Monday, February 18, 2013

Jacksonville ~ 2013

~*~  If you are reading this blog for the first time, please go to  That this Part I of Melissa's blog.  B POSITIVE is Part II (this blog).  If you scroll down, the archives are on the right side of this page.  Melissa's last post was Christmas Eve, 2008, along with everything prior to that. (I have updated since then.)  This blog is STILL Melissa's.  I try to post what SHE would post...although I am not the writer she was.  I am just her mom who wants her legacy to live on...I hope you have lots of'll love her writing.  And you'll be laughing out loud.  Enjoy.  ~*~


Handed out some cards in Jacksonville, and I want to make sure "new" readers read from the beginning...

Now, if Fort were posting this, she would know how to put a link on the right side and post all the pictures there (like the one of our 3day in Atlanta)...but I don't know how to do that. So it's going here.  This is going to be a little long, but it will mostly be pictures with's fun.  And Melissa would like it, I'm pretty sure.

So.  Where did I leave off...ah, yes.  The challenge from Jen.  Before I go on with Jen's challenges, I have to save that she NEVER twisted my arm, and I didn't always complete the challenge to her COMPLETE satisfaction.  As you will see by the pictures.  If you can figure them out.  

But before I go THERE, I need to start with the first day, after we registered.  We went to lunch at JOE'S is a FISH HOUSE, and got our first sign from Melissa (just like last time...only then, it was Viva La Vida at the bar when we were toasting her!)...

         (when Melissa was little, I used to tuck her in and say "Good night, Pretty Girl!)

Oh, and it was Big Dog's Birthday (not).  So they sang to her...or they made HER dance.  And since Jen was so nice to let them know it was Big Dog's birthday, she got to join her...
                                          those are beaks and wings they are wearing...

                        Of course we had to make a visit to the beach on the FIRST day...
                        (this was right after we trained a little for Sunday...a REAL little. About 
                         a five minute walk down the beach....BRRRRRR.....

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel for naps, then happy hour..which we considered part of our training (we needed carbs, and doesn't beer have carbs???) Fort would like 
that too.

So that's when the challenges began, the first one being including myself in a group that didn't know ME, but had to convince them I knew THEM.  I'm not very good at that. But I did it. Kind of.

The next challenge, which was WAY to easy, was to go out into the ocean up to my knees.
In the dark.  In the VERY cold water.  (Ok, maybe I didn't walk in up to my knees...but the water SPLASHED up to my knees.  The waves were REALLY big and I didn't want to fall in!)

  I didn't get this guys name, but when I went up to the bar to buy a round of drinks, he asked about my shirt.   (If you can't tell, it has Melissa's picture from her 30th birthday on it)...I love when people ask about Melissa!  So I told him a group of us were in Jacksonville for the Breast Cancer Marathon, that my daughter died of breast cancer.  When I went back to the table, Jen gave me Challenge #3...Use your imagination on the next challenge...I did the best I could.  (and I'm not very good at THIS either...) Anyway, I told him I was "sitting on his lap" because my friend was going to make a donation to my daughter's scholarship fund if I did....

...this couple was sitting behind THAT guy.  They heard the story, and the next thing I know, this guy (and I am so sorry I didn't get his name!), came up to me, handed me a very generous amount of money and said "put this toward your daughter's scholarship fund"....WOW.  I hope they read the blog, because I want to say THANK YOU again! (Note...he and his wife were on a weekend getaway...and they are sporting FORT bracelets...)

Saturday night wasn't quite as busy...Sunday morning we were getting a 5 a.m. wake-up call!
So before we went to bed...everything had to be ready...after 37 years of marriage, you kind of start doing things alike.  Anal.  I know.

Didn't need the 5 a.m. wake up call.  We were both up every hour on the hour and around 4:45, the girl across the hall from us was running up and down the hall sobbing.  Have NO idea what was going on, another guy came out and asked if she was ok, and she went into her room and didn't see her again...
So in 1/2 an hour, we were ready.  Met Jen and Kary in lobby at 5:30, then off to pick up Big Dog...

and get a TEAM B POSITIVE team photo!

Kary, Pam, Donny, Jen, Michelle (Big Dog) note what Big Dog is wearing.

Back of Team B Positive shirts...

So we get in the van and head to the start of the race.  The race is at 7.  We are leaving at 5:30.  
About 2 miles from the start, traffic is stopped.  Moving at about, well, a mile an hour.
Literally.  The race was SUPPOSED to start at 7, but was moved back an hour because of the traffic.
Another friend of Melissa's was already there with her girlfriend, and kept us informed on what was going on, and the weather.  It was 27 degrees.  They were waiting in the cold because the race was on hold because of traffic.  We were sitting in a VERY warm car.  At about 7, Jen said "Aw, darn. We missed the warm up aerobics..." and Donny said "that's ok.  It's just for the pretty girls..."  Whoops.
He will never live THAT down.  Jen said "So, are you calling us ugly?"  Then he said "I meant to say it's for the pretty and skinny girls..."  Not good.  "So.  We're ugly AND fat?"  She changed his name in the car that morning...I'll just give you his new initials.  F.F.  

So by the time we get in the parking lot, which probably holds, oh, 7,000 cars, we are at the back of the parking lot.  About a mile from the start.  We get there just in time for the start @ 8.  But we don't start til about 8:15, because we are at the back with the slow group.  And it's still 27 degrees.

we don't LOOK that cold.  Do we?
look a little colder?  Donny has four layers on.

This is Kary.  She didn't wear a jacket OR gloves.  So she went "street shopping".  All that stuff that runners shed in the first mile, she was picking up.  She got some pretty good stuff, but couldn't find matching least they were the same color!  (See Big Dog to her left?  No jacket, no gloves, and SHORTS.  And it's 27 degrees.)

this is where we entered the beach.  It's called the "Memorial Mile".  One BEAUTIFUL mile on the beach...EXCEPT the wind chill factor was probably 10 degrees.  And the wind was blowing in our faces.  UGH.  (probably the reason I ended up with a sore throat and 102 fever!...but I had to SUCK IT UP and just do it!)

the Memorial Mile had the boards that were signed at the registration.  This is the one Donny signed...
(D. 410R 4 4T)

When Melissa and I did the 3 Day Walk in Atlanta (2007) she thought it would be fun to have a Scavenger we did one too.  Came up with a list the night before.  Jen, Kary & Big Dog won the Scavenger Hunt, and I don't have their photos yet, but here are a few things we were looking for...

a dog dressed in pink
                                                             the pink Firefighter
                                                       your picture with another team
                                                             a cross dresser in pink

we were also looking for a police officer in pink,  a participant drinking a beer (couldn't be anyone on our team, because that wouldn't be fair), someone with ANYTHING from OHIO on (OU, OSU)...Jen found all of them.  BUT, I found

triplet cowgirls

and the pink mohawk guy

AND the Dos Equis guy (on the porch, wearing a pink ribbon)...that should have been bonus points...

...and in the was ALL worth it.  Donny, getting his FIRST medal for a marathon (half)!

for our DAUGHTER.  Melissa Marie.  This is for YOU.

Jen & Big Dog finish...

unfortunately, I didnt get Kary crossing the finish line...but she did.  

and waiting at the finish line?  Jen's mom, Tess, and a former rugby friend of Fort's who now lives in Jacksonville, "T" and her girlfriend Vic (who also ran the full marathon!)
         "T" was a spectator...looks like she's dressed for winter, doesn't it?

It was an amazing journey...cold...NO.  FRIGID.  But worth every step.  Donny said a few things in the car that won't be forgotten...but something he said during the marathon that hit home, and was the reason we did this.

Three little girls were sitting at the curb handing out water to participants.  As we passed by them, Donny looked at me and said (with tears in his eyes)..."maybe they won't ever get breast cancer..."

And THAT is why we do this.  So some day, there will be an END to breast cancer.  And no other parent(s) will have to watch their child die of cancer.  


ok...just a couple more photos and that's it.  Probably for awhile.

a friend of Jen's wore our team shirt in a Relay for Life to support FORT!

We stopped in Charleston on the way home and had some creative fun in a little gift shop.  
I couldn't resist...

Donny wanted SO badly to stop in Charleston, and I was SO sick.  So he walked and I got out of the car to take this picture...

And a post on this blog is NEVER complete without pics of Andrew & Max.
Fort would have it no other way.

Andrew & Pamma at his Pre-school Valentines Day party!

PopPop & Max at Pre-School

Hug your kids.  Love them every minute of every day...and have a good one!

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