• Day Nine

    Oof. Today has been a tough one. When I woke up this morning I could barely put any weight on my foot, even just to walk. I took painkillers and carried on with my normal preparations for the day, desperately trying to allay any panic. I kept hoping that the pain would ease once I started to run.

    The walk over to the Palace was probably my quietest yet, as I focused all my energy into just getting to the start. Edd was worried but there wasn't a lot I could do to reassure him, apart from saying that I would go slowly and I would take it easily. I was reasonably sure of the slow part, but I thought that it would be far from easy.

    I asked Edd to be my starter today as there was a new guard working at the Palace and I didn't have the energy to explain what I needed from him. So at 7am Edd gave me a rousing 'GO' and off I stumbled. Those first few steps were really painful and each time I put my foot to the ground I experimented with placing it slightly differently in order to find the least painful way of moving. This carried on for most of the marathon. My mantra today was: every step counts and I repeated this over and over. The first miles were the worst as I struggled to find my rhythm, struggled to find the least painful way of moving, and tried not to land too heavily on the other foot so that it wouldn't end up being the one hurting tomorrow.

    Eventually I found some sort of rhythm and the miles began to tick by. Ordinarily I don't begin to count the miles until I get to the last three 'ups' (mile 21) but today I felt that every mile was an achievement and I tried to acknowledge each one with a 'thank you' that I had completed it.

    Somehow, I found myself at 10 miles. Somebody ran up behind me and asked what I was doing as he had seen me running up and down the mile for a few days. I explained and also told him that today was really tough. It turns out that he is a sports psychologist working for Edinburgh University, so he and his colleagues work in the same field as The Human Performance Unit. They had been talking about what I was doing and wondering about it. He asked what my research was for, so I explained that it was a performance piece looking at the similarities between sport and art; the performance side of each; the ability to motivate yourself in each.

    Each morning I normally see a man on his way to work and he always smiles at me and wishes me well for the day, but as I was so slow today, I didn't him at the normal point so he came down the Mile to wait for me. He said he had been worried about me today because of my foot. I'm not sure I was able to reassure him either but the effort that he went to to come and see me lifted my spirits and I appreciated his generosity.

    By about mile 14 my spirits had plummeted and I found myself running and crying for about 3 miles. I was trying to hold it together and not actually sob as I ran along, partly out of embarrassment, partly because I didn't want to worry anyone, partly out of vanity because crying is not a great look. Eventually Tom said he would run with me but only if I stopped crying. So I did. Whilst I wasn't very good company, Tom was able to distract me and help me to focus on other things, and when he left I went back to my mantra and just kept going.

    After a while I was joined by Greg. Greg normally runs quickly and on his own so this was a new experience for him but I'm so glad he came along. Greg helped me to focus on things outside of my body, putting my attention back on the run, the Mile and our conversation. He likened running through the busy section of the Mile to trail running, trying to find the best path and avoiding obstacles. Although this section can be hard to get through I always get a buzz and a sense of achievement when I make it through to the other side! After a while Greg left me to go on run on Salisbury Crag; something I'll have to do another time.

    One of the castle guards stopped and asked what I was doing today as well. I explained it to her and also told her that today was tough. She carried on up the Mile and told the other guards and when I arrived they all cheered and called my name, and then they did this every time I reached the top. That really helped me get through today and on the last mile I stopped to thank them for their support. At the bottom, I now have the Police Officers at Parliament waving as I pass and the Palace guards giving me a nod and at the top the Castle guards are giving me a cheer, and it means so much to know that people are rooting for me.

    I also took a lot of strength from the people that I am getting to know on the Mile: they smile as I pass, or gve me a nod; a few give me a cheer and a high five.

    The level of support that I'm getting is phenomenal and I'm overwhelmed. People at home are posting messages of support on facebook. I feel really lucky to know that I have so many people wishing me well and on a tough day like today it makes all the difference.

    The end of today's marathon was such a relief. Every step had hurt, every step had to be fought for. I gave it everything. It was hard for Edd and Tom to watch me go through that but they gave me the space to do it whilst also letting me know they were there. I finished today because of the support I received and I hope that I can repay that kindness and generosity. I hope that everyone takes the time to support those in their life who need it (even if they don't show that they need it).

    Deb: this one was for you x


    • 1. Aug 9 2013 7:52PM by Chris Highcock

      Good to see you this morning, and trot those few yards before work. I was thinking about you while I was at my desk. Keep pushing. You are inspiring.

    • 2. Aug 25 2013 7:47PM by Heather Jones

      Many congratulations Vicki for coming through today. It sounded, and was, very tough. But you did it. You will always be able to look back at that.

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