Spirit of a Runner, Heart of a Warrior

I am currently writing on the state line of Utah/Colorado. I am SO excited to be here. I have always dreamed of seeing Colorado, and now I am finally here. The first town I will pass through is Dinosaur. Yes, there are lots of dinosaurs. Yes, the streets are all named after dinosaurs.

Last week I crewed for Kaitlyn, who ran 176 miles in 7 days for MS Run the US. It was so much fun to crew for her and her family, who all followed along.  There is a bit of a bittersweet feeling going on having them all leave, but, the relay must go on, and we will meet up again in Denver.

*Previously Typed (5-14-14):

“Her story is one of the many magnificent stories that we have had with our runners. Her dad, an avid cyclist, has MS. Kaitlyn is running her segment in dedication to her dad, who finds cycling to be more difficult now due to MS. He still follows a similar path as Kaitlyn, remaining active, participating in Walk MS, and enjoying the outdoors. He is crewing with us, along with Kaitlyn’s mother. Both of them are very charismatic people, always have a smile on their face, and love to crack jokes. It is great to have them around- they lighten the mood (not that it is ever “heavy”) and don’t mind us stinky runners stealing a shower in the hotel rooms that they rent as they travel alongside us.

Kaitlyn’s first few days were along a highway going through the mountains. In one day, she ran 27 miles, 20 of it going uphill, and having 4,000 feet of elevation gain. She has so much fight in her, and you can tell that she gets all of her motivation from her dad and mom. On the other side of things, you can see her parents beam in joy every time she is around. They are so happy and proud of her efforts, dad especially. The personal connection that is made between her participation in MS Run the US and her father is a powerful one, one that surely fuels her seemingly never-empty “runners gas tank”.

Charlie, the other road crew and I have began doing some documentary stuff since our official documentary crew had to head back home. We interviewed Kaitlyn on a few occasions, usually after the difficult days, and admittedly, I even got a couple of puddles in my eyes hearing her talk about why she is out here running.

I have the coolest job ever because I get to use my Jetboil and flint-striker to make oatmeal for her on the road every morning as she runs.

Yesterday, We drove out of Price, UT to begin Kaitlyn’s run for the day. Price is at the base of a large canyon, and the drive is one of the most scenic I have seen so far with MS Run the US. Huge walls and balancing rocks make up the horizon, as well as trains and the tunnels they appear from in the sides of some mountains.

After a few miles, Kaitlyn was battling with very bad knee pain, a swollen tendon from the huge climbs earlier in the week. It was causing her knee to buckle and become very stiff and immobile. We headed back to the RV and iced, heated, compressed, elevated, and massaged the area. Charlie and I cooked up some good food for her to fuel up with as well, since she lost about 4% of her body weight on the huge hill the days prior. She napped up, (and Charlie as well) and I took the quiet time to study some finance stuff for college to make sure I stay sharp in my major area over the summer.

We headed back out to the stopping point of the run around 1:30pm. Kaitlyn ran the first mile with her mom, as usual, which is an incredibly inspirational sight to see. (she also will walk the last mile with her dad each day. The togetherness of the family is beyond words.) After a mile, Kaitlyn came up to me alongside the crewing car, saying that her knee hurt so bad, and she could not do it. I had watched her limp up, and knew that she was in a lot of pain. I had also seen how much determination she has, and know she has the spirit of a runner and the heart of a warrior, and that she had some more miles in her. I offered to walk the entire night alongside her if I had to, which cracked a smile. We wound up walking together for quite a few miles, maybe 8.

I ran the rest of her day so that she could rest the knee and work on some of the swelling. As I ran, I encountered a unique feeling of joy and peace. I knew that as I ran, I was running for Kaitlyn, and ultimately for the smiling, joke-cracking, full hearted guy she calls “dad.” It carried me for 13 miles and up almost 4,000 feet of elevation, to 9,000 feet. I felt like I was doing one of the most purposeful things I had ever done, and didn’t want to stop. The family was thankful for my efforts. As always, “no worries. I just out here doing what I love for a group of people I love.”

The next day she wound up doing the whole 27 miles, unaffected by her knee. It was AWESOME!

The swelling was back the next day, and we did the coolest and most inspirational family-style relay you could ever imagine. Her whole extended family had came out, and they all shared miles for the day since her knee was so swollen. Like seriously- really swollen.  She and her dad walked the last mile together. He was, as always, smiling and being a goof, enjoying every moment. It was easy to see just how proud he was of Kaitlyn and the family for supporting a cause that was supporting him.

On the final mile of her segment, the whole family wore their MS Run the US shirts and walked to the finish line together. “

*Present day*

Jamie is now the current runner.

The campground we are at in Dinosaur is a nice little family owned place. The owner is letting the charity stay and use the facilities for free, and we thank him for the support. THANKS TOM!

Last night I grilled over a charcoal grill for the first time on the trip, making potatoes, burgers, and chicken. It was a good taste of home.

I am spending a lot of time filming and photographing, including on top of moving cars and hanging out of trunks, climbing mountains with a telelens, etc.,  as well as running all the mountains that I can get to. Love it.

 

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