Tuesday, June 23, 2020

"Oh, You're That Crazy Runner!" -- 14 Years Later, I'm Not That Guy.

"Oh, you're that crazy runner!" It was 14 years ago today when those words would become quite common for me to hear. It was on this day back in 2006 that I began my solo run across America. Most thought I was crazy. Many predicted that I would fail. I'm not sure if it was a combination of crazy and determination, or just plain luck... but somehow I succeeded at that adventure. Now, 14 years since I took that first step away from Cannon Beach, Oregon I can say with absolute certainty that I am not that man any longer.

Not only did I retire from extreme running in 2016, I also packed away into the far recess of my attic the trusty BOB stroller that endured every step with me. If you've followed this blog for any amount of time, you know that I've written about a number of emotions, experiences and struggles concerning that 15-state adventure. Here are just a few (click on any titles to read the blog posts):
Recently, my wife and I watched several of the videos at my YouTube channel from the various adventure runs. I watched those videos and had a mixture of emotions. I am pleased with what I was able to accomplish and with each picture and video I recalled the numerous emotions I experienced in order to successfully complete each journey. I look at myself in those videos and see a different man -- a man who was personally struggling in several ways, and not just with trying to run across a state or country. My life had been one that was rooted in perseverance... enduring... simply reaching for the future, for the next milepost. I am not that man any longer.

I'm posting this video at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time, which is 6:00 a.m. on the west coast. That is the time that I opened my eyes in Cannon Beach, Oregon to begin that solo U.S. run. As I post this writing, I can't help but to reflect back to that morning... the emotions I was feeling... the uncertainty that was in front of me. Today, my life is no longer uncertain. In fact, I have a peace and contentment that I never imagined I would experience. I am happy, I am whole, I am peaceful, I am blessed.

I no longer live under a running cap. My eyes are no longer shaded by sport sunglasses most of the day, and my legs no longer look chiseled and deeply tanned. I am not so incredibly thin and no longer have to wear an ID bracelet in fear that someone may find me injured or dead along a highway. I am no longer reaching for life's horizon with a feeling of loneliness. I am fortunate, I am thankful, I am wiser, I am complete.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso