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The Plymouth Half Marathon – Hilary Cragg

Last year I ran the Plymouth half marathon, as I’d injured my knee and decided it was something to aim for as part of the recovery.  When I went to see the knee specialist, he did make the point that I’d injured my knee by running & had made the decision that the best way to resolve the injury was more running, he asked if I’d was drinking when I made this decision  – I could see his logic.  He went on to say that he sees runners all the time with injuries and they come to him complaining about how this impacts on their running and his advice is always the same – stop running!!  He just doesn’t understand!! He doesn’t understand the compulsion I have to get my trainers on & pound the pavements.  It may be just a little crazy, but I always feel better after a run, whether it is in rain, sun, showers, cloud, hot or cold – I always feel better!

I’ve even taken this to the point that I have on rare occasions got up at 5.30am in order to get a run in & still have time to do the other things that I want to sort out in my day, so I run at antisocial hours in order to sort out my life.  In fairness though, I don’t do it that often.  Mostly , I run mid morning on a Saturday and usually a lot more when I’m on annual leave.

So having done the Plymouth Half in 2013 in 2hrs 18mins, I decided that I should give it another go & hopefully I’ll improve my time.  Last year I went out the night before help my friend celebrate the finishing of her degree.  She is a mature student, with 3 kids and just completing it was a huge challenge, of which she should be immensely proud.  I wanted to show my support for her, as she was having a party.  So I only had one small glass of prosecco & left the club at midnight.  Normally I’d have had more than just one glass and would have left around 2am!!  I do love to dance!!  On race day I was tired, as I’d got up in time for the photo shoot for the charity.  I realised it was going to be a tough run within the first few hundred meters.  It was only with about half a mile to go that I finally knew for sure I was going to make it, the rest was tough going.

Everyone who heard this story tells me that the lesson is not to go out the night before.  Whilst that may be their lesson, it isn’t mine.  My lesson was to stay totally in the moment, not to worry about the next mile, just this one.  And the other lesson is total acceptance, accepting that it was going to be what it was and to enjoy it for what it was rather than thinking about how tough it is.  In 2013 I went out to support my friend and I would always choose to support a friend, even if it made a run tougher than it would otherwise be.  And yes I know I went to a party, but it was a “party lite”, I do love dancing!!

For me putting my body through that kind of physical endurance is a time to be spiritual.  It is a moment (or a series of them) when it is just me in the world, where I have to accept the conditions of the day, the terrain and the state of my body.  If I accept everything without wishing to change anything and decide that I’m going to enjoy it, then I will.  It is an act of devotion.  So I’m including in my run raising some money for charity, in the hope that my spiritual experience can benefit others, as well as me.

So far I have nothing in my diary the night before, I’ll have a pasta dinner and an early night – and hopefully a time closer to 2 hours.  Diary plans can change though, so if I get an invitation, then I may well accept, in which case it won’t be as close to 2 hours as I’d like.  Either way, I’ll be there, it’ll be a challenge and I’ll be raising money for a very good cause.  Life is an adventure and it can be a surprise, so here’s to more adventures and more surprises (and a nice cloudy day on 27 April 2014!!).

If you want to sponsor me – thank you very much in advance, all sponsorship is very gratefully received:   http://www.justgiving.com/Hilary-Cragg?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=tweetfeed&utm_campaign=mypages