Monday, October 29, 2012

No News is Good News

Things have been pretty quiet over here on the GLR. Well, as quiet as they can be what with the whole running 30 miles a day situation.

Kelcey is still doing great and progressing along her route each day, Tuco [we may or may not have named the car after a Tuco Salamanca, a meth drug lord in the official TV show of the GLR—see this post to find out what that show is] might be the best thing that ever happened to us, but other than that there isn’t much to report.

We made some time this weekend to stop by the Grand Canyon [stunning], we watched our beloved Giants win the world series [yahoo!], and realized our bed time might just be getting earlier and earlier [embarrassing].

Sydney is heading to LA on Wednesday through the weekend because her roommate from college is getting married [always a bridesmaid, never a bride….just kidding. sort of], so Darby Anderson, the director of Jill’s Legacy, is going to join Kelcey on the road. Stay tuned for their adventures!

5 days until California, 33 days until San Francisco!

life lately:
top left: showing our support for  Jog for Jill Boston [if only Hurricane Sandy could have done the same...]
top right: a certain cross country runner finishing her last mile of the day
bottom left: Jill's Legacy in the Grand Canyon
bottom right: Giants pride on the road

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

These are a few of our Favorite Things...

We’ve compiled a list of things that brighten our days. In semi-particular order:

1. Breaking Bad [if you don't watch, do yourself a favor and start. NOW. seasons 1-4 available on netflix. seriously. do it.]
2. Nuts
3. Peppermints/Gingers
4. Dried Mango [without added sugar]
5. Sparkling Water
6. Prunes
7. Whole Foods
8. The Cinema [the movies]
9. Hampton Inns
10. Crest White Strips
11. Coffee Shops [bonus points if they make a good cup of coffee]
12. 9pm bed time [no matter what!]
13. Early morning car drives listening to NPR
14. Dr. Hoy’s pain relief gel [let’s call it what it is: arthritis cream]
15. West Coast [our anthem]
16. Wine [since this post declaring complete sobriety, we realized something: life is better with wine involved. the GLR has only gotten better since]
17. Being in the Pacific Time Zone [yes. that happened today. we couldn’t be happier about it]

 See you in 11 days, California. And San Francisco? You're only 39 days away. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How New Mexico went from THE WORST to THE BEST

By now, assuming you are on facebook/twitter/instagram, you have most likely seen the new official car of The Great Lung Run. If you haven't, take a look:

To confirm: yes, that is a gold Chrysler 300. With 22 inch rims. And a diamond "22" logo on the side of the car signifying the rim size. 

Now you're probably wondering how 2 chicks in the middle of New Mexico ended up with a sweet ride like that, so allow us to explain. 

Back at the end of August, we were generously gifted Ollie, the red Ford Explorer, by the amazing Bergstrom family. In Kansas, Ollie's power steering went out (which you can read about here) and things have kind of gone downhill since. Yesterday, Sydney had a feeling that something wasn't right again and took Ollie to the Ford dealership in Grants, New Mexico. Sure enough, the mechanic listed a few things wrong with him and said we could keep pouring money into the car to fix it but since it was older, we likely would have to do just that--keep pouring money into it.

So, we set about figuring out other options and the best way to get a new car ASAP. We eventually decided selling Ollie for whatever we could get and renting a car until we could get a new one was the best option. After a frustrating morning for both of us (Kelcey because New Mexico elements--dryness, wind, heat--were getting the best of her and Sydney because the car was about to break down at any minute), we were both kind of over the entire state as of early this afternoon. 

That's where Oscar's Auto Salvage comes into the picture. Oscar's is owned by Henry, the friendly guy (wearing a 49ers sweatshirt) who greeted us when we walked in. After chatting for a while about our adventure, the 49ers, etc., he said he could offer us a bit over $1k for the car, plus a ride to Albuquerque where we could pick up a rental. We agreed and went outside to pack up Ollie. As we were doing so, Henry came outside with a "better idea" (his words, not ours).
     "Why don't you give me the explorer, and you can take my 300. I'll come pick it up in San  Francisco in a few months," said Henry.
     "Um. What?" we said.
     "You take my car and I'll come get it from you in a few months," he replied.
     [trying to remove jaws from floor] "Are you serious? Like, are you serious? ARE YOU SEROUS?" we said. 
     "Yes," he said with a straight face.

At this point, we hadn't seen the car so Sydney said quietly to Kelcey, "what's a 300?" and Kelcey replied, "I think it's a truck?" We were WRONG. Henry and his 2 brothers set about getting the car ready for us to take, while we giddily/speechlessly packed up Ollie.

To further demonstrate how snazzy this car is, we give you another snippet of conversation. Henry cleaning out car, holds up 2 pairs of headphones and says to us, "do you think you'll want these headphones for the entertainment system in the back?"
     Us: ".................................................".
Needless to say, the car has bells and whistles left and right. 
Kelcey, Sydney & Henry
On a more serious note, there are no words to express our gratitude to Henry, his brothers, and everyone who has pitched in to help us navigate this adventure. There have been frustrating days sure, but days like today and more importantly, people like Henry, are what not only make this trip possible but also so wonderful. 

We cannot wait to get to San Francisco (6 weeks from tomorrow!) and now we will arrive in more style than we ever thought possible. We are pretty certain Jilly would approve. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sh*t Gets Real on the GLR

I realize that I probably have not been as forthcoming about the challenges of this journey and I'm sure many of you have wondered what the most difficult moments have been. Sidenote: I don’t really like to talk about my feelings...scary! So, that’s why this has been so late in coming.

Let me put it out there: there have been break-downs. There have been days that I wanted to call it a quits a few miles early or moments when I felt pangs of homesickness, but those have been pretty few and far between. I know that there is an end date and a finish line, and those two things alone make it easy to get through each and every day of this adventure. Add to it the fact that I have met incredible people along the way, have my buddy and savior Sydney with me, and have Jill as my inspiration every day, and it’s even easier to keep my eyes on the prize. That said, there are moments that literally stop me, hands on my knees and tears in my eyes when I remember why, exactly, I am running across the country. When that young, beautiful, strong girl with clammy hands, forever stunted fingernails, and razor sharp teeth left this world, we lost someone incredibly special. She was special to so many in very unique ways and the pain of that loss can sometimes overwhelm me at an unexpected moment. 

Especially over the last month, since Sydney's and my routine has become so consistent, (our routine outlined here, in case you missed that post) it has been easy to think less about the reason that I am doing this run: to honor my friend Jill and to beat lung cancer. It is in the moments when I have allowed myself to truly remember Jill and that I am far from being the only one who lost her, that I have become weak in the knees and shed a tear or two ten. These moments are sad, sure, but I'm not trying to elicit sympathy or make you feel sorry for me. Mostly, because I am not the only one who loved and lost her and what often pains me is thinking about how the rest of her loved ones - parents, family, and friends, also go through each day without her. When we lose someone we sometimes catch ourselves remembering that we are sad at inopportune times. That we miss that person immensely, and that we cannot figure out how or why they are simply, physically gone. In many ways I am grateful for these moments because they mean that I can still picture Jill vividly and that my memory of her is still so close to the surface; that while she may be gone, our collective memories of her keep her around -that giggly, curious, active girl we all grew to love so, so much.

In all other aspects, and throughout almost the entire run thus far, I have been pretty positive. I believed that it would all work out and it largely has. I believed that people would be supportive and they have. I believed that it would garner some new attention for lung cancer and it has. But, I have to admit, somewhere in Indiana a terrifying thought occurred to me. It is the only other thing, aside from those overwhelming memories of Jill and our combined loss, that has caused me to cry on the side of the road. Somewhere just before Louisville, KY, my mind was wandering as usual when I suddenly thought, “what if nothing changes after this run? What if no one really pays attention and this run has no impact whatsoever on the future of lung cancer? What if I fail Jill by not making people care enough?” I stopped in my tracks. It was the first time I really allowed myself to think that the Great Lung Run might not "succeed". Luckily, I have incredible people around me who buoyed me back from the bottom and reminded me that we were already reaching new people and providing great education about lung cancer. I have my parents and my extremely wise older sister to thank for quickly reestablishing my positive outlook. 

The point is, difficult things happen in life. We lose people we love, we endure life's challenges, we go through tough times, and sometimes, we just have to cry or scream or whatever. The important thing is that we acknowledge these moments, take a deep breath, and then remember the bigger picture: to get the word out about lung cancer BIG TIME, and to beat lung cancer for everyone.

Jill Costello 12/1/87-6/24/10

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How 8 Inches Became 3,000 Miles

Camilla Salem, a former rower at Cal and one year ahead of Jill and me, started an online magazine last year called The Violet. It's a wonderful quarterly magazine, and I am proud to have had the opportunity to write a piece about Jill and Kelcey for the Fall issue. Jill and Kelcey have been incredible sources of inspiration, strength and courage to me and I am honored to have had them both in my life.

I'd love it if you would check out the the article, called Do Something that Scares You: How 8 inches became 3, 000 miles [pg. 88 & 89], but I also encourage you to browse the entirety of the magazine. Camilla and her team have a real talent for meeting people where they are, and I am lucky to be a part of this issue.

Thank you for the ongoing support. It means the world to Kelcey and me.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Weekend Summarized

This past weekend, when we weren't running or driving, we:

top left: visited the Capulin Volcano in Capulin, New Mexico [where it was snowing!!]
top right: made dinner in our hotel bathroom because we were so tired of eating out
bottom left: were dealt some pretty cold temperatures considering fall has only just begun
bottom right: met Destiny McCall, a junior in high school and aspiring Olympic runner, who joined Kelcey on her run for 15 miles

We have some great blog posts in the works for later this week, including a post from Kelcey about tough moments on the road and an article feature about the GLR in The Violet, so be sure to check back later in the week!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Day in the Life of the Great Lung Run.

We are finally in New Mexico! Officially being out of the Midwest is the most important part of this accomplishment. Of course, we had some help along the way from visitors like Gianna Toboni, Kelly McDerby, Maggie Robinson, and Allie Keeley. All of these are friends of Kelcey's from different walks of life who made long journeys just to visit little Kelc in the most random and desolate places you could think of.  They all fell right into our routine, which is second nature to us, but must be strange to our visitors. Unfortunately, you really have to experience it to understand it, but we have each outlined our daily routines to give you a glimpse into our lives. Be warned: reading these schedules will once and for all eliminate the illusion that we are living in the lap of luxury which we are sure you have assumed all along. 


-5:00 - 6:00: Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast (oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and fruit, coffee and water)6:00 - -6:30/7:00: Drive to the drop off spot for the day and part ways with Sydney which is always such sweet sorrow.
-6:30/7:00 - 1:00/2:00: Run, walk a little bit, run some more
-1:00/2:00: Sydney picks me up and we may explore a bit or do some errands. I eat a post run meal that varies from fruit and nuts to whole grain bread with cottage cheese and/or deli meat to 3 bean salad with tomato. In small towns we return to the hotel where I shower and sometimes ice bath. We then usually discuss any further developments with regards to the run - future hosts, possible visitors, press outreach, etc. We both usually have to do some computer work - emailing, blog writing, route mapping, etc while we play music and relax for a bit.
-6:00/7:00 - Go to dinner. Now, the timing on this is something we are still working to perfect. We discovered that 6:00 is really just too early, but we also generally start counting down until we can eat dinner at about 3:30. Just before 6:30 is usually the best time to sit down for our meal because it allows us to finish early enough to do all the other little things that need doing before we crawl into bed at a very reasonable hour. Finding dinner in the small towns we have passed through has perfectly demonstrated Sydney's prowess at online research and her ability to find the absolute best that these small areas have to offer. We have eaten very well so far!
-8:00 - 9:00: Watch a little bit of television and/or do some more writing and emailing.
-9:00-10:00: Both of us are in bed reading our books and trying to just finish one more chapter before we succumb to sweet, sweet sleep.

-5:30-6:00: Wake up; decide if pajamas are suitable for drop-off or if actual clothes are required; locate the nearest cup of coffee
-6:00-6:30/7: Drive to drop off spot and bid my little runner friend adieu; start counting down hours until its time to pick her up
-7:00-8:00: Drive back to hotel
-8:00-12:30/1:00: review routes; research hotels, hosts and organize plans for next day; contact local newspapers and media; workout [Kelcey can’t be the only one logging some serious exercise time! Shout out to Shaun T. and Insanity for whipping [read: torturing] me into shape every day]; grocery shop; write; research dinner options [literally my best skill and contribution to the Great Lung Run]
-12:30-2:00: drive to pick up Kelcey and back to hotel
-2:00-6:30: read/write/relax/explore town
-6:30: the time we have been waiting for all day. Dinner! Dinners usually consist of veggies and protein. And water. Have we mentioned The Great Lung Run is a dry adventure? We aren’t thrilled about it. But hey. Extreme athlete over here, what can we say?
-8:00-9:00: watch TV
-9:00-10:00: read and try not to laugh at Kelcey who has fallen asleep holding her iPad while reading [happens every. single. night]

We even dress alike.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Updates from the Great Lung Runner Herself.

What a day! I covered another 33 miles in Oklahoma and ended the afternoon only 23 miles from the New Mexico State Line! I am very, very excited to officially make it out of Oklahoma tomorrow afternoon. The day was full of other highlights that I will share. 

I started off the morning feeling great, aside from some tight shoulders (the result of wearing my backpack and getting dehydrated while I am running). It has been so interesting to note very slight differences in how my legs feel everyday, at any given time while I am running. Today was a good day because my legs felt great and I was able to go a little faster than usual. I say faster, but keep in mind the fastest I go these days is still only 6 mph. Not the speed  am used to from my pre-GLR running days. 

About 4 hours into my run, after a cool morning and great start to the day, I had another awesome experience. I noticed a group of people, vans, and bikes stopped on the side of the road in Oklahoma. Keep in mind, there is literally nothing else to see - not a town, a store, or even a Church. It was just me, the cars, and endless fields in every direction for the whole day. I gave a wave and asked if they were cycling across the country. They were and when I told them I was running across the country, they insisted I stop to chat and take come pictures. I love the instant bond that exists between people taking part in almost any active endeavor. They were a good sized group cycling with Trek Travel from Santa Barbara, CA to Charleston, NC. As we took pictures and I told them my name, story, website, etc one of the cyclists came up to me, said my name and then introduced himself (unnecessarily) as Tom Krummel. Tom and his wife are dear friends of my parents who also live in California. We embraced, laughed and caught up. It was to the surprise of everyone that two people who actually knew each other would happen to cross paths along the most random road in Oklahoma. Meeting the folks traveling with Trek Travel simply made my day. 

I continued on as I still had a few miles to cover before meeting up with Sydney. The last couple hours were really hot and dry, I stress the hot. Also, as an added bonus, it seemed the flies really came out to play just as I was losing the high of meeting the Trek Travel group and as the temperatures seemed to rise with every mile. Luckily, Sydney passed me in the car not too long after and I got to ditch my backpack and grab a quick sip of cold water before finishing the last mile. THEN, of course, about 1/4 mile from the car I took my first fall of the entire trip so far. I full on tripped and somersaulted on the asphalt (into the road, luckily at a time when no cars were coming). It was embarrassing, but considering Sydney didn't even see me and there was not another live creature in sight, I didn't feel too bad. 

Well, those are the highlights for today. Tomorrow we officially cross into New Mexico and will have covered over 1,800 miles!

Top left: some Trek Travel cyclists; Top right: Tom Krummel;
Bottom: October 2, 2012 sunrise in Oklahoma

Monday, October 1, 2012


See that number above? That, ladies and gentlemen, is the total number of miles Kelcey has run since she started. It's a very important and monumental number because it marks the halfway point of the run. THE HALF WAY POINT, PEOPLE!! 9 weeks down, 9 to go! And Kelcey is looking stronger than ever if I do say so myself.

Today was also a special run because Kelcey was joined by two of her friends from Harvard, Maggie Robinson & Allie Keeley, who were some serious troopers and kept up with her the whole way. 

Maggie, Kelc & Allie post run

Just a few more days left in Oklahoma before crossing the border to New Mexico [which is the official marker in our minds of being on the west coast (and if you disagree with us, don't tell us. seriously.)]