Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 63 - Wabash Cannonball Trail

The day passed by fairly quickly as we had our sixth straight day of "good" weather - ie. high temps in the 80s. Good cloud cover this morning and a couple rain drops didn't hurt. Jennifer and I ran together all day as we enjoyed 22 miles on the Wabash Cannonball Trail and a couple "local" trail miles in the Toledo area. My left foot continues to get better from whatever the problem has been these past few days. I took my second fall of the run about mile 40 today when we were running on the busy US-20. I failed to pick up my left foot enough when passing over some waste concrete that was in the shoulder and I tumbled to the pavement. One of my fears was realized with the fact that I fell and rolled towards the passing cars on the road, but no harm was done. I appear to have suffered no injuries from the fall.
At mile 14 we said goodbye to Steph who has been a fantastic member of the RAAoT Team. Steph provided aid to us all through Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. Since we first met Steph in Nebraska and she left us in Ohio she has been with us for five states. Thanks for everything Steph!!! May your music career continue to go superbly!!!
Thanks to my parents for continuing to provide super crewing to Jennifer and myself!
By the time emails are sent out Wednesday morning to those who are following the Run blog I will have transitioned from being CDR Mike Samuelson, United States Navy to CDR Mike Samuelson, United States Navy Retired. I send a big shout out to all my friends and Shipmates at the Navy Personnel Command and the PERS-4G Team. Thanks again to all who worked in the 4G1 shop taking care of our Shipmates in the field. I look forward to our paths crossing again soon.
West Unity to Elmore, OH 43.70 miles
Jennifer  9:55:06
Mike      9:55:06

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 62 - Into Ohio!!!

For the fifth straight day the high temperature hasn't reached 90 degrees - super!!! The humidity has moderated somewhat also the past four days now. May this weather streak continue!!!
I KT-taped my left foot this morning and my left foot issues weren't as bad today. I believe this is he fourth time on the Run I have used the KT Tape. Great thanks to the KT Tape folks. All road miles today - mostly on low traffic volume country roads. No "Welcome Ohio" sign to greet Jennifer and I when crossing the state line due to running on a rural road - a very small disappointment in the big scheme of life.
My spirits were much higher today due to the decreased left foot distress. Hopefully the foot will continue to get better - and no other injuries will occur.
Pleasant Lake, IN to West Unity, OH 43.95 miles
Mike     9:42:58
Jennifer 9:49:28

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Days 59-61 - Amish Country

Day 59
Ultrarunner Chad Wooley and his dog Diamond ran with us for 12 miles as our route passed right by his house. It was great to run with Chad! We enjoyed running the Oak Savannah and Prairie Duneland Trails before continuing east on country roads. I slowed as left foot problems kept me from flying down the road.
Day 60
After leaving La Porte and making a couple turns we ran 32 miles on the same country road to get to our stop point for the day just west of Goshen. I continued to fight through left foot issues.
Day 61
We continued to head east - neither of us feeling great after the shift to EDT and losing an hour. A couple miles on Goshen bike path and the Milrace Canal Trail were the trail miles portion of the day. We ran through Amish country but saw nearly no one since we ran through during Sunday morning religious services. The finish point today was a welcome sight. Maybe I will tape my left foot before we start out Monday?
Goshen to Pleasant Lake, IN 44.78 miles
Jennifer 10:24:00
Mike      10:24:00

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Days 59 and 60 - Into the Eastern Time Zone

No time to blog again.
Day 59
Schererville to La Porte, IN 44.58 miles
Jennifer 9:29:07
Mike     10:28:29
Day 60
La Porte to Goshen, IN 46.24 miles
Jennifer 10:15:05
Mike      10:29:03

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 58 - Into Indiana; Karen, Rich, and Debbie

Wow - a good weather day and friends can make all the difference in the world. We got sprinkled on a bit today and the humidity was just about 100% all day. I never put on a hat or sunglasses until after finishing the stage since there was good overcast skies until late afternoon. The high was at least 10 degrees lower today as compared to yesterday's high 90s finish temperature. The additional humidity didn't help my feet any as the skin on both feet was more macerated than usual when I was finally able to take off my shoes and socks off after stopping. I sweat a lot - even the feet sweat like crazy.
Karen crewed again today. It was great to see her at the aid stops. Thanks again Karen!!! Rich Limacher (aka The Troubador) biked with Jennifer and I for 30 miles today, and his long time training partner Debbie (who's last name escapes me at this late hour) biked with us for 20 miles. It was great to talk to Rich and Debbie most of the day, and they fearlessly fought off the cars for us on 10 miles of busy Illinois/Indiana roads with little shoulder to get us to the stage finish point at the we-have-it-rough Holiday Inn Express Hotel. Thanks Rich and Debbie for making stage 58 a great one!!! May our paths cross again soon.
I attacked my weight loss by scarfing up hundreds (over a thousand maybe???) of yummy Chili's bottomless chips and salsa calories with my usual ribs order while consuming a large Dairy Queen vanilla shake right after finishing the stage and another one after the large dinner at Chili's. Additionally, I ate more Gu while running than I have been eating during the Run.
Thanks again to my parents and Stephanie for their great crewing also!!!
Joliet, IL to Schererville, IN 41.20 miles - same distance as stage 57
Jennifer  8:37:28
Mike       8:42:47

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Days 56 and 57 - Illinois and Michigan Canal Trail

Day 56
After finishing the eastern end of the Hennepin Canal Towpath Trail we transitioned to road before reaching the Illinois and Michigan Canal Trail. It was nice to finish at our hotel for the night in Ottawa. I was happy with how I ran fighting off blister and foot pain and the heat and humidity.

Day 57
We were on the Illinois and Michigan Canal Trail all day today. High heat and humidity took its toll on the body and it was a tough day. Thankfully the blisters didn't bother me too much today. It was great to see Karen again since we last saw her in Spokane! Karen crewed for me most of the day giving my parents a little crew break. After finishing today we all went back to Karen's for dinner and our first night not at a hotel since before the Run started. I weighed myself six times on two different scales before eating dinner and I have lost much more weight than I figured and apparently now weigh about 161 pounds - well at least before the spaghetti dinner. Yes, I will consume even more calories - two dinners every night needs to be the norm.
Ottawa to Joliet, IL 41.20 miles
Jennifer 8:44:52
Mike      8:57:00

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 56 - Blisters

No time to blog.
Princeton to Ottawa, IL 43.59 miles
Jennifer 8:56:40
Mike      9:01:20

Monday, July 23, 2012

Days 54 and 55 - Hennepin Canal Towpath

Day 54
The clouds continued to provide some relief from the sun - and possible measurable rain fell to cool us the tiniest bit. Anyway, just as the miles started to get tougher to run Corky surprises us with the best aid station of the Run as we entered Davenport. It was super to see Corky again as we last saw her in Spokane when she and Marty headed home after Justin's brother Adam arrived to assume crewing duties. Jennifer and I had a number of goodies to choose from in order to fuel the bodies. I believe we both consumed some great cookies and popsicles. Corky then surprised us again as we crossed the Centennial Bridge (a course reroute since the American Discovery (swing) Bridge was set in the open position all weekend for Mississippi River barge traffic) into Illinois, and then again with fried chicken straight from the oven, and then one last welcome aid station as we entered Corky's town of East Moline. WOW! The miles almost flew by as we enjoyed seeing Corky and the sky was overcast for much of the day. Corky joined all of us at Applebee's later for dinner and at Whitey's ice cream for my "second meal"; it was a fantastic day!

Day 55
The finish for the day was blazing hot so the intermittent shade this afternoon was greatly appreciated. Thankfully we did enjoy overcast skies for much of the morning. It was great to see Marty again since we were last together in Spokane. Marty spent most of the day with us either meeting us at the crewing locations on the Hennepin Canal Towpath or riding his bike with us as we ran. I was running not far behind Jennifer - due to my longer/slower crew stops -  when a blister forced me for the first time in the Run to stop and immediately try to correct/lance the offending issue. I believe I also became a cranky runner for the first time in the Run due to failure to properly lance the offending blister, but I accomplished enough draining to allow me to resume running and my crankiness quickly faded.
We both stopped at the Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park visitor center at mile 35 to say HI to the great staff there. The towpath trail is an enjoyable run or bike ride - stop by some time when you are in Illinois.
Jennifer and I both ran well in the heat and humidity today, but were both knackered when we finished. Can we run as fast tomorrow?
Colona to Princeton, IL 44.06 miles
Jennifer 9:04:54
Mike      9:13:17

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 54 - Into Illinois

A super day - but no time to blog.
Muscatine, IN to Colona, IL 40.04 miles
Jennifer 8:30:14
Mike      8:30:14

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Days 52 and 53 - Clouds!!!!!!!!!!

Day 52
After reviewing the weather forecast, Stage 52 looked like it was simply going to be - in movie terms - Blast Furnace II; The Slightly Cooler Sequel. However, the movie executives must have foreseen huge losses with the planned sequel as some gorgeous dark clouds starting filling the sky as we started to run. Unbelievable, fantastic, incredible, super clouds decided to get together and form a completely overcast sky that lasted all morning!!! The best running weather in some time formed for our benefit, and with 46 miles to run (34 on gravel roads and 12 on concrete/asphalt) we happily accepted every break we could get. We finished the day right across the street from the Pull'r Inn in Kalona, IA and were quickly welcomed to a nice place to stay and sent to dinner at an outstanding family restaurant in town. WOW - it you are a quilting fan, I highly recommend a stop in Kalona, IA.
Barnes City to Kalona, IA 46.53 miles
Mike      10:24:07
Jennifer  10:41:21

Day 53
More clouds today!!! Super. After running through the small towns of Riverside and Nichols we made our way to the big city of Muscatine. We are just a couple miles as the crow flies away from the Big River - the mighty Mississippi. Into Illinois tomorrow!
Jennifer and I were both able to get the legs to turnover just a little bit faster today than previous days - maybe we will continue to regain some of our lost speed! Only time will tell.
Kalona to Muscatine, IA 42.09 miles
Jennifer  8:48:33
Mike       8:56:02

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 51 - Blast Furnace

"Danger Will Robinson Danger" states the Lost in Space Robot from the 60s TV series - "the runners have received too much solar radiation".
Yes, it is true. I fried my ears weeks ago and am still working on a spot that is still in bad shape. My lower lip has also been blistered for weeks. Thankfully the pain experienced while eating has diminished as I have put more effort into resolving the lip issue. Pain is a good motivator. Even though all my exposed skin is now very dark, any skin missed in the morning application of sun screen means even more pain. No complaints - just the way it is. 
I believe it was a typical day of running eastward - the inexorable march to the sea. Jennifer and I ran a number of miles together, and a number of miles were run with myself leading the way by a minute or two or Jennifer leading the way by a minute or two. It was a blast furnace out there late in the morning with high temps, high humidity, and low winds when I commented to Stephanie that she could turn off the furnace any time now. Well, instead of the feel like temperature continuing to rise as one would expect as the sun moved higher in the sky, the feel like temperature actually dropped a bit as the humidity decreased, the winds increased, and the temperature appeared to stop rising. The hills continued as we ran 18 miles on pavement and about 27 miles on gravel roads today. I don't think more than 8 or 9 cars passed us on the gravel roads today - just the way we like it.
Runnels to Barnes City, IA 44.86
Jennifer 10:18:35
Mike      10:19:55

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 50 - Super Solar Radiation Blast Batman

Remember that 1960s Batman episode when the evil villian threatens to destroy Gotham City with the solar magnifying ray? Do you remember??? Probably not since I just made it up - but it sure felt like the evil villian was testing a huge solar magnifying lens just east of Des Moines this afternoon in a very successful effort to bake everyone in the area. Thankfully there was just enough wind to wick away the horrible heat to allow some semblance of relentless forward motion to take place. So we are through Des Moines now using the southeast miles of the Raccoon River Valley Trail and a number of miles of Des Moines bike paths which thankfully were tree lined for a number of miles providing a fair amount of shade to trail users. More rural Iowa awaits!
The song of the day was Wall of Voodoo's 1980 hit/remake of Ring of Fire. "And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire, the ring of fire". Listen to the song on Youtube if desired!
Adel to Runnels, IA 43.16 miles
Mike      10:44:32
Jennifer  11:09:09

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 49 - Best Day in Iowa

Another hot day in Iowa - but it is probably hot just about everywhere in the US so that is not a surprise.
After running 17 miles on IA-141 we jumped onto the paved and asphalt covered Raccoon River Valley Trail - a super rail-trail. Thankfully Jennifer and I were able to spend some time in the shade today since the trail was nicely tree lined for some number of miles. If you visit Iowa, check out the trail.
Bottom line, even if the trail was awful, there are no cattle trucks on the trail and there are plenty of cattle trucks on the Iowa highways. Yes, if you visit Iowa you should also run the highways and experience the passing cattle truck wind and smells - you won't be disappointed!
Coon Rapids to Adel, IA 45.24 miles
Mike        9:39:47
Jennifer    9:45:53

Monday, July 16, 2012

Days 47 and 48 - Ice Ice Baby

Day 47
"Go West, young man" was a popular phrase used in the late 1800s. Interestingly there is apparently some controversy as to who originally coined the phrase. Well, Jennifer and I are headed east with the hope every day that we have following winds. Go East, young runners.
As you would expect I am not running with a wet bulb globe thermometer so I can't state what the wet bulb globe temperature is at any moment, but from the perspective of someone out in the sun most of the day I am happy to report that day 47 was cooler than day 46 which is the benchmark for the highest feel like/wet bulb globe temperature for a stage yet. May we not have a hotter day, although that is probably just wishful thinking.
The route for day 47 included 22 miles of road and 16 miles of gravel road. Plenty of hills to work all the muscles kept us giving it all to make progress, but mostly the day went by quickly. Of note was the absolutely awful stench at mile 35. I presume the ponds to the left of the gravel road were animal waste ponds although I saw no signs. Bottom line, the stench was probably the worst smell I have experienced in my lifetime. Thankfully we passed through the area quickly.
Onawa to Dow City, IA 38.90 miles
Jennifer  8:32:59
Mike       8:32:59

Day 48
I only know three words of Vanilla Ice's biggest hit Ice Ice Baby from 1989. Yes you guessed it - the only three words of the song I know are Ice Ice Baby. It is tough to not think about Ice Ice Baby because ice is so central to getting Jennifer and I down the road and trail heading east. I use pounds of ice each day. Some of the ice is put into my running cap to keep the head and brain from overheating, and a lot of ice is put into my water bottles so that I can drink water as cold as possible. That cold water sure tastes good!
The route today had most of the shorter steeper hills during the first 25 miles of the stage. I can't say I felt that fantastic the first 25 miles, but the hills became more gradual after the 25 mile mark and I was able to run well after that point. Unfortunately, Jennifer had to fight off right leg achilles/calf tightness which slowed her on this hot day where most of the miles were run on the gravel shouldered IA-141 - not my favorite road of the trip - but not the worst either.
Dow City to Coon Rapids, IA 43.80 miles
Mike        9:14:35
Jennifer  10:12:06

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Days 45 and 46: Into Iowa; Heat, Hills, & Humidity

Day 45
I could tell it was humid because my Race Ready shorts were completely soaked after just a couple miles on the trail. Yes, our first humid day of the Run. Well, all good things come to end. After four great days on the Cowboy Trail there was just 18 final miles to run on day 45. The southeastern 18 miles of the Cowboy Trail were in great shape due to recent work done to repair trail damage after flooding last year. Great thanks to all who worked to make the needed trail repairs happen! Upon leaving the trail in Norfolk, NE Jennifer and I headed east on US-275 and returned to the land of moving vehicles. We adjusted quickly to the vehicles driving by, but the hot day took its toll on us and we were both tired after finishing the longest stage to date.
Day 46
Ultrarunner Stephanie Robinson joined us to crew for Jennifer for the next two plus weeks. It is great to have Stephanie join the Run family. On the other hand, Heidi, Zach, and crew dog Daphne headed home to Tennessee this morning. Heidi was really, really, really ready to go home after being bitten by a number of flies in the last two plus weeks and fighting off hoards of flies and other bugs at all the crewing stops she made in order to provide aid to Jennifer and myself. You are a Super Trooper - thanks honey. This Run wouldn't have been possible without you. See you in Delaware!!!
The weather forecast was awful - high temps in the mid 90s with feel like temps in the mid 100s. Once again my running shorts were completely soaked in just a couple of miles. My socks and shoes were also soaked in short order, but I am fortunate to be able to report no serious issues with the feet today just some mild heat rash on the tops of both feet. Today's run was once again a team effort as there were times during the run today when I felt poorly and Jennifer pushed me, and there were times when Jennifer felt the effects of the brutal weather conditions and my running pushed her. It was super to cross the Missouri River again! On day 22 we crossed the river just west of Townsend, MT where I was surprised to note the river was flowing north. We crossed the river today on the Onawa-Decatur Bridge - a low-traffic-volume open steel grated deck bridge which was enjoyable to run across while taking in some river views. The river flow was higher than I expected, good news possibly for area farmers??? Thanks to my parents Carl and Pat for taking over where Heidi left off. May the next 34 days go as well as today - except without the heat and humidity please!!!
Wisner, NE to Onawa, IA 42.08 miles
Jennifer  9:21:37
Mike      9:21:37

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 45 - Back on Road

No time to blog.
Meadow Grove to Wisner, NE 45.74 miles
Jennifer 9:56:32
Mike     9:56:32

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 44 - Cattle, Corn, and Hay

The Cattle, Corn, and Hay Tour (as coined by Jennifer) continued today through Nebraska. The Cowboy Trail continued to be the venue for the Tour, and the plains and prairie on both sides of the trail continued to show off plenty of cattle, corn, and hay. A hot day (94 degrees at mile 40), the middle miles on the route today went by quite slowly as we fought through the heat, but both Jennifer and I felt better as we neared the end of today's run. Great thanks to the crew for taking super care of us!!!
Ewing to Battle Creek, NE 43.22 miles
Jennifer 9:41:19
Mike     9:41:19

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 43 - Haircut

Finally after 46 days since my last haircut the stars aligned and I was able to get my hair cut in O'Neill, NE. Since I consider my hair long at the 14 days-since-last-cut date I was really, really, really looking forward to getting my hair cut today.
Jennifer and I got an early start today since the hotel we stayed in last night was just yards from the stage 42 end point. We enjoyed the cool low 60s degree weather as long as it lasted, but as everyone knows the temperature increases as the day goes on. No complaints. It is obvious that northern Nebraska has not received much rain in the last two months as the Elkhorn River water level is quite low. Nevertheless, I am happy to report that most of the corn looks fantastic. I enjoy seeing fields of green along the route as it is an indication that farmers are finding success in their efforts to bring food to the world's dinner tables. I note that small portions of some fields we pass seem to be missed by the sprinkler systems. Maybe the ears of corns produced by those missing-out-on-the sprinkler-system-water yellowing stalks will be used for chicken or cattle feed???
Besides reporting that it was enjoyable to run the Cowboy Trail today, not much else of interest to report except that Tia Zia's Mexican Food Restaurant is the place to go if your travels take you to O'Neill.
Stuart to Ewing, NE 40.05 miles
Jennifer    8:34:30
Mike        8:34:30

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 42

The day started on a down note. Sean's right knee wouldn't allow him to run or walk so he basically limped 18 tough miles today. Jennifer and I wish him the best and hope to see him and run with him soon.
I forgot to mention yesterday that Jennifer, Sean, and I crossed what I believe is the second longest trestle of the Run. Just three miles into stage 41 we ran across the Niobrara(sp?) River on a lengthy trestle about 150 feet above the water. We definitely enjoyed the views. Relatedly, today we ran across another nice trestle at mile nine over a deep ravine formed by a creek just north of the small town of Long Pine. Life is good.
The Cowboy Trail is a fairly flat rails-to-trails small stone covered trail. For the most part the trail is a joy to run. I note that there are some small portions of the trail that have been damaged by cows/horses/flooding or have not been maintained extremely well and thus have many weeds growing up through the small stones. Many of the original telegraph or telephone poles erected next to the railroad line 100 plus years ago are still in place - a tribute to the workers who installed them so long ago. Many of the old glass insulators are also still in place on the pole cross bars, and many of the railroad mile markers are still attached to those old poles still standing to keep the trail users company while enjoying the trail. Yes, life is good.
Jennifer and I were surprised by the amount of cloud cover today - which was greatly appreciated - but the day did turn hot as soon as the clouds broke-up. It was another team effort run as neither of us had the energy or motivation to push the pace today and as the day ended Jennifer was fighting off an achilles/calf issue. Maybe I need to eat more calories in the morning. I will give that a try.
Ainsworth to Stuart, NE 40.55 miles
Jennifer 9:04:53
Mike 9:04:53

Monday, July 9, 2012

Days 40 and 41 - Three Runners

Day 40
We said goodbye to my sister and brother-in-law Kari and David at the stage start. It was great to see them and to run with David. As planned, Sean joined Jennifer and I at the start so we had three runners for this stage - and possibly many more. We headed east on US-20 in a 12 minute per mile pace under overcast skies. The day was cooler than the three of us had experienced in some days now - super!!! A small amount of rain fell on us to cool us even further. After 41 miles on the road we transitioned to the Cowboy Trail in Valentine - The Heart City - the biggest city for miles around in north central Nebraska. It is good to return to the trail!!! Once again nine year old Ella ran with us today - this time she ran the mile to the finish.

Day 41
We said good bye to Mike Melton at the start today after 13 days of crewing for us. Thanks Mike! Run well at Vol State. Relatedly, best of running to all the Vol State (314 mile run) starters.
Although we had a cool start today the heat returned with a vengeance. Jennifer, Sean, and I all seemed to be worn out from the effort to complete day 40, but the team effort of the three runners kept us moving down the trail in the heat. Zach crewed by bike on two stretches of trail which also aided our running effort. Ella also biked a five mile stretch of trail with us.
The Cowboy Trail runs quite close to US-20 for many miles, so close in fact that several times I caught myself automatically starting to raise my arm to wave to passing vehicles as I would do if running on the road shoulder. We actually did wave to some passing vehicles as 6-8 vehicles did honk when passing us - most likely because they saw the reasontorun2012 motor home on the side of the road. The best part of the day was meeting a nice lady in the small town of Wood Lake who donated money to reasontorun2012.com to support wounded veterans via Sean's run.
When the three of us were having trouble remaining motivated to run at mile 37, we received great news that Marty was volunteering to crew Jennifer for the last two plus weeks of the Run or so! This super news definitely aided our efforts to fight off a light to moderate headwind and continue running to the stage endpoint. Yes, the three of us were definitely knackered at the end of the stage today.
Valentine to Ainsworth, NE 44.85 miles
Jennifer  9:41:05
Mike      9:41:05
Sean      9:41:05

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 40 - Halfway There (In Days)

No time to blog.
Cody to Valentine, NE 42.16 miles
Jennifer  8:42:28
Mike       8:42:28
Sean        8:42:30

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 39 - A Super Day

The 60 degree temperature, complete overcast skies, and light winds from the north at the start were great. And the day simply got better from there - but it took a few miles. Jennifer and I were plodding along at a typical 12 minute mile pace (this pace includes stoppage time) for us lately, and having talked about so many subjects over the recent days the conversation was lagging. At mile 15 David starts running with us. New conversation topics open up the discussion and miles 15-20 sprint by helped on by a couple miles of a light sprinkle. Our first rain in almost three weeks! Shortly after David stops at mile 20, Sean Edmunds of reasontorun2012.com catches and joins us. Additional topics of conversation open up the discussion and miles 21-43 also sprint by as Sean ran with us until we stopped for day. Sean and Donna's nine year old daughter Ella also joined us for a half mile of running. Since Sean's route is nearly identical to the Run Across America on Trail route for the next few days the plan is for Sean to run with Jennifer and I for a couple days. Super!
Another first for the run happened at mile 37 today as a passenger in a passing car threw 3 or 4 empty beer cans at Jennifer, Sean, and I as we were running. I am happy to report that the empty cans didn't hit us. This incident is not a surprise since I have read of similar incidents from previous cross country runs. For the most part, cars move over to give runners space, and when waved to many drivers return the wave. Lots of waves today on US-20 - thankfully US-20 was not a busy road on this Saturday in July. May Sunday go just as well as today.
Gordon to Cody, NE 43.88 miles
Jennifer 8:51:19
Mike      8:51:19

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 38 - Into Nebraska

My sister Kari and brother-in-law David joined us today. It is great to have them with us for a few days.
Today's run was routine - if there is indeed a routine day when running across the US. The wind today was from the north which pushed us along somewhat. This was greatly appreciated following yesterday's effort to push through the headwind. My right hamstring continues to improve, and Jennifer's hives issue has diminished greatly. The story of the day has to do with dogs. As expected, Jennifer and I have encountered a number of dogs as we have headed east. Thankfully neither of us has been bitten or mauled by any dogs to date. At mile 28 today David joins us to run three miles. A mile and a half into the three miles we get rushed by two medium sized dogs and one bites David's shoe. Thankfully David was not bit - only his colorful Newton shoes were chomped on. David "took one for the team" and the incident was a good reminder that we must remain vigilant while running.
Following dinner tonight in Gordon, NE, we (my dad, Zach, David and I) drive around town and note a colorful motor home emblazoned with reasontorun2012.com - Oregon to Delaware. Fellow cross county runner Sean Edmunds also stopped in Gordon, NE today on his trip from Oregon to Delaware - it is indeed a small world. It was good to talk to Sean and his wife Donna and it is likely that Jennifer and I will see Sean on the road Saturday. Visit Sean's website to see how he is doing and/or donate to support wounded veterans.
Pine Ridge, SD to Gordon, NE 39.65 miles
Jennifer  8:21:05
Mike      8:21:05

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 37 - A Better Day

Both Jennifer and I were hoping for a better day today and we got it. We left the Black Hills behind and entered the Great Prairie. We ran by many acres of land that looked good for cattle (layman's opinion), but we didn't see much cattle. Our main concern was running - not why the good land didn't appear to be used - and run we did as Jennifer's hives and my right hamstring issue allowed us both to run. We ran against the headwinds again - light and variable for the first 30 miles, then a strong headwind until mile 40, and then a very strong headwind from mile 40 to the finish. All in all a good day as we ran the longest distance of any stage yet.
I note that Oglala, SD has an interesting post office. Plug in GPS coordinates 43.186827,-102.736677 into googlemaps.com, move the "orange man" to the green arrow spot on the map and look north to view the bunker like structure.
Hot Springs to Pine Ridge, SD 45.07 miles
Jennifer  9:43:44
Mike      9:43:44

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 36 - Walking

It was great to see all the flags out today to celebrate Independence Day! When it comes to running, however, it wasn't a good day.
My right hamstring had been bothering me for some of the last two days and it bothered me when we started this morning. By the time Jennifer, I, and Mike Melton (who started with us his morning) had run three miles, however, the hamstring issue was simply a dull ache. But not so fast! Upon reaching the five mile mark I was struck with a sharp hamstring pain that couldn't be ignored. I dropped to a walk and was joined by Jennifer and Mike at the walking pace. After walking a mile I tried to run again, but too much pain forced me back to a walk. Jennifer stayed with me - basically taking it easy with the walking pace. Unfortunately, no good deed goes unpunished, and at mile 20 Jennifer was hit with an unknown rash/hives outbreak. Thankfully we both made it to the stage finish, but this was not one of our better days. After we finished, Jennifer called Justin (Hi Justin) and obtained advice on how to resolve the rash/hives issue.
Yes indeed, tomorrow is another day. May it be a better one!!!
Custer to Hot Springs, SD 40.11 miles
Jennifer  11:27:10
Mike      11:27:10

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 35 - Into South Dakota

October 1987
My good friend Rich "Chuck" Bingham talks me into running the Marine Corps Marathon with him. I remember we hit the 15 mile mark right at two hours, but since neither of us had run past the ten mile mark previously it is not a surprise that we both bonked. I believe my official race time was 4:02 (pre-champion chip). Since I felt absolutely awful after finishing I am virtually positive I said "never again" to this marathon thing while trying to recover in the grass after completing the race.

Summer 1993
My good friend Frank Dembia talks me into running the January 1994 San Diego Marathon. A long time had passed since October 1987 and it was time for me to "beat" the marathon. Frank and I executed a good training plan for the race, except that we didn't taper. Well, Frank ran an excellent marathon that January day, but I hit the wall at mile 14 - a long way from the finish line. No surprise I felt absolutely terrible after finishing the marathon (in a very disappointing time of 4:22) but 30 minutes after finishing when the stomach had somewhat returned to normal I couldn't wait until the next marathon. I became a running addict that January day eighteen years ago. It doesn't seem likely that the Run Across America on Trail would exist without Frank talking me into running that second marathon which is why I tell the story. Frank just left us last night after running and crewing for us these past five days as we worked through the reroute due to the Montana fires. It was a lot of fun with him here, and we look forward to seeing him at the finish in Delaware! Thanks Frank!!!

Jennifer and I ran into South Dakota today on US-16 crewed by Heidi, Mike Melton, and crew dog Daphne in the Roadrunner. A 36 mile day today so that we could visit Mount Rushmore (a must see by the way) went fairly quickly with the 2067 feet of climb slowing us a bit. Just like yesterday, Jennifer picked up the pace about mile 28 and all I could do was try to keep her in sight as we ran down the road to the finish point for the day. Back in the fantastic Black Hills again - life doesn't get much better than this. Put the Black Hills on your to do list if you have yet to visit.

My parents Carl and Pat and son Zach arrived shortly before we finished today so we are back to having two crew vehicles after having just one vehicle (the Roadrunner) today.
Newcastle, WY to Custer, SD 36.56 miles
Jennifer  7:21:46
Mike       7:25:51

Monday, July 2, 2012

Day 34 - Tailwind

Smoke filled the air when we left the hotel this morning in Moorcroft. Running in smoke filled air is not the best, so it was tough to be upbeat. Nevertheless, with the temps in the 60s and limited visibility, Jennifer, Frank and I set off. Although the air was hazy and filled with some amount of smoke, I didn't really smell the smoke since my nose isn't the best. Slowly the haze lifted and we continued to run well. Frank had another good run of 19.2 miles, but it was Jennifer and I who stole the show as we were both running well. As the old saying goes, "What a difference a day makes." Today we had a tailwind which pushed us down the road quite nicely. So nice was the wind today that I would have called stage 34 a super day if it wasn't for the fire and smoke near Newcastle where we ended the day. The visibility was fairly low when Jennifer and I entered town from the west. Thankfully as we continued to head east away from the fire the smoke lessened. When will the Run face it's next challenge - who knows. I note that I ran a sub-12 minute mile pace for the stage - the first time I have completed a stage so quickly since stage two I believe.  Thanks, tailwind.
Moorcroft to Newcastle, WY 43.05 miles
Jennifer   8:07:39
Mike       8:13:13

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 33 - Headwinds

After crewing for a couple days, Justin said his goodbyes and departed from the Run this morning following the start. We wish Justin and the Scooby Van safe travels back to Katie in Arizona. He is missed.
Jennifer and I ran together most of the morning fighting strong headwinds for a number of miles. We consistently ran a number of miles in the 11:20s but we expended a tremendous amount of effort to do so. Halfway through the run today the westbound lanes of I-90 were closed and all the westbound traffic was diverted to WY-51 - the low trafficked road we were running that paralleled I-90. The combination of the headwinds and the cars/trucks driving against us battered us for a few miles, but thankfully the I-90 reopened 35-40 minutes after closing. Bottom line, it was a tough day.
Gillette to Moorcroft, WY 42.33 miles
Mike       8:47:31
Jennifer   9:22:06