As you read this, I’m running the Hastings Half Marathon wearing some very special pink elephant bows made for me by fellow Sewist and Runnist, Scruffy Badger.
This race means a lot to me. I had a really bad running year in 2011 that culminated in a 10-mile race where I stopped running at mile 6 and started crying. I walked for five minutes, then reluctantly started running again. What else was I gonna do? I had no other way of getting home. I didn’t reach the finish line and feel euphoric. I felt totally fed up. Which meant that my desire to run in the memory of a recently deceased friend felt like a bit of a joke. I hadn’t done well by Margaret at all.
Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing. There were reasons that race didn’t go well. I’d been dragging my behind around well-rehearsed, now-boring routes less and less often. My newly-discovered passion for sewing had definitely interrupted my training. I was isolating myself, travelling to the race and back on my own, not even talking to a single other runner. And still in shock from recent events, I’m not surprised that I needed a damn good cry.
But I wanted this year to be better. So I’ve trained. I made a point of exploring new routes that weren’t just laps from my front door. I ran to Liverpool Street, through Victoria Park, past Highgate Cemetery, through Cardiff and around the canal paths of Peterborough. I took myself out with Fehr Trade and Run Dem Crew, flailing at the back of the group. My one regret is that I didn’t manage to run on my weekend in Yorkshire because of a cold. Those hills would have been brilliant training for a hilly half marathon.
I’ll report back on how today went. Please send me your best wishes! It’ll keep me going, knowing you’re reading and possibly shouting at the monitor, ‘Go, Karen!’ (Please shout at the monitor. It will make me grin to think of you all doing this.)
I’m a plodder, but I’d like to finish the race and feel proud of myself. I’d like to not stop and walk this time and I’d certainly prefer not to cry like a baby! I’d like to do the right thing. When I feel myself losing heart, I’ll look down at my pink elephant bows. Thank you, Scruffy Badger – you don’t know how much this gift meant.
And after all that, I’m going to drink a really large glass of wine…