Monday, August 25, 2008

Hope Floats

Oh where to begin...

This weekend was full. Full of here and there and full of hope. It was one of the busiest weekends I've had yet... yet it was one of the most memorable weekends I can remember.

The rundown:

Jocelyn sold her pig for $3.75 a pound. We are thrilled. That pig weighed 286 pounds. Do the math. Maybe fair is a great idea after all.

An opportunity to serve came my way Friday evening and it was so nice to be with Kim's family and watch the slide show she created of her beautiful mother. Thanks Tiffani and Rachel for your help, thanks so much.

On Saturday, I attended the beautiful service for Kim's mother, and what a wonderful celebration of her life that was. Families are forever.

Jocelyn had barn duty immediately following the funeral so she waited in the car watching movies while I was in the church...I forgot to show her how to watch movies without running the battery down...oops! Luckily, a nice gentleman came to my rescue. Off to fair.

While Jocelyn finished up her final barn duty, we ran our errands and picked up our balloons and pizza for the balloon launch. At 5pm, we let our wishes for Nie and Christian soar up, up, up. It felt so very good to be involved in that worldwide effort to support the Nielson family. We enjoyed pizza and pop and each other's company. Thanks Mom and Dad and Ryan and Danyelle.

Madeline has been suffering with an ear infection for over two weeks now, but Saturday night it just got too unbearable. After the launch, we went into the ER and they put a cotton wick in her ear to help the medicine get down into the ear canal, she was given some pain meds and we were finally home at 10:30pm. Thankfully, she is feeling better now, and the swelling is gone, and the medicine is doing it's thing. Thank goodness.

While we were running around here all weekend, Brandon was running in the Cascade mountains, trying to finish what he started last year. Not finishing that race last year pushed him to train himself for this year's race. Despite a severe stomach ache in the first 15 miles that forced him to walk 10 miles, and despite a blister the size of a silver dollar, and despite twisting his ankle at mile 40 something, he finished the race in 30:23:11. That's 30 hours people. Yes, he is AMAZING. He ran for 30 hours and 23 minutes straight. No sleep, and only stopping at aid stations for 3 minutes every 7-11 miles to grab a bite to eat or get some water or change his wet shoes.

We went to meet him at his final aid station at mile 95, and while waiting for him to arrive there we decided to hike up the trail and try to find him and encourage him to keep going. We knew he was hurting and struggling and we wanted to experience just a smidgen of what he had been experiencing for 29 hours. This trail was straight up, so steep, and relentless. We hiked it up for about 1 mile and it never plateaued, it just kept going up and up and up. I have no idea how these ultra-trail runners accomplish a race like is mind blowing. Today, Brandon's ankle is so very sore and swollen, but he put on his shoes and went to work. He is my hero.

(He is a 100 mile finisher, and he has the belt buckle to prove it!)

Here are the stats on his race:

107 race starters
77 finishers (30 people dropped at some point)
Brandon finished 56th
Elevation gain: 20,470' (that's how many feet he climbed total, mind blowing!)
Highest point: 5,840'
Surface: 75% trail, 25% dirt road
15 aid stations

I am so grateful to the volunteers who help throughout these races, especially the night crew at the aid stations, who sacrifice sleep and who feed the runners and encourage them to keep going. Good, good people.

That was our weekend, and it was a good one, full of friends, family, and memories.