Recently I joined a team of amazing adventurers for Epic Experience, which puts on all-expenses-paid outdoor adventure camps for cancer fighters. Cancer is a dear topic, close to my heart, as watching my mother battle breast cancer was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to witness. I have pledged to raise $1000 in order to help #Adventure4Life reach a goal of $25,000. This cost will cover travel, lodging, and adventures in the outdoors for 12 – 13 cancer fighters and caregivers. At the camps (located outside of Vail, CO), the participants get to play in water, experience travelling mountains, calm themselves through yoga, ride horses, etc. Ultimately, the camp will allow the participants to see that cancer does not define their existence as a human being.
Seriously? How cool is that? Answer: it’s not cool, it’s amazingly freakin’ epic. So please, go check out my challenge and the challenges my companions are embarking on and donate for the cause.
This effort touches close to home because I watched my mother battle breast cancer while I was in sixth grade. My mother is an incredibly strong woman who was completely broken down by the war inside her body. She would receive a chemo treatment and literally become incapable of looking like she was alive for a week. Then, she’s start to barely feel better right before her next treatment and the process would start all over again. I’ve never watched my mother shed so many tears. I’ve never seen my mother display so much pain. So mom, this is for you. For those of you struggling with cancer or have watched someone go through a bodily war, this is for you.
You can view information regarding the Epic Challenge Camp here: http://www.epicexperience.org/
#Adventure4Life Team with 24 other people: http://adventure4life.outdoormindedmag.com/ <–there are some pretty sweet adventures going on.
So my challenge you ask? My initial goal was to do a first ascent with my friend Jesse. However, that fell through for a multitude of reasons. My back up plan was to run. I have always had it in my heart that one day I would run an ultra marathon with my dog. So why wait I figured and I chose to just run – for 48 hours – with my dog. So I have spent the last 2 weeks planning my epic adventure.
First I got in touch with the ultra running community on Twitter; people like @RayRunsLong, @ENERGYbits, @AndieTheFitGeek, @welcomebrand, and @iRunAlaska. I inquired whether or not they knew of anyone who had ever ran an ultra with their dog or whether they knew someone who knew someone, etc. I got an amazing and positive response from the ultra community that made me feel great about making a decision to bring my dog on my adventure with me.
Afterward, I began to tell people my plan: I am going to run for an entire weekend starting at the the Continental Divide at the top of Loveland Pass in Colorado and end my run at the first day of Epic Challenge’s first day of camp at 7 W Ranch in Gypsum, Colorado. From there, things snowballed. I received such a tremendous response of support from people willing to make my adventure happen. I was given some trial hydration tablets from PepPod (<–an up and coming company who plans on “going live” in 25 days!), I received a SPOT GPS device and some priceless advice from my friend Daniel, I was given a loner Hydration Vest by Ultimate Direction, people volunteering to be a part of my “crew”, and my friend Zach even willing to make me an ArcGIS map of my run.
But I guess I cannot omit the fact that not all of the responses I received from friends and the community around me were positive. While 98% of the feedback I received from other people was positive, there were negative comments that I received regarding my plan. Yes, I may have cried. And yeah, it may have hit home a little than it should have. But it’s mind over body for me and I reassured and met the negativity with compromises of being extra careful and not going into this blind.
From there, I met up with the organizer of this entire #Adventure4Life, Lauren Rains, who is a good friend and owner of Outdoor Minded Magazine. Lauren immediately volunteered to be a part of my crew; she offered up photography abilities, GoPro abilities, and even expressed interest in running a mile or so with me. This woman is truly amazing and her support is endless even though she has so much going on in her life. So we sat down together in Boulder, made a list on Google Drive, and spider webbed ideas.
I read aloud the advice that Daniel had given to me and went over my nutrition plan for myself (and my dog!) with Lauren. After meeting for nearly 3 hours, we both realized how amazingly epic this was going to be….and just how much planning goes into an extremely long, long run.
For an entire week I had butterflies in my stomach.
And then GRUB happened. Remember my last blog post about my weekend plans?
Sunday morning I was taken out by a dude on the frisbee field. He basically left his mark in order to “d” the disc away from me. The dude laid out superman style and then barrel rolled himself right into the middle of my shin – at full speed. It was an on-the-ground-insta-cry-sorta-situation and some of the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced; I literally thought he snapped my shin in half. But hey – at I least got the disc! ….right?
Oof. The instant I went on the ground, everyone gave an “Oh shit!” There were several people who saw the collision and thought I had broken my leg, hyper extended my knee, or was just literally not going to be able to make it up off the ground. In my head I saw a map flash in front of my eyes.
I shoved the possibility of being unable to run this weekend out of my mind. A medical lady from the other team and the GRUB trainer were over me almost immediately. They checked me out, decided my knee (which actually didn’t hurt a bit) was fine, and gave me advice on what to do for the next few hours. After the pain subsided, I began to gingerly walk on my leg. It didn’t hurt that much; in fact, it didn’t even seem to bother me. So I jogged. Things felt a bit stiff but overall okay. So I taped up, put my cleats back on, and really jogged. This time, I felt my ankle. It seems foolish now, but I was actually talked out of going back onto the field. I took my cleats off and walked around so things wouldn’t get stiff. Maybe that was a mistake – later on Sunday night the pain was pretty high. I felt my shin with every step and my ankle was pretty stiff.
Yesterday, I learned that day 2 of a shin injury is much, much more painful than day 1. (Just as an FYI, I have a tendency to be able to handle a fair amount of pain). I have a boot from a previous injury that I decided to wear all day yesterday and today. The boot surprisingly helps my walking abilities a ton. The bruising is just now starting to show on my shin and my ankle, which means the damage is pretty deep. Tomorrow, I’m going to try to walk without the boot and see how it goes. My main worry is the possibility of a hair line fracture in my shin….and I really don’t want to go get an x-ray.
The number one question on everyone’s mind, including mine, “Are you still going to run this weekend?”
Maybe it’s the overly optimistic part of myself and maybe it’s the fact that I just want to heal quickly, but I want to say yes. I want so desperately to say yes. But…I’m not going to make any decisions as of yet. I don’t want to bail. I don’t want to injury myself further. So no decisions. No ‘yeses’. No ‘noes’. Just ‘I don’t knows’ and a deep sadness that I’m trying so terribly to mitigate.
I spoke briefly about it with my fellow adventurer, Christine McCarthy, owner of @OatmealBowl, who told me that “a few of us seem to be finding the emotional adventure of our planned trips.” She recently embarked on her adventure and relayed in her blog post exactly how epic her adventure as she was faced with “….raw emotions (why do you think I am running so much? good therapy to keep me sane), faced fears, found courage, embarked on small adventures, live on faith in motion…” The post was deeply moving and you should seriously read it: #Adventure4Life: My Wild Journey.
However, just because I am injured does not mean that you shouldn’t and cannot donate to this amazing cause. Donate on my behalf or someone else’s and if you cannot donate, even just sharing this blog or the page of one of the adventures that sticks out to you with friends, family, or on your social media would help spread the word.
© /skin/ /ˈpōətrē/