50/50 marathons

39. Pain in the Arse Marathon

5th July 2020.

After last weeks fall on the Monumental Marathon, coming down from the Hoy monument, I’ve had a really painful lower back. Luckily just bruising, but I have spent the week moaning and groaning, much to Caroline and Ella’s delight. The thought had crossed my mind to take a week off to let my back settle, but where’s the fun in that eh?

My original plan was to run on Saturday, just to get it out of the way more than anything, but the weather was so unappealing that I decided to leave it to Sunday. There’s something really nice about being in bed with a coffee, trying to muster up the enthusiasm to get out there, but then making the decision to leave it another day, especially when it’s raining and windy. You can just lie back and smile in the knowledge that you’ve got a bit of a reprieve. Only thing is, this morning I had to just get on with it, no excuses.

In light of the pain in my back, today’s route was kept simple and flat. As much as I dislike the cycle track run, it is flat and straightforward, and that’s just what I needed. Apologies for the shot below, this is just to illustrate why I have called this marathon the Pain in the Arse Marathon. It literally was that, all the way!

Ahem! Moving on…

There’s not much I can really say about this route that I haven’t already covered in previous posts. It’s a nice route, but not that interesting for runners, especially when you’ve done it loads of times before.

I’ve realised that I prefer hills! Strange thing to admit to, but they offer a challenge and break the monotony of the run. I also prefer not knowing where I’m going. The challenge I’ve faced with these Island-based marathons is to keep it fresh and interesting. For me, there’s nothing worse than running a route that is really familiar. Loops are also mind-bogglingly tedious. I’ve done a few marathons in this challenge that are loops of the same course and they just left me cold. Even in this time of no organised marathons, if the opportunity came up to do one of these, I’d have to turn it down. But some people really like them, I guess there’s peace of mind in knowing where you are and how far you have to go. No surprises.

With the cycle track, or Red Squirrel Trail, it’s not as bad as doing loops, but it’s not far off. It is flat though and for today’s run, it would be fine.

I set off at about 8:30 and straight away I was in pain. The motion of running was not a good feeling on my lower back. It was exasperated by wearing the water pouch on my back. All I could do was plod on and hope that pain elsewhere would take the focus off my back.

As I got toward the end of the Cowes cycle track near Newport, I was pleased to see the familiar face of Richard Harvey running towards me. Richie is a chap who I’ve run with loads and we’ve done many marathons together. He’s far faster than me though. We’re due to run Bruges Marathon together later in the year if it goes ahead, I really hope it does, but it’s looking unlikely. Richie ran with me for a couple of miles, which took my mind off of the back.

While running along I noticed a Herd of cow’s in a field, all of them cream in colour, apart from one solitary grey one that seemed to be keeping to itself. On my way back I noticed all of the cream cow’s had huddled together to shelter from the wind, but the grey cow stood outside of the herd on its own still! Made me feel sad to see, I’m curious to know if Cows can be a bit spiteful and maybe even a little bit racist? That’s the sort of weird stuff that goes through my head on a run!

The last few miles were just agony, my back was in spasms, and with the slowing of pace my legs were seizing up on me. So I was quite relieved to finish and tick that one off the list.

Once home, Caroline gave me a package to open. This is always the most exciting part. Inside the package was a frame with a lovely paper cut picture of me running, it made me look like I was running fast, I like that. Not true, but Nice all the same. I can never get over how friends have taken the time to do these things for me. This beauty was done by the lovely Michelle Salsbury. Also inside the package was a Tunnocks tea cake. I used to love these, but sadly they’re not on the menu until a plant-based option is developed. But I looked at it longingly. It was a bit squashed but it still looked tempting. I picked it up to read the ingredients and realised it was a bit hard to be full of marshmallow goodness. I unwrapped it to find that Michelle had also painted up a stone with the number 39 on it. Thanks Michelle. Crisis averted, I continue as a vegan 😊

So, 11 more to go. Next week is number 40. I can’t quite believe that I’ve made it this far. I wanted to pack it in straight after the very first one in October last year, and many more times since.

The donations to Mind are over £1800 now, so as promised I will run next week’s marathon in a Wonder Woman costume. I’ll keep the route as public as possible, for maximum humiliation 😳







I am running these marathons to raise money for Mind. If you like what I’m doing and would like to donate you can go to my Just Giving page below.