Since starting this blog, the word “inspirational” has been used a lot. In a week where I have unintentionally set out on the school run in my slippers; left my house and car keys hanging out of my car door next to my front door; told my baby to p*%s off at 5am (more than once); and rsvp’d to a party invitation after the party took place; I feel as though I fall far short of inspirational. But because I’m running everyday, despite all this, I am some how superwoman? I don’t think so.
My Sports bra has celebrated more birthdays than my children…
Let’s be clear about my running credentials once and for all. I have one nice running outfit. My spare running clothes are a long pair of flaired aerobic trousers and a bargain bin pair of running leggings that fall down when I run. I also have a selection of random running and non running tshirts. My sports bra has celebrated more birthdays than my children (possibly collectively) when it shouldn’t really celebrate one. I don’t own a Fit Bit, technical running watch, heart rate monitor or gps. My pushchair is not fancy or expensive, nor is it specially designed for running. I’m not chasing a personal best or the abs of Jennifer Ennis-Hill. I am just running.
When I started this blog my main intention was to make people laugh. My life is ridiculous most days. I wanted to start running again for personal reasons and I thought the public declaration would inspire me to get on and do it. Also, I thought my efforts to juggle the two would make for an amusing read. I’d never set out to inspire. Maybe to motivate someone else to give it a go or just realise it is ok to crave a little bit of “me time” and go get some. But I never thought of myself as inspirational.
With “running” in the title of my blog, I attract a lot of really inspirational followers who are also runners. Ultra runners; marathon runners; multiple marathon runners; fast runners; runners battling terminal illnesses. Real achievers. In comparison, my efforts are truly small, but no less significant. I have also come across lots of mummy runners. Motivational and always positive. Reviewing great running gear and pictured sprinting along with catalogue children riding bikes in the background. Short videos of mummies with abs, bench pressing their toddlers. Impressive? Yes. But not me.
A mile provides just enough endorphins
I chose my race distance of 5k, because right now, in my life, that goal is achievable. My one mile a day with the #RWRunStreak is not unrealistic. There was a time in my life when this would not be realistic. If BM had the sleep issues of TM as a baby my current story might be so different. Most days I could barely find clean clothes or have a shower or just stop crying. I did eventually find time to run though. Because I needed it. Not to take filtered selfies in the park, with captions like “I got 2 hours sleep last night. What’s your excuse?”
I run because it makes me feel better. A mile a day provides just enough endorphins to lift my mood. The Runner’s High, a happy place between easy and painful. To me, it’s better than a shot of coffee to keep me going until gin o clock. Today I was due to go to buggy boot camp, but instead I passed in favour of a run with BM. Why? Because she woke up every 1-2 hours during the night. Mr LMR, recovering from tonsillitis, was snoring, coughing, choking and sweating all night. There was no escape to sleep.
After waking at 6.20am and wanting breakfast, inevitably BM wanted to go back to sleep by 8.30. I didn’t want to fight her to sleep at home or try and do jobs with her weeping at my ankles and wiping snot on my pyjama bottoms. So I loaded her in the pushchair and took to the park. (To be clear, I got dressed first, I didn’t go running in my pyjamas.) Within 5 minutes she was out cold. On my run, I found my endorphin high after the first lap. Not ready to risk BM waking up yet, I completed another lap. I was still tired but I felt better.
It just makes sense
I don’t feel inspirational because now a run just makes sense to me. It’s like taking medication; it maintains a status quo; it facilitates BM’s nap, which in turn provides a time to breath. The effort exerted is only to reach the endorphins and then maintain them. It’s a time to pause and reflect. To plan and make sense of the nonsense. If you could find a guaranteed 20 minutes of peace a day, wouldn’t you take it?
My message here is not “you should all go out and run. I do and I love it”. My message is “find your 20 minutes of happy time. It could be physical fitness or mindful meditation. A chapter of a book before bed, a journal or even a blog. So long as it is for you and it makes you feel good then great.”
For me, running makes me feel strong in a world that made me feel weak.It makes me a little less incompetent by clearing my head and reminding me that you should wear shoes on the school run. My daily run adds another layer of patience between shouting and not shouting at the monkeys and reduces the amount of swearing significantly. It doesn’t make me perfect and it doesn’t make me superwoman. What it does mean however, is that every time I run I save myself a little. In that respect, I suppose I am my own superhero after all.