26.2 miles. One a day. Every day for ten days. Am I having too much fun? Am I making it sound like it's easy? If you dare to respond in the affirmative I will quite categorically state, it's not. Perfect running conditions, one athlete wrote. Another mentioned that at day 8 your legs feel like lead and your butt feels like it is about to fall off. This distance, this course, over this duration can derail even the sturdiest, swiftest and well stoked of locomotives. You see and experience different things on different days and unsurprisingly it is different for everyone.
It was strange starting today without Rexy (we all chose to wear one of his bottle tags pinned to our shirts), I think we all resolved to finish for him to endorse the attitude he brings to the Brathay 10 in 10 and his leadership. Passing Malc so early was even more surreal than yesterday, it sobers your thoughts to think that if Malc and Rexy can suffer then it could quite easily happen to me or to others. Head down, don't draw attention to yourself and get the job done. Stay sober.
Today was tough-ish, especially after my efforts yesterday and I knew it would be a bit of a grind. Setting off in relatively high spirits after exchanging 'get out of gym' letters with Dr Katie which still seems to be raising a titter amongst a few of the 'children' in the room.
The great thing about receiving this letter was that it reminded me to get my royal sh#t together. 26.2 miles to do, get to Day 9. We talk about one day at a time. Remember this. Just take each day as it comes and get through it. We mentally urge ourselves on by self-encouragement, or self-flagellation or through magical sleight of mind, we trick our bodies to get from (drinks) box to box. Other than a mile or so showing Tony Hooper how to run properly (he jokes) it was very lonely out there today, no company, no hares to chase and no foxes too close behind me. Today was a drag, like some cheaply made up transvestite kitted out from charity shop cast offs. It wasn't pretty and it felt ugly. The result belied the truth of the run, my second fastest finish of the week.
I described my muscles as 'pinchy'. The quads are tightening a little and beginning to tune my legs. So much so that the little pixies who took their tiny hammers to my shins last year made a guest appearance at around mile 20 and continued to see if they could play sweet music until the finish. This year I'm determined to drown the little buggers out.
But, I was talking about the perception of whether this event is 'easy'. On day 8, you can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is misleading, misguided and the faith you have in yourself can be misjudged, there's still work to do. Today, I have found it difficult, almost impossible not to compare myself or this experience to a year ago. Bloody event is playing tricks with me and I have to remember what I am achieving, what we are all achieving and have achieved, we are ordinary folk. Determination and realisation that, a gentle reminder is needed to let us know that we are not at the other side yet. I will continue to do my best to speed like a man on the run, reading from that map in the mind, up the ragged hill until I get to the other side. So no, I'm not yet ready to pay the Ferryman. My slight worry is the cost...
As Matthew was the tax collector, I hope 'he' appreciated my payment today.
This evening, I write a little tired, grumpy and a tad achy; a good night's sleep, some ice on the shins and we go again tomorrow to face Day 9. Whatever I've gone through today is nothing like the 'marathon' many young people are facing in their daily lives. Brathay helps contribute to change to give hope to many children and young families, so please donate whatever you can to help make a difference. I know you may well support other charities but tomorrow forego your Starbucks or that extra pint in the pub and donate whatever you've saved, it all adds up, it all helps to make a difference. The link to my Just Giving page is below, please help.
By the way, I beat the train again today and managed to get a brief photo of it chugging in the distance because it took me ages to activate my camera. Sometimes, all fingers and thumbs.
Marathon 8 is dedicated to a family who have known heartache and loss. It is in memory of a special mum, daughter, aunt and friend. In three months time she should have been celebrating her 48th birthday but left us all to soon. The tiny insignificant struggle I faced today is dedicated to her, her marvellous son, but equally to her devoted parents, who have made an impression on me to my core. Fondest memories, Love Anyway. x