I was absolutely exhausted. It was a week since got back from Jordan where I’d run the Wadi Rum Ultramarathon and just a few weeks before I was moving to New Zealand and I’d spent no time in that week having any rest. In fact, it was the opposite – late nights and every day filled to the brim. I’d been finishing up at work; working long hours and having to saying goodbye to my colleagues.
The guy I was moving to New Zealand for had landed in the UK the day after I finished work and wanted to spend two weeks road tripping around the UK, cramming in as much as he could. With hindsight, I can see I really should have made sure I had a few days to myself to rest and take it all in.
I had a leaving party in Cheltenham the day after he landed, a chance for him to meet everyone and for me to say goodbye to all my friends. I was running on empty; only fuelled by beer, adrenaline and emotion.
We spent a few days in the Cotswolds. Everything inside me was screaming out for a couple of cosy days in front of the fire; just us, some food and wine but he ‘hadn’t come to sit around’. I could understand. I’d already agreed to his itinerary a couple of months back, but had been totally naive about how I might possibly feel.
We got to the Lake District, where we were going to climb Scafell Pike (highest mountain in England, 978m) and I was starting to feel frayed. I loved that he’d come here and wanted to see England with me, but I was starting to get overwhelmed; in desperate need to just sit by myself and withdraw for a bit. I was out of words, and mental energy. I’d been ‘on’ for so long; I needed to be ‘off’.
The morning we set off it was cold and slightly drizzly. As soon as we started going uphill I felt like I’d hit a brick wall. Every step was taking all my energy. I was slow. So slow.
“You’ve just run an ultramarathon, I’d have thought you’d be running up this!” He laughed. But he was serious; he really thought it.
I looked at him, close to tears. “I’m literally on my last legs, I’m absolutely exhausted.” I don’t think he really understood how much stress I’d just put my body through, and how much this was taking out of me. The moment made me feel weak and stupid.
He kept striding on ahead and I was so conscious of falling behind, of being slow. The higher we got the harder it was. Anything that got my heart rate up mean my body just protested. I had nothing.
My brain started working overtime, my emotions all over the place. I started to wonder if he’d changed his mind about me moving to New Zealand. Perhaps he didn’t quite know how to tell me, given I’d just moved out of my flat and quit my job? He was seeing me in my life, my surroundings – what if he didn’t like that person? What if I was a disappointment? What if I wasn’t the person he thought I was? That strong and capable person he knew wasn’t there, replaced by someone who was tired, exhausted and emotional.
It was all too much.
When we started to head back down I dropped back. He didn’t notice and I was thankful as the tears came. Months of low level stress and physical and mental exhaustion poured out. I didn’t care what I looked like or who passed, I just needed to get it out and to be alone. It didn’t solve everything, but at least released some of the emotion.
Stood there in the wind and rain with tears streaming down my face, I had no idea what was to come but I didn’t really care, right then it just felt damn good to have a bloody big cry.
An emotional volcanic eruption on the top of Scafell Pike.
It’s what I needed and I couldn’t have held it in for any longer; I’d been bottling things up without realising. All these things I’d spent months preparing for were finally happening, all at the same time.
I knew I’d definitely need to rest at some point and we’d need to have a conversation, but that would come later.