In Pursuit of all 50 States
Some might have noticed that I am a very goal oriented type person. I have set goals for myself all my life and have achieved most of them. Catherine and I have both completed all of the six major marathons. They are New York, my first, Boston, and Chicago domestically. London, Berlin, and Tokyo Internationally. We are headed to New Zealand to get the last of all seven continents in November so all that is left is all 50 States.
Catherine only has 5 left and I am 7 behind her. Whereas, she insists that her’s must be marathons I have conceded to the last 12 being a combination of both half and full marathons.
I will run the full marathons with Catherine and will do the rest as half marathons. After a few days to recover from our 30-day escapade from Vietnam, Cambodia, Dubai, Paris, and Jordan, You can read all about it at, As the World Turns. We are now on our way to Detroit Lakes Minnesota.
This way I will get Minnesota done as a half marathon and will be one step, pun intended, to my goal of all 50 states. I have already visited all 50 states but to say you have done a marathon or a half marathon in all 50 states is quite a feat. After that one on Saturday, we will double back to Bismarck North Dakota to get that half marathon done.
I say double back since it was best to fly to Bismarck first, rent a car and drive to Detroit Lakes and then drive back to Bismarck and fly back out of there for Orlando Florida. I have a timeshare in Destin Florida, which I never use, and get great offers to stay at other timeshares’ on the cheap for a week.
I hope the area dries out after Irma does her thing, in Florida, this weekend. Orlando is pretty far north so all should be okay. After the week to recuperate we are back in ATL for a few days then on to Bristol, New Hampshire for Catherine’s marathon and then on to Newport, Rode Island for state number 47 for her, 8 days later. Those two will also count for two states I also need and that will leave me with 9 more to go.
Back to Florida, we will go to meet up with the Motor Home, once again. Camping on Pine Island sounds like a good place to get some Rest and Relaxation, R and R. Short stay back in ATL then off to Portland Oregon to run the Columbia Gorge half marathon there. Another half in the books for me and one step closer to my goal of all 50 states.
We have both done a 50 miler when I turned 50. 55 miles in two days when I turned 55 and an Iron Man in Louisville back in 2011. Another goal was to complete 60 marathons by the time I turned 60 and working on what to accomplish when I turn 65 in 3 years. I was thinking to have visited 65 countries by then but right now I am sitting at 63 and with New Zealand in November, I will be way beyond that by 65.
I have only run a half or a full in 27 countries but that would be a daunting task to do one in 38 more countries in the next 3 years. I am sure I will come up with something. It has to have the number 65 so if you have any ideas let me know. I might just come up with something crazy like jumping out of an airplane at 65.
In the last blog, I had a lot of pictures since it was such a historic setting for that trip so I will do my best to give you the flavor of the different places we will be visiting. I must admit this 45 day crisscross of the US will be a contrast to our last trip. I will try my best to keep it interesting.
We had a great two days walking around Detroit Lakes Minnesota prior to the Dick Beardsley Marathon and Half Marathon. All was perfect for a great race on Saturday. Sometimes, however, things don’t always go as planned. The course was once around the huge Detroit Lake and marathoner’ have to do it twice.
Beautiful place but if you need something this tall to find the fire hydrant in the snow, not for me
At mile 5, I was 2 minutes ahead of plan and while my right foot was in the air it felt like my right knee-joint separated and when the foot came back down it was if I had just got shot in the knee. At this point, stopping was not an option so speed walking took over and I got it done. Now I am on the mend with, RICE, (rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Our plan was to get the state of North Dakota done on Saturday but right now not so sure. Ironically Catherine had an epiphany, the other day, where she decided to finish her 50 states by doing the rest as half marathons. She said she was worried about my health and now we have solidified that decision by me screwing up my knee. I only hope I can even get a half marathon done now.
The packet pickup, start, and finish was right outside the newly opened Fairfield Inn Hotel, by Marriott
The 4-hour drive back to Bismarck ND was boring as hell. We went straight eastbound on 94 and all there was to see was farmland and bails of hay. My knee is taking forever to recover and with only two days before the race on Saturday, it is 50/50 that I will even be able to walk the course. I did buy some trek poles to help out.
It was 95 degrees when we got back to ND which I would never have thought possible here in the middle of September. Not to worry the forecast is 40 at the start with 50 by the time I crawl across the finish but in the rain. On a positive note, I realized that since we have both done a half marathon in Colorado we are one step closer to getting all 50 states done.
This would be my first DNF, DID NOT FINISH but as I get older I am now having to adjust to not being able to do things I use to be able to do. I just finished up changing the Marathons in both New Hampshire and Rode Island to Half Marathons which is also a first. So far I have started and finished every race I have signed up for.
Switching gears here for a moment I saw a quote on Maureen’s Facebook page that caught my eye. She had just come back from climbing Kilimanjaro with a number of people I know with runningcruise.com. It was obvious that it was a life-changing event for her and others. I doubt that I will put something like this on my list of things to do in the future but you never know.
Maybe it is something to consider when I turn 65. The anonymous quote is short and simple, Talk with people who make you see the world differently. That is something we have been able to do as we run all over the world. It also ties in with my previous blog entry, As the World Turns. Travel enriches our lives, changes our hearts, opens our minds, and allows room for empathy to grow.
Well, I did go and picked up my number for the Bismarck Half Marathon today and my right knee is now 80/20. It feels okay as long as I ice it down every 30 minutes and keep Tylenol in my system every 5 hours. There is some question in my mind if I will do more damage if I do the race tomorrow but not really looking forward to having to come back here next year to try again to get it done.
No better time like the present is my motto. I will have two weeks to recover before our next race next month. Turns out the resort we are going to in Orlando only lost power for a few hours and is up and running full strength. I also got an email from the storage facility where I have the Motor Home stored in Ft. Myers and no damage there either. Bless my lucky stars comes to mind.
Some spare time to get Catherine’s hair did, loving the curls
If there is a will there is a way held true today. I got up an hour before the alarm went off and put some more ice on my sore knee. Used some KT tape on it and the put a Copper Fit compression Sleeve over my work of art. With my Trek Poles in hand headed out the door to arrive at the start in time to ice the knee down one last time.
When I was a pilot I use to say that you must continuously update your decision to land the aircraft right up to the time the main gear touches down. The same was true here. I kept updating whether I was going to do this race right up to the moment the horn went off.
My knee still was hurting a bit but actually felt better the longer the race went on. To keep my mind off my knee the last few miles I concentrated on folks ahead of me as I picked them off one by one. As I went by I would pick someone off to distance to see if I could catch them. I actually got faster as time went on as I learned the different ways to use the Trek Poles.
I came up with three different ways. For speed, I would use the left pole to strike the ground as my right foot hit the ground which was how it was suggested to be used in a video I found on the web. That was a real upper body workout and could not keep that up for very long. When the knee would start to bother me I would then switch up with both poles hitting the ground with each right foot strike. That was also good if going up or down an incline or uneven terrain.
The last one was when I was feeling good and would use both poles after a few foot strikes and would alternate to help either left or right foot. It was a great race and the scenery was outstanding with the route going thru many parks, trails and nice neighborhoods.
Now it is time to take it easy for the next two weeks before my next race in Bristol New Hampshire. 41 states plus DC down and 9 to go. Not sure what is wrong with the right knee but not going on dwell on the why and just concentrate on taking care of it between now and then.
Nancy says this Bison outside the State Capitol Building, is making out of Rebar
Enjoying our time here in Orlando Florida, so far. We have a nice one bedroom apartment here at Legacy Vacation Club and I could not resist the offer of 50 bucks to sit and listen to their 90-minute pitch for a timeshare here and the over 7000 resorts of RCI.
This is not my first rodeo and they even threw in breakfast. The guy we got was terrible and all he could talk about was himself and all he has done in his life. He would occasionally talk about what he was supposed to talk about but he was somewhat entertaining. When he asked I said no thanks and then the usual fun began.
I explained that our lifestyle and the use of Marriott, tours, and Airbnb was all we needed right now. We were now at 2 hours and my patients were now running out. He went to get this guy to, “check us out” and after 15 minutes of back and forth a nice young man showed up and what next came out his mouth cracked me up. He was about to offer a discount and I remind him that I was tired of this and ready to go. His response was that he was fresh and since he just got here he was ready to take me on.
A few minutes later we had our 50 dollar gift card and ready to go to the grocery store to get some food for the week. We average about 50 bucks a day for food so all was right with the world as far as I was concerned.
The property here is 30 years old and they are trying very hard to keep it looking good but you can tell it has seen some better days. I am just very happy that even though they took a direct hit from Irma a week ago the place looks good. I am ready now to soak my legs in some nice cool pool water and relax for the rest of the week.
You have to love a place that has a pool bar named after me
We had a very relaxing week here in Kissimmee. I really enjoyed making smoothies for breakfast and some type of seafood for dinner each day. I did go off the deep end the last night at Joe’s Crab Shack. The Crab Legs, Shrimp, boiled potatoes, corn and Lobster Tails put up a good fight.
We were able to get some great walks in during the day since that is all I am able to do right now. Not sure if I will ever have the guts enough to run again. It worries me that my right knee was doing fine one second and just gave out the next. I can race walk only about 1 minute slower per mile that I run right now so maybe it is not worth the risk.
We will be leaving shortly for ATL for 3 nights then on to Bristol New Hampshire for another half marathon that both Catherine and I need and 8 days later Newport, Rode Island for the same reason. The knee is coming along just fine but had a minor setback with my right wrist. Turns out I was a bit aggressive with the Trek Pole usage and that tweeted my wrist a bit. Nothing major just bothersome. Sucks getting old but beats the alternative every time.
Outside the Lego Store
The weather was perfect when we arrived in the Plymouth/Bristol New Hampshire area and got in some nice walks around the area. Not a lot of sidewalks around here but we made due with what we had at our disposal. Unfortunately, that was not the case on race day.
Yep, cold light rain was the with us the whole 13.1 miles. We were bussed out to the start for the New Hampshire Half Marathon whereas the full started at the finish line with a late start of 9 am for both. The full ran all the way around Newfound Lake while we ran halfway around it.
The rolling hills were nice but I was not a big fan of the running against traffic the entire way on the shoulder of the road. Most folks, but not all, pulled over to give us some room but it was somewhat unnerving. It was a very organized race and they provide stats as soon as you crossed the finish via text and email.
The nearby restaurant/Irish pub was offering free beer and while I enjoyed two glasses of Guinness, Catherine was one happy lady with a huge basket of sweet potato fries. Of course, the sun came back out the day after the race and now it time to recuperate once again, for our next race in Newport road Island in a week.
Very nice 3-hour drive over to Newport RI and I really don’t like driving over an hour. I seem to learn something new just about every day and here at the Residence Inn, Middletown I learned about RIruns. I had heard of it before but did not really look into it before. It is basically for folks on the road that want to find someplace to run in the local area.
Turns out that they have teamed up with Map My Fitness app and on the start the workout page there is a load route button. There you will find routes you saved, my routes, bookmarked and nearby. The nearby are routes that others that have saved that were staying at the same hotel and it shows how far the route is from where you are currently located.
We choose the Newport Eastern loop and it took us right to the start area for the race on Sunday and it was a fantastic route. It ended up being about 5.5 miles since I have a tendency to go a different way back to the starting point. The weather was great and I am sure I will be using this new tool more often.
Jolly Green Giant
As I often put it, another state in the books. Catherine and I are closing down on our latest goal in our pursuit for all 50 states and the one yesterday was one of best.
The Amica Newport Marathon and Half Marathon hit this one out of the park. The race itself was great, the course was gorgeous and it was extremely well-organized. The parking lot was only about 2 miles from our Residence Inn located in Middletown, Rode Island and the race start was only about a mile from the parking lot. There were plenty of busses to the start and we got there in plenty of time to witness another spectacular sunrise.
My knee felt great but I decided I was going to race walk this one. About two miles into the race it felt so good I thought I would give running a try but my knee was not having any of that. It reminded me of the bike portion of the Louisville Ironman back in 2011.
Around mile 90 my legs were shot so I made a deal with them. I promised that I would only pedal up hills and give them a break on the downhill. Once again they were cooperating and I tried to pedal downhill and every muscle in both legs started to cramp up big time. I heard them loud and clear as I slowly rolled into the transition area to start the run portion. Needless to say, they were not happy as I limped through the marathon portion of the race.
So with race walking now as the firm plan I now had sights on trying to beat my PR time of 2:44 for race walking a half marathon. That was a stretch goal since that race was all downhill and this one had numerous rolling hills. A more realistic goal was a 13:00 minute pace that would have me finish around 2:50 which was about 2 minutes faster than my time last week.
With those two times in mind, I set off to keep up with the 2:45 pacer group. I moved far ahead of them at mile two and since I was not wearing a watch I did not much think more about it. My plan was just to spot someone ahead of me and see if I could catch them. Many that were running or run/walking would comment that it was not fair with my long legs and that would just motivate me more to pick off someone else.
At mile 5 the 2:45 pacer group went by me like I was standing still and steadily moved out of sight. I had started my timer on my phone and looked at that and figured I was on a 2:45 ish pace so just kept going.
The course took us along the ocean and some huge mansions so that occupied my time for the next 4 miles. This is where it really got fun. By now those that started out running or even run/walking were breaking down so one by one I would catch and pass them. Most would say to themselves, hell no I am not letting this guy walk by me so they would start running or pick up the pace to pass me. Experience had shown that was going to be short-lived.
Turn around is fair play. Back in 2001, I was doing the New Orleans Marathon and all the wheels came off at once around mile 18. I could only shuffle to the finish. It was only my second marathon and I made a rookie mistake of going out too fast. Also, people were passing me at the halfway mark since they were only doing the half and tried to keep up with them. About mile 24 a guy dressed in bunny ears and tail went by me. He was in full race walk mode and there was nothing I could do about it.
As I went by each for the final time I would say to myself may I have some of your energy since you don’t look like you will be needing it anymore. At mile 12, I checked my phone on last time and it looked like 2:45 was within reach and low and behold the 2:45 pacer was standing about a 1/4 a mile ahead since she had figured out she was well ahead of her designated pace. I had to laugh as I crossed the finish right behind her.
Catherine, on the other hand, had to run to keep up with me, be it a slow pace, for her. We usually take walk breaks every half mile but instead, she just kept running. She did walk up some of the hills and would simply catch up on the downhill. Near the end, she would run past me, walk till I caught up and then run ahead. We did, however, cross the finish line hand in hand, once again, with me walking and her running beside me.
They had some great food at the finish and after the short ride back to the parking lot, we were on our way back to the hotel. Since there were multiple lots I did drop a location pin on maps so I could easily find the car. I had learned my lesson earlier this year when I parked my car at a huge shopping mall and it took me over 30 minutes to find it after the race was over.
Another tip is that when you are headed back to the airport, with the rental car and want to get gas. When I get within 5 miles I swipe up from the bottom of maps and a box will appear with suggestions for gas, food etc. and when you tap gas it will give you several suggestions and how far out-of-the-way it will be. After you tap on the one you want it will direct you to that station and when there continue with directions on to the airport. I find that helpful since some airports don’t really have any gas stations close by the terminal or if they do the price per gallon is outrageous.
We had a nice dinner at Anthony’s Seafood Restaurant and it was a unique experience. The had a takeout line and an eat-in line. You grabbed a menu, placed your order, paid for it and grabbed a seat and a number. They brought the food and after you eat some great food you simply get up and leave. The great part is that you did not have to pay for all the overhead of a traditional restaurant but it did not taste like fast food.
While we were in Newport were able to meet up with one of our favorite associates at Marathon Tours and Travel, Karen. She lives in Boston and drove in for the half marathon. We were able to meet up for another great meal at the Red Parrot in downtown Newport. She was with us in Kenya last year and we all did a global run in Newport for the girls from the amazing Maasai region. Educate a Girl! Learn more at www.amazinggirls.org.
So Catherine and I have been in the New England area for the last two weeks with all its famous seafood and I figure out I have shellfish allergies, bummer. Not to worry, more insult to injury as we go back to Florida next week.
After two nights back in ATL, we are off to Pine Island Florida to reunite with our motor home, “The Crib”. After a week there and a few more nights in ATL, we are off for another month adventure. More about that later.
Changing the subject for a bit a running buddy of mine, Kayna, posted a word on my FB page that fits us to a tee. The word is Peregrinate and the meaning is as follows.
Travel or wander around from place to place. People who peregrinate are constantly on the move, traveling from one location to another.
Catherine and I would often tell people that we are homeless or nomads but I like to think of us as peregrinates. Now I just need to learn how to pronounce it properly.
Catherine and I hit a milestone almost a month ago as we went over the 1000 day mark. As we head to Florida for destination number 283 that comes out to a little more than 3.6 days per stop. That does not include all the various places we have stopped on cruise ships.
I am going to try to get that number up to about 4-5 days to cut down on our expenses since Air Fare is our highest expense and I really don’t like driving that much. It still does not make sense for us to get an apartment in ATL. We do go thru there a lot but don’t really stay there long enough to justify the extra expense that all go into an apartment. I am not going to buy a house ever again when I rent someone else’s place thru Airbnb anywhere in the world.
I am going thru running withdrawals right now. I remember having the same feeling after my open heart surgery and could not wait to get back to running. As I would see other people running I just wanted to trip them as they went by. I think I will continue to give my knees a rest and concentrate on improving my race walking form and hope to run in New Zealand which will be my seventh continent.
Catherine has already done a half marathon in all 7 but I did the full in Australia whereas she did the half since she had broken her foot 6 weeks prior and walked it in a boot in the desert sand. The way it works you have to do either a half or a full in all seven continents not a combination of both.
The KOA campground on Pine Island has a very nice pool so maybe I will keep my fitness level up with some laps each day. Walking around here you can only tell that a hurricane came thru the area by all the fallen trees and brush on the side of the road.
Not sure when this would be a concern on Pine Island in St. James Florida
I have mentioned this before but it is worth mentioning it again. I have a love-hate relationship with Florida, I love the sun, water and use to love the seafood. I now have a full-blown allergic reaction to shellfish. I grew up having lobster for my birthday dinner and now I can not any of it at all.
I had three shrimp the other day and broke out with a rash all over my back. Not only that I hate no-see-ums. I have tried everything. Even a recommendation from my friend and past co-worker, Frances. She suggested, Avon skin-so-soft, which I use to use when my kids were playing soccer and that has not stopped them at all.
I am extremely tired of itching and scratching between the two reactions to food and flying, midge, biting, insects. Besides that having a great time here and will probably come back in December.
Sunset at Low Key Tiki
After our stay here we go back on the road for another month. First, a few days in ATL then off to Portland to meet up with my sister, Gwen and 7 others that were with us in Africa last year. We are all running/walking the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon on Sunday. From there we are off to Seattle to visit our RunningCruise.com friend, Kim.
With no stop in us in mind, we are off to LAX for two days then on to Puerto Vallarta for a week. Back to LAX for two more nights than on our long trip to New Zealand for our last and 14th Half Marathon for the year.
The Africa reunion planned for the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon in Hood River Oregon was almost complete. Two of the 7 were working minor injuries but we forged ahead. As an added bonus we ran into a few folks from our runningcruise.com adventures, so all was good.
Kayna, Chris, Bob, Gwen, James and Lois
It rained the entire day before the race and the outlook for race day was not that much better. It was an hour drive to the race site but with a leisurely 9:30 start, for the half, it was not a big deal. Low and behold the skies opened up on race day and a dramatic rainbow could be seen in the distance.
Rainbow coming out of my head with our runningcruise.com friends
One of the things I have learned to love about our travels is that a month and sometimes a week does not go by without witnessing something I have not experienced before. This time around it was the wave start for those that were running with dogs. The race was mostly in a park with grass on both sides of the paved trail so it was perfect for the 50 or so four-legged friends.
The walkers, which included me, were in the last wave after the dogs so it was perfect for Catherine. After a few miles we were able to catch most of that group of dogs so Catherine would run ahead pet some of them and I would eventually catch up to her. This went on the entire race and it was easy to see she was in doggie heaven.
At the finish she saw a K-9 dog up on a structure so as I chowed down on some of the best veggie soup and tacos she went for the dog. My sister, Gwen, got some great pictures of her. Turns out the dog took a running jump to get up on the structure. Gwen was able to PR in this case with distance. She had planned on doing 6 miles but she was inspired by a gentleman ahead that had WTF on the front of his shirt but read Where is the Finish on the back.
Very proud Sis
I often tell people, that say they can no longer run, to sign up for a charity 5K and when someone passes them pulling a wagon with an oxygen tank inside they will realize that they can do anything they set their minds to do. On the other end if you tell yourself that you can’t do a marathon you never will since the simple desire to do one is not enough.
The fall colors were in full bloom and even though the area had experienced a terrible fire a few months prior you really could not tell during the run portion. It was more evident during the drive from Portland. Overall it was a great race and mini reunion for the folks we had first met in Africa. The two that did not make we will see in New Zealand in a few months.
This concludes our pursuit of all 50 states for the year. I have the 6 that I need and more importantly the 2 remaining for Catherine mapped out for next year. It is now time for us to transition to some follow-up exams dealing with my surgery 6 months ago for my gut aneurysm so off we went to Seattle.
After a quick CT scan and Doctor visit I got a partial clean bill of health. The Aneurysm repair looks good with the stint in a good position but a tinny endo-leak which I was told is typical for someone on blood thinners. I am due back in 6 months and since a very good friend of ours, Kim, lives out here we are planning a short cruise in May from Seattle to Victoria and back before or after the checkup.
Still waiting on the results of what the CT scan showed concerning my aneurysm of my Aorta but I will not get that until I see my Cardiologist in December. For now I am glad that no one said I needed another operation in the near future. At my age you just learn to roll with the punches and still keep fighting in this crazy thing called life. I plan on being around for another 30 or so years like my parents did, so I try to put everything into perspective.
Now it is time to relax before the final half marathon for the year in New Zealand, with a great week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I will close this one out here and pick it up either on the beach or by the pool where I plan on doing an hour of water aerobics each day and maybe a massage or two. I am really ready to get back to running again. I really miss the feeling of being completely airborne as you are when you run, no matter how slow it might be. It must be the pilot in me.