Day 61 - Washington to Uniontown - 50.3 miles

Day 61

I woke up feeling more energetic and awake than usual. Since there are so few days left I have decided to get out of bed with more of a spring and make more noise at the race briefings. It was going so well. The first few miles I ran pretty well too, no pain and comfortable. I did not eat much at breakfast though as I have toothache and the nuts were getting stuck.

Anyhoo, a few miles through what remained of Washington and then out onto some narrow roads with a fair few cars and trucks on them. It was a beautiful road spoiled a little by the traffic but I was determined not to let it get to me. Around half way we passed through a little town and there was a right turn onto a smaller road that seemed to disappear up into the sky flanked again by trees. Wow I thought, here is where the proper climbing starts.

There already had been a few hills of the day but I was expecting more and this was the start of it, a great incline at around 27 miles and it was nice but really hard to slog up. David and Rene were at the top to give me some much needed refreshment while David and I continued our “English people are Stupid because”, “No French people are stupid because….” Debate. I am clearly winning. Stupid Frenchman.

The road flattened out a bit and then there was another turn onto a very busy road. This is when I lost it I think.

I just hated it from the start. The evil camber of the road made me run lob sided and the rocks strewn into the road, the smashed up sections and truck after truck after truck just made it unbearable. Well for me anyway, I was right at the back already and thought I’d been running ok till then. My promise of staying positive was broken on this road.

I was thinking of things to be pissed off at and could not really come up with anything. These drivers are only doing their jobs. The organisation of the race is phenomenal, last night Emily drove back to the previous motel to retrieve my phone that I left there, a 2 hour trip. Seriously how many race organisations would do that? My injuries are minimal. Somehow I managed to overlook all this and stay grumpy.

An Ice-cream with about 10 miles to go lifted me a little and then seeing Bando and Koshita ahead made me feel like I was not going as slow as I had thought. Bando made me laugh earlier by finding 2 enormous sticks to help propel him up the hills. It seemed to work, he just flew off and this was the first time I had seen him for 20 miles.

The last few miles were even worse but I had run out of energy to be grumpy by then. There was a lot of walking on roads that were not made for walking. I saw a sidewalk on the other side and waited several minutes to cross and then ran down it till it ended 50 meters later and I had to cross back. Dunno why I was so frustrated today, I should be enjoying every moment. Hopefully I wont sleep at all tonight and wake up tomorrow feeling like shit. Then the day might turn out good. That’s how it usually works.

I finished and Berangere took me to McDonalds on the drive to the motel. I had a little surprise when I got back. My friend Drew Sheffield (currently in Colorado with Tim Adams and James Elson for the Leadville 100) called me to chat and then put Marshall Ulrich on the phone. Marshall ran across the US 2 years ago in a very quick time of 56 days and wrote a fantastic book about it (I recommend reading it while you wait for me to write mine : ) )

Anyway, one of the things that struck me from the book when I was reading back in the UK was how little time he had to do anything. It’s all run, eat, sleep, run, eat, sleep. Marsh was covering more miles a day than I am and so for him it would have been worse. It was great to speak to someone who knows what this is like but he said that running into New York is the most amazing thing. I am so close. Pennsylvania is just a big rectangle right next to New York. 9 more days.

Tomorrow is a tough day, I think the hilllest yet. I just hope there are no roads like the one we just ran on but I suspect they will be more frequent now.