This solo adventure had been brewing in my mind for a while.
Feeling the effects of both peri menopause and death recently, I knew there was only one way I could process, take charge, grieve, and hand my peri menopause back my ass!
Death is a funny one, we so often use the words passed or lost, when actually we passed exams, or passed by something, and lost our keys, yet we are almost scared to say death, died or dead. With so much death over the last couple of years, I found I was swallowing the grief down, almost holding it in my tummy. This was not in any way shrugging it away, I just hadn’t found a chance to process it my way, which I stress to clients and loved ones of the importance of not following what you feel you should do, but what it is that’s right for you.
I feel uncomfortable with sympathy when its directed at me. Holding hands and shearing tears, is just not my way. Switching the energy however is. I require action.
Pain, grief, discomfort, anxiety, these are all things that hold so much energy. Now to switch that energy as I do best, and to get out there and run through the discomfort to find relief, to get to know my ever-changing peri menopausal self that little bit more and find joy in this process.
So fast forward to this last Friday early morning.
Very few people knew about my plan to run 100 miles. And those that did only did the week leading up to it. This was my challenge, and one I feared. I have run this distance before a few times, but these last few months have had me experiencing discomfort and fatigue that has handed me my ass on a number of occasions. While events have been going really well, and somehow, I’ve been pulling out better performances than before, the overall belief in my ability and energy has left me questioning whether I could ever run that far again.
Pony, as always was up for the challenge of crewing me although this would be a workday for him, which could have made things complicated. I decided to leave my van in Portreath as a checkpoint, therefore relieving pony of so many crew positions and start in the early hours Friday morning from my home in Gwithian. I would run part coast path, part bridal ways, through the woods, and make up the kms before stopping at the van checkpoint 😂. Now the plan was to run the Bissoe trail x 4 which would equal 88 miles, and with my start miles, would then total 100 miles.
Why on earth would I do this? I am a coast path lover, it’s where I find peace and joy. But I am not doing this for comfort, I needed to feel that mental discomfort that 88 miles on relatively flat bridal way will create. Plus, I felt the need to just run, and this trail is just too damn runnable!
So, the plan was set the week before. Friday was the day. I would run into the Saturday, which was the 12th year anniversary of burying my dad, so what better thing to do, than go out there and damn well find myself again.
I rose, I ran, I ran some more. Then I just kept running. Pony was there on every lap at Bissoe car park with wraps of avocado, hummus, salad, ice cold tonic water and vegan sausages. I ate as he cheered me on, while nipping back to his work in between. Team Goldring surprised me with many pop ups, while they juggled departures, arrivals, caravan cleaning they arrived on the trail in many forms, in a car, on bikes and lastly set up a Bear Grills style camp in Unity woods with a stove with hot water, chocolate Oatley and a campfire for me to rest in between laps throughout the night and into early morning.
The route was compromised at times, as I had to trust my gut on a couple of occasions, so new plans were hatched, and miles were still covered, but those details are for other times, for face-to-face conversations, for sharing of thoughts, and for future meetings of friends exchanging life’s details.
I had many exchanges along the way, one of which was powerful to say the least. Heather and Karen, also coast-path lovers, were also running the painfully dusty flattish Bissoe that day. We stopped to chat, and before I knew it, I couldn’t swallow the pain down anymore, so words were shared, tears were shed, energy and connection was created. With a warm heart I continued into my journey, promising myself that I would not apologise for the exchange of emotions, but instead when I see them again, thank them for being in the right place at the right time.
Fast forward to mile 92, it was all going pretty well physically until then. Sat in the camp chair with hot chocolate Oatley in hand, under the tarpaulin shelter that Mark and Elle had erected for this adventure, turns out my body had miss read this moment as the finish line. When I tried to get up it protested slightly making the movement almost impossible at first. Up until this point I was pretty much leaving my rest stops in a gentle run, but this time was different. This next 8 miles would be sheer hell, and it turns out I wasn’t wrong.
Heading to Pony’s car, which was now parked at Scorrior for the night as he snoozed on the passenger side on a giant beanbag while eating multiple sweet sugary snacks, I had to walk the 1.5km. I hadn’t walked hardly at all until this point. Pony then joined me at 3.54am for a 8km before I finished my final solo miles back to the woods. That final 1.5km to find Pony waiting for me, and the guys all bleary eyed through lack of sleep was something that just 8 miles before I was questioning whether would actually ever happen.
Needless to say, I ran the 100 miles. But it wasn’t really about a number.
It was about switching energy. It was about allowing myself some time for me.
It was about processing. It was about experiencing discomfort that I was in control of.
It was about death. It was about life.
And it was to hand my peri menopausal self my damn ass back.