Week 2 of my US adventure!
Into the second week of my run and I’m getting into my stride! It’s been an incredible week for raising awareness of what I’m doing and getting some awesome donations!
Waking up on the seventh day of my run, I looked at the fire I’d made the night before and it was out, not even smoking.
It was pretty chilly and I thought about getting the fire lit up again but decided it would take too long.
Breakfast was a drink of ice tea that was given to me out of a car the day before.
As I was drinking, the fire lit up again. All on its own. I couldn’t believe it. It’s was so freaky, but I loved it and enjoyed the morning so much more.
It was pouring with rain – so no surprise there! I procrastinated quite a lot, as I didn’t want to leave the warm fire and roof that kept me dry. So, I put each item away in Caesar, one by one, sooooo slowly.
I decided to get my normal shoes on this time instead of the barefoot shoes (well, aqua shoes). I think two days of running barefoot for the first time on concrete they were a little worn out and they needed a little support for the day.
As I ran for a few miles, there was no pain. I giggled and felt slightly emotional all at once. I know I’m not out of the woods with the injury yet, but I felt like I was defying odds.
After six miles, my foot became slightly sore and the sheriffs base popped up. I thought, could it be that same sheriff in there that stopped to take a picture with me yesterday?
I went and knocked on the door, and he answered and invited me in, where he introduced me to two other sheriffs as well. As I shook their hands, one said, “that’s one cold hand, don’t you go getting hyperthermia will ya.” Although it was cold, it wasn’t quite -40C like my Canadian run!
We chinwagged away, sharing stories and the sheriff that took the picture with me said, “you know, I was thinking about you last night, I think there should be rallies going on for when you get into towns?” I was like, “what’s a rally?” He said, “well, as you run in, people will be in town waiting for you, cheering you on, supporting, donating and you could even sign and sell your books too.”
I was like, “now there’s an idea. You wanna be my American manager? You’re wasted talent with all this sheriff stuff!”
He replied, “will that role pay my pension in the process?”
We had a right old laugh and I went on my way. They were genuinely amazing cops, I thanked them for all they do before I ran on.
Nearing the town of Forks, I had my goodie bag at the ready that was given to me by Super-Ted in Seattle.
The bag was full of garlic, holy water, stakes, and a picture of vampires from that Twilight movie. Apparently, Forks was the spot it was all filmed.
So, running along, I grabbed my camera and started to get stakes out saying, “if I see that hunk of an actor (who knows his name, the famous one!) I’m gonna kill him!”
I’m sure cars were driving by like, ‘what is that crazy ass person doing?!’
After vampire slaying, I stopped at Pacific Inn Motel. Me and Caesar were soaked through to the bone.
Outside the door of the room, I could hardly put the key in the door my hands were so rigid from the cold.
Inside the room, I blasted up the heat so me and Caesar could thaw out.
After warming up, I walked over to The Inn Place for hot food. It had been two days eating cold food so I was seeking heat. I ordered a chicken and veggie meal, plus soup, plus salad.
Over the past couple days, I don’t think I had an ounce of vitamin, so I wanted to overload as I don’t know what’s on the next running stretch.
Whilst eating, a fisherman came over and we got chatting about the body and what it can with stand. He said, “when you’re injured, it’s best to take a rest and not push on.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was injured and how I’d just ran barefoot the past few days. So I continued to enjoy my hot food and nod my head.
I only covered 10 miles that day, which isn’t a great distance, but it’s another day getting physically stronger.
The next morning, I was sitting at The Inn Place for breakfast, I ordered the $6.99 special, pancakes, sausages, eggs and syrup. Cheap and cheerful.
After one dish, I ordered another – I didn’t know when my next proper meal would come from!
Over the road at a car mechanics, I gave Caesar the buggy to a handy man so he could straighten the front wheel up, as it’s not steering straight.
He said, “he’s pretty bent up structurally, there’s not much I can do I’m afraid – he looks like he’s been hit by a car.”
So I replied, “probably not a car, but a few years ago he has ran 5,000 miles across Canada with me, so that might be something to do with it!”
It’s quite the toll on the upper body to keep straightening Caesar up every two seconds, but while running off from the mechanic, I did notice it was steering much straighter.
I gave Caesar a talking too as well and told him he better behave himself!
During the next three miles, I wore the barefoot running shoes, I like to now call them ‘the cat shoes’. I feel like a cat whilst running – just pitty pattering away.
After the three miles of cat running, I put on my normal supported shoes and it honestly felt like a bouncy castle underneath my feet.
At the six mile mark I wanted a break but with it being wet, windy and cold I didn’t take a one.
There was a small bit of pain in my left knee, but I put it down to my brain being ultra-sensitive to any type of discomfort and thinking of the worst case scenario.
Running on, I continued to alternate the supported shoes with the cat shoes and it felt amazing!
After 12 miles, I checked Google maps and it said there was a campsite a mile ahead, but I stopped a local girl in her car to double check there was.
She didn’t know the campsite, but it got us chatting and made her inquisitive in what I was doing.
As I was on a running high, sweating and feeling confident I built up enough courage for the first time in person to ask if she’d share my story and finished it by saying, “I’ve spent the last week with people looking at me like I’m a complete weirdo in this superhero costume. Well, I kinda am weird really, but you know?!”
She laughed and said, “everyone has their quirks! Huh? I’ll definitely share your story.”
As I ran on, I was like, ‘that was easy, I just needed to ask.’
Five minutes later, I turned around and she was back. She wound down her car window and shouted, “how about I take a picture with you? That way I’ll show my friends you’re a human being and not a weirdo?”
What a genius idea I thought!
As she drove off I asked her name, she said “Eden, like the Garden of Eden”.
Arriving into Ho Oxbow campground, the rain started to come down and I had a toilet or tent to choose from. In the end, I went for the tent (don’t ask about the toilet).
Back in my tent, I started to spoon butter into my mouth with nuts and I couldn’t help but feel fairly relaxed. Almost like I’m settling into the adventure and finding my feet.
That’s when seconds later, a GIANT bee flew into my tent and I started to tense up and made some really awful noises that are indescribable.
Seriously though, I really am ‘finding my feet’ and really appreciating where I am in the world right now!
However, at 3am I was sleeping in my tent and I heard the rustle of my tinned sardines being tampered with. I didn’t want to open up the tent in case it was a bear. They’re rare, but there are black bears not too far away and the brain does irrational things when you’re deprived of some senses!
So, I just led there in silence until two creatures went at it and had a fight, hissing at one another until one scrambled away. I grabbed my torch, shone it outside where the two were, and saw nothing. I grabbed my trainer and swiped away the tins, so they could fight the night away nowhere near me and I could sleep undisturbed.
Packing up my wet tent, I ran on excitedly as I knew one of my best friends, Rich, was coming out to see me. Flying all the way from England! Rich runs Radioactive PR and helps me with… PR things! He was the one that got me on Sky News TV again recently and plays a huge role in helping with donations. Rich said he came here to see and support me, but I keep joking with him that he just wanted a holiday!
After a five mile excited run, I stopped for a break. A lovely lady let me use her garden. The sun was out which meant I could do my first round of strength training and yoga.
After my break, I ran so strongly, even though I did see a worrying sign that said ‘no camping for 15 miles’!
Eventually Rich popped up in his car, wearing a swish leather jacket. We hugged. It was amazing, because of my Canadian book tour before this run, it had been six months since I’d seen him. He gave me beef jerky, and a protein shake.
I ran on and we decided to meet at Ruby Beach five miles later. I was wowed when I got there, one minute we were in a rain forest, the next we hit one of the most beautiful coastal lines I’ve ever seen. Although I didn’t want to clock any more miles up, Rich convinced me we should walk down to the beach. We had to walk over logs, and then we hit the sand. There was a stream and we took our shoes off and walked through it. It was so soothing on the feet and immediately took the pain away from my right foot.
After the romantic walk with Rich, catching up, we went in search for dinner and left Caesar at Ruby Beach.
We ended up in Kalaloch Lodge. As we walked in, my Adventureman costume turned a few heads and we got “hey we saw you running – what’s it all about?”
At the end of our dinner, a guy from London, David Bryant, said he’d paid for us. I had curry and a beer and it seriously did the job! Just before leaving, I remembered I had one book in my bag, so I took it out a signed a book for his daughter Charlie. She seemed pretty chuffed.
Rich checked into the Lodge for a bed for the night, and then dropped me back at Ruby Beach where I camped for the night – sticking to the ‘run to where I gotta sleep rule.’
In my tent I got a WhatsApp from Rich, “if you change your mind or get turfed out, I have two double beds in my room!”
I messaged back, “well, mine has a light” (and sent him my face in darkness).
He then messaged, “well, mine’s got 22. Probably.”
Let’s just say, it’s incredible to have your best mate around!
Sleeping on concrete, it was a fairly cold night, but it was worth it to wake up and look down on Ruby Beach again. Before running on, a lady wanted to give me $3 for water.
I said ‘no, I’m okay thanks’ three times, but as she persistently offered the lovely gesture, I accepted and said I’d put it as a donation to Superhero Foundation to help sick kids instead.
It was an eight-mile run to Kalaloch Lodge where Rich was staying. During the run, I was excited, knowing he was at the end for a lunch stop.
By the end of my run, my foot was sore, and I decided to check into Rich’s room for the night. A spare double bed – oh yeah! It was good to get some man time. So much so Rich created a game of throwing socks into a bin on the other side of the room. I won, of course.
Rich gave me my new shoes from my girlfriend, Anna. The first pair were barefoot shoes (proper ones), and the second pair of shoes were between a barefoot and supported shoe (basically it has no heel at the back of the shoe and a little support for the toes).
That evening, we went to the beach, made a fire and chatted for hours over a beer. I felt slightly guilty for having a nice time, but knowing Rich is here for a few more days and I won’t see him for nearly a year, I wanted to spend quality time with him.
In the morning, I did yoga before running on. I felt so strong running, especially with my new shoes.
After six cruising miles, there was a garage that popped up and Rich was there with water and a more manly protein shake.
Rich headed alone onto another lodge to see a bit of the area and I managed to get a strong signal on my phone at the garage. It’s been a long time since I’ve had one of those signals and it happened to be my Dad’s birthday.
I FaceTimed him and got the chance to sing happy birthday to him. After I’d damaged my Dad’s ears with my singing, he said, “J, I’m reading your blogs and they’re brilliant, but it looks to me like you’re trying too hard and doing too many miles. Relax. Take it easy and don’t overdo it. You’ve got a WHOLE YEAR to overdo it!”
On the next running stint of the day, I clocked up the miles on a very long and straight road with a whole lot of nothing, until eventually hitting a half marathon and called it a day.
Just off the road I spotted a quarry. So, I set up my tent only to find it was all wet on the inside. It got me so mad. I hate wet tents from the night before. I didn’t even have a towel, so I used my cape instead to dry it all out.
At 3am, it poured with rain so hard that I went into panic mode and wondered if I’d camped in a spot that was a flood plain – I kept checking the floor of the tent to see if there was a raging current about to flow through at any point.
After a wobbly sleep, my body felt its heaviest so far. Soooo heavy. I just put one foot in front of the other, it felt like I was trudging through thick mud.
At about mile eight, a man stopped by to give me a peanut flavoured Clif Bar and said he seen me on a Facebook page for Forks town, which raised my spirits a bit, knowing that people are talking about the journey. On the run especially, it can feel pretty lonely. I thanked him.
10 minutes later, the man – Justice Barns – was back, “say Jamie, I’ve got a drone in the car – can I get a shot of you?” I was like “hell yeah!”
After a halftime break preparing my next running stint, the intY boys showed up, Craig Joseph and Aaron Watts. A year ago, I was asked by Craig to give a corporate talk at intY Ltd (Inty is a Bristol-based company that sell cloud technology products in the U.K & America), to speak at their company conference on the ‘power of connection’.
So I organised all my human connection stories from my previous adventures into a 45 minute talk, hoping to make a difference to the audience watching. It went really well and here they are on a business trip, deciding to find me in the rain forest in the middle of nowhere.
On the side of the road, Craig said, “from intY, we’ve gone and made a £12,000 donation to Superhero Foundation.” I couldn’t believe it. It’s one of the biggest donations EVER. I think it might even be the biggest single donation ever.
He carried on, “and there’s a fair few of us that will be fundraising within the company too.”
So I said, jokingly, “well you don’t get away with it that easy, come on! Come for a run with me!” We laughed, as they trudged through the run wearing their jeans!
After a few miles, they stopped, we hugged, and I ran on. From the morning, feeling like a blob, I was now running as high as a kite and ran 19 miles in total – with no pain in my foot thanks to the new barefoot trainers! I’m creeping towards that marathon distance, and the donations help like you wouldn’t believe, however big, or small, it all helps.
The day after, I was driven to Seattle for some big fundraising events, speaking at Microsoft Corporate Headquarters (I know, pretty mind blowing!) and visiting Seattle Children’s Hospital to meet the kids for a Superhero Day – which is what it’s all about!
Due to these events, I’ll run an unbroken line across America as planned. But, every time I get a lift to an event, I’ll simply just go right back to the exact spot where I finished the last run. So I’ll run every inch of our chosen route and at the same time, really make the most out of every single fundraising opportunity.
In Seattle arriving at Super-Ted’s house for a fundraising party, I walked in and saw a big sign that read, “Go Jamie Go”. Carrying on through the house, I then saw Adventureman cakes. ADVENTUREMAN CAKES?! Ted’s wife Tamami did so well with the cakes. It’s not part of the diet, but I scoffed one. I had to, for Tamami. Okay, okay.
I had three.
Over 30 people showed up, and I gave a talk in front of the TV. At the end, I could see eyes welling up, and I said, “and this is where I need your help, I find it hard to ask, but if you can donate, it would make such a difference.”
It was the first time that I’ve asked people that face to face. We had computers lined up, so people could donate online and as the night unfolded, everyone went over to donate and got a signed book from me too.
The night raised nearly $3,000. We couldn’t believe it! It definitely helped too that most of the people were from Microsoft, which means Microsoft will match everyone’s donation. DOUBLE donations! Double boom!
Next up, I had the biggest talk in my life, a talk at the Microsoft Corporate Headquarters. I couldn’t help but think, ‘how did I ever end up here? And then, boy done good from Glawsterr!’
Outside the room and watching online, there were more than 200 people waiting for me. I was slightly nervous. Not because of the size of the audience, I’ve done thousands before, it’s that I’d really like their help with fundraising. Luckily, everyone watched some YouTube videos of me (which broke the ice) and how my tracker was going to help on the run. Jeff Dubois pieced together the conference phenomenally well.
Waiting inside the conference, all of a sudden, I heard Gavriella Schuster (who is an amazing speaker and has such incredible energy) say, “right everyone, stand up, are you ready to cheer Jamie in for his big talk?”
I thought, ‘I’m not supposed to be on for another 30 minutes?! I don’t even have my costume on. NOOOOOO!!’ In sheer panic, I ran out of the room and started donning my costume as quickly as possible saying “please STOP! NOT NOW”
With the costume half on, I then heard from Gavriella, “false alarm, that’s how we’re going to welcome him in 30 minutes.”
My heart was pumping out of my chest. Pheeeew.
Eventually it was time to speak, I heard the screaming and cheering, and I went in, and I can honestly say it erupted like a crowd at an American football game. It was electric!
During the talk, I shared stories about challenges, making a difference and at the end, there was a standing ovation – I was blown away.
After the talk, everyone went down stairs and saw me off with another enormous cheer! It was so American, ultra-enthusiastic and full of that American positivity – which I just love!
After the cheering, I had my first bit of media coverage with a local TV station for FOX, and global coverage with GeekWire.
After that, I ran with Craig and Aaron from Inty to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
The hospital building was AMAZING! We walked around the play area, and could see how comfortable, colourful and entertaining they had made it for the kids. I saw one kid, who was so shy he hid behind his dad the whole time as soon as I said hello.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed to meet more families and kids as time goes on.
It’s obviously amazing having big businesses giving energy, it’s just really important that I connect with families and sick kids, as that’s the place I want to have an impact and it’s where my fire gets lit.
Also, if you’re considering donating to Superhero Foundation, it’s what it’s all about, in supporting kids hospitals & helping thousands of sick kids lives in years to come – it really will make a difference.