Wednesday, 16 November 2011

I can't walk up stairs...but I finished the Northern line!

Good Morning everyone. Here is my blog update as promised. As many of you know we are trying to run the whole of the London Underground to raise money and awareness for Harry Moseley's charity, help Harry help others.

A lot of you have already donated and helped me get to our current total - £2500 in little over 5 weeks. I am hugely appreciative and you have all made a major difference. You have also given me the inspiration I needed to carry on with some of these runs, and I needed that inspiration this weekend...big time.

So I have run all 19 miles of the Circle line with the whole tube team. Then 4 weeks ago I took on all 24 miles of the Bakerloo line, after work, in my monster munch pyjama bottoms (we are trying to raise awareness that children suffer from this horrible disease as well as adults.) with big Jon Myers – a new member of the team. After that run, all 4 and a half hours of it, I got diagnosed with a common foot injury called Plantar Fasicits. I bought some much needed running trainers and ran from Edgware to Waterloo with my friend Luke – the life and soul of the team. 17 miles later and we had completed it. Next up was High Barnet to Kings Cross - 19 miles. After 8 miles I felt something in my knee 'go' and for the last 10 miles I was almost running in tears such was the pain (I am a bit of a weak guy!). I went to see the physio who had confirmed I had a probable tear of my meniscus (my cartillage) and that I need a period of rest and then a probable operation to repair it. I explained about the runs and she agreed to an intense course of physiotherapy, which she would give me for free, to help me try and get through the run on Saturday. The run on Saturday was vital because I had planned it for over a month and there would be 7 of us. The 6 of them would run it no matter what and I had to finish the Northern Line. I can't really explain it properly but I just had to run it and I just had to finish it. I’d run 40 miles of it anyway, I just had to finish it. After that run it was agreed I would have a months rest and would go to the hospital to see a consultant about my knee and he would then decide if I needed the operation.

So the scene has been set! I went for a practice run Thursday night and lasted 0.7 miles before breaking down in pain. I was gutted. Absolutely gutted. I rang the support crew (my dad!) and told him. It was decided I would turn up Saturday with the guys and just do as much as I could do.

I had a bath every night last week (I have never been so clean!) full to the brim with Radox. I iced my knee everynight. I had a set of physio. I didn't even go out drinking...I was maturing! Friday night came and I was in bed for 10. I got up Saturday and had 3 Nurofen tables, put my knee support on, got into my monster munch PJ's and met the guys and the support crew at Morden. I had 13 miles, and around 16 stops to negotiate. As I got to Morden I saw all the guys, all there in PJ bottoms, all wearing Harry bracelets. They'd given up their Saturday for this. 2 girls, 5 boys, all pretty unfit. My dad had given up his Saturday. They'd all come up from Southend and was on the 8AM train. I looked at them and instantly knew I would complete this; friends can give you strength you never knew you had. I realised if I wanted this badly enough that I could do it and man did I want it. This was a big run for many reasons - it was the first time all 7 of us had run together since deciding we’d do the whole tube, it would be another line complete, it would bring up the 25% complete mark and it would prove to me, no matter how hard things are, that I can do anything - if I wanted it bad enough.

So we started running.

We ran to South Wimbledon, we met the support crew at Colliers Wood. I was doing ok. On we went, Tooting Broadway, Bec and Balham. The pain was beginning to build. Clapham South and my knee went. It was at this point that my mates came into their own. We slowed the pace and they just talked to me, they talked to me and we hit Clapham Common. They talked me through to Clapham North where the support crew was waiting with a mars bar and a glucose gel! I was just focusing on getting one leg in front of the other. The way I was running meant I was putting huge pressure on my feet and they began to hurt! I was falling apart! We managed to get through Stockwell, Oval, Kennington and then got to Elephant and Castle. It was at this point that I almost threw in the towel, I was in such a lot of pain but my mate Luke just shouted out 'Remember why you are doing this' and so we carried on. Borough, London Bridge, Bank, Moorgate. Luke Butler’s knee was in bits – he was barely able to carry on but somehow he did. This inspired me so much that I just had to carry on. We’d help each other get to the end. The other guys, Martin and Shaun helped us. Chloe and Becky, just slightly behind, were sending us texts of encouragement and even Nick Kindred – running by himself (an unenviable task) dropped in with a text.

We were 2 from home! Old Street and then Angel. Got to Old Street and then was faced with a pretty big hill up to Angel. This hill is the single most difficult thing I have ever done. But as a team, we got there! We had got to Angel. We then just sat in a heap outside the tube absolutely exhausted. Luke was overcome with pain, so much so that he had tears in his eyes. Shaun was out on his feet. Martin looked as though he hadn’t even been running (the fittest one of the group!) and I just sat there feeling immense pride of everyone. Nick and then the girls came round the corner shortly after and 7 unfit set of people had completed the Northern line, together, bound together by an amazing young man – Harry.

We limped to the pub where the support crew bought us all lunch and then we made our way home to Southend. Luke having to get a piggy back to help him get up and down stairs!

So the Circle Line, Bakerloo Line and now all 52 miles of the Northern line are complete. We've 300 miles to go but after a small break I will be raring to go! I learnt this weekend that if you want something bad enough you can get it. I originally started running this challenge to help others but to be honest it is helping me. I am learning how awesome people can be and I am learning the true value of friends. My knee and feet sting a bit but it is totally worth it - £2500 raised and a realisation anything is possible.

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