It's fair to say that my body has taken quite a battering in these two weeks. A fractured wrist, cracked ribs, two mega infections, damaged tissue in my foot and cuts and bruises the size of my head all over my body.
I'm still finding the words when it comes to my recent achievements. This year, I have been focusing on state of mind. It's about telling yourself you can do something, even when you think you can't. It's about believing in yourself when others don't. It's about trusting your instincts, even if it's scary. And more than anything, it's about getting your head in the game. Clearing your mind of everything and focusing on the task ahead, whatever it may be.
Climbing over the last 10ft wall before jumping the fire at the end of Spartan was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Spartan had always been something I wanted to do, and being a member of the crew made me want it even more. You have to be physically fit to do Spartan. It promotes fitness and strength, and without those, you won't succeed. Fortunately, being the gym bunny I am, I was in good stead. It was hard. Very hard. I was soaked through from swimming through multiple freezing cold lakes and rivers, had more mud on and in my body than you would believe is possible and a completely battered torso. As soon as I had landed on the floor and saw the finish line, I felt the tears bubble up. 'You've achieved what you set out to do, and you smashed it Tamsin.' I had run the race on my own, not knowing anyone, and finished with people I'd met along the way who had started calling me 'the little 5ft feisty one who won't stop laughing and singing'. That was my tactic. Laugh, sing, spur people on and focus. And that's what I did.
A grown man slipped at one point, fell and landed on me, and even though I didn't realise at the time, actually fractured my left wrist and cracked a rib. At the time, I just said 'you ok mate? I got you!' and started helping him back up. Because that's what this race is about. Togetherness. It didn't stop me finishing.
4.5 miles into the half marathon, I lost all feeling in my right foot. I burst into tears, as I'm not one to be defeated, but at the time, I thought maybe I wouldn't be able to do it. I had my phone on me so rang my parents who were obviously quite surprised that I had called them. My dad quickly told me that I can do anything I want to do and they were waiting for me along the course. I couldn't get the feeling in my right foot back whatever I did, so in a last effort, I took off my compression socks and ran with them in my hands wondering if that would help. It didn't. Knowing full well I would gain some blisters, I tried to take it a mile at a time with a completely numb right foot. At mile 8, the Red Cross pulled me into first aid to check my foot out because they could see I was crying. They asked if I wanted to pull out.
'What? Are you having a laugh?'
I put my socks back on and tried to make up some major lost time from being stopped by first aid. At mile 9, I saw my parents waiting for me. I burst into tears and explained I still couldn't feel my right foot but I needed to finish. My dad then said 'Well I will run the last few miles with you. It's a free country and they can't stop me.' Before I knew it, my dad was running along Bournemouth Beach with me, acting as a coach. 'Run 4 more lamp posts. And now another 4. And another 4.' I still couldn't feel my foot but I was carrying on with my dad next to me.
When I got to Bournemouth Pier, they wouldn't let my dad run any further. I just remember him shouting 'you've got this Tamsin. You've never let anything or anyone stop you. OFF YOU GO.' Running around Bournemouth Pier, I was mainly just glad that it would be over shortly. I passed people cheering and suddenly I saw the finish. I spotted my mum in the crowd but didn't make eye contact with her. I only wanted eye contact with the finish line.
Without me even realising, I managed to make my body sprint the last 200 metres. It felt like the fastest I've ever run and I just wanted to get over the finish line. I remember people cheering and I heard the commentator shout my name. I then saw my housemate and friends at the finish jumping up and down in support. And then I saw my dad waiting for me.
My mum said to me after I finished the half marathon, 'All you wanted to be when you were growing up was a fighter. You wanted to be a Gladiator. You never wanted to be beaten. And look at you now. You were not beaten. You are a Gladiator.'
I'm already getting ready for my next OCR challenges and half marathons. This is just the beginning.