Spring is in the Air

“Spring is the best life coach: It gives you all the energy you want, all the positive thoughts you wish and all the boldness you need!” Mehmet Murat Ildan

This means for me and Catherine it is time for the spring racing season.  It was a tough winter but we were able to run outside all but 2 weeks of it when we took a pause in the Louisville Kentucky area.  Previously we have been in the Caribbean but you do what you have to do when Covid is in the air.

First stop is to a little town of Cookeville, Tennessee  which is about 80 miles east of Nashville.  There we got the state of Tennessee accomplished. This is state number 25 in our new quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states.  I figure it will take us until the end of 2022.  As Catherine often says, “what else do we have to do.”

Cummins Falls State Park Half Marathon

This race had it all.  First stop was to the drive thru packet pickup.  A gentleman wished us luck and I replied, “luck has nothing to do with it, it takes pure skill and determination.”  His reply was classic for the time.  “Lucky you weren’t here last week, we had a ice storm and no power.”  With on and off rain in the forecast, I would have to agree.

For dinner the night before we met up in the hotel breakfast area to meet up with some and new and old friends.  Lois Berkowitz, the President and Newsletter Editor with the 50 state marathon club drove over from Michigan for her 4th crack at the marathon.  She already has some 400 marathons under her feet.  Not bad for a 72 year old. She is presently working on the spring newsletter where they will feature Catherine’s 50 state finish while fighting the good fight with Early Onset Alzheimer’s.

Left to right Lisa, B-Rod, Lois, and Ernst

I will be sure to let everyone know when that comes out the first part of April.  Lisa who was with us back in October for Catherine’s 50th state in Rhode Island had nothing else better to do so why not add to her 260 plus marathon total.  She was flanked by B-Rod who is no slacker with over 300 marathons.  One day I am going to do one of my unscientific studies on why people like them do it.

The rain on race day was on and off for us but they made sure to keep it interesting with HILLS, HILLS, and more HILLS.  At the 4 mile marker the half split off from the Marathon but since Lisa is a true over achiever she agreed to make a 1/2 mile total divert to get the picture below.

Lisa loves to bring stuff for us to wear for our races

Up We Go

After that we went thru a field for a half mile then straight up for almost 2 miles on a muddy, leafy, rocky and steep as hell hill.  Below is a picture that might give you an idea of what we were up against.  All that slowed us down a bit but that was only the beginning.  I must have sounded like a freight train,, Huffing and puffing for the next 4 miles as we climbed and climbed our way to what I thought was to heaven.

We did level off for for a few miles but then there was a part I could have done without.  We turned on to a major road with cars going 50 plus in both directions with no shoulders.  If that was not enough why not throw in one more steep hill for about 1/2 mile.  No one was hurt in the making of this blog entry so all was good.  To make it all worth while it was a gorgeous overall course.  We both ended up getting 2nd in our respective age groups. There were only 100 of us running the half marathon.

I Had to stop on our way out of town for this picture

Instead of going straight back to Atlanta why not make a overnight stop in Nashville,  As Catherine puts it, “We have to stay somewhere.”  Actually we have an old friend, Jen, who use to be a travel coordinator with Marathon Tours.  One of our best trips with her was to Prague.

She relocated from Utila, Honduras.  Back in 2018 we paid her a visit there and you can read about that adventure here.  Sounds like she got out just in time before the virus hit that small island since when they went into lock down they did not let anyone on or off the island for almost a year.  Catherine and I almost got stuck in St, Kitts back in March of last year.

After Atlanta we are off to another city I have never heard of, Guymon Oklahoma.  I went to flight school back in the late 70’s in Tulsa and we did run the marathon there back in 2011.  This time around we will have to fly into Oklahoma City and drive 4 hours each way to get there.  I don’t like driving much so knowing me it will take us all day. 

I actually trained in this aircraft while at Spartan School of Aeronautics.  It was still operational back in 2011.

Next stop, Lafayette Louisiana, for our third have marathon in three weeks.  Back in the spring of 2019 we did 8 races in 9 weeks so I feel pretty good about getting these done.  I am really looking forward to getting back on the road at the pace of moving around every 3 to 4 days like we have been doing for the last 6 years.


Covid did slow us down a bit but we did get our second shot in the arm when we came through Atlanta prior to Tennessee. I don’t really plan on doing anything much differently in terms of masks and eating out.  Catherine and I wear our masks from the time we leave the current place we are staying in until when we get back.  We also have not eaten indoor at a restaurant over the last year.

We will still wipe down our airplane seats and hotel rooms and turns out we have been doing that for 5 years.  After the first year of our travels Catherine and I were getting sicker more often then usual.  That all stopped when we started with our own cleaning routine and held over when Covid hit.

We both double mask on Airplanes and wear eye protectors. Since I flew for over 37 years I actually feel pretty comfortable still doing so.  We have only been flying on Delta.  They do a great job of keeping us all safe as they have updated their air filtration systems on their airplanes.  It is a risk reward situation for me.  The minimal risk is well worth the overwhelming reward of getting out there and experiencing all the world has to offer.

Alzheimer’s Studies

Also while in Atlanta, Catherine and I both participated in separate Alzheimer’s studies.  Mine involved two MRI’s while looking at pictures.  I was asked to take pictures of Catherine for ten days and asked to write down what she might be thinking at the time.  They are going to use this information to help care givers like myself to be more empathetic of their loved ones.  

Catherine’s study involved her giving blood and saliva so that they can use it from her and others with Alzheimer’s to possibly identify something in the their blood and saliva to predict Alzheimer’s early on.  We both got compensated for our time and effort.  Catherine had been asking for years to participate in such a study.  So she was very happy to help out.

After a few weeks of visiting family back in the Kentuckiana area, as they call it.  Next stop will be Carmel Indiana for state number 28.    Why stop there so why not a combo trip to Virginia.  My middle child, Shawn, took a new job in Harrisonburg. Lucky for us there is a half marathon in nearby Charlottesville in the same time frame for our visit to see him and his growing family.  Him and his wife, Cassie, are due for baby number 2 within two years the end of July.  Not to worry I have it on the calendar this time around especially since I was in Patagonia during the birth of their first child, Lily Ann.

I can’t say I like the spring race season better than the fall but suffice it to say,  I am just ready to get out there and see what this old body can still do.  Especially since all the parts are now in good working order, knock on wood.  I did go almost two years with a right knee that gave me problems on and off  which started back in September 2017 in Detroit Lakes Minnesota.  You can read about the start of my knee problems here.  

Beautiful place but if you need something this tall to find the fire hydrant in the snow, not for me

Thank You

I just want to take a minute to thank everyone for all your support over the years.  We have met some great people and many we refer to as our new best friends.  A few are mentioned by first name in our book and still more will recognize themselves as we run all over the world.

It will not be much longer for the reveal of the Cover Design for our upcoming book, Running All Over The World, Our Race Against Early Onset Alzheimer’s. If you sign up below you will be the first to see it.

A portion of the proceeds on the sale of this book will be donated to organizations providing support to Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.

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