20 miles

20 miles between me and the ocean, that’s it. Is it 20 miles to freedom, or 20 miles left of freedom? I’m not sure.

All I can really think tonight is that this all feels like it’s ending way too fast, like someone just pulled the carpet from under me. I’m conflicted between a runner’s ambitions and an adventurer’s spirit – I want to run fast to the finish and cannot wait to accomplish this goal. But I also want to slow it down, keep the journey going.  Any day on the road seemed to be better than most days off the road.

I guess I will just have to start planning the next adventure soon, but for now I’m reminding myself to live the moment and soak up every single sensation and emotion tomorrow. No use losing myself in memories of miles gone by, or getting distracted by plans for the future.

I don’t know how to put it all into words yet, so tonight I’m going to leave the post with another round of lyrics.  As I ran my way from state to state, the song “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Shows began to be my traveling tune, the lyrics and spirit of the song reminding me of the journey I myself was on. So I began substituting my own lyrics here and there to fit my run. So if you can, get the song going on your computers, imagine you’re running across the USA, and sing these words with me:

Headed back east to the land of the pine
Running my way into South Caroline
Staring at the road, pray to God I see shoulders
I made it ‘cross the country in 4 short months
Picking me a bouquet of dogwood flowers
And I’m hoping in Charleston I can see my family tonight


Running in the snow, up in New England
I was born to be a runner with a wanderer’s soul
My feet pound the pavement, and my heart feels heavy now

Running back east, south of Roanoke
I met a biker outta ‘Bama, had a nice long talk
But he’s a headed north towards Tennessee and River City, Old Virginny

I got to get a move on, before the sun
I hear the road a-callin’ my name and I know that she’s the only one
And if I die running, at least I will die free


Author: zoegoesrunning

Hello! I'm a runner, a writer, and have run across the United States and the Tour de France course. Most recently, I'm blogging about my adventures in an MFA program that will bring me to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, and my teaching plans for Argentina.

6 thoughts on “20 miles”

  1. Zoe! Today is the day you reach the ocean! I have been thinking about you and praying for your well-being and for you to have a spectacular, strong finish every day since I met you. You are such an inspiration, and your writings are beautiful! I’m so glad you are reuniting with your parents and family and wish I could be there today to cheer you on! Best of luck to you on whatever is your next adventure. I look forward to hearing all about it.

  2. You are out there running and we are back at the motel waiting to join you and I think all of a happy/sad feeling for your finish. Happy because you have achieved what you set out to do and oh so much more but sad too, for you because a great adventure is drawing to a close but if I know you, this will be only one of the many great adventures you will have in your life. I can’t wait to hear about your next big dream and where it might take you. I’ll see u in an hour or so at the BGC. Love you

  3. Wow! Zoe, we are so very proud of you! We celebrate with you and your family today across the miles… And so wish we could be there in person to clap and cheer. Hopefully you can hear us all the way from Texas! You continue to be such a blessing. Happy Finish Line Day! Love u much, Greg & D’Anne

  4. I am so happy and proud for you. Have a Happy Mothers Day event with your family. We Texas girls are so grateful and pleased to have met you. Be Safe and learn to fly.

  5. Congratulations Zoe – may all your dreams come true! It’s been wonderful to read your blog everyday and follow your journey, so fabulous in so many ways.

    Love to you and your family as you reunite in Charleston –

    Mary Ellen and Brian

  6. Congratulations Zoe! Following you along on this journey/adventure has been such a delight. So proud for you and your wonderful parents and siblings. Your old “hood” friends/family from Washington EXT are cheering for you from Arizona as you complete your incredible accomplishment! You Rock Girl! XO

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