Catch Up, Part 1: August 16-28

This is an update on The Great Lung Run, my 3,500-mile run 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.
09/10/2012 02:40 pm ET Updated Nov 10, 2012

August 16: Lizzy Zellerbach, my friend from high school, met me at the hotel in Cambridge, Ohio, and it was delightful to have her join me.

August 17-19: Lizzy and her wonderful mother, Mary Ellen, joined me in Columbus, Ohio for two luxurious nights at a hotel. They were wonderful about transporting me to and from my daily runs, keeping me entertained, and making sure I was well-fed and well-rested. It was truly a treat to have two of my favorite ladies visit me along the way. I was sad to part ways with them, but luckily Ohio proved to be full of fantastic hosts!

August 19: Lizzy and her mother dropped Bob off at my host's house for the night of the 19th, so I was able to run Bob-free for another day! On Sunday afternoon, Jennie Ferguson picked me up in London, Ohio. Jennie is the sister of K.C. Oakley's boyfriend (and K.C. is one of Jill's best friends from Cal Berkeley). Jennie drove me to her sister Mollie's house in Columbus, and I was once again made to feel right at home. I was even given an awesome glitter tattoo by Mollie's daughters and their friends. Jennie made us a delicious dinner of shrimp pasta and salad, after which we enjoyed some yummy homemade chocolate-chip cookies. Another perfect evening with a really cool family. Thanks, guys!

August 20-21: Bob and I made our way to Xenia, Ohio on a very pleasant bike path, which was a welcome respite from the road. The afternoon of August 20, Megan Duwell Shoup, a connection through lung cancer advocates in Ohio, picked me up with her adorable new labrador puppy, Luna. This was when I went in for my "emergency" massage that I mentioned in the previous blog post. I had a great time staying with Meghan and Luna for two nights in Centerville, Ohio. Thank you, Megan and Luna! I hope to meet John next time I am in town!

August 22-23: Megan drove me to meet up with my next host, Laura Merkel Deno, on the morning of the August 22. Laura and Megan know each other through the loss of their mutual friend Ali Nunery, who was a young, vibrant woman also taken by lung cancer much too soon. Laura brought me a rockin' pink tutu and we headed out on the road together looking totally fabulous. It was so much fun to have a buddy with me for a full day of running! It was also a special day as we arrived in Cincinnati because Laura had arranged for the local NBC News affiliate to catch up with us and film a segment. It was great to get the local press and we also managed to go an extra mile and cross the bridge into Kentucky! After we were done Laura took me to the trainers at Xavier University, her old stomping grounds. Once there, I practically dove into an ice bath and was treated to a sports massage for my quads from the awesome Jody Jenike. Thank you, Xavier Athletics!

On August 23, Laura dropped me off in my tutu, and I continued 36 miles to Warsaw, Ky. where Laura returned to pick me up. She whisked me back to Xavier where I was honored to speak with the cross-country team and coach, Ryan Orner. I hope I was able to share some interesting information with you guys! I spent another evening with the Denos and their dogs, Chloe and Samson. Thank you, Denos, and I hope you had a wonderful trip to Europe!

August 24: Bob and I were back at it and headed for Hanover College in Hanover, Ind., where the cross-country team hosted me. It was a long day, and I was just really starting to feel tired and discouraged when a car pulled over ahead of me and the driver stepped out. My first thought was that she was going to tell me I really should not be on the side of the road with a baby and that I was a terrible mother. (My favorite thing about no longer pushing Bob is that I do not have to use the phrase, "No thanks, I don't need a ride. There isn't a baby in this stroller!") Instead, she asked, "Are you Kelcey?" I replied yes and she introduced herself as Kirstie Craven -- her father is an 11-year lung cancer survivor, and she recently lost her mother-in-law to lung cancer. She mentioned that she knew Laura Deno, saw my route, and simply wanted to try and catch up to say hello and thank me for doing the run. Well, that was all I needed to feel re-energized! That, and she was gracious enough to agree to take Bob the last 12 or so miles to Hanover and to drive me across the non-pedestrian bridge (there was literally an officer guarding the entrance). I arrived at Hanover a few hours later and was greeted by the adorable cross-country team and their coaches, Josh Payne and Brian Knight. After another great ice bath, I joined the team for their team dinner at Coach Payne's house. The girls made tacos and after eating I joined in some games of corn hole and Kubb (I was much better at corn hole). Check out the great article that runner Logan Wells wrote here!

August 25-26: I left Hanover and headed for Louisville. I managed to convince four adorable girls from the cross-country team to transport Bob to my hosts' home in Louisville. This was a very long day, something over 40 miles, and I was so happy to finally reach the fine city of Louisville. Ron and Debbie Murphy were extremely gracious hosts and set me up so comfortably in their home that I was asleep that evening by 7:30! Ron and Debbie are friends of Jeannie Martin, the mother of Maria Martin, with whom Jill and I attended both grade school and high school. I awoke Sunday morning to meet Ron and Debbie, and they were so wonderful. We enjoyed a very fun breakfast, and then were able to meet up with my big sister Brittany who flew in the night before to visit me! Ron and Debbie then took us for a quick tour of the city before setting Britt and me out on our own to run some errands. We had the best time at Fleet Feet, meeting the amazing owner, Jeff Wells, who hooked us up with tons of gear after hearing about The Great Lung Run. Thank you, Jeff! After errands we met up with the father and sister of Britt's friend, who also live in Louisville. Steve and Grace Clements made for another great set of tour guides as they showed us some cool spots in Louisville. After the tour we returned to the Murphys' home for a delicious dinner with their daughter Katie who was returning home from New York, her boyfriend Jeff, and Kay Groff, who happened to also know my parents!

August 27-28: Brittany and I woke up early and left the Murphy's home. We parked the car and she ran with me for over an hour before heading back to the car. The rest of the day went off without a hitch, and she picked me up at the end. We did a little bit of exploring and then drove to the Clements' home, where we planned to stay for two nights. Grace Clement was busy making us an absolutely delicious chicken curry dinner. Steve, Marybeth, Grace, my sister and I enjoyed the delightful meal and talks of their eldest daughter (and Brittany's friend) Marea's upcoming nuptials. The following morning Brittany and I headed out early again, and she ran with me for another morning hour before returning to the car. I ran through a National Forest Area and reached an impasse in the form of a bridge that was no longer a bridge. When Brittany came to pick me up and drop me off on the other side of the bridge, she told me about her run-in with Indiana law enforcement. Luckily, it was brief. We had parked the car along the side of a rural road, on what we didn't realize was someone's private property. The officer let us off the hook with a warning to be more careful -- whewf! And we will certainly be more conscious about road etiquette. It was an interesting day, to say the least. Afterward, we enjoyed another yummy meal with the Clements family and headed to bed early.

More to come....

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