I retired from running on October 30th 2016, just after the Sheffield 10k and again the week after when I put in another disappointing run at the Leeds Abbey Dash. It's not unusual for me to throw the teddy out of the cot and many of my friends have heard about me retiring far too many times.
The first run, I really had been shit and when I say shit, that is shit even by my shit standards. Have I said shit enough times yet? The second run, I was massively disappointed because I had run this race before and knew that it wasn't a particularly testing route and when I received the official time, it was my slowest there yet. I had felt strong and willing to put the other race behind me but unfortunately yet again it wasn't my day and I wrote my first piece on shit running (Confessions of a Shit Runner)
Today, I ran another Sheffield 10k but one that has runners fighting over the 2000 places on offer and despite me saying last year that I would never run it again, I found myself caught up in the drama that was the online entry debacle for the Percy Pud.
I've only taken part once but been a spectator too and the weather has always been notoriously bad and all in return for a Christmas pud, that I don't even like! Why on earth was I putting myself through this again?
My young lad had woken me up this morning at just after six when I was in a beautiful deep sleep; I was not happy. I had told anyone who had cared to listen this week that I had seven days to lose two stone as I thought that may assist me in getting round. My negativity was overwhelming once again and I had convinced myself that I might as well go for the hattrick of shit runs.
I had eaten at the right time, made sure I had consumed at least a glass of water and vaselined my lips. What more preparation did I need for a shit run?
Well, there lies the story. Something that us women should never talk about publicly for fear of crossing the line and ensuring that we do not let onto the male species that we actually have to deal with these issues.
Well, this is what my Mum still refers to it as but something that many women have to deal with at least once a month and athletes (and Shit Runners) have to just suck it up (not literally)
I realised I needed sanitary products, shortly before I met my running hero for the very first time; Rachel from Rachel Cullen Writes. Whilst in the midst of girl crushing over her, I pondered over whether I would ruin this first hook up by asking her 'Rachel, I know I want to discuss a million and one hero-worshipping things with you but do you have any T-A-M-P-A-X?' I decided against it and plotted my next move. I did also think that it would feature in her next blog and if anyone was going get any mileage out of it, it would have to be me!
We wandered up to the start line and I snaked across to the first-aid tent and whilst I knew sanitary products didn't feature in an emergency response bag, I had hoped that some kind organised female would have one in her bag. After embarrassingly relaying my story to her she kindly produced something from her bag...
I've not had the need to examine pads for some years but this was as thin as a sheet and I considered whether it was actually an incontinence pad? Beggars can't be choosers though so I thanked her and wandered off with my gift.
The start time was drawing closer and I was still wandering around women with bags like someone not right. I approached a friendly group of women and explained very quietly my issue. One of the women looked at me like I was a lost puppy and said 'Oh you poor thing, let's try and get you sorted' and took me over to the rest of the group. I immediately thought I would get sorted by these lot for sure. What happened next totally took me by surprise as I heard the kind lady say very loudly,
'HAS ANYONE GOT ANY TAMPAX FOR THIS LADY WHO HAS STARTED HER PERIOD?'
Fucking hell, as much as I am now sat here writing about said event and don't embarrass easily, I must have resembled a cherry at this point. Did all of the tent hear? If they did, nobody volunteered any and I made my way to the toilet, wishing this day would just be over with. I even considered just throwing the towel (or pad) in and wondered how I would be able to run with a pad in-situ.
I rocked up at the line as it was starting and thought 'fuck it, just run' My race itself was what I pretty much expected but when I checked my watch with 2k to go, I thought I could actually break the sixty minute mark; something I had achieved only once before (the Abbey Dash that I failed at the previous month).
I crossed the line to see the official clock say sixty minutes and so many seconds and thought 'balls, not again!' and then quickly realised that I had set off after the gun so I checked my watch and realised I had only bloody gone and done it!
The official time came through and I had actually missed my 10k pb by one second but I was chuffed that I had broke the sixty minute mark for the first time in a few years.
As any great runner does, I would like to give out my thanks to the following:
Kind Lady with pad
Girl Crush (I am even more in love with you after meeting you)
Harry Gration & Eilish McColgan (for running at what turns out to be the day that I acknowledge I'm not totally shit)
And finally. The Pad. Without you, I wouldn't have got round and I wouldn't have got a pb.