There are a lot of updates this week!! The most significant is that my knees have been progressively bothering me. I’ve been good about stretching and taking days off if they are needed, but last Thursday I tried to go for my normal run and barely got a mile in before I was hobbling and truly having trouble just walking. It was hard to admit that running wasn’t happening that night, but my body was pretty clear about the fact that I needed some extended time off. 217 miles is apparently my limit before bad things happen. We attempted to move to a different campsite last Friday, only to find that we had stumbled upon a really popular lake, and that all the sites were taken for the weekend. At this, we decided it was time for a vacation from vacation.
It was wonderful.
We found a cute place in the country near 100 Mile House on airbnb.com. It was glorious to have a kitchen and a real bathroom again. I went and got a massage, and found a Jacuzzi to soak in, both of which helped a lot. We watched movies and had good access to high-speed internet. But most of the weekend I couldn’t walk well and got really stiff if I sat in one place for more than an hour. I got antsy after 2 whole days off, and tried running again Sunday night when things started to improve. I managed to get 6 miles in, and didn’t feel too terrible on the run. However, it was bad news bears again on Monday. Ugg. I have a really hard time resting and backing down from a challenge, especially when we are on such a tight time schedule.
Both my siblings have been checking in on me, and both have been imploring me not to sacrifice my knees for this trip. This is simultaneously annoying and endearing because they are right (even though I don’t want to admit it). They both know that I am stubborn enough to drive myself into the ground without a second thought rather than to admit defeat or back down. The reality that I do need some more rest before continuing has been slowing sinking in. I guess I could go float in the lake for a bit…
The good news in all of this is that I don’t think I’ve done anything irreconcilable – inflammation and pain go away with rest. And having taken Monday-Wednesday off, I’m walking normally. Hey, this resting thing may not be too bad. The only problem? My timeframe.
I always knew that this was somewhat of an ambitious trip – 3 months is not a long enough window of time unless I started doing more than 10 miles a day. I have to be back early October for an important family wedding (hurray!), my potential new job, and frankly the weather will turn nasty around this time as well. So I can’t really extend the trip, nor can I (at this point) cram more miles into the day. What to do? Cut particular sections? (Sounds like cheating) Do as much as possible and be happy with that? (I wouldn’t be happy) Call it quits? (um, did you read any of the above?) Caleb and I talked about a potential solution and this is what we came up with! I’ll let him take it from here:
We knew we’d be modifying our plan for conditions as we went, but to be honest, neither of us were prepared for some of the conditions that have made both the run and living on the road difficult, such as how hot it’s been up in the interior of the province.
And just as Kim was starting to have pain and difficulties with running, I was starting to notice the effects of not enough exercise: besides taking care of camp as we worked our way up the route, I had mostly been sitting and trying to work on my laptop when I had free time (or wanting to do nothing except crash in the shade when it was hot). I had brought my running and hiking gear with me, but as I thought about it, I sheepishly realized that I hadn’t gone for a single run yet since leaving Seattle.
I didn’t realize just how much the lack of exercise was affecting me until it occurred to me that in the last few weeks I had started to feel a bit “down,” like a cloud that had gathered so slowly that I didn’t notice until the sun was hidden. I couldn’t attribute it to any other cause besides too little exercise, as well as not eating as healthy as I could, and—last but not least—neglecting prayer/meditation/quiet time. Those disciplines are so crucial to one’s mental health and overall well-being, and yet they’re so easy to neglect!
I knew it was time for a change, and that’s when I started to wonder if we could turn this run into a relay! I could get back into the rhythm of running, while helping make up mileage. We could potentially cover 20 miles in a day if we both ran on the same day in top form. And one of us could still run while the other took a rest day. Kim welcomed the idea when I proposed it, and even though I didn’t know if I could run hundreds of highway miles or not, or even if I was still in shape to run long distances, I was willing to give it a try. It was time for a personal change, if only to get back into shape… but also to take on a challenge, boost our flagging morale, and recover from our setbacks.
I did my first run on Tuesday, just before sunset, on an arrow-straight section of highway just south of the village of 70 Mile House. It had been hot that day, but had turned into a delightfully cool evening. It felt strange for us to reverse roles as I got geared up and started my running tracker on my phone. I took off with a spring in my step. It felt great to run. The sinking sun was glowing fiery orange behind the seemingly endless flat, boggy boreal forest. Only occasionally did a logging truck or RV whizz by me, and I remembered how wonderfully peaceful and meditative running can be. I felt like I could charge on forever.
Then my phone squawked: “One… mile…!”
Oh…boy…how many miles did I say I was going to try to do, again?
PS. We had incredible seats for the Perseid meteor shower. Until we both fell asleep…