By Jo Cresdee
There is a wonderful article written by a midwife called Jana Studelska about the time at the end of pregnancy, the last days, a time in between pregnancy and motherhood, a time she refers to as Zwischen.
Zwischen literally means “between” and that is how I feel at this moment in time. I am not running again now before the actual race. My body is used to running up to 65 miles a week – I’m left feeling a bit shaky, wound up, over emotional, utterly desperate for the physical release of a run and the surge of feel good hormones that it will give me, the mental space, the calming influence.
At the same time I am considering every last detail. What to pack to take with me, the logistics of how to get there and what and when I am going to eat. I think I am on the brink of driving John Reynolds insane with my constant questioning. I confronted him on Sunday with a two page list of questions, (I have since added to that list) some of which I had highlighted.
Above everything though I am really over-emotional, every donation that arrives comes with a lovely message about what our organisation means to people. I have received the most incredible messages from other people I run with and who have supported me during this training plan. Everyone seems to have this complete and utter faith that I can achieve this goal and it brings a lump to my throat every time I think about it.
Helen Duggan delivered a lovely card and the ultimate breakfast muffin this week – as well as a good luck charm I will be carrying on the day:
Jana talks of a time “neither here nor there. Your old self and your new self, balanced on the edge of a pregnancy. One foot in your old world, one foot in a new world… I believe that this is more than biological. It is spiritual, a woman must go to the place between this world and the next… she is going to the edge of her being where every resource she has will be called on to assist in this journey.” Her words are so utterly perfect for these last few days for me. I have been tearful and disconnected and emotionally needy. I am obsessed with order, with where everything is. I am laminating pictures of my children and quotes that are important to me to carry with me on the day and every kind gesture makes me feel like I am going to cry.
Just like those last days of pregnancy I am trying to keep myself busy by getting all the jobs on my “to do” list complete. I also want to know that I am ready in a physical sense. It sounds ridiculous and totally unnecessary but I will be waxing my legs, plucking my eyebrows and generally making sure that I feel well turned out for the day, utterly ironic when I will be at my most unladylike peeing in a hedgerow and blowing snot onto the ground straight out of my nose. I have the same conversation with women who are about to give birth every week. The midwives and obstetricians have obviously seen everything a million times before but if newly pimped brows and smoothly waxed legs make you feel more relaxed when you go into labour then I think it is important to get them down. On this occasion I will not be getting a spray tan – I am fairly sure that would run due to the sheer amount of sweat that I produce.
I have read everything that I can, I have trained as much as I can, I have done everything within my power to make sure that I am prepared. I know I just need to hold my nerve and trust my body will take me on this journey down the Stour Valley Path. I was never this nervous before a labour – I utterly accepted that my body knew what to do – that at the end of that day I would be holding my baby in my arms, that I would not remain pregnant. Upon reflection I think I found it far easier to have faith in my body when I considered labour – my body has an innate ability to birth, the logical part of my mind does question whether it has the innate ability to run 63 miles – John assures me that it does. He sent me a text the other day (after I had sent him a ream of messages detailing my every last concern – I swear the man thinks I am a lunatic) saying “You were born to run far. I may have just helped you unlock that”. This hits the nail on the head – as long as I remember that I am designed to do this mentally I can overcome the hardships.
I know it is going to be hard, I know it is going to really hurt, I know I will shed some tears and yes I guess I am a little bit frightened of how hard it might be, the unknown entities that I am going to meet along the way and how I am going to react to those. I find running relentless – unlike labour when you can really release into that trance-like world and disappear into a place deep within yourself, when you run you get roused and brought back to the conscious moment against your own terms.
I know a lot of people are coming out to see me run this event at the weekend – if you want to come and wave at me you can find details of the route here: http://www.svp100.co.uk/the-route/
Every checkpoint is located near a pub which is good news! The end point of my epic journey is Brantham Leisure Centre. Lots of my friends keeping sharing pictures of their triathlons at incredible country houses; the ultra-running world is far more down to earth – this is the pinnacle of my run!
There will be lots of updates on the day courtesy of my cousin who is tracking me down the route, and Ruth (www.ruthleachphotography.com) our photographer who is official race photographer (she gets about). I cannot say thank you enough for all the donations that have already come in – we are over 30% towards reaching our target. This project really is about the power of the crowd – if everyone in our community contributed a small amount we would be able to fund our services well into next year. It is about all of us looking out for each other, the ultimate way to pay it forward. I totally believe in the concept of karma, throughout my life there have been people who have gone out of their way to help me. I am at a point now where I can reinvest in my local community. This is just the beginning: make a donation today so we can get some more people into an antenatal class. Confident women and confident partners are more likely to have confident births and be confident parents. As I said at the very beginning – the family is the foundation stone of our society – make a little contribution to create firm foundations. These may seem like lofty ambitions but from tiny acorns grow great oaks.
One final time – thank you. I will be carrying all your words with me on Saturday. Unlike so many of you I know exactly when my journey will begin – 7am Saturday 12th August – watch the Suffolk Babies FB page throughout the day!
If you would like to read Jana Studelska’s article The Last Days of Pregnancy: A Place of In-Between please click on the link below:
If you would like someone to pimp your brows, make your nails look fab and generally make you feel like a princess (she does Mums and Chums sessions – go with a group of friends and take your kids so no need for childcare) contact Sophie Hargreaves at The Gellie Hut