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Everyday A New Day

Each day is different out here so I take it as it comes. I know the best way to get results is consistency, but some things, like each runner and their health, take initial precedence over my writing and updating. Internet connection is always a fun adventure as well ; )

I do tend to chuckle to myself when people ask, “So, what do you do all day?” or “Enjoy your day off!” It would be difficult to know unless you did something like this, but in a cross-country running adventure there is little time-off. I honestly 100% don’t mind and don’t even think twice about it because I knew what to expect and I love what I’m doing. Expectations and passion are two things I lean heavily on out here.

Just for the sake of it though, I thought I’d share what my days tend to be like. First, each runner is different. For example, Adam of Segment 3 liked to start running by 4:30-5AM, so I was up by 3:30AM every day to make breakfast and get the food and supplies packed for the day’s run. Packing the food and drinks is like packing for a picnic every single morning. I load the cooler up with ice packs and various cold drinks. I over pack and always bring too much of everything because generally speaking with ultrarunning you never known what the runner’s body will want to fuel with to get through the miles. Same goes for food; I bring anything and everything I can think the runner might want or need over the next 26-miles. Adam liked to be left alone for miles at a time so if he felt “good” he’d tell me to drive ahead 6-miles. If he needed short-term goals I’d drive ahead 2-3 miles. At each stop I’d have his requested fuel, and by the end of his run I would have already made his post-workout smoothie and prepared ice for his knees and calfs. We also did a lot of roadside camping. Because of his early starts it was easier and more efficient to just sleep where he finished his miles for the day. We didn’t know it at the time, but the solitude of his segment and the back-to-back nights of roadside camping, actually left us both feeling more lonely then either of us expected. We were grateful for the remedy of a small town with a delicious diner.

Robin was different for her segment so I switched gears to accommodate her style. Robin isn’t a “morning” person so an early run for her was scheduled some time around 7AM or 8AM and usually didn’t get underway until 8:30-9AM. I am a morning person so I woke up at 5AM to go for a run, of which I was always back in plenty of time to make her a smoothie and Spark for breakfast before packing up the cooler and food supplies. Robin didn’t carry any hydration with her so I’d stop every 2-miles to make sure she had the fluid and fuel she needed. Her stomach, the elevation, and the stress of the miles were causing her to feel nauseous so my job was to hand her food until she ate something. Robin also came with a whole crew of people (nine total), and the contrast was so significant from the solitude of Adam’s segment that I couldn’t help but want to be around her team every chance I got. I certainly enjoyed the company and entertainment, but I think we would all agree that Robin’s 5-days felt like 5-months and that each of us were exhausted by the time she finished her segment. My days were filled with constant crewing, driving, fueling, filming, and dinners every night with the team. Again, it was so very awesome to have such a team along, but there was little down-time for any of us.

Along with crewing the runner, I spend my time documenting, filming, interviewing, and updating throughout the week. Each night I take the footage and store it to one of my hard drives for review later. I cook for the runner and prepare as much in advance for them as I can. My goal is to make their job running, while my job is to take care of everything else. I know all too well the stress that these miles weigh on the body and mind, and I want their task to be as “simple” as possible…just keep running.

After each runner finishes their segment, I have have exactly one day to clean the RV, wash and change the linens, grocery shop, edit the film, upload their run in review, and scout the route for the following segment. This is by far my busiest and most “stressful” day of the week (though I put stressful in quotes because I’m not so much stressed as I am just hurried). In my spare time I also tend to emails and plan for big events ahead, like Denver and Chicago.

Each day is like Tetris to me. I have the must-have blocks that fit in to place, then I have all of the other blocks that I fit in where I can. The combination of how they fit from day-to-day changes. My days are unusual and a surprise. I love them.

I understand more than ever that this type of daily lifestyle really doesn’t suit for some people. I’ve done a lot of personal healing over these past 4-weeks, as I know I came on this journey with a few scars from my personal run across America. More than anything I want each of these runners to walk away from their segment with a personal running experience that they could never have imagined for themselves. I want them to think of me and say, “I was her Number 1 priority no matter what.”

This Relay is a team. I miss home, sometimes too much, but I also know that each of the runners are giving a lot just to be here as well. One of the things that is so special about this experience is that each of us on this team will walk away having been changed for the better. As Robin says: We are running to better versions of ourselves. I may not be running, but I am certainly becoming a better version of myself as I aid each runner. This experience is something that I am so extremely grateful for that I can’t express it at times. I do know I don’t need a day off when my days are so filled with an experience like this.

  • by ashleyk
  • posted at 7:17 PM
  • May 17, 2013