Nothing short of a surreal day today. This morning, Afton and I drove to lower Manhattan to meet up with Tellman Knudson, who embarked on his barefoot run across the country. If it sounds ridiculous, believe me – it is. And he’s absolutely the one to do it. I’ve known Tell for a long time now, and if there’s one thing that has never changed over the past – wow – forever that I’ve known him, it’s his energy. In all the years I’ve known him, run with him, raced in triathlons with him, worked and lived with him – he’s never been short on enthusiasm, drive, hell – I’ve never so much as seen him mope or even be depressed for that matter. We hadn’t met up in a number of years, so I guess I figured today, the start of this epic feat, in the presence of his epic feet, was as good as any.
Not only had I not seen Tell in years, but I hadn’t seen his Dad in probably twice as long. I had a pretty rough time growing up, and both he and his Dad agreed to take me in when I was in high school. They provided everything for me, got me through school, got me working, got me to college, and basically gave me a chance. Connecting with both of them again this morning was something really special. I can’t explain it properly here.
Following his press conference, we ran a 1-mile fun run with a small crowd, and then embarked on the first leg of his run across the country. He was going 13 miles, closing out the morning’s run just across the George Washington Bridge. I had no idea how far I could go, having only run a handful of times lately. I definitely haven’t run that far since some time in 2007. But something was in me today. I had to finish this first leg with him. It seemed unbelievably far away, standing there in the North Cove, but I absolutely had to cross that bridge today.
And somehow, I just did it. And I ran. 14 miles in all, with a guy I hadn’t run with since 1994, when we both suited up for Mascoma High School, living off of nachos, coached by the incomparable Bill Bellion. Today was the most inspired run that I’ve ever had. It will never happen again, the two of us, like this, in this place, and that – that is perfect.