I started this blog with the specific goal of getting my thoughts about the runs I was doing during training for Vienna Marathon on paper. This meant I was able to compartmentalize issues I had from specific runs and remove them from my head so as not to dwell on them. It also was a medium for me to help ease my own mental anguish that at times over the years has crippled me. Running has given me a release physically and mentally however please bear with my ramblings on this recent post, the spewing of words onto virtual paper for me at the moment is extremely therapeutic!!
So as of today 2017 is only 13 days old and I am not one to wish away my time but…there’s always a but! If we could rewind one period of our lives this last 10 days would be a sure fire contender to be scrubbed from the archives for us. I started 2017 on a high off the back of a very, very successful 2016 I was excited on what the New Year could bring. New countries to visit, new milestones to reach, new races to run and most importantly they are to be done as a family. However on 2nd January as I started my journey to Edinburgh Marathon with a rest day little did I know or expect how much my life would be turned upside down within the space of a few days.
3rd January 2017 started like many others an hour commute into work through the dimly lit streets of Wigan and Bolton my precious cargo, my running gear, and a plan in mind for my dinner time run – 30 minutes easy. As I sat catching up on emails my phone rang out of the blue, it was my dad, to give me some news no one likes to receive. The lady who brought me up for a good chunk of my childhood, my grandma was in hospital. Apparently she’d been in a while and it wasn’t looking good, he advised me to head down to see her but also warned me she was in pain. As I drove to the hospital the tears were flowing and I was mentally preparing myself to walk through the doors of a place I know are a necessary evil but are places I hate, a place that scares me. Just entering a hospital is a massive challenge for me due to a deep seated fear derived from past experiences. I somehow managed to hold it together enough to get through the door and to the ward where my grandma was however when I saw her I couldn’t hold it back, the tears began to fall. After a few minutes composing myself I sat down next to my grandma, reached out and took hand, kissed her head then whispered in her ear
“Jam it’s Matthew, what on earth are you doing here?? If you aren’t careful you’re going to miss Corrie”
At that moment she opened her eyes saw it was me and smiled, so bitter sweet! After an hour by her side she became tired so I took the decision to head back to work and close things down. I was also going to make myself get out for a run, I needed my therapy, I needed my release now more than ever. After I laced my trainers and head out the door for a run I don’t remember any of the route I took! I am amazed I completed as truth be told I couldn’t see through the endless tears flowing from my eyes, the run wasn’t hurting but I was in agony. Strava tells me I ran 4 miles in 30 minutes at a pace of 7:28 minutes per mile; this was meant to be an easy run!! After this I made the decision I was going to be beside my grandmas bedside until I could no longer be. I did however promise myself breaks as I knew my mind was close to sinking towards a place I’ve been before. Somewhere I promised myself I wouldn’t go again, the dark places that have mercifully haunted me before, they frightened me. My next few days were spent in ward B1 of Royal Bolton Hospital with the occasional jaunt home for respite to see my wife and son and also I had my runs to complete to keep my sanity. Again Wednesdays and Thursdays runs I don’t really remember, they were completed averagely however they gave me the release I massively needed.
As I live an hour commute away from Bolton I found the days long and by Friday I was not only physically drained, emotionally I was on my knees. Not only was I dealing with watching a massive influence on my life slip away I was dealing with some other news that had come to light…disappointment, anger, resentment are just a couple of the emotions I was experiencing. Friday was a critical time I needed a break and was advised to head home for a night with my family which after some thought I reluctantly agreed was the right decisions As my wife was working on Saturday it meant I wasn’t able to head to the hospital on Saturday at all as I had to look after our son. This was I suppose a good thing however as I said what I now know to be my final goodbye to my grandma on Friday before leaving her bedside I was hurting. I asked her to tell my grandad I missed him, I told her to stay safe, that I loved her and I thanked her for all she ever did for me then I left, I didn’t look back…I couldn’t! I headed home and when I got there I hugged my wife and son and had a cry. Now they say bad luck comes in threes and I was struggling to get my head around that over the period of a few days we’d had 1 of three, I was convinced the 2nd was just around the corner. I went to bed Friday sad but determined to get up early and hit the road to leave all my thoughts out in the surrounding areas of Rainford and Skelmerdale. As I looked at my phone at 6am on Saturday morning it was empty, no messages, no missed calls the fighter was still fighting. I eventually stepped out into the fog at 7:05 am which is a bit later than I wanted and little did I know my grandma who had fought gallantly over the last few weeks was to succumb to the pain and pass onto to be with my grandad a few minutes later. 35 minutes into my Saturday morning 75 minutes LSR I received the call I was waiting for but didn’t want to receive, I was 5 miles from home. After steadying myself for a few minutes I gave out an almighty scream, gathered my thoughts and continued on my planned route, it was easier to carry on. After a few teary miles from 5-7 I arrived home covering just over 10 miles with my first 5 miles done in 36:37 and my second 5 covered in exactly the same time. At home I was greeted by a huge smile and kiss from my son but my look to my wife as I held my son told her everything she needed to know; the second of three bits of bad luck had happened. A quiet day followed and Sunday was meant to be another planned run day however I didn’t have it in me so we headed for a walk around the Dream in St Helens. Family time and precious moments with my wife and son helped me much, much more than a 45 minute run.
If you’ve made it this far I suppose it’s a thank you from me for taking the time to read my ramblings. I know this blog was set up as a running/fat to fit blog there is a reference to running here. Selfishly I write/publish this post as historically I have been a bottler of emotions which in turn have sent me to places I never want to revisit. Writing this post over the past few days has given me that release, I’ve shed some tears but I have also shed some fears, I feel better for verbalising things. The first week of marathon training hasn’t quite gone to plan, I wanted to hit it hard as I plan to challenge my PB of 3:25:26 in Edinburgh in May however running through this weeks pain I’m convinced will help my character build further. It was an emotionally trying week where I could have crumbled and also used excuses not to run but I didn’t…I did however come mighty close and more than once!!! On that note I will update week 2s training soon and with that will bring the 3rd of 3 bits of bad luck. It’s been an extremely sad time in our household recently however there is light at the end of the tunnel, the testing times make us stronger and we are still smiling…Have a great day all
“This year’s for you Jam…until we meet again. Love you”