After another great sleep at the Red Roof, yesterday's upset at my navigational amateur hour was forgotten and we kicked off in clement conditions, with me wearing my Victoria vest I wore in the Australian Marathon Championships and is one of my most prized possessions, in honour of the 1 year anniversary of the race. A few miles down the road, I had to go...so I went. I found a gap in some trees and snuck into some cover. A spider web lightly brushed my face and after my experiences in Australia, I instantly stopped and refocussed to see what the situation was. A tiny spider on a big old web seemed a bit...WAITAMINUTE!!!! An absolute behemoth with pointy yellow striped legs that was actively making a beeline towards me. Now it turns out that this was a male blackand yellow garden spider, which doesn't sound too scary, but it's bite is like a bad wasp sting and if you Google it – you'll know man. You weren't there...
Today was a big day as we were making our first State line crossing. Fuelled by arachnid induced adrenaline the 6 miles flew by and I passed Nadine filming with the strains of Ultraviolet Light Light My Way) by U2 coming through my earphones. If you don't know the song, it's pretty euphoric, especially the chorus where Bono appears to be “all messed up, with All Bran in his hair” (that's pretty messed up, though I think he says opera…) and I could have gone home happy at that point. I'd run 'crpss the Great State of Alabama, just like Forrest. However, we had more to do. A lot more, so fuelled by my second Waffle House (I feel there will be many more) lunch we cracked on. Cracking on is the operative word. I'm having a lot of trouble regulating my pace. I typically run easy around 6:45 minute/mile and jog around 7:30, but I have been told by people with far more experience and sense than me, that this is just too fast to be sustained over this kind of distance. As such I'm tending to struggle later in the day and need to get this in hand. Hopefully by the time I get my GPS synced properly, I'll be cracking out 8 minute paces (though taking photos all the time is turning this into the longest slowest interval session ever).
Highway 90 as it enters Mississippi is super straight and there wasn't much to see, so I occupied myself by seeing who'd wave back if I waved at them. A surprising 6/10 I'd guess. Friendly state! A gator ranch and a scrapyard that had a rusting 50's Cadillac straight outta Havana, that I wanted to rescue. I'll come back for you!
We found a motel on the web that seemed pretty inexpensive and looked ok so booked that. Now inexpensive can be also referred to as value, or cheap. This was cheap and nasty, despite looking good from the outside. It stunk of cigarettes and damp, had one pillow and you had to sit outside the room to get the wifi. Lovely. However, we were oo tired to care and after we were told there were no other rooms, I went out on my last five miles at 7pm. It gets dark quickly round here. It also gets very dark indeed. Luckily the hard shoulder/breakdown lane was wide and I only got beeped once. I hadn't smelt any roadkill during the day, but I seemed to get a sense of when to look at the floor when needed to! I met a worried Nads at a Dollar General, crossed the central reservation which turned out to be a semi swamp and got back to the motel to find the key didn't work and the maintenance guy would be there in half an hour to fix it. 90 minutes later we got in and finally got our hands on dinner at 10pm, which helped my mood no end. I didn't even get a beer. My time in Mississippi had gotten off to an average start, to say the least.
Roadkill count = Too many. No new species, but found that my sense of smell is definitely heightened in dark.
Start = 4 miles west of St. Elmo. Finish = Outskirts of Ocean Springs. 29.64 miles