Blog Day 10:
You get out what you put in. I didn't put much in the way of sleep or food last night and was about to reap the whirlwind. Today was the start of a three day push to get to the Mississippi. Now we probably could have gotten further than that in three days, but I had sorted out a couple of things that would be fun to do on day 3 and despite the nagging feeling that I wasn't going to get to go to the Blue Bayou Water Park (I have had a bad run with missing out on water parks. It make me sad.), I stuck to the plan. The weather for the three days was as per usual. 33C/92F (RealFeel Hotter than Hades) and humid but seeing as I can't do much about it, we just have to deal with it. Get with the program. About three miles in, the program got me. I recognised the feeling: complete loss of energy, feeling of dread, pins and needles in the fingers… I don't know exactly what it is, maybe a bout of hypoglycaemia, who knows, but usually this has happened midway or at the end of marathons, not this early! A distress call was put into the USS Enterprise, but as Nads is concerned about the rate we're getting through our internet data, she didn't have her messaging systems online. I walked with my water for a bit and chatted to some people at the side of the road who were also fundraising for the Young Marines and started to run again as I felt a bit of a fraud walking in front of them after telling them about my journey. Fortunately my boiler seemed to have switched from pilot light to at least half power and I was able to finish the 9 mile start leg.
The remainder of the day was fairly samey scenery, down Highway 61, but punctuated with stretches alongside bayous and sugar cane fields. What has struck me so far is wherever you are, whether in the Alabama bayou, the Biloxi beachfront, or the Louisiana highway system is the number and size of the insect life. Huge numbers of butterflies (Swallowtails, Eastern Tigers, Monarchs etc etc) and dragonflies, some of which as pretty huge, as if they came from a land where time forgot and I cringe every time I see them dart across the road, but usually they seem to get away with it and I can get back to stressing about my blisters. Unfortunately a lot of creatures don't seem to be so lucky and while it was a bit of a novelty seeing unusual roadkill to start with, it really bums me out now. Raccoons, armadillos, possums, snakes, 'gators and even an otter today. I try no to think about their last moments, as it just makes me really upset. Now I've only gone and bloody written about it and it's done it again. Especially that otter. I wonder if there if there is any sort of plan to build wildlife crossings, like those pioneered in the Netherlands? Probably not, I fear as while the US loves its outdoor lifestyle, there are a lot of people who don't seem to give much though to it as the littering on the highways is absolutely shocking. I was reminded of the episode of the Simpsons where Bette Midler was doing her bit litter picking and blew up a littering driver's truck with an incendiary discarded Duff can. Now I'm not personally advocating this...but actually... yes, I am. Go Midler. In the course of the day I managed to rescue a butterfly, crawfish and an eastern lubber grasshopper, so I feel I did my bit and the urge to turn right and go into Louis Armstrong Airport was averted.
Start: South Metairie. Finish: Reserve Truck and Casino: 29.43 miles
Now I'm finding out that truck stops are very variable in the ability to get a good sleep. This one, fortunately was pretty big, parking area wise and we hid ourselves away from the scary big rigs, often with their generators on overnight to keep someone's apple pies fresh, but the traffic noise still was a bit of a killer. I need to get some decent ear lugs. I think I'm getting pretty poor sleep as my mind is always racing at night. I know you shouldn't be on a screen late at night, but it's usually the only chance I get to do updates, then I'm worrying about things like: “Is my knee really sore?” “Will we be able to continue after Santa Monica” and so the cycle continues. I woke up however feeling great and had a good running start and when I met up with Nads mid-morning, I had the pleasure of chatting to Khadevis Robinson, two time Olympian (800m in 2004 and 2012) and now assistant head coach at LSU (Lousiana State University) in Baton Rouge. He's pretty inspirational, even down the phone and the rest of the day just seemed to flow well after that and after a brief stop to muck about on some treadmills at Gold's Gym in Prairieville and steal their cool, cool, aircon. I was in great spirits at the end and craving food, which recently, is a novelty. Seeing as I aim to try all of the fast food chains I see, as I've got a cracking excuse, I delved into Raising Cain's Chicken Fingers, named after the owner's Labrador. Cute. I didn't see the connection, but I'm sure he'd eat them. Not that's saying anything, but I can confirm that they were tasty to a more discerning palate. We headed into Baton Rouge to get to an actual RV park for a change and after trying to ascertain how to register in a place where the office was shut, we decided we were due a slice of luck and just picked a spot. Leaving prior to opening hours meant that unfortunately we had a free stay and water fill-up. We didn't brave the RV poo pipe just yet...
Start: Reserve Truck and Casino. Finish: On The Half Shell, Prairieville: 32.3 miles