Road to the Run Across the USA #3

T-minus four days until I start my Collegiate Trail Loop FKT attempt, and I’m drowning in logistics and unknowns. Will Collegiate West be impassable because of snow? Will I be able to get my Esbit fuel between when I arrive on Sunday and start early Monday morning? How will I get to the trail from my Airbnb Monday morning? How do I set up my InReach to track the attempt?

And then, I have trail worries too. What if I can’t make coffee? What if my tent leaks? What if a bear eats all of my food? What if I fall? What if I fail?

Ah, yes. The real question. What if I fail?

As I mentioned in my first update, imposter syndrome is real. While I don’t often have it in my professional life, mentally I am still sometimes an out-of-shape 25-year-old, toeing the line for my first 5K. If I wasn’t raising money for Girls on the Run, I might just keep this entire thing a secret until it was done. That’s real talk, y’all. Speaking of Girls on the Run, could you consider donating just $5 to get this thing started? Your donation will help to get a participating runner a pair of quality running shoes and ensure that GOTR can continue to allow every girl who wants to participate (at a participating school) can regardless of means.

Other ways you can help?

  1. Share the fundraising link with your community (
  2. Share about the FKT attempts on social (and tag me: Twitter: @laura_j_parson, Instagram: @ultrarungal)
  3. Make suggestions/introductions to potential corporate sponsors who can help to support the run either financially or with product. You can send to me directly at cilantroruns at gmail.
  4. Introduce me to folx who might be able to share this story with a broader audience (e.g., podcasts, journalists)

On the planning front, I’ve had a few planning calls with Girls on the Run International and our local chapters, and they are fully on board to support the run. Leading up to the run, we’ll reach out to the local chapters where I’ll run to see if they’d like to join me for a little part of the run that day (and funds raised during the run will be shared with those chapters!).

Training-wise, I had a really good week last week with my first double of the cycle and a wicked hot 20-mile run Saturday morning. It was tough, but I made it through, which was a huge confidence boost.  This coming Saturday, I have a final race – a “last (wo)man standing” style race where entrants run 5k loops every hour until everyone else quits.  My intention for this race is to take it easy from the start, and stay in the race as long as it makes sense.  My bigger goal is not to hurt myself in a way that keeps me from starting the FKT on Monday. After talking it over with my coach, we decided this race wasn’t the best idea before an FKT attempt, especially since I wasn’t feeling excited about it. Instead, I have three easy run days and a complete rest day on Sunday. This seems like a much smarter way to approach this.

That’s right. Monday.

Starting Monday, around 6 am, I intend to be on the trail.  Because of some snow and impassable sections on the College West trail, I’m going to start on the East loop from Buena Vista. Sunday evening, I’ll post a link to the live tracking where you can follow along. I’ll also update – as I can – via Twitter and Instagram and post trail progress updates here.  On or around August 8th, I’ll come back and let y’all know how it went.

Between now and then, I have to do my final packing, set up my InReach, get to Colorado, get my fuel and food, and get to the trail. Huge thanks to Nomi for their support – ever new flavor I try is better than the last.

What questions do you have about the attempt? Can you help to share or suggest good companies or people to reach out to?

Oh, and if you’d like to see what daily news I’m sharing over at UltraRunnerPodcast while Eric is on vacation, you can check it out here.

Ultrarunner, adventurer, academic, and feminist. Running Across the USA in 2021. I write about ultrarunning, adventuring, and the intersection of endurance athletics and life.

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