Tag Archives: marathon

Excuses, excuses

“I really like your blog,” my mum told me the other day.

Followed closely by a tentative:

“Although there’s not a lot of running in it, is there?”

Well, no actually. I suppose there isn’t.

But you see, I haven’t yet got my evenings back, because the baby still thinks it’s great to stay up late, and I’m really quite tired what with the night wakings, and I don’t have lots of childcare help during the days, and it’s been quite hot recently, and I’ve had a bit of a cough, and…

OK. Enough.

A friend recently said to me that if you really want something, you’ll find a way, and if you really don’t, you’ll find an excuse.

Which I think is pretty much the truth and has given me a bit of a kick up the arse.

Because when it comes to next year’s marathon, I really really want it. Not that you’d know, because I’ve been making a fair few excuses recently.

I didn’t realise I was making excuses. I thought they were reasons. And pretty valid reasons at that.

But they’re not. And here’s why.

Because I knew I would have very little time to train when I signed up. Just like I knew I’d be tired, and I knew summer was approaching, and I knew – what with a two-year-old who goes to nursery once a week – illnesses would be frequent in our house.

But I signed up to run 26.2 miles regardless. And this time, that means signing up to the whole time-poor, tired package too.

I’ve just started reading Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running*. In it, he reveals he adopted the mantra, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional,” to see him through his many marathons.

I now know marathon training as a mother will be many things: painful, tiring, tough. It will require more dedication than I have ever had to apply to anything before. But by embracing this fact, it means it doesn’t have to be awful.

So. The first two goals? Upping my training days during the week and a half decent 10K time by September.

No. More. Excuses.

trainers

*I have two children and very little me-time. In two years I will probably still only be on chapter three.

 

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Leaving the house with small children: a beginner’s guide

In the past week, due to a toddler with a sickness bug, a husband who’s had to work late and a baby who insists on feeding all evening, I’ve only managed to head out for one run. It’s made me realise what a mammoth task training for a marathon while caring for a very young family is going to be. Still, one thing consoles me. However tough it’s going to be, it won’t be nearly as hard as my almost daily task of trying to make the 5ft journey from the house to the car with said young family.

Unfamiliar with having to get out the door with an entourage of mini people? Here’s how it works.

10am: Inform toddler that it will be time to leave the house in five minutes. Ask toddler if he needs a wee.

10.01am: Watch as toddler breaks down into tantrum of epic proportions, because he does not want to leave the house. Ever, Mummy.

10.05am: Try to placate toddler by telling him we’re going to the park and he will have fun.

10.06am: Dodge the Lego train the toddler hurls.

10.07am: Sit down with flailing toddler and explain we don’t throw things in this house.

10.10am: Bribe toddler with a cookie.

10.11am: Wonder why I didn’t bribe toddler with a cookie ten minutes ago.

10.12am: Find toddler’s shoes. Ask toddler if he needs a wee.

10.13am: Baby starts crying. Realise it would be wise to feed her, to avoid the car journey from hell.

10.14am: Feed baby. Toddler asks to watch Peppa Pig. Tell him he can watch just one episode.

10.29am: Three episodes of Peppa Pig later, everyone is ready.

10.30am: Turn Peppa Pig off. Give toddler another cookie. Get toddler’s shoes on. Ask toddler if he needs a wee.

10.32am: Hear the baby fill her nappy. Head upstairs to change nappy.

10.33am: Realise it’s explosive. Change baby’s entire outfit.

10.42am: Get back downstairs with baby. Spy toddler’s shoes at the bottom of stairs. Toddler has vanished.

10.43am: Locate toddler. Ask him if he needs a wee.

10.45am: Get both baby and toddler in their car seats. Get in the car. Start the engine. Toddler announces he needs a wee.

10.46am: Turn off engine. Race out of car with toddler and back into the house. Locate potty. Sit toddler on potty. Console myself that at least that distant crying I can hear isn’t my child.

10.47am: Realise that distant crying I can hear is my child. It’s my other child. The one who is now outraged at having been left in the car.

10.48am: Get toddler back in his car seat. Get back in car. Toddler announces he needs his tractor. NOW Mummy!

10.49am: Slowly lower head to the steering wheel and silently weep for those bygone days when all I had to do was grab my keys, grab my bag and then LEAVE THE F*CKING HOUSE.

10.50am: Go back inside. Locate tractor.

10.51am: It’s the wrong tractor.

10.52am: Lose the will to live.

10.53am: Go back inside. Locate every tractor the toddler owns.

10.56am: Present toddler with eight tractors.

10.57am: Get back in car. Turn the engine on. Reverse out of driveway.

10.58am: Congratulate self on leaving the house in less than one hour.

11.01am: Realise I’ve forgotten the changing bag. Turn car around.

Yes. Running a marathon will definitely be easier than this.

Car

Getting a toddler into a car seat: harder than running 26.2 miles.

“Mummy’s got balls”

I’ve spent so much time telling myself “I can’t”… that I forgot to try.

But this weekend, for the first time in a long time, I ran for 30 minutes. With no walk breaks. Four years ago, this would have been nothing. Today, it is everything.

This was an accidental development. I’d planned a couple of walk breaks during the half-hour outing, but for the first time since my humble comeback, I got caught up in the actual running and forgot to check my watch. By the time I’d made it off the roads and into the woods; by the time I’d escaped the cars and the concrete; by the time I was immersed in dirt tracks and tree roots and green leaves, I’d been running for 12 minutes. I’d missed the first walk break. I was about to stop and then a thought struck me… perhaps I could do this. I kept running. I missed the second walk break. I ran up a couple of pretty steep hills. Still no walk break. My timer hit 30:00:01. This was a big deal.

I’m stronger than I thought.

Woods

Lost in the woods. Not literally.

I was ecstatic when I arrived home… although I didn’t have a huge amount of time to revel in my achievement: the toddler was excitedly wielding a toy hammer and was having a crack at “fixing” everything in sight. Including the baby.

I dragged him into the bathroom with me, so my husband could have a bit of bonding time with the baby, and he pottered around banging the bathroom cupboard and sink, while I showered. And then he looked up at me and yelled:

“Mummy’s got balls!”

Er, WHAT?

I questioned him quickly, before he yelled it again and freaked the hell out of his father.

“Look, there [pointing at my chest]! Where baby’s milk comes from. Balls.”

Aah.

I’ve been worrying a little (OK, a lot) recently about the fact I’ve signed up to run the Brighton Marathon in ten months. I’m nowhere near the fitness level I’d like to be, I have two children to look after, there are a fair few sleepless nights (and, I fear, a lot more still to come), and I just don’t have the time I used to have to dedicate to marathon training (the last one was in 2011. Pre kids). But yesterday made me relax about the whole marathon thing. I’ll be fine.

 

I can run for half an hour. I’m stronger than I think. And I have balls.