Yesterday I ran in the local 10k race, I’ve mentioned before in my blog that I run, not very fast or far but a run is still a run. I’ve ran in a few 10k races over the last few years and before Livvy was diagnosed I ran a half marathon, since diagnoses my running has been a bit up and down, with time restraints and hospital appointments I’ve gone for weeks without a run then tried to pick it up again.
A few months back my friend and I decided to enter the 10k race, we had run the same race last year and although I found it a particularly hard race due to the hills I thought it would give me a goal, something to make me get out there and run. Running helps me clear my head and gives me time to think or to not think at all and just run, it’s a freedom that I find hard to get anywhere else and recently I’ve definitely needed that freedom and head space.
So all those months back I entered the race with all the good intentions in the world of keeping my running going and having the 10k as my focus. I started by changing my regular running route to include hills, I got my 5k hill route down to a good time and in my head I thought I would continue with my training by looping back round and doing the same route again making it up to 10k and this would also prepare me for the race as its a double loop running the same roads twice, something which I never do as its so boring running the same roads twice on the same run.
Well to say my training didn’t go to plan is an understatement! I never did the 5k hill route twice over and I didn’t run for the whole of August, the day before the race with a little bit of panic I looked back to see when my last run was, a wave of guilt and panic rushed down my body as I realised my last run was on the 26th July! I could make excuses all day about why I couldn’t find the time to run but the truth is I don’t know why, I knew I had the 10k coming up and I knew it was a hard route but something stopped me from going out.
I always run on race day with my friend, before the race we decide what the plan is:
‘We will stick together for the first mile then we are on our own’
‘We will run our own race from the start’
I text her a few weeks before the race in a state of panic and stress, ‘I’m pulling out!’
I knew Livvy was having surgery the following week but didn’t know which day at that point, I just couldn’t see how I could run and then attend surgery with Livvy the following day, it’s such a mental strain any day but running a 10k race the day before would make it so much worse.
The date for surgery came and it was for the Wednesday not the Monday, so although it’s still a big stress at the moment at least it wasn’t 24 hours after the 10k. Maybe I could do it? Maybe it would do me good? Maybe it would give me that time to think that I have missed over the last month? Maybe it would clear my head ahead of what I know will be a stressful week. The only problem was that I had not done any training for the last month, could I really turn up and blag the whole race. I could and that’s just what I did. I think my friend could see the stress it was causing me and the week leading up to the race we had decided that we would stick together no matter what, we will start and finish the race together! I knew it would help drag me around having her running next to me but then I felt guilty for she was sacrificing her race to help pull me around the course.
We stood on the starting line, I felt like a fraud surrounded by all these lean looking runners in their newest sports gear or wearing t-shirts with their previous race victories on them. All I had to do was start and finish what happened in the middle didn’t matter too much as long as I crossed the finish line. The first mile felt good, I looked down at my garmin and realised we were on for a sub 9 minute mile, there was no way I could keep that pace going and if I did I would crash and burn well before the finish line, I needed to pace this one out. I tapped my friend on her arm, ‘we are too fast’ we slowed it down and carried on. By mile 4 and into the second loop of the course I was ready to give up, ready to walk. I was fighting the urge to stop and walk pushing on not listening to the little voice in my head telling every muscle in my body to stop. I could see my friend starting to pull ahead, I wanted to tell her to go on without me but if I had I would have 100% walked. The guilt I felt for her giving up her race to run by me made me determined to keep going, if I walked what a waste it would have been for her as well as me. She had said at the start if I walked she would too so I knew I had to keep going for her as well as me. She asked me if I was alright, but I couldn’t look at her I just nodded my head and kept moving, if I looked at her and saw an ounce of weakness in her it might have made me stop, I had to keep focused and believe she was the strong one and that I was holding her back.
By some miracle we made it up the last hill, Eddie and Livvy ran to us and hugged us as we carried on running round the corner and a sprint finish over the finish line. It wasn’t the fastest race we’ve run, it was never going to be a PB but we did it in a very respectable time and I’m so proud of myself for running the whole thing despite the overwhelming urge to stop.
I’m now ready to face surgery with Livvy on Wednesday, it’s going to be another long hard day but my head is clear and ready to face it. I’m ready to face all the XP experts at the end of the week in London and I’m ready for Jack our dog barking at the landscaper as he starts work on our night garden.
It’s a mixed week of emotion with our night garden starting on the same day as Livvy has surgery to remove more cancers from her face but I know if I can run the hilly 10k in just over an hour with no training for a whole month before then I can face this week. I might even wear my medal all week just to remind me I can get through the hardest and seemingly impossible tasks.