There was a booth as we pulled into a parking lot. I can’t even remember if there was someone in it, but throughout the day there was a woman in it. We pulled up to the beach, and it was beautiful! Passing a playground (that I knew would come in handy later), we continued down the road, eventually pulling over and stopping.
The sun was shinning, and a new day was here, #39! I have no idea where this swim was, so clearly I wasn’t there. The kids got out of the RV and ran down to the beach. “This sand is so soft!” Then they played a bit, chasing seagulls and giggling as they played with each other. What time was it? Late enough that the kids were up and James was off swimming somewhere.
I exited the RV and looked around. It really was beautiful, and it was a bit breezy. It was a lake that I was looking at, but it could have passed for an ocean. The beach was empty and the sound was so peaceful.
People started to arrive for the bike portion. One of my most memorable people from the 50 introduced himself, “I am Eddie Cornejo.” His Latino accent caught my attention (I am not kidding, I HAD to be Latina in another life…it is the only explanation!), I love the name Eddie, and Cornejo sounded like conejo (spanish for rabbit, my favorite animal). I knew we were going to be friends! We began talking in Spanish as my girls laughed and laughed in disbelief that we could understand each other. He was so sweet to my girls, and they were being out of control silly. He continued to humor them as he waited for the bike to start.
Soon enough, James was there, the bikers were ready, and they were off. I wasn’t sure what we were going to do for the day, but I figured with the beach and playground there, we should be good for a little while. I remember there being leftover food on the dash of the RV, but I don’t remember what it was. We all picked at whatever food was around the RV, then Casey let me know that there was real breakfast food for us. Perfect!
I told the kids that I was going to do some chores, and then we could head to Target. We needed water, souvenirs, and I am sure other things as well. Dolly and Quinn were playing house and decided that they would do family pictures. If you followed us during the 50, you will remember this pictures; they are hard to forget! They played on the beach, while the bigger kids did tricks in the sand. They all soon headed down to the playground together to start another adventure.
This gave me a little extra time, without the pressure to get to Target, from bored kids, before I got as much done as I wanted. I was stressing about this doping stuff. Casey was still so sick, he and Aaron were slammed helping James, there is no way that he was going to be able to deal with USADA (United States Anti-Doping Association). And if he waited too long, he would be banned for 4 years without even being able to challenge it. I needed to make that call for him. David, James’ coach, was handling James’ stuff, so I just needed to follow the instructions that came in from David.
So for you idiots out there who thought you were sticking it to these people by reporting them, for something RIDICULOUS….thanks for making it MY problem! I am so glad that I have one more thing to handle on this journey, one more challenge that is pressing and in my face!!!
I handled some business stuff, got the RV picked up for the morning, and then beckoned the kids for our trip to Target. I don’t remember having the van this day, I remember unloading the Mazda off of the trailer… We put Target into the GPS and we followed the commands coming from the phone. Before I knew it, we were going through an area that was very sketchy. The buildings were all abandoned, windows boarded up and totally run down. My gas light was on…and immediately remembered my experience in Atlanta. I saw gas stations, with people hanging around, and everything inside of me told me not to stop. I prayed that the gas light would hold, and that I would make it until there was a ‘safer’ place to stop.
As I followed the course to Target, we began to move into a better area. I was able to stop and get gas, feeling more comfortable with that choice to wait. When we got to Target, the kids went for the dollar section as I went back to get water. It was like dejavu from all the other times we went to Target. I grabbed some nuts, and bumped into our Zyto friends. We had no idea we would see each other, but it was a pleasant coincidence.
As we walked through the aisles, I saw a bunch of sales on the clothes. I decided that it may be a good time to get a few school clothes. They would be more special to the kids because, “I got this shirt in Michigan,” instead of just getting it at the store. I had them each grab one outfit, then we checked out and headed back to the beach.
When I was returning to the RV, I got a text maybe (I checked my FB messages and it wasn’t in there) inviting me to a pizza and ice cream place with a local lady. It was perfect timing, as there was a lot of day left, and we were done with our ‘planned activities’ for the day. We were given the directions, which took us to a church, tried again, and then we eventually found this ‘hidden’ place.
I visited with cute moms while all the kids played. The Zyto people came as well, ate and hung out until we were needed back for the 5k. There was an indoor soccer field, and other places to play. The kids ran around while I visited. After about an hour, I got the info to call USADA. I called, “Hi, I am Sunny Lawrence. I am representing Casey Robles…” I talked to this guy for a solid hour on the phone. It wasn’t until late in our conversation that he realized that I wasn’t an attorney. His tone relaxed a little, and he gave me instructions for Casey. He agreed that the circumstances were ridiculous, especially where Casey’s race results clearly showed no signs of any performance enhancement (must have been the singing while he swam).
I was SO annoyed about this whole situation! All of your jerks out there were making life harder for us, for the simple act of being jerks! And now I am on the phone, instead of hanging out with my family, as they play soccer and do stuff that I would have been doing with them. You thought you were targeting James and Casey, but you weren’t. You were targeting me and my kids, you were making OUR lives harder!!! So good job, way to be a bully, you are so sneaky creating problems for a mom and kids! Off my soap box…for now!
Casey called to let me know that they would be moving the RV. We weren’t too far, so I told him to wait and that we would be back soon. We headed back, after a last minute invite to some great fun, and met them at the RV. We loaded the Mazda, and everyone hopped in the RV. We drove through this beautiful beach area, into an industrial area. Soon we pulled off into a parking lot for the 5k, I believe it was a GE building.
We parked the RV out of the way, but ended up in the van closer to where people were congregating. I saw all the people, and felt my insides start to churn. Brittany reminded me today of a conversation that we had had the day before, in Ohio. It was her last day and she was leaving to go back home. She was worried about leaving, knowing that I would be losing her help. “I think I am getting an ulcer,” I said to her. “You weren’t grumpy, you weren’t angry, you were totally keeping it together. But when you said that to me, I knew there was more going on inside than you would ever let anyone see. I knew that you were handling way more than anyone could possibly imagine. I knew that people who were denying their involvement in your stress were accountable for unnecessary stress. I was so impressed at how well you kept it together, not being crazy…you were just stressed and overwhelmed, and no one in the world could understand the extent of this stress.”
This night, I couldn’t get out of the van. I stared at all of the people outside of the van, and how I was robbing them of their Iron Cowboy experience. Me hiding in the van, and not letting them meet ‘the wife’ was unfair, and it wasn’t their fault. I started to cry, and quickly hid my face when the Wingmen walked up with soup. We had an amazing dinner brought to us, soup, bread, salad, all yummy! It was a first for this dish on the 50, and we all loved it. The Wingmen climbed inside, and together without ever saying a word, we hid.
The Wingmen soon climbed out, and my new friend Eddie Cornejo came up to the van. I was so happy to see him! This time he had his beautiful, pregnant wife! What an honor to meet her! I was so glad that they caught the van doors open, because they were two people I wanted to see!
I again started to feel guilty that I wasn’t out there. What if that whole crowd was as awesome as Eddie and his wife? What if I was missing out on an opportunity? But I just couldn’t do it. I stayed inside the van, and the Wingmen knew to keep me hidden, without me ever saying a word.
Looking out the windows, I saw Dell. He was holding James like a baby. James is not a big guy, Dell is a big guy, so he whipped James around, no big deal. They took off on the 5k, and the area was now empty. Like a cowardly ninja, I sneaked out of the van to go over to the RV. I carried the leftovers for dinner, so we would have them when James came through and was hungry.
Rivers was over there, he was pacing in the parking lot; either he was talking on the phone or just on his phone. I went into the RV and began preparing for the night. I started prepping to leave, wishing that the AC worked!!! The older girls were running with James, and the littles playing in the parking lot. I got to work, in silence, alone.
Within minutes, the RV was invaded with people and everything got complicated. Who was driving which car, discussing plans for the next day, I didn’t want to participate in any of it, I just wanted to hide. It was inevitable, I had to be a part of the plan. The plan was set, and tomorrow we should see the sun shine because we had a plan for the RV.
Tomorrow was Indiana. In case that state doesn’t ring a bell, this is the state where we picked up the RV. The plan was for me and the kids to get dropped off at a hotel. Casey and Aaron would drop the RV off at the place where it was picked up, before the 50 started, 90 minutes north of the event location, to get all of the repairs done!!! I would then drive the RV the 90 min to the race location, and everyone would live happily ever after.
Brytin, my Zyto helper, stayed in a hotel close to the kids and me. In the morning, she could drive the kids and me to the RV place to pick-up the fixed RV. This was a great plan, but like everything on the 50/50/50, nothing went according to the plan.