Jessica is the strongest, bravest person I have ever known.

 

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Jessica @ Ohio State University –

We all “watch” our children.  We watch them as infants.  We watch them as they grow into adulthood.  I have watched my daughter grow into a mother of two beautiful girls.  I have watched her as she has mastered motherhood with grace and assured my granddaughters a future filled with confidence, moral grounding and love.  I have recently watched her with her knowing smile and telling eyes suppress a deep, fear-teased scream that struggles for release.  Anguish.

3rd time a charm?  The 3rd time only confirms what you already know – that the surgery is traumatizing emotionally and physically- That recovery is slow and a constant reminder of the why and the whats to come.

Jessica, Amelia (Mia) and Penelope (Pi)

Jessica, Amelia (Mia) and Penelope (Pi)

Jessica is the strongest, bravest person I have ever known.  She has stared-down a disease requiring three major brain surgeries to date with a grace that astonishes.

Jessica is a real life hero!  I will continue to “Watch” my real-life hero – I will always be amazed at her strength and courage – I will always, of course, love her without condition.

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Between Done and Next

Between Done and Next…that would be what is meant by living in the moment…

a hammock in the middle….* Norman Learjess

The STRONGEST BRAVEST, Most Beautiful PERSON I have EVER Known……

 

 

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Delaware Coastal Marathon -Getting to know the Beast

Getting to know the “Beast”

This is my second time in His/Her company.  The Beast – A mix of gender traits with a lot of the good and all of the bad of each.  This go around I rehearsed with the benefit of my first encounter.  Lessons from the past helped.  Tweaking with longer runs and less mileage seemed to help and will serve as my template for our next meeting.

I choose the venue based on the course and season.  Both turned out to be pleasantly predictable.  Predictability – a premium commodity when confronting the Beast.  Small field of <600.  Flat course.  Perfect APRIL weather.

A friend and fellow blogger recently wrote about -“Semiotics” …the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation. -It is the study of how meaning is created, not what it is.  “Looking out; Looking Back”  — a very insightful read.

Each of my encounters with the BEAST has created opportunities /signs /codes for me to reflect on.  I find myself drawn to the idea of ALICE… passing through an experience that leaves me on the other-side wondering “what just happened”?  It takes time to reflect and understand but it is definitely well worth the journey.

 I am looking forward to my next meeting with this Marathon Beast and all its tellings awaiting me through the looking glass….

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RECAP

I ran the Coastal Delaware Marathon Sunday.  Wonderful event!  Beautiful course!  Well organized – They even provided perfect weather.

My marathon weekend started early.  Sue and I stayed in Cape May New Jersey from Tuesday thru Thursday and then on Friday we took the Cape May-Lewes Ferry  and stayed in Lewes, DE (Pronounced “Louis”) for the weekend – The race started in Dewey Beach, DE, about a 20 minute drive south.

CAPE MAY

We love Cape May, especially in the spring and fall when the weather can be so nice and the town is thin of tourists. The pics below are from a couple of the short runs I did during the week.  The one image is of a “Concrete” Ship that must have been a good idea at the time…but….

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We stayed at my sister’s summer cottage.  It’s within walking distance of downtown.  We park the car and rarely use it during our stay.  My wife’s favorite meal is breakfast so it’s understandable that her favorite restaurant is “Uncle Bills” – Same thing every time….

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Cape May is a wonderful place to visit any time of the year.  There are plenty of B&Bs and restaurants, beautiful beaches and a laid back, easy culture.

FERRY RIDE

Friday morning we boarded the ferry to Lewes.  It’s only 17 miles, but about 1 1/2 hour ride.  Fun! with much to see including dolphins, barges, tankers, sails and interesting travelers..The pic of Sue and I is what a selfie looks like taken by an old guy…

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LEWES, DE

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Sue and I discovered Lewes last year after the Atlantic City Half Marathon.  We booked our stay at the same inn as last time –

The Inn at the Canal Square. – Highly recommend!

 

The annual Tulip cerebration was the week before so there were loads and loads of tulip Tulips - Chamber of Commercebeds.  The Inn has fresh flowers everyday that greet you upon arrival.

Lewes is like a little Cape May! A great destination!

 

 

 

THE RACE- Packet Pick up

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Dewey Beach  is about a 20 minute drive from Lewes  – Dewey Beach being the race start location.  Packet pickup was on a rainy Saturday and the line outside the pickup location was a bit challenging -but all turned out well.  (may have turned the lady in front of me into a Vampire I think)…We used the trip to scout out race morning parking because Dewey Beach is about 2.5 blocks wide with limited parking.  We ID’d Bellevue Ave as our target spot not knowing that it would be a side street used to enter that last 1/4 mile of the marathon.

Race Morning

4AM alarm Race day.  My things were laid out the night before… Shirt/Pants/Gels decided

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Everything ready!

on.  Throwaway sweatshirt to ward off the pre-start chill.

All plans have their minor bumps.  When I wanted to begin loading the car with our luggage, I left the room telling Sue that if I get locked out I will call her so she could come down and let me back in…Perfect plan had I remembered to bring my phone.  Locked out of the Inn and no phone left for some bizarre thoughts….Our room was on the second floor and I could see our windows.  I started to throw my car keys at the window hoping to get Sue’s attention.  No answer. I shouted only as loud as I thought would not wake up the rest of the Inn guests… No answer.  I threw my keys again and they landed on the window sill, momentarily hanging there.  It could have been less then a second but my RACE flashed before my eyes – Am locked out of the INN and now my car keys are up on the Inn’s second floor ledge.  they fell.. then Sue was at the door..  The whole event acted like a pre-race warm up- would have been interesting to have had my Garmin on at the time and recorded my pulse….

The RACE

As I mentioned, the course was beautiful.  It ran through Henlopen State Park. COLDEL COURSE After the 1st 5 miles, which ran through a couple of beautiful coastal and lake communities, the course turned to trails through the park with crushed shells that made for an easy, comfortable surface to run.

The second half was much the same with ample shade from the rising sun.  Only one hill – A bridge around mile 15.  No worries.

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The Start on Tower Road

 

 

The Towers – Built between 1940 and 1941 to defend against a possible German attack, Fort Miles was one intensely fortified outpost. I think there are 7 towers altogether.

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The Race started without much fanfare. The usual Anthem prior was pleasantly observed by all around me with caps removed.  Something I don’t see at all venues.

 

My plan was to go out with the 4:30 pace group and see how I felt at about the midway point.  So happens the pacer was averaging 9:50 mpm which was comfortable for me but faster than I wanted to run for the whole 26.2 miles.  I fell back (on purpose) after the 14 mile mark.  Later I spoke with one the the runners who was running with the pacer.  He finished with her @ 4:24…

I felt as good as it gets through the 21st mile – even then I knew I was in good shape to finish the race with a smile on my face.  The Looking Glass begins for me @ 22 miles…

Before the race I activated “live watch” on my phone and Garmin app.  My daughter, her husband Chris and my two granddaughters were driving down from New Jersey that morning to see me finish. With two small girls it’s not surprising they were running behind.  They were in contact with Sue as they followed my progress.  They were cutting it close as they rolled into Dewey Beach on 1A only to pass me on the highway @ mile 24 which ran along 1A for about 1/4 mile.  What a sight to see Jess halfway out the passenger’s side window shouting encouragement.

As I said earlier, Bellevue Ave is where we parked and where Sue guided Jess and Family.   I had NO idea the course turned up this little side street and as I made the turn I could hear my granddaughter Mia shouting “GRAN” GRAN” GRAN”  – Holy cow was I moved.  A 1/4 mile to the finish and my family there to cheer me on.  I ran with Mia for about 100 yards before she decided to wait with Mom and join me at the finish.

COLDEL FinishI finished strong at a time that I am proud of 4:45 (30+ minutes faster then Steamtown last October)  – I feel confident that I will improve on this as well…

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My greatest joy is still and will always be the company of my wife, my children and grandchildren.  I am a very, very lucky man to be blessed with Sue who is so supportive! Grandchildren definitely complete life’s circle of love!!

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Consider the “Anum Carped”

This gallery contains 4 photos.

In the books it is……Finished the year with a 2.5 mile run for a total of 1500.06 miles.  1500 miles – Three 1/2 marathons and one full marathon. Last song listened to was “Eyes of the World” ..Thank you Jerry & … Continue reading

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Mia moments

My Beautiful four year old Granddaughter

Mia Simone

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TIMEOUT SENTENCE

At a family backyard BBQ the other day, Mia was sent inside for a “timeout” . After being inside for awhile, came outside seemingly preoccupied with where she left off playing.  I asked her “..where were you Mia?”  – She answered in a matter of fact way,  -..”time out..I was in time out..” again preoccupied with where she left off playing before the sentencing.. “…So what did you do?” .  Answer..” I wasn’t a good listener..i do that sometimes..”

SMELL MY FEET

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This beautiful picture belies it’s true self… Mia looks the picture of beauty and grace (and she is…)  but the conversation went like this… “Gran, smell my feet…”  What? Smell my feet I just put lip balm on them and they smell so good…”

BOOBI

I was working, hunched over the computer, bare chested.  Mia came up from behind and reached under my right arm decreeing loudly ..”Gran, you have a boobi!”  Going forward I will always wear a shirt when am at the computer

4 not 5

A while back, Mia looked at me as if she had something very important to tell me.  “Gran, I am tired of being 4 – I want to be 5 now…”

 

Rain Walks

I took Mia out for a walk in the rain.  She says hello to everyone and anyone –  When there are children involved, she has often suggested that “…maybe one day  we can have a play date together”.  So, while walking past a neighbor’s house, I wasn’t surprised that she said hello but I melted when she then said .” Can you hear that… when the rain hits the leaves it sounds like people clapping”….

Nature Walks

Mia and I will go on nature walks together.  Its fun for both of us and it provides a setting for conversations…  mia chips

On a recent walk Mia sat down next to a tree which had been trimmed and had a pile of wood chips around it.  “Look Gran ..Chip Monks!!”… She knew she made a joke and we laughed the rest of the day about it.

my gran

mia pic of gran

This was hanging in her pre-school classroom.  I had a poster made of it and it now hangs in my home office.  Nothing could be more important to me.

apron Mia PiMia’s sister is Penelope.  A beautiful child and a firecracker as well.  Penelope is blossoming!  Here are both girls outside their mothers store in late November this year

Mia is an “Old Soul” –  You can see it in her smiling eyes. She is a very happy child, a product of her very loving parents. I love her very much!

I am not surprised she reminds me of my daughter when she was little.

Mia finally turn 5 in November and now is looking forward to 6…….

 

 

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MMRF 5K and more

I am not a huge fan of 5ks.  Seems that I have convinced myself that the only strategy is to MMRF 5kstart out full throttle and keep it there until finished.   So with some reluctance I entered a 5k this past weekend.  Primarily to support MMRF and my neighbor.

My neighbor and friend is one of the two* bravest people I know. His courage as well as his devotion and love for his family is inspirational.

I’ve known him (and his family) since my wife and I moved into the neighborhood 24+ years ago.  Their house is at the end of our street on a beautiful lot and was once the farm house for the apple orchard with which our neighborhood now sets.  For three generations his family has lived and owned the house. It’s beautiful with it’s large landscaped front yard enclosed with a picketed white fence – the yard is dotted with dogwood trees where occupied wooden bird houses hang randomly.  I’ve sat with him and his wife on the wraparound porch that stretches the entire front of the house and then again around one side.  A bench swing hangs there that could not be more inviting and comfortable.  Every spring there is one dogwood that explodes with blossoms-   It’s our favorite tree on the street and a welcomed signal from spring.

My friend has three children, all reflecting the love and values of their parents.  One child has NF1 and is deaf and to watch them sign together is to witness a glimpse into their  personal circle of love.

My friend has Multiple Myeloma – I honestly had never heard of or paid any attention to this cancer until my friends diagnosis.

Physically MM has taken it’s toll on my friend.  Mentally I have never seen such courage.   I am not naive to the physical and emotional challenges that can affect a family who has/is facing a devastating disease but despite these challenges he and his family appear to glow with life!

Running is my mental therapy to balance. Courage can be gained through running but running does not have sole ownership of my admiration of those who face adversity.  My friend and his family are facing adversity with grace and courage.

*Jessica

 

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Well I finished…

Well I finished… Not without the help of Christine who I shared a grueling (Not strong enough description) last 4.5 miles.  Maybe harrowing is a better description.

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Michele, Christine and me at the finish….

My 1st reaction to my finish was mixed at best.  This was my 1st marathon, so certainly emotions were running high.  But my time was disappointing for sure (5:15).  I had hoped for 4:30, was optimistic about 4:20 and would have been delighted with 4:45 – all of which, in the end, came and went.

My training and prep were good.  I am not going to second guess that.  I put in the miles, the obligatory 3 -20 mile runs,  all telling me that goal times were attainable, averaging approx. 40-45 miles per week during the last 6 weeks of training.  My taper was good, if not a little crazy with anticipation.  The week before I did yoga, even had a massage – ran easy 3 times for a total of 16 miles.  I rested and ate healthy all week.

Race day I drove to Scranton relaxed enjoying the turning foliage, picked up my BIB at the expo around 1pm and headed back to the 20151010_112523hotel for another nap –(well rest anyway).

 

 

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I met my friends and fellow runners for a pre-race dinner, which I ate lite and felt good.  I was in bed by 9PM.  Sleep did not show up but for all of 2 hours and only after I surrendered to an advil.  Not to worry, I felt rested and anxious to get the journey started albeit 3:30AM…

All my running gear was laid out and ready.  I bought coffee the day before so I could NUKE it in the morning.  I good size portion of instant oatmeal and am off.20151010_131242

The race being point to point, we were bused from the finish to the start – approx. 45 minute ride.  Our bus driver missed a turn so we spent a little more time driving around Forest City in the pitch dark then most.

Plenty of porta jons and relatively short lines is always a luxury.   The starting line was at steamtown startthe local high school who opened their doors to the runners so they could stay warm prior to the start.  39 degrees with no noticeable wind, sun rising with a little bit of a miss on the adjacent fields met us at the starting line.

 

The race was started literally with a BANG!.  They fire off a civil war canyon.  The pre-race steamtoen cannonemails warned us of this and it was fun to anticipate.  What was very special to me was the church bells ringing in the little town we started in.  It was wonderful!

 

Ok, so everyone I spoke to and all that I read about the course said that you must go out slow.  This is typical of any marathon – pace is the key – but with Steamtown, the 1st 8 plus miles are downhill.  I mean, downnnnhill… steamtown elevationSo the emphasis of going out slow is even more important.  I did this, averaging 10 to 10:15 miles for the 1st half.

I have to say I felt good, felt in control and planning when I would let it all go.  My long training runs had mirrored how I was feeling… Slow start and finish strong.  Wishful thinking…Mile 17 “BONK”….. Wow, I could not believe it!  I was completely depleted and struggling to maintain any kind of momentum.  I was concerned I would not finish but determined to do everything I could to crawl across that finish line.

Things did not get better –  At Mile 20 I was periodically stopping and stretching.  My QUADS were on fire.  I’ve never experienced this much discomfort (Again..Not strong enough description).

While trying to stretch out my legs, one of my fellow training partners (Christine) showed up.  AHHH. Someone I can pace with!  Maybe I can salvage a time after all.  Just so happens that Christine was in the same predicament that I was.  By (Desperation!) mile 22 we decided we would try to help each other finish together.  SO with a Herculean effort and, I am proud to say, a whole lot of Courage, we were able to make it to the finish line together.  I will always be eternally grateful for Christine’s company in those last few miles!

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They were all wearing these signs that Sue made – “Gran’s Fans”!!!!

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My Son FACETIMED /realtime my finish with my two other granddaughters back in NJ!

My wife, son, daughter-in law and my granddaughter Natalie were at the finish line waiting for me.  They drove up from South Jersey that morning to share in my celebration.  I 1st heard Sue, my wife about 150 yards from the finish line.  Then saw JT, Maria and Natalie with her.  I just wanted to run to them! It was an emotion that clearly clobbered me – So much so that the finish line announcer was calling my name trying to get my attention so that I would finish. Which I did…

 

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TEAM GRAN!

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Natalie!!! 6 weeks and already charming us..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well I had mixed emotions about the race –initially it was the disappointing time of 5:15.   I will not point to excuses but… I was not ready for the downhill severity of the course – It just destroyed my quadriceps.

In the end, completing my 1st marathon and running for 5 hours and 15 minutes are two milestones at 66 years that I am proud of.  After all, the world’s best runners finish in 2:08 minutes .. am proud to say I ran 2 ½ times longer!!!

PS. Steamtown Marathon organization is more then outstanding! The course is absolutely beautiful!  The local support from the folks in the little towns we ran thru was as good as it gets!!!  Thank YOU!!

PPS.  My Sunday morning training group was my enabler.  I enjoyed the journey with them so very much! My revenge is in my head as I write this and know I can count on them for their support.

IMG_9008PPPS… Thank you Sue for all the love, support and understanding that only a runner’s wife understands…my true partner in everything.

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