• Duncan Evans

It’s Real and the Panic Sets In…

Glibly, I was wearing my fluorescent T-shirt, emblazoned on the back in big, black bold letters was


“What’s that?” Théo said to me,

“That’s my Ten-in-Ten top,” I replied. “Can I have one?” he answered.

“If you want to do ten marathons in ten days, then yes of course you can have one, and besides where are your manners?”

“Can I have one, please?”  My son had read it, others might read it too.  At this moment, it struck me, I’ve signed up for something of note, I could achieve something I can be proud of.  This actually means I’m in. There’s no going back now.

Wearing something that identifies you with something, does make you feel different doesn’t it?  Imagine pulling on an official ‘shirt’ and actually being part of ‘it’, sort of makes a difference in your head (in your soul) doesn’t it?

What is strange is the real point when things dawn on you.  The weight of a decision, the point of no-return.  Coming back home from last week’s training weekend, we piled into our little cottage, and I then proceeded to wash my new kit (from packaged clean – is this ‘normal’), then hung it on the radiators to assimilate the smells of home.  It was Sunday night and I was still euphoric; a little scared, a little excited and somewhat anxious.  The information from the training weekend was just a little bit too real. The enormity of the task in front of me, the bloody great big ‘elephant’ now more more clear and in focus.  Still to be achieved is the remainder of the fundraising (thank you if you have already donated). Miles and miles of training to be done.  The quality of training to be executed.  The essential need to look after myself properly, sleep and eat, so that my mind and body can rest and repair from the ‘rigours’ of training (some of you might say my ‘head’ will never be right), dab.  The most basic of human functions and yet I seem to struggle doing them properly and consistently, with me it seems its either boom or bust.  Loïc sat with me on Monday night watching TV, saw the over-hanging tube of chub above the tops of my jeans, pressed my tummy with the sound of ‘squelch, squelch’, a clear indicator from the innocence of a child that my training has not been as consistent as perhaps it should have.  And sleep, well I’ll either lounge in bed (which I then berate myself about) or get 4 hours (by the way I’m not Margaret Thatcher, when someone says they’ve not slept well enough why does everyone quote Dame Maggie) in the effort to stimulate myself to work and complete the sometimes unrealistic list of tasks I’d set myself earlier in the day.

One thing is for sure though, I can definitely boom and bust on chocolate (my junk drawer at work is crammed full and emptied weekly of Snickers, Frys’ Chocolate Creams, Picnics, Topics, and all sorts of other unhealthy junk), but eating properly means much more than consuming the wholesome goodness and oodles of vitamins, calories, fibre and quality nutritional content that can be found in your average finger of fudge!

Back to the dawning moment, my apparent moment of realisation, the penny drop.  Nope, it wasn’t the relevant learning from the abundant stretching and prehabilitation that needs to be completed to prepare for 11th May.  Nor was it the strength training, and improvements to be made to my glutes; get your head around this, ‘my ass is my engine’ (a little phrase all of my own, I’ll explain another time, monster walk, indeed)!  Nor was it the information concerning the ‘giganta-ma-hoosive’ amount of calories due to be consumed daily during the ten days.

The pop of awareness, the champagne cork explosion, the Moët of realisation (an attempt to give the word ‘moment’ an interesting Sun headline style twist) was the slide show images of feet from last year’s 10in10 athletes.  Each picture displayed in glorious MGM technicolor; the once tiny, tidy packages of fluid filled cushions of puss.  The frank and determined message was that you cannot ignore tiny details, ironically presented perfectly by the very neat, succinct and engagingly professional Dr Katie Small (I hope this comes across in the manner I intend it to).  The most simple and basic lack of care can derail the 10in10 feat.  Thank you very much Dr Small, this singular presentation gave me the jitters.  From a tiny blister or two, or ten, that you managed to flash on screen, six foot high images which teetered on nightmarish.  The horrific cinematic treat of feet and soles (think of those pour souls who endured), is etched on to the inside of my eyelids.  I’m sure this was one of the lower rings of Dante’s hell, or ‘heel’ (see what I did there).  One of the images looked like the scene from Payback (with Mel Gibson), but the actual footage – pardon the pun – and not the imagined hammer bashing down on each of his little ‘piggies’.  I can still see in my waking hour the vision of someone’s little toe with what looked to be raw bone exposed, missing its toe-nail and mangled in a marathon, virtually smashed to smithereens.  Close your eyes and think of it, I dare you.

Plodding on, the need to train is real, the need to sleep is real, the need to eat and hydrate properly is real, the need for discipline, organisation is real, and still the list goes on.  I can’t be glib now.  You might think and I hope you do, I bet he’s regretting it?  He’s got no idea what he’s taken on, I’ve heard him say fanciful stuff before and never do anything about it, he’s just a dreamer. Well, excuse my frankness, you can jog on.

After last weekend, the learning, the stories, the attitude and mindset of everyone, coupled with the benefit of others’ experience has only steel(toe-capp)ed my resilience. My choice to do this is mine. The why for doing it is still the same.  I now feel like I’m on Countdown, dedink, dedink, diddly dink…only 109 days to go.

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