Aug 27, 2021
I was only going to do a few sprints this morning, but changed my mind and ran another 2 km time trial. I’m usually tired on a Friday, having done the bulk of my weekly running in the previous few days. So I didn’t expect to be faster than I was in Monday’s 2 km. However, I did reduce my over 60 PB to 7:33 (all-time PB is 5:56). If I was fresh, I reckon another 5 – 10 seconds would be possible.
I mentioned in the last post that there would be lots of dogs in the coming world run photos. You’ll see that in these photos as I ran through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.
Aug 24, 2012
Distance today = 55.02 km; Total distance = 10,521.29 km; Location = Booneville – 34 40.661′ N, 88 33.574′ W; Start time = 0913, Finish time = 1807
It was a long day. The roads here in Mississippi are picturesque, but probably the most pedestrian-unfriendly I have encountered anywhere. There is zero shoulder on just about every road. I am constantly meandering back and forth across the road, depending on which direction the latest car is coming from. When there is traffic on both sides, I need to jump into the long grass beside the road.
Another dog decided to follow me today. After it tagged along for some distance up the road, we decided it needed to be taken back, so we packed it into the car and Carmel drove it back to its home (sorry again, Chook). As nice as it is to have friendly dogs for company, I don’t want to be responsible for it being hit by a car or getting lost.
I’ve been through some interesting places the past few days. Holly Springs is where a Civil War “event” occurred, although it was relatively bloodless, when the Confederate Army took back a town and planted its flag in the square. We had lunch at a cafe in this town square. I also passed close to Tupelo today, which is where Elvis was born and lived as a child. It is also the inspiration for Van Morrison’s song Tupelo Honey (one of Mr Reefton Humblewood’s favourite songs, along with Cottonfields and Kumbaya).
One thing I’ve noticed that’s different in Mississippi are the flags. Everyone knows that Americans love to wave the flag, but I have seen more Confederate flags in the past two days (5) than US national flags (3). Mmmmm, interesting!
It’s hard to believe, but it took just 23 days of running to get from a state bordering Canada (Wisconsin) to a state bordering the Gulf of Mexico (Mississippi). I’m certainly happy with that sort of progress.
I have a couple of milestones coming up tomorrow, so stay tuned.
Aug 25, 2012
Distance today = 46.97 km; Total distance = 10,568.26 km; Location = Iuka – 34 48.403′ N, 88 10.882′ W; Start time = 0918, Finish time = 1705
I’ve become the Pied Piper of dogs. Today a young dog followed me for miles – all the way to my finishing point. We had to put him in the car and drive him back to where I first encountered the dog. He wasn’t happy when I bundled him out of the car and we drove off, but adopting a dog at the moment is definitely not feasible.
My two milestones for the day were: 250 marathons completed so far on the run around the world, and eight years now without a day off from running. Even during times like my recent break, I still ran a few kilometres each day. I believe its this consistency during the past eight years which has allowed me to manage day after day of 50 km or more.
Many readers will have seen the current video from the Today Show in Australia. There is one correction I’d like to make in regard to the narration. Cameron Williams’ comments implied I walked with some running. Many people make the same assumption, and it has taken me a long time to realise why. It appears to be because of the term “on foot” in the expression Fastest Circumnavigation of the World on Foot. For some reason, this seems to conjure up the image of walking in people’s minds. While walking, running, and any combination of the two, is allowed under the rules, I estimate I have run about 98% of the distance so far, and walked only 2%. And almost all this walking has been while eating, drinking, answering the phone, or checking the maps.
Aug 26, 2012
Distance today = 51.08 km; Total distance = 10,619.34 km; Location = Muscle Shoals – 34 44.123′ N, 87 40.081′ W; Start time = 0906, Finish time = 1723
Everyone is familiar with the song Sweet Home Alabama. There is a line in the song which says “Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers”. I thought it was referring to someone called Muscle Shoals having an affliction called ‘the swampers’. Not so. Here is the lowdown.
Today I ran across the border into Alabama, finishing my day at the town of Muscle Shoals. One of the most famous backing/session bands in the US hails from Muscle Shoals, and they’re called The Swampers. They’ve played with some of the biggest names in music.
So there you go. You potentially learn something every day you read this blog.
I have now run in four different states this past week – Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. That’s definitely a record for me.
I have also been seeing lots of Civil War historical sites. In fact, last night we stayed at the Sunset Lodge in Iuka. This motel sits exactly atop one of the war’s biggest artillery battles. In fact, next month there will be a huge re-enactment of the battle, with 20,000 people expected in town to be part of the reliving of the battle. They will all be in original uniforms, with many having to play the part of dead soldiers, lying still on the ground while the rest of the mock battle rages on.
As for the running, it’s been very good the past few days. I’ve had some really good quiet roads to run on, with lots of beautiful forests and gentle hills. If only it could be like that every day.
Aug 27, 2012
Distance today = 51.69 km; Total distance = 10,671.03 km; Location = Loretto – 35 05.471′ N, 87 25.480′ W; Start time = 0811, Finish time = 1623
I had another interesting adventure this morning. Five kilometres after starting, I reached a long bridge over a river between Muscle Shoals and Florence. To my horror, there was not even an inch of shoulder on the road. The only way I could get across was to run in the traffic lane. But it was peak hour on a Monday morning and the traffic was very thick. How was I going to get across a kilometre long bridge in these conditions? For those unaware, the rules do not allow me to get in a car or use any other means – I have to get across on foot, or go the long way around by finding another road.
I found out later that there was a No Pedestrians sign, but I hadn’t seen that. So I waited for a break in the traffic (luckily for me, there was a traffic light just up the road, so there were thirty second breaks in the traffic every few minutes), and sprinted across the bridge, looking back regularly. When the lights changed and the traffic started coming at me again, I’d jump up on the rail of the bridge and make myself scarce. The cars were only missing my knees by about 20 cm. Needless to say, I was relieved to finally make it across.
Later I ran through a beautiful section of forest. The problem all day, however, was that there was no shoulder and no sidewalk. My ankles are a bit sore from jumping into rough grass all day. And I even saw a large dead snake on the road, so there was definitely danger lurking in the grass.
I eventually crossed over into Tennessee again. I’m now in Davey Crockett territory. Soon after, we stopped for lunch outside a petrol station. The staff, Pat and Roger, were very nice and invited us in from the heat to have our lunch.
All in all, it was an enjoyable day of running. The lower temperatures really make a big difference, even if it is still in the low to mid 30s C.