pretty awesome…in every way
- day 10
I’m sitting here at home a little sore and very tired and exhausted reflecting on what I’ve just been through for the last couple of days. Being a part of Rev3’s Run Across America for Ulman Cancer Fund has been a pretty awesome experience in every way possible. A little over a week ago, the Rev3 staff had just started their 21-day 3,080-mile adventure, and I was tracking their progress and saying how lucky they were to be a part of something so amazing. A few days later, I happened to see an email cross my inbox saying that they could use some relief runners along the way. It would be crazy to join in on something like that, right? (Being the planner type, I’m not sure most people would ever use the word “spontaneous” to describe me.) No, it’d actually be crazy to let such a great opportunity slip by! A couple days later, plans were finalized, and I was buying plane tickets out to Texas and back home from Oklahoma. I was actually going to run with the group for a couple days! A few days later, having not slept much those few nights before (being so excited about the trip), I woke up at 3 am to fly out to Amarillo. When I finally got there, Chris was driving me off to meet up with the group.
These days, we all seem to know people who have been affected by cancer in some way. Some people are going through some very tough times. Some people very much need the support that Ulman Cancer Fund provides. The Rev3 family gets that. When I showed up, it was good to see a couple familiar faces from Ulman / Team Fight. Most of the people, though, were strangers to me. They were all cool, though, and welcomed me right it. Putting a positive spin on everything, though, people were definitely exhausted. Things ached. They’d been doing this for over a week now. They were tired. They were hungry. Things smelled kinda funny. I knew I’d be joining the group at about the halfway point. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. I figured a week’s worth “eat when you need to eat, sleep when you need to sleep, and run all day and all night” would be wearing on people with the ending not yet quite in sight. The first day I ran with the group, it was windy, it was cold, it was raining, I kept getting chased by little cattle herding dogs, and it was just pretty miserable running weather in general (Dallas had just been hit by some pretty bad tornados). It was inspiring to see how people kept marching on though. The group really understood that they were a part of something so big. I’d heard the stories of the things they’d seen along the way, the times that they’d shared, and the stories that they’d heard from local folks who had been affected by cancer. As much as running sucked at that point, they knew that some people were going through worse. There were people out there that would much rather be doing what we were doing. So, we kept moving forward raising money and awareness for those folks who couldn’t be out there running with us. When you put it all into perspective, it makes the miles pass a little easier.
The weather cooperated much better on the second day. I definitely got to run where I’d never run before. Life is different in Oklahoma. There are miles and miles of wide open spaces, more cows than people, and country music on every station. We’d go from small town to small town along huge stretches of road at a time. I didn’t have quite the energy I’d had the day before. It had been a long night before in the RV trying to catch some sleep on a bed that was about a foot shorter than me. Things were still doing OK, though, so I was definitely willing to try to do a couple more miles here and there to try to help out where I could. Before I knew it, my running was done for the day. I got cleaned up, got a ride to Oklahoma City, and got on a plane back to Baltimore. Before getting on the plane, though, the folks in the security line had a confused look when they tried to make sense of my jumbled bag. I found it pretty difficult to even remotely explain to them what I’d just been a part of. By 2 am, I was back in my own bed, passed out, and trying to rest up for work the next morning.
The last couple of days have definitely been very different, but it’s back to reality now. Over the past few years, I’ve had family members battle cancer (and some lose the battle). I’ve had friends battle the disease as well. It’s been great racing for Team Fight over the last couple of years. I’ve met great people (including awesome survivors), and I’ve gotten to do some cools stuff. Sometimes, it’s just much more meaningful to race for some bigger purpose rather than to just do the same old race. To be a part of something like Run Across America has been really awesome and means a lot to me. I’ll definitely never forget it. I know the great work that Ulman Cancer Fund does. I see a small part of it when I work with our Cancer to 5K group. I’m extremely thankful to Charlie and the rest of the folks at Rev3 that I met along the way who took on this incredible challenge to help out, in a huge way, the things that I’ve been racing for over the last couple of years. I know the awareness and the funds raised mean a huge deal to the Ulman group. It’s been great to see how well the Rev3 staff has been working together with the staff at Ulman Cancer Fund and the folks from Team Fight throughout Run Across America. I think it’s a great partnership. The bulk of the runners are from Rev3, and most of them are running the entire three weeks. I can’t thank you folks enough. I can’t even imagine how much of a challenge it’s been. I’ve seen how much folks have given up to be there. I’ve seen them trying to keep in touch with home, trying to keep things organized behind the scenes, and trying to keep Rev3 operating while they’ve all been on the road. It’s been pretty impressive. It’s been great to be a small part of something so huge. I hope my few miles were enough to give people a little bit of rest along the way.
A huge thank you to you guys. What you’re doing is really awesome! It was great meeting all of you. You’re all really special. It was a blast spending a couple days with you. Thanks for letting some of us Ulman folks and Team Fighters join in on the fun along the way. I hope you continue to meet great people as you go. I hope the stories keep building. I hope the miles keep passing easier and easier as you realize that you’re closer and closer to the finish. I look forward to seeing you all again when you finish in DC. Keep it up. You’re doing great! Before you know it, you’ll be done. Cherish it while you can. It’s something really special! Again, a huge thank you to Rev3!!!
- Mike Stepanek