Day 20! 20% done, well time-wise and if all goes according to plan, which so far it has not – but I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts on this journey and a few have talked about the power and utility of chaos. For a woman with a color-coded daily planner, chaos is not my preferred method. Nonetheless, I have to give some credence to the idea that it is very very useful to be comfortable in the unknown, the unpredictable, the chaotic. This run has been chaotic, monotonous chaos, but chaos nonetheless. Nature is inherently chaotic. There are no straight lines in nature. No black and white and often no discernable pattern. Being comfortable in that environment means you have to have both focus and confidence. Focus on the priorities and confidence in your ability to flex. I knew I was going to have to be able to flex going into this, just was not aware of how much and how early. I wrote earlier about the importance of symbols and how this run was symbolic to me. Part of that symbolism was running route 66 through my home town in Illinois. Sadly I made the call this week to run a more direct route to Virginia Beach. The decision was hard. The thought of running along my old high school cross country routes, with my family and friends was a giant motivating factor for me. I moved away from my hometown 13 years ago, but have always kept that community in my heart. I’m chronically homesick and know that so much of who I am as a person comes from that place. Still, that place also taught me the value of practicality over sentimentality. For a whole host of practical reasons, the new route gives me the best chance of finishing this thing healthy and in time for other commitments in November. That being said, my sister has already offered to throw me a celebratory party after I finish J Check out the new route and dates here.

Overall week 3ish was a very good week. We hit our mileage goal every day, I feel rested and healthy, and I’ve begun to actually enjoy the miles. Coming out of the desert to Phoenix, I felt like I was a phoenix rising from the proverbial ashes of a wasteland. I’m sure having Team Hoyt AZ with me was the spirit-bolster. Let’s talk about that group for a minute. Most of those members live in Tucson, 2 hours from Phoenix. Most I’ve never met, a few had special needs children to care for, and yet with 5hours notice they showed up in the middle of the desert and THANKED ME for letting them come along on the journey. THANKED ME! I was so stoked to have such awesome company, I didn’t shut up the whole night. To top it off, one of the members Mark ran the whole night with me. He’d never run an ultra before, obviously wasn’t training for this endeavor, and never once complained. Where did I get so lucky to have these people in my life? Phoenix also meant lunch with one of my friends from college (did I really graduate 10 years ago?). I was exhausted and actually thought about cancelling lunch, soooo glad I didn’t. We caught up, ranted, even had a few brunch cocktails. Then, because the universe has decided that I somehow deserve the most amazing village ever, I got two nights with Laura Sutton – a friend who I swear lives every hour in service of someone or something else. She organizes all the Runs for the Fallen and is currently organizing a massive run across the nation for next year to honor gold star families. If you’re at all jazzed about my run, check out this awesome event and get involved! More at http://www.runforthefallen.com.

We set out for higher and greener pastures on Monday, trading heat for elevation. Tuesday was pretty awful – yelling at the mountains awful, so we’ll just move on from there. (note the mountains gave zero f$%^s about me yelling). Wednesday, we decided to try some day running like normal humans and it was pretty good – weather stayed reasonable and the views were exactly what a soul needs – expanses of green earth and blue skies. The hills were brutal, and I did A LOT of walking, but we got the miles in, even ran most the downhill singing Beyonce and Meatloaf as loud as my lungs could manage. I must have looked like a freak. Today’s rest day was awesome. I had a whiskey sour at a local tavern. I chatted with locals and vacationers, took care of admin, and finally ate a decent day of calories. Wrapping up this rest day I feel ready for the next week or so of running, excited for what’s to come, hopeful my body holds it together, and grateful for this opportunity. 

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