The run, that I prepared months for, lasted two and a half days and ended after 500 miles, a couple injuries, and a broken-down van. The run was an experience that made the books. It was a one of a kind trip, from the awesome friends I made, to the magnificent and unique places we ran through.
We did not run all the way to San Diego in three days like we planned to. However, I’m extremely proud of all the runners and myself for going as far as we did. We aimed high and fell short, but no matter what, we came out stronger than we would have if we chose not to pursue this goal. I know for a fact that if I did not agree to go on this adventure, that I would not have redeveloped this strong passion to run again. I would not have lost some of the body fat I had before training for this run. Also, my self-confidence would not have grown this much without pushing my limits.
To be a part of this experience, here is what I had to overcome.
As you may already know I’m an introvert. However, when this once in a lifetime opportunity arose, I had to jump on it. Lately, I’ve been saying yes to things I fear, because doing so will only help me grow into the man I want to become. After saying yes to this long-distance run, I was so nervous. I had no idea what was going to be in store for me. I didn’t know majority of the guys that were also joining me on this adventure. I was unsure how many miles I would be able to run and if I would be able to keep up. There were so many unanswered questions I had about this run, but I was determined to not let my fear of the unknown stop me.
On October 3rd, 2019 all the runners met in El Paso, Texas. It didn’t take long for the awkward small talk to pass, all the guys felt similar which made me feel a little better. When it was time to run, my nervousness completely subsided. The feeling of the sun, fresh air, and nothing but the empty road in front of me filled my worries. One step after another. I kept my head up and that was the feeling for the first couple of miles.
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know I’ve been training for this adventure for the past couple months. That whole time I was training, I was focusing on the running aspect of this journey; I did not even think about what I would be doing when I was not running. If you know me well, then you know that I don’t deal well with motion sickness the best. AKA sitting in the backseat of a car for more than twenty minutes. The resting periods for the runners on this trip, could be described as a bumpy, swirly, ride in an RV. So, my resting periods were tremendously difficult, they usually consisted of me telling myself that I cannot throw up on the RV.
The motion sickness truly started to get to me while we were traveling through a mountain. This mountain had all these twists and turns. So, after beating the nervousness of the trip, I then had to battle a pounding headache, cramping, and a constant feeling of nausea. To make things worse, no one else was affected by any motion sickness like I was.
At one point I had to get out of the RV and lay on the ground as my body cramped and went numb. As I stared at the sky and listened to the RV drive off into the distance, I was planning different ways to tell everyone I was ready to give up. When the RV came back around, I was able to gather just enough energy to make it through the rest of the day. I can’t start to explain the amount of pain that I was feeling. It was one of the most difficult experiences I have ever put myself through, and to think, that was only the first day.
We eventually called it a day, and found a motel to lay our heads down. Before everyone went to sleep, for the five hours we were allotted, I spoke to Tom who was the director of the run. I told him I couldn’t do it. The pain I was going through mentally and physically was too intense.
He knew how much I trained for the run and jokingly said, “You’re going to let an old man beat you?” Not amused by him joking, I gloomily stared at him. He then told me to stand up and yell, “I can do this!” I negatively thought to myself, all this motivational stuff is just not going to help at all…But I stood up and tried anyways. The first couple times I said it, it only came out as a whisper because I didn’t really believe in yelling “I can do this” will make the pain go away. I was just saying it because Tom wanted me to. But Tom did not let me leave until I yelled it, like legitimately yelled it. After realizing he was not going to let me go until I yelled those words, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and shouted them. I saw Tom smile and he then let me leave for the motel room to sleep for the night.
The next morning, I felt a little better but was still in pain. The way I felt that morning was like waking up completely hungover with few of hours of sleep while having the spins. Multiply that feeling by five and that’s how I felt. That feeling was there for most of the trip, however, I kept going even though I wanted to stop. Towards the end of the second day, two large bruises started to develop on the arch of my foot and knee. More and more excuses started piling up, did I mention that a week before the run I developed a cough that would not go away as well??? All these excuses made me want to quit now more than ever.
But, there were three reasons why I did not stop. The first reason I did not stop was because of Tom. Since I met Tom, I looked up to him. If he didn't believe I could keep going then I most likely would have given up. He has continuously inspired me to become a better person.
The second reason I did not stop was because this run was a team effort. Even if I wanted to give up because I was feeling sick, my team was relying on me.
The last reason why I did not stop even though I was going through so much pain was because of a personal goal. Before I left for Texas my goal was to not stop running until I absolutely could not anymore because I wanted to feel alive for the both of us. By us, I’m speaking about myself and my best friend Ben who passed away. Ben’s death occurred a couple years ago, but the thought of him still impacts my life every single day.
I know that if I did not go on this run then I would have pushed back a long overdue goodbye that has been on my mind every day. I said I agreed to go on this run to grow as a person, and that is partly true, but that was not main reason. You see, Ben loved to run. He was so fast and ran so effortlessly, maybe that’s why he enjoyed it so much. I mean you did like winning and we were always competitive. I was always trying to keep up with you when we were in cross country even though it was tough. Remember taking detours from our team practices to jump into strangers’ pools during those scorching days and running away as quickly as we could to avoid getting in trouble? I agreed to participate in this trip to take you on one last run just like the old days. I’ll see you again B.