Jan 24, 2015
As I mentioned on Thursday, I was heading down the coast that day to cycle in the mountains. We climbed a pass I’ve never done before – Jamberoo Mountain. Wow – what a tough climb!!! The first 1.5 km entails an average 20% gradient. It nearly killed me, although carrying all my gear in panniers and not having been on the bike for months made it harder than it should have been. I honestly could have crawled up the mountain no slower than I was cycling.
I assumed part of the reason I found it so difficult was lack of cycling fitness. However, the next morning we rode over Berry Mountain Pass – a difficult climb too, but one I’m very familiar with – and I did that one relatively easily. So it really was the intrinsic steepness of Jamberoo Pass (the first part, at least) that made it such torture. I have run it once before, when I was training for the Run to the Sun on Maui (58 km from sea level to the top of the 10,000 feet high Haleakala volcano), and I don’t recall it being so steep then. But running up really steep hills is always easier than riding up them.
This morning I did some more short sprints on grass. My legs were very heavy from the cycling, but I felt fine otherwise.
Kevin Carr has been quite sick the past few days. In fact, he’s had four days off in a row. I think he’s on the improve now, and hopefully will be back on the road tomorrow. The lost days will make it more difficult to set a new world record, but I have a lot of confidence in him.
On This Day
Jan 24, 2012
Distance today = 57.22 km; Total distance = 1225.39 km; Location = Palmerston North, NZ – 40 22.212′ S, 175 34.827′ E; Start time = 0824, Finish time = 1630
I started today feeling strong, but the heat of the afternoon reversed the situation by the time I finished. I still managed 57.2 km, which was pleasing.
I was able to get off the main national highway this morning. Although the road to Palmerston North is still quite busy, it is a lot less so than Highway 1. This helped immeasurably. I passed through the main potato growing region of NZ, although I did see lots of corn too.
The support crew were there at various stages today and luckily so. There was a 24 km section this afternoon with nowhere to get a drink or food. Carmel and Libby provided me with a top up of my drink bottles during this section.
I have mentioned already that the reason I am able to churn out these 55 – 60 km days is because of the support crew, as well as the ideal weather conditions. I’ve got it easy. If you want to know about a real man of steel, have a look at the web site of my friend, Tony Mangan, at www.theworldjog.com. Tony is also running around the world, but via a course of his choosing – one that is more comprehensive than mine is in some respects.
But Tony does not have a support crew. He must get all his gear from point to point, and often has to sleep in the open on bare ground. He is currently in Colombia, running in extreme heat and humidity, carrying his daily gear on his back. Whenever I think I’m having a hard day, I think about how I’d cope if I was doing it Tony’s way.
BTW, Tony is also the first person to have ever run consecutive days of over 200 km per day – a total of 426 km in 48 hours. This is mind-boggling stuff. He is a much better ultra runner than me (although I’d probably beat him over 100 metres).
More on another world runner, Jesper Olsen, in a future edition.
Finally, a big thanks to the Awapuni Motor Hotel in Palmerston North for tonight’s accommodation. As always, we are very appreciative of the generosity of such establishments.
Jan 24, 2013
Distance today = 35.65 km; Total distance = 15,449.72 km; Location = Ericeira, Portugal – 38 57.732′ N, 09 25.002′ W; Start time = 0956, Finish time = 1552
So far, so good!!! My heel was fine, although I could feel it from time to time, especially later in the day. But, then again, I could feel a lot of general soreness later in the day. Running nearly 36 km after six weeks of very little exercise will always do that to you. And being 8 kg heavier doesn’t help either.
We had a great dinner last night with Ana and Frank. We went down to a restaurant overlooking the ocean, and the seafood was superb, as you might expect. Thanks Ana, for picking up the bill, and also to Frank for arranging our Portuguese phone cards.
This morning I headed off from Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point in continental Europe. There was fairly constant drizzle all day – not a great one for photos – but at least it didn’t rain heavily. I ran close to the ocean for most of the day. I also got to see the famed Portuguese winter wave climate up close, and it didn’t disappoint. Large waves were rolling in all day.
We are in the beautiful seaside town of Ericeira tonight, just 30 metres from a Billabong shop. Dave would be in his element. I’d love to explore the town a bit, but I’m understandably shattered from the hilly day, completed on insufficient sleep over the past three nights.
On the issue of my heel, while I’ll take Robert Zimmerman’s advice and not speak too soon, I do think I’m getting to the bottom of it. I sought advice from a podiatric expert before I left, which confirmed what I had suspected. A year of wearing running shoes day (while running) and night (when I went out) was suddenly altered when I had a break. From the time I stopped the high mileage, I started wearing thongs (flip flops to most of the world, jandals to Kiwis). These offered no arch or heel support, and are probably the reason for a problem with where my tendon attaches to the heel. My cousin, Karen, suggested I use a heel cup in my shoes. Karen, a former medallist in the NSW State Marathon Championships, has had some heel issues herself of late. So, this morning I improvised and fashioned some heel supports from folded toilet paper, and the heel felt better immediately. I hope it continues that way. I will get some proper heel cups when I find somewhere that sells them.
PS Thanks to Honest to Goodness for the big donation to Oxfam, and also to everyone who has offered me their best wishes in the past few days. I’d also like to thank my major sponsor, Next Digital, for their on-going financial and logistical support. It would be very difficult without them.