AM I RUNNING FOR TIMES & PBs, OR FOR SANITY?
I spent most of my 20s on a potent cocktail of Prozac and rosé wine. I feigned false happiness; I went to parties where I didn’t belong; I worked in legal offices that chipped away a little bit more of my soul day after day; I got married when I shouldn’t have done. In fact, I dropped bollocks left, right and centre. I don’t know how I navigated my way through the emotional landmines that threatened to explode around every corner. I spent an entire decade tip-toeing around my own life, trying to at least make sure there were minimal casualties in amongst the many explosions. Despite my best efforts, quite a few got hit.
And I relied on my Happy Pills to keep me safe. I didn’t believe I could be OK without them. I panicked at the mere thought of running out of my daily dose of sanity. A bit like the Everlasting Gobstopper in Wonka’s factory: these little tiny pills contained ALL of the answers. They never let me down. Likewise with the rosé wine. I needed it to function. What do you mean there isn’t any in the fridge? Well I’ll have to go out and bloody get some then! I lived in a constant head-fog of bemused fumbling from one day to the next, with crocheted, patchwork thoughts attempting to steer a rudderless raft far out at sea. That was me. That was my life.
I became a parent, and then everything changed. (There is quite a bit more to that story, but it’s for another time.) My Happy Pills were taken away from me, and I had to learn how to stay aboard my raft all by myself. I discovered running, and the rest – as they say – is history. I’ve not been near a Happy Pill since.
Last weekend, me & Gav did the Windmill Half Marathon over on the coast in beautiful St Anne’s. It was pretty windy, and the race felt quite tough given a particularly bad ass training run on the Thursday evening beforehand, which we could have well done without! (Those responsible know who they are!)
Anyway, we did it and I finished in 6th place overall in the ladies, coming 1st in my F35 age category. I felt pretty chuffed – I hadn’t got a PB and didn’t feel to have run a particularly smart race, if truth be told. Plus, my legs were tired. I wondered if I should be ‘happy’ with my performance. I was nowhere near my PB (still stands at 1:30. I finished in 1:35, today.) ‘Did I do OK today, Gav?’ I asked him. ‘You did ace, Rach!’ He reassured me, kindly. ‘You know our legs were battered after Thursday and we’ve done a lot of quality stuff lately. They’re bound to be tired!’ But my inner stick with which I tend to like beating myself has selective hearing, and it wasn’t so keen to let me off the hook.
That was last weekend. Since then, I’ve not managed to get much running in at all – not only because of tired post-race legs, but also the endless parade of work and other Motherly Duties all hanging around me, grappling for my attention like Donkey from Shrek. Pick me! PICK ME!
I realised that I’ve been clinging on to my raft again.
And so this morning, I dropped my Mini Me Donkey from Shrek Daughter off at school, and I ran. I didn’t plan on running 10 miles, but I wanted to. It dawned on me momentarily, ‘I’m buggering up our plan for a 15-miler tomorrow!’ but I couldn’t care less. Why? Because I needed this morning’s run so I can stay afloat for a little while longer, on board my tiny raft bobbing about on the high seas. I needed to look around and take in the view; I needed to think my thoughts, and to not think any of them in equal measure. I needed to run past the fat toothless old farmer sitting on a wall in nothing but his pants up Barkisland (yes, he actually was) and smile to myself at the absolute lunacy and yet the indescribable simplicity of his semi-naked wall-sitting. Why not? Why not, indeed.
So today, bollocks to times and PB’s. I ran for my sanity, and I loved every minute.