5:30a.m. My alarm goes off. I jumped out of bed, dressed up, checked my travel plans online, had a coffee and did some stretches.
6:30a.m. I left my house. Ten minutes later I'm at the train station awaiting the 6:47. Then I remembered something: I've left behind my belt - the one I use to carry my phone, keys & stuff during races. I've got to go get it. No way I'm going to entrust my stuff to baggage drop. So I dashed home again, got the belt and dashed back to the train station. I missed the 6:47 but I got on the 7:02. And the journey began.
This race was at the opposite end of London across the river. I knew I had a wee bit of traveling to do. No worries: I love traveling and trains. Part of the attraction for some of these races that I do is having to jump on and off trains to get there.
8:58a.m. I finally got to Sheen Gate, Richmond Park. I must confess, for a minute or two there I got lost in Richmond. I missed my connection in Central London but thanks to my iPhone apps I still made my way to the park on time.
Registration was quick and well-organised. I got my race number (118), bib and timing chip. I found my corner and changed into my racing gear. A couple of minutes later and after a quick trip to the loo I was ready!
9:55. I am at the start line with all the other runners. I'm standing tall. I can feel the excitement coursing through me. Inside my head I'm screaming: come on people - let's do this.
10:00. I take a deep breath and when the horn goes off I'm off in a flash of adrenaline and pounding feet...
Easy now - I tell myself - easy now. There'll be no PB chasing here: I'm not even going to run this one fast. I just want to feel the sheer joy of running, of being able to put one foot in front of the other, celebrate 2012 and be thankful for life, family, love, friendship, career, the ability to run.
The first mile flashes past in nine minutes. By mile three I realise I'm going too fast. I rein it in and slow down.
As I run I think about all those who can't run, I think about the sick, the terminally ill and every victim of the wickedness and callousness of this world. I say a prayer for the devastated families of that Newtown, Connecticut tragedy.
By mile five a weird thing happens. I get this overwhelming urge to stop. It caught me unawares. Where did that come from? I was not out of breath or tired or injured or anything yet the feeling persisted. What is going on I ask myself. I struggled for a bit but I held on and kept going. After a while I was cruising again.
Mile 6 - there's joy in my heart. As I hit the home straight I was glad to be alive. I say it over and over again to myself - "I'm alive....I'm alive....I'm alive!" And I am grateful.
It was a good run. I loved every minute of it.