4 Million Steps

Some Good News and Bad News

This good news is on Thursday, I crossed into Florida and I can now say that I ran from Maine to Florida!

Bad news is the infection on my leg has taken a drastic turn for the worse.  On Friday I was admitted to Baptist Health Hospital in Jacksonville and will be here for a few days.  I have a staph infection called ORSA and it requires several IV antibiotics.  Today (Saturday) I had surgery on the leg and I’m starting to feel better, although I still am getting headaches.

I very much wanted to make it to Miami, but that just isn’t in the cards.  Recovery should be about 6 weeks and hopefully I can get some light running in about two weeks.  For some reason, knowing that I made it to
Florida has softened the blow of not being able to complete the whole run.  I came up 450 miles short, but I’m so pleased, in spite of how it has ended, that I started this journey.

I want to thank everyone for following me on this trip and helping me spread the word and supporting the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  This was truly a once in a lifetime event.

Day 59 – Waverly, GA to Yulee, FL

Mileage for today: 37
Enter 14th and last state.

Starting point is still being worked on.
Stopping point is the McDonald’s on E SR #200 (not sure what that is, but that’s what the map says!) in Yulee.

Today’s run is dedicated to my oldest daughter Shelby, just because she’s my knucklehead.

Who’s your Teddy?

Today was a horrible day.  I had nothing all day and struggled the whole way.  Good thing it was only 37 miles! The best thing about the day was getting into Florida.  I can now say that I have literally run from Maine to Florida.  I still have another 16 days before I reach my final destination, but I am pretty psyched about the whole Maine to Florida thing.

Dead Peoples Stuff

Dead People's Stuff

The picture is from a small town just outside of Florida.  I had to stop and take this picture.  I mean how could I not? Other interesting things today were being tortured by the mile markers. You see on wonderful Route 17 in Georgia (yes, I was back on her again today) they have the mile markers for every county.  When the markers hit 0, a new county comes.  Now when you are running good, its not so bad to see them clip by. But when you are struggling, it like constant daggers in your eye ball. The mile marker going into Florida started at 31. Ugh! There was also women’s underware sighting number 10.  It was a light blue teddy and there was no way it would fit Roseanne Barr.

At the 26 mile marker, this truck pulls over to the side of the road.  As I approached it, the driver said something to me, “I’m not sure what you are doing, but I saw you a little while ago and something told me to turn around buy your lunch today.”  Then he handed me $9.  He went on to say, “I don’t know why, but something told me to do this.”  That was pretty cool and I told him what I was doing and gave him a card. He was the first person who stopped me without knowing what I was doing and offered me money.  I’ve had a
few people ask what I was doing and then ponied up some money, this was the first time the money was giving and then asked what I was doing.

Day 58 – Darien, GA to Waverly, GA

Mileage for today: 32

Starting point is the McDonald’s on I-95 and Highway 251 in Darien.
Stopping point is still on Route 303 in Waverly.

Showering at the club.

My leg doesn’t seem to be getting much better, however it still doesn’t hurt to run on.  The swelling does make some concern for me.  If things don’t start to get better, I might have to have it re-examed in Jacksonville.

Leaving the hotel today, I ran past what some might call a gentleman’s club.  One thingstood out about the strip joint, the advertised free showers for truckers.  Anyone with any sense knows a lap dance just isn’t a lap dance unless you’ve showered.

I crossed over several bridges today and things are looking a lot like Florida.  The farm lands have gone away and swamps seem to be more and more prevalent.  Before getting off Route 17 (looks like it is only temporary) she coughed up license plate #18. The trees have started to get littered with palms and the leprosy harboring armadillos have disappeared.

I’m not sure if its the leg or just mind games, but I ran flat again today.  Had no pop what so ever.  My pace wasn’t too bad, in the mid to high 8’s.  For some reason it just felt like a drag.  The only times it seems like I felt okay is when I’d pop some over the counter pain/anti-inflammatory pills.  I’m not one to take medicine, so this is unusual.  However I thinking the leg needs all the help it can get.

The other day I forgot to mention one of the cooler things I’ve passed.  I went by America’s Smallest Church. It is about 10′ X 18′ and seats 12 people.  The sign for the church was almost bigger than the church itself and they had a slew of parking spots.

Day 57 – Midway, GA to Darien, GA

Mileage for today: 32

Starting point is the Lighthouse Christian Academy on Martin Road in Midway.
Stopping point is the McDonald’s on I-95 and Highway 251 in Darien.

Today’s run is dedicated to Nat Bailey who is just starting a battle with cancer and it looks like it is going to be an uphill fight.  It has been a logistical nightmare as his family is in Virginia and Nat is in Germany working as an archaeologist.  This dedication was submitted on behalf of Nat’s brother-in-law Steve Durr.

You’re a swell guy.

Well, I’ve been blessed with a nice infection in my leg that surprisingly doesn’t bother me when I run.  When I walk slow, yes, but run no.  It is still visibly swollen and hurts like hell when my opposite foot clips the sore spot.  For the runners out there, you know where the inside sole of you shoe clips your opposite calf?  Well that is exactly where the sore is located.  Great.

It seems like I’ll be spending a lot more quality time with Route 17.  I think she stretches well into Florida.  She’s been showering me with some treasures as I claimed license plate #17 today and the amount of dead leprosy harboring armadillos have decreased drastically.  You think she knows about the Highway Beautification Ladies from the other day?  Oh, this could be a tricky love triangle.

I felt sluggish today.  Not sure if it was the infection or just getting worn out, but I didn’t have any pop to my stride. Of course it could be because of being on the same damn road again.  This is the second time that I’ve spent my entire run on Route 17.  However, for some reason I picked things up the last 3 miles knocking them back in around 21 and 1/2 minutes.  That isn’t a killer time, but it felt good to crank out a good effort at the end of the day.

Day 56 – Savannah, GA to Midway, GA

Mileage for today: 31

Starting point is the Ronald McDonald House of Savannah located at 4710 Waters Ave.
Stopping point is the Lighthouse Christian Academy on Martin Road in Midway.

Today’s run is dedicated to the Ronald McDonald House of Savannah.

Sulfamethoxazole on the rocks.

Seems a few days ago I had this zit like pus pocket on my leg.  I popped it and covered it with an antibiotic ointment and a band-aid.  Even though I kept it nice a clean and bandaged with ointment, I still developed cellulitis.  Last night the area was getting pretty infected and my lower leg was very swollen (gotta love that pitting edema – again).  Being 8PM on a Sunday the only course of action was a trip to the ER.

The good news is it didn’t need lanced and drained.  Just some antibiotics (sulfamethoxazole) and warm compresses. Plus I was told that running on it wouldn’t make the situation worse. So, onward Patsy!

Some rather exciting news from the unofficial official Four Million Steps physician, Dr. C.  The good doctor sent me a note saying armadillos are the only other mammal, beside man, that can be infected with leprosy!  And that 1in 6 armadillos harbor leprosy.  Sweet.

Most of the day was spent on my old friend Route 17.  Today she yielded the two Georgia licenses plate (15 & 16 – Sorry marylandexc, you lose) and my 9th sighting of woman’s skivvies.  I also ran past the Georgia State Department of Corrections Woman’s Work Program.  They were doing what would be called highway beautification, better known as probation.  I didn’t think much of it, I’ve gone past a few such groups on this run, that is until a few miles down the road I passed them again.  Twice in one day?  Know what that means don’t you?  Yup, we’re now dating.  Yes sir, me and the Georgia Department of Corrections Woman’s Work Program.  Granted not the whole department, just those on Route 17.  I’m not a slut.

Day 55 – Guyton, GA to Savannah, GA

Mileage for today: 32
Visit 2
3st House.

Starting point is the Pizza Chef Restaurant on Central Avenue in Guyton.
Stopping point is the Ronald McDonald House of Savannah located at 4710 Waters Ave.

Today’s run is dedicated in honor of Jen Riley.  Jen has been battling breast cancer since she was 28.  The cancer, which previously had spread to her lungs, was just found in her brain, she’s 37. This dedication was submitted on behalf of Jen’s sister-in-law, from her sister-in-law’s best friend, Julia, as well as from me.

It’s a numbers game.

Well, I ended a three day love affair with Route 17. I ended day 53 with 12 miles on her, all day yesterday and half of today.   It worked out to around 64 miles on that road.  There were numerous casualties of deer and armadillos strewn about.  I was actually going to scoop up one of the armadillos so I can put them in my pants.  Then I could say I have an armadillo in my trousers (those keeping score at home that is Spinal Tap reference #2).  We shared two lonely nights in a tent, a medium sausage pizza, a bottle of melon flavored Boone’s Farm and not one shower – nice.

Probably the worst number was the number of cups of tea I had – zero.  My day just isn’t right without a few cups of hot tea.  I’m a pansy like that.  When I ended my weekend relationship with ole number 17, I was on Route 80.  Route 80 actually has signs of life.  There were stores and gas stations and places to buy stuff.  I was on 80 a few miles thinking how nice it was when I realized these stores will have tea!  Caffeine!  Liquid gold!.  I quickly pulled into a convenient store and got my fix.  The first cup in days and it was good.  Ummmm good.

Today I also logged in the most miles in one week at 241.  That is just a sick amount of miles.  To help put that in perspective, if someone were to run a marathon (26.2 miles) everyday for a week, they would fall short by 56 miles. I’m a sick, sick man.

One thing I do need is more places to crash.  I have a bunch of nights where I’m not covered.  So, if anyone knows of someone who lives in or near a town where I’ll be passing through and you think they might put me up for a night, hook me up.  If there is a “N” next to a day, it means I’m outdoors.  Thanks.

Day 54 – Rocky Ford, GA to Guyton, GA
Mileage for today: 39

Starting point is at Clyde’s Market on Scarboro Hwy in Rocky Ford.
Stopping point is the Pizza Chef Restaurant on Central Avenue in Guyton.

Today’s run dedicated to the memory of Denise Terwilliger’s son Bret.  Bret lost his battle with cancer in March of 2003 at the age of 8 months.  Bret’s dedication is submitted by Bridget Bennett and the online running group, the Kingdom of White Flows.

Life is a Highway.

Night number three in the tent turned out to be the least restful.  It wasn’t horrible, I just couldn’t find a good groove in the ground to get my skinny ass to settle into.  No worries, I did get some rest, stayed warm and didn’t get mauled by zombies, so all is well.

My journey today consisted of one road and one road only – Route 17.  I was on 17 for about 12 miles yesterday and I think we are now dating.  I stopped for lunch at this little BBQ place called Rowell’s.  They let me charge up my cell phone which was on one bar of life.

I can pretty much sum up what is on Route 17 with 4 simple words – nothing.  In about 52 miles of road prior to Guyton, there were two restaurants, a gas station and Dig’s Septic Service.  And to make matters worse . . . okay, it really doesn’t get much worse that Dig’s.

When I finally got to the little oasis known as Guyton, I ordered a medium pizza and stocked up on supplies at the local grocery store.  A few bottles of water, some tuna, a can of pear halves in heavy syrup (breakfast of champions), some junk food and a bottle of melon flavored Boone’s Farm (you know, the green one).  I don’t think I’ve had Boone’s Farm since I stole my sisters when I was about 15, but for some reason it was calling  my name and damn it, I answered.

Day 53 – Waynesboro, GA to Rocky Ford, GA

Mileage for today: 32.4

Starting point is at the McDonald’s on South Liberty Street in Waynesboro.
Stopping point is at Clyde’s Market on Scarboro Hwy in Rocky Ford.

Today’s run is dedicated to my friend’s father who has been battling throat cancer for 15 years now.  This dedication is submitted by Julia Tolly.

Sleepin’ with the dead!

Unlike South Carolina, Georgia has some great shoulders to run on and much like yesterday, I had an entire side of a road all to myself.  After a great nights rest, I headed out down Route 25.  About two miles in, I noticed (this time quickly) that the south bound lane was once again closed off to traffic.  I had full and sole use of Route 25 southbound for around about 7 miles.  Fantastic.

At one point I got skeptically excited at the prospect of adding a new creature to the Four Million Steps petting zoo.  I spotted next to me a corral of horses.  Mixed in with the horses were 3 bulls.  Big, solid, horned bulls.  I approached them with the greatest of caution.  So much so, I noticed the electric fence before it noticed me.  Unfortunately I was unable to coax one of the bulls to get close enough to pet it.  I swear I use to be sooo much better at that in my younger days!  The bull came close, but no petting – kind of like when I . . . well, never mind.

Another good thing about the day was I got to run for the first time in about two weeks without a jacket.  Hopefully more of those days are to come.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to run shirtless, but I’ll take a day without the jacket.

With two things being significant and connected, I must tell of my sleeping accommodations tonight.  Tonight being Halloween and not having a place to crash I selected an old souther baptist church.  And you know what comes with old southern baptist churches don’t you?  Old southern graveyards.  Yup, I choose to sleep with the dead on Halloween.  Now some of you might be thinking I’ve taken this a bit far.  Or perhaps I’m playing with fire so to speak. But not me.  I can’t think of a better place to be.  Think about it.  Can you come up with a more dramatic or apropos sleeping quarters?  The Hilton?  Omni Hotel?  Pffffftttttttt.

Child’s play my friends, child’s play.

Day 52 – Augusta, GA to Waynesboro, GA

Mileage for today: 31

Starting point is at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta located at 938 Greene Street.
Stopping point is at the McDonald’s on South Liberty Street in Waynesboro.

Today’s run is dedicated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta and all the volunteers over the past 25 years that have this House such a special for those families in need.

Who’s been killed there?

This morning I had the pleasure of running with some of America’s finest men and women of our outstanding armed forces.  Six in total came out to send me off stationed out of Fort Gordon.  They helped me out for the first hour with the first 5 miles or so.

There was also a police escort for us from Augusta’s Sheriff’s department. 3 motorcycle units and one patrol car kept me nice and safe for a smashing 22 miles!  How awesome is that?  This was my 4th police escort and easily cleared the way with the most miles.  The driver of the patrol car had a great sense of humor playing the music from Rocky over his PA and even the theme song to TV show Cops.  Funny stuff.

A lot of my day was spent on Route 25, which is a 4 lane road with a 15 foot median. When the Sheriff’s depart and I parted ways, I was left with about 9 miles before my ending destination.  I was in about 3 miles when I realized that the south bound lanes were closed off to traffic and both were using the one side of the road . . . then I realized
that the south bound lanes WERE CLOSED TO TRAFFIC!!!!!  I caught an opening and hopped over to have the south bound lanes all to myself.  My best guess is that with a 31 mile day, I had to deal with traffic for maybe 3 miles. Super terrific!

I ran really well today.  I mean really well.  When the National Guardsmen split, I covered the next 16 miles in 2 hours. The 31 mile day was finished in just under 4 1/2 hours and I really wanted to get into a hotel to take advantage of a restful night.  After stuffing my face for lunch, I meandered another 1.6 miles to a hotel.  It was pretty scarce looking and there were only two cars in the parking lot.  What a dump.  This place has crime scene written all over it.  There’s no doubt in my mind someone’s been murdered here, we’ll see tomorrow if its me . . .

Day 51 – Wagener, SC to Augusta, GA

Mileage for today: 36
Visit 22nd House.
Enter 13th State

Starting point is on Route 23 in Ridge Spring, SC.
Stopping point is at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta located at 938 Greene Street.

Today’s run is dedicated to the memory of Andrea Alaine Burgess who succumb to a brain tumor at the 17 months. This day’s dedication was submitted by her aunt Lori Sherwood.

You sure got’s a pretty goat.

It was just below freezing last night and I slept well.  Woke up a few times, but was very warm.  Thanks again to Cousin Ed for hooking me up with a killer sleeping bag.  The worst part of the morning was packing up.  It got really, really cold then.  That and when I realized I drank all the chocolate milk from last night – damn!

My first mission of the day was to find some AM grub.  I strolled through downtown (and I guess uptown) Ridge Spring.  The store I needed was closed.  I don’t mean not open, I mean closed.  Out of business.  You can’t buy that there anymore kind of closed.  Great.  I did find a little Mexican store that sold tacos and stuff . . . 24 miles later.

I was really flat today.  The legs felt great and I wasn’t worn out, but I was just zapped.  Perhaps I was just bummed about the chocolate milk?  20+ miles is a long way to run without breakfast and sucking down gels.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say it flat out sucks.

About 8 miles before the store, I meandered past a sign that read “Goat for sale $100.  Pick your own goat.”  Oh, some of the things I have seen.  Actually picking your own goat is good, because the last thing you want is to get stuck with the ugly one.

The last 6 or 7 miles I really felt good and was moving along at a decent clip.  Best guess is I was knocking back 7:45 to 8 minutes per mile.  Which is surprising because I really didn’t have good running days the last two times out.  I also put in the most miles in two days this whole trip – 78.  It was suppose to be 76, but I made a wrong turn and
added 2 miles to the day – the GPS was turned off then.  Which reminds me, yesterday I dropped the damn thing and the on/off button fell off, now I have to use a paper clip to turn it on and off.

The day ended great.  I went to the children’s hospital and spoke with a few of the kids there.  They asked me all kinds of great questions and will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the trip.

Day 50 – Columbia, SC to Wagener, SC

Mileage for today: 42
Pass mile 1500.

Starting point is at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia at 2955 Colonial Drive.
Stopping point is along Rt. 23 in Ridge Spring, SC.

Today’s run is dedicated to the memory of Florence Marjorie McQuay.  Florence lost her battle with cancer three years ago today at the age of 89.  Today would have been her 92 birthday.  Her battle with cancer and chemotherapy inspired her grandson to grow his hair out for Locks of Love.  Submitted by Michael Vance.

Thar she blows . . .

Things started out great.  There were four members from the University of South Carolina’s cross country team to run about 4 miles with me.  Very cool, I always enjoy company on the road.  The coolest part was when I was telling the story about how my fourth pair of sneakers only lasted 300 miles.  I’ve been counting on them lasting 400.
Well, the coach, Stan Rosenthal, literally gave me the shoes off his feet.  Now, you may think it a bit odd to take someones shoes from them, but I look at it from this point of view.  If the man thinks enough about what I’m doing and the mission to offer up the sneakers he’s wearing to make sure I’m good to go, how can I not accept them? So coach, thank you for your Nike’s and maybe down the road I can get the shirt off your back to make it complete.

Seeing as I wasn’t sure where I was going to stop today, I decided to get in a little more miles than originally planned. Initially it was 34 miles with the next day being 42, well at the end of it, I put in 42 today to leave me with a shorter day tomorrow.

That all sounds fine and dandy except for the fact that the wind was horrible (sorry to let you all down with the cheap intro bait!). And  when the hell are the hills suppose to stop?  I was told when I get near Georgia things seIttle down. Well, hello?  I’m near Georgia damn it!  In any event, the wind was in my face the whole day and aggressive to boot. There were moments when I wasn’t sure if I was actually running or walking.  Brutal, absolutely brutal.  Good thing is was only for 42 miles – ugggghhhh.

Another cool moment came when I stopped for dinner at a place called Shealy’s in Leesville, SC.  Shealy’s is a BBQ buffet style restaurant.  It was nice to stop because the day was really cold all day.  I asked one of the gentleman working there how often it gets this cold out he basically said, “It doesn’t.”  Great!  Or course when I walked in, a lot of heads turned to see the homeless guy with the stroller.  I quickly informed one group of diners of what I was doing.  Turned out to be a good move because they bought my dinner for me.

Before finding a place to crash for the night, I stopped at a store for some chocolate milk.  Figured I have it in the morning.  I tried to only have a sip or two this night, but I wound up finishing it.  Tonight also marked my second night busting out the tent and I picked one of the coldest nights of the trip with the forecast calling for temps in the low 30’s.

Day 49 – Great Falls, SC to Columbia, SC

Mileage for today: 22
Visit 21st House.

Starting point is on Route 21 outside of Great Falls.
Stopping point is at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia at 2955 Colonial Drive.

Today’s run is dedicated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia.

That’s an elephant?

Last night I stayed at a family friend Tim’s house.  Tim’s dad and my dad served in the Army together back when we fought the British for our independence.  Tim is actually the second family member I’ve had the pleasure of staying with.  In Aberdeen, MD, I hung out with his older brother Kevin who actually ran 19 miles with me the following day. Now, Tim and I are very different people.  Tim is about 6’2″ weighing in at around 2 bills.  Basically built like a man. Me, I’m a little school girl.

Tim dropped me off in the middle of nowhere South Carolina to start the day.  The route started just like it ended yesterday – hilly with a lot of nothing going on around me.  The day went really well and I actually had to phone the Columbia House to let them know I was over an hour ahead of schedule.

About three miles from the House, I greeted by a local.  A local who, let’s just say wasn’t going to be running for mayor anytime soon.  The gentleman blurted out, “What the f*** is that?”  To which my only reply was, “Its a f***ing elephant, what’s it look like to you?”  He then muttered something else, but I was a hundred miles away by then.

I had two packages waiting for me when I got to the House.  One was a pair of sneakers (#5) and the other came from Ms. Monk’s 7th grade class at Central Middle School in Corinth, Maine.   They sent me this great card with a ton of well wishes and signatures all over it.  There were some Clif bars, a t-shirt and one of the students, Barrett Bishop, made me a Duct Tape wallet.  Very, very cool Barrett, next time how about hooking a brother up with a few Washington’s to break that in?

Day 48 – Richburg, SC to Great Falls, SC

Mileage for today: 22

Starting point is the McDonald’s on Lancaster Highway in Richburg.
Stopping point is being worked on

Today’s run is dedicated to Jeanne Baines who passed away August 2007 after a long and courageous battle against breast cancer.  Submitted by her friend and neighbor, Cindy Steger.

Here’s your sign.

Well, today I left the my friend Jen.  Jen has been a great host the last few days.  I’ve had the pleasure of spending 4 nights in the same place – defiantly a record on this run.   To make things even better, I got to see some of the coolest places in Charlotte.

As far as the run goes, there was nothing special about it.  Because I didn’t have a designated stopping spot, I actually put in about 2 extra miles before being picked up.  The last 4 or 5 miles were actually extremely hard.  I had to take route 21 heading toward Columbia and it had some of the hardest hills I’ve seen all trip. Pretty brutal, but in aweird sort of way enjoyable.

I finally ended my day at this old rundown store that probably hasn’t been open for a few years.  As I waiting the owner of the property came by me.  He didn’t ask me any questions, but was looking at the back of the stroller.  He mumbled something and I got up to find out what he was talking about.  Apparently there was this old ‘Closed’ sign by he stroller.  He said that sign was his, so . . . here’s your sign.

Day 47 – Charlotte, NC to Richburg, SC

Mileage for today: 39
Enter 13th state.

Starting point is the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte located at 1600 East Morehead.
Stopping point is the McDonald’s on Lancaster Highway in Richburg.

Today’s run is dedicated to the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte.

Careful, it spits.

Today was a little longer run that originally intended due to the change in starting spot.  I did get to run the first 11.5 miles with Geoff and then another 3 with Jen.  Then the next 20+ miles was solo.  The weather was cool, but not as chilly as it has been the last few days.

While running with Geoff, I did manage to add two more animals to the Four Million Steps Petting Zoo.  Believe it or not, we encountered not only a donkey but a camel as well.  Who the hell would have thought there would be a camel on the side of the road in South Carolina?  Good news is the camel didn’t spit on me.

While chugging along with Jen, I spotted a South Carolina license plate on a fence post.  Unfortunately it was nailed to the post and I couldn’t get it off.  Doesn’t count.  Damn.  Later I did spot the 7th pair of women’s skivvies.

Although the route was fairly hilly, I struggled toward the end not because of the terrain, but more because of the long day.  I felt strong, but the day did kick me in the ass a bit.  I capped off the day with an ice bath.

Day 46 – Concord, NC to Charlotte, NC

Mileage for today: 20

Starting point is the McDonald’s on Bayfield Parkway in Concord. Stopping point is the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte located at 1600 East  Morehead.

Today’s run is dedicated in memory to Wanda Gadomski who died of breast cancer at  age 38 on this day 12 years ago and also to Ronald Santos who at 45 is battling aggressive colon cancer with prognosis of 2-3 months left to live. Both these dedications are submitted by their sister Sandra Walton.

Start your engines.

Well, today started off pretty good.  Not as cool as it had been the last few days and the Achilles feels better everyday. I’m still being a good boy by icing and stretching it, but it feels great.

Originally, I was going to stop at a McDonald’s restaurant today, that was until I found out  they are in the process of building a House in Charlotte.  So, I stopped there.  This made  today’s run a short 20 miles.  I realize how sick that sounds, 20 miles is short run but that is what it turns out to be.  Tomorrow will now be a 38 miles day . . . ugghhhh.

I can add Lowe’s Motor Speedway to my list of cool things I’ve run past.  It is amazing how big that place is.  I do have a bad bit of news to share.  I had to let my new girl, Nicole Ducouer, go.  Things just weren’t working out.  But don’t worry, I let her down softly.  I told her to keep her chin up and that its a big pond out there with plenty of fish in it.  This does mean that I’m officially looking for another Four Million Steps girlfriend.  Now, you don’t necessary have to work in TV and in fact if you look anything like Nicole I don’t give a damn what you do for a living.

No license plates again today and nothing to add to the petty zoo, but I did have three more interviews and all of them were on TV.

Day 45 – Salisbury, NC to Concord, NC
Mileage for today: 25

Starting point is on Route 601 in Salisbury.
Stopping point is the McDonald’s on Bayfield Parkway in Concord.

Today’s run is dedicated to all of the Fallen Angles of the 2nd Light Armored
Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division on behalf of USMC Major Jason Gaddy.

Book ’em Dan-O.

Another chilly start to the day with temperatures in the 40’s again.  I was dragging a bit at
the start due to the early rise the morning before the late night I had (party, party, party).
All worth it though.  My friend, Jen, came and rescued me yesterday and allowed me to
crash at her place.  The great news is I’ll be here for three nights in a row!  Jen and I and
few of her co-workers went out and painted the town red last night.

Just before I hit China Groove, I  went past Rowan Correctional Facility.  That makes the
second prison I went by – I didn’t stop in for a chat.  Not but a few miles past when on the
side of the road were a duck and a pig.  Of all the times to not have my camera (all my
gear is in Jen’s pad).  I did stop and pet the pig although the duck would have nothing to
do with me.  My guess is the duck knows the llama and said screw him.  My petting zoo
now consists of several sheep, some horses, a pig and one very excited golden
retriever.  The pig reminded me that if I ever get a pig as a pet, I’m going to name it ‘My
Girlfriend.’  The only reason is so I can say, “My Girlfriend’s a pig.”

The GPS must be mad at me for dismissing it yesterday.  It wouldn’t allow me to put my
ending destination in, so I had to get an address that was as close as possible.  Well,
as it turns out, the McDonald’s where I was stopping was new and the GPS didn’t even
know it existed.  Jen’s GPS knew where it was,  but mine didn’t.  Obviously Jen has a
much better relationship with her GPS than I do mine.

Well, I wound up about a mile and a half away and neither of us knew where the other
was (I accidentally left my cell phone at Jen’s).  After about an hour and a half later I was
rescued by Jen for the second day in a row.

I guess I need to be nicer to my  GPS.  Perhaps I should give it a name?

Day 44 – Greensboro, NC to Salisbury, NC
Mileage for today: 34

Starting point is the Ronald McDonald House in Winston-Salem.
Stopping point is in Salisbury, NC.

Today’s run is dedicated to the Ronald McDonald House in Winston-Salem.

Sit, Ubu, sit!  Good dog!

Mindy at the Ronald McDonald House got a live TV interview set up this morning.
Sounds great except for the fact that it was for the 6AM show – uggghhhh.    My interview was with newswoman Nicole Ducouer  from channel 12 (video) out of Winston- Salem.  Then later that morning a crew came to the House for my departure and another interview bringing my media contact total to 22.  And guess who did the interview?  Yup, you guessed it, Nicole Ducouer.  As far as I’m concerned, we’re dating now – thank you very much.  One thing about this video clip – I’m not very good at doing them.

Anyway, the run went well today.  Legs felt fresh and my Achilles felt the best it has felt in days.   I do feel the need to come clean with one thing, the official/unofficial doctor of the Four Million Steps run, Dr. C, told me how to get my Achilles tendinitis under control . . . stretching.  Damn it!  I hate that crap.

The weather was fairly cool for the third day in a row with starting temps in the low 40’s and warmed up to around 60 by mid-day.  I was able to add four horses to my petting zoo when I reached Lexington, NC, now I’m feeling bad about not getting near that llama I saw a while back.

I totally stiffed the GPS on the run today.  When going over the route, I was told to take Rt 150 right into Salisbury.  The GPS wanted me to loop to the right a bit.  I ignored everything the GPS wanted me to do and stuck to the 150 route.  Every time I checked my mileage for the day, the GPS was nearly begging me to take a right.  It practically got on its knees and pleaded with me, but I kept on keeping on . . . they say, you always hurt the ones you love.

At one point a song I liked came on.  Now normally I keep the volume low enough to hear traffic, dogs and whatever else might rear its ugly head.  Sometimes a song comes on that I just have to hear loud and thus was the case with the song Save Me, by Shinedown.  There I am, belting out the words to the song when out of no where comes this dog and I have absolutely no time to react before it was up on me.  Lucky for me, he just wanted some attention.  Add one golden retriever to the petting zoo collection.

Day 43 – Burlington, NC to Greensboro, NC
Mileage for today: 27.4
Visit 19th House

Starting point is the McDonald’s on Huffman Mill Road in Burlington.
Stopping point is the McDonald’s on High Point Road in Greensboro.

Today’s run is not dedicated as of yet.

On-On Hashers!

Last night I had a great time with a fellow Hasher by the name of Whiner.  For those who
don’t know what a Hasher or the Hash House Harriers are, in a nut shell it is a drinking
club with a running problem.  That only the tip of the iceberg and really doesn’t do
Hasher justice.

Whiner took me out to a great ale house for some beer and some burgers which is what
I really needed, well the huge chunk of calories from the burger anyway.

Today’s run was much better than yesterday.  I didn’t get massive food cravings, probably
because of the burger the night before, and I ran fairly well.  In fact, I knew I was being
met at 2PM by Whiner and 3PM by the folks from the Winston-Salem Ronald McDonald
House and I had to slow down.  Around 11AM I figured if I didn’t slow down, I’d be at my
ending destination before 1.  So, I texted a few people including my brother Doug and
basically stalled.  Worked out okay and arrived at 1:45PM beating Whiner by about 5
minutes.

Best part of the day was Whiner bringing the stroller to a local bike shop for a once over.
They greased that puppy up, put air in the tires and tightened the spokes.

The actual run was fairly boring.  I didn’t find any interesting dead animals, no license
plates and really nothing worth writing home about.  It really was just a day of getting in
some miles and a little closer to Miami.  My Achilles was a bit sore again, but hopefully is
venturing toward going away.  Some more ice and more Ibuprofen.

Day 42 – Chapel Hill, NC to Burlington, NC
Mileage for today: 28.5
Visit 18th House.

Starting point is the Ronald McDonald House at Chapel Hill located at .
Stopping point is the McDonald’s on Huffman Mill Road in Burlington.

Today’s run is dedicated to the Ronald McDonald House at Chapel Hill and to Denny
Clark.  Denny is fighting an uphill battle with a brain tumor.

Christmas is canceled Junior.

Before departing for the day, I had breakfast at the Chapel Hill Ronald McDonald House
and was hoping the day would warm up, but 40 degrees is what the starting temperature
would be.  Normally that is a nice running weather except I really hadn’t packed for chilly
type of weather.  To complicate things, I asked if the route today was hilly and was told it
really wasn’t . . . they lied.

The Achilles acted up a bit, but I was able to adjust my foot strike it felt fine most of the
day.  None the less I decided to take it easy today seeing as I ran a bit hard yesterday.  It
seems like I haven’t been getting enough calories the last few days because in spite of it
being a fairly easy day, I was starving for a big chunk of it.  I polished off a package of
tuna, a power bar, 5 gels and 80 ounces of fluid.  I was starving when I stopped at the
McDonald’s.  Might have to be a night of more food and less beer . . . perhaps . . . well
maybe.

Most of the day was spent on Route 54. I counted 6 dead deer along the way.  By far the
most of any day so far.  So, to all the little boys and girls living on 54 between Chapel Hill
and Burlington, Christmas is canceled.  It isn’t because you were bad, but  its a safety
issue.  Sure Rudolph is an extra and really only needed on cloudy nights, but the thing is
the team just can’t lug that fat bastard all over the place being down 2 or 3.  Besides
everyone knows Blitzen is a lazy sack of shit.  But I digress . . .

The day was pretty nice for running and warmed up to the low 70’s toward the end.  I
stumbled upon about 8 dead fish strewn across a little bridge.  Stopped and took my
picture with the biggest one (I’ll have to send that one to Hoya (Mike Stahr) for my new
running2win profile picture).  I found two things that I had to pick up, well I didn’t have to,
but I did anyway.  One is a car magnet for UNC.  Not sure why I grabbed that, but here it
is in my jogger.  The other is a mailbox stick on number.  I’ll be slapping that on the
banner.  The number is 2.  Yes, I’m number 2, or a number 2.

Day 41 – Knightdale, NC to Durham, NC

Mileage for today: 33
Visit 17th House.

Starting point is the McDonald’s on Knightdale Blvd. in Knightdale.
Stopping point is the Ronald McDonald House at Durham located  at 506 Alexander Ave.

Today’s run is dedicated to the Ronald McDonald House at Durham.

Only you can prevent hotel fires.

Another first happened this morning.  I was given a send off by about a dozen and a half
of Knighdale’s finest police and firefighters.  Oh, they weren’t suppose to be there, that is
until I burned my bagel and set off the smoke alarm.  Nice!

My Achilles was acting up on the run today.  To the point where I was getting worried.
Somehow I figured out how to foot strike so that it didn’t bother me.  I sort of pointed my
toe on the foot strike and going up the hills I kept up on the ball of my foot.  The steeper
the hill, the more I had to get up on the ball of  my foot.

Starting the day it was actually cold out.  I almost had to wear a jacket to get started but I
roughed it and worked out.  Although I didn’t get a license plate, I was sent off with my
20th interview.  For the first time, I had an employee from one of the Ronald McDonald
Houses run with me.  Chris Hill from the Durham House closed out the last 10 miles
with me in spite of a bum calf muscle.

At the end of it all, I made great time today and finished up around 2:15.  Not too shabby
for a 30 miles day to knock it out in less than 5 hours and the day was capped off with
Duke co-eds making pasta for dinner.  Sweet!

Day 40 – Wilson, NC to Knightdale, NC

Mileage for today: 28

Starting point is along Rt. 264 Alt. in Wilson, NC.
Stopping point is the McDonald’s on Knightdale Blvd. in Knightdale.

Wakeie, wakeie, rise and shine.

Sleeping in a tent in the woods off to the side of the road isn’t a bad as one might think.
Of course it sucks about as bad one might think as well.  It rained pretty much all night
and I was warm and dry at sunrise, so it was successful.  I made it a point of texting my
Cousin Ed to let him know his borrowed tent and sleeping bag went great.  Cousin Ed
isn’t really my cousin.  In fact, I’m not 100% sure he’s anyone’s cousin, but he’s
everyone’s Cousin Ed.

I was pretty worried about how the Achilles would be today and it was fairly good most of
the day, but did hurt enough to be pissed off at myself for not icing it the last few days
when I had the chance.

Because of the Achilles I rolled through the day easy.  Didn’t push the pace and walked a
few tough hills.  Nothing else worth noting on today’s run outside of being met by Chris
who works with the Durham Ronald McDonald House.  At the hotel, I hosed off and
chowed down on some Carolina BBQ and swigged down some Guinness . . .  oh yeah, I
iced down my damn Achilles.

Day 39 – Greenville, NC to Wilson, NC

Mileage for today: 35
Cross the half way point.  1157 miles down, 1157 to go!

Starting point is the Ronald McDonald House of Greenville located on 549 Moye Blvd.
Stopping point is along Rt. 264 Alt. in Wilson, NC.

Today’s run is dedicated to the Ronald McDonald House of Greenville.

Lay off the crack boy!

What a difference a day makes as it was around 30 degrees cooler.  I stocked up on
extra supplies before leaving Greenville.  I wasn’t sure what was out there as things have
been rather bleak for fueling up the last few days.  I also knew I was going to be busting
out the tent for the first time as well and basically had to plan for potentially two days of
stuff.

I aquired license plate number 14 today and it inspired me to hold a contest to see who
can correctly guess how many I’ll wind up with.  I think as a “prize” I’ll cough up one of my
used sneakers to the winner.

I really took my time with this leg.  I had been finishing around 3PM most days, but
wanted to stretch it out seeing as I would be camping out.  I cruised into a little Mexican
restaurant around 5PM for dinner.  After then I started to stake out a quiet, safe place to
crash.  For days I had been running by nothing with the exception of Greenville.  Just
when I needed “I’m in nowhere” USA to park it for the night, I run into a friggin’ actual
town.  A town complete with a Bed, Bath and Beyond, Pet Smart and everything else that
completes a no-shit strip mall.  Well, everything except a SIDEWALK!

I finally spotted an abandoned house I figured would be good to use seeing as it was
starting to rain.  That was until my brother point out that an abandoned house just past a
strip mall in the rain is a great spot for crackheads to hang out.  Well, onto the next stop.

I finally spotted a cluster of woods off the road that I inspected for “drinking” traffic.  No
signs of empty beer bottles and looked as if no one had been near this place in years if
ever.  This would work as my bed for the night.

As I was setting up, I reflected a bit on the day and realized my Achilles bothered me a bit
toward the end and then I realized I meant to ice it a few days ago.  Hopefully tomorrow.

Day 38 – Oak City, NC to Greenville, NC

Mileage for today: 28.3
Visit 16th House.

Starting point is just outside of Oak City at the intersection of Rt. 11 and Rt. 903.
Stopping point is the Ronald McDonald House of Greenville located on 549 Moye Blvd.

Today’s run is dedicated in honor of my cousin Kenny.  Kenny was just recently
diagnosed with Hopkins lymphoma.  Being older than me, Kenny was someone I
always looked up to.  There isn’t anything I can do to help with the medical part of your
battle, Kenny, but hopefully your little cousin can put a little spark in your day, even if its
only for a day.

Look over yonder . . . Nothing.

Today was a really boring day.  I was on Rt. 11 almost the whole way.  I could count the
number of convenient stores I saw on one appendage.  Talk about a snooze fest.

I ran for a long time without a shirt on.  Figured it was a way to get some color on my pale
torso.  The last 16 miles were killer as the temperature soared.  The temp reading was
92 degrees and there was no shade for mile.  Nothing but open road.  My guess is it hit
100 in the blacktop along the road, I swear I could smell my leg hair getting singed.  I
was actually surprised at how well I held up in the heat.

I did get to talk with the Greenville HS boys and girls cross country team.  Well I babbled
a lot and they put up with it anyway.  Still pretty cool and one of the things on my wish list I
can cross off.  Still wouldn’t mind doing it again so anyone who has a group of targets for
me to talk with, send ’em my way.

Day 37 – Ahoskie, NC to Oak City, NC

Mileage for today: 32

Starting point is at 1484 E Memorial in Ahoskie.
Stopping point is just outside of Oak City at the intersection of Rt. 11 and Rt. 903.

Today’s run is dedicated in the memory of Hope Valentine.  Hope passed away on Feb.
14, 2002.  The dedication is submitted by Dee Fritz, Hope is her granddaughter.

Baa Ram Ewe.

Well today was a rather unspectacular day’s run.  The most exciting part of the day came
within the first mile when I saw four goats in a pen on the side of the road.  Of course I
decided to pet them.  Why?  How the hell should I know, I just figured it was a good idea
at the time.

I ran on Rt. 11 for nearly the whole day.  As anyone knows, 11 is better than 10 because
it is one more.  It goes all the way to 11 (that will more than likely be the first and last
Spinal Tap reference for the trip).  The route was a lot of nothing.  There was only one
convenient store along the route for me to stop and refuel, a charming little place called
the Duck Thru.  I really wish I had more to tell, but I just don’t.

My Achilles felt a little sore to the touch.  Nothing that really bothers me, but enough to
notice.

Day 36 – Suffolk, VA to Ahoskie, NC

Mileage for today: 34.5
Enter 12th state.

Starting point is on Rt. 13 in Suffolk, VA.
Stopping point is at 1484 E Memorial in Ahoskie.

Giddy up llama.

I started out today in Suffolk the dog fighting capital of Virginia or as the locals like to day,
Michael Vick’s house.  There wasn’t much going on with today’s run.  Probably the
coolest thing was that I saw two horses grazing in the field.  One of the horses was
rather skinny and hairy.  Instead of doing my usual “Oh Wilbur” I just blurted out, “hey.”
When the two horses looked up, I noticed one of them wasn’t a horse at all it was a
llama.

Well, today’s run was a bit longer than expected.  Suppose to be a 31 mile day and
turned into a 34.5 mile day.  I did have some good company with my friend Joe.  Joe
managed 15 miles and more importantly followed me the rest of the way.

That turned out to be huge seeing as the last 8 miles or so it got very hot.  I made the
mistake of not wearing my ugly Gilligan hat to vend off the sun.  My face got some good
sun, but it wore me out.  Joe must have filled up my water bottle four times in those 8
miles and even hooked me up with a double cheeseburger.

The License Plate Contest

During Tommy’s run, he’s made it a point of collecting license plates when he finds
them on the side of the road.  Before the half way point, he nabbed his 14th plate and
thus the License Plate Contest was born.

The contest is simply guessing how many he will find by the time he finishes in Miami.
Below are the guesses, if you want to take a number not guessed, visit Tommy’s website.  The
“winner” will get one of Tommy’s used, nasty shoes he used along the way – how crappy
is that.

Newport News to Norfolk, VA – 27.5 miles
Where’s the GPS?

Today was the first full leg since I got hurt.  Because I had to cross a bridge and a tunnel (gotta love Hampton Roads) I elected to bring my truck to the spot where I wasn’t allowed to run.  The idea was to run from the start of the leg to my truck, drive over the bridge tunnel, and run from the other end.

Well, all good plans pave the way to hell because I got lost more times then I care to remember.  I added on about 4 miles to the run today and of course I didn’t bring the GPS.  I’m sooooo smart like that.

The good news is there was no close calls with drivers but no license plates either.  I did get to cross over 664 twice – I wasn’t suppose to, but that’s what happened.  Good thing I don’t live fairly close by . . . oh wait, that’s right . . . One thing that because pretty clear was that after I got lost a bunch of times and finally back on track, I realized something – I really enjoy this damn trip.  As annoying as getting lost is, it has become a part of this adventure.  Of course I’m hoping I don’t get lost again because hopefully something far worse will take it’s place like getting robbed, or hit by farm equipment.  Something crazy like that.

Starting up again after getting across the bridge tunnel was brutal.  The quads were totally shot, but that was okay because the shin was just ducky.  I took an ice bath that pretty much negated any chance of having more kids.  I polished off the day with a bunch of Killian’s.

Move Over Hump

Got in a 20 mile jolt today and everything seems fine.  No swelling and no pain, all seems good.  The quads were a bit spent which makes me happy issues are somewhere other than my shin.

Toward the end of the day things got a bit hilly so there was a nice test for the shin.  The best news of all came about 15 miles in during the day when I found a license plate – if that isn’t a sign I don’t know what is.  Makes my 11 found license plate of the journey.  I might have to start taking bets on how many will be found by Miami.

I have noticed that without the jogger, I sort of look like a moving mail box and drivers don’t seem to feel the need to move over for me.  The worst comes on roads with two lanes each way.  I must have squirted water on half a dozen car windshields that had plenty of room to move over but decided not to.

The official announcing comes Monday but everything seems great.  Keep on the look out for the re-launching.

And Willie sings . . .

On the road again!

Well, I got the results from my bone scan and the news is no stress fracture and no compartmental syndrome (which would have required surgery).  The end result is no one is sure what happened, but I’ve been cleared to continue on.

I put almost 22 miles in today and everything felt fine.  No pain in the shin and no swelling.  My plan is to have a full re-worked schedule from Suffolk, VA to Miami, Fl by Monday up.  I want to go through the weekend to ensure no problems will re-surface.  By Monday I will have logged in around 100 miles and that surely will tell me if I’m okay to continue on.

And just imagine, I did all this without HGH or steroids . . . damn I’m a rebel like that.

Ouch My Shin!

Well, it has been a few days since I was forced to put on hold my trek from Maine to Florida. Here’s what has gone down since:

After my doctors visits on Friday, Saturday was just as bad a day. I was barely able to walk. Just holding my foot in the air was painful. The weird thing was I was able to put weight on it. I spent most of the day with a 12-pack and the tv remote.

Sunday was a much better day as I was able to walk without extreme pain and a lot of the swelling went down. I kept to the bed most of the day with my foot up and a bag of ice on my shin.

Monday comes and things are a little bit better. I go get some Active Release treatment and I was hit with some surprising news. I asked the doctor if he thought I could be back running by Wednesday. He simply said, “Yeah, you aren’t running Wednesday unless some miracle happens.” Then I ask him if he thinks this will be a few weeks and the big shot came. He says, “Sure, if this isn’t complicated.”

What? What f***ing complications are we talking about? He basically said that tendinitis doesn’t have pitting edema and he’s never seen this before. Pitting edema is swelling of the legs that when you push on it, leaves an in-print for several minutes later. So now I have two more doctors appointments to find out what the hell went wrong. Still waiting on the miracle for Wednesday . . . can someone order me a miracle please.

Day 31 – Richmond, VA to ???, VA.

Good news/bad news updates.

Good news, I found a killer license plate.  A North Carolina motorcycle plate.  I also spotted the 7th pair of women’s underware.  This one wasn’t a huge granny panty kind either. It was a nice bikini soft blue with subtle pink in it.

Now for the fun stuff.  The day started off with me realizing I had left my I-pod on all night and it was dead – no music today.  Then it started to rain a bit.  More like drizzle.  Then toward the end of my day I got another flat tire.

The real update is with my calf.  It felt okay at first, but after about 4 or 5 miles I was reduced to a walk.  7 miles of walking (after changing the flat) my leg was killing me.  I was walking slower than a normal stroll and it was killing me.  I had to be picked up and taken back home.  I went to a doctor who does active release therapy and he wouldn’t touch me.  Said something else was very wrong.  Leg was too swollen and he thought I might have some kind of infection or serious tissue damage.  At the second doctor, I got blood work, x-rays and a few other tests only to rule out a few things.  Both doctors aren’t willing to caulk this up at tendinitis, but aren’t ruling it out either.

I’m miserable and rather disappointed.  Can’t understand how this came on so fast and has been so debilitating.  Any movement past a 90 degree angle of my foot and I get pain in my shin.  This really sucks.  I’m down to two options: 1) see how things go in a few days, reschedule and have at it again, or 2) in a few days I realize I’m finished.  We shall see

Day 30 – Gum Spring, VA to Richmond, VA – 28 miles

So, you want to know the pit falls of running 210 miles a week for weeks on end?  Crotch rot.  I specifically withheld this info from everyone except my wonderful wife (whose a nurse) because let’s face it, a bacterial infection near the boys isn’t exactly good reading material.  Now you are probably asking a few questions:

Why the hell tell us now?
How long has this been going on for?
Do I really want to read about this?

First, I’m letting  this out because one of my buddies, Steve Durr, helped me plan this journey out and has been a ton of help.  Well, as you know he showed up the last few days and there was no way of getting around this tidbit of info.  Now, Steve is a tool like me and would have blabbed this info out to everyone anyway so why not just spill the beans.  Take his glory away from him.  That’s just how I roll . . .

Next is how long.  Well at first I though it was just chaffing, but it has been about 2 1/2 weeks until my wife set me straight (its good having a nurse handy like that.  Hopefully in a few days I’ll be crotch rot free.  Sorry, no jpegs . . . no need to thank me, I already know.

Lastly, why do would you want to read about this?  Not sure, I’m the one typing this, you are the one reading it.

I’ve been treated like royalty the last day and a half.  A pediatrician in the area, Kevin, hooked me up like a champ.  Dinner last night at the Capital Ale House, fantastic hotel stay and lunch at Panera along with some very cool swag to boot.

All stuffed from a great breakfast we heading back to yesterdays stopping point.  I ran the first 14 miles with a guy named Todd.  Todd and I probably ran 7:40’s (the jogger was in Kevin’s car) and the day was much less hilly than yesterday.  Once Kevin took over we backed the pace down a bit before hitting lunch.  After lunch I was on my own with the stroller for the last 11 miles into Richmond.  The rain had started a few miles and things started to get cold. I was soaked by the end of the run.

Seems my right shin is acting up now.  About 3 inches above my ankle there is this knot, possibly tendinitis, that made the end of the run rather painful.  Looks like I’m renewing my friendship with ibuprofen again for a few days.  Hopefully this issue can be worked out as quickly as it came in.  Tomorrow is a long day (41 miles) and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about the leg.  Well see.

Day 29 – Charlottesville, VA to Gum Spring, VA – 37.1 miles
The Rollercoaster.
Today started out great.  Weather was perfect and I had the company of a two-time Olympic Trials runner.  Dawn has competed in the US Trials for the 3000 meter steeplechase.  Really had a great start to the day, Dawn ran about 6.5 miles before heading off.
Most of the day was spent on Rt. 250 which is turns out was a serious payback for the last three days of feeling fantastic.  What a killer day today was.  The hills just never stopped and was rolling the whole way, hence the rollercoaster reference.  By far the hardest day in terms of a profile, there was hardly any flat spots.  It totally crushed me today in spite of finding a Virginia license plate.
At one point I was hurting so bad that I decided to call my buddy Mike (remember him from day 27?) to get my mind off of how tough things were.  So, yes I was out on the road and talking on my cell phone while running.  The only saving grace was I finished up strong.

Tommy in the Ice Bath

Tommy in the Ice Bath

Something in the back of my mind said not to let this damn road get the best of me.  The end of the day became point of battle.  There was no f***ing way I was going to back down.   At the end of it all, the day called for a 31 mile day and I put in 37.1.  When done, I spit on the road and yelled at the pavement, “Take that ya bitch!”  Seems pretty dumb now, but was rather apropos at the time (ooo, look at me using SAT words!).
When the day was done, I was treated to a massage and then dinner (with great beer) at the Capital Ale House.  I polished off the night with an ice bath.

Day 28 – Orange, VA to Charlottesville, VA – 31.2 miles
Nobody’s home.
What an awesome day.  I’m amazed at how good I’m feeling.  With every passing day, my cruising pace seems to be getting a little quicker.  Not that I’m trying to bust out my daily runs, it just seems to be picking up.  Today was the first day since day one that I ran without a single band-aid and I actually finished up without any new blisters.
I passed another cool spot.  I ran through Montpelier the home of James Madison.  I didn’t bother to stop because Jimmy wasn’t home.  I did ask the woman working the gate who didn’t find that question as amusing as I did.
Toward the end of the day, the hills really started to show up.  Not as bad I thought they would be, but bad enough for a few grunts and groans.  About 7 miles away from the house, I nearly got hit by an SUV.  To make matters worse I got flipped off again.  Then I realized it was my buddy Steve.  Nothing is worse then being a smart ass except when your friends are more of a smart ass . . . or would that be smarter asses?
Anywho, after the run we went to the Charlottesville Running Company where they hooked me up with a few pair of toe socks, compression shorts (gotta love that chaffing) and a store shirt.  Pretty cool store and had a nice conversation with Marty who is the size of a building and runs ultras.  Great guy and I’m not just saying that because he could kill me with his big toe either.

Day 27 – Fredericksburg, VA to Orange, VA – 32.7 miles
Who’s number one?
I pretty much ran on two roads today, Rt.3 and Rt. 20.  Well, 20 was okay to run on and I was had about 22 miles of that road.  The first part, Rt. 3 I was on for the first 9 miles or so.  That road totally sucked, just a horrible road to run on.   While on 20, I was passed by the best dump truck driver ever.  Well at least according to him he was the best.  After yelling at me, he proceeded to show me he was number one.  Not sure what encouraged him to display such numerical hand gestures, but there is was for me to see.  #1.  His momma must be so proud.
Today was another strong day with some quality hills.  Must be a sign that Charlottesville is going to be brutally hilly.  Boy I’m looking forward to that – eeks.  Aside from that, I had a quite evening and rested a whole bunch.

Day 26 – Falls Church, VA to Fredericksburg, VA – 27.6 miles
Sorry everyone, I haven’t had internet access for a few days.
Got started a little early today (7:45) so that Mary, whose house I crashed at, could run for while with me.  The day started off on a bad note when I realized I left the GPS at her house, luckily her husband brought it by.  The morning ended with Mary on a sketchy note with my second flat of the trip although I get to blame this one totally on Mary.  She was pushing the damn stroller so it’s her fault.
Mary is a bit of a baby jogger connoisseur.  She has two kids and has used both a single and double stroller.  The weight of my baggage (no pun intended) mimics that of two kids in a double, however the way it is stacked makes it rather top heavy according to Mrs. Davison.  She also speculated that the 20” wheels are easier to use (mine has a 12.5” front and 16” back).  Great, I knew I hated this stroller, now I have physical characteristics to blame.
The rest of the day went by pretty good.  Felt great and the weather was good to me.  I did run through Quantico (sp), which is where the Marines and the FBI go to play.  A good buddy of mine whose name I won’t mention (Mike) went through the academy there, I’m sure he’s got some decent stories to tell, but the punk doesn’t cough any up.  He’s (Mike) is a pretty tight lipped guy and I’m sure appreciates that I’m not barking out his name (Colaiacovo).  In any event, he’s (Mike Colaiacovo) is hurt now.  Something about pulling one of his girl parts muscles and he now has a different job working in a peep show or something government like that.
The hills have started to become more manageable in spite of become more prevalent.  I’m charging up more and more of them.  I don’t remember when I stopped groaning when approaching the hills, but one has to be pretty damn steep for me to not run it.
Nothing else cool seen today.  No license plates, no weird dead animals, nothing.  More interesting than Delaware, but not by a whole lot.

Day 25 – Falls Church, VA to Dale City, VA – 21.2 miles

Today was the second shortest day of the trip at 21 miles.  I was done so soon I didn’t know what to do with the rest of the day so I took a nap.  First nap of the adventure and rather happy about that.

I got to run with one of my few sponsors, Jeremy from Atayne.  He made sure I didn’t run one step pushing the jogger.  During the day when we were in about 7 miles and going up a pretty nasty hill, I said to him “I can take that if you want, this hill is pretty beastly.”  Jeremy quickly shot back, “You’re not touching it.”  I assumed he was talking about the stroller.  Too bad there is no way I can get Jeremy to follow me to Miami!

Most of the team from George Mason came out to run with us also which was pretty cool.  Always like getting folks to run with me.  A few of them bailed out at about 1.5 miles which I promised to bust their stones over.  I’m pretty good at doing that.

No license plate findings today which is a bummer and I had the least amount of fluid intake during one day.  I knocked back about 100 ounces today.  My normal intake has been around 200 to 240 ounces (I can tell my the number of times I have to fill up my water bottles which are 20 ounces each).

Had Mexican and Sam Adams for dinner.  Damn I like Mexican!

I will say too that I enjoy reading the comments back from everyone, I may not be able respond all the time, but I do enjoy reading them.

Day 24 – Baltimore, MD to Washington DC – 36.1 miles

Well today was a 31.4 mile day . . . at least it was suppose to be.  That was until the GPS screwed me over royally.  It should have sent me down route 1 into DC, but instead tried to get me to take 70.  I know, I know, this is riveting stuff.  Well in the end I added on almost 5 miles to my day and the GPS and I are no longer the best of friends.

I will say this.  I have developed a very strong relationship with the stroller.  It is almost sexual.  You see, I’ve really started to hate that f**king thing!

Anyway onto the run.  Nice day and I had company for about 14 miles today.  The route into DC was probably the worst for running on.  Not a lot of shoulder to work with and is the worst so far in terms of almost getting plunked by a car (still not as bad as going into Newark – just more dangerous).

I ran by a spice factor which smelled pretty damn good and got another cat call from a car of what looked like co-ed about 7 miles away from the University of Maryland.  This time I had a shirt on and it had to be that “homeless guy” look.  Special, very special.

On the plus side, I did snag another license plate bringing my total up to 8 and giving Maryland the lead in that category with 3 (Maine – 2, Mass. – 1 and Jersey – 2).  I’ve now been through 10 states and 12 Houses including Washington DC and I’m 1/3 of the way through in terms of mileage.  Legs feel very good, feet are getting a little better everyday and I’m eating like I weight 400 lbs.  Tonight I had dinner twice (broccoli and chicken pasta with turkey), I also had two pieces of pie and a salad – no beer though.  Damn!

Day 23 – Havre de Grace, MD to Baltimore, MD – 31.6 miles

What a great day to start running.  Overcast and in the high 60’s, plus I had my friend Kevin to start the day with me.  I say start, because Kevin bailed at 19 miles.  Something about his pride was hurting him!!!  Having Kevin there was great because it has been a while since I ran with someone.  I’ve run two races with Kevin and have been lucky enough to win both.  That means either I need to run more races with Kevin or he needs to run less with me.

There was this nearby bombing field that I asked Kevin what it was called lie 19 times and still I forget what it is called, but for the first 15 miles we’d hear the sound of lightening, but it was the Army testing bombs.  Kind of cool, I’ve never run before where I could hear/feel the testing of bombs going off.

After I split from Kevin I ran into Baltimore where another running buddy, Ryan, caught up with me.  As soon as I got on the phone with him I found a license plate. Very cool.  He was waiting for me at a strip club.  Nice!  I was hoping for a “real” welcome to Maryland being near the strip club, but like most folks who meet Ryan, I was let down.  A few hundred yards before catching up with him, I found a second license plate so the day had no choice but to end on a good note.

Ryan took me an extra half mile or so and brought be my the waterside.  Very cool and very much a nice way to see Baltimore.  After that we killed a couple of hookers by dicing them up with license plates.

Day 22 – Wilmington, DE to Havre de Grace, MD – 34.6 miles

I was going to stop in Aberdeen, but my buddy Kevin decided the golf course in Havre de Grace was better.  Worked out about as well as it could have.

Finishing up with Delaware was fairly cool.  I passed by the University of Delaware and spotted a few co-eds.  Always nice – thank you very much.

I thought really hard about how to elaborate on my time in Delaware and all I can say is . . . nothing.  Delaware is kind of plain.  Not in a bad way, but I’m either not smart enough or not creative enough, or both, to rattle off something about Delaware.

So, on to Maryland.  Well, I took the advice of a another friend on taking US-40 and it turned out to be a good one because it was really a nice to run.  Along the way I spotted a CCR CD (for those youngsters CCR is a 60’s/70’s band).  It looked in good shape and when I opened it, it had not one, not two, but all three CD’s missing.  Yup, a big goose egg.  Nothing.  So, I of course decided to keep it.  What can I say, I’m a dope.

Once again, I encountered a bridge that I couldn’t cross.  Kevin came and rescued me.  Seeing as I only had about two miles before I stopped and Kevin was taking the stroller with him, I hammered it.  It felt great to get the legs opening up.  All in all a pretty decent day.

Day 21 – Philly, PA to Wilmington, DE – 26.4 miles

I got off to a late start today.  I only had time to either catch up on e-mails and charge the GPS last night or do laundry.  I choose the latter and turned out to be the right call.

I try to start my run at 9AM everyday, today I didn’t get rolling until almost 11.  With a fairly short day I figured I’d be okay.  The day took a little over 4 hours and that included taking lunch on the road and refilling my water bottles from the big jug I have strapped to the front.

All in all and pretty uneventful day.  Didn’t see any weird dead animals or find any license plates.  No historical buildings to pass by.  Pretty damn boring actually . . . welcome to Delaware I suppose.  Today did mark my 8th state and 8th House.  6 states to go and 17 Houses.

Day 20 – Bordentown, NJ to Philly, PA – 31.6
Dirty Beaver Cat Calls

Knowing I had two rough endings in the last few days, I started out easy on this day.  The lousy MapQuest directions had me putting in 35 miles, Google said it was 33 and my ever trusting confidant, GPS, quote me with 31.6.  The GPS wins again.

I’ve seen a lot of road kill along the way.  I crossed paths with the resting spots of cats, frogs, squirrels, snakes and a few other “they’ll-stop-for-me” animals.  Well today I encountered a new one and this one I smelled it before I saw it (I really hate those ones).  This one was a beaver.  When the hell did beavers decide to take residence along US-130 in Jersey?  Dirty Beaver.

Once again US-130 gave me a great shoulder to run on and most of today’s route was freshly paved.  About 18 miles worth of great roads to run on.  Crossing over into Philly was pretty neat although I didn’t cross into the greatest part of town.

Philly however is a great city to run through.  Almost the entire 9 miles it took to get to the RMH was on a bike path in the street.  No dealing with cracked sidewalks and pedestrians.  I did get three cat calls in Philly.  It took a second to figure out why that was happening but then I realized I had take my shirt off a while back.  Must be either the 12 year-old-girl build or the sweaty tattooed look that did it.  One of them was a woman speaking in Spanish and I have no clue what she said, but this is my update so it was a cat call damn it!

Good run today after two lousy ones and I crashed at a Drexel frat house.  Spending the night at a frat house in Philly on Monday Night Football when the Eagles are playing the Cowboys . . . that was smart on my part.  What do I think I’m 30 again or something???

Day 19 – New Brunswick, NJ to Bordentown, NJ – 27.48 miles
License Plate Heaven

Today started out very good.  In the first few hours I snagged not one, but two NJ license plates and there was a fantastic shoulder to run on most of the way.  No icky places to scrum through like Newark.

With about 2 to 3 hours to go in the day, things turned very ugly.  It was got very hot.  Temps hit in the low 90’s and I just baked.  I suffered badly the last 8 to 10 miles.  Totally overheated and just flat out spent.  I actually stopped two miles short of where I was suppose to stop so I’ll add two more miles to tomorrows run.

The day was rather hilly.  Nothing killer, but very long gradual hills.  I noticed a few times that I wasn’t running all that smooth.  I turned around to notice this 1/2 mile incline behind me.

I ended the day very well.  I was able to crash at a friend from high school, Jen’s house.  Jen’s husband is the one who rescued me from the heat.  He had the Giants on the big screen and a beer waiting for me.  He’s now my best friend ever!  I am sad to report that amongst Jen’s entire family (three girls) that their dog, Belle, had the best singing voice.  That pooch could really carry a tune.

Day 18 – NYC, NY to New Brunswick, NY – 31.5 miles

Today started off really great. Nice weather and felt decent. My buddy Pete (creepy American Idol looking freak) got me hooked on Google Maps instead of MapQuest for my once over before giving in to blind luck with the GPS. Well, Google had me taking the Ferry into Jersey. Turns out it saved me about 8 miles. Now, I wonder how many of you have been chowing down on a NY bagel taking a ferry into Hoboken, NJ? I’m going to go out on a limb and say not too many.

Once into Hoboken, the daily double came – Newark and Elizabeth. For those who have never been to Newark or Elizabeth – don’t go. For all that is good and holy in this world, don’t go! Do something else. Invent a religion. Cut the grass with toe nail clippers. Hell, become a Red Sox fan. But for crying out loud, don’t go to Elizabeth or Newark!

Getting into Newark was a disaster. I had to cross two bridges (how the hell do weeds grow on a bridge anyway? Anyone? Anyone? runningart?) and there was no shoulder to run on. Only a single track path through overgrown weeds worn out by homeless people – and no I’m not making that up. That two miles was slow going and then came the smell of Newark. Newark smells like a dumpster. No, actually you know that slime? That watery, slime of filth around a dumpster that smells to all hell? That’s what Newark smells like. Elizabeth was better, but not much.

Toward the end of Elizabeth I start to crash. With about 14 miles to go, I was done. Feet hurt. Legs were tired and I was just totally shot. I wanted to stop in the worst way and if I wasn’t on a schedule I would have bailed on the day with about 12 miles to go. Now, a lot of folks, both runners and non-runners alike, have given me wonderful comments about how amazed they are I can keep plotting in mile after mile the way I am. And it is real easy for me to explain how I didn’t stop today. I realize that I’m doing this to myself and I can stop at anytime. I think about folks undergoing much worse things then what I’m doing. More painful. More agony and with no way of just stopping. What my problem? My legs are tired? Please . . .

Fist thing I did do when I arrived was hit the store for some ice and gave myself an ice bath. They hurt but are so worth it. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.

2 responses to “4 Million Steps

  1. Pingback: Running With Tommy « The Story of a Red Shirt

  2. Pingback: Atayne Eco Friendly Running Gear | The Chic Ecologist

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