Yesterday started with months of pent-up excitement unleashed in a single moment as I kissed my wife and daughter and ran under the official MS Run the US Relay START banner, my journey towards Las Vegas finally underway. I rode a high all day. And the weather was gorgeous.
Today Ashley dropped me off by the mailbox where we stopped yesterday, basically in the middle of nowhere, and I unceremoniously started walking. There was a distinct haze settled on the horizon. Mountains that I could see yesterday clearly were barely discernible today. The wind was whipping and kicking up sand everywhere. This cast an eerie, almost somber glow over everything. The brightness of yesterday’s sky was absent. Today was not to be like yesterday.
And I just kept moving forward. That was the theme today. No surprise military bases. No reclining chairs or other interesting oddities as there were along yesterday’s route. I spent the entire day on one road: National Trails Highway, aka Route 66. Not a single turn. The monotony of the desert has a very odd effect on one’s perception. You cannot even see yourself moving forward. My immediate surroundings were unchanging. It was only after miles traveled that I would look up and see distant objects like mountains revealing that I was making progress. Life can often feel that way, like we’re standing still. But it’s just a matter of perspective. Always keep putting one foot in front of the other and you are making progress, even if you can’t see it.
My back is holding up. There is some pain, but it’s doing pretty well considering. And the heat, which had been a major concern, has not been a problem thus far. Apparently I deal with heat better than I did when I was younger. Plus I’m moving fairly slowly and the last two days have had an amazing breeze. I’m also using armcoolers given to me by Recofit (www.recofit.co). I was very skeptical. I don’t like gear. But they are working really well, keeping my arms cool and protected from the sun.
There were two surprises today. The first was when Ashley told me there was a Dairy Queen about a mile past where I was finishing the day. I love a good Blizzard. That was a most welcome treat. Then there was a less welcome surprise when I took off my shoes: the hot spots I’d been feeling were all now blisters. Plus another I hadn’t even felt. 4 blisters. I’ve had about that many blisters total in my whole running career prior to today. Heat and sand are not my friends this week. But we keep moving forward.
Today I ran for Sue Neal, a friend of a friend who was recently diagnosed with MS. Today was Sue’s birthday. Happy Birthday Sue! And stay strong. We’re out here running for you and everyone with MS.