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.
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