See, I've been off gallivanting the length and breadth of the UK, with a little jaunt to bella Italia thrown in for good measure. Yyyeah, haters gon' hate, but you know me - in for a penny, and all that.
Here's a fun fact for fellow Scotlanders though: turns out that it's very warm and sunny in the far reaches of the south of England. Even though I'd scheduled a 2-3week break from running (under AC's guidance of "just do what you can") I managed to get out for a few toasty 10ks here and there because I just couldn't resist it. I wonder if I was a reptile in a previous life, if not a solar panel, because the sunshine really spurs me on to run hard and run long.
The break did me good. Although I did hit a moment of sad realisation while out for a run in sunny Runcorn...
...such that I made a face not dissimilar to this one...
I was out running for an hour in Runcorn, and I passed a grand total of three other people exercising. Add to that the fact I had van drivers beep their horn at me on two separate occasions and got knobbishly cat-called by a guy at the car wash, who was duly accosted and will hopefully think twice before offering his unsolicited opinion again.
Would he have told a man they had a "LOVELY ARSE!"..? I'm gonna take a bold guess at no.
I know I should just suck it up and get on with it, but it's behaviour like this that shakes the very foundations of my enjoyment for running and makes pressing for social justice feel like a waste of time. And not just mine, I'm sure. It's hardly surprising no-one is out being active if that's the default reaction, and in fairness it's a shame that seeing someone out on a run in the sunshine is a novelty.
Anyway, my point is that it was just all really sad, and it touched upon several social problems all in one short hour of my life. Aside from the momentary rage, it made me feel very fortunate to live somewhere as inspiring as Edinburgh, and to have encouragement and activity all around.
On top of this I had the opportunity to spend a day with my Auntie Bessie at the house she's lived in since 1950. It's pristine and like a beautiful time capsule. Bessie's 93 this year and still going strong - her independence and positivity inspires me so much. She says her secret is to just keep doing things the way she's always done them and hope for the best. She helps out at the church every weekend, referring to it as "going to work", which is so admirable and speaks volumes about her commitment to an active and fulfilling life. I want one of those when I'm 93.
I also saw my wonderful friends Carly and Jonny tie the knot in the Cotswolds, spent a few days with my family in Cheshire, some precious time with my best friend Tully at her unfathomably awesome wedding in Hertfordshire, and enjoyed the hot hot heat of Tuscany with 18 other people who I hope will remain firm friends for a long time to come. Not much time for actual running, but it was a game-changer of a trip in different ways as far as running is concerned...
I think that meeting new people is important to all of us, but I didn't appreciate quite how motivating it would be to me at this point of training for my second marathon. I appreciate that all of my friends at home must be sick of the sound of me, so it was nice to gain fresh perspective from people I had just met.
Summarising my running forced me to understand and embrace my identity as a runner much more clearly; I feel like I've turned a corner into something resembling a "proper runner" instead of just someone who "isn't very good but is a tryer". So thank you for all the kind encouragement, people of #Tullymead2015 (Kat, I'll see you for Boston in a decade or so...)!
|The ladies of #TullymeadItalia |
(minus the wonderful Kim, love love)
Getting back out for my first long run after a two week break was pleasantly painless. I zipped around a 14.5mile Sunday run and felt fresh for having had the rest. Perhaps I got a tad ahead of myself though, as yesterday I almost called it quits a couple of times. Fresh legs, they were not.
A taxi to my front door was a definite brain-worm at Mile 13, when it became quite clear that I'd not taken on nearly enough fuel or water the previous couple of days. Apparently Prosecco and cheese isn't the best pre-run plan for 16.5miles.
But it's done. No taxi required. And next week will be better. Despite it all, I still had finish-line smiles for my mother (she likes to know I've survived and not been hit by a bus, fallen into a canal, got into another rammy with a cat-caller, hospitalised myself or anyone else, etc, etc)...
|Happily drowning myself in disgusting chocolate milk.|
|We know you hate us anyway, and we are sorry.|
Why am I putting myself through all this again? Oh YES, that's right, because I AM FUNDRAISING for a fantastic organisation who do amazing work.
Did I mention that I am fundraising..? Oh, yeah, I totally am...I have a JustGiving page and everything. No no, really, I do. You should go and check it out...mebbes pop some pennies in there to ease the pain of having to run even further next week...and further after that...and even further after that. Just saying.
While I was at home in Cheshire I had a lovely dinner with my old music teacher Jill (yes everyone, Mrs P!) who, funnily enough, now works for Alzheimer's Society. Jill runs a few Singing for the Brain groups - just one of the creative ways in which Alzheimer's Society provides community-based, therapeutic support for those living with dementia, and their families.
In all seriousness, I'd be so grateful for your kind sponsorship towards this great cause that is important to me, especially after losing my treasured grandad, Frank. More details of Alzheimer's Society's work can be found on their website here.
That's enough drivel for this week. I'm off to wrap myself in waterproofs and bask in Edinburgh's great dreichness...
I love you! xxx