Wednesday, 16 May 2012

USA Day 12 - Revisited (12/05/2011)

Day 12 started at 0720, just over 20 miles away from Las Vegas on South Las Vegas Boulevard. I was extremely tired and I started the day running much slower than usual. Just like on previous days, I found myself almost nodding off while running. At one point, just as my eyes were closing, I caught sight of a snake at the side of the road. This woke me up a bit and I continued running at a slightly quicker pace!

The plan on this day was to run between 20 and 25 miles and make use of some decent accommodation that had been offered to the support team and I. I had received the following email from a fellow Geordie, Tony Palmer, a few days prior to day 12.

"Hi Mark noticed on your blog that you said you were short of energy products so using sparingly. well I may be in a position to hopefully help you out. My wife and I are owners in a Vacation Club run by Diamond Resorts whose headquarters are in Las Vegas. Hope you don't mind me sticking my nose in but want to try to help make your super human effort a little easier. With that in mind I contacted them and the upshot is Ash Nemetz, Vice President, Global Security, Diamond Resorts International is going to call myself at 1800hrs uk time on the 9th to discuss your needs whilst in the states. If you could give a list of anything that might be of use. I will pass this on and if you have a direct contact number I will put him in touch to arrange delivery when you arrive in Vegas keep up the good work and hope you are not offended in anyway by this offer. Tony and Carole Palmer".

The result of that email was nothing short of spectacular. Ash Nemetz, of Diamond Resorts International, arranged to put the support team and I up in a nice hotel on the strip in Las Vegas and donate some products for my use on the run. I'll come back to this in more detail later on in the blog post. 

With a good helping of Elvis on my iPod and a mid morning Skype call home I managed to reach the 14.5 mile point by noon. It had been a very cruel start to the day with many false summits. I was certain, on many an occasion, that I'd be able to see the skyline of Las Vegas "just over the next ridge" or "just around the next corner.

By noon, the sun was baking the tarmac making for a very tough second session. I eventually finished running after 21.5 miles. The temptation of a bit of luxury for the night proved too great and I finished running at 4pm.

We made our way to Polo Towers hotel and were greeted by 2 burly security guards. Nothing was a problem for the hotel and as we were escorted to our huge suite they made me feel quite like a celebrity. Ash Nemetz (pictured below) was waiting to welcome us to the resort.

Not only had Ash arranged a fantastic 15th floor suite for us, but he also handed over a huge consignment of supplies including Powerade, energy gels, anti blister socks, sun screen, some Buffs and Nuun tablets. Those anti blister socks became my favourites layer on in the run, when the going got really tough. Ash was a really great guy taking great interest in the run to date. 

Ash left Richard, Stu and I in a state of mild shock and disbelief that we were actually going to stay in this kind of luxury. The view from the suite (pictured below) was really good. It was a lot different to looking out of the RV window across the Mojave Desert.

Day 12 was Stu's final day on the support team. After a meal together, Richard and Stu went off to paint the town red and I returned back to the hotel. I remember some disagreement over the food bill which really summed up my experience with Tonto Books. Stu refused to split the bill 3 ways stating that his starter was cheaper than everyone else's. Not wanting to meet his low standards, I didn't mention that I hadn't been drinking alcohol and that he had. Courtesy of Run Geordie Run he'd been upgraded on the flight to the USA, stayed in a luxury hotel in Las Vegas and lived rent free (not intentiontal*) for 2 weeks. His petty gesture left a real sour taste in my mouth. With that and the subsequent lack of communication, general interest and production of the book, I really don't look back on Stu's time on the tour with any fondness. He struck me as one of these kinds of people who liked to talk but didn't come up with the actions to back up his words. My assessment may sound harsh but that was my view of him after his involvement with the run across the USA.

*Perhaps Tonto Books will, one day, get round to paying me the £150 they owe me for staying in the RV for 2 weeks.

Back to more positive matters and Ash, continuing to go way above and beyond the call of duty, had arranged a massage for me. Dr Victor Leach (pictured below), a Chiropractic Physician from a company called Bio-Mechanics of Las Vegas, carried out the massage. Dr Leach was another great guy and his massage, while not too painful, turned out to be very effective and just what I needed at the time. He had a great manner and we kept in touch from time to time during the remainder of the run. 

Dr Leach offered to show me how to use a foam roller which would enable me to carry out treatment on my legs when I didn't have access to massage therapy. This would cause a slightly later start on day 13 but I felt that it would be worth it.

I retired for the evening at 2130 with 3 random acts of kindness in the bag from Tony Palmer, Ash Nemetz of Diamond Resorts International and Dr Victor Leach of Bio-Mechanics of Las Vegas. Thank you to everyone concerned for their kindness. It was greatly appreciated.

I've spoken many times since day 12 that a Geordie in bed at 2130 in Las Vegas may have qualified for a world record!

My final entry on Twitter for the day read "This bed is the size of Texas!". Surely, for once, a well deserved decent night's sleep would be had…....