My wife talks me into some crazy shit. Pineapple on pizza. Couples costumes. Running two thousand and twenty miles.
Since we have jumped on the fitness train our Facebook feeds have become bombarded with healthy living and running advertisements. It’s still rather bizarre to us that we are in this demographic – but there you have it. So anyway, somewhere in the stream of nut and twig eater posts was one from an organization called Run The Edge. Begun by Olympian Adam Goucher and educator Tim Catalano, and based on the success of their book by the same name, they produce fitness challenges including – Run the Year. The principle is simple – run and walk the numeric year in miles.
To take part you download their app that pulls your mileage from the tracking device of your choice, and you go…and go…and go…. It seemed so daunting at first, I mean, 2020 miles? The distance from San Diego to the Georgia coast is 2089 miles and the greatest distance north to south in the US is 1650 miles. I mean who does that? Certainly not reformed couch potatoes like us?
As I said, my wife talks me into some crazy shit, but hey, registration comes with a nice tee shirt so how can I argue with that?
We began chasing the year in Bakersfield with a 5K/10K event called the Fog Run and our intent was to find and run a race each month in every state we visited. We took a late January cruise with friends and family and we jogged on the boat and hit the treadmill. We signed up for a spring fund raising event in Pahrump NV by which time COVID had turned it into a virtual run…that is to say participants run where ever and when ever they want, no group racing.
By this time we had 400 miles in and the country was locked down. We realized we were going to have to do the remaining 1620 miles on our own, with no organized events to run or train for, never knowing as we traveled what would be “open” and what parks and recreation areas would be off limits.
So off we went, walking and running on our own during COVID and we worked out in 8 states! We found hiking trails, parks, neighborhoods, and we don’t know why it took so long to figure it out but every high school in America has a football stadium and every stadium has a track. We drug friends and family up mountain trails in the Ruby Mountains, went to the foot of glaciers and the top of waterfalls. We ran through rodeo grounds in Idaho and uphill at Evel Knievel’s famous Snake River jump site. We ran at 8000′ in Montana and struggled to breathe and faced snow in September!
We have run through National Parks and on the shores of many lakes. We ran alongside bighorn sheep at my uncles property in Montana, wild horses in Pahrump Nevada and I had an interesting experience in Challis Idaho. The RV park we stayed at had a mile long loop cut into the long grass in the woods, besides the Salmon River. As I ran I saw what appeared to be a deer in the distance. It was, and as I approached he ran off through the woods to the other side of the “track”. When I got there he watched me approach and pranced off. Well that was cool I thought and ran on. Ten minutes later, when I go to that spot again, there he was, in the middle of the “human trail” waiting and looking back at me over his shoulder and took off hopping, doing that half leap half run that deers do. I ran as fast as I could to try to keep up, which wasn’t happening and we ran a good hundred yards together, him watching me until he darted off into the woods.
We’ve walked masked miles in cities and countless trails across 8 states. We hiked trails through the Sawtooth Mountains and waded through lakes, we walked the Rockies in Colorado, lake country in Oklahoma and flat lands in Kansas. We motivated ourselves, joined team ibuprofen and kept moving!
We’ve hiked, walked, run and limped our way to 2020 miles. Essentially walking across America in 10 months. We’ve lost a combined 110+ pounds, dropped my blood sugar and cholesterol to normal and Jeanne is no longer “prediabetic” and much slimmer. But, most importantly, we accomplished our goal together!