Day 18: “Home Sweet Home”

Day 18, Tuesday, October 6th

Glenwood Springs to Rifle

 

Dedicated to:

Amber Warwick, Rifle, CO

Guadalupe Sheridan, Manteca, CA

David Wolf, New Mexico

 

Today was a special day… I was running home! 26 miles from Glenwood Springs to the front steps of the house I grew up in. It was back to just the four OG’s (Marcus, Tory, Vaughn and I…oh and the pups). We packed everything up from the hotel and headed to the starting line for the day. Today started different than any other day though… I had to be on a bike for 6 miles. Before starting my run, I contacted the Highway Patrol to make sure everything I was doing was legal. The only part that wasn’t legal to run on was this stretch through South Canyon. I’ve driven this part of Interstate 70 hundreds of times in my life, so totally understood why. It was curvy and people often drive way to fast and take the inside line of the corners…safety was an issue (even on bikes). But, Marcus and I jumped on our Santa Cruz’s and headed west on I-70 to the Canyon Creek exit. It was honestly harder to ride than to run that day. My knees hurt and my hamstrings cramped and my back tightened up. I’m assuming my body has just become so accustomed to running in the last two weeks that anything different was a bit of shock to the system. Hence the importance of cross-training!

We made it safely through those 6 miles. I put my bike back on the rack on Big Blue and took off down the old highway 6&24 that parallels I-70 but is MUCH safer. It was 9am, which meant 8:30pm in India where my brother and sister-in-law live.  Missing them so much on this run, I finally had service in a safe place at an appropriate time of day their time, so I called them on FaceTime as I was running. They are the one piece of this puzzle that is missing. I think of them and my nephews everyday and wish so badly that they could be here as well. I thought it was a long shot to actually reach them, but was pleasantly surprised to see both of their faces as I chugged along. It was a short chat, but I am confident is set the tone for the rest of the day. For the 20 miles from where I started running to where I ended, I don’t remember any negative thoughts going through my head.  Thank you Kim and Luke for answering that day… you’ll never know how much it helped.

I first ran through the town of New Castle, which is where I lived and worked for just over 3 years out of college. It is also where I met Marcus for the first time. We were introduced via email through some mutual friends and had been in touch for 3 months. Then in July of 2007, he had come to the valley to coach a waterski clinic for our mutual friend. I met him the night he came into town and that is all she wrote. I fell in love right away and months later quit my job and my life changed forever.  Coincidentally, as I was reminiscing about this story, Judy Mauldin (our mutual friend), came driving down main street, waving out her window.  She said, “I’ll meet you at Ware Lane”. Not 100% sure where Ware Lane was, I just kept running my route, knowing I would eventually run into her. Another mile or so up the road, I saw her car and 2 others parked. I crossed the highway and was greeted by Judy, Kathy York (another old friend), their friend Sarah and Kathy’s grandkids. We embraced and talked about my journey, what they’ve been up to and snapped a few pictures. Just as I was about to take off again, another car pulled up and a man stepped out and introduced himself as John Mitchell. No way! John has been a sports writer for local newspapers for years and he and I have chatted on the phone several times throughout my various athletic endeavors, including Move Mountains. He knew we were going to be in the area, so drove up and figured I would be on this route and found us! Crazy! I said my goodbyes to Judy and Kathy before heading back on the road toward Silt (the town my mom lived in for years and is another piece of home).

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John followed me down the road, periodically snapping pictures for the upcoming story. I was passing so many memories as I ran this stretch. One location was where my first (and hopefully only) real car accident happened. Long story short, I was driving my truck home from Denver on a snowy night (I shouldn’t have been on the road anyway). I had to turn right to get to my house. Knowing not to break on the unplowed snowy road, I down shifted and lightly tapped my breaks. That sent me fishtailing and from then on, I was just along for the ride. My tail end started to spin around and I was heading backwards in the opposite lane (luckily there was no on-coming traffic). As I slid across the highway, my passenger tires hit the edge of the road where the dirt and grass meet the pavement and I rolled down the 20ft embankment, landing on my passenger side. I climbed out the window, down the undercarriage and up the embankment to where a car had pulled over to help. I was unscathed and my truck was just a bit banged up. The ambulance came shortly after, also fishtailing as they pulled up, and after looking over me and the situation, have no idea how I wasn’t badly injured or worse. There were angels on my tires that day.

A few miles after we hit Silt, I headed to the local Kum&Go (gas station) to use the bathroom… a nice change from the constant squatting I have been doing on the side of the road everywhere we go. John waited outside and interviewed myself, Tory and Marcus about our venture thus far. Then we parted ways for the last 9-mile stretch to my dad’s house. My feet were definitely tender, but for some reason the pain today wasn’t as unbearable as most days. Possibly because my view of the Roan Cliffs and knowing that each step I took forward got me closer to home!

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As I ran into Rifle staring at the Roan Cliffs, I thought of all the times I’ve spent up on top of those beautiful mountains with my dad and brother camping, hunting and fishing. That’s where I first learned to drive a stick shift, where I saw my first bear in the wild, and where I first drew back my bow at an elk. It’s where I felt like “one of the boys” and the tom-boy in me loved every second of it. I hit Rifle and it was like I never left. It’s like that every time I come home, in a good way. I ran a few blocks up Railroad Avenue (main street) and turned left on 3rd street and headed up onto the mesa I was raised on. The “elk’s hill” is a grinder that takes you to the top and just a few months back, when I decided to do this run, I couldn’t run up it without stopping to walk. Today I did it without stopping (after running 19 miles before). I was totally out of breath, but I did it! From there it was an easy jog down 5th street, right on Prefontaine Ave, then left on Mesa Ave and down the hill to dad’s house. I was home!

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Lesson Learned: “There really is no place like home”

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