Of how I finally ran the Royal Parks.

A few months ago someone asked me why did I no longer write. A few weeks after, someone else asked me the very same question. After all, writing has always been your thing, hasn’t it? And you have gotten so good at conveying emotions, too. Why are you not writing?

To be honest, the question threw me off a loop. Why was I not writing? Had I run out of things to say? Was I too happy and really didn’t care about finding things to say anymore? Anyway, I gave them both vague random answers and then went ahead and  had a little chat with myself. Do I have writers block? I don’t think so. I post about my doings and undoings on several social media sites and am usually too happy to provide detailed answers to any messages I receive. Yet I was still… not writing. So, was I tired of writing? By all means, no! I love writing. I just can’t really get enough words to say everything I’d like to say so I guess that I went ahead and just said … nothing.

Well, rambling over, I guess that I  am writing now. Because I have something to say. Because it makes me happy. Because I CAN WRITE AND BE HAPPY AT THE SAME TIME. There, gotcha,  I don’t have to be a terribly unhappy creative person, I can be happy one too.

So, let me tell you a story…

If I look back, the whole last year, 25, has probably been the biggest year of my life. Let me get you some background : 24 was a rough year. I lost my dad, I lost a friend to cancer, I started running and then had to stop and I was basically trying to figure out what to do next. Life, uni, sports, everything really. So I started 25 with a sheer resolution: to achieve all the things I wanted and fight for them. How would I do that? Well, I made a list. And to be honest with you, I pretty much ticked off everything in the list: I got more confident, I got stronger, I started resistance training, I braved group exercise, I gave an efficient classroom presentation, I tried new foods, got my IBS under control, managed 8 hours (fitbit tracked) sleep at least 3 nights a week, spoke to at least three people in my new classroom group, got a promotion at work and finally managed to stop running to let my less fortunate bits heal.

All in all success isn’t it? Well, one thing was missing: back to when I started running I had always wanted to run the Royal Parks Half Marathon and dedicate it to my friend who passed away and who gave me the strength to finally start pulling together letting my fears go and moving onto bigger things. I did get a place last year but when the time came I was too injured and too hurt to take part so I had to have my heart broken and pull out of the race. So just imagine my face when my workplace’s charity put some places out for Royal Parks Half, I jumped at the opportunity to get an answer saying that all the places were full because I hadn’t emailed quickly enough. To be honest, I was quite bummed but a small part of me was also relieved that I didn’t have to push trough a challenge I wasn’t sure I could achieve.

But, as proven before, destiny has funny ways. On September 30th, 10 days before my birthday and 9 days before the race someone emailed me to ask me if I’d still like to take part in the race. And to be honest I didn’t really think about it, I just said YES. (If you are reading, thank you Giovanna and Pret Foundation Trust for your kindness, you made me a very happy woman). (You can still sponsor The Pret Foundation trust and their commendable work here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pret-runs-royal-parks 🙂  I am not going to bore you with the details and just quickly go to race day.

So, here I am toeing the start line of the Royal Parks Half Marathon. Nervous. Eager. Unprepared. Without training. But happy. Ready to do this. I started very conservatively. Slowly. Happy. I high fived children on the way. Drank water at all stations. Ate a few jelly babies. Eight miles in, I was doing good. 10 minutes mile pace, breathing ok, legs feeling fine, no funny business, knees happy. So I was just going on about my business, when my hip went absolutely crazy. 9.5 miles. I started walk running. Slowly. Seeing my finish time slip away from my fingers. Numb from the pain. And then I saw her.

We had met several times before and I had always been in awe of her quick mind, her brave tongue and her no-nonsense ways. Meera is a force to be reckoned with. She is beautiful, fierce and strong and she embodies many of the ideals I believe in. She embraced me and I wept. I wept with pain. With fear. Because I was this far in but I couldn’t keep going. Because I was this far in but I felt broken. But she told me it would be ok and the next thing her and Phoebe are getting into the course, helping me back up and promising to run with me until I am ok again. I can’t explain how I felt that moment. How much kindness filled my heart. How much it meant to me. How grateful I was for people like Meera or Phoebe. Strong women that empower others and always offer a helping hand, a cheer, a smile, a hug.

Needless to say after them accompanying me for a whole mile and cheering me up I was more than ready to finish the race and I readily searched for someone who looked as in pain as I was. Nina (I hope you may read this sometime!) was running this race for her dad who passed away from cancer too. Together we jogged/run/walked the last two miles and we pushed each other. Because I did it. I got to the finish line. I cried, I struggled, I suffered but I was also reminded of a very powerful thing: we only raise by lifting others and others can push us upwards too.

So I guess that these are the things I’d like to start writing about. Real things. Human things. Easy, hard, happy, unhappy things.

And, here’s me, after the finish line. After the best last day as a 25-year-old I could hope for. Happy 26 to me. Here’s to another hard-but-rewarding living year.

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