Day 87–almost Mountainair

We got off to a late start this morning.  Vaughn is a meat town.  At the third restaurant I was able to convince them to fix me a breakfast burrito without meat.  Then we had a 33 mile ride out to the start.  I began running ok but the fatigue of  2 hard days and the morning stress ended my running after a couple of miles and I decided to just walk.  Around noon I had some hummus and bagels for lunch.  Then my stomach decided it hated me.  I had a good start on the week with the two 28-mile days and did not want to give any back.  I stayed out until 5:45 and walked a total of 25 miles.  Hopefully tomorrow I will do better.

On the good side, I found a long stretch of frontage road along the railroad.  The highway has been following the railroad for days now.  But there has never been a frontage road close enough to the highway to allow my crew to help me.  This time though, I went about 15 miles along the dirt frontage road and avoided all traffic on the highway.  It was really nice.  I found three skulls today. My crewman, Eli, and I work for NC Wildlife, so we’re interested in such things.  Two skulls remain unidentified but one is an antelope.  Eli was happy to get it and plans to take it home on the plane.  I want to watch him go through security!  Also, I counted a record train.  That’s one of the things I do to pass time-count cars on a train.  I’ve been counting train cars since Dodge City.  That’s how long I’ve been beside or near the railroad.  There are many, many trains each day going in both directions.  Today’s train had four engines and 127 cars!

Running on dirt today brought back memories.  Lots of my training and racing has been on dirt, especially the ultra races.  I owe my entry into dirt and ultrarunning to David Horton.  I dedicate today to him.  I met him in 1990 at the Grandfather Mountain Marathon.  I found out he directed a 50 mile race called Mountain Masochist on trails in Virginia.  I did not finish that year but in 1992 it became my first ultra finish.  David had encouraged me to sign up.  David is known both for his running talent and accomplishments and as a race director.  David the race director is the one I want to talk about.  Just like he encouraged me, I have heard countless runners give David credit for introducing them to running and ultras.  He challenges them all to do a little more or a little better.  He congratulates them fast and slow at the finish. He also goes out and tests himself and in the process inspires us to test ourselves.  David, thanks for encouraging me to give ultras a try.  I would have missed out on a lot if you had not.

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