Journey Across America
Day 2 (May 2 2000) – 52.4 Miles
From Julian we headed into high desert country. To get there we had to go up-and-down through a series of rolling hills. With Greg still on board, I was confident that if I started to feel any discomfort, he would make it disappear. On launch day, the first 26.2 miles flew by. Running was steady, and I was feeling good. I did have some knee discomfort, and Greg was able to make it disappear. So, on the morning of day 2, I was very upbeat when we left Julian, even though I was still experiencing some slight tightness in my quads, and I was confident that Greg would be able to loosen them up if necessary.
Initially, we were cruising right along, but somewhere in the high desert hills my quads started to tighten-up so significantly that it caused me to have to turn around and walk uphill backwards. I remembered telling Ray that I had done almost 90% of my training on a treadmill. While I knew to use plenty of elevation during my time on the treadmill, there was no way to effectively replicate downhill running in order to prepare me for this type of terrain. So, there I was on the second day of the Journey with my quads so locked-up I could barely move.
Thankfully, Greg was still with us, and was able to loosen up my quads. By day’s end, everything seemed to be okay when we arrived in Ocotillo. This gave us two straight double marathon days, with another one planned for tomorrow. We then settled down for the night at a high desert RV park. The night was spectacular! We were on a plateau, overlooking the valley, the hills around us encircled by a beautiful sparkling starlit sky, with a deep black background.
What a serene and majestic way to end the second day of the Journey – especially after the quadriceps scare early on. We held a group meeting, out in the open and under the stars, to reflect upon what we had accomplished over the first two days, and plan for the next one. We were excited, and eagerly anticipated day 3. We talked about how important it is that we do all we can to complete the Journey. We really could make a difference in the lives of kids; we really could inspire people to take responsibility for their health and vitality. By completing the Journey, we could create something very special. In order to do so we’d have to work together as a team and believe in each other.
Reflecting back on that night, I realize that I wasn’t being as forthcoming as I could have been. While the crew and I were sharing our thoughts, I knew that I was taking a risk. The risk was that at that point in time, we did not have the necessary funds and sponsorships in place that could carry us through to the finish. That realization was unsettling – but not paralyzing. As Tony Robbins has often said: “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with.” I did believe that in the end, things would work out, but I definitely was not fully transparent with the crew about our financial situation. Yet, I was willing to take this risk. I felt that if I waited until everything was perfect, totally in place, and ready-to-go, that perfect moment might never come and the Journey would never be.
To symbolize my commitment to the Journey – or some might say my recklessness – I ended up leaving home with one pair of shoes and a pair of broken sunglasses. I had secured a shoe sponsor – which I will not name – that promised to send me a case of running shoes. Well, that case of shoes never appeared in time for the launch (more on this at a later date). At times, I would hold up my broken sunglasses and wave them at the crew, or point to my worn down and torn up running shoes, just to indicate that I was OK. I did this to reassure the crew that I was confident that everything would work out, and that we would generate more shoes and sunglasses as long as we just kept moving Eastward. All we needed to do was believe in each other, work together and keep our emotions in check. When there is a problem: Identify it, fix it, and move on.
Together we would make this happen. We just needed to focus on the number one objective each day: Cover as much ground as possible as we head east. That meant everyone doing their task, and carrying their weight, and cooperating with each other. We all went to bed that night with a group commitment to get the caravan to Central Park NYC no matter what obstacles got in our way.