Running has always been a part of me and my identity. It’s hard to explain but in showing me where I’m weak it allows me to find my strength. It teaches me to turn difficulties into triumphs and reminds me that I can overcome adversity. I can do hard things.
It’s also what I do with Marc, it’s our shared passion. It’s where we explore and adventure and basically dick around.
More than anything it’s where I find my freedom, where I’m unshackled from overthinking and anxiety, where the chaos of life is ordered into a steady, rhythmic beat and I reconnect with the beauty of the world. It’s in there that I find my god and my place in the universe. I breathe and I rediscover my chill.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a ludicrously happy and blessed life. I have an amazing bloke, a brilliant kid, a job I love, fantastic mates, a lovely home and an appreciation of how fucking incredibly marvellous living is. It’s just that when I can’t run I’m not completely me and I miss that. I need that.
Ten miles into a run last July I got an ache in my knee, a minute after that it had escalated so much that I couldn’t walk. The next day it hurt so much I struggled to get out of bed and so began nearly six months of constant pain whether I sat, walked or lay down. I dragged myself through the Great North Run off my tits on painkillers and was in agony the next day. From then on running was impossible.
Turns out I have early onset arthritis. Initially I was given a steady regime of painkillers and strict orders not to run. Thanks to a great doctor and physiotherapist I was given hope and a bunch of rehab exercises and the pain is slowly improving. It’s been nearly a third of a year since I ran, the longest I’ve ever gone since I started running. It had begun to feel like something I used to do.
But today I ran…
Just one mile.
Just one perfect, glorious, lung burning, arse numbing mile.
I’d say pain free but that would be a massive lie. I will say that my leg didn’t hurt at all, not once. My lungs however felt like they were made of lava, I was breathing napalm. Months of eating shite and keeping still has put my arse into hibernation mode and I’ve become a little bitch, I’ve forgotten how hard running is.
Nevertheless, the sun shone, the birds soared across the sea and on the first day of the new year my spirit came home for the first time in ages. I grinned like a knobhead whilst simultaneously felt like I might actually be dying.
And it was amazing.
It’s going to be a very long and slow road to recovery but I’m ready to try, ready to learn and ready to grow. So happy new year to one and all, here’s to rolling with the punches and laughing as they come, trusting the journey and making the comebacks stronger than the setbacks.
‘For as much as she stumbles, she’s still running’