Hello May. I have been expecting you. I just didn’t know you would come round so soon. I have a slight knot in my stomach as I type. You see, this month I am going to attempt my first ever marathon.
I feel like most of the hard work is done. I made a little movie here of my run at the weekend – 20 miles/32km. Watching it back makes me slightly emotional when I contemplate how far I have come. When I signed up for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10k last year I was so afraid. It seemed like such a long distance. Here I am, less than a year later getting prepared to run over 4x that distance.
In the UK we have a reputation for being quite negative. We say no to things, we don’t always desperately try to find the good in others and we can be quite judgmental. Some believe it is down to our lack of sunshine. Although this is a general opinion I can’t help but feel that these stereotypes are too true. When I lived in America people used to high five me as I walked down the street. I miss that. I have met so many people in the UK who think I am mad for attempting to run a marathon. Why don’t we say yes to things a bit more? Because if we listen too deeply to the ‘no are you mad, a marathon is way too hard’ comments then do we miss opportunities? I decided to be one of those ‘crazy people’ and after my 20 mile training run I am so glad I just went for it. Yes – the training takes up a lot of time. Yes – my legs ache. Yes – there are often days I find it hard to run but I need to train. Do I regret signing up? Not at all. How do I feel after a run? I feel elated. Dropping a few clothes sizes and getting my baby weight off is just a bonus. Next year who knows I might even post a bikini shot 🙂
My passion to raise awareness for the amazing work that The Mental Health Foundation do has only got stronger. I also love to raise awareness with regards to how great exercise is for our mental health as well as our physical. When a mental illness hit our family hard it was a serious wake up call. It is so scary to think that in 2016 people are still afraid to talk openly. The fantastic work of many is helping our culture to change and start talking . Our minds are precious as well as our bodies. Running is a celebration of our bodies and a healer of the mind after or before a difficult day. We face a mental challenge when training for a long distance such as a half marathon or the full shebang. Training teaches us that we can break through the mental walls that we face. That we can run through them and find a better place. So when my head told me to stop as I ran those long 20 miles alone with no crowds to cheer me on I battled through. I kept running. I told myself I could do it. My regular readers know that my husband struggles with time keeping (a quality I am a perfectionist at) and he has missed me at the finish line a couple of times. He made up for it with these surprise caps after those 20 miles – it was a real treat to see him and the kids in them.
On the 29th of May I will face the ultimate challenge. I will hold my head high and stay strong. I will then wear my medal with so much pride. I will think of all of the incredible people I have worked with so far this year. Those who have opened their heart to me and continue to do so. Those who are prepared to share their deepest secrets to help raise awareness. To help others know they are not alone. It is very apt that Mental Health Awareness week is the same month of my marathon.
Please see my fundraising page if you would like to support an incredible charity. May 2016 just be the very start of an incredible journey. #mentalhealthawareness #keeptalking #keeponrunning