The Brake Up


Hey! It’s been a while and I have a few people ask me what I have been up to.

I have been a little on the busy side and my new career has me writing and being creative I haven’t been here much other than to answer emails and stare at a blank page. I’ve been coping with my health and sleeping when I get the chance but other than that, my life has been … complicated.

While the missing details of the past 5 months are going to stay a mystery for now, I can tell you that I gave up sugar and all artificial sweeteners and that has been like wrestling with the devil himself. The detox portion of that fun detail was like living with a Banshee. I was frightening and cranky with zero patience. I am happy to report, I have been sugar free since January 14 and am still going strong, but the struggle is real. The side benefit is I feel amazing! I sleep better (except this weekend where stress is keeping me awake, but that will end soon), I have more energy and a side benefit is I am not struggling with my Acoustic Neuroma symptoms like I have been. That alone is enough to keep me from having birthday cake.

Sugar and I Broke up.

I went to Disneyland in January to run the 10k and hangout with my friends.

I retired from running Races, my health issues have side effects that make running unsafe.

Races and I Broke up… for now.

The Canadian Dollar is killing me. Until it goes up, I am on a no vacation lock down. I need to save my money for my 50th Birthday Celebration in 2017, Traveling and I have Broke up… or ‘on a break’ for 2016.

I came back from Disneyland with new insights to people and behaviours.

I reread my last blog post on Adulting. All 11 points are still true except I will add a #12.

12. Karma is real and just.

I broke up with old me and I am not going back, for any reason. Karma is right and I know it.

I know that while not everyone will like you, it isn’t necessary to share your feelings. Hurting someone for the sake of honesty is just bad manners. Do it if you are both working out issues or need clarity to strengthen your bond but just to be honest with no benefit is really hurtful. People behave in a particular manner for reasons unknown to you. If you can see the reason, it helps with understanding the behaviour. It doesn’t excuse it, but it helps. I can understand a situation better and bottom line is, I like to know the WHY.

I also avoid people I don’t like and who do not like me in return. This is perfectly fine. Not everyone is going to like you. You will make your self exhausted trying to be on their good side. Bottom line is, I am a grown up and I will take my pail and shovel and visit a different sandbox. You are not the only human in town. I am really okay with this. Life is too short to spend time with people on your playtime who are not in your inner circle.

I have learned I am selfish with my time. Having a brain tumour made me look at things from a very different perspective. My time is valuable and I will not waste it.

I engaged in a lengthy discussion with a person regarding people and behaviours. People as a rule are multifaceted. They will show you one side. When you are not around, they may engage in behaviour that you are not comfortable with. That is fine, it is their deal. But as soon as they message me or try to learn things about my friends that I am not willing to share out of respect, that is when I cut them off. I am loyal to the end, but give me a reason not to be and I will not waste my time any longer.

It was at this point I was beginning to feel reprimanded for not wishing to engage in behaviours I don’t feel comfortable with and for my actions that other people don’t like. I am pretty much a nonconformist, I am not easily influenced by other people  and I am completely comfortable with people not wanting to be with me for this reason. Why? Because I am an adult, I am comfortable in my own skin and I also like who I have become, but that doesn’t mean you need to.

I experienced a moment of clarity. I looked at this person and realized they were braking up with me. A long and round about conversation about me and my behaviour led to a situation where I was no longer tolerated. Friends do that. They brake up with each other.

I was confused at the time. This person went to great length telling me who was in their inner circle, who was their family and who they would do anything for. I was not included. That is fair. I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I have lots of friends and I know who is loyal to me and who isn’t.

I have spent the last few weeks reflecting on my behaviour. I am honest about my struggles, I have feelings like everyone else, I hope for the best for people and yet there is something about me that caused the need for finality. I know what my faults are, but they are also what make me who I am. I don’t intend to be hurtful, but apparently I am and I am sorry for that. It isn’t intentional.

When I was a kid, I looked up at my grandparents with the knowledge that they were grownups and knew everything and had it all going on. Now I am their age and my life still feels like high school. It makes me tired. I have a feeling that my grandparents didn’t have it all going on, they struggled too. I have watched my parents brake up with ‘friends’ and at the end of the day, you learn who really matters in your life and who doesn’t. My Dad always imparts the greatest wisdom, “You have to do what is right for you. You are not here to please everyone.” So with that, I begin to let go of being a pleaser. The first steps are always the hardest. PLEasing compromises me. I am not turning my back on compassion and kindness, but modifying me to please others is ending today.

Pleasing others and I have Broke up.

I have come a very long way since I started my journey as the Edmonton Tourist. I am not going to be what everyone needs. But I have finally come to the point in my journey where I can honestly say, I am not here to be what you need, I am what I need. That is finally enough for me.

When I started this blog on August 15, 2010, I thought I would have everything solved and I would be ‘fixed’ by the age of 50. While my journey is not yet finished, and I have many more lessons to learn along the way, I know I am enough. I wish you the best and your secrets will always be safe with me because I am a lot of things, both good and bad, but I will always be loyal.



Lessons learned because Adulting is hard

I heard wise words from a friend today: Adulting is hard.

Amen Sista.

If pain, hardship and emotional turmoil equate learning opportunities, then I am now a genius.

I am two days away from getting to sleep in my own bed after a month of living in my car and out of my suitcase. I experienced some pretty amazing things but I also felt the sharp sting of pain that cuts so deep I may not recover from it. I will have to alter my gait and keep moving until I develop new muscles that will assist me better.

Ready for the Edmonton Tourist Top 11 Adulting Lessons:

  1. There is a huge difference between Canadian small talk and American small talk. Or maybe I was just with people who felt the need to feel superior over me. At any rate, I learned that people will ask you questions and demand answers. You don’t have to answer them. You can say no. OR you can answer them and school those people on a few things, like Canadians don’t want to grow up and be Americans. We like you but we are proud to be Canadians. We also have our own role models and none of them happen to be American. Its cool that you have American Role Models, please accept that mine are not. Mine are Canadian because that is where I grew up and it is what I know and it makes me proud. Lesson Learned: Be proud of who you are and where you come from. Don’t let someone shame you into feeling otherwise.
  2. You can be the kindest, most supportive human on the planet but that doesn’t mean you get it in return. I learned that no matter what I do, I cannot force someone to want to spend time with me. They need to want to and if they do, they will make an effort. If zero effort is made, chances are, you are being used. This is painful. Lesson Learned: Be kind because it is the right thing to do not because you wish to gain from the experience.
  3. Secrets cause problems. If you share a secret, expect it to be told. Then you can expect confrontation. Just because you are loyal and can keep a confidence, does not mean this is true for everybody. Lesson Learned: Never share what you don’t want known.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings. It is easy to get lost. Pay attention to landmarks and signs. Your grandpa isn’t always available to lead the way. Lesson Learned: Don’t rely on GPS, learn to read a map.
  5. People who are not genuine do not smile with their eyes. Or they are tired of you….either way proceed with caution. Lesson Learned: It is important to be true to you, they will judge but who cares, just be the best version of you.
  6. It is okay to say no. I am pretty good at this now. But there is always that one person I cannot say No to. Lesson Learned: Start Practicing today.
  7. Choose your children over adults. I was faced with a situation of wanting to be somewhere or being with my child. I chose my child. This showed her that she is important to me, that I value her and that she can count on me always. Lesson Learned: Listen to your instinct when raising your children, no one knows your child better than you.
  8. Experiences are better than things. I met a gal who is successful in business but doesn’t have much to say. To have the ability to say things, you must experience things. Read a book, travel somewhere, site-see in you home town, I don’t care what it is. Experience things, enjoy the moment, don’t worry about what other people have or don’t have. Lesson Learned: No one can take your experience away.
  9. Stand up for yourself. I always wished I’d have that friend who would have my back. Not everyone is strong enough to do that. You will be disappointed if you wait for someone to stick up for you. Lesson Learned: You can always count on you.
  10. You cannot make everyone happy. If you try, no one is happy and you become miserable. Figure out what you need to happy then do it, everything else will fall into place. Lesson Learned: If people don’t like it, they can leave.
  11. Signs are everywhere. Pay attention. Don’t sleep your life away. When lost, the answer come if you are still enough. #11 saved me on this trip more times than I care to count. I pay attention and suddenly the answer appears. Lesson Learned: Signs are actually you believing in yourself. Trust what you know.

Sonoma Valley and Lasseter Family Winery

I was in Monterey for breakfast and I began balling again. I am home sick in the worst way. So we changed plans. I am going home quicker than first expected.

I googled Lasseter Family Winery and discovered you need to book an appointment for Wine Tasting and Tour. Every other Vineyard I had been to was just pull up, saddle up to the bar, purchase wine tasting, buy a bottle and go home.

Yeah…. not this place. Lasseter Family Winery was an EXPERIENCE.

IMG_0583We pulled up to the locked gate and had to buzz in. My instinct is to not do it. Run and not bother them, but the hubs pressed the intercom, we were told we were WAY early but we could come in anyways.

We drove through fields of grapes that led to the smallest vineyard parking lot I had ever seen.

IMG_0562The gardens in the front were beautiful with a fountain and sweet smelling flora.

IMG_0563As we approached the building, the doors were locked. It was like visiting someone’s home and I was rude because I tried to just walk in. I knew I was early so I attempted to sit on the porch in rocking chairs made from wine barrels when the door open. A very friendly and kind man opened the door and said, “Please come in from the heat! Would you like to freshen up or sip on some ice water?” As we entered the foyer I glanced around a saw the lavatory, the Wine Room, the Barrel Room and the Office, all off the central entrance. It really did have a family home feel to it. Beautiful knotted carpets on the floor, lovely original wine label art, padded benches and pillows for lounging.

Byron, our host, asked us to make ourselves comfortable while we waited for the other group to arrive. He gave us literature about the vineyard history while we waited. Me being a HUGE Lasseter fan of animation and story telling, drank everything up.IMG_0566 IMG_0565 IMG_0567 Soon 4 more guests arrived and Byron asked if we would like to walk out to the vineyard? Everyone complained about the heat. I said, “Yes please, I am up for anything! Besides, I am Canadian and there was snow in my neck of the woods a week ago so no one gets to complain about weather.” Byron smiled and led some of us out to the vines.

He explained about this Winery being certified organic and sustainable. The vines rarely get watered, even in this drought because of the deep water tables. The vines fine the water they need and take just enough to thrive. He explained about the various habitat houses used for pest control, bat houses, blue jay houses, owl houses, all used to keep bugs, rats, moles and gophers away. Natural vine canopies are used to keep the grapes from burning in the hot sun. No man-made pesticides or other products are used in the vineyard, the compost their own materials and and practice seasonal planting to keep nutrients in the soil. They raise bees to sustain their farm, be ecologically friendly and – well – bees are natures pollinators, they keep the earth growing and make delicious honey!

IMG_0569 IMG_0570 IMG_0571Water drip lines are installed for ‘just in case’ but so far they hadn’t been needed. Byron then let us taste the grapes growing on the vine. I was surprised at the sweetness. They aren’t all ready for harvest yet, the Zindenfel grapes were harvested last week at night to protect the fruit from bruising. They are less delicate in the cool of the night.

Once the fruit is picked it moves into a de-stemer and the fruit is moved to the masher where the juice is separated from the skins – unless the skins are required for colour. Everything but the juice is then mashed and composted on site for future use.

The juice is then poured into fermentation tanks where the wine master adds yeast to begin the process. Heat is applied to speed the process but monitored very carefully.

IMG_0575Unlike other wineries, Lasseter doesn’t use cooling bands, their vats are are thematically controlled.

Once the juice becomes fermented, it is time to pour into barrels. Each Barrel is made by a Cooper out of white oak and is toasted to different levels. Toasting is part of what gives the wine vanilla notes or chocolate notes. The barrel is flamed or heated until it reaches the desired toasted level. The winery purchase various toasted barrels to the tune of $3000 a piece. The Wine Master uses these barrels to create the master piece all based on the Lasseter’s pallet. When they want a spicier wine, a different barrel is used. Wine sits in the barrels between 18-36 months for the proper amount of aging. A barrel has a life span of about 6 years then they are sold off mostly to whiskey or furniture companies.

IMG_0572 IMG_0573 IMG_0574All Lasseter wines are blends based on Nancy Lasseter’s love of Bordeaux. We were given a sample of Enjoue.


A lovely dry rosé wine, chilled to perfection. We sipped on it as we toured the barrel room. You’ll notice the etched logo on the glass. That is the Lasseter Family Crest that John Lasseter desinged on a flight from Ireland while visiting Nancy’s family. He thought they should have a crest. Nancy is the Rose, He is the Bee – an omage to his first animation short in 1985. The 5 grapes are their sons. He then told Nancy that this crest was going to be the logo for the Winery that was going to be their ‘one day’ dream. He had been making wines and bottling it at Tommy Smother’s place down the road. Then this vineyard came up for sale and boom…The Lasseter Family was in the Wine business. Except, they only make it for fun and what they like. Therefor a boutique winery yielding 3800 cases a year. Not nearly enough to sell in stores. These are exclusive only to the Winery members, visitors and to 1 restaurant in Walt Disney World and one restaurant in Disneyland. Their Enjoue won a top 10 placement the first year it was produced and they family hasn’t looked back since.

We then moved into the Wine Tasting Room where the table was set for 6.

IMG_0568 IMG_0579Each wine was paired with a local cheese, fruit, jam, nuts and chocolate. It felt like an intimate dinner party for 6 with Byron sharing stories about the wine’s origin and complexities. Discussions were held about Lasseter. The guests were unsure of who he really was in the Disney scheme of things, luckily for them, I knew the origins of Pixar from its beginnings at Skywalker Studios for Computer Animation, to Steve Jobs entering the picture and How Lasseter was fired from Disney. Byron was impressed, he only knew the winery history. Well…I am an animation fan and a huge Lasseter fan. I was a kid in the candy store.

After the tasting ended, Bryon gave some of us (me) another pour. And then I requested 6 bottles – one of each of the exclusive wines plus an extra Enjoue because its extra yummy and will be delightful on my deck on a hot summer evening.

I then told Byron what an amazing experience I just had and I attributed to him and his ability to make us feel like family. His easy going manner made this wine stop the best one yet. Therefore it was time to stop because everything will pale in comparison. He was floored and hugged me. He invited me back and to me to call him personally so I could get in. But really, he was just the nicest guy, the kind of man I would love to have dinner with and just chat about about stuff. The kind you would consider having as a friend.

IMG_0580I will do this again, and next time bring more friends who will like Bryon as much as I did.


500 Miles for SMA: The Finale Part 2 – My right arm is missing

So Thursday Joe crossed the finish line at the Disneyland Esplanade.


I was there, his wife was there, his daughter was there, his team support was there and it was recorded live on Periscope for his mom and others to watch.


It was pretty emotional for most of us. Not everyone understands what exactly happened or how incredibly difficult it was for him. Over $11 000.00 was raised and more donations keep coming in so a final tally hasn’t been completed yet.

We had big plans for all the DAWS team to be there, hang out and have a fantastic time. Fatigue and post event stress disorder took over and made the weekend less epic than expected, but lovely just the same.

I cannot express how in awe I am of this man.

Here is Day 1 and Day 17:


I am guessing he lost around 20lbs and his muscles became more defined.

I am currently retracing the steps he ran, while driving home from LA. Lets recap: I drove to Monterey today. and it took 10 hours in my CAR, and I speed. Joe ran everyday without complaint and it took him 17 days…on foot. IT IS FREAKIN FAR PEOPLE!

I cried a lot these past few days. I knew I would be feeling post event stress and let down. It is better and worse than expected.

Better because it was a ton of work and I am exhausted, I am happy to not be doing it.

Worse because I didn’t anticipate how much I would miss him.

He is my pal. He apparently is also my right arm and it feels like its missing. It’s in New York tonight so I am typing this one handed. Not easy for me.

Also worse because we had an epic crew of 2, his daughter and my daughter. They are also great pals. A piece of my heart flew to Florida yesterday and the rest of my heart flew to Edmonton today. So here is me, homesick like crazy, still sleeping in a hotel, without my heart and right arm.

There is also the factor of the missing half of me who was my stress support. She also left for New York yesterday. She was my medical back up and sounding board. She calmed me down when I was hysterical and when I cried for no reason. I miss her like a sister. I am a disaster.

Post event fun came and went with unmet expectations and experiences that were unexpected. I think I was too tired for Disneyland to enjoy it properly. Effects of being in the car endlessly enhanced some of my symptoms that I live with and caused me to miss my races. I am a disaster in the truest form.

I miss things I never expected to and hate things I also didn’t expect to. I have the marathon blues in the worst way.

But wait: I just had a life altering experience. I learned things I never would have without this. I know myself better. I gained personal and professional experience on a level I had never fathomed. I learned that not everyone is good at keeping secrets and now I know who I can share with and who has my back. I learned that supporting your friend in achieving his goal is likely one of the most rewarding experiences I will will ever have. There were very few of us involved in this. Some were on the phone and some were in the car. Their  worth and contribution was as valuable as the next. I got to know people I never met before and had a chance to experience their perspective. I became part of a larger family. I also felt more alone that humanly possible.

My daughter said it best, you think you know what is going on and then you actually live it. Two completely different things. Amen sister.

Tonight I feel alone. Everyone is tucked up in their beds at home and I am frying in a Super 8…ITS SO HoT!

I miss my kids, I miss my puppy, I miss my bed,and I miss fall.

I miss my team and my right arm.

We did great team because tonight, plans are in place to change lives all because a boy from the Bronx decided to run 500 miles so people do not have to go through what he and his mom went through when his 2 baby brothers dies in infancy.

Here is to Jonathan and Robert, two young boys who lived a very short time but made a giant impact on those around them so their brother could do great things in their name.

500 Miles for SMA: The Finale Part 1

August 16 I arrived in San Francisco to Join my pal Joe as his support crew so he could run from The Walt Disney Family Museum to the Gates of Disneyland.

Fast Forward September 19, 2015. We are on Disney property, arrived yesterday. I have big giant bats in my belly because all the butterflies were destroyed by the bats. Nerves are killing me.

We made it this far and are not finished yet. We have about 10 miles left as of this post.

I think back over the the past 2 years when we began planning. We faced a lot of negative bashing. “You’ll never do it” “Its ridiculous to think its possible” “you’ll never reach your goal” “you are CRAZY”

If you know Joe like I do, then you knew he would do it. He is the one guy whose mental strength can over power his physical being. To be honest, I didn’t really know why I said I would help. I knew he could do it. It angered me that no one supported this idea and I knew he needed support.

So I signed up.

I wanted to quit a million times before we started but I stuck it out. Now I am one of 2 people on the planet who truly understand what happened out there. That reference when only people understand who lived it really applies here. TEAM has a new meaning for me.

I learned a lot about me. I learned a lot about Joe. We both learned a lot about the people closest to us.

I learned he hates White Food, is afraid of bears and cougars, and can bounce back from being run over by a car – 11 times. I learned his instinct is to do things on his own and asking for help is hard. I learned that karma is healing and paying debt is painful but necessary. I learned that some people don’t understand hard. I learned that some people are surprisingly supportive when you expected them to be jerks. I learned that past actions can be forgiven but not forgotten. I learned that moms are okay with waking me up but not him.

We are reluctant to celebrate because we are not done. For the first time I have been in Disneyland for 2 days and have not walked through the park gates. I am still working. I will relax once I get that final finish line hug. I am sure I will cry. I didn’t want distractions.

We had a final ‘family crew’ dinner last night, just the 4 of us. Our girls arrived last Friday to help and support and indeed they did. I am super proud of their efforts, their comic relief and the women they have become. Words cannot express my excitement for witnessing their bright future.

I am relieved this is almost over and I am devastated it is almost over.

$11 000.00 raised for the Do Away with SMA Foundation where will support families for the little things they need that funding just wont help with.

Let’s get this done Big Guy, I am proud to call you my friend and am sure this is that reason we talked about. I love you to the moon and back.

And I called it – I knew you could do it. Sucka….


500 Miles for SMA: I have no idea what day it is and other FUBARS

It is some day during this event. Joe told we are half way. I don’t even know what that means.

I get up, make food, get ice, make ice packs, make cold compresses, gather food, load the car, get gas, buy groceries, drive, scout, map routes, drive, check route, check on runner, drive a head, drive back to feed/hydrate/cool down runner, find finish line, go back and tell runner where finish line is, make sure runner is safe, make dinner, tend feet… yep I just said that, stretch out a body that isn’t mine.

Then I shower, and go to bed.

Rinse Lather Repeat.

I have no idea what day it is. My vivoactive won’t tell me what time it is: Dear Garmin, we hare have in BIG FREAKIN CHAT when I get the chance.

Do I regret agreeing to this?

Not a chance.

We have raised – get this – close to $8000 for SMA.

Worth every second.

Things I have learned:

1) My super power is Navigation. I knew I was fluent – but holy hell – I hardly use my GPS. I drive from several towns away. I get there by the running route, come home via the fast way. I don’t know how I do it other than I think about it logically and BOOM. Hello hotel – screw you Pheobe (my GPS unit) I don’t need you anyways!

2) I have a crap ton of transferable skills. I know how to do and fix things that would impress MacGiver.

3) I am always in ‘Teacher’ mode. I went to the Sports Authority today and and they are not Authorities. The Manager and I had a conversation about what I needed. I was specific. I asked for friction free RUNNING socks. I don’t care the brand – I prefer Balega or Wright, but not really caring. He didn’t know what that was. Fine….show me where your running socks are. Scattered everwhere (for the record – crap selection). Fine….I need a pair of Brooks Cascadias in a 11.5 2E. He brought me to the Asics section and told me they were what I was looking for. Dude – Asics are too heavy. They are covered in Gortex – this is a DESERT. they will be too hot. Show me Saucony trails – he showed me cleats. Really? Lets have a chat about shoes okay? A quick little PK (Product Knowledge) session. I need Brooks. My runner runs in Glycerine 13s they are wide in the toe box. He has Fred Flintstone Feet. I need a wide shoe. You telling me a D width will be fine is not fine. I know it is too small because I apparently just schooled you in shoes! Its okay if you don’t have what I am looking for. Tell me you don’t have it or tell me you don’t know what I am talking about. Its okay, I know you are a glorified Sport Check – but HOLY HELL – DO NOT ACCUSE ME OF NOT KNOWING WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. Jerk.

4) I gave up diet coke and I am the crankiest person on the planet because of it. I feel better but DAMMIT addiction is freakin hard! I went to the vending machine, drooled on the glass a bit and bought a lemonade. You suck lemonade.

5) I am impervious to Sunscreen. I apply it everyday – twice a day. My arm is fire-engine red. I wear a long sleeve over my arm that is in the sun. I burn fast and I burn well. I kick ass at sunburns.

6) Apparently 4:00 AM is the best time to think. My brain wakes me up every morning at 4 to think about stuff. I am living the El Camino Trail here in California. I have learned things I never wanted to know. I have cried like a baby. I have been more angry than you could ever imagine. Karmic debt will be paid in full once this is done. Then I will move forward and leave a pile of crap behind. Its cathartic. Its painful.

7) I get irrationally angry at people I don’t know. I am concerned I may shoot my mouth off without thinking properly. Sometimes at 4 in the morning, that is a fantasy I have. Sometimes I  get excited to say these things to people I haven’t met. It will be interesting how it all plays out. Clearly, I wont say anything unless provoked….I am Canadian after all.

8) I am not a magician. I can’t force Joe to eat/sleep/or do stuff I tell him. He is pretty good at doing stuff because he is that tired. He lets me direct him/assist/provide for him. But telling me to make him do something is impossible. I can’t make him do anything. He is bigger than me. Mostly tho, he is super cooperative and a super patient. If he wasn’t, I’d tell his mom. She has become my pal.

9) my car has a special kind of funk living in it. I need to buy Febreez

10) Haggen has the best Grocery Deli I have ever seen in the USA.

11) Joe keeps telling me he couldn’t do this without me. Right back atcha pal. I couldn’t do this without you either. I’d look stupid driving back and forth for no reason. Seriously, we are a kick-ass team.

P.S. Don’t shave the beard – the Hockey Gods heard you and that would bring a decade of bad luck.


500 miles for SMA: Day 4 – Lessons Learned

This is something Joe published over on 500 Miles for SMA. How the man can still think a coherent thought is beyond me. He feels pressure from everyone. Pressure to blog, pressure to post photos, pressure to run every second. I try to get him to get out of the game at dinner time and we talk about stuff that isn’t charity or run related. The mental break is important. We came back, bid good night until 6:00 AM tomorrow and I find him publishing blogs at 9:30 PM.

He needs sleep in the worst way.

This is how far he has come:


When we drove to the start line this morning he couldn’t believe how far he ran. These are his words:


So I am four days in to this long distance run, and the education I’ve gotten thus far is truly fascinating.

Day 1: The hills were a killer from the Presidio to my stopping point south of Daly City.  You’ve heard me say this a bunch of times: hills are stupid.  But…not training on them is stupider.  That’s right – I used a word that isn’t even a real word in order to get the idea across.  Lesson learned: don’t just recommend hill repeats to other people – actually step up the hill work yourself.  Because I did not do enough training on hills, these hills did a number on me both physically and mentally.

Day 2: I made it south of Half Moon Bay.  Today was a trial because of logistics.  Detours and mishaps galore.  Lesson learned: be ready to accept whatever the day has in store for you.  Roll with the punches.  Take those little mishaps and translate them into necessary obstacles that stand between you and your goal.

Day 3: I made it to Watsonville.  Safety was the concept of the day.  I found the hood of a Toyota 4×4 at one point (no harm done – I got lucky), and had to dive into piles of dirt and high grass more than once whilst running on busy roadways – even though I was safely in designated bike lanes at the time.  There were several points where, based on the traffic volume, I made the decision to not run sections of the pre-plotted course.  I had to make this call, because the first key to accomplishing this long distance effort is a requirement to FINISH the event.  Experiences on day three had me a bit gun shy on Day 4.

Day4: I was reminded of a very important concept today – just because a day starts off FUBAR, does not mean it needs to stay that way.  I had a goal of arriving in Monterey, and I hit it.  Have a goal, be able to visualize it, and let it be a carrot that hangs in front of you throughout the day.  You need a finish line each day – and that goes for any task you are looking to achieve over a duration of time.

I’ll try to provide additional details as we go.  I’ve been a bit fried from the effort thus far – but I feel a second wind coming.

I want to again express my sincere thanks to everyone following this effort, as well as everyone who donated thus far.  This run means a lot to me, as both of my brothers were claimed by SMA type I.  It’s something I spend time thinking about each morning that I lace up my running shoes during this event.

And to all of you competing this weekend in any event: good hunting.

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500 Miles for SMA: Day 3 – Holy Hotness Batman!

In the words of Rob Thomas when he sang Santana’s Smooth….It’s a hot one

It started out grey and cloudy, perfect running temperatures north of Santa Cruz, we ended close to Monterrey in the blistering sun.

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Joe bounded into my room this morning for breakfast like a puppy – all full of energy and excited. This was a welcome change from his nervousness and concern of the past 2 days. He FELT great. He looked strong and ready to roll. Me, however, I felt like crap. I need to figure out how to worry less so I can relax more. The last thing I want is for Joe to fall or get hit by a vehicle, so I am constantly driving a head checking the route, making sure things are good. Then I race back, feed and water him, race ahead and get groceries/gas/Starbucks…that’s right, I am not camping, I need my coffee.

Today was interesting, people are beginning to ask about the sign on my car and about Joe’s Epic Run. One lady flagged me down at the street light in Aptos to ask what SMA was. Clearly we are raising awareness, Goal 1 met! People are donating money too, Goal 2 met! We are finished day 3 and I am calling this successful already. Now to get him to the finish line in one healthy piece and I will be satisfied.

I mentioned yesterday about our arguments. They go EXACTLY like this:

Me: It’s been an hour, eat this.

Joe: No I’m good, I’m fine.

Me: Eat this.

Joe: No I am good

Me:Eat this

Joe: No


Joe: Fine….

I win because he knows he needs to keep his energy stores up. It aids in recovery and in the amount of distance he is able to do. So far, so good. I watch for signs of cramping, brain fog, dehydration – we have just encountered Brain Fog – fig newtons fix that. It means he needs sugar. Salt levels are good and I took his pulse today – all good. He gets really hot so I a have cloths soaking in the ice bucket for the back of his neck and forehead, ice packs ready for his legs and and ice to fill his water bottle with to lower his core temperature. I think this helps, at the very least he feels supported and I think that is half the battle, knowing he isn’t alone in this and there is someone who has his back.

We were in farm country today. Workers bent over in the fields endlessly. I appreciate my food more today than I did yesterday.

I found Fleet Feet today. As a gal from the Running Room, I had to explore! Shoe prices are only about $20 less than in Canada and with the exchange, I’d be paying WAY MORE. But those gals knew their stuff! I was listening to the gal in the shoe pit  – I’d hire her. After their customer left, we talked about differences in the stores. They carry more weird socks and feet things, not as much accessories and less shoes. But if I lived in Santa Cruz – I would shop there because those gals know their stuff.

I texted Joe to see if he needed any gear – we are good. He may need new shoes before the month is up but he brought 3 pairs, so we will see. Everything else is good. We are well supplied. We just need more shade.

We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Please consider donating to help us find a cure to stop the #1 genetic killer of children under the age of 2. Joe’s lost two brothers to SMA and we think no one should have to watch their children die.

500 Miles for SMA: Day 2

Today was rough.

Hills were easy compared to today.

We started out at Devil’s Slide, it is the old HWY 1 but erosion and unsafe driving conditions had the State build a tunnel through the mountain. They developed Devil’s Slide as a pedestrian only trail. It was the only way for Joe to complete that leg of the trip.


I dropped him off on the north side of the parking lot, wished him well and I drove through the tunnel that brought me out on the other side. I parked on the far south of the parking lot, sat on a rock and waited. Dawn on the ocean is a pretty amazing time. It was quiet – for California, there were pelicans, gulls and whales. I could have sat there all day, and I wish I had.

I waited for Joe to arrive and he raved about his views as well. To say the Pacific Coast of California is anything but spectacular would be a lie. It is simply stunning.

Drought is causing real issues here on the coast. Trail erosion has closed down trails that we had hoped to utilize. finding safe spots on the road to continue has been tricky. We cross the highway to access roads and trails, and when they end, we cut back in search of other roads and trails. We were able to find access to the coastal trail that lead over 17 miles. But it ended with a locked bridge. The plan was to go around, but the trail on the other side was closed too. Drought conditions are so severe, they need to preserve the trails so they don’t fall into the ocean.


23.2 today when we had hoped for 35 miles. It just became so laborious to find suitable road.

The good news is, tomorrow the shoulders are wide enough to run on the highway. We decided the safest way would be to run facing traffic. That way he can see what is coming.

It is also straight – which is important because it is exhausting chasing him to head into the correct direction. With all the changes, it has been a challenge to keep to the right path.

We are so close to Santa Cruz, I am sure he will run through part of it tomorrow.

I have to say, if you ever decide to give this a try, do it with your pal. We are having the best time and laugh most of the time and fight the rest. But if you know us – it is expected. That is our thing. I can argue and fight with Joe the way I argue and fight with my brother Mike. It is a thing of beauty. Arguments of EPIC proportions. That is part of the fun.

Joe hasn’t slept in days but I think he will finally sleep tonight. Which is good, because I am planning a 35 mile day tomorrow.

500 Miles for SMA: Day 1

First day done, in the books, finished.

Mileage was short but the course was challenging. If you have ever been to San Francisco or have seen it in movies you may understand the kind of hills we are dealing with. Joe is from New York. He thought he knew what a hill was… yeah… no he didn’t.

When we started at the Presidio, he told me that was a tough hill. I replied with “By the time we are done today, you will wish you just running a little hill like that one”

The Start Line

That was no joke. The hill over on Skyline drive made me think I needed to put my car into low gear to climb it. And I wasn’t running it. But he did it. It was long and steep, the back side was also long and steep. But he did it. There was trails and switchbacks he climbed and trails and switchbacks he scaled down, because what goes up must come down.

Long long climb What goes up must come down


My end of things kept me hopping. People kept texting us wishing us well and asked if I was bored.


When you run support for someone there is a lot to do. I needed to drive a head to make sure areas were safe and clear, I made him eat, drink regularly, make ice packs, check cognitive abilities, sunscreen applications and shop for stuff I forgot. I brought a book to read – and I didn’t get through the first chapter today. The Midwife of Venice. I average 55 books a year, I am not going to get through this book in a couple of days. So no, I am not bored. But seriously, the views! Why do I live on the prairies?

Once he reached the finish line at Pacifica on the Beach, we went through the recovery routine of ice for the legs, chocolate milk, pretzels and a banana. We drove to the hotel and he stretched for 45 minutes, showered and napped. I have to admit, his recovery was better than I expected. He is really ready for this. His training and his Coach The Bad Man, have him ready.

We had dinner overlooking the ocean. It is just water, but I could stare at it for days. We drove the next course and it also will not be easy.

Tomorrow we need to make a better effort to keep the Garmin ON. he did 22 miles today my my calculation but he lost 5 miles on the Garmin because he was daydreaming. Its all good. He deserves to think about what he wants if it makes his legs go. We will have a tough time tomorrow. Road conditions will make some parts unsafe. So I will drive those parts. I made a promise to his mama that I would make sure his efforts would be smart. He will run some beach, some paths but sometimes on the road.

The views make his efforts worth it.

Please help support Joe’s effort by donating to

You can listen to Joe’s story on Mickey Milers