One of the things I looked forward to in Kentucky was going to Hatfield, Kentucky. My maiden name is Hatfield. My family comes from the most famous family feud in U.S. history, the Hatfields and McCoys. I wanted to hit up this part of the country and experience some of this history. Unfortunately, we were in the wrong part of the state. Hatfield sits on the border of Kentucky and West Virginia. It just so happened that in both of those states, we were on the opposite side of each of these states. I will have to save this bucket list item for when I head to Dollywood, The Country Music Hall of Fame, and Graceland! I see it in my mind now, and it will be great!
The swim for Kentucky was in an outside pool. I like outside pools because they make me feel like I am on a tropical vacation. The sun reflects off the water and everything is sparkly. No matter what kind of swim it is, I always imagine myself at a tropical resort in Mexico! I swam with James a bit this morning. I took my mind to a tropical vacation and just blissfully felt the water move along my skin. I didn’t swim long, but enough time to be loving it for a few minutes. There were no lane lines, and everyone in the pool was swimming skee-whompus. I went to the side of the pool and just enjoyed the quiet morning.
There were around 5 people on deck watching James swim. They were talking under their breath about how impressed they were, and were a bit start-struck. I am always surprised at how many older women are digging this journey! I just eaves dropped and enjoyed hearing all of these people be so excited about my James Lawrence. Soon enough, I jumped out of the pool and went in to shower. The locker room wasn’t very ‘get ready for the day’ welcoming, so I just showered in my suit, then went out to the RV to get ready for the day.
The sun was sweltering hot! Our generator had been out for several days now in the RV, so the only air conditioning that we had was the air conditioning coming from the dash. We had to leave the engine running in order to have any cool air. We would take turns sitting up front, while we waited for James to finish swimming, to cool off. He came out and had a decent sized group to go out and bike with him. There was a Jeep loaded with supplies, ready to leap-frog and take care of my sweet husband throughout the day.
We weren’t sure what we were going to do for the day. We had heard that there was an amazing amusement park for kids; unfortunately, the heat would have ruined it for us for sure! We opted out, and figured we would play it by ear. We decided to find the AirBnB, get laundry done, and then make some decisions.
Fortunately, the house wasn’t too far away, hallelujah! We pulled up and it was an old house, and it was so incredible! It was seriously straight out of a movie, truly amazing! There was a little courtyard that was landscaped beautifully I love gardens, flowers, and a beautiful landscape, so I always notice the beautiful displays of greenery and flowers. When I approached the back door, I was struck by it’s beauty. The door seemed to be the original door, from when the house was built. As I passed through the back door, we crossed through a timeline into the early 1900’s. I was now standing in the kitchen, admiring the beauty inside of this old house. We later found out that the house was built in the early 1900’s, and most of the house was still in it’s original state.
I sorted laundry right there in that original kitchen, brought food in from the RV, and the Zyto group set up their station of computers on the dining room table. Crew members all split up to sleep. This old house was covered in wood floors and had limited insulation, so the kids giggles and pretend play carried into every ear of sleeping crew members. I did my best to keep them quiet, but there no was no chance. The kids loved exploring this old house and were lost in their imaginations, as the time ticked away.
Eventually the big kids and little kids were becoming annoyed with each other. Spending all day, every day together was starting to wear on them. Being on top of each other in The Little White Mazda wasn’t going to help if we decide to go anywhere, so I knew that I would have to be creative. I decided it was time for an outing, and we separated kids by age. Lucy and Lily went with me to run errands, and the 3 littles went to Walmart, with the Zyto girls, to find souvenirs. We met up at Walmart, grabbed some items to eat for dinner/snack on, and wandered the aisles forever looking for their souvenirs. I would have thought that the little kids having an extra hour, before we got there, would have helped them find something by the time that we got there, guess not. But, the truth is that everyone was happy, and Walmart had air conditioning!
When we had all cooled off, and the purchases had been made, we drove back to the AirBnB to finish things up. We wrapped up our tasks, and were feeling a little rushed to get out of there, because I had gotten a phone call that James would be coming soon. I got the directions for the the park, and told everyone to gather their things.
I got all the kids out of the house, and went out to the RV. We had it running for about 20 minutes to cool it down, since the dash air conditioner wasn’t powerful enough to cool the whole RV. I went to load The Little White Mazda and realized that we couldn’t load it. The trailed had been unhooked from the RV. Also, the loading gear, like the tire ramps to drive it up the trailer, were missing. Ugh, I was so frustrated. We were sweating to death, and I was frustrated trying to come up with a solution to get The Little White Mazda loaded. I called the Wingmen, since they were the ones who had unloaded the Mazda while I was hauling laundry in. Their response, “Oh yeah….where did we put those….” It was an hour later that they showed up to find all of the things that they had misplaced. I was so hot, so stressed, and panicked about the time; we needed to get to the run start immediately. I got in the RV and stood in front of the air so it would blow right on my face. I immediately said a prayer for my sweetheart, who was in the sun, in that weather, for another day of 140.6.
We drove to the park, and lucky for us, they had saved a special parking spot! We pulled in, as people dropped their jaws in disbelief. I later overheard someone say, “I can’t believe that we are looking at THE RV!!!’ I guess it was a sight to see! We made it just in time for James to come into the RV and get changed after biking. He did not want to get out of that RV! He was completely exhausted, and was totally procrastinating starting his run. He should have been able to get at least 6 miles in before the start of the 5k, but he stayed in the RV that whole time. After an hour, I insisted that someone update our supporters out waiting to see the Iron Cowboy, since they had been waiting close to an hour. The Wingmen went out to talk to the crowd, and James fell asleep. I didn’t know what to do with my sweet husband, who was beyond any kind of tired that anyone could understand!!! I figured now that the crowd had been ‘warned’ about the delay, I would let him sleep for just a quick cat nap. After 30 minutes, I tried to wake him up. It was just the Wingmen, and the two of us. James started to sob, “I can’t run!” He sobbed for at least 10 minutes. His toes were really bothering him, and the thought of running was unbearable. I was desperate, what could I possibly do? I had an idea, “I will run with you!!!” This was the first, and only time on the 50/50/50, that I would run with James.
Aaron and Casey both looked at me, and without saying a word, we had communicated a plan. They immediately scattered and began gathering the things that James would need to run. In a split second, we had all the things James needed and I had changed. I had already put on weight from this journey (by the end I gained 15 pounds in just 2 months), and noticing how tight my clothes were. I was worried that I would have chub rub running with this heat! I was also worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, I had completely lost all of my fitness, bless my chubby heart.
James was out of it when he had started to breakdown emotionally, and he was now coming to his senses as he was exiting the RV. The crowd was so excited, clapping and cheering! That had to have lifted his spirits a little. He limped to the start, gave his speech, and included a warning that his toes were hurting so they should all just run ahead of him on the 5k. We started the 5k, and James went right to a walk. These toes were bad, and he wasn’t sure how he was going to make this run happen. We stopped and he took his shoe and sock off. He looked at the toe that hurt the worst, and under the nail was filled with fluid. He was desperate to let the fluid out, in turn taking away the pressure. I ran back to the RV to grab his favorite ‘surgery’ toe-nail clippers and sprinted right back. James started digging at those toes, but nothing he tried was going to work, his toys had been beat up everyday for 16 days!
We spent the next two hours trying different solutions to alleviate the pain with James’ toes, to no avail. There was a gentleman running with us who had a first aid kit, plus some cash. He tried what he had, then ran off to a drug store to pick up lidocaine. Nothing was going to help, and as much as I pushed James to just keep walking, he wanted to keep attempting other solutions. We finally ended up at the pizza parlor where the 5k was supposed to end. The owner was affiliated with our event, and had offered to feed or family. Our awesome Wingmen had kept an eye on the kids and taken them all up there for dinner!
We decided to stop and eat. Everyone stuffed their faces with delicious pizza! Veggie is my favorite, but I was preoccupied with James and didn’t relish the moment of being in the pizza parlor. An awesome doctor-ess, and her husband, nursed James’ toe as best as they could at the pizza parlor, and then it was time to get back out and finish the run; it was getting late, very late.
While I was out on the 5k with James, our headlight on the RV was being jimmy-rigged. Someone had offered us a headlight, that would be put on upside down, to keep us from getting a ticket. It was the correct headlight, but for the opposite side. It shined straight down the rest of our journey. It was installed while we were out, by the kindness of a complete stranger. This would prevent us from being pulled over, and it was definitely good news amidst crisis.
We were now down to just 2-3 people to cheer James on. It was around 10 pm, and he still had 20-something miles to go. I spent time with him, trying to cheer him up and figure out solutions. We tried shuffling sideways, running backwards, and nothing less of a skip to take the pressure off of those toes. James was SO grumpy! I was so sad that the only time we had together was under such duress. I desperately wanted to do something to help him, distract him, nurture him, ANYTHING….but this was James’ struggle, and unfortunately, he was on his own. The kids came out and did a few laps with him. They were silly and just wanting to run around and hangout with their dad. They did a few laps, but then I could tell that James wasn’t in the mood, so we had them get ready for bed in the RV.
Around midnight, I said I was going to check on the kids and see how that story ended, being that I had sent them back with the Wingmen and Zyto girls. I was so grateful to my helpers so that I could at least be there with James while he suffered. Only Lily and Daisy were awake, and they were dancing and playing with the Zyto girls in the parking lot. Lucy was always disappointed on the nights that the RV had to leave early, before James finished. Tonight we had stayed, and she had tried to stay awake. She was sleeping sitting up, a clear sign to me that she had wanted to stay awake to see James at the end of his brutal day.
We decided that we would all go to sleep in the RV, right there at the park, then head out when James finished. That way, we were all right there if he needed something. At this point, he didn’t want our company, he was just focusing on finishing up his marathon. Around 3 am he finished his run, he had pulled off one heck of a challenging day and all of us were glad it was over.
Little did we know, the most challenging part of our 50/50/50 had just begun.