Sunday 25th October
So, this is it! Today IS the day for my 10mile run (17k) with Imi Spencer and Bev Pearson.
And here I am, already a number 1 winner on the stand - just no spectators or medal for winning the overall race for elite women athletes..........STOP DREAMING JUSSIE.....Oh ok poo hoo, so here I continue my blog....
I travelled up the day before to Portsmouth and spent the afternoon shopping and chilling in my favourite hang out place, Starbucks. I think I should get shares in that company (for the amount of money I spend there...or become their number ONE fan)!
Later that day, I was to meet Imi for the first time - who had learned and followed my story through a joint friend, called Emma (who I haven't met yet - but plan too). It's quite bizarre really, as I have lots friends who have followed my welfare from when I was diagnosed with LAM, nearly died over and over, through my transplant and recovery, and up to now - the present day with all my adventures with my "new life". It is like a cyber world wherby we all stay in touch, even with other people with illnesses, pre or post transplant.
Imi's mother also had a transplant in 2001, a single lung transplant due to Emphysema, and sadly lost her battle on life after about 4-5 years after her transplant. Imi has said to me "knowing some of what you have been through makes me so inspired by your courage and strength to go out there and make the most of life, in a way many people wouldn't, and because of that I decided to join you in the GSR to support and show people that if you have the determination you can and will succeed". And, I was also quite happy to hear that Imi has run marathons and was going to help support me. I must admit if I'm honest, I was quite worried and although I've had my new lungs, I still don't have full lung function, and know that I can't run continuous due to breathlessness. I kept telling Imi, that I need to run 2-3 minutes, then walk the same, and start over, and thought she may want to run on ahead....and a search party would be needed to find me..lol. However, I gained more reassurrance again on meeting Imi today and the next day, by being told that she will stay with me whether I walk/run :)
It was truly wonderful to meet Imi, and have a chat, giggle, and meet someone who talks as much as me!! So, farewells until the next morning. My evening consisted of a burger with bacon and cheese, jacket potato...followed by fruit crumble and custard in a pub. Ok..Ok...rumbled...not the ideal protein/carbohydrate meal needed....but I won't tell anyone - if you don't..Shhhhhhh :P
I was a bundle of all emotions and thought I wouldn't sleep, and I was right. And sooooo confusing with the clocks going backwards. I set my phone, but my phone automatically changed itself too. When I woke up it said 5.30am.....but really it was 6.30am...too early, oh so confused, oh I need and want more sleep. OH no you can't Jussie, you have to get showered, eat cereal that you brought with and get the milk that you left in the bathroom sink filled with cold water overnight. WAKE UP!!!!! oh bar humbug.....
One hour later, I'm dressed in my sports wear, cereal consumed, coffeed up with the sachet left in the hotel room (the worst coffee in my life - blurgh)...you see, once a Starbucks coffee girl..always one :)
Thanks to Nigel who has been driving about for this event and to which I truly appreciated, if I did drive I would be tired ontop of my already tiredness. So, now time to drive into Portsmouth to the starting point...OOOOOerrrrrrr.......WE arrived in plenty of time, and were the first few cars only later to be filled with thousands!!!
It was such a windy morning and quite cold too, we went for a little stroll along the coast and saw the run posts being set up with the clock timer. Also there were lots of tents promoting various charities. Here I am, all wrapped up at the start with all the chaos still being finished. The other photo with the ever smiley Imi!
Also, I would be meeting a lady called Bev (again for the first time who I have chatted with via Facebook). Bev's young daughter has had a heart transplant. I have been looking forward to meet Bev, and here we are below all ready to rock and roll!!
I must admit, that I was quite overwhelmed by the amount of people - the atmosphere was electric! And my emotions were getting the best of me....I needed to hold it together. Quite surreal, that I AM still alive, and missing Marc Prosser who died a few months ago (who was also going to join me on this run). To my donor, who has made this possible, and thinking of other friends loved and lost with their own illnesses or pre/post transplant. Every day, really IS a bonus, and no one can ever accuse me of not living my life and making the most of every single day!
Hundled now with a massive group in the last band to start the run........the announcement went and a mass of people including me starting to walk round to the start line. I couldn't stop smiling and knew as soon as I went over the line...RUN JUSSIE RUN!!!!!!!! woohoooooo!!!!! And we were all told to wave on approach and this was being filmed and shown on a large screen for spectators to view. And if you look at this photo, there is a man standing on a podium in the left. He was responsible for the mass warm up for the thousands!!
I was feeling very happy and started as I intended to run 3minutes, then walk 3 minutes and all seemed to be going well (up to a point). Throughout the route, many supporters came out to watch, clap, cheer, and I loved seeing the children waiting to be tagged as we ran by....I tagged some children as I slowly went by and they smiled (which made me smile). Also people watched from their houses, shops, bars....it's like nothing mattered but all the people running through the streets of Portsmouth. Also, at various points there were bands or music being played loudly - which definitely helped motivate - when you could feel yourself flagging.
Seeing each mile marked out was like seeing the best thing ever. I couldn't believe it when I was approaching the 5 mile point (half way) YESSsssss happy days :)
Although, I was starting to feel slightly exhausted and this was putting a lot of pressure on my body. I decided it would be best to actually walk a whole mile until I reached mile 6, then start to run again. Approaching mile 7, suddenly I felt a pain my left leg and almost lost my balance? What was happening? I tried to continue to run again, and on/off this pain kept coming into my left leg. The only way I can describe it, as if a piece of elastic was going - ping and making my leg fall and limp over in pain. Oh dear, sadly, this is where it all kinda went downhill and went from bad to worse and my tears came and went. All my emotions again getting the better of me, and now suffering and feeling unable to run/even walk.
However, I kept going - it was like start/stop/start/stop......just as I thought the pain had gone and I had run a few steps...I went down again. So, I walked - only to find the pain was there still. I was making good time and thought I would be able to finish the event under 3 hours and was overjoyed that this would be such an amazing thing, and I wanted to work through the pain and keep going. In true Jussie determined - I am going to do it style!
I braved a happy face, and owe a lot to Imi and Bev, who had to help prop me up each time my pain came and keep hold of me - as otherwise I would have toppled over. So, now reaching mile 8 was fantastic, and I thought just 2 more miles to go - I CAN make it!! I knew I was struggling heaps but just didn't want to give up. WOW - I could see mile 9 marker and stopped for a photo and smile. This IS it - last mile - woohoo - nearly finished so off I started again. OUCHhhhhhhh........oh my goodness, I burst into more tears - the pain was now like agony and I was crying in pain tears. I could barely walk without wincing and struggling. My leg was throbing, it was awful. At this point, I thought as much as I want to go on...that I'm not going to make it and was devasted as so near, and realising the daunting fact that I just can't do anymore. I am not a person who gives up, and thought I MUST get through this. Both Imi and Bev was so supportive and kept encouraging me (aswell as helping me walk).
The last 100m and I thought, right pain or no pain I am going to run the last 100m and smile all the way to the end. I remember seeing Nigel filming us three approaching and got a surge of adrenalin and went for it...I can see the finish line..almost there..just a few more steps.......yes......WOW......
Then......unexpected my right leg screamed out at me in agony and went limp - I lost my balance. Then, like a terrible nightmare - my left leg went simultaneously at the same time. I felt my body just go and was falling. I called out to Imi who at this point didn't realise both my legs had collapsed, and dragged me over the finish line for the last few steps.
I was screaming in pain and needed to be helped into a wheelchair as couldnt walk. OMG, I was hurting and crying so much. I wasn't even happy that I had finished, it was just all too much to cope with. I was rushed to the medical team who looked after me for about 20 minutes to observe that I was ok. The medics actually informed me that it was a build up of lactic acid in both legs. The ironic thing is, that I had dreams that I would collapse doing this event, but, that it would be my lung collapsing. How bizarre for my legs to go, and I couldn't stop laughing when Imi said, "double-leg collapse" (I've had a double-lung collapse too) guess no singles for me - my body likes to cause optimum pain times two...though I'd rather it didn't!!
I don't have any photos of me at the finish line because of my drama, I will wait until the Bupa Run website publishes what they have and see my moment of falling glory before the finish line. I can't believe it - just 5 seconds from the finish - why couldn't I have collapsed afterwards...haha......and Why Me? Nothing ever runs smooth. BUT - I DID it!! The whole run took me 3 hours, 1 minute, and 59 seconds.
I later found out that there were not 21,000 runners - but 13,917 and I came 13,871, 46th from the last.
So, here I am in sick bay being monitored. My medal came to me, as I was unable to collect it from the finish. I put on a happy smile and consume the complimentary hot chocolate given to me. Sometimes, there are perks to being ill...haha. The medics couldn't believe that I had actually done the run, and were amazed and said I was an inspiration.
Well, I have learned that this challenge I set myself for year 3 being alive, was definitely ambitious and one that I almost never finished. Never again!!
BUT...now I have had a few days rest, and have been discussing doing another run! YES - I am mad, but, a shorter distance 10k not 17k! Also, roll on year 4 being alive and to a new challenge that I am still deciding what to do........
Lastly, somebody - and I have no idea who mentioned me whilst Channel 5 covered the run. I was informed that the message on the screen was something like, "every year Double lung transplantee Justine Laymond chooses a challenge and this year it is to run the Great South Run"........I have asked and even posted this headline on Facebook - but still clueless - and wish I could thank whoever did say this!
Well..thats it.......Jussie over and out, a hard year of sporting challenges to raise funds for LAM. My link is still open for any last pennies..lol
MY Justgiving Link
Thanks for everyone's donations so far, I have exceeded my target! And thanks for everyone's support of messages spurring me on, it all helps me.
Over and out, love you all x x