I woke up around 8, rolled up my emergency blanket, grabbed my still wet clothes and left my 5 star room in search of something to eat. I found an open boulangerie, and bought a pain aux raisins. I also bought a huge almond meringue as well. I have always thought that meringues are disgusting, but once while complaining about how gross they were, a friend said "oh, you haven't tried real French meringues...they are completely different than they are in the States." They were wrong. Meringues are disgusting in France too. After forcing a fourth of this enormous dry and powdery thing down, I felt like I was going to puke and threw the rest away. The problem with meringues is that they look so soft and moist. I always expect to bite into a creamy cloud but end up with a bunch of hard chalk in my mouth. Always the same. Ahh, meringue, you fooled me again!
I had to walk for the first 9 km, waiting or my clothes dry draped all over my body and for the meringue sensation to fade from my mouth. Once my things were dry enough, I put them in my bag and started running. I stopped after 10 km in Bourbonne les Bains to see if I could find a computer and something to drink and eat. It seemed decently sized, and the town I was running to had the potential of being incredibly small. I stopped in a Kebab place to grab a quick bite to eat (kebab places have taken over France like Starbuck's in the States). The menu had a cheap sandwich deal, but somewhere in the dialogue of ordering I got messed up and ended up with a much more expensive and larger version of the same thing on a plate. It was a lot of food to eat considering that I still had 25 km to run, but considering my budget and the fact that I had already paid for it, I ate it all. During my meal, I ended up striking conversation with George, the 20 year old from Palistine who was running the shop. George let me use his computer, and I spent a couple hours there talking to him, rehydrating, and letting my food digest. Eventually I set out again, and after walking for a couple kilometers to settle the kebab and kebab-gas in my stomach, I started running towards Corre.
As always, the last 8 km of the run were pretty difficult under the heat. Back at school, on long Sunday runs, I would always hit that threshold where I wanted to be done, and the idea that I had a big bottle of Endurox and a John Jay brunch waiting for me would keep me going. Here when I hit that threshold, I have no Endurox, no place to sleep, and I am running towards a town with potentially nothing.
Fortunately for me, I saw a sign which indicated that there was an Ecomarché in Corre, so it was a little bit easier knowing that I was running towards a grocery store where I could get some chocolate milk. None of the milk here is refrigerated though (it is pasteurized and sealed, and can sit for months on a shelf), so I only have warm chocolate milk to dream about. Better than nothing though.
Once I arrived in town, I drank my liquids and spent some time talking to a young couple who have been touring France for a couple years with a donkey. I think we each thought that the other was crazy. I got to pet a donkey though.
It started to get late, and after some more ramblings, I found myself at a marina along a canal which runs along the side of the town. It was after 10 pm. I took a shower in the marina shower, and wandered around the facilities. There was a little office with some bathrooms and washing areas for the boaters who stayed there, and inside I found a little cot. I went around until I found the "captain" of the facilities playing pétanque, and asked if I might be able to rest there for a few hours. After telling my story and sitting around for a while watching the game, I had a little bed set up and a safe (and clean) place to sleep.
Another long day. Another lucky night.
30 June 2009