I Have No Calves, and I Must Scream

My legs are shot to pieces.
I can hardly walk on a flat surface and stairs feel like Everest.
My grandad is more mobile than me at the moment.
I’ve got sunburn on my face and shoulders and a big blister on one toe.

But the medal I’m wearing round my neck right now tells me that I completed the 2008 New York Marathon and any pain I suffer now will all have been worth it.

I’ll post a more detailed story of the whole race and the lead up soon (including a turn of events that made me consider pulling out) but for now, know that I crossed the line in 25,269th place out of 38,000+ runners in a time of 4 hours 41 minutes and 27 seconds. Slightly outside Paula’s time, granted, and I wanted to go faster but my legs simply didn’t have the training miles in them to give me the power they needed for more.

I finished as a result of three factors:
1. A determination to not quit. Being positive mentally even when you’re running up a f***er of a hill near the end that seems to never end. I cannot possibly describe how challenging the mental side of running over four hours when your body is screaming at you to STOP right here right now.
2. Running with a mate (Steve) who you seem to take turns dragging each other along. How we both did it given the state we were in I can only put down to some competitive instinct we’ve both had since kids.
3. The crowd and helpers of New York. I’d argue that maybe they weren’t as good as in London, but when you’re flagging, almost delirious and some stranger from another country shouts “Go on Andy! I know you can do it!” it gives you the boost no energy drink provider can ever dream of giving.

It was the toughest thing I’ve ever done. It was a tough course with some real nasty sections in it where they just seemed to suck the life out of everyone who ran through it. But when the finish line finally came into view I had a big smile and I just ran as fast as my muscles would let me.

I did it for me. I did it for my supporters. I did it for the charity. Even for British pride. Tomorrow I get to wake up as a double marathon runner.

Not bad for a few hours’ work.

Please consider donating to the children's charity that I have now painfully run the 26.2 miles for - details at: http://www.justgiving.com/andymales
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