I was reading my favourite running blog, Run This Amazing Day, and the author, Katie, was really titsed off. She's injured and angry, and lashing out a little bit because of all the inanities she was getting from well-meaning readers. I don't blame her, I would be doing the same. I hate it when people assume I am fucking stupid - "Are you stretching/icing/resting?" No, I'm mountaineering. Fuck off. That said, they mean well. Without thinking sometimes, they mean well - not just online, but in life. Where you say to someone, I have an injury, I can't run and the reply comes out something like: "See? I told you running is bad for you." Sometimes, you just have to bark. There's no hurt meant, no bad intentions and certainly no malice from either side, you just want to lick your wounds and get on with it.
So, I was running my 20-miler this past Sunday, and I thought, well, I didn't leave any platitudes that I can remember. I certainly didn't leave any advice. I'm doing what I know how to do, because right now, I can. So Katie, that run was for you, because you couldn't.
In other news, I had - apart from the above, running because Katie couldn't - two new bits of inspiration. I have been musing on motivation post-marathon, even worrying about it. Where does one go from there? How do you motivate yourself to run four miles on a wet and cold morning after you've had 100,000 people lifting your tired feet, urging you on to be the best you can? Easy! Sign up for another race!
I was on the phone interviewing someone a few days ago when someone came to the front door, which is pretty much under my office. My stepdaughter went down to answer it and came back with a Hereford Half Marathon leaflet. She couldn't remember the name of the person that had left it, but knew it was 'someone I liked'*. I read the leaflet while doing my interview in a half-arsed way, and thought, I'll run that race. It's exactly a month after London, so it won't be easy - I should just be loose enough to run it, I think! But it's organised by a local hospice. I'm running London for one local hospice, this is the other one. One in which my best friend's dad died just a couple of months ago. I phoned her, and said, there's something I would like to do on your behalf, and explained about the race. She said brilliant, they'll be able to help with fundraising. Perfect, I thought.
On my 20-miler on Sunday, I was easing** up a slow hill when a car pulled to a stop on the other side of the road from me, and started reversing. I figured it was probably someone I knew. It was Dave, who I hadn't seen for a couple of weeks. Dave's the father of someone I was at school with and Dave is, frankly, a bloody lovely bloke.
The conversation went:
"Did you get the leaflet? Are you interested?"
"I got it, thanks Dave. Yes, I think I'm going to go for that - my friend's dad died in that hospice a few weeks ago, so I'm well up for doing something to help them."
"My wife is in there now. Do you want me to pay for the race entry, or just sponsor you?"
If ever there was motivation, it's finding out someone you really, really like, think the world of, even, is hurting like Dave must be right now. So the least I can do, is something I can do. If that makes any sense. I'm doing it because I am capable of doing it where others are not. I'm doing it for them, even if they're gone. Doing it to remember them, and to help others remember them.
* It's not a hugely long list, believe me. And before you go 'awwww, isn't she sweet?', she's nearly 15 and should be able to remember names by now…
** Barely moving