Childbirth and marathon training: I have decided the two are a little alike. Not much, obviously – one involves pushing a fully grown human infant out of your lady bits, while the other requires you to put one foot in front of the other, over and over, for 26.2 miles.
Similarity one: when you see it written down in black and white, both seem faintly ridiculous.
Then there’s the pain and exhaustion. Now, I’m not for one minute suggesting the pain experienced when running a very long way is even in the same league as heaving a baby out of your body (30 hours of labour. Enough said), but let’s face it, both smart a bit. Which is why I’m sometimes a little astonished at (a) the fact women haven’t held their hands up, declared “Enough’s enough” and let the human race slowly peter out, and (b) the sheer number of people who put themselves through the marathon experience, year after year. We must be fools.
BUT, here’s where I will let you in on a crazy little fact: you forget.
“What?!” I hear you ask? All those hours of labour? Of contractions, panting, exhaustion and fear? Similarly, all those months of hard slog? Of long, repetitive training runs in the dark winter months, when you can’t see through the rain and your shins feel like someone’s driving red hot needles through them? You just… forgot about that bit?
Yep. *Puff* – gone, in a cloud of smoke.
This possibly explains why, when faced with the chance to cuddle a newborn these days, my uterus gets all excited, when really, after what it’s been through it should be muttering “F*ck that” under its breath, evacuating my body by any means possible and hurling itself directly off the nearest available cliff.
However, while baby number three is definitely off the cards (honest), marathon number three is firmly in my sights, as evidenced by the fact that, at week six of my training plan, I am currently in that wholly ‘forgotten’ bit: the hard slog bit; the winter months bit; the driving rain bit. And – with the long runs now hitting the 90-minute plus mark – it’s all getting a bit, well, hurty.
Good job for a spot of determination. Because it might be tough, but I know I am tougher. It might hurt, but I know I can cope. It might take all my willpower some days to drag my reluctant body out of the door for an hour’s threshold run in the cold, but I know I am getting fitter and stronger. And you know what? That feels kind of good.
And, just like the sheer relief you feel when the midwife hands you your precious newborn, I know that however painful it gets on marathon day itself, the crowds, the race-day atmosphere and the culmination of four months of tough training will make it all worthwhile.
I’m also running to raise money for a cause that is so important, especially in today’s global uncertainty. War Child helps to protect and rehabilitate children who have been caught up in some of the world’s most hostile conflicts. I can’t even begin to imagine the trauma these kids have experienced or the atrocities they’ve witnessed, but War Child gives them safety and hope, and I want to turn my marathon miles into money for them to continue their vital, life-saving work. If you’d like to support me, or even just find out more about War Child’s work, you can check out my fundraising page here.
In the meantime, I have more miles to tick off my training plan. I’ll keep you posted…