E+E column: Thoughts whilst running

I escaped this morning for a run, leaving the baby in the sling with Dad, one child on the DS and the other roaming the house like a caged beast. I love the small ones but getting out for 45 minutes by myself, alone with my thoughts, is a luxury I relish and am very grateful to Dan for facilitating. To have nothing to concentrate on but my feet pounding the pavement in a rhythmic (albeit not particularly fast!) beat is not to be scoffed at. The therapeutic benefits are equal, if not more, than those gained from the exercise itself in my opinion. This morning as I ran along the goat walk and then on towards Exton, I started to think about how things are never static, our lives and our progress are constantly evolving and moving forward.

When I first started exercising again after Elijah was born I ran a short 2 mile circuit around Topsham and the idea of increasing it seemed like an impossibility. By the end of my 20 minute run I was exhausted and felt like I had reached my absolute limits of physical endurance. However, little by little, I increased the distance, by probably just a quarter of a mile each time – running the new route a few times until I felt ready to push just that little harder and run just that little bit further. Today, 3 months on, I ran my 3.5 mile route to Exton and back and upon arriving back home, although exhausted, felt that next time I could add an extra bit onto the journey. My goal for the next few months is to manage Lympstone and back and hopefully eventually (at some unknown point) I might be able to run to Exmouth and back. What once felt unachievable is actually completely viable, I just need to take it slow and steady and one run at a time.

Kids are amazing examples of seeing this philosophy in practice. Elijah is learning to crawl at the moment. So far he can manage to get up on all fours and rock backwards and forwards before collapsing onto his tummy. But he doesn’t give up. He might get frustrated and need a cuddle, a feed or a break but next time he’s put down he’s at it again, pushing himself. And whilst he hasn’t mastered the actual art of crawling yet, he does an impressive job and moving himself around the room to find the object of his desire – usually Dan’s Xbox or something small and chokeable that his older siblings have left on the floor.

It’s a good lesson to remember I think, that when something seems unattainable, it rarely actually is. We just need to step back, take a good look at what we’re trying to achieve and dive in and get started. We might not manage it the first time (or the second, or the third, or the fourth, as it turns out in my recent foray into juggling!) but we’ll get there eventually. There’s a lot to be said for determination. And at the end of the day, how we will ever know if we can do something or not if we don’t just give it a try? Now to go and baby proof the living room, again…

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