Exactly one week ago I was pounding the pavements around London telling myself that I need to absorb every emotion because I will want to remember every second. I was trying to hang on to every sensation – not just my feelings but the sounds, the smells, the sights …… A week later I feel it was an ‘out of body’ experience. I don’t feel the crashing anti-climax that Charlotte has (but then I don’t feel like that about Christmas either!!) more that the day is enclosed in a bubble that’s slightly out of reach. It probably sounds bizarre – but I don’t remember the actual feeling of walking down the Embankment with my arms in the air acknowledging my crowds – but I do remember feeling the feeling! (told you it sounded bizarre!)
The next day I was expecting to feel really sore – but I wasn’t. Bit twingy in my knee and hip but that was it. The Tuesday I felt better still. I went for a sports massage which I am choosing to expunge from my memory! Lets say at one point I physically pushed Rosemary off my leg! However I was really pleased when she told me that I had fluid behind my right knee and so had made absolutely the right decision to walk the last few miles. Apparently if I had continued to try and run I may not have made it at all! The reason I was pleased that I had a ‘proper’ injury was because I had a niggling voice in my head that said it was my head that gave out – not my knee. But it was really, really my knee – so that’s all right then!!
The Wednesday it was like nothing had happened.
My medal has been in my bag all week. Every opportunity it has been whipped out to show unsuspecting people – not all of whom I knew!! Even in Church! In the pub, the queue at the till in Waitrose etc etc. Challenge on for Tuesday and the Ofsted Inspectors then Charlotte!
Last Monday I was never going to run again – this Monday (didn’t get to finish the blog yesterday!) I have rejoined Bracknell Forest Runners, signed up for all three Yateley 10K road runs, trying to decide whether I want to do the Windsor half in September (hilly, expensive but well organised and fun), or do the Bisham Abbey half again (smaller, cheaper, scenic and I really enjoyed it last year) and I’ve just entered the ballot for next years London Marathon! Wouldn’t want to commit to that level of fund raising again (shame I cant carry over the excess from this year – I would already be nearly there!!) so wont do another charity one – but if I did get a place in the ballot would run again for AUK.
What I am certain of is that even though my virgin Virgin marathon is over – I don’t want to loose all that fitness. So having played tennis this morning for the first time in ages and really enjoyed it – I’m going to be rejoining the local tennis club. Now that I’m ‘back’ – Steve is planning lots of long weekend walks. My bike is going to serviced and decent tyres put on; and I’m thinking about swimming lessons for that triathlon next year!!
I am proud to have run as part of the AUK team and raised a lot of money – but I am also immensely proud to have run in what is being called the ‘mental health marathon’.
I think that the royal 3 are really highlighting the need for mental health issues to be out in the open and the fear of stigma blown away. What they have shown this last couple of weeks is that mental health has no respect for status, wealth, age, class, race, culture, sex or anything. It can, and it will, affect all of us. I noticed that in the media it states that ‘1 in 4 people will suffer from mental health’ – in the programme ‘Mind over Marathon’ – it stated that 1 in 4 of us will seek help for mental health issues. That I believe is the more valid statistic. For every individual that seeks (and can find) help, I believe there are many more in the background who refuse to see they need help, don’t know where to find the help, or seek it and cant get it. I work with families with known issues who are on a waiting lists that exceed 18 months long. Really? We should not allow this to be acceptable. ‘Seriously underfunded?’ You think?
Has it touched me personally? Of course it has. I have been amazingly fortunate to have found professional support when I needed it. I also have an amazing group of friends who have helped me during my darkest times. And I have my family.
I have seen close friends lose loved ones through suicide when help came too late. Our next door neighbour probably chose to slip away leaving his name and address on the river bank so he could be identified. No-one knew. Not his friends, or family, or us who lived 5 yards away. Family young and old (and medium!) who have all sorts of stuff to deal with. And sometimes – what people don’t realise or can’t accept – its not always about ‘stuff’ – sometimes – it just ‘is’.
The reason I chose the picture above for this blog entry is because it really reflects my thinking this week. Charlotte and I started this blog last year to record our thoughts and feelings whilst we trained for the marathon – I’ve been trying to bring all the threads together this week. And what it has come down to is – love and support. From people I really care about all the way along the spectrum to those I don’t know at all but have made an effort for me. Jane starting me on the path, my family jigging me along when I felt low or threatened, people I’ve not met before becoming part of it all like Vikki, Rosemary & BFR, the ever constant Charlotte, her family and friends, and Laura, people at work who have teased and encouraged and been separated from their money, friends ditto, AUK, the AUK facebook page, and all the people who turned out last Sunday to support 40,000 mad runners – the vast majority of whom were complete strangers – to lift us and carry us to the end. And coming full circle – Jane at the end.
Love and support. We all need it – so why are we so afraid to ask for it & why isn’t it always there when we do?
Damn I’m lucky.