Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The northern line bites back...and defeats the man in pyjamas

So many of you have donated to my 406 mile suicide mission that I feel compelled to keep blogging and to keep telling you all how I'm doing. However today's blog post is a difficult one to write.

As many of you are now aware we are attempting to run all 406 miles of the London Underground, 12 lines - passing through 272 tube stops. We are doing this to try and raise money for Harry Moseley's charity ( Harry's goal was to rid the world of brain tumours and to ensure no one suffered like he had suffered. Sadly, Harry died when he was 11 and so was unable to continue his quest himself. However, many were inspired by this amazingly selfless 11 year old and were determined to help make his dream come true. My friends and I decided to run the entire London Underground to try and raise money for Harry's charity. So far, thanks to the incredibly generous donations of friends, family, colleagues and even strangers we have raised £2350 - we want to raise £10000.

So far my 6 friends and I have run the Circle Line - all 19 miles of it. Then 3 Thursday's ago my friend Jon and I ran 24 miles, the whole of the Bakerloo line, after work. Last Thursday I completed around 16 miles of the Northern line with my friend Luke - we ran from Edgware to Waterloo. All of these runs we run in kids pyjama bottoms to highlight that Harry was a child and this is a disease that kills children. During the Bakerloo line I hurt my foot and was subsequently diagnosed with Plantar Fascitis - a common runner's injury. A months rest was advised. Whilst I liked my doctor, in fact I think I fancied my doctor (she was worth getting an injury for), I decided to ignore her. I ran last week and struggled round, but I completed it. It's also worth pointing out my legendary old man (also known as my dad/support crew) comes up for each run to hand out water's and Mars bars at various stops - it is a real professional operation!

Last night I met my mate Jon and Martin (another one of the team) at Bank and then traveled up to High Barnet with them, along with the support crew (the old man). We were on the tube for 40 minutes, 40 minutes! We had to run from high Barnet, via Mill Hill East, along the Bank branch all the way to Kennington. I hadn't had as much time as usual so I worked out what I thought the distance was - I thought it was 20 miles, working it out this morning it turned out to be 26.4! Longer than a marathon!

A couple of stretches and a team photo and we were ready to roll. We were running at a real pace and for the first time ever we didn't get lost! We got to Totteridge and Whetstone, West Finchley, Mill Hill East and Finchley Central where we met the support crew. The run had been very hilly and pretty tough but I was in good spirits, we'd completed 7.4 miles and even my monster munch PJ's looked proud of me. Tune after tune was appearing on my iPod - Neil Diamond, Westlife, Lionel (ha!) - if you can't get inspired by 'Hello' you can't call yourself human! A couple of photos later and we were to embark on the epic 2.4 mile journey to East Finchley.

As we ran, and almost saw a drunkard get knocked down by a car, I began to feel a slight pain in my left knee. I continued, I was used to random pain's - I had the body of an old man (ladies I am still available!). The pain was getting slightly worse when all of a sudden I felt my knee completely 'go'. It gave way. I got to the road that we had to cross and stopped for around 30 seconds. The guys asked if I was ok and I thought I would be, I thought I just needed to run it off (I am also slightly thick...why I'm single I don't know). I tried to run over the road and I was in real pain. I managed to run to East Finchley, I say run - it was a run that was a limp. I was limp running! It took me about 30 minutes to get to East Finchley and I can honestly say that it was the toughest thing I have ever done...the toughest thing I have ever done was about to get tougher.

We assessed the situation at East Finchley and I said I had to continue, that I couldn't give up. The pain after stopping was really bad. I said to the guys that we couldn't stop anymore - that if we stopped I wasn't sure I could continue. We managed to get to Highgate, Archway, Tuffnell Park - each stop a huge victory but each stop more and more pain. We had agreed we would meet the support crew at Kentish Town. My dad saw me limp run round the corner and gave me a look which I knew to mean he was really worried. We'd stopped for too long, I tried to get going again and whilst I cry at crappy films like Armageddon (ladies...) I thought I was honestly going to cry for the first time due to pain! I managed to just about get going again. We'd reached Camden, we passed Euston. All the time I was just focusing on just getting one foot in front of the other. Sounds pretty basic but that's what it boiled down to for me. Jon knew I was in agony and we passed a 'Boots' at Kings Cross. We popped in to buy a knee support. We were probably in there for two minutes. I put the support on and went to push off but that was it. Game Over. I couldn't do it. I couldn't carry on any longer. I was gutted.

After 18.3 miles and 3 hours 26 minutes of running I had quit. I'd felt like I'd let everyone down. All the team. I felt like I had let Harry down. My dad came to meet us and he and the guys explained that it was another 18.3 miles towards the total and we could finish the run off next week. I saw their point but for some reason I still felt I'd failed.

I was basically unable to walk and eventually got home at 11 last night. Today I am still in a load of pain but the guilt is beginning to go and is being replaced with a massive determination. Providing I am fit, next Saturday I will run from Morden to Angel and that will be the Northern Line complete.

In 4 weeks I have run 80 miles, without training, 20% of the London Underground. Last night my body told me that this is going to be the biggest challenge I have ever faced. I will not give up though. If I have to limp round, I have to limp round. Harry Moseley on a daily basis showed what can be done with enormous self determination. Harry was the inspiration for these runs, he is the biggest reason I have to complete these runs and to make sure I raise as much money as possible for his charity. But after last night I have another reason to complete this, I need to prove to myself that I can complete this - because if I do it will prove to me that I can do anything.

The Northen Line may have beaten me last night but I will destroy it next Saturday.

For anyone who wants to donate feel free - for those who have done so, I would just like to say a HUGE thank you. You got me through the worst 2 hours of my life last night!

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