What drives us….

So Zac and I have had some great runs the last couple of days. Today, we made the fun, and hilly trek from Santa Maria over to Pismo Beach. We had our first run along today, as our amazing friend and host for the last couple days Daniel joined us for the run and got a little peek into our daily routine as we ran along Pacific Coast Highway. Zac and I have once again upped the pace and the mileage that we run each day as we are becoming stronger and more used to the miles. As we stood and stretched in quiet solace at Pismo, the early afternoon lull was abruptly shattered by the shrill combination of an overused horn blasting and girls screaming at the top of their lungs. From one adventure to another, we were quickly wisked away to the Cal Poly SLO. We are being blessed in so many ways, from one pool of hospitality to another, Zac and I are getting opportunity after opportunity to share the love of our Lord as we are having grace raining on us every day!

Zac and I get asked a lot , “What is the most awe inspiring thing you have seen or encountered?” I’ll be completely honest with you guys, that is truly a hard thing to say. Zac and I don’t understand how we are here. We don’t understand how we got thing planned. We don’t understand why we were even able to toe the border at Mexico. We don’t understand why so many people came to see us off from our bon voyage party, and we especially don’t understand how we could have come this far. Zac and I can say without doubt or reprieve, God has brought us here. He always endures, and He always perseveres. When I get letters of encouragement, and emails, and facebook messages of people telling me how they have been encouraged, I finally realized why I feel the way I feel when they say these things. I feel as though people are thanking us for something we have not done. If would be if someone just came up to you on the street and said, “The way you are living your life right now encourages me to seek God more.” I am more fully understanding the calling God has called us to. We are simply vessels for His Glory! I feel as though I am just doing what I was asked to do. But God is using it to change people! Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, make yourselves living sacrifices! John Wesley once said (and I am sorry I know I am harshly paraphrasing),”Give me 100 men who desire nothing but God and hate nothing but sin, and I will show you a force that will shake the gates of hell and bring the Kingdom of God to earth!” We love you guys, keep praying, God Bless!

Where the Butterfly Goes to Die

What a Memorial Day we had. Spending it with Bob, Janet, and their family was very fun and relaxing. Paul and I felt really loved and part of the family throughout our stay. Oh and we can’t forget Peanut. How could we? That dog gave us so much love. On our rest day Janet took us to a Mission in Santa Barbara where a chalk walk art festival was going on. Hundreds of people gathered to see the many chalk drawings while they celebrated Memorial Day. The artwork was so good. After getting a little tour of downtown, we started preparing for the following day. However, we ran into a little problem. Our 25 mile run was not going to be possible. We were scheduled to run up the coast to Refugio Beach. But the highway that we were going to run on does not allow cyclists or pedestrians on it. So we deviated and planned to go straight up to the foothills of Santa Barbara and into the misty mountains. It was truly a spur of the moment decision that we had to make and plan for. Not knowing the route or what we would encounter made the experience more exciting. However, this would obviously come at a cost, as we would have to run a total of 35 miles while eventually gaining 2000 feet as we reached the summit.

We began with a very hard 10 mile run which was all up hill. Four miles up to the base, four miles on switch backs, and 2 miles on long gradual uphills. If you are familiar with ASU’s A-Mountain, miles 5-8 were almost that steep. The lush green trees and bushes surrounded us, as we passed through clouds and mist in the morning. When we reached the top we were actually so high that we could see clouds below us. It was incredible. The next 4 miles consisted of all downhill, over a long bridge, and all at a 75% grade. We were flying. Pushing the baby jogger along was a lot like trying to control a rogue dolphin who wants to take you into traffic. With the exception of a few more big hills, we were ascending down into the Valley. The scenery changed once again, and while we were cold up on the mountain, the sun heated things up on the other side. To give you a perspective also, not once on this stretch did we see a single runner or even a cyclist. We were alone and on a dangerous road which offered no shoulder at times. It was well worth it though. We enjoyed running by horse and cattle ranches, a huge lake called Cachuma, and then finally through many vineyards. One thing that did stay consistent was the butterflies. I have never in my life seen so many butterflies in one day. Except that 80% of these were all dead on the streets and paths. We also had another run in with someone thinking we had a baby. She was very aggravated at us, and when she found out we did not in fact have a baby, she sped away and gave us a one-fingered farewell. Thank you lady driving the Sebring convertible.

The day was long, very long, and very tiresome. We stopped in Los Olivos, and are now with an awesome couple in Santa Maria who I think is trying to kill us with amazing hospitality. We feel extremely blessed and thankful. Last night, Daniel took us to a Concert in Santa Maria and we got to see some good bands. They even introduced and invited us on stage halfway through the show and got to talk briefly on what our run is about. This brought up an opportunity for us to talk with some band members and people at the show more about our passion. Amazing things are happening. We are having a blast. But we still have a long journey before us. We are dead tired all the time and always looking for the nearest seat to rest on, but somehow still find the strength to connect and communicate to people about Jesus. Officially I am changing the name of this run to Bless the Butterflies. The death toll must be stopped in Santa Barbara County.

So cop cars go how fast?

So Sunday morning Zac and I prepared for another exciting (and exhausting) marathon length run from Ventura to Santa Barbara California. We had had the opportunity to scout out the run the day before when our friend Kenny picked us up to let us crash at his place for the night before, and we were anticipating that we would have to run on some parts of the 101 that were illegal for pedestrians to be on. We figured if we got caught, we would just play the nieve card and when the officer found out what we were trying to do, he would naturally assume we were insane and give us a ride to Santa Barbara anyway. Fortunately, these events did not occur! As were approaching the freeway to make what we referred to as a “mad 27 mile dash” we spotted a bike lane which seemed to veer out toward the ocean. Much to our surprise, we got to run the extent of our run on what could easily be one of the most beautiful stretches of coast we have seen yet. We did however get a bit of a scare when we were startled by two extremely loud booms which at the time, left Zac and I checking for bulletholes. We  found out later that what we thought to be a high powered rifle blast turned out to be the space shuttle entering the atmosphere! Zac and I are currently having a relaxing day off and preparing to head into some uncharted (or at least uninhabited) territory in the next week. We are both adjusting very well to the high mileage and apart from the usual soreness at the end of each of our running days, we are being so blessed all along this run. I’ll be honest, I haven’t eaten this well in a couple years, but then again, when you are a poor college student living away from home, that’s not saying too much. Thank you guys all so much for all the encouragement and especially the prayers. I wish I could better express to you what it is like being on the recipeint end of so many direct blessings that God is pouring upon us, but it is giving us daily strength (when we feel like we should have nothing left) to uplift and encourage others. We are actually finding it’s harder to NOT get into a spiritual conversation about this run. God is using us just as He is using you all, thanks so much and praise God!


I’ve learned four things. One being that seemingly everyone in California cycles. I’m pretty sure that we have past thousands of bicyclers already as they all ride up and down the coast. Team after team pass by as they wave or give a confused facial expression. The second being that California is very green. Especially the coast. The mixture of oxygen produced by millions of plants and the coastal breeze make breathing so much richer. As weird as that may sound, it makes running all the more enjoyable. The third is that the diversity of California is incredible. From the people, agriculture, animals, to the never ending variation in mercedes cars. There is a lot of variety. The final thing I have learned is that you don’t always have to see history happen to experience it, but you can hear it also. After heading along the coastal bike route, through little downtowns like Summerville and Carpinteria, and passed by giant estates and Santa Barbara’s Polo country club. After 27 miles of running we averaged a 7:30 minute mile, it was such a beautiful and fun run. As we passed some suffers at a beach half way through our run, as Paul mentioned in his post we were surprised by two huge booms. The space shuttle Atlantis had just finished repairing a telescope in space and was diverted to California after weather conditions were in Florida made it impossible for a landing. The seven members of Atlantis landed at Edwards Airport Sunday after traveling 5 million miles in space and a two day long journey. I’ll keep you up to date on anything else I learn on this trip. I doubt there will be anything else though. [Input Sarcasm Here]

Strawberry Fields

Oxnard is one of Californias most agriculturally rich areas. On our run this morning we had a brisk 20 miler under the over cast sky through cabbage, tomato, grass, and tons of strawberry fields. Today seemed to impress all of our senses with the beautiful weather, sights, smells, birds singing, and, well I guess taste wasn’t used. Because of the shorter distance we ended early before lunch and took some time to eat at a park called Mission Park in Ventura. It was located in the downtown area that boasts some of the earliest developed missions in California. We have been resting today, relaxing and preparing for a long run that we have tomorrow, which will bring us into Santa Barbara. Mentally the run has become more taxing. Each day has blured into another while making time unknown. Half the time I can’t remember what day it is or the date. But hostely it makes it more fun. Forcing me to live in the moment and take advantage of opportunities as they come.

Following the Pelicans…

Zac and I had an awesome day off at “Wilson World” and were sad to leave sunny Malibu this morning. We have both been so encouraged by everyone’s comments and we take so much pleasure in reading them. Even though Zac and I agree that this is by far the most difficult task either of us have put our minds and bodies through, what we see even more evident on a daily basis is how God is keeping our spirits super high. Both Zac and I got a small taste of what a majority of the rest of the summer will look like as we headed from Malibu to Oxnard up Pacific Coast Highway. With a majority of the big city interruptions behind us as we move out of SoCal, we find ourselves heading out into some pretty desolate strectches of terrain. On our run today, we found a group of hippie hikers who were pretty excited to hear about our plans of running all the way up to Canada. They were even more excited to hear the inspiration behind the run! We also had a run in with another lady concerned for the safety of our “baby” in the baby jogger. After passing by us not twice, but three times, she proceeded to pull her car over, jump out and confront us on an open stretch of highway. “Excuse me, but it just seems a little too hot for a baby out here…” she exclaimed. Quickly realizing her confusion, Zac and I clarified the situation. “Oh! How inspiring! Well good luck to both you young men and keep running!” Zac and I are now just waiting for the time when the California Highway Patrol or Child Protective Services pull us over. Let’s just pray there aren’t any amber alerts out…. After a few more miles, we made it safely to our stop and rested at a little park just outside Oxnard called missile park. We are now icing our feet and planning our root for tomorrow! It’s been kind of scary for me personally to realize just how much God has taken care of us. From healing injuries, to giving us a roof to sleep under, to even just waking up each morning and being excited to see what we will see, hear and experience, we are really being taken care of. This made me think, “Is the whole trip going to be this enjoyable? Is God preparing us for the hard stuff to come?” All I know is this, that on a day to day basis, without worrying about the future, we are feeling loved on. We love you guys, and keep praying!

“So I’m assuming you two are partners?” (5/20)

What a stretch of miles this day was. Beautiful scenery and great little streets to run through. And we weren’t even out of LA! As we left Redondo Beach, our course took us along Manhattan Beach, Playa Del Rey beneath LAX, through Marina Del Rey and Venice, continuing on through Santa Monica’s arts district and the 3rd street promenade, and finally ending at Pepperdine University in Malibu. We were so ready for a rest day, and the areas we traveled through provided a lot of diversity and great areas to run at. That day also, we filmed a day in the life of Paul and Zac, which we will be posting soon to show everyone what a day looks like for two traveling homeless runners. 

Going through Santa Monica was the most fun part of the day for me. I had spent last summer in Santa Monica on a summer project with Campus Crusade for Christ. So the area was special to me. We ran through streets and past buildings and areas that I had once ran by and lived near. We took a lunch break at the 3rd street promenade and made some PB & J while sitting near one of the many fountains. There was a farmers market going on there also, which is always fun to enjoy and be near. The market brought so many people from the area there that day. We had a few hellos, but we were tired to say the least from the running that morning and I can imagine we didn’t look to friendly to talk to or approach. Sitting in silence as we both enjoyed our much needed lunch, a man approached us. I had seen him earlier talking to a street performer about something, and he looked very excited and happy in that moment of conversation. As he came near, it seemed that we may get into a conversation with him. After we all exchanged hellos, the next thing he said was “So I’m assuming you two are partners?” After we laughed and said no, telling him what we were doing he responded with “Oh, I guess that’s another oops moment”. This conversation was confusing to say the least, after he left us shortly after that. 

When we got into Pepperdine that day, we were relieved to have gotten there safely and in one piece after braving a gnarly stretch of road in Playa Del Rey. What a day, a day of 7mph running, farmers markets, and misconceptions about me and Paul’s relationship. Crazy.


At Home (5/19)

The night before our run for Tuesday was spent in La Mirada with a friend of ours. He drove to Huntington Beach, picked us up and the hilarity began. That evening I felt like I was back home hanging out with friends, while stories were told back and forth. Mr. Grindle, you are the man! It was a sarcastic filled night of meeting new people and hanging around a college campus. Our host was actually the brother of a close friend, and his uncanny likeness with his twin made us feel back home in Tempe at ASU. We stayed with him, as guests of the guest (him) in an amazing family’s home with their two beautiful children. After devouring a pasta meal, enjoying the pleasant backyard while the sun went down, entertaining the dog, we then headed over to Biola University to a cafe. We were staying in a home which was located right next to Biola. We literally walked accross the street, then into a neighbors backyard, under the trees that overhang the entrance and exit, and out their back gate which lead straight onto campus by the cafeteria. Feeling like we had just walked in and through the wardrobe from Narnia, we tried to regain our senses and bearings. I half expected snow to be coming down as we came out the other side along with a half-man, half-goat, welcoming us with a song of rejoice on his flute. “Welcome young travelers, you have arrived. Aslan come quick! Meet our wanders.” Anyways, we enjoyed our time with Stephen and catching up on some quiet time at the cafe with all the Biolians studying for finals.

The next day was probably our hardest yet, mentally. We headed inland to bipass some major extra miles. However, we didnt know that by doing so would put us running through Long Beach, which reminded us with the familiarity of downtown Phoenix. Now nothing is wrong with downtown Phoenix, or Long Beach. We wanna love on these people and show them Jesus. But, two 20 something year olds, wearing short shorts, pushing a baby-jogger, shirtless, made our plans to run through this area become a bit interesting. There also must have been a city-wide annual “Breaking of the Glass on Every Street Corner and Wall Parade” the day before. Long Beach, you need to get rid of that parade and tradition. Please… So, our run turned into a speed workout to say the least. A 28 mile run with a 10 mile stretch through Long Beach filled with confused onlookers, that would have much rather gestured something else than wave back, made us weary and wanting to get this run over with. It was awesome though. We met an amazing woman along the way that shared her story and heart with us, while not holding her questions and beliefs back at all. I greatly admired her for how much she has questioned her life and the way the world works, not settling for the religion and beliefs that everyone else has pushed on her. After almost an hour of talking, we were on our way, and we hope she had a fun night with her kids at the Dodgers game. What a great mom. Also, along this run we got to see some good friends who were in LA on their way to go on a missions project to East Asia. All five of us prayed together and got to encourage one another through our meeting. What started out as a dreaded, fast, and concerning stretch of milage, transformed into a day that we could not have planned to encounter and take part in. We slowed down, enjoyed the people, and finished out the day. That night we made it 28 miles later to the border of Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach, which was a beautiful area. We were so relieved that our next host lived so close to our end spot. Maybe a quarter of a mile away, if that. 

Paul and I made it to our post college dream apartment. We stayed with 3 awesome guys who had one of the coolest bachelor pads ever. Simple, manly, and had a couch that, well lets just say Paul and I would have stolen it if we wouldn’t have had to take it back in the baby jogger. We slept so good that night on that huge couch. While out at dinner, you could have recognized two Arizona boys with their jackets on and jeans, as the ocean air was just too much for us to handle it seemed. Our conversations went deeper into what we aspired, hoped, and dreamed for in each of our lives. We felt really liked and important to our host. Being not that much older than us, but also at different points in our lives, it was really sweet getting to know James and being treated so genuinely. We felt at home.

Providence and Divine Appointments

After our tumultuous day at Pendleton, Zac and I were definitely in need of some rest and relaxation. Our stay in Dana Point was the much needed rest that we could have asked for. After an 11 hour sleep, we ate, then read, then slept, then ate, then ate again, and again, then slept. For lack of better words, one of the greatest days of my life. We found out through this experience that we had not been eating nearly enough, and have thus decided to implement more food breaks into our daily runs. Our run today took us through sunny Laguna Beach, and although we were unable to spot the cast of the popular TV show, I can honestly say I have never seen more Mercedes in my entire life. When we arrived at our destination of Huntington Beach, Zac and I sat down to have some lunch at Subway when I noticed a couple of guys all wearing some pretty huge tattoos, one of which was a picture of three crosses with the word “servant” printed across the front. I always love these opportunities to strike up conversations, as tattoos are usually a pretty easy conversation topic. After talking for awhile with these guys, Zac and I found that they were leaders at a fairly large church in Corona, CA. It was such an encouraging encounter, as they proceeded to pray over us and that God would continue to grant us grace and providence on our journey. Both Zac and I as well as the men from the Crossroads church in Corona were all just stoked as we got to see first-hand God using members of the body of Christ to encourage and uplift one another. We are seeing this type of divine encounter on a more regular basis, as Zac and I are beginning to get opportunities to share our faith by means of this run. The physical outpouring of our bodies as well as the spiritual outpouring of our hearts when we receive these opportunities to share our stories should have drained pretty much all of our strength by now, but because of these divine encounters and the ceaseless prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are met with new strength each day! Keep praying guys, God is moving!

I swear I saw a Velociraptor.

Well, we are done with our first set of runs (each set consists of three days of running. Tomorrow is our much needed rest day, and I want to stress the “much needed”. All three runs so far have been above average and tough. A lot of hills and a lot of cyclists. The attractivness and mystery of this run have disappeared at this time. However, it has been replaced with adventure and beauty along the coast. We cannot believe how much we have seen so far, and yet it has only been 85 miles up the coast. I feel like I’m Indiana Jones lately. Jumping and swinging into another disasterous situation. Except that in our scenerio, Paul and I don’t have the luck and charm that Indiana has been graciously gifted with. If we are in fact Mr. Jones, then we would have lost our hat, broken our whip in half, and accidently shot our guide. Needless to say, we are learning a lot about ourselves and our limits. Today was a 20 mile stretch through Camp Pendleton, a marine base just north of Oceanside, then 9 more miles along the old pacific coast highway that has been converted into a bike route, cars do not have access, and is over grown with vegetation. It was a crazy adventure. Today the base, which is huge, was having live amunition testing and training. So we enjoyed hearing explosions and machine gun fire for hours throughout the run. It seemed as if we had entered Vietnam or Jurassic Park. The huge hillsides and vast open meadows with tall grass enticed our imaginations as we thought something was going to pounce out at any moment and send us into a dead sprint. The constant flow of bicyclists coming from behind and towards us throughout the day was the only thing that kept us going it seemed. We ended in a beautiful area called Dana Point, just north of San Clemente. I will leave you dear reader in anticipation for our next update with a question that Paul and I have pondered. What did we get ourselves into?