What would you do if you were pain-free?
For Jeff Grabosky, the answer is a feat of historic proportions: he is running across the United States. Over 200 people have accomplished this goal; however, Jeff is running alone, with no running partners and no car following him carrying his supplies. Only 17 people before him have completed this run unsupported across the United States.
To prepare to run across the United States, Grabosky had been gradually increasing the length of his runs, peaking at 210 miles in a week, which is 30 miles a day. With a training schedule like that, it comes as no surprise that Grabosky found himself in pain. “I began to experience severe leg pain,” Grabosky explains. “It got to where I had to stop training, which was concerning because I was planning to leave in two weeks. I needed to do something, and so I went to Arizona Pain Specialists, where I received active release therapy massage. I instantly felt so much better, and was able to get right back into training. I went from being very nervous to very confident again.”
Grabosky has been running for years, but it wasn’t until he suffered great loss that he really began to make it a part of his life. “I had a pretty tough stretch where, in the span of about a week, I lost my mom to cancer and my wife left me,” Grabosky says. “Running is what gave me a sense of purpose again, and so I just started doing more and more of it. I began running marathons and through that was able to raise some money for cancer research, run a few 100 mile races and coach others.”
While he enjoyed and was rewarded by coaching others and sharing his love of the sport, Grabosky felt there was more that he needed to do. “I thought, ‘what could be bigger than what I’ve already done?’ and running across the country seemed like a good idea,” Grabosky says. “Then I had the idea for the mission of the run. I’m not raising money specifically, and the main reason for that is that I wanted everyone to be able to be involved as much as possible. So even though a cause like cancer research is very close to my heart, other people might have a child that was born premature, or have a relative who is suffering from drug abuse, or whatever their burden may be. By doing it this way, whatever is specifically important to a particular person, I will be running for them.”
On average, he will be running 30 to 35 miles per day, with some days as high as 50 or 60 miles, depending on the distance between towns on his route. When the journey is over, Jeff will have run approximately 3,700 miles. Grabosky left Oceanside, California on January 20th, and plans to arrive in New York City around May 20th.
Grabosky speaks eloquently of the similarities between running and life. “I have found running to be a saving grace for me,” he says. “There is so much between life and running that creates a parallel. Through overcoming difficulties in running, you can see that you are strong enough to get through the bad things in life and vice versa. It’s actually a really great circle.”
“The more I talk to people, the more I see that everyone struggles with something,” Grabosky continues. “It may be big or it may be small, but everyone has something. I want to help people see that if you look at what you have instead of what you don’t have, it makes a big difference in your daily attitude. It’s amazing how a smile or a small act of kindness toward someone else can really make your own day, and can actually give you the strength to continue on.