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.


I’ve got to say, the F35 prize was absolute pants: an XL Slazenger men’s T-shirt! DO BETTER NEXT TIME, GUYS.

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.


And breathe…



  1. Great piece, may well drop back in and read a few of the back issues 🤓. I too run for my sanity, oh and do a bit if swimming too. Mostly before work at 06.00 or at lunchtime and on Wednesdays in the evening before weighing in at Slimming club 😎


  2. Pingback: AM I RUNNING FOR TIMES & PBs, OR FOR SANITY? | Writing and running, the food of life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s