Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Countdown Begins...

Half my little toe fell off yesterday. It was pretty gross – but felt amazing afterwards. If you have read all these blogs so far then a) thank you, b) have you not got better things to be doing? And c) you will have figured out that they have been written with the benefit of hindsight. Well, now I’m all caught up (although this is still being posted two weeks after it was written!).

As I type this I’ve spent the last five days hanging out…ahem…I mean training in southern Spain with temperatures in the high 30s and a rather nice swimming pool to do my…training. It has been nearly two weeks since my overnight hike up into the Lea Valley and in that time I have had many many thoughts. 

These thoughts have mainly involved me deciding that I am a total idiot. I am deeply unprepared to take on a physical challenge as hard as this and I really should have known better. At the same time I have raised almost £1000 on my Just Giving page, which is incredibly humbling, and gives me some hope of reaching the £2.5k target I have set myself. Which of course, means there’s no backing out now.

The reason for this target is because I also want to do some running. When I last ran a marathon it took me 5hrs 43mins, or in simple terms – a bloody long time. I want to run the London Marathon, it has been an ambition since I was a child and I enter the ballot annually. I know people who do it every year and I am always full of admiration, pride and a little jealousy. I also wanted to improve on my half marathon PB and have forever wanted to run the Royal Parks Half. In order to get a place in that race I need to raise £400, and then a further £2000 for London – so there’s the figure.

The Royal Parks run in on October 6th, one month after I (hopefully!) complete the Thames Challenge. After the Lea Valley I was unable to walk into work at all the following week. Well, that’s not true, I tried it on the Thursday and realised what a horrible mistake that was. Only now, a full 11 days later, am I pain free. This means any proper training to run the time I was hoping for is impossible given the pain I am likely to be in. Annoying. I may take part anyway…but will have to wait and see. 

Back to the pain; first it was the balls of my feet and my toes along with fairly inevitable aches in my calves, hamstrings and quads along with a damn irritating groin strain. As those faded however, others arrived. It was a week before my Achilles started to get sore. Had it always been sore and I hadn’t noticed? Or was it straining more because I was walking funny due to all the other ailments? The muscle aches don’t bother me – such things can be fixed with stretching, but the pain in my feet was not going away. Worryingly it was across the top of my feet that seems to hurt the most days later…which suggests my shoes were too tight.

Which brings me back to my little toe…or what’s left of it. Such an innocuous sounding injury – it’s actually faintly embarrassing. However, the incredible amount of skin that came off yesterday has actually given me hope. Before the Lea Valley hike I’d managed to rid its opposite number on my right foot of quite a lot of hard skin, and that hadn’t given me nearly as many problems, so perhaps this will do the same – and there’s still two 17 days to go before I start (as I post it's actually more like 3.5), so it should heal OK too.

I’m also hoping that these walks have paid off. That come day three of the actual hike in September I won’t feel as horrific as I did on the Monday after Lea Valley because my body will be slightly more used to it. Of course, I am also going to stack up on a boat load of anti-inflammatory gels and some pretty punchy painkillers to get me through. I really don’t see how I am going to finish otherwise.

All that’s left now is to properly plan my route and persuade anyone foolish enough to come and join me for a stint…any takers?!

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