Here We Go Again

During my marathon training I said to Dan, on more than one occasion, that I wouldn’t sign up for another marathon for a while as I felt the training was impacting on our family life too much. I knew even then that I’d run another but planned to not do it for at least a year, if not more. However, things change (sometimes quicker than we anticipate) and as it happens, I will be running my second marathon in a mere 8 weeks time. Sorry Dan!

I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket and my thoughts were that if I ran another marathon fairly quickly after my first, my body would already been trained and the training wouldn’t need to be quite so intense and time consuming. (Seasoned runners may be holding heads in their hands at this point in the column!) I also spotted that The Eden Project host a marathon and the part trail/part road route appealed to me. Plus we get a day out at Eden afterwards which is always a bonus in my books.

My Dad is running again with me and I’m looking forward to this one with a lot less apprehension than I did the North Devon affair. I think the reason for that is two-fold. Firstly, obviously I’ve completed one marathon so I know I can do it. Secondly, the route is a lot less hilly and includes more road running so it should be easier. Obviously we’ll be running in October rather than June so it will be chillier but given that the last one started in torrential rain, I’m not too worried about the weather.

Despite having signed up a month or so ago, my running has been somewhat sporadic. I have been doing a lot of weight training though so hopefully that’ll make up for it. However, the last two weekends I’ve gone out for a long run (last week was 10 miles) and I’ll be increasing these every week now for a bit before tapering again. In fact, we’re off to Wales on holiday in a few weeks and I spotted a trail half marathon occurring whilst we’re there so I thought I might as well incorporate that into my training as well (another sorry and thank you to Dan here for running whilst we’re on holiday!)

I’m excited about the challenge ahead though and although I really enjoy body building, I do think that running is my sport. I was chatting to a friend recently and said to her that I think that when you discover what activity is meant for you, you just know. And once you’re started, it would appear that you can’t stop! And to think that as a teenager I used to hate running…

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A Close Call

Over the last 7.5 years, there have been plenty of occasions upon which my children have made careless decisions or I have turned my back for just a second at the wrong time and accidents have happened. There have also been a few times when I had the horror of watching a mishap occur without being able to do anything to stop it.

One that particularly stands out in my memory is watching a 2 year old Sophia speed down a small slope on her scooter, lose control and go flying into a nearby wall. I had a baby Isaac in a sling and somehow had to carry her, her scooter and our bags awkwardly back home where Dan was able to take us up to A+E. That time resulted in a broken finger and a minor operation to put her finger back in place as she had managed to knock it out of it’s socket. Ouch!

Of all these times though, I’ve never been seriously concerned for their lives or thought that they were at risk of serious harm. Today, however, I witnessed a near-miss that made my blood run cold. Isaac was scooting down a hill in Topsham and despite my hollerings to ‘STAY TO THE LEFT’ he careered off to the right as he scooted round a blind corner. A car suddenly appeared from around said corner and luckily, was going slow enough that when they pulled to a swift stop, they missed hitting him by mere inches.

I think me and my friend were more scared than Isaac! I grabbed him and I’m embarrassed to say that rather than pull him in for a hug, I gave him a stern talking to about listening to instructions. He looked folorn and said ‘why are you shouting at me?’ I answered ‘because you almost got hit by a car and I was scared because I love you and don’t want you to get hurt!’ I did feel bad though, that my instinct was to be cross. I guess fear does funny things to you.

This afternoon, I have been counting my blessings. I’m feeling so grateful to that car for driving at a sensible speed round a blind corner and also a little bit guilty that I didn’t stop to check the driver was ok. I’m feeling lucky that all my small folk are healthy, happy and unharmed. It struck me how close a call it was and how things could have easily turned out so differently. So apologies for the cheese but hug your little people extra tight today. I know I will be.

Mud and Mayhem

(Posting this a little late but better than never…)
The first two days of camping this week were blissful…we set up with no stress, opened a still-cold bottle of wine and relaxed as the kids played with their friends whilst we chatted and soaked up the (albeit patchy) sun. Day two saw a walk to Weymouth along the coast path, sea swimming, ice creams and a evening BBQ before marshmallows around the campfire. Perfect!
Day three however, was a different story. We were forecast rain and had done some planning as to where we could go but weren’t fully prepared for the extent of bad weather that arrived. We headed to the small but interesting Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester. Unfortunately so did everyone else in a 20 mile radius and claustrophobic tendencies sank in. Whilst there we received a sobering message from friends still on site warning us that cars weren’t allowed on site due to the mud and that tents and event shelters were being drowned and blown away left, right and centre. We headed for lunch to delay the inevitable before heading back, drenched from just dashing between buildings and cars, to assess the damage.
Luckily, all our tents were still just about standing and after a very camping dinner of bacon sandwiches and crisps, we settled in for a night of googling how much wind a bell tent can withstand, regular guy line checks and worrying whether our central pole would hold out.
This morning arrived and brought with it much welcome sun! Unfortunately, it was accompanied by more strong winds, predicted to reach 40 mph gusts this afternoon. Not quite the camping holiday weather I had envisioned! So a day on site is in order as the kids play card games in the warm dry tents and the parents drink copious amounts of tea whilst keeping an eye on the tents still being battered by the wind.
But at the end of the day, whilst I’d obviously prefer glorious sunshine and no wind, the kids are happy, we’re safe and fed, have spent good time with friends and most importantly, the tents are still standing! (For now, at least….)

Car Tetris

It’s that time of year again where Dan and I look in disbelief at a huge pile of assorted camping equipment stacked in our back garden and wonder how on earth it’s all going to fit into our relatively compact golf, along with the 5 of us. This year, it was actually not too stressful and the kids were very accepting when I said we didn’t have room for their body boards. Unfortunately, we also didn’t have room for the gazebo so hopefully it won’t rain this week…

So, as I write this, we are speeding along the A30 heading to a gorgeous campsite near Weymouth (Eweleaze, an absolute gem that I’d definitely recommend) whilst Dan ponders whether the car is meant to be this heavily loaded. The kids are bickering already and I’m trying with limited success thus far to embrace the holiday vibe!
I’ve written about camping with kids before, usually espousing the joys of it. This year though, I’m feeling a little more cynical. I do love camping and I know we’ll have a great week but it’s hardly what I’d call relaxing! Eli has been waking at 6am and I know that won’t change whilst camping. Couple that with the obligatory late nights round the campfire and it makes for a grouchy toddler by day two! Luckily, we’ve opted for the best approach to camping…go with lots of other families to share the childcare and provide instant company for the kids (meaning less sibling related tension…in theory).
So despite my reservations (which in reality, would apply to any holiday with small children) I am mostly looking forward to the week ahead. A week spent with good friends, a temporary suspension of reality as we escape the daily grind normal life and sleep under canvas for a precious few (hopefully cloudless!) nights.