Day 62 - Uniontown to Frostburg - 51.1 miles - Mountain Stage


Well today went just as I kind of hoped for yesterday, the opposite of yesterday. I woke up in a good mood but that was shortly ended by the nature of the start of this run. The town of Uniontown was like most other towns we have crossed. Broken traffic lights and uneven sidewalks (usually with an injury lawyer practice beside them). It can be hard work in the dark trying to step over all the obstacles but within 3 miles we were on a highway that put me right off running.

I don’t really pay attention to the profile of the routes, don’t really see how it will help me. Peter has been talking about “stage 62” for a while now. I just get out of bed and get given the miles and then do them at my own slow pace.

I wished I looked at this one though, the first climb was huge, on a busy road though the trucks were only doing 10mph downhill. As the sun rose I grumpily trudged up this thing for about an hour and thinking “how many more of these will we have”?

I also got a bit annoyed at Girard who seems to be able to walk as fast as I can run and he was doing it right in front of me, obviously not deliberately but I was close to asking him to at least look like he is making an effort cos I am busting a gut here.

I have been told I have a significant limp, denied by me for a few days but now I can clearly feel my body rocking more to the right and my right foot curving in more as I stagger forward. I have become one of those old men you see at races who look like they are running sideways and I remark “they should get that sorted out, it must be killing them”.

I was getting annoyed at my beard too, everything I eat now has hair in it and my beard get full of everything I eat. I can’t wait to get rid of it. End of day 66 it goes (because that’s a short day and this will be a big job).

Anyhoo, at the top of this first mountain pass was a lovely looking resort and then the rolling road from then on seemed to have nice resort after nice resort, much nicer looking places than we have stayed so far. I looked at my phone time when I knew I was at 11 miles to see how far behind the “4mph” I was and it was only about 10 minutes, not as bad as I had thought.

But the grumpiness went away as soon as the highway got less busy and the lovely trees and scenery came out, I looked back having made the first mountain climb and saw just how high we were. Earlier today we were way down there in the fog, now look at us. I think today will be a Cheryl Cole day, really pretty but really really slow.

Bando had run off again, he has had a great second wind towards the end of this race and its great to see. I ran close to Koshita and Phillippe most of the day but they got away from me and I was in last again. I didn’t mind this time though, I knew it was going to be a long slog but I was well inside the cut-off again and looking around it was just beautiful.

I nearly trod on an eagle. It was just in the road, unable to fly but it was trying to fly and get out of the way. I slowed and moved around it not sure what it might do and it managed to flap over up the embankment. I am not sure whether birds with damaged wings survive long or heal at all, poor thing.

I started to limp a bit quicker on the parts that were only slightly up or slightly down. It reminded me of yesterday when I ran past a school where a brass band were practicing. I managed to go faster than them and overtake and after doing so they all turned and cheered for me, that was quite cool.

32 miles in after lots of hills was the first McDonalds on a run I have seen for 2 days. Perhaps that’s what perked me up. Big Mac and smoothie and David insisted on recording the whole thing, me walking in ordering, eating, spilling, getting gherkins stuck in my beard.

More down and up and then David appeared in a cow costume. At first I thought it was a biker and he had a bell in his hand that I thought was a spanner or something and that it was a nut wanting to kill me. Silly French Person.

I was just really enjoying the day and then Gemma sent a picture from James Edgar’s birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMES) of a load of friends wishing me good luck. That was really nice to see. Gemma is now less than 24 hours away, it’s going to be wonderful to have her back here again. It’s much nicer here than in Oklahoma too.

Two miles from the end it rained hard, David asked if I was wet and I said no, I am British and hence I am waterproof. I loved the end of today, getting really wet and heading downhill to get to the finish that they were waiting for me so they could pack away and get out of the rain. I finished and was handed lots of Guinness from David as a present so long as I promise to stop saying he is a Silly Frenchman.

So, I was hardly king of the hills today but I loved them. Actually if Budweiser are allowed to call themselves King of Beers then I am going to call myself King of the Mountains anyway.