Day 154 – EU – Albania [Qeparo to Sarande]

25th July 2020
Run: 41km

20% of the journey completed, another hot and slow day to finish up the Albanian crossing – next stop Greece

It’s not too often I get to reach landmarks, but 20%, I thought that’s starting to look serious! Over 5,250km run already. I’m really happy the way things are going so far. I’m now about to start the crossing of the 10th country on the journey, Greece. Though Covid19 prevents me from saying “things couldn’t have gone better”, it ain’t too bad given the circumstances!

The past 3 days have been the slowest of the world run. I can see two reasons for that. One is the heat in which I’m running. Even if I start early, I’m under 40 Celsius in the direct sun by 8:30am. That makes the effort that much taxing. The second reason is the nature of the uphills and downhills.

The gradients of the ups and downs are truly mighty in this mountain range. I analysed the last 3 runs from the data on Strava. Whether up or down, the swings per km are in the region of 50m to 80m (or more). This is a lot more than what I have experienced up till now. I find out that anything up to 30m-40m per km, up or down, is manageable with BoB the Stroller. Anything steeper makes it really hard and slows me down to a very effortful walk.

If I look at today’s elevation profile (bottom of this post) there’s almost not a single flat or “reasonable gradient” part! I shall hope the upcoming runs will be much smoother 🙂

I have reached Sarande, the Southernmost point of Albania from which I can take a bus to Tirana, the capital City. The only way out of Albania and into Greece being by air these days (due to Covid19).

I will therefore miss the stage “Sarande (Al) to Sagiada (Gr)” which was a 40km run. The run will resume from Sagiada (Greek side of the border) on Tuesday 28th July. I will spend the next two days transiting out of Albania, into Greece and towards the Greek border. What a journey…

Technical glitch today. The plug on which I had let my 2 Garmin to recharge overnight was dead, and I did not notice it until midway through my run, when one of the devices shut down suddenly. I kept recording with the other one, but the battery died at 37.8km. I recorded the last bit on a 3rd Garmin device (I always have the backup of the backup..!) and it explains why today’s recording is in two parts.

Footwise: on the 3rd consecutive day of running on the suspected broken toe (see blog #152) things were looking slightly better today. I think I may have adjusted to the pain, and the pain itself may have decreased in intensity by now. The color of the toe ain’t that pretty, but it seems it’s healing.

Check my daily run GPS data on Garmin or Strava (icons top right of your screen) – here is the map of today’s run: