• Day Eighteen

    At 4am this morning I was convinced it was 2008.

    At 6am I thought I had to take Noah to school.

    Luckily something clicked and I remembered what I was supposed to be doing but I continued wandering around the house in a bit of fog. Walking over to the start was difficult: I was struggling to accept it was 2013 let alone accept that I was about to run another marathon. I was also extremely cold and was hiding in my jumper as much as possible. I really thought that this might be a difficult day.

    As we turned the corner to The Palace I saw a large group of people standing on the corner, all dressed in running gear and I started to panic; were they here for me? maybe it was a group of runners meeting up and they just happened to meet there. But as I approached they starting smiling and clapping! Oh, they were here for me!

    I recognised some of them, Jeremy was back to run for about an hour and Andrew was there too. But there were a lot of people that I didn't know. Davie stepped forward and introduced himself. He was from Parkrun Edinburgh, as were a lot of the other runners. They meet each week for a timed 5k (it's you against the clock) and had decided to come along to support me. They were a fantastic bunch, who were all very friendly, it's worth looking them up if you fancy doing a timed 5k run as their philosophy is fun and inclusive (http://www.parkrun.org.uk/edinburgh/).

    We were started by Derek from The Palace and we headed away up the hill. People were chatting to one another all the way up and it felt like a moving party! Each time we stopped to check in with Edd there would be changes as people moved to chat to someone different. Some people stayed for a couple of miles, others stayed for a bit longer, others stayed for a lot longer! For me I appreciate any amount of time that people stay for; even if someone runs with me for a few hundred metres I'm really touched that they have made the effort.

    There were other runners in the group who weren't part of the parkrun and I spent some time chatting to them too: Chris is a production manager for a couple of shows in the Fringe, Anne also rejoined us very near to the start, Ali came and ran 6 miles with us again today and Jane came back for a fair few miles as part of her long run today.

    Andrew left part way through the marathon to go and run with a lady who is training for her first marathon, but like yesterday he returned at about the 18 mile mark. And although Jeremy had only intended to stay for an hour, he ended up staying for the whole marathon! Once you get to the 20 mile mark and there are only 3 more 'ups' it suddenly seems a lot more possible.

    Four miles from the end I was delighted to be joined by my sons, Zach and Noah. I introduced them to Jeremy and Andrew and we all kept on our way. A little way on I bumped into Mike and Mike (from yesterday), and despite not finishing their day until the small hours of the morning they joined in and ran with us all the way to the end.

    Today has been the easiest marathon by far, which was a complete surprise. This morning I thought it would be a real struggle, especially as my head was all over the place. But the support I received today was phenomenal. I loved being part of the group running up and down the Mile, meeting new people and hearing about their lives, their jobs, their families and their interests. I enjoyed seeing people who have been along before and re-connecting with them.

    And each day I stop and chat to Tom Gilzean. I think I've mentioned him before, he is 93 years old and collects money for charity on The Royal Mile each day. We just check in with one another and take a moment to wish each other well for the day. It's become an important part of my day and one I look forward to.

    My pace was also a bit quicker today. Edd was a little concerned that I was going too fast but it felt ok to me. Generally I just do what I can at the time. By about the 20 mile mark things had really eased off and it was starting to feel really easy to run, so much so that the amount of effort I felt I was making dropped to it's lowest point so far. Even my physio said that today is the best day for me physically: my foot was a lot better, my muscles weren't too tight and my pelvis was more aligned than it had been at the start! I know that I still have 8 days to go and things may change again, but today I'm appreciating the positive changes in my body. I think it may be a combination of the daily physio, eating well, resting and sleeping well and the support and distraction I've had from people along the way. This is not an individual endeavour, it has become something much bigger and each incidental meeting, every comment as I pass or on facebook and twitter, every person that joins me to run or walk, every person that offers support or advice is an important part of the performance.


    • 1. Aug 18 2013 5:41PM by Anne

      Here is a little information about the flagstones and sets (cobbles) upon which you are pounding every day -

      Most of the pavement flagstones of the Royal Mile are from Caithness, and they are Old Red Sandstone - around 400 million year old fine-grained sandstone that was deposited on the floor of lakes that covered the area to the northeast of Scotland back then. There are fossil fish in the flagstones, here and there!

      The sets are a mix of granite from the Aberdeenshire area, and local dolerite (the dark one). Dolerite is also used along the kerb.

      Geological info courtesy of Angus Miller.

    • 2. Aug 25 2013 6:40PM by Heather Jones

      Hi Vicki, I hope my comments are encouraging you, even if you don't read them till you've completed this amazing adventure. And yes you are absolutely right - Davie, and Gaz, and all the other regulars at Edinburgh parkrun are a great bunch. And in their own way, they engage in repetition, putting the parkrun on each and every week. Davie sets up and puts away, and briefs new runners, week in, week out, before doing the run too. We all touch each other's lives in one way or another. I'm glad you've touched Edinburgh parkrun's and they've touched yours. (P.S. I ran my 102nd parkrun at Edinburgh yesterday :)

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