The Big Leg: Kent, Washington to Utica, Michigan

Greetings from Utica, Michigan! Yep, we made it to our first destination last night and we’ll have an event here on Tuesday before departing for Toronto on Thursday. I still can’t believe that I’ve been getting paid since I started working as a Brooks Run Happy Island Brand Ambassador last Monday. It’s been an awesome first week and I know it’ll be a great three months on the road!

For a little background, my job is to basically be the face of Brooks Running for the next three months. I’m driving all over America (mostly the east coast) and (a two-week stint up in Toronto) Canada and running gait analysis, giving shoe recommendations, and basically showing the world how Brooks is an amazing company that cares about its consumers! NOTE: this blog is not intended to be the voice of Brooks running and is a private blog about my experiences, not the company as a whole!

A quick run-down of my tour crew is: Zach and Shannon, two awesome new friends who’ve been doing tours like this for years and are every bit as adventurous as I am; a Dodge Ram truck that Shannon and I trade off driving with a 15 foot trailer with event supplies; and the Deep Shoe Diver, a box truck turned submarine on wheels that Zach proudly drives around the country. We’ve been getting some hilarious looks and had some great conversations with folks about the Diver while driving across America.

Our travels have been great! On the first day, we made it about one hour from the Brooks headquarters in Seattle to North Bend before we ran into our first problem with the Deep Shoe Diver. That turned into a three hour pit stop while we had it fixed, but now it’s been running like a champion. We’ve only almost run out of gas once (again on day one) and we’ve had an awesome time talking back and forth through our CB radios. Two days ago we explored Crystal Cave, Wisconsin’s long cave, and overdosed on cheese at a Wisconsin dairy. Yesterday we went into Chicago and I dodged triathletes as I ran along the Lakefront Trail (pretty okay. Definitely not the best trail I’ve been on but decent for a downtown recreational trail) and then after a fountain bath in the middle of downtown Chicago (pictures to follow) we ate some good ol’ Chicago style deep dish pizza. So delicious! I ate half a pie myself and felt the gut bomb the rest of the day, but it was well worth it.

This morning I ran with Jake Riley and Brendan Gregg (for those of you who don’t know them, they are two of my Stanford teammates who now run professionally for the Brooks Hanson’s Distance Project here in Michigan) and afterwards BG, Zach, Shannon and myself got pancakes at Granma’s House of Pancakes. So much sugar and so much goodness! We’re planning on a dinner a Settlers of Catan session at Jake and Kendra’s house tonight, which’ll be great to see them both and BG.

Michigan is awesome! To Mike, I'm sorry we always give you a hard time about it. The trail we ran on this morning was fantastic and besides the weird phrases they use and "Michigan lefts", it's a pretty awesome place!

Feel free to check out this blog from time to time, maybe weekly? I’ll update it (probably extremely inconsistently) on all that’s happening out here, but please forgive me if I neglect it. It took me forever to find the time to write this initial one, but I’ll try to recap all the good stories to you all! There’ll be plenty of pictures to follow, but most importantly I’ve been having a blast and am super excited for the chance to represent the company that does so much for its runners. I can’t reiterate enough how lucky I feel to be chosen for this awesome opportunity!