It’s running, Jim, but not as we know it / Back to life; back to reality / I’m fucked

The phone rings. It’s Mum.

You’ve done what? Broken it? What the hell, Mum? But you only fell getting out of the bloody car! And you bounced straight back up again. Plus a torn ligament? Jesus Christ. So, what happens now?”

FFS. I’m due in work half an hour ago. I pull over and ring my boss. Satnav enter new destination: Huddersfield Orthopaedics.

Mum went all Del Boy-at-the-bar on me, and slid down the outside of the car in some comedy slow-motion “did that really just happen?” move right in front of my eyes. Once me and tills stopped pissing ourselves laughing (I’m not some heartless bitch: she jumped straight back up and appeared to be alright) it transpired that her knee and the curb didn’t get on. This meant the subsequent three weeks of hospital visits, packing bags, shopping trips, and endless cut & paste “Are you ok?” / do you need anything?” text messages, plus dishing out regular bollockings when she blatantly refused to use her crutches because they’ll ‘make (her) look old and decrepit… But I don’t want to be a burden, Rach.’ 😮

Meanwhile…

Mummy, can I go out on my bike?”

I’ve just walked in through the front door from work. I have 24 bags slung over both shoulders, draped across my body, and the veins are popping out at either side of the circulation-stopping grooves I’ve managed to indent into my hands by carrying too much shit around in plastic bags. I’ve also just completed a list of ball-aching chores which I won’t waste your time in reciting, including getting cash to pay for something I’ve got no idea about for one of the clubs my daughter goes to. It might be something to do with a farm, or bowling, or it could just be protection money. I’ll pay it – I don’t honestly care. I look across to the kitchen sink, where waiting for me is an unholy pile of ceramic shite still caked in ketchup from last night’s tea.

Yeah, tills. Go and get changed and I’ll get your bike up from the cellar. Give me ten minutes.” I mentally prepare myself for pushing my sturdy 6-yr old daughter plus her steel frame bike half a mile up hill whilst she (ahem) ‘pedals’ and then gear myself up to run alongside her for the next mile-and-a-half downhill hollering ‘brake… BRAKE!’ at her as she grins and nudges my minute/miling to something akin to a track session.

Meanwhile…

*NEW EMAIL ARRIVES IN INBOX

Dear Rachel,

I’m very happy to attach the millionth copyedited version of your manuscript. There is absolutely no rush in getting back to me with your revision, because I’m officially the loveliest editor in the world, but it’s over to you!

x

And she meant it – there is no time pressure (she genuinely IS the loveliest editor in the world.) Only the unenviable task of yet again having to completely re-read and edit my own 80,000 words which I’ve spent the last year-and-a-half already carefully sculpting. AAAAARRRGGGHHH! You’ve heard of snow blindness. This is word blindness, only worse, because there’s no option to fall to your knees and make an impromptu snow angel. The words aren’t comforting like that.

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And on the hundredth re-write…

Meanwhile…

‘Hi. Could I make an emergency dental appointment, please? I’ve got an infected wisdom tooth. Yep – had it for about 3 days. It’s not improving. OK, 3.15pm today is fine, thanks.’

I phone the dentist as my wisdom tooth has been keeping me up at nights with a throbbing pain, whilst during the day I’m off my tits on ibuprofen / paracetamol combo. I’ve stopped short of crushing and snorting the stuff, but only just.

Meanwhile…

*DING DING! NEW TEXT MESSAGE ARRIVES

Hey Rachel, it’s (one of the nicer non-fake fur coat wearing school mums). Just wondering if you’re still joining us on that 11-mile walk we spoke about this Saturday morning? Hope you can make it! X

I couldn’t make it last time we arranged something similar, and I let her down. I don’t want to let her down again. She seems nice. She’s had a rough time. It’s infinitely better than ‘going for a coffee’ and talking shit whilst sedentary. At least we’ll be moving.

Meanwhile…

TWITTER ALERT:

Tweet from my favourite Twalker (Twitter Stalker – just made it up) reads: Where’s the blogging gone? I thought you’d dried up!

But I haven’t dried up. I haven’t had time to dry up.

I’m fucked.

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I’m fucked.

And my running? Oh yeah, that. I’m back running again. It’s funny though, because it’s having to take its place in amongst the rest of my life. It doesn’t command and usurp my attention anymore. I’m building my running back up steadily, and on my terms. Anything past six miles isn’t feasible just yet. But in amongst the madness of the rest of my life, I may be fucked, but I am infinitely happier than I was before.

Maybe there’s a blog in there somewhere…

THE 6TH BIRTHDAY AND THE PLAN

THE 6TH BIRTHDAY AND THE PLAN

Today is Tilly’s 6th birthday. It’s exactly six years since she was reluctantly hoiked from her peaceful cocoon and thrust unwillingly into the harsh reality of the antiseptic-scented Halifax maternity ward. On arrival, she looked like she’d done a round with Baby Eubank. I’d have screamed the place down, too.

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I think I’ve picked up heavier 6-inches from Subway.

We went downstairs and she hopped about like a frog on a hotplate as she eyed-up the small pile of presents that lay awaiting her approval / disappointment (remembering a previous ‘fake Barbie’ experience, and to never, EVER, expect a child to appreciate opening… new clothes, no matter how ‘comfy’ and ‘warm’ they look to me, as a Mother.)

As she ripped off the paper to reveal her new Pink Ladies jacket (we’re both immense Grease fans) I took to hopping about on the hot plate by proxy. They didn’t do them in my size.

We did the ‘cake’ thing with Gav recording it on his iphone, only to realise that the effect of turning lights out for candle-blowing actually resulted in a pitch black 45 second film with the dim flicker of one candle, accompanied by Gav’s dulcet tones as a soundtrack whilst he sings ‘Happy Birthday’ not only very badly, but also whilst still asleep. Delete.

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Yes, really.

This was my daughter’s birthday celebration. It was her day to open pressies, feel special, and to be giddy about the mere fact of turning ‘6’ for no other reason than it sounds far more impressive to her than being 5.

But, it was also my celebration, because, by virtue of having my daughter 6 years ago today – it marks the anniversary of My Plan.

MY PLAN was (I thought) well conceived, thoroughly researched, and foolproof. I would enter into the Virgin London Marathon for 2011 as a goal to greet me on the other side of motherhood.

I had just 6 and a half months to equip myself in being marathon-ready from the moment my spectacularly reluctant bun made an appearance out of my most accommodating oven.

In reality, My Plan wasn’t any of those things. It was utterly naïve, and blindly thrown together in some euphoric ‘I WON’T GO BACK ON PROZAC BY VIRTUE OF THIS PREGNANCY / I WON’T ALLOW MYSELF TO KICK MY TITS ALONG THE FLOOR AS A RESULT OF MY BODY BEING RAVAGED BY MY OFFSPRING, OR SOME ENDLESS ‘COFFEE & CAKES’ MERRY-GO-ROUND OF MUMS ‘N’ BABIES SUPPORT GROUPS’ desperation.

So, from a motivational perspective then – it worked.

What transpired from that moment was a journey that changed me. The goal, the sense of purpose; the quiet, lonely times when I couldn’t believe I’d ever get there; the incessant drive I had to reach the start line and prove to myself that I could do this; the story that emerged within me of a person I never believed I could be. It was through My Plan that I REALLY found running, and – actually – I found myself.

All the rest – as they say – is history.

*There is obviously far more to the story, but for that, you’ll have to wait for the book 😉