It was two years ago this week that I received a letter telling me that I had won a place in the 2011 Virgin London Marathon.
I’ll admit, my first response to that news was “Ooooohhhhh shit !!!”. I had only applied because I had heard that just 1 in 8 applicants get a place, but that after 4 rejections, you are guaranteed a place on your 5th attempt. I had applied, unsuccessfully, the year before (thinking it would be a great way to lose weight for my nuptials – April marathon, May wedding), and I figured if I kept on applying, I’d get to run a marathon before I was 40. One for the bucket list, if you like.
I never quite imagined that I would be training for a marathon when my daughter was just 6 months old, while I was still sporting that sexy baby belly and beautiful black-tinged bags under my eyes. I’ve mentioned that Evie didn’t sleep through the night until she was a year old, haven’t I? Getting up for a 5.30am training run of more than 10 miles, while your baby is still sleeping off the effects of her impressive 2.30am screaming session, seems almost too cruel. Particularly in the middle of winter, when you leave home in the cold, damp, darkness, and return for a hearty breakfast just as dawn is breaking. Good times.
I did it though! Let’s call it an extreme way to lose the bubba blubber (I’m still sure that WeightWatchers would have been a much simpler solution), but I won’t deny that I’m super proud of myself. One of the best experiences of my life. And the worst, obviously. 25.2 miles of hell, followed by 1 mile of pure euphoria.
You see, I used to be a runner. I never thought I would say those words: “I am a runner”, but this wall of medals tells a different story. I might not be the fastest, or the fittest, person out there, but I’m not bringing up the rear either. And this from the girl who, a few years ago, would reply to that age-old gym induction question “What do you like to do, for exercise?” with “Anything except running. I hate running!”.
So what happened to the lardy arse from scrumpy-loving Somerset? Well, I upped sticks and moved to Sydney, Australia in 2002. The land of sunshine, sandy beaches and sexy bods everywhere you look. This pale, (slightly flabby) English rose never stood a chance. Unless….unless….well, if you can’t beat them, join ’em, right? I reluctantly registered for the 10 km Bridge Run (apparently now 9km, but not in 2004) with a few colleagues from work…and on that sunny, camaraderie-filled day, the bug bit me! I now have 3 Bridge Run and 2 City to Surf 14km medals hanging on that wall.
In 2006, I returned to the UK, in time for a miserable British winter to accompany my 2 hour commute to and from work. The lard, lethargy and misery soon set back in, and before I knew it, charming men were shouting not-very-nice-things at me from their beer-garden soap boxes. Sigh.
And then, the Amazing Kate came along and saved my life. She was my personal trainer, my running buddy, my biggest supporter at every rain-filled race, and, before long, my very best friend.
5 years later, hanging from that wall of pegs are medals from one 8 km run, four 10 km events, four half marathon and one marathon. Oh, and a couple of cycling ribbons, too.
After the marathon came the post-marathon recovery. Then sloooowly building up my fitness and endurance again. And then…I became pregnant with Hank the Yank. I could barely run a mile without needing to reexamine my breakfast in the nearest bushes. Soon after that, we moved to Seattle. Last Friday, our little Pepper family celebrated the first anniversary of The Big Move. And I realized it has been a year since I stopped being able to call myself a runner any more. I feel like a huge part of my identity has gone. I spent 5 years pushing myself, pounding the pavements, cursing Kate, and transforming myself from pizza-munching, sofa-surfer to proud marathon runner. And now….I’m just “Mom”.
So. It’s time to make a change. Again.
After my amazing Crossfit experience, I had to face facts – my fitness has gone. Skedaddled. Bitten the proverbial dust. It’s back to square one.
With that in mind (and the fact that I now have two children, no job, no full-time nursery place, and no Amazing Kate at my beck and call), I realized that it’s time to order my first jogging stroller. According to a good friend of mine, you simply cannot fit in with Seattle “moms” unless you have a 3-wheeled running buddy! I’ve been lucky enough to have been introduced to the amazing JoggerMom, with Kelly Morse (mum of four, runner extraordinaire) at the helm, and so my first stop wasn’t the local department store or outdoor sports specialist, but a quick email to Kelly to ask advice on which marvel of modern technology might be the one for me. As JoggerMom doesn’t charge shipping or sales tax (a huge bonus, given our almost 10% sales tax in Washington state), and is reportedly never knowingly undersold, it’s kind of a no-brainer to order my stroller from them.
After a few email exchanges, whereby I explained my greatest (stroller) needs and desires, and Kelly (incredibly) talked me out of the more expensive BOB stroller, I ordered this little beauty:
The Baby Jogger FIT. It’s such a beautiful stroller! Those wheels are like bicycle tyres, there’s a hand-brake on the handlebar, and the seat reclines far enough back for Henry to have a decent snooze while Momma runs and big sister is at pre-school. I’ll admit that I haven’t been very far with it yet, but on my 2.5 mile jog around the neighborhood, I knocked 5 minutes off my PB. Not a bad start!
I love this stroller. I love the freedom that it has now given me to take control over my own fitness again. I can’t wait to hit the numerous running tracks in this corner of the Pacific Northwest, to do lots of exploring while trying to shift those final few post-pregnancy pounds.
But mostly? I just can’t wait to be able to call myself a runner again. Bring it on, Baby Jogger – let’s rack up some miles together!
This is not a sponsored post. I received a discount from Joggermom.com in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.