The longest road
Today I had to just breath, and let the discomfort pass. My knee was in the next level of pain, and my hip was aching after the days run. Lindsay demonstrated in times of struggle when her health was failing, a continual optimism that acts as a source of strength. I've used this approach over the years and this morning I needed to be reminded of this lesson. With 46km ahead, I will have to stay focused on the movement. However the first 10 km were a grind. Along the wide open trail of flat rolling terrain and pockets of sunshine, you'd think this would be just the ticket to keep a pace that felt comfortable on the joints. I plugged in an audio book called Disrupt Yourself, which seemed quite fitting with all the changes life has offered this year. Through some brilliant miracle, its all led me to this trail, the very place I dreamed to be as a child, wanting to honor Lindsay's life and find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. Now I am confidently embarking on this experience that I needed to be led back to. Challenging the mind and body are where I feel most at home, its where I make sense of life. Running long distances has become the easiest part of this journey - the voices I encounter have taught me how to be kind when doubts arise, and carry on with my plans so I can "disrupt" my negative patterns and stories and truly embrace the experiences awaiting around each corner. I will become a better version of myself, and each step is a credo to that dedication. The space and time in nature is the greatest gift that allows my thoughts to arise and clear as the miles roll by, just like clouds in the sky, all temporary experiences.
The knees were talking to me, so down to the river I go to rest for a moment and allow the cold water to wash away the fatigue for the final 11 km. Beautiful cliff walls and raging rapids created a symphony of sound that one could easily miss if staying on the trail. As important as it is to keep my eyes on the mark, its these precious moments when I give myself permission to take the path less followed and enjoy how far I've come that make me truly grateful for this life I have been given ad created out of grand ideas.
Back on track, the legs started pumping and soon I meet my dad, who just had another encounter with a black bear across one of the trestle bridges where row boats floated below. This brought his count up to 2 bears in the past 3 days. I feel he is our trail guardian, equip with all the supplies we may require in times of need. How glad am I for the extra cans of bear spray we all have on the trail. We run together for 5 km then I welcome him to go ahead and dive in the water.
The trail passes many country homes with livestock of all sorts. The idea of being a farmer pulls on heart strings, for many of the travels I've experienced have components of volunteer work on farms, and my family lineage comes from dairy farmers on my moms side and grain on my dads. Before we embarked on pursuing active travel holidays, that was the lifestyle we lived: tend the earth under our feet and connect with animals and plants to sustain ourselves and our loved ones. What a simple and beautiful life.
Upon entering town at the intersection my phone decided it had enough, funny, so did I! Sauntering along, asking directions to the campsite from friendly locals, I arrived at the lake and didn't miss a moment to hop in the lake. Found camp with mom awaiting my arrival, that was the longest day yet and she had just the ticket. Salsa, nachos and a smoothie. What a lady! Today she pulled out her charm once again, sharing our story with other campers; to later find out that one of them had covered our campsite costs! She has been met with generosity when sharing the story of Lindsay and what this run is all about. Emotions are an internal struggle, something no one else may know about unless you're willing to share. One of my hi lights about what this trip had to offer was this very thing. It's great to my mom open up, shed some tears and let others see her strength through it all. Truly an act of bravery she displayed and I hope continues to do so while building healthy connections and community support across the country :)
Tonight I reflect on all my gratitude, some being my dad's dedication to help on the trail, the big smiles and laughs Mark shares on the daily, the consistency of my mom being meeting us at the end of the day, the well marker trails and all those who have sponsored this event and believed in my dream. Today we covered 46 km, 110km total and 140 to go - and I might just fall asleep standing up! Totally exhausted and immensely proud of what we've done so far. Working through struggle is part of building character.