Monday, September 10, 2012

RAAoT Final Wrap-up - Part 8 (Days 59-64)

Day 59 - 26 miles of road, 19 miles of trail
Ultrarunner Chad Wooley and his dog Diamond joined Jen and I as we passed right by his house on our journey to the Atlantic. It was good to talk to Chad. Regrettably I had to drop to a walk at mile 11 or so as my left foot felt like it did when I had my left foot fourth metatarsal stress fracture. Definitely can't say I was happy with those feelings. The foot issue actually started with about five miles to go on day 58 so in hindsight if I had applied KT Tape to my left foot that night maybe I wouldn't have walked as many miles (15 miles before shifting to a run/walk) as I did that day. Anyway the route today included the paved trail miles of the Oak Savannah and Prairie Duneland Rail Trails. These two trails utilize the same old roadbed, there is just a break between the two trails. Maybe the trails will connect someday. At mile 20 the Prairie Duneland Trail crossed Samuelson Rd at a small park named for a Samuelson family that donated the land for the park. It is unknown if I am related to those Indiana Samuelsons. After leaving the trails we ran some nice rural road miles to get to La Porte, IN our finish point for day 59.

Day 60 - 46 miles of road, 0 miles of trail
I couldn't help but be concerned about my left foot as we started day 60, but it is what it is. The left foot actually felt better after I didn't pick it up high enough at about mile 27 and I caught the foot on something and almost fell to the pavement. At about 5 miles I had to drop to a walk. What was going on with my foot? Well, when I ran it felt like pressure was building up in the foot - presumably from the pounding. When I stopped running - sometimes just for seconds and sometimes for a minute or two - and adjusted to a walk the pressure I was feeling in the foot would subside allowing me to commence running again for a couple more minutes. It was like this for the rest of the day - run, walk, run walk, repeat. I mostly kept Jen in sight ahead of me until the marathon mark this day until she moved too far ahead and finally finishing 14 minutes ahead of me. Three interesting points for the day. We were stopped by a train at mile 12. As one might suspect, I might not have seen Jen the rest of the day if the train had not stopped her. Jen had probably been stopped by the train for 8-10 minutes when I got there. I note that we stopped our watches until we could get past the train - the second train to stop Jen on the Run and first one for me. The wait - which was at least done in the shade - was a little frustrating as we could see the end of the train maybe 50 yards away. There was just no way to safely walk around the end of the train to get to the other side. Then just minutes after the train moved so that we could continue running we passed an old closed school on the road. The school stuck out as it was out of place in the middle of Indiana nowhere. With all the high weeds on the grounds and the old playground equipment still in place the school property was actually a little eerie. I note that the school is for sale - anyone interested? Then just a few minutes later we made our last turn of the day at mile 14 and headed due east for 32 miles on another nice rural road. As many of you know, in the American Heartland the roads are set up in one mile by one mile grids so almost 100% of the time on these Heartland rural roads that head due east one passes a north-south road every mile. I am running along and I note that I am passing Fir Rd. A mile later I note that I am passing Elm Rd, and a mile after that I note that I was passing Dogwod Rd. Having run almost 2500 miles across the country and reading hundreds of street names naming the next three streets before reaching them was a piece of cake, a slam dunk, a no brainer, childs play... The next three streets were named Cedar, Beech, and Ash. I note that Birch was a low percentage possible road name instead of Beech, but I digress. I fully admit that I should have recognized the street names pattern after passing Elm, but I was tired after running 30 plus miles. Yes, bring out the violins.

Day 61 - 43 miles of road, 2 miles of trail
Day 61 was the worst day of the Run for me. We passed into the eastern time zone at some point on day 60 so we got an hour less rest than we otherwise would have. On the other hand it was cool at the start - yes! Basically both feet hurt this cool morning, Jen wasn't feeling that great either. My mom asked me how I felt when meeting the crew at mile 12 and I answered that I had descended into hell. Thankfully the day did improve as Jen told a good story at the 17 mile mark or so that got me laughing, and some Advil probably started taking affect. It was another day on rural roads including a number of miles of gravel roads through Amish country.

Day 62 - 44 miles of road, 0 miles of trail
Another bunch of miles on rural roads this day. My left foot felt a little better - yes! Jen and I crossed into Ohio and had our picture taken with the Ohio Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer vice an Ohio sign since there wasn't an Ohio sign on the rural road which we were running. The crew got McDonalds for lunch since we passed just south of Montpelier, OH at lunch time. Yes, it is sometimes the small things in life.

Day 63 - 20 miles of road, 24 miles of trail
It is always tough to say goodbye, but it was time for Steph to leave the Run and return to earning money. Steph saw us through parts of five states - WOW!!! On this sixth day in a row with the temperature not reaching 90 degrees we ran 22 miles on the Wabash Cannonball Trail. At mile 40 I didn't pick up my left foot again and I fell onto the asphalt road shoulder near the cars traveling towards us on busy US-20. Thankfully I suffered no injuries! We even had a small amount of rain early in the morning!

Day 64 - 18 miles of road, 23 miles of trail
The North Coast Inland Trail was the trail today. We passed through some nice Ohio towns before finishing at our hotel in Bellevue - the sixth time we finished the day right at our hotel!

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