My Husband Chris runs – a lot! He runs and runs and runs. He obviously runs because he loves it. It is his Meditation time, his down time, getting away from the pressures of work and other stresses in life (not from me – I am NOT a stress in his life AT ALL!)
When I first met him he played golf – a lot! He played off 10! That means nothing to me but in the golf world when you say, “my Husband plays off 10”, you normally get an “oooooh!” Or a widening of the eyes and a slow nod of a slightly tilted head, followed by a “mmmmmm, he is good then!” He was a considerate golfer, you hear horror stories of Golf Widows who literally don’t see their Husband’s for the whole weekend, who are left to look after the kids like any other day. There were times when I had to have “the chat” that it would be nice if he were to think about us once in a while but generally he would tee off at 7 am and be back for lunch. Fine!
Then he gave it up!
Just like that!
And took up running!
He used to run when he was younger, a lot younger but he took on this running obsession 110%. He started running with my cousin Sally, they were evenly matched pace wise and they both joined the local running club, Ipswich Jaffa. He bought a Garmin watch! This garmin watch became his best friend -good or bad idea? Mmmmm, no comment! He started talking about running the next local 10km race, then it was a ten miler, and then the natural progression was to obviously run the local Half Marathon organised by the Running Club. The last 400 metres is run around the track and when he entered the track I truly believed he was going to drop dead. He looked awful, a fleeting thought did go through my head about life insurance being up to date but decided it may be more beneficial if I encouraged him to stay alive so proceeded to scream at him to run faster!! He did survive, thank goodness and life carried on with him entering more races. Our lives were consumed by his running. I stopped going to support him at races as often, we had our own lives to lead, as well as working towards the coveted black belt in Karate. Also I was absolutely fed up with standing in the cold!
I knew the inevitable would happen, I knew the word MARATHON would rear its head. I knew about a year before the word did come up so was prepared for it! He had to do it and without being ageist he had to do it sooner rather than later. So him and Sally entered the Shakespeare Marathon in Stratford – upon -Avon, 29th April, the week after The London Marathon. This meant they could train with the runners from the running club who were running London.
The training plan was drawn up and the training began! Monday evenings at the club, Wednesday evenings with the other Marathon trainers, Friday evening for a short “5 miler” and Sunday mornings for the long runs. I will be totally honest and say that although I was dreading the training, it was actually ok. Monday, Wednesday and a weekend run were the norm anyway and I was running (trotting) on a Sunday morning training for a Half Marathon with my Running buddy so I cannot complain about the training at all. Yes, as the weekend runs got longer, the rest of the day was spent reasonably quietly but that was ok. We both work long hours anyway, we could do with a few quiet weekends!
Then! Disaster struck! Chris got injured! First his foot, then his knee! As a rule, although I am a Massage Therapist, I don’t massage Chris. Thankfully he doesn’t ask but for some reason I cannot bear inflicting pain on him! So we paid and sent him off to another sports massage therapist to get him sorted!
The weekend arrived, Mother was here to take care of the Children, Myself, Chris, Sally and her Husband Matt drove to Stratford! Our apartment that Chris had booked was perfect, a couple of minutes from the beautiful town, but more importantly only a few minutes from the start and finish line! Easy walk back after their run!
At this stage neither Sally, who had also suffered with injuries, nor Chris knew if they would make it to the start line, let alone cross the finish line! Injuries were stable, so we would see! Matt had organised our route to support them. We felt it would be acceptable to have 3 possibly 4 sightings of our spouses! Between these times we would have a coffee, brunch at Carluccios and then a drink in the pub! Oh how we fooled ourselves! We literally drove for 4 hours getting to the next viewing point!
We saw them 5 miles in, both looked fabulous. I even said to Matt that Chris would be fine, if his knee was going to give up on him it would have done by now.
11 miles, both still looked fine, they were on target to both get a sub 4 hours. Things were going tickety boo!
At 18 miles, the runners had thinned out, the half marathoners were finished so now it was just the hard core marathoners. We saw Chris coming towards us and Matt jogged up to give him more energy gels and fluid and Chris stopped running……. shit shit shit! He started walking with Matt. He was getting cramp in his calves….. shit shit shit! Well, he was at 18miles, he had hit the wall, he would be fine in a bit, he only had 8 miles left to do!! So easy for a non marathon runner to say! Sally was a few minutes behind and was looking and feeling good. We drove on and a couple of miles later saw that Sally had caught up and was walking with Chris.
Matt and I decided to drive back to the apartment and walk to the finish line. That was obviously not going to happen, the Half Marathoners were all leaving the area so the traffic was virtually grid locked. I had to leave Matt and run to the finish line. A MILE AND A HALF! I was shattered!! I got to the finish line, concentrating on the Runners coming over the line, recognising the ones who were within 10 minutes of Chris and Sally. The clock was there tick tock, tick tock, the illuminous lights getting ever closer to the 4 hour time. The 4 hour mark passed with no sign of either, I knew we had a couple of minutes grace. They wouldn’t have passed the starting line immediately. I was hoping that Sally hadn’t foregone her sub 4 hour goal when she had stopped with Chris. Then Sally finished! Her watch said 3hrs 59 mintes and 57 seconds! A sub 4 marathon and a Husband who was stuck in traffic. She could barely speak, her whole body was shaking and she was naturally very emotional but I managed to get out of her that Chris wasn’t good.
I took that that he was alive? Possibly? Maybe? Hopefully?!
The clock was still ticking, Matt had arrived and could take over looking after Sally and I could get back to telepathizing with Chris to get over that finish line. I knew that this wasn’t the end, I accepted immediately after seeing the time on Sally’s watch that my lovely determined Husband was going to be running another Marathon. 4hours and 18 minutes. The last 8 miles he walked and ran, still managed under a 10 minute mile. He was gutted, absolutely gutted and was also in agony. Still is! There was nothing I could say, anyone could say to make it better. I was so proud of him, at that moment prouder than I have ever been but he was devastated. A month later he has a taped up knee and can barely run on it!
Mind you, we did a short run this morning and I was still having to tell him to slow down because I couldn’t keep up! He will recover and he will do another Marathon and we will support him because we love him. It is as simple and as complicated as that!