Absence from blogging is usually due to one of two reasons , A/ I'm not doing much running so have nothing much interesting to report or B/ I get so busy with juggling the rest of the things going on at home and work that writing a blog sometimes gets pushed down the list of priorities. These past weeks it's been both that have played their part, still no running and a very full fortnight on the work front.
The blogs are now in from last weekends York marathon so I can add my own thoughts now. It was a joy as always to meet up with some of our own. The McArthurs played host to Hollywood Dave for the weekend, he fitted in like a long lost brother( from a different mother ) Seeing him getting in and out of the car when I picked him up from the station it was obvious to see what pain he was in and how limited his movements were, he would need every ounce of his now famous resolve and grit to help him finish a marathon the following morning.
On marathon morning it was special to meet up with Red Dave, Jenny, Ali and Katie, all of them in good spirits all of them with a look of determination that I've come to recognise in runners just before a race. It was a bit odd for me to be there, I had toyed with trying to get round using a walk / limp strategy but come to terms with the fact that it just wasn't sensible if I was going to stand any chance of making Snowdon. I also realise that any marathon deserves respect and I would not be showing what was due by assuming I could just show up on the back of a 3 miles in 9 weeks training plan, carrying an injury and expect to complete it.
What happened in York was memorable for me as a spectator. I tried to see our runners on several points on the route, I succeeded to some extent but sadly missed some runners at the 17 mile point due to one reason or another. It was the finish line where I wanted to be, I wanted to experience those moments as runners crossed the line and the relief and rawness is there to see. I knew if I hurried I would make it so see them all home. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out like that, as you know by now Ali never made the finish line and the other three crossed running on less than empty. It was a real proud moment and a genuine privilege to be the first on hand to congratulate and hug Red Dave, Katie and HD. If you had seen them you too would completely understand the amount of hard effort and total commitment that each of them gave, the emptiness at the end is so poignant. I have so much respect for each one and of course for poor Ali who pushed so hard for a PB and fell tantalisingly short. I was gutted for her, she didn't deserve it. Watching friends run a marathon is a draining experience, there is so much empathy, sympathy and hope and an overriding feeling of helplessness. There was nothing I could do but watch and wait and then shed a few tears of joy as I counted them in. I don't think I will ever know quite what it took HD to get the job done, but for him to class it as one of his bravest runs says enough.
So a week tonight quite a few of us will gather in North Wales, there's the matter of the Snowdonia marathon to address. I've been pinning all hopes on being able to complete it, not walk round but do it at at least a jog. As the day has got nearer the possibility seems to grow more remote. I had a bad day with the back today, nerve pain down the back of the leg meant I was walking like an arthritic 90 year old! The journey to the post office was a challenge and that's a 1/2 mile flat course , 26.2 miles of ascent and descent feel improbable at best. I finally get my MRI scan tomorrow , I wonder if they can give me the results there and then? . The idea is to go out with my daughter on Sunday for a one mile slow jog, if this is do-able then there is something tiny to cling to, if I can't manage a mile then I can't manage a marathon. I know that to achieve you have to dig deep, go through the pain, show guts, burn bridges....for a while I thought that I needed to do that in Snowdon to prove something but I've come to realise that I don't have to prove anything to myself or to you. The reason for running if I do will not be to prove anything except that I want to be part of something collective and something memorable.
If I am unable to run next Saturday then I will support again and I will do it with every bit of enthusiasm that I put into my Snowdon run last year, it's a special place , a special race and I'll be amongst special people. See you there.