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S is for ...

Splish, splosh, sponsor me (please) Sunday. It was a tad damp out there today, but then there are more wet spots than an old person's diaper here in Cumbria. Pretty much every address includes either lake, beck or ghyll. If this comes across as a bit crass it's not meant that way. I love the Lakes. A glance out of the window to the fells and mountains, a gaze across the water and I'm stirred by it. This truly is a wonderful part of the world and the folks who are the custodians of the land, equally inspiring. Being here is special.

When I was a kid, my Mum used to get me and my sister to go to Sunday School. My memories are very sketchy but through the haze of time, I now look back on those days with fondness, we'd colour in drawings, learn stories from the Bible, sing in the choir and, occasionally read a passage in front of the congregation. I like to read out loud to an audience, to do daft voices. Me and the kids have through lockdown been reading Harry Potter, complete with special voices reserved for odd characters. I find it difficult to replicate the voices from week to week, so far Hagrid started off as a farmer from Norfolk, then a pasty eater from Cornwall and occasionally a 'weegie' (although I've no idea how I get to the Glaswegian accent from the Norfolk). I think I can tell a story, at least my children keep asking me to read and tell them stories so I must be pretty good and they can be a tough crowd, especially when the two boys pretend to be 'Ben and Benjamin the Critics'. I've been judged on cooking, baking, drawing and decorating, it can be a little disconcerting getting marked out of 10 by two determined young boys who practice a level of seriousness observed by Marcus Wareing on Masterchef.

Talking about Sunday School, I missed the Reverend Kate Bottley and Jason Mohammed today, that's regular fayre every Sunday morning, they are the background to our family Sunday mornings, complete with pancakes. The Reverend Kate just oozes a northern-ness; a straightforward way of speaking, honesty but she's charming too. I have a bit of a soft spot, as she always makes me smile. I'm sure over the next few evenings I'll be able to catch-up on BBC sounds.

Since the end of Day 1, my hip has been a little sore and it doesn't seem to be dissipating but Georgia who is on my mind at present assures me we've got it under control. Dr Katie has concurred. These physios are bloody brilliant. Every single person who has looked after me from Aimee (2018), to Aine and Sam (2019) and now Georgia have been nothing but professional, personable and supportive.

We were able to choose our race numbers this year, maybe I've been a bit daft but I selected 16 which was mine from 2018 (I hope it's not an omen)? I've actually got 16 marathons to run to rack up 50 marathons, numerically it holds more than superstitious value. Sixth back to Brathay today, just 2 minutes slower than yesterday which considering the uncomfortable old man hip is not too bad and is at least showing some consistency. In places I've been able to move freely but the most important thing this early on in the event is nursing or managing your efforts. Twenty to thirty minutes saved today can help prevent serious niggles later; walk the hills, especially the downs to save your quads and listen to your body. Considering the poor training quality leading up to the event, I've a lot to be grateful for.

The weather seemed to play havoc with my breathing today, the asthma is under control but I couldn't stop snorting snot, not an attractive look. I'll apologise to all who may have witnessed my attempts at recreating the smoke emanating from Smaug's nostrils in the form of phlegmy discharge. Beurgh!

Just before Box 2 today there were four Maserati cars traveling in the opposite direction to us. Not quite the 'Ferrari-like' Michelle Woodcock but still impressive supercars. The vapour wafting from their engines was a heady scent, you could almost smell the power under the hood. Just a little pressure on the accelerator and they'd have been off like a shot. Not that I'm impressed by the luxuries and trappings of wealth, I'd much rather have an economical and comfy VW or similar. To see four in a row was novel and obviously left an impression, otherwise I wouldn't have remembered it almost 11 hours later.

This morning, I was offered a compliment about my musings but advised that I perhaps need to be a little kinder to myself. We all need to be more compassionate with ourselves, we are often our own worse critics. Subsequently, I chose special socks to wear for today. Can you say one kind thing about yourself before bed tonight? Do it, you might like the thought, after all don't you deserve it?

If anyone reading this thinks they can do the 10 in 10, you are right. I love the phrase 'if you think you can, or you think you can't, you are right.' It's a choice isn't it. To get to choose the outcome in an unforgiving world; there are so many inspiring people out there, why not inspire yourself? Come August this year get your entry in, one of the best experiences of your life and if you're searching for a challenge or answers to life, like some tortured lost soul, you would do worse than get involved and help a raft of society's less fortunate who just want the chance to help themselves to the change they are seeking in their lives.

Sermon over, seven to go and I hope to see you at the finish next Sunday ...

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