I’m running the Great North Run. It’s 13 bloody miles! That is considerably further than I’ve ever run before and considerably further than I can run at the moment.
The past few years have not been kind to my body. Actually the months of sitting in hospitals weren’t too bad – I got my steps in walking anywhere to get food and would occasionally escape for a short run along the canals of Birmingham. I ate a lot of flapjacks. However to say it was stressful, exhausting and traumatic is something of an understatement, and it took its toll.
It feels like the 12 months since Fred died have been most physically gruelling. No one tells you that grief is so physically debilitating. It is exhausting, which meant that everything was an impossible effort. It is painful, with every joint feeling swollen and sore, every muscle aching. I could go for a long walk but running was suddenly very much above my pay grade. I tried to make sure I still turned up for yoga, but mainly the lying down parts. And there were even more flapjacks, and ice cream, and hot cross buns. I knew that there were things that would make me feel better – sleep, running, eating well – but I was incapable of doing any of them. After 6 months I spoke to my GP who prescribed anti-depressants. Although they didn’t do anything for the sadness, they did make the physical pain better. It was a revelation to me that anti-depressants are good for the knees.
And so here we are, slowly running again. My friend Sarah entered the Great North Run and it felt like a good opportunity to raise some money for Don’t Look Down. I decided to join her. Fred loved Newcastle, and, as he never felt the cold, never missed the opportunity to run into the sea.
Fred is definitely with me on my training. When I was very small and used to whinge about walking anywhere (and I did whinge) my Dad would always say to me “some children would love the chance to walk” and I can hear his voice as I’m plodding along thinking of my lovely boy, and how he’s be rolling his eyes at my lack of speed.
I have his playlist too. There were certain songs that he would play on our many journeys to hospital and these are the songs that accompany me now. They remind me that all this is possible. I have done harder things than this and been more tired than this. This is a mere walk in the park.
So this is the tune that kicks in every time I feel like stopping.
If you’d like to throw a few coins my way, please do on the button below. And if you’re also running the Great North Run (or anything else for that matter) and feel like raising some money, you can do that too.