It turns out that I am a runner.
Today I am pooped. A 4am start and a 10 km run in the heat will do that to a gal. So will the bra chaffing that is as painful as it sounds. Big boobs + heat + sweat + running = ouchies.
In amongst my tiredness is a tremendous sense of achievement and pride. I am proud of myself, there is no doubting that, but I am proud of the whole running group that I trained with. But there were a whole posse of people who contributed to our collective success yesterday, whether we ran 10km, 21km or 42km.
There are coaches who guided us and fielded an avalanche of questions on nutrition, injuries, pace and general exercise related stuff.
There are families who allowed us a lot of time away to hit the pavement so early on Saturday mornings.
Then there are the amazing peeps who donated their pennies to River’s Gift in support of our run campaigns.
If I am truthfully honest, I really detested yesterday’s run. Granted, not every run is fun. In fact, many of them downright suck. It is hard. It hurts. You get tired. You get injured. I could keep going but I won’t because you can have one awesome run and you forget all the crap runs. It is a weird little thing, this running gig.
But yesterday’s run really sucked. It was warm but not uncomfortably as we set off so early. It was the 10,000 other people that we had to run with that made it hard. If you can imagine the London Underground at peak hour, then imagine all of those commuters in lycra, then put them outside and make them Run, Forrest, Run and that gives you a bit of an idea. I had to concentrate so hard to make sure I didn’t trip myself or someone else over. I apologised several times to runners I elbowed. I tweaked my groin jumping down a gutter. I swore, I puffed, I panted and I just ran.
I didn’t run the time that I had in my head but shouldn’t have had in my head, because…no expectations. I doubt I could’ve run it anyway based on the single file around Brunton Avenue that made overtaking anyone a near impossible task. It was hard to find a rhythm. I have never wanted to see the finish line so badly. But you know what? I just fucking did it.
I ran for River and that was what it was all about. It wasn’t about the heat or the chaffing or the time or the crowds, it was just about running for little River. That feeling right there, is better than the high I get from any run.
The Baker and the troops came up to watch but unfortunately missed me crossing the line. They were right there with an excellent vantage point but the sheer volume of people meant that they couldn’t see me on the other side of the finish line. But that is okay, for I know they tried their best. The kids donned their singlets and got into the spirit of things chomping down on smoothies and hugging Hope the elephant because, cute. And sunshine. Glorious sunshine that I hated in my eyes when I ran but loved afterwards. Sunshine on a Sunday is a simple but fabulous thing.
I also met an awesome lady who Ran for River on her own steam. She fundraised like a boss and smashed out a half marathon in an impressive time. She reads this blog and came and said hello. Running helps you make friends and that is just another awesome reason to love it.
Will I run again? Absolutely. Will I run for River again? I hope so. There is the lure of the Great Ocean Road festival in May with a 14km or a 23km event. I am so tempted by the 23km. But adrenal fatigue and big distances don’t go well together so we’ll see. My calf is super sore today too so my foot and leg would have to behave. As would my head.
Running is both great and exhausting for my head so a fine balance is required. Running longer distances would make that much tougher to manage. Plus the Baker wants to run a marathon so it may be his turn to train. Life will work itself out. I don’t need to make any decisions right now.
Two years ago when I first Ran for River (in the picture above), I injured my foot in the training campaign. I also hit the wall with anxiety, adrenal fatigue and a whole raft of shitty, grey, really, really hard to deal with feelings. The person behind that smile wasn’t holding it together at all. She was a messy, angry, stressed, busy ball of exhaustion. She had lost all of her resilience and confidence.
But she worked hard on herself. She overhauled her diet. She found Pilates, which is great for her injuries and her head. She found mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxtion and cognitive behaviour therapy and schema therapy and the ability to work on herself. She showed determination.
Although some days there seems to be a lot more grey than rainbow, she is running again and not just on the pavement. She is managing anxiety and depression and accepting life’s bumps and bruises. She has developed resilience again and slowly, her confidence has come back too.
So she drank to that. Because, hell yeah.
Running for River definitely feels blue – calm + mindful. Rebuilding myself after breaking down screams red – confidence + bravado. A Sunday in the sunshine fills me with yellow – happiness + optimism.
But right now, I am colouring myself a runner.