Days 55, 56, 57

Day 55 – 53.6 miles

3.30am to drive to the start of a 54 mile day which I now know will be at least 13.30 hours on my feet. I try not to let it bother me when I am awake but it bothers me when I try to sleep. Every day I think about all of the nothing that I am going to do the day after I finish this.

But the day started as most do, gentle plodding to wake up the achy parts of my body and to assess what remains after a few miles. It was the groin again today but not as bad as it has been of late. I was hopeful that I could just plough along as normal, Normal now being running like a penguin.

Today there were going to be a few treats for me, Luca was going to meet up with me at some stage as he lives in Columbus Ohio and keep me company for a while. He had also brought along some new shoes for me which were going to be very useful, I have been hammering the same 2 pairs since Oklahoma and I think my feet might be coming through the bottom of them.

Half way came easy enough and at this point I could still see Alex just ahead and Koshita and Ishiara were close by, 26.2 mile though was a significant distance today, it’s where the McDonalds was. I had a cheeseburger (not a big mac, I have to try to fit into a medium Serpie vest in 2 weeks time) and a smoothies as always and soon after in the town of Richmond I saw Luca. I had only met him once before in Badwater where he was crewing Tim Welsh but it was really great to have some company.

Luca would park the car, run out to me and jog for a couple of miles and then repeat. It was great to have someone to run with as I have been alone in the past few weeks. While running through Richmond I got my first “RUN FORREST RUN” of the race so far. 55 days in. I am astonished that it took that long. I guess it’s better that “FLAP PINGU FLAP”.

The appearance of Luca did confuse some people, Rene thought I just met a guy in McDonalds who just decided to follow me. The last 15 miles were on a long straight road where Laure said to us “I don’t know how your minds will deal with this” in the morning. It was not that bad and having Luca to talk to was great. I was doing good time too though I bonked a bit at the end, slowing quite a lot with a big energy crash. Koshita and Ishiara at this point came bounding past me with little effort at all.

Shortly before the end we passed the 4 megametre mark. It was a surprise to me as I did not think we would hit this today but was very pleased to see it. It does not feel like long since we were at the 3 megametre mark. Hopefully it won’t seem like too long that another 1000k will be knocked off.

I was quite pleased with the time and manor of the day, just over 13.30 with not too much pain. Better still Luca had a Subway and a Guinness for me at the end, much needed Iron replacement.

So, 2 weeks to go exactly (the last day does not count, like the last mile in a marathon that’s a given).

Day 56 – 48.6 miles

I had the new shoes feeling today. I joked at the start that I would win because of them but then Rainer pointed out that he too was wearing new shoes. Dammit.

But they seemed to just pull me along today. I did not hurt much really and by putting in the same effort as I have been doing the past few weeks I seemed to be going a bit faster. You might even see it and call it running.

There was a McDonalds at 6.5 miles, a little early but I had 2 McMuffins and a hash brown. No smoothie this time as they don’t melt as fast as they used to and take up too much time to drink. You have to think about these things when you are a super elite fast runner like me.

It was very cloudy to start with and it started to rain quite lightly. It was already quite cool and then I was hit by a heavy shower. A few seconds later after leaping to defend my breakfast I realised that I had just wandered into a sprinkler.

After these few miles in a town I forget we crossed a huge bridge and into “Taylorsville” park which is build around a dam and really beautiful. It was the first time for a while where we ran in trees that were not trying to kill us with their humidity. It was a wonderful few miles that I ran close to Bando who seemed to be having a new shoes effect too.

Today we were going through yet another Springfield. Not sure why so many places have that name. Most places like this involve some hideous interstate going in then a busy city then more interstate leaving. The interstate parts were the normal ugly noise but the town itself was nice. For some reason it reminded me of Leicester. Not sure why.

At half way I enquired as to where Alex is as he would usually have passed me long before. I was told that he went into a gas station early on, came out and went north instead of east and did so for quite some time. At that point he was 5 miles behind the next last runner Koshita.

The heat got to me today a little, long a nice long street cutting through many small towns I felt the sun more than I have done for some time. It was only in the low 30s. An ice lolly at around 32 miles helped this.

Near the end along a hilly high way a chap stopped me and asked If I was Alex. I said no and that Alex was a little way behind me and probably not in a great mood. Then another guy stopped me and asked if I was James. It was Scott, a friend of Debbra from my support team and he lives in Columbus and came out to give his support. At the end he provided the nest cookies I have ever seen which the whole lot of us went crazy for. Thanks Scott : )

Day 57 – New Venice to Outside Columbus – 42.6 miles

I did not sleep great, it was the last time we would have to sleep on the floor of somewhere and I think my sleeping mat is leaking. There was an explanation at the beginning of the day that the route was slightly longer (about 400m) that advertised as some of the GPS people pointed out. What is 400m out of 3000 miles? And then it was funny watching Italo not start running till his watch has a signal.  I think Garmins have done to running what Simon Cowell has done to music.

But the say started really well again, the new shoes effect still strong. My pains had mostly gone (the hamstring was very sore at first) but overall everything was ok. The miles evaporated slowly as I thought about just how close I am. I get told a lot about how close it all is but it’s still over 600 miles, still a bloody long way, I have not seen any signs pointing to New York yet.

Today we were to pass through Columbus, the biggest city we pass between LA and NY and Luca was here again to guide me through his home town along with his wife (who’s name I didn’t get – even though I spoke to her loads in the evening). It was nice to have the company again and Columbus is a nice city to run in.

After the usual grim highway part there was the downtown area with the tall buildings and then we passed through some run down areas that looked like the parts of east London you pass on the Marathon route. We then headed out of the main city and finished at a motel on the highway. As soon as I had finished the heavens opened and gave us an almighty downpour which I enjoyed looking at from inside the lorry as I drank another Guinness.

Todays pace was a little faster than yesterday again. If I keep this up I might win : )