Well, lets start from the evening of day 45. After a short day and a run into the old German colony of Hermann we went to what I thought was an Irish place but was in fact a regular pub of German influence called “The Concert Hall”. Most of the runners went, the French, German, Italian and myself as well as the crew. It as the first time I recall where we were all in the same place at the end of a run enjoying food and drink. I may have enjoyed a little too much drink.
There were a lot of Americans in there including Connie who was previously married to Dan who was supporting Markus for the first 3 weeks. It was really great sitting with them and telling them some of the stories so far. A lady (whose name I cannot remember sorry) was telling us that in her 58 years (she said that number quite a lot so I don’t feel bad for saying it) that Missouri has never been this hot or humid for such a long period of time.
Day 46 – Hermann to Bowling Green – 54.9 miles
Day 46 was going to be tough, 55 miles after a couple of days of finishing by lunchtime. It was hard to get my head around having to do the same as yesterday and then run another marathon. And all that with this increasingly irritating hamstring and glute problem.
It was sore from the start as usual and I hoped to run it off in a few miles but this looked like it was here to stay. The first thing we did was cross the Missouri river and I managed to lead the Japanses runners and Alex down the wrong path and all of a sudden we were underneath the bridge we were supposed to be running on. Doh.
It was a shame to cross the river in the dark, I would have liked to have seen it. Shortly after that though there was an unexpected milestone, 2000 miles. Now it really feels like we are well into this.
I was told about a McDonalds at 16 miles and I had that marked for breakfast. When I got there just after crossing an interstate it did look a bit of a trek from the route but I was really looking forward to it so I went. This is the point where I lost Alex and as I was queuing I saw Phillipe and Bando pass meaning I was at the back. Rene and Karin would normally be looking for me wondering where I had disappeared to but on seeing the arches they knew and waited outside. I had a bacon and egg McMuffin and smoothie by the way.
That all went down a treat and my injury seemed to be improving. The biggest challenge for me is the curvy roads. I can go up and down fine I just can’t go round corners. I am like an American car. Oh how I miss the long straight boring roads of Oklahoma. Did I really just say that?
Today the weather was great, when I asked what the temperature was I was told 33c and later 35c, practically jumper weather. There were clouds in the sky and the occasional breeze which meant it did not really get stifling at all. There were a few moments of saturation but nothing too bad. That meant a steady pace and quicker pace than the previous week could be maintained.
Generally I am getting slower and falling further behind the others. I am not worried about this as long as I keep inside the cut offs and make it to New York. I think I may be crawling by the time I get to New Jersey, weeks 8 and 9 are heavy on the miles, 50 a day on average. I am still in this though.
I did not see anyone much after about 20 miles where we hit a trail and I left Bando and Phillipe. I felt like I could run quite well and got through the last half quicker than I had anticipated. Not far from the end I caught up with Jenni and said to Anneke “wow her legs look swollen again”. I was told not to mention this to her.
The finish line was right next to a McDonalds and Subway. I vowed to eat the big mac first then go for a Subway but on getting into bed after 13.30 hours on my feet I just could not be bothered to get up again and so just stayed and slept. I would regret not eating tomorrow.
Day 47 – Bowling Green to Hannibal – 44.7 miles
Good news and bad news. The hamstring and arse did not hurt as much as at the start of previous days. Yay. Bad news is that the bloody shin splint came back, and the ankle niggling. Grrrrr. I like to think that even the pain cannot keep up with this heavy schedule of running and so has to work shifts to annoy me.
So that made me a little grumpy in the morning though my hunger may have contributed to that. Russell told me a couple of weeks ago that feeling grumpy when you run is a sign that you need food. I remember that well and food usually is the answer.
So the day started as usual, a slow plod punctuated by walking any tight curves and stopping to stretch my body out. It was Mr Koshita’s birthday today (60 I think) and he got some gifts at the start including some genuine Japanese Saki (Brewed in the USA).
At half way I found a place to get an ice lolly just before we had a 7 mile section of interstate. It got quite warm in the morning, cancelling out any expectation that our last day in Missouri would be nice, the interstate for me was particularly hot.
After the interstate we went through a small town (or rather city, any place with more than 4 buildings in the US is called a city), called New London. It was not as good as the old London. They seemed to have got New York spot on but have some work to do here. What kind of place has 5 different churches and no place to buy ice cream?
After that we were on the lovely twisty hilly roads again and my shin and ankle were starting to behave themselves. However I just had a crash on energy and could not run for a while. It was because I did not eat enough after the 55 miles yesterday for sure. It’s so hard when you finish at say 7, want to be in bed by 8 to try and cram in 5000 calories worth of food. I failed this last night.
ON seeing the support car I sat down and tried to stuff as much into me as possible, counting the calories as I did. 180 cal yogurt drink, 150 cal coke, 250 cal sweets and more sweets from a jar. I figured I have just taken about 700 calories of mostly sugar that should give me a kick up the arse to get going again.
It did and with about 10 miles to go I felt fine. It has cooled down a lot, the clouds had swooped in to rescue us for today. I can’t really describe it, I think I just couldn’t be arsed running much more.
The scenery was spectacular, rolling hills, trees and little houses. If the houses were not made of wood then I could imagine I was in the Cotswolds. I miss England. Today and yesterday there seemed to be so many more people out just doing stuff. Mowing the lawn, playing in the garden, wandering the streets. For as long as I have been here people have been sat indoors afraid to come outside. It’s nice to see people when out on run.
I am not the world’s best at focussing at the best of times but for a few hours today I was just somewhere else, wandering up and down some hills with no real purpose. It felt strange and not particularly helpful either, I was keen to get the run finished so I could eat a horse.
I finally finished the 45 miles in about 11.15, walking down a load of steps and into an armoury building that we are staying in tonight. I felt quite good at the end despite my wandering mind and rumbling stomach. I put that right with the glorious food spread provided to us here. I had about 3 meals and some ice cream.
I am not sure where Mark Twain was born or lived but there are a lot of places here named after him. I have no internet to check right now and will forget by the time I upload this. He must have been born nearby as there is a lot of mention of him here.
One of the quotes I carry around with me is his and was particularly useful during the days where it all felt a bit too big.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, NOT absence of fear”
The fear is still deep inside, but I am getting on top of it.