Running near the arch in St Louis

Running near the arch in St Louis.

I’m back in Moab after a six-day epic U.S. road trip with my boyfriend, Fernando. Along the way we dubbed the trip #RunMerica and #EatMerica as we indulged in two of our favourite activities – binging and long distance running.

With stops in Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver and Glenwood Springs, Colo., we dined on everything from burnt end sandwiches to deep dish pizza, crawfish etouffe and deep fried twinkies. We even spent one night camping in Colorado where we roasted cheddar hot dogs and s’mores over a campfire by the Colorado river.

We pulled up to Global Endurance Training Center in Moab, Utah at least ten pounds heavier than we left Toronto. That’s OK though, because in the last three days I think I’ve shed all that padding as I’ve ridden multiple horses in the scorching heat.

Eating deep fried twinkles in St Louis

Eating deep fried twinkles in St Louis.

Fernando left to fly back to Toronto on Monday morning and I’m now here to focus on building up the hours in the saddle to give my body some idea of what I’ll face riding 1,000 kilometres across Mongolia. Even though I’m outside most of the time occupied with horses and riding, I already miss Fernando and his encouragement and positivity. By far, he’s my No. 1 fan and every time I have doubts and worries, he settles them with his calm, rational approach to most things in life.

It’s made me realize just how important it is to surround yourself with good-hearted people – the kind of people who get excited and not upset when you tell them you’re going away for three months for a horse race in Mongolia.

Fernando and I riding together in Utah.

 Trail riding in Utah.

I couldn’t have gotten this far without Fernando’s support and help – and his ability to be comfortable in any situation, no matter how far out of his comfort zone it is. Case in point: Even though he’s only been on a horse about three times, he did a semi-difficult two-hour trail ride with me in Utah, gamely bouncing along as his horse galloped up steep hills. I can’t say I’d attempt the same ride if I’d only been on a horse a few times.