This is normally the time I write something like, 'I've done all the training and now it's time to go and run the race." Well, thanks to a popliteal (back of the knee) muscle injury, I haven't done all of the training. Maybe this isn't such a bad thing though. I'm definitely not tired so I don't have that as an excuse. In fact, I don't have any excuses and I'm glad about that. I wouldn't want to have something to blame if it all goes wrong.
As it is, I'm very determined to finish this epic journey, the Thames Path 100. The word 'epic' is overused but I feel comfortable calling a 100-mile footrace epic. It's going to take a long time - the cut-off is 28 hours so hopefully no longer than that - but that's part of the appeal. Can I keep moving? More importantly, can I keep eating, which is the only thing that will keep me moving? Can I ignore the pain in my legs and focus on the main goal, reaching that finish line in Oxford?
In the 86-mile Ridgeway Challenge last year, I don't remember it hurting that much. I was tired and sore but was it that bad? Maybe I've blocked it out, memories superseded by the pride, relief and happiness of getting to the finish in one piece, having actually enjoyed it. I clearly thought another 14 miles was achievable as I soon signed up for this race. And despite my less than perfect preparations - when does life ever go perfectly to plan? - I'm confident I can finish.
Even though I managed a top 20 finish at the Ridgeway (this is my only ultrarunning claim to fame and I'm going to milk it, thank you very much), I don't think I've ever gone into a race thinking less about position. This is about race management and survival.
I'm really looking forward to seeing some friends I've made since starting running ultras - Ilsuk, Naomi, Piers, Tim, Louise, Rich - while others will be volunteering at the start, the finish and at the aid stations in between. Dishing out food, water and encouragement, all vital components of a successful race. I'm sure I'll make some new friends over the course of the day and night too.
You often hear about people in sports visualising success. Without consciously doing so, I've often thought about crossing the finish line in this race. I've walked over it, I've sprinted over, I've even danced over it. All I have to do now is to get there.
You can follow my progress here: http://www.centurionrunning.com/live/tp100/
And you can donate to my charity here: https://www.justgiving.com/Justin-Bateman-100-miles