As you are reading this, sat on your sofa with a nice brew, I will be roaming the streets of the French capital. I will be sauntering under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, watching the water glistening on the Seine and maybe even glimpsing in on The Moulin Rouge. I shall be enjoying Paris in the spring.
Well, perhaps ‘enjoying’ is the wrong word. If all goes to plan I will be running with some walking and even possibly crawling the colossal distance of twenty-six point two miles (42,195km in French terms). I will be running the Paris Marathon.
You don’t just wake up one day and decide that you want to run a marathon. It takes months of early alarms, vigorous training plans and a huge amount of determination just to get to the start line. After my injury I had pretty much given up. I had come to the conclusion that the run was not going to happen. I was in the mindset that it was beyond me. Physically I was not ready. Mentally I was unprepared. I would just go to Paris to soak in the atmosphere along with some sunshine and spend some quality time with my sister.
Then this week happened.
At the beginning of the week I came across a post by someone that I used to call a friend. It went a little something like this; “you had an illness 3 years ago…still playing the victim. Pathetic. #getoveryourself”. This made me feel angry, really angry. It took me back mentally to those horrible feelings you get when you get bullied at school. It made me feel inadequate, self-loathing and upset. Then I realised, I am not a school child anymore; I am an adult, an adult that has survived. So as a survivor I laced up my trainers once again got back to running.
Later in the week I lost my circuits virginity at the gym. I was paired with a lovely lady called Wendy. We got chatting, in the short rest periods when we could catch our breath. After telling her that I was hoping to take part in the Paris marathon, she was supportive beyond belief. Something she said really struck a chord with me. You can only push yourself. It doesn’t matter what other people expect of you, it is what you expect of yourself.
Then it was Easter, the nail in the coffin. Surrounded by my family I realised that with their love and support anything is possible. It doesn’t matter that it is going to take me all day to complete something that others can do in a mere couple of hours. Just to complete it will be the biggest achievement of my life.
Now, whilst I may not be completely physically ready for this feat, mentally I am there. I have downloaded my running tracks, had my medical form signed and even started to visualise myself at the finish with the gold medal draped around my neck.
So whilst you are sat comfortably with a cup of tea in hand, think of me, pounding the streets of Paris, running for me, because I am a survivor.