Flight thru the Phoenix. Days 96-97

No issues to report overnight. Good. In fact the first run was pretty unremarkable too apart from when I reached the van I was immediately told to be quiet by Nads. No change there, as I'm often booming whne I come into the mothership due to me having my music on still, but this time, it was warranted. Nads had noticed some movement in the distance from the RV and then realised it was all around us. There was a group of ground squirrels popping up frm their burrows, that I'd scared underground on my approach, but bit by bit, they began to re-emerge and the advantage of Jenny's blacked out windows meant we could watch them without needing to hide! This is one of the few times we've actually seen live land based wildlife, so it was a real treat. The second surprise of the day was the town called...Surprise. I wondered if anything unexpected would happen and as soon as I thought that it did. I found a calendar called “Finding Jesus” on the floor, still in its wrapper and reduced to 20 cents as it was the 2016 version. I'm not winding you up, but this is like a Where's Wally, but for the Messiah! That cheeky Jesus is lurking in the crowd in 12 scenes such as music festivals and sporting events. We haven't sat down properly to digest this, but it was certainly worth carrying back for 7 miles, despite the plastic making my arm all sweaty.

As we got more urban, my right arm was starting to get tired by the increased frequency of waving to cars. I kept thinking I'd give up, but the last car always seemed to give an enthusiastic response and I was sucked in for another round. It was pretty warm, compared to what we've been used to and seeing as we were almost in Phoenix, this was NOT a surprise. Phoenix is th ehottest city in all of the USA and here's a handy explanation why: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-weather/2016/06/16/why-is-phoenix-so-hot/85950934/

It was actually like a gorgeous English summer's day and very fitting when I realised I was at the corner of Yorkshire and Grand. Anyone from Yorkshire, or who knows a bit about the place will realise how cool this was. It made me wish I was back home a bit and maybe in Birmingham, as Black Sabbath were playing their last ever concert at that moment. I finished the day off listening to tunes such as Iron Man, Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath and the Tune of the Day, which you can catch below.

Start: San Domingo Parkway, just south of Allah. Finish: Highway 60 near Walmart, Peoria. 33.5 miles. Day 96 Tune of the Day: Black Sabbath – Paranoid. Sabbath played their last ever gig today in Birmingham. Pretty much the founders of heavy metal. All the good bands are going away… :( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkXHsK4AQPs

An early start for me as I'd a fairly big day. This was a result of arranging an interview 21 miles away with the guys from the Arizona Republic, the biggest newspaper in the state, which I was pretty chuffed about. I was also doing this unsupported as I was running through the heart of the city and we've found that this type of plan isn't an RV's friend, with specific experience of Phoenix when we visited for the NFL in November. I took my hydration pack, a few Nakd bars, a waist bag with the bottle full of milk and my usual amount of porridge oats, in the hope that they would soak (No jam or syrup – error!)and set off. I deviated from my usual plan so I could have my breakfast at the Phoenix Art Museum and this meant a 12.5 mile opening run. On some of this, I was joined by Frank, an Ethiopian-American, who'd just moved to Phoenix. Stereotypically, he was an ace runner and I was finding he was pulling me along a little quicker than I would have liked, but it was still bearable. As a result of my lack of knowledge of Phoenix tourist geography nd my selection of the quickest route, I saw very little of the good stuff and was in more of an industrial area for most of my city traversing. My notable sites, were more quirky, including a massive metal Breast Cancer ribbon on a trailer that took me back to the Louisiana Wear it Pink girls and ladies, the Grand Canal, which wasn't quite like Venice and then the important one. Three tiny little scrutlets (mine and Nads' name for little scruffy dogs) were foraging for scraps of food on the street, I assume they were strays. Two ran away as they afraid, but the cutest one was very friendly and came right over. I genuinely thought of going: “Mine now” and radioing for help from Nads, giving her the best surprise ever, as she said if we find a stray it may well find itself in the UK next year. I couldn't bring myself to tear him away from his two pals though, who were hiding, looking out from a nearby bush. I hope they get picked up and rehomed as they were little cuties.

I ran past the Tovrea Castle, a sort of folly on a hill, beloved of Phoenix and soon enough I was at the Tempe Bridge, though feeling very flat. I was cheered up briefly by the arrival of Alexis and Patrick the AR news team, who made the interview fun and Patrick took some fantastic pictures as I ran over the bridge into Tempe, a buzzing, hipster type area, right up my street, all around the colossal Sun Devil Stadium. I kinda thought it would be great to live there, but then I remembered how hot it gets… I forged on, feeling pretty rubbish and negative, worrying about the length of the run, how tired I felt and just generally wanting to stop. I was given the opportunity 6 miles before the scheduled end when the battery on my GPS ran out as I'd obviously not charged it fully. Seemed like fate to me. I called Nads back and we headed to the RV Park - at least we had something fun planned. Well...planned was a loose term. We walked into Apache Junction and found a great little restaurant called Dirtwater Springs where we bagged a prime spot to watch one of the best Superbowls in recent history, though my heart broke for the poor Falcons and had some good beer – Alaskan Amber and some Fat Tire. Of course we left with everyone saying “Bye Forrest!” I spoke to Nads on the way home about my worries and emotions on the run today. Every now and again I have a blip, though I was worried that this could be something a bit more serious. I resolved to sleep on it and get on as normally as I could tomorrow.

Start: Highway 60 near Walmart, Peoria. Finish: Dutton Family Theatre, Mesa. Day 97 Tune of the Day: Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Two Tribes. This always reminds me of the Superbowl as it was what Channle 4 used to have as their accompanying music in the mid Eighties! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTOQUnvI3CA