May 18, 2004 - Kansas City (Usa/Missouri) • Phil: I arrived in Kansas City from Italy towards the end of May to stay with Lisa and her husband Fernando. Lisa had been on the waiting list to host me for over two years! They were in the midst of planning for an 11-day trip out of the country and decided to take me along. Frogmella didn't join me as she needed to prepare for her trip back to Seattle. We went to the cities of Mexico City, Cuernavca, Tepotzlan and Taxco in Mexico. Lisa and Fernando were there to visit friends and family. Fernando is originally from Mexico City and has many aunts, uncles and cousins there. He hadn't seen them for twenty years. They took me to see a professional soccer game between the Pumas and Atlas. The Pumas won and two weeks later they went on to win the championship. Lisa used to live in Cuernavaca and has many friends there that she hadn't seen in six years. Taxco is a silver mining town. It's very pretty with cobble stone streets, colonial style buildings built right into the side of a mountain and more importantly lots of beautiful, inexpensive silver. That's where I got my souvenir sombrero. We didn't do any running on our trip to Mexico, but we did do a lot of walking in the cities and a hike in Tepotzlan, which is a small village outside of Mexico City. There is a pyramid site called the Tepozteco on top of a mountain. There is a path leading up to the pyramid, but it is all rock and takes about an hour of climbing up, up, up. It was quite a workout, but the view at the top was worth it. It looks out into a valley where the village is. It was also neat to see a small pyramid built up on top of the mountain. Fernando and Lisa live in Kansas City, Missouri, very close to the city's center. They met in 1999 when Lisa was training for her first half marathon. Fernando thought she was pretty cute and asked if he could run it with her. He didn't even train! They both ran well that day and started running together on the weekends. They got married this year on Valentine's Day. They like their urban running and have many beautiful places to run. They like running by the large, older houses of their neighborhood with front porches and porch swings, running by the city's museums, one of which is the Nelson Art Gallery, on the trolley trail through the green Brookside neighborhood, and through the Plaza and Westport shopping and entertainment areas. Normally those two areas are full of people, but when we went running in the mornings before they go to work, we had the sidewalks all to ourselves. It's a great time to do some window shopping. At the end of a run we also walked through the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden. It's a small garden, but a great place to walk around to cool down after a run and get a drink. I kicked back on the ledge of a fountain to enjoy the spring sun and gentle mist from the fountain. They haven't been doing many long runs lately because they are both nursing aches and pains related to plantar faciitis and the iliotibial band. But, they enjoy getting out as much as they can and look forward to getting back into some road races. I enjoyed my stay with them and they made sure I had a prompt and safe send off to my next destination, Mission, in Texas.
July 10, 2004 - South Padre Island (Usa/Texas) • Neil Warner: I run real slow but Phil had fun on the South Padre Island beach. There were lots and lots of people and sand castles and everything. This is me and my lovely wife Carina with Phil. Whooo! I only ran a mile, for time constraints, but it generated lots of conversation among my friends which was really fun (I have been doing treadmill runs lately). Thanks a lot for the visit Phil!
August 12, 2004 - Bellaire (Usa/Texas) • Bev Victory : I received notice that Phil was on his way and should arrive by the end of the week. With some disappointment, I awaited his arrival. How would I tell this world running frog that I had just had meniscus surgery and would not be able to run with him? He would be sitting beside my bed helping me get well! Thursday the doorbell rang and there he was, Phil the Frog. Immediately we bonded and he was extremely considerate of my condition. He was excited to be out of his carrier and content to relax with me, we shared running stories and caught up with each other's lives. My husband came home and was thrilled to see Phil had arrived. I had added my name to the list almost exactly a year before and so we were very excited to have him here in our home. First Phil wanted to know exactly where Bellaire, Texas is. After all, his traveling conditions offer no windows, so we explained that we are an incorporated town of about 16,000 people surrounded by the city of Houston. He would have much to see here, including the wonderful running track at Memorial Park. Phil was excited to find out that he had been made a custom Team in Training T-shirt and would be meeting with over eighty people on Saturday morning to do a Leukemia Society/Team In Training training run. Even if I was left behind, Bill, my husband was able to run and off he and Phil would go, camera in hand on Saturday at 5:00 in the morning for a run! I was able to join the runners at the park and Phil had many stories to tell. He had met many different runners and gotten in on the excitement of why we run these marathons. He hopped right on the cause of finding a cure for leukemia and other blood related cancers and met several people in remission who have joined our running group. He had his picture taken with the large group and then off he went on a run with more pictures taken as they moved down the path. He was amazed that we were training to do marathons in Houston, Austin and Phoenix and he regrets that he won't be here to complete the "Houston Marathon" in January, as he made so many new friends. Phil just received a call from one of our friends that works at NASA and is invited for an insiders tour, so he will get some rest and prepare for the next adventure.
August 12, 2004 - Bellaire (Usa/Texas) • Phil: I arrived in my capsule and was surprised to find my new running buddy was on a couch with her knee all wrapped up! Just had surgery she told me and so I curled up beside her to talk and keep her company. After all, I was tired after my journey and needed some time to stretch out! Bev was so excited for me to be there and wanted to hear all of my running stories so our fun began. Before we knew it, Bill came home and joined us. They had a cat, Grace - a dog (Yorkie), Jack Daniels aka Runner Dog and Bev's mom and so we had a great evening. Bev made me a T-Shirt for the run on Saturday morning with Bill and the Leukemia Society's Team In Training group. Friday night we went to dinner at the Black Eye Pea - and the manager had his picture taken with me. I was so small that I got to sit on the table and again out came that camera! What fun - these Texas people know how to welcome a frog! We went to bed early because we were leaving for Memorial Park for a run at about 5:00 am. Bill and I went alone and - wow! - more than eighty runners and everyone wanted their picture taken with me. I was the hit of the morning run! Bev joined us at the park later with Jack Daniels and we all went to breakfast. It's a good thing I'm a running frog, because they sure eat a lot in Texas! On Monday, Bev had a physical therapy appointment and I got to go with her. When her physical therapist learned that I had run on Saturday, she thought I too should be stretched. So when Bev was done it was my turn. She had me on my back and stretched my back legs and then turned me over and stretched me more! What a treat - especially after than darn capsule! Before I knew it, several days had passed and Bev got a call from a friend (a rocket scientist) that works at NASA. Her husband had run with me on Saturday and when she heard I was in town, she made special arrangements for me to go to visit NASA with her for the day. What a time! I got my picture taken with a Shuttle and space station. Obviously not the real ones but mock ups that were just about my size and again everyone made me feel so welcome. After a photo with Snoopy, we got home, she took my picture with the Rice Owls winning baseball team and I retuned to Bev and Bill's. Well, my time was up and so, with frog tears, I said good bye to my new friends. Wished Bev good luck with her knee, thanked her for my T-Shirt and my new tag that would travel with me, gave Bill a firm handshake, thanked Grace and Jack for not eating me and climbed into my capsule for a final goodnight and a safe trip onto the next runner filled with memories I will never frog-et.
August 25, 2004 - Bellaire (Usa/Texas) • Bev Victory : The following morning I took Phil to the post office and sent him on his way! What a sad day - the house would not be the same without Phil, but we were all so thankful that he came to spend some time with us and hope that he had a really good time - maybe he'll even want to come back and do an official run with us. After all of this, I (Bev) realized I never even got my picture taken with Phil, but I did so enjoy his visit. My knee is healed, my physical therapy is almost over and I've been released to run again. Thanks to everyone at Run the Planet for this fun time with Phil!
August 27, 2004 - Liberty Township (Usa/Ohio) • Tom Magnone: Phil showed up just as I was leaving the driveway to go on vacation in Myrtle Beach so Phil came along. He survived tropical storm Gaston and ended up with a slight sun burn. After arriving back in Liberty Township (near Cincinnati, Ohio) he went out on a few runs with me and always ended up sunning himself floating in the pool or by the pond. Here are another two photos of Phil relaxing after a tough run and reading the newspaper by the pool. He is looking forward to heading back to Texas and Longhorn country.
October 12, 2004. Phil, I hope you are having a wonderful time on your adventures. Just wanted to let you know that we miss you in Bellaire - come run with us again. The "Houston Marathon" is in January, if you can fit it into your schedule!!! You left us with wonderful, frogly memories, that we'll never "frog-get" - The Victory's from Bellaire (Usa/Texas)
October 16, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: On my relay of life, I am on the leg that is Sterling, Illinois, Usa. I just finished my tour in McGregor, Texas, with Nancy and a young girl Kathleen. Now I am prepared to meet my Host Mom Barb, who I understand teaches orchestra and is the president of the local running club, the Rock River Road Runners. Today is October 16th, and I am in the kitchen waiting to be opened. Host Mom wasn't home yet from some music auditions, so I will patiently wait.
October 16, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: I am so excited! My husband Ken called me at school to let me know a package from Texas had arrived. It can only mean Phil! When the day was over, I rushed home. It was Phil!
October 16, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: My first photo opportunity here was from in the package. Host Mom Barb carefully opened me up, and ta-da! I am in the kitchen with her! I meet the youngest of their three "children" which happen to be cats. Host Mom Barb tells Olympia who I am and she gives me a kiss!
October 16, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: Being that it is Saturday, I need to write my Sunday running column for our newspaper. I had waited until tonight to hopefully say that Phil had arrived. On our way to the computer room, I take a couple more shots of Phil, one with our club postbox and with my family who lives in the suburbs of Chicago. We live about two hours straight west from Chicago.
October 16, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: I love to write, so I work with Host Mom Barb to compose a story about myself and Run the Planet. I am happy so many runners and readers will receive my message. Writing takes about an hour, then time for dinner. Earlier this morning Host Dad Ken taped a cross-country meet at the community college. We watched the meet while we are, and soon it was time for bed. Every night we will read from a book Host Mom Barb has titled "The Frog and Toad Treasury". Sometimes the other animals hear the story, too. Every night I get to sleep on top of Host Mom's pillow. I am very tired, so after a chapter in the book, I go to sleep.
October 17, 2004 - Rock Falls (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: We are going on our first run! It is the Sunday club run along the Hennepin Canal in Rock Falls, just over the river from Sterling. It is quite cold today, and everyone dresses accordingly. The club was very excited to see Phil. I had told them about Phil ever since the e-mail came that he was arriving.
October 17, 2004 - Rock Falls (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: I started off in Host Mom's sweatshirt pouch, but wanted to see the beautiful scenery and ended up at the top of the sweatshirt. We ran nine miles! After the run, I relaxed in a hot tub with Host Dad Ken.
October 17, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: Later this evening, our Rock River Road Runners Board had a meeting at my house. This is a picture of Phil with our treasurer, Rick Rodgers, who is an accomplished triathlete.
October 18, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: Host Mom Barb runs every morning at 5:30. Since it is pitch dark, I stay in her sweatshirt pouch wrapped in some tissue. The rhythm of her steps goes with my heartbeat, and I love it. Today we ran 5 miles. Host Mom is an orchestra director, and her students are expecting me. Music and running share my message in that we are all the same when we run and when we perform. I am excited since Host Mom said I would be getting my own viola, and get to conduct the orchestras! Before the kids arrive, I put myself on top of her lollipop tree for a treat. I also meet Carrie, the counselor whose office is next door to Host Mom Barb's. We talk over a few things and I feel great.
October 18, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: Phil first meets the high school orchestra. He is good in front of crowds, so conducting the warm-ups was no problem. At the middle school, he meets the Symphonic Orchestra (he is way up in the front!).
October 19, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: I am to meet her young students, and talk to them a bit. They understand me, and I am pleased they are all in music. Host Mom Barb holds me for a group photo. I learn about a third of her 120 students are in cross-country and track. I hope I helped with recruitment!
October 19, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: This morning, Phil and I ran a 3.5 mile loop. Tonight Phil did a track workout. It was quite chilly, but we managed to do a ladder of 2, 4, 6, 6, 4, 2.
October 20, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: Host Mom Barb applied for a grant through Wal-Mart for a road race she created, the "Music in Motion 5K". She received some grant money, and I went with her to accept the check. All the money from this race goes toward the purchase of instruments for students in need. This money from Wal-Mart will buy two small violins.
October 20, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: Today I teach Phil some viola notes. Phil will be able to take this viola with him on his travels, so he can play for both entertainment and meditation. He is a good learner. Here is Phil with his viola. Host Dad Ken worked painstakingly for an hour to make the bow.
October 21, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: The club meets in the evening for a run at Oppold Marina. It is a lot of country roads around the marina. Host Mom Barb surprises me by taking out a Harley, and we ride her Sportster to the marina. There are about twelve of us tonight; the run was a six mile tempo run.
October 21, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: The run darn near killed me as we fought a very strong head wind out in the open. Phil did great staying in my hand. He has great endurance I believe from marathoning. I surprised him later that night by putting him on a loaner Harley, frog size!
October 23, 2004 - Coal Valley (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: Race day! Yesterday, Host Mom Barb and I went on her easy 3.5 mile loop since today is a race! I am so excited! Even more so, because this is a zoo run, and after the race we get to visit the animals! The race is called the "Sh-Boom Shuffle 5K". The race is in Coal Valley at Niabi Zoo.
October 23, 2004 - Coal Valley (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: I am lost as to where to put Phil for the race. I decide to place him at the top of the sportsbra where he can see everything. Odd, but I seem to feel an aura of motivation from Phil. Maybe from the auras of all the runners he has been with. I feel connected to other Planeteers from around the globe, and think of how many people are running at this same time, and who has run with Phil. Today, feeling the strength of Phil, I race to a personal record for the year!
October 23, 2004 - Coal Valley (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: Host Mom Barb and her friend Matt win the race, and accept the trophies in the name of Run The Planet. Host Mom Barb makes a speech to the other runners about me and Run The Planet. I am very happy. Matt and Host Mom Barb and I take a picture with a tiger, a gorilla, an owl, and a Niabi Zoo caboose. After the race, we go to Running Wild, a running store in Davenport, Iowa since we are close to the store. I meet John who works there and is busy helping customers, but takes time for me, too. I try on a shirt, but it doesn't quite fit. Before we go home, Host Dad Ken takes a pic of me next to his truck license plate. Get it?
October 25, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: Our morning run is a six mile journey. Host Mom Barb talks to me bit about the run; the stars are out, but there is a lot more traffic than usual; odd for a Monday. At work, I check some students' homework. They play their violins really well! I really liked reading "The Frog and Toad Treasury" tonight.
October 26, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: Each day I await the e-mail as to where Phil's next relay leg will take him. Today I got the e-mail. Though I am excited for the next Planeteer who will run with Phil, I am sad that he must go.
October 26, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: Host Mom Barb shares with me the message that I will be going to Newcastle, in Washington.
October 26, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: I look that up on the map since I don't know where that is. I show Phil. He thinks it will be neat to see the mountains like Colorado.
October 26, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: Our track workout is called "Last Dog Standing". Host Mom Barb made it up. Today it is to see who can do the most consistent 200's. It is raining and windy but not too cold. To protect me, Host Mom Barb put me in a baggie. Of all the runners, she is the Last Dog Standing. I am proud of her. She is proud of me for making the workout, too.
October 27, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: I safety pin Phil's rope to my pouch for the last time. I hope it is not the last time ever, as I will certainly put my name on the Run The Planet list again to host Phil one more time perhaps a few years from now. We chat along the route; I take my time so we have a few extra minutes together.
October 27, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Phil: Our last early morning run. Host Mom Barb asks if I have enjoyed my stay (for sure!); we discuss some Run The Planet things, and she offers some running and music hints. A frog can always learn! At school, it is Mary Rose's birthday. The students pretend it is mine too, and we have some birthday cake. Another student wants me to see her frog bag before I go; it is cute. The students make a good-bye sign for me and I play a tune for them that I have learned while here in Sterling.
October 27, 2004 - Sterling (Usa/Illinois) • Barb Lauff: Well, the time has come to send Phil on his way. I stop at Walgreens, and buy a bright, happy yellow package for Phil. He likes it a lot, and checks it out. We take a last self-photo and share some final thoughts. I put Phil in his Phil pill, with the gift of music (his new viola). One last good-bye photo, and he is on his way to Washington!
October 29, 2004 - Newcastle (Usa/Washington) • Nancy Loizeaux: I had a great time hosting Phil and hope you have as much fun as Phil and I did. A quick overview of Phil's time on the road with me. Phil arrived with a violin that he was given in Illinois. We traveled with it but left it behind as we ran.
October 31, 2004 - Newcastle (Usa/Washington) • Nancy Loizeaux: We went on a short run - five miles - in the neighborhood and took this photo.
November 2, 2004 - Las Vegas (Usa/Nevada) • Nancy Loizeaux: We ran the strip in Vegas, after visiting the five franchise Seattle's Best Coffee cafes the first week of November.
November 8, 2004 - Austin (Usa/Texas) • Nancy Loizeaux: Then it was off to Austin to visit the six franchise Seattle's Best Coffee cafes. Boring run around the Mall but it was a busy trip that did not allow much run time.
November 12, 2004 - Newcastle (Usa/Washington) • Nancy Loizeaux: Phil got to hang out at the Seattle's Best Coffee and Starbucks support center, meet a few fellow frogs and dreamed of running the "Seattle Marathon". Had great coffee every day which made up for not getting to run as much as we would have liked. Phil is on his way to the next runner.
December 6, 2004. Hi Phil! I have been reading Run the Planet for a while now, but never stumbled upon you. Now that I have, I am so excited to have met you... well, via computer. I am going to introduce you to my husband and maybe we can get on your waiting list. I have a rabbit (of your stuffed kind) that goes to races with me. I'm sure my rabbit would love to meet you too. Hey listen, having an affinity for water yourself, how is it that water running can do any good? I have a knee injury and decided to try that yesterday. It didn't do a whole lot for me cardiovascularly and so was wondering if it did anything for me at all... what are your thoughts? - Lori (Usa/Texas)
December 7, 2004. Dear Phil, I just got off your website a few minutes ago. That was my dad, Rick, you took your picture with in Sterling, Illinois! It made me laugh to realize you came from my hometown straight to where I live now in Seattle. I'm writing to see if I could meet you somewhere to take our picture and post it on your website. My dad and his friends in Sterling would think it was really funny if I posted a picture of us there. And I am a runner, although not nearly as good of one as my dad is. You're lucky you got to meet him! Let me know if I can meet you somewhere. Until then... - Charity (Usa/Washington)