So, my plans for race week didn’t quite involve spending Tuesday and Wednesday in bed nursing the worst cold I’ve had in a couple of years, and going to the Expo to pick up my running number on three hours’ sleep because I was up all night coughing. Then again, my plans for adult life didn’t really involve living back at home at this ridiculous age, relying on cat-sitting to bump up my money, or being knocked off my feet by men in entirely the wrong circumstances. Or, knowing two friends take their own lives in less than four years, taking up running in a desperate attempt to contain my own mental rubbishness afterwards, and then running the London Marathon. Funny old thing, life.
Of course I knew about distance running making you more vulnerable to colds, of course I studiously took preventative Vitamin C, and of course, I bloody went and got one anyway. Despite my very great wish it hasn’t quite buggered off yet. Thankfully, I’m long over the worst. The aching bones, the shivers and the streaming had gone by Wednesday; all I’m left with is a chesty cough and slightly croaky throat. Less acutely horrible, more of a persistent, nagging discomfort that you know could spill over into something worse if you don’t watch it. In fact, much like the low-level anxiety and depression I’ve had for all my adult life, barring the very worst episodes when I was younger which very nearly prevented me going to university, and staying there…
I had been planning, amid an arm-length to-do list, to write my one last pre-race blog earlier this week. It was going to be about how, in this week five years ago (remember Spring 2011? The heatwave? The Royal Wedding?) I was the happiest I’ve ever been as an adult, and how I last saw two friends I knew separately alive in the same week, and how all that hope and happiness was blown out of the water when the first of them took his own life just two months later. Needless to say, the lurgy has set my writing back a bit. Amid all the things I actually needed to do (cook, shop, plan work meetings for May, get my parents’ house ready for their return after their four month round-the-world trip), I haven’t had time. Perhaps being so focused on kicking my cold and getting what little work and admin I could done around it was my body’s way of saving me from myself, and distracting me from the emotional intensity of it all. Or, my body’s way of telling me that I’m nearly 32 years old and not some bloody student who has the time to sit around writing about my Big Feelings and making music playlists. (At least, not unpaid. I’ll save all that for my book instead. Of which, more anon…).
I will say this until the cows come home: I’m genuinely stunned in the most wonderful way by the love and support so many people have shown me during my Marathon training, and ever since I started training for my first 10K last year: from family and old friends, to new ones who’ve known me barely a couple of months. In the nearly ten years of my youth I spent doing free PR for someone who barely gave a fig about me, I didn’t allow myself to realise how kind people who actually do could actually be. If you’d told me eighteen months ago that so many people would be so wonderful, I’d have thought you were madder than me.
And on that note: Depression is limiting enough. I’m buggered if the dying gasps of a cold are going to stop me running my best tomorrow.
I’m £50 away from raising £2,000 for Mind and you’ve still got a month left to sponsor me if you want to. Please do!
Of course, I’ll be back here after it’s all over to tell you how I got on. Until then…