It was a very long, lonely walk home on New Year’s Day 2014. Something about high days and holidays which thoroughly rub your nose in the fact that you have no family and that you are ALONE.
The 10K race had been fun, lots of familiar faces and inane chat and then it is all over. Time to retrace steps back to that empty house. A miserable January day. It wasn’t meant to be like that. It was planned to be a fabulous, blissful, child free few days with the man in my life. The one who had spent Christmas day on his knees building Lego with my boys, just a week before. The ex-wife had different ideas on New Years Eve and he chose to be part of her games yet again.
So that was how the year started. It wasn’t my fault, wasn’t due to lack of effort or some kind of evilness on my part, but it just wasn’t going my way (although recently I have begun to wonder if I did step on a fairy in a previous life).
In March came the big C diagnosis. 2014 just wasn’t destined to be my year.
So when the entries opened for the New Years Day 10K in town for 2015, it felt only right and proper that this was how I wanted the year to start, a time to bury old ghosts. That walk home wasn’t going to be as desolate again and I was going to start the year on a positive, the way I wanted it to continue. Chemo ended in October so it was never on the cards that I was going to be quick, but I was determined to be there ……………….. and NOT BE LAST.
I did it! No one noticed the lack of hair as it was woolly hat season. Time was very slow, but there were people behind me. It hurt and was hugely exhausting but home to big dinner with Pinot and a very self-satisfied high.
Now I am sure I am not alone in this lack of self-control and the trouble it gets us all into. This is why race organisers do it. To catch the endorphin high, post racers out with entries in the bag, credit card details saved for one click entry next time?
It was that glass of Pinot, or maybe the second, that meant I had an Olympic Triathlon place with my name on it. Surely by July I will be back to normal?
July came too soon. Stood on that deck surrounded by wet suit clad women in the pouring rain I wanted to be sick with nerves. The quick boys had already got a head start, the more mortal boys were to follow in the wave behind. Probably a few to over take and finish swimming ahead of me. Break it down! Little manageable chunks! Bloody online entry!
Every picture of me taken on the day, I have this huge idiotic smile. It was such a joy just to be there. The swim was good. At one point the rain was bouncing off the surface of the water, but I couldn’t help thinking “this time last year”. The cycle was fairly strong too. The run was always going to hurt. Not really ready for it training wise and still too heavy, but by then the end is in sight, so it’s largely a mind over matter thing by that point. The first woman was already over the line as I came in off the bike course so even by sprinting it was too late for the podium.
Last year, my local triathlon club race came around and, I was too chemo poorly to get myself to the finish line and cheer friends over the finish line. This year I did it. I did it! A standard distance triathlon. It took me 3 hours 15 minutes and 34 seconds, nothing to write home about, placing me securely on the last page of results, but I wasn’t last. It won’t be the last. I was guilty of thinking in darker, lonelier moments that this part of my life was over. That I would come out of last year too old, too menopausal, too broken, would seem I was quite wrong.
Would appear there is another tri place with my name on it in September……….bloody online entry! xx