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990 miles

1000milesby 1000milesAug 1st 2014
Well the last few hundred miles have been a real pleasure from the perspective of the running, the scenery and the continuing fleet of wondrous people I have met along the way. England and Wales you have not let Scotland out-do you, well done.

I am so endlessly proud to be a part of this place. There is so much heart here, I feel so humbled. I am, and will be for a long time to come, full as an egg with gratitude.

The countryside has been beautiful and the best part of it all is that it's often been in places I’ve never even thought about going (sometimes never even heard of). The Forest of Bowland was absolutely unbelievable - completely empty yet full of nature and roaring winds. Just outside Blackburn, a delight. Hereford, lush and green and full of apples. The Wye Valley, a leafy paradise with a rather delicious river and cutsie villages with sweet shops and book swaps in old telephone boxes. And then of course there's the South West - full of patchwork fields, blackberries, windy roads and more recently visible glimmers of the sea.

Oh England and Wales you do have some very special gems. These views are the sole motivator of this trip. When it's a beautiful day with glorious scenery, the running becomes only the means of transport - not the focus. It takes me closer, it takes me in, out, through what I'm really here for. It's kept me going. It keeps me going.
From a running point of view, I seem to have come over a hump.

Before, 26 miles felt like ‘de de de durrrrr, de de de durrrrr’, 29 miles really drained the resources and 32+ was just stupid.

Since the discussed ‘hump-mount’, 26 miles feels like ‘tra la la la la’, 29 miles feels very do-able and 32+ still feels stupid but I now do it repetitively without really noticing.

I really feel like I’m ‘running’ these days, like I can shout ‘have itttttt!’ (in a Peter Kay fashion) as I leather it down the road. I lost my way the other day and a man offered to drive in front of me so I could follow him through the town on 'my bike' (I couldn't be bothered to explain to him that it wasn't a bike - I mean, LOOK AT IT). What followed was me literally chasing his car through the streets after running a 33 mile day. If someone would have said that was possible 5 weeks ago I may have actually followed through with laughter.

I'm happy to say that my resting heart rate is now 46 BPM which means I have fulfilled a lifetime aim of becoming biologically similar to a half dead shrimp and not far off Bradley Wiggins (although I won’t be adopting his side burns, they are ridiculous).
Looking towards the end, because let's be honest, I am very very close, I feel mixed in emotion. One minute I will be near joyful tears thinking about that euphoric moment when I arrive at the illustrious sign, the next I am heartbroken that this wonderful experience is nearly over and I'm worried I might never achieve anything so great again, the next I am overcome by a sense of relief that the pain I am subjecting my body to is nearly over and the hope that one morning some day soon I will be able to get out bed without thinking 'owww'. Honestly, I feel like the petrol light has been on for a while now and my body is crying out to stop. It's understandable really, this isn't a natural thing to do.

All in all, I expect to sob like a baby when I cross the line in a way that might be vaguely humiliating (but I don't really care). I am so full of love right now, it's busting from the seams. Tears seem a good place to start the release. Good tears though, great tears.

For the next 48 hours my sole purpose will be to make sure I wake up and smell the roses. Rest assured, I will be smelling them. I will be shoving them in fistfuls up my nose because I've. Very. Nearly. Done. Something. I. Never. Believed. That. I. Could. Do.

See you on the sunny side.
8 ways in which I've changed on account of running 990 miles. Don't worry, I haven't done something hideous like 'found myself on my gap yah'. Please.

1. I am much more liberal on what is, and what is not an edible banana. Once upon a time, any sniff of a brown oozy bit and that banana would have been binned. Nowadays, brown is OK, ruptured and oozing is ok, bruised is ok, unspecified age is ok, fallen into a fresh horse turd is probably not ok (but that is where the line sits)

2. My levels of care in terms of personal hygiene have greatly diminished - what can be done swiftly in a pub sink is ample for at least 2 days. Failing that, talcom powdering your entire body is equivalent to a bath. Fact. This 'change' has got so extreme that on a number of occasions I have been offered a shower to which I'll respond ... ‘nah’.

3. My delight and pleasure in chocolate has somewhat diminished and what I really crave now is what my body wants (needs) this is normally steak (which I hate) and coffee as thick as car oil.

4. I’ve become way more efficient with my pram tidiness, you only have to re-pack your pram once in bug territory to realise that taking your sweet time over it is about as pleasurable as plucking nose hairs

5. I have voluntarily become much, much worse at maths. When I get to 13 miles I'm happy to accept that I'm half way to 30 and when I get to 22 I'm very nearly there.

6. My eyes are going (or my brain is) I really struggle with signs- I spent much of one day looking at signs for ‘Leominster’ thinking ‘but I was near Lancaster bludy miles ago? - whats going on here?’

7. I will happily eat the continental style breakfast of tuna which is significant progress for me considering the idea of having cheese and ham for breakfast a few months ago was tantamount to blasphemy.

8. My brain function has become shocking, if you ask me at the end of the day where I've been you would get very little in response. In fact, at the end of some days, if you asked me my name - you'd get very little response. I have managed to use this in my favour though. After lunch I can literally delete the morning's activities, that 16 miles I did prior to my tuna sandwich never even happened.
 
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