july 26
day 78
27 miles
total 2,031

it will go down as a narrow win over the “marathon” a day average i am now striving to beat.
it felt like a miraculous salvation of a day that teetered on the brink of disaster.

it started out as just another day in nebraska. clouds obscured the sky when we arrived at the starting point,
and lightning lit up the skies to the south, revealing a massive rain plume.

this time the rain moved away, rather than come after me, and i moved pretty well to begin.

but this has become a war of attrition. after all these miles, it seems that i am constantly trying to alleviate small injuries. nothing completely heals, i just try to achieve some sort of stasis, where the discomfort is manageable. i find myself questioning whether i can hold all the pieces together for another 1500 miles.

i got a real scare this morning.

after about 8 miles, my left little toe began to hurt. within minutes it was hurting severely.
the padding and shoe/sock surgery that had kept it relatively quiet for 1400 miles was failing.

i stopped and cut away as much more of the shoe as i dared.
this seemed to fix the problem, and i covered 8 more miles before the pain returned, worse than before.

i managed to make it to 17, before i had to stop again and attempt to make repairs.
since the padding seemed to be inadequate i tried adding a little more.

this was a horrible mistake.
with each step more excruciating than the last, i had to call for my crew to come back.

i was really scared before i finally got in the chair. i wasn’t going to be able to do another mile with that kind of pain…. much less another 1500.
i felt like the whole journey was teetering on the edge of an abyss.

it was time to start over from scratch.
just removing the padding was agony.
but i got it off.
that was when i found out just how sensitive to pressure the toe had become.

even with all the padding removed
i kept having severe pain shooting thru the toe.
it took a minute to realize it was caused by a light breeze blowing on my toe.
that was the moment i wondered if i was going to be able to fix this one.

my solution?
i made a loose toe cot out of gauze
and put the damaged toe inside.
then i took a thin strip of duct tape
and fastened the cot securely to the base of the toe.
then i took a wider strip of duct tape and wrapped it very loosely around the toe cot.
it was like my damaged toe was riding in a cotton ball.
better still, the duct tape shield had my little toe sticking out of the shoe into the air. as long as i didn’t bump it on something, the pressure on the toe was reduced to zero.

after that i returned to the road and marched resolutely to 27 miles.
i moved as well as i have moved in nebraska, and the discomfort was reduced again to a manageable level.

there are so many miles to go
and i am not sure how much more magic i have in my bag of tricks.

but i lived to fight another day.
and that is all that counts.
this whole thing is still impossible.
but i think i can do tomorrow.
i sure as hell plan to show up at the start.

between the drama, nebraska continues to amaze me at every turn.
and what a day it was today.
this morning a long stretch down a forested valley
with rock bluffs and huge cottonwoods along the creek at the bottom
and pine forests on the ridges.
yet another picturesque western town in chadron.
my first glimpses of buttes and mesas.
water buffaloes
(water buffaloes?)

and when i topped a long hard climb with two miles left on the day;
my first glimpse of mountains in wyoming!

not big mountains
and still probably days away…

but mountains.
it made my heart sing.

my body may have taken a beating.
but the hunger has not abated.
i am as eager now
as i was when i turned my back on sunrise
and headed west.



Slavic replies:

One important trick to not lose sight of Is a rest day. Kostelnick did it as did Shapiro. If stubbornness regarding it will result in a DNF as miserable as one feels during it that may save the journey if it is teetering on the brink. That or a half day… but only you can make that decision. The little things do tend to fade so maybe you can try to push all the way through but only your personal psychological experience can help here.


kostelnik and shapiro are thoroughbreds.
i am just a broken down swaybacked old plow horse.
i have no desire for a day off.
i love the road and
the challenges of tomorrow are



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