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A is for ...

Updated: May 18, 2021

It would be nice to write something to indicate how smoothly each day has gone, how calmly I've approached each day, how easy each marathon has been and, how wonderful I'm feeling. It would be nice. Unfortunately, that's rarely been the case throughout my life; I'm either running around late, feeling awkward and guilty for being an inconvenience due to my poor personal administration, or involved in a drama of seismic proportions for me (tiny insignificant tremor for normal folk). Which leads me on to today's poppling of plight. Awake to 5:30am alarm. Gentle relax to wake and rouse myself from my bed whilst listening to the birds outside (I'd left my door open last night, I was so hot). Hop into the bathroom, kit and toothbrush packed and change out of jammies. Asics shorts on. Great. Asics jogging bottoms on. AAAGGHHH! I only put them on to keep warm and my back locks. Immobile, oh no. I have to move. Desperation grips me. I've got to move. Grab the bag. Out the door. Gently and gingerly down the slate steps. Keep moving. Get to the physio room. There they are, my marathon angels, Dr Katie and Georgia. 'It's not a problem' says Dr Katie. Not a problem? Inside, there's tortuous turmoil. Yet, I know having been in a similar position before, that she's right. We'll warm up, massage, stretch and tape. You'll be at the start line. As sure as eggs are oeufs, I strolled down the drive for the usual 9:30 start, testament to the work of Cumbria Uni's Physio Department. Smarting a little but, most importantly moving forwards. That's all we need to do, forward momentum each day. Keep going...

It's been a day of attempts at toilet humour. So far Patrick 'Peroni' Norris has earned the title of Brathay's Best Ass for his exploits in the woods, which strangely he's been quite vocal about. Not the fact that he has got a nice posterior but more the information about his anal evacuations. The horror! With the stiffness in my back, I too was somewhat worried about having to sit down prior to the run today. Would I be able to rise from the throne? Sharing this concern with my young physio went over her head. She is shorter than me admittedly but to spare my blushes or hers I mentioned the phrase 'daily ablution', it fell on deaf ears and an explanation was required. Why do I talk myself into these situations?

Around the course over the weekend has been the cheery face of Aly Knowles. In 2018, when I needed a kick up the behind she was there for me. In 2019 when I was as pleased as punch, she was there for me. What's amazing about Aly is that's how she makes you feel, like you are the only one she's looking out for. Her 'give' to each and every athlete over the years must have been quite simply amazing. Everyone entering the event counted for Aly, no one more or less deserving than another. She always knows the right words or actions to say, so that you believe you can. Yesterday, and today I remembered her phrase, 'run if you can, walk if you have to and. crawl if you must.' She was out there on the course again wearing with pride her 10in10 hoodie. It's only running marathons and there's tons of people who complete this distance and further but we are just ordinary folk, not special, yet all trying to do something which is in all fairness still a huge physical and mental achievement.

More automobiles out on the course today, classic Triumphs, now they were some special cars, much rather see those than an Italian super car. Unfortunately, I was too preoccupied with moving and trying not to concentrate on the pain in my lumbar to either take a photo or appreciate the condition of them. In fact the pain didn't really subside until I managed to get the pleasure of pootling along with the Reverend. 3000 miles she has clocked up in training, what a woman! Out on the course we met her husband, a vicar and one of her best friends, also a vicar. Click on the link and learn more...

After the marathon yesterday, the great and good Gary Dixon reminded me that the Albion and Liverpool match was on at 4:30. Clued into the updates on BBC Sport whilst I attempted to write up yesterday's blog, I was frustrated to find that although the fate of a top 4 Premier League finish is now in our hands, we were only drawing at the Hawthorns. Then in the 94th minute, the live text pops up with

  1. 90'+4' Post update Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Darnell Furlong.

Followed by:

  1. 90'+5' Goal!Goal! West Bromwich Albion 1, Liverpool 2. Alisson (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold with a cross following a corner.

Alisson! Alisson! Alisson! How, I love the drama. The ups and downs. Good days and bad days. Every marathon a miniature replication of life. Just keep going.

The first 13 miles and the last mile were the toughest today, just getting my body to appreciate that I wanted to keep going was an awkward conversation to have with myself. In fact I barely started to even plod until we were 5 miles in. After the previous days even with a sore hip when I was still moving quite freely, it's a struggle to swallow the bitter pill of wanting to do better. But, then towards the end of the day I appreciated that I did need to be kind and recognise that I'd just knocked another (26.2) one out - that was for you Patrick. Physio seemed to last a while today and one of my team-mates, Joni Southall has loaned me a hot water bottle to help keep my back muscles warm in the hope it doesn't seize up too much. I'm praying and I'd also beseech anyone else to say a little prayer so that I get to the start line tomorrow. Perhaps a trio of reverends, a prudence of vicars might help my corner...

Now, the final thing to do before bed is refuel and try to alleviate the pain in my back, I don't think I'll be doing this any time soon. The pose Patrick, the pose!

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