Disclaimer: The puddle just below me is nothing to do with me.
Today's fun and laughter was to be 19 miles of running. Peter had run out of races for this weekend and thought he'd come along too since he could think of nothing more inspiring. What my plan lacked in imagination it made up for in simplicity. We got a train to Musselburgh, and ran down the coast to North Berwick with the wind behind us.
It didn't take long for us both to realise we were both pretty tired from the week. Several sense of humour failures resulted in short-lived spats. What was wrong with this week? Well really we have to lay the blame at our friend Ben's door. We thought he had flu but it turns out maybe he had blood poisoning and by the time he came to the attention of the medical establishment he had pneumonia. One lung had stopped working and he was in the ICU. We were both amazed to get a text from his wife Alison on Sunday telling us this. We pretty quickly decided that nothing could happen to Ben. He (and Alison) have climbed the old man of Hoy. He ran the London marathon in 2006 with a broken wrist. We supported him to run the WHW in 2013 off the back of not enough training and he stormed it in 19 hrs and 16 or so minutes.
So we were thinking maybe we could visit him on Monday and then we got a horrible text saying he had to go on a ventilator, it was life-threatening and the next 24 hours would be crucial. Jesus. Him and Alison have two little boys. That stopped us in our tracks. And there was nothing to do but wait. I don't think I slept properly on Monday and Tuesday night because I was busy keeping Ben alive. One day he'll thank me. I didn't sleep on Wednesday night either. The news on Wednesday was miserable but less frightening. He was still with us, his chemistry was looking a bit better. He had a lung drained and it was functioning better. He was not conscious; sedated to stop his diaphragm fighting the machine I think.
So that's about where he is now. Improving a little bit. Still not conscious.
And it was spitting a little bit on our run. Very sombre and grey. I had a lie down in the strange little woods before Aberlady and at Aberlady we had an extended stop for coffee and chocolate (they've got a new and much improved coffee machine at the Londis!). This was good, but getting going again was a bit of a nightmare. After Gullane or so maybe the caffeine kicked in and the miles were a bit quicker, although still a struggle all the way to North Berwick.
At North Berwick we called in to see how Alison was. Remarkable calm reigned in her home. Ben's folks were there and were helping. The boys were making a shoe shop out of old shoes. We promised ourselves we'd have a party one day with Ben back.
On the train Peter and I had a discussion about where Ben is now. Peter thought he was on a life-raft on his own at sea and he needed a lighthouse to get him to shore. I thought he was having a rest on the life-raft and when he's ready he'll float into shore where we will be ready with a barbecue and a beer or two to welcome him back.
And then we got home and I ate so much my stomach hurts. And I think I'm going for a sleep on the sofa.