It’s been 2 months since I last posted – an absolute barren spell in the history of this blog. Despite being contacted by both regional and national press, enquiring about my whereabouts and next moves, I’ve kept myself to myself and tried to sort out some issues closer to home.
I’ve always set myself a pretty high bar to jump over in life, and I’ve not been shy to let people know that I feel like it’s been a disappointing year for me. Yes, I’m super fortunate to be able to run the London marathon, and take part in incredible events such as Challenge Roth – opportunities others aren’t as fortunate to have for one reason or another.
I think this feeling is driven by me being convinced there’s so much more to come, if I can get my act together and start putting in place some decent training. Unfortunately, for several reasons, the hunger just hasn’t been there lately, and I’ve been suffering in other areas of my life.
Another thing I haven’t been afraid to talk about is my ongoing mental health struggles. It’s been a pretty rubbish 6 months, and on some days, I’ve barely had the strength to get out of bed and get through the day, so trying to flog myself through a hard interval session was always going to be a non-starter.
However, I’m also fortunate to have a rock-solid cast of friends and family, who have all kept me going through the darker moments, and for that, I’ll always be massively grateful. It takes harder periods of life to show you how awesome people really are.
Anyway, we’re in danger of this becoming a rather depressing autobiography, and I promise it’s not all been doom and gloom! Whilst training and performance have completely gone out the window for now, we had a cracking holiday in Croatia.
Day 2, as I’m sure it does with all normal people’s holidays, consisted of a ridiculously hilly trail marathon (over 2,100 METERS of climbing), which we’d stumbled across when googling ‘races in Croatia’ immediately after booking flights.
Whilst Katie opted for the more ‘sensible’ option of ‘just’ 30km and 1,400m of climbing, track star over here wouldn’t settle for anything less for the full piece of cake. I do love cake. So, we lined up, alongside a large number of very lithe, lean Europeans – mostly carrying poles and all sorts of other equipment, ready to set out into the unknown.
After a lovely opening kilometre (we’re in Europe now, got to go with metric) along the seafront, we rather abruptly turned and started climbing hundreds and hundreds of steps. It was never ending, and everyone was walking. It was going to be a long day.
Readers will be disappointed to hear that I’m not going to launch into one of my epic race reports, mainly because I’m short on time, and we’re off out for dinner soon, ahead of tomorrows Frankfurt marathon, of which I’m sure there’ll be some sort of epic race report.
But the race was absolutely incredible, even if it was one of the hardest things I’ve done in a long, long time. The climbing was just relentless, and the heat took its toll in the latter stages, and it was a bit of a grovel home to the finish. 5 hours it took me to cover the marathon distance – and I promise you I was genuinely pushing pretty hard.
I finished a respectable 5th, with Katie coming 3rd female in the 30km event. However, the race left me unable to walk for a week (no exaggeration), and I spent the rest of the trip walking around like John Wayne.
Ever since then, it’s been a case of building things up slowly, brick by brick. I’ve started to get the hunger back, and I’m training a bit harder and having a think about some events next season. I need to make sure I’m prioritising FUN as much as performance and remind myself that I do this because I enjoy it and want to test my limits and see how fast I can go.
This weekend we’re over in Frankfurt, with the plan being to run with the boss as she gives the marathon another shot. A, B and C goals are all to try and not get dropped and keep her waiting at the finish so we can get stuck into some beers ASAP. Don’t worry, I’ll write a report..