Day#1: The adventure begins

06.15.2014
Day#1: 123 team miles
San Francisco-Monterey, California

We met at 6:30 am at Crissy Field in San Francisco. To our left we could see the Golden Gate Bridge glinting as the sun had started to rise. After hugging my wonderful parents aurevoir we ceremonially dipped our heels in the bay (water from the Pacific Ocean) and got ready to begin the adventure of a lifetime!

Before running off, we had our first dedication circle in which we symbolically give support to the person on our right (right hand on top) and receive it from the person on our left (left hand underneath). This is a ceremony we hold every morning before our run. (We also have a team chant to get everyone ready for the day!) Anyway, we went around the circle each dedicating the day’s run to someone who had been affected by cancer. We also dedicate this entire journey to Jamie Roberts, a 4K for Cancer team member, who was on team Portland which is currently en route biking from Baltimore to Portland, Oregon. She was tragically struck by a truck while fixing her tire and passed away from complications due to the accident. She was always be remembered as an extraordinary young woman who was biking across the country to raise money for cancer. Please consider running, biking or swimming (or otherwise moving) a few miles in her memory and tag #milesforjamie.

At the dedication circle I dedicated my first run to my professor, Bienvenido, who was my agriculture teacher when I was an exchange student in Costa Rica. He was diagnosed with cancer near the end of my stay there and later passed away from the disease. He was always such a sweet and encouraging teacher and had such amazing enthusiasm and passion for his career. He also taught me about how to grind sugar cane to feed to sheep, what to do when your herd runs off (whether it be the sheep or our nervous group of young bulls)m what a lowland pacca is and how hard work pays off in the long run, among other countless things.

Having all dedicated our miles to parents, friends, coaches, teachers, and other family members, we had our first run together as a team. That will be the only time we all run together until the last miles in Baltimore! We ran on an extremely beautiful trail for four miles before splitting off into two teams. One team runs (in relay style) the first half of the day’s mileage from the start (or where we stayed the night before) and team 2 drives to the half way point and then runs to the next night’s stop.

Every day we switch running partners so we get to know everyone on the team. Today I was paired with Patty! We had a lovely time running together though we mostly saw trailer parks for our first two legs. Thankfully however, we were rewarded on our third two mile shift with ocean views and even a dinosaur (statue)! Since we were on team one we ran to the half way point and then drove to our host for the night.

Our first stop was the YMCA of Monterey. Bill was our super friendly host and showed us where we could spread out our sleeping pads and bags. (Feeling the floor made me grateful for my blow-up sleeping pad.) Bill told us about the Livestrong foundation’s connection with a number of YMCAs across America and made us feel at home. Oh and we got to take showers woo hoo!!!!

Finally our minds turned to food, having missed lunch and each having ran 12 individual miles, we were pretty hungry! So we headed out to find food donations. (We want all of the money we raise to go straight to helping support cancer patients so we rely on donations for lodging and food.) My group went to Whole Foods and were extremely grateful for their donation of 26 wraps for our dinner. We also visited Fleet Feet where we used their foam rollers and were given free socks and GU packets! Altogether a great and very successful first day!

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