So finally today we started the Run Across America on Trail. I am now running across America, though actually staying in the same hotel as last night and tomorrow night so doesn’t feel like we’ve gotten much closer to Delaware but glad it’s started! We headed out to the Pacific at 7:30am for a 9am start – to take pictures and see the sea for the last time before our 80 days trip takes us to the Atlantic. We had John Wallace III join us – he set up the USA Crossers website with all the stats of each crossing and was excited to see us start a new route. I saw him on Tuesday briefly whilst in Fleet Feet Sports shop where he works in Seattle and was really glad he made it – he started his epic trip with a baby jogger in 2004 just along the coast.
After seeing the sea and taking photos we set off at 9:12am. As we lined up the first of two things happened today that made me so glad to have chosen this particular route – as well as the laid back start and good vibes Mike said quietly to us four ‘four at the start and four finish, that’s what this is about and will make it great’ and we all agreed it felt like yes there may only be four of us but what we want is 100% of us to get to the Atlantic.
The second of the reasons I’m glad I chose this route became evident early on – Washington is gorgeous. Lush pine forest either side of the road, herons flying all around, the sight of the coastline in the distance were stunning. I’d seen one of the Twilight films on the plane over and remembered Sid from running club telling me they were filmed nearby and he remembered how beautiful the area was from a trip some time ago – and he was right; the ‘evergreen’ State was living up to it’s tagline.
So today was a short day to get us going. we started in the spitting rain but that soon stopped and though it was cold (about 52 in US numbers; 11 in Celcius) it was good to run in. Today the route was 98% road with a small trail section of bike path, but the road had a good wide shoulder and there wasn’t much traffic. I should say here that whilst the run is called ‘Run Across America on Trail’ it’s one third trail to two thirds road as there’s just not enough trail to make it sensible for the full route. The cloud lifted through the day and by noon it was sunny and warm at about 22 degrees. With just a few directions today it was a pretty simple run and gave me the opportunity to practice taking pictures on route. I had 1.5L water in my Camelpak and just needed one top up about 5 miles before the finish from Heidi. I also saw Katie through the day, supporting husband Justin, and she was great at letting me nip into the van for cold OJ from my cooler. In had a couple of energy bars, some sports beans and bananas; a large breakfast kept me going well.
I ran most of the first half with Justin who stopped a few times and caught up – we had an easy running chatter and the time went easily by. Mike had said he was looking for about 6hrs for the day and Marty was planning on 4 miles per hour so Justin and I seemed a little nearer in pace today (though he’s clearly a lot quicker than me). I had decided to run at about 10 minute mile pace and did more like 9s for the first half and interspersed walking breaks for the second to make sure I wasn’t going too fast. I was happy with 5:28:37 and my legs felt good. At the finish I ate a great peanut butter bagel and will definitely be eating a lot of PB this summer! After a shower and some ice (even if no pain; start as mean to go on…) I went to dinner at a Mexican place in Elma with Justin and Katie, Mike waited to see Marty come in – though we heard later he might have gone a little wrong and had a longer day than expected.
Great day – I literally was grinning all day – if the rest of the route is even a tiny bit as good as today I’ll be very happy!