THE JOURNEY ACROSS AMERICA – AGAIN
Day 8 (May 8, 2000) – 50.3 miles
On Day 8, we got off to an early start. I was up by 5am, only to discover that everyone else, Don, Laura, Monea, and Ray had already been up for 30 minutes preparing for the day.
The excitement of the kickoff event has been long gone by now, and we are settling into a routine that we hope to maintain for the rest of the Journey. We made it through the desert and now begins the start of the mountain section. For the past couple days, we’ve been traveling through fields where I could see the mountains lying ominously up ahead.
The majority of the running today was done on a bad highway with a very small shoulder. For about 4 hours, I was running on a path that local farmers use to access their fields. It was basically a dirt road, and with every step the dust flew up into the air, and into my face. This route took us into Coolidge (where the crew had set camp) 50.3 miles from the day’s starting point.
The day was not over for me. After running for twelve hours, I had an emotional conversation with my son. We talked about how much we missed each other. As much as I wanted to be back home with him, I knew that was not going to happen for weeks – if not months.
After speaking with Beau, I found out that the crew had arranged for a massage therapist to come and work on me. The therapist’s name was Mel Johnson. He did a wonderful job, and I could not believe how loose and relaxed I felt when he was done. I really appreciated what he was able to do. What became clear was that arranging for regular massages along the route would be a good idea. By the time Mel was done, the time was late, almost 11:30pm, and I was ready to go to bed.
As I lay in bed, one thought was weighing heavily on me. The crew must decide what route to take through the mountains. One option is to take the high road, a more direct route that will take us to an elevation of 10,000 feet, where there are few people and very little chance of recruiting a massage therapist – if we need one. The second option is to take the low road, so to speak, and only have to climb to 5,000 feet, where we would be traveling through an area where a massage therapist might be available. The downside to the lower route is that it adds 36 miles to the journey. I’m glad the decision doesn’t have to be made for two more days.