The power of prayer !

21 02 2009

Thank you to my dear wife for her entry yesterday. I didn’t realise she is quite so competitive !

Today was to be a big test and it proved to be quite an eventful one. Probably my worst running experience to date.

I planned a 14.2 mile run – actually further than a half marathon – spurred on by the fact that I have a half marathon to run on 8th March – the longest run since my youth. I also was interested in how a little further would feel and whether a full marathon on 5th April was viable. I think I found my answers today. Yes to the half but no to the full.

This would be tough as there are a few hills. The worst bits were between miles 9 and 10 up to Burton and also from mile 12.5 to 13 where I pull away from the coast.

I was a little fearful and explained to Dominic that I might break down today if things went badly. He loves cars and so the thought of me breaking down and being towed away really grabbed his interest. School is making him quite religious (to our embarrassment he started singing loudly “Jesus’ love is wonderful ” in public last week) and so I thought it would be a nice idea if we said a prayer together. Something along the lines of bring daddy home without breaking down or expiring.

I set off with two potato waffles and eggs in me. A slow steady pace was the order of the day. I felt a little tired to start with (a little uphill though) but my form gradually improved. The run did seem to drag though. 45 mins seemed like an age and I had to keep my concentration as it was mostly unpaved roads with some blind corners but to be fair very quiet.

An hour passed I felt a little better but plodded on into Hooton village and then I knew at least I was turning for home. A treat of a banana and water stop awaited me at Willaston. I knew Burton hill was to come so this stop was essential as a refuel.

I felt very tired. I am sure it is the knowledge of how far you are away from home doesn’t help but I suppose also I had run 8 or 9 miles already. The hill beckoned it was a steady climb and there was still no sign of what was to come.

I got to the top and knew that I could relax for a bit now. The old legs were feeling very weary though and I am sure I saw that pitying look in cyclists and pedestrians as they passed by in Burton. Even the next downhill bit hurt and I just took it slowly.

Finally, I reached the front. A beautiful view but I became aware of something else. I was getting cramp and it wasn’t in my legs. Oh dear. I thought it would pass but no it was getting worse. The shaking about during a run certainly was not helping. I began to get concerned. I reassured myself that I was quite close to home now and surely I could last until then. Another wave of cramps hit me. Oh God I couldn’t believe it ! Although the marsh was available there were quite a few ramblers and bird watchers around and I wasn’t exactly camouflaged ! This is when a bright fluorescent yellow running top does you no favours. Under that was a bright red top. What a nightmare ! Things were getting desperate down there. I tried to ease a little wind out but it felt a little “dangerous”.

I decided to run on. There was a pub a little further on and maybe relief. To my dismay the pub looked very closed. By now the urge to do no.2’s was excruciating. I clenched my buttocks and focussed on my running. Not the easiest thing to do and I felt a few involuntary movements down there. I just didn’t know if I could last. I have not been in such discomfort during any run. Not only was I physically exhausted but had this to deal with and the final hill was looming , housing (Oh joy) and still a good one- and- a- half miles to home.

I turned up the hill racking my mind as to what to do – scanning the area for quiet little corners. Even if I did perform what could I use to wipe ? The only piece of paper was something with my home address and my wife’s telephone no. on. Oh God the embarrassment… the press coverage… my career could be finished !

As I pulled up Marshland hill I began to feel faint, I think with the panic. There were people gardening could I ask one to use their loo ? No I would literally run into their house and be a laughing stock. I had to just keep going there was now only a mile to go. I felt another involuntary spasm. Marshlands seemed to go on for ever and then finally I was at the top. I had a brainwave or a message from above ! Our church was in striking distance – they had an outside loo. It might be open.

I felt another cramp. I was running out of time, my legs couldn’t carry me any faster. There were four large rather “strong” looking gentleman outside their house – no doubt pimping up their car. I came so close to asking them for relief BUT No I thought for God sakes I’m a Chartered Accountant. I have to keep some sort of dignity.

All my hopes were now pinned on the church. The thought of praying didn’t enter my mind. I was too focused on clenching. I crossed the road I could see it now, my legs carried me on. I kicked with all I had left and found myself in the churchyard outside the door. It was closed. I tried it. THANK GOD !! THANK GOD !! THANK GOD!! . I whipped off my trousers and sat down. All mod cons here even a washbasin ! This was the closest I have been to a “state of grace” within church property.

Then a silly thought crossed my mind – should I stop my stopwatch ? What are the rules on this sort of thing. Should I include it as part of my run ? I decided to stop the watch.

After the incident I can safely say the remainder of my run was tough but steady. I shuffled home in 2 hours 14 mins (running time). PLEASE NEVER AGAIN !

On Monday I am visiting Claire House for the first time. I think it has come at the right time. Today has definitely brought me back down to earth as to the difficulty of the challenge and how so much of it is out of my hands.

The prayer did help didn’t it ?





3 responses

22 02 2009

Me rei mucho cuando lei tus problemas y en español se dice( Casi me cago como las mulas romeras).
Mucha suerte la proxima vez.

22 02 2009

It is one thing to go for a run. It is quite a different thing to go for the runs!
ps. The nearest public toilet in Madrid is in Torrejon de Ardoz. See Luis for further details. Don’t forget to take your own paper and plenty of it ‘ por si las moscas….’.

27 02 2009
A girl running

Oh your post had me enthralled! I wasn’t sure if I should feel nervous or just giggle. I went with the giggles – especially when you were unsure about turning the watch off LOL.

I am running my first marathon in Madrid – I am reading a lot of bad news about the event and i am petrified…..this is how I found your blog 🙂

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