Post Armagh – week 35 – run 35 – I HAVE PASSED THE HALF WAY MARK!!!

This is a very late blog this week. The week has been superbusy with coming back from Armagh, working, going to a conference and my Dad’s 80th.

The travel arrangements for Armagh were a bit complicated with flying from Cardiff early on Saturday and then coming home late to Bristol on Sunday (more of THAT saga later though!) My lovely brother in law got up early and drove mam and I to the airport which we really appreciated soooo much.

We got to Belfast and hired a car. We stayed with Theodore again in the All Seasons Guest House and it was lush. He was lovely as always and it was so nice to see a familiar face. We unpacked and went into the City Centre where it turned out the City were celebrating 400 years since being first made a City – how appropriate was that?! There was an awesome and scary display of extreme cycling/skateboarding/roller blading and gymnastics which kept us enthralled for some time. There was music and food and the weather was lush. In the centre of town we found a lift going up to a viewing panel and we had a fab time looking out over the whole of Belfast City. We then went back to All Seasons and on the way spent an hour sitting in the park in the evening sunshine. It was amazing!

Run day however, was not! It was cold and rainy and miserable. We left that early to go to Armagh that we rocked up around 3 hours before the race started. Poor old mam knew this was going to happen but went along with my nerves and didn’t say I told you so. We used the 3 hours well. We met some of the race organisers who were amazing and took note of Luca’s details, donated some money and took photos for the local newspaper. I had my photo pre run taken under the sign for meningitis awareness as I thought that was very appropriate for my half way run.

Mam came into her own (not photography wise – don’t get excited!) but with her improvisation skills. Having forgotten to bring ties for the timing chip and using elastic laces which means I can’t do them up and undo them easily, mam produced a piece of dental floss from her “useful odds and ends bag” and saved the day. I must be getting used to her – it didn’t even seem to be odd that she would be carrying just the one piece of floss. I didn’t ask….

The run eventually took to the starting line (with lots of very proper looking runners) Mam chose this moment to tell me of one of the things that the guy in Wakefield on the PA had said pre race. He said that when we were hurting and wondering why we were running and if we could go on, then all we had to do was remember that there were many people who would have liked to even have the chance to run or be out there, hurting or otherwise. I liked this thought especially for Luca and kept it with me on the run.

This was the first run that I have felt almost over my chest infection and I realised that I haven’t managed to run the entire 10k for around the last 3-4 weeks so I was a bit worried about my fitness. Anyway, the run was tough. It was “undulating” (read bloody hilly) and at 8k I rounded the corner to the sign “heartbreak hill”. That helped a lot!

I have to say, for some reason (maybe because this was the halfway run) I was really quite emotional throughout the run. I kept repeating what mam had said about all the people who would like to have the opportunity to run and to hurt but who weren’t able. I then had the most incredible thought and decided to start my bucket list. My first wish on my bucket list is to accompany Luca on his first run on blades when that happens. I did imagine us going over the finish line together and then I realised – he will totally wipe the floor with me! However, he might meet me at the finish and that would make this whole experience worthwhile.

I don’t really know why Luca inspires such depth of feeling in me but I am keeping the feeling close to me as it makes so much worth doing.

I finished the run in a slow time but ran the whole thing so was chuffed. I met the race organiser at the end of the run who stopped me to chat about Luca which was amazing. All those people who don’t know you are being involved in your life which is unreal to think about really.

Anyway, after the run, mam and I drove to the airport. Mam knows I am going to mention this although I may let it rest once it is in writing. The Armagh run was at 2pm. I reckoned to be leaving around 3.30 to drive the hour to Belfast International. I reckoned a half hour to hand the car back and that we would then make the 6 0’clock flight back. Mam however, thought of every single thing in the world that could go wrong (a triple dip of the recession/petrol being withdrawn from the UK/natural disasters and me running a record slow of 2 hours) and thus I convinced myself that neither of us would cope with the stress of trying to make the 6 pm deadline and so gave in and booked the plane for 8.15 pm.

Yep, you have guessed it – we got to the airport in plenty of time to

1) get lost getting petrol for the car
2) give the car back
3) repack our bags 2 or 3 times (mam)
4) get stopped and searched because I had decided to bring back the 29p canister of salt from M and S because I like the shape of it but unfortunately it scanned as dangerous weapon (me)
5) wait and then watch the 6pm plane leave.

I only went on about this 2 or 3 hundred times between 6pm and 8pm – mam took it very well- fair play!

We arrived in Bristol at 9.30pm and my very lovely brother in law picked us up and drove us home. I was absolutely shattered and am just about recovering now, in time for ….. Bristol tomorrow! Yay… Need to sleep.. need to eat properly….need some energy! Luca Williams – you are so worth it lovely boy xxx

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