Miles Are Just a Number

When I first started planning out the state park project, I calculated the total miles I would run to be somewhere near 1,300. If you add up all the miles that the MN DNR lists for each park I planned to run, the total is 1,023.5. I guessed it would take an additional 20-25% to run the last mile in each park since I would end up running over the same ground more than once. That guess turned out to be pretty accurate. So far, I have run a total of 1,154.93 miles in all 65 state parks with trails and 1 state rec area with some sweet single track. I have completed 62 parks with miles left to run in Frontenac, St. Croix, Jay Cooke, and Gooseberry. I think I have another 150 miles to go. But miles are just a number.

A little over two weeks ago, I woke up around 4 am with pain in my lower right flank, just below the rib cage. I thought of several things in that moment, the least of which was how Kathryn’s cancer originally manifested itself in pain in that same area. I was reminded of just how close to the surface my crisis mode is, ready to jump into action, but the pain subsided, and I was able to fall back asleep and then go about my day that Friday. Early Friday evening I went into Urgent Care on suspicion of kidney or gall stones. Nope. All clear. Saturday morning, however, I woke up with significant pain the same area and immediately drove to the ER. Long story short, bilateral pulmonary emboli-blood clots in my lungs. What? When I got to the ER, my oxygen was 99%, my resting HR was in the low 50s, and I was not short of breath. I’m healthy, I haven’t recently flown or driven several hours in one shot, no cancer, no diabetes, no traditional risk factors for blood clots; but there I was with a heparin drip and a large clot burden in both lungs. My doc and I have some theories regarding how this happened but nothing conclusive.

On Monday I went for a run for the first time since the hospital stay. It felt good! I plan to ease back into my previous routine but will skip the ultra-marathons for a while. But what does this mean for my state park project? I plan to finish it this year. PE’s be damned. The state park runs tend to be low aerobic efforts anyway (read: slow) and include a fair amount of stopping to smell the roses (literally and figuratively). That level of running will be healing in more ways than one.

As I count down the remaining miles this year, I know I will be reflecting on the whole process and what I really means for me and my family. Ultimately, I will put it to words and share it. But for now, I’ll keep at it and bring you along for the ride!

5 thoughts on “Miles Are Just a Number

  1. Randy Liljegren

    You are awesome. I love your commitment and your resolve to reach your goals! Stay true my friend, and I hope peace awaits you. Love you brother!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vaughn Kavlie

    Thanks for the update and WOW…who would have thought!
    We know God is on the move….I think of Genesis 1:2. He is active amidst the “empty darkness”. You are strong and inspiring!
    Peace my Brother!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cindy Clark

    Glad to know you are on the mend and back to running, albeit at a lesser pace. We are looking forward to reading all your cumulative thoughts on your ongoing adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

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