Giving in is really not part of my DNA. Instilled at an early age, I’ve always thought that it’s a weakness. A weakness of mind. A weakness of personality. Pure Coleman-Kryptonite. Having been this way for 57 years’, and having lived life pretty close to the limit of human endurance with some personal and mental challenges that would have had most reaching for the white flag, I thought long and hard as I struggled for the first 20km of day two of Race to the Stones, last Sunday.
You see, post Guillian-Barre Syndrome, my legs are pretty much destroyed for a week following a fast Parkrun or Marathon as my leg muscles just aren’t strong enough anymore – it feels like I’ve already run the race-distance before I’ve even started you see. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not after sympathy or making excuses as I loved both days of Race to the Stones and that first 20km taught me once more that nothing of worth is ever given, and that if you want something enough, you have to work super-hard to achieve it.
I’ll admit I did question my sanity but after three hours of battling the GBS legacy, my legs finally started behaving and downhill it felt like they wouldn’t go from under me, which is what really plays with your mind at the time. The hardest and most frightening part for me – as it is for everyone that has to relearn how to stand and walk again. A sobering thought.
Sure, what I’m doing nowadays isn’t pretty and the times isn’t great but hey I’m out there still recovering. This year I’m a good two plus hours quicker over the 100kms and finished feeling like I’d given it my best – Well the best I can now give, if that makes sense.
Those days of learning to stand and walk seem a long time ago right now and maybe these days of weakened legs will also pass as my recovery continues. What I do know, is that I’m stronger mentally than ever and I’m going to push my recovery as far as possible. What form that takes, well watch this space as it’s just like when I started running. It’s a self-build-and-design-project that only people who’ve have had GBS and have gone on to run a further 66 marathons will understand.
You control your destiny – You design your future – No one does it for you – Fight – With everything you’ve got.
1,042 Marathons - 254 Ultras - 9 Guinness World Records - 15 Marathon des Sables