Because I got into the Oxford Half.
Here’s the thing, a long time ago when dinosaurs walked the earth and Brexit wasn’t a recurring joke in my blogs I ran the first Oxford Half. It was held at Kassam Stadium and consisted of a loop around Oxford and back again. The idea of a big race in Oxford (beyond the annual 10k and Santa Run that generally mark the year like the seasons) was very risky… so risky that that first year the first few miles were denoted by cars actually turning (slowly) onto the course itself – the drivers looking at us with confusion and annoyance as usually they just like to hit cyclists. The course wound its way through the BMW plant, down and kind of but not really into Oxford city centre (who knows what those road closure fees would be) and back out to the stadium where you got a medal with a little BMW mini emblazoned on it.
I returned for the first few years, even running it while early in my pregnancy, and watched the course improve bit by bit. Then I swung an entry into Royal Parks (the best half marathon in London) and decided foolishly to run a marathon and then… then…
The running started to slip.
I haven’t ‘given up’ on exercise as it were. I bike, yoga, pole fitness, gym… but running moved down the priority list as work and a growing (and mercifully sports happy) kid started to take up more time.
Things shift, stuff happens. That’s the way life works.
Then, last year, on a (kind of dumb) whim I signed up and poorly trained for Oxford. It was bar none some of the worst training I’d ever done. Missed runs, poor planning, and yet I lined myself up with the masses and hobbled to a finish that was better than some of my kid-free, running-focused years. It reminded me that running is what helped move me towards better health. I wouldn’t have readily been up for cycling to work, or trying new sports, or ditched a lot of the junk food, had it been for running.
Plus, there’s like science and stuff that says it is good for your brain.
So when Oxford decided to have a ballot I thought – eh, why not? And today, I got it.
So… here we go again.