Tag Archives: training

Motherhood and marathons: 6 things I’ve learned

So, I did it! I ran the Virgin Money London Marathon last month, crossing the finish line at exactly 15:05:05 on 23rd April, after being on my feet for 4 hours, 58 minutes and 46 seconds. And it was exhilarating, and exhausting, and loud, and life-affirming, and painful, and uplifting.

The marathon hasn’t just been about those 26.2 miles, though. It’s been about four months of hard work; of winter training runs and hill sessions; of heading out in horizontal rain; of ice baths and early nights; and of fitting it all in around the most important people in my life. Which is why I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned along the way…

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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!

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.