Days 65 and 66

Day 65 – Waynesboro to York – 48.8 miles

My legs hurt all night again, keeping me awake along with the usual thoughts of running the next stage. When I woke up in the morning I commented to Gemma that my legs do not normally hurt this much.

I don’t think I was as grumpy as usual even though Gemma said I was at breakfast when I complained about having to eat a banana. The motel put on breakfast for us and as best as I could I tried to force bagels and creamed cheese down my throat. I still have tooth ache which means sometimes I have to eat like a geriatric hamster.

Gemma got me a proper egg and bacon roll from a diner early on which went down a treat, it had a real egg in it rather than the yellow circle thing you get in the McMuffins, not that I am complaining about those though.

Today was fairly boring on the whole except for a really nice stroll through Gettysburg around half way. I don’t know too much about the battle of Gettysburg other than that it was a very important one in the American civil war where the Union army defeated the Confederates somewhere near there. Americans probably know all this from their world history lessons.

There were a huge number of historical signposts with information on which I stopped to read but it was hard trying to put it all together. Taverns where armies gathered, roads that were marched on, profiles of generals and heroes and villians. This would be a great place to spend the day as it looks like such a proud historical town. I got the sense that I was marching along the same routes that the armies would have done nearly 200 years ago. Pennsylvania is full of history, the buildings look old but beautiful. Previous states where all the large scale farming happens buildings look like they are only built to last a few years before being pulled down and replaced. I like this state.

New Oxford was lovely too and it had a McDonalds. Gemma asked me if I would rather have a sandwich that she had made with my smoothie rather than a Big Mac. It was a loaded question like many of hers such as “would you like to eat some vegetables” or “would you like to shower before getting into the bed”. It was a nice beef and cheese sandwich though.

The blister that had bothered me the past couple of days had gone and in the last couple of weeks I feel pain on the sole of my right foot just below the toes. Not sure what that is but taking my shoe off and giving it a bit of a run seems to help it. Not sure whether it might be plantar fasciitis (I hear people banging on about this one a lot). I remember reading in Marshall Ulrich’s book that he got this and his solution was to reduce is mileage from 60 a day to 40. I am doing about 50 a day and have no option of reducing. I’ll get through it.

We finished on a very busy road at a café a few miles from the motel we were staying in. On finishing we ate in the diner that managed to get our orders a bit wrong. I asked for chapped steak and eggs and got a whole steak and an omelette, Gemma got most of her gluten free dinner correctly except for the bread stacked on top. It was not too slow a day and tomorrow will be nice and short.

Day 66 – York to Lancaster – 26.9 miles

26.2 miles was the distance we were expecting but Laure said there was a diversion and now it was to be 26.9 miles. My chances of a marathon pb were slipping.

There was an announcement that Alex had a baby girl this morning (back in Italy of course) and that mother and child were doing very well. He found out just before the finish yesterday which probably explains his quick time and hasty exit. Today we had two guest runners of David (dressed as a cow) and Berangere running today.

We started on the same busy road that we finished yesterday on and in the pitch black 5.30am morning it was still quite busy. I had the turn sheet and I normally just look for when the first turn is, today it was 16.9 miles which meant I could just put it away for a few hours and sleep run and follow everyone else.

We ran along and soon we were on an interstate, it felt a little strange but I could see a long line of runners ahead so stayed with it. After about half an hour on here Bando caught me as asked if this was the right way. I was sure it was not as Laure would have told us about this, there was no way a crew could access us on this road and she would have said something to us. There was debate, Phillippe said “yes, this is good way, good way” and sped off. I thought we should just walk in the same direction till someone tells us otherwise (yeah stupid). I had no phone on me so could not call anyone.

Then we saw Fabien (Patricks wife and support) drive past and honk at us and somehow she managed to turn around to tell us all to go back. Doh. We are now further from the finish that we were at the start. I blame David. Silly Frenchman.

I was quite upbeat about the whole thing as was Patrick and Italo who soon sped past me. Rainer, Jenni, Markus and Alex had all gone the right way, the rest of us didn’t. Bando flew off, I think he was worried about missing the cut off now which could be an issue for many of us. Mr Koshita did not look very impressed though.

After about an hour and a half I met Gemma at the 1 mile point to have a drink and sandwich. I think we had probably added about 4-5 miles on with that detour. Still, 26 miles is a silly distance to run. WE ran through a pretty town (York I think) and I think we are reaching that critical point where I can no longer say hello to everyone I see. In Oklahoma where you only see one person a day its easy to do, in fact I would say hello to horses and cows too just because I was lonely. It’s going to be harder now in all these busy towns. “Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello …..” I would get out of breath quickly.

10 miles a stop in McDonalds where I was allowed an Egg McMuffin and smoothie this time. At 16 miles there was the first official turning which was on a very long bridge over a huge wide river. Can’t remember the name of the river but it was lovely to see in the sunshine.This is where I caught up with David dressed as a cow still (Silly Frenchman) and Berangere who looked like she was suffering a bit. Still I think after today they will be celebrating running their first ultramarathon. Who knows, perhaps in a few years they might end up doing something really stupid.

Not a lot else happened today though at the start we were briefed on how the finish into New York will work. We are to run the 35 mile stage as 2 groups, fast and slow (apparently I am slow). We will run to a Starbucks about 1k from Central Park and then re-group and finish the race together. I really like the idea of finishing all together but not all are keen. Oddly Bando is really against it “But it’s a race, we should race to the finish”. Bando has had a miraculous recovery recently but I don’t think in the next 5 days he is going to catch up the 300 hours he needs on Rainer.

At the end we were informed that we have now done 3000 miles, I thought that was coming tomorrow but we are already there. In fact I am on 3005 miles : )

There was an earthquake nearby today which I felt as I went into the motel room. I was too tired to really get excited about it. Later after a much needed nap I had my beard shaved off and then a hair cut. When I started this I felt like a boy amongst men. Then during the race I became a tramp amongst men. Now I really really do look like a 12 year old boy amongst men. Mauro actually did not recognise me when he saw me earlier.