I awoke around eight-thirty. We had to check-out by ten. My last meal was to be hot, thick porridge with a sprinkling of honey. I ate it slowly, feeling my knees groan with ghostly pains. Just thinking of those miles ahead was enough to cause these phantom twinges. Four hours later we, the Glasgow nine, were on the starting line. Bang. Off we go.
One, two, three, four, five, six miles easy. I crossed the half-way mark in forty-five minutes and fifteen seconds. The scenery was breathtaking…. wait no, that was the running doing that… but the scenery was stunning. Seven, taken care of in under seven. Only crow road left to go (I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking that). A steep long downhill to make the eighth an incredibly fast mile, around six minutes. I’m well into the ninth when it hits. I’ve been expecting it, but that doesn’t help. Working hard I manage to maintain pace through ten and eleven. The twelve sign scrolls into view.
It’s not good; I’m slowing but I can’t help it. For the first time someone cheers, “Go Glasgow! The last push!”, it helps me enormously as I squeeze past twelve. No one could help me in thirteen. I could see the athletics track we would be finishing on. We had to spiral way out and come round, then onto it. I could keep my legs going but the fight was gone from them.
The last mile seemed to take as long as the first seven. I was in an Escher painting, the end wasn’t getting any closer. Finally I break out of it and onto the track. Four hundred metres left. The soft ground of the track is foreign to my jellied legs. I struggled past the thirteenth mile marker. Only two hundred metres left. My mind was already spending my dinner money. Ten runners had overtaken me since I hit the track. I tried with all my will power and spent energy to sprint, only managing to continue on at the same pace; I was done.
But so was the race. The giant clock ticked 1:32:27 as my foot fell on the line. Relief, exhaustion, pain and elation met me as I was handed my participation medal and ‘goody bag’. I fumbled inside the ‘goody bag’ and emptied the Lucozade into my throat. Andy, Olly, Alan, Richard, Glenna and Shona were there before me. We all congratulated each-other and waited for Fiona and Lesley to come in. Everyone achieved a personal best (well, mine by default, as it was my first).
Well that was that. We ate at ‘Pizza Express’, drank some wine, jumped (well slowly, precisely and carefully maneuvered my legs) onto the train. Then I was home. Un-injured but sore. I’d do it again, and I’m sure I will.