What makes a true warrior? When you’re in the depths of training, there’s more than physical stamina which needs building, it’s the mental psyche that needs a push too. Now I’m no solider serving for her Maj (patriotic salute), but I when my life became fight of flight, there was only one option.
It was 20 something degrees on Saturday morning and I was a woman on the edge of reason. Yes, not only was I wearing big pants and a slick of lipgloss, but I was seriously sweating like Bridge Jones in the Bangkok jail, with no hope of escaping (I was very nearly in my bra too).
Quitting was not an option. And this is why…
There have been many times I have felt like quitting in my existence. Times where I have felt out of my depth and that I am struggling to tread water. For example: my first week of teaching. I was literally thrown in at the deep end, off the coast of Ireland. I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath in the deep black waters of the Atlantic Ocean; a shiver of sharks circling for my fresh meat. Quitting was not an option, instead I focused, dug deep and powered on through. A couple of weeks in and I began to hit my stroke and made the lengthy journey to America. It takes time to cross the Atlantic.
It takes time to heal too. To be successful is only possible when you look within yourself and face your fears. Digging deep. One defining moment for me was when the parcel delivery driver (all my shopping is online as shops have been a step too far…) asked me if I worked nights? Being greeted by a bleary eyed sloth every day must have created a persona I neither lived or deserved. I wasn’t even working. My body had given up. But, and this is the thing, a germ of survival wouldn’t let me give up. It grew like a bacterial infection I neither desired or could fight. I wanted to show her that I was normal. Ultimately, it seems I was too weak to give in to my inner duvet hiding strength.
So where do we pull it from? I’m sure that there’s many of you who have been in similar situations: sink or swim as they say. What makes you carry on and fight your way through? Well mine was my family. You see, you can’t quit when there’s people who rely on you can you? Nearly twenty one years ago I gave birth to the Big E and from that day I knew there was no room for self pity and self destruction. There’s a natural animal instinct which kicks in, and with time and rest, your head takes over the physical hurdles. Being a mum means you have to be just that: a mum. You might collapse behind closed doors but when they’re their, well, you function.
But that was then and this is now.
Going back into the workplace was always going to be tough. My goodness, the very thought of the place used to make me feel sick and shake. They say you should never look back to move forward. However, sometimes it’s good to look back to see how far you’ve come.
Back to my Saturday run, quitting was never an option. Tempting as it may have been to curl up and die next to a field (and no doubt be quickly covered in flies) my steely determination (I like being steely), has pulled me through. Therefore, as temperatures soared, I more plodded, rather than powered on through. Now don’t get me wrong, dehydration was getting to me. When Him rang about the whereabouts of the Middle One (the morning after the prom and the all night field rave), I was preoccupied (she must have no battery left, she’ll be fine. Now back to me) and begged for the rescue water team to come by in the ‘van’ with supplies. And so, with the promise of a mobile water station and three kilometres to go, I used that inner steel and kept going…
Only, the knight in shining black van armour never materialised. As I painfully reached the last kilometre, the temperature was pushing 24 and delirium set in. What was I thinking? But I knew I’d finally made it and as shoddy state as I was in, I was determined to finish.
Him arrived as I was turning onto our road.
‘Fifteen minutes’ I stated ‘what if I’d have collapsed and died?’
‘You didn’t’ he smiled and handed me the loveliest clearest, coldest litre of water I’ve ever set my ‘boob job/Botox money’ (mega money) eyes on.
‘Jump in and I’ll take you all of ten metres’. My hero.
But I hadn’t quit. I had ran my run and survived. The fact I felt sick and like I had sunstroke didn’t matter – even having a wee wasn’t working. I was alive and still, errrr, breathing. All I needed was a massive ASDA shop to arrive (like I said delivery drivers are my new social circle).
Twenty minute later, after putting away the goods solo – only I wasn’t as the field raver was sleeping off field rave since 7am (what did I say about solely surviving for my family).
After a long strong word with myself in the dark, I knew to survive, I had to toughen up and buy some kit.
My amazon basket was full (and remained so as my card was declined due to me using my lost card rather than my replacement. Long story involving my middle one…). In the mean time, before I found the correct card and awaited one of my new delivery friends (did you know that when they contact you they tell you their hobbies? Mine likes cooking and swimming) I carried on through..,
And so I, literally, ran with it! I powered through Sunday and had an active rest Monday, with only a (I say only, my lovely instructor is a demon in Lycra disguise) barre class to strengthen and wonderfully relax to.
Quitting wasn’t an option either, when on Tuesday night, my complaining big mouth had got me into creating the playlist for spinning. You see, when you create a very fast and eclectic list, you’re to be prepared to both a) suffer, and b) take the heat full on – Kylie’s locomotion? Both iconic and genius if you ask me! (And that’s what I get for slating his Cher on nineties week).
The mountain climb paid off tonight though (as did the Amazon order), as I ran my fastest 10K this season!
This week has been tough (and it’s only hump day). Back to work and sweaty hot training schedule. And don’t even mention the family…
Looking back, looking at that person who could no longer feel. Well. That person has been left at the bottom of the mountain, or on that coast of the Emerald Isle, as my starting analogy took you to. I’m fighting through the toughest terrain, or blackest, inhospitable depths of the mighty ocean. But I’m surging and feeling good.
Maybe this warrior is winning her war.
I’m running the Great North Run on Sunday 8th September for Retina Uk.
If you would like to donate to this warrior, then sponsor me here: