Today was a strange day. Proper up and down (apart from the elevation which seemed to go up again). I think I slept OK but can not be sure. Last night was a sleeping bag and mat on the floor affair and as usual I sweat like a Brit in the Mojave but on the whole I think I got enough sleep. My leg felt even better, almost gone. I only really feel it when I move sideways on my leg such as trying to pick up a bag or something. I had a good meal last night and a good breakfast this morning. I had a good run yesterday and was ready to have another good one today.
Strange then that I should feel so depressed?
We started in darkness again setting out and I immediately realised that I had forgotten my running number. There is a penalty for that and I did not care too much for that I just got angry at my own stupidity. I felt fine running but after about 5 miles it all just became “too big” again.
I spoke to Gemma (on IM) last night about how much we are missing each other. This is the longest I have ever been out of the UK now and probably the longest I have been from her. It does not help that there has been no phone coverage for 2 days now. We spoke about the possibility of her coming over in the middle of the run. I am not too sure. It would be great to have her here but then her having to leave would be too hard. It hurt each time a support team left me and it would be many times worse with her. I don’t know what the answer to that is.
I miss home a lot too, the early morning start with the faffing and trying to find something to eat and clothes to wear and drinks to fill the camelpack with and then cramming everything into 2 bags and taking it to the truck. It’s so much harder and more frustrating that I thought it would be. When the sun rose above the mountains I went to put on my sun glasses and realised I had forgotten them too. I felt so fucking useless and then the tears came again.
I was near the back at this point and let the others go past and disappear into the sun. For a good mile or so I just sobbed at where I was and what I have to do. Sometimes it just feels too big. Even 48 miles today which I have run many times before felt like a job that could not be done. 54 more days of this didn’t bear thinking about.
I’ve known ultrarunning take you to the extreme of your emotions. Euphoria, depression, anger, pride etc. Within a race you may hit several peaks of various emotions. I think I am in for 2 more months of these euphoric highs and crippling lows. I am not entirely looking forward to it.
I tried to kick myself out of it. Just watch the miles go past and the days will take care of themselves. I actually thought more about my leg today than normal, trying to get a feeling out of it and trying to take comfort out of the fact that it is rock solid, like I could kick down these telegraph poles with it. Yeah.
I think a lot about what others think about this and that helps me through. I know people think I am “crazy” for doing such a thing but I know deep down they all want to be doing it too. I have a chance to do something everyone wants to do which is pretty special.
And so I broke out of it. I could use the “suncream in my eyes” excuse for anyone who saw me. Without much thought 12 miles had gone already, that’s a quarter of the day gone without even thinking about it. I might be able to get through today after all.
I passed Alex and Bando and settled into a grove and was determined not to care about time again and keep looking at my watch. I enjoyed the spectacular scenery around me as well as looking at the floor to see how many grasshoppers I stood on. I don’t quite get why live grasshoppers are always trying to pick up dead ones? What would they do with them.
After around 15 miles I had a massive breakthrough. I actually got a photo of a lizard. I see loads of them just jumping out of the bushes, scuttling along the road a bit then jumping back in. This one was just sat there. Long enough for me to get the camera out to take the picture. I was really pleased with that, this could be an awesome day.
Around 20 miles in there was a guy with a table selling trainers. It was the weirdest thing I had seen that day, how many people would want to buy new trainers in the middle of the desert. Well, if he did not sell any today he should just give up.
On the subject of shoes most runners now have cut the toes of theirs. Some runners are getting blisters and swelling and performing surgery on shoes seems to fix it. I have yet to suffer with blisters (aside from that one little one on the first day). Another reason to be cheerful?
After 30 miles we headed onto a dirt track which was quite nice to run on and there were loads of little buildings around. I passed Dan and he held up the toilet roll but I did not need it today, my bowels felt fine. I wished him a happy Independence Day, he is the only American in the whole event.
It was warm as usual and every hour or so I’d get sprayed with cold water by Anne and Rene (who’s birthday it was today). They were brilliant as usual, I can’t believe I felt so alone earlier when the support here is so fantastic.
While on the trail there were spots of water falling out of the sky. I would not call it rain but when every single one hit my skin it was beautiful. Thunder boomed in the distance and I yelled at it to come over and soak me. There was a short lived shower but it was wonderful.
Alex’s support crew were playing Frisbee. I tried to join in but they are really bad at it and I ended up having to climb into the sand to retrieve it.
About 6 miles to go we were back on the road and quite a busy one with no shoulder. Laure had told us to be very careful and stop is cars come past too close, it was not easy to run on. On seeing Rene and Anna again next to a sign for McDonalds I made the request “Big Mac et frites sil vous plait” – I know the important things in French.
The finish was just on the road in the middle of nowhere but it was one of the nicest so far. Music was playing and Laure was dancing around with the American flag. We sat at the back of the lorry and had a beer. Jenni, Anneke, Markus, Alex and I finished within a few minutes of each other.
Laure mentioned that she has read my blog and it makes her laugh which made me feel quite good. Perhaps she can actually understand my English after all. I better be careful what I write here now..
The motel is nice and I went to Dennys for the first time ever. Laurie described them as “they do everything but do it badly”. I had a huge plate of nachos to start and a t-bone steak. It was great hanging out with Rainer, Italu, Peter and June. The funniest moment of the day came after Peter (German) and Italu (Sardinian) ordered the fajitas and then about 10 minutes later were presented with the flour wraps. They just both looked so confused as Rainer and I said “Bon appetite”. Peter went to the next table to see if they had got his order and Italu said “It’s not like in the picture”. Finally the sizzling meat came. Perhaps you had to be there but I had not laughed that loud for a while.
With moments like that I may just survive the summer.
Weight – Forgot
Consumed Breakfast/During – Noodles, 2 pepparamis, energy bar, 4l Gatorade, 2 cokes, 2 fruit punches (0% fruit), 2 sprites, some jelly beans AFTER – American water, sprite, nachos, milkshake, tbone steak, mashed potato, fried shrimp
Kit – Newtons, Serpie yellow top then nf long sleeved, Kathmandu shorts, kooga pants, nf hat, camelpack, socks