Jan 31, 2022
Today’s blog posts are from around the time I crossed from Portugal into Spain back in 2013. We actually crossed this border check going in the opposite direction in a car back in 1986, when there were armed guards who checked your passport. By 2013 there was nothing but abandoned buildings.
As for my current running, I did manage a 3:59 km today, pretty much identical to last Monday. It was hot and humid, so I can’t expect too much from myself.
And finally, Lootie crosses the high point in the Andes tomorrow on her world run, at exactly the spot where I almost came to grief in November of 2012. She is more sensible and running it when the snows have melted on the road. It should be a pleasure for her. Follow Lootie on https://lootie-run.com/blog/.
Jan 29, 2013
Distance today = 52.15 km; Total distance = 15,691.67 km; Location = Alagoa – 39 21.809′ N, 07 33.125′ W; Start time = 0907, Finish time = 1723
Today had many similarities with yesterday. The distance was almost identical, as was the vertical ascent, and the afternoon sun was just as salubrious. I really like running in sunshine that is casting long shadows across the road. And when there are no cars around, there’s a serene silence in the air, other than the occasional bleating of sheep.
The one issue is, the late part of the day is the bit that hurts the most. After nearly 50 km, it’s hard to run with a zip in your legs. Each step hurts, at least a little. But, I guess that’s moderated by the lovely ambience of the winter sun on the countryside.
During this morning I received a call from a Lisbon journalist, Sarah, who interviewed me on the road for nearly an hour. I believe the article will appear in a Portuguese magazine. Carmel sent along some photos as well.
The countryside is now one of sheep, olive groves, and cork trees. The cork trees are harvested from the bottom up, with the bark being cut off and shaped into mainly wine bottle corks, I guess. The tops of the trees look normal, but the bottom part of the trunks look like they’ve been shorn.
I’m now nearly a week back on the road, and I’m holding up pretty well. I have to confess to being sore in the legs, but that will subside after another few days. Managing soreness is a mental thing – much more difficult is managing an injury, which is a physical thing.
Jan 30, 2013
Distance today = 51.06 km; Total distance = 15,742.73 km; Location = Valencia de Alcantara (5 km north of) – 39 26.743′ N, 07 13.513′ W; Start time = 0900, Finish time = 1724
A couple of milestones today – I reached my seventh country of the run (Spain), and I also passed 60% of the journey so far. That means I only have 40% left to run – still a long way, but it feels like I’m on the downhill section to some degree.
I felt quite strong today, and my heel was not an issue at all. I ran through the stunning hilltop town of Castelo de Vide. As you may have guessed from the name, there’s a castle on top of the hill, with the village nestled below it.
From there is was on to the high point of the day, at the Spanish-Portuguese border. Tonight we’re in Valencia de Alcantara, just inside Spain, which is surprisingly bustling for a remote frontier town.
It was a little sad leaving Portugal. Everything was enjoyable there – the running, food, people, landscapes, and towns. Well, the weather early on left a little to be desired.
I’m sure Spain will be just as good.
Jan 31, 2013
Distance today = 51.60 km; Total distance = 15,794.33 km; Location = Aliseda (5 km west of) – 39 25.835′ N, 06 44.707′ W; Start time = 0941, Finish time = 1750
It was quite eerie on the road this afternoon. I was running through a region of olive trees, with no farm animals around. I stopped at one point when there were no cars and listened. It was unbelievably quiet. The loudest noise I could detect was the pulse beating in my ears. No wind in the trees, no sheep bleating in the distance, no birds or insects, and no human-made sounds at all. It was a real pleasure to experience something so unusual, especially as the sun was shining brightly and the afternoon was pleasantly warm.
Otherwise, it was a reasonably uneventful day. The road is excellent for running. Although a highway, there is very little traffic on it, and when there is, the shoulder affords me more than enough room.
My legs were still a bit sore. I suspect they are suffering from the effects of my extra Christmas kilos. Once the weight goes, the legs should do it much easier.