For her first school trip Freya went to…Tesco. That’s right, the supermarket. Apparently it was The Best Day Ever. They got to go through doors you’re not normally allowed to enter, wear paper hats, bake… More
“So, wait a minute,” Mark said, clearly trying to take stock. “You don’t like running outside because it makes your legs hurt, plus it’s too cold, icy, windy, too hot, foggy, dark and there are ‘people’?”
“But you don’t like running at the gym because…it’s boring?”
He paused. Thinking.
“I’m just wondering if running is really the sport for you?”
Yeah, I wonder that, sometimes. Ok, most times. Often just as I’m about to start and sort of…forget…how to do it. I know, it sounds daft, but it’s like my old bones and muscles go into revolt at the thought of what’s to come. They seem to send a message to my brain, which makes me unable to work out exactly how to begin.
It results in an ungainly gallomp until my body gets used to the movement again – although, even then, you’d never say that I was a natural runner.
To hear me talk about it, you would probably think I absolutely loathe it. So why do I carry on? Why have I just completed the C25K programme for what feels like the 500th time?
It’s all about a feeling.
Oh, the weight loss and increased fitness are definitely on the pro list but the thing that keeps me going back is that sometimes for a few
seconds minutes while I’m running there comes a point when my mind and body are in perfect harmony. I feel incredibly strong, euphoric, almost; like, at that moment, I could take on the world. And win. More than that I feel like an actual runner.
There’s no build up, no clue that it’s about to happen. It could be in the middle or near the end but it’s elusive. One minute I might be thinking about something Freya said earlier or what I’m going to do after I finish and then it hits me. Hold on! I go through a check list in my head.
Pain in legs – none.
Breathing – normal.
Rhythm – steady.
Mind – calm.
Feeling – invincible.
And there it is.
All that effort – and some days believe me, it is a major effort – but so worth it. It never lasts long while I’m running. I’m either distracted by something or my rhythm goes but it sets me up for the day (or at least a couple of hours afterwards until I feel like I might need a nap). I can see why they say exercise is so good for mental wellbeing.
I’m not sure if what I’m feeling is the legendary “runner’s high” they talk about because I don’t think I’m running hard enough or long enough for that but there’s no doubt that it makes me happy, even as a plodder.
I may moan about running and I may stop every now and then but that’s what keeps me coming back. Injury after injury. Illness after illness. Year after year.
Are you a runner? Do you have a love/hate relationship with it too? Why do you run?
We had a little after school jaunt to Cromer on Thursday night where, unsurprisingly when it was 3C, there were not many people out and about.
This meant it was perfect for Mark (and to a lesser degree Freya) to play on her scooter.
It was nice to see my favourite posts again too.
When it got too dark, we bought some chips and made it home just before her normal bedtime, as it was a school night.
It was lovely to be out and about again.
Hope you’ve had a good week.
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“I’ll always be able to count on you, won’t I mummy?” Freya asked.
We were sat at the dining table where she was drawing before dinner.
“Of course. Always.” I answered, gently rubbing her back. She looked up from her work and smiled sweetly. What a lovely mother/daughter moment.
“Not when you’re dead,” she added.
I didn’t even flinch. “Well, no, maybe not then.”
I’m getting used to having my hopefully not impending demise thrust in my face. It’s like some sort of hardcore therapy.
As an older mum, dying before she’s grown is a background worry. It was one of those things that used to keep me awake at night when I was pregnant and a billion hormones were racing around my body causing havoc. What if I’m not there when she’s a teenager; when she goes to uni; when she goes off backpacking (and I can’t go with her); when she gets married? Maybe younger mums worry about that sort of thing too? Maybe having children makes you think more about your own mortality?
People, young and old, die everyday. I figured there was no point in thinking about something I largely have no control over. So I didn’t. Or at least I tried not to. Until now, when that option has rather been taken away from me.
I know just who to blame for her current fascination with death. I’m looking at you, Pixar and Disney.
An advert for their new film, Coco, came on television one night and prompted a discussion about Day Of The Dead. I think I did a pretty good job of explaining what it was in a positive and hopeful way – as, to me, it seems like a colourful, life-affirming holiday.
But then, later, as we all sat snuggled together in the warm, darkened living room in the wind down before bed, she shocked us when she said to Mark: “If you die, I’ll be fine because mummy will be here to look after me.”
It was the almost “nur nur ne nur nur” way she said it that took us by surprise. I turned from raising my eyebrows at Mark, back to Freya to try and find something appropriate to say. Before I had chance her little face crumbled.
“But…but…if you die,” she said to me. “I will be all on my own.”
Big fat tears started rolling down her face. She looked utterly heartbroken. And then, suddenly, I was crying too.
Wait, what. No. That isn’t supposed to happen – although she had just tapped straight into one of my nightmares so maybe it’s forgivable?
I wiped away my tears and Mark and I both worked to reassure her that we are not going to die and, even if we did, she has lots of people who love her, including my brother who has already agreed to raise her should anything happen to us.
It seemed to sooth her.
We’ve had further conversations about what happens when you die. I was actually worried about this – as someone without any religious faith – but I’ve been able to talk to her about all sorts of beliefs (it just so happened that our local mosque was holding an open day so I was able to take her there too as part of our general learning). I explained that when she’s older she will be able to decide what she does or doesn’t believe in, just like I did.
She seemed ok about it but the four-year-old mind is a mysterious beast and now, every so often, she’ll just randomly drop it into conversation. We might be talking about something completely unrelated or be in the middle of the food shop. At first I asked her if she had anything else she wanted to say about it but it seems she just wants to let me know that she knows. It’s like living with some sort of mini Grim Reaper.
Now most of our conversations go a bit like this.
Her in the middle of dinner: “I’ll miss you when you die, Mummy.”
Me: “Thank you. Eat some more peas.”
I know it’s fairly normal at her age to start thinking about death but have any of you got any tips? Anything specific I should or shouldn’t be doing?