I’ve been quiet these last few months, I know. Well, I haven’t; in real life I’ve been complaining long and loud about what a shit year it’s been at anybody who dares approach me, but as far as this blog is concerned I’ve been following my nan’s instructions: if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.
She’s right, but it’s not totally responsible for me only to evangelise, and to quietly sweep the less PR friendly stories under the carpet. I would like to defend myself by pointing out that I’ve been too busy to write, but that’s not always been true. As with running, sometimes I’ll find the three available minutes in my day and make use of them, sometimes I just can’t be arsed.
Let’s be fair though, 2016 has been a bit balls. In future years there be quiz questions that ask in which year such and such tragic event happened and most people will guess 2016 because the odds are it’ll be right. Writing celebrity obits is now a full time job, (51% of) the country decided it would rather have no friends than friends it disagrees with, the USA is about to lose modern Jesus from the Oval Office and potentially replace him with a retarded tomato, and every country that isn’t at war with another one is at war with itself. My beloved Turkey finds itself now confronted with a blossoming dictatorship that fifteen years ago half the country voted for (Brexiteers, take note) as fragments of history are washed away in a tide of bullshit rhetoric. I know how it feels.
So if anything is more important than the future of Western politics, it’s my running. And you know what, that’s not been great news either. I recovered from injury just in time to hobble through the London Marathon, and I haven’t finished a race since. First there was the Jurassic Quarter – 46 miles along the Jurassic Coast – 21 miles of which I got through before pulling up with a shouty Achilles. I was signed up for Giants Head Marathon and the 50 Mile Challenge again and didn’t reach the start line of either thanks to the freelance job which ended all freelance jobs (I totted up the hours I ended up working on it, divided my fee by them, and discovered the cleaners got more than me pro rata). Suddenly, there’s a lot riding on my second attempt at the North Downs Way 100.
That bloody job gave me (besides a nervous breakdown and a heavily dented bank account) a chest infection which I’ve never quite shaken off, and an asthma inhaler for the first time in my life. I went two weeks without running at all but averaged 10 miles of walking a day, where I got 4 hours of sleep on a good night and 1 on a bad one, where there was no time for breaks, never mind proper food, and where I subsisted on varying flavours of crisps. Top that with trying to buy a house, and I didn’t even know for certain that I’d be running NDW100 until the week before. In fact, I write this on the train to Farnham on the day before the race, on the one week anniversary (weekiversary?) of my decision to run it. I should be bricking it about tomorrow, but I’m not. The way things have turned out, not being able to think about it plus enforced exhaustion training is probably the best preparation I could have had. Let’s hope so.
As I write this I’m also hoping for another bit of good news – that our dream house, the contracts for which are still bouncing back and forth between solicitors, will have a completion date next week. After viewing numerous rat holes with walls so damp they may as well have been made of cake, and four previous offers come to nothing, we knew as soon as we saw this one it was exactly how we’d pictured our family home. It was all so straightforward – the seller wanted a quick sale, we wanted to move there and then, the money was ready to go in brown paper bags. Then the curse of 2016 struck, and well, we’re still no closer. When we’re feeling at our lowest we’ll scroll through the estate agent’s photos and pause on the one of the garden, and Andy will say “Just think; the day we move in we can have coffee on the patio.” And that gets us through.
With all this going on, have I trained enough for an off road hundred miler? Arguably, no – I haven’t even run further than a marathon this year. It will be a mental battle compounded by the knowledge that I’m not in ideal shape, and every fibre of me will be wanting to quit. I’m not giving up on this race until I’ve completed it though, so if I want to avoid coming back next year there’s only one solution. Bloody finish it.
Cat is going with the mantra “think zebra” tomorrow. I’m holding on to coffee on the patio.