Days 50 and 51

More boring ones

Day 50 – New Berlin to Decatour – 54.4 miles

Well, today started in an odd and disappointing fashion. In the nice little chalet in New Berlin (not as good as the old Berlin) we had the race briefing for the long day of 54 miles. There were the results of a couple of things, firstly on whether we need to carry water anymore (vote was in favour of not carrying) and whether the start time should remain at 5 (it will for the rest of the race, except stage 70).

Then there was a vote as to whether Serge should be disqualified from the race after 2 runners complained. He admitted to not carrying water in his bag for a number of days and then ran one day without a pack completely (he was given a 30 minute penalty for this). The vote was for him not to be disqualified. It was an unhappy start and I could see Laure was feeling the stress of not being able to please everyone all the time.

And so the long day started under a cloud, and a bit late which did not help. A few turns in and out of New Berlin and we were out of some nice roads again. I thought about the events of this morning. I really don’t care what other runners do, my focus is on getting to New York. I don’t care whether I come first or last or whether people carry enough water. Serge can get a motorbike and ride the rest for all I care, I just came here to see whether I am capable of running from Los Angeles to New York. This is by far the hardest thing I have done. I am more tired, grumpy, despairing than I have ever been and I can’t afford to waste what little I have left stressing about whether others are following the rules.

And I think Laure is doing so well in an incredibly hard job. It’s interesting to see that people are beginning to crack, all of a sudden I feel like I am not on my own in feeling the strain. Laure has an impossible job of trying to please 14 tired, hungry and frustrated runners with everything. It’s not possible but I think that this has been the best race ever organised. They have been so good to me, what other race organisers would get me Guinness at the finish line because they thought I missed home? I stopped to tell Laure that I think she is doing an amazing job. She and her team really are. She seemed pleased when I said this. I was determined to remain cheerful all day.

And the day went well overall. My backside still hurts but stretching helps it. Early on we ran through Springfield (a different one from last time obviously) and actually saw joggers out there jogging. I have come to recognise everyone from their running style, Alex runs like the terminator, Serge looks like he is swimming, Italo bobs up and down like a duck, Phillipe runs like a waving clown, Koshita stops every 5 minutes to take a photo. I looked behind me to see an alien running style, going quite fast and wondered who on earth it could be. It was of course a normal person out on a run. It was quite nice to see the runners out there, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a non-spherical American.

Of course there was a McDonalds today and I made it in time for breakfast and bought 2 (1 for later) and enjoyed. Then after the city there were more quiet roads which were lovely, the temperature had dropped but there were no clouds in the sky so it still felt quite warm. There was at least a little breeze at times which was amazing when flanked both sides by the corn fields as the noise sounded like the sea.

For some reason today I was obsessing about pace, I wanted to arrive averaging 4 miles an hour but without a watch the only way was to get the phone out and I seemed to do this too much and wasting time in doing so. Oh the ironicalness.

I promised myself I would not do this but I could not help myself. My pace was fine, I was going steady at that pace all the way and I am really pleased despite the niggles that I can canter at that pace (including drink stops, stretch stops, facebooking, animal watching, pulling faces and Phillippe) from start till finish.

And so without too much ado I finished 54.4 miles in a shade over 13.30. Perfect. 24 inches of Subway again and pretty much time for bed. Oh, please can an American explain this air conditioning thing to me, “low cool” and “high cool”, which one is cooler?

Day 51 – Decatour to Tuscala – 41.8 miles

I was woken up a couple of times in the night by the aching of my legs. Funny how they did not hurt massively during the stage yesterday but just feeling them when lying there was a concern. The first few steps out of bed felt like the usual hobble but it did not seem to get much better.

Better start today, no fighting or arguing. My legs were in bits though, I could not seem to move them along but then I know this is usually the case and I just need to pull through it. It took longer than usual to ease up and I was running right at the back with Bando and Koshita. Bando looked his usual chirpy but crocked self and he said something really sad to me. He said “I think tomorrow will be my last day”. I am not sure how much he meant it but it worried me. I look at Bando as the person who is suffering more than all of us and it brings us all hope that he makes it every day to the finish line. I am still scared that I might not make it to New York and I really need Bando to stay in the race to ease this fear. I really hope tomorrow goes well for him.

The legs did ease and half way seemed to come in no time but after that I just could not be arsed running anymore. I don’t know what was wrong really, my legs were better, I had enough energy and sleep, I just didn’t fell like putting in the effort. At 26 miles there was an aid station put on by the Decatour running club who were keen to meet us all. I chatted to them for a bit, mentioning the weather through the central states and how horrid it was. Just after that it rained briefly but then the sun came out and made it humid again.

So there was not a huge amount more to say about today. Sorry it’s a bit dull.

Also there will not be a huge amount of blogging by me in the next 2 weeks. Tomorrow is 57 miles, the next day 52, and all the days are long now. We also have to drive to places too.

Oh and someone just told me something about the “Appalachians”.