First off, I apologize for having been incommunicado for the last few weeks. Suffice it to say that they have been some of the craziest in my life. I won't go through all the details here, but two events should be shared with all and sundry. First off, I've been on hike hiatus for most of this time, taking care of a number of important things. One of which was running the Miami Marathon this past Sunday. I had never run a marathon before, and back in 2002, when I did run about 25 miles one night in Berlin just for fun, it took me about 5 hours and I was in agony at the end.
Granted, I have been very physically active over the last six months, but I know of no one who has ever trained for a marathon by six months of hiking. So I had no clue what to expect in terms of my ability to finish, let alone my timing. So I was in a bit of shock when mile after mile went by, I felt great with my Ipod urging me along, and I never hit the proverbial "wall" around mile 20. Final time for my first marathon: 3:51,33. I'm hooked. One of the best experiences of my life. I'm already set to run two more marathons in Europe in the spring, and I've even registered for an Ironman triathlon in England in September! Impossible is nothing.
Then yesterday night in Delray Beach, FL, Linda Roman and Linda Makel of the local VFW Post put together a great dinner and fundraiser for the Fisher House Foundation on behalf of my hike. All told, we raised $1360, by far the greatest amount I've raised at any club or post so far! I highly doubt that I will reach my goal of $50,000 by the end of my hike, but rest assured that I will keep speaking to Rotary Clubs, VFW posts, American Legions, and other groups until I reach the $50,000 mark. Plus, with the hike over, I'll be able to put together a great audio-visual presentation with photos set to my favorite hiking songs. Let me know if you know a group that might be interested in hearing the tale of my epic adventure!
And now, providing I get over this pesky cough, it will be back to the road tomorrow, with an ETA in Key West now of Feb 14.