The Trauma of Marathon Taper…
What a few weeks it’s been. I’m not altogether sure whether NOT running has been a blessing (in that my body literally couldn’t be bothered to shuffle itself from the sofa to the loo when required) or a curse – in that minimal running for me is like a crack addict going Cold Turkey: my mind doesn’t know which way is up, or what to do. And so it runs around in circles making animal noises instead.
Either way, since the GNR on Sunday 11th September, I haven’t run much at all. Life has in fact swooped down on me like a peckish, circling vulture on a sleep-deprived injured vole. So, over the past 5 weeks I have:
- Run (and won) a 20 mile race (Golden Balls, Lancaster race series results here);
- Run (and not won) the Great North Run (I ran in place of my injured counterpart’Dodd’;
- Moved house – it’s really nice, but still a complete ball ache;
- Navigated my way through my daughter’s 6th birthday, complete with highly risky Junior Parkrun birthday party (see previous blog), and survived an exhausting 250 mile round trip to Cadbury World in Birmingham, where we FINALLY made good on our promise that the Golden Wonka Ticket she’d received for her 5th birthday wasn’t in fact a fake (although she was made aware that following the unfortunate passing of Mr Wonka (RIP), the factory has been handed down to Charlie and has undergone a major refurb together with re-branding and name change. She bought it… Just.
- Been ill. Just bleugh. Run down, poorly, stay-in-bed-and-eat-white-buttered-toast in silence kind of ill. Missing work ill, which isn’t like me.
- Work stuff (I know – bore off.) Nuff said.
- Had a rather major issue crop up with a rental property, and a challenging tenant. It will be costly in time, mental resource, patience and – of course – cold, hard cash (again – where’s the duvet and white toast?)
So, I haven’t run. I haven’t WANTED to run. In fact, I’ve wanted to do nothing even vaguely resembling running. It’s like rolling over in bed and seeing a wart on the nose of your life partner that’s never been apparent before, and being repulsed by it. I can ONLY see the wart.
And this leaves me in a tricky position, because my mind is trying to convince me ‘You really don’t want to run this marathon on Sunday, Rach. You’re spent. Totally knackered. It hurts your pitiful, aching limbs to walk up the stairs. You’ve been (mildly) battered by life these past few weeks, and you’re just not up to this. Don’t do it.’
But I’m not having it.
On Sunday morning, we will be meeting up with our friends Cheryl and Tom. They will also be running the Yorkshire Marathon. Cheryl has become my very own, Wonder Woman-caped Superhero. I admire her in a way that makes me question whether we are even derived from the same species.
She’s known about my eating-white-buttered-toast-whilst-hiding-under-the-duvet couple of weeks. On Wednesday morning, I woke up to a Twitter ‘ping.’ It was from Cheryl. She said:
7:15am “Hello lovely. Just checking in. Hope you’re OK and not stressing about Sunday…”
Cheryl woke up on that morning and thought about me. She wondered how I was getting on, whilst wading through the mire of small fry, irritating shite that had come along, plopped on the windscreen of my newly washed 4×4, and will – undoubtedly – fly off again. I looked over at my bedside table, and the empty plate with a few remnants of white toast crumbs on it.
Cheryl wakes up every morning and has to face the day without her daughter, Edie. The mess that has been dropped from a great height won’t wash off her 4×4. Not ever.
And the Yorkshire Marathon? It’s not about me anymore. I can’t bring myself to wallow in the self-indulgent white-buttered-toast eating place where my time matters. It doesn’t. My selfish, pathetic, results-based, insecure ego tries to TELL me it does, but the reality is that it doesn’t matter. Not a fucking jot. Not when my 4×4 has the prospect of being clear of shite again, and Cheryl’s doesn’t.
And I wonder. Just how many rounds of white, buttered, toast would I need to get me through the days? How many hours would I spend underneath the duvet? How many metres could I run, let alone miles?
So Cheryl, although mildly splattered in bird crap, I will be there at the start line on Sunday. I will run the marathon for you and with you, and it will remind me that my ‘hard’ isn’t really that hard at all.
Now, get your Wonder Woman cape on and fly. *and don’t make me carry you over the finish line on Sunday, because if I have to, I bloody well will.