Monday, 31 March 2014

The 50 mile Question

'Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it'

My husband sent me this quote last week. Its apt for this week. As I face my biggest ultra challenge so far over the South Downs.(/ 

I have a couple of confessions to make. Firstly I have never actually run 50 miles, 45 a couple of times, 48 in training once, but not 50. The furthest I have 'raced' is 43 and a bit. Secondly I am scared. 

I am scared of the pain post 30miles, of the final couple of climbs, of going off too hard and blowing up like an idiot. I am scared of feeling crap at mile 11 and knowing what is ahead. I'm scared of letting people down, of having a bad day, or something just going wrong. I am scared of the not knowing. 

Many times this week I will ask myself why am I going to do this and so many times during the race I know I will ask myself why am I doing this? This hurts too much, I could just stop now, I never want to run another step, that's it I'm quitting. 

This time last year I quit just after Southease. No excuses I was just hating it. I was freezing, knackered and could see no point in taking another step.  I just took my number off and starting walking to meet my husband. I cried all the way home, I cried the next day and I sulked for a long time. I was so annoyed and disappointed in myself. Why had I really stopped? Yes I was super tired, blah blah blah, but I wasn't about to die or be eaten by wolves or anything nearly that exciting. I just didn't have a plan. I hadn't thought it through and had underestimated the challenge. And the quitting hurt a lot more than carrying on for another 17 miles. But perhaps, just perhaps if I hadn't quit it wouldn't have ignited the dreams I have now. 

I will stand on that start line for round 2 of SDW50. Its me, myself and I against those 50 miles. I couldn't care less the time I do it in, to win would be nice, but most of all I want to run strong and well. I want the hard hard training Ive done to reflect my performance and the believe others have put in me. I want to embrace the pain, deal with it and carry on. I want to push my body harder than most 'normal' peoples limitations. And why? Because I don't want to lie on my death bed knowing I  hid from a challenge because I was scared of failure. Life would be so much easier if I just stayed at home looking after the kids, going from soft play to coffee shop to garden centre. But I wouldn't be me and that is not a quality I want my children to learn. I want them to always push their boundaries and question their limits. And so Im not really scared because there is nothing to be scared of. Believe in yourself, like others do, will be written on my hands. 

So whatever happens on Saturday, I've dreamt it, I've committed to it and now I just need a little of magic. 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Balance

An awkward question... when asked by a long lost friend over tea and cake last Saturday when she asked what our plans were for the next day. 'I'm going off running all morning,' is the answer. All eyes turned expectantly to Husband McDreamy - 'you let her do this?' 'What do you get in return?' 'Oh I'm supposed to get something in return?' he laughed as we brushed over the moment, but the comment stayed with me for quite a while. When I mentioned it to my husband when we got home, he laughed it off. Why do I need something in return? This is not a bank transaction, this is our lives and we balance the responsibilities, its not about you get this and I get that, its all about how can we make this work?

Someone get that man an award.

We have been together a long time and been married for a few years now. We have been through some tough times, job losses, job gains, house moves, commuting, serving in war zones, hard pregnancies, even harder childbirths, 2 kids in 18 months, and now busy jobs and two mad kids, but we have come through it all, together. The one thing being consistent in our relationship is that we support each other. When you have two children who can together create the noise and havoc of a small country you must stick together, never let them tear you apart!

I am absolutely blessed with my choice of husband. We are the ultimate team, he is my total confidence. He knows me, he gets me. We don't speak in full sentences, we know each others train of thought, we know how to rile each other up with just a comment and how to calm each other down with just a touch. He is my backbone and I often feel inadequate to his kindness and sharing spirit. I am a selfish athlete, we all are. I want to do my training. I want to fit that in round everything else. I WILL make everything else work.  You have to make sacrifices that make your heart ache to get to be the athlete you aspire to be. And so when people say, especially at the moment, as my training has taken over family life for the past few months, what does he get in return, it riles me a little. We balance this relationship, he supports me, he holds my dreams right now, they are his dreams too. Soon enough this time in my life will be over and we will be onto a different chapter, the boys are growing fast, time will become focused on their hobbies and the balance will shift. With this shift we will move again along the scale, making sacrifices, changing outlooks and realigning our expectations of ourselves and each other.

With this balance and this total support of my personal aspirations I do have a huge fear of failure. Having put so much effort into a goal and knowing how much everyone sacrifices to let me  run fuels both my training and aspirations, but it also makes me grip my trainers with terror.  I so want to make sure my racing reflects not only my hard work, but also my gratitude to my loved ones. I know the result in the end wont matter in the least to him or to the boys, its the getting to the start line together that matters.

So the next person that asks what my long suffering husband gets in return. He gets me. He gets us.We are the balance, we are this scale of weights, trying to get everything to stay in place. We are a unit and he is running next to me even when I seem all alone.