Don't sit and wonder why someone isn't doing more. Be the person to do more.
I think I've said this before...
I was lucky enough to have the support of Mark for the entire two lap course and for the first half I had the backing of my amazing little sister, Meg. The lead up to the event had been great; I was looking forward to spending a few hours with Mark and Meg and thought we'd have a great time through our next 26.2 mile journey, my legs felt fresh and overall, I was pretty positive. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Heart Break Hill? More Like Heart Attack Hill!!
On the way to the race the following morning I switched on my Garmin only to discover that it wasn't working. Panic set in. How on earth was I going to pace myself?! How would I know when I needed to speed up or slow down? How would I know what mile I was at between mile markers?! I was actually battling back tears. Meg, Dan and Mum didn't understand, telling me it was 'just a watch' and that 'I'd be fine'. For me, being able to pace myself is really important. I have a tendency to fly through 5-10 miles when my breathing has settled and then suffer later. I was going to have to work really hard to keep my pace slow and steady.
My bad mood just wouldn't lift. I was struggling to even muster up a smile at the start of the race, I just wanted it over and done with - an attitude I've never really had before. Joined by Meg and Mark at the start line I tried to get my head in the game, we set out gently and paced ourselves through the first .8 of a mile before coming to a hill nicknamed 'heartbreak hill'. I'm surprised it wasn't called 'heart attack hill'. I've never seen an incline like it. There was even a handrail to hold on to to make your way up.
You're My Ohana & I'll always Love You
I could see how determined Meg was, how well Mark was doing even through injury and realised I wasn't doing them justice. 'I'm getting my head in this game' I told them, plugging both of my headphones in, switching Eminem on and picking up my pace. I guided them through the next few miles of the course, sticking a few paces ahead of them. The course remained hilly with constant steady inclines but we were getting somewhere at last.
Feet fail me not, this may be the only opportunity I've got...
What Goes up Must Come Down
As we reached the bottom of the steepest incline and crossed a road, I had my weirdest marathon accident to date. A fly flew directly in to my eye. Until the 9th mile my eye was streaming, I could hardly see. We finally found someone with a bottle of water to wash my eye out. With half a face of make-up and half a bare face, we ploughed on. Through the town centre and on to a very long canal path, everything felt okay. My head was back where it needed to be and we'd actually started laughing again.
My sister, My Training Partner, My Best Friend x
People often comment on how close Meg, Mum and I are; the greatest thing I will take from this experience is spending so much quality time with them and making life changing memories.
Meg, I am so ridiculously proud to be your big sister, some days I wonder if we were born in the wrong order because you seem to look after me so much better than I'm capable of looking after myself. I can't wait to take on the challenge of Bournemouth with you and finish holding your hand, we'll get through everything together. Love you to the stars and back x
Round Two. LETS GO!
Mark and I waved as we started over again. Round two. It wasn't a good start as we got lost within .2 of a mile of leaving the Shay Stadium. With no marshals around or signage, we had to stand and wait for a runner to pass us. It didn't seem long before we were back at the bottom of Heart Attack Hill. Knowing what was in store, we gritted our teeth and made our way to the top. I kept telling myself to focus on the fun of the trail paths that were waiting for us.
Mile after mile passed; we thanked the marshals, saw some odd looking horses, battled up the hills and managed to just about fly down the hills (with the odd 'oh oh oh' as our knees started to hurt). Reaching mile 19 we stopped at a support car for a cup of water. There was no food at all on the course and not a single spectator so we were both feeling a little bit shaky. The marshal pulled a single bag of ready salted crisps and a carton of orange juice out of his car, I had a flash back to the man with tuc biscuits in Wales and could have kissed him but resisted.
Other runners were looking worse for wear. Mark gave up one of his remaining gels and I handed my juice to a guy who was sat on the road side shaking, you can only hope that these people make it to the end of the race in one piece. We saw several other runners in a bad way as we kept ploughing on. One guy had taken his shoes off, put his feet in to the canal to soothe them and now couldn't get them back on his feet. He was at least three miles from the finish. I always feel sorry for these people but do wonder what possesses them to think these things are a good idea. Stick to what you know and then do that some more!
Even S Club 7 can't Save Us Now...
The medic handed me a recovery shake and mum was trying to force feed me tuc biscuits, jelly babies, bananas, cashews... You name it she wanted me to eat it (love you mum). Within ten minutes I was back on my feet and ready to get in the car and head home. Watching the video back of the finish scared me. I have no colour in me at all, it's obvious that my body was not only physically but mentally drained.
A closing THought.
I know I'll make it to the end of the year and I know I will finish this challenge with an enormous sum of money raised for our charities (please donate here). But on top of that, I will have memories to cherish forever, an understanding that you really don't need blood to be family (Taylors!) and a real belief that I can do anything I want to do in life.
Break records, be your biggest competition.
Only you can choose to make a change but I hope I can inspire some of you to do that. x