Run In The Sun: Day 18
Williston to Silver Springs (outside Ocala)
To finish the story of last night’s adventure. Kevin and I wandered through unaccommodating Williston, Florida. The Police dispatcher said “no” to the city park and gave us the phone number to an out-of-business RV campground. We wandered down side streets to see about tucked away places to hide our tent. Just as we were evaluating the feasibility of “parking” our tent in the back corner of a free public parking lot, a lady at an adjacent business asked about our trip, as she had seen us twice on the road that day. We had a wonderfully friendly and helpful conversation; apparently this lady knew of 4 different runners in town, one of whom owned a restaurant we had passed. She told us to head back to the restaurant and ask for Tammy. Apparently Tammy has recently run a marathon and would appreciate our journey.
Now, Kevin and I have been pretty strict about our “no backtracking” rule, but tonight was an exception, as we backtracked about half a mile to the restaurant. When we got there, I went in and asked a waitress if I could talk to Tammy. This waitress didn’t even ask who we were; I guess the running clothes and dirt-covered body gave it away… she said, “Tammy’s not here, but she said that you are welcome to set up your tent in the grass at the far edge of the parking lot, but be aware that on the other side of the fence is a hardware store’s chicken coop and there used to be massive rats around there.”
Well, if it meant we could sleep easy knowing we weren’t going to get in trouble, then we’d take it! We ended up eating at a pizza place down the street, and came back to set up camp for the night.
We ended up sleeping okay, but not so great. It has been really hard for us to get any sleep when we’ve camped the three times on this trip. But, it helps us get started early. The pain was moderately tolerable after my initial 15 or 30 minutes running this morning. I have to run long enough for my blistered areas to get a bit numb, at which point I have tended to have at most an hour of reasonably pain free (though still uncomfortable) running before muscular fatigue, cramping, and foot aches begin to dominate. Then, it’s just a matter of pressing onward, pushing through pain, making sure I get ample nutrition, and breaking it down minute by minute as needed.
Logging trucks continue to be a trend throughout our Florida experience. I just had no idea it was such a large industry here. I don’t mind the big trucks. Although they sometimes blow wind so hard that my visor flies off, the air they push always smells so good, like sawdust.
We had awoken this morning to rain sprinkling on our tent, which was what we expected because the forecast called for heavy rain all day. It turned out better than expected – no rain until about 11am, then steady sprinkling, which was actually a bit refreshing.
The headwind today was strong and relentless. We had those expected inland Florida hills, some of which were rather steep, and made my legs feel swollen, as if post-weight-lifting, the entire day. Then, when that wind came at me, I felt powerless to run up the hills. I often walked the steeper hills. My body has been feeling just so very weak the last few days. It has been a real struggle to push the cart and to push my own body forward. I know that this trip is really beating my body up, and it is not meant to be a sustainable pace. I just have two more days of this and then I can rest up as long as I need. For now, I press on, relentlessly forward, crying for little bouts here and there when it overcomes me.
Yet, like always, amidst all the difficulties, there are things that make me smile and laugh throughout the day.
- We loved the beauty of the many ranches we passed as we made our way through the heart of Florida’s horse country – reminds us of Kentucky’s rural but manicured lands.
- One farm we passed had 4 horses that made us laugh so hard: they sprinted at us, up to the fence line, when we started to pass by, and I though I would want to pet them. But, as I approached, they sprinted to the far side of the road, as if they were scared. Then, we started down the road again and they sprinted toward us. So went the game. It reminded us of our Mack, who loves to bait us outside to play.
- The main road we took through the city of Ocala had more places to buy or repair an auto than we thought was possible. Seriously, more than there were places to buy food. I don’t know which is more American: lots of restaurants or lots of car places.
- I was starting to feel lightheaded whenever I would stop running or walking. It was really weird. But I knew I was dehydrated. So, when we had the chance, I got a big coke and a Reese’s candy at a gas station. Oh, it was so delightful. However, more delightful was the small-ish truck blasting loud, hip-hop-ish music that passed through the gas station. The owner had felt compelled to express their lifestyle in huge stickers across their back truck window. It said “Layed Back Livin’.” I had to laugh. Someone went to all that trouble to make and pay for that custom car window decal and they misspelled “layed.” Love it.
On that note, no day can be too bad that ends at Steak ‘N’ Shake, right?!? Well, for dinner #1, that is. 🙂