Hello. It's me again. I know I've been missing for awhile, but life has been speeding by in a flash. I hope everyone has stuck around long enough to see what I've been up to.
I had a decent summer since the Annapolis 10 miler, but I was pushing for the half marathon distance. I wanted to do it so badly I could taste it. I went on a long run with a friend Melissa, from my running club and I was pushing to reach 12 miles for my long run and she was going to do 20. We set out to do a route they had done the previous weekend, but apparently my map reading skills sucked and we missed a turn. In the middle of the boondocks with the sun rising we decided to keep going down the road we were on. There was a young girl in her front yard with her dog. Melissa asked her how much further to road went. This young lady apparently doesn't know how to judge distance because she said, "it just goes up here a little bit and loops back to Mount Hermon Road". Mount Hermon Road was the road we had just crossed so we knew it would loop. Well while we were still in the middle of this loop, which turned out to be a 6 mile loop, my watch was beeping 11 miles and I was hurting and hitting a wall. I was out of GU so Melissa gave me one of her extras and I tried to push back the wall. I hit 11 1/2 miles and needed to walk. Melissa ran ahead a little bit and came back for me. I knew I was in trouble at this point.
The sun was really starting to glare down on us and the temperatures were rising. I was on fire. I knew my water levels were also getting low and we were literally in the middle of nowhere. I was alternating running and walking intervals by running until I couldn't run anymore then I'd walk for 1 minute. We finally made it back to Mount Hermon Road and my watch read over 13 miles. I officially unofficially completed a half marathon. I was beat, but excited. I can do this. Reality soon washed over me. We were on Mount Hermon Road, but not where we crossed out. The loop was actually more of a horseshoe. We were almost into the next county west of where we started. My hips and legs were starting to fall apart. The pain was getting unbearable for any running as I reached 14 1/2 miles. I had to walk. Melissa was running ahead and then kept coming back to me. I told her to keep going and I'd meet her down the road aways. My watch displayed 15 miles as we finally crossed the road where we went into the crazy horseshoe from hell. That's when I knew I was in really big trouble since that point was about 7 miles from my car and civilization.
I pulled out my phone and called my wife, Allison, to tell her what was going on. She could see from the RoadID app where I was currently and she could tell that I was better heading straight than retracing my steps back to the car. I knew where I was, but I was looking for the shortest trip back. I also noticed my phone hitting 5% battery remaining at this point so I told her I would be in touch. Melissa came back and I told her to just finish and come back for me in her car. Melissa is a speed demon and she was so nice to keep coming back. I think she knew I was hurting. Steadily the road was passing underfoot, but the pain was not subsiding with walking. The asphalt was radiating the heat right through the soles of my shoes and burning my feet. After what felt like and eternity I see Melissa coming back again and she decided to walk with me. We decided to try hitchhike a ride back tot eh campus where our cars were. My guardian angel arrived in the form of a tour bus company building. I knew the owners wife from my daughters cheerleading and school. We knocked on the door and luckily there were some people there. They let us in to use the bathroom and fill our water bottles and to cal for help. Allison laughed at me when I called and told her where I was. We waited at the curb for my rescue ride back to the campus. I then had to spend the afternoon at my daughters fall festival walking around.
After that little excursion I did not recover well. I was off for a week, but just couldn't seem to bounce back. I had physically and mentally drained everything I had in me. I barely ran through October, but in November something kick started me up again and I started my 3 days a week of running. Everything was going well, even the decision to buy our first house and all of that stress didn't slow me down too much and then we moved. Holy cow that sucked my life energy out. We moved over Thanksgiving weekend. Thank goodness for some great friends who were still around to help because I would have dropped dead form fatigue. I started getting back on track shortly after the move. We stayed in town, but the area is near the city park and zoo and a ton of great running routes. I was stoked. December started and I floated on through the holidays with great difficulty. We were going to New Jersey the day after Christmas to spend time with my parents. On December 23rd my mother called me crying uncontrollably that something was wrong with my father. I could here him coughing and choking in the background. She informed me EMS had been called already, but my father was acting weird and not responding to her. She got off the phone when EMS arrived and called me shortly later to tell me his blood sugar was so low that the machine didn't register it. They gave him almost a full quart of OJ to bring him to a normal level. They were not worried about him so he wasn't taken to the hospital. The diabetic doctor decided to pull him off some booster for his diabetes meds. On Christmas Eve I got the same call again from my mom, but this time my father was refusing to go to the hospital. We decided we were going up Christmas day instead. I didn't know this would be my last Christmas with my dad.
Christmas day my kids opened there gifts at home and played briefly while we packed the car and drove 4 hours to New Jersey. Upon arrival my mom was in a hurry to get the kids their presents and watch them open them up. My dad was trying to be himself, but I could tell he was tired. He looked awful. He had been on full oxygen for months now, but he was still having labored breathing. My mom was adamant that the doctors claimed he was showing huge progress with his heart, but he didn't look like it. We were spending a few days there and then had to return for work. On December 27th I drove my mother and father to see his kidney doctor for an appointment. She walked in the room and immediately told him he looked like $hi+ and wanted him to go to the hospital. She asked if she sent him to be admitted would he and he agreed. That's not my father. I knew things were bad. We spent 9 hours in the ER waiting to get him a room. Once the settled him in we were sent home. They were just going to "tune" him up for a few days and send him home. We were leaving Saturday so we brought my mom up with us and my aunt was going to take her home later. We would be leaving town after a visit with him. He looked so much better when we came back. He was joking with Stella and Grady, but Georgia was keeping her distance. She seemed to be afraid of something, but I didn't know what. After awhile Grady started to have a melt down he was ready to leave and we didn't want to cause a disturbance so we said our goodbyes and headed out the door. Sunday was a busy day getting settled, but I called up my dads hospital room. He answered but I heard a ton of laughing and commotion in the background. My mom, aunt, and uncle were all visiting. I told him I would call him Monday night when I got home from work.
Monday afternoon my mom called me but I wasn't able to answer the phone. Apparently my dad had passed out and they believed he had a heart attack. He was stable but in ICU for observation. She said he had woken up and said hi to her and m aunt but went back to sleep. Denial was still in control for me. He's had numerous heart attacks over the years and bounces right back. At this point I had been up since almost 1am not sleeping and was really tired. I got into bed about 10:30 and crashed shortly after, then I woke up. My wife was calling me she heard the house phone but missed it. She said it was my mom. I called her and she was in hysterics. "Dad's gone". I lost myself in the pain and emotions. We needed to head back to New Jersey now. We woke the kids up and in a whirlwind we were packing dirty clothes, funeral clothes, and necessities to head back. Before we made it out of town my aunt called me. She said he was not gone, but things weren't well and suggested we still come. Like there was a doubt. Allison chose to drive since she knew I was up almost 24 hours. We made it to my moms house at about 4am, but needed to get the kids in and settled in the house. I found my mom sleeping in her recliner with the TV on, but she was still dressed. We got situated and my mom was in a rush to get back. I needed to get some coffee in me and wake up a bit so we could go. Allison decided she would take my mom and come back for me later. They left the house and within about 15 minutes I got a call on my moms house phone. The doctor was calling for my mom and I told him she was on her way. He said I should get there as soon as possible as well. We hung up and 5 minutes later he called back and said, "Albert's gone". I called Allison to let her know and Allison had just drooped my mom off at the entrance and was going to park the car.
The next week was crazy family drama, holy cow does a death bring out the total crazy in some people. I was in charge, the youngest of 3 boys and yet the only responsible person. I was forced to deal with people I hadn't spoken to in 10 years, and had no desire to as well. On top of trying to figure out the funeral for my father. He assured my mother and I over the years everything had been taken care of. All he had really done was arranged for the plots at the veterans cemetery near McGuire AirForce Base. There wasn't a coffin or any other arrangements made. Stress overload and not even a spare moment to get out to run. This taught me a valuable lesson about what I need to do for my children. I survived the ordeal and I'm still struggling with my mother. She doesn't drive and is a technophobe. It's hard to help her form 200 miles away. Shes hoping to move this way soon, but she has a ton of unfinished business left in New Jersey first.
I bounced back after a few weeks in January and came back strong. I gradually increased mileage and felt great. I ran through ice, snow, rain, fog, and sleet. I came home with frozen eye lashes and goatee. I was being a badass, or so I like to think. I signed up for my first official half marathon, the Ocean City Island 2 Island Half Marathon and found a training plan and stuck with it to a T. It was a long few months and I was dedicated to getting finished and a first one on the books. I set my sight on the goal and pulled the trigger.