I don’t like running. I like swimming, gymnastics and spent several years wanting to be an Olympic trampolinist (it didn’t end well, a neck brace is not a good look). Running was never my thing. When I left school I rarely did any sport apart from swimming and trips to the gym. It was surprising then when I talked myself into taking part in the London triathlon 9 years ago and in all honesty I would have been quite happy to dine out on that for the rest of my life.
When we setup The Lexi Mace Brighter Future Fund last year in May I had been sent details of The London Landmark Half Marathon and had applied for the ballot. I had no intention of taking part. I was in a somewhat crazed state of trying to fill a calendar I had created with a fundraising activity for every month. When the email came telling me I’d been unsuccessful in the ballot I moved on to thinking of something else to do. When we visited GOSH a few months later, to talk about how we wanted the money raised in Lexi’s memory to be spent, I foolishly mentioned I’d been unsuccessful. “Don’t worry” I was told, we’ve got a charity place for you. Oh, great.
I managed to quash my concerns, this was a futile worry, or so I thought. I’d have a baby by March surely or be pregnant and have a perfect excuse not to take part in a half marathon. And to be honest after a while I pretty much forgot about it. When Andrew got sicker there was little to no spare time in the weeks for training. I did week 1 of couch to 5k about 5 times. The first time I ran I was nearly sick in a bush and came home and cried I hated it so much. I hated the position I was in. I should have been at home looking after Lexi not raising money in her memory. I let myself wallow in self pity for a while.
I managed to reach week 2 of couch to 5k 3 months later. December proved to be busier than I could have imagined with Andrew’s kidney transplant, the ball and the devastation that followed of the first anniversary of Lexi’s death. I didn’t run the whole of December. I barely walked, I just seemed to sit in hospitals and drive back and forth to London. When January 1st rolled round and I realised I had less than 3 months to be able to run a 1/2 marathon I found myself lacing my trainers again. It didn’t last, I ran the grand total of 5 times in January and totalled less miles than the 13.1 I’d have to run in one day.
The end of January brought its own sadness with another trip to GOSH confirming Annabelle will be an outpatient there for many years to come. February came with more knocks as we received further details of the investigation into Lexi’s death. It has felt like my world has come crashing down all over again and it’s why I have been rather quiet on here.
I had finally though found a reason to get out and run. I found it was actually helping me. My mental health was worsening and every time I made it out to run I could think these things over without distraction. I’d return from running with a clearer mind and something that I hadn’t had since before Lexi died, an appetite! It hasn’t solved my problems but today with just two weeks to go until The London Landmarks Half Marathon I ran 9.3 miles. The furthest I have managed to date and the better news is I felt I could have gone further, so hopefully the 4 extra miles on race day will be fine! I’m not looking to beat any records. I’m not competing against anyone else. Just myself and the self doubt I am plagued with. It hasn’t been easy at all to get to this point, but it seems after the half marathon I might even be seen still going out for the odd run.
As I run I listen to all sort of songs but the lyrics to Sia’s song Flames seem rather apt. Not just for getting through to the end of the run, but on finding a way to keep moving forwards in life …
“One foot in front of the other babe
One breath leads to another yeah
Just keep moving, oh
Look within for the strength today
Listen out for the voice to say
Just keep moving, oh”
Myself and my friend Pavla will be running The London Landmarks Half Marathon on 24th March. If you come to watch give us a great big cheer, I will definitely need it. If you can’t make it and would like to give us a virtual high five you can do so by adding to our fundraising total here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/londonlandmarkshalfmarathon2019
And if running is your thing there is plenty of races to sign up to be part of team Lexi. We will be taking part again this year in Run or Dye at Penshurst and you can find all the details here at GOSH (advertised with some familiar looking faces.) https://www.gosh.org/get-involved/fundraising-events/run-or-dye