So, I was beaten by Lucinda Creighton. Lucinda is a small blonde lady-politician from Co. Mayo, who has a propensity for smugness. She finished the marathon. Connor didn’t.
But it was still a big achievement. I was smoking up until an hour before the marathon, but it wasn’t lack of oxygen that screwed me. It was my ankles.
I have a love/hate relationship with my ankles. They’re almost constantly in pain. For a while, expensive MBTs alleviated this, but those days are gone. One of the greatest pleasures I have at the end of a day is slowly rotating my ankles, first clockwise and then anti-clockwise. When I lose my weight, presumably the pain will go, but that means that I will also have to forsake that most ordinary of daily pleasures.
As I set off on the marathon, I had every expectation of finishing it. The first five miles were easy and, to be honest, enjoyable. I easily kept up with the main group of walkers as we went up to the Northside through Phibsboro and along the North Circular Road in lovely autumnal sunshine.
My ailments were piling up as I walked. From the start my ankles were at me a bit, but I’m used to that. At mile 2 I noticed that my right hand had swollen up like a giant football fan’s foam hand. A mile or so later the same thing happened to my left hand. I had lubricated my upper thighs well, but I hadn’t gone down my legs far enough. I don’t usually get friction burns lower down than my groin, but then I don’t usually wear shorts. By mile 6, I had fairly severe friction burns just above my knees. At this stage, I could also feel the blisters bubbling up on the soles of my feet.
Around this time, somewhere in the Phoenix Park, I began to fall behind the main group of walkers a bit, but there were still plenty of people behind me. Leaving the Phoenix Park – Mile 7 or so, my ankles were really beginning to get the better of me and I slowed down some more.
As I walked through Chapelizod, I was well behind the main pack, to the extent that the road had reopened for traffic and some of the mile markers had been taken down and the water stations dissassembled. I was still only about 15 minutes behind schedule for finishing in 8 hours.
This is when my ankles really attacked. My right ankle was so sore that every time I stepped on it a pain shot up through my leg to my knee, and as I went further, to my hip. I was hobbling on determinedly, still with no intention of giving up. In Inchicore, around Mile 10, I really began to have misgivings. But then a man caught up with me and started griping about his pains in the most whiny way possible. He was just going to go as far as the next first aid station and give up there. I found his attitude so negative that I pushed on and quashed any of my own ideas of giving up.
I was overtaken by old ladies on crutches and by other obese walkers. By the time I hit mile 11, I was fairly sure that I was at the back of the pack. Now, I was literally limping, and knew I wouldn’t make it. The mile from 12 to 13 took me almost an hour to complete. I was halfway and was done! I stuck my hand out, got a taxi home, and didn’t move for a good three hours.
I don’t feel bad about the day. I do realise what a big achievement it was and I’m happy to have got so far. And it’s made me all the more determined to do the entire Cork marathon next June.
I do think it’s possible for someone who hasn’t trained very much to complete a marathon. I also think it’s possible for someone over 21 stone to finish a marathon. But I seriously doubt whether someone over 21 stone, with minimal training, can finish one.
Annoyingly, I couldn’t weigh in yesterday. I’m 100% sure I lost a fair bit of weight yesterday. Unfortunately, my fancy weighing scales only work if you’re barefoot and my oozing blisters are covered in plasters and my ankle bandage is also in the way and the fancy weighing scales just say “Err”.
So, I’ve spent the day so far writing up budgets and shopping lists and diet plans, as well as hobbling to the bank. I have to go to work tonight. I have a fire in my belly and everything’s going to work out well, both for Connor, and for his Project.