Apart from baking – at which I am shamefully hopeless – I like to think that I could probably do most things, or give them a go at least. Sure, I’ll never be a nuclear scientist or a brain surgeon, unless vicariously through one of my characters, of course, but even then, I have no illusions. I’m not like one of those Holby actors who claim that it’s as if they’re really doing the operation. Does anyone else find that really annoying?
However, in my time, I’ve scuba dived, become a qualified hang-glider, done up a house, I even changed a tire once. But this time I’ve really gone one step too far. I’ve signed up to do a marathon.
This seemed like a good idea, half a bottle – no, maybe more like – three-quarters of a bottle of wine down in the pub a few weeks ago. When my lovely friend Sarz mentioned she was running to raise awareness and money for a brave little boy in her son’s class with a rare form of cancer, I started swaggering about, not to be outdone. Sign me up. I’ll do it. Easy peasy. After all, how hard can it be? Worse than childbirth? Worse than finishing a novel? I think not.
Emlyn and the kids were horrified when I made the grand announcement. My eldest, who is learning about Ancient Greece in school said, ‘But Mummy, the man who ran the first marathon got famous because he died.’ I reassured her that I’m not going to die. There’s free energy drinks all the way round the route, apparently.
However, training for a marathon is not turning out to be easy peasy. I’ve never done more than half hour mummy runs, followed by a restorative bacon sarnies, so there’s a fitness issue, obviously. Yet worse than the sore legs and the time commitment to pounding the tarmac, it’s the inner battle that’s the hardest. Because running is just so virtuous, so GOOD. It’s bringing out my age-old smoking-behind-the-bikesheds mentality. I don’t want to be a running bore. I want to be cool.
But hang on, I’m a mother of three and now that I’m leaving my thirties behind, being healthy IS cool, right? Running a marathon is a huge achievement. A shining example to set to my three young daughters.
So why am I being so pathetic about it? Seriously, I reckon I’ve drunk more since I started training than ever before. I’m running with hang-overs, which is insane, heaving my carcass up the road, bleary-eyed in brand new kit with red wine stained lips. It’s terrible. And I’m avoiding the running club like the plague. I’ll marathon run away from the herd, thank you very much. Ugh! I mean, there’s just something so sissy about men in lycra doing running stretches. Give me the bad boy on the motorbike any day.
But I’m not backing out now. Even though twenty-six miles, is quite frankly a big swear-word long way. Oh my God. Gimme a drink!