Thursday 28 June 2012

USA Day 27 - Revisited (27/05/2011)

Thanks to an article on there had been an increase in donations for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation overnight. It was always nice to start a day with some good fundraising news. As far as I remember, the fund was approaching the £34,000 mark around this time. There was still a long way to go to hit the £50,000 target that I'd previously set.

While the support team were doing various RV related duties in Emery, I was dropped off 5 miles to the south in the hire car that Shelli used to join the team and Comedy Jon would use to leave it. The plan was to run without breakfast and get something when I got back to Emery.

It was a lovely sunny start to day 27 and I set off running at 07:57 (Mountain Time). I could see for miles in either direction and the picture below was my view looking back from the day 27 start line at the previous day's closing miles.

I wasn't alone on the road as truck after truck made their way in either direction alongside me. Maximum concentration was once again needed. More often than not, the trucks would pull out to give me a bit of room (like the one in the picture below). That was usually accompanied by a wave from the driver and always helped to put a spring in my step.

When the need arose, I was always prepared to run well away from the passing trucks. You can see the almost none existent hard shoulder in the picture below. Thankfully, having so little room to run was a very rare occurrence in the USA.

I reached Emery after 5 pretty slow miles. The usual helping of Porridge was on the menu for breakfast. My blog from that time reads "I've just ran through the town of Emery which, according to Wikipedia, 'sits at the base of the mountains that contain the North Horn Formation. Named after North Horn Mountain, near Castle Dale, Utah this formation in Emery County contain numerous Cretaceous-Tertiary Era fossil invertebrates, microfossils and palynomorphs. Flagstaff Peak, north of Emery, has abundant dinosaur bone material and pre-historic mammal remains and petrified dinosaur footprints.'. As soon as I see a Dinosaur you'll be the first to know!".

While I was eating breakfast I received a video message from adventure, cyclist and documentary maker Mark Beaumont. It's well documented on this blog how much I've been inspired by Mark's adventures. He is a modern day hero and someone I really look up to. I played the video over and over. 

Kirsty said "When the video message came in from Mark Beaumont it was a real struggle to get our Mark out of the RV to run again! Over and over the video was played. I think Mark found this particularly touching as Mark Beaumont had cycled some of the very same route that we were following.".

The effect that Mark's video had on my running during the next 20 miles was remarkable. I set off from Emery at 10 minute mile pace. This felt like I was sprinting considering this was day 27 and 800 miles into the run.

I "slowed" down to an 11 minute mile pace and the miles seemed to absolutely fly by. As with some of the previous days, the scenery in this particular part of Utah was quite amazing. The sun was beating down and it was red hot. These were my kind of conditions to run in. I always felt that I could raise my game whenever needed. Throw in some hills or a bit of heat and this would usually always give me a raised level of focus and determination.

The terrain remained very kind and there were very few climbs to contend with. I used this to my advantage and only stopped very briefly to receive a fresh drink from the support team.

I got to the 15 mile point, obviously very euphoric, and tweeted "Just ripped apart the previous 9.5 miles in hot conditions at the start of The Dinasour Trail in Utah. Having a lunch break now.".

The quick start to the day meant that I was able to update the blog and answer a load of emails that had been sitting in my inbox.

The remaining 17 miles of the day were a lot slower than the first 15. And therein lies the eternal problem with running in a campaign such as this. It often became very tactical. Run too fast (if you had the legs that is) and you have the risk of burning out. Run too slow and you have all of the risks associated with spending a lot of time on your feet. I always felt that by running slower, even if I felt I had the legs to go quicker, meant that I would be able to survive to run another day. And another. And another! Getting the tactics and the balance right across 100 consecutive days of running and adapting to various temperatures, gradients, altitudes, degrees of fatigue and injury and so on was always a difficult task. As I found out though, thanks to the experience that I'd gained over the previous 18 years of running, I would usually get it right.

I ran through the towns of Ferron and Castle Dale and reached the 32 mile point with much of the day remaining. Kirsty joined me for the final few miles and she told me that the support team had found a nice lakeside RV park to stay in.

This was only the third RV park that we'd used in 27 days. Having been made aware of my usual lack of mobility, the owners gave us a spot near the shower block.

I recorded the following interview with Comedy Jon later that evening. Given his obvious talents I'm surprised that he hasn't been snapped up by the BBC!

My blog post for the day read: "Nutrition today was spot on and Chef Stephen cooked 3 superb dishes. The final one being a salad which the Support Team and myself thoroughly enjoyed. The meals were carefully prepared following a debate between me and the Support Team. Basically, I have had enough of pasta (for now) and feel very bloated after eating bread. That has now been put right.". 

"Today was the quickest 32 miles I've ran so far. It took me 07:26:23. It's a far cry from day 1 when it took me 09:18:10 to run the same distance. That was with fresh legs too. Although I was 2 stone heavier! It was an absolute pleasure to run in yet more amazing scenery today. Utah is definitely my favourite state so far in the USA.".