Today my blog renewed and I also ran my first 5k for a very long time. I know it has been quiet for a while and I’ll be honest I haven’t been happily frolicking in a Pinterest perfect life. I mean who does? Regardless here I am starting over again. As I ran today I was reminded of one of my earliest and favourite posts about running. Because let’s be honest some days being the last runner is better than being the first.
Since I last wrote things have been a bit pear shaped. Running with the dog didn’t quite go to plan as he had other ideas. These mostly involved a lot of not running, floor sniffing and toilet stops. My home workouts went out the window due to the dog jumping on me whenever I started then eventually I gave up everything.
Sadly my old injuries soon made a come back. The weakened tendons that would never repair took front and centre as the other muscles supporting them got weaker. This led into a massive decline in my mental health. Anxieties creeping in, secret binge eating, weight gain, disaster thinking, tears and occasional tantrums.
Last week it peaked with a perfect storm of home, work, body, soul and hormones. I broke. I talked about it and rationalised some stuff. People stepped in and the support team arrived. Part of me felt ashamed. Not willing to admit that it had happened again. Part of me relieved.
Put up the scaffolding
I had seen this crash coming. I could feel it all slipping. In advance I had started to put things in place. I have joined a private ladies only gym with a great bunch of girls and coaches. All building strong bodies to support wobbly heads (in my case anyway). When my head cracked and the monster revealed himself I had the strength to take hold of what was going on. I had people to reach out to.
The wave broke the ship steadied. During this time I was advised to consider medication. I have no issue with meds and I know it is a life saver for some people, however, I knew that I wanted to go in search of something else. The endorphins I used to get from running. Nothing like it in my view. In researching meds in the past it only recreates that natural release anyway. That is what I wanted to try first. I ached for that mid run burst of joy.
The return of the last runner
My inspiration in the last few weeks has been my Top Monkey who has recently taken on the 5k distance. Despite crippling growing pains that would arrive within hours of the finish line he continues to run. My own injuries and lost confidence in mind he made me feel that I can overcome my hurdles again too.
That is where I found myself this morning at 9.30am in a rainy park that was flooded in places, standing on the start line of the great run local 5k. Within a minute I found myself at the back with the last runner. A gentleman called Alan. He paced himself with me slowing or speeding when I did. He let me listen to my music not interfering until I spoke first in the last hill. Then he kept reassuring me “last bit” “final straight” “almost there”.
He collected up the race markers as we ran the last lap and I wasn’t even offended. In my view the last runner is the best position to be in. As I once spoke in depth in my post http://littlemummyrunning.co.uk/tales-last-man-car/ No pressure to be serious or push too hard. No competition except your inner voice. You meet the best people at the back too. Competition at the front, kindness at the back.
I cannot say that there were not stages of the run that I didn’t want to stop and give in. That my legs felt exhausted and my steps felt laboured. But shortly after the finish line the endorphins hit. The world seemed to come into sharp focus. Despite the grey skies the park burst into colour.
I know that not every run will feel like this. Some will feel hard and the high won’t come. But isn’t that just life? Some days are better than others. But today I felt it. I paced a good run the strength I had built kept my legs moving and Alan kept the monster in his place.
Long live the last runner!!!