So sorry for the lack of communique of late, but I'll do my best to recap the past few days, though they've been quite a blur. Sunday evening we were able to go down to D.C. to visit my brother (aka team physician), his wife, and my 5 year old nephew, and we saw photos of my 3 new nephews and 1 new niece, but they are all still staying in the hospital for now- they look amazing though! After a great, but short visit we cruised back up to Frederick, MD where we went to sleep for an hour and a half before waking up for our midnight start there. Stumbling with half open eyes, we made it to the start and were greeted by a great group of folks! Larry, the race director was there ready to go with his bicycle to lead me through the course, Jason was there to run the entire thing with me, and Stu (a college friend who now lives in Baltimore) was there with a friend to cruise with me for the first chunk. It was awesome to see them all in the middle of the night out there ready to run! So run we did- we were off, and Larry was an awesome guide through the course, entertaining with running tales, stories of races run, etc. Gus joined in with us about 8 miles in, and went for quite a ways before going home, and Suzanne and her husband joined in around the 10 mile mark and carried me in to the end! I never would've imagined such incredible support from such wonderful folks for a middle of the night run, but it really helped carry me through to the end. Just as we finished a light sprinkle of rain began, so we said our goodbyes, and we were off. Had a quick massage, ice bath, and we were off to D.C. We started just a few minutes after 7am from the White House, and met up with friends Dave and Ann and a few other folks before taking off. Dave let Kirsten borrow his bike for the day, which was phenomenal. A few ladies ran with me for the first few miles and then had to go, but I just kept doing loops around the Mall between Washington Monument and the Capitol (about 2 miles) until I made it to 26.2, which wasn't for quite some time as the fatigue factor set in rather quickly, my system was completely out of whack and not functioning well, and the temperature climbed. But I finished up eventually, and had a great crowd of friends there at the finish to surprise me- family friends Caroline and Betty, Eden and her new fiancee Drew, Dave, Clay, and also Amy who had been out all morning taking awesome photos of me while I ran (I'll get some posted up on the website soon!). We packed it in and went back to Caroline's house for a wonderful lunch and the usual massage/icebath before we were off again. We went into town to CNN for a quick interview, which went really well and was a lot of fun, then we were on the road for VA Beach.
We made it into VA Beach late evening and Ted and Betty Hanawalt so graciously hosted us in their new home there. Dr. Ted was the pastor in Bay St. Louis last year when the hurricane hit and when I first went down there, and was there until he and Betty moved up to VA Beach to be with family the beginning of this year. It was so wonderful to catch up with both of them and see how well they are doing. On Tuesday morning we were all ready to go run very early, ready for our 6am start when I realized I'd forgotten to charge my GPS watch the night before. So we all had to sit around sipping coffee for about an hour until the thing got charged up, but we got started eventually! Dr. Ted rode on his son Ed's motorcycle with him, leading me through the course, and their son Eddie rode with Betty, and of course my normal crew followed along too, so we had quite the caravan. A friend from Rhodes, Seth met up with us at the start and had waited patiently for us even while the watch charged, and he cruised with me strong for a solid 8 miles or so. The sun got pretty warm toward the end of the run, but it was a fun course. I ran the Rock N Roll Half Marathon forwards and backwards to make a full as we had some trouble getting course details finalized on the other marathon I was to run. Not a problem though! We made it on the road to Wilimington and got in there late evening as well. We had incredibly gracious hosts again- friends Hannah and Norm who I had met on the coast last year when they came down to volunteer! We had a wonderful dinner there, spiced with visits from 2 news crews, and were off to bed fairly early. After a wonderful sleep we were off and going early to make it to an in studio news show a little after 6, then on to the course start at 6:45. There was an amazing crowd of runners there to meet us! Ed Fore, the Battleship Half Marathon race director had called in the troops through the local road running club and everywhere else, and the support was incredible. I ran the half marathon course twice, and had a handful of wonderful folks that ran the whole first half with me. I also had a great friend Ryan join me on the bike for the entire run- he had just moved to WIlmington, so it was a wonderful surprise. Norm also escorted me much of the way on his bike, which was awesome. After the first loop, the runners with me stopped, and there were fresh recruits to run the second loop with me! This really kept my spirits up, and was so much fun. It really felt like being in a real race. There were water stops almost every time I lifted my eyes up, so I was probably more hydrated than I've ever been- it was phenomenal! Another wonderful group had a waterstop set up at a spot I went by 4 times total, and it was the best oasis! After a wonderful run, we did the usual post-race routine and were off for a great lunch in town with some of the wonderful crew that had been out this morning. Then we were off to South Carolina. Though the shedule says differently, we are in Columbia right now and will be running the Governors Cup race course here tomorrow morning twice (it's a half marathon course), as the plans to run at Kiawah Island fell through. We've made it here safely though, and Kirsten's parents Eric and Kathy flew in here this afternoon as well from Seattle and have arrived safely. They'll join us for the remainder of the trip, and it should be great! Looking forward to another great run (6am start) tomorrow!