Forgive me Father for it has been ages since my last blog update. To be fair, I did warn you that my track record with blogs isn't great.
So what have you missed?
Bath Half - the day started off foggy and cool. By the time we arrived in Bath the sun was starting to shine but it was still quite chilly as we waited in the Runner's Village and in the pens ready for the start. With around 15,000 participants it was a good trial to see how I'd cope with a congested field of runners. Probably not as well as I would have liked is the answer. The first 3 miles were the worst and as a result I was sweating quite a lot, it stinging my eyes, as I tried to get around people. Traffic cones were obscured by the number of people adding to the fun. Generally speaking the first 10km or so went well. As I started the second lap I started to get a pain in my big toe on my right foot. Trying to focus on the crowds and the number of signs that they held up, high 5'ing people, catching soundbites from the bands instead of the pain. Seeing the mile markers and looking at my watch was mistake, the metres passed slowly.
As I got toward the last few kilometers I was really struggling, I was battling again the desire to walk, if only for a few steps but I knew that I'd be very disappointed in myself if I succumbed. The looks at the watch got more frequent, as I looked ahead trying to glimpse the finishing line. With less than 500m to go I tried to sprint, anything to get the race finished with, I managed a few fast strides, there really was nothing left at this stage.
I did manage to bag a new PB by some considerable margin so a successful day in the end.
Generally the training runs since then have gone to plan but on my longest scheduled run I hit a problem. Dorney Lakes Marathon Prep race was supposed to be 24 miles but I only managed 20. I felt good during the morning and met a couple of #TeamSense before we set off. The omens were there though when the pacer I wanted to follow dropped out after 100 yards. The course was 4 miles laps and the first 2 were ok after that it became monotonous. Between mile 19 and 20 all of a sudden my left glute became incredibly painful. The pain spread through my leg quickly and started to materialise on my right glute too, perhaps as I tried to over compensate. I slowed to a walk for a few seconds and quickly evaluated my options. Option 1) continue and risk ruining VLM completely just 3 weeks out or Option 2) quit and 20 miles and hope to recover in time for VLM.Option 2 was chosen.
Since then the glute has improved, I wouldn't say it's 100% and unfortunately Donna had to cancel my last session with her as she was also injured. So tonight I'm seeing someone else for my last treatment to free up the leg muscles as much as possible.
Yesterday I went to London to collect my race pack, driving into London and seeing the famous towers of Docklands set the imagination into overdrive. In just a matter of days I'll be running past them. It was great to see #TeamSense, grab some cheering materials and see Fern there collecting her race pack too. It's been a hard slog to get to this point and one that I will never forget. Seeing the medal that will soon be placed around my neck, so close but yet so far. Thoughts of the long runs on Sundays, cold, dark and wet mornings and nights running, all for this one day.
Running has given me so much in terms of health and fitness but in sense of achievement too. I'm incredibly proud to have represented Sense on this journey, I've raised over £2000 with the promise of more to come and I'm going to run the London Marathon - a bucket list thing, something I've admired for many years, it's finally my turn! All that effort, training, early starts, lack of alcohol, will be worth it. Whatever happens on Sunday I will give it everything I've got: for Sense, for the countless friends, family, colleagues who have supported me in this quest and most importantly for myself. My dreams (in my broken sleep) of late have all been about running along Embankment, the River Thames glistening to my side, seeing Big Ben getting bigger as I get closer to it, Birdcage Walk (walk, run, jog crawl if necessary!) before hitting The Mall, summoning up whatever energy there is left to sprint toward and over the finish line. The soundtrack running through my head the way round, Chariots of Fire, the Theme from Trap (the music BBC use for the London Marathon) , Bowie's Heroes (we can be heroes, just for one day!), Perfect Day (Children in Need edition) and so many others that have inspired and motivated me when I needed it.
All that remains to be seen is will I beat the 4 hour barrier?