I pledged to run 50 miles this May as part of the Miles for Mind challenge by Runr. I signed up to keep me motivated and stop the inevitable slump post London Marathon. It’s only the 2nd of May but already my reason for committing to this has changed. It was inconceivable a matter of days ago, but now I am running these miles to cope with bereavement.
I did not participate in the marathon this year. I trained for it. The travel and accommodation were all booked. I had begun packing for it. The children had been wound into a suitably excited frenzy, well only the youngest really. At 12 the eldest doesn’t really do excited anymore. However, we simply could not go: my father-in-law died suddenly, unexpectedly and goddamn unfairly late on the Tuesday night. We had been due to travel early on the Thursday. None of it mattered anymore though. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt but how insignificant and unimportant it all was. A race? Come on. A race I’d been so obsessed with for so long suddenly really did not matter. Fortunately, my charity, the NSPCC, gave me a last minute deferral and that was that.
So, you see, I no longer needed to run 50 miles to recover from London because I didn’t go to London. The days following a bereavement are unpredictable. It was the school holidays too so the good ship Routine had well and truly sailed. Stranded on Chaos Island – come back! Well, it felt like chaos to me. Still does. My mental health conditions (BPD and cPTSD) are not fans of the unpredictable. I’ve looked for meaning but of course there is none. So, when I feel life has taken a swipe at me and knocked me down I immediately begin to plan my revenge. Ok, there’s the marathon next year – that’ll be part of the plan. Next year I am going to smash it. Forgive me, I know ‘smash it’ is an overused term in our community but, by God, I bloody mean it. Had I run London this year it would have been in a state that I was not happy with. I felt my fitness lacking and my training had not gone to plan. It was just going to be about getting it done. Well, not so next year. Next year I WILL smash it.
The training starts now. Among the grief and the unpredictable and the tiredness and the kids whinging about everything and my husband existing in a shattered world, amongst all of these things I know: I must keep running. Sensibly, mind! The target for now is my 50 Miles for Mind challenge. Actually that feels quite a lot in our current situation but I do know it’s achievable. I chose 50 miles initially as I think that distance will allow me to maintain the healthy balance that I need (my mental health stuff really knackers me so I’ve got to be careful not to overdo it).
So, completely inconceivably, I am running this challenge to help my husband and I deal with loss. My husband also runs. He has toyed with the idea of getting out a few times. It hasn’t happened yet but if I keep on, keep showing that those things are still possible, then I think he’ll be more likely to lace up again.
I didn’t want to run today but, as I said, it’s the 2nd of May. It’s time to start, to log some miles. Two out of 50 done and it was hard! And so we begin. We begin a journey that is going to start with 50 miles but, I promise you this, it is going to take us so much further.