Spartan Race Entry Giveaway

Twitter-Post_880x440_Memorial-DayHave you tried a Spartan race yet? Here’s your chance to win a free entry anywhere in the Continental US!

Here’s my video on why you should do a Spartan race and the ONE reason you might not want to.

Direct YouTube Link

Race Report from my very first Spartan.

PS: Spartan has just released a limited discount code, MEMORIAL, that will give up to $40 off of race registration.

To Win a Free Entry:

Simply leave a comment below telling me why you want to do a Spartan race. I will choose a winner at random on June 1. The entry will work one time for any open heat in any Spartan Race in the Continental US.

Good luck, buttercup!

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Check out my books:

Daughters of Distance 

The Summit Seeker

Milk-Dispensing Mamas (A Daughters of Distance Excerpt)

I didn’t get a chance to post this yesterday for Mother’s Day, but I couldn’t skip this opportunity to call out some remarkable endurance mothers who managed to breastfeed while covering crazy mileage. Below is an excerpt from my new book, Daughters of Distance, dedicated to supporting and empowering women in endurance. You can purchase the entire book here.

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Milk-dispensing Mamas

There’s a photo of endurance trail runner Emma Roca with her three children at a cross-country ski resort in France that strikes me as a raw image of motherhood.

Emma is in full racing gear sitting in what appears to be the back of a car. She’s wearing a Buff company jersey, a buff on her head, sunglasses on top of her buff, and GPS strapped to her wrist. She is obviously ready to run.

Except…her shirt is halfway up her chest and her breasts are exposed with two beautiful half-asleep babies feeding on both sides. Peeking out underneath her cleavage is a heart rate monitor strap. Emma is wearing a huge, makeup-less smile with one more golden-haired, droopy-eyed toddler hanging contentedly off her neck. Emma’s husband, David, was out training when this photo was taken. Right after him, Emma trained.

As serene and iconic as Emma Roca’s photo is, the real story isn’t how easy she makes it look, but how hard it really is. When iRunFar asked Emma what the hardest and most fulfilling experiences in her athletic career were, she said it was training while breastfeeding.

Keep in mind: this is from a woman who has raced in extreme cold and extreme heat, pushing through hallucinations and severe sleep deprivation. She has suffered from a foot infection and has broken her wrist only to continue cycling (a teammate had to change the gears for her). She has raced duathlons, triathlons and adventure races. She has won world championships. She describes some of these experiences as difficult, and then puts breastfeeding at the top of the list.

To keep her production of milk going, Emma would pump her breasts during adventure races, then drink her own milk. She would tell her team it was her magic potion. Other women reported using fenugreek to maintain or increase milk production.

Some other examples of breastfeeding trail mamas include:

  1. Emily Baer

This ultrarunner was mentioned in Born to Run for her feat at the 2007 Hardrock 100: she completed the race while stopping at every aid station to breastfeed her infant son. Despite the delay, she still finished eighth overall, besting ninety other infant-less men and women.

  1. Jennifer Benna

For the entire running season of 2011, Jennifer had a tiny breast-seeking infant nearby. She ran the Way Too Cool 50K at five months post-partum, and during the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 she instructed her dad to meet her with a breast pump so she could race near the front of the pack. She remained competitive despite the sleep deprivation of being a new mom and the stress of moving to a new city. Jennifer found herself running faster so she could get home to her baby girl.

  1. Liza Howard

At the age of 42, Liza Howard set a course record at the Umstead 100 by running a 15:07 while stopping several times to use a breast pump on the floor of an outhouse. Liza stayed close to her baby during training by running up to 40 miles on a treadmill in her garage. She started her 40-miler at 9 p.m. and marked off every mile on a white board.

  1. Jennifer Pinarski

Jennifer Pinarski ran the Winnipeg Birds Hill Sprint Triathlon when her son was five months old. She nursed him ten minutes before the start, although trying to breastfeed in a wet suit was a challenge. By the end of her race, her breasts were sore from being crammed into racing gear but she managed to clock a personal record.

  1. Kelly Gould

Kelly Gould took on the challenge of Ragnar SoCal when her son was 17 months old. She covered a 200-mile relay with a team of 12 other mothers. They called themselves Team RIOT Moms. Kelly had to leave for her race before her baby was awake, so she pumped before she left. Her husband then met her at designated points along the course so she could nurse and she continued pumping in the team van. Team RIOT moms completed 200 miles from Huntington Beach to San Diego in 32 hours.

  1. Barbara Olmer

Barbara finished the Rocky Racoon 100 in 2013 while stopping to pump every 20 miles. She estimates she lost about 20 minutes of running time at every pump break. She struggled with nutrient depletion and a pulled groin, but when she finished she was presented with an award for “Most Miles Breastfed.” Her Rocky Raccoon finish now means more to her than her Hardrock buckle. Barbara writes, “All you new mothers—go run and fear not; the mind will take you places you never imagined and the body will follow suit.”

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Read more in Daughters of Distance. Please consider leaving an Amazon review.

Follow Daughters of Distance on Facebook.

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What’s It Like to Quit Your Job and Travel?

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Check out my books:

Daughters of Distance 

The Summit Seeker

The Last Aid Station

The story of Jup and Pat to me has been like the story of the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady vs sleek and fast. They each finished in their own style and ultimately they both made it to the end.

It has been a huge inspiration to watch Jup cover the same mileage, only self-supported and carrying an additional 30-lbs of gear. It was also inspiring to watch Pat run a marathon on his rest day and place third.

There is no right or wrong way to finish a Transcon, though I personally relate best to Jup’s style. I need to take my time and be as self-sufficient as possible. I’ve learned a lot from both Jup and Pat’s successes and mistakes. Pat has been a constant friend, and it’s obvious that Jup will be a lifelong friend as well.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled this thing is almost over. The last month has been really hard on me and at one point there was a conversation between Shacky and I about whether we should suck it up or just bail. We didn’t think Pat could finish without us, so we stuck around. This is hard, hard shit.

I’m slowly composing a (hopefully not whiny but realistic) post about the realities of crewing. It’s challenging because I’ve felt pretty whiny lately. Shacky even set a new rule for me: I’m not allowed to speak in the morning until I’ve finished my coffee. And I’d appreciate it if nobody else speaks to me either.

Part of being a good crew is staying positive and shielding your runner from any negativity or stress. This creates a misconception to anyone watching on social media about what crewing truly entails. You can’t really be truly honest while the event is on. We’ve had some volunteer crew who assumed our lives were unicorns and rainbows and were sorely disappointed by our shitty duties when they showed up for work.

No, we don’t get the privilege or glory of running. If you actually have energy to run, you’re not crewing right. If your runner thinks you aren’t doing anything while they’re gone and wonders why you don’t have more energy to play… that’s damn fine crewing. We were damn fine crew.

Anyhoo.

Next week it’s back to our old uneventful life of trails and books and music and not ever knowing what time it is. And politely declining anyone’s request to crew their Transcon (two so far). We’re on #crewtirement for at least a year, folks. #youdon’tknowwhatyou’reasking

I kind of wish I were coming to the finish line with more energy and well-wishes and celebratory tones, like Pat at the end of the day when he still wants to run but we’re like, please God no more.

I’m just staggering in with the last ounce of hoorah I can muster. It’s not much, but a couple of stupid grins at least. Then this introvert will need months and months of alone time in the woods to fully recover my old goofy self.

I confessed to Jup that I don’t even really want to be at the finish. I just want to bail yesterday and run for the hills. It doesn’t feel like my triumph or anything to do with me. It feels like a one-man show and I’m happy enough to disappear into the shadow of the closest mountain.

I keep saying that Jup and Pat are finishing, but as Jup reminds me—WE are finishing. We are all finishing. We did it together. We were a team.

I guess he’s right.

WE DID IT!

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What’s It Like to Quit Your Job and Travel?

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Check out my books:

Daughters of Distance 

The Summit Seeker

The Journey is Better Than the Finish Line

As we fast approach the end of this Transcon it strikes me that this moment—right now—is probably the best part of it. The anticipation, the knowledge that you’re almost there, the realization that you’ve just done a crazy and awesome thing. That you’re still doing it now. That you’re going to finish. That you’re so close.

I expect the finish line to be bittersweet. We’ll be glad that we’re done, but sad that we’ll be leaving our friends who are also our family. For Shacky and I there will be the lure of a new adventure on the horizon, a new project, a new crazy and awesome thing to be done.

In case I get caught up in the flurry of the finish, I wanted to take a quiet moment this morning to thank each and every one of you who have followed, commented, donated, or liked our adventure. If you’ve been lurking but haven’t really commented, please take a moment to shoot us a message or a quick note. We so appreciate you and we couldn’t have done this without your interest. To everyone who hosted us, bought us a meal, donated a hotel room, or gave to our gofundme account—THANK YOU. You are the reason this was possible.

My takeaway from this entire journey has been #community. If I ever doubted in the goodness of humanity, I doubt no longer. Across the country, through every state, in each city, we found generosity and hospitality and understanding and open arms. This is a good, good country. We should be proud.

The fact of this hit me harder than any other person on this journey because I was the one making arrangements for food, lodging, and other needs. I was the connector between runner and host. Between athlete and donor. It was a difficult job but also an easy job because of good people like you.

There were so many more things I wanted to do, especially around media and coverage. But one person can only do so much and my #1 priority was and always is the safety and (relative) comfort of the runners. Sometimes finding a place to spend the night was an all-day job. I’m satisfied that I did as much as I could, and then some.

There were frustrations of course, and hard days. I knew those would come. But they didn’t come as often as I imagined. We were a great team. As I posted on our Facebook page yesterday, my takeaway motto for this entire trip is:

“Have faith in yourself, but also have faith in your brother.”

Yes, sometimes we’ll get bruised or bumped, but more often than not we’ll be pleasantly surprised.

The next town over is never as dangerous as you think.

Keep following us on Facebook!

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Dude, Did you just shoot at my runner?!

It’s a Twister! It’s a Twister!

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Check out my books:

Daughters of Distance 

The Summit Seeker

Washington! We are heeeeere!

Washington! We are heeeeere!

vanessaruns:

WOW! We are only a marathon away from Washington D.C.! We will be running in there tomorrow and we’re still not sure whether we’ll get to meet any Presidents. Stay tuned.

It’s so hard to believe that we were supposed to finish our Transcon here four months ago. Now instead we are running on to finish in Boston by completing the Boston Marathon course. Join us! Our brother Jup is hauling ass to finish up with us too. GO JUP!! RSVP on our Facebook Event Page.

Our Mississippi and Tennessee videos are also up! Check them out:

Direct YouTube Link

Direct YouTube Link

My books is doing amazingly well. Thanks to everyone who has shared, read, or bought it. You can now get both the hard copy and e-versions on Amazon.

And don’t forget to follow the Daughters of Distance Facebook page!

Hope to see you in Boston, friends.

Onward!

Originally posted on Jup's Blog:

Sun was out and I was off heading for Natural Bridge. I was still in a bit of pain so needed some more pills and dropped into the Star Mart and Met Vijay. He was super stoked on mine and Pats run and hooked me up with a few bars for the trip. Thanks so much bro.

Day 25Day 21

Day 23Day 22

As I was going up the road and saw a couple of trekkers walk across the road, I knew the Appalachian Trail was close but it was right there. Gotta come back and do it one day.

Day 28Day 27

Day 26Day 29

There was a so sweet views on the road today and I found this pumpkin head. Haven’t found to much lately maybe Pat has found it all.

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Day 213Day 212

Day 211Day 218 Day 210

My feet were killing me by the early afternoon and I wasn’t getting far quick, then I saw this one car heading for me and Just as I…

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Dude, did you just shoot at my runner?!

Dude, did you just shoot at my runner?!

vanessaruns:

Guns, guns, and more guns. Guns have certainly been the theme for the last few days as we ran to and through Knoxville. I was expecting something a little closer to the tourism of Memphis, but it was a lot more sketchy and a few sections were scary.

We did run through some beautiful forest roads and waterfalls in Ozone, Tennessee, but Pat also heard one guy either shoot at him, or shoot in the air as he ran by on the public highway.

That incident really pissed me off and I can only hope there was some misunderstanding, like maybe he was shooting off his bicycle lock because he couldn’t remember the combination and he had to go to the market to get fresh kale. And Pat just happened to run by.

The second incident happened in Knoxville when Pat saw a couple of plain-clothes guys banging on a door with guns out and ready. It was a shady neighborhood and he didn’t stick around to see what happened.

As a result, Pat has been posting a lot of anti-gun ideas on his Facebook page and it has been raising quite a stir and debate, as this issue always does. I’m just trying to focus on crewing and keeping Pat safe as he navigates some shitty experiences.

Pat is definitely right about one thing though: sometimes people use guns to point and intimidate. The goal is to make us feel fear. Our greatest revenge is to never feel fearful. Not ever.

Knoxville was a nightmare to crew. We ran right by the college. The roads were narrow, a lot of one way streets, and no place to park. Pat had to make a few turns and we couldn’t be there to make sure he turned (he did). We met him later outside of town but it was a stressful stretch. It was also really hot and no good for the animals in the RV. Cities like that make us feel like caged beasts.

A couple days ago I took my bike out to ride with Pat and we both missed a turn. I blame myself since I’m the crew and I also plotted the route and should know where the hell I’m going. We ended up running for 7 miles before we figured maybe something was wrong and we called Shacky. In the end, we rerouted so the mileage loss was minimal. A new #crewfail for me.

The biggest highlight of Tennessee so far was staying with Leanne and then Mikki. They were both amazing hosts and Mikki had a dog-friendly everything. Ginger and Kitty loved it there.

Mikki is training for a body-building competition so we got a chance to chat with her about training and diet. I have a great admiration for what she’s doing. It takes a tremendous amount of commitment and dedication, but she has a goal in mind and she’s working full force towards it.

We’ll be crossing the border into Virginia in two days! I can’t wait! It’s supposed to rain most of the afternoon today (again) but we’d like to cover another 40 miles if possible. Pat is out there right now running in the rain. These weather patterns are so confusing. Yesterday was a scorcher and today it’s pouring and cloudy. Hello, spring.

With every step we are thinking of our buddy Jup, just a short ways behind us and primarily self-supported. Be sure to check out his adventures below.

Onward!

Originally posted on Jup's Blog:

A beautiful morning as I headed out of Nashville into the rush of traffic coming into the city, I past this lake first up and it set a nice mood in my head as I battled with little or no shoulder.

Day 211Day 212

So I wanted to show you the shoulder on the road, It can go from this big wide one on a larger road and hone on the next 3 photos go right down to nothing and running with the buggy I stock out a hell of a lot , I do feel a bit bad as everyone thinks I have a baby inside and they stop quickly and hold up traffic more, sorry everyone.

Day 215

Day 216   Day 217   Day 218

It was a nice road today with rolling hills not to big and lots to look at.

Day 213Day 214Day 29Day 26Day 25Day 24 Day 222Day 223

More shots

Day 219Day 224Day 228Day 227Day 28Day 27

I wasn’t feeling good in the stomach this morning for some reason and…

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Run It Fast Love & Estimated Finish Date

Run It Fast Love & Estimated Finish Date

vanessaruns:

Did some mapping yesterday and discovered we’re less than a week away from finishing the state. Our schedule at 40-mile days is:

Tue 7-Apr Clarkrange, TN
Wed 8-Apr Lenoir City, TN (Knoxville)
Thurs 9-Apr Strawberry Plains, TN (Knoxville)
Fri 10-Apr Rogersville, TN
Sat 11-Apr Kingsport, TN
Sun 12-Apr Bristol, TN

I’m excited to get into VA but can’t believe Tennessee is almost over. We are currently looking for a mail drop in Roanoke, VA. We need a home that can receive care packages for us. We have been averaging around 5 boxes per mail drop. We are a couple weeks away from reaching Roanoke.

Last night we had an awesome time with Run It Fast runner Leanne Goodwin Dibrell. Pat said, “This is the nicest place we have ever stayed!” She had a beautiful home in Cookeville, TN. We got in some showers and laundry and pizza! Thanks Leanne for your awesome hospitality.

Today we’ll be knocking out another 40 miles and spending the night with body builder Mikki. She has been graciously accepting our mail for the past couple of weeks. Thanks Mikki! And thanks to Jeff Genova for hooking us up with these awesome people.

Pat has been alternating between sandals and Altras. The Altras are a relief on his Achilles and they help him get the miles in pain-free. He is still in high spirits even though it has been raining daily.

We have now started counting down the miles instead of counting up—only a hair over 1,000 left to run to Boston! We are on track to finish on May 10th if we can continue at this pace. That would give Pat enough time to fly back to California for Born to Run. He is interested in the 100-miler.

Shacky and I wouldn’t have time to drive back in time for Born to Run so we’ll sadly miss it this year. Our plan so far is to hang around the East coast until our better half Jup Brown finishes and celebrate with him. I’m also hoping to meet up with my family in New York if they can fly down.

Back to crewing!

Originally posted on Jup's Blog:

Last night there was a pretty full moon so I got out the camera to take a couple of shots but it didnt come out that well, looks like a evening shot aye. oh well I was a bit sleepy and just wanted to go to bed.

Day 29Day 24

Today the goal wasn’t really going to happen right from the kick off as I was in a slow mood , well maybe just a chill mood. I headed up taking ages and only got to 31 miles but still into double bonus miles which is over 30. I head up about 3 miles short of Scotts Hill which is I would say bigger than the 5 houses in this town.

Day 231Day 229

The road was good again but not much shoulder to play with so had to keep a watch for traffic, The sun tried all day to come out but didnt really make…

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It’s a Twister! It’s a Twister!

It’s a Twister! It’s a Twister!

vanessaruns:

Pat knocked out another 40+ miles on Friday on the route I plotted which put him right in the middle of a tornado warming. Oops. #crewfail

We ended up Columbia just before the storm hit and hid out in the RV (which you’re not supposed to do in a tornado). But it’s not like I was going to leave my kitty behind…

Anyhoo! We survived to run again. Yesterday Pat ran to his friend Marisa’s town in Murfreesboro and we called it an early day at 50K to spend some time with her and her family. Many thanks to Marisa for hosting us!

After a leisurely morning it’s back on the road for another 20 or so miles to wrap up the day. Next week it’s off to the post office to mail off some goodies to everyone who has donated to The 100 Mile Club! Don’t forget:

For the month of April, for every $20 donation to The 100 Mile Club we will be mailing you a postcard from the Team with at least one grammatical or spelling error guarantead.

For every $50 donation we will mail you an autographed copy of The Summit Seeker plus a trinket that Pat Sweeney has found on the side of the road that is not fecal.

Donate online at: http://www.tinyurl.com/runwithusamerica.

Remember to message us your mailing address if you donate!

I’m also excited today because the hard copy proof of my book arrived in the mail. We are still 85 miles from our mail drop, but I may be able to figure something out with Mikki, our gracious host, to pick it up early. Once I approve this proof I can start selling paper copies of my book. Woohoo!

Thanks to everyone how has bought the Kindle version, shared it, and supported the project. Remember to leave an Amazon review!

Onward!

Originally posted on Jup's Blog:

It was a cool night last night and my hide away camp spot was great , didnt get told to leave so I was happy. I headed off at 7am and had the goal of Linden town. I was aiming for here as as I could see the hotel there was the only one for miles. I wanted a shower.

Day 22Day 23Day 24Day 25

A great sunrise and not a lot of traffic on the roads for a start but got busy later, The road was pretty narrow and a lot of cars were stopping as my buggy was sticking out a lot. sorry. I pasted through a few small towns and some nice countryside on the 34 miles I did today. One thing i did notice was everyone was out cutting their lawns, I mean every house had some riding a mower.

Day 233Day 234Day 28Day 27Day 29Day 210

There was a lot of water and rivers on route today…

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Media Coverage, Severe Weather Warnings, and New Focus

Media Coverage, Severe Weather Warnings, and New Focus

vanessaruns:

Woke up this morning to some wonderful media links covering our exploits!

Jup Brown’s coverage on the local news in the Delta:

Direct YouTube link.

And Patrick Sweeney’s awesome podcast interview with Ten Junk Miles.

GO TEAM!

Pat had a 40+ mile day yesterday with only one storm passing through. He sat in the RV for about 20 minutes until the downpour passed and the sun came out again.

We’ve been skirting some severe weather warnings, so the plan today is to stay close to Pat and throw him in the RV if the weather turns. Today there’s a high winds advisory in our area.

We’ll be stopping near Columbia, TN and we’ll be just south of Nashville in two days!

In the next few days Pat will be changing focus and pace. We’ll focus on primarily running and covering as many miles as possible in a day, roughly estimating around 40-50 miles daily.

I always knew Pat was a talented athlete but it has been amazing to watch him transform into an even stronger and more reliable machine. Our bodies are mind-blowingly amazing, friends. Never doubt what your body can do.

Originally posted on Jup's Blog:

Got up at 6am, ate and packed up my stuff to get on the road by 7. The sun is raising a bit earlier now so good to get out there early and get a few miles  done before the heat. I aren’t breaking any records in the speed area so good to have a extra hour. As you can see the skies were magic again.

Day 22

A really nice road today with trees and heaps of water around , Started on route 64 then changed to the 100 which was less traffic but a little narrower. The cars and trucks are pretty good so as long as I keep a eye on them coming I just take what room I need for the buggy.

Day 221Day 217Day 216Day 214Day 215 Day 220

Just around Lunch time I decided to chill out for a bit and took he shoes and socks off. To good of a day not…

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Who wants a Postcard? Arkansas Video and Another 50+ Miles

Who wants a Postcard? Arkansas Video and Another 50+ Miles

vanessaruns:

Our Arkansas video is up! Check it out:

Direct YouTube link

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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:

For the month of April, for every $20 donation to The 100 Mile Club we will be mailing you a postcard from the Team with at least one grammatical or spelling error guarantead.

For every $50 donation we will mail you an autographed copy of The Summit Seeker plus a trinket that Pat Sweeney has found on the side of the road that is not fecal.

Donate online at: http://www.tinyurl.com/runwithusamerica.

Remember to message us your mailing address if you donate!

*

It was another smashing day yesterday with 50+ miles covered. We finished near Decateurville, Tennessee. We are very much enjoying this hilly route. Pat loves the change of muscles and he’s feeling great. Thanks to Laz for routing us through here.

I had a good day of pushups and situps. Yes, I am still doing Jup’s original challenge of one pushup for each Transcon day. I often forget what day we’re on, so I round to the nearest five. Today I did 80 pushups and 80 situps. I am also trying to catch up on situps since I didn’t realize until day 50 that I was supposed to be doing them (I’m on Day 65). My abs will thank Jup someday… but not today.

Ginger and I got in a good 5K run today. That’s the most she has been able to run with us since we started crewing. I decided I’m going to start paying a lot more attention to her, even if I have to run with her on a leash on the side of the road. (We needed to lie down for a few minutes at the 4K mark, but that’s ok cause it was a hot day and some of us don’t have sweat glands.) No bike riding for me today since there was no shoulder and a lot of blind hills—I didn’t feel safe on the bike.

We ended our long day by pulling over at a bp gas station. They had a large back lot where we were out of the way. No thanks to bp for kicking us out and threatening to call the cops on us even when we had explained our situation. BOO bp, you suck. We ended up having to drive in the rain and in the dark to find another spot.

For the most part people have been friendly, but definitely cautious of our presence. At nearly every aid station we have someone approach us and ask what we’re doing there. We usually explain ourselves and it’s cool. This is the first spot where we’ve been forced to leave.

From now on we’re going to start finishing an hour before sunset to make sure we have a safe place to park for the night. This could mean earlier starts if we want to cover the same mileage.

Today we’ll take a shorter day since we have a mail drop on the 7th and our current mileage puts us way ahead of it. I’m getting my book proof delivered on the 7th—the final approval I need to give before selling hard copies of Daughters of Distance. We’ll use the time to catch up on some wifi chores for Pat (audio books, anyone?) and hit up a post office.

It’s looking like we’ll take a rest day in Nashville to meet up with some of Pat’s old school friends. Any recommendations for must-sees in Nashville?

Thanks as always for reading and following! Shout out to our better half, our buddy Jup! His updates below.

Originally posted on Jup's Blog:

I had a wicked time in Memphis and it was great to visit and learn so much in 2 days but it is time to move forward toward Nashville the next big point on this amazing journey. It was a long way out the east side of Memphis and the road changed so much , so really nice parts of town and some not so nice.

Day 21Day 23Day 216Day 217

Got to meet some awesome people this morning which I loved. The first 2 guys just couldn’t believe what me and Pat are doing and kept asking where I had got rides from along the way , haha. The second photo is of Starsky, awesome guy . He had been going through a lot of shit and has just sorted himself out and was in a great happy place which was awesome to see. Keep that mind set bro and please keep in touch.

View original 375 more words

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