500 Miles for SMA: The Finale Part 1

August 16 I arrived in San Francisco to Join my pal Joe as his support crew so he could run from The Walt Disney Family Museum to the Gates of Disneyland.

Fast Forward September 19, 2015. We are on Disney property, arrived yesterday. I have big giant bats in my belly because all the butterflies were destroyed by the bats. Nerves are killing me.

We made it this far and are not finished yet. We have about 10 miles left as of this post.

I think back over the the past 2 years when we began planning. We faced a lot of negative bashing. “You’ll never do it” “Its ridiculous to think its possible” “you’ll never reach your goal” “you are CRAZY”

If you know Joe like I do, then you knew he would do it. He is the one guy whose mental strength can over power his physical being. To be honest, I didn’t really know why I said I would help. I knew he could do it. It angered me that no one supported this idea and I knew he needed support.

So I signed up.

I wanted to quit a million times before we started but I stuck it out. Now I am one of 2 people on the planet who truly understand what happened out there. That reference when only people understand who lived it really applies here. TEAM has a new meaning for me.

I learned a lot about me. I learned a lot about Joe. We both learned a lot about the people closest to us.

I learned he hates White Food, is afraid of bears and cougars, and can bounce back from being run over by a car – 11 times. I learned his instinct is to do things on his own and asking for help is hard. I learned that karma is healing and paying debt is painful but necessary. I learned that some people don’t understand hard. I learned that some people are surprisingly supportive when you expected them to be jerks. I learned that past actions can be forgiven but not forgotten. I learned that moms are okay with waking me up but not him.

We are reluctant to celebrate because we are not done. For the first time I have been in Disneyland for 2 days and have not walked through the park gates. I am still working. I will relax once I get that final finish line hug. I am sure I will cry. I didn’t want distractions.

We had a final ‘family crew’ dinner last night, just the 4 of us. Our girls arrived last Friday to help and support and indeed they did. I am super proud of their efforts, their comic relief and the women they have become. Words cannot express my excitement for witnessing their bright future.

I am relieved this is almost over and I am devastated it is almost over.

$11 000.00 raised for the Do Away with SMA Foundation where will support families for the little things they need that funding just wont help with.

Let’s get this done Big Guy, I am proud to call you my friend and am sure this is that reason we talked about. I love you to the moon and back.

And I called it – I knew you could do it. Sucka….

11880368_1128442947184261_7342855065889764039_n

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.

11889455_1125591610802728_8949866943627922793_n

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.

11917782_1125653280796561_6924214174693809748_n

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

11880418_10153623444841337_6657507062240742732_n

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.

walt_disney_museum_san_francisco02