We are one week into this adventure, and it is time for updates! I am still running across the country to raise money and awareness for lung cancer. I am taking on this challenge in honor of a dear childhood friend, Jill Costello, who lost her battle with lung cancer at just 22 and never smoked a day in her life.
People have been asking lot of questions and have been commenting on how much they enjoy hearing about my status, so I will try to cover all the most frequently asked questions.
First, a brief recap of what the last week entailed.
Monday: I left from Times Square and traveled across the George Washington Bridge and into New Jersey. First state line, crossed! I stayed with the lovely Sheeleigh family, daughter Katherine was a teammate of mine on the Harvard Women's Soccer team. The first day was awesome, but I also looked forward to getting down to the basics and having days with a more efficient schedule.
Tuesday: Katherine and I left Bob the stroller behind and took off in the morning. We ran and gabbed away for a good couple of hours before she headed off for a pedicure. I continued on through New Jersey listening to my music and enjoying the neighborhoods. The Sheeleighs picked me up again in Annandale and treated me to another fabulous evening in their home. The guacamole, steak fajitas, and cream cake were delicious!
Wednesday: Katherine and her mom dropped me off in the morning where we met up with Jen Selverian, who volunteered to start the morning with me after she heard about the Great Lung Run (GLR) through Katie Couric and got in touch. Another awesome running partner! I could really get used to starting the morning with a friend and some conversation! We talked about everything, and I especially enjoyed hearing about her coaching with Girls on the Run. It is a fantastic organization that encourages young girls to get involved in running and develop some important life skills. The message is for girls to learn at an early age how to appreciate their bodies for what they are capable of as opposed to what they look like. I couldn't be more supportive. We hear a lot about how difficult it can be for girls to develop a healthy body image, but we hear it because it's true. What a great way to build confidence and respect for their own and for others' bodies!
I was also fortunate that the Sheeleighs took Bob ahead to Allentown, and that the fine gentlemen at the Hibernia fire station agreed to babysit him until I arrived. They couldn't have been nicer when I arrived, and they also shared with me some of the struggles facing safety enforcement agencies today with all of the budget cuts. I feel for them and encourage everyone to support your local enforcement in whatever way you can. The lovely Diefenderfers, family friends of Bryce Atkinson who was Jill's boyfriend, picked me up in Allentown and were so incredibly hospitable to have me in their home.
Thursday: Kate, the youngest Diefenderfer and recent high school grad, was a trooper and woke up early to drop me off and wrap up my ankle with some precautionary tape. The top of my ankle was feeling tight and the tape definitely helped. After some fiddling and great advice from Joe Toboni, the father of my childhood friend Gianna, I know that they are just tight from the constant heel to toe repetition. He gave me some tips for easing the pain and reminded me that my body is simply adjusting to this new stress and that calluses of all kinds will be developing as body parts toughen up for the journey. I am staying on my toes more and stretching a ton, which is helping them stay limber and pain-free!
Jeremy, an Allentown fireman, ran with me for half the day and we had a great time. The Diefenderfers picked me up again and took me out for a fabulous fish dinner and DQ ice cream cone! What a treat!
Friday: Susan Diefenderfer dropped me off and I headed for Jonestown where I would stay with the Myers, local residents who heard about us through their local church and graciously opened their home to me. I arrived to see signs their granddaughters had made, and was once again made to feel right at home.
Saturday: I headed out early and covered 15 miles before meeting up with the Diefenderfers again. We drove up to their family lake house on Newton Lake. I got to meet most of the Atkinson lake crew, Bryce's parents, cousins, and extended family, and relax for the rest of the afternoon. After lunch and some great stories from Dave Atkinson, Bryce's father, I fell fast asleep. After I woke up and cleaned myself off, we had a great happy hour and an oh-so-delicious meal. I have no idea how you thank someone for making you feel like family, but it truly feels that way here at the lake and I couldn't be more grateful. (I know my mother is very grateful as well!)
Sunday (today): A full day of rest started with coffee, Federer vs. Murray, apple puff pancakes, and some writing. I was happy to have a full day off, but have to admit that after yesterday's half-day I was already feeling a little restless. I know that tomorrow morning myself and my legs will definitely be ready to get back on the road!
I guess that was less brief than I had planned, but I hope it gives everyone a sense of how the week has gone. Now I will try to cover a few topics people have been asking about.
Scenery: I have mostly run on Old Country Rte. 22, which is an old two-lane highway next to the big interstate. It is asphalt, which is tough on the legs, but I haven't had any problems in terms of traffic or scary drivers. Pennsylvania has a lot of beautiful farm country, mostly corn and soybeans, which has been beautiful to run by. All in all, an enjoyable journey so far!
Diet/nutrition: The amazingly knowledgeable Jeannie Varney, my college roommate's mother, has been my nutritionist and has shared so much helpful information with me. Breakfast is granola or muesli with yogurt or milk and lots of fruit. This has worked out as a perfect energy starter. While I run, I try to get food in every hour. It has mostly been Clif Bars, but I've also passed a few farm stands and been able to enjoy fresh fruit as well as Gatorade or coconut water from gas stations. I try to have a "lunch" sometime midday that is more than the bars, but still not too heavy to digest. Peanut butter or hummus sandwiches have been working great. Once I finish each day, I try to get about 200 to 230 calories in with either pretzels and nut butter or fruit and nut butter or cheese or a bean salad of some kind. Dinner is about 1000 to 1200 calories' worth of carbs, protein, and veggies. I have been treated to amazing meals so far and not been left feeling badly in the morning even once.
Music/entertainment: I keep my iTunes library on my phone, so I have just been putting the whole list on shuffle and going through all my music. From Springstein, Tracy Chapman and the Beatles to Toby Keith and Taylor Swift all the way through hip-hop, Cher, and The Head & The Heart, I listen to every genre of music and it definitely helps pass the time. I also enjoy long phone calls in the afternoons when my pace has slowed down a bit!
Pace: The days have generally been taking about seven hours. The mornings go by pretty quickly and I am able to finish up 15 miles in three hours. Normally it would stress me out to go so slow, but I know this really epitomizes, "Slow and steady wins the race." It is not about my time every day, it is about covering the distance without injury or complete expenditure of resources. I thought it was maybe a 50/50 split of running and walking, but it is really closer to 65/35 running to walking. Either way, I've been covering the distance and getting it done!
I think that covers a good amount of information. I hope this wasn't too long of a post! I wish everyone a wonderful week ahead, wherever you may be!
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