Georgia on my mind

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Pete’s been busy building up his fitness for Superior 100. In the next few days, we will post a few recent workout highlights.

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March 28th: Straight from Utah to Georgia–we got a chance to celebrate one of Lori’s family member’s birthdays this weekend in south central Georgia. This was really fun, a chance to hang out with the family at a backwoods cabin next to the Flint River, complete with canoeing, cornhole, and a campfire for the kids (and, ahem, adults too).

This was also a great chance to try my luck at the Georgia trails. My brother-in-law Ben has become a fine marathon runner in the past few years, and now he is interested in trail running. He didn’t need much convincing to head over with to Pine Mountain State Park early one morning to see what we could do. Pine Mountain is famous for a number of things–it is next door to the “Little White House” where Franklin D. Roosevelt soothed his polio-wracked body in local warm springs during his presidency. It’s also the home to Callaway Gardens, a well known golf and nature resort.

While that’s all great, what I was interested in today was the park’s terrific Pine Mountain Trail, which is 23 miles of bliss that is the home of the renowned Pine Mountain Trail Ultra, hosted by the incomparable Georgia Ultra and Trail Society (GUTS). I’d run a few miles of this trail before and remembered it as gorgeous and challenging, so we set out to explore.

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Ben and I found the perfect trail–hilly and meandering with a few climbs to keep the heart rate up, but nothing crazy. We encountered stretches of silent pine forest with a bed of pine needles on the trail that felt like running on soft pillows. This was broken up by a few ravines, where we descended into darkly forested creeks, with waterfalls and lush undergrowth everywhere. These had a mysterious and primeval feel to them. On occasion, we also ran into drier and rockier sections that were technical enough to keep us scanning the ground for potential trip hazards.

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This was Ben’s longest trail run ever–we ended up going 10 pretty fast miles–but he not only did admirably with the difficult terrain, he was kicking my butt by the end. Maybe, just maybe, I’ve convinced him to help pace my at Superior this fall. That would be amazing! Thanks for the company, buddy!

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If you get a chance to get to this off-beat destination, it is highly recommended, a true Georgia jewel.

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On the Go!

Your contribution helps us celebrate!

Pete’s been busy building up his fitness for Superior 100. In the next few days, we will post a few recent workout highlights.

March 26th: March and April are usually work travel season for me, which means I get the lucky chance to run all over the country! This week, I was in Salt Lake City, the first time I’ve really ever spent any time in the city. This is an amazing place, with expansive desert on one side, a cool and open urban setting with a city that feels like it was built yesterday, and the majesty of the Wasatch Range towering over everything just to the East. My schedule only allowed for an early morning run, so on Thursday, I planned out a four mile out-and-back run heading straight for the mountains–and fearing that I would get to them before I turned around (they looked pretty imposing). I imagined an incredible morning with the sun rising over the mountains, with stunningly blue and clear skies.

What I got was something a bit different.

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Apparently, dawn comes a bit later to Salt Lake than Cincinnati. Fortunately, my route got me just to the foothils before I had to turn around. I think that Utah is the 27th state I’ve now run in–I am most fortunate to be able to travel to so many great places.

Spring blooms at the Cincinnati Nature Center

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Pete’s been busy building up his fitness for Superior 100. In the next few days, we will post a few recent workout highlights.

March 21st: My son Ryan is taking weekend nature classes at the fantastic Cincinnati Nature Center, which we recently joined. This has given me a great chance to explore their many miles of woodland and prairie trails while he’s busy finding out about the wonders of the Ohio woods. The trails here are not technical and are mostly gentle, but there are a couple of seriously challenging ridge climbs that keep things interesting, including the 195 (!) stairs to the top of one ridge.IMG_1625:

This is along the “red trail”, which is appropriately named as it quickly makes you red line. Actually, this one is not so bad because the stairs are even. But another, more overgrown climb further along the same ridge is almost as bad as the Stone Steps. This one seems to go on forever.

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Luckily, the trails at the top are pretty level and gave me a nice breather. This was a superb run, but still with some swampy sections from recent rains. It gave me some real confidence, as my last outing here was a very tough run that I had to wrap up by walking the last half hour. And the bluebells were out in force, first real signs of spring!

Fitting Up: Mt Airy Forest

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Pete’s been busy building up his fitness for Superior 100. In the next few days, we will post a few recent workout highlights.

March 15th: Spent 2 muddy hours at Mt Airy Forest on Saturday. Mt Airy is a real gem, about 2000 acres of unspoiled forest on a rugged ridgetop that is only a few miles from downtown Cincinnati. It was a spectacular early morning in the park.

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Even in full sunlight, the laaf-devoid forest had a pristine and primeval glow to it.

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The park is also the most convenient local place to get in some elevation and technical training, with plenty of rocks and roots scattered on its course. While the main loop is relatively flat as it winds around several long ridges across the Mountain, any time you get off  the main trail means a big, and often steep, climb or descent. The big challenge is the Stone Steps, which is a 300 foot climb practically straight up. The last half is a series of about 200 stairs carved out of local granite that are twisted, overgrown, warped, and otherwise mutilated.

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This was my first time attempting these. It is an awesome combination of quad burning, general muscle fatigue, and cardiovascular stress that tends to leave you in a collapsed state. While this is great for Superior, I’m not yet in very good hill shape, as had to walk a bit about halfway up. That sets up a good goal for the upcoming runs here!

To make matters more difficult, today the trails were very sloppy due to the spring rainy season.

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This makes the uphills much tougher from poor traction, and the downhills always an adventure. No signs of spring yet, but it won’t be long now!

Here’s what I looked like by the end.

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A Great Day with My Brother

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Okay.

I always seem to start something like this with the word “Okay,”

Okay. So, you want to know about Jason and I, Ryan? I am his 12-year old    brother. I love him. Why?

Here’s one day of LIFE OF A RYAN AND JASON.

Wednesday:

6:00 AM

Jason wakes up. I’m still sleeping.

6:46 AM

Jason gets on the school bus. I get out of bed.

7:31 AM

I get on the school bus.

3:45 AM

I get home from school. Jason is already home. Jason says, “Hi, Ryan!” I love to hear him say that. He says it differently each day. Sometimes he says it loud and clear, and sometimes he sort of mutters it, as if he doesn’t want to be bothered. He uses funny voices, like really deep and in a slow, snarky “Sti-cky ta-pe” way.

The sticky tape is from a Dora the Explorer episode, when Dora gets some “sticky tape” out of her backpack. Jason repeats the phrase in his classic “Sticky tape” voice.

5:23 PM

Jason and I eat dinner. His favorite foods include macaroni and cheese, shrimp, chicken, steak, and pretty much every other kind of meat. He also likes some fruits and veggies too, such as pickles and Caesar salad.

5:40 PM

I put on my swimsuit, to get ready for water therapy. Jason is ready too! He is very excited to “Dunk him”

By “Dunk him” Jason means to get in the pool, and shove my head under water. Usually after doing this he laughs while saying “again, again!”

5:58 PM

We leave the house for water therapy. Water therapy is therapy in water. It helps people who can’t walk, like Jason, by teaching them in the water, eventually moving to the solid earth.

6:15 PM

Water therapy begins. Jason and I get in the pool. I get in because I am his helper.

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Another one of Jason’s favorite pool games is “Follow Ryan”. This is pretty self-explanatory. Jason follows me around the pool, and when he catches me, he plays the “Dunk Him” game.IMG_1703

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The last game he likes to play is “Ryan, Jump!!!”. Again, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Jason literally begs me to jump in the pool. Much to his disappointment, nobody is allowed to jump into the therapy pool.

7:00 PM

Water therapy is over. We walked back and forth, and Jason had fun. He played pool basketball, and the “Dunk Him” game. I think it was great, and so does Jason.

7:10 PM

We leave the therapy place, to return home.

7:20 PM

We get home.

7:40 PM

I sit with Jason, watching “The Price Is Right!”. I enjoy it, even though Jason has seen it a gigamillion times.

8:00 PM

It is Jason’s bedtime. Jason has help from Dad to get upstairs. He throws a ball with my dog, Sidda. Then he walks across the hall to his room. He goes into the Jack & Jill bathroom, which I share with him. He has to brush his teeth.

Jason can’t use his right hand very well, so the following is very important. Jason reaches out, and uses his right hand to turn on the faucet. Next, he uses his left hand to pick up his glass, and fills it up. Once the glass is full, he uses his right hand once again to turn off the water. He’s only learned this recently, so his slow cognitive ability is clearly improving. I am very proud!

Now he sits on the edge of his bed. He got some surgery last April, and since then he has to wear braces to bed.

There are two braces. One goes on his arm, the other goes on his leg. Jason tries to take the arm brace off (Like a rascal, dad says), so Dad has to put a sock and Duct tape over it. While Jason gets his braces on, I read a book to him. One of his favorites, a Dora the Explorer book.

Finally, Jason counts to three, and Dad picks him up and plops him into bed. Goodnight, Jason.

8:30 PM

My bedtime. It’s time to go to sleep. I’m exhausted after this exciting day!

Hockey to Baseball

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We have been very busy the last few weeks, both as a family and in training. The next few posts will get you up to speed.

First up: As promised, below are some action shots of Jason at one of his sled hockey practices. This has been terrific not only for Jason, but also for his brother Ryan, who has helped out some of the kids and participated himself as he learns what it’s like to have motor disabilities. Many of the kids on Jason’s team are extremely talented, and they play in tournaments around the region and beyond. We are deeply indebted to the kind folks behind the Cincinnati IceBreakers, especially passionate founder Renee Loftspring, who without hesitation took in Jason, assisted him on the ice, showed us the ropes, and made us feel as we were a part of the family. Be sure to like the team here.

And now that our hockey season is over, on to Jason’s best love, BASEBALL! Challenger Baseball starts in 2 weeks, we can’t wait!

Here are some pictures of Jason on the ice, and some videos posted here:

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First goal reached!

Your contribution helps us celebrate!

Here’s the latest news at Celebrating Perseverance:

Fundraising: Thanks to tremendous support from you, we did it! Not only did we reach our first milestone of $1,000 this week, we are well on our way to our next goal of $2,000. We have had some additional donations from that mysterious “anonymous” supporter, along with a fantastic gift from Mary D. Thanks again to all of you!

CP news: National Cerebral Palsy Awareness month continues for a few more days. Our partner organization,
the Cincinnati Children’s CP program, had a very successful 5K fundraiser last weekend. Here is a recap of the event, with some great pictures as well.

Facebook: We made our first mention on the Cincinnati Children’s CP program’s Facebook page!

Other news: Cincinnati Children’s has sent out an announcement about our efforts to its donor base through its monthly newsletter, so we should see our community grow even more. Thanks for all the pub!

Jason: Another awesome sled hockey practice for Jason last night, we will post some pictures and a video soon.