I am not going to lie. I may do a lot of things and am prone to exaggeration (big things are beautiful) but I won’t do that. (Ha – I bet Meatloaf is singing in your head right now, eh?)
No, not gonna lie – getting out of bed at 8am on a Saturday morning, knowing that there is over 2 hours of running to be done isn’t easy. Not even when I do this every weekend. I get up, go to the toilet, eat Corn Flakes and pop a few Neurofen, do my floor exercises, go to the toilet, get dressed in my running gear, go to the toilet, fill my water bottle and get some Plenty for my runny nose, go to the toilet, set my Runmeter and music, go to the toilet and I can finally head out. Yep, I go to the toilet a lot before a long run. I try to make sure Mr. Gingerbread Man stays home. He is not my preferred running partner, especially when it comes to my long “mental health” runs. There is nothing worse than trying to battle tired legs and a brain that nags how stupid this running business actually is when your stomach is planning an emergency evacuation of it’s contents.
I haven’t been feeling great for a few weeks now, with the kids being back to school since September they have been bringing home an array of delightful bugs and viruses to test our immunity with. I thought I would be ok though – I mean there comes a point where you think there couldn’t possibly be anything left inside to trouble you.
The run started ok, I felt fine. Not as tired as I have and the weather was lovely. It wasn’t until the 8th or 9th kilometer that I started taking the funny feeling in my stomach seriously. It came and went like birthing contractions which I know is usually is a bad sign as it means things are building up momentum. I wasn’t about to give up on the run though – no bloody way. So I ran to Primrose Hill (uphill helped with the cramps, downhill made me desperate) and thought I should really run home now. I was about 2 kilometers away and that would have been the smart thing to do.
You know me, I am not smart. So I kept on running and headed to Regents Park. I have never regretted a decision in my life as much as I regretted that one. (Not even the decision to cut my looong hair to 1cm stubble. Take it from me, never go get a hair cut after a beer too many – impulsivity is not always a good thing). I got to the point where I only had my final lap of 4.5km left but even as stubborn as I am, I just couldn’t do it. There was no way I would have made it. My palms had bleeding crescents on them from where my nails were digging in during my cramps that were now almost continuous. My running style had changed to accommodate the “butt-clench” to try and avoid an accident. This was tested to the max when another runner surprised me coming round a corner and made me lose my concentration, luckily not all muscle control. The pain, oh my god, the pain of that run home.
As funny a story as it would make to tell you I ended up in a bush using my Plenty as toilet paper, I am glad to report I made it home. Just.
I do feel like I have failed in that the run that was supposed to be “at least 21km, but more likely 22-23km” ended up only being 17.7km. But I suppose sometimes there is just no other choice but to give up. Unless of course you want to mess your pants. However, I do have a whole new insight and understanding of Paula Radcliffe and what happened to her at the 2005 London Marathon. I get it now.