Tag Archives: parenting and running

And…..Panic!

A couple of months ago when running was seemingly going ok I booked in two 10k races in September. I was feeling positive and I had been building my mileage up really well. Cut to today and I am no longer running. I still have this stupid calf/cramp thing and running is just not happening unless it’s in a pool with an aqua belt.

I can’t lie I’m beginning to panic. I fear that I won’t have started running in time to do the races. I’m worried that if I do them I will run badly or hurt myself further. I’m trying to cross train but the boys are now off for the summer and with no help from family because they all live either an hour or 3 hours away I think I’ll struggle to fit things in. My husband says it will be fine but I find myself feeling cross with him because I just don’t feel like it will. I think my 5k and 10k goal may be unrealistic for this year, it would just be too much pressure on myself.

I am an angry, frustrated, injured, panicked runner. Definitely the worst type of runner to be. I do not recommend it.

Running and Raising Boys

I’ve been reading a great deal online in the last few days about how we should speak in front of our daughters with regards to diet and health. I do feel that boys get left out of this a little bit with people forgetting that young boys spend a lot of time with their mothers and can also be influenced by what they see and hear their female role models talking about.

Little boys soon become convinced that boys are better than girls. Boys are stronger, faster, more powerful and generally superior to girls. It’s something that riles me a little bit. People say it’s a rite of passage and that all boys and girls go through this rivalry but I don’t agree that it should do unchecked. Which is probably what led to this exchange one day between my eldest son and I.

5 yo ‘J’s Dad is a really fast runner. He runs really far and he can beat loads of people’.

I happen to know J’s dad. I have discussed running many times with J’s dad. J’s dad also happens to be ex forces, in a regiment well known for physical prowess. I also happen to know the time in which J’s dad runs a marathon. My time is quicker.

Me ‘Actually I’m a faster runner than J’s dad.’

5yo ‘No you’re not because you’re a girl.’

Me ‘Yes I am. I know I’m faster. I ran a marathon faster than J’s dad’

This led on to a conversation about how far a marathon is, the time it took me to run it and comparatively how long it took J’s dad to run it. It could very well have been an educational conversation as well when you consider that we talked about what miles were and how many minutes in an hour etc. But that wasn’t the point I wanted to get home. I wanted him to understand that sometimes girls aren’t slower than boys, girls are equal to boys in many ways and that, actually, sometimes girls can be better at something than boys.

Maybe it was just be being competitive but I don’t want my boys to grow up with this patriarchal rhetoric that because you’re a boy you’re automatically better at something. Maybe I’m taking it too seriously but why shouldn’t boys see that sometimes the female role models in their lives can be just as good or even better at something than the men they know?

I want my boys to see that:

Women can be strong both mentally and physically.

Women can be powerful.

Women are to be respected for their achievements.

Women always deserve respect.

Women are equal to men.

I really hope the boys see all this in their home life, both in the relationship they see between their father and I but also in the things that they see their mother do whether it be work or exercise. Girls are obviously incredibly influenced by what their mothers say and do but so are boys. In a weird way running seems to be a way for me to show them just how strong their mother, a woman, a girl, can be.

Why complicate it?

‘Running is a simple beautiful thing that people really love to make really fucking complicated for themselves and others’.

I saw this tweet and favourited it because it’s how I feel about running of late. Books, magazines, gait analysis, body mapping, injury prediction are thrown at runners from every direction filling our heads. And as I thought about it I realised that running and parenting are in fact quite similar in this respect. People have this urge to make these two great things unbelievably complicated.

When I was expecting my first child I bought the books. I lapped up every blog post, equipment review and leaflet I could get my hands on. I was to be a new parent and I wanted to get things right. When my eldest was born and I just wasn’t sure what I should be doing I referred to the internet, searching and searching until I could find the answer that would help me in doing the best for my son. My mother used to insist that reading these books was unhelpful and that my instinct was more important for my son than any book could ever be. But I didn’t believe her. I was sure that the answers lay on medical forums and sites for new parents. Slowly but surely I discovered that a lot of the advice out there didn’t fit well with my son and I. More often than not I discovered that my way, my instinct for being a parent was best and when son number two arrived I had already given all my baby books away.

This is why I think running and parenting in it’s own way have become similar to me. Our instincts can be driven under by relentless information, not all of it relevant to your situation. You can start second guessing yourself and become too dependent on watches and programmes and PB chasing. Running is indeed a beautiful thing and sometimes it’s liberating to put the inspirational book down or put the technical magazine away and enjoy the simple joy of being a runner. Listen to yourself and what your body mind tells you. You know what’s right and you probably know instinctively when you need to seek help.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for the information out there but it’s almost become information overload with so many conflicting views and opinions that runners like me become unsure where to turn and who is right: very much like my parenting experiences. But I say less of the self doubt and second guessing, make it less complicated once in a while and run the way you want to run.

Big Runners, Little Runners

My 4 year old wasn’t overly enamoured by the fact his class mates were going to a minis rugby session. Despite having a father who is a massive rugby fan and being born in Wales he’s really not fussed by the game with the funny shaped ball. In fact the other night he said to me:

‘Mum, I don’t want to do rugby or football. I can ride my bike now, I can swim and I can run so I want to do the ‘Lympics’.

I wasn’t sure whether he meant as individual sports or altogether. Does he know what a triathlon is? I’m sure he doesn’t but who knows, we were avid watchers of the Olympics last summer and we watched triathlon so maybe it’s hidden away in his subconscious.

Anyhow I’m not going to push him. He loves swimming and he’ll carry on doing it for as long as he loves it . He still asks to come running with me but he’s a bit small yet. In the meantime I’ve bought him his own little trainers which he’s christened his ‘Super Fast Running Shoes’. I’m sure when the time comes and he’s old enough he won’t be interested in running with me any more!

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