Back in April, the recent post-birth me was desperate to go for a run again, in that flawed human psychology way which makes you want something so much more when you know you can’t have it. And so my crazy, sleep-deprived brain enthusiastically entered my details into the ballot for the 2017 marathon. After all, it was fate that the iconic marathon should come along just as I reached the magic 6 week post-birth mark and could start exercising again; fate that next year’s marathon would mark one year since my first post-birth run. And with that neat plan and a new zest for life outside of my baby cocoon, I set off for my first little jog in six months.
One word for it: agony. A different body to that which I had last taken for a run. My middle empty. My knees hurt. My thighs tight. My lower back ached. My boobs too big. My arms tense. I was knackered. Reality kicked in, and combined with the ongoing issue of having a far stronger mental desire to seek out a café serving strong coffee and large slices of cake than don my running shoes, I have been keeping my fingers crossed since that I wouldn’t get a place. After all, I told myself confidently, the odds were against me, and at least I’d know I’d tried. It had proved useful to kick start me into going for runs again, albeit rather – ahem – sporadic ones (it turns out a baby comes with a whole host of new excuses not to go for a run).
And so the arrival of the post resulted in a somewhat mixed reaction and some choice four-letter words. The following 48 hours have been a whirlwind of overactive random thoughts about the practicalities of training, the excitement of a race, the nerves of long runs. But the bitter fight between running me and mum me has dominated; oh yes, as soon as I felt a bit excited about the prospect of some regular ‘me’ time and started dreaming of being fit again (for I do like to complain about my current fitness), mum guilt popped up with a huge frown and waggly finger: “but this year is about having a baby… isn’t that enough for you… you must be a terrible and uncommitted mother to leave her for a run”. Blah blah blah. Ooh, how I hate mum guilt.
As my finger hovers over the ‘enter’ button online, mum me is wondering what the hell I’m doing. In fact, running me is too. Maybe I need to rename this blog ‘Now I am running mum’, for I’ve got a feeling mum me and running me may be having more choice words over the next six months. Here goes. Madness.