Earlier today I entered the ballot from London 2018. This is more significant than it might sound, it means I am back on the marathon bandwagon!
One of the toughest things over the last year and a half has been working out my relationship with running. While running had helped me work through a pretty bleak phase in my life, life had changed and I wasn't quite sure where running fitted in. I felt more like me, I was enjoying (and still am!) a happy one, my evening were filled with studying and friends, and while I pushed myself through a second marathon running started to take a back seat. It creeped up on me at first, but gradually running became a chore, something I did because I felt it was expected of me. When I didn't run I became pretty low, but I didn't have much motivation to do more. My course became more and more consuming (and stressful, mostly due to my anxiety) and I told myself I didn't have time.
All this ate at me, and by last November I was feeling pretty terrible about it all (and my mental health was not in a happy place either). I ended up chatting to running coach Tom Craggs briefly about how I felt at an event and he gave me some very sage advice - you can run a marathon any time, but you can only do a masters now.
There was something about that exchange that really took the pressure off. I stopped worrying that I should be running and I relaxed. Six months later I am in a much better place with life in general. The medication I take relieves my anxiety to the extent that I am able to invest time and energy in looking after myself, and as part of that process I've been much more motivated to get fit again. I didn't plan it, but I started to feel like I wanted to get stronger again, to go to more classes.
As my fitness has returned I've stated to set goals again, to think about what my running future would look like, and I'm excited about it! It is the greatest feeling after over a year of struggling with something I love so much! Nothing beats the feeling of saying 'I am a runner' and feeling like you really mean it!
So what does the future hold? Well I must admit that I'm not holding my breath for London! However, I have been eying up Edinburgh Marathon for awhile, it's supposed to be an awesome race and it is in a city I love. I've also signed up for Brighton Half Marathon in February 2018 and I am beyond excited that Mike will be joining me (having sworn he was hanging up his running shoes after Hackney Half last year!). Right at the moment I am very focused on increasing my stability and strength in preparation for all the winter training a spring marathon entails. I'm taking pump classes regularly at my local gym and regular reformer pilates classes at Frame - an extravagance, but one I think will be worth it. In terms of running I've realised how important it is to me to run with other people, and I am delighted to have found a home with The Backpackers and Chasing Lights, I cannot begin to explain how much this lot embody everything I believe in when it comes to running and it's really nice to be sharing the experience with other people again.
I can't describe how good it feels to be excited about running again, it's amazing.
Sweatshirt from This Mum Runs.