Days 52, 53 and 54

These blogs are going to become less frequent and more tired. I want to keep it going so i can remember afterwards.

Day 52 Tuscola to Rockville – 56.8 miles

Well I honestly cant remember a great deal about day 52 which is odd as it was on my mind a lot beforehand. 57 miles and on a day where we would lose an hour due to the clocks going forward for the last time.  The day was going to be followed by another 52 the next day. There was actually a vote on whether to hold off on changing the clocks for another day but I voted to do it as soon as possible so that it was not on my mind anymore. Plus from then on we’d be on New York time. That felt like a step closer to the finish.

I took one of my “in emergency break glass” things today. I wore my MP3 player for the majority of the run. I spoke to Jenni who said that her feet were ok and her body is ok but her mind is not ok. Does not sound like an injury but it has such massive consequences when your head is not “ok” and mine was not this morning and I hoped that deafening myself with The Killers and Led Zeppellin might help.

I still have one more emergency glass to break, the pain killers. I really don’t want to use them and in running they are almost always a bad idea. I actually took a couple of anti-inflammatorys early on when I have the shin splints but since then I have not taken anything. I have started carrying some in my bag however, just knowing they are there might help. I don’t think it will come to that.

Today I crossed into Indiana, nailing Illinois in 4 days. Laure said to expect a change of scenery as we went in, it’s hard to describe what it is but there is definitely a change. Maybe more trees. I was speaking to Gemma at this point but had to cut the call short as I was struggling to breath and talk at the same time.

Overall I was doing my target pace of 4mph and would have done this till the end but a mile from the end there was a Burger King so I stopped there, stocked up and walked to the finish so I could just crawl into bed and eat. I could barely eat though. I had a burger and milkshake but did not touch the fries. I had a chicken salad to put in the fridge for breakfast tomorrow.

I really can’t remember much about this day. Except I remember at the finishing line asking whether anyone wanted to go clubbing. And also talking to Laure a lot about why I wanted to do this race.

Day 53 – Rockville to Indianapolis

The alarm went off at 4am as usual but this 4am felt like 3am. I wanted the hour back as soon as it went off. When I finish this race (ooohhhhhh check out the confident language there) I am changing that alarm tone so I never am reminded again about how hard it can be to get out of bed some mornings.

And it got worse, my chicken salad that I had planned for seemed to be missing the chicken, so rather than have some lettuce for breakfast I scrabbled around to find some biscuits and a banana. Never going to Burger King again. Let that be a lessen kids, when running across America take no chances with your nutrition, stick to Big Macs.

With the clocks going forward we had another hour of darkness to run in the morning which would normally be great but today it was on a windy narrow road where cars were still driving.

I felt pretty rotten for much of the first part, the darkness made me grumpy as well as the lack of food. I was struggling to keep any sort of pace up and for the first time since I was ill I was right at the back. I was really pleased to see Bando survive yesterday and he seemed to be having a good one today.

In fact Jenni, Phillipe, Tanaka and Girard were all behind me but they dropped out early due to the efforts of yesterday. I should not really complain that my legs would not get going, I had run 57 miles yesterday and had been deprived of a further hour of recovery. Those precious hours of lying down while something magic happens in my legs to give them a chance of making it through tomorrow are at a premium now. This is my life for the next 2 and a bit weeks.

But it got better. I settled back into the pace I want to run and the groin and other parts started to allow me to move my legs again. By about half way I was bang on for a 4mph average (listen to me talking like a triathlete, a very slow triathlete). At 38 miles there was a McDonalds where I made up for yesterdays mistake with a burger and a smoothie and soon after I caught up with Bando and chatted to him.

Bando owns a publishing company in Japan. He started it as a one man band and now it employs 50 people. He told me (in much better English that I first gave him credit for) that he thinks about New York all the time and it often brings tears to his eyes. I think about New York all the time too and it too brings tears to my eyes.

It was really nice to hear that (for the first time) from someone and I can imagine why he does. He finishes last pretty much every day after running on his own. His legs are a mess, he said he takes his mind off it also by singing. He was doing amazingly well today as at this pace we’d beat the cut-off by nearly 2 hours.

10 miles from the end we went onto an interstate that led to Indianapolis. I was still running at this point but Bando was now walking, not something he usually does. A mile up a hill I saw another McDonalds and I bounded up the hill (remember all words here are relative) to get in there and by me and Bando a smoothie before he caught up. He seemed surprised when I waited and handed him a smoothie on the interstate but enjoyed it a lot. We walked together for about another mile and chatted some more. It’s great to see he is well and truly in this race still. And me too.

I ran on, no longer really worried about how fast or when I will arrive. On the interstate there as a lady and a guy whose car had stopped and they were pushing it. I asked it they wanted a hand and then started to push the car up the interstate with them. I assumed they were going to pull into the next corner which was only a few meters away but they said they are going to the gas station which was ages away. Shit, how do I get out of this? Saying that I am running across America just seemed like a lame excuse. I just said “I gotta go” and went.

Day 54 – Indianapolis to Somewhere – 45.6 miles

45.6 miles has become a “short” day now. If I spend less than half the day on my feet then I am spending more time recovering than destroying. Not sure what the conversion rate on that is though.

But today started slow, stayed slow then got a bit slower at the end, the first miles into Indianapolis and out again were quite cool, like we were running into New York. Not quite. Leicester maybe.

This was the first proper big city we have run in since LA and soon we will have Columbus which is even bigger. At 6am there is still a lot going on, joggers out, drunk people and those with very early starts. More than any other place so far there are actually people walking around in the streets.

The traffic lights make it slower and although my legs were not complaining pain wise they just would not go. My stride length has been reduced to that of a duck. I was reminded of Alex’s comment early on in the run “James you are from London you should run like a Penguin yet you run like a Kenyan”.  I am sure I have never ever run like a Kenyan and that possibility is as far away from me as possible right now. A penguin is more closer to the mark now.

McDonalds at 13 miles (to the reader I need to include every McDonalds visit for a bet that is been run on how many times I stop there, otherwise I’d just say something like “stopped for a healthy running snack”)

Today I was running near to Tanaka who I try to run in front of if possible because of his obscenely tight shorts. Sometimes I stop at the car to pick up a sandwich, he overtakes and then I have to joy of munching the sandwich while watching the rhythmic wobbling of his 60 year old left buttock. Tasty.

The runners here seem to have gone 2 ways, some are getting faster in this new temperate climate whereas others are getting slower as their bodies fall apart. I am in the latter group with Bando. I predict my legs will fall off on August 28th. That’s fine, I am giving up running to concentrate on becoming really average at golf instead.

Sorry this is going to be short again, there is loads of stuff I have missed but I am in a chinese buffet place trying to write and stuff my face but by body feels full now and I need sleep. We have to get up at 3.30 tomorrow to drive half an hour to the start. I never thought that I’d not have time to blog about running because I am doing so much running. Note for next time, get one of those dictablogging machines (assuming they exists).

Did I really just say next time? No way.