Wednesday, 14 September 2011

We can be heroes... "The 10 in 10 Diaries"

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He's ordinary

So, it’s all over.

13 out, 13 back – we all did it. We overcame the tough times, the tiredness, the injuries and manky feet and we made it. It was tough going and there were days when I really didn’t want to get out of my warm bed – especially when the rain was beating down so hard on the windows and the wind was going crazy. Sometimes it felt like you had only just fallen asleep, only to be woken up again; it made some of the mentally tough bits that bit tougher. But everything was worth it. All the effort is worth it. That moment when you cross the finish line on Day 10 is priceless. You get up that hilly driveway and it’s all quite quiet and then you turn a corner and you decide to leggit’ and all of a sudden there are all these people everywhere…just amazing.

I can’t really begin to tell you what yesterday meant to me. It was two years to the day that I had first been inspired by the idea of the 10in10; seeing all those amazing guys back in 2009, I wanted in. The Windermere Marathon has become really special to me since it was the first marathon that I ever did and because it is a beautiful race with a lovely atmosphere. And to think, it all started by chance when I googled Lake District +marathon and pressed search in 2009 – I have always loved the Lake District and this last 10 days has been surreal (even if the weather hasn’t always be great).

When I awoke yesterday morning, it really was like Christmas day. There’s this celebration in the air, nervousness and excitement. There was also quite a bit of nervousness about the weather. The night before had been really bad weather-wise and the wind had picked up significantly. The rain was torrential. Come early Sunday morning and the rain still hadn’t let up; it was a pretty miserable sight and I was really worried that it was going to be like that all day. However, it did begin to let up. As we made our way out onto the lawn for our pre-race 10in10 huddle and foxy read his speech, the air seemed still and the rain did seem to stop. A few tears replaced the downpours for a while. It was really emotional. I knew it would be. Yet suddenly it all felt so real. This was it, the moment.

Before I knew it, we were off down that driveway, at the start line and then we were off. For the first hour, the weather was definitely against us. The wind was blowing with such force in my face and the rain couldn’t make its mind up. It was raining, then it stopped, then it was raining again. I had absolutely no energy. I felt a little bit frustrated; there just wasn’t a lot in my legs. Ultimately, the rain let up and overall, the weather remained quite pleasant all day. I was so happy when the other runners started filtering through. It was nice to have some company out on what has been, at times quite a lonely course. At the same time it was really strange; who were all these people out on my course? On OUR course? Haha - we had all grown so accustomed to the solidarity of the course. I ended up going a bit quicker than I had in days before, but overall I just wanted to enjoy the day. It was fantastic to makes it back to that finish. It is all just crazy. I can’t quite believe that I ran around that lake 10 times. It really doesn’t feel like I went out there 10 times. I know we did, but it’s so strange; it has gone soooo fast.

Ultimately for me, this challenge was about completing 10 marathons in 10 days. I wasn’t sure what the experience would be like or how I would deal with the psychological aspect of the same course and same routine. It’s tough. One of the toughest bits is getting out there again the next day and the day after and knowing that you’ll have to revisit specific sections of the course that you may have had a tough moment on previously. As a very wise runner told me: if you weren’t mentally strong before, you will be after this.

Dealing with the unexpected was also hard – my stomach wasn’t right for the majority of the event. There were days when I felt sick, days when I had a weird trapped air feeling high up near my diaphragm and days where I would rather have been tucked up in front of the TV rather than out running. You just have to accept the annoying bits and try and work around them.

Road Kill Tally

And the winner is….The Nappy. It stayed with us until the end, through rain storms and blustering wind it remained a daily landmark. The blackbird also remained; although it changed position slightly…

Now I’m back I feel all sad really – it’s so hard to explain everything in depth, all the emotions you go through. I can’t believe I really did it.

Thank you to everyone who supported me and to everyone who read my ramblings

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