Legs are the Boss

Day 14

Friday, July 23, 5pm

Ndemban. Nyakassi Jarju’s compound

25km today and 356km run so far!

We are really close!  25km to Brikama on the outskirts of urban Banjul and then about 30km to the finish line.  30km is a guess as we don’t have a reliable map.

I wasn’t really into running this morning but of course knew that I would do it. All I have to do is put my sneakers on and get out of the truck.  My feet, team and spirit take care of the rest.  So that’s what I did.

As I wrote yesterday, most of our time is now spent listening to Spider and Pa Modou playfully quarrel and tease about each other’s tribes.  Along with a lot of trash talk about who will run the most.  Pa was a man on a mission today and ran 25 full km (yea, Pa!!!  CONGRATS!).  Much of the trash talk last night involved each party trying to petition the coach (me) to allow one to somehow harm or dismember the other (methods requested include tripping, poisoning and Fula magic).  Coach rarely gives orders but when she does, everyone listens (i.e. I don’t care how much Gambians dislike Gatorade, if they want to run more than 10km straight, they drink it).  Last night, I forbade one team member from harming another in the name of a foolish testosterone competition.

Alas, it was Serer magic that got Spider today.  At km 17 of our first run, he pulled up.  A toe blister.  Nurse ordered him into the truck for the last 3km.  Pa wins.  For today, anyway.

As for the tribe quarreling, that’s ongoing… Pa, Spider and I ran the first 10km together before Ashley agreed to drive and allow Kebba to join us.  Ten minutes into our run, I started to run between Pa and Spider, hoping it would shut them up!

Everyone on the team has now watched “Running the Sahara” (some more than once) and the guys have a new dream floating in their heads at night. Banjul to Cape Town, South Africa, anyone?  Pa, Spider and Kebba are all in.  Ashley and I will require at least one more female to even the balance if we lace up and pack up the truck for another conquest.

Runner’s Report:

Single black toenail unchanged. Other toes are quiet.

I am so hungry.  Nyakassi’s daughter Awa is a wonderful cook.

My quads and hip flexors are tired.  We did a full set of track workout warm up drills this morning and I felt smoother after that.  Although was thinking that if I felt the way that I felt during drills today while at the track, Cliff would send me home.

Around km 15, I was thinking about my stride and running slow. Most of our running is at 6min/km pace.  My runners know me, Miss Consistency, so unless kids are running with us and we slow for them, we are almost always 2 hours for 20k and 30 minutes for 5km.  As a runner trained by Cliff, I can tell you my precise paces for long run, recovery run, tempo, threshold, vo2max.  None of these are slower than 5:40/km.  Because I am running slower than usual, I’m not getting the power from toe off and swing-through that I usually do.  I considered today that my hip flexors are working extra hard to pull my leg through each stride.  I picked up the pace for the last 10km of our running today and it felt SO good.

Feeling good is short lasting.  I’m sore at rest now but it’s a happy sore.  Banjul is calling from very near.

Our team’s most sincere thanks for your support from Canada.  When we have internet, we read our messages together.

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12 Responses to Legs are the Boss

  1. Philip Rosson says:

    You are almost there team, what a great feeling it must be to have clocked all those miles and for them to be behind you. Such an achievement as a team working together. What celebrations there will be in Banjul–let the food, drink, swim, relaxation, sleep, and party time start … Bravo to you all.

  2. Gina says:

    Forget “Banjul Calling”…I think I can hear “Hammocks Calling”!!!! Thinking of you as always, can’t wait for you to cross that sweet sweet finish line. And I’d sign up for a trip to South Africa!

  3. Gemma says:

    You are almost there. Well done!!

  4. Becky says:

    Congrats!!! you are almost there!! What a feeling I am sure it will be when you cross that finish line!!

  5. Megan Aston says:

    I am amazed at how far and how long you have been running. I am also amazed at how FAST you are going!! From someone who runs slowly in 25 degree heat, your speed in 40 degrees astounds me. You must be kicking up a lot of dust! My heart goes out to you Erin and your wonderful and amazing team. I already have tears in my eyes thinking of all of you crossing the finish line. Can’t wait to see the pictures and hopefully a video!! Enjoy the home stretch everyone!

  6. Laura says:

    The end is so near! You must have shot down the “who’s more manly” competition by leaving the boys behind in the dust!

  7. Jeanne Poirier says:

    Just a bit more Erin you guys are almost done. Lots of people are rooting for you. Gelas’ kids ask me how you are doing and are happy to see your pictures!

  8. Cheryl Sharpe says:

    Great running. The end is near. Keep up the good work.

  9. kate keast says:

    I am glad that your feeling good! I really like the title of this post! Sometimes you do what your legs say: To bad if you leave the boys behide! Awesome! I am cheering non-stop, can’t stop thinking of you!

  10. Dawn Hughes says:

    Erin, almost there, and with all of your training you could leave many behind, just not these three guys until you get to Banjul. With the extra testosterone Ashley will probably need to push harder for her shot to run with Erin . Great job everyone. Love the updates keep them coming.

  11. Mel Connors says:

    Banjul to Cape Town??? Count me in!!!!! 🙂

  12. Shauna says:

    you are all doing amazing!!!! I’m so excited for you as you get closer to the finish line!!! Can’t believe you are almost done!!! I hope you have plans of relaxing for hours after your finish! What an accomplishment, something to remember forever and always have a huge sense of pride for the good that you have done. I can’t believe how fast you are running in 40 degree heat……good lord, I find it hard some days and it’s only 25-30 degrees here! Always running right along side of you buddy xo

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