I am writing this post as usual the day after race day. This time we were at Wynyard Woodland Park for the penultimate race in the Stockton 5k Trail Series. Despite the fog when we arrived, it felt like a slightly chilly, spring morning. My sister was back this time and so we were definitely not alone. We had five monkeys, two husbands and a lovely adult God Daughter in tow for this one. The LMR circus is becoming used to the routine of these runs now, the monkeys know that they are happening and that they will get to play in a park while mummy runs. Then later they will get a pub lunch and a carton of juice. This weekend, however, the path to the start line wasn’t as smooth as any of us had hoped.
The Tears, Teeth and Tantrums
There have been a number of things happening in the monkey house since my last race only two weeks ago. TM is growing again and BM is teething. TM’s growth spurt is accompanied by an insatiable hunger and an unpredictable temper. The day before he had spent 45 minutes protesting about a trip to the park whilst in the park. It was so bad that MM had ridden his bike all the way back from the cafe, to where TM was wailing in the bushes, to inform Mr LMR that he was being “a big baby” and “should go home!” This didn’t go down very well. Even though it was a bit funny.
Sadly, due to a few sleepless nights at the mercy of BM’s imminent teeth, Mr LMR and I are not at our most tolerant. I admit that I did take TM to task and demanded to know “what are you doing to me?” What kind of stupid question is that to ask your 5 year old? He doesn’t even know why he is screaming and shouting incoherently about some minor indiscretion that no one remembers. The tantrum felt as though it had been playing out for hours. On the morning of race 3, a similar situation had taken place. My sister was also having issues and our carefully planned escape on our own, became a last minute loading of the car with all monkeys, screaming or otherwise. That morning I would have rathered crawl into bed to hide, than run. However, yesterday I have never been more relieved to be starting a race.
Race 3: Being the last man again
Katy and I took our pre run picture with beaming smiles. Relieved in the knowledge that the monkeys were off to burn off some energy in the playground. Able to have an uninterrupted conversation with each other and take a deep and relaxing breath, expelled without muttering expletives. As the starting hooter sounded, my sleep deprived limbs felt heavy and unmanageable. I felt slower than usual, like running though treacle. I breathed in and out slowly, hoping to find some strength to send to my muscles. Some of the familiar faces weren’t there, so we quickly found ourselves at the back. This wasn’t a problem, the runners ahead of us were close enough and to be fair we were child free and I was exhausted. My motivation to run at speed was minimal. We broke from the main woodland trail, shortly after the start, and headed for open fields. The sun was breaking the low cloud and mist by now which began to kick start my willpower. Although, the sight of a few unexpected hills did counteract this somewhat.
A section of down hill and another cheery marshal helped us find a comfortable pace, a few boggy bits and then back into the woods. Still holding up the last man spot, the runners before us were close. During the last run, a fellow runner had mentioned a section of steep, wide stairs in the final kilometre of this run. I thought I was prepared for this, as we rounded the corner on the track they appeared. I was not prepared. They looked immense almost unachievable. Luckily there was a wooden rail which helped to pull yourself up the slope, muddy and slippy in places. Heart pounding and lungs burning, we made it to the top. Running was out of the question. Deep breaths and a steadying of wobbly legs the only option. Given time we were able to break back into a trot, legs heavier than ever. More Bambi than athlete. A pace of sorts resumed.
As we rounded back onto the main woodland track, the final straight became clear. We broke into a faster pace. It was possible to make up time lost on the stairs. Just as we started, however, a runner just ahead seemed to get into difficulties. We slowed alongside her as she sent her running partner off ahead. She said her hamstring was in trouble after the stairs. She attempted to run again but after a few steps couldn’t. I sent Katy off ahead and I offered to keep the runner company. My favourite position being The Last Man it seemed appropriate. I trotted she walked, speed wasn’t important, finishing was. A few runners came back to run in with us, Katy included. The camaraderie that I had become used to in this series of runs again obvious. We ran across the line together, grateful to finish. Official finish over, we set off for our second finish line. Jogging to the park for a cuddle from the monkeys. However, annoying or difficult they can be, I love seeing them at the end of my runs. World put firmly back to rights, ready to rejoin the circus as chief monkey juggler.
Three races complete now, nine to go. The last in the Stockton Winter Trail series is at Preston Park on 10th April. 9am registration 10am start. The summer series moves to a Thursday evening which is not compatible with monkey bedtimes, so I’m moving my runs elsewhere. Starting with the Newcastle Obstacle Colour Run in May. Details to follow.
My running challenges continue to be a real roller coaster of highs and lows. Good days, bad days, tantrums, teething and sleepless nights. Despite all this, the running is a huge benefit. Some days are difficult to get moving, but once I’m moving it all falls into place. It’s helping me to cope with the raindrops and focus on the rainbows. If you’re enjoying my blog and following my runs, please donate to Raindrops to Rainbows. Your donation will help to continue the support of mothers, mothers to be and their families struggling with Post Natal Depression.