Wow, I finally made it out of Pennsylvania yesterday (Monday, August 13). I couldn't help but feel a sense of relief -- it seems to me that because I made it this far, I can finish this whole trip. My body has done a great job of adjusting to the new burdens it must endure every day and for that I am completely grateful and awestruck. I have no idea why my body is allowing me to take on this stress, but for now it is, and in return I am doing my best to take proper care in every way. So, thank you feet, legs, LUNGS, and body for letting me go on this adventure and spread the word about lung cancer BIG TIME!
Highlights From Last Week (August 5-11)
I had a great time staying with Barbara Atkinson in Hummelstown, Penn. on Sunday (August 5) and Monday (August 6) night. She is the aunt of Bryce Atkinson, Jill's boyfriend from Cal Berkeley. She was an awesome host and shared with me so many great stories about her life. After staying with Barb for two nights I went out on my own. Well, sort of on my own (I did have Bob the stroller with me). I have to admit that we have a love/hate relationship. I love that he carries my stuff, but I do not love when I have to push his lazy butt up big hills. This was especially trying on Friday (August 10) because Google Maps led me a bit astray. I should have trusted my gut and stayed on Route 30, but I followed Google Maps which led us up some very steep, very long gravel country roads. For any of you who have visited Tree Top Ranch, those are the kind of roads I'm talking about. Google Maps also told me to turn left on a road that did not actually exist, so I had to re-route and go a few extra miles (with Bob). Luckily, I had something to look forward to at the end of the day. Friday afternoon, Dave Coogan, the boyfriend of my college friend Leigh Argentieri, picked me up. He was surely a sight for sore eyes when he met me just as I hit the 35-mile mark for the day. That evening, I was reunited with my dear friend and amazing supporter, Leigh! I was so happy I pretty much forgot how frustrated I had been earlier and those curse words I may have exclaimed into the uncaring wooded hills of western Pennsylvania. It was also so nice to be with people again after spending three nights alone in hotel rooms -- that got boring pretty quickly!
On Saturday (August 11), Dave joined me for a solid 12 miles. I had to apologize for being so slow! It was interesting to adjust to not pushing Bob, and it took my legs longer than usual to warm up and be able to go a little faster. Dave, who seems to be almost 8 feet tall and is training for the D.C. Marine Corp Marathon, barely broke a sweat! He was so kind to stay slow with me and it was certainly great to have the company!
On Sunday (August 12) and Monday (August 13), I was out on my own again, logging miles until I crossed the Pennsylvania/West Virginia state line on Monday afternoon. After I crossed the state line I had a wonderful lunch with my cousins Yuya and Spencer along with Spencer's girlfriend, all of whom live and work in West Virginia. Monday night, I was treated to dinner with Leigh, Dave, and Leigh's father, Ken, to celebrate the crossing of another state line.
Today, Tuesday (August 14), I am definitely looking forward to a much-needed sports massage in Pittsburgh. On Wednesday, I will zip through West Virginia and cross the West Virginia/Ohio state line and continue due west to Columbus. A special treat later this week will be a visit from my high school friend, Lizzy Zellerbach! Knowing that I will get to see her Thursday evening will definitely help me get through Wednesday and Thursday's runs.
Where I'm Coming From and Where I'm Going
It has been such a great privilege these last two weeks to visit old friends and make new ones. One question that inevitably continues to come up as I visit more people is what I will do after the run. The honest answer is that I simply do not yet know and for now I am just going to focus on finishing this expedition. Once I arrive safely in San Francisco, take a nap and get a pedicure, then I will re-focus my energies on applying for jobs in New York and California. I can't say specifically what I will apply for, but I have a few months to think about it. I have tried to be very candid about the fact that I am simply trying to figure out where to go from here (other than west, of course). I have some very different ideas about jobs I would love to have or things I could see myself doing. My inability to decide is certainly part of what brought me to my decision to take on this current challenge. I loved working at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and it was absolutely the perfect post-grad job for me. I had an amazing experience there learning so many new things and meeting some people I am so very lucky to still call friends. At the same time, as the two-year mark was approaching and I was realizing that I was not ready to commit to law school, it seemed a change was in order. I also felt a very strong need to contribute more substantially to Jill's Legacy in a way that would truly make an impact. These things came together, and the idea for the Great Lung Run was born. My friend Kyle articulated it perfectly in saying that this is Jill's gift to me. I could not agree with him more, and I only hope that in return I will be able to help put lung cancer at the forefront of peoples' attention.
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