When it was time to head south, I was more than ready. I also had big, big plans for a very short trip.
The first of my big plans consisted of getting a tour from Dr. Charles Levy, Chief of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service at the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System. Sounds important, right? Well, he is a pretty big deal. He is also extremely nice. I was more excited than I can possibly explain to get a tour of the virtual reality system he is developing to help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. This topic also happens to be the focus of my PhD dissertation so I was beyond excited! Our plans also consisted of hanging out with Mary, my long time bestie from West Point days of yore. There aren't many awesome people you get to call a friend for 20 years, and we find adventure wherever we go. Another of our big plans was to visit Jim's Aunt Sally and Uncle Paul in Orlando. While we had seen them a few years ago at a Clouse reunion, Jim had not been to Orlando to visit them in over 20 years. Jim even added in a lunch with Bill Rodgers! Somewhere in there we planned to run a 50K as well. Not bad for a 4 day trip, eh?
I've found that one of the best things in life is spending time around good people and discussing interesting topics with those folks who also share your interests. It really is exhilarating, and I had plenty of time to do that this trip. From talking about life, the universe and everything with Jim and Mary to virtual environments with Dr. Levy, Shiva, and David and then to talking about running with Bill Rodgers and then onto General Longstreet, the founding fathers, and Jesus with Paul and Sally, it was one of the best weekends ever. The beach was an added bonus.
|Jim found a new friend!|
|Mary and I hanging with the turtle.|
|On the beach!|
|We had some GREAT food here!|
|Lunch with Bill Rodgers|
8:18am 22mph, gusts 26 mph
8:30am 31 mph, gusts 36mph
8:48am 33 mph, gusts 40mph
9:00am 33mph, gusts 38 mph
9:36am 36mph, gusts 43mph
The conditions were rough, and it would have been an extremely difficult 50K.
|Flying in the Storm|
|Holding my hat since it wouldn't stay on my head|
We had a great dinner and great time catching up with them. Jim's family has some of the nicest people you will ever meet. These two are sharp cookies, and they took great care of us on our last night in Florida. Wish we could have stayed longer!
While our race didn't turn out as planned, the rest of the trip was amazing. Times like these help me to realize how great my life is and how many wonderful people you can find in the world. I can't wait until Jim's next birthday!