The Harper Family
This was another year of heavy racing for me, with multiple trips all over the country. 6 trips out West, 3 in the East, and was away from home for over a month's time. For the year, I completed 3 100 mile(or more) runs, (North Carolina, 2 in California), a 100k(62miles) in California, 50 miles in Utah, and 40 and 31 milers in South Carolina and Alabama. It was all quite an adventure, and chronicaled elsewhere on this site, so I'll not rehash it here. I anticipate 2006 being year of more variety, new things, and not nearly as much traveling or racing as I did in 2005.
A few of our activities from 2005....
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Ashley's Horse Shows
Not to be left out, Emily and William both ride, and do pretty well. Emily is just starting, and William, well, he gets bored quickly if he's not jumping and risking life and limb.
Later in the year, some friends offered us a young Border Collie name Tiger that they just didn't have the space or time to exercise. I have really been hoping for a replacement for my beloved running companion, Bridget, who's been gone for several years now, so we snapped this young guy up. He's one energetic ball of black and white fur, and will chase a frisbee or tennis ball all day long. I've tried taking him running, and I'll just say, he's not my Bridgett. I can't believe he get's as tired as he does in just a couple miles, I really think he just gets bored running without chasing something. Regardless, he's much fun around the house.
Finally, we got our property fenced in enough to make the commitment to bring Mandy out to our property. We planned to buy another horse for her to have as a companion. Buy hey, two is twice as good as one, right? So I found two Arabians that fit the bill in Kentucky and arranged to have them shipped down. They arrived in October, we brought Mandy out... instant horse farm.
Both horses are 2 1/2 years old, Arabians. It will be a year or so before they can be ridden as Arabians are still developing at this age, and usually 3-4 years is the age they can take a rider. The Gray, which we plan for Ashley to ride and show, is named TCA The One, but we call him "Uno". He is an Egyptian bred Arabian, with bloodlines to some pretty impressive horses. He's fairly muscular and won't be as tall as the chestnut, but still is a 15 plus hand horse. The chestnut, which I hope to ride in endurance events, is named Rochmoninoff, or "Rocky" to us, has Russion bloodlines, and is a tall, lanky fellow. Looks like the perfect long distance runner to me. He loves nothing better than to be out galloping in the pasture, for 30-45 minutes at a time. It's incredible to watch he and Uno playing and racing around. The sound of their hooves(along with Mandy trying to keep up) thundering around our property is like being in the old West with a herd of wild Mustangs nearby.
They are keeping us busy, but we are loving it, and have materials for a barn being delivered next week. We can't wait.
San Francisco Vacation
In April, we all made a trip to San Francisco for a few days. I had a 100k(62 mile) race North of San Francisco in the Marin Headlands/Mt. Tamapolis area and we decided to make that our vacation for the year. The kids were excited to see and drive over the Golden Gate bridge, and now everytime they see it on TV... "I've been there!". The sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf were a hit as were the Redwood trees in Muir Woods. We spent some time playing at Rodeo Beach, which is so different from our Florida Beaches. Not sand, but millions of tiny shells make up the beach. You can see the dark color in the photos, and with the cool air, the dark shells are oh-so-warm. It feels great to lay on them and let the sun warm you like a french fry under a heat lamp.
The kids also had a great time playing in the grassy hills in the area, in fact we spent day after the race doing just that. Picnicing, sleeping, rolling down big grass covered hills and enjoying the wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean. Of course, race day was busy for them, following me around to different aid stations and being there to encourage me onward.
Other stuff we did
William is moving along in karate like a champ, earning his Brown Belt with a white stripe this year. He's been taking Karate for a few years now, and his becoming quite good. Both girls have decided they want to give it a try, and both are now Yellow Belts.
Ashley was selected from about 500 students by the school administrators and teachers to represent her school as the SOAR(Student Of Academic Renown)award winner. Only one student in the whole school was selected and we were all very proud, in addition, she was selected as the Disney Doers and Dreamers runner-up.
We also spent a day with Mandy at the kids school in conjunction with an end-of-school fair, giving Pony Rides to raise money for the school. Manders gave about 100 rides, and we raised over 100 dollars for the school. On another day, Ashley and Mandy joined the rest of the gang at Silver Wind Farms to provide pony rides for autistic children. That is something they do every year, and we feel priviledged that we are able to contribute.
I was fortunate to have a buddy of mine, Chris Wedge invite me along with him to do a 50k(31 mile) hike with Ted Kaiser, aka Cave Dog. Ted was on his way to hiking 50k in all 50 states in less than 100 days. This was sponsored by Duofold, and televised on OLN with the title 'Live the Dream'. The 50k in 50 states was in tribute to conservationist Bob Marshall, who was instrumental in developing our National Park System. It was quite the adventure going on the Florida Trail up in the Panhandle, through deep palmettas, and heavy brush. Not as wet as we expected it to be, nor did we see much wildlife, but TONS of bear tracks everywhere, a little unsettling at times in the dark as we continually lost, then refound the trail. We finished very late in the night, close to midnight, As is the tradition, Chris and I both got our 'dog' names, him as Guide Dog, when he put us back on track after we had lost the trail for quite a while, (though there was a continual question of whether he would be known as 'Lost Dog' after a few other incedents that I won't go into. In the end, it was a close call, but we gave him the benefit of the doubt and let Guide Dog stick.) I was christened "Boone Dog" early in the hike, after the famous Daniel Boone and my penchant for exploring and having to "see what's around the next bend".
Utah and Colorado were both spectactular. About 10 miles of snow to run through in Utah, which was a killer, and no oxygen at 12,600 feet in Leadville 100 which is alway difficult. I've still GOT to go back and finish that crazy race.
That's it for 2005.
2006 HERE WE COME!