Friday, 10 June 2011

Day 40 - A very early finish

It was a very cold start on day 40 right in the middle of Rabbit Ears Pass at 9400 ft. For the second time in a week, I woke up with a headache. I think this is more down to dehydration rather than altitude. The first few miles were slow as I tried to get rid of my headache. I also stopped on many occasions to take photo's of the breathtaking scenery. Note the 2 rocks in the picture below that are atop Rabbit Ears peak.

There was snow and fir trees all around. It looked like a proper winter wonderland... in June. Thunderstorms were forecast for later in the day. I thought that's what the distant clouds contained. Thankfully, they never materialised.

I met the support team at the Continental Divide for some further photographs and fresh water. I had drank 2 litres of water by this point and it was only 4 miles in to the day. Yet more evidence that I was dehydrated, in my opinion.

After the impromptu photo shoot, there was a nice 1200 ft descent. During this time, I saw a few huge muscular elk; far bigger than any I have seen on this run so far. The east side of the mountain was virtually devoid of snow (as you can tell from the photo below). This is what I had previously expected for this time of year. 

Due to the late start, it took me until 1 pm to get to the 10 mile point. This was a disaster in my mind. After lunch I had a tactical snooze. I was absolutely shattered. No more than recently but still very tired nonetheless. The 15 minute tactical snooze turned into 30 minutes. That turned into an hour before I declared that I would go no further for the day. 40 days of running 1100 miles with the last 3 weeks at altitude has taken it's toll. That said, by 5 pm, I was ready to start running again. Perhaps this is something that I need to consider over the coming weeks. i.e. longer rests during running sessions.

The break did gave me and the Support Team a chance to recharge our batteries in a very nice RV park near Grand Lake, Colorado. By "recharge our batteries" I mean do laundry (thanks Shelli and Wee Kirsrty), eat Lasagne (thanks Chef Stephen) and get a massage (thanks Wee Kirsty).  

This is Wee Kirsty's final night on the Support Team. She leaves for home tomorrow. What a huge miss she is going to be. But outweighing that is the sterling work she has done over the last 4 weeks. I'm 1100 miles into the run across the USA and have yet to pick up a major injury. They have threatened, for sure, but her skills have nipped them in the bud. I'm very familiar with the early warning signs of my usual injuries and Kirsty has acted on this brilliantly over the last 4 weeks.

I'm very surprised that I haven't had my usual shin problems and even more so that my hamstrings haven't given me more grief. In week 3, a lower back injury was treated very well by Kirsty. That familiar back pain could have escalated, as it has done in the past. It was definitely the biggest threat to my well being so far. This was probably due to carrying 2 litres of water round my waist each day. Concentrated treatment saw it disappear within a matter of days.

Like me, Kirsty gave up her job to be part of the Run Geordie Run Support Team. If I were a prospective employer in the sports therapy/fitness industry, I'd be looking to snap up her services when she returns to the UK next week.

It will be a late start to proceedings tomorrow as the RV needs 2 new front tyres. I'm very proud of the fact that they have worn out before any of my parts have! Shelli has done an excellent job booking the campsite, arranging Kirsty's onward journey and liaising with the RV hire company and tyre company. All tasks that I simply haven't got the time to deal with. Like Kirsty this journey would not be the same without her presence on the team.

And finally, on day 40 of 100, I'd like to once again beg for your hard earned cash in aid of the 2 charities. St Benedict's Hospice cared for my Mam and through their care gave her a dignified and comfortable end to her final days as she lost her battle against cancer. My Uncle John, who the miles in the Rocky Mountains are dedicated to, was due to receive care from the Hospice but sadly deteriorated before that. St Benedict's like so many Hospices help so many people with terminally ill diseases in so many ways that I can't fully comprehend. I know first hand just how critical the services offered by St Benedict's Hospice are to both patients and families alike. It is with that in mind that I would really appreciate it if you would, perhaps, drink one less coffee or pint of beer over this weekend and, instead, donate that money to St Benedict's Hospice using the link at the bottom of this blog post.

Likewise, the projects and research undertaken by The Children's Foundation deserves some of your hard earned cash. I their own words:

"Our vision is for the health and wellbeing of children and young people in North East England to be the best in the UK.

We fund research so we can help to cure sick children and prevent them from becoming ill. We also investigate lifestyle issues which we hope will lead to better long-term outcomes for children in the region.

We support NHS projects including the Great North Children’s Hospital with our campaign to include the latest technology in the wards to make the time spent in hospital as comfortable and stress-free as possible for children and their families.

We manage partnership projects which deliver practical, researched interventions to help children with disabilities or mental health issues and to promote the importance of child safety.

We aim to make North East children and ultimately children in the UK Happy, Healthy and Safe."

A donation, no matter how large or small, can be made direct to St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation using the following links to

(St Benedict's Hospice)

(The Children's Foundation)

Alternatively, a donation can be made via cheque payable to 'The Children's Foundation' or 'St Benedict's Hospice' and sent to the following addresses:

FAO Libby Nolan
The Children's Foundation,
PO Box 2YB,
Sir James Spence Institute,
Victoria Wing,
Royal Victoria Infirmary,
Queen Victoria Road,
Newcastle upon Tyne.
NE99 2YB.

FAO Sylvia Stoneham
St Benedict's Hospice.
Monkwearmouth Hospital,
Newcastle Road,
SR5 1NB.

Thanks in advance for any donations. I will get round to thanking everyone personally, via email, when I return to the UK in August.