Thursday, April 27, 2006

27 April 2006: Knees

... and we're back.

Those who've seen the official London Marathon website will see I finished, and in a dreadful time of a little under six hours. Those looking closer at the split times will notice that of the 42km of the race, easily my quickest section was between 20 - 30 kms, which doesn't quite make sense. Those who've seen me since will know my knees aren't at all right, and therein lies the story...

So it was a unique day overall. Kevin's knee was damaged entering the race (as were both of mine, it happens, but Kevin knew about his). We comfortably ran the first 8 miles or so, give or take a toilet break (where we were overtaken by a Dalek), before Kev's knee gave out. I walked with him to Tower Bridge and the halfway point, at which point he said he'd have to walk the rest of the way, so I ran off ahead, attempting to catch up with the 1966 England Football Team (I don't think it was really them) and the giant green centipede (twenty people in there, you'll know what I mean if you saw it). Felt great between 13 and 20 miles, burning people up, only stopping briefly for a chat with Southampton FC mascot 'Sammy Saint' about how Rupert Lowe's days are numbered. A really enjoyable hour, and a good split time that would have seen me break 4 hours had I been running at that speed from the start.

Then it all went wrong. 21 miles came along and my knees stopped working.

Ten years ago I had physio on a cycling-related knee problem - my kneecap was slightly out of place and the joint wasn't 100% as a result of this. But no problems for ten happy years... until I reached 21 miles. Suddenly - and it was sudden, quite shockingly so - both my legs stopped bending at the knee. Within five minutes I couldn't run - in fact I could barely walk. Leg muscles were fine, and I didn't feel too tired - my training had been good enough - but suddenly the only way on was to walk moving my legs from the hips, penguin-style. Five and a half miles of waddling through the pouring rain later, I turned the corner and reached the finish line. Relief? Not really - I still had to walk to the bag reclaim and then the 'repatriation' area too, a good half mile or more. Then walking to the tube, walking home... not pleasant.

But hey, I did it. I won't be able to do it again - the knees simply aren't up to it - but it's done and hopefully Oasis will be recipients of a good chunk of money. If you haven't sponsored me yet it's not too late - the JustGiving site remains open until mid-June - and if you have sponsored me, thank you very much! Paper-based sponsorship stuff I'll be collecting soon... be warned!

In other news I'm now married, and Gloria's marriage visa for the UK came through very quickly so she's here with me. Honeymoon was great apart from having to do Elton John 'Stars in their Eyes' in front of 2,500 people on board our cruise ship (when will I learn not to do karaoke?). And so it's back to life at this AKTing lark, closing out the write-up and the final few experiments, putting the car through it's always-expensive MOT and trying to figure out how much the university should be paying me for teaching...

It's life. And we're back.