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Baron Samedi

Day 2 (Samedi, 11th May 2019) and it sure was going to be a beautiful day, yes sir, a beautiful day. Not too hot, not too cold, a very calm breeze, warming sunshine, no rain and even better for me, no real aches and pains. Only eight to go after this one.

At the back of my head though is a nagging worry that I'll get shin splints again or get injured and end up with a similar experience to last year. Dr Katie says my shins are fine, my calves are okay, my quads and glutes okay nothing to be concerned about, but then I've only run one marathon so far.

On to today, steady away which seems to be working so far (touch wood). I've been lucky enough to run with two of last year's finishers, yesterday I ran with Rich Rex and today with Diane Morris. All those miles training tend to be solitary, most marathons (even when surrounded by hundreds of people) tend to be run alone. But when you are chatting and enjoying a good old chin wag, the miles just ebb away. Towards the end of today, I also managed a couple of miles with Richard Whall. What I wonder is that regardless of how many of us consider running to be an inclusive sport, it can be terribly lonely, especially when training and pounding the same streets, or running the same hills and routes. Some of us are lucky enough to get to run with a friends, occasionally I join a self proclaimed group of runners called the 'Toasties' (because they often have toast following a run, but more often than not they end up with bacon and egg butties). I don't think the 'Bacon and Egg Butties', has quite the same ring to it? Most of the time though, when we run, we are alone, alone with our thoughts, our worries, our hopes and dreams. We generally sort things out during runs, don't we? Probably becuase of the feel-good chemicals released during a run, life always seems more positive after. So, basically if you are having a bloody bad day, just get out there, if only for 20 minutes, a walk, a run, a cycle even. I noticed a tweet the other day which I hope I remember on the (potentially) tough days to come, I've paraphrased it I think, but here goes, 'if you've had a hard day and you're reading this now, you've survived a hard day. Your success rate for surviving hard days is 100%. My God you are amazing'. Thank you Laura Parrott Perry.

Admittedly, there are a few niggles after today, particularly my quads and IT band, so tomorrow the plan is to lay off the hills, I'd like to avoid them all together but... This year I've been more disciplined, I've walked when I wanted to, ran when I felt comfortable and seem to be starting to have more faith in myself and not doubt too much like some inane and repetitive Doubting Thomas. Still, there's a long way yet.

Dr Katie and I were discussing my plan today. Last year I was all bouncy, and went off too fast, too energetic like a young gazelle, so the advice this year is to go steady like ... I suggested elephant. We've settled on geriatric tiger (it's lucky a tiger is my favourite animal, others I could get easily offended). I'm not quite sure what's she is trying to insinuate? May be I am starting to look my age or don't quite have the same spring in myself that I used to? I'll prove 'em wrong. I'm determined to 'do better' than last year, just need to keep being sensible and stick with my careful and considered prowling around the course.

The grand unveiling of my two (that's right I'm so precious and such a narcissist, thanks for the blog fodder, a certain someone) physios...wait for it...

Áine and Sam. Look good together don't they? I didn't even ask them to hug for the pose. But, seriously, they are not a couple, they just work really well together, they have even laughed at a couple of my jokes so far. They've been so gentle with me and I'm in no pain at all, honest, that it looks like the memory of the manipulation, pummelling and pounding delivered by Aimee last year has all been forgotten about?

Today, it is a struggle to get some anecdotes down, may be I'm a little tired, so I'm going to quit whilst I'm ahead and be happy with the fact that I've maintained a level of consistency so far over the two days with another 4:30-ish finish. See you tomorrow?

By the way, todays' marathon is dedicated to my grandparents (who are no longer with us) but who provided me with so many memories that I still look back at with fondness, beef dripping on toast, stodge, waiting outside the bookies, a mug with 'Slave' on it, outside toilets, cricket in the back garden, learning to tie my laces, songs of 'The Sun Has Got His Hat On', learning to play Rummy and Blackjack, haircuts in front of the fire, caravan holidays and Newmarket, the phone ringing at lunch and the outpouring of incredulity that followed and more besides. I hope I can help fill my children's lives with as many rich and varied memories ...

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