After successfully running my first full marathon in Edinburgh, May 2012, I did not feel the huge triumph I expected I would feel when I made it through the finish line. Part of this was probably due to pure exhaustion and dizziness in the heat of the day, the rest was being alone in my endeavour.
I had nobody at the finish line to hug me and jump up and down to congratulate me, I was also a bit disappointed with my time, it was slower than I had hoped but considering the heat was as fast as I could manage at 4hrs 46 mins. Really I should have been happy just to get through the finish line having seen so many casualties along the way, but because of the way I am, quite hard on myself with high expectations and goals, I was truthfully disappointed.
It was a mission to get home after the race. There were buses put on for people from Musselborough finish line back to Edinburgh where I could get the train back home to Glasgow. After drinking some fluids and wandering around in a daze on my own for a while in the heat, not able to sit down or feeling like doing that and feeling a bit queasy, I tried to head toward the way out where we had to walk for 45mins to get the buses, after about 5 mins I just felt too dizzy and sick, so had to walk back and ask someone if there was a toilet nearby, but there wasn’t and I didn’t feel I could walk far, so they gave me a chair and I sat and drank more water and just didn’t move for a bit.
Thinking I was feeling a little better, I made my second attempt to head to the home run and yet again I walked for about 5 mins and had to turn back. I approached one of the stewards at the gate and had to ask for some help to get to the first aid or toilets, he very kindly offered to guide me there and also offered me an arm for some support to walk since I was feeling a bit dizzy. I won’t forget how comforting it was at that point just to have someone’s arm around me; I was feeling very alone after the whole experience watching others on the finish field with friends and partners to take care of them.
While I was running the marathon and on the lead up to it, in my silly romantic imagination I pictured that some of my friends, or someone special would be there at the finish line to surprise me or throw me a party but of course that didn’t happen. There was no one. My mum could have been there but I thought it would be an awful long time for her to hang around so I told her not to worry but on hindsight now I wished I asked her to come. Instead my aftercare was now in the hands of some very young and not very empathetic first aid workers employed by the marathon co-coordinators. I didn’t feel confident or comforted being there, the only benefit was being out of the sun and having a seat to sit on. I changed out of my damp clothes into some dry ones, sat and drank some more water, continued to deal with “the runner’s trots” as best I could and settle my tummy till I eventually felt I could make the journey home.
It was a good 45 minute walk in the hot weather to the bus and I was still not feeling good. I just wanted to get home or somewhere I could be comfy. I tried phoning a friend who lived in Edinburgh but he had gone out of town for the day, so I had no choice, it was the hike to the bus and a train home to Glasgow.
I met fellow runner who was on his own and we chatted most of the walk to the bus which was a great distraction. Finally I sat down, still feeling a bit queasy and made it back to Edinburgh where the bus dropped us another good 20 minute walk from the train station. It seemed relentless now; I just wanted to get home. I met another couple of girls who were also walking that way, and again some banter helped to distract from the walk to the station but these girls had managed to run the marathon closer to the time I had hoped for which made me feel a bit crap again that I had not managed to hit my target.
I had planned to come home and have a good drink and a few other treats to celebrate my success but I was still not feeling 100% so that went out the window. I had a couple of glasses of Baileys and eventually went to bed. I woke early the next morning and went straight to the shop for Immodium, some white bread to make toast and some Lucozade. That was all I could eat all day really, I was feeling shivery and had a good dose of sunstroke I think on top of the fatigue from the marathon. Most of that next day was spent on my own not feeling great, this added to the low feelings I was experiencing.
Part of the problem was that in order to keep focussed, do the training, and avoid potentially negative situations that could affect the success of this goal and others I was working on artistically, I had to put my blinkers on and avoid people and situations that my gut was telling me were not conducive to my growth . So coincidentally I had isolated myself somewhat socially. It was a hard pill to swallow to some degree but it this was the only way I felt I could keep my souls energy in the right place to achieve my goals and keep everything moving. I didn’t have the romantic ending at the finish line I had dreamed of, I didn’t make the time that I had aimed for and I had nobody to celebrate my success of achievement with, it was just me.
I really imagined that there was going to be some surprise for me at the end after all my effort. As the loud speaker announced lost children and people that were trying to find each other, inside I secretly hoped I’d here an announcement for DJitalEssence to come to the stand and that someone was looking for me, but nope, nobody had come to support me. 5,000+ “so called” friends on Facebook and not one of them there to support me, however I was thankful to the few that had sponsored me and sent me kind words of encouragement and congratulations. In truth though at this time I felt very alone and unloved.
This set the precedence for the next few days really, I was feeling pretty low, I wanted to go out and go mad and celebrate but I had nobody to party with, or I was not close enough to the vibes and people I really wanted to party with. I wanted to be in London and see some of my old friends and faces but I was stranded by circumstance where I was for now and just had to keep going.
This circumstance added to my unhappiness and then doubts and other things began to creep into my mind. Doubts about my music, doubts about whether I should bother continuing with it, doubts that anyone even liked what I do or that I was good enough.
I had sacrificed everything over the past few years to heal my soul, to focus on making something of everything I had studied so hard for, believing in a dream because it was all I had to cling to for a long time. I had to know I had given myself the best possible chance of success where my passions lay, so later in life I could never look back in anger and say I wish I had. But now, in this time of reflection, having achieved so much and worked so hard, at the end of this milestone having run my first full marathon all I could feel was emptiness. No friends, no holidays for years, not much money, no boyfriend, no love, nothing but a heap of music, a few medals, certificates of education and a soul that was elevated but quite alone in that space.
It took me a couple of weeks to re-settle myself after this experience. Training for the marathon took me to heights higher than my soul had ever reached before, in the short aftermath, naturally I had to have a bit of a come down, but then as I levelled out again after I found myself in a new place of happiness and contentment that I’d never experienced before. I felt good enough, I felt I had ticked that box and in doing that it had somehow also affected how I felt about other areas of my life’s achievements. I suddenly felt a new sense of freedom, I didn’t feel the same need to set another goal, I didn’t even really care about my music, I had just found some contentment in myself that I had never experienced before. A new sense of me, not feeling I had to DO anything else or show the world anything else to feel successful or worthy.
The whole experience raised the level of my life’s vibration, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. I’d recommend the challenge to anyone.