, these hills did a number on me both physically and mentally.

Day 2: I made it south of Half Moon Bay.  Today was a trial because of logistics.  Detours and mishaps galore.  Lesson learned: be ready to accept whatever the day has in store for you.  Roll with the punches.  Take those little mishaps and translate them into necessary obstacles that stand between you and your goal.

Day 3: I made it to Watsonville.  Safety was the concept of the day.  I found the hood of a Toyota 4×4 at one point (no harm done – I got lucky), and had to dive into piles of dirt and high grass more than once whilst running on busy roadways – even though I was safely in designated bike lanes at the time.  There were several points where, based on the traffic volume, I made the decision to not run sections of the pre-plotted course.  I had to make this call, because the first key to accomplishing this long distance effort is a requirement to FINISH the event.  Experiences on day three had me a bit gun shy on Day 4.

Day4: I was reminded of a very important concept today – just because a day starts off FUBAR, does not mean it needs to stay that way.  I had a goal of arriving in Monterey, and I hit it.  Have a goal, be able to visualize it, and let it be a carrot that hangs in front of you throughout the day.  You need a finish line each day – and that goes for any task you are looking to achieve over a duration of time.

I’ll try to provide additional details as we go.  I’ve been a bit fried from the effort thus far – but I feel a second wind coming.

I want to again express my sincere thanks to everyone following this effort, as well as everyone who donated thus far.  This run means a lot to me, as both of my brothers were claimed by SMA type I.  It’s something I spend time thinking about each morning that I lace up my running shoes during this event.

And to all of you competing this weekend in any event: good hunting.

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500 Miles for SMA: Day 3 – Holy Hotness Batman!

In the words of Rob Thomas when he sang Santana’s Smooth….It’s a hot one

It started out grey and cloudy, perfect running temperatures north of Santa Cruz, we ended close to Monterrey in the blistering sun.

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Joe bounded into my room this morning for breakfast like a puppy – all full of energy and excited. This was a welcome change from his nervousness and concern of the past 2 days. He FELT great. He looked strong and ready to roll. Me, however, I felt like crap. I need to figure out how to worry less so I can relax more. The last thing I want is for Joe to fall or get hit by a vehicle, so I am constantly driving a head checking the route, making sure things are good. Then I race back, feed and water him, race ahead and get groceries/gas/Starbucks…that’s right, I am not camping, I need my coffee.

Today was interesting, people are beginning to ask about the sign on my car and about Joe’s Epic Run. One lady flagged me down at the street light in Aptos to ask what SMA was. Clearly we are raising awareness, Goal 1 met! People are donating money too, Goal 2 met! We are finished day 3 and I am calling this successful already. Now to get him to the finish line in one healthy piece and I will be satisfied.

I mentioned yesterday about our arguments. They go EXACTLY like this:

Me: It’s been an hour, eat this.

Joe: No I’m good, I’m fine.

Me: Eat this.

Joe: No I am good

Me:Eat this

Joe: No

Me: EAT

Joe: Fine….

I win because he knows he needs to keep his energy stores up. It aids in recovery and in the amount of distance he is able to do. So far, so good. I watch for signs of cramping, brain fog, dehydration – we have just encountered Brain Fog – fig newtons fix that. It means he needs sugar. Salt levels are good and I took his pulse today – all good. He gets really hot so I a have cloths soaking in the ice bucket for the back of his neck and forehead, ice packs ready for his legs and and ice to fill his water bottle with to lower his core temperature. I think this helps, at the very least he feels supported and I think that is half the battle, knowing he isn’t alone in this and there is someone who has his back.

We were in farm country today. Workers bent over in the fields endlessly. I appreciate my food more today than I did yesterday.

I found Fleet Feet today. As a gal from the Running Room, I had to explore! Shoe prices are only about $20 less than in Canada and with the exchange, I’d be paying WAY MORE. But those gals knew their stuff! I was listening to the gal in the shoe pit  – I’d hire her. After their customer left, we talked about differences in the stores. They carry more weird socks and feet things, not as much accessories and less shoes. But if I lived in Santa Cruz – I would shop there because those gals know their stuff.

I texted Joe to see if he needed any gear – we are good. He may need new shoes before the month is up but he brought 3 pairs, so we will see. Everything else is good. We are well supplied. We just need more shade.

We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Please consider donating to help us find a cure to stop the #1 genetic killer of children under the age of 2. Joe’s lost two brothers to SMA and we think no one should have to watch their children die.

https://www.crowdrise.com/500MilesforSMA

500 Miles for SMA: Day 2

Today was rough.

Hills were easy compared to today.

We started out at Devil’s Slide, it is the old HWY 1 but erosion and unsafe driving conditions had the State build a tunnel through the mountain. They developed Devil’s Slide as a pedestrian only trail. It was the only way for Joe to complete that leg of the trip.

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I dropped him off on the north side of the parking lot, wished him well and I drove through the tunnel that brought me out on the other side. I parked on the far south of the parking lot, sat on a rock and waited. Dawn on the ocean is a pretty amazing time. It was quiet – for California, there were pelicans, gulls and whales. I could have sat there all day, and I wish I had.

I waited for Joe to arrive and he raved about his views as well. To say the Pacific Coast of California is anything but spectacular would be a lie. It is simply stunning.

Drought is causing real issues here on the coast. Trail erosion has closed down trails that we had hoped to utilize. finding safe spots on the road to continue has been tricky. We cross the highway to access roads and trails, and when they end, we cut back in search of other roads and trails. We were able to find access to the coastal trail that lead over 17 miles. But it ended with a locked bridge. The plan was to go around, but the trail on the other side was closed too. Drought conditions are so severe, they need to preserve the trails so they don’t fall into the ocean.

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23.2 today when we had hoped for 35 miles. It just became so laborious to find suitable road.

The good news is, tomorrow the shoulders are wide enough to run on the highway. We decided the safest way would be to run facing traffic. That way he can see what is coming.

It is also straight – which is important because it is exhausting chasing him to head into the correct direction. With all the changes, it has been a challenge to keep to the right path.

We are so close to Santa Cruz, I am sure he will run through part of it tomorrow.

I have to say, if you ever decide to give this a try, do it with your pal. We are having the best time and laugh most of the time and fight the rest. But if you know us – it is expected. That is our thing. I can argue and fight with Joe the way I argue and fight with my brother Mike. It is a thing of beauty. Arguments of EPIC proportions. That is part of the fun.

Joe hasn’t slept in days but I think he will finally sleep tonight. Which is good, because I am planning a 35 mile day tomorrow.

500 Miles for SMA: Day 1

First day done, in the books, finished.

Mileage was short but the course was challenging. If you have ever been to San Francisco or have seen it in movies you may understand the kind of hills we are dealing with. Joe is from New York. He thought he knew what a hill was… yeah… no he didn’t.

When we started at the Presidio, he told me that was a tough hill. I replied with “By the time we are done today, you will wish you just running a little hill like that one”

The Start Line

That was no joke. The hill over on Skyline drive made me think I needed to put my car into low gear to climb it. And I wasn’t running it. But he did it. It was long and steep, the back side was also long and steep. But he did it. There was trails and switchbacks he climbed and trails and switchbacks he scaled down, because what goes up must come down.

Long long climb What goes up must come down

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My end of things kept me hopping. People kept texting us wishing us well and asked if I was bored.

HAHAHAHAHAHA

When you run support for someone there is a lot to do. I needed to drive a head to make sure areas were safe and clear, I made him eat, drink regularly, make ice packs, check cognitive abilities, sunscreen applications and shop for stuff I forgot. I brought a book to read – and I didn’t get through the first chapter today. The Midwife of Venice. I average 55 books a year, I am not going to get through this book in a couple of days. So no, I am not bored. But seriously, the views! Why do I live on the prairies?

Once he reached the finish line at Pacifica on the Beach, we went through the recovery routine of ice for the legs, chocolate milk, pretzels and a banana. We drove to the hotel and he stretched for 45 minutes, showered and napped. I have to admit, his recovery was better than I expected. He is really ready for this. His training and his Coach The Bad Man, have him ready.

We had dinner overlooking the ocean. It is just water, but I could stare at it for days. We drove the next course and it also will not be easy.

Tomorrow we need to make a better effort to keep the Garmin ON. he did 22 miles today my my calculation but he lost 5 miles on the Garmin because he was daydreaming. Its all good. He deserves to think about what he wants if it makes his legs go. We will have a tough time tomorrow. Road conditions will make some parts unsafe. So I will drive those parts. I made a promise to his mama that I would make sure his efforts would be smart. He will run some beach, some paths but sometimes on the road.

The views make his efforts worth it.

Please help support Joe’s effort by donating to https://www.crowdrise.com/500milesforsma/fundraiser/doawaywithsma

You can listen to Joe’s story on Mickey Milers http://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-5mcqp-5819c1

500 Miles for SMA: The Day Before

Its been quite the day. I arrived in San Francisco yesterday and Joe arrived earlier in the day. We went for dinner, caught up on all the newsy news friends need to know then we went back to our rooms – to lay awake all night thinking…

This morning we had an earthquake rumble through the rooms to wake us up. I thought someone had come into my room and jumped on the bed, apparently Joe thought the same thing. IS it okay that I thought an earthquake was cool? As always, a girl from the prairies finds earthquakes a bit novel.

We decided to get out of our heads and headed straight for the Walt Disney Family Museum. This is where the start line will be. Joe was feeling anxious, so I tried to keep conversation light and Disney Trivia filled. A few hours later, he headed back to the hotel for lunch, route planning and a rest.

Looking at the route was making me uncomfortable. There seemed to be more traffic heavy spots than I preferred. While Joe thinks about the mileage on his feet, I am thinking about safety. How would I call his family and say ” ya, so – Joe was run over because I wasn’t watching” yep… not cool. I needed to drive the route.

I suggested we drive for a couple of reasons.

  1. I needed to fuel up
  2. Joe visualizes the routes of his races – if you ever heard him talk about the New York Marathon, you know what I mean. He likes a plan.
  3. He avoids stuff when he is stressed. Making him see the route was incredibly important. He was REALLY resistant. I said I needed to see it for me. I need to know what to expect – which was true. I like knowing. But I also know it would calm him down.

We headed back to the Presidio, the Start Line. With our hand maps, we made our way south. We got lost, we freaked out, we stressed at each other. But the great news was, we found paths and sidewalks the entire way to Half Moon Bay. We made it to the Finish Line and both exhaled loudly.

  1. The Route is beautiful, there will be lots of great things to see.
  2. The Route is safe. He will not be in traffic once – well, except for the part when he crosses the street at the lights.
  3. The focus has been narrowed to just be Day 1.

You can’t look at the Finish Line before you cross the Start Line and that is what he was doing. Understandably so.

So we have a plan. We will be at the Start Line at 5:30 – just light enough to broadcast from Periscope  – 500miles4sma

We will post it on twitter @5oomiles4sma 5:30am PST.

Meanwhile, I hope he sleeps. He has a big day tomorrow.

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How did I get here? And other surreal moments

logofrontToday is my first post for my new team Do Away with SMA (DAWS). you can read some of it below and then link up to the rest of the post on the DAWS main page. I invite you to enter the draw for a DAWS prize pack, there are lots of great things including a Team DAWS running Tech Jersey, Sweaty Bands and other great prizes! Just click on the Rafflecopter photo under the post.

I am not an Ultra-runner or an elite athlete, I am not a lean running machine or a fitness junkie, I can barely get my training in for to many races that I sign up for. So how did I become a part of this amazing project for DAWS? Good question, I ask myself that question all the time.

When I first met Joe, I was just another geek who whose interests in fandom were a tad extreme. I was a ‘use to be’ athlete from my youth; I cycled, walked and swam for fun – not to be thin or fit. Those reasons had never crossed my mind.  When I met Joe, he was a just a guy who liked to write about his running adventures. It had never occurred to me how far a marathon was. I wasn’t properly impressed. All I thought was… read the rest and enter here http://600k4fsma.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/how-did-i-get-here/

Today is more exciting than Christmas #disneytrail #sma800k

The big day is here! To day is the day that I can invite you to go and meet my new running team. I have been hinting at it for a while now, and the day is finally here. Although we originally figured it would be in January, things/events/circumstances worked out better than we first thought.

This is the front of the Team Jersey

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I belong to Team DAWS. It stands for Do Away with SMA. SMA is a genetic disease that stands for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It It afflicts 1 in 4 people, mostly children, who don’t survive this genetic disorder. Our Team Captain’s brothers died in infancy due to SMA. So the team decided we would help eradicate this disease through fundraising and an awareness campaign.

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August 17, 2015, our team is going to attempt run 42.2km per day for 20 days. Crazy right? You betcha! We are training, learning and promoting our adventure and we would like you to follow along while we figure this out. I can promise you injuries, fatigue, a crazy training schedule and lots of laughing along the way. I can also promise you inspiring moments and embarrassing ones.

We are having many contests, virtual runs with medals and podcasts so you can participate and be a part of the team! Come over to our blog and check us out, enter the contest for a Team DAWS Prize Pack – we have some great things in that box that you will want to win. But most of all, we want to hear what YOU think! We want to hear your cheers and leers and we want to know what you think about the insane running schedule.

Stop by and say hi and tell us what you think! Don’t forget to enter the contest! It will be running until November 14, 2013. Do Away With SMA 

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Keep Running for Peace and Light Boston

Explosion_at_Bosto_2537124bThe tragic events in Boston have deeply affected me. I understand many of you are not runners and yet it is shocking to you as well.

Here is the thing that bothers me most. Running is a peaceful non contact sport for individuals and FAMILIES.

The Boston Marathon is like the Superbowl, Stanley Cup Final, The World Series, The Masters of the marathon circuit. It is the race the distance runners dream of because you just can’t enter. You have to earn it.

Boston Marathon
Qualifying Standards

(effective for 2013 race)
Age Men Women
18–34 3hrs 5min 3 hrs 35min
35–39 3hrs 10min 3 hrs 40min
40–44 3hrs 15min 3 hrs 45min
45–49 3hrs 25min 3 hrs 55min
50–54 3hrs 30min 4 hrs 0min
55–59 3hrs 40min 4 hrs 10min
60–64 3hrs 55min 4 hrs 25min
65–69 4hrs 10min 4 hrs 40min
70–74 4hrs 25min 4 hrs 55min
75–79 4hrs 40min 5 hrs 10min
80+ 4hrs 55min 5 hrs 25min

If you are 80 and older you have to run 26.2 miles or 42.195km in 4 hours and 55 minutes for men and 5 hours and 25 minutes for women.

Think about that. I am half that age and I hope to finish my first marathon in under 7 hours. Boston is a big deal. People my age are finishing that distance it what it takes me to finish HALF that distance. Sure I am slow, sure I am new to this sport but that speed is amazing.

So lets talk about how far 26.2 miles is. Let’s say you wish to start at the southeast corner of Edmonton by my neighborhood. I will come to the start line with you at 17st and Whitemud freeway. I will wish you luck, ring the cowbell, and begin worrying about you as you run west.

You will keep on the Whitemud until you get to the Anthony Henday and head north towards Hwy 16. Then head west because you are not finished yet, until you get to a new City called Spruce Grove. Don’t think you are done yet, do you? Because you are not. Run past Century road until you get to King Street. Just past King is where you can stop. This is only a half a kilometer away from Calihoo Road. Now RUN that in the corresponding time from your age group listed above.

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The big question is, why do people do this? Well, it isn’t for prizes or cash or fame and fortune, it is to see what you are made of. It is as simple as that. When you train to be a distance runner, you train yourself to handle pain. We need to be clear, it hurts and it hurts regularly. Distance runners need mind control and focus. You need to be okay with being alone with your thoughts. You need to be proficient at clearing negative thoughts during your run or the wheels fall off pretty fast.

This is just what the runner goes through on race day. There are weeks and weeks of training, miles and miles put on those shoes. Those shoes wear out around 400 miles so have plenty on hand. The runner sits in ice baths after a run to reduce swelling, they eat while training to maintain energy, puke when they have pushed too far, lose toenails and fill their shoes with blood. None of these are pleasant side effects.

So why do it?

You sleep great. You breath deeper than you can possibly imagine. Your body craves running. You glow. You clear your head. You think of great things. You can plan and work out any problem. There is solidarity in running. The running community is something you have never experienced before. Someone falls, the next person along helps them finish even though it slows their own personal time. We work together to finish. We are a global team.

So why does the Boston tragedy hurt so much? Because runners and their families are a peaceful community. No one gets boos, everyone gets cheered for. The last person over the finish line is treated like a rockstar, just like the first person over the line. It isn’t a race for the win, it is a race to the finish.

Runners are a non political force. We share our space, our support and our water, protein and gels.

The question remains, WHY?

We all will speculate forever but it doesn’t change the fact that 23336 people crossed the start line. 17580 crossed the finish line. That means 5756 people didn’t finish. 5756 people didn’t complete their dream of finishing the Boston Marathon. 5756 people’s families were waiting to hear how it went, waited at the finished line, or just waited to hear a phone call that wouldn’t come.

I think about my team mates who were in Boston and who thankfully are fine. I think about how peaceful races are now forever changes. I think about my children waiting for me at the finish line and how little  Martin Richard age 8 was waiting for his dad to cross the finish line and his family will never be the same.

As a running community, I smiled when I heard the finishers ran to donate blood.

I am joining them.

If you are Canadian you go to Canadian Blood Services and fill out the info online and they will contact you. It’s simple, you save a life or 3 and you get a cookie. I’m donating blood because I am a runner and who knows, one of us may need it one day.

Peace Boston.