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Wednesday 14th April 2004

So I've been trying to ignore the Marathon and hope that it will go away, but my tactics don't seem to have worked. Although I promised myself a fortnight ago that I would start eating healthily and stop drinking and try and shed maybe a quarter of a stone to make my trip a bit easier, I have broken that promise on a fairly consistent basis (I really am going to have to sack myself if I don't buck my ideas up). But alcohol is full of carbohydrates (probably) and so is chocolate (if you put it on Weetabix) so it's all training I suppose.
So like a fat ostrich who isn't very good at running and who doesn't particularly care for sand, I have been hiding my head in a trough of cakes and Guinness. But I can only keep my head in that trough for so long (unless I employ a man to keep refilling the trough, in which case I think it would keep me going for as long as my heart could stand the strain) and today I had to accept that the Marathon is not just going to disappear. I went to the Excel centre in Docklands to pick up my running number and other assorted flim-flam.
The Docklands Light Railway was packed with men who looked more like the traditional image of the ostrich: very thin with wide staring eyes (whether through fear or obsession only they could tell you) and no cakes or ale in sight. They were clutching their Marathon magazines, as if in some scenario where they had arranged to meet on a blind date and used that as a means of recognition, only to arrive at the appointed hour to find everyone in the place has a Marathon magazine.
As the train effectively emptied at the Excel Centre it really started coming home to me what I had agreed to do.
I was meeting up with my non-kinky Vaseline loving friend Tony (he has now eschewed Vaseline and has some even kinkier lubricant on order from the internet which he hopes will arrive by race day. I am going to use yoghurt myself), but I had been delayed a bit, so he'd texted me to say he was waiting in a nearby pub.
Although I had vowed to stop drinking after last night, Tony had a pint and it would have been rude not to join him (and it was 12.15 so the sun was over the yardarm) so I had my last Guinness before Sunday.
Tony was as nervous as me and we blathered at each other about our training and our injuries and what pace we were going to set off at. It just made things all the more terrifying. The alcohol calmed me a little. Hopefully alongside the tables of water and Lucozade on race day there might be a man giving out Guinness. It will certainly help get rid of those butterflies with the metal-tipped wings that will be flailing around in my stomach (all shouting "Aaaaah, my wings are so heavy, I am in so much pain. This is a crime against God and Nature. Kill me now!")
Here's hoping.
We finished our pints and went into the centre.
There was a brief few moments of confusion and dread when I was told I had to go to the "Trouble Desk". I hadn't wanted any trouble, but here I was going to a desk designed for it.
As it happened I'd just been reassigned a new number, but I had feared that I had been withdrawn. It was gratifying to realise that my reaction was one of terror, rather than relief. But to have come all this way and done all this training (and cake eating) and not have got to run would have been unbearable.
Laden down with goodie bags and energy gels Tony and me made our way back to the pub for lunch.
We agreed to have one more drink. But that would be it before the race.
I managed to keep that promise til about 9.30pm, when I had three glasses of wine and a beer (not all at once in a strange cocktail involving vodka - over a period of a few hours). That's it now though.
I've got to get in shape for the Marathon.
It's really happening. I feel sick.

Please do sponsor me if you haven't done so already. The more I can raise the less idiotic I will feel for having idly imagined that this whole thing might have been a good idea.

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