Looking back on life it looks like there was a plan. Gliding from university digs and parties, to jobs and dining out, gradually scaling a career ladder, getting a house, meeting a guy, children, married, dog, divorce. The reality was it just seemed to happen or maybe the unthinking part of me was in control all long.
Part way though the grown up bit of life, when you look like an adult, but you’re still a twenty year old in your head, something definitely not in the plan of life happened. Something that rocked my life down to the foundations and could be considered the start of my ironman brain. Something that changed the life plan. Or maybe it just happened and there never was really ever any kind of plan.
On 18th May 2015 baby Leo Samual Hopkin came into our lives, and on 27th June he was called away by angels leaving us all stunned, lost, and broken. I wanted to swim as far and as fast away as i could from the stricken ship that was my life. I I felt if I got caught in its pull I would never again surface.
The flight instinct triggered made me run. I ran miles. Processing my thoughts far away from people. I rode my horse too. Out into Cannock Chase deep in the woods where I would cry and scream away from everyone. I walked. I went to theme parks with the children. I got back to work. I didn’t sleep or eat. I just was. Some kind of adrenaline fuelled zombie. My brain had stopped working properly. My friends said I looked like me and i laughed and spoke like me. Was living life from all accounts as before. But I was dead inside. Like my soul was gone.
I just wanted to fix myself. I did checklists and plans. Counselling and exercise. I ate well, when I could swallow. I did everything that makes you well, but what I didn’t appreciate then, that I truly know now, is I needed time. Time to process. Time to heal.
I’m from a family of fixers. My brother wanted to fix me and he had his own checklist. Training for a marathon and raising a heck load of money along the way.
I’m so grateful my brother entered me into the London Marathon. All that nervous panicky adrenaline i felt all the time was channelled. I had a purpose. I had something that takes time. Time to prepare. Time to train. Time to repair.
We did cake bakes, parties, pamper sessions, raffles and trained. Miles and miles with no proper plan. Way more than i should have done.
We smashed our $2k target raising $12k in total. I did a practice marathon at Portsmouth. Then 17 weeks before London i fell pregnant.
Mum noticed pretty quickly but my husband didn’t… For the best as I knew marathons and pregnancy wouldn’t go down well.
I was obsessed with running the marathon. I had built my entire focus on it. It had dragged me out of a pit of despair, I’d raised a small fortune.
One week before race day I was hit with another obstacle. Crippling back pain to the point I couldn’t walk. I got to the local chiropractor who gave me what they could considering my pregnancy, requesting no payment as they wanted to support me on my quest.
Somehow I got to the start line at London. First 10 miles my back nerve kept catching making me nearly drop to the floor. Then I was struck with agonising toe pain which turned out to be a hole in my sock garroting my toe!! Twelve miles in miraculously I was pain free. Twenty three miles I got faint and dizzy and panicked I’d done something stupid by running a marathon 17 weeks pregnant.
But I did it. I got to the finish line and I was ready to cry out my locked up tears for Leo. But I didn’t. I got to the Lullaby Trust offices and announced my pregnancy to my friends and family.
It was that day, when I look back on my plan of life. The plan without a plan that I kind of started to realise there might be something a little bit different with me. Something different that made me strong. Something that made me do crazy things and never know when to stop. Something that showed I had inklings of being iron.