Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why I run

Oh I've put together posts like this before. Weight loss, self-esteem. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

It struck me tonight - 8 1/2 weeks into the summer holidays - why I run. And more importantly, why I do big nasty marathons that take it ALL out of me and leave me spent. Because of the fact that when you're out there, training or racing, you're dealing with physical breakdowns and mental breakdowns and, in my case, facing down each and every big fat demon in my head (you're useless, you're incapable, you're incompetent, you're fat, you'll fail) and knocking them on the head one after the other (I am NOT! I am NOT! I am NOT! I am NOT! I am NOT!) and there is no space in your head for the small stuff that I sweat on a daily basis.

For the daily discussions with my kids, for example. Let me recap for you some of the things I have actually, seriously, said today:
- "No, we cannot take the gerbils on holiday with us. And that does NOT make me a bad person."
- "If a gerbil told me he didn't like me that would not hurt my feelings."
- "I don't like rodents like you don't like bananas. It's not logical, it's just how it is."
- "Calling you in for supper and supper not physically being on the table as you slide into your seat (with dirty hands) does not make me a liar."
- "Just because you did not intend to break it does not mean you did not break it."
- "I don't care that everyone else gets to go to bed later than you. It's bedtime."
- "Everyone else does not actually have it better than you. Believe me."
I know. I am such a MOM! I am my own pain in the ass.

Then there's all the other stuff. Phonecalls to my accountant who hasn't filed my tax return. Or returned my calls. Phonecalls to my dishwasher repair people because my dishwasher has been broken for weeks. (That, in itself, calls for running a marathon). An ancient soft water tank in our roof bursting on bank holiday Monday and leaking big gushing quantities of rusty water into my linen cupboard.


But when I'm out there training or running a race I am stripped of all that. I forget it all. I am no longer a mother, a wife, a daughter. I am me, just me. I am not wearing make-up. It doesn't matter if I haven't shaved my legs. Most frequently my outfits look terrible and there's no getting away from the fact that I have short stumpy legs and will never be a supermodel. But it doesn't matter - at all. When I am running I am happy to be me.

And when I come back from my runs, I am still happy to be me. And I see that it's not all so bad, and that my children are wonderful - even when they're not - and that they are the sun and the moon to me. That my husband is the love of my life and I am lucky for each day he is in it. And that I lead a life of great privilege and good fortune, materially and spiritually, and that I am so lucky with my friends and family.

And on that warm and fuzzy note - training update. Well - T-1 update. Training starts next week. Kids are back in school and it'll be 12 weeks till I start training for Boston. Old bike given to new owner? Check. New bike bought? Check. In fact, check it out. It's LOVELY!
And this is me after my first ride on it - just before that cloud behind me burst into rain. Is it me or is my helmet ENORMOUS?
Stupid idiot footcut healed? Check. First runs in since stupid idiot foot injury? (oh and speaking of nasty outfits my son says I look like Sportacus in my purple outfit I was wearing below. Nice.)
Check and check. Oh and for those of you who worried I wasn't sweating? It's hard to capture on an iPhone but I was! Forgive the stupid pose but I was trying to highlight the "glow".

Jamoosh's Hard Core club week 2? Ah. Slight fail - only did 2 out of 3 possible sessions. Will do better this week J!

Beginning to feel much better and like it might be possible for me to feasibly start training next week. Watch this space...

21 comments:

misszippy said...

You summed it all up beautifully! Love your new bike--I'm sure you're having a blast with it. And so glad you can get back to running.

I am toying with Boston for this year--I'll let you know if I decide to do it and then we can meet up!

lizzie lee said...

and when we feel the ground underneath our feet, we know we can do it. We know we are alive....

much love across the Atlantic

nylisa said...

So amusing, those conversations! Hope the water tank is fixed without incident!

lizzie lee said...

When I wake up every Sat or Sun at 5 am to go to a race, what I want to do is to stay in bed and sleep in. Then I ask, why do I do this? the answer is always the same: Because I can.

A college mate tragically died on Monday. On Tue we would celebrate the father of my children's B'day who passed last year. After learning the terrible news, combined with the memories of Luis' birthday I went for a 14-miler. I was exhausted, tired, and hopeless, but I kept going.

I told to myself after every darn mile: I run today because I don't know if I will be able to run tomorrow. Life is here and now.

Emz said...

Yet again - more smokin hot self portraits.

My fav part: "Calling you in for supper and supper not physically being on the table as you slide into your seat (with dirty hands) does not make me a liar."

Love that.

You rcok Petra!
And yes, even in the helmet you claim is too big.

Emz said...

Didn't mean to make you use your special decoder ring on my spelling of "rock" [rcok]. My little fingers were just too happy after your post. :)

Andrew Opala said...

"Calling you in for supper and supper not physically being on the table as you slide into your seat (with dirty hands) does not make me a liar."

Oh man ... I have the same ones as you! I thought I was uniquely blessed!

Running and living said...

I swear our kids are more spoiled than we were..or maybe my memory is skewed. That is a sweet looking bike. You must do a tri, that bike begs to go racing. Glad you can run pain free again!

Irish Blue said...

That is so true...I will have to make a mental note of all of the stupid things I say to my kids in a day...lol. Love the gerbil banter. Here I thought everyone took gerbils on holiday? ;-)

The Cannondale is sweet. There's just no way to make a bike helmet look sexy though...but you come very close my friend!

Susan said...

I see that lovely glow!!!

You are super by definition. I feel the exact same way about running and about the feeling I get afterward. Rock on, P!!!

Her Name is Rio said...

Ah, nice bike! And glad to hear you're back running. Good luck with the marathon training- I'm looking forward to following it!

I had to laugh when reading what you said to your kids because I've said many a similar thing myself. I am NOT alone!

Fran said...

I loved this post, you've written it beautiful and you look beautiful too in the pics.

LMC said...

As usual, you have eloquently stated what many of us think about often. I completely agree. When I am running, I am stripped of all the stuff of everyday living and, I absolutely do NOT care that I haven't shaved my legs (and it's not pretty, I assure you!). I love your new bike and am glad to hear that ready to start training again. You can definitely do it and I'll be cheering for you all the way!!

zbsports said...

This is a good reason to run. The post is so encouraging for me. Thanks for sharing some experience. I love you running post here.

Leana said...

Such an amazing post Petra! The gerbil discussion seriously cracked me up.

Sweet new bike by the way!!!!

Jill said...

How did I miss this post of yours a couple weeks ago? Is my brain turning to oatmeal?

Ok, I totally love your words with your kiddos, I'm going to have to do that, I think. Mine would be more in the lines of, "You're not paying attention" "You need to do your homework (5 billion times)" "You cannot expect to do well at school on 4 hours of sleep"... why don't they listen to me?? My daughter just got done screaming at me about her tuition bill. I think I'll just not pay it and teach her to not yell at me as she scrambles to figure out how to pay it.

My weight is up a lb. I don't know what's wrong - other than a bag of potato chips and a gallon of ice cream. That was therapy though!! :). Just kidding. I'll email you later tonight.
Love ya, girl.

Run the line said...

Loving the new bike! I am just in the process of buying a new triathlon bike and there are so many things to look at that I feel like i am going round in circles!

Latest Post - Running Jackets Review

salomon shoes said...

I like your reasons why you are running. Hope you achieve all your goals. Good luck and happy running! :)

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