I'm running along in Macon this morning and this truck pulls into the parking lot ahead of me. He waits there until I get a little closer and he rolls down his window.
"Hey I saw you on TV!" "Yep that was me in Louisville."
He asked if he could take my picture and I agreed that it would be fine. He and his son were dressed all in camo because they had just finished hunting. They got out of the car and went to the back of their truck. He then pulled out a huge dead turkey from his truck and draped it on the ground!! I was stoked! I crouched down next to it and got my picture taken.
I left Louisville today. (Or Lousv'll as they say it there) I left from the steps of the Methodist church there in town where we had the pasta dinner a couple nights back.
When I left, I was joined by the same two guys who ran the 10 miles into town with me and also a girl who won Jr. Miss for Winston county. She now goes onto the state competition and the plan is to woop up on the other girls from Mississippi and win. From what I gathered, Jr. Miss is like proving you're a Renaissance man...except for high school girls. You have to be good at everything!
I think I'll stick to my running and maybe it'll win me the talent portion of the competition...I'd win the spelling bee too. Me a exelent speelllr!
Good luck Faith!!
Brian and Bubba, the two other runners stuck with me for the first 15 or so miles and got to the county line. I enjoyed the company of these guys because they just liked to laugh, which was great for the morale of the cloudy day. We had a good time an parted ways when Bubba's wife Candice came to pick them up.
Bubba, me, Brian
The rest of the day was fine and I finished. I'm with the Millers tonight in Macon.
Today was another off day spent with the Forsters. They really have a lot going on in this town. We went out to see some baby goats in the morning and they were really cute. We had to chase them down in order to hold them so I assumed the position of chief chaser. I even caught one hunt on video.
We then went out to their cabin where we spent a lot of the day relaxing on the pond in canoes and on the dock.
Clearly, it was a very high stress day and I'll be glad to escape the rat race of the country.
Everyone I have talked to has mentioned these mounds that the Choctaw indians made. But then they follow it up quickly with, "oh, but it just looks like a hill, you don't want to see that."
Well, I had the opportunity to see it, so I took it. They were right. It was a hill. But if I hadn't seen it, I would've always wondered.
When we returned to the cabin we started a fire and more Forsters came and we had catfish, hushpuppies, fries, and Cole slaw. Southern cookin at it's best. I enjoyed everyones company.
Another great day in Louisville, but tomorrow is back to running.
Today started off with a trip to the radio studio. The local radio station had me on their show and it was great! They had also done a lot to help promote the pasta dinner we had tonight so that was a great help as well.
The radio segment went well and a lot quicker than I was expecting. And I don't think I said, "um" too many times. Which is good.
The radio room
Next we were off to Winston Academy. I spoke with the seniors and they were a very nice group of kids, and seemed interested.
Next, we went to the restaurant called The Bypass. They were doing a fundraiser for the run and donated a portion of the meals to the run. I liked meeting the people that came out to that.
The hotel next to the Bypass.
Somewhere in that morning we went to Mary Lou's Biscuit Bar. I was looking at some of the signatures on the wall and I saw this one.
He and his two friends ran almost the exact same route two years ago! Crazy.
Next was Louisville high school. I spoke with the athletes of the school. Mainly the football team. They were a funny group and were completely around me so I kept spinning around so I could see all of them. They were also very interested in my 40 yard dash time...I haven't even been timed in the mile since about 8th grade. They were the state champs last year in football so good luck to you guys this year. Not that I know a whole heap about football, but based on the size of some of those guys...my money would be on Louisville.
The end of the day brought with it the pasta dinner fundraiser. This idea was fantastic. The whole town came together to donate the food and sell tickets. We had a great turnout and by the end of the evening we had about 140 people come out and raised $2500 dollars! Not too shabby!!!! I was able to meet everyone there, and while I did feel a bit like a polititian, I was glad I was able speak with everyone. They were all so nice and welcoming.
It's hard to explain how it feels to be welcomed like this to a town you've never been to and have complete strangers come out of the woodwork to go above and beyond to help some "running nomad." It is a very different feeling. It's the kind of thing that restores faith in humanity.
Thank you Forsters.
They are the reason everything here was organized the way it was.
Today started out less than ideal, but ended with a bang. The beginning of the run was pouring rain but was in the upper 50s so it wasn't really too bad. At least it wasn't a cold rain.
The roads were incredibly interesting with winding curves and trees and forests on both sides. Sights like these make the miles and hours just click on by without any effort. Mentally, today was cake. Actually, all of today was cake.
Speaking of cake...actually, I have nothing to follow that up, I just started thinking about cake. Did you know that my mom made all of the kids in my family their birthday cakes with no milk? And since that's the way we grew up with it, we still like our birthday cakes to be made without milk. It was because I was allergic (I mean deathly allergic) to milk until I was 18. Crazy story for another time...
34 miles of smooth rolling hills and minimal traffic.
10 miles away from Louisville it was sunny, and warm and humid and I was met by two runners, Brian and Bubba. It was great to have the company and their presence made the last 10 miles go by in a flash. Then we were met by three of the highschool cross country boys. They were really nice (and fast) kids and the last 2 miles were spent with them as well.
Soon after meeting up with the XC boys we came to an intersection that was blocked off by the police...FOR US! Then as we made our way through the intersection a police car turned on its lights and pulled in front of us. As we followed it, two fire trucks pulled in behind us.
Our whole parade was 3 police cars, two fire trucks, 6 runners and a baby jogger. It was really a lot of fun. As we rounded the curve to city hall I saw a crowd of people on the side of the road and they all started cheering! It was unbelievable. Mike and Betty Forster were the ones who organized all of that, and the activities for the next couple days while I'm in Louisville. They really did a great job.
As I stopped in front of city hall a news reporter jumped up and put a mic in my face and his first question was, "Why are you running?" Well, all I could think of was the part in Forrest Gump when he was asked the same question and he just said, "I just felt like running." But I held it together and gave a real answer...
After the reporter I met the mayor. He said a few words and gave me a key to the city.
WHAT???? A key to the city??
That's right. The key to Louisville, MS.
Across the street there was a church and the preschoolers had come out and were holding a sign that said, "Run Patrick Run," it was pretty cute so we took a couple pictures over there.
Afterward, we all came back to the Forsters where we had real Mississippi barbeque. Whoa. Good.
Today was a bit more exciting. While still on the short end in terms of mileage, the run was good.
I did pass a sign that said "Attala county" and I immediately started to go uphill. I thought that was ironic. (a talla county? Get it?)
Lots of ups and downs to keep it interesting and tons of trees were a welcomed sight. I finished quickly and met up with Mr. Watson.
He showed me around the town of Philadelphia, Ar. We ate at an old drug store.
Two words: Milk shake. While I was a bit skeptical that a milk shake could bring all the boys to the yard, this one would've brought me back to te yard.
Afterward, we launched his kayaks into the Pearl River and we went floating down. It was really calm and nice to be outside without seeing a major road under my feet. But we did see a cottonmouth snake. Not my favorite part...
He also showed me a place called Neshoba Fair Grounds where they have a huuuuuuge fair every summer. They have all these cabins where people stay for horse races and concerts and speakers. BUT people only live there a month out of the whole year.
Yesterday was a bright sunny day in the mid to upper 60s. It was great weather and warm enough to run sans-shirt. I even got a little sunburned, despite applying sunscreen. AND reapplying twice.
I don't think I've ever seen the weather change so quickly from day today. Today was cold. And get this...it snowed! I opened the door today and saw it sleeting out. So I hurried back inside and put on my snow stuff. I opened the door again, and it had stopped.
I got on the road ready for a day of interesting weather. As I turned east a gust of wind scooped me up and pushed my jogger forward. From there, all I had to do was steer the thing. The intense wind pushed it for me today! It was the perfect speed: fast.
The only problem with the weather was that every now and then it would sleet really hard for about a minute and a half. I'd get the backs of my ears pelted and the side of my face stung.
Toward the end of the day it actually started snowing. Weird.
I guess I should start at the beginning. Today was great. I ran 9 or 10 miles to the Mississippi river bridge. I knew that I was meeting two people there, but it turned out 7 people came! It was so great to run with people. I always forget how great it is running with people until I run with them again.
This was the most people I have run with since before I started this trip.
They were a great group of people and I can't express how much I enjoyed running with everyone. We took the new bridge. There are actually 2 bridges. The new one isn't open yet but the police that escourted us across let us in and so we took it!
Picture from inside the back of the police car.
I'd like to think I was the first one who was crossing the country to cross the Mississippi on the new bridge...but I don't know that for sure so I guess I can't say that.
Of course, with crossing the Mississippi River comes the border of the state of Mississippi, which is good.
Unfortunately, the big group and myself parted ways at the sign and I got back on the road on my way going east.
The rest of the day was flat. Flaaaaaaaaaaaaat. AND there was gravel, which the stroller didn't resond too well to. I just walked those sections because running would've been a nightmare. 37 miles felt great today.
Let's start with where this place is. It's right on the Mississippi River and Lake Chicot. (pronounced shico, it's French)
Yesterday it was great to meet so many people and it was very nice to have so many people come out to where I ended. Last night a bunch of teachers came to Brianne's house, where I'm staying, and we had home made pizza. Yes.
It was really nice talking to the teachers. They are part of the Teach for America program. It's really an admirable program and the teachers are incredible people. I feel lucky to have met all of them...even though I can't remember any of their names.
Today started out with a ride out to the Mississippi River bridge to see the guy who is crossing the country in his buggy dragged by his horse cross the river. It was great!! He started in Corpus Christi....a year and a half ago!! It doesn't sound like he is in any hurry. But it was kinda cool that I caught up with a horse.
Next, Brianne and I went to Lakeside High School and talked to a couple of Mr. Pratt's classes and they asked some very interesting questions.
"When I get to a lake or river, do I swim across it?" That was my favorite.
From there we went to Lake Port Plantation which is an old plantation house they've restored from the old cotton days.
I didn't realize how crooked that picture was until now. It's a very nice house with 10 or 12 foot tall doors. They also had a commissary in the back where they used to sell food as well.
Peanut butter. 25 cents.
Lard. 80 cents. I didn't know they were making Oreos back in the day but I'm sure they were just as good.
After that we went on a tour of the Chicot Lake on a boat! It was a great day to be on the water.
Nice house and some cypress trees.
Busy day. Good day. Nice place. Great people. -- Patrick
Fist of all, thank you for the comments. They were incredibly encouraging and it's just what I needed.
If I look at today, it should've been great. I got 23 miles done. The weather was about as perfect as it gets. The road was clean. And sailing was smooth. ...almost.
Last night I woke up at 1 am to a growling noise. Except it was inside my tent! My stomach was going nuts and I thought, "well, from past experience, I'm either hungry or I'm sick."
Unfortunately, soon after that I made a dash for the exit and barely made it outside before my lunch made a second appearance. Yep! That's right, food poisoning. For the rest of my stay at the "resort au natural," AKA: the woods, I was in and out of the tent all night viewing things fly out of my body I never thought I would. It left me a broken, desheveled mess. I was pitiful. I felt every cell in my body working to rid myself of whatever foreign object decided to enter there unannounced.
I dosed in and out in between spewings and the grand total for sleep for the night was somewhere around 2.5-3 hours.
Realsizing that today's run was going to be somewhere between painfully slow and pretty near impossible, I started very early. I gave myself 7.5 hours to complete the 23 miles before 3 o'clock when I was meeting the Chamber of Commerce of Lake Village.
I started out right after seeing stomach acid and feeling the burn of the substance tear through my esophagus one last time. I had nothing in my body and no energy.
After awhile I passed a convenience store. I got 2 Mt. Dew's for the carbonation and the fact that at 290 calories a pop, this is what I needed.
First on went down smooth and I felt a little better. I tried running a bit. I could only manage a modest pace for no more than 10 minutes before pure exhaustion set in and was forced to walk.
Today was mainly a walking day with a bit of running thrown in for good measure and sanity. I got to Lake Village an hour and a half ahead of schedule. When I got to the intersection, two cops came up. I was thinking, "oh great, this is just what I needed."
They told me they'd escourt me to the ampitheatre. They were expecting me. Whoa! Definitely wasn't expecting that.
A bit later, St. Mary's school came outside and I was able to talk to them. Great kids. One kid could turn his foot all the way backwards. Crazy.
Who says penguins are the only things with "happy feet?"
Today started with a trip to Gardner-Strong elementary school. They were great kids and asked some very interesting questions... "How much can I bench press?" Can't say I've gotten that question before.
The run went well, and was surrounded by water for most of the day. I believe I was around the delta region today.
I haven't reported the weather in a little while, so I guess I'll do that. Today was 65 and overcast. The past couple days have been in the 50s in the morning but have heated to 75 by mid afternoon. Perfect running weather. Sorry to everyone stuck in winter.
I was barked at a lot today and wished that at least one of those dogs would shut up and just run with me. Would've been a nice change.
I'm sitting here in my tent and I hear a car pull up so I'm thinking to myself, "Please don't be the cops, please don't be the cops."
A person steps out asks if anyone is in there. I get out of the tent and Mr. Medlin is standing there. I'm camping in Medlin's Hardware's lot tonight. He and his wife had brought me dinner!! It was awesome!! A home cooked meal, mmmmmmm. AND as if that wasn't cool enough, it was shake n bake chicken! My mom makes shake n bake. Mrs. Medlin apologized because it wasn't fried chicken, but they are watching their cholesterol. I love shake n bake! There was corn, salad, bread, and a tiny pie as well.
They stayed and talked for a while and she said she saw me earlier in the day. At first, she thought I was homeless. Score!! But then she said my legs don't look much like a homeless person's legs. Double score!!
Today was very short. 20 miles. I started in El Dorado where I spent the night at the Union Square hotel. It was very nice. Yesterday I was also visited by the Kuo's and Mrs. Chesser. We went out to dinner and it was great meeting them and their kids.
This morning I had no reason to hurry out for the run so I spent the morning poking around the town of El Dorado. Nice little city. Plus, I found a bakery that had cream cheese and strawberry filled croissants. That thing was so good. If you get the chance to have one, take it. You won't regret it...unless your pants are already getting a little bit on the tight side...
The run was uneventful. I walked a lot because I wanted to take up more time so I wouldn't have to sit around Strong, Arkansas with nothing to do. Bottom line, no matter how much you walk, 20 miles just doesn't take that long.
Strong isn't a very large town. I don't know where they get off calling themselves strong. There has been nothing I've seen so far to prove that. I expected some hulking guy holding up a truck or a house or at least a gallon of milk and a bag of flour at the sign that told me where Strong started. But it was not so.
I'm ready to finish this thing. I still have 39 days until the end. This Friday it will be 5 weeks. I know it will go by quickly but the truth is, that day cannot come soon enough.
Today is my Dad's birthday, so, I thought I'd dedicate the first day running in a week to him. It was a 33 mile day, and since he hasn't been anywhere NEAR 33 for quite some time, I thought I'd point out the obvious fact that there is no connection whatsoever.
Let's get started then:
Name: Desi Birthdate: March 14, 5 BC Favorite food: chocolate covered dinosaur eggs (he was fed them as a child). He prefers t-rex eggs but he'll eat brontosaurus eggs too. Favorite color: he hasn't decided yet because up until the 70s, everything was just in black and white anyway so, I think he's still getting used to colors. Most famous accomplishment: I'm pretty sure he was the guy that invented the wheel...or fire.
Anyway, if you see him, wish him a happy birthday and slap him on the back. But not too hard, we don't want to hurt his back. (We know how those old people can be) ; ) Happy Birthday Dad!!
Alright, enough with the old jokes and roasting my old man.
Today's run went well. It was green. I appreciate the greenery. Arkansas might not have a whole lot so far but it is more interesting to look at.
In other news, I'm sure you'll all be as relieved as I was to find out that the Huddle House has not lost all form of dignity in this recession.
Though, if I were to have a kid...AND let the Hud House munch on the little morsel...don't you think that I should be the one to get paid? After all, I just gave them a kid and they got a meal out of the deal. Maybe Arkansas is a little different than I thought. Oh well, I guess I know where I'm not having kids....unless the little buggers get annoying. Maybe the Huddle House should offer a daycare service on the other side of the sign, just to balance out the services.
I ended in El Dorado. I assumed I would receive a brick of gold when I entered the city; it being the lost city of gold and all. But no gold was to be had, or seen, for that matter. Then I found out this city is pronounced "Doraydo." Yes. I agree. It is wierd and I would rather have the gold but oh well.
Katie came to visit me! Woo hoo!! The bad news is she had to go home.
We decided that since we were in a part of the country neither of us had been before (and probably never will again) we'd take a little trip down to Shreveport, Louisiana.
If you've never been, well, I can't say you're missing a ton. Not that it's not a nice little city, there just weren't a whole heap of sights to see.
BUT!! There was a casino. El Dorado, they call it. Home of penny slot machines and a surprising amount of people over the age 65 winning, or losing, large amounts of moolah. A place in the world that still had cigarette machines and where, on a Wednesday evening, the majority of the cities population was residing.
We figured we should challenge lady luck and try to beat her. Eighteen dollars between the two of us later we decided maybe gambling wasn't for us. Katie had to drag me out of there kicking and screaming though. Plus, we chose what slots to play based on the cartoon characters on the outside of the machine. Needless to say, we didn't know what we were doing and El Dorado didn't exactly give an intructional seminar on how to get serious about slot machines. I'd rather just find out where you're supposed to bump the machine to make the wheels stop so you win.
In other news, we were in a part of the country that sells BBQ sauce by the jug!!
The pic doesn't look that big but that thing is bigger than my head.
I ended where Katie found me on the side of the highway 7 miles west of Magnolia. I was going to try to make it all the way to Magnolia so she didn't have to drive any furthur than the 13 hours she already had. Yea. 13 hours. Yikes!
I am in Arkansas now which is awesome. No offense Texas but you're too big. Lay off the donut shops and Dairy Queen and, you too, can be the size of a normal state. Now that Katie is here it is time for a little break. This is the last break before I hit the Atlantic. Good news. I believe I'm down to 5 weeks left.
Since yesterday turned into a 50 mile day, it has made this my heaviest mileage week ever. 240 miles this week. Previously, my weeks were in the 210 range. Most people even when they are training hard for a marathon are doing around 70-100 mile weeks. The famed Kenyan marathon runners are doing between 70-90 miles a weeks. The difference is their miles hover somewhere between the speed of sound and light. -- Patrick
Texarkana. It's where I am. I met up with my dad's friend Bruce Lachney this morning and it was great to meet him. He had a car. I had a jogger. He offered to take it and I put up no arguement. So, I didn't have to push it today which was great because there was lots of construction and the shoulder was puny.
The miles today went very quickly. Mr. Lachney met me in Texarkana and we had lunch.
Unfortunately, my blisters returned yesterday on the 40 mile day. Along with a third joining the gang. So today, I did surgery to repair the damage. I did, however, realize why I just started getting blisters. My shoes are too small. They were the right size but then swelled up. It's a good thing today was the last day on that pair and my next pair, I bought a size up thinking this might happen.
The good news is that I still have all my toenails.
I didn't really do anything bad. It's ok. Today started out at Paris high school. They were all really nice, except they asked a lot of questions about hygene. I thought I was clean but their volume of questions about showering and shaving made me think otherwise.
It was a 30 mile day. I ended in Clarksville and am staying in the Courthouse Inn. It looks like a doll house! It's crazy.
I was given a tour around town and I saw the courthouse. It was restored to it's original furnishings and it looks like something out of a movie.
Today was a 40.5 mile day. A good day and I feel accomplished. My knee wasn't giving me any trouble throughout the day and things generally went well. The weather was nice. Sunny, slight breeze, upper 50s to low 60s. And the best part was I found a friend.
I have a history of run-ins with dogs on this trip. Well, today was no different except today's run-in turned into a run-with. I was just humming along and then I heard this tapping behind me. I look down and I see this little white dog with a black head. I told him to go home and that he couldn't come with me. I didn't see where he came from and he wasn't wearing a collar or tags or anything. When I stopped to tell him to go home again he just sat down, looked at me and wagged his tail. I thought if I just ignore him he'd go away. I started running again and he stayed right there with me.
I started to get a little nervous i might be needing to find a place for him to sleep tonight because he was staying with me. I decided since he wouldn't leave me, I'd name him for the day. I named him Paul. After Paul Bunyon. The way I see it, Paul had an Ox and I had a dog. Does it make sense now? Nope. But that's just the way things go sometimes.
Paul followed me for 20 miles. That's right, 20 miles. The dog could run. He would stop and sniff something and then come running back to me full speed. When we got to Paris I started to think of ways I could sneak him into the hotel so I could give him a bath. I had the plan all worked out. It would be great! Just me and my runnin dog Paul. Well, we got to Paris and you know what they say, "Paris is the city of love." Well, Paul agreed because he found himself a mamasita and ditched me. I guess he forgot who shared his water, granola bar, and crust from a pb&j with him. (I figured since after 20 miles I like food and water he would too) Turns out Paul like pb&j. So, now it's just me and the road again...and the stupid baby jogger.
I got a video of him but it turned out to be too long to post. Bummer.
Another highlight from the day was I got 2 blisters. Wierd, since I hadn't gotten any the entire trip yet. Im betting it was because I was wearing my oldest pair of socks. Those things probably have a bajillion miles on them. Probably due for a new pair.
Alright, first things first. Happy 3rd Birthday Macy!!
Today started off rough. When I got out of bed this morning, my knee didn't work. I could only bend it about 10% of normal and couldn't put any weight on it if it were bent at all. Wierd.
Of course, this lack of mobility is not ideal for running...or walking for that matter. But I packed up my stuff and hoped for the best. When I started the day it was cold and windy. I would've liked to run to try to stay warm but when I tried my leg literally wouldn't hold me up. It was ALMOST funny; except, it wasn't. I kept walking for awhile and my frustration kept growing. Every couple minutes I try to run again and still, I would be forced to stop.
Normally, I can run through these little problems. Today, it wasn't my choice. I would hobble for a minute or two and walk. Hobble for another minute or two, and walk. As the day went on and the blood was flowing a little more, things got a little looser. Pain subsided and I was able to tolerate more and more running mixed with walking. By the end of the day I had about 90% mobility and was able to run without stopping. Ta-da!
I did cut the day short by 10 miles and only got 20 miles in. So tomorrow I will make up the difference but I think it will be back to normal tomorrow so it will all be great.
I think the knee issue was a result of my feet and legs being numb yesterday and my stride falling down the drain. That's the only thing I can come up with.
After four days of no, or minimal, running and time spent with family around Dallas I got back out there today. It was great weather all weekend. Mid 60s, clear, sunny and minimal wind. Today was not the weekend.
I believe Chevy Chase said it best in the classic movie, Christmas Vacation, "Worse? How could things get any worse?? We're at the threshold of hell!!"
Cold, rainy, and windy. All day! The good news, it wasn't a thunderstorm. More good news, it was above freezing. Although, if it weren't, I might have been dryer. Snow sort of rolls off the ol jacket.
Then the cops showed up. No kidding. The guy gets out of the car and asks what I'm doing. So I tell him, and he takes my info back to his car to "check me out." I'm sure I'm looking quite dangerous and a huge threat to society at this point considering I'm just sort of standing there shivering and soaked to the bone. Turns out someone called it in to report me. ...I guess I was looking rougher than I thought. He let me commense running after he asked if I had any guns. GUNS. Plural.
"A gun rack? A gun rack? I don't have A gun nevermind MANY which would necessitate a rack." -Wayne's World
Other than that, I got 4 ride offers including one oversized man driving a light blue huge truck who was stroking his toy poodle while asking me if I needed a ride. Needless to say, I turned them all down...especially poodle boy.