No more baby days 

I’m on the sofa this morning, after dropping my biggest girl at nursery. The smallest one is fast asleep on me after a rough night of wide awake snuggles and sore teeth. I’m suddenly overwhelmed by how big and clever and grown up the two of them are now. And it hurts. 
I don’t have a baby anymore. The days of having two under two are long behind me, and Iris is very nearly three. She starts nursery class at a school this September, with a tiny school uniform and everything. She’s excited. I’m excited too, because I know she’s going to have such a fabulous time, but I’m also sad and a tiny bit terrified. Astrid is 16 months old now, and like a tiny wrecking ball. She is sturdy and speedy, and charges through life at 100 miles per hour. She climbs and runs and has no fear of hurting herself. I can’t leave her alone in a room for even a minute. Not even if I can’t see a single hazard. She will find one. It’s not unusual to catch her dancing on tables or scaling window sills. 
They are not babies. 
The first year after Astrid was born I went to bed every single night feeling like I’d been hit by a bus. Seriously. While they pleasantly surprised me often and it wasn’t always as hard as I’d imagined, it was exhausting. Iris needed constant interactions at the time, too young yet to create games and play alone while I fed Astrid. Little one was a screamer, and a complete mystery to me a lot of the time. I didn’t instinctively know what she was crying for like I had with Iris. I had PND (I can see now in hindsight) and was having a huge identity crisis when I should have been focussing on my babies. 
I really feel like it’s over now. The hard bit. Obviously I know there are many many many hard bits to come. I’m not daft. But I can’t imagine it being that consistently hard again for such a long period of time. I can’t imagine slipping back into the black cloud I lived in for a long time either. I’ve been making sure I look after myself too, and I plan to keep it up. 
Besides some health issues (for another day) life is really very good at the moment, but I can’t help but feel some sadness at the baby days being behind us.


Rainbow Run 5km for Tŷ Hafan

My first medal!! Sort of. I’m excluding the Race For Life 2013 one because that was a disaster and I didn’t run much of it. This is my first medal as the new me. 

I had no idea what to expect. I had an inkling that some of the run was on the actual beach, and was pretty nervous about running on sand. It’s not easy to walk on! Turns out, the whole 5km is on the beach. All of it. In a kind of zig zag down to the sea and back up again, twice. It’s a boring route. It’s basically round and around the same area over and over. If it wasn’t for the paint throwing and the general atmosphere of so many people running at once, you would never choose to run that route. It was bloody hard work. Really hard. The first part was really soft, and my ankles turned over several times. One of the times was quite painful and slowed me down for a while. Then there were hard bits that weren’t too bad. But there were really wet splashy bits too! Despite being quite hard going, it was a lot of fun. There were colour stations dotted along the route, and each station had a bunch of volunteers throwing a different colour of powder paint over you. Some of them even had big paint blowing machines. It goes in your eyes and nose and mouth, and I found myself holding my breath quite a bit to avoid inhaling it!

I caught up with a couple of my friends right at the end, who usually run much faster than me but had struggled with an injury, and they started sprinting so I did too! I crossed the finish line completely exhausted and totally out of breath. The paint all over my face hid the fact that I was bright red though. I was actually mostly orange with yellow hair! 

I’d do the run again in a heartbeat. I had such a good time! We raised quite a bit for Tŷ Hafan too, which makes it all feel even better. I finished in 41:19, which is between my two Park Run times. I’m pretty pleased with it considering the sand was so hard to run on! 

We finished off our day trip with chips and a go on the waltzers! 
PS: check out this video of the run! 

The first 5km 

It’s the morning of the 5km rainbow run in Barry Island for Ty Hafan, and I’m nervous as hell. I keep having to run to the loo, and I’m putting off slipping into my running gear. Instead I’m procrastinating by putting laundry on and writing this. 

I’m still quite a long way off running 5km in one go without stopping to walk, but I’m not going to let it stop me trying. I’ve done Park Run twice now and walked a lot less the second time. I can see and feel improvements with every run, and there have been many runs thanks to #OutRunMay for Macmillan Cancer Care. I set out to see how far I can run in just one month, and to be honest I didn’t think it’d be far. I’ve surprised even myself with how often I can run, even if I’m not running far each time. I’ve gone out before 7am almost every morning this month so far, and I’m actually really enjoying it. Ok, so I don’t actually enjoy the actual running at the time. It’s the afterglow that I love. I crawl through my front door as Trev and the kids are just getting up, and the smug feeling of doing over half of my FitBit step goal before most people wake up stays with me all day. To top it all off, I’ve raised quite a bit of cash for the charity too (you can click here to sponsor me if you want to!).

I find being a beginner hard. I know that seems a bit silly, but it’s the truth. When I’m on my second lap at Park Run and I see the fastest runners leaving the park because they’ve already finished, I find it disheartening. I should find it inspiring, because if I keep going I can be one of them one day. But I don’t. It puts me off. Talk of 10km races and half marathons don’t make me want to keep going. They make me want to hide. I’ve spent a lot of my evenings recently reading stories of overweight exercise-haters (just like me) starting off unable to run up the stairs and going on to run marathons. I like stories that start where I am. Right at the very very beginning. They remind me that we all start somewhere, and that being a beginner is ok. That’s the lesson I need to learn. It’s absolutely fine to be a beginner. It’s more than fine. It’s great! It’s way better than sitting in the sofa eating biscuits. I’ve been reading ‘No Run Intended’ and ‘Run Intended’ by Hannah Phillips (Hannah the Runner) and she’s really inspired me. She’s just down the road too, so the locations of some of her runs are familiar. Somehow this helps me relate to her. She replied to my tweet about today’s run on Twitter, and I feel like I’ve been encouraged by an actual running hero! 

So, here goes. My lift will be here soon. At 1:30 this afternoon I’ll be doing my first (not including Race For Life in 2013 because that was a disaster) race while being covered in powder paint. It’s also on the beach which means running in sand. Oh wow. I’m so nervous. Wish me luck! 

Running, not running away 

So this is new! Well, not new new. Remember when I tried to take up running when Iris was a baby? Remember when I completely failed to even start my local ParkRun? 

That wasn’t actually the start of my running journey. I used to do a little bit here and there back in Bristol. I even did Race For Life (very slowly) one year. I preferred the gym though, and spin classes. Running in the centre of Bristol made me feel self conscious. 

This time, I’m going to do it. I have no gym. There isn’t one for miles, and I’d have to get two buses and find childcare. 

Running is the ideal exercise if you live in the arse end of nowhere, have limited cash, limited time, and two small children who act like the world might end if you leave the room for a second or two. It requires some clothes, and a pair of comfy running trainers. I know trainers can be pricey, and really you would get your gait analysed in a running shop, but there are pretty decent cheapo ones out there. My old ones, in the picture above, are expensive Nike ones that I bought in Barcelona when I didn’t have kids and I went on holidays and bought shoes on a whim. They’re actually crappy. And they don’t fit anymore anyway because I went up a shoe size having babies (WTF is that all about?). 

I’ve got about 3 stone I want to lose, but it’s not coming off. I’ve improved the way I eat times a million since new year. Vegan is the way to live for me, I’ve discovered. I can cook now, and I think about the nutritional value of every single thing I eat. Roller Derby training is going so well and I love it so much. I’m working really hard and learning every single session. Yet the weight creeps on. Not off. It feels so unfair, and it’s had me in hysterical tears so many times. I hate my useless body. It’s so tired and achey and sore, and sometimes just being awake all day and keeping the kids alive is too much. I have yet to figure out what is up with me, but I have finally convinced my GP to run a blood test to check my thyroid function. It’s a start. She doesn’t believe a word I say though, and keeps pushing anti depressants on me. I’m old friends with depression. I’ve lived with it for about 14 years on and off. I am not currently depressed. My drive to get out and do something is higher than it has been in years. I want to do stuff, and learn stuff, and get on with life, and apart from the physical stuff I feel GOOD. 

Running is hard. Really hard. 

I set off one day, running as much as I could but actually mostly walking, and an hour later I was back at my house and I’d covered 4km. I set out again and did the same route, several times, slowly getting better. Running more and walking less. Still walking most of it though. 

Then a Roller Derby buddy invited me to Park Run, so I dragged my terrified self to the park early on a Saturday morning and somehow completed it in under 40 minutes. I had THE BEST time. Park Run is fabulous. The volunteers are encouraging and friendly, the other runners cheer you on too. It’s a bit disheartening when you’re on your second lap and you can see people leaving because they’ve finished already, but you just have to remember that you’re not sitting on your sofa eating toast with your kids so you are already a runner. The high I felt at the end (ignoring the fact that my legs felt like jelly) made it totally worth the lower leg pain that almost made me cry on the 3rd lap. 

I’ve done another Park Run since then, and I ran almost all of it. I added a few minutes on to my time because I walk faster than I run (ha!). 

Unfortunately a photographer took pictures of my second Park Run and I had a huge wobble when I saw them. I don’t look how I was feeling. I look pretty ropey. I have about 50 chins and I’m bright red. My legs felt strong and unstoppable. They looked like wobbly sausages. I’m wondering if it’s acceptable to shout at the photographers to just piss off? I might try it next time. 

A new trainers purchase and signing up for some challenges has helped me to restore my motaivation. With people handing over hard earned cash to charity because of my running, I’m kind of forced to keep it up. 

Today, the first day of May, I began the Out Run May challenge to raise money for Macmillan  Cancer Support. I lost my wonderful Nan to cancer in 2014, just weeks before Iris was born. She told her doctors she was hanging on to meet her new great granddaughter but she didn’t make it. It broke my heart and it still hurts. Everybody thinks of the research charities when they think of cancer, which is obviously a great thing, but the people who actually do the caring get forgotten. Can you imagine being a cancer nurse? I can’t. I’m too emotionally fragile. They are just incredible wonderful people. I’d love to raise £100, and I promise to run as far as I possibly can this month. 

I set out on my first run of May this morning. It wasn’t as early as I hoped, despite being up with the kids at 6am. Trevor slept in and I decided to leave him. He’s tired too and he deserves a lie in. Astrid was up in the night with teeth or tummy ache or whatever (I never can understand when some parents say they instinctively know what their kid is crying about) so what I really wanted to do was drink several buckets of coffee, eat a whole loaf of bread and lie on the sofa watching CBeebies under a pile of small children. Instead, I headed out. 

My first mistake was to try a new route. Today wasn’t a day for change. I didn’t stretch properly because I’m lazy. I wasn’t hydrated. Still, I pushed myself and learnt plenty about who this running version of me is. I wanted to run the whole first kilometre without stopping, and I did. It bloody hurt though. The backs and fronts of my lower legs hurt. I was slower for the second kilometre, and slower again for the third. Then something in the shin area of my right leg began to really hurt, too much to run through. I was about 2km from home and I had to hobble back. It’s not an injury, because it was fine after a little rest and a protein shake. It must be the lack of stretching. 

I will try again tomorrow. 

If you want to sponsor me (please please please – I’m not too proud to beg) you can do it here: Mouse’s Just Giving Page. I need your donations to keep me going! 

I’ve also signed up for the Rainbow Run in Barry Island in a couple of weeks. From the looks of the pictures, I’m going to be attempting to run 5k through a cloud of powdered paint in an attempt to to raise money for Ty Hafan. They are a paediatric palliative care charity, and I can’t think of a better cause. I only have a paper sponsorship for that one,  but please let me know if you want to support the cause. 

It’s 11pm and I’m supposed to be up early for a run tomorrow. Oops.