When it comes to both childbirth and marathon training, I appear to have uncovered a striking similarity. Obviously when it comes down to the nitty gritty, the two are nothing alike (one involves growing an actual person and then pushing this FULLY GROWN human out of your lady bits, while the other involves running a very long way). And while I wouldn’t dare suggest the two are equal in the pain stakes (30 hours of labour; enough said), both smart a bit.
But here is where the two experiences are alike: for some weird, crazy reason, your brain forgets. The hours of pain, exhaustion and fear are simply wiped out – *puff* – in a cloud of smoke. I mean, how? HOW do you just FORGET something like that?
This is why, when faced with the prospect of cuddling a newborn these days, my uterus shows an overly keen interest, when really, after what it’s been through, it should be trying to evacuate my body by any means possible before hurling itself off the nearest available cliff.
OK, so I realise it’s down to the endorphins, euphoria and sheer relief of holding your newborn in your arms/crossing that marathon finish line that creates the memory fog, but still, I hadn’t realised just how much my brain had erased the hard slog it took to get there… on both counts.
Because this is where I am at the moment with the marathon training: the hard slog bit. The freezing mornings bit. The biting rain bit. The hurty legs bit. That conveniently ‘forgotten’ bit.
These are the bits that make you want to skip a training session and just sit down with a nice cuppa and play superheroes with the kids all day.
But then, I remember my reason. And I keep going.
This year, the Virgin Money London Marathon is asking all participants to share their #ReasonToRun. The reasons I have heard so far are varied and heartfelt: they encompass everything from PB-chasing to mega fundraising. They are inspiring, humbling, heartbreaking and empowering, and they encapsulate everything the Virgin Money London Marathon is about.
So I thought I’d share my reason: I’m running for my children, to show them there’s more to their mummy than a person who is on hand 24/7 to wipe their faces/noses/bums; to show them that, with dedication and effort, anything they want to achieve in life is entirely possible.
I’m also running for War Child. War Child protects vulnerable children whose lives have been torn apart by conflict. They work with child refugees from Syria, but they also fight for the rights of children who have been all but forgotten; children who have been caught up in previous conflicts that are no longer newsworthy.
War Child has not forgotten them. The charity works tirelessly in areas including the Central African Republic (CAR), helping to rehabilitate and reintegrate former child soldiers – those who were abducted as war ravaged their villages, or those who joined voluntarily in the absence of care after their families had been killed. War Child is currently working with around 2,500 children in CAR, who are emerging from life as a child soldier. They help them return to some semblance of normality after experiencing such trauma to find a new family where their own has been destroyed, and provide them with resources to establish a new livelihood.
So yes, there are days when I don’t feel like running; there are days when I moan about the rain and the cold. And then I remember my #ReasonToRun, and I tell myself to stop dicking around and just get out the door.
If you’re running London this month (or any other event, in fact) and would like to join me in helping War Child support these forgotten children, visit warchild.org.uk/get-involved and contact its brilliant fundraising team. You can also let me know your #ReasonToRun at Facebook.com/KeepRunningMummy… I’d love to hear it!