This week I’ve run from Klaipeda, Lithuania to Ventspils, Latvia doing an average of 48k with one rest day. I’m only 315km away from achieving my dream of 2000km Run across Europe and 355km from finishing Run Europe when I complete the Latvian coast and cross the Estonian border to reach 6 countries.
Lithuania and Latvia have been very different, insanely spectacular but more remote, especially Latvia. I spend days in total isolation running along the coast or finding my way through a network of unmarked forest trails and country lanes. Western Latvia’s remoteness has immense benefits, solitude, unspoilt forests and seascapes, but it also means if you don’t carry your food and water you don’t get any. There is clearly a limit to what you can carry so water has to be the priority. There are only so many nuts, raisins, protein bars and pumpkin seeds you can eat 😊 but I’ve adapted well and my new hydration and food strategy seems to be working.
I should be feeling happy, but I’m not. Its been a tough week with calmness and positivity fighting valiantly, but not always winning, against panic and negativity. There have been screams of frustration on long lonely roads as darkness sets in and the rain falls incessantly. For a moment calm will win, my body relaxes, I smile, and focus on running one more kilometre. Then negativity and doubt take over and almost forcibly pull me back to a walk, telling me that I cannot go further. I take control again and step forward. A couple off times I’ve cried out loud when I just want to go home.
I’m starting week six and truthfully it doesn’t get easier. Yes it’s beautiful and yes it’s an amazing experience but every country has fresh challenges and my body and mind, although doing well, are truly fatigued. I struggle to have conversations with people because I’m so obsessed with the minutiae of each days run, food, water, wash, stretch, sleep, shop, run. I’m weary and sometimes I don’t want to see anymore beaches or forests!
I’ve hesitated writing today, because I’m not as upbeat as normal but when I started this blog, I vowed to share he highs and the lows as Run the World evolved. The truth is I’m scared I’m going to fail at the final hurdle. I may only have “an achievable 355km” to go, but I’m scared that that little niggle will turn into an injury, that my mind won’t stay positive, that my body will give up before I get there. Yes I’m proud I’ve run across the Netherlands and Germany to reach Poland, along the south east coast of Sweden, through Lithuania to Latvia and now along the entire coastline of Latvia to reach Estonia. Its pretty epic! I’m still scared of failing though.
It’s 5pm on a Saturday and I’m so tired even after a rest day. This is the most exhausted I’ve ever been. I’m not a super hero, I have weak moments just like everyone else and sometimes that manifests in self doubt or self pity. I believe that being honest about those tough times, showing our vulnerability helps us to let it go and move forward. I don’t believe in no pain no gain, or putting on a brave face to hide true feelings. This is a beautiful journey but it’s very very tough and I’m not ashamed to admit that.m
I know tomorrow I will wake stronger and ready to go again. I just need to be honest with myself, figure out the root cause and move on.
Thanks again, for all your support.
If you want to see the last week as it unfolds you can get daily updates @grannytish on instagram or grannyrunstheworld on Facebook.