THE JOURNEY ACROSS AMERICA – AGAIN
Day 15 (May 15, 2000) – 54.5 miles
On Day 15 of the Journey, we were on the road at 5:46am. By 6:28am we are already 42 min into the run. It has been a magnificent morning. Wake-up today was at 4:00am, after a restful sleep. Not once did I get up during the night. I got to sleep at about 12:30am.
The strategy we used after the completion of the run the day before worked superbly. Ray and I finished at 8:30 and were greeted by Don and Larry, who helped me out of the car. The plan was for me to immediately begin stretching and performing my Egoscue exercises, which I did for a little over an hour. Meanwhile, the crew began dismantling the equipment, cleaning up the Jeep, and preparing for the next day. I took a shower and felt surprisingly well. The only area that seemed to be somewhat of a nuisance was my neck. I had a wonderful meal of mixed vegetables on a bed of rice noodles, covered with tomato sauce, and a fresh garden salad with an olive oil, lemon and garlic dressing – and two V-8’s.
During the meal we discussed plans to create a flyer to hand out to people we met along the route. We were generating a lot of interest in the small towns we were passing through. As the residents of these communities went about their daily lives, shopping, taking their kids to school, dining out, bilking and jogging they would notice our caravan and often stop to ask what we were doing. The Journey became a topic of conversation at the local barber shops, coffee houses, gas stations, bars and restaurants. We decided to take some action and put together some informational flyers that we could hand out as we moved along. Larry’s wife Monica was to lead the way in organizing a presentable flyer.
After the meal, I prepared for the end of day ice therapy and massage. Larry, Don an I had a brief conversation about what areas were to be treated that night. A quick inventory indicated that the trouble areas in need of ice were the shoulder, neck, hip, quads and glute region on my right side, and the left Achilles.
Don and Larry filled up the ice bags, secured them to my body with ace bandages, lifted my legs up on the foam blocks, and left me for twenty minutes. I began to slowly relax and eventually dozed off. After twenty minutes, Larry and Don came back and unwrapped the ace bandages, removed the ice packs, wiped me down, and massaged the areas that had just been iced. The strategy to move the stretching and the icing to the last task of the day seemed to be work perfectly. By the time Larry and Don were finished with the massage, I was in a deep sleep, snoring away (I was told).
Waking up was relatively easy, and for the first time since we’ve been in the mountains the morning temperature was brisk but not uncomfortably chilly. I was able to immediately begin my stretching routine under just two blankets. I did my Egoscue exercises for a one-hour-and-15 minutes. By the end of the morning’s stretch session, the kink in my neck while still there, was much less severe than then the day before. I was amazed at the degree of flexibility I’ve been able to maintain, if not increase, over these past 14 days. I hadn’t been this flexible and enjoying this range of motion since the 1970’s, when I regularly practiced Kundalini yoga, and stretching was part of my daily routine.
Ray was up early as well. I heard him moving around about 4:30, as he brought the day’s supplies to the Jeep, and getting ready to drive me back to yesterday’s end point. He prepared his tea and cereal. I joined him and had a protein shake and a Phil’s bar. I was eager to get an early start. I wanted to leave before sunrise so I could build a mileage cushion at the start of the day, just in case we were able to secure an appointment with the chiropractor in Datil that afternoon. We were shooting for a 3 or 4 o’clock arrival in Datil, which was about 25 miles from our starting point in Old Horse Springs, and could make a decision about the chiropractic appointment later on in the day.
The good news was that Herb Ross, the chiropractor I met at a Tony Robbins seminar, who helped us recruit a sponsor for the event – the Q-Link Energy Pendant – was going to fly out on Tuesday to join us on the Journey for the next two or three days. Knowing that Dr. Ross would be with us tomorrow gave us flexibility today, and a strong Plan “B”; if the chiropractic appointment in Datil didn’t materialize, it wouldn’t be a big deal.
The start of the day took place with a magnificent picturesque view of vast expansive meadow, surrounded by lazily rolling hills and a few distant mountain peaks. The terrain was relatively flat; the road had a barely noticeable rolling up and down quality. As the sun began to peek out from behind the mountains up ahead, the temperature began to rise. I soon shed the most of the layers of clothing that remained. I was now running with just a warm-up over a cotton T-shirt and nylon running shorts.
The day had begun superbly, buoyed by all the wonderful developments the day before. I had gotten through to my mom and wished her a Happy Mother’s Day – and a Happy Birthday; the NJ Devils had beaten the Philadelphia Flyers four goals-to-one in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Finals; and we racked up our ninth consecutive 50-mile day.
Now that our daily routine seemed set, we were gaining confidence that we could continue moving forward, weather permitting, for as long as we needed. One of the keys to maintaining optimal systemic health and function has been the Merlin water that was been provided to us by the Merlin water company. I am grateful and appreciative that a water company would get involved as a major sponsor. The most important fluid for optimizing health and well-being is high-quality alkaline water. At the time of our launch, Merlin offered to contribute as much of their double osmosis filtered water to the Journey as needed. The vast majority of my daily fluid intake during the Journey was alkaline water. The only exceptions being the protein shake I drank in the morning and the V-8 juice in the evening.
All these elements combined to leave me feeling, on the fifteenth day of the Journey, as if I had just begun. Actually, this was more than a just a feeling – it was a verifiable fact: I was not only maintaining the pace we set at the start, we were about to increase our daily mileage totals.
It is now 9:54am Rocky Mountain Time. For the past four hours the run has been relatively comfortable and non-eventful. That seemed remarkable to me, given yesterday’s battle with the neck and hip discomfort. The exercise routine that Pete Egoscue designed for me was absolutely stunning in terms of its ability to help me manage the hip discomfort. After doing the exercises early this morning, I felt my body was as aligned and optimally functioning as it had been at the start of the Journey. These last four hours were amongst the most pleasant hours of running I have ever experienced.
I soon entered a high plain that was probably 10 or 15 miles wide; a vast grassy meadowland with cattle roaming about. The two-lane road we were on, while relatively straight with some shoulder, was uneven; the middle of the road was raised-up and then rolled off at a fairly step angle to either side.
In order to alleviate the stress of running on such a severe slant, I began crossing across the lanes, moving from side to side every so often, usually based on which lane was the passing lane. Most runners prefer running facing traffic, so you can see the cars coming towards you. However, on a two-lane road where the passing lane is coming up from behind, sometimes it is safer to run in the same direction that the cars are moving – if the right-hand lane is designated as the passing lane. Under that circumstance, a runner is already hyper-sensitive to the fact that cars are coming up from behind you, and unlikely to swerve into the road shoulder. On the other hand, if running on the left-hand side of the road facing traffic, a runner can easily get lulled into a false sense of security – especially if the road up ahead is empty of vehicles – and might start to carelessly wander into the car lane. This would mean that a car in the right-hand lane passing another car would be moving into the left-hand lane – and usually at an accelerated rate of speed – rendering the runner vulnerable to a driver that otherwise would not expect someone in the road.
The spat situation that worked so well on my right foot yesterday is not an available option to me today. Larry was not able to figure out a way to fix the left spat, and the Velcro tore off the right one. Larry did commit to take care of that today. In the meantime, I’m back to a constant routine of my shoes filling up with pebbles every ten to fifteen minutes, and having to stop and empty them – which was especially annoying today because I was feeling so good. Ray figured I could probably pick up an extra three miles a day if we could figure out how to resolve this.
Pebbles in my shoes aside, given what we’ve been through these past 14-days, I am totally amazed about how good I feel. My body seems to have definitely benefited by the change in the routine initiated the day before. I am also convinced that the nutritional program we’ve chosen to follow has been a key component of our success. We’ve been following a food strategy based on minimizing acid forming simple-sugars, and maximizing alkalizing essential oils and high pH fluids. That seems to be a key factor is removing toxins from my body and promoting optimal systemic function.
We included a couple of with emerging technologies that we thought might enhance my ability to manage my state effectively during the Journey: An energy pendant and a magnetic bed. Dr. Ross, had convinced me about the energetic suppressing impact of electromagnetic fields (EMF). Exposure to high doses of EMF, such as jet engines, regular use of cell phone, computers, sleeping with the television on – or just being around electronic equipment in general, can negatively impact the human body’s ability to function optimally by undermining the body’s the rest and recovery cycles.
One incident that happened back on day four, when we met-up with the film crew outside of Yuma, had definitely gotten my attention. As Greg was being filmed working on me, he explained to the crew that his adjustments would be based upon muscle testing. Greg isolated a series of specific muscles and ask me to resist his pushing against each one. After three or four muscle tests, I exhibited no weakness at all. I could tell he was perplexed by these results. He glanced down at me and saw the pendant I was wearing around my next. He asked me what it was and I told him that it was a Q-Link Pendant, that was supposed to protect me from the harmful effects of EMF. He asked me to take the pendant off, and resumed the muscle testing. After testing the same muscles that had just tested strong, each and every one then tested weak. We were all pretty amazed by what happened – though I think the film crew thought we were setting them up. However, my take-away from that experience was that the pendant did seem to have an observable positive effect on my body. I was convinced that the pendant helped me maintain structural and energetic health during this long ordeal.
The other technology we were experimenting with was the magnetic bed that Jackie Lyons’ company provided. As with the Q-Link pendant, I became convinced that sleeping on the magnetic bed contributed to the fact that my sleep is now beginning to be deep and restful. I was able to wake up at 4:00am without an alarm after 12-to-14 hours of steady movement the day before; my adjustment to the new time zone has taken just two days; and immediately acclimated to a new routine that became increasingly productive. I anticipated that the impact of our decision to include these technologies will increase our mileage totals over the next few days.
During the last hour or so, the wind has begun to pick up. The terrain is changing from fairly flat straight-line jaunt through meadows and plains to something reminiscent of the trip from Safford three days earlier. There appears some fairly long and challenging ascents and descents. The general direction now is up. About half the sky is covered with clouds, yet the blue that appears is a stunning. The clouds above me are puffs of white, while due north to my left extensive sheets of dark grey clouds were accumulating.
The combination of the new series of climbs and the fact that I have been moving for over six hours has brought about a recurrence of some of the back and neck discomfort –but certainly not to the extent it existed yesterday. I’ve developed a confidence that I could either deal with it or – if need be – I could just take a brief break do stretches and corrective exercises to relieve it.
Around the six-and-a-half-hour mark of today’s Journey, I was approaching the marathon split, and still feeling pretty good. We would be arriving into Datil within the hour. We have not heard anything about the chiropractor there, which at this point I would do if it could be a quick in-and-out. The crew then received confirmation that Dr. Ross would be coming in tomorrow, which meant I didn’t have to go out of my way to get adjusted today.
The bigger concern at that moment was that all of my shoes were now worn right through to the bottom, and we had no spare shoes. I had gone through four pair of shoes in less than 16 days. The last pair lasted just two days. We needed to make something happen – soon! It certainly didn’t seem the we’d be able to generate a pair that day; for now, I’d have to rotate the four pairs of shoes that have holes in them. Now the pebbles were not only getting in through the top of the shoes, but also through the bottom.
That day, I had an interesting conversation with Mary Beth. She mentioned to me that the kids in Beau’s class wanted to know why I drank V-8 with dinner. At first, I thought that was a weird question, and then I realized that I was already having an impact on Beau’s classmates. The kids at Beau’s school were following the Journey on the website, and asking questions about nutrition and wondering why I chose certain foods, as opposed to others. In this case, just sparking a conversation about drinking vegetable juice instead of soda pop, or fruit juice, or sugary water seemed to be a victory in and of itself – and an indication that the Journey is causing some people to consider making changes in their everyday nutritional choices. This can be a start in making a difference in people’s lives.
My first thought was maybe we could get V-8 on board as another sponsor – after all it was one of the few, if not the only, national brand mass-produced product we included as part of my training table for this event. What could I tell them about V-8? It tasted good and had become something that I looked forward to after 14 hours of drinking the highly alkaline and pure Merlin water; that it was something I felt was congruent with the vegetable-based meals I was consuming each day; that it was healthier than soda, sugary drinks or fruit juice. Nutritionally, per serving, V-8 has 50 calories, 0 grams fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams sugar, 140 milligrams sodium, 900 milligrams potassium, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein. Even so, it wasn’t the primary fluid I relied on throughout the day – that was the high pH Merlin Water. The conversation with Mary Beth was a wake-up call in terms of the potential positive impact the Journey could have on those who were following our progress; it was an indication that some communities were paying attention.
At 2:00pm, we are at 30.5 miles, 8 hours-and-14 minutes into the run. Ray and Larry switched places. Ray went on to the motor coach with Don to make some phone calls, and needed a bit of a break. Larry took over trailing me in the Jeep. I had my first meal of the day – other than the one protein bar or one rice cake that I had consumed on an alternate basis – every five miles since the tenth mile. Thus far, it has been rather easy going; I’d been successful in managing some minor back discomfort.
The road we were now on was as straight as an arrow, and brought us to an expansive plain where we began to experience a fairly strong windstorm. The wind made recording my daily journal difficult. Thankfully, the wind was coming out of the west, so it was a tail wind, pushing me from behind.
At 4:45pm, 11 hours into Journey, we reached the 40-mile mark, and I had my second meal. Even though we weren’t successful in generating a chiropractor in Datil, what could have been a disappointment was offset by the excitement that Dr. Ross would be joining tomorrow. We have been moving steadily along at a little under 4 miles per hour. Still, we were way ahead of schedule, and could reach 50-miles before 7:00pm. So rather than breaking down early, I decided to stay on the road until 8:00pm and stop wherever that takes us.
Today’s gratitude definitely goes to Pete Egoscue whose exercises helped me get through the national forest when I was breaking down, and put me back together again. I had confidence that if my back went out during the day, I knew that in the evening I could put it back together without a chiropractor with me.
Also, I was grateful to the sponsors who supported the event, and whose products were essential not only to my survival but helping me make it through the day-to-day challenges face thus far. The Journey is an opportunity to share mind-set, body maintenance, and nutritional strategies – along with products and services – that that are essential to live a life without limits.
It is now 6:04pm. I have been moving for 12 hrs. and 19 mins, stopping every so often to stretch my back. I had two half-mile walks so I could eat my rice and vegetable mixture. Zucchini was the vegetable of the day. We’ve been on highway 60 from Datil heading out to Socorro, for the past four hours. I’ve had an opportunity to reflect back and give some thought to what has happened thus far and to where we are headed.
I am grateful that my body has been able to hold up today, allowing me to enjoy a relatively peaceful day of running – with 46 miles already accounted for and another two hours or so of running left. This meant, I should be able to go well over 50-miles, and to do so without having any major breakdowns. After making it through Saliz Pass on Day 13, and the Continental Divide yesterday, today seemed like a respite compared to the previous couple of days. What lay ahead, though, was still a mystery.
I figured that we’ve already made it through five distinct challenges so far. The first was the launch, that in some respects probably never should have happened. I was physically comprised in the weeks leading up to the launch; we had to find a last minute charity to affiliate with when the connection to America’s Promise fell apart; the case of running shoes that was promised to us never came; and funding was less than adequate to cover us from San Diego to New York City. In spite of all this, we launched on May 1, and are now nearing the completion of Day 15 – and about to recors our highest mileage total thus far.
The second big challenge was the foothills leading into the high desert of California, which for me became a major physical test. Thankfully, Greg was there to help get me through it. Making it through those foothills, with Greg’s support, served to prepare me for the Rockies. I did not do any mountain running during the 13 months I was preparing for this event. I spent most of my time on the treadmill, rather than out on the road. I was able to do uphill running on the treadmill, but no downhill, so my quads took a beating during those the first couple of days.
Next was the challenge of the desert. Sure, I like the heat, but we happened to catch record setting temperatures in the desert through Calexico, Ocotillo and Yuma, often surpassing 110 degrees. Yet, we managed to get through to the next challenge, which was the road up to Globe.
We were faced with a decision regarding which route to take through the mountains; the shorter, higher more treacherous one or the lower longer one. We chose the lower longer one but it still had a 7,200-foot climb. Yet, the road to Globe was probably the most treacherous 20 miles of running I’d ever experienced. We were on a road, late at night, that had no shoulder with trucks dangerously thundering by me nearly the entire time. When that ordeal was over, and we were done for the day, the relief we all felt was palpable.
Once past Globe, we made it to the state forest and eventually through the Saliz Mountain Pass (elevation 6436 feet) and, one day later the Continental Divide (elevation 7312 feet). I was still absolutely obsessed and committed to keeping the 50-mile a day pace through it. Even though I was breaking down at times, the crew and I were learning how to keep the Journey moving forward. Now, on 15th day of the Journey, we accumulated our highest mileage today to-date: 54.5-miles.
Up ahead, though, there were ominous forebodings of what was still yet to come as we continued moving towards the east. The skies were darkening, the winds were increasing in velocity, and threatening clouds were beginning to swirl above us. It was apparent that there would be weather challenges up ahead that were different from what we experienced in the mountains and the desert.
One of the topics we to be discussed that evening would be how best to prepare for our eventual dash through tornado alley, which will most likely occur during the height of the tornado season. Tornado Alley refers to the plains in the northwest tip of Texas, the panhandle of Oklahoma, and the entire state of Kansas, and Missouri. At the pace we are moving now, we would arrive there probably by the end of the May. One thing was certain, I definitely wanted Larry around for that section of the Journey. Larry’s experience as a fireman seemed to instill confidence in everybody. We began that conversation today, and we will discuss it again tomorrow.
Tomorrow seems as if it might be a big day for the Journey. Ivan will be coming out to observe how we are doing. He may have some ideas regarding generating more funding. Herb Ross will also be with us tomorrow, to work on me and add his special presence for a few days, before he heads out to the unlimited power weekend with Anthony Robbins.
I welcome Herb’s and Ivan’s arrival tomorrow and know that we are about to have a shift in our journey as new challenges await us. I am totally amazed at how, in such a short period of time, our group has pulled together to become an such an efficient and tightly-knit community. Monea, Laura, Donald, Ray and now Larry all working together seamlessly toward the single objective of getting to the finish-line in New York City’s Central Park.
Earlier that day, Laura, Monea and Monica ended up taking Larry’s vehicle out to Socorro to work on the flyer, which we wanted to have prepared for Ivan to look at. This was on their initiative, not mine. I was very grateful that they took it upon themselves to do something far beyond the call of duty – especially given how hard they already have been working throughout the Journey thus far.