Category Archives: Uncategorized

The climate change checklist for runners

*Originally featured on The Running Bug*

Climate change is big news right now. With global warming and our plastic-filled oceans making daily headlines, along with a certain US President pulling out of the Paris Agreement, it could be easy to start feeling a tad glum. But instead of getting depressed, take positive action today! As a runner, your choice of exercise is pretty environmentally friendly already. But here are 7 smart swaps you can make, to show the planet a little more love. If you can tick them off, you know you’re making life better for the planet, your happiness and humanity in general – thank you for your all-round, Earth-loving awesomeness…

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A bum deal

Having set myself the goal of being able to comfortably run for an hour by the end of the summer, I’m pretty thrilled that I’m basically there.

I can now run for 60 minutes (I’ve managed this twice, in fact), and while it sure as hell isn’t comfortable yet, it feels like a bit of a milestone.

My first hour-long outing took me by surprise somewhat – I’d forgotten just how far you can get in that time. It became clear after about 20 minutes that the original route I’d planned wasn’t going to suffice, so I took a few detours, headed off the beaten track and found some lovely quiet sections of woodland to jog through.

When you’re the whole world to two little people, it’s nice to get lost in your own little world for a change.

I felt so proud when I made it to the final ten minutes and headed back towards the playground, where I’d agreed to meet my husband and the children. I was physically tired, yes, but wow, what a mental high! I had visions of my own little cheering squad waving me in through the gates, my son clapping his hands wildly for me as he sailed ever higher in a swing.

Well.

Let’s just say reality can sometimes slap you in the face.

When I arrived, I couldn’t see them: not on the swings, the slide or the seesaw. Not having a tea party in the little playhouse.

And then I spotted them: huddled under an apple tree in the far corner.

“That was good timing!” my husband yelled over to me as he saw me approaching.

My son had his trousers and pants around his ankles.

I had the distinct feeling that this was not, in fact, going to be good timing for me.

It turned out that, having left the travel potty at home and finding himself caught short, my little boy had happily pooped under a tree. And because the baby had just that very moment fallen sound asleep in the sling, my husband did not want to risk waking her by bending down to deal with the situation in hand unless he absolutely had to. Which, I suppose, is fair enough.

And so it was that, instead of cheers and high-fives and kisses, I celebrated completing my first hour-long run by wiping an arse in the middle of a public place and picking up faecal matter in a nappy bag.

Oh, the things we do for love.

swing2

Why oh why did I not arrive to this?

Anyway, hopefully all of this (the running, not the bum wiping) has got me in half-decent shape for my first 10K event, which is this Sunday. Although as it has been described as “undulating” and with some “testing terrain”, goodness knows how I’ll get on. I’ll let you know…

Wish me luck!

We are all human

I had a running post ready to go live this weekend.

But, like many other bloggers have found, writing about everyday experiences suddenly seems so very trivial and crass in light of the humanitarian disaster that is unfolding before us.

I too have been left shocked, speechless and saddened over the past few months, as I have watched the growing refugee crisis unfold.

But it took the image of a small boy’s body washed up on the beach to truly open my eyes.

A small body that looked very much the same size as my own soon-to-be-three year old.

Yet amidst the heartbreaking photographs of sinking, overcrowded boats, desperate parents and drowned children, I have seen the odd comment:

‘Yes it’s awful, but shouldn’t we be doing what we can to look after our own first?’

Thankfully, these have been very few and far between, hidden among many thousands of pledges of help and support. But still. I find this such an odd, cold comment.

So I simply wanted to use this blog post to say this:

I can pretty much guarantee that the people who have responded to the refugee crisis in such a generous and proactive way are probably the very same people who already do generous and proactive things to help ‘our own’ – things like donating to food banks, volunteering at local youth centres, helping out at dementia cafés, and donating time and money to UK charities.

Because you see, generosity of spirit doesn’t have a limit.

Compassion doesn’t simply stop when it hits a border: it overflows.

This is a humanitarian crisis.

We are all human.

There is no more ‘us’ and ‘them’.

We all need to look beyond borders and show a little more love, care and compassion.

Because hate isn’t getting us very far, is it?

It could have been them

It could have been them. #SaveSyriasChildren

You can find out more about where to donate, Amazon wish lists, collections and events here, or about practical ways you can help by checking out this feature in the Independent.

Through the tears, one thing has become clear in my mind: I now know what my marathon effort will be in aid of next April.

 

 

 

Mummy likes sticks

A couple of months back, when the baby was just a few weeks old, my husband, the toddler and I took her for a stroll in the buggy to the local park. While we mooched along in the sunshine, only occasionally having to yell sentences like, ‘PULL YOUR JEANS BACK UP!’ and ‘DON’T TOUCH THAT DOG POO!’, a runner headed towards us. As she passed, I said proudly to my son, ‘Mummy does that.’

He looked at me with an expression that can be described as, at best, withering.

‘No,’ he replied simply. ‘Me run. Daddy runs. Mummy walks.’ And off he trotted.

Erm, excuse me? Was I just heckled by a two year old?

I tried to console myself. This must be part of his latest phase, where no one is allowed to do/like what he is doing/likes. It goes like this:

Him: ‘Me like grass and flowers Mummy.’
Me: ‘Aah, that’s lovely. I like grass and flowers too.’
Him: ‘NO! NOOOOO Mummy! [Cue fists and foot stamping] Me like grass and flowers. [PAUSE] Mummy likes sticks.’
Me: ‘Oh. OK.’

So, that had to be the case in this latest scenario, surely. He knew Mummy ran, didn’t he? He must remember those trail runs we did together through the woods, with him bouncing along happily in the running buggy, back when he was… how old was he? Oh. It was before he could walk.

Running buggy

We went trail running together. Honest.

 

Oh dear. Toddlers are harsh critics. They say what they see.

To my son, I am a walker. A plodder. A buggy-pusher. While Daddy does all the racing, chasing and throwing-up-in-the-air play at weekends, Mummy can usually be found sitting on her arse on a park bench (feeding the baby), swaying to and fro (rocking the baby) or standing next to the buggy (ensuring no one abducts the baby). A walker? If I’m honest, my son was being generous.

There was only one way to change his perception of me.

I waited until six weeks after the birth (that seemed the sensible option, because, frankly, no one wants to risk bursting a stitch “down there”). And then one morning, after making sure the baby was fed and cuddled up to Daddy, and the toddler was engrossed in Peppa Pig, I made my move.

‘Mummy’s going for a run!’ I announced.

No reaction. He hadn’t heard. But I wasn’t going to let this go unnoticed.

‘MUMMY’S GOING FOR A RUN!’ I yelled. Into his ear.

‘Bye bye’, he replied. He didn’t turn away from the telly. Bloody Peppa.

And so it was, I set off on my first ever-so-gentle run/walk. And it felt freeing, and exciting, and energising, and exhausting, and frustrating, and upsetting all at once. I rejoiced in the fact I was out in the fresh air doing what I loved. I mourned the fitness I had lost and the fact I felt like a complete beginner once more.

But I was running.

As I rounded the corner towards home, my husband was standing on the doorstep, toddler in his arms, waiting for me. The sheer look of excitement and astonishment on his little face (the toddler, not the husband) almost made me shed a tear of happiness.

‘Look, look!’ he screamed enthusiastically. ‘Mummy’s running! Keep running Mummy!’

I intend to.