Follow us on our journey - July 16 - August 2, 2020

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Updates from Doug & Melinda

Day 18 – Sunday, August 2

August 2, 2020

Good morning. It’s day 18!!!! So excited to cross that finish line and accomplish our goal today. Heading out. We will see you at the Junction Creek trailhead in Durango between 2-3 pm today!

Day 17 – Saturday, August 1

August 1, 2020

We just complete day 17 – early! Ran 19.52 miles in 6 hours and 56 minutes. Our elevation gain was 4,186 feet, and the descent was 2,922 feet. We did get caught up in a severe hailstorm on our run but survived – thankfully. Both Doug and I are out of gas – drained – but we made decent time on today’s leg. It’s raining now – again. Happy to be snuggling into our sleeping bags to warm up, listening to the rain, and getting some much-needed rest. Tomorrow is our last day, which is very exciting. We started out together and will cross the finish line tomorrow – together! It’s been a profound experience, but I am glad that it will be over tomorrow. It has not been easy, but knowing that we didn’t give up when things got tough is quite rewarding. Thank you for following our progress each day. We look forward to seeing familiar and smiling faces as we finish tomorrow.

Day 16 – Friday, July 31

August 1, 2020

Today was a big day – 32.44 miles in 10 hours and 4 minutes. And we finished before dark! I left it all on the trail today and am exhausted. But only 41.1 miles left over the next two days to complete the trail. Our run today had an elevation gain of 5,265 feet with a descent of 5,646 feet. I felt strong all morning but struggled to get going after our lunch stop and had to reach deep. We maintained 3.2 miles per hour throughout the day. Running the trail this way provides the opportunity to take in the breathtaking views. It’s like being in a visual candy store all day. Our target is to finish on Sunday between 2-3 pm at the Junction Creek trailhead in Durango. Doug and I are excited to see everyone as we cross the finish line – so come out if you can. Almost there. This has been a test of our physical and mental endurance, but meeting and completing the challenge is rewarding. And knowing that we are helping to elevate kids along the way makes it worth the physical pain, exhaustion, and mental discipline we have faced each day. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and our cause, not just during our run, but throughout the last 18 months as we dreamed, trained, and prepared. We started 16 days and 450 miles ago in Denver. Now it’s the final push to Durango.

Day 15 – Thursday, July 30

July 31, 2020

Despite having only a 22.38 mile run today, it was a hard day. The last 7 miles were mentally challenging. We were tired physically as well – the cumulative effect of the past 14 days is taking a toll, but we will push through to the end. We thought we were done with our 30-mile plus days but miscalculated and have a 31-mile day tomorrow. That WILL be the last one. Even though we had a tough day, we were greeted with lots of beautiful scenery – especially the last 9 miles. In one section, there were lots of downed trees from an avalanche. Running that portion of the trail was like navigating a big jungle gym of mangled trees. We finished today before dark (yea) with a trail run of only 8 hours and 45 minutes. Elevation gain was 3,602 feet with a descent of 5,085 feet. We are excited to only have 3 days left! Our feet will be thrilled to cross the finish line as they are tender in various spots. See you soon!

Day 14 – Wednesday, July 14

July 30, 2020

Overall, a great day today, full of beautiful scenery. The day started with us covering 5.27 miles in an hour. We went by a cell tower and stopped to take and send this photo. When we reached the peak of Stoney Pass, 12,592 feet, we saw two moose, some elk, and a deer. Beautiful! Our biggest challenge today was the wind. It was windy the entire day, which gets tiring when it is pushing against you throughout the entire run. This leg of the trail run was 33.49 miles, which we completed in 13 hours and 6 minutes. We finished in the dark – again. This was our most challenging day of elevation gain, a total of 7,344 feet. As you can imagine, we are exhausted tonight, but encouraged because today was our last big 30-mile plus day!!! Now that is a cause for celebration! Tomorrow is a short run of only 20 miles, so we should get some needed rest tomorrow night. Just under 100 miles left! We can almost see the finish line from here.

Day 13 – Tuesday, July 28

July 29, 2020

Today was a much better day – NO RAIN!! Our feet felt the best they have in four days. Having a dry day has helped a lot. We completed 27.56 miles with an elevation gain of 6,220 feet. The trail holds such beauty, and we are enjoying the varied scenery – flowers, open fields, and rugged landscapes. Running the trail this way allows us to take it all in. Both of us felt stronger today, but we continue to be tired – every day. We completed this leg of the journey in 10 hours and 49 minutes, and we are ready for some rest. 358 miles down and 132 miles left to go over the next five days. See you at the finish line!

Day 12 – Monday, July 27

July 28, 2020

We are tired but had a really great day. Doug’s ankle was sore on today’s run, which unfortunately slowed him down. Part of what made this an enjoyable day was taking time to talk with people we met on the trail. So, our total time today was 8 hours and 54 minutes to cover 27.94 miles. We encountered less of an elevation gain (3,546 feet) and descent (2,913 feet), which we gladly welcomed. We have put in 122 hours on the trail to cover the 330 miles completed so far. Only 160 miles left to go to the finish line!

Day 11 – Sunday, July 26

July 27, 2020

This was probably our most brutal day yet. Spent most of the afternoon in the rain – 14 miles with soaked feet. Total of 35.45 miles that held 5,751 feet in elevation gain and 6,663 feet in descent. It took us 13 hours and 9 minutes to complete today’s leg. Very tired as we close out the day. We are hoping for clear skies and a dry trail tomorrow – only 27.5 miles slated for tomorrow’s run. Now, off to rest.

Day 10 – Saturday, July 25

July 26, 2020

We had a great day today! The first five miles were slow climbing with big rocks and shale. The trail then opened up to be very runnable for the remaining miles. Our feet stayed dry and are feeling better!! It was great to be able to run on trail again after so many days of steep hiking and steep descents. We were lucky to finish our morning and late afternoon runs right as rainstorms started! We completed 21.67 miles in 7 hours and 55 minutes. Total elevation gain was 3,950 feet, and total descent was 3,494 feet. We have now completed 275 miles and are right on track to finish as planned. Now for some rest.

Day 9 – Friday, July 24

July 25, 2020

We are now halfway to the finish line! 253 miles behind us and 237 miles in front of us. We had to dig deep today as we encountered the hardest portion of our run so far. There were big, long shale fields that felt like they would never end. Also, our feet are sore today. Both of us have blisters resulting from running through yesterday’s rainstorm with wet shoes and socks. We encountered our highest amount of elevation gain yet at 6,270 feet. All of this contributed to our longest day on the trail run so far – 13 hours and 44 minutes – finally arriving at our evening’s rest spot at 11:05 pm. We are both exhausted, and Melinda’s feet are especially sore and swollen. Tomorrow will be a later start, so we can rest. We may do a shorter leg as well to get a bit more recovery time. We will see how it goes. This is when we focus on our to help elevate kids and push through to the finish line.