In a few days, it will be the Cheltenham half marathon. And I won’t be running it. Sometimes I’m OK with that, sometimes I feel desperately sad about it. I keep seeing posters, adverts and even road signs about it. And I really, really wish I was doing it.
I have run a half marathon in September for the previous four years (Bristol in 2011 and 2012 and Cheltenham in 2013 and 2014). It gives me something to work towards and look forward to over the summer. It requires a fair amount of dedication and hard work to be able to run the distance and I enjoy that hard work. I even enjoy looking forward to it all being over (I know, that might not make sense), but it’s all a part of the experience for me.
You’re probably thinking I should get over it and get a life. That there are worse things in life than being unable to run 13 miles. And you’re right, of course. But, for me, running is 13 miles is something I do for myself and, when you’re busy all the time (and stressed a lot of the time), doing something for yourself is actually quite important.
It doesn’t keep the house tidy, it doesn’t pay the bills and it doesn’t get the kids to school.
But it keeps me happy.
And, since my happiness affects my entire family’s happiness, that’s really quite important.
I run for fitness and the challenge. I run to be happy and for the freedom. I run to be alone and have some peace. I run to beat my own time and other people’s. I run for the sense of achievement and the discipline.
That’s a lot of good reasons for running and a lot of reasons why this summer and early autumn haven’t felt quite right without it. I haven’t had the adrenaline rush and the buzz. I haven’t had the weird hunger and tiredness that takes me over. I’ve just been me, coasting along through July, August and September, like I coast through the other months – concerned only about kids, school, work and the house. I have nothing to replace running, nothing to replace that adrenaline rush and that amazing sense of achievement.
I’m getting physio now for my ITB and my previous problems. I may have ‘issues’ with my left leg in general. I’m grateful that I can still run 3 miles, so I can still do the Parkrun and I usually sneak one other short run per week, so I don’t overdo it. I enjoy those runs, but they’re nothing like running a proper long distance.
I’m hoping I’ll be fixed in time for a half marathon in the spring. Because me without running isn’t really like me at all.