This Sunday saw me in Bern for the Frauenlauf – the women’s running event I run in every year. As usual I went with my running buddies and their daughters – I say ‘their’ because this year neither of mine came with us – one was injured and the other preparing for a school trip to Ireland leaving the same day.
After my knee injury in the winter I’m anything but fit – so took it at a gentle pace, struggled awfully with the heat and humidity that descended suddenly once we started running and finished 5 minutes slower than last year – 58 minutes for 10km – which I was quite happy with given how unfit I still am.
We trundled off home on the train and by the time I got there I was feeling pretty rough – and spent the rest of the day and evening in bed (thereby missing the football matches on TV that I’d been looking forward to!) with the headache to end all headaches and on which no painkiller known to man seemed to have any effect. I should tell you that this happens a lot, infact it always happens after a race. I’ve talked to doctors, tried alternative cures, eaten and drunk special preparations, everything you can imagine over the years. I can definitively say that it’s nothing to do with hydration, but maybe blood pressure or my histamine intolerance play a role. Whichever way is up, it always happens and wipes me out for about a day after a race. It is utterly, utterly miserable.
On Sunday I came to the conclusion that this has to stop. It’s ridiculous to make myself ill like this. There’s no point in running in a race where I don’t push myself – infact I’m not sure that I could stop myself – but making myself ill is just stupid. I absolutely LOVE racing. It’s the only area of my life where my insane competitiveness is still to be found and I really get a kick out of it. But without a doubt, my body is saying no. Maybe my mind is stronger than my body, but I think the time has come to listen to what my body is saying to me.
So I’m stopping. After more years than I can count I’m going to call time on races. I’ll still go running in the woods, because I love that and if I don’t go too far or too fast that doesn’t seem to be a problem, but barring didly little charity races, that’s it. I’m done. Enough is enough.
I’ll be 50 next year. I guess it’s time to be sensible.