Editor's note: this is the second article in a two-part series sharing Kenny Capp's incredible experience running 1200 miles to inspire others with cancer to keep moving forward. You can read part one here.
Without really knowing the terrain of the entire trail, I arbitrarily picked out a number that I thought I could hit every day as long as I managed my pace and had a couple of folks to help me. The number was 22 miles a day, and two friends, Chuck Dale and Dean Hart were the geniuses that helped me get there.
I spent the next year training, running, lifting, cycling, swimming, and collecting information about the trail and about what I would need to finish.
Every bit as valuable, and none of it truly prepared me. How do you train for running several ultramarathons every week? The short answer is
- Don’t get ahead of yourself - take your training and the journey itself, one day at a time;
- You learn to listen to your body, when it needs something and how to distinguish good pain from bad pain from really bad pain; and
- Always assume you’ll get to the end.
And, yes - that’s the short answer.
A myeloma patient in Raleigh loaned us an RV, Dean rented an SUV, and we made it to Nags Head on March 30th. After a day of raiding Wal-Mart for last-minute supplies, my 4-year old and I climbed the highest dune we could find on Easter Sunday, took a few pictures, hugged a few people, and took off running. The next 8 weeks were among the most magical times I have ever experienced. I saw North Carolina in a way and from a perspective that most people can’t.
I explored battlefields that I didn’t know existed. I went through towns that disappeared years ago when the industries that created them left little more than the skeletons of extinct economies. I circumvented lakes made from once-raging rivers that now held villages, towns, and small cities. I kicked rocks down old railway lines that have now been converted to trails. I climbed mountains up ravines and past waterfalls. I ran past tourists too enthralled with the natural wonders to pay attention to the “Danger” signs at the edges of cliffs and high whitewater creeks and rivers.
I suffered through plantar fasciitis, shin splints, sunburn, blisters, pig trucks, chicken trucks, spiderwebs in the dark, dogs, cows, snakes, rain, and teenage drivers that like to text. Maybe one day, I’ll do it again, but next time, I’m thinking of slowing down.
Downshifting For The Long Climb
After finishing the run in May of 2018, I ran a few more races, I waited until November to attempt a 100 miler, and I dove in completely to directing Throwing Bones for a Cure, Inc. Throwing Bones is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission to help blood cancer patients to stay healthy and active through treatment, and to help healthcare providers with the resources they need to encourage healthy activity in their patients. My job every day is to guide Throwing Bones to implementing our programs - Cancer-Active Self-Assessment Video Series, Cancer-Active Coaching Network, Cancer-Active Education and Throwing Bones Support Network.
Outside of Throwing Bones, as a certified personal trainer, I coach athletes and patients (mostly virtually these days), I manage my few rental properties and I am a single father to my 3 children, Carter, Maggie and Georgia.
Fitness and exercise has set my life in motion in many ways. Not only has it allowed me to be stronger, more mobile, and more responsive to some aggressive treatment options, it allows me to be more present for my family and friends. They want quality time with me - and not just cumulative years. They want the quality time that lets them direct our relationships. Fitness gives us that.
I don’t deny that I likely spend more time being active than most people my age, and exercise is something that was a large part of my world before my cancer diagnosis. But don’t think that I have some hidden talent that isn’t within you as well. Taking the time, being patient with your body’s learning curve, and focusing only on enjoying the tiniest bit of activity every day, is a key component of living healthy and being active.
Keep moving forward
Take Kenny's challenge and keep moving forward- start wherever you are and build from there. Kenny has issued a challenge for any who want to participate September 21-26th. Gather with five or ten of your friends to move a combined total of 50 miles in honor of Kenny Capps' 50th birthday!
Kenny is running solo, but you can sign up for 10 or 5 miles over 6 days. You can start running (or walking! or biking! or swimming!) at 12:01 am on Tuesday the 21st. All miles have to be logged by 11:59 pm on September 26th.
Relay movers have the option to order Kenny's 50 long sleeve shirts and other Throwing Bones gear any time after registration.
Muscles for Myeloma Fitness Challenge
Kenny's birthday challenge is timely as September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month. It's the perfect time to get moving for myeloma! Join the Muscles for Myeloma 30-Day Fitness Challenge today. We invite you to exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes per day to help us reach a team goal of 700,000 accumulated minutes of exercise. We can do it! You can walk, bike, run, hike, garden, do yoga, swim, lift weights, or garden your way to better health. Any level of activity counts and we are just tracking minutes of activity and not steps.
Kenny Capps is the Executive Director for Throwing Bones, whose mission is to encourage all blood cancer patients to stay healthy and active through treatment. He is a busy father of three children, ages 19, 15, and 6. He advocates for all individuals living with blood cancers and wants to encourage them all to keep moving forward. Every day is another opportunity to take a step. He believes that being active is one of the ways to stay ahead of life and to enjoy it more.
He also volunteers as a Myeloma Coach sharing his personal knowledge and experience with myeloma to help others.
about the author
Rozalynn Hite is the HealthTree Coach Director and wife of myeloma patient Richard Hite. Rozalynn is an occupational therapist and mother of three beautiful children.