Sunday saw me take on Royal Parks Half Marathon for the second time. I would love to say my come back at Royal Parks was a fairytale sunny day, it couldn’t have been further from the truth; the skies opened and torrential rain was the order for the day for my final ever distance run and I now have a chest infection for my efforts!
I arrived at 08:15 to meet up with Young Epilepsy and no sooner had I stepped off the tube the heavens opened. Despite this everyone was in really good spirits and those of us there huddled together for a photo. I then spent a bit of time catching up with those I already knew and meeting those I didn’t. Ed was also running for YE again this year and he had his own issues last year having to withdraw from the race due to injury, we both had scores to settle. I was sorting myself out and was getting more and more nervous, talking away to Linda I suddenly burst into tears (sorry Linda!). Linda is amazing, she comforted me at 8 miles last year and wiped away the tears when I finished and was all over the place, just so happens she got the tears beforehand this year. Her words rung in my ears all round the 13.1 miles. By coincidence Becky arrived with her boys and said the exact same words to me. “ If you get out there and you need us, call, we will come and get you wherever you are!” THAT to me is what the YE family is all about, knowing that when the chips are down they will come running and they will celebrate every high too!
Vic arrived with her boys and brother, and I was so excited to see them, life been hectic and it's been a while. Vic has been battling her own epilepsy whilst also fundraising and raising awareness on an epic scale for YE as her son also has epilepsy. I knew how nervous Vic was about the day, I know she was emotional on the course but she nailed it and I couldn’t be prouder of her. That lady is made of tough stuff and I knew this was something she had to do, and whilst she may have doubted herself we never did. Becky and Vic are two of the best things to have come from YE for me, these ladies are my family, their support at all times is second to none and their affection for ‘Dave’ and Noah warms my heart and they are both raising beautiful boys who are a credit to them.
The race started off much the same as last year, myself and Luke played cat and mouse for a few miles before separating. Luke is such a rock to me and I know he knew how nervous I was about today and he did his best to reassure me. I felt fine, then I came up to Buckingham Palace and I had a little freak, it was my last vivid memory of last year, I took several very deep breaths and plowed on. The first 6 miles flew by and I saw Stuart at 10K who lectured me to carry on when I stopped to talk :) As I pulled away from him I realised I was really really enjoying myself, the weather was rubbish but I was having a ball.
8 Miles the wonderful YE team were waiting, a big cuddle from Becky and Linda who is like my Guardian angel, checking me over, asking if I needed anything and how I was feeling. I remember my only concern at this point was my nose was running and I needed tissue!
I left them happy with my tissue to hand but at 9 miles (ish) the sky opened! AT one point I couldn’t see, I was wiping water off me and mainly I was just really laughing. I was loving it. This is where the charities out there and the Royal Parks Volunteers came into their own, the atmosphere was incredible.
I crossed the finish line in 3:01:18, I had set myself a target of sub 3. If I’m honest I could have made it in in under 3 but I said to Chris I just could not be bothered, I was enjoying myself and wasn’t worried about some target I’d made up in my head. I finished very very happy. The first person I saw when I crossed the line was Becky and she gave me a huge cuddle and updated me on Vic. I made my way back to YE and it was amazing to walk back and give them all the biggest cuddles. Seeing Linda was a really lovely moment for me she had been so so supportive. James, as ever, was full of cuddles and praise knowing how hard I had found going in to today, Stuart was there telling me how proud he was of me. Luke followed over the finish line shortly after and Vic just after that. I have never felt such a burst of pride at seeing someone. One of my first questions to James was how did Ed do and Mr Speedy pant had smashed it with a PB of 1:24 (correct me if I’m wrong!) and James said he had also asked after me when he had finished which I was touched by, we had both settled the score. Everyone was freezing so it was drinks and food and heading home.
For me I knew today was my last long distance run. I had made the decision after my 100KM trek in May. In my very tired emotional state I had told my trek partner that I do it all because I feel like I have something to prove, that I’m not the sick one, that I am more than capable, that I’m not known as ‘Faye the one with epilepsy’. We were sat resting at about 92KM and he said to me “ Faye you have just walked further than most people ever will, you have completed five marathons you have nothing to prove to anyone, you can stop now!” That moment hit home for me and I will be forever grateful for that. It was the moment I knew I had nothing to prove to anyone else, especially myself. I never will be a fast runner, for me it was always about endurance and for me the charities I have helped along the way Epilepsy Action, Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Young Epilepsy have been my inspiration. Running for my family, for people I love and then the Epilepsy family has been every bit of inspiration I have ever needed. I always wanted someone to say to me “ because of you I did not give up”, because if I can anyone can, and I mean that. For me, Noah knowing I run has been one of my proudest moments, he talks with pride of Mummy and her running and her medals. I hope that he takes from this that you can do anything if you put your mind to it, and my marathon highlight was London 2017 when I ran for ‘my 26.2 for Young Epilepsy’, the day I found my strength again. It's been an emotional journey and one I will forever be grateful for and proud of.
It’s taken me a few days to write this due to the chest infection but I wanted to get it out here to say thank you to each and every person who has sponsored me. I wanted to write this to highlight what an amazing support network YE are. “ Wherever you are if you need us…. We will come to you.”
Facebook support group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/739520702798749/
My names Faye, mostly known for being a tea addict, swimmer and a swim instructor. I'm almost 34, married and I had my 1st child in June 2015, oh and I also happen to have epilepsy. This is my story of Pregnancy, Motherhood & Epilepsy.