NOTE – THIS POST WAS PUBLISHED THE DAY AFTER BEING WRITTEN.
It’s the summer holidays, and right now, as I write this post, I’m sitting propped up in bed with a cup of tea, while one small child has an iPad and we wait for the other creature from the swamp to appear.
In true British summer form, it started by pissing it down on the school run. Thanks for that. Have you ever tried to carry gift bags and bottles of wine in the rain, while trying to keep home made cards from going soggy?
But now here we are, and the sun appears to be shining, the children aren’t fighting, and I’m having a chance to reflect on the last month of term, and the #30days30runs challenge I set myself.
In retrospect, setting myself a challenge where I force myself out of the house everyday for a run, rain or shine, during the busiest month of term sounds pretty stupid. After all, there is a whirlwind of meetings, non-uniform days, projects, plays and trips to be prepared for. Plus, you know things like work. But actually, I think that’s what prompted it, although I can’t even remember when I decided to do it.
You see, working from home, it’s so easy to just get absorbed and almost become a bit of a martyr, all work, and sorting out the family and house, you get sucked in to this weird little bubble, and when it comes to doing additional stuff like exercise or time out, the guilt takes over and you put it off. But that’s not good. To be successful in what you do, you need to be able to take a step back, I needed to step back before I broke into a pile of self-loathing.
Like I say, I can’t remember what made me decide it to set myself the challenge. I have been watching in awe as one of my friends has run EVERY SINGLE DAY this year, and as another friend just thrives on exercise, and I have a feeling I was feeling sluggish, tired, and lazy and realised that looking at working out to just lose weight wasn’t working for me. Especially as I am finally coming to terms with the fact I will never ever look like Cheryl. As much as I don’t like my stomach and muffin tops yada yada yada, I’ve come to terms with them. Not because I think my children made me this way, but because pizza and gin did, and I’m not going to stop those any time soon.
But anyway, I digress. I remember I’d already sort of set it in my head I wanted to run 5 miles by the time the kids break up from school (all the better to run away from them when they do my head in) but that wasn’t enough, I needed more motivation. So after asking my run-a-day friend, about her runs, I decided to F*CK IT, and make some changes, kick myself in the arse, and remind myself why I used to love running so much.
The rules are, there are no rules other than run every day, and a minimum of a mile a day. Seems simple enough eh? So I started. I started in the hottest week of the year. And you know what, I loved it. I loved it so much I even bought myself some actual real life running shorts and while I was running, I didn’t care that my thighs jiggled about like a bowl full of jelly. I cared that I was running and the sun was on my face, the sweat was running down my back, and I was winning.
See, you may or may not know this about me, but I’m quite competitive. Not with you lot, not at all, but with myself. I’m very hard on myself, a perfectionist in everything I do, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t handle it all, and somewhere along the line, #30days30runs has helped me realize that.
Suddenly I left the pots on the counter so I could go out and run. School polo shirts and shorts were being cleaned more with a dish cloth, and so what if Larry’s socks were stripy HE IS FOUR. If I got up and ran first thing I’d be annoying and perky for the rest of the day, if I dragged myself out at the end of the day, I’d come back annoying and perky. I was singing in the shower again, stretching while I waited for my fake tan to set in (there’s an image for you), and most importantly, the habit was becoming ingrained. After the first week or so I realized that running a mile still felt as good, it wasn’t a cop out – I was still putting the trainers on and GOING.
On day 24 I reached my 5 mile goal. It surprised me, and made me a little emotional. I’d been exhausted that day. Physically and mentally exhausted, trying to make plans for the summer, and for my life. I’d gone out saying “I’ll be fifteen minutes tops” and at around the 2 mile mark I felt this surge. My brain had been ticking on overdrive, and without realizing it I had reached 3 miles. That’s when I knew I’d keep going, and I probably would have gone further, but I thought Mr Aimee might be worried about me – he wasn’t he was sitting on the computer looking at headsets for Theo.
But following that, it was hard. Exhaustion set in, my knees were beginning to hurt – one day I didn’t stretch in the shower, I just collapsed on the sofa and drank wine. The end of term was creeping closer and closer, and the inclination to do anything but eat and attempt to sleep was too much. But the tug of going out was still there – partly because I REFUSE TO LOSE when it comes to competing with myself, but naturally, I knew that I would feel better if I did.
So what now? It’s day 31 and I’m already not very happy at the thought of my 30 day streak being broken. Do I extend it to 60 days? Even though my knees are tired I’m pretty sure I can work through it – perhaps an excuse for some new trainers? Or do I set another challenge? A distance challenge perhaps? I considered a 30 day shred, or the HIIT stuff, but the reason I like running is that when I go for a distance it’s just me. Which is quite ironic because when I’m working from home, and it’s just me, I get lonely at times. Writing at home full time is lonely, but mainly because it’s full of self-doubt and all I can think about is the dishes on the counter. When I’m running alone I’m thinking about that next half-mile. I’m thinking about what to write next but for some reason the self doubt is gone and what’s in my head seems to flow better. So the challenge has to be running.
So I’m thinking of setting a distance. Maybe 60miles30days and also tag in hitting a 7mile run within that? I need to do some maths!
To end, I just want to say how happy I am that other people have decided to set themselves a challenge whether it’s 30 days, 7 days, or 3 times a week. It’s good for your body and good for your head!
Right now though, the war breaking out in the lounge is not good for my head, so I’m going to throw toast at them and hope that fixes things, carbs usually do.
PASS THE GIN IT’S THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS!