Where did you sleep? The OCT passes through a number of coastal towns. I stayed in cheap motels, one bed & breakfast, and one RV park.
The Lighthouse Inn in Florence
How big was your pack? I carried an Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta running vest. Fully loaded with snacks and water, it weighed about 10 pounds.
How many pairs of socks did you bring? Two
What did you eat? Junk. I averaged four candy bars, two doughnuts, one bag of chips, and one ice cream cone per day, plus a whole lot of gas station salami, cheese, and chocolate milk. Also Nutterbutters, peanut M&Ms, soda, and egg and sausage burritos. I craved fat and sugar and had no time for vegetables. Other than fresh crab at Jetty Fishery, the most delicious meals were burgers and onion rings from fast food joints. The only healthy thing I ate were the endless blackberries growing in thickets along nearly every roadway.
Did you ever want to quit? No. Once the shin splints started, I knew that finishing would be painful, but I didn’t question continuing. I told myself that the physical pain would last a few more days, but if I quit the disappoint might hurt for years. I also happened to listen to an East Coast Trail and Ultra podcast interview with Shenoa Creer, who finished the 300-mile Vol State run with the exact same shin issue. She said, “You have to ask yourself, ‘how bad do you want it?’ And if you want it, you have to be ready to eat pain like never before.” Her words fired me up. I was also just curious about the trail. I always wanted to know what was up ahead, and I didn’t want to miss out on any of the coast. And I was having fun being outside, pushing my body, and taking a break from daily life.
Why did you do this? Hmmm … I have a few answers to this question. First, my father was a well-known landscape photographer, who published a number of coffee-table pictorial books (this was before Instagram). In the late 1990s, he had a concept for a book called “Great Walks of the World,” which would have chronicled the planet’s most iconic footpaths, like the Appalachian Trail and the Camino de Santiago. I had just graduated from college, and we talked of traveling the world together to photograph famous trails. Sadly, he had a recurrence of prostate cancer that same summer and was never again well enough to undertake the project. He passed away in 2005. I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of a trek in his memory. The Oregon Coast Trail is a manageable distance that didn’t require me to be away from family and work for too long.
Second, I absolutely love the Oregon Coast; we’ve been there a few times on family vacations. My friends Alisa Geiser and Robin Maslowski ran it last year and set the supported FKT. I loved following their journey on Instagram and got inspired to give it a try myself. At first, I said, “I’ll do it when the kids are older,” but then I got to thinking that by then my knees would be older, too. Now seemed like as good (or bad) of a time as any. Part of me also wanted to prove to myself that I could still do big, adventurous things all by myself. I traveled and backpacked solo quite a bit in my twenties, but haven’t since starting a family.
Lastly, I wanted a material way to stand up for immigrant rights. I used the run to raise money for the Immigration Counseling & Advocacy Program (ICAP) in Yamhill County, Oregon. Changes to US immigration policy are impacting families across the country. Many of ICAP’s staff and volunteers are immigrants and refugees themselves. The program provides legal and other community services throughout the immigration and naturalization process so that families can stay safe and together. My incredible brother-in-law, Jordan, is executive director of Lutheran Community Services, which administers ICAP. My goal is still to raise $10,000. We’re at $6,600 the last time I checked.