Since my last blog I have covered the 280km (give or take) from La Pintada to Buga. It brings my total running days without a break to ten and in that time I have covered over 458km averaging about 45.8km per day. When I started this section I couldn’t walk and while the pain is still there in my left foot I am able to run the full distance every day without too much pain.
From La Pintada I ran to a little village (sorry never got the name) in the hills. It was mostly an uphill day with the road winding along the side of a green, wet valley. I kept telling myself that there would be a nice restaurant on the side of the street and used that to push myself on. After deciding against the first two I finally found a colourful little lorry stop with a restaurant. I share the almost empty room with a couple of lorry drivers and a couple with a rather large age gap. The young attractive girl draped herself over the older man who looked very happy with the whole situation. The girl came up to me after and pointed to a Union Jack she had on her clothing and asked me what it was…
The village I stayed in was very chilled. A village is probably too grand a word as it was more like a line of shops and restaurants lining the side of the road. Most of the hops were selling sweet goods that range from confectionary to just dark chunks of raw sugar cane. I slept in a room above one of the shops.
The next day I made the big push to Chinchina about 61km south. It was a hot day and the hills seemed to be magnified by the sun. Everyone I met seemed to get pleasure out of telling me that there were a lot more hills to come. I pushed on, fuelled by Coca-Cola and ice lollies. The last hill into Chinchina was particularly difficult with my positive energy quickly seeping away. The last of my goodwill disappeared when I arrived in the town only to find that no hotels had space for me. It took a good half an hour trudging around the not too pretty streets until I finally found a hotel. My relief at the opportunity to lie done was premature. The two ladies on the front desk decided that they were going to drag out the registration process as long as possible. Question after question came about the most inane things including why did I have a middle name etc. Finally they took my money and let me pass out on my bed. Annoying my body craves sugar after a long day and on this evening I excelled at giving in to the urge. My shopping trip included chocolate milk, Coke, sweets, yoghurt and crisps. In a sugar induced coma I lay on my bed dreading the next day of running.
After 61km of hills the last thing I needed the next day was a 9km steep climb to start the day. I dragged my body up one step at a time. Exhausted at the top I found a small stand selling chorizo sausages. Craving anything that would give me energy I gobbled one down only to regret it later as the salty sausage churned around in my stomach. Today I had extra incentive as I was going to be spending the night at a friend’s friend’s friend’s house – ah the beauty of Facebook! I kept a smile on my face and sweet things in my stomach and push on. I finally arrived in Cerritos later that afternoon. My hosts were amazing. From the moment I arrived until when I left the next morning I was treated to delicious food and great company. Tony, my host, was determined to give me enough calories to cover the next day’s 40+km.
The next stop was La Victoria, about 43km south. The run was mostly downhill and through beautiful countryside. The roads here are good and there is a nice wide hard shoulder just made for mad runners. The only downside is that here are lots of lorries whizzing passed. With no railways to transport containers they all have to go by road and like me they want to take the most direct route! La Victoria was a nice little town set a couple of km from the highway. The lady in the only hotel looked at me with great suspicion as she cowered behind her desk. She even tried to tell me that this wasn’t my kind of establishment as it cost 18,000pesos (about $8). I assured her that I had the money and she finally let me in. Maybe I am starting to look like a vagabond!
The journey to Bugalagrande was pretty uneventful apart from the sun beating down on me. The town itself was pretty cool with a huge central plaza surrounded by shops and restaurants. Despite the abundance of place to spend money be warned that trying to find anything remotely healthy is a real challenge.
Today I made the 40+km to Buga and I am now sitting in the Buga Hostel and have just enjoyed a very delicious Chicken Curry Sandwich. Buga is home to the Basilica of our Lord of Miracles which hosts a black Christ on a crucifix. So that is where I am heading now!
Sorry for spelling and grammatical mistakes. Try running a marathon then writing 1000 words… its hard!!!