I thought that nothing could get harder than the 16 mile run. I was wrong. Last weekend was a 20 mile run organised by my running club along the Canal.
I knew my legs weren't feeling the best, even when I started. The first 10 miles were painful, but I was running reasonably strong with a respectable pace of 10:06 minute miles (for all you runners out there that understand the min/mile lingo). My godmother was running too and kept me going through the first 10 miles. She was brilliant, stopping with me every two miles to biofreeze by knee and massage my muscles.
The second 10 miles my Mum took over 'Beanie watching'. I think maybe I should try and explain this knee pain. Go to the table and bang your funny bone against it hard. Done it? That's the closest thing to the pain in my knee. It's a constant pain that starts after only a couple of miles and doensn't ease up even the next day.
When I saw a handful of supporters my pain had reached its peek (I now had pain in my left knee, right leg and both hips). They offered me painkillers but I was crying too much and didn't want to mask the pain in case I did some serious damage. It is really a moving thing when you see people you barely know show genuine concern for you and your run. They offer you what they have and cheer you on the way.
At mile 15, for the first time ever, I felt a bit sick. I'm attributing this to nerves, the crying or the energy gel. I was getting slightly hysterical as I explained to mum that I couldn't even enjoy the running any more, but each time I feel tired I think of how my Dad looks after a fit and keep going. A depressing thought, but running long distances can take you to some deep dark places in your mind. My pace had slowed right down and we were stopping to walk every half a mile, just to ease the knee pain for a minute or two. After that I vowed not to cry any more until I had reached the finish.
When I reached the 'finish' I needed another 0.65 miles to reach 20. I needed to do it. Mum & I were joined by Julie and Dad, who had already finished their run, but came back out and ran that last extra bit with me, despite their own pains. I held back tears and as I reached the car park where the other runners waited, I let the tears wash over me (again) and sunk into my Mum's arms like I'd grazed my knees in the playground. The other runners force fed me biscuits and cake, offered advice and gave my great big hugs, telling me how fabulous I was. People I barely knew were proud of me, even if I was embarrassed of myself and my dramatic performance. Not many sports where you can say that.
After my run I came back feeling like I had the flu. Trackies, top, jumper, hoody and a huge fluffy blanket did nothing to stop the convulsive shivers. I'm not exaggerating this for dramatic effect - running really does do this.
By 7.40pm I had been fed, watered, plunged in an ice bath (it was horrific as you might expect) and went for a 'nap'. Twelve hours later my alarm woke me up for work...
... I think we can conclude that it was pretty tough. I am NOT going through all that for nothing. London you will have my tears on the 17th April and don't you dare tell me to man up.