As of this week, I am officially divorced. After almost two years in limbo (and only slightly less than the marriage itself lasted) the final paperwork is complete and the whole sorry episode has reached it’s conclusion. At 34 years old, I’m a divorcee. I’m not going to talk here about how that makes me feel, as I’m not sure I could put it into words at the moment. Instead this post is about how I marked the end of this chapter.
I had known for a while that I wanted to do something significant to acknowledge the turning of this page. A ‘Divorce Party’ was out of the question. There’s nothing to celebrate about wasted years and broken dreams. I briefly considered trashing my wedding dress at next weekend’s colour run, but realised that would probably attract more attention than I’m comfortable with. An attempt to toast the new beginning over a quiet meal with close friends went awry when my Ex-Husband walked into the same, very small, restaurant (Honestly; what are the chances?! You couldn’t make it up).
So instead, I ran a Half Marathon. It seemed fitting, as the breakdown of our marriage was what started my running in the first place, and after several years of being told repeatedly that I was lazy, it seemed a subtle but effective middle finger up to the Man that so enjoyed taunting me.
I had kept my plan to take part in the Jersey Half mostly on the down low, partly because I didn’t even known if I’d be able to finish it, and partly because I don’t want to detract too much attention from the Great North Run, which I’m doing for charity in September. But now I’ve done it, pride in myself means I can’t help but document it here.
The furthest I’d run in training was a little over 10 miles, so an extra 3 on top was daunting, but I spent the days beforehand just excited to get to the start line. Have you seen that GIF of the puppy running in his dreams? That was me every night last week! I woke up on Sunday morning to heavy grey skies; the one time I’ve been thrilled to see the Island shrouded in fog; far better running weather than hot sunshine!
Arriving at the start line in St Ouen it was good to see a decent handful of familiar faces through the drizzle; the running community in Jersey is small and friendly, and I’m starting to feel like a little part of it. 9am soon came around and we were off; an easy start down Hydrangea Avenue before the hills of L’Etacq and La Pulente that lay ahead! I won’t bore you with a mile by mile account, but the highlights for me were the camaraderie amongst runners both local and visiting, and the brilliant support from marshalls, supporters and very patient motorists that offered words of encouragement as we slogged past, taking up the road. The family at the top of La Pulente with a big bowl of Haribo were life-savers, and the personal yells of encouragement from friends I passed by were like an injection of energy when I had little left of my own.
I had friends taking part, but I’d quite deliberately not run with them. I needed this to be something I did on my own; with nothing to prove to anyone but myself, and no distractions.
The first 11 miles I can honestly say I enjoyed every step of; the last 2 along the solid granite promenade towards the finish were hard on my feet, my knees, my hips and my head, but I was far too close to stop now, so I struggled on at something between a jog and a stumble until I reached that last few metres and the support of strangers powered me over the line. If I’d kept my intention to run on the DL, I’d played my cards even closer to my chest when it came to my time prediction. I’d privately hoped to come in under 2 hours 20. I thought that if I ran well I might make 2 hours 15. The time on the clock when I crossed the line was 2 hours, 6 minutes and 50 seconds. To say I’m delighted would be something of an understatement.
It was a little emotional crossing the line, and I took a little time straight afterwards to sit by myself and take it in. 2 years ago I would never for a second have believed myself capable running a half marathon, much less that I’d enjoy it AND have another two booked before the end of the year.
Which brings me back to the Great North Run. Whilst this will no longer be my first half, it remains the most important to me, and the only one that I’m running for a cause other than my own. As detailed on my Get Inspired post, I’m raising money for Maggie’s Centres who mean a lot to my extended family, and do fantastic things for many thousands of other families. I’m now confident that I can fulfil my promise to finish, and I have a better understanding of what training I need to do in order to better my time. Any improvement would be a win; can I get myself home in under 2 hours?! We’ll see….
If you have a couple of pounds to spare, your sponsorship would be very much appreciated; I’m inching ever closer to my target, but every little helps 🙂
So as I’m finally able to close & lock the door on being Mrs Evans, and forge ahead into the unknown (At the moment I’m not even entirely sure what my name will be), I’m setting aside my old familiar comfort blanket of self-doubt, and doing so with the fresh conviction that I can achieve anything I put my mind to, and more importantly, that I can do it on my own.