Hello Stuart Little!Annual ReportMy reward for going 235 miles


The Harper Family


This was another year of heavy racing for me, with multiple trips all over the country. 6 trips out West, 3 in the East, and was away from home for over a month's time. For the year, I completed 3 100 mile(or more) runs, (North Carolina, 2 in California), a 100k(62miles) in California, 50 miles in Utah, and 40 and 31 milers in South Carolina and Alabama. It was all quite an adventure, and chronicaled elsewhere on this site, so I'll not rehash it here. I anticipate 2006 being year of more variety, new things, and not nearly as much traveling or racing as I did in 2005.

A few of our activities from 2005....

(hold your mouse over the photo for a caption, double click for larger image)

Ashley's Horse Shows

Not Blue but Not Bad! That pony can FLY! Go MANDY! Just another day at the Showgrounds Ashley on Tess You go Girlfriend!

What a rider. Ashley was in several horse shows this year, both in jumping and dressage. Most of them on her pony, Mandy. A couple shows she took young Arabians from Silver Wind Farms. She really did well in all of the shows, and it's such a charge to see her compete and do so well.

William on Mandy(with motorcycle helmet) Emily on Mandy, maybe another perfect combination in the works? Getting ready to ride

Not to be left out, Emily and William both ride, and do pretty well. Emily is just starting, and William, well, he gets bored quickly if he's not jumping and risking life and limb.

Rose/Jack/Diamond/Tiger and More(Horses!)

Diamond and Jack Black Jack Jack and Diamond TigerJump Tiger! Can't forget Cocoa

In May, we lost Emily's little kitty, Rose. She was getting braver and braver about going outside, and one night we just couldn't get her back in the house. That's not a wise move for a kitten in the country, and we never saw her again. Searching for weeks, and putting signs all over the area did no good, she was gone. The first replacement came along the day before we were to go pick out the REAL replacement. 'Diamond' turned up on our street, and at first Tamara and the kids thought they had found Rose. Well, of course, home she came and we had a new mottled black cat, with a diamond shape on her forehead, hence the name, Diamond. Tamara still made the trip to the pound to pick up a jet black male that Emily named Jack. (Jack and Rose? the movie Titanic? Emily's favorite movie)

Later in the year, some friends offered us a young Border Collie name Tiger that they just didn't have the space or time to exercise. I have really been hoping for a replacement for my beloved running companion, Bridget, who's been gone for several years now, so we snapped this young guy up. He's one energetic ball of black and white fur, and will chase a frisbee or tennis ball all day long. I've tried taking him running, and I'll just say, he's not my Bridgett. I can't believe he get's as tired as he does in just a couple miles, I really think he just gets bored running without chasing something. Regardless, he's much fun around the house.

Uno and Rocky Uno and Rocky Rochmoninoff - "I can do this ALL day long" The One TCA The One

Finally, we got our property fenced in enough to make the commitment to bring Mandy out to our property. We planned to buy another horse for her to have as a companion. Buy hey, two is twice as good as one, right? So I found two Arabians that fit the bill in Kentucky and arranged to have them shipped down. They arrived in October, we brought Mandy out... instant horse farm.

TWO YEAR OLD BOYS!  You want me to live with a couple of silly, young, baby boys!?!?!

Both horses are 2 1/2 years old, Arabians. It will be a year or so before they can be ridden as Arabians are still developing at this age, and usually 3-4 years is the age they can take a rider. The Gray, which we plan for Ashley to ride and show, is named TCA The One, but we call him "Uno". He is an Egyptian bred Arabian, with bloodlines to some pretty impressive horses. He's fairly muscular and won't be as tall as the chestnut, but still is a 15 plus hand horse. The chestnut, which I hope to ride in endurance events, is named Rochmoninoff, or "Rocky" to us, has Russion bloodlines, and is a tall, lanky fellow. Looks like the perfect long distance runner to me. He loves nothing better than to be out galloping in the pasture, for 30-45 minutes at a time. It's incredible to watch he and Uno playing and racing around. The sound of their hooves(along with Mandy trying to keep up) thundering around our property is like being in the old West with a herd of wild Mustangs nearby.

They are keeping us busy, but we are loving it, and have materials for a barn being delivered next week. We can't wait.

San Francisco Vacation

The Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco in the background Rodeo Beach Rodeo Beach Dad and William doing some exploring at the Marin Headlands/Rodeo Beach area Deer in Muir Woods

In April, we all made a trip to San Francisco for a few days. I had a 100k(62 mile) race North of San Francisco in the Marin Headlands/Mt. Tamapolis area and we decided to make that our vacation for the year. The kids were excited to see and drive over the Golden Gate bridge, and now everytime they see it on TV... "I've been there!". The sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf were a hit as were the Redwood trees in Muir Woods. We spent some time playing at Rodeo Beach, which is so different from our Florida Beaches. Not sand, but millions of tiny shells make up the beach. You can see the dark color in the photos, and with the cool air, the dark shells are oh-so-warm. It feels great to lay on them and let the sun warm you like a french fry under a heat lamp.

18 miles and feeling fine Hey Dad, I'm ready to go! Escorted out of the aid station by the best crew around! No rest for Tami EVER!  Fixing my bottles and waiting for my arrival, THANKS MY LOVE!

The kids also had a great time playing in the grassy hills in the area, in fact we spent day after the race doing just that. Picnicing, sleeping, rolling down big grass covered hills and enjoying the wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean. Of course, race day was busy for them, following me around to different aid stations and being there to encourage me onward.

Other stuff we did

Emily at School Sassy Missy A typical Summer day in Florida A typical Summer day in Florida Emily William and Uno

Emily's birthday party A relaxing day of fishing And picking flowers Baby Gopher Tortoise

Smile buddy, you're going free! Cute little guy Halloween Why Hello Stuart Little! Ashly on motorcycle-Uno,Rocky,Mandy-Grandma June on 4 wheeler That's one scary bunch!

Swimming in the pool, fishing, Halloween, a couple of the critters we found on the property this year, Emily's skating birthday party are all shown above. We spend more and more time playing at home, as we've pretty much built a virtual amusement park here. Between trampolines, pool, horses, bikes, dogs, 4-wheelers and motorcycles, we just don't ever get bored with playing around outside.

William earning Brown Belt Brown Belt ceremony

William is moving along in karate like a champ, earning his Brown Belt with a white stripe this year. He's been taking Karate for a few years now, and his becoming quite good. Both girls have decided they want to give it a try, and both are now Yellow Belts.

Ashley getting her SOAR award Ashley and the school principal

Ashley was selected from about 500 students by the school administrators and teachers to represent her school as the SOAR(Student Of Academic Renown)award winner. Only one student in the whole school was selected and we were all very proud, in addition, she was selected as the Disney Doers and Dreamers runner-up.

Mandy raising money for the school

We also spent a day with Mandy at the kids school in conjunction with an end-of-school fair, giving Pony Rides to raise money for the school. Manders gave about 100 rides, and we raised over 100 dollars for the school. On another day, Ashley and Mandy joined the rest of the gang at Silver Wind Farms to provide pony rides for autistic children. That is something they do every year, and we feel priviledged that we are able to contribute.


Hiking with the Cave Dog

Dave, Ted, Dan(OLN Cameraman) and Chris Bushwacking  the Florida Trail Dave and Chris, field of palmettos in the background One of many bear tracks A bridge that was victim of one of our many hurricanes, late at night. Finished!  Cave Dog had a one day rest after this, heading to Alabama next.

I was fortunate to have a buddy of mine, Chris Wedge invite me along with him to do a 50k(31 mile) hike with Ted Kaiser, aka Cave Dog. Ted was on his way to hiking 50k in all 50 states in less than 100 days. This was sponsored by Duofold, and televised on OLN with the title 'Live the Dream'. The 50k in 50 states was in tribute to conservationist Bob Marshall, who was instrumental in developing our National Park System. It was quite the adventure going on the Florida Trail up in the Panhandle, through deep palmettas, and heavy brush. Not as wet as we expected it to be, nor did we see much wildlife, but TONS of bear tracks everywhere, a little unsettling at times in the dark as we continually lost, then refound the trail. We finished very late in the night, close to midnight, As is the tradition, Chris and I both got our 'dog' names, him as Guide Dog, when he put us back on track after we had lost the trail for quite a while, (though there was a continual question of whether he would be known as 'Lost Dog' after a few other incedents that I won't go into. In the end, it was a close call, but we gave him the benefit of the doubt and let Guide Dog stick.) I was christened "Boone Dog" early in the hike, after the famous Daniel Boone and my penchant for exploring and having to "see what's around the next bend".


A few photos of my travels

Deer in Utah A tough climb in Utah On top of the world, Utah Llamas in Leadville, used to carry aid station supplies to the top of Hope Pass Aid station on top of Hope Pass, 12,600 feet Top of Hope Pass, 12,600 feet, 45 miles into it.

Look at that background!  Yes, we came from down there!

Utah and Colorado were both spectactular. About 10 miles of snow to run through in Utah, which was a killer, and no oxygen at 12,600 feet in Leadville 100 which is alway difficult. I've still GOT to go back and finish that crazy race.


That's it for 2005.