THE JOURNEY ACROSS AMERICA – AGAIN
Day 29 (May 29, 2000) – 52.0 miles
Today, Monday, May 29, 2000 is the day we will be passing the 1,500-mile point, representing the symbolic halfway point in the Journey, depending on our ability to maintain the pace we’ve established thus far, and what route we follow for the rest of the way.
Last night was a rough night. The days run ended early enough, about 8:50pm, but do to the much enjoyed re-route through the residential area, we ended the run six miles removed from where the motor coach was, and took us a while to get to the campsite.
It was Sunday night of Memorial Day, and Main Street was teaming with people. It was the first time on the trip we really got to see the activity of a town in its full glory. Sidewalk Cafes and bars were full of people; teen age boys and girls jammed into convertibles along with families in station wagons driving down the main drag, honking their horns and waving at us. I enjoyed seeing diners with car hops and service areas outside, where people called in their orders on intercoms. It was a glorious summer-like evening. It just took us a long time to wind through the traffic and take in the sights.
We didn’t get back to the camp until 9:30pm. By then, I felt like a wreck, with severe pains in my hip, quads, and Achilles. I knew that I had a lot of work to do. I stretched for an hour, and then took a shower. I had a wonderful meal of grilled salmon, rice and vegetables. I took my supplements and then went back in the room to get iced up and worked on.
Larry joined Don in getting me set up. The most severe pain came from my right hamstring, which had gotten so tight during the run that I thought it was going to pop. I wondered if it had to do with the lifts that I put in my running shoes for the first time. I discussed this with Don. We wrapped up the right hamstring, quad, and Achilles so that my entire right leg was encased in ice from the hip down to the ankle. He also wrapped up my left calf and ankle.
I lay on the bed encased in ice, with my feet up on the foam block for the next twenty minutes. Don and Larry returned, unwrapped the ice, which had been fastened to my body with ace bandages. When I felt my calves after the ice had been removed, I noticed how lumpy the muscles felt, and got quite nervous. They were spasming from the cold. I knew this was going to be a painful massage session, which it was.
Larry and Don were using a mentholated body rub, which made my body extraordinarily cold, causing me to shiver-and-shake even though it was about 60 degrees outside. They worked on me until sometime after 1:00am.
After three hours of on-again-off-again sleep, and sweating through my T-shirt, I got up at 4:00 am, and proceeded to put my feet up on the foam block to begin my stretching session. I closed my eyes, dozed off. and woke up again at 5:07, and went through a truncated Egoscue menu.
The morning stretching lasted to 5:35. I got up and met Ray in the main cabin, took my supplements, mixed up a protein shake, grabbed it and went out the car where Ray drove me back out to the start. We began the run at 6:10. I was tired and sluggish, and still had pains shooting on my right side.
For the first time during the Journey, I decided to take three Advil. I wanted to find out if it would make a difference, which it did. By 8:40am, I was able to maintain a very moderate 3.5–4.0 miles-per-hour pace, similar to what I did yesterday morning. I am running in the New Balance 878’s, but I removed the lifts.
I was able to manage any discomfort during this period by periodically performing a downward dog – a bent-over straight leg stretch, formed by placing my palms flat on the ground keeping my arms and legs straight.
It is another beautiful morning. There are some puffy non-threatening clouds in the sky. According to the local weather reports, we will have relatively good weather at least until Wednesday. We are currently northeast of Wichita, on our way to Topeka, and eventually heading toward the Kansas City area, where we anticipate we’ll arrive by the weekend.
If all goes well, we will be out of Kansas and into Missouri by this coming Thursday, June 1st or Fri June 2nd. I did notice a wonderful spirit to the group last night, which Don communicated to me might have been due to having conversations with everybody individually during the day. I could see and hear a change in how people were interacting with one another. When I stayed in my cabin during the stretching, I heard laughter, cheerful banter, and conversation amongst the crew, and felt good about what we had done earlier that day. As our team pulls together and works towards a singular goal, anything is possible.
By 7:03pm, the oppressive heat and humidity of the day is beginning to dissipate. It has been a rough one for a variety of reasons. As if the heat and humidity weren’t enough, I had an upset stomach all day. I was unable to eat any of what we have termed “real food” – the quinoa and vegetable mix, or the rice cake and almond butter and jelly sandwiches.
We tried plain vegetables, which had worked once before. Every time I ate one of the servings, my stomach got upset – typically lasting one and a half to two hours. Having an upset stomach, combined with the heat and humidity, left me feeling weak and sluggish. There were extended periods of the day when I felt as if I wasn’t moving at all.
I kept my head down and just plodded forward. Ray would come and hand me water and I would notice that he was walking while I was running. I remember turning to him and saying, “At least run with me; that’ll make me feel as if I am moving.” Ray smiled back and immediately started jogging as slowly as I was.
Towards the later portions of the afternoon, after close to three hours of not eating anything, I tried one of the Dr. Maffetone’s protein bars, and was able to handle that without upsetting my stomach. I started eating one every at 90-minutes. I consumed a total of three this afternoon, and began to feel my strength returning. Knowing that there was still about two-and-a-half hours of run-time left in the day, we still should be able to complete over 50-miles once again, and reach hit the 1500-mile mark by the end of the Journey’s 29th day.
Given the course revisions that Larry, Ray, and Don have been working on, the final total course mileage will now be closer to 3,000-miles as opposed to the 3,200 we had originally anticipated. This meant that we have already arrived at the halfway point, and are certainly poised, should our good fortune continue, to complete the Journey in around 60 days.
Right now, our focus is still to get in as many miles as we can each day, and do our best to handle the ever-changing terrain, weather, and road conditions. We also must finalize our route to the east. The conversation focused on the possibility of including Route 80 in our itinerary, picking it up halfway through Pennsylvania and taking it directly through New Jersey, and on to the George Washington Bridge – which would be the fastest and most direct route. If we can get an escort along the way, it opens up the possibility of making up some time by shortening the distance, should we have to shut down because of inclement weather.
Today I am expecting a telephone call from Ivan, who has a potential sponsor interested in talking to me. I am feeling a sense of absurdity having just finished today’s 50 miles, much of it in the 95-degree heat and 100% humidity, and I am now preparing for a telephone conference call with a potential sponsor, who is going to decide whether or not to back the Journey based on this conversation with me. Often, in life, opportunities don’t always appear during moments when we are at our best, well prepared and ready for them. I kept thinking; this is going to be interesting.
Many times during the Journey, I wondered what it would be like if only I could focus just on the running; to be on an enclosed track, in an safe and secure area, with no logistical issues, no traffic, no weather events, no mountains to climb – how many miles a day could I run? What would that mean anyway? That is not life.
Life is not a script that is to be followed; Life does not come at you in a neatly organized way. How one deals with adversity and unexpected occurrences in life reveals one’s true character. Adversity and the “unexpected” offer opportunities to discover resources and talents that lie hidden beneath the safety of one’s comfort zone, suppressing personal growth and fulfilling self-expression. I am once again remined of the Eckhart Tolle quote mentioned at the beginning of the Journey: “Life is an adventure, not a packaged tour.”
Physically I am amazed that I was able to keep it together today, given the state I was in yesterday. All-in-all it has been remarkably steady day.
I am very grateful for the body work that Don and Larry did last night and recognize the importance of maintaining the routine of stretching, showering, eating, icing and massage before I go to sleep each night. Once again, I am down to my last pair of running shoes. Monea is in communication with Bill Sanders to arrange another shipment of shoes that can be picked up in Ottawa, KS. My goal is to keep this last pair of shoes functioning until then.