Sunday, 13 May 2012

USA Day 9 - Revisited (09/05/2011)

The image below is the scene from the start of day 9, looking back at the previous day's finish point. The sandy verge at the side is where the RV was almost stuck! I was very tired going into this day after a very very cold night's sleep. I'd spent most of the night curled up in a ball, trying to keep warm. I was really tired anyway before that bad night's sleep. I had expected a drop in temperature after seeing the local forecast but I didn't expect it to be quite so low in the desert. 

I started the day's run wearing 3 layers and a wooly hat. What a difference to the previous day's scorching hot weather! I never usually had things all my own way in the USA and despite the favourable temperature I was so tired that I had to have a sleep after 5.5 miles. That first 5.5 miles saw a climb of 1500 ft into a strong headwind. 

Before I had my morning tactical snooze I spoke to Jonathan Miles on BBC Newcastle. I remember doing this from the comfort of the very small RV toilet. I'm sure the listeners of his programme wouldn't have realised!

The support team also had to have a snooze. They'd also not had a very good night's sleep. It wasn't until a few weeks later that I realised the RV had a heating system!!

I felt so tired after that morning session that I decided to aim for just 21 miles after a decent tactical snooze. I'd almost been nodding off during the first few miles!

The session after the 2 hour long tactical snooze started at the entrance of the Mojave National Preserve. I'd been looking forward to running in this part of the USA ever since I planned the route. I'm pleased to report that it lived up to my expectations.

The road surface had improved greatly in comparison to previous days so I switched back to wearing Brooks Glycerin 8. Days earlier, the Brooks Cascadia trail shoes had given my blisters lots of protection from parts of the decaying Route 66. I don't think I had to resort to them again until the state of Philadelphia some 2500 miles away. 

The scenery in the Mojave National Preserve was absolutely breathtaking. Running in a place such as that was a real joy. The roads were lovely and quiet too. The miles seemed to pass by quicker when there were so many nice things to look at.

Unfortunately, the mobile phone signal was very poor in this part of California and I wasn't able to do my usual amount of Twitter updates. At the same time, I wasn't able to check the messages of encouragement on Twitter either.

After a scenic climb to 4000 ft I felt really good. I began to think that I'd manage more than 21 miles as the scenery in the Mojave National Preserve really helped to perk me up.

I felt quite strong in the afternoon session and made it to Kelso after running 28 miles. The final mile of the day was the quickest by far. I was so pleased to have got in an extra 7 miles than planned.

The scenery had definitely played it's part in saving me from running the least amount of miles so far in the run across the USA. With that scenery came valuable thinking time and a chance to continue thinking about all of the reasons why I was running across the USA. 

I'd managed to run 265.1 miles in the first 9 days. I was 13.9 miles behind schedule. I was willing to go up to 40 miles behind schedule. Of course, I'd be much more than that later on in the run.

The support team and I stayed the night at the side of the road in Kelso right in the middle of the Mojave National Preserve. I didn't managed to write much of a blog that night due to the lack of a good quality mobile phone signal. 

I was supposed to talk to Gary and Lisa on Real Radio that night. The producer, John McInally, knew that if he couldn't reach me that it would be down to the lack of signal. At least that gave us time to switch the generator on and watch a DVD. Another treat for a good day's running.