The Grand Teton Mountains

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This morning we left Jacksonhole, Wyoming and have just arrived in Landor, Wyoming. It was the most scenic run we have had yet. Running alongside the snow covered Teton Mountains is unlike anything I have ever seen before. Being able to run in 45 degree weather was a breath of fresh air after the 110 degree Nevada desert we just came out of. I am truly blessed to be able to experience and see such beautiful sights.
Yesterday we went Whitewater rafting on the snake river in Jacksonhole. We discovered that not only can my team run but they can swim too! It was a gorgeous 8 mile trip through level 3 and 4 white water rapids! We chanted our 4k cheer as we paddled through the largest rapid and had the most breathtaking views once we made it through!
XoXo

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What it’s all about

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This trip is not about being able to run 4,000 miles! It’s not about how fast you run each leg or which team finishes first. It’s about experiencing pain while running and having the ability to stop but you don’t. Those diagnosed with cancer do not have the ability to turn off their pain, so no matter how fast or slow you run, you must always continue to push forward just like cancer patients must do. This is very important to remember this week as a lot of my teammates have become injured. However, all of my teammates will always get miles in no matter what. Some call it hobbling across America but they are doing it for those who can’t and I admire each and every one of them for that.
A few days ago in Gunnison, Utah I was able to meet a sweet little angel named Kynlee Kjar. [see pic above] She is three years old and currently battling leukemia. Despite her diagnosis she has stayed in great spirits. Kynlee giggled and danced as I sang songs from Frozen and laughed as we played peek-a-boo on the fire trucks. The type of leukemia she has is the most curable however it is the longest treatment process still has 3 more years of treatment before she will be in remission. This little girl was an inspiration to my entire team! She is so strong and is a reminder about why I am doing this. I am fighting and running for little Kynlee who cannot do it herself.

Utah is the most beautiful state I have ever seen. It makes me wonder why I have never been out west. Just before the Idaho state line I saw the most beautiful sight I have ever seen and it was straight out of the song “America the Beautiful.” There were purple mountain tops and amber waves of grain.(see pic below) I also made friends with some horses during my run as well. I was sad to leave Utah but the more states we run through the closer I am to Baltimore!!

Today I am in Jacksonhole, Wy and it looks like I have stepped into an old Wild Wild West film. There are cowboys, guns and horses everywhere. Last night I was able to get my ice cream from Wyoming and I have successfully had ice cream in every state. Some of my teammates are getting a beer in every state but ice cream is way better! I have a rest day here in Jackson and I will be going white water rafting today. Since we have not done anything on our rest days yet some of my teammates wanted to do something fun. We got a discounted price on the rafting tickets so it should be a great time!
I apologize to everyone for not blogging the last couple days it has just been a high mileage week and sleep has been a high priority! I am known on my team for always being the first asleep in my sleeping bag no matter what and that is fine by me!

I love and miss you all!
XoXo

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The 4k Bandits

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It was a hot 145 mile day from Las Vegas,Nevada to Hurricane,Utah yesterday but it was an eventful run. We woke up at 3:30 am from the firehall we were staying at and began running as soon as possible to beat the heat. I was grateful to have one of the first legs of the morning before it got too hot. We began our three mile run from the fire hall and followed some back roads until we saw a sign that said Lake Mead National Park ahead. We began searching for our pick up van just as we always do and see it in the distance just beyond the tolls for the national park. As we are approaching the tolls we notice a sidewalk that can take you around the toll so since we are not in a vehicle we assumed it was fine! Let’s just say I found out I was wrong when the woman in the toll booth yelled at us to come over to her. She told us that we must pay 15 dollars to walk into the park. We began to explain to her our story and what we were doing and that our van was just ahead but Jenny was not having it. (Our team now refers to her as Mean Jenny) We had no money to give her so she finally let us pass through but told us we had to tell our van to come back and pay $20 a vehicle and 5 bucks a person! It was 5:30 am at this time and our van snuck through just before the tolls opened and now she knew we were there and that our vans didn’t pay. So we tell our van what happened and they said it’s not a big deal and we continue running through the park. We are a charity we do not have money to spend to run on a road.I was lucky enough to have gotten 6 miles done in the park before a park ranger caught on to us. Our run director assumed this would happen at some point so we picked up all our runners as fast as possible and quickly left the park. We had to create a new route to hurricane,UT not through this park. So now we are the 4k bandits who were literally running from park rangers but made it out safely! Ha!

We made it to Hurricane, Utah after a short little stop in Arizona. We stayed at a community center and arrived around 5pm. Instead of staying in for the night some people from the team and I wanted to go and visit Zion National Park and I am so glad I did. No matter how exhausted I am it is so worth it to see the area we are staying in. It was breathtaking and unlike anything I have ever seen before. Who knew Utah was so pretty!
Tonight we will be tent camping in Beaver Utah at a camp site since we were not able to secure a host family. I am actually excited to camp, I’m sure the stars are beautiful here!
XOXO

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4k for Cancer in the Sin City!!

The 4k for Cancer Running Team has finally left California and crossed the state line into Nevada! We were very fortunate to have a rest day today in Las Vegas giving us the opportunity to explore the Vegas strip on Saturday night! Walking the strip was such a sight to see! Everywhere you looked there were lights flashing and gorgeous views! I bought myself a Las Vegas tank top as a souvenir because I assume I won’t want a souvenir from Utah or Kentucky! Taylor and I explored the strip while eating homemade ice cream and were in awe! I cannot wait to come back when I am 21 and can exchange my ice cream for a drink and enjoy the casinos and bars!
XoXo

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So let me tell you about the desert….

So let me tell you about my first desert experience. I have never been to a desert before I have only seen them on tv. So I must say that all of the desert conditions and stereotypes are true! I pictured spongebob running around begging for water and now I know why. The desert is hot and dry. The desert is a completely deserted area with no civilization. Obvious yes, but all of these conditions make running incredibly difficult. Yesterday I ran into Bakersfield,Ca which was the beginning of the desert but today was the full blown experience. It was over 100 degrees and we ran in two inches of sand. All I could see were tumble weeds, cactuses and the miles of sand in front of me.
As I am sweating and panting from finishing my first leg of twelve miles I climb back into the van and drink some water and I remember that I have a cooling cloth in my backpack! Shout out to my mom for being my savior this morning by packing me that! I snapped the cooling cloth and wrapped it around my neck and I was instantly cooled! It made the rest of my run so much better! I do not recommend running in the desert if you can avoid it, obviously running across America I cannot avoid it!
Tomorrow I will be running from Barstow,Ca to Las Vegas!! It will be my first time in Vegas and I am lucky to have an off day there on Sunday!
XoXo

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Hard Work Will Always Pay Off

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Today was a tough but rewarding day! Our team ran through the California desert from Santa Barbara,Ca to Bakersfield,Ca. It was a 140 mile journey and I ran 12 miles through the 90 degree California desert. I was paired up with my friend Becca who I found out runs the exact same pace as me! This is a wonderful discovery after having several running buddies that run all different paces. Her and I were able to chat and try to forget the miles and heat together.
However there were times when I remembered that I was running up the side of a mountain in the California desert and our little conversations weren’t able to change that.
Any moment I got discouraged though, I remembered why I was doing this. I remembered why I was there in that exact moment and suddenly this temporary pain was removed from my mind. I am running for all of those who are not able to. I am running for all of those who have suffered, battled or survived cancer. I am running because I am healthy and able and it is my turn to make a difference.
Those quick thoughts and a quick look down at my calves for my dedication for the day create the fuel that keeps me moving
After making it into Bakersfield, we were pleasantly surprised to find that out next host was a hotel that was graciously donated by a mother of one of our teammates. I have never been so excited to see a hotel in my life. Not only did we have food for the night but we also got a shower and a bed. It is the little things in life that now make me so happy.

I also wanted to take a second to thank all of you for your support and love! I’m so blessed!
XoXo

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