Hello from Paul and “BOB” (the trusty support stroller!). I want to thank my friend, Rob Remler, for keeping everyone up to date on P.A.C.E. Trek happenings while I’ve been out of service for the Internet. If you want to get online, the desert is not the best place! I have to keep this blog entry somewhat short since I have to get up in a few hours to do another 27 miles. I only have 2 1/2 days left on this challenging run and Vicki will be flying into Las Vegas tomorrow and driving a car out to where I’m at. Although she will not act as “support” in any way, she will be around to see the final couple of days unfold.
This has been a physically draining and painful solo run across the Mojave. There is SO much that I have to write in the coming days to get everyone up to speed on what has been happening. Suffice it to say, my body has paid a price to log the 430+ miles I have in the past 14 days. It will take some time to heal from this undertaking. Remember, nobody has ever run solo across the Mojave Desert before — starting at the Grand Canyon and finishing at Badwater Basin, Death Valley. I’ve battled harsh conditions and am pleased to have endured to be within 75 miles of the finish line.
The strides I take, I take for the kids around the world who are running right along with me. I’ve had some moments on this run where I’ve placed my strides for other purposes… some rather selfish. However, I want all who read this to know that I will be crossing the finish line on Sunday in honor and appreciation for each and every child around the world that has run this distance with me. P.A.C.E. is about kids. It always has been and it needs to always stay that way. It’s not just about some guy who can push a stroller a really long way in a short amount of time. It’s about kids running and walking around their school gymnasiums, tracks and playgrounds to become more active and to stride along with me virtually as we take on a challenge together. PACE stands for “Promoting Active Children Everywhere”. It does not stand for “Paul Amazes Children Everywhere”. The focus shouldn’t be on me, and I apologize if I have made this P.A.C.E. Trek too focused on me trying to accomplish a solo running adventure never attempted before. I needed this particular challenge for a number of personal reasons. It has been worthwhile for me in so many ways, and in some ways it has been more painful than I ever imagined it would be. Sometimes we go into something with certain expectations, and we end up being surprised and ultimately seeing that it wasn’t quite what we expected. I guess you can say that has happened to me, to a degree, on this P.A.C.E. Trek. Regardless, I am striding toward the finish line and am cheering on the kids around the globe who are doing this right along with me.
I’ve always aimed at making P.A.C.E. Trek more about the physical benefits and learning aspects than the ‘adventure’. I’ve let that slip too much with this trek. To the teachers who have participated in years past, I apologize. To the students who expected to see something different from what they have, I apologize. Usually, I include local and regional information daily, and have health/fitness facts to get kids and adults thinking. I’ve not done that with this particular P.A.C.E. Trek and for that I have regrets.
I’ve been doing P.A.C.E. for five years and have logged well over 5,000 miles pushing “BOB” the stroller. Although I always aim to do my best and to show kids what is possible with a healthy body and a solid goal, sometimes I fall short of meeting certain reasonable expectations — and I’m now very aware of that. I’m making a promise that if I do another P.A.C.E. Trek that I will return 100% to being a ‘teacher’ as I am a runner. Those of you who know my background are aware that I used to be a 5th grade teacher. It’s important to me that kids not only get fit and have goals, but that they learn things of value! I feel I’ve dropped the ball a little (actually, a lot) on that during this P.A.C.E. Trek. What have kids really seen through P.A.C.E. Trek Mojave Desert? They’ve seen something happen that’s never been done before. They’ve seen a guy pound his body into the ground (and sand) and take a beating from the desert. They’ve seen one man endure all by himself as he crosses a dry, barren, windy and lonely place. Is seeing that enough? I say no. Please don’t misinterpret my words to be ones of frustration or dissatisfaction with this journey. I am certainly pleased with my own personal performance. However, P.A.C.E. Trek is not about Paul Staso. It’s about the kids and the importance of taking kids on a unique fitness adventure that imparts knowledge and challenges thinking. That’s what it has always been in the past. I need to make sure that it is that way in the future.
I should be able to put more pictures out soon, and of course I have a lot of videos to upload. This journey has been so difficult for Internet connections and getting information out has been beyond challenging. I know that there are so many teachers and students who wanted to see more daily, and I’m sorry that wasn’t possible with this particular journey. I do, however, appreciate my friend Rob and all of his efforts to keep you posted as much as he could. Crossing the Mojave all alone is incredibly difficult, and without some big sponsors that can provide satellite phones and Internet connections via satellite, we just can’t do what we’d ultimately like to. So, we get by with the technology we can personally afford.
It’s time to get some rest to take on the next day of running. Remember, you can track my progress via the SPOT satellite tracker at the P.A.C.E. Trek Mojave Desert webs site (http://www.pacetrek.com/mojave). I’m pushing for the finish line on Sunday and look forward to crossing that line with thousands of school children from 9 countries virtually alongside me.
Thank you for your encouragement, support and understanding with respect to this P.A.C.E. Trek. Although my body is battered in many ways, and my emotional and mental state is not as steady as I prefer when wrapping up a P.A.C.E. Trek, please know that this has been beneficial for me and I fully expect that there will be another P.A.C.E. Trek coming up. Where will I go? Why don’t you write to me and make a suggestion! You can use the online guestbook at the P.A.C.E. Trek Mojave Desert web site.
Paul Staso (currently in Shoshone, California)
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