It’s hard to believe but having gone form a road runner who did a bit of training and did the odd few races, I became a dedicated trail runner that would train several times a week and go on long weekend adventures. I really feel like, I have found my calling so to speak. Admittedly I’m not making a living from it and I’m no pro so I still need to go to work. But I really find that trail running gives me a release.
When I say it gives me a release I mean that for that time on the trail, I can normally clear my mind of the million and one things my brain tries to push around my head to the point of distraction. I’m sure we are like a lot of people out there that live pay cheque to pay cheque and it’s not always easy to try and balance the budget and what you need to do in life. I think in the past, running was my escape and I would maybe run away from my problems. After all I worked out that I could run and wasn’t too bad at it at an early age, when I was trying to get away from bullies. Now rather than running away or trying to escape, I accept that life can be tough and you cannot run away as the issues will still be there. But at least when I see the beauty and hang out with trail friends, I can forget about these issues for a little while and when I come back have a fresher approach as I have had that escape that trail meditation gives you for an hour or several hours.
I think Randi would admit that at times it’s not easy with just myself working, and I think I always had some anxiety issues prior to our current situation but they have been heightened by some of the stressors of balancing our budget and trying to live as normal a life as we can when having a limited budget and her ill health.
It’s not something I have admitted openly in the past but I feel I can open up on this blog and explain why I think I need trail running in my life. Some people may think I come across as confident and I have my sh*t together, but some days that's very far from the truth and it’s just me outing a facade on it.
So literally some days my brain can go into overdrive and just really overthink everything. I get to the point I cannot switch it off and it will affect me trying to rest, sleep and it manifests itself in physical issues too.
I have the bladder of a gnat at the best of times and even worse when I drink as once I go I’m going to washroom all evening. I digress as what I am trying to get at is my anxiety literally sometimes screws up where I literally feel like I need to go to washroom all the time. I will go and then 5 minutes later I feel like I need to go again. It is awful and literally can screw me up for a day or sometimes days as I try to get a handle on it and tell myself that it’s all in my head. If I get this issue when I’m travelling it just becomes a catch 22 situation, as I feel even more anxious that I may need to go and I won’t be near a washroom, which more than often means the feeling of needing to go just intensifies.
I am trying to work through the issues that I have and Randi would admit I was a bit on the OCD side when we met which is funny if you think about now I hit the trails and get dirty and covered in blood etc lol.
So back to running and this year I did my first trail run; the "runridgerun" run where I did the 13k race, and it was so much fun and I managed to get in the top ten. Then I did my first 50k the Diez Vista and managed to do it under 6 hours and managed to get in the top 30. Then to my first 50 miler and a top 60 finish and just over 12 hours.
For someone who dabbled with cross country and fell running in the UK and only started trail running at the beginning of the year, I am super proud of my achievements this year.
With that in mind I want to aim for more next year with the hope that more time on the trails brings me more friends to hang out with, more time on the trails to calm my mind and I have said it in the past to Randi but I am going to try really hard to not fret and worry over what I cannot change and not to worry over the small stuff.
So to everyone reading this I would like you to hold me accountable to not be a stressed grumpy bear that can be grumpy and grumbly with Randi. She is a great girl and I am so lucky to have her, and lucky that she lets me go out on the trails so much. It is not easy being a single income family, but I wouldn’t change it as Randi makes me whole and through better or worse I will be there for her. It would be great for if her CFS went into remission and it would be great for both us, but I am here for the good and the bad times.
To anyone else reading this and suffering with anxiety, stress or other mental health issues, please don’t suffer in silence. Talk to family, friends or if your company has a confidential help source use that. If like me you find something like trail running that helps, then embrace it.