Thursday, May 31, 2007

Important Moments

My latest entry would have been about my wonderful trip to California last week, but some moments come first...

If I Had My Life to Live Over
by: Nadine Stair
I'd dare to make more mistakes next time. I'd relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I'm one of those people who live sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had it to do over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I've been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more Daisies.

I have shared more moments with Daisy over the past almost 12 years, than anyone else in my life.
- She sat on my lap at 6weeks old when I bought her and drove her home
- She slept with me every night until I met Paul
- She kept me company through good times and bad
- She rollerbladed with me. She ran stadium stairs with me. You name the unusual workout...she was always up for it.
- She was there when I started running, and always wanted me to cover just one extra mile
- She was at my first 5K, and didn't care that I couldn't run the whole thing
- She stood by my side when she knew we were on our own after having companions for 2 and 1/2 years. She helped me move on.
- She has stayed at a Spa and the Four Seasons. There was no way I could be indulged without her.
- She gave Paul a chance even though he wasn't an animal lover by nature. She taught him how to love her and me.
- She was at our wedding.
- She ran me into the finish at my first 50-miler.
- And she turns 12 years-old on June 23rd, the day of Western States...

She has given the most pure unconditional love to me EVERYDAY of her life. Today was my day to give it back!

I am in my last week of training before I start to back down for WS. My quads have been fried in a very good way since my trip to California, where I covered 3 wonderful days of running on the course.

On Tuesday, Daisy and I covered the 5 mile loop by the house. I took her over to the park, and she took a dip in the creek. Everything was great, and she was happy to have her running partner back. Yesterday morning we covered the 7 mile loop, and again she went for a swim in the creek to cool off. She ran great, and we had a blast. Afterward, I left the house to coach and meet up with someone. I came back with roasted turkey and shared it with her as I made a wrap. She was great. I got on my bike on my trainer at about 2:45, and a 4 noticed she hadn't come join me. She normally lays on the floor as I ride. I called for answer. I walked to the top of the stairs and called for her again. She came limping over to the base of the stairs, looked up at me, but couldn't climb. I ran down thinking that I had totally killed her back legs with the earlier run. I touched her and she cried. She could barely move. I gave her a muscle relaxer thinking that once she rested she would be better. She wouldn't lay down and just followed me with her head hanging very low. It was awful. I got on her bed and laid down, hoping she would join. She barely could. I had to leave and go coach... I carried her to her room and left.

When I got back, she didn't seem any better. I knew she couldn't get downstairs so I had Paul pick her up. She cried in such unbelieveable pain. It killed me.

This morning I realized that it was not her legs, but her gut. The second I touched it she cried. I knew she needed to get to the vet first thing. I got there at 7, and the vet, Dr. Boston, took x-rays and saw something...a tumor, a hemorrage, don't yet know. She said she needed an ultra-sound. I was in shock and disbelief. I was expecting her to have an infection; I couldn't even process what to do next.

My family and I have had the same vet in the Houston area since I was 3. I trust him. He has known me and all my pets my whole life. At 7:45 I called him. He needed to see her and the x-rays to really help me, so without over-thinking it I said we would head down. I called Dr. Boston, and asked her if I could get Daisy. I picked her up and to Houston, in the rain, we went.

As I drove it started to hit me. What is going on? What am I doing? How did this happen? 24 hours earlier we were running together...

I got there safely and Dr. Robinson gave me a long hug. He and I had a good talk about what to do next, and what the possibilities could be. Without the ultrasound, it is just a guess. He took a look at everything and suggested I head back to Austin for the Ultrasound to see what going on in her gut. For sure there is something, hopefully just a hemorrage and a small tumor that just need to be cleaned up...but she is a very sick dog in pain. He told me that the work-up should be done in Austin and I should trust the vet here, as she was right on, so that she can be with me vs. her having to stay with my parents.

So after about an hour I loaded her back up and headed back home. I had to call the vet in Austin back and tell her I was coming back to trust her to care for Daisy. I let her know that I am fully aware that I am crazy for where I went for my second opinion, but this has allowed me to digest all of the info and accept whatever is to come. Dr. Boston was very open with me and very sweet. She told me to bring Daisy back so that they could give her IVs overnight and get her well hydrated. She said that they will do the ultrasound tomorrow and we will then know if she needs surgery or not. I told her to be very honest with me and know that this is all about Daisy. I do not want her to suffer; I will not keep her alive for my sake.

The ride home from Houston was the hardest of my life. Just as we had taken that first ride 11 years ago, we were alone, again. I thought about all of the important moments of my life over the years and came to realize that she was a part of EVERY one of them, either there in-person or in my heart.

When I was 18 I found the Poem, If I Had My Life to Live Over. I thought about the fact that I had done nothing daring, and two weeks before graduation got a tattoo of a Daisy to remind me to pick more and live life to the fullest. When I was 21 I picked a dog. I picked her out of an entire litter. I named her Daisy. Everyday since she has lived life to the fullest. She has loved me more than I could ever love her, and at times more than I love myself. She has brought more energy to my life than I could ever dream, and has been the friend I long to be...always listening, always accepting, always...

Until she is back home I will keep daisies in my house to remind me to: live life to the fullest; live as though this might be the last; and "pick more daisies!"

Please keep her in your prayers!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Off I go!

I am off to the ultra-running mecca tomorrow and to spend time with new friends and old. Why new: because spending 12+ hours with someone on the trail will form a bond...and old: I will take the memories of my time on this trail with a very special friend with me as I journey through my last few long days of training. We had a great time out there, and I look forward to the memories helping me float along.

I have such fond memories of seeing some of these miles in the dark as a pacer, on a wonderful training run last year, and the struggles I faced during WS last year. I will take all of this with me and form my markers for raceday. I will let it all soak in. I will release some of what I held on to at this time last year and I will let the glory of it all be a wonderful finale to my long hard training.

The work is almost done. I have taken care of my body, mind, and spirit now I just have to give it two weeks of a final push. This is when it is want to taper, you are ready to back off the mileage, but there is still some strong work to do. I accept the challenge placed in front of me and will embrace the pain that is to come!!

Before I depart, I must make a mention that I could not possibly have done this last training week without the support of my friend, Julie. She, too, is training for WS but arranged for a place for me to stay, made all of the plans for our longest run, and even made sure there were people that were well matched at my pace to run with me. She did the same last year and has totally become part of the reason I love it out there. The bond, the family, she has created for me is unbelievable. She makes me a part of her family for a week, and her friends have taken me in as their own. It is truly priceless! Did I mention that I do cook healthy meals for her and her brother while I am out there...I have to try to do something, right?

Have a wonderful week and I look forward to sharing more if I get a chance and definitely when I return!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ahhh...Getting Close!!

This has been a really great week as the time is starting to near for taper. Next week I head to California for my last big training days on the WS course, but this week was time to get some mileage in and recover from Miwok.

Last Saturday was The Rookie triathlon. It is kind of funny that it is named such because my husband and all of his Pro Triathlete friends go out to the race. So it makes things pretty interesting...some people who have never attempted a triathlon and some pros...what a mix. A cool thing about the race is that our governor, Rick Perry, does it every year. I don't care what your political affiliation is, it is pretty cool to have such a personable, athletic, involved in the athletic community governor. Here are pictures of Paul and I with him. Over the past year, Paul and I have seen and talked to him a number of times and every time we see him he remembers our names and gives us VERY warm feels very cool.

Anyway, Paul had a great race, of course, and so did some of my beginner athletes. They had great races, and it was fun to cheer them on. So I could get my run in, during the race I ran out and back on the bike course, so that I could get my run in and cheer as the riders came by. It was a fun way to spend my time there. Although, one of the race directors and I decided that at the next one I will carry spare tubes and and gear to help with flats on the course....and be able to call the SAG if needed.

After the race, we headed to a baby shower and then got together with some of Paul's Army buddies for dinner. One stayed over and headed out for a run with us Sunday morning. It was a good run and good company.

I had a very busy week with work and training, but got it all in. We are heading to Tulsa this afternoon and I wanted to get my long run in before heading out. My plan was for 30 this morning, clean-up and get ready for the trip. I have been very fortunate through this training that my friend, Stephanie, has been able to join me for runs on Friday mornings. We have been covering anywhere from 7-10 in the morning and then get on with our day. It has been a real treat because it has brought us closer together, and at the same time it has been really good training. I have really enjoyed her positive energy.

Our plan this morning was to hit a road loop, one that offers 3200ft of elevation change (a good amount for Austin), and then hit the trails. The plan changed once we started running and neither one of our stomachs were thrilled about it. I was all about getting the run done, so I suggested that we do an out and back on the road to cover more hilly mileage and to avoid seeing our cars before we hit 20 miles. She was game. Even though we didn't feel great, we actually ran really strong. I kept having to slow us down because every time we started chatting away we would be hitting sub-8min/miles...we were not great influences for an easy pace. We headed back to the trail, with almost 20 miles under our belt. We put on our trail shoes and headed down the hill for our final segment. Unfortunately, because of all of the rain we decided not to try to cross the just wasn't worth it. So, we ended up just covering about 7 miles on the flat sections along the creek. We added some on our way up the hill, and in total covered 27.65 (I had my garmin on). I consider the run a HUGE success because between miles 1 and about 11 we didn't think we would make it, and we totally hung in there and ended up feeling strong, yet a little fatigued in the end. It was a great mental toughness run!!

I am so glad I got it done because there will be very little running this weekend, sad to say. Not too bad to get in 70 miles this week!! I am so happy to be healthy, have my legs feeling good, feel mentally intact (I am scared to say mentally strong because I know I won't truly be tested until June 23rd), and feel the power of the love and support of Paul, my friends, and my family!
Just a side note to the week, I had a HUGE scare yesterday when I thought I had lost my prized digital camera. I had left it behind at my favorite restaurant, Mandolas Italian Market, and in some unbelievable luck they had held on to it and put it the safe. I high-tailed my rear over there yesterday evening to pick it up. Biggest buzz-kill in the world: heading to your favorite restaurant that has the best sorbet in the WORLD and realizing as you are almost there that you left your wallet at home!!! I was almost in tears as I came to the realization when I was on the phone with Clea last night. I did, though, take a taste of most of the sorbet flavors as the owner was getting my camera out of the safe :) :) I will take a pic of the yum, yum this week and post it for all to see!

Have a wonderful weekend: travel safe if you are heading somewhere; have a great run if you are racing or training; and enjoy this wonderful weather.


Monday, May 7, 2007

Not Bad for a Flatlander

Forgive this is long, but so is my wonderful journey!

I had the great fortune of heading to The Bay Area this weekend for the Miwok 100K run. I had found out about a month ago that I no longer had stay on the waiting list, I was in. This made me feel very fortunate because the waiting list was long, and because this is the most beautiful race I have ever done.

I traveled to Oakland on Thursday morning, and was going to take the midnight flight back on Saturday night. My thought process was this: I would enjoy the area before the race and then get back in time to see my husband race on Sunday. I would also get to recover in the comfort of my own house instead of having to travel all day on Sunday. Genius plan, right???

I got to Oakland very painlessly, and headed toward Sausalito. It was cool, cloudy, and breezy when I arrived so I just knew raceday weather would be wonderful. I wandered around Sausalito for hours. I met this amazing artist and bought a framed picture of the Marin Headlands; where the race is held. She had the most beautiful photos and oil paintings. I really enjoyed my day just wandering around, but when I realized how many hours I had been on my feet I was just a bit concerned that I hadn't done the smartest pre-race activity. Oh well, nothing to do about it. I went to this Cafe for dinner, and had salad and cheeseless pizza with chicken, artichokes, peppers, and tomatoes. It was great, and I had leftovers for the next day!! On my way to the motel, I stopped at Mollie Stones, a great grocery, and got some fruit and other stuff for my drop bags. I also picked up some goodies for Paul and Clea, since she enjoyed the grocery so much with me last year.

It was drizzling Friday morning, but my plan was to head down to the race start and relax by the ocean. I did just that. I put my legs in the water and told myself that I would try to do it post-race. I also spent a long time just taking in the beauty of where I was. It was just amazing. After that, I went and had a big lunch. This was going to be my big pre-race meal since the race started so early. I would just have a small dinner, and some fruit and be ready to go for the 5:40am start. It is sooo much easier on my system that way. I must admit that I was just stuffed after lunch. I needed to get out and get my body moving. So, I went for a short 3 mile run around this lake by the motel. It was actually helped me relax and I didn't feel like a pre-race over-eating slug. (I know EVERYONE backing off on mileage and eating for a big race knows what I am talking about) When I got back to the motel, I saw Dana and told him that if he wanted company for dinner I would be glad to join. About an hour or so later we headed out and went to an italian restaurant down the street. I had a small salad, and he had his big meal. We had a great time catching up, and he told me about all of the latest exciting updates leading to Western States, he is on the WS board. I was excited for him because Miwok was his big race for the year. After dinner, I told him that I would see him on the out-and-back section of the race...he would be at least an hour ahead of me.

When I got back to the room, my friend, Mariela, had called me and we were going to settle on our last minute carpooling plans. She had come in with her husband, and I told her that I would be happy to drive her to the start so that he didn't have to get up that early. I went over to her room and met her husband, Frank. We spent time talking about our race details, dropbags, and just catching up. Her husband was very sweet, but definitely thought we were crazy.

I headed back to my room to get my final prep done, and get into bed; 3:30am was going to arrive VERY early.

I awoke in the morning feeling rested and ready to go. I was excited for the day, even if I was still half asleep. It was going to be my first race in my Montrail gear, so it felt a little more special than usual. Mariela and I headed to the race start at 4:30, and I was so glad she was with me. It was a great chance for us to catch-up, and visit about everything and nothing at all. That's the wonderful thing about Ultras...the day is about to be so long there is no need to have morning of jitters. Mariela was telling me about how she and her husband met; I don't know if we barely talked about the day ahead. We checked in for the race and dropped off our bags. We went back to the car to peel off layers and head to the walk over to the beach. All the racers do this together as a group. It is really great. The start is on the beach as the sun is starting to rise at 5:40am. We run for a very short distance on the beach and then hit the trail heading UP. At 5:40 Tia, the Race Director, said go and off we went. The minute we hit the trail we were walking because if congestion. It would loosen in a second, so not a big deal. Soon enough we were really off and running. After a moment on the trail we dump off to about a 1.5-2 mile climb on a road. I find this to be a great chance to warm-up and settle in. I settled in with a small group of guys. They seemed fairly friendly. Then I was just climbing with one. As we were going we were just chatting away. His name was Chase. We talked about Western States last year. He told me that his wife had already planned a trip to Africa, and that WS weekend she went to Africa and he ran 100 miles. But, she was there to crew for him at Miwok. We talked about work, he works for Brooks, training, family, and on and on. Before we knew it we had finished the first climb and headed down. He got in front of me as we headed down, and I started running with this very nice man. He and I chatted all the way to the aid station. It sure did come quickly. Off we went to the next climb. He stayed with me and said that he liked my pace. I was totally fine with the company. Before I could blink we came into Tennesse Valley at 11.6 miles, and the first drop bag spot. (I think I came through about plan was 2-2:30) I grabbed my 1/2 Chomp Cookie for the climb that was to come, a sip of coke, and off I went.

Out of Tennesse Valley, I started running with this guy, Randall. He was great. He had actually been running with Chase earlier so he hopped into the conversation we had been having. I got to hear all about what was going on in his life: his wife had just been in a terrible horse accident...she was fine but the horse was injured. It was incredible to hear about what the horse did when it got spooked, ran down the side of a cliff, and how hard it was for both his wife and the horse. You could just tell how much he loved and supported his wife and everything she was going through. He even felt guilty for being out at the run and leaving her alone, even though they lived right in the Bay Area. He told me stories about the Tevis Cup, which is what they were training for, and how amazing it is to see what the horses can do. The Tevis Cup is the 100-mile horse race that takes place on the Western States Trail that lead to the start of the run.

Then at one point the subject changed to how we were kind of glad to be there on our own, so that we didn't have to worry about a crew when Chase chimed in that his crewed had missed him at the last aid station because he was moving along so well. It was kind of funny. The three of us were running along, again. We hit the aid station at Muir Beach, and I went through pretty quickly. I knew I would be walking most of the climb to Tennesse Valley and that they would catch me. At this point, I had on a long sleeved shirt with my tank underneath. Last year, I had left my long-sleeve on WAY too long and suffered for it. My plan was to take it off right before the climb started. I ran along to the base of the climb, and then stopped took my cookie out and took my long-sleeve off. The guys caught up to me as I was doing this. They started the climb first and I was right behind. I ran up to them, so that I could have company on the way up. It went soooo quickly. We walked, talked, ran, jumped over a huge tree that was down, and before very long we were at the top at the aid station. Chase had pulled a bit ahead, but Randall and I were together.

I got to the aid station in about 4hours, which was really close to plan (4-4:30). At the aid station Paul Curran, our Montrail fearless leader, was there. He grabbed my drop bag and helped me get in and out so quickly. I was VERY appreciative. Off I went, with Randall in tow. As we headed to the Ridges, he asked what my goal was. I told him that I wanted about 12:30. I told him that more than anything I wanted to run strong on the way back to mile 49. The Ridge section is not technical. It is a narrow path on the side of a meadow cliff. The view below is the ocean, and a ways above is the road. The climbs are not much, but if you are suffering all you see is forever of how far you have to go...from one end of one cliff to the next for 6 miles. Last year I felt horrible on the ridges on the way back. I was walking, sick to my stomach, depleted, and mentally falling apart as I kept getting passed. It mentally killed the rest of the race. I told him that I was going to run smart, even though I was feeling great, so that I would feel great on the way back. He told me that he might back off, but that he felt ok. We ran along the ridges into this crazy headwind. At one point, I was running and had to hold my hat down. On and on through the ridge section we went. The flowers were beautiful. A guy caught up to us, and passed. His name was Steve. He was moving gingerly through the ridges because sloped terrain was bothering his feet and ankles, so he stayed pretty close to us. Before long we hit the next aid station....mile 28.4 The race was just flying.

From here we head to the turnaround. If you look at the elevation you might think that it is downhill to the turnaround, but actually there is quite a bit of up and down before the almost 2 miles down to the turnaround. I headed out on my own. I was excited because I had such good conversations for so long that I hadn't even turned on my music yet. I love listening to my favorite songs as I go through a race, but will always take good company over music. This was my first time alone, so I would use my music for the last 1/2 of the race. I put my music on, listened to one song, and then SILENCE...that's strange, I thought, I just put new batteries in. I actually stopped and changed the batteries, and nothing. Then I stopped again. As I was stopped everyone I had been running with was passing me. This was ridiculous. I was in the middle of a running race, and I was STANDING STILL messing with my MP3 player. So, off I went. I took a deep breathe and let it go. There was nothing I could do about it, so I was going to be without music. The only thing that really annoyed me was: the time lost playing with it and the fact that I had been carrying it for 30 miles and would have to carry it for 19 more before I could put it in my drop bag.

I started running again, and Chase came up to me....thank goodness. We started chatting about how happy we were with the way the day was going for us, and how we just needed to be smart to keep it up. We were very solidly on the 12:30 pace, and just needed to stay there. As we were going, we got to see and cheer for all of the front-runners as they were headed back. They were just amazing. I got to see my friend Jamie, and we cheered for eachother. She looked to be having a great day. Before we knew it we were headed down to the turn-around. Once we got there, I grabbed food and drink and started to climb. I knew I would be power-walking the climb so I thought I would eat and climb. I figured the guys would catch back up to me, but they didn't. I kept going and going thinking that I would get caught, but noone came until the end. A guy in a yellow shirt and Steve. It was right about 8 hours when we came into the aid station before the ridges. (my plan was 8-8:30) I spent some time there refilling, and getting some food. I wanted to be well fueled going into the ridges. I headed out with Steve and the guy with the yellow shirt was not far behind. Right away the yellow shirt guy got in front of us, and Steve got in front of me. I wasn't going to let it happen...I wasn't going to let the ridges win. I stayed close behind Steve the entire way through. We didn't talk at all, but I didn't let him go. As we came in to the aid station I thanked him. I told him that I couldn't have made it through the section without him, and I meant it!

We pulled into the aid station at mile 49, and I grabbed my bag. I pulled out my Ginger Ale and asked for a cup of ice. I wanted to drink it just to make sure my stomach would stay intact, but I drank it so fast that I it didn't go down so well. I sat down for a minute in the shade, and then grabbed some food and headed off for the downhill I had been looking forward to. Steve and I headed downhill together and we started doing the math...if we could keep this up 12:30 was in our grasp. As we were running downhill, I told him that I had really wanted to soak my legs after I finished. He said he would join. I told him that he had to make go, which was important because I knew I would finish and not want to journey down to the water. The downhill was great; even the climb back over the tree. We came to the bottom and crossed the road and headed uphill for about 2 miles to the next aid station. It was here that I noticed that I was working very hard. It wasn't my legs so much, which were tired, it was my breathing. I could hear myself weeze every time I would have to take a breath. There was nothing I could do but slow down and get my breathing under control. Steve took off ahead and I kept plugging away. I got to the next aid station, but knew I had lost some time. I grabbed a refill on my camelback, some cold watermelon, and headed out. There was a climb out of the aid station and then a great downhill to the last aid station. I ran when I could and then would walk and catch my breath. I had no choice, my chest was tight and I could constantly hear myself grasping for air. This is when I really missing my least if I couldn't hear it, I would have been able to tune out my breathing and I might have been able to run more. I arrived at the peak and stormed downhill. I was happy to still have my downhill legs and knew that I had made up some time on the downhill. I came into the last aid station with an older gentleman, and knew if I could push I could definitely still break 13 hours....I thought 12:30 was gone. I headed off for the last climb...3 miles up and then over a mile down to the finish.

The gentleman got in front of me, but I was still fighting so I passed him as I would run everytime the terrain would flatten even the slightest and then just deal with my breathing when I would hit a steep climb. There was a guy spectating who said that we were almost to the top and then it was all downhill. I looked at my watch and saw that if I pushed I might break 12:45...fine by me. So I pushed all the way down, down the stairs, to the finish...I stopped my watch at 12:43. It was almost 30 minutes better than last year.

The amazing thing was that coming into the finish a group was actually cheering for me. I had made so many friends on the trail, been so happy coming into the aid stations, had so much fun throughout the day that people had taken note of it and were actually calling out: "Go Meredith!" And when I had finished, this group of people who over 12 hours ago I had never known were there to share hugs and well wishes with me. This is what is all about: meeting new people; enjoying the day; letting people know how much it means to you that they are there to be part of your day; and loving every step you take!!

After we shared hugs, I got my very cool finsher's stuff and we headed off for the promised dip into the Ocean. It was crazy tough, but it was worth it. I let the coooold water splash on my legs and I stood in there just long enough for my legs to get numb. I headed back up to the car knowing that this euphoria wouldn't last long and I would need to get myself cleaned up, packed, and to the airport. As I was about to leave, I saw Randall. He had dropped at mile 49 because of his stomach. I was sad to hear it.

I got back to the motel still feeling pretty good. I took a shower, and sat on the bed pondering my packing. It was then that I started to cough up all of the stuff in my lungs. I felt horrible. I sat on the bed just trying to will my things to pack themselves. I didn't know how in the world I was going to muster the energy to pack myself up, get dressed, and drive to the airport. Here I was a person who had just very successfully run 100K, but yet the thoughts of the upcoming tasks were about to bring me to tears. I took a deep breath and just went into robot mode....get dressed, pack, and get to the airport.

I did just that. I got to the airport, but like 3 hours early. I just didn't even care. I went to my gate, got my pillow out, covered myself with my sweatshirt, and fell asleep. Someone commented that I must have looked like a homeless person...I just didn't care.

I got into Austin at about 9:30 Sunday morning. My quads were fried from the race and sleeping akwardly on the plane, and I was a bit worn out. But, I grabbed my stuff and headed straight to The Maze trail race. By time I got there most of my friends, and Paul had finished. I was so excited to hear that Paul and my friend, Sarah had won!! Paul did great, but Sarah beat the course reacord by like 10 or so minutes....she is such a stud. I took pics of them getting their awards, and chatted with many of my friends who had just done their first trail race. It was so good to hear everyone had a great day.

We headed home, and I slowly melted into the couch. Sunday night/Monday morning were not easy, but I got back into the swing of things rather quickly. I had said to the guys I was running with that the suffering of the travel was going to be so much more worth it after a great day vs. a bad one. I really had a great day and a great trip. I am feeling good that I am strong, happy, and injury-free. I can only hope that all things continue in this direction for the next 46 days.
As always, I am truly appreciative for: all of the gifts I have been give; what my body is willing to endure; and Paul and all of my friends for their love and support. I cannot make this journey alone, nor do I choose to. I may travel alone, but I have thoughts of each of you in my head....especially when I am left without my happy music :)

God Bless and Have a Great Week!