We were driving through some undeveloped neighborhoods to find the swim start. We kept thinking that we had to be in the wrong place, but it turns out that we weren’t. We arrived at the pool and began our task of waking James up. We always gave ourselves a good 30 minutes to make sure that he was awake, knowing that it would literally take us that long.
James was grumpy this morning. We got his oatmeal, but this morning I added extra unsweetened, shredded coconut to try to mix it up; he didn’t notice. He slowly put one spoon in his mouth at a time, and tried to keep his head up, and awake, as he ate. He eventually got up and made his way to the locker room/bathroom to get dressed.
This pool was outdoor, and there was a triathlon there that morning. They had left one lane open for James to swim, while the race was going on in the other swim lanes. The athletes didn’t seem to know, or care, who he was. I had rubbed his feet that morning, but they were still sore beyond description. The toes still hurt, the pads still hurt, everything about his feet hurt. When we were in Kentucky, our doctor-ess and husband, had ordered toe caps for James, and shipped them to Atlanta so that they would be ready for him. He now had the toe caps to cover his toes, for the run that night.
James literally plopped sideways into the water, it was a message to all of us as to how grumpy he was feeling. He started swimming with Christopher, a fan from Ohio, who had come to South Carolina and wanted to see the Iron Cowboy. With our friends in town, we had a large group there to help us crew. We would have to manage to squeeze all of these people into the RV, since they were all traveling with us now. Everyone there was overworked and under-rested. Casey and I wanted to swim, so we got dressed in our suits, and were ready to hit the cool water.
As we started to swim, we both realized that swimming was so normal and boring. We decided to spice it up a little. It began with synchronized swimming, and next we did tricks. Soon enough, we were enjoying ourselves as James and Christopher swam passed us. We decided to make tunnels for James to swim through. We then swam underneath him facing up, followed by singing James songs. We loved breaking it up and having some fun, after over 3 weeks of monotony. James was not impressed. We may have made Christopher crazy, but he was at least mildly amused. We complained about James being a party pooper. The truth is that he would have thought that we were idiots on a normal day!
He finished the swim, which meant that we too were done with our swimming fun. I hurried out, in order to catch a shower before James left on the bike. James wanted more food, and grumpily made requests for his gear. I wasn’t sure if I should try to cheer him up, which didn’t work on the swim, or stay out of his way. I just stayed back a bit while the Wingmen prepared for his bike ride. As he took off on the bike, a young boy rode out of the parking lot with him, escorting James on his BMX bike. We were now ready to find our hotel. We knew the parking arrangement for the hotel, and we were concerned about our ability to park the RV. We exchanged thoughts, and decided to head over and see what we were dealing with.
We found the hotel, right on Myrtle Beach. We recognized our blessing as we found a spot to park the RV. Everyone was laughing about how white trash we were for leaving our banged-up RV, parked in the weeds, in this fancy beach area. Let’s be honest, we did not care. We decided that it would be best to only take a few things up with us. We could come back down for other things that we needed once we saw the set-up and found the room.
We had 15 people, in a single-file, walking up to this room. We opened the hotel door, and saw straight through the room, to a window. Through this window was a spectacular view of the ocean. I walked into this spacious room, and went straight back to the window. The kids followed me, and we looked out to the ocean, jaws dropped, in disbelief at the ocean’s beauty. What an incredible world that we live in! The guys went right to the fridge, and they were not disappointed with what they found inside: meat, cheese, fruits, veggies, snacks for the kids, treats, etc. In the living room there was a huge basket of beach toys! The kids were so excited! They began to explore the hotel room, and disappeared into a bedroom. When I went to find them, they were all under the covers of the master bedroom bed. “Mom! We haven’t laid on a real bed in a long time! It’s not even moving! Look, we all fit in this bed!”
The food had been pulled out, the counters were covered, and everyone was eating. It felt like Christmas, everyone was in such a good mood. Then one-by-one, people started calling dibs on beds for naps, and they started to disappear. The kids changed into swimsuits, put sunscreen on, and we were on our way down to the beach with our Zyto friends. We played on the beach for a couple of hours. We built sandcastles, looked for shells, enjoyed seeing dead crabs, played in the waves, and just enjoyed the fresh air! The kids were then ready to swim in the fancy pool at the hotel. There were tunnels, shallow water, deep water, and a variety of places for the kids to run free! They REALLY enjoyed this pool, and swam until they were starving, and ready to eat.
I knew that we didn’t have time to eat, and then come back and swim, so we were done swimming for the day. Each of them showered in the hotel room, then one-by-one, they slipped into that giant, king bed with sandwiches and snacks. As they began climbing under the covers, I heard a squeal, “WE SHOULD WATCH TV! We haven’t watched TV forever!” They found the Disney Channel and nestled in like Kevin on Home Alone, enjoying this fancy hotel room.
I peeked in a while later, “Do you guys want to do anything else today?” All at once, in their own jumbled lingo, “No, we want to lay in this soft bed and watch TV!” The kids were so happy! They were snuggly, had snacks, new toys, and rested their sun-kissed skin.
I wanted to go and see James while he was running. The kids wanted to stay at the hotel, so Dallas and I went to find James and see how he was doing. Dallas treated James, while a massage lady was working on him at the same time. There was a group of people there doing the run with James. They patiently waited, as James enjoyed a porterhouse steak. I visited with our awesome ambassador Elizabeth, who had put together this amazing day for all of us.
Dallas and I went back to the hotel to gather the ducklings and all of our things. We packed up all of our things, including all the food, and we each had to carry down huge loads in our arms. Even with everyone helping, we still had to make a couple of trips back and forth. We soon closed the door on that beautiful view, feeling the tender mercies from heaven, yet again. All of us had enjoyed a day that met each of our individual needs.
The 5k start was at a different place from where we had seen James earlier. It was at a shopping center, with plenty of room to park the RV. We parked and waited for James to finish logging a decent amount of miles before even starting the 5k. There was a large group of supporters, who were excited to spend some time with the Iron Cowboy. He gave an emotional speech, like he did every day, and touched the hearts of everyone there with his humility. The group was ready to start their 5k, along side the Iron Cowboy.
Kyle and I were making arrangements to order new shirts. We had sold most of them, and it was time to get more. Brian, from Zyto, was put on the task of making official signs, and he got right on it. It was time to set up a real shirt station, and no longer use our poster board. Maybe using tables instead of setting things on the grass would be a step in the right direction as well. The girls loved selling shirts, and visiting with all of the supporters. The idea of an official shirt station made them smile, “That would be awesome!”
That night was a special night, we got to wait for James to finish! As I mentioned earlier, there was a large group there with us: Dallas, Kyle, the film crew (who we LOVED along the journey), my family, and the Wingmen. We just relaxed and enjoyed the night in the parking lot. It was a treat to all be there together, relaxing, laughing, and waiting for the Iron Cowboy to finish day 23.
When James finished, he was in an awesome mood. His day had definitely turned around from the way that it had started. Elizabeth and her crew had been so sweet to him during the day, his spirits were up, and the night ended beautifully.