Sure, running across the country is the kind of thing everyone hopes to do at some point in his or her life, like cleaning the leaves out of the gutter and crossing off some of those New Year's resolutions.
But on July 26, 2010, Milton Miller was lounging on his couch and watching TV, as he normally did, when he suddenly and quite randomly decided to run from Miami to Los Angeles. That's right. The Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. With his feet. Just the two of them.
Before that fated summer day, Miller had never run, or at least not seriously, in his life. He was in his 40s, weighed roughly 240 pounds, and ran a software development business out of South Florida. A self-proclaimed couch potato, he spent the next three months training, and on December 19, 2010, he put his feet to the pavement and headed to the West Coast. He arrived in Los Angeles 117 days later and 55 pounds lighter.
You would think the experience of running transnationally once would be enough to last anyone a lifetime. Not for Milton Miller. Miller is currently in Arizona, 14 days into his second cross-country trip. He departed from Venice Beach on New Year's Day slightly hungover but in good spirits. It's the same route he did the first time, except he's doing it in reverse (Los Angeles to Miami) and planning on completing it all in 100 days flat.
Like some Led Zeppelin and Beatles songs, Miller is convinced playing it backward will be different. For one, experience has led him to believe that it'll be easier to tackle the Mojave Desert first and run downhill the rest of the way to Florida, just barely above sea level. But, like he did two years ago, he will still traverse eight states and 2,700 miles in 100 days, with only six days off. On the last day of his run in Miami, Miller plans to run only 15 miles, but on some days, he'll knock out 41; on average, it'll be a marathon (26.2 miles) a day. Every day. For 100 days. Only six days off.
Miller intends to drop 40 pounds this time around, and he's lost 15 so far. He isn't going to stop his journey as soon as the scale reads 170. No. That would be too easy. This battle is more than a number on a scale to him.
"On July 26, 2010, I signed a contract with myself," Miller explains. "It's really tough. You go out until you're tired and stop. Most people get used to stopping, but I keep going, and it feels horrible, and then it'll start to feel good again, and then it hurts. Again."
Miller runs with a ten-pound backpack, which holds his tent (that he sometimes set up on the side of the road to sleep in at night) and his supply of water and food for the day. Over the years, he's garnered some friends from different pockets of his route who house and feed him but always pick and drop him off on the road. ("It would be cheating any other way," Miller jokes.)
He has no big corporate sponsors, but some individual businesses along the way have helped him out: The La Quinta Inn in San Bernadino, California, offered him a free night; the Subway in Parker, Arizona, gave him a free footlong; and a Mexican restaurant called El Serrate served him dinner for free.
He'll be in South Florida for the last leg of his trip around April 8-10. Local running groups like the Florida Ultramarathon Runners and the Hash House Harriers will run alongside Miller those last 90 miles. He'll pass through Palm Beach and Broward counties along Military Trail, Atlantic Avenue, Federal Highway, and U.S. 1. He'll eventually finish his "100 days of madness" once he crosses the Venetian Causeway and ends at the eastern end of Lincoln Road. With his feet. Just the two of them. Back at the Atlantic Ocean.