Today started out really well – I felt great after a good sleep and was really looking forward to the run ahead – with about 25 miles of groomed trail and just a little road running. It was cold at the start but I had gloves (I never imagined I’d use!), a cap and warm clothes. I started off at a decent pace (well under 10 min miles which at this stage is a good pace!) and got to mile 17 in about 3 hours, where Marty and Corky told me I was abut 15 mins behind Justin – good going. The weather had dried up and although windy I was feeling great… then I felt a twinge in my quad and slowed a little, then walked then stopped. Owwww!! In a matter of minutes I went from flying along without a care in the world, thinking I was going to get a good sub-7 hour run in, to crying in pain and limping up a hill. I don’t know what I did, I didn’t jar it or stumble or do anything unusual and all of a sudden it was like a knife being stuck into the top of my knee/bottom of my thigh. So I hobbled on for a bit and tried to jog again, no go. Not a chance. I downed a load of pills – paracetamol, Advil, Aleve – ok maybe too many but an attempt to get going again. No effect (except a bit of a dodgy tummy from a cocktail of drugs – do not do this at home).
Heidi and Karen were now in their van nearby; meaning Mike was catching up with me – he’d been about 25 mins behind me only a few miles earlier. Knowing I couldn’t run I began the slow 22 mile walk to the finish. Mike caught up with me about 23 miles in and though he said he had a sore Achilles he was able to jog, but instead he stayed with me the entire long afternoon. As I was in agony going down hills he walked next to me as I walked backwards, warning me when on-coming cars were approaching (luckily it was a quiet road but boy did we get some odd looks!); he was a star again. Keeping me going with stories and we even chatted about the current crisis in the Euro area, Spanish youth unemployment and the differences between the US Social Security and UK Benefits systems (see still working!).
So having done 17 miles in 3 hours I then walked/limped to finish 39.6 miles in a total of 10 and a half hours. That might be my biggest ever positive split! Mike was again unfailingly cheerful – seeing the best in all circumstances and he was right in that at least it wasn’t raining! Corky and Marty were great at cheering us on, bringing me anything I needed and Heidi took my ‘please don’t take photos of me when I’m crying’ really well! Then at the end I was driven to the hotel, with leg wrapped in ice and Karen went to Wendy’s for my dinner (another great find – Wendy’s chilli and jacket potato, delicious!) – these people I didn’t even know last week all helping me as much as they can to make sure I’m in the best possible state to recover. Amazing, I feel very lucky to have all their help.
So here I am with ice pack on the base of my quad, I took it off before to check and there’s a sizeable lump, it’s pretty swollen. I’ll have to see how I am in the morning – tomorrow was a day I have been waiting for, a shorter day of only 30 miles. I had hoped to get it finished by noon and have time to do washing, maybe even get to speak to Mum and Dad but now it looks like I’ll be walking all day. One of the most disappointing things is, as silly as it might seem, I’d really wanted to ‘run’ across America – so not walk at all, but as long as I get there on foot I suppose it doesn’t matter. If it takes a few long walking days to get me back jogging then it’ll be worth it.
260 miles done this week, let’s hope there’s more to come…