Mar 8, 2021
Three videos for you today, all from the deserts of southern California on this day in 2012. I really enjoyed my time running there. There are also three days of blogs, and several photos. Enjoy.
Mar 6, 2012
Distance today = 63.33 km; Total distance = 3073.02 km; Location = Brawley – 32 58.673′ N, 115 30.923′ W; Start time = 0913, Finish time = 1818
And today’s highlight was …………. a dust storm.
It was a long day through the desert, and I was struggling mentally – until the dust storm hit. The novelty of the occasion actually helped me through the rest of the day. There should be some photos and a video at some stage, although the worst of it was just on dark, when photography didn’t do it justice. I really needed my shower tonight, and all my clothes need to be washed. All I can smell is dust.
Another highlight was when a nice CHiPs officer pulled over to see if I needed anything, which one often does in the middle of the desert. We ended up talking running for a while – he has done several half marathons.
Then tonight at dinner we met an Aussie physicist, who is in Brawley to do experiments on a new geophysical instrument. He and his colleague are going to provide me with some water on the road tomorrow, as they will be working just off the road at about the 38 km mark of my run.
I am now going to bed, as I’m tired. Yes, it does happen, especially after a 63 km day in a dust storm. It was a longer run than I would have preferred, but I couldn’t see the point in having the support crew come out to meet me with less than 10 km to the hotel.
The next three days to Blythe will be shorter. My body will appreciate it.
Mar 7, 2012
Distance today = 49.80 km; Total distance = 3122.82 km; Location = Glamis – 33 00.900′ N, 115 00.291′ W; Start time = 0850, Finish time = 1602
After yesterday’s tough run, I was looking forward to an easier day, and that’s how it turned out. It was much cooler and I had a tailwind. It was predominantly flat, although the profile shows I was gradually climbing.
The highlight was undoubtedly the Imperial Sand Dunes. This is a stretch of dunes about 10 km wide that look like pictures of the Sahara Desert. The locals spend a lot of time on them over the weekends in dune buggies. You’ll see what I mean if you look at the photos and the video. And on that count, Carmel has discovered a program which takes the bumpy running motion out of the videos, so you won’t get so giddy watching it now.
At the 36 km mark I reached the site where Todor and Joe were conducting their experiments in the dunes (see yesterday’s blog for more explanation). As agreed, they’d left a gallon of water next to their car. I whistled hello and they both came up to talk with me. I continued on for a bit until they came past in the car, having finished their day in the sand. Todor got out (he’s the Australian) and ran with me for four kms to the town (if you can call it that) of Glamis, where Joe picked him up. It was great to have a bit of company for a while – I haven’t had any for quite some time now.
Glamis itself was interesting. It consists of a huge storage yard for RVs and caravans, and a wild west style saloon. The bar was closed today – I think it only opens on the weekends for dune buggy enthusiasts. I can certainly say that Glamis is not glamourous.
I then continued on for a few more kilometres before the support crew picked me up. All in all, a pretty regular day at the office, if your office is among spectacular desert sand dunes.
Mar 8, 2012
Distance today = 49.01 km; Total distance = 3171.83 km; Location = 10 km south of Palo Verde – 33 20.759′ N, 114 43.392′ W; Start time = 0902, Finish time = 1541
Another tough one today. I ran into a stiff headwind the whole way, and the early part was uphill as well. I knew it was going to be hard when I awoke with only seven hours sleep under my belt.
In addition, there was not a single town along the way, nor any shop or other means of obtaining drinks or food, so I used my Camelbak for the first time. It proved more than adequate. The combination of its 2.0 litres and the 1.5 litres I usually carry in my running belt, was more than enough for the whole 49 km.
As beautiful as the desert is, the one thing it lacks when you’re running through it all day is variation. But that’s when I draw on other inspiration to get through it mentally. At least I had the Chocolate Mountains to keep me company during the morning, and I got my first view of the Colorado River this afternoon.
I am now in the region of the desert giants – huge drawings carved into the desert by ancient indigenous people, some estimated to be as much as 12,000 years old. They are very similar to the Nazca Lines in Peru. If I get a chance, I hope to have a look at one tomorrow.