Days 40 and 41

A couple of boring ones.

Day 40 – Carthage to Springfield – 52.7 miles

For the past few days I have stopped stressing about time. I can’t control it so there is no point worrying about it. By the end of today, although it was more than 13 hours it did not feel like much time had passed at all. In fact it does not feel like much time has passed since yesterday. It feels like an age since I was in LA, buckling under the weight of this thing. Now the days just seem to be falling off, and the job is getting smaller.

Today could have started with a downer though, I was given an “official warning” for not running safely on the road. It’s a fair cop I think I was facebooking on a windy road without paying much attention, I think the organisers are keen to enforce rules more now given that Missouri has a higher proportion of knob-head drivers than the other states we have passed through.

I was in a really good place mentally, clearly. Once I started running I stopped being annoyed completely with the warning, I was even trying to get angry about but it all just bounced off. Makes a difference from when I burst into tears about forgetting sunglasses.

After yesterdays McDonalds fest it was slim pickings today, just a gas station at 26 miles where I hoped to at least get an ice lolly.

The roads in Missouri really are nicer than Oklahoma though the price we pay is that with all the twists and turns and undulations cars can not see that far ahead and hence can’t give you a lot of space as the roads are narrower. I am not sure what I prefer.

Why is it that tell any American what state you are running through and they’ll reply “yes it’s the XXXXXX that’ll kill yer”? Missouri “It’s the humidity that’ll kill yer”, Arizona “It’s the altitude that’ll kill yer”, California “It’s the heat that’ll kill yer”, Oklahoma “It’s the winds that’ll kill yer”, New Mexico “It’s left over beef steaks that’ll kill yer”. Why does every state want to kill us? You don’t get that in the UK. If someone says they are running through Leicester I don’t reply “It’s the knitting machines that’ll kill yer”.

The day went the same as usual. I set out at a reasonable pace, Alex catches up around 15 miles, we swap places every couple of miles while we get our support stops or I go into a shop to buy a lolly, I’d catch up with Markus around 25 miles in and chat and the 3 of us would finish near to each other.

I was not eating as much solid food as in previous days and today for the first time in a while went back to energy gels and cans of monster. I have not had a monster for about 3 weeks now, since the illness (was that really that long ago?) and the taste brought back the memories of the early days of this race. It feels big when I look back, not so much forward.

And so today went without too much fuss and I felt as strong in the last 5 miles of today as I had done in any of the finished so far, even though I could not run too much because of the traffic. On arrival at the motel I was driven to McDonalds (there were not a lot of places nearby) where I spent more money in there than I think I ever have, $23 on 2 large big-mac meals, each with smoothies and 20 chicken nuggets (breakfast).

A really tough day but a good one

Day 41 – Springfield to Conway – 44.4 miles

I know better than now to call any day less than 45 an “easy” day which is just as well because this was not one of those days. The first 10 miles were through the city of Springfield (I saw no Moe’s, no Kwik-e-mart but did see a driver who looked like mole man). There were 3 McDonalds within the first 10 miles but I went in none of them.

The first 10 felt quite comfortable, especially as we were in a city as often in the morning that are very hot. This is the biggest city we have been in since LA. As soon as we got out of it though the humidity hit me, I was suffocating and I think Alex and Markus were too, it was stifling. This state really is trying to kill us.

My clothes were wet all over but I was not cooling down, there was no wind or cloud just stifling wet air. I wonder who it was who first discovered humidity, there is no evidence of it other than slow suffocating.

This carried on for about 15 miles where we had to make a turning at a gas station, I went in to buy an ice lolly and saw a blast from the past, ice-poles. I don’t think I have had one of those since school. I used to buy them for 10p on my way home from school while enduring some of the 25C summer holidays. I bought the two that remained ($3.50, prices seem to have gone up a bit in 20 years), I put one down my top to store and tore into the other.

I walked chomping on these things for a couple of miles trying to think about the things I used to think about when I was about 11. It was probably about which ninja turtle was the best and whether Melanie Wainwright would ever go out with me. I always thought Donatello was the best and I don’t believe Melanie ever wanted to go out with me, I think she said it clearly enough. Maybe it’s because I cheated at the sponsored walk?

Well, 20 years later I don’t think I have too much more to worry about, the second ice pop (green flavour, it even tasted just like the green I remember 20 years ago) went down quickly and I was resigned to having to run again, but this time with a lot of ice on my head and in my body it felt much better.

And then I heard thunder and the temperature drop again, oh yes we were going to get another one. It took much longer to arrive this time but so long as the pressure dropped the temperature did too and then we got 20 minutes of beautiful rain. Well, I say “we”, Alex who was just ahead of me got it, Markus who was just behind got none at all. Soon after the rain stopped the evaporation started to choke again but I was close enough to the end for that not to bother me too much except that my ankle felt twisted, probably as a result of having to run so close to the edge of the road where the camber is quite severe. I hope it’s a bit better tomorrow.

So 44.5 miles done this time in 11.23, quite slow really but it still felt quicker. Tomorrow we pass 3000k. That's pretty big.