Caren Ware's Blog

July 30, 2010

Give this man a hand…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 11:37 pm

Dan and his family

I met an amazing family you just have to met.  Their daughter is teaching in Australia and they are from Canada.  They said their last name was the same as an Australian cigeratte…Windfield or something.  I didn’t catch their name, but I caught their vibes.  They were enjoying traveling and loving time spent with their daughter.  But most impressive was the cheerful and adept way the man operating with two steel hand.  Not crushed, but assure and willing to make life work with the challenge of having these.  Somehow, I could tell this was a newly found challenge.

He shared that five years ago, the auger of his hay machine grabbed the flap of his cardifth jacket, spun him around, and tethering him, and sucked him right through the machine, hands held out to stop the unstoppable. Had it not been for the fast action of his nephew that used string and a tourniquet plus an airlift he would not be here in the middle of the Outback enjoying his family.  You could tell that he had chosen to live in that thankfulness rather than be broken  spirited by the loss of hands.

The new challenge became how to operate a farm by his voice and not his hard work.  They hired people.  He also had a successful manufacturing business that he had to teach others how to make his machines.  The newly sufficient way of operating allowed him to travel and here he was with a grin and a chipper attitude.  I was thankful to have met them.

His good humor was contagious.  He asked my daughter for my blog website and said, “I’ll write it down.  Oh…no I can’t write it down.”  He giggled a sincere laugh at the funniness of the sentence and walked on through his new journey in life.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 12:02 am

Its a long run to that rock!

My son said we had to go exploring. I agreed.  I am sure there are ways to get around out here that are less touristy, but we had  a very limited window of time so I paid the ridiculously high price of taking a tour and then realized that is entirely the only way for them to make money out here.  The resort complex, with its Disneyland feel, really did make it pretty comfortable to base a marathon from. Suck up the prices and enjoy the fact that we are here, Caren.  But more than being entertained, I sincerely desired to know for real what the aboriginal culture was experiencing as the western culture vacationed in their lives.

When I was on a train to the Blue Mountains back in October during a break from the World Games competition in Sydney when an aboriginal teen had stepped into the car at one of the towns.  She never entered a cabin.  She never took a seat.  She looked sad.  Angry.  Glaring nervously about and avoiding all eye contact.  I made up a story for her as my daughter says I am good at doing.  I read in her that she was totally alone, abandoned by the sandwiching of two cultures and her age.  She wanted so bad to fit in with this crowd that came and went and went to school, but doing so would so displease her family .  Family was strong, and no matter, if she ditched that cultural upbringing, she would not fit into this other world anyway.  So she glared to cover up the tears that wanted to burst out her chest.  And the train full snubbed her and looked not just past her, but through her.  I was amazed.

Having picked out 7 special teen Hispanic boys from the Hood in Los Angeles and reward their determination to be great runners by sponsoring them with shoes, opportunity, and a home I could not look through her or even past her, but hurt for her.  My boys grew into accomplished runners that all made it into universities and colleges, but to what avail?  Although they got student visas, once graduated, a few of them would still have the challenge of being illegal.  High school graduates, college graduates, some going on to get their Masters degrees.  They were constantly having their cars impounded.  Pulled over for a minor infraction and not able to produce a driver’s license or such and the car that they had washed dishes for over a year was impounded.  Towed away with their computer and college text books to never be seen again.  It has happened to my boys more times than someone would want to put up with .  And it is only one of the grave facts of being a man without a country.

The tour guide to Ayers Rock intrigued me.  He was quiet.  He was simple.  He was simply Outback and as we walked and talked I got a feel that he loved his land and its variables, especially the people…the real plight of the aborigines .  I chatted with him as we wandered back from  an aboriginal cave painting and a picturesque water hole that is stowed away enough in the shade of this enormous rock formation, this and another rock formation the only landmark rises in this entire vastness. The rest of it looks like the bottom of an ocean.  I shared with the guide my flight and plight with my Mexican boys.  I related the shunning I witnessed of the aboriginal girl on the train.  I told him about my mom being half Cree American Indian and all the medical difficulties that she inherited with that.  I could feel the Aussie turn the knob from tour guide to an Aussie sharing some information with an American.  I wondered how many tourists took the time to understand ‘for real” what was going on with the aborigines.  Lots of time spent exploring Alaska had introduced me to the alcohol damaged and lack of incentive our own Indian population was dealing with.  In Alaska, I got to travel through villages and see the plump signs of alcoholism even in the teens and ladies as they sat around collecting government checks and just keeping up the village because that is what they had always done.

The guide stopped and asked if we could exchange emails. I really want to keep in contact and learn what I know he knows.  It has to be much different in reality to live here than the Disneyland resort we got to vacation in.

He dropped us off and we thanked him for a day of getting to see the rock up close and personal.  We were hungry and headed to the only grocery store.  An aboriginal family was outside the store.  Two older women sat cross legged in the dirt waiting.  A tall man was leaning against a tree.  His skin was so dark I couldn’t make out his facial features under his leather hat.  Two teen girls and a toddler were waiting the permission to enter the store.  I couldn’t help it.  To my daughter’s horror I walked up, stuck my hand out, and said, “Hi.  I am Caren from California.  It is a pleasure to meet you.”

The entire clan stared at my outstretched hand and didn’t move. I turned to the teens and asked if they spoke English. One clasped her hand over her mouth and giggled.  The other dutifully looked at the ground.  The older women got up and the entire clan moved away from me and my arm in the air.  So here I will write a story for them.  The older women shot me the most searing of looks. “Please don’t encourage my beloved kids away from me.  We are all we have.  Please.  Just stay away.”  I already knew from the guide that these Anunga people believed that if a person’s photograph was displayed after they died that their spirit stayed in that flat piece of paper. In respect to that belief,  the cultural center in the national park at Ayres Rock had covered the faces of those that had died.  In respect to these people, I restrained from my deepest desire to take a photograph with them and this part of my blog will be pictureless.

I glanced at the store and saw my daughter watching me from behind the store window.  What would I feel like if someone was trying to steal my daughter away from me?  Our own culture had tried many times and come close to succeeding.

July 29, 2010

Floral, Flauna, and wildlife..just a train ride out of Sydney

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 8:20 pm

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When I competed at the World Games last October, I found  the Featherdale Wildlife Preserve in Blacktown easily accessible by a one hour train ride and a taxi jaunt. There are so many birds and animals unique to Australia it is stunning, spell bounding.  We spent half a day mingling with boxing kangeroos and cuddling sleeping Kolas (who sleep over 18 hours a day…wonder what I would be like if I got that kind of rest!)

We then continued on for another hours ride to the town of Katoomba and the Blue Moutains. It is the Grand Canyon of Australia and despite the rain, we took sky rides and rails to the bottom of the rain forest.  We had a very quaint dinner in a Thai House in Leuara.  There were roaring fires in the fireplaces.  If was actually cold and the warmth inviting.  It was a purely pleasuareable travel day.

Cockatoos perched and flying everywhere

July 28, 2010

Sydney…eating it up.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 11:22 pm


It was windy and raining.  This is about as rare as rain in LA.  So we made it a day about food…what is more fun and interesting then finding things to  eat in Sydney?      

Can’t pass up food that smiles!Love the desserts!Aussies know how do coffee. Very blustery! English breakfast. Hearty!

The Flight…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 11:11 pm

Good word for how I have gotten to places in my life…flight. 

A real mix up on the bookings made my son and I have to drive 2 ½ hours to fly out of San Diego, while the flight I got my daughter left directly from LAX.  When in San Diego, there ended up being no flight and the attendant  rushed us on a commuter plane to get to LAX in time to connect, ironically,  on the same flight as my daughter.  All that detour took over 8 extra hours and we ended up on the same 14 hour flight to Sydney from LAX.  The inevitable travel wearies were already setting in before we even left LA! But that’s travel and I thrill in it.  Much the same way I take on the oppressing consequences of being in charge of running races, which are live performances that demand reaction regardless of what happens.  It is not like I can tell the entire pack of runners to come back and start over if circumstances shut down timing equipment…and it happens all the time. It is not like I can control the legs of a travel journey.  They are in motion, a live stage, and I just deal with it.  Much like life.

So I opted to take on the extra challenge of traveling with my kids.  “He who travels alone, travels fastest”. I knew this, but was willing to take the added needs and wishes.  I had been in life flight a long, long time.  And I and my kids  needed to repair some consequences from that.  The combination  of grappling with life and letting them in on that process would set the stage for this continent’s marathon.  We were headed OUTBACK, wherever and whatever that means. My son said traveling with me was always an adventure.  I am sure being raised by me was too. He said I had to see this clip.  Look it up.  It became the joke line to set of our trip. “See with your eyes, mom. With the real ones.  Not those crazy eyes…the real eyes!”

So 14 hours on a flight.  I was ready to let life’s lessons come pouring in on me.  NOT.  I sat crunched in that seat, numb, unfeeling, emotionless.  I had spent a long time in that state without one brain wave.  I asked my son how long we had been flying.  One hour.  13 more to go.  Wow.  I better entertain something.  So I tuned into thoughtless media and occupied my time with watching an Australian flick “Beneath Hill 60”.  It was actually a good flick, a true story about an OUTBACK man in his late twenties that worked the mines.  As World War I heated up, he felt more and more obligated to enlist and help.  What he ended up doing, was be placed underneath German enemy lines.  He became the instrumental force in digging to the Germans and blowing up their entire hill they were gunning  from. This did not come without being a part of the losses, intensities, beyond frightening years of war.  As life has the greatest of meaning in relationships, the film shared  those and my heart did have emotion.  It over felt every crushing loss of a person.  The film was meant to do that.  And of course, it had the ‘girl’ back home factor.  And back in the day, the man had to ask permission from the parents to “write” to the girl.  To be interested in courting the girl.

 All this had nothing to do with me and; yet, yes, there were feelings in me.  All over the map feelings. I was feeling a lot.  Mostly criminal.  Rat.  Scum.  How could I have turned my back on a marriage.  How could I shut my feeling door on a man who had given me that kind of courting even in a day when that wasn’t done.  My husband had been to Vietnam.  He had a high school sweetheart that had married his best friend while he was away at war.  He had taken a lot of years to get beyond the interruption of Vietnam,  and when I met him he had become a committed Christian, was ready to devote himself to a wife and family, and I was his choice.  He was thirty three when I met him.  I was a serious and focused 19 year old college student.  We decided age did not matter.  And it didn’t.  We set a life in motion and became each other’s devoted marriage mates.  And we struggled, but none mattered.  We had each other.  And we had God’s glue to cement our focus.  I was happy to pour myself into the challenge of making a family, a home, a life worth living for this man.  There was a lot I didn’t understand.  We struggled.  Mainly, financially.  But we were struggling with something else.  A lot of something elses.  I came from a family that… and he had inabilities that and some disability that…  It is all so riddled.  All so mixed up and gnawing, but the pressures of juggling infants and toddlers with barely income, housewifing, becoming the bread winner , trying to stay in the game with education, creating a home based business that would allow me to be around for our kids.  This making us an on the go, on the road family…it was too deep, too personal to even grasp.  It was too confusing, because there are  many wonderfuls  that are far beyond what most ever experience, and yet…the void.  It was there to begin with and  the years piled on to make it something I could no longer avoid.  I had set up some complicated and, yes, some destructive ways to compensate. Yes, grapple.  Grapple.  I  will leave it at that. Overwhelming.  My emotions threw the switch to off and I went back to having my brain stall out at zero.

 Movie over, I tuned into some mindless, slow-moving movie with English subtitles.  It was about 4 very, very overweight guys that had a Japanese restaurant crew train and turn them into Sumo wrestlers in a small Israeli town.  Wow, if that isn’t turning the volume of your brain off.   I still had 9 more hours to kill.  So I started pondering, or brooding.  One of the two.  I couldn’t help, but ponder about a guy that was patiently watching me from the sidelines.  He  was a few years ahead of me in the heartache area of coming through a divorce.  I appreciated his  all-knowing and knowing enough to let me just be…hurt and exploring. I couldn’t let go of the heart-felt loss  of “my voice” whom I had pounced the all to instant, “save me, be my rescue” pressure on by running right into that relationship from a torn apart situation .  It was all too close to the core to even share.  So I turned on tunes and Jordin Sharp rolled out lyrics that said everything for me.  The song ” Tattoo”.  Yes,” voice” somehow I may have rolled all the losses into wanting this one relationship to work like non other. Bet that was deal breaker pressure for any potential relationship. The quick pushing me away produced hundred fold hurt, sincere panic, and desperate emotion which was new and news to this capable, determined, make it succeed, get it done lady. Melt down. I didn’t want to hear that Caren needed to get to know Caren.  I was so lost I didn’t know how to find anything.  Let alone myself.  So “voice” despite the crumpled person you got to watch dissolve through the pangs of divorce,  I will always have you written on my life.  Your shared experiences became windows and doors for me.  I fell into you like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid leaped for their lives in that movie. They were willing to die trying for the chance to live outside of a fugitives life.  An unknown destiny from a cliff into raging waters because what behind them was sure death.  I couldn’t keep living like I had.  I leaped.  For years I had been in flight.  Living like my own emotional fugitive. My relationship with the trainer was a blaring symptom of that.  I adored the man.  I valued his honesty, his willingness to be a life coach, as well as, a physical trainer.  My body came around with his help, but so did my sense of womanhood. That was a story in itself.  My own way ofnot  dealing head on with life had created a mess.  I couldn’t keep running away any more. I was deeply aware that a change was needed. And that kind of change comes from contemplation, peace, resolve, time with self, and a lot of hard work, and yet, a grace to play and a grace to just be and develop. A freedom to enjoy life for what it was and could be.  So this trip to a continent is involving flight, but I think a very different kind for me.  I am soaring into new things instead of fleeing from them.  And, by the way, I am absolutely terrified of the mileage involved in a marathon.  If I ran so tired in an 800m race, what am I going to do plodding along dusty roads in the OUTBACK.  We will only see?

July 26, 2010

Australia or bust! OUTBACK here I come.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 5:44 pm

I am racing to the airport.  Rewashed all my clothes, bought new electronic chargers, and I am off.  I ticketed my son and I through Marathon Tours.  Their system brought up flights that have us leaving out of San Deigo…I thought directly.  No, it has us flying back to LAX and changing to an international flight.  My daughter, whom I ticketed later, is on that LAX flight.  Kind of a logistical mess that I can’t seem to get Quantas to clean up.  Flights are full so we are going to start off this jumbled way.

All washed up…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 5:38 pm

I landed in the all too complicated LAX and it took me hours to get back to the long-term parking and hours to drive over the 405 through night freeway construction to arrive at a dumpy, tucked away motel to time a race on Saturday morning.  A team of my staff had packed and prepped the race.  We snatched a few hours of sleep and did that AM thing of being there in the dark and setting up.  We were timing the RUN for Rosanna at Balboa Park in Van Nuys.

The staff did an excellent job bringing all the right materials for the event save some extra gas for a generator.  As they expertly set up the scaffolding and registration area I took my truck and went for gas.  The truck had gotten dusty from sitting in the parking structure and somehow, a trillion little ants had found their way through the door jam and into a bag that had muffin crumbs in it.  I was swatting the black darting buggers as I drove.  This was unlivable.

So I purchased a car wash and put quarters in the vacuum.  I had no mercy sucking up the trillion little darting specs.  And I proudly drove back to the event with a sparkling white truck.  Bum, I didn’t notice that the back windows on the shell were open.  We had done that to preserve the vats of strawberries  given us at the Strawberry Fields event.  All my luggage.  All my track equipment.  All my electronics: camera, chargers, Ipod were floating in a pool of water.  Slosh.  Slosh.  Really.  Dang.  They were all packed and ready to go to Australia.

I remember being on the phone to a client when I, in my multi-task state, entered a car wash.  We were in the depths of a business conversation when a hydrolic pressure forced blast plastered me.  I had left the passenger window down.  I yelped and fumbled for the key to turn the engine on and get the window up, but not before the entire cab and my business attired self was drenched.  I relocated the phone and the voice was still on the other end.  Totally entertained, he said, “Did you just go through the car wash with your window down?”  He laughed. “I wouldn’t go around admitting that to too many people.”

Run for Rosanna was a quaint, touching race that made my staff smile and feel glad they got to share in the celebration of the life of Rosanna who dropped dead at 24 years young from a heart condition. People had fun at the race.  The overfastest runners ended up being Bill Shuey and Emily Rose.  They both work at RUNNERGY, the running store on Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks.  Both are amazing athletes.  Bill Shuey clocked a time of 17:03 and Emily 17:18 (amazing for a woman!).  Emily taunted Bill with the offer to buy his race entry if he would have the guts to run in a speedo!  He was gutsy!

BILL SHUEY dared to!You can get away with a lot when you are fast!I liked how this boy was dressed! FUN

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Ran out of Gas…tank on empty.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 1:47 am

I actual slept 8 1/2 hours, but the grog wouldn’t leave.  I ran around the corner from my hotel and got a sumptuous mocha and muffin and took a few bites and sips…and still felt overwhelmingly in a fog. I sat on the bed of my 12th floor which overlooked the State Capitol Building and wavered as to even run the Steeple Chase.  That is what I came here to do, so I gathered my spikes and went out the door. 

My shins were paying the pounding price from the day prior. The Mondo track was fast, but the surface hard on hurdlers and would be harsher on Steeple Chasers.  The Steeple Chase at the masters level is a 2000 meters; 5 laps with 5 barricades including a water jump per lap.  The idea of the water jump is to hit it with great momentum as to clear the pit as much as possible.  It is near 4 feet deep at the base and tapers to 2 inches over 12 feet out.  So I treat it like a long jump…if  I hit the top of the steeple smack on.  The barricades, unlike hurdles, do not fall down when you hit them .YOU FALL DOWN! It is a combined endurance, speed, agility obstacle course that someone made up to simulate the cross-country courses where athletes jumped over hedges and ran through bogs.  

Warmed up, sweat dripping, and ready to go ,I lined up with 15 other well-trained and fit athletic women.  The World Record was shattered that day in that pack and it wasn’t me!  No amount of caffeine was going to eradicate the past six months.  I leaned forward and forged with them when the gun went off, but I knew it just wasn’t in me.  I hung with them for one lap, could feel my lungs start to act up, could feel the Achilles start to scream pressing over the water jump and landing off of each steeple, and I said, NAY.  Never in my life have I ever ‘given up” and it all seemed so elrelative as I rounded the bend for the second lap.  I trotted off to the side.  The officials raced over,  grabbed my number, and wrote DNF on their clipboards.   

Oddly, I didn’t feel defeated when I pulled up on the track.  I felt resolved.  I just didn’t feel like pushing myself that hard.  I just didn’t feel like doing it.  So I didn’t. I strolled along the outside lane of the track, picked up my racing flats, and walked out the check in gate and onto a new day.  

I undeclared my remaining event, changed my flight,said good-bye to some choice friends I have made over the years of track, and left the competition.  I drove back to the hotel, let the valet open my car door for me, stepped into the inviting lobby, took the elevator to the 12th floor, said my respects to the govenator, drew the blinds, crawled into my bed, and threw the covers over my head.  It was the middle of the day.  

Rachel Guest. USA Olympic Caliber Pentathlete

BJ. Canada's National Heptathlete

Karen Steen. Best Steeple Chaser. Sidelined with an injury

I made a few business calls in the unbusy Sacramento airport.  I was the last to board.  My seat ended up being the very last seat furthest back.  A gentleman in business attire gathered his paperwork, stood up, and let me plop next to the window.  I was still in my running shorts and I stuck to the vinynal.  This seat felt symbolic of my attempt at the track meet.  Being last, seating last just wasn’t an issue.  It didn’t define me.  And there was something revolutionary and victorious about this simple fact. I won resolve today and that was a bigger medal around my heart than a podium.   

I glanced at the paperwork the gentleman was highlighting.  They were medical journals for asthma and respiratory issues.  He was a pulmonary doctor.  We had a flight conversation about what my newly developing breathing issues were.  He pointed out some tests I should have set up because I sounded like I had developed athlete’s asthma. He said checking for vitamin D deficiency was a good idea and beefing up the fish oils.  (Moxxor qualified!) My window allowed me to look over the central valley of California.  It was filled with brown gunky air.  The voice next to me commented. “You know that this valley has more asthma related deaths and attacks than anywhere in the USA.  That is why I was here doing research.”  Yikes.  

He got into his journals and I got into my thoughts. Was TRACK my vice or the evil it had been tagged?  An escape I used to compensate for what wasn’t working in me and what wasn’t working in my marriage? There was some YES to this.  But my larger conclusion: At least I picked a creative, constructive vice that surrounded me with motivated, fitness driven people.  Of all the possible vices, this, I surmised was a good choice.

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Got a flat tired…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 12:51 am

I just couldn’t resolve to run marathons.  I tried to stay the track trained athlete also.  That potpourri part of me that likes to taste three food choices at once glued with the driven and accomplished side,  flew this past week up to Sacramento and ran in the USA Track & Field National Championships.  The choice to pursue two physical attempts (long distance mileage and fast turn over 800s, jumps, and hurdles) at once put the big bad WALL in front of me and I did a body plant smack into it. 

I am exhausted.  Inside and out.  Months on end of setting up races at 3am.  (I heard someone exclaim, up mean there is another 3 o’clock other than 3 pm?! Yes, some of us get to diligently work the am hours.) Couple that with the hidden drain of everything from a 25 year marriage becoming “former” and I  am no longer invincible.  Bottomed out.  It seemed cruel.  It felt harsh.  But then something in it felt real.  No pretending here.  I was really tired.  And I was really ready to learn to just  “be”…”become”.  I liked my hotel choice.

 I was staying at the Citizen Hotel ( in downtown Sacramento.  It had a great reception area, a restaurant and lounge pleasantly worth hanging in, and a funk coffee shop around one corner and a crepe place around the other.  All I wanted to do was hang there, have my rental car door opened for me by valets, and just chill.

Instead, I spent an intense day competing in the multi-event  Penthalon.  That is 5 events in one day with combined points in the hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump, and 800m. Over the past 7 years,  I have  won 17 National Championship Titles, hold an American Masters record in the Decathlon, and  won a World Championship  Title in the 400m hurdles.  This did not come without focused and immense training.   And it was powered by my immense love for the sport and the character lessons it derives. 

2010 USA Masters Nationals Track & Field: Pent

Gold medal jump, but scratched!

The Sacramento summer was “frying eggs on the tarmac” hot.  I was dehydrating as the day progressed and 16 of us competitors in my female bracket took turns throwing and jumping.  It hasn’t mattered in the past.  In fact, the harsher the conditions, the better I gear in and overtake my competitors.  That was not to be at this national meet.  I kept feeling like an elephant was stepping on my chest and I recognized that burning feeling in my lungs from the smog filled days of my youth in LA.  I couldn’t believe this central valley air was so dirty and hard to breathe.  Within the first strides of the 800 I was wheezing although properly warmed up. I guess I had what everyone could obviously hear…and asthma attack.  I had to back off and stumble in on the slowest 800 I have ever clocked.  Wow.  Humbling.  I still took second and was surprised that the jumping and hurdling were innately trained in me.  I have not  been able to put any time on the track.All the scores across the board were my worst ever…and by a long shot.  Just was what it was. The girls in the pent wanted to know what happened.  ‘We expected you to lead the race like you always do.  It was as if your car got a flat and you just bumped along on in.”  Yep.  Thanks what happens when you run on worn out tires.

Shot putting. My weakest event.

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July 20, 2010

Girls rock!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 5:30 pm

A bunch of insanely fit and hard core endurance runners ran in the heat from Death Valley to Whitney last week.  I take their advice as  coming from practiced pros and will ENJOY these next few weeks…and make it ‘fun’.  I may have forgotten to had I not received these coaching words. 


I will find some pics when I download off my camera. You should check out the women finishers…Jamie Donaldson (1) and Connie Gardner (2) had great races. Jamie broke her own record. The girls out there rock

Ok, so as you get close…..back off the mileage, it will do more harm than good. Enjoy some nice meals and lots of liquid. Most of all, HAVE FUN. If it’s not fun, it’s not being done right. Enjoy the days and hours leading up to your adventure. Enjoy the travel, the new friends, the sights, sounds and smells. Chill out and find that start line a thing of joy and relief. I guess you could say that the same goes for the finish line too.


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