Feb 18, 2022
Today’s video is from my entry into the Spanish city of Burgos. I had been there four years earlier and was impressed then. I was no less impressed on this occasion. The photos from this period are worth a look too.
Feb 15, 2013
Distance today = 44.30 km; Total distance = 16,554.18 km; Location = Burgos – 42 20.435′ N, 03 42.551′ W; Start time = 0850, Finish time = 1554
A shorter 44 km today on the run into the city of Burgos. We were here in 2009 with Libby, and have decided to stay in the same hotel, just a short walk from the cathedral. This cathedral is one of the most impressive in all of Europe, and is almost Gaudi-esque, well before Gaudi ever existed. Have a look at the photos of the structure.
I chose well in terms of the roads today. Except for the last few kilometres, the whole day was spent barely seeing a car, and the road surface was level and smooth – perfect for running. And the hills were manageable too, unlike some of those yesterday on the freeway service roads, which had short sections so steep that I had to walk with my hands on my knees.
On to another topic – I was going to run in Morocco, but have decided against it. It was only going to be a very short section, and I wasn’t going to count it in my total. However, I have decided it doesn’t make sense to break the contiguous nature of the run across Europe from “ocean to ocean”. Additionally, it has been suggested to me several times that running in remote areas of North Africa at the moment would be foolish. The cities of Morocco would be fine, I’m sure, but spending days in the wilderness, between the cities, might be inviting danger, especially given the recent unrest. The decision doesn’t affect the validity of my run at all, other than that I will now only be able to claim having run on five continents, rather than six.
We’ll be off to experience a Friday night in Burgos tonight. I’m a little weary, so I might make use of my earlier than normal arrival to have a short nap in preparation.
Feb 16, 2013
Distance today = 50.85 km; Total distance = 16,605.03 km; Location = Belorado – 42 25.373′ N, 03 09.119′ W; Start time = 0854, Finish time = 1705
I changed my shoes today. The previous pair had done 2,070 km officially, but that didn’t count what I ran in them during my Christmas break – probably another 100 km or more. Many people will tell you not to run this far in shoes before changing them, and that’s generally sound advice. However, I’ve found I can go a lot further than I used to, having changed my running style from a heel striker to a forefoot runner. I probably could have gotten another 1,000 km out of this last pair if I’d wanted to, but that would have been pushing it.
I must admit, the new pair felt great, and I had not problems at all, despite not wearing them in. They are actually an old pair from about two years ago. I didn’t much like them at the time, so didn’t wear them. They feel good now, however.
I hadn’t realised it until I saw the signs, but I found myself running alongside the Camino de Santiago today. I thought it was further north. For those who don’t know, this is a track that religious people walk, culminating in kissing a stone idol in the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, in the north-west of Spain – a bit like a walker’s version of the Blarney Stone. Not my “cup of tea”, I’d have to say.
While on a business trip in 2005, I was actually taken to visit the cathedral in Santiago by my hosts. I believe it’s the second oldest cathedral in Europe, and a lot like Notre Dame in size and style. Amazing history that so many people know nothing about.
To my surprise, the Camino de Santiago involves a lot of walking on the highway, or right next to it. And I only saw one walker all day. I guess they like to do it in the summer.
I often get asked how I handle blisters. Simple – I don’t get blisters. Since starting this run nearly 14 months ago, I’ve had one blood blister about a year ago, and I didn’t even know about it until I took my shoe off. I have also lost two toenails in the early months of the run (one on a big toe, the other on a smaller toe), and neither of these involved any pain either. The toenails are all back to perfect health now.
I’d like to conclude by mentioning Burgos – a great little city, with a mix of antiquity and modernity, and very vibrant on a Friday night. Another must for the tourist to Spain.
Feb 17, 2013
Distance today = 54.17 km; Total distance = 16,659.20 km; Location = Navarrete – 42 25.210′ N, 02 33.284′ W; Start time = 0859, Finish time = 1745
A cold and grey day didn’t prevent me from knocking over 54 km. There’s something about an icy wind in your face that saps your enthusiasm, but it’s important to push through it. Otherwise I’d be making excuses all the time. The atmospheric conditions were not conducive to photos either, so Carmel didn’t bother with many. She’d rather take none than take substandard photos.
Early in the morning I crossed the equivalent of a state line, entering the region of La Rioja. To any wine-loving world runner worth his salt, the Rioja region is compulsory. Some of the world’s best reds come from around these parts.
Late in the morning, I rolled my left ankle when I inadvertently stepped on a rock. It felt really bad at the time – don’t they always – but recovered fairly quickly, to the point where I couldn’t even feel it this afternoon.
After farming and vineyards in the morning, the afternoon landscape became a bit more light-industrial at times. This, coupled with the wind in my face, made it somewhat of a slog. Still, I got through a big day, and I’m now relaxing in our bungalow accommodation in a local camping ground. I think I’ll sleep well tonight.
Feb 18, 2013
Distance today = 52.04 km; Total distance = 16,711.24 km; Location = Urbiola – 42 37.000′ N, 02 06.130′ W; Start time = 0850, Finish time = 1711
If every day was like today, I’d be very happy. The morning was crisp, but not cold. The afternoon was warm, but not hot. There was a light breeze, but not a wind. It was hilly, to the extent that it afforded good views, but wasn’t mountainous. And the Spanish countryside was pleasing to the eye.
The first part of the day was quite hilarious, depending on your sense of humour. Google Maps took me down a little back road, which is normally a good thing. However, the road soon disappeared and I was left with a muddy vineyard to run through. There was no semblance of even a path. I had to step my way through puddles between rows of grapevines, simply following the track of the non-existent road that was showing on my map. Thankfully, it finally joined a dirt track, and I was back in the game.
It was a very misty morning, to the point that visibility got down to about twenty metres at one stage. Nature called, and I decided it was a good place to stop – a quiet gravel back road, shrouded in fog – as private as you can get. By the time I finished, however, the fog had parted slightly, and visibility was now about thirty metres, revealing several farmworkers tending the vines, and looking straight at me. Talk about being caught with your pants down. I had to laugh.
By mid-morning I had reached the city of Logrono. Many old cities that have expanded in recent times can be quite unappealing. This is true of Logrono in the outer suburbs. But, once in the old part of town, it’s a different thing. I ran right through the narrow streets of the ancient city, and across an old bridge – well worth the effort.
The rest of the day involved quite a bit of climbing and some great views. The Camino de Santiago continues to parallel the road I’ve been running on. It’s even steeper than the road.
I finished the day in gentle sunshine, well pleased with a relatively easy 52 km. I have a similar distance tomorrow to get me to Pamplona.