Mar 13, 2021
Yesterday I ran a 1 km time trial in 3:40. While I had to put in quite an effort, it wasn’t particularly difficult. I’m very pleased to be getting down to that sort of time so soon and so easily. My aim is to beat the 3:20 I ran last October. Anyhow, for the moment, my post-60 year old PB for 1 km is now 3:40.
Today’s world run posts and videos are from the California-Arizona section – a fantastic region for running.
Mar 9, 2012
Distance today = 41.76 km; Total distance = 3213.59 km; Location = Blythe – 33 36.596′ N, 114 36.441′ W; Start time = 0859, Finish time = 1450
Another lovely day of running in the desert, although it did get quite hot by the time I finished. The dry cloudless conditions each morning make me really feel like getting out on the road.
It was also my flattest day so far, with a total ascent for the day of just 15 metres, most of which would have been when I crossed the freeway on an overpass.
In recent days there has been nothing to eat along the way, so I’ve just had a banana that I take with me, and then I eat when I finish. I’ve found it to be better than the daily burger I was having for lunch around LA. Today, however, I had my first burrito for lunch. A small shop was selling burritos in the town of Ripley, so I had one with beans and enjoyed it immensely. I just might make it a habit.
When I finished today, I did something a bit different. But first, some background. About 40 years ago (when I was a kid, for those who might not be aware) I read a Hardy Boys book called Mystery of the Desert Giant. It was set in and around Blythe and focused on the ancient geoglyphs (huge drawings scraped into the rocky soil) in the desert nearby. Some of these are estimated to be as much as 12,000 years old. The reason I remember so much about it is (I think) because it was the very first Hardy Boys mystery I read.
So today I headed out to the see the desert giants after finishing running. They weren’t as big as I had expected, but still well worth the visit. It was also interesting to see Blythe. I’m sure that when the Hardy Boys were here, there wasn’t the saturation of fast food outlets, not that Chet Morton would mind. Will I ever find Bayport?
Mar 10, 2012
Distance today = 47.47; Total distance = 3261.06 km; Location = 8 km east of Quartzsite – 33 40.433′ N, 114 08.058′ W; Start time = 0829, Finish time = 1552
Sometimes you know when you wake up that it’s going to be a hard day. Today didn’t disappoint.
I awoke feeling well below par, and with a bad case of “the runs”. I really didn’t feel like getting out of bed, let alone on the road, despite it being a lovely day. But I did regardless.
It was a hard slog across the Colorado River and into Arizona, and then the road I was following turned to a very rough and rocky gravel surface. The going was difficult and I was constantly feeling the sharp rocks through my shoes. I was also having to regularly duck into the bushes. Eventually the road turned back to bitumen – small mercies.
I pushed on to the 34 km mark, where I had to make another unscheduled pitstop in the bushes – only this time I stood on some sort of cactus thorns which went right through my running shoes. I had to spend the next 20 minutes digging thorns out of the shoes before I could run again.
Finally, as I was nearing my planned 50 km for the day, the road turned to an even worse surface. Given that the support vehicle was due to pick me up soon, I called and asked the crew to come and get me earlier. I definitely didn’t want them driving Chook’s car on this goat track that doubled as a road.
So I cut the day short by a few kilometres, but was ultimately very pleased to have covered a good distance when feeling poorly. It’s a good psychological filip to be able to knock over nearly 50 km when feeling so below par. I’m glad to say, however, that I’m on the improve. I’m sure it was something I ate. Libby appears to have a similar affliction.
The milestone for the day was passing 2,000 miles. It might sound like a lot, but my good friend, Tony Mangan, recently passed 10,000 miles in the Ecuadorian Andes. OK, he started 15 months before me, but it’s still a mighty achievement, doing it on his own – no support crew for that tough dude.
We lost an hour today when crossing a time zone into Arizona. It’s the first time I’ve ever run across a time zone. There will be many more to come. Tomorrow we lose another hour due to daylight saving starting here in the US. It’s going to be hard to wake up in the morning.
Mar 11, 2012
Distance today = 53.50 km; Total distance = 3314.56 km; Location = Salome – 33 46.847′ N, 113 36.724′ W; Start time = 0913, Finish time = 1712
Another great day on the road, but first, a short recap on last night.
We ventured into downtown Quartzsite for dinner, settling for Silly Al’s. This was pretty much forced upon us, as the recommended joint was closing up at 8 pm when we arrived. As it turned out, it was for the best. The meal of Silly Al’s Homemade Texas Chili and a 20 inch pizza (that’s a half metre in diameter – HUGE) were just what the doctor ordered. This was complemented nicely by the carafe of merlot and the local rock’n’roll band playing old favourites. And they were OLD favourites. The crowd was predominantly what are known here as Snowbirds – older people escaping the northern winter by coming to Arizona and staying a few months in RVs or trailer homes. The Snowbirds were revelling in the music, and we enjoyed watching them enjoy themselves. In fact, we were the youngest table in the joint. The girls loved that little fact.
And this morning we learned that Wyatt Earp was the sheriff of Quartzsite for a while. That was before all the RVs, trailers, and other temporary accommodation moved in. He wouldn’t know the place now.
I began the run on the same rough gravel road I finished on yesterday, running the first 5 km in trying conditions. But the road surface improved, and I soon found myself on a very straight road – so straight, in fact, that I didn’t strike any appreciable change in direction for 24 km. It’s strange, because it’s both interesting and monotonous on these long straight roads.
At the 36 km point of the day I saw two crosses just off the road. I investigated, only to discover a very sad story. They were commemorating two young girls, aged 6 and 2. They had died on the same day, presumably in some sort of car accident, but it’s difficult to see how an accident could happen on such a good stretch of road (what happened to the parents?). The saddest thing was the sight of their toys placed at the foot of the crosses, as well as their shoes. It was very hard to look at a two year old’s shoes in that context.
I pressed on, arriving in Salome with 53.5 km under my belt. We are staying in the Westward Motel, which I would recommend to anyone making their way through these parts. The owners have gone to the trouble of making this much more than your run-of-the-mill motel, with some unique little touches.
Mar 12, 2012
Distance today = 50.00 km; Total distance = 3364.56 km; Location = Aguila – 33 56.577′ N, 113 07.429′ W; Start time = 0858, Finish time = 1615
Once again, I will start by recounting last night. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, we stayed at a great little place – the Westward Motel at Salome. It turns out the proprietor, Rande (pronounced Randy), was a career “roadie”, and worked on tour with some of the world’s biggest bands. He has been on world and national tours with, among others, The Rolling Stones (three times), The Police, Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, Deep Purple, Ted Nugent, The Moody Blues, The Allman Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Rush, Genesis, John Mellencamp, Dolly Parton, and Heart. What a resume’! And he’s a great guy to talk to over a few red wines. Make sure you stay there if you’re ever passing through Arizona.
This morning I awoke with a sore right foot, and a bit of the same feeling I had two days ago. But within a kilometre I was feeling 100% again, as I headed off along some of the straightest roads I’ve ever run on. In fact, one section was 34 km without the slightest turn or kink in the road, and it was almost dead flat. Surprisingly, I didn’t get bored. I stopped for the day at precisely 50 km.
Perhaps the highlight of the day was when I heard the unmistakable roar of air force jets overhead, and looked up to see two of them firing missiles of some sort. The missiles flew rapidly through the air, trailing a smoky plume behind their fiery exhaust, before exploding a few kilometres up in the air. The jets then flew off again at high speed, having completed their practice manoeuvres.
Tonight we’re in the town of Aguila, staying at Burro Jim’s Motel, and we will be dining at Coyote Flats Cafe. Stay tuned.
Mar 13, 2012
Distance today = 51.38 km; Total distance = 3415.94 km; Location = 14 km south of Wickenburg – 33 52.576′ N, 112 38.932′ W; Start time = 0851, Finish time = 1634
Today was a bit of a struggle. Some days are like that, and are not necessarily easy to explain. The heat was one factor, and the humidity of 4% meant it was very easy to dry out “by stealth”. I put it down to that.
Anyhow, there is not much to report on. The scenery was very desert-like, with little variation.
About 8 km out of Wickenburg, I did stop at an historical marker that indicated it was the site of an Apache ambush of the Wickenburg to Ehrenburg stagecoach in 1871, in which five men and a woman were killed. It’s quite strange to stand and look at the very spot where this happened over 140 years ago. This was no scene from a movie – we’re talking the real deal.
Last night we had a very enojoyable time in the Coyote Flats Bar and Cafe. This place is a classic, and is straight out of the movies. Tonight we’re in Wickenburg – another place with well-preserved wild-west buildings. And tomorrow we’re in Phoenix, where I’ll be catching up with an old friend, Walter.