It started off very well. The young lady who looked like she had just walked out of a Boney M album gave us a nice little warm-up. I felt excited about the walk, having never done this kind of a distance before (50K). I didn’t know what to expect. Having so much time to think can open up all kinds of channels in the brain. So, I knew I had to watch myself which I did.
The first 30 kilo meters were easy despite the constant light drizzle interrupted by heavy showers a few times. At the very start we decided to not worry about the timing as we wanted this to be a pleasant and peaceful day. A few people asked us about Saagar whose picture they noticed hanging off our back-packs. They told us about their mum with dementia or their sister with cancer or their soldier husband with PTSD and so on. We shared our stories and derived comfort from each other. It made me marvel at the voluntary sector in this country and what a good job they do. I could see that in the field of Suicide Prevention too, the commitment of concerned charities is incredible. I felt great that I could help in some way. I also knew that my friends and family were thinking of us and derived strength from that.
Soon after the 30K point, the ground turned from a springy green grassy surface to a quagmire of mud. We had to place our feet on the slippery uneven path very carefully knowing that if we fell down, we possibly won’t be able to get up. It really slowed us down and greatly increased the tension in our legs.
Luckily around this time the rain stopped, the skies cleared up and we entered the serenity of the twilight zone. The legs by now were starting to complain but were still manageable. Annoyingly, some of the runners who had started their 100K run a couple of hours before us were now passing us.
The last 5 kilometers.
They were the test. They took me to the brink of my endurance.
Physical and emotional.
One pain making the other worse.
I so wanted to keep it together till we got to the end. If I would have stopped, I am not sure I could have re-started. The tears came right up to the eyes and one or two escaped into the darkness. Others just sat there and did not spill. They sat there looking at the parallel: finding myself in an impossible situation and yet somehow carrying on despite how I feel. The whole range of emotions from the last two years traversed through me in those last 2 hours.
I hung on to Si’s hand and kept walking funny/limping/hobbling. I am sure his left arm is marginally lengthier than the right one now.
By the time we reached the finish line, I was numb. I felt nothing.
We sat down and a lovely young man came up to us and asked about Saagar and then the dam burst open. It was long overdue. It was time.
Would I do this again?
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
― John Muir