Day 12 - Ash Fork to Williams - 30.3 miles - 500 miles in

I had a strange dream last night. I was finishing one of the stages in a small town in the middle of nowhere and in checking into the hotel I was told I’d have to find somewhere else for my horse and cow. Luckily just across the road there was a stable which took my animals for $6 per night (I have no idea whether that was a good price or not). I did wake up around 1am panicking about what I am going to do with my horse and cow today while I am running. It took a while to realise that I had no horse and cow, there was a little relief at that. I am sure it’s not the most ridiculous thing that will make me wake in the night and panic, it wins so far though.

When I wake up every morning I am hopefully that any damage from the previous day has just magically disappeared in the night. It happened with the groin on night 1, the chaffing on night 6 and the left shin on night 8. When I roll out of bed and put my foot on the floor it is the moment of truth, am I going to have a pain free day or is it going to be a struggle again. I winced as my foot hit the floor. Struggle it is then.

We stayed in a nice motel at the finish line for today and had a 30 mile drive to the start. I thought I got enough sleep but was still quite sleepy though I woke up a little when I saw a road sign that said “LOS ANGELES 464 MILES”. I brought home briefly just how far I have gone so far, in 11 days I have run further than I would normally do in 2 months. In only 1 month ever have I run more than 500 miles. Today’s 30 would take the total to 500 miles which sounded like a great mile stone at the time but then I got those annoying Scottish people singing in my head.

The start felt the same as yesterday, a few turns then a bit of road heading gradually upwards. Today we were going to be treated to a large section of nice running trail. It wasn’t long before we were on the trail and it was lovely though the majority of today was uphill. This was going to be good for my shin, no long sections on down might give it a chance to recover.

This was the second of my “recovery” days where I hope to finish in time to relax a lot, ice, use the pool and generally stay off my feet for the majority of the day. 7 hours running means I get to spend twice as much time off my feet as on, in future days of over 50 miles I may well be spending more time on my feet than off. Some of the future days where 50+ milers are stacked right next to each other don’t bear thinking about right now.

I ran with Italo again as I think he wanted to go slow and heal himself. It is nice to have the company and he likes to wish me “good luck” when I have to go into the bushes. Must be a Sardinian thing. This time the toilet paper was not provided by the Japanese.

Bando (the Japanese guy who often leathers it at the start) seemed to be having a really great run today. He was just in front of us for the whole run and keeping a steady pace. He looked in bits at the start line a few days ago and it is a great morale boost for everyone to see that someone can come back from looking a mess and then run well. Markus after spending a few days resting ran today as did the two Japanese guys who had dropped out and Jenni and Philippe also. 13 out of the 14 runners who started were out here today and the two on bikes, it felt like a big group again.

I was most pleased with my own constant pacing. I ran for most of it, not the steep uphills. I found my leg hurt more when I walked and hurt more after I stopped for a while so I just knew the key was to keep running. Sometimes the nagging would just go away, perhaps because I felt in a much better place mentally today, my mind did not wander into negative thoughts at all. It was such a lovely route too, a large trail with lots of smaller trails out to the sides, some beautiful blue lakes, grass covering the ground like I had not seen since I have been here. It was not too warm (I guess max about 30C but with a refreshing breeze). Even in a headwind it felt good. Would have been perfect for a horse. I can’t believe I left him in the stable.

The trail ended with about 3 miles to go and then there was a gradual descent into Williams. It was on the road again but my leg felt fine so long as I keep it moving. I was wearing the calf guard again and today it did not cause any swelling in my ankle. There was a great sign coming into Williams, it had “Everything you need” as it’s header and underneath were signs for McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell, Comfort Inn and the Grand Canyon. 3 fast food outlets, a motel and a grand canyon, I can’t think of anything else a town needs?

As we made it to the finish like I pointed out the McDonalds to Italo. He they pointed to the other side of the road at the finish flags. He said “It’s funny when we see the finish line all you see is the McDonalds”. I had been thinking about it for a while though and Dave drove down and had to guess what I’d like. 3 out of 3 Dave, awesome effort. Big Mac, Large fries, strawberry milkshake.

I have started to make a priority of snoozing after the run now. The first week or so I’ve just tried to stay awake until in gets dark (around 8pm) then try to sleep but too often I am still wide awake at 11. Now I try to shower then snooze for an hour or two after the run so that I can feel a little fresher for the rest of the day and hopefully be able to sleep better later. It’s good to get off my feet and it’s good to switch off from the run that day.

I am going to call today a really good day. I moved constantly throughout, felt minimal pain (without any drugs today), had great scenery, Italo was fun and Deb and Dave were brilliant as usual. Tomorrow is 42 miles and I am told it will be a “hard” 42 miles.

Boring Stuff

Weight before 80.6kg after 80.4kg

Consumption During – 2 turkey sandwiches, cliff bar, 6l Gatorade, 2l water After McDonalds big mac, fries, milkshake, Lots of pizza, 2 raspberry iced teas (getting addicted to that stuff)

Kit – Kathmandu shorts, kooga pants, Columbia short sleeved top, newtons, shades, camelpack, socks

Injuries – Right shin still sore but better than yesterday