5:30 am – I’m sure that some folks thought I was full of it, but I’m actually doing this thing. Today, we’re heading to Clingman’s Dome! Well, we won’t actually arrive today, but we’re going to head that direction. Sometimes running. Sometimes walking. Always moving forward.
We’re going to start out at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, run down the dunes, and then get on NC Highway 12 for the remainder of our time on the Outer Banks. Today, we hope to make it to Rodanthe (population 261), where I happen to know there are some pretty spectacular fish tacos at Atlantic Coast Cafe.
Supporting me is a pretty fantastic team consisting of Chuck Dale, Dean Hart, and for the first week, Dr. Meidad Goldman. Although we all have friends in common, have spoken on the phone and through email and text for a couple of months, I didn’t actually meet any of them until the night before, when Chuck and Dean pulled into town. Last night, all of us and an one of my old friends and a fraternity brother from college, Paul met for a send off seafood dinner at
My wife Murphy, my mother, and our youngest daughter, Georgia rented a vacation rental in Kill Devil Hills, not too far from Jockey’s Ridge State Park.
I was a little too excited last night, after having dinner with the team, my daughter Georgia being a butthead at dinner and anticipating the start of this journey after more than a year of planning, so I’m not sure that I had more than 3 hours of sleep.
I woke up about 4:45, tried not to disturb the rest of the house and snuck into the kitchen to start the coffee and make eggs. I added two scrambled eggs, a little vegenaise, two tomato slices and a slice of cheese to two pieces of toast, and had 10 quiet minutes before the rest of the house woke up.
This trip is significant to me on so many levels that I’m sure I’ll be peeling this onion for the next two months. This trip isn’t about me, but it is. I’m not breaking any records. There have been several people that have done this hike/run faster than I will and are more experienced at this sort of thing, but attempting 1,175 miles in less than two months is still pretty significant. And, not just physically.
Two months away from my family and friends will probably be eased by technology, but in a way I could see it making the time away harder on all of us. I’ll feel connected, but not quite entirely in the loop. I won’t affect change at home. I can’t offer much other than a phone call or a text. A virtual shoulder if you will. I’m hoping that the distance will make me more focused on them when I’m there.
I haven’t been able to really create the kind of enthusiasm for Throwing Bones for a Cure as I had hoped before the run. Partly, because I’m trying to get ready for the run and run the organization at the same time. I hope that the run itself will be the catalyst for all the programs that we hope to create. I mean, the site isn’t even really done yet!
In any case, there will be plenty of time to dwell on this. I’ll come back to what this all means over and over, I’m sure.
Last night, I laid out my clothes and gear, and planned to meet Chuck, Dean, Meidad and Paul at Jockey’s Ridge State Park at 7:30. We started a little later this morning because it happens to be Easter Morning and a sunrise service was planned. Surprisingly, all the churchgoers other than Paul had cleared out before we got there.
I left my running shoes in the RV the night before (I’ll probably need those), so I decided I better put them on before heading out to the start. We started walking to the largest sand dune that we could find, leaving Mom at the end of the wooden walkways, where I knew that I’d see her when I ran past for the start of the trip.
It really happened fast, Georgia and I foraged ahead and found some great hills to climb and I could tell that she really was amazed by how big everything was. It really was gorgeous. She tumbled down every dune, and I’m sure that her mother will be washing sand out of her hair for the next month. We all took a few obligatory pictures, and Murphy made me pose until I was starting to get uncomfortable. I took off my jacket, grabbed a water bottle from Dean and took off down the hill. Dean ran a little bit ahead to the parking lot to help me get the sand out of my shoes and spray me down with sunscreen, and we were rolling.
For the first time in a couple of weeks, I was running on my own. I was on the sidewalk heading South on North Carolina Highway 12, waving to people like I was in parade. I’m sure I looked a little special, since in my mind’s eye there was a cameraman recording my every action. I was a runner. I had a cause. I was making a difference. I have a mission. Move it or lose it people!
Then I realized I have to keep this up. Every day.