Birthday Road Trip

Things have a marvelous way of working out.  Trust that.- Adel Ahmed

It has been quite a while since Cat and I have gone on a 10 day, 7 leg, road trip and it felt great to get back out there.  We have been doing mostly local 5 and 10K’s with the occasional overnight. It was my birthday on July 6th, 2023, so what better way than to spend it with my son, Shawn and his family.  I turned 68 and actually feel better than I did in my 50’s.  About the same physically but much better mentally.  It might have to do with the fact that back then I was still working.

Since I don’t drive more than about 4 hours a day, we stopped outside Knoxville, Tennessee, for the night on our way to Cincinnati, Ohio, where they now live.  My mother started a tradition of having Lobster for dinner when I was a kid so my son had to scramble to make that possible.

The two grands were happy to see us, but unfortunately Cat had her 18th seizure in that many months, a few days prior to us starting the trip.  It was over 2 months since her last one and she seems to be bouncing back quicker than usual, which was a good thing.  Unfortunately, she could not interact with them as she has previously.  The seizures take a lot out of her and I did consider canceling the trip.  She had a really good month of June so since we were doing this trip by car, I decided to give it a go and thought I could always change our plans, if necessary.

There was another reason for this trip and that was for us to continue checking half marathon states off our list.  We only need 6 to get one done in all 50 states.  Cat accomplished getting all the marathons done, back in 2020.  Even though the seizures have taken away her ability to run over a year ago,  I came up with a work around.  She still walks 6-8 miles a day so I figured she could walk a 5K interspersed with me pushing her in the CatMobile.

What better way to get two states done than with Mainly Marathons, during the first two days of the Heartland Series.  These states being, Ohio and Michigan, but the only trick is that they had to be done back to back.  Unlike the Mainly Loonies, that will do Marathons each day during this 7 day series it has been many years, 12 to be exact, since I had done that.  A few times I have done 2 races in three days so we shall see how this works out.  Lucky for me, back in March, I started running at least a mile everyday, so after 4 months of that, I feel pretty confident I can pull it off.  The month of May I did an Alzheimer’s challenge where I raised $3,500 and ran 85 miles.

Turns out Henry, who is in his 70’s, will accomplish his 1900th Marathon during this series.  We met up with him back in Guymon, Oklahoma 2 years ago.  Back then he got his 1600th marathon.  You do the math.  You can read about that trip here,  Needless to say these people are serious about staying in shape.  Some walk the entire race but most do a variation of run/walk and a few run the entire time no matter the distance for a 5K all the way up to a 50K, each day.  

Our first day was in Hicksville, Ohio at the Defiance County Fairgrounds.  The park lives up to the name of the city and the nearest hotel was 30 minutes away in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  At first glance I was glad it was going to mostly be in the 70’s but the rain gods had other plans.  That being rain and wind most of the 4 hours we were there.  I had Cat wait in the car for about 30 minutes during the heaviest portion, of rain, while I continued running.  She got her 5K at .75 of a mile at a time so she was in and out of the CatMobile multiple times.   

To add a wrinkle to my master plan, she decided that she only needed 6 hours of sleep instead of the 9 hours planned for her.  So not much sleep for me either.  We got it done, so back to the hotel, lunch, shower and off we were for the 2 hour drive to the next race in Niles, Michigan. There I did laundry, and dried out the CatMobile.  We had dinner and to bed with the hopes she would need only 9 hours of sleep instead of the 10 hours she sometimes requires after a short night of sleep the night before.

Like clockwork she woke up right on time for us to make it to the start line at, Riverfront Park, with a few minutes to spare.  This time Cat got her 5K done .60 of a mile at a time with us crossing the finish once again, upright, hand in hand, with our dignity intact, as always.  This time it was a beautiful sunny day and we got it done prior to it getting in the 80’s even though there were portions that were shaded.  

I have come to the conclusion that one of the things I really like about our travels is all the logistics required to get us from place to place on time.  What is the best location for the hotel, where to eat and what supplies I will need along the way.  Reminds me of my flying days, with my desire for on time departures and as early as possible, as to arrive safely and on time.

Both days it was great to see all the smiling faces encouraging us on.  Some that I knew or had met before but there were a few I had never seen before, but would smile and wave every time we passed each other.  There were a lot of opportunities during both races since the courses with Mainly are set up with multiple out and backs.  It is amazing how much that kept me going.  Especially during the periods of time that I thought that maybe I had bit off more than I could chew.

I ran for 1 tenth of a mile and walked for a tenth, the entire time I pushed Cat in the CatMobile and that gave me a very respectable overall time each day.  My time was only 6 minutes slower the second day, which I attribute to running some of the first race by myself.

After another night here outside of Niles in Mishawaka Indiana, then we have a 4 hour drive back to Cincinnati for two more days with the grands.  Hopefully Cat will be able to enjoy their laughter and shenanigans when we get back to see them.  Shawn and Cassie both have new jobs with this relocation from Harrisonburg, Virginia, so hopefully I will be able to check out their new digs.

My plan now is to get three more states done in October and November, with the last one being in Wisconsin around this time next year all with Mainly Marathons.  The Heartland series goes there later this week, but I just could not figure out away to make it happen, this time around.

We had an uneventful drive back to Cincinnati, with only one stop, to get Cat her favorite Pumpkin Loaf from Starbucks.  Thinking back over the last two days with the Mainly Family, I hope to one day to do an entire series.  That is now being added to my Life List, as I call it.

The Grands did not disappoint on our stop back in Cincinnati.  Hide and seek plus hallway races were all the rage.  They even made me a birthday day poster, glitter and all.  Once again we stopped north of Knoxville on our final leg back to Roswell, Georgia.  Traffic has been manageable probably because we have been driving between the hours of 10am and 2pm.  There was numerous construction sites along the way but nothing major.  







We listened to some of our favorite tunes of Hotel California, Free Bird and Jimi Hendrix.  We also listened to our book, Running All Over the World, Our Race Against Early Onset Alzheimer’s, on Audible.  Cat still responds, with smiles, when hearing about shenanigans of our own.  We also listened to 80’s music on XM radio and some my next book, which is in the works, that I can listen to on a Speechify application, that I use often.

We have another trip scheduled the end of August to visit Cat’s family in Indiana but I am undecided if we will drive or fly as we usually do.  Cars darting in and out from lane to lane at top speed is in no way my cup of tea.  If we drive it will again add 2 days to that trip since we will once again have to stop somewhere overnight to and from Indiana.

The half marathons in October and November are in Montana, Nevada and Utah which are way too far for me to drive so will have to plan ahead since I will have to negotiate the CatMobile and Cat at the same time.  I have done it before but must admit Cat’s abilities are on a continual slide with each seizure.  That in turn requires extra effort on my part.

Well as the quote suggests, I did trust that and in fact it did once again worked out. 

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