This half was a big deal to me. A homecoming run in my city that my PTSD has kept me apart from. I booked the race months ago. I saw it as a goal as a runner but, more significantly, in my mental health recovery. To be able to go back to Glasgow with some sense of identity was going to be a big moment. To run 13.1 miles around a city where I had lived my entire life there unable to run 200m was going to be a line in the sand, a moment that I could say yes, this is me Keala Settle style.
I booked us a flat months ago that overlooked the start area (George Square). This made getting to the start as easy as walking out our door and being there. Searching for the baggage bus was kind of stressful. I had to ask at info and then weave through the crowds to find it with a husband and two kids in tow. So, yeah, stressy. Could’ve done with more signs. It really wasn’t clear.
I didn’t bother with the warm up. It was at 11.15 and I was in the pink (slowest) wave and we weren’t due to set off until 11.50 so what’s the point? The atmosphere was great though. Us Scots are known to be up for a good time and the start line felt like a huge street party – I loved it!
I loved the course, or I would have loved the course, if I’d been able to absorb it. Instead I was in quite a negative headspace. I appreciated what I saw but I didn’t feel it. So, there I was running through the city up onto the motorway which gave fabulous views of some of Glasgow’s iconic sights; there was the leafy affluent streets gorgeously dressed with autumnal colours; there was the loveliness of the park with heilan’ coos (moo!), there was heading back into the city with more iconic sights.
I looked at each of these things and I thought ‘oh look that is beautiful’ but it was empty, there was no feeling behind it, the feeling was just to push on and get finished. Somewhere inside of me I carried a doubt that I could finish. There was no reason for me to think like that yet still I did.
Perhaps it was the mistake of setting myself a challenge? I wanted to finish the race in 2 hours 20 minutes. This figure came from completing the Leeds Half in 2h21m, I had run/walked the whole of Leeds Half so I wanted to get a running time that was faster than my walking time. It didn’t happen though. I came in at 2:25:42. Now, really I should have been pleased with that time but I wasn’t. That negative head decided it was a failure, I was a failure. I am a failure.
It wasn’t the pivotal moment of celebration that I had hoped, more a quiet recognition that yes I’ve made progress, but there is more work to be done. Will the work ever finish? I’m not sure it will. I foresee a future with periods where I need to do very little and other times when managing these vulnerabilities is going to be a lot harder. At the end of 13.1 miles that felt like a big ask and certainly not something to celebrate. Good thing I’m stubborn. See you next year Great Scottish Run 2019.