So much joy. It was a huge joy seeing her massive grin after running down the Champs Elysee on a glorious, sunny, chilly spring morning. It was a massive joy seeing her utter happiness and amazement at her achievement in the end.
Not unadulterated joy though. Shelley’s growing nervousness beforehand was hard – loving someone means wanting to help them be ok, be happy, even when we know that’s not the job of a partner and none of us can actually do it anyway. For me yesterday, it meant rushing to seven different spots along the route with water in hand just in case she needed it and only managing to see her at four of them (thank goodness one was when she really needed water and one was right at the end with the finish in sight). It also meant just wanting to see that she was ok, for myself, confirming that she was not hurting too much, enjoying it, not struggling – or if she was, that she was ok to struggle.
Shelley has done a massive amount of training for this, with support from some great fellow athletes and mates. But she only started running three years ago and she is 60 this year – hence going for it! – so I can’t help but worry for her. I felt for all the other runners’ partners yesterday, if there are more marathons we’ll plot my route more carefully so I can be a more useful and less harried support. Or maybe in future I’ll do what I planned to do yesterday – sit in a cafe and write – and then gave away as a daft idea when I realised how nervous I was for her.
It was also the first time I’ve ever watched a marathon. So many different people, all shapes, most sizes, all (adult) ages, and many who were definitely not ‘elite’ athletes. And so many smiles at the end.
Yesterday’s runners were so impressive that I started again myself today. While I have run 10k a couple of times, and a few 8k, those are my furthest. I expect them to stay my furthest, lovely though yesterday looked, I have too many arthritic/post-chemo-crumbling places (knee, lower back, hip) and those parts of me all hurt (even without running) to try to do more. BUT running gets me out in the world and it’s a great start to the day. So today, for about the 8th time, I started couch to 5k again. I go through the 8 week programme, get all the way to the end and I start again. It feels like a good compromise between wanting to run and taking care of my body. Much as I love my yoga and it is my daily practice, there is something about being out in the world that makes a difference – even for those of us who are slow walk-runners. Especially when we’re still beaming in admiration.