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Book to come!

I’ve published the journal I kept of this epic journey on this blog. I am currently in the process of writing a book about the whole thing and all that it involved. It will include the people I met and who helped, all the random situations I stumbled into and of course, why I did this, along with much much more.

Stay tuned!

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The final week!

Monday 8th July

Today we renamed Nevada’s state motto, it’s now ‘What the Fuck??’ because, to get to Cali we chose to go through the bottom tip of Nevada, about 20 mile – what we didn’t realize was it was a 20 mile continuous uphill mountain!  The hill that never ended! And the temps were over 100 for the majority of the night. Was not impressed. Did cross over into Cali, and I refused to go back to Nevada sided, even to get a snack. The road eventually did flatten out for about the last 5 miles (sorta) and we did have a little fun with the Forest Gump wig in the morning, but overall the night kinda sucked!

Tuesday 9th July

Well today I crashed and burned. Had really rough sleep the day before and I think the heat and the hills of the night before took a lot out of me, so I was exhausted. I did 18 miles but it took me 7 hours. So called it a night and went back to the hotel for some good sleep. Merin decided to take charge of my food and sleeping so she could get me to the finish in one piece!

Wednesday 10th July

Today felt a lot better and the temps were slightly cooler (only in the 90s!) so we headed back into the desert to try again and things went pretty well for most of the night, until the winds picked up and I was running into a head on wind. So that slowed me down a lot, and forced me to walk the last 5 miles. So made the decision to finish sat instead of Friday.

Thursday 11th July

Merin really took over which was great. She had me on a strict schedule of getting me to bed, even making me turn my phone off. Then in the morning she had me up, put a subway sandwich in front of me to eat, then hustled me out of bed to change get taped and in the car and we were out of the hotel in record time and before I knew it was on the road running. Felt really good today, with cooler temps, good rest and real food I was able to bust out the miles at a decent pace. The wind picked up again, but we solved that problem by me running behind the car. Pulled out 58 miles – my longest run so far and keeping me on track to finish sat!

Friday 12th July

Another day under the control of drill sergeant Merin! But it worked and was again loaded into the car and then back out onto the road before I could wipe the sleep from my eyes! We made it out of the desert today and as we got into more built up areas dad got more stressed driving behind me, with other drivers zooming past at 80 miles/hour! Merin did her best to keep him calm. I was oblivious. We had a slight mishap with the road ending, but nothing a little off road detour across a waterway couldn’t fix! Finished the night in Cotton, pretty tired, but ready for a good days rest before me last run!

Saturday 13th July

LAST RUN!! 56 miles to go!

Set out tonight on the last run and it really didn’t hit me for the first 30 miles. I took them pretty easy, my legs just didn’t seem to want to move at all and everything was tight and sore. Then as I got over the halfway point and the sun started rising and I got closer to LA I suddenly realized this was it, and in just over 20 miles I would be standing on the steps of city hall and this journey would be over (I’d been dreaming of this day since I began) that gave me a new energy and determination. I picked up the pace and kept going – to the point where Merin had to force me to take breaks for food and water. I didn’t want to, I just wanted to get there. It was so surreal to be on the final leg of this epic journey. To know that after this it would all be over and to even fathom what I had just done. Running 12 hours a day had become my live for the last 2 months, something I just did, and now I wouldn’t have to do it again. As I got within 10 miles it really started to sink in and I was excited! I had a stray dog join me for a mile or so, then at the 5 mile mark Dad joined me and Merin went on to the finish.. Even though I had just run 51 miles, that last 5 miles was so easy and slipped by, maybe because dad was with me or because I knew that that was it, but before I knew it we had met up with Merin so all 3 of us could run to City Halll together. And as we came down the street to the small gathering of people there was mum, holding a beer for me – the final surprise. And that was it, tears came down, way too emotional to hold it all in! But was the best feeling to hug her and know that I was finished. I had achieved my goal and inspired and touch so many life’s in the process. All the support had been unreal and such a huge help that I felt so grateful to everyone following me because without them I wouldn’t have made it. It still hasn’t dawned on me what I just did, the enormity of it all, but I just ran from NYC to LA, that shit is crazy!

Week 8

Monday 1st July
Slow start today. Didn’t sleep very well for the 5 hours of bed sleep that I had, didn’t help that the power went out from the heat so there was no a/c! But it’s ok, I knew it would happen but it was definitely worth it. (A 2 1/2hr drive there and back for a 2 second pic and frybread) but it’s the small things like that which are making this trip worthwhile and bearable. But even so, feeling tired today I still managed to hold a 10 minute mile pace for a solid 3 hours and still made it to Arizona, which is where I called it a day. The sunrise this morning was pretty amazing and the landscape is turning very unique. It’s probably good that I run all night and can’t see anything otherwise I’d be stopping every 2 seconds to take a picture!
Tuesday 2nd July
Started the night off with a little shopping trip. FinishLine in Gallup donated me a new pair of shoes. Took us a little while to find the place but we did eventually and the people there were so nice, Dustin was the manager and he hooked me up with shoes, insoles and a new pair of socks! Awesome. Once I started running it felt like I was running on air! New shoes felt great and I managed to keep a decent pace. We had to do the bunny hop thing because the roads kept ending or just wouldn’t be there.
Wednesday 3rd July
Started the night on a restricted access road – didn’t know till some official person drove up behind us to see what we were doing. On our way into Winslow two girls pulled over and asked for my autograph, they’d heard of a girl that was running across America, saw me and wanted to see if I was her. Ran through Winslow past all the drunks then headed north to follow an actual road that ran all the way to Flagstaff. (bunny-hopping the highway was getting old!) cruised a good 25 miles on that road before calling it a day.
Thursday 4th July
Last night was tough. Was exhausted, took a huge digger cut up my knee and hurt my hand. Had a few hills to climb but was basically just so tired the whole time. Luckily Justene’s friend Joey met me and ran for a few hours, that really helped me through and kept me running up the hills. Made it to Williams AZ, had a beer at 8am to celebrate Independence Day.
Friday 5th July
Nothing out of the ordinary happened last night, was still pretty tired. Found that I zone out and can’t really talk anymore, al my energy is focused on running, so when I’m in the car I stay quiet and try to conserve what little energy I have. Which doesn’t help dad coz he wants to talk and know what I need to help, but I literally can’t say anything, it almost feels like I’m in a trance and once I’m done running for the night I snap out of it and can hold a conversation and am somewhat back on the planet, but until then I’m in the zone.
Saturday 6th July
Last night ran into Kingman, well got within 15 miles. Had a couple hills to get over but for the most part it was a pretty good night. Once the sun got up started to get hard, but managed to get in a few extra miles before I died! Merin gets to us today and then she’s going to help get me to the finish.
Sunday 7th July
Merin was with us today although a little overtired as she had literally just got off the plane and driven to us and hadn’t slept in a couple days! So we let her try and recover and get through as best she could. Ran through Kingman and out the other side, climbed a nice hill but then had about a 10 mile gradual downhill which was nice. Then climbed another huge hill, come over the tip to find a beautiful 12 mile downhill leading me out of Arizona and into Cali, as we came down we could see the California mountains, was cool! Dad ran the last 6 miles with me – but it nearly killed him! Haha was good to have company though.

Week 7

Monday 17th June

Well we woke up at 1am today ready to go, only to look out the door to find torrential downpour, and continuous thunder and lightning. So we decided to wait a couple hours till it passed. Went back to sleep, woke up around 4, was still raining a little but at least the lightning had stopped. Felt really good actually, the rain was refreshing to run in and I cruised through the first 30 miles to Newton. There we celebrated my official halfway point with a beer.

After that Kasi met up with us and ran the last 3 hours with me, was so good to have some company and the 15 miles we ran flew by. Was the easiest end of the day running I’ve had so far! We stayed in a hotel that had the coolest space themed pool.

Tuesday 18th June

Today was rough. Didn’t get much sleep last night and with the broken sleep from the night before I was definitely feeling it, and struggling. Got started around 3am and could hardly keep my eyes open. Around 630am I had a Rockstar – desperate times, and after that I felt drunk. My body was just at pure exhaustion and didn’t know what to do, somehow I kept running not too sure how, at times it felt like my legs weren’t attached to my body. But not sure how, still managed to pull out 45 miles to stay semi on track. We were staying with Nancy’s parents, who were really nice and cooked an amazing meal, but I was in bed sound asleep by 3:30pm.

Wednesday 19th June

Woke up at midnight, but felt refreshed from my full nights sleep. Definitely prefer night running for the cooler temps and less traffic. Although the truckers come pretty close, pretty fast and the headlamp gets a little annoying, but that’s minor details!

Had a good pace going even after sunrise. Met some people who were racing across America on bicycles, and still managed to get come decent miles in when it started getting hot. Finished at 12 after 50 miles and met THE CUTEST puppy ever! Time for eat, shower and sleep.

Thursday 20th June

Midnight came way too quickly, felt pretty tired but body felt good. Headed off as usual, and aside from being tired cruised along pretty well. As the sun came up the wind picked up too, blowing me sideways and at one point I lost all my energy, so had a pick me up of NZ tea and cruised the next 12 mile in 2 hours! At the rest stop we here we ended for the day we met the Wisconsin Children’s choir on their way to Albuquerque. They were really excited to meet me! Was cute.

Friday 21st June

We found Oz! In Liberal Kansas. After a night of hiding from lightning storms, stomach issues, a sore hip and running against the wind it was great to finish off with something fun, touristy and not running related! Now time for pancakes and bed.

Saturday 22nd June

My last day with Justene was actually pretty rough. I was tired, the wind was strong and my hip hurt. So prob wasn’t the best company for her! But she got me through around 46 miles before I decided I’d had enough (as I was laying on the concrete parking lot with my feet in the car). So she took me to my hosts in Guymon OK, who were extremely nice, cooked us a homemade meal and did whatever they could to make me comfortable. I then said goodbye to Justene and passed out around 1pm.

Sunday 23rd June

I woke up to Tyler being here, very excited. We had another meal and were on our way. Felt good but the wind was strong, so that slowed me down for the first 10 miles. After that Tyler biked with me a bit and that helped soo much! We cruised across the Texas border, the wind died down and on the flat road I was able to knock out some miles while semi fresh. Got 40 miles in before 9am, which was good. Finished out the last 10 with Tyler running with me for part of it, now getting in out of the heat to rest up so can start earlier tomorrow and hopefully get a few more miles in.

Week 6

Monday 17th June

Well we woke up at 1am today ready to go, only to look out the door to find torrential downpour, and continuous thunder and lightning. So we decided to wait a couple hours till it passed. Went back to sleep, woke up around 4, was still raining a little but at least the lightning had stopped. Felt really good actually, the rain was refreshing to run in and I cruised through the first 30 miles to Newton. There we celebrated my official halfway point with a beer.

After that Kasi met up with us and ran the last 3 hours with me, was so good to have some company and the 15 miles we ran flew by. Was the easiest end of the day running I’ve had so far! We stayed in a hotel that had the coolest space themed pool.

Tuesday 18th June

Today was rough. Didn’t get much sleep last night and with the broken sleep from the night before I was definitely feeling it, and struggling. Got started around 3am and could hardly keep my eyes open. Around 630am I had a Rockstar – desperate times, and after that I felt drunk. My body was just at pure exhaustion and didn’t know what to do, somehow I kept running not too sure how, at times it felt like my legs weren’t attached to my body. But not sure how, still managed to pull out 45 miles to stay semi on track. We were staying with Nancy’s parents, who were really nice and cooked an amazing meal, but I was in bed sound asleep by 3:30pm.

Wednesday 19th June

Woke up at midnight, but felt refreshed from my full nights sleep. Definitely prefer night running for the cooler temps and less traffic. Although the truckers come pretty close, pretty fast and the headlamp gets a little annoying, but that’s minor details!

Had a good pace going even after sunrise. Met some people who were racing across America on bicycles, and still managed to get come decent miles in when it started getting hot. Finished at 12 after 50 miles and met THE CUTEST puppy ever! Time for eat, shower and sleep.

Thursday 20th June

Midnight came way too quickly, felt pretty tired but body felt good. Headed off as usual, and aside from being tired cruised along pretty well. As the sun came up the wind picked up too, blowing me sideways and at one point I lost all my energy, so had a pick me up of NZ tea and cruised the next 12 mile in 2 hours! At the rest stop we here we ended for the day we met the Wisconsin Children’s choir on their way to Albuquerque. They were really excited to meet me! Was cute.

Friday 21st June

We found Oz! In Liberal Kansas. After a night of hiding from lightning storms, stomach issues, a sore hip and running against the wind it was great to finish off with something fun, touristy and not running related! Now time for pancakes and bed.

Saturday 22nd June

My last day with Justene was actually pretty rough. I was tired, the wind was strong and my hip hurt. So prob wasn’t the best company for her! But she got me through around 46 miles before I decided I’d had enough (as I was laying on the concrete parking lot with my feet in the car). So she took me to my hosts in Guymon OK, who were extremely nice, cooked us a homemade meal and did whatever they could to make me comfortable. I then said goodbye to Justene and passed out around 1pm.

Sunday 23rd June

I woke up to Tyler being here, very excited. We had another meal and were on our way. Felt good but the wind was strong, so that slowed me down for the first 10 miles. After that Tyler biked with me a bit and that helped soo much! We cruised across the Texas border, the wind died down and on the flat road I was able to knock out some miles while semi fresh. Got 40 miles in before 9am, which was good. Finished out the last 10 with Tyler running with me for part of it, now getting in out of the heat to rest up so can start earlier tomorrow and hopefully get a few more miles in.

Week 5

Monday 10th June
Today was usual, started to get a bit bored. Felt good in the morning, even managed to sing out loud a bit. Made it to Columbia in good time, it’s a neat little city, definitely a college town. Got some food and then all my energy left me. Unfortunately the town that I was going to stop at, which was 15 miles away had pretty much no places to stay, no places to eat and the next town after was 27 miles away, so was kinda stuck a little. In the end, I ran almost to the next town (ran to the interstate which was just before) then got a taxi back to Columbia. Taxi driver was a nice old guy, another cancer survivor, so it worked out pretty well.
Tuesday 11th June
Actually slept through the whole night last night, so felt good when I woke up. Taxi driver was the same guy as last night – Bert! So he dropped me back off where he’d picked me up. I cruised into Rockport pretty easily, getting to Boonville was a little more difficult, but made it through the 14 miles and was able to stop an get some food, fill up with fluids and snacks before I entered the Katy trail, which I was going to be on for the next 36 miles until Sedalia. Started of great, nice and flat and shaded, I thought, this won’t be too bad…but then it started to incline up and didn’t cease…ever. It was a continuous uphill climb – it was tough. Made it to pilot grove trailhead fine, and was able to refill on water and have a snack. The next 12 miles were even tougher; I did manage to get a good trot going despite the uphill. By the time I got to the next trailhead (Clifton city) I was exhausted and out of water. But all there was a bathroom with a shirtless, bearded guy cleaning it. I asked him if there was running water, he said no and then started lecturing me on the trail and the history of it, and that was about all I could take – I sat down and started crying, and he soon shut up! He did then point me towards where I could get water, a local garage with a nice mechanic. So, filled up, and as much as I didn’t want to, I started the last 10 miles of my journey. I don’t know how I did it, or how I kept moving but somehow I made it to Sedalia at the end of the trail – 35 mile hill. I was exhausted so called a cab to get me to the hotel. Was an interesting cab driver, picked me up while ripping a butt and txting, but he was nice and it only cost $8, and so won’t complain!
Wednesday 12th June
Well, my last day solo, I was so pumped! Justene was meeting me at the end of the day; she was driving in from Colorado with a car full of snacks, drinks and supplies – and my clean shoes and new shoes! She wasn’t getting there till the end of the day though so I still had to get as far as I could alone. I actually met a guy on a bike today, he was doing the same journey as me but in reverse, we stopped and chatted, he was doing it to raise awareness of the effects a divorce has on children. (He’s divorces and his son took it hard) he seemed really nice and promised to be in LA when I finished so that’s cool. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful it got really hot out though. I fell short of my goal mileage because I had to get out of the heat – it was in the 90s, not fun! But, got back to the hotel, cooled off, ate and passed out, excited to see Justene in the morning!
Thursday 13th June
What a difference having a support crew makes! Even just not having to carry my pack was amazing enough. Justene was great, every few miles she would pull over and have snacks and drinks for me all ready to go, she talked to people in the towns and told them about me, we had one local call the mayor and newspaper too. And even just having someone there to talk too every few miles was good enough. It felt like a whole new experience and I’m so glad she was able to come. Got in 51 miles without dying too much! And crossed into Kansas, so, good day.
Friday 14th June
Bit tired this morning, got to bed a little later than planned and tossed and turned a lot of the night with the heat. But still managed to get a good pace going and get in some good miles. The afternoon the heat got too much so decided to finish a little early (after 36 miles) and get to bed so I can start transitioning to night running – getting up at 2am tomorrow!

Saturday 15th June
Today was my first transition day to night running. We got up around 2am and I was on the road running by 3:30am. At first was a little freaked out, but then got over it and settled into a good trot. It was definitely a lot better than running during the day. It was still hot, but didn’t have the sun beating down on me. And as I was running along I saw fireflies all along the side of the road. I managed to get a good 20 miles in before it started heating up and I started slowing down. Also, whoever said Kansas was flat was lying; because I was on some decent rolling hills all day! Maybe it’ll flatten out further down the road…
The day didn’t end too well, I was about 5 minutes away from stopping when I was chased by two big black dogs, they kept barking at me and trying to bite me and had me backed into the bushes, was really scary, I kept calling out for help but the owners either weren’t there or couldn’t hear because no one came. Eventually the dogs got bored with me and I was able to sneak away and have Justene pick me up, but it definitely shook me up a lot!
Sunday 16th June
Sunday morning, bright and early, well not really bright as it was about 1am! Ran in through Emporia and saw all the drunks from sat night stumbling home as well as a toilet, just sitting on the front lawn. Had a pretty decent run, made it 30 miles by 8:30am which was good going. However once the sun got out and it heated up shit got tough, but I had Justene keeping me going and made it through to Florence. She then took me to McPherson where we met Dale Sprague and his wife from the Rotary club, they were great! We stayed with them, it was about 2pm when we got there, so showered and took a nap in the most comfortable bed! We then went over to Nancy’s for dinner. She had grilled for us and it was all amazing. Also met people from the local running club who were all really nice and was great to meet them all. But unfortunately I slowly was failing so by 8pm the Sprague’s took me home for bed.

Week 4

Monday May 20th

Started out strong today, per usual. But rapidly deteriorated as the day went on. My left ankle started hurting as I got near Cambridge, same sort of pains as the first. I had Linda pick me up another ankle brace and that seemed to hold it out for the next 15-20 miles but after that the pain got pretty bad. Tried to ignore it but was reduced to almost tears at one point. Started walking but even that was a slow process. Felt more frustrated than anything because my body felt good, like I could keep running, but my ankles were holding me back. Not too sure what to do, I feel like as I have a support crew with me I should keep pushing on, but I also feel like I need to take a day off. But even if I did that they would prob just flare back up again.

 

 

Tuesday May 21st

Well I should’ve know when I woke up exhausted and every step I took sent shooting pains up my leg that I shouldn’t be out running. But I’m a stubborn athlete and decided to ignore all the red flags and try it anyway. Managed to get just over two miles before the ankle gave out and I was reduced to tears from the pain, struggled through the next half mile before finally letting reason take over and called it a day. I was frustrated and disappointed but this was just a setback, a minor challenge which life is full of, and you can either be annoyed about it and sit in a corner and cry or you can face the challenge and do something about it and beat it. I chose to do the latter. So went back to Kerby’s for a full day of rehab. I stayed off my feet all day, took two baths with Epsom salts, had a ice bath, iced every couple hours, stretched and ate, as well as taking numerous supplements and creams. These ankles weren’t going to beat me!

Wednesday May 22nd

When I woke up this morning the pain was still there but it was more of a functional pain now ie I could still move around and do things without it getting too bad. I also had more ROM when pointing and lifting my toe, so that was good signs.

I started off well and somewhat in good spirits. Managed to get about 11 miles down the road until they gave out, but that wasn’t too bad, and it was a nice day, and walking felt good and I could keep up a good pace, so I carried on for another 7 miles. Decided to stop at 12pm so that I could take the afternoon to rest and rehab more and so could hopefully do a full day tomorrow. But as everyone keeps telling me and I need to keep reminding myself, this whole thing is about the experience and reaching LA. However long it takes me to get there doesn’t matter; I just need to focus on getting there and enjoying the journey, because that what matters, for this and in life. Numbers and records are just prints on a piece of paper, memories and experiences are forever.

Thursday May 23rd

Didn’t get going till almost 8am, there was an accident on 70 so we were caught in the backlog of traffic. But once I got going it went well. Was pretty cool, but perfect running temp. Only had pain in my left ankle and it definitely wasn’t as bad. The first few hours had a few rolling hills, but once I got passed them it was pretty much flat the whole way, which I like a lot!

We stopped in Kirksville for lunch, which we had picnic style in a cemetery – it was peaceful. Did some ice and rehab and set off again. Got to with the outskirts of Columbus and decided to call it a day.

Friday May 24th

Got an early start this morning, but it was a cold one and didn’t much warm up all day. The wind was brutally strong to and against me the whole time. But got passed Columbus and out the other side onwards towards Springfield. Was tiring with the wind and my ankle but managed 31 miles. Will try do a bit more tomorrow.

Saturday May 25th

Was perfect running weather today, sunny and 70 with a slight breeze and nothing but straight flat road. I felt good today to and the ankle held out for a good pace for the first 20 miles. It went in the last mile so I walked into the center of Springfield, where I found a comfy patch of grass, conveniently placed rock for elevation right next to a conveniently placed fountain that was ice cold – perfect for a mid day ice bath. Lauren met me with a smoothie and lunch and we had a little picnic in the sun. Was relaxing and really enjoyable, I could’ve hung out there for a few hours, but I had places to be. I did make the lunch break a little longer than usual, after all, this is about the journey and experience, I’m in no rush.

The afternoon run was pretty much the same, a few rolling hills but nothing too bad. My ankle lasted another 14 miles before it went. So 35 miles total, slowly building up the miles each day. Heading for the border tomorrow!

Sunday May 26th

Sunday of Memorial day weekend, within the first mile I found a small American flag on the side of the road, so I claimed it and ran with it for the day – got a lot more waves! The day did go well, it was pretty warm out but I got into a good little pace and felt like I was cruising along. We had lunch in Arlington cemetery which was only 20 miles from the border of Indiana. I decided to try and go for it and I almost made it too. Got within 5 miles and then everything seized up on me and I was done, not only that but I was exhausted. Part of journey running is knowing when to say when, so instead of pushing it and getting to the border, I called it quits there – a solid 40 mile day.