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Day 28

THE JOURNEY ACROSS AMERICA – AGAIN

Day 28 (May 28, 2000) – 55.0 miles

 

It is 1:47pm, on Day 28. I am amazed at how quickly time has flown by. I am already at 30 miles and it is only 2:00 in the afternoon. By 4:20pm, I am approaching 40-miles. It has been a very steady and relatively comfortable day. The sun is shining and the sky is bright blue. I am feeling at one with the movement, and at peace with myself and the world around me.

 

Each and every day, I am noticing subtle changes in my body. My body seems more aligned and accustomed to a daily routine where more hours of the day are spent moving than not moving. In fact, I find myself craving the movement and eager to “get-the-show-on-the-road” each morning. I am focusing more-and-more on figuring out the right shoe-fit and insert combination. I am able to work out various discomforts, whether it be muscular tension or joint discomfort by stopping momentarily to stretch, or as I am moving by finding a pressure point that I can massage. I feel my body changing as I move. I feel my hips evening off and opening up. I feel my foot gently distributing my body weight from the heel to toe. I can create a sensation, that I described in my book Slow Burn, of the earth moving underneath me; I imagine myself on the great rotating globe of planet earth, lifting my feet up off-of-the ground just enough to let the earth pass beneath me.

 

Today gave us a glimpse of the possibilities that might develop as we continue moving east. Two television crews visited us today. Their appearance generated an even stronger sense of purpose, and reinvigorated our commitment to the Journey. Word about the Journey was spreading rapidly along the route. We can tell because the frequency with which we have been acknowledged by passing motorists has increased dramatically.

 

I still am amazed at how much kindness and how many offerings of support are presented to us each and every day. So many cars ask if I am ok, or if I need a ride. When Ray stops along the side of the road to prepare food, people pull up and ask if he needs some help. I am blessed to see the country in this manner.

Sometimes we lose sight of the strength of our people and how kind and generous they can be. I can see how a love affair can develop between anyone open to the possibilities this land has to offer.

 

At 8:19pm, I am in the town of Newton, KS. One of the benefits of having Larry on board is that he has an uncanny ability to scout out the area and is able to find alternative routes. Today he found a shortcut through the town of Newton, away from the highway. I am running through a neighborhood with ranch houses and yards. It has been a long time since I ran through a residential community, and I am enjoying it immensely.

As the air is cooling and the sun is setting, I am heading east. It has been a good day communicating with the staff, and having a sense that we will be an extraordinary team over the next 4 to 5 weeks.

Also, there were many, many promising signs on a variety of fronts. Most importantly, I got a chance to talk to my family who were in Las Vegas with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Beau, was so excited that the NJ Devils are going to be playing in the Stanley finals against the Dallas Stars. We promised to talk to each other after each game.

Ivan called me from New York and mentioned that he has a possible lead for a new sponsor and wants to arrange a telephone conversation tomorrow. I am looking forward to that. He wants me to emphasize that we are not asking to sponsor a runner, but an event that is going to make a difference in the lives of kids. Mr. G., also in New York, called me and said he had some similarly hopeful media developments. He’ll be filling me in on that in the next few days. Finally, Mary Beth has received a number of promising responses to her mail campaign.

It looks like I am headed for a 55-mile day, which when added to yesterday’s 56.2-miles, is the largest two-day total thus far, surpassing the Day 19 and 20 total mileage of 111.0 by two-tenths of a mile…and we are looking at possibly another day or two of promising weather.

We are amazed at how effectively the local media is promoting the Journey. Word seems to be spreading all over the communities we are travelling through. People are pulling over and saying they saw us on TV, and stopping to talk to Ray and Larry, who has joined Ray in the Jeep. There is a warmth and acceptance and a sense of gratitude.

Larry, a fire fighter back in Durango, Colorado, ended up recruiting the Newton fire fighters to greet us. They lined the road, waving at me and the rest of the crew. I felt very proud at that moment, realizing that we seem to have created something special and important enough to bring about such a memorable response.

We seem to be generating much good will. I think it is a matter of showing people that someone cares, and is willing to make a sacrifice and go the extra mile. I think the sense of community that can develop from the Journey is profound and worth everything we have been going through. We, and all the people committed to this effort, are making a difference.

At 8:56pm, I completed my 55th mile, still, I know I have a lot of work ahead of me tonight.

 

As I was finishing up my last mile down the main street of Newton, a family came out of a house and stood by the fence. There they were, the gray-haired grandpa, his son and daughter-in-law, and grandchildren, clapping their hands and waving to us. The son’s wife had a camera, and took a picture of me. Then she said to me while smiling the biggest, warmest smile imaginable: “God bless you. Thank you.” I knew that today’s 55-miles were extraordinarily worthwhile.