Ever wanted something so badly, you couldn’t imagine not having it in your life? Ever gone to great lengths for your love, your habit, your passion; because you know that having it in your life would change the way you feel? Ever needed something to help you function as a person, mentally and physically?
I have just ran my fourth marathon, in the great city of Amsterdam. It was their 42nd experience and thousands crossed that very same finish line with me on the 15th of October 2017.
Lucky number four didn’t fail to give me the goods, as I picked up my running number at the expo the day before the race. My face lit up when I saw EMMA – 10594. However, I was silently nervous. Yes, I had run a marathon before, but each time you run that distance, it actually gets harder and harder… because you only want to do better for yourself each time round. The only thing that gets easier, is the coping mechanism for long distance running.
It was only a matter of minutes that I was playing with. I had wanted around the four-hour mark, (previous PB of 4:07) and whether or not I could make the sub-4 hour group, would be touch and go.
Setting off that morning, I did not know what to expect from my body or from my training; it was literally down to this moment, whether or not I would be able to grab the gold.
Crossing that finish line on a sprint (or the sort of sprint you can only do after running 40KM) I did not know my fate, just the logistics of it. I was in agony, constantly questioning why I would do this to myself, every single damn time. Yeah, us runners… We’re all fucking crazy.
When I found out that I ran that marathon in 3:57:26 it struck me hard. I burst into tears and I could not contain my happiness. You’re probably wondering why? You see, I had only ran my first marathon just over a year ago; I had shaven nearly a whole hour off my time. My personal progression had knocked me for six.
Take it back even further; two years ago. I had not even considered running a full marathon at all.
When I had started running, it was for my cousin and the charity Macmillan Cancer Support. Knowing that it would also get my ass into gear but it would also prove to all those that laughed at me when I had announced my challenge, that I could actually do this. Not only for myself, but for Aaron and Macmillan Cancer Support. I wasn’t going to let my ‘team’ down.
Once the half marathon was in the bag, I was lost… I hadn’t realised it just then, but within that time, running had become my drug; it was my want, my absolute need; and still is to this very day. Progression happened quickly and I had wanted to see how far I could go with this new love of mine.
It had taken time, effort and planning for that result in Amsterdam. With plenty of benefits for my physical being, it also had a great effect on my mental wellbeing too.
“I completely exhaust myself because that’s the only time when I feel so very alive.”
Running gives me power, the lust for life and purpose. I have learnt a lot of myself because of the time I have to spend with my thoughts. It’s scary to say, but without it, I am not sure who I would even be.
“As the muscles in your body grow, you also create a much stronger muscle within the mind.”
When times were hard, running had taken me away from ‘real life’ and it gave me the time to think. It also gave me the time to reassess life’s issues, to plan my battles and to alleviate pain. I was creating a shield that would protect me from all the problems life threw at me.
Although I am much stronger mentally, there are times when I still put my trainers on just to go out into the world and give my time to the beaten tracks.
Let me tell you now, it’s normal to feel something. Speak about it, even with yourself. Take it all in and use that for power. All the negative words or actions, now only fuel my fire. Let it fuel yours too.
In conclusion, I want you all to know that ANYTHING is possible if you put your mind to it. Although it can and WILL be a difficult journey, it will be worth the ride in the end. Whether you run for someone, for the gains, to clear the mind or even just because you bloody well like it; if you have goals, you will get there in time. Don’t let the knock backs bring you down, take them knock backs and fucking run with it. Go #beyondexpectations, live a little and take that risk. Believe in yourself, because sometimes it will only be you that gets you through the day.
Tell me about YOUR running story, has it also helped you with your journey? Reach out, I’d love to have a chat. 💜
If you have been affected by mental health, please visit the Mind website.
If you have been affected by bereavement, take a look at the Macmillan Cancer Support website.
Amazing charities with plenty of support for all.