Day 21 – Hello from Mercury

Taken earlier this week on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hello everyone! Mercury here! I just finished my 21st day on the trail reaching the north end of Shenandoah National Park. This journey has been nothing short of exhilarating. While it’s been intense and difficult at times, it’s been full of beautiful moments, both being swept up in nature and also through the kindness and support shown to me and Jupiter from the hiking and running communities along the way. What started as a question, “I wonder if I could…?” has been morphing into, “I can’t believe I just DID that!” Not just in terms of distance/numbers, but thinking back on all the night hiking, bear encounters, running through thunderstorms, doing really long days with very little sleep, working through rough patches, etc. Looking at the big picture of how far I’ve come (and how far I have yet to go) can get pretty overwhelming, so the best I can do is break it down into one day, one section, one step at a time. If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been dealing with shin splints through most of the trek. While my right leg seems to be totally better, my left leg got really aggravated a couple days ago and hasn’t been showing signs of getting better. I was able to walk on it today without making it worse, which is good. The unfortunate thing, however, is that my walking pace would require an unsustainable amount of miles/hours per day to achieve the women’s record. At this point, my chances are looking pretty slim. However, I am continuing forth to Katahdin regardless of whether a record can be achieved. I’m going to do my best with the circumstances. I’m continuing to walk with the hope that I can be patient with this injury, and with the hope that I might be able to start running again soon. I’m continuing to walk with the hope that I will make it to Katahdin. I’m continuing to walk with the hope that what I’m doing can inspire those following along, and those I meet along the way. I’ve been so touched by everyone that has come out to say hello, run/walk with me, bring supplies, tag along with Jupiter, and offer words of encouragement. What started as a low key operation has turned into this bigger thing that it feels like we’re all in together. This journey isn’t for myself; it’s for all of us. Onward!