Live Life Large

I was reminded of this motto, Live Life Large, from a Birthday wish from a running associate of mine.  Fran and her husband are my idols.  They love to run and have done it all.  So much that her Facebook picture is the logo 263.  I have been trying to find the proper place to put this motto in one of my blogs and it seemed appropriate to use it as a title this time around.

Many would not dispute that I try to live by that motto.  Not only because I am 6 foot 6 but all my life everything that I have done has been on a grand scale.  I will not bore you by reliving my past as proof here, but as many of you have followed me on Face book , read my blog, had a conversation or worked with me, I am not exaggerating.

I decided that what I wanted for my birthday this year was to pay a visit to all my kids around the historic date.  After our trip to Europe we spent a few days in ATL and while there we drove down to Athens to see my daughter, Mariah.  She likes to juggle as many balls in the air as possible so my advise to her was to keep her eye on the ball closest to the ground.  The nut does not fall far from the tree.

Next we were off to Bloomington to visit Catherine’s daughter and family.  Then we went over to Cincinnati to see my son, Shawn and his wife Cassie.  From there we went to Louisville where we had a fantastic dinner with Catherine’s mom, sister and brother.  His twin sons loved our Madagascar, half marathon medals, that we gave them.

Back to ATL for two nights and now on my Birthday, headed to San Diego for a traditional Lobster dinner with my eldest son, Aaron.  Really looking forward to a nice run around the Marina area and a second one at Mission Beach.

After 4 nights there we are off to LA for a few days then on to San Fran for a drive to Sonoma for our second running of the Napa to Sonoma half Marathon.  I don’t usually do the same race twice but we loved the race and I also really love great wines.  My sister, Gwen is planning on doing the 5K so this should be fun.

San Dego dinner

Lobster dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack, the lobster did not have a chance

A question that we are often asked about our lifestyle is, if we miss our friends.  Our simple reply is that we make new friends everyday.  With Face book and our travels with Marathon Tours and Travel along with our Homie’s at Marathon Expeditions we have plenty of opportunities to make new friends.  A term we often use is, our new best friends.

San Diego was an example.  We met several folks on our latest trip with Marathon Tours in Madagascar and one, Ana, after hearing we were going to be in San Diego mentioned that she lived there.  For us it is common for us to try to meet up for lunch or dinner, if possible and that was the case with Ana.  As an added benefit we got to spend some quality time with her dog, Mimi, that goes with her everywhere.

We had a great out-door lunch at, C Level and were able to swap stories and impressions of our trip to Madagascar.  It is always interesting to get a different perspective through the eyes of others of the same experience.  Ana seemed more adventurous than either of us and she totally enjoyed the entire trip whereas Catherine and I were a bit more reserved.

We both love San Diego and can see us living here sometime in the future.  As a matter of fact I have revised our schedule to move the motor home out west next year as opposed to the year after.

They say everyone has a twin

Our few days in LA were unremarkable as we enjoyed great food and drinks at the various first class restaurants. One day we took over the house of our mutual friend, Wendy, who was away and enjoyed her pool, cats and Champagne not necessarily in that order.  LA is a bit pricey for my blood but is a nice place to stop off while on the west coast.

We are presently en route to San Fran by air and then the 90 minute drive to Sonoma which is the real reason we are out on the west coast in the first place.  Destination Races really do a great job with the Napa to Sonoma half marathon and of course everything about the race is about the wine.

Wine tasting hosted by the hotel commences upon our arrival with a welcome reception hosted my Marathon Tours and Travel, shortly there after.  The race itself is not until Sunday and hopefully my right knee will cooperate.  Our last run was on Tuesday and it did well for the 3 plus miles.  I have to be really careful with foot placement during the race and think the rolling hills will be good for it.

I realize the best practice would be to take off running for 6-8 weeks but not sure that will be possible.  Catherine and I both find running to be very therapeutic so even if I have to limp along it is much better than nothing.  Running for us, gives us, both the opportunity to take a break from the day-to-day obstacles in our way and to completely divorce ourselves from those worries.

The next day we had two planned wine tastings.  The first was at Deerfield Ranch Winery where they had a wine cave for the tasting.  The did have some good wines and the explanation of each was very nice.  Many did buy some wine there but nothing I tasted seemed worthy of my hard-earned money.

The second one was at the Ledson Winery where we had a picnic style lunch and great wine tasting.  The grounds of the winery were outstanding and the lunch itself was exceptional.  The tasting turned into an all out wine feast and the overall favorite was their Rose whereas, for me, the Cabernet was my favorite.  No need to buy any, once again for me, since I had a plenty at the winery and there was a complimentary bottle of wine, thanks to the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa Hotel.

This was an upgrade from the Marriott Sonoma Lodge and Spa Hotel, where we stayed last year and hope they are able to secure this hotel next year.  The pillow top beds and shower make me think about coming back again next year.  Some went to the pool to continue with the festivities but Catherine and I retired from the heat to recuperate.

 Ledson Winery

The morning of the final day, before the race, was spent hiking the area know as Lookout Tails.  The switch back trails up the small mountain gave us fantastic views of Sonoma below.  Some folks passed us running up and down the trail and all told, there were 4 different trails to choose from.  We spent several hours there and afterwards we headed to the race expo for some wine tasting there.  There we did find an excellent Champagne that warranted my purchase and turns out the same winery, Meadowcroft, was also at the VIP area after the race so more Champagne was had by all.

Me forty years ago, Ha Ha

That evening, Destination Races put on an outdoor VIP pre race dinner that was over the top.  Meadowcroft Winery was pouring their signature Champagne, as we arrived, so once again, I was a very happy man.  They also made a Pinot Noir wine especially for the race and that complemented the outstanding chicken dinner very well.

The race itself was great.  My right knee totally cooperated but it did have some help.  I had bought some Rock Tape from Road Runner Sports while in San Diego and taped it up just like it was shown on a Video I found for KT tape.  I also put a recovery, Tommy Cooper, sleeve over my work of art.  Each mile I kept expecting the pain to return but I was really careful with foot placement and did Ice it prior to the race so It felt great the entire race.

It was not as cool as last year, at the start and the temperatures rose rather quickly so it was water over the head at every water stop.  There was a wine stop near mile 10 but decided not to take any chance with the heat.  We did hear several rescue vehicles go by and there was one man stretched out on the course.  Later we heard that he did recover from heat stroke and a few other did require some IV fluids.

Come to find out that I look like I should be the older brother, Ha Ha

Also around mile 10 we ran into another idol of mine, Nancy Ryder, who was with her daughter, controlling traffic and we were able to spend some time talking and taking some pictures with them.  She is 80 plus and actually trains others for half marathons.  We first met her back in 2013 on a Danube river cruise with Marathon Expeditions.  Long story short, she was also cabin mate with Mariah.  They were the oldest and youngest on that trip.

With Nancy Ryder

She also is an example of how to Live Life Large.  I got some good advice from her last year on how to look at age.  She said to stay active as long as you can and don’t let your brain dictate your age.  I translate that to mean to keep up with the running in spite of the continual fact you are slowing down or can’t run as far.  Also don’t dwell on your current age or how much longer you might have.  By living each day to your fullest seems to help and travel is probably the best way to achieve that.  I have to think about that, state of mind, from time to time, as I am fortunate enough to get older.

Our reunion tour was not over as we also met Jaime, who was on this trip last year and of course Jeff Adams, President of Marathon Tours, where we just on a trip with him to Madagascar last month.

Jeff and Jaime after the race

After the race, VIP after party and showers we met up with another Caribbean cruise crony, Amy, who drove in from Sacramento to join us with our final wine tasting at Liana Estate.  She doesn’t even like wine that much but we were so glad that she made the drive.  I was about wined out, but afterwards, a small group of us met at Cochon Volant BBQ where we all enjoyed some of the best BBQ there is.

Another hand in hand finish


Amy cut my hair off, Ha Ha

Medal has a great glass holder

Going back to something I said earlier about missing our friends.  Looking back at the last few weeks once again I can easily say no.  This month I was able to see all three of my kids and significant others, Catherine’s various family members, my sister and sister-in-law, 5 folks from other trips and another half-dozen new best friends.

Living Life Large is not going about life with reckless abandon but more to remain within your capabilities but at the same time push the envelope from time to time.  An example that comes to mind is that concerning the race itself.  I could have easily dropped down to the 5K, because of my knee, but instead I came up with a workable plan to run the race that I had signed up for.

So far, I have completed every race that I have signed up for.  It was also a training event for our Desert Half Marathon in Petra Jordan in August.  Once again I think I have a good plan for that race, as we will continue to train, in the heat of the day, to help with the acclimation.  As I get older I do not take as many chances as I did when I was younger but I do try to push the envelope from time to time.

One our way back to ATL for three nights then on to MIA to meet up with our Motor Home that we affectionately call, “The Crib”.  The plan is to move it across the state to Fort Myers.  There we will spend 7 days running in the Florida heat and then putting it back up in storage there.  Last time we spent some time in the Motor Home was after the Cuban Half Marathon in November.  Not sure when we will come back and start moving it back up the west coast of Florida over the next year and hopefully out to the west coast next year.

Note to self, expect it will take a while to get the motor home running when it has set up for 8 months.  I gave myself several hours but the 2 hour down pour made it hard to jumpstart the diesel pusher.  After the rain stopped I then felt comfortable hooking the portable jumpstart unit up while I stood in ankle-deep water.

Once I got it running the 4 hour drive over to St James City on Pine Island, Florida was not that bad.  This is outside of Fort Myers and the KOA here is very nice.  Not many people here right now because it is hot, hot, hot.  The first day we took out the bikes and rode the 5 miles each way to the local Winn Dixie to stock up.

The following day we were able to get out in get in a nice hot 6 mile run around the area.  Some pretty nice homes around here and of course there is water everywhere.  We are about 3 miles from the end of Pine Island.  Hope to get the bikes out this afternoon and try to find somewhere to eat tonight.

Cool off after a hot run

Come by boat, come by bike, come buy beer, is their motto

Turns out I have a love hate relationship with Florida.  Love the sun, even though the noon sun actually hurts, the seafood, the water, and the people.  I tolerate the humidity but hate the misquotes and their friends called no see em’s.  After 10 days being in the area I am bit all over.  Since I am on blood thinners they really love me.  I have not found a spray that keeps them both away but not planning on coming back until October.

Everybody here thinks I have a twin and this one I really like.  Morgan Freedman is the man of the hour.  Not sure many have seen many people that look like me down here.  I have not seen any me’s here but not really a problem, just something that I have noticed.

At the very end of Pine Island

Key West has nothing on St James City

We found a great storage place for the Crib about 30 minutes from the airport and only another 30 minutes back to the KOA on Pine Island.  We leave tomorrow for ATL for another touch and go then off to Asia and Europe for a month.

I am really looking forward to this trip since it is filled with things and sights I have always wanted to do and see.  We start off with a 7 day river cruise from Vietnam to Cambodia then a 6 day land tour with AMA Waterways back to Vietnam.  To and from Paris to we will be flying Business Class on an Emirates, A380 which includes private transfer to and from the hotel.

On the way back to Paris we are going to stop over in Dubai for two nights at the largest Marriott in the world.  Once back in Paris for two nights to recuperate we are off to Petra Jordan for a half marathon.  We have been training in the heat over the last month so feel pretty good about the outcome, let alone, all the great things we will see while there.

Before we leave on this trip we have one more Mindset, Clinical Trail, appointment for Catherine.  After this one we only have one more appointment in November then the program comes to an end.  I am presently working on a letter to the drug company to see if she can continue on the drug until it hits the market in a year or two.

We have seen some positive response from her taking the drug RVT 101 over the last year.  It does not help with her memory but does help with her cognitive skills and well-being.  It has given her the confidence to try to do the things she loves to do and that really helps with her overall attitude.

That would be another reason why we try to Live Life Large.  As we all know nothing in this world is guaranteed so why not do and see all that you can do while we still have the ability to do so.  That coincides well with the feature image that says, Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

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