Marathon Monday: A Mile In Her Shoes
4 weeks to go.
Now when I think about it, my heart jumps, the adrenaline starts, and I can’t tell if it’s pure excitement, or if there’s a little bit of fear there. Fear can be good.
And I’d like to say I had an epic run this weekend and smashed it, ‘boom’ and all that other stuff. But I had a day of forgetting my earphones, my best sport bra bust, losing a toe separator and then when I did get out, the weather turned from grey to rainy and I picked up a blister.
Some days just aren’t meant to be.
And – warning for those who don’t want to read about lady stuff – being a lady means that off days can often be predicted. I know full well that I struggle for the week before my period is due. I become clumsy, tired, distracted and my whole training regime goes to hell in a handbasket. On the other hand, as soon as it arrives, I’m on fire, I can work harder, train harder. That one week though, can feel like a complete waste of time.
As runners, especially if you run races, you get used to these things. Just like keeping an eye on your hydration (guess how we do that?), rubs, chafing (jogger’s nipple anyone?), vomiting, stomach cramps. Distance running isn’t easy.
Anyway, I’ve bought new earphones (a second set of spares as I left both pairs in the office), dug out my second best running bra until payday, bought more toe separators and applied Compeed to my poor foot. I’ll recover and run again next week. I’ve still got time for another big run before the day itself.
And even then, though the run wasn’t great, it was still perfect meditation time. Time to think, plot and plan. There are lots of exciting things coming to this site and to a new site (ohhh! exciting!) next month. The time out on the pavements gave me change to recharge my brain, relax, de-stress and think about what’s next.
Running is my therapy. For others it’s housework, for some it’s a class or cycling, or knitting or whatever. For me, that time away from everyone, one foot in front of the other, is invaluable.
Which is why today, away from my personal stuff, I’m bringing your attention to A Mile In Her Shoes. This charity admittedly is London based, but I hope that one day it will spread it’s wings a little bit and spread across the country.
I’ve been following their blog and their twitter feed for a while. The concept is simple, homeless women are given a pair of trainers, good running gear and the opportunity to run. Sounds simple, but the changes that this can inspire in them is incredible.
Exercise is a clinically proven anti-depressant. It boosts endorphins, builds fitness and, more importantly, it just damn well feels good.
I’ve lost count of the times where I’ve stuffed up at work, or had something go wrong, had someone hurt me, or just feel down and coming home, putting on my gear, putting in my earphones has been my saviour. I’ve sung as I’ve run down the street, been angry, cried in the rain (it gets very snotty, but it’s raining, so you don’t care). I’ve sworn, cursed, thought, berated myself, thought some more, and come home much more myself.
So I can imagine, a little bit, how freeing, how incredible, it must feel to someone who is in a much worse place than me. Someone who is trying hard to make sense of their situation, to pull themselves out of it, deserves their own therapy time. And given that many find themselves in their circumstances – living hand to mouth, no permanent roof over their head, sometimes victims of abuse and sometimes ex-offenders – they need that time, that mental break, more than most.
And that’s it. I just plain love what this charity is trying to do.
So, next time I’m in Primark, or Asda, or wherever, I’ll put an extra purchase in my bag. A sports bra, a running t-shirt, a pair of leggings, pack of socks, whatever I can find that fits the list of useful stuff.
If I can help one lady get the freedom half an hour on the pavement gives me, then it’s a job well done. Because I know I’m not the only one.