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Monday 19th April 2004

I hope I die before I get old.
For today I have seen what it is to have an old man's weary, pain-wracked body and I have not enjoyed it.
Of course, having run long races before, I was expecting the horribly stiff legs and the agony of trying to go up and (even worse) down-stairs and the effort required to merely stand up.
What I wasn't expecting was the sight that greeted me in the bathroom mirror first thing this morning.
My (depressingly still rather large, despite all this exercise) stomach had gone blue. Blue as a blueberry. I was apparently in the early stages of turning into a smurf. Which made sense: perhaps smurfs are just ordinary runners (which is a contradiction in terms, all runners are unusual) who have done too many Marathons.
I looked in the mirror again, assuming I was hallucinating, but my belly was as blue as a blue Smartie. Or a blue anything that is blue. Such as a blue car. But a blue car that is the same shade as a blue Smartie. I should have just stuck with the blue Smartie simile.
I reasoned that there was possibly something wrong with my mirror, so I had the clever idea of actually looking down at my stomach to see if it was blue in real life, or just in the magical reverse world of reflection.
And upon looking down I realised that there was no doubt about it. My stomach was blue. The mirror never lies. Not about colours anyway. Unless it's some kind of trick mirror that I've never seen before.
Slowly my addled mind managed to make sense of this phenomenon. There hadn't been showers available at the SCOPE hospitality area, and I had been too tired and drunk to bathe when I had got home. I tried to think what I had done the day before that could have turned my skin blue. Had I got so drunk that I had decided to have a very unimaginative tattoo? Maybe of the sky or the sea or a blue Smartie?
My Womble vest had been kind of turquoise, had that colour somehow leaked on to my body, making its way through the T shirt I had been wearing underneath? And if so, why didn't I have a vest shaped blue dye all over my body.
I finally realised that the colour was probably caused by the marker pen that I had used to write my name on the vest. As I said yesterday, this hadn't been waterproof and had quickly become smudged and then disappeared altogether. It seemed the black ink had been washed down as far as the obstacle of my paunch and then stained my skin. I think I remember experiments at school where you would dilute inks and watch them change into the colours that they were initially made up of (or someting) so maybe that would explain why it was now blue, or maybe it had brought some of the colour from the vest with it. I don't know. I'm not a scientist. I am merely a victim of science. A blue-bellied victim of science.
It was a relief to know that I wasn't becoming a smurf and even more a relief when I had a bath to discover that the colour was going to come off.
It still hasn't quite sunk in that I've run a Marathon and I haven't yet experienced any of the euphoria that I felt in the days after my half marathons, but maybe that will come in time. And perhaps it's understandable that I'm not deliriously happy, when I have not yet regained use of my legs.
I think that the euphoria and the emotion will come soon enough, but for the moment I am still shell-shocked from the experience.
On a positive note, I appear to have lost almost half a stone in the last two days.
Now if I could just do a Ranulph Fiennes and do six more Marathons in six more days then I could be the world's thinnest man.
And having actually experienced a Marathon now, I don't just take off my hat to Fiennes. I take off my shirt, my vest, my shoes, my socks, my trousers and my pants to him. And then I get driven round London in an open-topped bus, showing off my amazing technicoloured dream-stomach off to everyone who wants to see it, to him as well. It is just such an unbelievable thing that he has done, and apparently not content with achieving it, he was back running the Marathon again yesterday.
I told you runners were mad.

If you are interested, here are my times and postions from the race website.
Position (Overall) 15401 (and I was hoping to be in the top 15000)
Position (Gender) 12819 (so it seems my cock came in over 2000 places a head of me - yes well it is so huge. Ha ha ha ha ha. I am funny)
Splits
KM 10 - 0:55:32 (only about 4 minutes slower than the 10K I did last November - much too fast)
KM 20 - 1:53:11 (slowing down a bit, but not too much)
HALF 1:59:42 (again not too far off my personal best for a half Marathon. Perhaps I was forgetting I had to do the same again immediately)
KM 30- 2:58:34 (that 10K took me 65 minutes and was the toughest part of the race for me)
KM 40 - 4:03:49 (another 65 minute 10K, but at least I wasn't getting any slower
FINISH - 4:17:50 (just breaking the 4:18 barrier that all real Marathon runners are trying to beat. I thus join the elite of the sub 4 hour 18 minute Marathon runners and get a special badge and access to the sub 4 hour 18 minute Marathon club.)
My work here is done.

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