The Athletes of Baton Rouge Cover All Bases. Day 12

Today felt like a day off as it was going to be exciting. To be honest, I haven't enjoyed as many of the runs as I should have in the last few days. They've all been different and interesting (so far) but the toughness of adapting to the mileage, the diet, the hydration, the weather, get the picture...has created a good few troughs, alongside the peaks. Now it felt like a day off as a result of a good sleep, good food and the knowledge that there was fun to be had outside of running (I know. There is such a thing). My breakfast was supplemented with a handful of gummy bears to avoid the possibility of a rough low-glucose start. My physiological brain tries to convince me that they're not needed, but hey, I like gummy bears. This also coincided with my favourite initial run since the big start and I rewarded myself with a huge Macca's breakfast including milkshake, which volume wise, was a terrible idea. The next run had to be quick as I was meeting Khadevis (see previous blog entry for eulogy, part I) at 1115 and I'd also taken too long to eat. I felt physically pretty rough on the way into the LSU area of town, but I didn't care. After a graciously accepted apology for being late (parking the Death Star), I grilled Khadevis on the LSU program, his athletic career and did some of this during a lap around the LSU track, where I was happy to say I kept pace. He had squatted 600 pounds that morning, having moved away from athletics to lifting, so he was a little off his former pace. He told Nads that I was fast and I'm sure I felt an imaginary pat on the head. I asked for some advice on the run and whilst simple, concentrating on looking after myself and believing in the possible, it was delivered in such a way that I reckon I can get to Santa Monica next week. He might see me at the end – it's the location of his famous former club. He gave me a guided tour of the insane facilities that the LSU college athletes have, ice baths, free smoothies, top class gym and I wished I could have been a part of that once! Maybe it's not too late… I did tip him and his throwing coach, Derek off about a few athletes in Western Athletics, Melbourne they should be taking a look at. Wait for the call guys!

So after this, the slow moving tiny juggernaut rolled on, to our next stop at a garage in the one of the less salubrious parts of town and my lovely relaxing sit down on the grass was cut short by the need to leave a bit quickly after some requests for money got a little persistent. We might have to think, on the safety side of things, about exactly where we park, flashing phones and cameras about. To be honest, it sort of takes the p*** on our part as well to be doing that, so it works both ways, I guess. I ran towards our latest truck stop – Mr Lucky's – no less and in the distance I saw a tell tale sign (I hoped) of panniers and hi-vis that could only mean travelling cyclists! I'd called it right and met Angela and her husband whose name I can pronounce (It sounds like Cajun!), but of course I didn't ask how to spell it...why would you? :D. They were from The Netherlands (Correctly guessed by accent – it can be tricky!) and had cycled from Buffalo, NY and were heading to New Orleans. They were looking for something to do that night, so I told them about my plan to meet Happy's Running Club at Happy's Irish Pub. Simple. Done.

That evening then, I headed into town, once agin driven by the best chauffeur of a tank in the business, Nads to meet the HRC crew. On arrival I was amazed that there were about 100 or so people in attendance and usually there are more, but the heat and probably, news of my impending arrival had put some people off. I really do need to do a kit wash. After a lovely introduction by BobbiJo, we set off onto almost deserted city streets, like an urban parkrun, with police guarding the junctions and we moved through the streets of Baton Rouge, past the State Capitol building and along the banks of the Mississippi before finishing back at the pub. I chatted to a good few characters on the way, with the conversation often getting to the Presidential (loosely used term) Debate of the previous evening. Opinions on that aren't for here though! We then rehydrated with a great stein (!) of Guinness, bought for both me and Nads, by Rusty, a club member before I was cajoled loosely into a club tradition, by Frank, one of the leading fun-meisters, where Baileys is bombed into a half pint of Guinness, after a reading from the Book of Chuck (Norris). At this point, our Dutch pals arrived and stories of dealing with the weather (of course), feral dogs, nutrition and past/future adventures were shared amongst others. With one eye on the time, we had to prise ourselves away again, to stay this time, in the local church car park...but did we sleep peacefully with the angels?

Start: On The Half Shell, Prairieville. Finish: Mr Lucky S Truck Stop, north of Baton Rouge: 27.4 miles, including a bonus 5k with Happy's Running Club, Baton Rouge.