Monday, September 17, 2012

Dayton, OHIO Air Force Base. DONE!!! 9 down 3 to go! (September)

Dayton, Ohio Air Force Base race! 9 down, 3 to go! 

This race started months ago. I was on the Dr. Drew HLN show for a second time talking about my races and what I was doing this year and my hopes and my family and my eye disease. In Georgia a woman named, Kelli Molter, was watching. Kelli is a part of the Air Force and has been an athlete for a very long time. She's done countless tri athalons and even did some tri athalons and runs with visually impaired people. Kelli herself has had a few eye surgeries correcting and recorrecting some muscular problems in her eyes. Someone mentioned to her running the Air Force Base Race this year. She wasn't planning on it, unless she could find a visually impaired runner to do it with. A couple of months later, there I was on Dr. drew. She reached out to the Choroideremia Research Foundation to offer to run with me for that race. The email was forwarded to me. I read it and checked the dates. I was going to run Bismark, North Dakota originally the same weekend and I was already going to be running Ohio in Cleveland in May. Instead I decided to switch some things around. I ran Fargo in May and was planning on Dayton for September.  I hadn't paid for the admission for the other races yet so I was losing any money. I contacted Kelli and said ok let's do it. 

We stayed in occasional contact. Kelli wanted to raise money for Wounded Warriors and the Choroideremia Research Foundation and split what she raised down the middle. Sounded good to me, especially when she set a goal of $12,000 for each charity. That may have been a bit optimistic and grand. After  some months leading up to the race she wasnt able to raise that much, (some is way better than none) but if you'd like to contribute to our goals you can at or And Wounded Warriors for veterans is a great worthy cause as well. 

I was getting nervous about running with a stranger. What was this going to be like? Running with Jennifer, janelle, Ryan, david, I'm familiar with and I'm comfortable with the idea of running with them. This was new. 

My foot (my now purple toe from my last trip -literally) was better after getting it drained at the doctors so that wasn't seeming to present any problems. But earlier in the week I spent some time in my recliner turned desk chair, which when used as a recliner is fine but doesn't work as a desk chair. And I don't have a desktop computer just my laptop. So my form is all wrong and spending too much time in a position I shouldn't be in will cost. After being like that for hours (by the way I was on the computer emailing newspapers, radio stains, news organizations in Dayton looking for publicity all that work got me no where btw.) I got up went into the kitchen and almost immediately felt something crawling in the middle of my back. Felt like an alien. But it was worse, it was a muscle that hurt right away. I tried stretching it out but did no good. This was Friday afternoon. My usual chiropractor is closed on the weekends and Friday afternoons. I was able to find an open place nearby that was open Saturday's and even took my insurance. The place was good and Tom (my doctor) cracked me pretty good. I was suppose to run that day but decided to rest instead. I spent the night before and the rest of that day in bed resting. The next day I wanted to run. 

I felt better, not 100%, but better. I was skeptical about running so I thought I'd walk. I walked about 3 miles on the ole treadmill, and felt warmed up enough to try running. I went slow and took walking breaks. I got up to 10 miles total. Not bad. But in 6 days I'd be running 26.2 miles with a stranger. 

Monday I got adjusted again by Tom. Tuesday adjusted my usual girl, iris. I ran a few miles on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Kelli and I have been keeping in touch every now and then over these past months. I talked to her a couple of days before flying to Dayton when I was just feeling better from my back issues when she told me she's been having back problems for the last couple of weeks. Uh-oh. That's a bombshell to me. She eves aid she was inn the hospital at one point. I don't know exactly what was going on but she was positive she could run. She sitting was a problem. It was too late really for a plan B. ok let's hope for the best. 

I flew iWednesday, hadn't heard anything from any publicity places which is always disappointing and always makes me feel like nobody cares. I tried setting up a fundraiser with a local improv place called the Black Box theater but I guess that was too complicated because that didn't happen either. The up side of not having extra things to do meant that I could just relax. 

I checked into the comfort inn right next to the Marriott that Kelli, her sister Linda and lindas husband Steve were staying in. Linda and Steve drive up from Milwaukee on Friday. Kelli flew in from georgia on thursday like me from Los Angeles. 

I was able to walk to a nearby Walmart and pick up some supplies and Evette dinner at a nearby ruby Tuesday's. Tried to get to bed early (I was on a three hour time zone difference now) so I could get up early. 

I woke up at 5am and just did almost nothing all day. Listened to al lot of Howard Stern. Watched the movie Battleship that I rented from iTunes. Spoiler Alert: it's not a good movie. 

Kelli was staying with a friend of hers somewhere in Dayton in the night before and wanted to meet at the Expo at about 5pm that night. I wanted to be back in my room no later than 7pm. I needed to do as little as possible so I can hope to get a good nights sleep. 

I took a cab to the expo and met Kelli for the first time. We walked around a little and were waiting for her sister and bro in law to arrive from Milwaukee. I got my packet and passed out a bunch of pamphlets on the expo floor. They arrived and we started driving back to the hotel with a stop off to check out where we would be starting the run the next day at the Air Force museum. It was pretty cool seeing some air planes and the base. But it was getting later and I needed to eat dinner and start winding down. We stopped at a Subway sandwich place and then I got dropped off at the hotel at 7pm while the other guys went out to eat. 

I ended up ordering pasta from Ruby Tuesdays who delivered to the hotel. That hit the spot and I got in bed, put on my noise machine, put me ear plugs in and turned my iPad on. I've learned recently that if I play the movie the Descendants with George Clooney directed by Alexander Payne, I fall asleep with in 10 minutes. I love the movie but for some reason it is exactly the thing to make me go to sleep. It worked I fell asleep somewhere around 9-930. In the past I've fallen asleep early and woken up way too early with not enough sleep. I've tried sleeping aids but they did the same thing. I really think the answer is down time and rest. Because I slept til 415 am. About 15 minutes before my alarm was set. I actually couldn't believe it, I double checked the time on my watch, my iPad, my phone. I got about 7 hours sleep! Wow that's amazing. I still felt a bit tired but that was a good start. 

John Kessler my camera guys camera guy was staying close enough in Indians to come down and help me get video of my run. He had to arrive at the air force base at 5am to get his media pass. 

Linda, Steve, Kelli and I were meeting up at 515 to start driving. We got to the base early. Which was fine. We walked around to the start line and took pics in front of huge planes. It was chilly and I thought I might run with pants and an extra shirt. I decided last minute on just shorts and the short and long sleeve shirt. We stretched interviewed with John and got to the start line. I was able to get a start time at 725am, with the wheelchairs and specialty wheeled people. Which is a great help to me. I put my blindfold on and a coup,e of minutes later we were off!! Later I would learn that the Air Force must've forgotten to turn on the tracking device I signed up for. They forgot to turn it on for the early runners. (maybe the later ones too I don't know). But my end time was around minutes short. Which is really annoying becaus ej don't have and EXACT time. 

The weather felt fine for the most part. Kelli already said she wanted to stop at every water station which I didn't like the sound of. To me that means extra time and extra stops and I didn't like the sound of that. But ok. I had already decided this race was going to take a long time because of both of our recent back problems. The course is mostly flat except for a big hill from mile 1-2. But it wasn't too bad. I brought my iPod with a running mix I made. So I was able to distract myself with music. 

We knew the only time John, Linda and steve was going to see us was around mile 10. Security was tight I guess. So Kelli and I took a little video ourselves with some planes inn the background. We did stop at almost every water stop but it usually wasn't more than a few seconds which was good. We were making good time. Real good time actually. We were doing a 10minutes on and walk one minute pace going on. We only took one pee break at mile 4. I took ibuprofen a couple of times during the race. And next thing you know we are On pace to possibly break the 5 hour time. Which sounded impossible. Originally months before I told Kelli I wanted to get a 5hour time for this race. But I threw out that expectation. And even during the run I wasnt holding my breath. There was a long  way to go. My fastest run ever was in Austin in April. Around 5:14. 

I usually don't want to know how I'm doing. It puts pressure on me but I wanted to know this time. I wanted a sense of how I was doing. And see if I was capable of pushing myself without killing myself. 

When we hit 13.1 it was about 2:23 min which was my fastest half by about a minute. 

By the time we got into the 20s I was feeling some pain, not back pain or sore toes pain, thank goodness.  Muscle pain in my legs. So how long could I last? 

Kelli decided we were breaking 5 hours. I had not decided that. I was going to be happy getting a good time and even beating my own best time. I didn't need the 5 hour break. But she didn't want to hear it. 

I was getting grumpy. I was frustrated, tired, annoyed and I was getting to be not so fun to be around. I think Kelli decided we going to run the last couple of miles no more breaks. I think maybe I can do it but the thought of making it x distant in x time seemed impossible. And I didn't want any additional stress or pressure especially after running 20 something miles. 

We were getting closer and closer and we were getting told wrong information like the finish is only .2 miles away (but we didn't pass a 26 mile mark), but I had it in my head we were that close. So mentally that's what I was ready for. It ended up being much much further. And Kelli was really pushing me to go faster. And I was not appreciating it. The last half mile felt like 10miles. It seemed to take forever! When we were finally close to the finish I some how tripped on keelis hell or something. Now when something like that happens and it happened a couple of times that I stumbled on somebody or bumped into someone, it now changes how my foot lands and now can affected that leg. Which that last time it did. My right calf cramped up. It felt like a crumpled piece of paper. And then my left one did it almost in competition with te other calf. Oh it hurt! But I was so close. I could hear myself making pained moaning sounds as I got closer to the finish. I raised my right arm with my folded cane as I usually do but this time my iPod fell out of the hooded velcroed to my arm. Kelli told me to keep running. It was only a handful of steps when she said shed go get it but I didn't know if I was done or not. I had to yell out to whoever was there. I had finished. And just seconds shy of 5 hours. Wow. 

Kelli got m iPod nd I got my medal. I was hurting tough. Just felt beaten up. I couldn't even enjoy my new time because I was feeling so bad. I tried to compose myself and get my bearings. I took my blindfold off and put on my 2 pairs of sunglasses but still kept my eyes closed for a while. 

It was over. I did it. 9 marathons done. I did what I thought I couldn't. Thanks to Kelli who I gave a hard time to but it paid off. She was actually a great guide. She didn't over do it, she didn't under do it. She was very optimistic. Which when I'm feeling negative is just what I need. 

So we got a beer, I use the porta pottie, needed to eat but I couldn't find food. I really just wanted to go back to the hotel ASAP! We lost Steve and Linda at one point. They had my bag and glasses. We tried waiting for them but I needed to leave. It was bright out and I was not feeling good. The last several miles were pretty hot and I wished I hadn't worn the extra shirt. John drove me back to the hotel while Kelli went looking for Linda and Steve. I'll get my stuff later. 

John did an interview with me at the hotel. I took a shower. I got my stuff from Linda and I ordered food from ruby Tuesdays. I started feeling better. Just laying down not doing anything. Felt great. I watched the Dictator with Sasha Baron Cohen, who I love, but the movie was really bad. 

I almost fell asleep at one point and tried to settle down for a nap or even just to go to sleep in the afternoon, but the bed was too hard and my body was in too much pain. And that combo meant I didn't get to sleep til about 11pm, maybe even midnight. 

But it was good sleep. Deep. 

Got up at 8am to meet Linda, Steve, and Kelli at the cracker barrel for breakfast. Did more laying about in the hotel room and went to the airport. Kelli flew back to Georgia and I am on a plane about to land in LA. 

Another damn marathon done! Please help me reach my goal. I have a long way to go still. I have 3 races left and $70,000 to raise. Please help. Thanks so much!!


Thanks guys! 

Mesa Falls, Idaho DONE!!! 8 down, 4 to go (August)

My toe is still purple but at least it doesn't hurt as much. Maybe it's because the doctor put a hole in my nail for the puss and blood to be squeezed out of. 

Mesa falls, Idaho

Arrived thursday and I had Arranged a fundraiser with Improv  underground. A short form games group that performs in Idaho falls. That's where the plane flew in. Idaho falls. Not exactly close to the marathon, so I made two hotel reservations, one for Idaho falls the first night and the next two nights inst Anthony. Closer to the Mesa falls area. 

I forgot my blindfold. I realized it when deb was driving me to the airport. That's a first. My mind is getting more and more scattered. She said shed mail it over night when she got back home. Later I would find out that it wouldnt be coming the next day because the towns I was staying in couldn't receive next day packages. It would arrive in Saturday (day of the marathon). Oh well. She sent it anyway just in case. 

Jennifer, my cousin and guide for this race, took a long time to fly in from Syracuse. She had to take 3 flights. So she was pretty tired. I don't think I got as much sleep as I would've liked so I was tired as well. And not looking forward to the first of 3 races with a 6 week time span. 

That's right. Mesa falls then 21 days later, Dayton and 22 days after that is Chicago. 

Jen got in a little before me so she was able to pick up the car rental and go back to the hotel until she needed to pick me up. The hotel was sort of falling apart. I think it was a comfort inn. I was in my rom only minutes when I started hearing a pat tern of banging sounds. I investigated where it was coming from and after calling the front desk to help me figure it out, we figured it was coming from inside the walls in the bathroom. Possibly and probably a loose pipe. That wasn't going to help me sleep that might so I changed rooms to the room next door. 

Jen and I played around with the idea of going to Yellowstone national park. We were a couple of hours away from it but it seemed like a lot of driving just to see Old Faithful. Maybe someday I'll get there. 

We didn't have much time to dilly or to dally. The show was starting at 7pm at the University. Seats 250. We got to the auditorium a little early and I met my contact Ryan, who I found through google and Facebook. Nice guy, looks like Ricky Gervais. Not nearly as obnoxious as Ricky (I love Ricky btw. Ricky if you're reading this I love ya. :) the folks of Idaho falls really went out of their way for me. They got some great local prizes for raffles And had local teen queens there addressing the audience and educating them on my disease. Which was very cool. The audience was low in numbers unfortunately. It happens and I think Ryan felt bad there weren't more people. It happens. It happens most of the time actually. 

This was a first for me though. I had no less than 3 crying babies to perform for. Talk about keeping it family friendly! I ended up buying some raffle tickets myself. Quite a few actually. I was hoping for some local food certificates. I ended up winning a bunch of stuff: gift certificate to a restaurant in a hotel another for a steakhouse type place, 5 haircuts, a thing of brownies form a local bakery, a basket of bread products and I think that was it. I gave the haircuts to Shelby, one of the improv underground peeps, enjoyed eating the brownies over the next 2 days. They were amazing. Had some of the bread from the basket and tried to use one of the certificates the next day. 

It was a fun show but Jenny and I were wiped out. We went back to the hotel. We went in our rooms and I ordered a pizza. I forgot how terrible dominoes is. 

The next morning we got up and went to breakfast at a place to use one of the certificates. It was the worst meal ever I think. Apparently the regular chef wasn't here so a prep cook had to make the meals. We waited about an hour, now there no one at this restaurant. A few people maybe. Most were partaking in the buffet. They brought me a simpler second meal and I ate some or most of it. And they didn't charge us for he meal. That's how bad it was. Oh well. 

I needed a blindfold and looked up on google maps fabric places. There was one close by called Moms Fabric, when we were searching around for it I noticed we wee in a residential area. Sure enough, moms fabric is someone's house. More specifically her store is in her garage. A sweet old lady who we interrupted washing her hair. I explained the situation and hot a piece of fabric for under $2. Turns out that woman has been running that business out of her house for 22 years. Wow. 

We went back to the hotel grabbed our stuff and headed toward mesa falls. It was packet pick up day. Usually this would be called an expo but since so few people run this race, it's just a packet pick up at the local elementary school. Some nice folks there. Hooked us up with bins and shirts. And we got to run for free. We found out about 150 people were running the marathon and another 250 or so was running the half or the 5k or something. Anyway only about 400 people running the next day. This is my smallest marathon of the year.

 So small I thought maybe I would try to listen to music this time. I happened to bring my iPod although it didn't really have a runners play list on it. It had more easy listening for the fundraiser I did in LA in March. But ok. I'll try it. I would have to leave one ear bud out so I can hear Jenny with no problems. Jen also ran st Louis with me in April. St Louis was my best time wise of the year so far.  

After the packet pick up we were recommended to drive up to Mesa falls and check out the waterfalls. So we did. It wasn't too far about 20 minutes or so. Beautiful country when you started seeing green, other wise a lot of open plains, almost desert like. But the falls were beautiful. We took a bunch of pics and headed back. Jen got distracted by a giant root beer display and it turned out it was a little diner hat specialized in root beer floats. this turned out to be good timing since we were both kind of hungry. But it was about 3pm now and we would need to eat our pasta dinner in a few hours time. So I just ordered a small float and grilled cheese. 

The hotel was ok, I had to switch rooms with Jen because we were each suppose to get a kin size bed Doug one of the rooms had two queen size beds. So she ended up with that room after. I kicked her out of the king size bed room. Look I'm a big guy that doesn't sleep well around marathon weekend. I needed it. 

I was still unclear on who was going to get footage of my run and how we were getting to the start line. They have shuttles but we would have to lose sleep in order to take a shuttle. I didn't want to do that. Ryan was gracious enough to drive out all the way from Idaho falls (about an hour away) came with his wife and baby in the car. And drive Jen and I to the start. And he used my camera to pick up footage. 

There was no place near the t could hook us up with pasta so we just picked up subway sandwhiches and called it a night. 

It was a little disorganized. I think it was 630 start time. We were getting there early by following one of the buses. We get to a point where there are several buses and a lot of people walking around and everybody's asking where the porta potties are. Long story short the porta potties and the start line was still ahead of us another half mile or so. Somehow we all got information wrong or something. It was weird. And by the way, it was freezing. Literally freezing temperatures. We were about 6300 feet up on a mountain. I wasn't expecting that. I had a spare running shirt and running pants in my bag for afte rthe race but it looks like I'd half to put it on early. I'm glad I did. 

By the way again, I gave Ryan the two certificates, leftover breads and the basket for helping me out. It was the very least I could do. He helped me huge! 

So we finally make it to the start line and put on my blindfold. I did my stretching back at the hotel. I went to sleep very early the night before and it paid off! I did it drug free and was able to get anoint 6 hours of pretty decent sleep. That's a first. I was still up at 2am but so what! I was psyched to sleep that much. 

Off we went. Jen was really really cold. Shivering. I felt bad for her. She was in little shorts, but the sun was coming up real soon. It was downhill like in salt lake city, but not as steep as salt lake. BUT the terrain was awful. The worst I ever ran in. The first 9 miles were on loose gravel. And there were impressions in the "road" from big tractors. So I  had to run very strangely many times. Picking up my knees and feet so I don't trip. We could here cows somewhere off in the distance. Everybody blew past us pretty early on. We took pee breaks in the woods every couple miles in the beginning. We thought after the 9 would be roads. And there were but briefly and only until we ran into the forest! We had to run on a trail, now this is where it got really dangerous. To get on the path there were some steep places so steep we had to really stop and walk down carefully. Then we get to the path which was really too narrow for 2 people. There were tracks like from a 4 wheeler with a strip of grass in the middle. So Jen ran on one side on one track and I ran on the other. I was constantly tripping over roots, rocks and who knows what. I really thought I was going to turn my ankle. Until the trail we ere making decent time. And I was feeling good until the trail. 3 miles we ran hat trail. For 3 miles. By the time I got out it felt like I ran the whole marathon. But we were only about half way through. But at least we had Somme roads. We didn't run for too long before the roads went up hill. We were warned about it but it still was tough. And the roads were open to cars and trucks and whatever else. They were wizzing by me just mere inches from me. That freaks me out I must say. Jen was getting pissed at how close they were coming to us and not going around us even thought there was room on the opposite side. That slowed us down too. Because she was constantly pulling me to the side and watching out for my safety but we were definitely slowed down because of it. 

Angel was video taping me and she was doing great. Shelby from improv underground knows her and she is also a runner and wanted to help. She was great. She popped up every couple miles taking video. She got my camera from Ryan after he left the start line. It seemed to work out pretty good. 

So now we are at about mile 20 . I give angel my extra shirt and pants to put in the bag because now its really hot and it's gonna get hotter. I'd say it was in the 80s I think. And the final 6 miles were on a moderate down grade on roads in open environment, so no shade. It was ok though. Jen and I had a pretty good system worked out and I crossed the finish line after 6:00:22.  That's fine. I'll take it. 

At the finish line were some people from the fundraiser writing to congratulate me. I apologized for keeping them waiting :) also who was waiting for me was a man ( and I never saw him becaus I was still blindfolded) who told me hat that race was his 329th race. And that it's his 200th consecutive month of racing. One a month for 200 months. He was trying to. Encourage me to do the same. Keep going! He said. I ask Ed how many of those were blindfolded? None he said. Well do one blindfolded and see how you like it. Maybe you wouldnt do so many and encourage me to keep going :) but it's also financially taxing. This is costing a lot of money flying around the country, usually 2 people, hotel for 2, food, etcetera. It'd be different if I could do it by myself, but ats just no possible right now. Maybe someday :)

I got interviewed by a woman I never saw because even though my blindfold was off now my eyes were closed. It was a little much to open them right away. 

Jen and I went to an ice cream place where runners got a free ice cream. It hit the spot. We swung by the subway again to get some take out. When we got to the hotelmy hands were pretty full and my eyes weren't adjusted yet. We walked up some stairs and there was a point where you turn 90degrees and walk up a few more stairs. But I couldn't really see them. I had one of my pairs of sunglasses on. The rug was brown. I was disoriented and and I tripped up the stairs. I felt a couple of my toe nails catch on my shoes (I should've trimmed them before I left LA, I usually do and didn't this time). My shins were nicely beaten up but could've been worse. I still had my compression socks on. But it felt like a couple of toe nails popped off. When I limped back in my from I was afraid to take the socks off. But I did. Ok they were still there. But a couple of them especially my left big one was throbbing and turned purple/blue. Sigh.

I tried icing it to get the swelling down that night but all I wanted to do was shower, eat and sleep. I got to sleep later than I would've liked. A family moved in next door with very high energy children that though it was fun to run up and down the hall making a racket. The parents seemed to have no problem with it. When I asked about changing rooms to the front desk they said they would have to chage me for another night. Sigh. I stayed and awaited it out. By 10pm it was quiet. And I was up for 20 hours and ran a marathon. 

The next day. Jen and I found a proper breakfast place and feasted. It was really good. We dropped the rental car off and we ended up being crazy early to the airport. we could've slept more! Damn. Poor planning on my part. Oh I got my blindfold when I got back from the marathon at the from desk. 

We were both flying to new York. Her to Syracuse, me to long island. To see Stone Temple Pilots at a little place called the Paramount, my friend rob got the hook up. I've never seen them before and I had a great time. Well worth flying in for 48 hours. While I was in ny I went into the city to have my picture taken by Men's Fitness magazine. They are doing a spread on me for the December issue(or maybe November?). 

After about a week my toe was still purple and still hurting. People suggested I put a hole in my nail and drain it. I didn't lie the idea of me doing it s o I went to a doctor who did it for me. Ever since its been better. And I can still squeeze stuff out of that hole. It's pretty gross. But it shouldn't cause me any problems for Dayton, Ohio. 

Please donate to my goal, I'm almost half way there! But more than half way done with my runs. Check out my website

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8 down! 4 to go!