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J336 - Friday, September 17: Bouranton – Wassy

77.88km – 10H38’   
Altitude : 168m
The finish is one month away, the countdown has started.
This morning we decide to leave from the countryside rather than cross the prefecture of the Aube department, which is a city of 64,000 inhabitants (the 2nd most heavily populated city after Reims in the Champagne-Ardenne region).  This is a deliberate choice because leaving the city at 7:30 a.m. (or entering it for the vehicles) rimes with traffic, which is difficult for Serge.
7:40: departure from the village of Bouranton and Serge asks for his cap and gloves.  The sun peeks out through a light mist and infuses the cultivated fields with a beautiful light. Our runner is faced with a deceptively flat uphill to start this long day.
For the last 3 days I am really worn out at the beginning of the afternoon; I could fall asleep at the wheel, so I turn on the radio to keep from dozing off. RenĂ© feels the same way and he gives the wheel to Bertrand so he can take 40 winks.  I’m reassured since I don’t seem to be the only one with the problem.  Luckily, Bertrand has brought us a bit of fresh air.  And what about Serge?  At 2:00 p.m; I ask him if he doesn’t feel like sleeping on the road, even if he is moving.  He replies that he sometimes dreams of a long, very long siesta and he asked for a coffee.  Since the beginning of the week he has been taking vitamin C again.
Between Rosnay l’Hopital and Montporency-Beaufort, we had a visit from David, who found us thanks to his brother in law and the GPRS.  David is a faithful Internet user who follows the adventure on a daily basis.  He is also a race walker who participated in Paris-Colmar Promotion in 2008.  He lives in the region of Paris and we have a date for next October 16.  After a 5 minute conversation, Serge takes to the road, heading for Lentilles  “Lentils” (I’m not making that up).
At the end of the stage our last visitor is Pascal, a policeman in Saint-Dizier who has been following our adventure since the beginning and who wanted to see Serge in person.  No doubt, he will come run tomorrow morning.
For some time I have wanted to sum up Dr. Roattino’s findings, following his short visit to Dublin.  At the weighing this morning (the 3rd since the beginning of the race), the scale showed 52 kg, and it’s time to speak more precisely about the physical problems of a long distance runner and of Serge in particular.

The Doc’s word
« Muscle volume:
May 17: 43 and 44 cm for the quadriceps; 34.5 and 34 for the calves
August 29: 42 and 43 cm for the quadriceps; 33 and 33 for the calves
Undeniably, there is muscle atrophy; the % of fat body mass is 17.85% for 52 kg, which is not so low considering what one could expect, in view of the volume loss, which proves that there is indeed muscle atrophy.  This also explains the increased fatigue.
Concerning stiffness:
Laure made note on April 29:  70 and 60 in extension; 80 and 80 for flexion-abduction, the internal femoral rotation 30 and 20, external 45 and 45
My notes of August 29: 60 and 50 in extension; 60 and 60 for flexion-abduction, the internal femoral rotations 30 and 20, external 30 and 30.  There was a noticeable decrease in amplitude, mainly in flexion-extension and the external femoral rotations, so, a strong “locking” of the iliopsoas muscle, which explains the pain Serge feels on the left side of the pelvis and abdomen.
The increase of stiffness limits the range of adaptation and restricts Serge’s potential.  The constraint of the right Achilles tendon being the most conspicuous proof: when Serge increases his distance he increases the strain on the tendon, which has no spare wheel….since the spine and the pelvis are almost blocked.
Lastly, the fact that there is pain on different sides results from the shifting, of the bearing side (the longer) for the tendon and the side being lifted (the shorter) for the iliopsoas.
In my notes, I find the August 29 instructions for Serge’s medicine:
2 bion transit (treatment for intestinal problems) in the morning for 20 days
1 thicolchicoside (Muscoril, Myoril, Neoflax) at night for 20 days
1 Voltarène 75 LP in the morning for 5 days, then ½ for 3 days, and at the same time Oméprazole (gastric protection)
Serge took this medicine, then he stopped the anti inflammatory after 8 days; but he started the treatment again at the beginning of the week.
To ease the muscle atrophy, Dr. Roattino recommended the use of a muscle stimulator (Compex type) and gave some exercises to combat stiffness in the joints.  Today Serge wishes to do nothing but run, eat and sleep.  So this advice has not been taken.  We hope that Dr. Roattino will not be offended by this lack of cooperation from Serge, which he understands perfectly well, even if it is frustrating when you are trying to help Serge and he will not take your advice (I am one to know).
Lastly, Serge’s nutrition is not balanced: never any fish, little red meat, no fruit, except his juice of 3 citrus fruit in the morning, no green vegetables.  Taste is something very important for such a long period of intense effort and once again there is no use trying to force Serge to eat this or that if he does not want it, even if he knows that it will be good for his body.  Please note that long distance runners are obsessed about having intestinal problems during the race.
Our thanks to Dr. Roattino for his active interest in this adventure, since a day in January when we met him on the roadside.  Since then he has listened to the commentaries, which have appeared in the logs on the subject of Serge’s pains and problems and he has helped us with his invaluable advice, from Argelès-sur-Mer, where he lives.  This is one of those unexpected encounters prompted by UFF which, as the months have passed, has become a rich experience of dialog and sharing.
The riddle:  Yesterday’s photo is of a gas pump of the 1950’s period.  Bravo Pascal and Philippe, who have eagle eyes.  And the reeds we saw are hemp, which was once used to make fabric, cosmetics, heat and sound insulation, oil, cord, etc.  Thank you, Laurent, for the explanation.

Town : Wassy (Haute-Marne)

GPS : N 48.49’57.2° E 004.92’70.1°