In October 2016, I signed up for Brighton Marathon, because as I mentioned in the previous post, i’d been on the London reject list once more, and I was DESPERATE to get a marathon under my belt. Even if only in training for the 100k ultra marathon i’d signed up for, called Race to the Stones.
However, come November, the charity i’d signed up to run for, Mind, got back in contact to say a place on their team had opened up, and did I want it. I literally had about an hour or two to decide.
I rang Andy and laid out the facts.
“I’d have to raise £2000….!”
“It’s only two weeks after Brighton!”
“It would be pretty BADASS though…”
We chatted it through and decided that, given my luck in the ballot, this may be the only guaranteed entry I got to London, so I made the bold choice, and took the place.
‘How on earth am I going to raise two grand?!’
Oh fundraising. It’s one of those things isn’t it. People are ALWAYS doing it. It’s great, don’t get me wrong here, but when it came to the thought of asking people for money, I was super duper nervous and worried.
I ran through the classic list of ideas, bake sales, quiz nights etc, none of which sat with me. Then I realised. I was sitting on a goldmine of talent and possibilities. I could use my professional contacts in the Children’s Book industry, and round up a bunch of illustrators to donate work to the auction! Draw for your Mind was born that November, and as people started to hear about it, more wanted to be involved.
Over a weekend in February, I think we auctioned off about 90 odd books, art and prints from all sorts of illustrators, and that combined with the donations on just giving pages from friends and family etc, totalled up to around £5300.
I’d love to do another Draw for your mind, but felt i’d asked a lot of people last year, so this year I chose not to fundraise for any of my events. Anyway, I was on a total high. Couldn’t believe i’d totally smashed my target. Now all I needed to do was focus on the running.
Then disaster struck…
I got injured.
Ironically, the very lady who had inspired me to run and train for Race to the Stones, Jemma Lewis (@thisgirlcanrunfar), also got injured literally with a day of me. We both crashed and burned at the height of training. March 5th, I ran my first (and only) 20 mile training run, before my hip stopped playing ball. Physio and Sports massages x a million later, we worked out that because I had weak walking muscles (and strong running ones) when I was walking and feeling the pain in my hip, it was because the muscles weren’t pulling my hip into place properly, causing an impingement and friction in the joint. However, it seemed to just be when I walked, not ran, so quite soon, the physio was allowing me to run.
He recommended that I defer Brighton, and focus on London, which gave me a couple more weeks to play with for recovery. I had a few good runs where the pain was not too much of a bother once i’d started running. This one day, about two weeks away from London, the pain was intense during running. I couldn’t even make it a mile. It hadn’t been there for the running before. What fresh hell was this?
If you’ve ever been injured, you know that the constant analysis and second guessing is exhausting. Unfortunately my injury also meant that the pain moved around, so one time it could be up in my lower back, then deep in my groin, near my hip joint or somewhere in my thigh. I posted to ig in a pretty dramatic way (VERY unlike me…) that this was it. My Brighton and London Double dream was out of the question, Brighton was deferred, but now it looked like I wouldn’t even make London.
BUT all those donations! All that fundraising….
I got in contact with Mind, and unfortunately they couldn’t guarantee me a place for the next year. I could carry over my fundraising but i’d still have to apply with everyone else.
I decided I would give London a go.
I put on my big girl pants, and planned with Martha (@martha_runs), my newly acquired running wife, that we would both start together. In fact, loads of us were injured at the start of London that year. It’s a miracle we all made it to the end!
I’m going to save my London Marathon story for a separate post because I want to write it up properly (only a year over due…).
But this was it. This was the moment I finally went from Mum to Marathon.
Did my problems disappear? No.
Did my kids turn into exemplary human beings? Not a chance.
Was my depression cured? Nope, still there!
Do you know what did happen though?
I realised that I can do incredible things. I mean, I MADE TWO incredible things* from my body. In pregnancy, my relationship with my body changed. It actually helped me to love it.
PND tried to rob me of a new found love for my body.
Running my first marathon reminded me of how badass it was when my body did its thing, and birthed two kids. It took me back to the ‘marathon’ of childbirth (in a lot of ways it’s scarily similar; Loss of bodily functions, crying, screaming, sweating, swearing…) and reminded me that I CAN DO HARD THINGS. How BADASS I STILL WAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE.
I could also run a REAAAAAALLY long way for a long time and survive it. And the hugs from my kids when I met them at the end?
Worth every injured step.
*my wonderful children who are wonderful.