Action shot, circa nine miles. It’s a wonder I’m even vaguely in focus given my incredible speed.

Last night I stripped down to my underpants and paid a man to rub me for an hour.
It’s something I haven’t done since that weekend in Hamburg whe… erm, it’s not something I’ve ever done before, but such is my dedication to getting round this half marathon with a serviceable pair of knees and as little swearing as possible, I took advice and booked a ‘sports massage’.
This consisted of me in my underwear laying on a couch while a man I’d never met before caressed and pummelled my legs from top to bottom, commiserating about the situation at Charlton Athletic these days as if this was the most normal thing in the world and he wasn’t a complete stranger with his oiled hands closer to my genitals that any man since my dad last changed my nappy.
I was told that this experience would benefit my training. Hence I expected to tackle this morning’s ten mile run, my last long run before the half marathon next Sunday, in the manner of a carb-loaded spring lamb, or maybe even a gazelle who’d just set about draining a lake of Lucozade.
But no. No, siree.
It was agony. Hence I type this from my bed whence I have returned after slathering my lower half in so much Deep Heat there’s a man outside in a radiation suit spooling out a roll of ‘Biohazard’ tape. Everything below hip level hurts and I may be stuck here all weekend (send help, and crisps).
(The agony is nothing to do with the massage, I hasten to add, more the twenty-odd years of seated sloth prior to beginning my training a couple of months ago.)
Please keep everything crossed that my poorly put-upon pins can recover in time for the Bath Half next week. I can’t cross anything myself because every sinew will try to murder me if I even try, so I’m relying on you.
When this morning’s run was getting particularly grim (which covers pretty much miles one to ten inclusive) I thought about what’s happened to my dad and I felt myself getting angry. Then I thought about the effects dad’s situation has had on my mum and I got angrier. It was impotent rage at the unfairness of it all, but instead of targeting a random little bloke and poking him in the eye as I passed, I channelled the anger into my legs and got through the rest of the ten miles without much of a hitch. The power of sheer, gorge-rising bile, eh?
So, a week to go and I continue to be overwhelmed by people’s generosity. I’m not going to raise the sponsorship target again, but if you haven’t already done so then you can still donate. If you like, like.
Think about me suffering, hauling myself around the ancient city of Bath with my legs feeling as if the muscles are on the outside being twanged by a long-nailed harpist, praying that my knees don’t start crumbling like a glacier in spring sunshine and wheezing like an old church organ whose bellows have been chewed through by mice: doesn’t that thought bring a smile to your face?
If it does, or even if it doesn’t, I guarantee the feeling will be exacerbated if you’d be kind enough to sponsor me. You can read about why I’m running the Bath Half for the Alzheimer’s Society and sign up to back me with your moolah here.
Thanks, you lovely thing.