Saturday, 25 June 2011

Day 55 - Scorchio!

It was another boiling hot start to the day here in Kansas. It was also a late start for the 2nd day in a row. I didn't start running until 9:30. 

I made my way down the now familiar Highway 36 yet again. It was field after field after field. For the most part, I now ignore the scenery and simply focus on the horizon. This helps to focus my mind and simply concentrate on running. 

There is no getting away from the size and scale of the agriculture present here in northern Kansas. To me, this seems to be America's larder. There appear to be entire communities setup for farming. One example I passed today was the "city" of Norcatur.

9 miles into the day saw me reach 1,514 miles. This is the approximate halfway point of the run across the USA. It has taken me 55.2 days to reach this halfway point. It will take me another 44.8 days to reach the finish line. When I announced news of the halfway point on Twitter, my phone went mad with many messages of support and congratulations. I enjoyed reading all the messages when I met the support team at the 11 mile point.

My own way of celebrating reaching halfway was to take a tactical snooze. When I started running again at 3 pm, the temperature had soared to at least 32 degrees. At the 19 miles point, I called the support team as I was all out of water. The heat bounced up from Highway 36 and there was no hiding place from a temperature I've not run in for a few weeks.

I stopped for tea and to check the weather forecast at the 22.5 mile point. It soon became obvious that the week's temperatures were going to get a lot higher. A change of strategy was required to combat this. The current problem is that I'm not getting enough sleep over night. This is leading to late starts this, in turn, means that I'm running the mentally tough miles during the hottest part of the day. I was faced with two choices. Firstly, I could continue on the current path and try to shift the start time to an earlier point in the day; a little more each day. The other option was to break the cycle of late starts/late finishes right here and right now. After talking with the team, I decided on the latter option. Yet again, we would see another change of strategy to cope with the latest set of weather conditions. Last week, violent thunderstorms had forced a rethink. This week and for the foreseeable future, it is temperatures in the 100's ( or high 30's in Celsius).

The next critical step on this run is an early start tomorrow. If I succeed with that, then I stand a good chance of shifting my running window to a more favorable part of the day. Unfortunately, all of this has come about in a week where there was a time zone change. It was only the loss of one hour but, as was the case as I entered Mountain Time last month, the effect on my body clock was considerable.

The important thing to bear in mind is that I am now over halfway. In my mind, the run takes on a new shape and dynamic entirely. Counting down to the finish line, instead of the halfway point means that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It's a very long tunnel and it's a very faint light but it's alight nonetheless.

Thank you to everybody who made a donation today. The charity fund burst through the £39,000 barrier. That's over 62,000 US dollars for my American readers.

Special thanks go to "Paul K". for a £500 donation. Thanks to all the other sponsors who left a message with their donation. Reading them is one of the final things I do each day and serves as a reminder as to how worthwhile this run is and how many people are inspired by it.

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