As I sit here eating yet another bowl of whole grains and greenery through choice, and with just three weeks to go before I embark on the biggest physical challenge I’ve ever endured (well minus that St Patrick’s weekend in Cork – that really did put my body through a lot), I’ve had the time to reflect on the good things that have come from my marathon training.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the bad bits;
- The exhaustion. It’s not tiredness, it’s something else that makes you Google the symptoms of anaemia. True shit.
- The pile o’ blisters. It’s a little known fact that you can get blisters on top of pre-exisiting blisters. 15 mile runs will tell you that this indeed possible.
- The constant aches. The legs, the lower back, your boobs, your toenails. EVERYTHING HURTS, ALWAYS.
- The amount of money you don’t save from not drinking because hey guess what, your food bill goes extra-terrestrial because you’re forever hungry.
- The fact that you haven’t seen your mates properly since Christmas because, your friendships are mainly pub orientated, and you can’t be out past 8pm cos it eats into your stretching time.
But there’s some pretty good shit that’s come from running. And basically good shit in regards to matters of my mind.
I’ve been pretty floored at the positive impact regular running has had on my ol’ mental health. And for someone who’s been on the look out for the thing that really helps that doesn’t necessarily involve the massive financial commitment of therapy, I think I’ve finally stumbled across something. Because it’s doing things I hadn’t even expected, like;
- How bloody good it feels to have a proper break from everything. You physically cannot check your emails, or WhatsApp, or bloody Instascram because you would get knocked down by a truck if you were to attempt to run and scroll simultaneously. Even if it’s a 20 or 2 hour and 20 minute run, the break is so needed to stop the anxious things that come along with being constantly contactable.
- How little I give a shit what other people think about me when I run. I’ve spent 28.5 years really concerned about how other people see me, and generally thought that it always fell into the category of ‘they think you’re awful’, but when I run I don’t care. I’m bright red, and sweaty, and sometimes doing a jog like an 80 year old woman but I couldn’t give a rat’s arse. And it’s starting to flow, in part, into my everyday life. And that just feels A-grade, kick me up the arse, amazing.
- The confidence it’s given me in my image. Because some days I have a bit of a running glow (could be sweat, but who’s checking). And the dirty amount of mileage as my made my bum more pert than it’s been for a good decade. And as much as I’m still never going to look into a mirror and love what I see, I’m less vile about myself now. So, that’s nice.
- How much less I stress about what I’m eating. Anxiety comes in many forms, and sometimes that’s centred around the stuff you’re putting into your body. Running like you have to to stand yourself in good stead to get round a marathon means, within reason, you can eat well and in abundance and not feel bad about it. Which is delightful.
- The knowledge that now I can. In between thinking people I was terrible, the last 28.5 years has also been filled with the genuine belief that I’m not capable of doing anything. Not able to do a good job, not able to be a good friend, not able to clean a bathroom properly (literally, I’ve been known to be that fucking ridiculous).
“I can’t run”, “I can’t write”, “I can’t do anything properly”.
Running has made me realise that I can. My body can go from ‘unable to run for a bus’ to 15 mile Saturdays. And my mind is strong enough to get myself through that.
I can run.
& I can do anything.