Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Day 63 - Wabash Cannonball Trail
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
Monday, July 30, 2012
Day 62 - Into Ohio!!!
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
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Days 59-61 - Amish Country
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.
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.
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
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Days 59 and 60 - Into the Eastern Time Zone
Schererville to La Porte, IN 44.58 miles
La Porte to Goshen, IN 46.24 miles
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Day 58 - Into Indiana; Karen, Rich, and Debbie
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
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Days 56 and 57 - Illinois and Michigan Canal Trail
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.
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
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Day 56 - Blisters
Princeton to Ottawa, IL 43.59 miles
Monday, July 23, 2012
Days 54 and 55 - Hennepin Canal Towpath
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Day 54 - Into Illinois
Muscatine, IN to Colona, IL 40.04 miles
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Days 52 and 53 - Clouds!!!!!!!!!!
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
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
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Day 51 - Blast Furnace
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
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Day 50 - Super Solar Radiation Blast Batman
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
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Day 49 - Best Day in Iowa
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
Monday, July 16, 2012
Days 47 and 48 - Ice Ice Baby
"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
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
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Day 47 - Continuing East
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Days 45 and 46: Into Iowa; Heat, Hills, & Humidity
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.
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
Friday, July 13, 2012
Day 45 - Back on Road
Meadow Grove to Wisner, NE 45.74 miles
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Day 44 - Cattle, Corn, and Hay
Ewing to Battle Creek, NE 43.22 miles
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Day 43 - Haircut
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
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
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
Monday, July 9, 2012
Days 40 and 41 - Three Runners
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
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Day 40 - Halfway There (In Days)
Cody to Valentine, NE 42.16 miles
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Day 39 - A Super Day
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
Friday, July 6, 2012
Day 38 - Into Nebraska
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
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Day 37 - A Better Day
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
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Day 36 - Walking
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
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Day 35 - Into South Dakota
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.
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
Monday, July 2, 2012
Day 34 - Tailwind
Moorcroft to Newcastle, WY 43.05 miles
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Day 33 - Headwinds
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