Why do we do this again?
After declaring “Never again!!!!” shortly after crossing the finishing line of last years London marathon, and frequently during training (albeit in much more colourful language!) I found myself disinterested in running, I didn’t want to train for half marathons or 10Ks, I signed up for a few, trained half heartedly and inevitably raced terribly. Then I saw an advert for Scope for the Brighton marathon, my nephew, Leo, passed away a few years ago at 4 years old, he had cerebral palsy so I thought I’d chuck my name in and if they want me I’ll run another marathon if not I’ll forget all about marathons. Half an hour later I had a call from a lovely lady called Francesca. I was in!!!! Part of me screamed “Hell yeah!!! Let’s do this baby! Brighton here I come!!!” The other 75% of me bellowed “O’Brien, you bloody idiot, what did you go and do that for?? WHY??”
Why? Well, why not? Yes, London marathon training was hard (understatement!!) yes, I had said I never wanted to do another and yes, I was worried as I had been so injured, broken and exhausted in both mind and body that I wasn’t sure I would manage another. But this wasn’t London marathon training, this was going to be Brighton marathon training, yes it was for charity again, I loved raising money for Get Kids Going! and I’m so happy that the lovelies that sponsored me helped make a difference to a child somewhere. But that’s just it…somewhere…this was different, although Leo may no longer be with us raising money for people with similar problems (cerebral palsy doesn’t affect any two people in the exact same way), this was something I’d seen first hand. The struggle, the frustration, the mind blowing highs and the soul destroying lows. I wanted to do it for them, for him. So I set up my just giving page, HTTPS://www.justgiving.
com/carleyobrien wrote my story then pulled on my trainers, and I headed out the door.
I’ve adopted a more sensible if somewhat more relaxed attitude to training than I had last year. Last year I just had to follow the plan regardless of the fact it wasn’t the best plan for me. Or that I was falling apart mentally and physically if the plan said run, I ran. Not smart training. Don’t get me wrong it was a great plan, just not the one for me. This time I’ve got a plan I’m excited about and a years more running experience and experience of how I run to draw from. So in an effort to be more sensible about my training I’m eating better, yes I count more as better, and I’m sleeping more. I’m at the ‘must go to be immediately after tea’ stage of training, when the miles are staking up and sleep is vital, I’m also at the ‘eat anything you can get hold of’ stage too. Although I just eat a lot anyway. I’m also listening to my body, if it says “take it easy” I do. Last Saturday whilst on what turned out to be a hellish 5 miler a recent hip flexor injury was niggling and niggling bad. So I made the decision to postpone to following days 13 miler and book in for sports massage. See, sensible. If somewhat frustrating.
The Sunday dawned wet and windy, standard for the south west of England at the moment. I saw the Facebook and Twitter messages between the girls I was supposed to be running with whilst I was still in bed. When they ran by my house I saluted them from the couch in my dressing gown with a cup of tea and a ring doughnut. I saluted them again a couple of hours later when they passed going the other way. Again in dressing gown with tea and another ring doughnut. Then I got bored. Really bored. So bored I did ironing! I had my massage later that afternoon. Wow. I knew I was sore and my muscles tight, I knew my it band had been playing up and my hip flexor was tight, still, wow.
The next day I felt great and after a test run with our new beginners closely followed by a speed session I decided to do the missed 13 miles two days later. After a full day in the office, that started at 7am with the start if a migraine at 5:30am. Still, I pulled on my kit and met my buddies. It was freezing, sleeting and dark. The bad leg behaved while the good leg threatened to cramp every 5 minutes. That aside it was one of the best runs I’ve had in ages.
I told my buddies about Leo, and how Scope had picked my story as one of their inspiring & heartwarming stories that they pass onto the marathon organisers. I felt strong all the way round and felt like I could have ran forever. Run with his chuckle, a proper guilty chuckle, ringing in my ears. The one reserved for when one of his brothers was getting told off.
That’s why, I’m doing it for those that can’t. I’m doing it because although it hurts like hell, takes over pretty much every aspect of your life in some way I do it because I can, I’m lucky that I can and I don’t know what I’d do without it. Let’s be honest we runners are rubbish at not being able to do what we love. Even when we hate it. But how many of us think how lucky we are to be able to do it. We’re usually to busy chasing pbs or sulking over poor races, runs or other such things. Usually that’s why I run, for them, for me, my sanity, my boyfriends sanity, because it’s cheaper than therapy and can be done anywhere, any time, with friends or alone. I run because it’s whatever I want it to be. But this time, it’s not about running for me, this time I’m running for him, for Leo.
So whatever your why or who embrace those runs, the good and the bad, because I’m damn sure there’s lots that would love too.