My thoughts…

I had grand plans for writing this blog post on the flight to Chicago, but I couldn’t get the WIFI connection to work, so I watched TWO chic flicks instead! Instead, it is now 4:51 am and I am propped up in my bed overlooking the river in Chicago – pretty impressive view!

View from my hotel window – Wyndham Grand Riverside Hotel

I am 2 days away from starting the Chicago Marathon and I have so many mixed emotions. After completing the New York Marathon back in 2017, I decided that I wanted to be a six-star finisher. (When you complete all the World Marathon Majors events) I LOVED the New York City Marathon SO much. It was all my dreams coming true. It was 4 days prior to my 40th Birthday, my work was generous enough to give me the time off and I was going to New York with my husband. I had always wanted to go to New York and it was everything I had hoped for. I felt like I was in a movie scene for most of my time there! (I just wished it had been longer!)

With my six-star dream planted in the back of my head, I entered both the Berlin and Tokyo ballot, but didn’t get a place. Chicago ballot came and I stuck my name in the hat, assuming a similar result, but I was successful! Excellent, time to start the planning. I knew it was a little different, as work wasn’t going so well for me and I didn’t know whether they would allow the time off.

One of the reasons for wanting to write this on the plane as it was mental health awareness day and this year has been one of the toughest of my life so far! Back in March of this year, I felt like I broke. I have always found teaching tough, but somehow managed to just keep going and I was always the person that thought ‘zip up your man suit’ when times were getting tough. But for some reason, I couldn’t. I could feel everything building up, yet one day a really minor incident; where I felt like a work colleague had let me down, sent me over the edge. I had been having dark and negative thoughts for a while, but now I felt like it was out of control. I was signed off work and never returned to that workplace again.

Why I am telling you all this, when this post is about Chicago Marathon? Well, my training cycle started whilst I wasn’t working, so I decided to go for it. My plan was written for running 5 days a week and I was going to the gym. I thought it was going to be a breeze. No work to make me tired, miss sessions and not fuel properly.

Well, that hasn’t quite been the reality. Not working and experiencing the journey I have been on, it changes you. I lost myself for a while. My confidence has changed, my resilience has changed, my mental strength is in a whole different place.

Chicago Marathon Expo

So, I have trained harder than I ever had before, but I’m really not sure how Sunday will go. I put lots of pressure on myself to go for a PB and a pretty big one at that, but mentally I’m not sure I am capable of that. It also has put unnecessary pressure on myself which I really don’t need. I have struggled to appreciate this trip as much I should.

Therefore, I need to remember that I am getting to experience something so amazing. I am in an amazing city, spending time with my mum, and hopefully able to run (walk if I need) 26.2 miles. Whatever happens on Sunday, I AM going to ENJOY it.

It’s ok not to be ok!

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