• Day Seventeen

    Boom! Here we are, day 17! I said to Edd this morning that I'm really glad this performance is for 26 days. I might regret saying that yet, but it feels like that is the right amount of time; not just in terms of my own journey through the process with all it's peaks and troughs, but also in terms of the journey that people who are engaging with it are on.

    At the start I would sometimes hear people on The Mile saying: "Why would you run here when it is so busy?" but now people are far more likely to say: "oh there's the runner", or "that girl's running 26 marathons in 26 days". I run past lots of people handing out flyers every day, and although I haven't stopped and spoken to many of them, I exchange a smile with lots of them, and they'll often wish me luck, or cheer, or say "keep running!" as I pass. I've even heard them explaining to other people what I'm doing.

    So it seems that the incidental nature of the piece is building: people talk about it as I approach or as I pass; I'm stopped by someone different every day who has read about the piece and just wants to say hello; people ask if they can take a photo. Today Mike and Mike approached and said well done and asked for a photo. Mike has run a few marathons and Mike and Mike both ran a marathon on The Great Wall of China which must have been amazing! They said they would come back and run with me, so as it's in writing now, they better come back!!

    I think that if I had done this performance over a shorter period I would have missed a lot of this momentum building.

    Likewise the number of runners who are engaging with the piece is building steadily, and people are realising that it is just as ok to come along for just a short stretch of the Mile, or 1 or 2 miles as it is to commit to running for longer. Now that my pace is slower this is also a good time for less confident runners/walkers to join me and share the experience.

    Today Andrew Jeske (from Jog Scotland, also known as JammyBilly) joined me from the start. We were met a little way up the hill by Grant, one of yesterday's runners and we trotted up and down the hill chatting away comfortably between the three of us. I'm also pleased to report that Anthony Roberts still joins me every morning for a short run.

    Grant peeled off after a couple of miles as he had to go to work and Andrew and I carried on our way. We were joined shortly after by Chris. I see Chris on his way to work each morning so I was delighted that he came along to run with me too as it gave me the chance to get to know him a bit better. Chris was pointing out a lot of the buildings and telling me about them, which I really enjoyed. I find history fascinating, and think that a understanding of where we have come from helps us to understand where we are now. Equally I find it disturbing that we so rarely seem to learn from past mistakes.

    Andrew left after a little while to go and do one of his running groups. I'm still firmly of the opinion that if you'd like to start running in Edinburgh then Andrew is your man.

    Rachel came along and ran for a couple of miles which was a big help. She did a 43 mile run two weeks ago so it was good to chat to her about the mind games you can use to get yourself through an endurance event.

    I told her that I'm still only thinking about the day that I'm on and she said to me that during a long race she will only think about the stage that she is running in, otherwise your mind is likely to explode!

    At the 16.5 mile mark I started to have a little wobble and my mood began to drop. It happened quite quickly and there didn't seem to be any real reason for it, but I could feel myself starting to panic. When I looked at my food and drink I realised that I had gone quite a long time without lucozade and had just had water so I think that was probably the reason. There was also due to be two marches on The Royal Mile today, one for the SDL and one for the anti-SDL so there was a heavy police presence at the bottom of The Mile. They were all very friendly and smiley and approachable, but the sight of so many of them there and also having lots of extra barriers around was unsettling. I had been told about it beforehand, and my usual police team at the bottom have been very good, explaining that it would be look different and possibly feel different, but sometimes you need to actually see/experience something before you can fully understand.

    Luckily Andrew returned from his running group at that point to rejoin me and I knew that his presence would help to calm me down. I also had the added bonus of Tom producing his melodica and running down the hill with me and Andrew whilst playing either the Cagney and Lacey theme tune, the Rocky theme tune or Chariots of Fire. Despite the strange looks Tom kept playing and running, it was magic!

    Andrew stayed with me until the end of the marathon, guiding me across the road and gently distracting me. It was the coldest day so far, with quite a lot of rain (at one time it felt like hailstones it was so sharp), and some incredibly strong wind. Running uphill into a head wind wasn't the easiest, but at least we had it behind us as we ran back down.

    So that's another day done, just 9 to go!

    2 Comments

    • 1. Aug 25 2013 6:45PM by Heather

      Vicki, I liked what you noticed about change being unsettling, and also sometimes you have to experience things for yourself before they sink in. Well you'll have experienced 26 marathons in 26 days and I think it'll be sinking for you for a long time to come. I hope you translate lots of what you've learnt from your Royal Mile run into wonderful new routines, ideas and projects in the future.

    • 2. Aug 26 2013 5:31AM by Mike!

      Best inspirational photo for me ever? YEP!!! Best inspirational photo for me EVER!!! Keep up the fantastic work Vicki!

      One half of the Mike's :)

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