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Week of 27 August 2007

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Monday, 27 August 2007
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08:46 - Barbara called me yesterday afternoon to say her Trooper was sitting dead next to a gasoline pump at the Shell station up on Reynolda Road. I went over to meet her, and we called a tow truck. The truck hauled her Trooper out to our mechanic's place, where we dropped it off. Roberta, the wife of Tim, our mechanic, happened to be there, although the place was closed. We gave her the key and headed back home. We'll go out and pick it up this afternoon.

Paul and Mary have both been out of contact for the last couple of days. Paul has been camping in the Upper Peninsula, and Mary running the graveyard shift. I did get private email from Mary. She's not 100% physically, but she seems pretty satisfied with how she's running, and she's delighted that she now has only nine days and eight runs left. Most or all of her remaining runs are during the night hours, which she doesn't mind. As she said, "Less traffic, cooler temperatures, vampire potential -- all excellent reasons to run at night." I hope she's carrying Mr. Pointy, or perhaps the BPR baton is convertible.

From: Paul Jones
  To: Paul Jones
  CC: <many recipients>
Date: Yesterday 20:45:00
  Re: Canada, eh

Hi all,

I am now sitting on Mary's parents' couch (well, one of the couches, anyway). My truck is mostly unloaded (my stuff fairly exploded onto the tranquil scene) and I'm off to meet Mary in Ontario tomorrow. It's been awhile since my last update. So, there is a lot I haven't told you. It'll be a longish email; you can skip ahead to a funny Brynn story at the end if you like.

I believe when I last wrote, Mary and Team Silver had completed their 3pm to 9pm shift. They then went to Will Dobbie's house (or, his parents' house, rather, as he is off to grad school) (sorry for all the parentheticals). This was a bit of heaven for Mary. Will and his family have been vegetarians since Will can remember and his mother cooked a big dinner of veggie lasagna. She is also a reflexologist so she (Will's mom) and Alyson (who travels with the team that is off each day) did massage duets on the runners. Not to mention that Will's house is on a lake just outside Vicksburg, MI, which is, in turn, just outside Kalamazoo. Pleasant, idyllic setting with tornadoes no closer than 40 miles and floods a full 100 miles off. Mary made noises of staying there for good. While all this was going on, I scooted up through Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where I camped for two days in increasingly wet state parks. Michigan has a really fine system of state parks and the UP is every bit as nice as folks say. I did a hike to Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. I went for a quick dip in the lake, which was stunning. The shore was rock so there was no silt to make the water murky. The water was as clear and clean as I've seen in Hawaiian lagoons or photos of the Caribbean. Of course, one minute in the water disabuses one of the notion that one is anywhere close to Hawaii. Still, I splashed around for a bit and hiked back to the car. For those of you in the southern reaches of the US, highs were in the high 60s and lows in the 40s. The leaves are turning in many places. Very nice.

I then made my way down US 23 along the Huron coast to Midland, MI, headquarters of Dow. Heiko and Virginia were good enough to put me up for a couple of nights (if you have the impression I'm just bouncing around the US mooching, you aren't even close to making your case - to make your case you'd need to see what happens when Mary gets her per diem (should that be italicized?)). They have a great house, also on a lake - there are a lot of lakes in the Great Lakes region, who knew? Friday night saw the arrival of Heiko and Team Yellow to his house. I was enlisted to grill for them and they had a great dinner and visit around midnight. They had handed off to Mary and Team Silver, running the first of their 9pm to 3am shift - the graveyard shift. Mary and Heiko were set to run into the Dow BPR event on Saturday. Heiko would run his normal 10 mile leg starting at 3pm and Mary and Andrew Liveris, Dow CEO would join in for the last mile. What I haven't told you is that no one gets cell reception in Heiko and Virginia's house. So, I pass a pleasant night and, at some point on Saturday morning, go out to the truck to retrieve an item. My phone beeps. It beeps some more. Six voicemail messages. Pretty sure that isn't a good sign. My reception and Mary's reception were both bad so the messages were garbled. But the gist was clear. Mary pulled a calf during her run. She finished, but was limping badly and after sitting in the van didn't feel she could walk. Then an amusing (okay, if you're not Mary) series of events left her sleeping in the lobby of the Sleep Inn in Midland. The messages were increasingly pitiful pleas for me to come get her. I had left a message on her voicemail telling her I didn't have cell service in the house, but her voicemail seems to be down. Finally, at 8:30am, she gave up on me and called Alyson who rescued her and took her into her room and worked on the calf a bit. Alyson sequestered Mary's phone and got her some sleep. In short, Alyson was probably a far better person to call than me. I feel bad that I can't really relate the series of events here but when next you see Mary or I in person, feel free to inquire. Mary tells it with far more emotion than I but either way it takes some time and is R rated (adult language, violent imagery). In all honesty, a written version wouldn't make any sense and would take much longer than I have to write or you have to read. It does involve all of these things: Mary's lack of a credit card, GPS failures, water in a computer keyboard and teammates.

When I finally caught up to Mary at 2pm in the Holiday Inn, Midland, she was feeling much happier. She'd gotten some sleep and Alyson had performed her magic. The meeting point for Mary and Liveris to meet Heiko was the parking lot of a driving range. As luck would have it, they loaned out clubs with rental of a bucket of balls. I digress. Mr. Liveris showed up just as Heiko came in range with a high school track team in tow. Alyson and I went ahead to the party, at the farmer's market in Midland. There were several hundred people (offhand guess: 500) there, along with Desmond Howard as emcee. Dow put on quite the show. There was a mile walk and a 5K. The team was introduced individually to great applause. They put the incoming runners up on the big screen, to greater applause. The runners entered and it got deafening (they'd handed out those cursed thundersticks). Mary and Heiko hugged each member of the team in turn. Mr. Liveris shook a few hands. Heiko spoke - many of those present are his friends and coworkers. Mary spoke, eloquently, movingly and with much emotion. Rudy and Heiko read/spoke the message. Rudy took off. The walk and 5K got underway. Mary and Heiko were swarmed for quite awhile by well wishers and fans. It was really cool and I'm sorry I can't describe it better. Dow and the city of Midland are clearly strongly supportive of the Run. There should, hopefully, be video.

Mary's leg tightened up as we had dinner with Alyson and the rest of her team except for Emmanuel, who didn't see why we should go to a restaurant when he had many fans still hanging around and there were free hot dogs. I saw his point but Mary had the cash, so I went with them to an omelette place. Mary was concerned about her night leg and Will agreed to cover some miles if necessary. I'm happy to report that it wasn't. Mary ran a 88 minute 10 mile leg - slower than she'd like, but she finished and the calf felt okay. They crossed the border this afternoon to Sarnia, Ontario (crossing at Port Huron, MI) and will take a couple of days to cross Ontario. I came south around Lake Michigan, stopping for a quick dip in Lake Erie at Geneva-on-the-Lake, a really nice Ohio State Park, which had the best swimming of any of the Great Lakes I've tried thus far (not as nice as Superior, but about 20 degrees warmer and with great wave action). I will meet Mary tomorrow after her last 9pm-3am shift and then we will attend Jason and Taeko's wedding, set for the 3pm exchange point at Niagara Falls. Then we'll come to Big Flats in preparation for her run through her hometown with family pacing her.

So, the good bit with Brynn. They've all been doing a lot of interviews lately (Mary has done two live radio interviews, several phone interviews with newspapers and one podcast). Laurel had a scheduled live radio interview to be done via the phone but wires got crossed and she was asleep. Thinking quickly, a BPR staffer handed the phone to Brynn. Brynn went with it, didn't protest when she was called 'Laurel' and all seemed well. Their interviews are mostly soundbites of "give money to a good cause" so, piece of cake, right? Toward the end, the interviewer says, "So, Laurel, it says here you're fluent in French." Interviewer proceeds to ask a question in French. Silence. Brynn says, "Well, my French is rusty..." Awkward end to interview. Funny stuff. Heiko tells it great.

Okay, sorry for the long email. I'll try to stay on top of it. Going into tonight, Mary has nine more days and eight more runs. Just 80 miles. That is still 10% of her total. Yikes.

Cheers, Paul

And a couple of images.

Mary and Paul Rogan at an exchange point in Missouri, just before the storm.

Just before a very near strike of lightning.  You'll have to blow it up a bit.

From: Paul Jones
  To: Paul Jones
  CC: <many recipients>
Date: Yesterday 21:56:17
  Re: Canada, eh

Also, Mary has a new blog up.


Still trying to get text of her response to the Dow blog.  -Paul


Tuesday, 28 August 2007
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08:33 - We picked up Barbara's truck last night. It was the battery. As we were driving out to pick up her truck, Barbara noticed that the odometer on my 1992 Trooper had just turned 50,000 miles. Not bad for a 15 year old truck.

Although the garage was closed when we arrived, Tim (our mechanic) came over to greet us. He and his family live in a house right next-door to the garage. Tim mentioned something that really surprised me. He said that getting parts for some vehicles that are more than 10 or 15 years old has become a real problem. In particular, he mentioned that getting parts for some Fords from the early 1990's has become almost impossible. The parts are no longer available new, and tracking them down in junkyards has gotten harder and harder. I said, "What do you do when that happens, scrap the car?" He replied that sometimes that was the only realistic choice. Talk about planned obsolescence. I told Tim that if I ever had to replace my Trooper I thought I'd go with a Model T. He said he could still get parts for those.

I spent yesterday afternoon reviewing galley proofs for the astronomy book. I have another couple hours work to do on that this morning, and then I'll jump back into the home chem lab book.

Mary Chervenak and the rest of the Blue Planet Run team are most of the way through Ontario. They cross back into the United States this afternoon at Niagara Falls (slowly I turn...). Runners Taeko Terauchi and Jason Loutitt are getting married today at Niagara Falls. Paul and Mary will attend the wedding.

I'm not sure which of the other runners will attend. Perhaps all of them, although that would mean that none of the runners would be running for the first time since the run started. Still, I'd think they could make that small exception for something as important as the wedding of two of the runners. If nothing else, I'm sure they could get volunteer substitute runners to run one or two 10-mile legs while the wedding was taking place.

10:52 - Update from Paul.

From: Paul Jones
  To: Robert Bruce Thompson
Date: Today 10:01:25
  Re: update

Mary and Team Silver wrapped up their shift last night, ending in downtown Toronto. Mary ran first through the burbs (Brampton), which are, sadly, like American burbs - strip malls selling crap, restaurants selling crap, crap and too much traffic (if you detect a note of irritation, the first five personal encounters I had in Canada yesterday were people either being rude to me, cheating me (water park with a closed beach, but no signs until you get to the beach, well after they took your money), or ignoring me. It was a shock as all my other trips to Canada have been filled with people being cheery and nice to me. Anyway, things reverted to form and I've had a good 18 hours or so. :)

Anyhow, Mary finished her run and I took her away to get some sleep as today is Silver's day off. But, it will be a busy day as Jason and Taeko's wedding is at the 3pm exchange. Mary, Shiri, Laura, Dot and Taeko spent most of yesterday shopping for bridal stuff. At one point yesterday, I had the dress, veil and fingernail polish in my truck. The bridesmaids (any of the female runners who can show up) will wear a dress cut from XXL BPR T-shirts and painted by Shiri and paint their nails their team color (when did this turn into a friggin society column?). Jason and Taeko will run together 9.5 miles, change into their wedding duds and run the last half mile to the exchange, handing off to Brynn and Sean who, as the only married couple on the run (1st anniversary two days ago), will carry the baton away as everyone else gathers for a short (one fervently hopes) ceremony.

Then we'll spend the next few hours crossing into the US as they probe us for nail clippers, inflamatory books and impure thoughts. (Seriously long lines to re-enter the US.)

Mary and Team Silver will then head to Mary's folks in Big Flats along with Alyson (Mary says that her mom knows this - one hopes, as she is reading right along with you). They then run tomorrow at 3am (3am August 30, actually). Mary has 6 runs left. She felt good and reports the calf problem has cleared up. She suspects it was simple fatigue, which is a good guess.

See you some of you in New York, Paul

Duncan fell and couldn't get up yesterday. I had him down to about the corner when the mail truck whipped around the corner a block away and headed straight for us without pausing to deliver mail on the block between us. Duncan always goes berserk at the sight or sound of a mail truck. (And I mean "berserk" in the original Viking sense; when Duncan goes berserk, he whips around trying to fang anything nearby, including, more than once, my leg. If nothing or no one else is handy, he's been known to fang himself. Fortunately, it's a working nip, as he might use on a recalcitrant sheep, rather than an actual bite.)

So, Duncan spotted the mail truck and started his usual beserk barking and whipping around on the leash, trying to slip his collar so that he could get free to attack the mail truck and fang it right in the tire. (He likes the mail carriers, who bring him treats and pet him; it's the truck he really hates.) As he whipped around, his rear end gave out and he went down hard. That's not uncommon for Duncan nowadays, but what worried me was that he couldn't get up. When I lifted his rear end for him, he staggered a couple half steps and went down again.

Eventually he was able to stand, albeit unsteadily. We did manage to make it home, a matter of 100 yards or so. I had to lift him again to get him over the curb, and then again to get him up the couple of steps to the front porch. In the house, he wasn't able to stand at all. I gave him a 500 mg aspirin as a supplement to the Previcox he gets for pain, and made sure he had all the water he wanted.

An hour or so later, Duncan walked unsteadily past my office, so at least he was recovering somewhat. Last night, Barbara took Duncan for his after dinner and before bedtime walks. Instead of putting him on the leash, she walked along beside him holding his tail to give him some extra support. (It wasn't cruelty; Duncan actually looked like he appreciated Barbara holding his tail so that he wouldn't collapse.)

Barbara gave him another half Previcox before bed and then another this morning. She usually gives him only half a day, but he's actually allowed to have more. This morning, Duncan seemed to be doing better. He went out as usual when we got up, and was able to go down and then up the stairs to the porch. He was a bit shaky, but otherwise normal.

About 9:30 this morning, I took them out on their usual morning walk down to the end of the block and back. I decided to let Duncan go off-leash, because I was afraid that if he reached the end of his leash he'd fall over again and perhaps damage his rear end. Duncan doesn't really need a leash. He followed our usual route, turned around where we usually turn around, and returned home. I was worried that the weakness in his back end would make it impossible for him to squat, but he managed that normally.

Barbara thinks, and I agree, that it's heat-related. Although yesterday was a bit cooler, we've had two or three weeks of extremely hot weather, and that's very hard on an old dog. In fact, Duncan exhibited heat-related rear-end problems when he was only a couple of years old. Barbara noticed that when Duncan ran a lot in hot weather, his back end would give out.

One time, our friend and vet Sue Stephens went out with Barbara to watch. Sure enough, after Duncan had run for a while and gotten overheated, his rear end just gave out. Sue examined him every way she could think of, including x-rays, and found no physical problem that could account for it. But, as she said, some Border Collies are like that. They don't deal well with heat, and Duncan certainly doesn't.

I'm keeping him indoors and cool as much as possible. I'm also going to start "walking" him in the back yard, so that he won't go berserk when a mail truck or UPS/FedEx truck or school bus passes.


Wednesday, 29 August 2007
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08:37 - I'm busier than the proverbial one-armed juggler. Brian Jepson, my regular editor at O'Reilly, has brought in a friend of his, Tom Sgouros, to be the primary editor on the home chem lab book. I need to get up to speed with Tom, which I'd planned to do today. But then Brian dumped 20 more chapters of the astronomy book in my lap, so I need to get those proofed and returned as soon as possible. That's probably a couple days work, at least. And I am going to take some time off over the Labor Day weekend, so there's a lot to do over the next three days.

Only seven days remain in the Blue Planet Run. The runners are currently in western New York state. They'll make a big southern loop down through Pennsylvania and Maryland to DC, and then back north through Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey, arriving next Tuesday back where they started, at the UN Building in New York City.

Runners Taeko Terauchi and Jason Loutitt got married yesterday at an exchange point near Niagara Falls, with several of the female BPR runners as bridesmaids and several of the male BPR runners as groomsmen. I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures and, I hope, the video. So, the run started with one married couple as runners and will finish with two married couples as runners. Both couples will have good stories to tell their grandchildren.

It's back to work for me...

09:43 - Update from Paul.

From: Paul Jones
  To: Paul Jones
  CC: <many recipients>
Date: Today 09:05:43
  Re: Canada, eh


I'm again sitting at the Chervenak's in Big Flats. Team Silver woke up yesterday spread out in Ontario and immediately set about preparing for the wedding (well, Mary and Shiri did - in true groomsman tradition, Will and Emmanuel slept in and got some lunch). I got a quick dip in Lake Ontario and then we headed to the Falls. The wedding was held about half a mile down from the Maid of the Mist ticket plaza on the Canadian side. Jason and Taeko ran in and exchanged with Brynn and Sean who ran the mile or so across the border, handing off to Lansing who had already cleared customs.

By the way, the really long line into the US? That was on the QEW where commercial traffic is allowed. The line across the Falls was only about 10 minutes. Piece of cake. We may have lied a bit; I said I had no fruit or vegetables and Mary said her trip was "pleasure".

After the exchange, the bride and groom went to change into their duds and the runners entertained a respectable crowd. When reassembled, the groom wore a traditional tux with silver top hat and gloves, the bride a dress. It was white and very pretty and if you want details, you'll have to ask Mary or look at the pictures. They then got married in something close to a traditional native ceremony (Jason is aboriginal Canadian) exchanging vows in mostly english with some japanese.

Mary and I then broke out and headed to Big Flats arriving just ahead of Team Silver and Alyson. They're staying in Corning. Mary's mom has laid in a large supply of food and we're expecting all the runners to pass through at some point today. Team Silver hung out in the den for an hour or so eating and drinking. Mary runs today at 430pm on an Orange leg joined by her brothers Jay (running) and Steve (cycling). Her dad will bike along with Mary and some of the other runners. In other words, it will be a very Chervenak Blue Planet Run today.

Coffee appears to be ready. -Paul


Thursday, 30 August 2007
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08:40 - Incredibly, I made it through all 20 chapters of the galley proofs yesterday. That was pretty much 10 straight hours of proofing and correcting from 8:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m., with only about 15 minutes total for bathroom breaks and giving the dogs a couple of quick walks around the yard.

That's one thing I've noticed about getting older. It used to be that I could concentrate for 12, 14, or even 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for weeks on end. Nowadays, only 10 straight hours of 100% focused mental effort leaves me pretty well whacked.

Back to work on the home chem lab book.

Today is Barbara's Friday. She decided to take tomorrow off to run errands, extending her three-day weekend into a four-day mini-vacation. She was thinking about taking Duncan to the vet, but he's doing a lot better. Yesterday, he didn't fall down at all, other than a few times when Malcolm rammed him. Every time I left my office and headed for the kitchen to get a Coke, there was Duncan up on the sofa in the den. If he can climb up on the sofa, he must be feeling okay. He seems to be pretty much recovered from whatever was bothering him, but we're going to limit our outside time today, just to make sure he doesn't get overheated.

Barbara asked me this morning what I'd do after next Tuesday, when the Blue Planet Run ends. As she said, I've been following it very closely--reading all of the updates, following progress on the maps, reading everyone's blog entries, and so on--so it looks like I'll need a new hobby.

Update from Paul.

From: Paul Jones
  To: Paul Jones
  CC: <many recipients>
Date: Today 09:49:33
  Re: New York, state not city

The Chervenak house is now quiet. Yesterday all five teams and a goodly number of staff stopped by throughout the day and were treated to excellent food, drink and merriment by the Chervenaks. Mary ran her leg at 430pm accompanied by her brother Jay and father Bill (cycling). Her sister Erin joined in for a couple of miles toward the end. She was also joined, at times, by a reporter, a couple of guys in a pizza place and two motorcycles travelling in excess of 100mph. It was a lively run. Two ladies who Mary used to babysit for, Mrs. Spillman and Mrs. Bardhan, came out to cheer Mary on. Mary was very excited about the hometown support. The run was a nice, gentle downhill from Southport (a few miles from the house) to south Elmira. The shift was formally an Orange shift. Orange was good enough to let Mary run one of their legs, moving their shift to a 2230 end, which in turn moved Yellow to 2230-0430, leaving Silver three legs from 0430-0900. After that, they were all back on schedule. This gave Silver a later wake-up call and Yellow more time to drink and eat, mostly drink, at the Chervenak home. Only Orange got squeezed a bit. The runners gave Mary a good-natured teasing that, since she knew the area, she was able to pick an easy, downhill leg. In all seriousness, the legs in upstate NY and northern PA are either quite flat or really hilly with more of the latter. The lay of the land is a very large number of ridges. If you run between the ridges, it is quite flat (most of the towns are here). If you move perpendicular to the ridges, you might cross several in ten miles. The hills are neither as steep nor as long as out west, but still significant. Mary felt bad when she looked at where her official leg would've been in northern PA and feels that she got a good deal by changing out. She feels good and has only 5 runs left.

The Elmira Star-Gazzette had a really nice article on the BPR and Mary that was the top headline on page 1 yesterday. They followed today with an account of Mary's leg yesterday. The reporter, Jim Pfiffer, was a really nice guy who had been following the Run for awhile. He spoke to most of the runners, staff and family on hand. He rode up the hill to greet Lansing who was coming into the exchange point, then cycled a couple of miles with Mary before speeding forward to file the story for today's paper. The article he wrote was one of the nicest I've seen on the trip. The Corning Leader, Mary's hometown paper, was a little slower on the uptake but wrote a nice article today (links for all below).

She next runs outside Harrisburg on the 0300-0900 shift on August 31 (officially a BPR August 30 run). That shift ends near Gaithersburg, MD. On Friday there is an "event" somewhere near the Mall in DC and then Mary will run near the MD/Del. border 0300-0900. Phone calls will be made to those of you in that area in the next day to try to arrange meets.

I'm on my way to Jay's house in Silver Spring (hey, Sarah - you know this, right?) tonight and will meet up with Mary somewhere in Maryland.  They make the turn in DC for the final push to New York City, which they will sneak up on, running loops around all five buroughs and a jaunt out Long Island - yes, the runners are thrilled about that. I will head south from DC and unload the truck at home before flying to NY on Monday for the end of the Run. -Paul


The Leader
Star Gazette (today's)
Star Gazette (yesterday's - good article)

I've attached a photo that appears today in the Star-Gazette of Mary and her brother Jay running.

Image Copyright © 2007 Star-Gazette. Used with permission.


Friday, 31 August 2007
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08:20 - Pictures from Paul.

I thought you might like to see a wedding photo. The falls are directly behind me as I take this photo.

I really hate to pick on Jay, not least because I hope to sleep on his futon tomorrow night (and he ran a leg of the BPR while I
only have managed a couple of miles), but I thought I'd share this photo of Mary handing off to Sunila after her run yesterday.

PS Seriously, Jay, I was just shooting Mary and Sunila, getting you in the frame was unintentional.

Just to prove he really was fine.


Saturday, 1 September 2007
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00:00 -


Sunday, 2 September 2007
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14:08 - Update from Paul.

From: Paul Jones
Date: Sun, September 2, 2007 12:55 pm
  To: Paul Jones
  Cc: <many recipients>
  Re: home. one of us, anyway

I have just pulled into the house in Winston-Salem. For the record, I left here on July 17 and covered just over 9,500 miles and 23 states (plus one province) and 21 nationally protected areas (parks, recreation areas, lakeshores, etc.), not to mention countless state and local parks. A long and varied trip and yet it pales in comparison to Mary's. Plus I didn't run it. Thanks to all those along the way (Mom, Dad, Shari, Jan and Toke, Jack and Theresa, Sarah, John and Jen, Rich, Christine, Bill and Mary, Alyson, Jay and Sarah, Mike and Chris, and Ruth and Kevin) who put me up or fed me (or both) and made it possible for me to follow Mary's journey across the US. It wasn't necessary that I accompany her, but I think it made it more comfortable for her and her team that there was another car that could run errands and such. It was also great to catch up with so many of you.

Speaking of Mary, she has completed three runs and concluded a shift since I last updated. She ran from 0430-0600 through downtown Frederick, MD and a nice country lane outside of town. Then a sort of busy road just across the state line into Delaware from 0600-0730 and, finally, a nice (her word) run through central New Jersey roughly paralleling the Garden State parkway. She said it was nice and strange to be running in places she has run before. She hadn't run that particular road in NJ, but had run near there and has run some of the route. She has a "short" day off today and then Team Silver hits the road Monday morning at 9am for their last full shift. The next 0900-1500 shift is cut short at noon on Tuesday by the Run ending. It isn't clear yet who will run what distance or when on their shift on Tuesday. My last word from the team was that they would all finish together, though how they will accomplish that is unknown to me. So, Mary has one run plus a bit left. Say, 15 miles. Or, better, a half-marathon to go.

In the DC area, she had to go to the Capitol event, which was relatively well attended (and thanks to Sarah and Ruth for coming out). I picked her up at the end of that shift (at 0730, early due to shifts in who was running due to requests from those with DC connections, much like what happened in Elmira for Mary). We zipped off to see nephew Simon off to school, which is high on Aunt Mary Claire's list of highpoints of the trip, then spent the day with me waking her up when BPR responsibilities intervened, or when the food arrived, or when she'd been in the shower long enough, etc. After the Capitol event, she got a couple of hours sleep at Jay and Sarah's and then we headed to Baltimore for excellent crabcakes with Mike and Chris. She then headed to what is, if there is any justice in the world - or even if there isn't - hopefully, her last Super 8 stay. Super 8 went the extra mile to make it an unsavory experience with yet another example of the beauty of mold, though Mary managed to get four hours of sleep while her team spent time (wisely, perhaps) elsewhere. Will and Shiri went to a Nationals game with ex-schoolmates of Shiri's and Emmanuel was the guest of honor at a dinner at the Kenyan embassy. Not that an American wouldn't be proud to be the guest of honor at a foreign embassy, but the Kenyan ambassador to the US is a position of high importance in the Kenyan government and the current ambassador is a man highly esteemed (at least by Emmanuel but, so I hear, by most of Kenya) and well known to all Kenyans (quick name our ambassador to, well, anywhere). Will, who spent time in Kenya, likened it to an American being hosted by a Secretary of State or Vice President when the rest of Team Silver and I didn't seem as impressed as he and Emmanuel thought we should be, though, to be fair, dinner had just arrived when he told us. Emmanuel was elated and the ambassador seemed a very gracious man at the Capitol event. Mary said Emmanuel is still walking on air. However, none of the team, save Mary, got any sleep that night - Shiri found people (2, in fact, known in most circles as a couple) in the vacated room of a staffer she was to use at the Essex Super 8. She spent the rest of the night reading in the lobby.  The following shift was evidently one of tension, though the running went well, as they were exhausted. The run this morning went well all around as everyone had gotten some sleep. Mary has had a couple more guest runners. Rotarians seem to be stalking my wife.

In the meantime, Jay, Sarah, Ruth and Kevin conspired to keep me from returning home on Sept. 1, as planned. I attended the Maryland State Fair after some (now much appreciated) encouragement from Jay and Sarah (a cute smile from Simon certainly aided the persuasion) and then the Nationals-Giants game last night at the invitation of Ruth at the Capitol event. It was my first (and most likely last) trip to RFK. Dad will be happy to note a Barry 0-for, though he made a nice catch and hit two balls very hard. I arose early this morning and sped down I-81 home.

My next update, barring anything weird (well, actually, I have several messages to forward you about media events including the possible appearance of BPR on the ABC Sunday evening news; weird, I guess), will be from New York and I'll try to fill you in on how they plan to wrap this thing up. I guess they'll just stop, ala Forest Gump.

I am now off to put food in the house.



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