Nothing in life is constant but change.  I thought I had Catherine convinced to finish her last 5 states as half marathons but low and behold she changed her mind.  We completed the last 5 last September but after completing a half Ironman in October she advised me that she wanted to go back and do those last 5 as fulls.

With that in mind, I am now trying to figure out how to get them done.  The plan now is to do Colorado in May and Wyoming in June.  We will do three more next year with the last one being.  She has very fond memories, camping in Maine with her family as a kid.  You can read in Pursuit of all 50 states here and the New Orleans half Ironman here.

We just finished up a half marathon in Cairo last week and after a few day rest in Amsterdam we are now on our way back to Atlanta for the night then off to Connecticut for my 48th state.

I have done a total of 64 marathons and 38 states as full marathons.  Last year I was able to get 9 states done and have the last three states mapped out over the next two months.

This will be good training for the full Marathons I have planned for May and June.  My knees are holding up okay but I have resigned myself to running with a knee brace on each.  I probably don’t need them but I would hate to have another injury.  I know I look pretty goofy but who cares.  Over the years I have seen people on blades since they lost one or both legs and even saw one guy doing a marathon in a hospital wheelchair.

My first state to conquer is Connecticut and it is going to be a cold one.  We were in the Caribbean just about all winter so our blood are still pretty thin so this will be interesting.  Neither of us like the cold but the plan is to layer up and suck it up.  I am just hoping it does not rain or snow.

No rain or snow but it was cold and windy.  Feel like temperature was 24 with a 15 MPH wind.  The packet pick-up and race start and finish were at the Savin conference center which was only 2 miles from our Marriott Courtyard Hotel.  That was perfect since baby it was cold outside.

The course started out on a path along the water which did not help matters but after 2 miles we started running around the city of West Haven.  The rolling hills started around mile 4 and ended at mile 9.  They were not bad, just a nuisance.  At mile 11 we were back to the water and followed the coast back to the finish.  

I was glad I did not have to do loop two for the full.  At the finish, you got your medal then back inside the conference center.  There you could get your time and place by putting your bib number in a computer, which was a nice touch.  They had the usual bananas, bagels, and beer.  However, someone thought it would be a good idea to have the non-alcoholic version which in my opinion was a bad idea.

They handed out Gu every two miles so no complaints here since we have 3 more haves and two full Marathons in the next 3 months.  There was not much fan support but I don’t blame them, do to the chill in the air.  I usually take walk breaks but decided to try to run nonstop the first 6 miles.  Since we were downhill at that point I decided to go the extra mile.

Bad idea for two reasons.  First, my right knee was not very happy and to compensate my back started to act up around mile 10.  Second,  I actually had a faster time, on the second half.  We call that a negative split and that was all good.

The walk back to the car was extremely cold since my knee and back were bothering me so it took forever even though our car was not that far away.  I highly recommend this race if someone needs Connecticut.  For both the full and half there were only 500 or so of us but

Baby, it was cold outside

as an added bonus my sister, Gwen, and sister-in-law, Joan live in Norwalk Conn, a mere 30 miles north so we were able to enjoy dinner after the race and a home cooked lunch the following day.  They fixed Grilled Salmon so Catherine was one happy lady.  We also took the time to review our plans to meet up in France in July.

Now on our way back to Atlanta for a few days then off to Bloomington to see Catherine’s daughter and grands.  While we are there we have to do a 18mile training run so I guess we will do the B-Line twice behind the Marriott Courtyard on either Saturday or Sunday.  Hoping for 50 degrees but will take high 40’s.

Way too cold to get the 18-mile training run while there.  It actually snowed while we were there.  We got a great send off from the folks in ATL.  The Renascence, Marriott Hotel left us a great try of cheese, crackers, fruit, and Prosecco.  We all enjoyed it for lunch in Bloomington.

What a spread

We had a great visit while we were there, however, the first night someone thought it would be a good idea to pull the hotel’s fire alarm at 3 am.  It was not snowing but it was a bit cold to be standing outside for 30 minutes prior to the fire department giving us the all clear.  Bloomington is a college Town so we were not surprised.

My son, Shawn, and daughter in Law, Cassie drove up from Cincinnati and Catherine’s Mother and Sister also drove up from Louisville so we had a great mini family reunion.  They had some info about an old running buddy of Catherine.  Turns out he was killed in his corporate jet airplane crash back in November.  It was a clear reminder of how precarious life can be.

While in Bloomington I heard about a college student that got separated from her friends while out in the town.  I can’t remember exactly where this took place but it did remind us of our mishap in Cairo where we got in the wrong car while waiting for our Uber at 2 am, on the way to the airport.  She got in some else’s car while waiting for her Uber and it did not end well.

Here is Uber’s response to the very unfortunate incident.  Uber’s online safety tips advise drivers to check that the license plate, driver photo, and driver name match what’s listed in the app before getting in the car.  I can not stress this enough.

Just grazing in the neighborhood

After 3 more days in ATL, we went to Lancaster, Pa for another half marathon.  Catherine and I have three concurrent goals right now.  A marathon in all 50 states for Catherine.  At least a half marathon in all 50 states for me and a half marathon for all 50 states for both of us.  PA is going to be state #20, for us.

The other reason we picked Lancaster is because two close friends of ours, Linda and Greg were going to do that race.  For Linda, it was going to be her first Half Marathon.  Greg is an Ironman so it should be a walk in the park for him.  Turns out that Linda hurt her foot while training and was going to back out on this race but since we had signed up she felt compelled to do it.

It turned out great for us since we still needed to get in 18 miles from last week so after we finished we went back out and finished the race with her and got the extra training miles we needed.  Win-win.  Her husband, Greg had shirts made for us with a Yoda saying.  Do or not do, there is no try which I can truly relate with that.

We met Linda and Greg several years ago during a trip with our favorite running group,  We also did a Windstar trip together last year in the Caribbean and a Hawaii running cruise last September.  You can read about that extravengansa here.

I knew it would happen one day and that day was when we arrived back in ATL.  No room at the Inn.  In this case, it was the Renaissance Atlanta Airport Gateway Hotel.  Our home for the last year.  Several weeks ago I had been struggling with the spring prices at the hotel.  Our old home, Courtyard Atlanta Airport West has a $99 UPS rate but at the same time, it is not the Renaissance.

I had tried, unsuccessfully, to get their $179 weekly rate anytime we stayed at the Renaissance but no joy.  It made perfectly good sense to me but not to them.  They do have a Senior Citizen rate which is about a 20% savings.

At around 200 bucks I had rationalized, in my mind, the price difference.  In the lounge, they have breakfast and dinner which is about a $40/ day savings and since they are on the Sky Train route I could delay, by a day, a rental car which was another $50 a day.

The people there are great and we are worth it.  Our overall expenses average around $600 a day so like I said I had rationalized the increase but now the daily rate, for the spring, has moved into the three hundred dollar range.  I truly understand since it is next door to the convention center and the hotel is usually at least 80% full.

I started using points for a night or two while staying there for 3-4 days at a time.  We have been coming and going a lot over the last month so I have not been booking well in advance like I usually do since I have not been sure where we would be from week to week.  When we go to far-flung places for a month or so all the reservations are done months in advance.

So there I stood at the front desk without a reservation for the planned three-night stay.  Nothing available across the street at the  Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway, but there was a room with two double beds at the Spring Hill Suites, adjacent to the Renaissance.  Not only was the Renaissance full they were actually oversold.  I feel sorry for the pure slob that shows at 10p from his delayed flight and gets turfed.

BTW the Masters golf tournament was taking place this week in nearby Augusta!

I can never get enough of planes flying overhead

That was rather embarrassing but I always learn from my mistakes and booked and rechecked all hotel, air, and rental car reservations for the next month.  Since we are still averaging around 3.5 nights before we pack up and move on, that is a lot of reservations.  I chalk this faux pas up to simple old travel fatigue.  It has been nearly 4.5 years we have been running all over the world.

As my oldest son, Aaron, would always say, growing up, my bad.  I am surprised it had not happened sooner.  I am very goal oriented and in this case my goal was to always have a car, airline seat and hotel room when I am suppose to have one.  Not to worry,  I was able to get a room at the Renaissance for the other two nights. 

It makes for a good story and no harm no foul.  Isn’t that the reason we run all over the world.  For the stories!  Catherine took it in stride.  She liked the layout of the room and turns out it was the very first hotel we stayed at in ATL when we started this grand adventure.

Where it all began

After our usual three nights in ATL, we were off to Olathe, Kansas, pronounced, oh-LAY-the. Catherine and I loved it there and we had a great race.  As a matter of fact, I cut 5 minutes off my age group Personal record, PR.  In other words in the age group 60-64 this was the fastest I have run a half marathon.  Since I keep track of all my races this was also the fastest I had run that distance in 8 years.

I usually take walk breaks every quarter to half a mile but since it was so cold for the first 4 miles I took my walk breaks every mile.  I started to warm up by then so transitioned to breaks every half a mile unless I was going up-hill or downhill.  Needless to say, I was very pleased with myself and the lack of big hills and what seemed like a lot of downhill portions helped a great deal.

The race was well organized and Garmin was the major sponsor and the race started right outside their parking lot.  They had two GU stops so we both grabbed a handful at each of them.  There was a vast variety of food options at the finish and 8 different varieties of canned beer.  As an added bonus there was a booth that had CBD oil, lotion, cream and tenure samples with his store just across the street.

With two more half marathons in preparation for the full marathon in 2 weeks, I am going to let that PR stand and concentrate on my much slower marathon pace.  It is going to be a bit tough since Catherine likes to run faster early so I can not take the bait since this is not a sprint.

For all you horse enthusiasts, I can’t let her take the bit.  This will be our first marathon in three years and I hope it like riding a bike.  But I doubt it.

One of the things we liked so much about Olathe is the number of nearby parks, paved sidewalks, and paths everywhere.  I am always noticing where we can run or walk when we drop in on a city and this city does it right. 

As an added benny two of our racing buddies live nearby and were able to join us for dinner. We have been on numerous trips with Ernst and he holds the record for the number of trips with them and also the number of scoops of gelato in a week.  He established that record on our running tour in Tuscany. Louann has been on three trips with us both with and

That is one of the things we love about our lifestyle is that we can meet up with friends from around the world, around the world.  We had heard so much about Ernst’s son Patrick so we were glad we were able to also meet him for dinner.

After 3 uneventful days in ATL, we drove down the road to Snellville, Ga for our 5th Half Marathons in 6 weeks.  My daughter, Mariah, who lives in Athens came over to run the 5K.  A very nice lady, Deborah Montgomery puts on these races in the area and limits the field to about 40-50.  This particular race, Run into Spring, was held in Lenora Park. For this race there were 16 of us that showed up for the Half Marathon and another 19 for the 10 and 5K’s.  Even before the race started I knew that I was going to win my age group since everyone else was younger than 50.

The park is gorgeous and I thought I was going to get bored since we had to do five laps around the park for the Half Marathon.  Mariah hung with us for the first 3 miles and ran ahead to get a get shot of Catherine and me finishing the first lap.  Surprisingly enough the different sites around each turn kept my interest, the entire race.

Nice Blng

Next weekend we are off to Wilmington Delaware for my 50th state where I will have run at least a half marathon.  38 states plus DC as marathons and the rest as half marathons.  The weekend after that we on to Colorado for our first marathon in 3 years.  The training program I am using is the one I used for Mariah for her first marathon when she was 17.

I could not get her to do a training run further than 9 miles but we did plenty of half marathons.  Something about the competition that helped her push past the aches and pains of youth.  In our case we did do a couple of training runs of 14, 16 and 18 miles but mostly as add ons before or after a half marathon.

I figure that no matter what every mile after 13 is going to suck and since I am only trying to finish before they roll up the mats I will struggle through, just like most of us during the second 13.  I remember Mariah telling me at mile 18 that she had given up and while I was looking for transportation to the finish a little old man shuffled past us.  She looked at me and said, “Hell No, give me a minute”. 

We caught the man around mile 24 and I told him as we went by that he was the inspiration my daughter needed to finish the race.  I think I made his day.  Thinking I was going to have one of those father daughter moments of us crossing the finish line hand in hand that vision was scattered when she turned the corner and saw the finish line and a lady that had passed us earlier in the race.

All I heard was see ya and she sprinted off to the finish.  My fast twitch muscles refused to cooperate to keep up but it was great to have her achieve her goal.  Turns out she ran her second one a month later and once again left me in the dust at the finish.  She won her age group in the first race which I guess was her motivation to do it again and thought about being a maniac but thought better of it after completing her second one.

See Ya and she went by her like she was standing still

Got it done but it was not easy.  My goal of completing at least a half marathon in all 50 states was achieved in Wilmington Delaware.  38 states plus DC as Marathons and 12 as half marathons.  

We arrived from ATL on Friday for the Sunday race and the weather was frightful with heavy downpours very 30 minutes.  Our flight was an hour late due to storms in the area but that is much better than a friend of ours had to experience.  His flight was just cancelled for no apparent reason but he was still able to make it to the race.

We met David 2 1/2 years ago on a marathon tours trip to Africa.  As you know, on Facebook we are able to see where your friends are or going to be day by day.  He had posted that he was doing the marathon in Wilmington so we were able to meet up for dinner on Saturday.

When Catherine and I run races we take planned walk breaks.  Most cases it it is every quarter mile for about 30 seconds.  David takes it to the extreme and does a 20 second walk break every 20 seconds.  Don’t knock it until you try it but I think it would drive me crazy.  I might give it a try but not next Sunday for our Marathon.

The weather on Saturday was clear and windy but it looks like anything is possible this time of year in Wilmington.  First, they were saying mid 50’s at the start with partly sunny skies.  That changed overnight to high 40’s with cloudy skies.  It turned out to be a perfect start 52 and cloudy but I was still worried about a possible downpour during the race.

This was there 16th year holding this race and turns out Catherine did the full 15 years ago.  They changed the course this year and I had no complaints.  We started and finished in the historic Tubman-Garrett Park in Downtown Wilmington which a 10-minute car ride from our hotel in Dover.

Back in my early flying days, I use to fly a route from Raleigh NC to Richmond to Wilmington, Chester County airport mainly to bring up DuPont executives.  Back then, early 80’s, the plane was a 15 passenger, turboprop, Beach 99.  I am sure now it is on one for their corporate jets.  Turns out Catherine’s, nephew, Stephen works for DuPont and lives in the area.

Many hours in this airplane

We were able to meet up with him and his girlfriend, Lauren, for dinner after the race.  It was great catching up and during our travels we have been in the same part of the world before but this was the first time to actually see each other in many years.

It was nice to finish up the 50 states since this area brings back so many fond memories.  I attended the University of Pennsylvania, in West Philly and use to be responsible for Flight Operations in Philly the last three years at UPS.  Back then I lived in Indiana but would come up every month or so to check out the operation.

The race itself had some hills but I really did not notice them until I was cruising down them on the way back to the finish.  The donut hole stop at mile 7.5 was a treat.  I think all races should have downhill finishes.  A goal of mine is to finish the half before the first marathoner and I achieved that goal today.  It is not always possible when the field of runners includes elite runners like Berlin, where the world record was set back in 2014.  I joke that he saw me over his shoulder.

Beat him by 5 minutes, however he did the full marathon

David said the second half of the course was flat but it did start to rain right after we finished but did not last long.  This experience has taught me how to be flexible with my goals.  I always see positive aspects to changing them as time goes on.  My first running goal was to only do one marathon and finish with my dignity and upright.

As time went on I had visions of completing a marathon in all 50 states but after my 64th marathon 3 years ago I decided that 38 states plus DC as full Marathons and the rest as halves was good enough for me.  I realize that some of these runners do multiple races a weekend and some every weekend but my body simply can’t handle that level of strenuous activity.

Other running goals along the way have been to do a 50 miler when I turned 50.  That was accomplished with the JFK 50 miler in Hagerstown MD.   Next up was what to do to immortalize the age of 55.  

For that Catherine and I ran from our house in Indiana to a hotel in Lousiville 27.5 miles away.  We spent the night there and ran back to the house the next day for a total of 55 miles.  At 60 I did my 60’s marathon in one of the craziest races I have ever done in the Medoc region of France.  You must see this video and to get a flavor of what I mean by crazy.

Sneak preview, everyone dresses up and run a marathon thru and around vinerards.  This includes wine at their 21 water stops and have all you can eat oysters at mile 23.  People literally camp out there and don’t even try to finish the race.  You can read about our experience here.

I was struggling with what to do for 65 until Catherine decided she really wanted to get her last 5 states done as full Marathons.  So if all goes well I will get my 65th marathon done about a year ahead of schedule. Rest and recuperation are on the agenda this week for that to be possible.

6 half marathons in 7 weeks have taken its toll but I should be ready.  We did the half marathon 2 years ago in Fort Collins Colorado which was a great choice since it was snowing and in the 20’s on race day. I was literally picking clothes off the side of the road others had discarded in order to keep warm.

Froze her ass off

Right now 40’s at the start with a high of 70 and rain.  You are bussed out to the start which is at the top of some mountain 8000 feet above sea level and pretty much run down-hill 3000 feet to the finished.  I had said earlier that all races should have a downhill finish but not the whole way.

We did the top of Utah in Logan and that race was downhill for the first 18 miles and I pulled a calf muscle and had to limp in the last 6 miles.  That downhill was steep and I flew down it like a mad man.  The lack of oxygen took a toll on my muscles so hopefully, I learned something from that experience.  I might have to try David’s 20/20 walk breaks to keep things in check.

I think I will hold off on coming up with my 70 year old goal until I get 65 at 65 under my belt.  However, I am thinking 70 marathons at 70.  When we finish Catherine’s 5 states that will take me to 69 and I plan on having them done next years so that will give me 5 years to plan some crazy ass marathon to run by then.

75 hal marathons at 75 would be an easy one since I have done 57of them already.  After 75 I plan on dropping down to 10k’s and 5K’s at 80.  You know what they say.  If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.  I have that same phlyophy, in terms of goals.

I am glad I achieved that goal but now it is time to focus on the next one.  My right knee has been giving me fits since I obviously tore something during a race 20 months ago in Detroit Lakes Minnesota.  At around mile 8 while my foot was in the air I could feel it come apart and when that foot landed it was as if someone shot me in the knee.  Of course, I finished and have not been to the doctor.

One thing I am very proud of is that I have always finished a race I have signed up for and plan on that continuing on Sunday.  There are things you simply can’t control but your attitude is not one of them.

I will bring this one to a close and will continue in a week with Sixty-fifth before 65.  I would say wish me luck but luck really has nothing to do with it.  Pure skill and determination is more like it.  Skill might not have much to do with it either and it mostly comes down to insanity when it comes to running a marathon.  Especially as many as I have done already.

My plan is to stay outside my body as long as I can.  It will play tricks on you to make you give up.  Pain is temporary but failure lasts a lifetime.  If anyone has any words of wisdom, please leave them in the comment section.

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