I arrived in London seven months ago after nine months of backpacking through South America. Those nine months were the best and the worst of my life. The best because I lived my dream of returning to South America to write. The worst because I came out the other side of it with a broken heart.
So, as I usually do, I retreated. From familiarity to the other side of the world. To hide for a while. I didn’t really consider the consequences of doing that. I just needed something to jolt me back in to life.
It’s usually at times like that, that I come up with some hair-brained idea to distract myself – like running the London Marathon.
You see, there is something deep in my psyche that is restless, easily excitable and always looking for moments of deep contentment. Like the ones I find when I’m sitting around a camp fire in the middle of the Bolivian jungle with mates or when a good story falls out of my head on to a page or when a donation comes in for my charity or when I run.
When a colleague at work convinced me to give the marathon a go, I thought ‘bugger it’ and applied with the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre because MS is important to me. It’s a horrible disease.
If there has been one down side to this it was that I didn’t reach my sponsorship target. If you still wish to sponsor me, you can do so at www.justgiving.com/KirstenLodge.
It’s taken me well over a month to recover from the shock of believing that I actually trained for, ran and finished the marathon. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever quite believe it. In the lead up to the race, I had been desperately hoping that the marathon would be easier than I thought. I’m not sure what planet I was on when I was thinking that.
Lining up at the start, with my heart pounding so hard that the bib on my chest was visibly moving, I reflected on how far I’d come since the day when I turned up in London with a backpack, feeling and looking like dog’s mess (I got called a ‘peasant’ as I arrived into Heathrow).
Moving to the other side of the world, recovering from a failed relationship, taking a different tack with my job, moving in and out of a psycho’s house, and setting up life on Mars – all while training for a marathon through a bloody cold winter has been no easy feat.
Crossing that finish line was like giving the world a big ‘HA HA!’ (*fist pump*).
It took me 5 hours and 20 minutes and was the most physically and mentally painful thing ever. It killed me. But the training was a welcome distraction.
My marathon medal hangs proudly in my room in London. Running the marathon taught me that your mind can push your body a hell of a lot further than it thinks it can go. When you want to quit, keep going and your efforts will be rewarded.
I’m not sure what’s in store for me next. Maybe my next challenge will be to just sit still. Doubt it.
Yet again, the best thing about this experience has been the people. You. You that week after week cheered me along, encouraged me to get out of bed on a freezing Saturday, cheered when I got out of bed and cheered when I got back home after a long run. You that tweeted and followed me the whole way. You that phoned, emailed and messaged me with humour, kindness and good wishes. You that turned up on race day and gave me a wave. You that sponsored me. Especially you that sponsored me.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
It has been an incredible ride.
For Linda x