Looking Back on My First Week

It’s hard to believe it’s been a week. It really has gone by quickly. It’s even harder to believe that I’ve completed just over 5% of the miles I plan to run. It makes sense since I’m a week into a 5-month journey, but it still struck me when I saw that number.

One week ago today, I had wrapped up two TV interviews on Sunday, and I took my first steps at 7:00 AM on Monday morning… my first steps on what I hope to be a run all the way to the Atlantic Ocean in West Palm Beach, Florida. Will I make it? Only a fool would try to predict that, but, based on my experiences this week, I am more optimistic than ever.

I’ve had a few setbacks, have had great experiences, have experienced close to every emotion, and have learned a few things:

Setbacks

  • I punctured a tire on my running trailer only a few miles into the run on the very first day. Luckily, it was a slow leak so I just had to pump up the tire every 0.5-2 miles until I could get to Oakridge. You do not give up on day one of a five-month adventure, ever.
  • I camped in a lousy place on the first night.
  • I made a costly mistake on the route into Oakridge. My original route had me entering Oakridge on the east end of town, thus basically bypassing Oakridge. However, I needed to stop at the tire store on the west end of town. Lesson: when circumstances change, think about what else needs to change, and adjust the route accordingly. There’s a life lesson there, also.
  • I can’t really call Willamette Pass a setback because I always knew it was coming, but that was Hell Day.
  • I did serious damage to my right ankle, and I’ve been walking more than running as a result while I get it back into shape. As long as I do the 26.2 miles by foot, I’m doing it, and I am still doing it. Wow, it takes a long time to walk 26.2 miles. It doesn’t leave me a whole lot of time to do anything else. Initially, when struggling with the ankle, I was doing about a 20-minute mile walking. For some, that would be great, but it’s terribly slow for me. I’m now about sub-16 minutes, and I’m close to being able to run again.
  • The Forest Service road debacle around OR-58 and US-97.
  • Snapping the front wheel assembly on the running trailer. Now I’m using it as a two-wheel trailer, and I’ve gotten used to that. I haven’t yet jettisoned the wheel assembly, but I may soon do that and just buy a new one when I’m all done. I will say that now I get a full-body workout because I’m doing pushups and planks the whole way. Another reason to want to be running again instead of walking: shorter amount of time doing pushups and planks.
  • Sunburn.

Feelings

  • Soreness
  • Exhaustion
  • Frustration
  • Rested
  • Warm
  • Dry
  • Happy
  • Cold
  • Wet
  • Unhappy
  • Awe of the night sky
  • Anger
  • And my number 1 feeling is what of complete gratitude. Gratitude for a trucker, a state patrol officer

Great Experiences

  • My start was live on a morning news show (KMTR in Eugene/Springfield).
  • A cameraman; my friend, Tom; and two strangers who had seen me on TV and wanted to be present to support my start were there to see me off.
  • My friend, Bob, drove my course on Monday until he ran into me on Pengra Road. He wanted to say goodbye, wish me the very best, and pray for me. I realized I missed this when I wrote the blog for the first day. I didn’t actually write that blog until after day 3 so things got a bit jumbled. Even though I left it out, it meant the world to me to have Bob come find me.
  • A state patrol officer checked on me for two days and gave me good advice. I enjoyed our interactions, even if I can’t remember if your name is Brian or Ryan.
  • I was given my superhero name of Marathon-a-Day Guy.
  • I passed gorgeous roadside waterfalls.
  • In our initial establishing board meeting, we declared that it would be nice to raise lots of money and to help lots of people, but we would consider this to be a success if we made a positive difference in one person’s life. Based upon the messages I’ve received this week, we’ve already done that. So now success is making a positive difference in one more person’s life than the number previously achieved. As long as we never stop, we can constantly be achieving this goal. We can only fail at this goal if we stop.
  • I camped in a gorgeous spot on the second night.
  • A trucker pulled over and offered me a ride over Willamette Pass as it got to be unsafe for me to continue. I’ve updated Day 3 to tell you more about that trucker.
  • I stayed at a great hotel — the Willamette Pass Inn — in Crescent, Oregon, and they took such good care of me even though I looked like a bum.
  • I had dinner at Manley’s for the first time in 15-20 years, and it brought back so many good memories.
  • Succeeding at getting into Chemult before midnight and toughing out those last seven miles.
  • The night sky north of Chemult.
  • The Dawson House Lodge in Chemult — even though I was in the Duck room.
  • Gratitude to Nate Helming, my running coach at The Run Experience, for teaching me to vary things up when running. While running, take some time to do other things. Do some squats, or walking lunges, or side lunges, or side bends, or whatever to change things up. This has made a huge difference especially on the downhill runs. It’s also made a huge difference because I don’t use my arms when running because I’m pushing the trailer. It may look odd doing this while pushing my trailer down the highway, but I clearly don’t care. It helps me, and that’s all I care about.
  • Gratitude to Craig Rexroad for connecting me up with This Bar Saves Lives. I’ll have more to say about this in a future blog post.
  • Gorgeous scenery
  • The unknown woman who offered me a ride north of Klamath Falls.
  • Gratitude to Keith Pruett for getting me a hotel room for two nights in Klamath Falls
  • Every time I connect with the Internet, I get slammed with notifications, and I love it. You have no idea how good it feels to know you all are supporting me in this. I see every (unless there is a glitch somewhere) like, comment, share, and retweet; and every one of those makes a difference to me. Every one of those also puts our message in front of more people. The original followers were all friends, then friends of friends, and now there are people that have come from unknown places.
Pilot in Klamath Falls, Oregon
Pilot from my hotel room window

If you read my last blog post before this one, you know I received the message from Keith regarding the hotel while I was using a restroom and that Google informed me the hotel was 300 feet away. That building with the Subway sign is the building I was in, and this picture is taken from my hotel room.

In discussing the honesty in my blogs, someone noted that I should be honest about the good and the bad because that’s the whole point of this, and that what I’m doing is HARD. While I don’t want to downplay the physical and mental difficulties in doing this little endeavor, but this is not hard. Being a single parent and working two or three jobs to try to make ends meet while keeping your kids clean, fed, housed, well behaved, and educated… that’s hard. Getting out of bed when depression and anxiety have you just wanting to hide under the covers… that’s hard. I run or walk through beautiful scenery and meet interesting people. Compared to what others go through on a daily basis, I can’t claim this is as hard.

I run with all of you with me. That might be seen by some as a heavy burden, and it would be if I were carrying your burdens. However, I feel like I’m carrying your dreams and aspirations, and those are very light. Those keep me going and keep me from wanting to quit until this is done.

Regarding the route change I’m currently working out, I will be staying on US-97 until I’m just shy of Weed, then I’ll take side streets through Weed, then I’ll stick close to I-5 as I head south to Red Bluff. We’ve had too much late snow for me to stick to my original route. I’m updating the route and map as quickly as I can, but that takes a bit of time.

Thank you to all of you who have done so much to support me. Next week in California!

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