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RTB Blog: Running through grief...

I felt compelled to write a blog because of some things that have happened in my life recently and I feel sure there are others out there feeling the same way that I have been. In July 2016 after fighting cancer for two and a half years, my best friend and soul mate of 31 years, Jacqui, died.

I was in the room holding her hand when she slipped away and it was the single most heartbreaking thing that has ever happened to me.

So I am a runner, yes I’m a runner, and from all I read, apparently running will help me through this and give me the strength to carry on... Now let me be clear. I am passionate about the positive impact and benefits running has brought to my life and I am sure it has got me through some very tough times in the last four and ¾ years. I know at times it has made me feel that I can cope with the things that are going on around me. It’s a release and a chance to just be me and with no need to define or explain myself, or try and pretend to be anything I am not.

But, if I am to believe the stories I constantly read in the running media, I should at this point be training for a marathon and getting out there and basically showing the world what I’m made of. Right? But it hasn’t been like that at all. Leading up to Jacqui’s death, I just obsessed about when it would happen and if some last-minute miracle intervention would save the day. In the last few days of her life, I, along with everyone else, including her, accepted this was not going to be the case. Then on Friday 15 July 2016, while I sat and held her hand, I watched her stop breathing. It was that simple, cruel, unfair and shocking. I never felt compelled to run in the weeks after her death. To be honest, it was as much as I could do to get out of bed in the mornings and it still is.

Running has always given me time alone with my thoughts... which was the very last thing I wanted at that time. My thoughts felt unbearable and overwhelming and I didn’t want to do anything that amplified them. I keep thinking that by now I should be planning to do some kind of big race and to raise money in her name because that surely would be the right thing to do. Instead, though, I am filled with despair that actually anything I do is totally and utterly irrelevant as the only thing I want is her back and nothing is going to make that happen. I ran hardly at all by my normal standards during August and once September came around, I thought to myself: right, Lindsey, it’s time to get a grip and get back out there and pound the streets.

The first run was hard, and the second. Then I had what every runner recognises as the breakthrough run where everything just flows and your body is in harmony with your feet and you feel free.

And it helped. It actually did help.

I felt like I had a purpose after all and that if she was here, she would be telling me to run.

So I am taking it easy and running when I feel like it. And when I run, I run slow as I just want to live in that moment and enjoy it. I want to run for all the people including Jacqui, who can’t for whatever reason run. I realise now that running is not a miracle cure at all but for me it is a gift and for that I am grateful. So very grateful.

I have been sent here to run; not very fast or necessarily far but through Run To Be, I see people every week supporting each other, celebrating success and overcoming adversity. And for one very small self-indulgent moment, I sit back and think: Do you know? I made that happen. Little old me, who needs to lose a stone, is always trying to lose weight and is constantly fighting the urge to just sit down and not run. Yes, me. And I think that somewhere up there, Jacqui is looking down and feeling proud of me. So for now, that is enough and it's all I can cope with. And I am sure that other people out there feel exactly like I have and my heart goes out to them and I wanted to show the realistic and human side of running so that they understand, there is someone else out there who is not ready to run a marathon yet either!

#LindseyTuley #Runningthroughgrief

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