I was walking the dog the other day and bumped into one of the regular walkers I’ve seen intermittently over the last three years.
She asked me what exactly I was doing the other day running up the road with a rucksack. I was running up the road with a rucksack because I was on a LONG ONE. I told her I’d been on a 20 mile run that day, up to Stanmer round the woods, then down to Rottingdean to the sea and across to Brighton pier. I finished up with a beer and a packet of crisps in a bar with a quiet sense of satisfaction that I can’t quantify entirely. She looked at me like I’m mad. Running, as I’ve written before, gives me a release, an out from the chaos, a pause. I am going through what Glennon Doyle Melton dubs an ‘AFGO’ – another fucking growth opportunity and running is one of an arsenal of tools I am using to get through it.
I’m not like Glennon, I’m not sure how much I want to share out here, online, in this space. I don’t want to spill all my thoughts when I feel like I’ve been cracked open. But what I can do is share some things about my life and the latest news on the running front is that at the start of the summer I signed up for another ultra, a 50 miler in November. This, is reaching to be honest for my little body but it builds on the the 30 miler which I ran in May when I was at my physical and spiritual lowest. If I can do that, in that state I feel I can do 50. That run was weeks after life as I knew it and understood it collapsed. I don’t really understand how I managed it, but I think I found a part of myself training for that run that I needed to, otherwise I don’t think I would have been able to continue. It gave me healthy goals, to stay hydrated and nourished and steer me from that which does neither of those things and it helped with much needed endorphins. I prayed it would help me with sleeping but weirdly, despite being exhausted by training that never worked. I ran a marathon distance one Sunday and was still wracked with insomnia, running only temporarily stops thought when you run. After that you’re on your own!
Anyway I went one step further on Saturday, I signed up for something else. When I finish Wendover 50 in November I’m going to have qualified for what I call a ‘proper ultra’ (an ultra being any run over marathon distance) and I also have a place lined up on the South Downs 100 for next June. Yep, 100 miles… in one go. Me, the stay at home mum that makes the blankets. This period of time in my life is for redefinition and I feel like this is a suitably extreme move for an extreme time. I’ve got a challenging training schedule and timings are not ideal, I’m soon to throw a job into the mix but I’m determined to achieve what I want in the bits in between. The bits in between, that’s all we have. I made a new friend that day when I explained about the running on my dog walk, she got it, she understood where I’m coming from with it and as her text afterward said “BOOM. LET’S GO”