The running has continued. Since the horrific marathon and even more brutal stag do in Barcelona I have run from Canada Water to Swiss Cottage and I have run from Ealing Broadway to Marble Arch.
My mate the other day asked me how I am feeling - hopefully this blog post answers it mate.
This challenge is without a doubt the single hardest thing I have ever done. So much so that I feel myself cracking - both mentally and physically.
When I decided that I wanted to run the whole of the tube back in October I didn't really give it the thought I should have. I thought it wouldn't be too difficult. Don't get me wrong I knew it would be tough but I thought I'd get it done in a few months. I didn't account for my failing body. I also decided that I wanted to raise a substantial amount of money for Harry's charity - £10,000. And until every tube line has been run and until every penny has been raised I won't stop. It's taken over my life.
I am part of a team of 7 - all of which are really great people. But as it was my idea, as I was closest to Harry, I, for some reason, feel the £10,000 burden a lot more I think. I plan all the routes, I navigate us as we run, I do every single run. All 6 of the guys have offered to help with every aspect of that - they're great - but this has become a challenge that I feel I have to complete. It has become quite overwhelming - all the time I am thinking how can we raise money? Quiz nights, dinners, videos, blogs, random fundraising efforts, Facebook statuses, Twitter statuses - it's become a huge a part of my life. I also have complete strangers looking to me for help - thinking that because I have helped Harry's campaign I will help theirs. I feel horrendously guilty when I can't. When I don't. I am told by people suffering from cancer that we're doing a great thing - but those very people who are telling me suddenly die days later. This only adds to my desire to raise £10,000 but it also adds to the stress - I can't seem to escape it.
Then there are the runs themselves. I am not an athlete. I have never really been an athlete. I play the odd game of football, badly, but that's it. I haven't trained, I hadn't changed my diet, my lifestyle. Yet I thought I could do a half marathon every single week - no matter what the weather. I thought I could do a marathon every month - no matter how I felt. I didn't account for tearing my cartilage, straining my ankle ligaments. I didn't account for 'stress'. I have had blood tests due to poor health and a stress hormone I have is way too high - apparently because of the pressure I am putting on my body. I've not slept properly in months. I didn't account for a bad back - so bad that every day if I sit in my chair for longer than 30 minutes I seize up. When I go out with mates down the pub or off to a club I feel too tired to stay out - this isn't me, this isn't how I normally feel. I thought all I'd be doing was a few runs and it'd be ok - but running with a body that is failing just causes it to fail more and for the first time I admit I am struggling, really struggling.
Recently I have never wanted to run less. But I have to. People have been incredibly kind and have donated hard earned money. People expect me/us to finish.
I get in after each day at work and I feel tired - this never used to be the case. I get up in the morning's and I ache - this never used to be the case. I can't sleep properly because I'm always thinking of how far I have to go and I am scared that I won't be able to do it.
In 8 weeks this challenge will be complete. Running the entire London Underground doesn't sound much. By the time we've finished I would have run close to 450 miles which spread over 5-6 months doesn't seem like a huge deal. Raising £10,000 doesn't sound like an impossible target. But both of these things have become my Everest.
As hard as I am finding it I only have to look at the kid I am running for. My body hurts but he had a tumour the size of a tennis ball growing in his brain. He was 11 and had Radium treatment, he had been pumped with poison when he had chemo. Did he complain? Did he give up? Nope. Instead he raised an incredible sum of money and inspired a 25 year old to try and do something. I won't lie - I am struggling but I can't give up, nor will I. Through the support of my 6 friends I am running with, the support of my family and my girlfriend I know I will finish this. It just seems a long way off I guess. Still, the runs continue - Saturday, Stratford to Epping, Tuesday - West Ruislip to Hangar Lane, Thursday - Cockfosters to Kings Cross and Sunday another marathon. We're at £9080 raised and over 300 miles run - soon it will be over and I'll look back and feel proud about what my friends and I achieved. At the moment I just see a mountain in front of me...but they've been overcome before and they will be again.