Last Friday was my last day of working in an office with other people for the foreseeable future.
I haven’t figured out whether that’s good news or not so let that sentence just sit there, all neutral.
This whole self-employment thing has been a long time in the making and I’ve had a few months to get used to the idea.
Except, I haven’t yet.
All week long, with my registration for the half on Saturday all paid for and confirmed, I worried about going away for the weekend instead of staying home setting everything up for this new self-employed life. Going away felt silly and irresponsible. But staying would have been some kind of stupid self-inflicted punishment for a situation that I couldn’t control anyway.
So on Friday, after one final work drink in an office full of people, I packed my bag and made my way up to Kerikeri where I could run a half and not think about things all weekend. When in doubt, not thinking about things is always my favourite option.
To cut a long story short because I’m a freelancer now and this post is costing me a shit load of money, I ran the half, walked bits of it whenever my leg hurt (so smart) and then went ahead and had one of the most fun weekends I’ve had in a while, without worrying a single time about how, for the first time in years, I didn’t have an office to go to on Monday morning and would have to start paying for each cup that fills the bottomless pit of my daily coffee needs.
But wait. This is a half marathon recap, not another one of my pity parties. Let me throw in some words about the Kerikeri Half: It’s really pretty. Like, New Zealand-kind of pretty, all clean and green and stuff. It doesn’t have that many runners (about 2000 this year, give or take a few hundred because I can’t be bothered checking the numbers now), and it doesn’t have that many spectators (since it’s mostly through backcountry roads and there aren’t thousands of people up there who can be arsed standing in the sun to watch some idiots go past – no judgement, I wouldn’t either). It’s the perfect road run for not thinking about things, so my plan was, as usual, flawless.
The first 7km of the course included a decent hill or three but, from then on, it was pretty much all downhill (the good, non-metaphorical kind) to Kerikeri Domain. When I wasn’t struggling with my stubborn shin (yes, still), I actually managed to get some happy kilometres in. The pretty views distracted me from the effort of road running, the pressure on the shin and the worries I’d left back in Auckland and, 21km, some beers and a massage later, everything was ok again.
I ran a 2:03 and still haven’t cracked the sub-2h barrier I keep talking about, but I also realised it’s not that much of a big deal to me. Kerikeri was another reminder that running, for me, is all about what it does to my head. Don’t get me wrong: I’ll totally be all like hell to the mothereffing yeah when I get a 1:5X:XX but that doesn’t actually beat what I got from Kerikeri on Saturday.
It was almost a rite of passage. Some people throw parties to mark special occasions, I apparently now run half marathons (just like when, back in May, I ran the Huntly Half to celebrate my five years of living in New Zealand). Kerikeri last weekend was a bit like that seemingly wasteful blank page at the start of any new paperback that seems to fit no purpose but actually acts as a divider between whatever came before and the book you’re starting then.
So running wins again. It’s all the good things I always say it is and then it’s also a really good avoidance mechanism for shit you don’t want to think about. Wait, that sounds bad. Replace “avoidance” with “coping”. Replace “don’t want to think about” with ‘there’s no point worrying about”. Yeah, that sounds better. Leave it like that.
Not running the half to spend the weekend at home worrying about how this new life thing is going to work out would have taken me nowhere useful. Instead, I got another 21km further on my feet and about a billion kilometres further in my head. So, when in doubt, go for a run and don’t think about things. It’s gonna be okay anyway.
(I didn’t take a single decent photo during the half, as evidenced by the only photo I could find in my phone to add to the post, but you can see a bunch of cool shots here.)