Day 14, Friday, October 2nd
Aspen to Willits
Grace Farris, Chico, CA
Charlene Schmidt, Portland, OR
Kara Hopkins, Philadelphia, PA
Tyler James, Pocono Mountains, PA
Not sure what the day would bring for toe health, I was surprised to wake and see the condition was tolerable. I’ve found that the care taken the night before is CRITICAL in setting myself up for any sort of success the next day.
It was just Marcus and I this morning as Tory and Vaughn stayed down valley at my mom’s house. Marcus took me to the intersection I stopped at yesterday and he drove down the road as I hopped on the Rio Grande Trail for the first 2.5 mile run to Aspen CrossFit to make an appearance at Erik’s gym. It was a great warmup for the 21-mile day and a good test as to how the feet were going to fare. They were sore!
The 2.5 miles went fast and I met Marcus, Tory, Vaughn, my mom and Dario at the gym. I was greeted by another ever-friendly CrossFit community. Erik has his gym set up in the coolest way… very organized and everything has meaning. His colors are green and silver, the walls are strategically plastered in motivational sayings, meaningful words and all with a purpose. I arrived just between classes and Erik took the time to explain my journey and my mission in words better than I could have myself. It was an honor meeting you all and being a part of your awesome community, if even just for a few minutes.
Shortly after the visit, Erik escorted us down highway 82 for a few short miles before reconnecting us with the Rio Grande Trail for the remainder of the day. I was on foot of course, joined by Marcus, my mom and Dario on bike. The time was flying by as we talked about my mom’s recent work visit to Istanbul, Dario’s successful week of work and my stories of the last several days on the run. The sun was shining, I was running toward home and my feet were holding in there.
Then all of a sudden, the slight downhill started to rear it’s ugly face. Even though the downhill isn’t noticeable, each step the toes get jammed further and further into the toe bed of the shoe and after awhile it feel like someone is stabbing me with a hot poker. I started thinking of little Grace Farris when this happened to distract myself. I was running for her today and although I am not 100% sure of where she is at with her battle with epilepsy I know she’s been struggling and her family has been fighting with her. Grace is a sweet young lady from Chico, CA (where I live) and her mom, dad, brother and sisters are amazingly supportive people. One awesome thing about Grace that I haven’t talked about with other fighters is that she has a companion in her fight. She has a dog that has been trained to help her detect when she may have a seizure coming on and help in the event that she has a seizure. Dogs are incredible creatures and although mine don’t have any idea about my epilepsy, they help heal me everyday. At the end of each run they are there to snuggle and love me no matter how the day went.
With Grace in my mind all day, I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I knew the finish line today resulted in a good nights sleep at my mom’s house. When I reached Basalt, the intended destination for the day, I wanted to keep going to make the next day shorter. I had another mile or so in me. Turns out my calculations were wrong and it was another 3.5 miles. I ended up with 21 miles that day at Willits. I struggled the last 3 miles pretty bad, but knew if I stopped I wouldn’t keep going. Then in the distance, my mom spotted Vaughn sitting on a park bench. I sort of saw him, but it was my first time experiencing a bit of delirium. I couldn’t make out him or the bench he was sitting on until I reached them.
I laid down on the bench immediately and felt like I could have fallen asleep right then and there. I knew I had to get my feet in a creek and some water in me though, so I sat up and got really dizzy. It was there that I realized I was in trouble. I wobbled over to the creek and put my feet in. Someone brought me water and I chugged it down. Nausea crept all over my body and all of a sudden I realized I was in trouble. I hadn’t eaten anything but a gluten free zucchini bread that morning because we had no food with us. Not ideal for 21 miles in the heat.
Next thing I knew, we were at the Whole Foods parking lot. Once in the store, Tory and Marcus kept telling me I needed to get something to eat, but nothing looked good. Tory handed me a green drink full of who knows what and told me I had to drink it. I took a few gulps down and about threw it back up. It tasted horrible. I managed to get the drink down, plus a bowl of chicken noodle soup and an ENTIRE bag of sea salt and vinegar potato chips. Life started to come back to me… my face had color, my brain was working and I could hold a conversation.
After gorging on some food, we headed to my mom’s house where Tory massaged my legs for a good 2 hours. Then a friend of a friend who is an athletic trainer came to the house to teach me some trick for my blisters… we’ll see what works as the next few days pass. Finally, the night wrapped up with the arrival of the one and only Michelle Kinney. A good friend and 4-times CrossFit Games competitor, who volunteered her time to come up and support epilepsy awareness.
Lesson Learned: Don’t be stupid…fuel yourself!