With the time getting closer and closer, I am starting to hear some real conerns for me. I appreciate that. The same question keeps getting asked of me, over and over, and it is a good question. Jack, where are you going to sleep? I do not know where I will sleep. I will start looking around when it is nearing that time and find a place. I may ask someone at their front door if I can sleep in their yard. They will be able to see my signs and see the letters I will have me attesting to what I am doing. I might sleep in an inexpensive motel once every two weeks or so. I might stay in a state park or in the woods. The most important aspect of this to me, is that I will handle it as it comes up. I want to do that. I have always been such an anxious person who would not do anything until all of the problems have been brought to the fore-front and solved. I have not done much but worry because living this way. This time I will let life walk right up to me and tell me what it needs me to do, and I will respond to it. I will do this. I will go from Savannah, Ga to Montery, California. I will help raise money for Alzheimer’s research.
A friend at work, asked me how long my trip will take. I had been in a pretty serious mood all morning and took out a calculator. I sat there and thought of my age, the training I was doing, how far I have to go and so on. Before I could answer, she asked, would I run every day. It came to me that I would need to take one day off each week to recuperate. I also thought that maybe I can do 25 miles, on the average, daily. Traveling 6 days, that is 150 miles a week. The total trip is around 3300 miles. That divided by 150 miles equals 22 weeks. That is a little over 5 months.
Probably because of the mood I was in, it begin to sink in that I would not see my daughter Amy, and my grandsons, Tyler and Ethan and their dad Todd for at least 5 months. I got a little sad for a few minutes and found myself with tears in my eyes. My son and his family live in Europe, so this will not affect how often I see him and his family. I will not see my dear friends either. This is part of it, part of the whole scope of things I will think about before I leave and while I am gone. I know it will be harder than I think, but I will make it.
I received a phone call a few minutes ago from a young man I met at Amicalola Falls a few months back. We went up and down the stairs a couple of times. He is coming to the park with his fiance this Saturday and wanted me to meet her. He ran cross-country a few years back at a high school in Dallas, Texas. It is such an honor for me to spend time with people who enjoy running. I love to listen to what they have done. He still runs 3-4 times every week. That is how he met his fiance.
Visit to the dentist today. Preventive maintenance. Do not want any problems out on the road.
Thank you for the donations for Alzheimer’s research. Thank you for the donatons to help me with expenses to go Across the Land. I can assure you the expense help will be multiplied many times into donations for Alzheimer’s research. It has stunned me how much has been donated. Thank you for your faith in me and for your faith in the Alzheimer’s research folks. The team of people helping me is an awesome group of people. Nothing will stop me from doing this. I will raise as much as possible for Alzheimer’s research. I want to help. I did not help much at all when my own dad had it. My brother and his wife did everything. They spent the time and had the heartache that goes along with this disease. I will try to help as much as possible now. I pray for God to help me this trip. I am doing my best.
At age 51 I weighed around 270 lbs. My resting heart rate was high and I could not run more than a few feet. I never really felt very good and just worked and did a lot of sitting and watching television. The motive for the weight loss was being told I could die and being in intensive care for 4 days. I was scared from being told I could die and the ICU room itself scared me. I wanted out of the ICU and wanted things back to normal as quickly as possible.
I started reading a book by Dr. Kenneth Cooper. It was “Aerobics for Total Well Being” I ate right and alternated daily between light resistance training and aerobics. I lost around 100 lbs in roughly one year. I weigh 152 lbs this morning.
I know it can be done. I know we can change our lives. I know it works. I have enjoyed this change very much. I feel so much different than I did before and I enjoy life so much more. I hope I can continue to keep my weight off and excercise my body and continue to learn. If I can help you in any way , please let me know.
My son-in-law Todd Stormant works for WIC. He has helped a lot of families for a lot of years, including mine. He is a nutritionist for the State of Georgia. He has advised me for a long time on eating right. He has also been a source for me on proper training. He is and has been a soccer coach for a lot of years. He was a T-ball and baseball and basketball coach. He was there at the start of all of this when I was a pretty big guy. He has encouraged me in a lot of different things. He got me into backpacking with his dad. He got me back to riding a bike a little. He got me into running. He has been and will always be a source of inspiration to me. Thank you Todd. I never tell you that. Thank you very much young man.
I asked the park for permission to start at 4:00 am. They gave it to me. It was the last of the five goals I had set almost 6 years before. The goal was to start at the top of the falls and go down the 604 stairs and come back to the top. That would be one trip. I did it 50 trips that day. 60,400 stairs. I climbed 17,000 feet. I burnt around 16,000 calories. It took me 17 hours and 18 minutes. My daughter and her husband and two sons were with me. I had the honor of going up and down them two times with Kensley McEachern, a cross country runner from Naples, Fla. My son-in-law Todd Stormant paced me about 10 trips. My grandson Tyler paced me several more. My grandson Ethan wished me well. He was a very little guy. My daughter Amy had to drive me home that night. I could barely walk. This was the last goal. So many well-wishers that day. I will never forget the handshakes, the fist bumps, the thumbs ups and the hugs and even some people crying. The young lady with the media relations department of the DNR almost begged me to go home after 44, because of how I looked. Shortly after this is when the dream of going Across the Land was born.
Saw a man on the stairs today that did not look well. He tried to smile, but I felt like something was wrong. I said hello and smiled and kept on going up. He was going down the stairs and seemed to be struggling. I went on up a ways and something told me to go back to him. I turned around and went down and saw him on the trail, still heading down. He had made it off of the stairs. I came up behind him and spoke. I ask him if he was okay and he said he was not doing well. He had been given a few months to live, with colon cancer and was nearing that time. We went on down together and sat on the bench near the fishing pond. He told me of the discomfort and pain he had a good ways back and how a visit to the doctor had ultimately given him the bad news. He said he enjoyed watching me run on the stairs and it jumped into his mind that he will not reach my age. I think I did a good job listening and I enjoyed his story very much. A lot of people ask me why I allow myself to continually be near this “drama”. It is “drama” and it is also part of life. I cannot imagine not talking to him and listening and giving him some of my time. When we parted he said “good luck Jack, I probably will not be here when you leave, so good luck.
My dad had cancer and then went straight into alzheimers. I wear a wristband for cancer awareness and I wear a wristband for alzheimers.
I will not soon forget this guy.