We had a lovely break in Harare, meeting local people, eating delicious food, resting, doing interviews, visiting the SEED Project office and gearing the bike up to be able to carry more equipment. Me and Mike then set off again by ourselves while the team stayed in Harare. Here is the next instalment, from November 2014, day 61 - 68 of the trip.
Day 61 - 60.31km
A slow start to the day, as my legs have forgotten how to run. As we were leaving, we had a surprise visit from some lovely people that we had met in Harare which put us in a good mood. I had intended to have a short day today so that I could try and get a really long one in tomorrow. Nothing ever goes to plan. I actually had my longest day so far today. The scenery was stunning. Thriving crops in fields, beautiful shades of green in every direction. My surroundings definitely have an impact on my frame of mind.
At the end of the day we had our camp set up but were approached by the village head who said it wasn't safe for us to sleep there. He insisted that we must stay in his brothers empty house. At first, this seemed like a real pain in the backside to move once we had already set up, but it turned out to be a real pleasure. I felt so privileged to have the experience of sleeping in a real African village house.
Day 62 - 61.86km
Woke up at 02:00, in the house, freezing cold. Got a little more sleep and then went to meet Mike Grey, a runner from Harare, at 04:30. Running with Mike was absolutely brilliant, by far one of the best days of the whole trip. We had so much to talk about and lots of similar thoughts on life. The area we ran through looked as if there could be lots of rock climbing and bouldering potential, I might have to return here another time. At the end of the day, as Mike Grey and his dad were leaving us, they gave us a gift. Two cold beers! This was simply the best present imaginable. We set up our camp in someone's garden and spent some time relaxing drinking our beers before cooking and then sleeping.
Day 63 - 52.33km
Woke up in a tent that smelt 100% of fart! Perhaps the beer is to blame. We had porridge outside the tent, and then I ran 25kms to a town where we hoped to buy lots of treats for ourselves. It was really hard to get there in one push, the wind was really strong against me and it was super hilly. The town was not worth the effort either. It was chaotic. People everywhere. The supermarket was worse. People were crammed in like a nightclub. I had to queue for about 20 minutes to get what I wanted, then Mike did the same. I ate the treats that I had bought, and then felt really sick and in agony again. Why don't I learn. I spent all of lunchtime laying down under a large boulder, trying to find some way to escape the pain. In the evening, after only running a few more kilometres, we found a nice man who let us camp in his garden beside his pig.
Day 64 - 53.68km
I slept amazing. The wonders of earplugs!! I have had them for a few days now and they make such a difference. It's not like I'm sleeping next to a bear anymore. I felt like I was actually RUNNING today, not dragging myself along as usual. The humidity is creeping up on us. I think it will only get worse. We met up with the team in the evening. It was Robert's birthday so we had some cake with him. I was able to wash my legs with water which was such a luxury, it felt so good.
Day 65 - 46.48km
We left camp in the morning and ran to the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border, where we met up with the team again to do the crossing. The crossing went pretty smoothly. I thought I would feel really excited about being in the final country (even though we have to pass through Malawi in the middle of Mozambique). But I didn't really feel that happy. I think maybe its too humid to be excited. (It was so hot my head was dripping on my diary as I wrote this page, I can still see dirty sweat marks!)
Day 66 - 58.37km
I barely slept as it was stupidly humid, I just lay there in a puddle of my own body fluid. Then, in the middle of the night it got so windy I thought the tent was going to blow away with me inside. It's a shame we don't have a thermometer to see what the temperature actually is. I had a really good day running. One bad thing about the day was Mike putting sand in my porridge, I was seriously unimpressed with this! At lunchtime we tried to make some shade using the tarp but it was so hot and humid that it just trapped the heat. These are unimaginable conditions. You actually feel better running as you create a small draft. I haven't really pee'd at all today, I must be losing all the water through sweat. I am getting a horrible rash on my thighs from the sweat and oil retained in my shorts scolding my skin. Agony!
Day 67 - 50.94km
I slept pretty well as a breeze blew through the tent. I felt really good running all day. Mike kept saying that today felt hotter than yesterday but it seemed cooler to me. He stopped to fix a puncture while I carried on running, when he caught up with me he was exhausted. As we started to enter Tete, Mike was barely able to ride at all (and we were going down hill), so I rang the team to collect him. It turned out we were probably less than a kilometre away from where we were staying. All night Mike threw up, had diarrhoea and his temperature kept rising. All the symptoms of malaria!
Day 68 - 0