Tag Archives: marathon

Mother’s Day come-down

I’m suffering from Mother’s Day come-down.  In the old partying days of my youth, Tuesday was always the day you’d feel the effects of a heavy weekend.  It was the day reality returned and glumness with it.
However in these freakishly fit marathon training days of mine, today’s come-down isn’t to do with alcohol.  And it’s not that I’m missing being fed, watered and treated like a princess and banned from clearing up, emptying the dishwasher, or putting the washing on.  The come-down is to do with the realization of what a fairly rubbish mother I am most of the time.

If only it was always like it was on Sunday.  If only every day was a Mothering Sunday.

I awoke to a bunch of home-made tissue and straw flowers, crayoned cards emblazoned with tear-jerkingly gorgeous messages, as well as well as plate full of heart-shaped toast.  I had been planning on my longest marathon training run yet, an 18-miler along the coast, but as the sun shone in through the window bathing three blonde heads in halos of gold, I yawned and took a rain check. I’d run another day, I announced, to cheers of approval.

I decided there and then to give one hundred percent of my attention to my kids.  For the whole day.

It was surprisingly hard.

Quite quickly I realized how often I tell them I’ll read to them, or play with them, then go off and do something else.  How often I check my Blackberry.  How little time I make to kick a ball around, or pull them on their scooters.  How I get into their bedrooms intending to get involved in their latest arty glue-and-paper project and start putting socks away instead.  And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve now thrown my marathon training into their free-time/mummy-time mix.

But on Sunday, as I sat in the sunshine having a fry-up and letting the kids play with my camera, I realized how happy everyone was now that they were getting my full and undivided attention.  And how happy I was too.  I looked at every person running past and thought, ‘but it’s Mother’s Day.  Thank God.  I’m not running.’

Just as an aside here, I have to say, for the record, that there are absolutely no discernible benefits of training to run a marathon.  If you were thinking of doing it, don’t.

OK, so I don’t get so out of breath in the last-minute pre-school dash up the stairs for the forgotten hairband/nappywipes/school-book. But at the same time, I haven’t lost any weight.  Not so much as a pound.  You’d have thought I’d look like Kylie by now, but alas, no.

And everywhere I turn people have their own marathon advice – or warnings.  At the school gates, a lovely nutritionist Mummy mate checked that I was taking a very strong anti-oxidant?  Anti what?  I asked.  She looked genuinely concerned.  Didn’t I know that running produces superannuating free-radicals?  I was grateful for the warning, but alarmed that I’ll have aged 20 years by April.

However, one great bit of advice I heard on Sunday, as I was sharing a giant ice-cream with the little one.  ‘To run a marathon you have to be slightly under-trained and slightly over-weight.’

Marvelous.  My work here is done.

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The reluctant marathon runner

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!


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