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The Emotional Bit !. VLM 20110 part 2

April 28, 2011

I set off with the hoards out of the park and quickly got into my stride and the pace I intended. It was hard to resist getting carried away with going off too fast because I soon felt like I was going backwards with lots of the other runners behind me coming past at speed. I told myself to ignore it and stick too my own plan.

The crowds had gathered over that 1st mile and I had people shouting my name, spurring me on. At the 3 mile marker I came across the 1st water station. The day was warming up and I had been sweating buckets even at that point. One of the coaches had advised me to walk the water stations and take time to hydrate properly, so that’s what I did. I drank the whole bottle down and cracked on with it.

As the miles increased, so did the crowd and that’s when the emotions started to increase too. I remember the kids at the side of the road with their hand out awaiting a “high five” and shouting “go on Jay, you can do it”. Some of the kids were only 4 or 5 years old and they looked so excited to be there supporting the runners. I wanted to take it all in so I was “high fiving” all over the place and it made me smile. The training doesn’t prepare you for how you will feel when you get support like that, It’s very humbling.

I continued to take on plenty of fluids at every water station I came across and took advantage of every water pistol and shower along the way to try and keep cool. The heat was intense and I wasn’t able to keep the pace I wanted too after 8 or 9 miles. I just wasn’t prepared for it. At 9 miles I heard the familiar sound of Sharon & Jayne screaming. I looked up to see them with Ange, Nicky & Karen all with huge smiles on their faces. I stopped for a moment for hugs and kisses, thanked then all and set off again knowing that I would hopefully see my family around the 11 mile mark.

Just as we had planned at Rotherhithe, just after the 11 mile marker I saw my family, Sue and the boys, mum, dad, brother, uncle and cousin. It made it all the more special to see their faces at the side of the road and again I stopped for a quick cuddle, some advice from my dad and a kiss from Sue. When I set off again I had a lump in my throat and a wobbly bottom lip with emotion. I still had a long way to go so I knuckled down too it again. More friendly faces around the corner when I saw Kay & Steve, which was great as well. All this support was helping me round. So many people were calling out my name, well that’s what I thought anyway, not sure how many other Jays there were around me so I took the applause with gratitude.

The sights and sounds of Tower Bridge were amazing and I ran the whole way across. I saw Denise Lewis interviewing a bloke dressed as a fairy so I ran close by too see if I could get some TV exposure. I failed on that one. Lol. I made my way down towards docklands and it was only then when you see the runners on the other side of the road you appreciate the distance still to be travelled. They were on the stretch home towards Embankment.

The conditions in docklands were tough due to the heat and lack of air movement around the high rise buildings. I saw Tracey and then Kay & Steve again on my way. Kay shouted “Nick & Steve are only 4 minutes in front of you”. I thought that was strange, they should be way ahead of me, maybe there’s a problem. Well at 18 miles I caught them up, Steve and Nick were walking, so I stopped to see if everything was ok. It was soon clear that things weren’t good for Nick.

I looked into his glazed eyes and could see there and then that he was in trouble. He didn’t seem to know what day of the week it was or anything. Steve seemed ok, maybe a bit tired due to the conditions and the lack of training. I didn’t realize that Karina & Michelle were just in front as well or that Karina had a knee injury. I decided that it was best to scrap my race plan and stick with the guys & girls so that we could all support each other to the finish. The next 4 miles were a mix of walking and light jogging until Nick felt more human. We did see the FVS girls again at 21 miles with their big smiles and deafening shouting. I took a couple of jelly babies from them and we carried on.

Down onto the Embankment we went, the crowds were still shouting our names and we were applauding them back in return for their support. Passing Big Ben mean’t that the finish was just around the corner and we knew that we would all finish. I saw Sue and the rest of the family again with about 800 meters to go. Steve stopped and said he had nothing left in the tank. I said “come on mate, we can do this, just put one foot in front of the other, we will get there”. He started to run again. A few groans and grunts but we got there and the five of us crossed the finish line hand in hand, we had made it. We were awarded our medals and had a group hug. A few tears were shed in happiness. I went off in search of my bag.

Walking down towards the lorries I saw some familiar faces. Kerry gave me a hug and so did an emotional Julie. It was still difficult to talk but I was happy. I saw Andy who looked like he could have run it again !. Cameras were clicking and we got the Fab 4 photo done by a few people. It was a shame that I missed Katrina at the end, she had been a big part of my preparation leading up to the race and I thank her for that.

I said goodbye to everyone and went off to the meet and greet to find my family. It was great to be able to share my experience with them on the way home, mind you, the stairs in the train stations were a struggle on the legs, but we made it back with no problems. I was bloody starving so we decided on kebab for dinner. Sue had got some booze in the fridge and I didn’t even fancy it, I was too tired. Within an hour or so I was in bed asleep.

The day will live long in the memory and it was a privilege to complete my journey with Steve, Nick & Andy. A nicer bunch you couldn’t meet.

Will I do it all again ?………Hell yeah, I’m in the hat for 2012 !

I would like to thank Sue for her patience during my training. She has been a rock when I needed it the most. x

So many FVS friends to thank, you know who you are. Your the best. x

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