Of all the things Eileen Francisco bought in order to prepare for a 500-mile run: the shoes, the water, the sunscreen, one thing more than any other tells you everything you need to know about this San Mateo 46-year-old.
She bought a pair of crutches.
"I going to buy crutches because if it comes to that I am going to finish this thing on crutches," Eileen said.
The word "can't" is probably in Eileen's vocabulary, just don't expect to hear it. Ever.
"Anything is possible. Absolutely," Eileen said. "Anything is possible."
Eileen said she learned that fact at the age of 28 when, without any athletic background, she finished her first marathon. She then moved onto to ultramarathons and 100-mile runs; each time proving to herself that, yes, anything is possible.
And so last March, when Eileen's nephew asked her a seemingly innocent question, "How many miles is it around the Bay?" the answer, 500, sounded to Eileen like a challenge.
So, for the month of July, and with the help of a rotating crew of friends, Eileen is running every single one of those 500 miles; not just with that goal but with a mission, too.
Eileen is using the run as publicity for Animal Run, a series of road races she is organizing starting this August in Fremont to raise money for her other passion, animal welfare organizations.
Eileen said that while there have been tough times on the trail the thought of giving up has never occurred to her. The good times and the beautiful surprises have made this the right thing to do, particularly for the type of person who doesn't say, "can't."
"That's the hard part in life, right? Knowing what you want. This is what I want and after that everything became easy."