Thursday, 17 May 2012

USA Day 13 - Revisited (13/05/2011)

The stay at Polo Towers in Las Vegas was my first bit of luxury after 13 days of sleeping in the RV. As an added bonus, the support team and I had a scheduled lie in until 08:00. Despite being in a luxury hotel, I'd had a really poor sleep. I think the very fact that I was staying in luxury had played on my mind. Almost like a guilty conscience. I felt as though there was a job to be done and I should have been doing it instead of spending my time in a really nice Las Vegas suite. Now that I think about it, I'm certain that it was a guilty conscience! 

I'm sure I wasn't the only who needed a lie in as I think that Richard and Stu got in quite late from painting the town red. Fair play to them. It was the first time in almost 2 weeks that I saw Richard take his foot off the pedal in terms of making sure I was up as early as possible to get the miles in. As I've mentioned before, he was a very hard taskmaster and it was nice for once, to start the day a little later than usual.

Richard and I said our goodbyes to Stu who left the support team after 12 days. Stu had been good company whenever he'd joined me running. It's just a shame that the book he was responsible for producing never came to fruition (See previous USA 2011 Revisited posts for more on that).

After we loaded the RV up with the supplies from Ash Nemetz it was time to drive to Dr Leach's office for some foam roller tuition. Dr Leach's demonstration was very informative. I was sure that, where I didn't have sport therapy support, I could use the foam roller to massage my own legs. Dr Leach wished me good luck and I was on the start line ready to run at 11:30. It was the latest start to date but at the same time the longest recovery period I'd had so far during the run across the USA.

In response to Dr Leach's treatment, I wrote the following on Twitter that day.

"Legs and hips feel like brand new after yesterday's massage. Hoping for 20 miles today despite the late start.".

The first few miles were much quicker than usual. I had felt the benefits of Dr Leach's massage straight away. 

After only 4 miles, I found myself on the main strip in Las Vegas. There was so much to take in and the miles flew by. I must admit that Las Vegas is not my kind of holiday destination but that didn't stop it from being a fascinating place to run through.

The midday temperature soared to 35 Degrees Celsius and I tried to find any shade I could while running past the huge hotels. The paths became a little crowded and my progress slowed somewhat. I remember avoiding the escalators that were present on some of the flyovers, taking the stairs instead. I didn't want any of the run across the USA to be assisted in any way.   

I ran past the Stratosphere Tower where I could see people jumping off it in a Bungee style way. It looked pretty extreme! You'd never get me doing something like that!

The further away from the centre of Las Vegas I got the more unsafe I felt. I ran past several rough looking homeless people and crossed the road a few times to avoid potential confrontation. Just like previous days there was probably little threat. My perception of the situation was, perhaps, a little misplaced. 

It was interesting to run past people queuing outside pawn shops. This raised a few questions and scenarios in my mind. Had they lost their fortune in the Casinos? Were they pawning their possessions in an attempt to try and raise enough cash to attempt to win back their cash?

I met the RV for a bite to eat after 15 miles. It was a routine stop and I was soon on my way again. I lost concentration for a moment and continued my journey down the wrong street. Richard had to come looking for me and tell me about my mistake. He was quite angry with me and that kind of attitude was the last thing I needed. We drove back to the original meeting point and I continued running down the correct street. 

After all of the good work that Richard had done over the previous 13 days, it was an easy task to forgive him for shouting at me. Since returning to the UK, we've talked about his time on the support team and this incident was on the agenda. 

I was quite relieved to leave the down trodden part of Las Vegas and I felt much safer running next to Nellis Air Force Base. Watching the military jets take off and land passed a bit of time and I also saw a Stealth Bomber!

The final meeting point of the day, after 21.5 miles of running, was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Richard had spent some time watching a Nascar practise event. I had heard the cars for miles but never actually managed to see any in action. 

The overnight parking place was at Love's Travel Stop just off Interstate 15. It was very noisy due to the trucks coming and going all night and leaving their engines running. It felt very safe though and the noise was soon drowned out with a pair of ear plugs!