Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 32 - Another Good Day

Jennifer and I both ran well on near zero trafficked hard packed gravel road today. The views were more enjoyable today as compared to yesterday and a slight wind helped to keep the feel like temperature lower than it otherwise would have been. To illistrate how low the traffic was I counted eleven vehicles passing us in the first 26 miles of the run in addition to five trains going by as we were running right next to a rail line. Frank kept me company for 21 miles and the miles passed quickly. Frank then continued on just slighly behind me to the 27 mile mark - his first run over the marathon distance in some number of year. It was an uphill day as we ended up gaining about 800 feet in elevation and ending the day at to 4700 feet above sea level.
Arvada to Gillette, WY 44.32 miles
Jennifer 8:48:53
Mike     9:04:13

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 31 - Into Wyoming

A total of six vehicles passed Jennifer and I as we ran together on rural gravel road in Montana and Wyoming for the first 36 miles of the route today through rolling cattle pastures and scrub brush. It was another hot day with temps in the mid-90s which should surprise no one since the entire country is presently in a heat wave. Thanks to our crew for keeping us going!!! More on Frank in the next day or two.
Otter, MT to Aravda, WY 40.24 miles
Jennifer  8:30:29
Mike       8:31:55

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 30 -

It is on a low note that I report that Justin has dropped out of the Run due to runner related issues. I believe I speak for all who been a part of the Run and all who have followed the Run that we look forward to seeing Justin running ultras again as soon as possible.
Jennifer and I ran together most of the day enjoying - once again - nice scenery in very remote southeastern Montana. We were joined by my good friend Frank Dembia whom I will write about tomorrow. Today's route was all nice gravel roads in this remote land, and due to shifting winds there was not much smoke from the fires to bother us.
Birney to Otter, MT 31.31 miles
Jennifer  6:34:08
Mike      6:38:27

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 29 - Fire

Fire - the early 70s song by the the Ohio Players - was playing in my mind all morning. This was due to a large fire in the vicinity of Lame Deer and Ashland - the two towns on our route today on US-212. Well, the first 15 miles of the run went well, but when Jennifer, Justin and I ran into Lame Deer at mile 15 we learned that the fire destroyed a section of US-212 up ahead and that electrical power was out all through the area including Broadus more than 60 miles from Lame Deer - our planned hotel location for two nights. Got it - detour required, but there was really no good detour option from Lame Deer. Nevertheless, one rises to the occasion when the challenge requires it. So we headed south on a low trafficked paved road which turned out to be quite scenic. The plan was to end the day near Birney and determine a reroute from there on the internet tonight. Still working the exact details of the reroute, but the reroute means we will skip the scenic Mickelson Trail. This is a bummer, but taking the trail out of the run is minor compared to the challenges faced by the southeastern Montana residents who have lost homes, will go without power for some time, and will be faced with traffic challenges for some time to come. We wish all those affected the by the local fires the best.
Justin ended the day early due to potential issues, but the plan is for him to make up the missed mileage Thursday after seeking appropriate advice.
Busby to Birney, MT 36.2 miles
Jennifer 8:14:43
Mike     8:14:43
Justin    4:57:51 (23 miles)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 28 - A Tough Day

We said goodbye to my Aunt Margaret this morning who has been with us since Helena. GREAT THANKS MARGARET - YOU ARE SUPER!!!! Margaret set off to the Billings airport this morning and passed the keys of the Scooby Van to fellow ultrarunner and Strolling Jim Race Director Mike Melton. We are very happy to have Mike Melton  - all around fantastic guy and a veteran at crewing - as a part of the Run Across America on Trail team.
Since we started the day with only one crew vehicle this morning Justin, Jennifer, and I planned to run together for the early miles. We had a good run for 12 plus miles basically following the I-90 Frontage Road to US-212. I note that we will run all the way to Bell Fourche, SD almost 200 miles away all on US-212. Since I eat constantly while running (GUs, peppermint puffs, life savers, hard candies, Sport Beans) I don't usually have a problem with my energy level, but the heat probably did me in. With virtually no cloud in the sky, it was already hot and the day was just warming up into the hottest day of the Run so far as the temperature in Busby was 101 degrees shortly after we finished. Anyways, the three of us plodded along on the rolling road near each other or together all day fighting off the heat and a cross wind that at times nearly knocked us off the road. Bottom line, the running wasn't fun after mile 12 today, and the three of us walked it in the last five miles to finish together. The forecast is for slightly cooler weather the next few days - we keep our fingers crossed.
Hardin to Busby, MT 39.47 miles
Justin      9:15:34
Jennifer  9:15:34
Mike       9:15:34

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 27 - A Buggy Day

The bugs were in full attack mode this morning (a first for the Run - but most likely not the last of the bug encounters) as we ran the very low trafficked old US-87 route from Billings to Hardin. This old road was bypassed by a newer US-87 route which became I-90 some years ago. The bug attacks did diminish sharply as the overcast burned off and the temperature went up. Justin was out of sight in mere minutes after the start today, but Jennifer and I ran some early miles together until stomach issues slowed her. All in all a good day since my overused muscles bothered me at times but didn't really slow me. Additionally, there were some good views to enjoy.
An interesting weather pattern appears to occur here in Montana in that the high temperature of the day can be reached late in the afternoon or even early evening time frame. This is good for the runners who would prefer to run in lower temps vice higher temperatures. While waiting for Jennifer to finish the iPhone stated the Hardin, MT temperature was 97. Shortly after Jennifer finished the reported Hardin temperature was up to 101, and after we ate dinner the temperature was 103 degrees. Brutal - especially for Crew Dog Daphne.
Billings to Hardin, MT 41.43 miles
Justin        7:33:50
Mike         8:36:45
Jennifer     9:11:04

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Days 25 and 26 - The Heat Is On

Day 25
Everyone who knows music from the mid-80s should be able to recall Glen Frey's hit The Heat Is On which appears to have also been one of the Beverly Hills Cop songs. Sorry, I don't remember the song being in the movie, but I remember Beverly Hills Cop to be a super movie. Well, it took 25 days for the temperature to reach the 80s on the run so no complaints - but we definitely felt the effect of the heat. I was in a great mood as we started the day as I was running better than I had since all the way back to the beginning of stage 15. Although the super scenery of the Montana Rockies was now behind us, the Big Sky state still provided plenty of views to enjoy. When I saw Heidi at mile 13 she told me that 13 cyclists who were biking from Seattle to New York City weren't far behind me. I was stoked - I looked forward to seeing the cyclists on the "lonely road".  The cyclists passed me shortly thereafter and "way to gos" were passed from the running side of the road to the cycling side of the road and vice versa. And just a couple minutes later I round a bend and I see Heidi parked on the running side of the road and the support van for the cyclists parked on the cycling side of the road. I enjoyed a few more minutes of talk with my fellow road warrior and it was time for all of us to continue down the road. One could say that the cyclists were now taking the lead for Justin, Jennifer, and myself to follow since we were all on the same route for the day. Just two miles later I took my first picture from the road with my cell phone that I have carried with me every day. I noted that the Old Milwaukee Road rail-bed rejoined the road and that a railroad trestle used many years ago had been severely damaged and left in place. I enjoyed the views of the old rail-bed with missing trestles for a good two miles before the left hamstring decided to give me fits. Yes, another "injury or overuse issue" to slow me. Stuff happens on the open road. Once again it was Advil and recovery cream to the rescue and I slowly returned to slow running while only slightly favoring the left leg again. Another point of note today was that I enjoyed passing through the small towns of Ryegate and Livonia. Love those old post offices!

Day 26
The weather forecast wasn't a good one for runners with the temperature to reach the high 90s. So one day after running for the first time in the 80s we would now run for the first time in the 90s. Thankfully, however, complete overcast kept the heat at bay for the first 15 miles or so - yeeeaaaahh!
All three of us started slowly this morning - Justin fighting off a left knee issue, Jennifer fighting off the heat, and myself with the left hamstring now my biggest complaint. Jennifer and I started running together at mile 4 since we were running the same pace and Justin wasn't too far ahead. At mile 8 Jennifer and I could see Justin ahead leaving Margaret and the "Scooby Van" (ie. Justin's van). Seeing Justin at mile 8 of a stage was a first for me since he is usually out of sight in minutes. Jennifer and I made good time despite the overuse injuries and heat up until mile 18 at which point a new left leg issue started to bother her. Still the miles rolled on and we were "quickly" (quickly is definitely a relative term here) into the final third of today's miles to run at which point my left hamstring decided it should bother me more. Bummer. Jennifer and I carried on with our overuse injuries together until mile 34 at which point I moved on at a slightly faster pace to the end. Justin picked up the pace for the day and - unfortunately - also ran some additional mileage do to a confusing intersection.
We passed the 1000 mile mark today!!! We celebrated the 1000 mile mark in the hotel with my favorite Whoppers and some iced chocolate chip cookies - yummmmmyyyy.
Broadview to Billings, MT 39.61 miles
Justin    7:58:33
Mike     9:02:26
Jennifer 9:10:00

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 25

All is well - no time to blog tonite.
Shawmut to Broadview, MT 42.42 miles
Justin      7:44:58
Jennifer   9:15:00
Mike        9:19:14

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 24 - A Good Day

39 days ago my mom, dad, and I drove the road miles between Helena and Billings, MT. We encountered a nine mile work zone on US-12 just east of Harlowton that day. I could tell that this road and drainage work was not going to be done by the time RAAoT ran through so I was left to simply hope and pray all would work out on day 24. I note that the work zone is on a road with absolutely no bypass available. So after running day 23 and filling our bellies with food Heidi and I drove east to check on the construction status. I was very relieved to find that the road work was not going on 24 hours a day and that both the eastbound and westbound lanes of traffic were not impeded in any way after hours - except that 6 of the 9 "detour" miles were a not-very wide dirt/rock road - not a good road for two lanes of cars and runners to travel at the same time. Bottom line, if we were unable to pass through the construction on day 24 we could simply end stage 24 at the 26.3 mile mark at the start of the work zone and take an early start on day 25 to start knocking out the 12.2 miles that needed to be added to the next 4-5 stages due to being forced to stop early on day 24. None of us wanted to end day 24 at the 26.3 mile mark, but if it had to be done then at least it could be done.
OK - the day started with temps in the mid-50s with 6.3 miles of no-shoulder road (US-12).  There were no turns today - only the second day with zero turns. Not wanting to be on the section of US-12 with no shoulder any longer than needed, I immediately started to jog vice walk at the start. I was very happy that the left posterior tibial tendon didn't cause me any problems - hence no further report is required on this tendon. However, my right quad wasn't happy. I applied KT tape to the quad prior to the start, but every right footfall was quite painful for the first six miles. I realized I had forgotten to take any Advil before starting, so when I saw Heidi at mile 5.3 I took three pills. Shortly thereafter the awful pain started to subside and by mile 11 or so I was really enjoying the run. I hadn't run this well since stage 14, so no surprise I was now quite happy. I am a testament to the fact that Advil works. Nevertheless, there was still the work zone that had to be traversed. Margaret called Heidi when Justin reached the work zone to report that there was not a flagman at the entrance to the work zone so Justin ran into it. So far so good, but I could tell from the limited traffic that I saw that there must be a pilot car in the work zone since all the passing cars were in groups. When I get to the work zone Margaret calls back to report a flagman was directing traffic a mile into the work zone. Since Justin and Jennifer were already past that point, I wasn't too concerned, but again a runner isn't through a work zone until he or she is through the zone. No problem with the first flagman for me and I am running well - avoiding cars and construction vehicles - when I note a slow moving - well a slow moving something up ahead. As I get closer I can plainly see a person pulling a rickshaw heading east like myself. WOW!!! This is completely unexpected. I found out after finishing the run that this gentlemen has walked about 35,000 miles pulling this rickshaw - at least that is what Justin reported since Justin talked to the gentleman for about five minutes when he passed him earlier. This chance passing in the work zone brought a smile to my face and helped push me through the zone. I note that the workers were all very friendly and many waves were exchanged between myself and the construction workers. I don't think the presence of the RAAoT runners impeded any work being done on a Friday afternoon, but one will never know. There will most likely be other work zones - may our passage through those zones go just as well as today.
Selkirk to Shawmut, MT 38.52 miles
Justin     6:51:38
Jennifer  7:24:00
Mike       7:53:58

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 23 - MT-294

27 miles of the route today were on MT-294 - a very low trafficked highway not lacking for super scenery. Justin walked the first mile of the route with me as he was having stomach issues and I still have a few days or so of starting slowly due to the left posterior tibial tendon. As expected the tendon continues to improve. However, my quadriceps rebelled today due to the last three days of downhill running with the right leg quad pain forcing me to a limp at mile 18 in the middle of a sustained downhill. Heidi applied KT tape and I took some Advil which allowed me to painfully run most of the remaining miles - ugh. So I started the day favoring the left leg and ended the day favoring the right leg. What will happen on Friday - hopefully some good running!!!
I note that we ran parallel to an old rail line which I am almost certain is part of the Old Milwaukee Road which is the same rail line transferred to trail in WA and ID as the John Wayne Pioneer Trail and Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes.
Justin and Jennifer ran fairly close to each other all day following Justin's slow start. They pushed each other - a good thing.
White Sulpher Springs to Selkirk, MT 42.60 miles
Justin     8:02:23
Jennifer  8:04:34
Mike      9:29:26

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 22 - Tendon Improving

We continue to cross Montana - primarily on US-12 today. I once again had to start slowly and warm up my bad tendon before I could break into a jog then run. I am happy to report that the left posterior tibial tenon is improving, but more days of slow starts are expected. The small portion of the day we weren't on US-12 we ran through a small neighborhood near main street in the small city of Townsend. I enjoyed my run through the town and noted that one sidewalk had a 1913 stamped into the concrete. The concrete looked too good to have been poured in 1913 and most likely the 1913 date is the year in which the applicable concrete company began operating. Bottom line, if you are considering moving to a small city in Montana, make sure you check out Townsend - just 35 miles from the state capitol of Helena. Of note is the fact that the Missouri River passes right by Townsend. We passed over the Missouri River at mile 6 today. I found it interesting that the water was flowing north/northeast but it makes sense. On Day 46 we will cross the Missouri River again on the Onawa-Decatur Bridge connecting NE and IA.
We ran a fairly quiet section of US-12 today which included more super views and scenery. Of Miles 19-31 were all uphill as we ran in a canyon paralleling Deep Creek. We lost our Big Sky views when in the canyon, but the canyon views were just marvelous. At mile 31 we reached the top of our climb today and were rewarded with more Big Sky views of a high valley. If you really want to see America, you definitely see a lot at 4-5 miles per hour.
Once again Jennifer and Justin were out of sight in mere minutes after starting due to my slow starting requirement.
Winston to White Sulpher Springs, MT; 40.50 miles
Justin      7:17:43
Jennifer  8:13:56
Mike      9:18:00

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Days 20 and 21 - 1/4 done; all downhill now(?!)

Day 20 started late as we waited for a rancher to move his cattle down the road. We got to run through fresh cow dung on the road for the first 1/2 mile. I was really hoping a passing vehicle wouldn't spray me with any dung while driving by, and I am happy that I can report no dung incidents.

For the 13 hours between finishing stage 19 and starting stage 20 I barely moved the left ankle, and Justin immobilized the ankle with a super tape job to keep the stress of the inflamed tendon to an absolute minimum. Soooooo starting stage 20 was quite a challenge as it was quite painful to get the tape to adjust to a supportive role vice an immobilizing role. The first mile took 21 painful minutes but slowly the tape started to "come around" and I was soon walking 15 minute miles.  I then started to shuffle a number of times for just a few yards each time before quickly resuming a walk. Ugh. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. However, as I neared mile 6 the left foot allowed me to transition from walking to an ugly looking favor-the-left-foot slow jog. Thankfully the ugly jogging morphed to jogging and at mile 22 I was able to run a sub-12 minute mile with little favoring of the left foot!!! I ran well the rest of the day except for the four mile climb at the end of the day up MacDonald Pass - the highest point of the run at 6325 feet (according to the sign) or 6299 feet (according to Wikipedia). Bottom line, MacDonald Pass is the highest elevation of the Run route - so it is literally all downhill from there.
For the second night in a row I went from finishing running, straight to the Roadrunner, straight to a shower, and straight to my bed to rest the ankle with Heidi bringing back pizza and Quiznos to keep me fueled.
Helmville to MacDonald Pass, MT 42.44 miles
Justin      7:12:34
Jennifer   8:30:19
Mike      10:10:49

Day 21 dawned and I needed to make a decision with the left ankle. Have Justin immobilize it again, use KT tape on the ankle, or use KT tape and an ankle brace I last used in the 2006 Western States 100 in which I finished in 29:24. I chose the KT tape and brace so Heidi and I watched the ankle support video and Heidi did a great job of taping my ankle. Once again I started the day quite slowly and a little painfully as the ankle/tendon warmed up. As hoped for it took less time than the day before to transition to a jog and then an outright slow run. I note that the pace wasn't hurt by the fact that the day was almost 100% downhill and there was a good easterly wind to push us. As I approached mile 24 I spotted the dreaded orange "road work ahead" signs. I figured that if Justin or Jennifer had a problem passing through the work zone I would have already heard about it, but one is not past a work zone until one is past the work zone. Thankfully there was no issue as I continued to run on the left shoulder through the nearly three mile work zone. I was quite relieved when I had passed through.
I didn't realize how much downhill running we had done today until finishing and noting that my quads were somewhat sore. The weather was good again, but the heat will get here soon I am sure. Tonight we all went out to eat at the Wood Family Grill in Townsend, MT and enjoyed some fine food. It was nice to not be stuck in bed.
My Aunt Margaret arrived and Justin's brother Adam left us so Heidi and Margaret and Crew Dog Daphne are doing an excellent job of crewing for the three of us now. We look forward to seeing Adam again in IN!!! Thanks Adam!!!
Just like on day 20 Justin and Jennifer were out of sight in seconds at the start. Maybe I will actually be able to see their backs for a couple miles tomorrow - we can hope!
MacDonald Pass to Winston, MT 41.97 miles
Justin     7:10:57
Jennifer  7:56:09
Mike       8:59:06

Day 20-21 to Come

Internet issues kept Mike from posting day 20 last night...hopefully we'll be in good wifi land tonight and he can update....keep checking the Facebook group...they're doing great today!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 19 - Inflamed Tendon

Day 19 today so everyone in their mid to late 40s knows exactly what song went through my head today. Yes, exactly, Hey 19 (Steely Dan, 1980). I really don't like the song, but again I don't get to choose what song goes through my head, it chooses me.
Great running weather today with complete overcast and some light rain in the morning and a fairly cool afternoon with easterly winds in the afternoon. Some sun. Unfortunately, I couldn't take advantage of the great running weather since my left foot posterior tibial tendon was inflamed and not happy. The tendon bothered me late Saturday some but was manageable until I made a misstep with a quarter mile to go to the finish point. Then this morning (Sunday) I tripped while running and made what I call an almost-fall; ie I didn't fall, but the only reason I didn't fall is because the flailing arms and rapidly moving legs worked in concert to somehow keep me upright. The car passing me by seemed to be quite amused by my comedic flailing arms show. Anyway, the left foot took the brunt of this misstep and quite simply I knew I needed to walk or risk further injury. Bottom line, I ended up walking from mile 6 to the finish today. Not fun, but I felt this was the correct action to take. Thankfully after Justin finished he drove back on the route and taped my foot for me so the foot was much better for the final 11 miles of the "run" today. Justin has retaped the foot for tomorrow and I am icing the tendon. We will think positive thoughts about Monday's running. I believe that I actually tripped on a nail nailed into the asphalt - stuff happens. I have new shoes and new running shoe inserts ready to go tomorrow to assist the posterior tibial tendon to do the job it is designed to do so I can run - or at least run/walk.
Justin and Jennifer had great days today - although Justin is fighting off hamstring issues.
Seeley Lake to Helmville, MT 38.95 miles
Justin        6:57:17
Jennifer    8:09:16
Mike       10:37:59

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Days 17 and 18 - An Adventure

Day 17 was the easiest day yet to follow the Run route as there was just one turn all day. The Big Sky state continued to provide fantastic views as there was very little cloud cover to obscure all the Rockies within view. Northeast of us a portion of the Rockies with complete snow coverage could be seen. The second half of day 16 we ran downriver paralleling the Clark Fork River. Day 17 we continued to enjoy river views as we ran upriver with the Flathead River to our left. The road - MT-200 - ran next to another train track and I was quite surprised when I noted the tracks were laid with somewhat of an S curve at one point. I didn't think that trains could turn like that - learn something new each day.

Day 18 started off fairly cool with great cloud cover. The day never got hot due to cloud cover most of the day and a nice wind. The route today was near zero trafficked gravel road over a ridge-line for a lack of a better word. Up the west side of the ridge to start the day and down the east side of the ridge to finish the day. Piece of cake - not really anything to write about right? In the remote section of the route today a total of four cars passed Jennifer and I who were running together. It turns out that we didn't choose wisely when we reached a fork in the road about mile 9 or so and we went the wrong way. Who the heck came up with this Run route anyway?! Car number one that passed us did so before we reached the infamous fork. I waved down car number two while on the wrong road and the driver told me we were indeed on the incorrect road and he told me how to get back to the correct road. The directions weren't picture perfect, but we made it back to the correct road just in time to flag down car three who confirmed we were now on the correct road and provided some much needed water. Saviors are everywhere. Adding 4.4 miles to the run today was not in the original plan, but it worked out in the end. I might have uttered a few Oh Bothers while on the incorrect roads, but I am positive(?) that I didn't utter any stronger words. For confirmation, please contact Jennifer. I note that once again the views from the road were grrrreeeaaattt and that Justin didn't make a wrong turn!
Arlee to Seeley Lake, MT, 36.27 miles
Justin 6:38:32
Jennifer 10:42:59
Mike 10:43:55

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 17

Will write some Saturday - presuming internet access - which we might not have for the next two days.
41.61 miles from Plains to Arlee, MT
Justin       7:07:11
Mike        8:55:04
Jennifer  11:37:50

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 16 - Considerate MT Drivers

More great scenery - what else can I say? The second half of the route today was on MT-135 which runs along the Clark Fork River and an active rail line. In addition to enjoying river scenery in the long canyon through which we ran we saw four trains pass. Maybe the economy will pick up again soon?
I woke up today with a very tight right calf so it was tough to look forward to the start. Heidi applied KT tape to my calf per the applicable instruction video and I downed three Advil. It was a mid-40s low clouds cool start - not the best for tight muscles - so I walked at first to warm up and then slowly threw in some jogging. About three miles into the run I was running OK which greatly improved my spirit. Jennifer wasn't feeling 100% either today so I ended up catching her on an uphill nine miles into the day as the sun burned off the clouds and the temperature started going up. Heidi reported that Justin was about a half hour ahead of us at mile 12 so he was moving well. We ran together until near the halfway point at which I slowly moved ahead due to Jennifer fighting both quad issues and shin splints. Shortly before we split up I noted a street sign in St. Regis. ABBA Ln was on the sign which I believe was a private sign for a church since there doesn't appear to be a street in St. Regis called ABBA Ln. Since I am a big ABBA fan Jennifer took a picture of me at the sign - and of course all I could do was sing another smash ABBA hit to myself the rest of the day - this time it was Fernando (1976).
We are three for three now as Montana drivers have proven to be as considerate as Washington and Idaho drivers.  
40.29 miles, Deborgia to Plains, MT
Justin     6:51:33
Mike      8:29:54
Jennifer  9:18:20

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day 15 - Into Montana

Definitely another good day today if you are a runner who prefers to run without cars passing you as the route today only included about 2.5 miles of paved road. We were rained on for the 12th of 15 days. The rain was not desired, but it only bothered me a small amount today. I note the forecast was for low 40s with feel like temps in the low 30s (ouch) at Lookout Pass and that was simply not the case, so the day was a good one. Yes, so we have conquered our second and highest pass so far as we crossed into Montana at Lookout Pass - elevation 4710 feet. Regrettably, a math error on the turn sheet I made for today probably cost Jennifer 20-30 minutes time. Not good. I was working hard to keep Jennifer in sight all morning and was just 50 yards behind her at mile 16 when I strained my right achilles running/walking up a moderately steep jeep road. I had to drop the pace and favor the right leg for the five miles of very runnable rail trail which took us to the top of Lookout Pass. I was definitely bummed that I couldn't run this super trail, but stuff happens. I reached the top of the pass and took some Advil and liberally rubbed in some recovery cream into the achilles. I now headed downhill and slowly but surely I could run just a bit better each mile and by the time I reached Heidi again eight miles later my left hip bothered me more than the achilles. Bottom line, if my achilles hadn't forced me to drop the pace Jennifer wouldn't have gone off route and lost some time. Bummer.
Justin continues to run well as he fights off ankle swelling.
Nearly 99% of the 600 miles remaining to be run in Montana are road miles. Will the Montana drivers be as considerate as the Washington drivers? We shall see.
41.65 miles, Osburn, ID to Deborgia, MT
Justin       7:49:50
Jennifer    8:57:41
Mike        8:57:41

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 14 - All Trail

Today's route was entirely on the Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes. Yes, this was the first day of the Run where every step was on trail. It simply doesn't get much better than that! The weather, paved trail, and scenery were conducive to good running. At mile 15.35 the Run passed the 500 mile mark! We followed a nice river for many miles today - different scenery from previous days - all fantastic. HMMMM - maybe there isn't much outdoor scenery I don't like. I also like the green mile markers set out every mile for trail users to use/enjoy. Some folks might say I have Too Much Time On My Hands (Styx, 1981) since I can tell you that the green 47 mile marker is placed only a half mile from the 48 mile marker. I can wonder how that came to be, but it is indeed pointless to do so as I will never know.
And the answer is no - I don't have too Much Time On My Hands
43.25 miles, Harrison to Osburn, ID
Justin       7:19:30
Jennifer   8:07:01
Mike       8:20:08

Monday, June 11, 2012

Days 12 and 13 - Into Idaho

Day 12 started with transition. The super duo of Marty and Corky said goodbye and headed east back to the quad cities. The Run would have been tremendously challenged if Marty and Corky had not been here to take care of the runners this past week. GREAT THANKS to Marty and Corky - and we look forward to seeing you two again as we run east! On the other hand, we welcomed Justin's brother Adam to the Run.
After a mile and a half on dirt and asphalt road we transitioned to a very nice gravel road. Just like that the scenery also changed as everywhere we looked there were acres and acres of wheat fields. It was a beautiful sight. Someone stated our views were similar to one of those spectacular Microsoft screen savers. The first twelve miles of this short day flew by with the continuous picture post card views and great weather (a little on the cold side and a nice tail wind). Justin was less than a mile ahead of Jennifer and myself as we transitioned back to the John Wayne Trail for 13 and a half of the remaining 21 miles for the day. Thankfully not all of the old trestles were removed as we crossed a large one just south of Rosalia which allowed for fine viewing of the surrounding area. All in all a good day which would have been better if there weren't so many rocks on this portion of the trail.
Run times reported previously.

Day 13 started with Karen leaving us to head back to Illinois. Besides being a great friend, Karen has been an amazing member of the Run Team. The Run is much better off than we would have been if Karen hadn't been here. GREAT THANKS Karen - we look forward to seeing you again in Illinois!
Two final miles on the John Wayne Trail (which included another trestle crossing - very nice) followed by six miles of rural gravel road through - you guessed it - more acres of wheat and two miles of asphalt road and we were in our second state - The Gem State - Idaho. Jennifer and I were running a similar pace and we arrived at the Idaho sign at the same time. Appropriate pictures were taken by Heidi. The high of passing into another state kept us running strongly for a few miles before the heat finally hit. Yes, after 12 days of cold and cool weather the Run finally found some warm weather. Today was day one for starting a stage in just a t-shirt.
Mile 22 found us turning onto the 72 mile paved Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes which is one of the most outstanding rail trails in the country. One of the highlights of the trail is the 1921 bridge that passes over Coeur d' Alenes Lake which we ran over at mile 31 today. I will harken back to the 1980s and simply state, "Awesome, Dude."
Fairbanks, WA to Harrison, ID 37.63 miles:
Justin      6:20:55
Mike      7:36:54
Jennifer 7:46:44

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day 12 - Exceptional Weather

A super day to run - more later.
Ewan, WA to Fairbanks, WA 33.64 miles
Justin      6:10:10   
Jennifer  7:14:01
Mike       7:14:01

Day Twelve starts strong!

All runners in good spirits on this cool windy morning! Many thanks to Corky and Marty for staying to help crew until Justin's brother, Adam, could join us last night!
The day starts with all three runners in good spirits and run/jogging well. Jen's feeling well as is Justin....Mike still fighting the beginnings of a cold...not much coverage today as we're in the middle of "no man's land".

Enjoyed a short stop to say hello and a huge thank you to Joan Harder yesterday...she and her husband, Jack, we're kind enough to allow the runner to run through their property due to a tressle being removed from the JWPT...

Thanks also to Lois and Randy Gust for helping jerryrig Justin's van to dislodge Jen's suitcase:)

Looks like it's going to be a sunny day for the crew and runners:).

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Days 9, 10, and 11: Cold and Rainy

Day 9 started early with the crossing of I-90 bridge over the Columbia River at Vantage, WA. Jennifer, Justin, and I were escorted over the bridge by two WA State Patrol and a WA Department of Transportation vehicle. The crossing went very smoothly. Great thanks to Paula, Rick, Cathy, Ron, Brian, etc for their efforts to make the bridge crossing a safe success! Shortly after crossing the bridge we made our way to nice rural roads running through farm/ranch country. Jennifer and I were running together about mile 11 or so when a good rain swell came through which chilled us both to the bone due to the wind and unusually low temps. The cold was not good for Jennifer's right quad so we walked the route for the rest of the day - once again using hand warmers to stay warm. I like gray days, but the cold rain is not my favorite. No trail on the route today.
44.74 miles - Vantage to near Warden, WA

The day 10 start was once again cool. Seven miles into the day we entered the small town of Warden followed by a Saint Bernard who was with the three of us for three miles. Did the dog make it bakc home? Answer - Unknown. Not surprisingly I thought of my cousin Don who attended Warden High many moons ago. I didn't miss the post office which I would call a typically brick post office built in the 1960s. On the eastern edge of Warden we rejoined the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. We were once again rewarded with great vistas as we continued our way east. Just west of the town of Lind we transitioned back to road to bypass a section of the rail trail with at least five original railroad trestles removed. I enjoyed running through Lind as the small town was being besieged with visitors to the combine derby. Janice took some pictures of me for The Ritzville Adams County Journal to go along with a story that Katelin Davidson was writing about the Run.  It was nice to see folks enjoying themselves as they waited for the festivities to start later that night. On the east side of Lind we returned to the trail for another nine miles before calling it a day. For the record, hand warmers were once again used, and we were rained on for the ninth out of ten days.
41.45 miles - Warden to Ralston, WA

The cold temps continued on day 11 - and it rained on us - and we used hand warmers - but overall the weather was very nice as the sky was gray, and for the most part the drizzle was light enough to not really be a bother. Bottom line, it was a super run through Washington scablands with incredible vistas from a rail trail. The route was entirely on the John Wayne Trail today except for five miles run through private property. Great thanks to Jake and Joan Harder who allowed us to pass through their property so that we could easily bypass the removed Cow Creek Trestle and save eight plus miles of running on the trip across the country. Jennifer, Justin, and I were together as we ran into Jake and JC working on a bridge as we ran through which allowed us to enjoy a few minutes of good conversation. Heidi and Karen enjoyed a good visit with Joan and took in the super views of the Harder property and the removed Cow Creek Trestle while we ran. Jennifer's quad was responding to the rigors of the crossing much better today!!! I expect that it won't take long before Justin (who is fighting off some swelling issues) and Jennifer leave me in the dust again just minutes after each day's start.
37.84 miles - Ralston to Ewan, WA
Justin       8:22:41
Mike        9:48:21
Jennifer  10:10:30

Day Eleven starts cool and wet!

Day 11 is off to a good start with all 3 runners walking for a bit to warm the muscles. Start temp is 40 something, but feels like 30 something! 30% chance of rain....well...let's make that 100% chance of sprinkles are in store. Who would have thought we'd be shaking handwarmers to "hand off" to the group as they enter the 3 mile mark??? Good thing the crew packed all those shorts! Lois and Randy live near the start today and came down to wish the runners good luck as they start the day. Lois assured us this is not the normal weather for this time of year in this area of WA :).... indicating that this is the "dry spot". hmmmm.... guess we'll be wishing for this kind of weather in the near future;). Take the blessings where you can get them;)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Day 10 - The John Wayne Pioneer Trail

No time to blog tonite.
Scorekeeper reports the day 10 finish times for the 41.45 miles:
Justin    9:19:06
Mike   11:48:03
Jennifer 13:03:42

Day Nine: The LONG Day!

Day Nine started with cool weather and an escort of 2 police cars and a WA Hwy vehicle to cross the Columbia River on I-90. Cross time was 5:15 to help avoid heavy traffic!
Cool weather turned to rain. Jen's quad muscle was still bothering her so Mike walked the route with her.
Needless to say the sun popping out toward the end was welcome. The rainbow was beautiful.... but the storm that followed was daunting!
The 44.74 mile day ended with all soaked, but pizza putting them in a good state of mind.
Justin's Time: 8:30.27
Jen and Mike in at 14:39.23

Heidi updated for day nine as Mike just wanted sleep. More tomorrow....well guess that would be today....later tonight;)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day 8 - Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Four runners started day eight at a fast walking pace. Yes, four runners started as great friends Kevin Dorsey and Leigh Tanner from Memphis visited the Run Across America on Trail group Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Kevin started with Jennifer, Justin, and myself and walked eight miles of the route before we said our goodbyes. Kevin and Leigh are on a multi-year effort to complete a marathon (Kevin) and half marathon (Leigh) in each state. They had just completed runs in Oregon and Washington this past weekend and are running again this Saturday in Utah. It was great to see Kevin and Leigh after being on the road for seven weeks.
Today was once again filled with high winds that just about knocked us down at times, but the day slowly warmed. Sunglasses were even called for late in the day. Yes, in a matter of mere moments it seems our group transitioned from the wet dark forest to the dry open high desert - from hand warmers to sunblock - from sea to shining sea (ok - that last part will take 80 days). I enjoy high desert scenery, but I know it means that the heat is coming.
A shout of THANKS to my sister Kari who provided some Kinesiology Tape to me to take on the Run. I believe Jennifer benefited from using the tape today, and I might use some of the tape on my left hip as the hip is just not one hundred percent.
Once again, it is the crew that deserves the credit for getting the runners through the day - THANKS!
Scorekeeper reports the day eight times for the 30.40 miles from Ellensburg to Vantage, WA:
Justin      4:52:27  
Mike       7:09:06
Jennifer   8:05:11

Day Eight starts Cool!

Day Eight sees everyone in good spirits and ready to.... walk for awhile.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 7 - Week One Done

Make it six out of seven days of rain now, and one day of wind. Not sure I would ever write in this blog that the sun would be nice to see during the Run, but the sun was indeed a good friend this afternoon as a cold wind reduced the feel like temperature low enough so that hand warmers were again much appreciated.
23 miles on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail (yes, the trail was named after the famous actor) today and 16 miles on lightly traveled road. Once again I was running well - although it seemed to take a bit more effort to run just a tiny bit slower than previous days. One possible reason for this is the John Wayne Trail surface. It is a great trail with a fine running surface, but I believe running the stone and gravel ballast surface of the trail is just not as efficient as running a paved road. For the first time in the run my right Achilles tightened up a bit, but it is fine as I write this. As has been the case in five of the previous six days, Justin and Jennifer were out of sight in just a couple miles after the start, but I caught up to Jennifer this afternoon when she was forced to a walk due to a muscle issue. I walked with Jennifer for a number of miles this afternoon and we finished the run together. 
Scorekeeper reports the day seven times for the 39.84 miles:
Justin        6:04:55   
Jennifer  10:35:30
Mike      10:35:30

Day seven is off !

Day Sevens starts in Easton, Wa where the weather is Rainy, Windy, AND Cold;). All seem in good spirits.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day Six - Snoqualmie Pass

Eight days ago the John Wayne Pioneer Trail Snoqualmie Pass Tunnel was closed and there didn't appear to be a plan to open it soon. Well, the tunnel was opened sometime last week - definitely good news - but not for the Run since I didn't know about the tunnel being open until after we had run the extra six miles to bypass the tunnel. Everyone who knows me well knows I am beating myself up about not properly ascertaining the status (prior to today) of this mile and half long tunnel that I would have loved to run through. Enough said - all is well.
41 miles today - about 8 miles on road and 33 miles on trail - mostly on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail - also called the Iron Horse Trail and the Old Milwaukee Road. We were treated to fantastic views - the best of the run so far - as we passed Keechelus and Easton Lakes and enjoyed the scenery of the western Cascade mountains - at least when the clouds lifted. Five days out of six now we have experienced rain, but no injury issues to report.
Jennifer slowed down enough so that we could run together today. The miles passed quickly as we talked about running, friends, and family. We both got a little colder than we would have liked at several times in heavier rain periods. Hand warmers helped to fight off the cold - great thanks to the hand warmer inventor(s)!!!
Justin and Katie celebrate their first anniversary today - Happy Anniversary! Katie is returning to work, but we look forward to seeing her again in Des Moines.
I appreciate all the positive encouragement and thoughts sent our way from my family and friends/runners. Be safe out there!
Scorekeeper reports the following run times for the 41.00 mile day six:
Justin     7:05:00
Jennifer 9:22:09
Mike     9:22:09

For more pictures, please join the Facebook Group:
Run Across America on Trail
It seems to be the best way to upload current pictures at the moment until the iPad and Heidi make nice again :)

Test from iPad

Just checking to see if we can update the blog from the iPad :)
Beautiful scenery! Lots of rain!

Day Six off to a cool and WET start!

Could be snow in today's viewing.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Day Five - Perfect Weather

I have had a smile on my face for most of the last five days while running. I am fully aware that the weather has played a large part in that joy. It is much easier to run in cool weather and complete overcast as compared to running under a burning sun with temps and humidity in the 80s and 90s. The weather was absolutely perfect today - complete overcast all day - temps in the 50s - no precipitation. The odds that we will have perfect weather again on the Run is very low - but we we can always hope and pray for it! No hip issues to report today!
Lots of turns today due to city streets and the use of portions of six different trails today - Interurban Trail, Rainier Trail, Issaquah-Preston Trail, Preston-Snoqualmie Trail, Snoqualmie Ridge Trail, and the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. I really enjoyed the trails today as we one again ran through some lush green areas. Justin saw a bear cross the trail about 50 yards ahead of him while running the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail!!! WOW! Primarily due to a wrong turn I was actually able to catch and run with Jennifer for 5 or 6 miles today. I note those miles passed quickly as we had our first chance to talk about past races we have run and to discuss other run related topics.
Food has been important to Justin, Jennifer, and myself as we have to consume enough calories to fuel the body each day. On Friday and Saturday the three of us and crew went to Harmon's Hub in Tacoma for dinner. We went two nights in a row because the food was absolutely superb!!! I had Italian Sausage pizza - a small one on Friday - but I went for the large on Saturday to keep me fueled. Riley was our server both nights and we received first class service for our dinners. Thanks Riley. Joining us for dinner Saturday night was Jim and Bernadette Miller. Jim and I served together at the Navy Personnel Command in Millington, TN and it was fantastic to see Jim and Bernadette for dinner two weekends in a row as we also had a great night the previous Saturday before the Run started. Tonight Karen and I ate dinner at Scott's Dairy Freeze in North Bend which has been in business since 1951. Later Jennifer, Karen, and I went back for ice cream. I already knew that the Dairy Freeze was a fantastic place since I stopped there twice while preparing for the Run, and I was not disappointed once again as I had a super Philly Cheesesteak and fries for dinner tonight which I followed later with a hot fudge sundae with whoppers as an additional topping. Ken - who had made my Cheesesteak earlier - struck up a conversation with the three of us as we waited for our sundaes to be made. It was enjoyable to talk to Ken about the Run. Later Ken came out into the dining room and introduced himself as the Mayor of North Bend. No wonder North bend is a great place. Seriously, I note that Karen really likes this town as the view of Mount Si is exceptional. North Bend - from what I have seen - is indeed a nice place. The Mayor's business card says, "North Bend; easy to reach, hard to leave." No disagreement from me!
Scorekeeper reports the following day five times for 39.23 miles:
Justin     6:04:12
Jennifer 7:49:10
Mike      7:53:51

Day Five

Day Five is off to a good start with all in good spirits and crew enjoying Starbucks!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fourth Day - Lessons Learned(?!)

Back in July 2010, I ran the Last Annual Vol State Run - commonly referred to as Vol State. Vol State is a 314 mile run across the great state of Tennessee. The first three days of the run were oppressively hot and humid with feel like temps of 110 plus at times. Day four dawned with overcast skies and lower temps - a break in the weather!!!! However, I could not get my legs to turnover. I could walk, but I just couldn't get the legs to run. It was very disappointing - especially since "decent" running weather had finally arrived. I really, really wanted to drop out the run as I am a runner not a walker. Kevin Dorsey was crewing for me at the time and he convinced me to remain in the run. As an aside, I did drop out of the 2010 Vol State on day 6 due to shin splints.
Fast forward to day four of the Run Across America on Trail. The weather was perfect at the start - 54 degrees, overcast, no precipitation. After three good days of running the legs felt a little "heavier" this morning - and the left hip (my biggest injury concern due to previous left hip issues) wasn't 100%. Not surprisingly it took more effort to get the legs to turnover at the start, but turnover they did as I covered the first four miles of the day at exactly 11 minutes per mile. I was very happy when I looked at my watch and noted that time. However, the good times didn't last long as a rain commenced and I got just a bit colder than I would have liked. The hip didn't like that at all and I was forced to a limp by mile 6. I didn't panic. I met up with Heidi and Karen (and Daphne - our dog) at mile 7 and changed from my RaceReady split cut running shorts to my RaceReady compression shorts that I wear when biking. I did this since my hip has proven to prefer the slight compression of the compression shorts. I took some Advil and applied some Qi Extra Strength Recovery Cream. I left the Roadrunner and executed Operation Fast Walk, ie. walk quickly which I am able to do. For you number folks out there I walked mile 9 in 14:48. The hip kept feeling better and better and at mile 10 and a half I started to punctuate the walking with a little slow jogging. As the miles went on I slowly increased the running to walking ratio so much so that the I ran the last four miles of the day at 11:10 pace. I could have definitely done without the forced limping and walking today, but with the help of Heidi and Karen I was able to resolve my issue and continue the needed relentless forward motion. All in all it really was an enjoyable day of running - but days of 50 and 60 degree temperatures won't last long.
National Trails Day is the first Saturday of June each year. There were many trail event held throughout the country today at state and national parks. We did our part by running 12 of the 14 paved King County Interurban Trail miles on the 2012 National Trails Day.
Scorekeeper reports the day four run times below for the 38.06 miles:
Justin     5:57:57
Jennifer 7:13:46
Mike     8:45:35

Day Four Comes to an End

All in and feeling well!
Gray day turns to beautiful sunshine!

Fpurth Day Start-No Rain

Fourth Day starts with nice weather: cloudy and less traffic!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Day Three - Good Knee Gone Bad

This morning started on a sad note when Marty informed everyone that his knee was in no shape to continue walking the route - let alone do any running. Jennifer, Justin and I wish Marty the speediest of recovery to his knee issues. There is good news to report as Marty and his fantastic crew, Corky, are still with us, and they are going to crew for Justin and Jennifer when Katie departs in a few days.
The "on Trail" part of the run got off to a good start with the inclusion of the 14 mile paved Yelm-Tenino Trail - a rail trail. We crossed our first rail trestle over Johnson Creek(?) shortly after enjoying some views of Lake McIntosh. It was fantastic to be on the trail surrounded by a sea of green and to be off the road away from the cars. Possibly the most enjoyable part of the trail was a section about a mile and a half north of Tenino - the southern end of the trail. After the trail crosses WA-507 from the east to the west, the trail gradually ascends the side of a hill allowing for a super view of the valley below and the foothills across the valley.
The day didn't start out with rain, but the heaviest rain of the three days hit the runners this afternoon quickly soaking us. The least inviting thing about the rain was the spray sent our way by all the passing cars on the highway we ran for the last 11 miles of the day. No complaints - as it is a virtual guarantee that more spray will be sent our way by numerous cars in the upcoming days.
For the music folks out there, Waterloo played in my head all day long. Maybe I will hear a classic rock song on the way to the start on Saturday?!
Scorekeeper reports the day three finish times for the 35.82 miles:
Justin     5:13:08
Jennifer 6:46:33
Mike     7:05:08

Sprinkling is one thing....down pours are another "ballgame"!

On a side note...if you're ever in Tacoma, WA sure to stop by "The Hub"!
It was DElicious!!!!  Nice surroundings too !