A Marathon Post

OMG It's Real!!
All this last week my thoughts have been totally dominated by my upcoming marathon hike. When my alarm went off Saturday morning, despite all my hard work I'd put into training and preparation I was thinking I need a few more weeks for this, I need more practice, what if all the practice wasn't enough? Arriving at the starting point alone to register, the nerves surfaced again when I saw lots of slim, fit looking groups of people laughing and joking, my urge was to tell the taxi driver who had picked me up from the hostel to drive on and take me to the train station. He must have sensed my fears as he proceeded to tell me what an amazing thing I was doing and shook my hand wishing me well as he got my overnight bag out of the boot. 
Deep breath, I can do this I told myself and headed inside. Originally there had been 7 people doing this, it had dropped to 3 of us, 1 whom I'd met once and one person I'd never met. A
A Flowery Message
quick scout round and nope couldn't see a familiar face. I seriously need to change my deodorant or something! 

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, I managed to quietly ground myself and give myself a good spiritual talking to, then the compere of the warm up filtered through my thought saying something about hugging each other and a lady who was a complete stranger gave me a massive hug and invited me to walk with her and friend. Last minute selfie post and we were off. Walking along, we were about 2 miles in, the sun was shining strongly for so early in the day and the reality dawned on me of the mammoth task ahead, when someone said
Beautiful Scenery Before the Hills!
ooh look 'poppies!' Sure enough in a field full of wheat, jaunty poppies were 
bobbing at us in the breeze. Bright red poppies for remembrance maybe for all the people we were doing this for, those who we had lost and those still fighting. For me it took me back to my first meditation journey and walking through a sunny field as I journeyed to the Goddess. Smiling and thinking 'I've got this' I trotted along happily to the first rest stop at nearly 8 miles, managing it in a pretty good 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Feeling pretty happy, I set off again, gazing at the beautiful scenery and listening to the birds, then I saw it. The hill of doom. It was high and went on for ever. I hate hills, my body hates hills and I'm pretty sure hills hate me back. 
I'm certainly not the fittest person in the world but I'm pretty active but hills really hurt me! This one was no different. Less than a quarter of the way up, my legs were burning, my heart was pounding so much I thought it would burst out of my chest and I wanted to cry. I wanted to sit down, phone my Dad to come and get me and generally have an 'I can't do it!' hissy fit - but I didn't. Huffing and puffing like an asthmatic steam train,
Just for You Mum!
probably bright red in the face, hands on hips, back resolutely turned to the hill refusing to look at what still had to be accomplished and thinking I can't do this, silently screaming to Goddess to help me, I heard a voice. Not quite a divine visit, but maybe a divine intervention...Looking round was another red faced lady saying "this one sure is a bitch", with gritted teeth, I managed a grimacy sort of smile, without swearing and step by step we went further up this hill, she stopped when I needed to, saying how well we'd done, admiring the view below us and taking her prompts to take a few more steps from me. 20 minutes later she told me to look up, to my delight there was a plateau and then a little incline, we'd almost reached the top and there was a huge bank of daisies in front of me. My Mum's favourite, Mum, one of the main reasons I was doing this. 
Laughing slightly hysterically and thanking her I took a photo to send to my Mum, explaining to the lady why. She patted me on my arm and said "you'll be alright now" and was off. I was, she'd been sent by someone to help me up that blooming hill! Funnily enough when I tried to book my start time initially and I couldn't get in
Looks Almost Tropical!
with the group I was originally walking with and was facing starting on my own later, several people said "there'll be a reason, you're meant to help someone else along later, you'll see!" - ironically because the people dropped put from my original group there was a space for me at the earlier time and someone was there for me when I needed them.
15 miles and lunch done, I had accosted yet more lovely people to talk to, it was that kind of day where you walked for a couple of miles with strangers and then blended into another group, a lovely couple of ladies called Jenny and Maria who'd been left behind by their faster set and were struggling with blisters. We laughed and joked our way along to the Seven Sisters Country Park. Outside a very inviting pub, a fabulous and slightly tipsy lady was standing by the stile at the 19 mile marker, gin and tonic in hand, cheering us on and telling us all how fabulous we were and providing much needed smiles and support. 
The views off the lower cliffs were amazing, my walking buddies who were from St Albans were amazed at the scenery - we commented that the water looked almost tropical! The 20 mile marker was a huge psychological turning point for us all, silently thanking Goddess for getting me so far, it was nearly 3.30, 8 hours after starting, 6 miles and even a few more smaller hills didn't seem too bad.
Worse Than They Look - Trust Me!
The seven sisters, it sounds like beautiful women of mythology, that danced into the sky they are represented in the stars or the beautiful sisters that protect sailors, probably where this place gets it's name from, beautiful and kind. Nothing like the 7 chalk cliffs between us and the final stretch. In fact due to cliff erosion there are now 8 of them, beautiful to look at but not kind! When I say I swore my way over those hills, I am not joking. They look like they roll gently in this photo, short and sharp someone described them as..... bloody awful is what they were, and that's being polite. It wasn't just me and my secret hill hate, by now almost everyone was struggling and hill hating with a vengeance. Stopping to catch my breath, huffing and puffing, I drank about my 8th litre of water of the day and decided to try some of the energy gel given to us at the last stop, it tasted curiously like lucozade jelly! Steaming on I knew the last rest stop was over the hill and with the wind behind me, fully of energy gel and a bit of a push and shove from my beloved Goddess I took the hill like a pro and marched into the last rest stop.
At this last stop I was joined by a lady called Fiona - who reminded me instantly of two very lovely friends Dawn and Sally - like a composite mixture of them! A good omen indeed. Setting off for the last stretch a 'mere' 4 miles, we got chatting, hearing each other's stories, how we
Eastbourne is in Sight!
had got here, our struggles with fitness and why we were doing this. Hers was a moving story about her best friend who had lost her fight and she was doing this for her. In silently acknowledged camaraderie we inched our way up the last cliff, less steep but longer, it felt never ending to our tired legs. Turning away from the hill and focusing on what we had climbed not what was still to go, gritting our teeth and battling on over the final climb to Beachy Head.
As we reached the top we saw Eastbourne our glittering prize in front of us, we both got emotional and the last mile and a half, mercifully on the flat and then down hill, we talked about our own spiritual journeys in life. When Fiona said she'd asked her angels for help and had been sent me I started crying again! Furiously wiping tears from our faces we reached the final few hundred metres together, both of us overcome with joy and let's be honest relief that we'd actually done it! Unknown people were clapping and cheering everyone as we approached the finishing line, Fiona's son screamed "Mummy!" and ran up to her hugging her through the last few metres.  It took me 10 hours and 58 minutes - but I did it! As we crossed the line medals were placed round our necks, a glass of bubbly thrust into our hands and
I Only Went And Blooming Did it!!
I hugged this stranger, this beautiful sister who I had shared so much with over the last 2 hours. As she waved goodbye and walked to her family, I saw my phone was ringing, it was Mum who had seen my discreet purple tropical print leggings come in and turned round to see her waving at me and like a child I ran to her outstretched arms crying like a baby! Dad appeared grinning away with a thoroughly over excited dog, though that may have been because he was allowed in the food tent, Scrumpy the dog that is, not Dad!

I still can't quite believe I did it,  I had plenty of help along the way, the companionship and kindness of strangers, constant texts and messages of encouragement from my family and friends as well as plenty of signs, energy and the strength from Goddess too. So far I've raised an amazing £725 ! Someone commented on my grinning facebook post that I was a warrior which I didn't think about much at the time. When I was writing this I looked up the meaning - soldier, combatant - hmm nope, fighter, brave maybe..... 

Then I found this quote it's attributed to Sitting Bull, probably erroneously :

'For us, warriors are not what you think of as warriors. 
The warrior is not someone who fights, 
because no one has the right to take another life. 
The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. 
His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, 
those who can not provide for themselves, 
and above all, the children, the future of humanity'



I seriously doubt they are his words, but I love them and I like to think that during those hard and at times gruelling 26 and a bit miles, I carried some of the warrior energy of my Goddess with me, I think it's there all the time we just don't always realise it.

Have a Blessed Week x x 



Comments

  1. Beautifully written and a joy to read.

    Well done Claire and big hugs to all. Xxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank You Angels my lovely friend x x

    ReplyDelete

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