(This was published in the Express and Echo a few weeks ago)
A moment of madness overcame me last week and having toyed with the idea for a while, I signed up to run the Great West Run next month, 13 long miles around the streets of Exeter. The reality started to sink in not long after and I realised that although I work out regularly, as most of it is weight lifting or HIIT (high intensity interval training), I ought to actually get out and start running… Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I never run. It’s just that for the last six months, I have been running a 3 or 5 mile run once a week or so, hardly regular training.
So in the last fortnight I’ve done a 6 mile, 6.5 mile and 7.5 mile as I’ve started my training. I’m entering unknown territory though as I’ve perused running blogs that are talking about taking nutrition (or jelly babies!) with you for when you hit something called ‘the wall’, training plans and working out your pace. I tend to just put my shoes on and go! I’m experiencing a real learning curve but actually enjoying it. I’m having to do some research, to ask for help and to take baby steps. And there has definitely been a certain amount of eating humble pie. I optimistically planned a 9 mile run this weekend, building on from my 7.5. Unfortunately though, I left the house for it not long after a dinner and an awful night’s sleep and managed just 6 miles before admitting defeat. I was reminded of the old saying, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. So I’ll do some short runs this week to keep going and try again next weekend, this time leaving enough time to digest my roast dinner!
It’s an important lesson to learn and remember though and one I’m trying to impart on the kids at the moment. Both Isaac and Sophia have had moments of extreme frustration recently as they have attempted to do something new and not immediately succeeded. Both of them decided they wanted to give up straight away and it took a lot of reassurance from Dan and I that not many people can pick up a new skill and instantly do it. I love the confidance of youth, the thought that they want to do something so they will just do it, no questions asked. But our task now is to gently tend to their bruised egos when they can’t immediately play badminton on an adult sized court, shimmy up a pole in the park or play the new piece of music note perfect first time. And me? I’m realising that if I want to actually manage to run this half marathon I need to keep practising, to keep running. And more importantly, I’m trying to remember that it doesn’t matter how fast (or slow!) I run it on the day. It’s a cliché but true, it’s the taking part that counts!