After ending the previous week in a state of runner’s euphoria at completing 10 miles, last week I was brought back down to earth with a bump. Training sessions during the week were harder than I expected, and I was looking forward to completing an ‘easy’ five miles over the weekend. Sadly, it was not to be. Living in North Manchester, there aren’t any routes that don’t involve at least one big hill, and when choosing my route I thought I’d get the uphill part out of the way first. I also decided to keep to main roads and pavements after running through a bog the previous week.
After two miles of uphill running, getting frustrated at having to wait to cross roads and regretting not bringing any water with me, I felt awful. My legs were weak, my knees hurt, my ankles hurt and I started to feel dizzy. I suspected I had been attempting to run too fast, but my GPS ap couldn’t locate a satellite to even tell me. Looking up the road, at the next stretch of hill, the frustration got to me and I turned on my heel and stumbled home.
I felt dejected and embarrassed. Utterly defeated by two miles. Two tiny miles, when I had managed 10 the week before? How was this possible? And more to the point, if my running was this erratic, how could I be sure that 13.1miles was possible on the day? Last week I cried out of frustration, rather than joy.
Later that day, still feeling despondent, I had a scroll through a Facebook running forum and noticed a post from someone who had had a similar running session to me. The woman was beating herself up at only managing a couple of miles and felt that everyone must be judging her for trying to run, and doubting that she could even call herself a runner. The comments underneath blew me away, dozens and dozens of women were applauding her for running ‘even’ a few miles, reminding her that she ran 3 more miles than millions of other people that day. They were lifting her up and assuring her that anyone who puts their trainers on and steps out of their front door (or on to a treadmill) is a *runner* and deserves to feel proud of it. There were a lot of comments about learning to take the bad runs with the good, and using the really rubbish runs to help you appreciate the glory of a really good one. And there were many mentions of ThisGirlCan, the campaign by Sport England, that wants to encourage women to get active; through sport and fitness activities. #ThisGirlCan is about women embracing sport and exercise and not worrying about judgement, it’s about getting stuck in even if that means getting sweaty. It’s inspired women across the country to go out and get active; it inspired me. The next day, I downloaded some new running tunes, went to the gym and ran. Ran until my lungs were burning and I was the colour of a beetroot. It felt good to banish the bad run, and it felt brilliant to know that if I ever had another, there was a crowd of people who all knew exactly how I felt, who had been through it themselves and come out the other side, or were still battling it, and there is strength in numbers!
And that’s what the Carers Centre is about; knowing what carers are going through, facilitating groups for carers to meet up, and being there to comfort, advise and cheer carers on. That’s why we’re running this marathon, to raise money through sponsorship and to raise the profile of carers, and the marathon run, day in day out, to support the people they love.
I’ll leave you with this video, I hope it inspires you too.