Push, push, push. Breathe!
I remember holding hands with my beloved ex on each of those occasions when one of our children emerged from their safe cocoon and drew their first breath. Gosh, we were so happy in those particular moments. I've said it before and I'll say it again, women always amaze me. Speak to any female who has given birth (more than once) and the labour pains that accompany it and its remarkable that they opt for another 'bite of the cherry', although that particular stoned fruit will have popped if conception's occurred.
Analogous as ever, about nine months ago I got the green light, I received the happy news I was to be the 'pregnant' father again with my second batch of Brathay 'marathon babies'. Now, in two weeks time come hell or high (broken) waters, I've got to begin the sequence of 'pushes' to safely deliver each and every one of my Ten (in Ten) bairns. No, I've not got names ready for them yet, but trust me I'm thinking about it.
Last year, the accouchement of my decuplets (if nonuplets is nine, I'm making the assumption that 'dec' is ten), bloody hurt. So why on earth am I doing it again? Apparently, my son and I agreed it was to do better. My genuine concern is I've not done enough, though. It was almost like a 'promessa da marinaio' to myself that I would do more, be more but whether I've prepared enough, only on the 19th May 2019 will we know. Maybe I'm being a little tough on myself but I wanted to be more consistent and in less pain, clearly the memory of last year has done nothing to spur me on to achieve as much as I wanted.
This last 'trimester' I've endured a wallowing, grey, miserable, (partly self inflicted) time. I just could not simply snap out of it. No drive and no commitment so soon I'll have to pay the piper. When we completed the training weekend in January, we discussed injury prevention and how the correct preparation would minimise the pain, a bit like going to all the ante-natal classes. Admittedly, I've missed a few. My head has not been in the right place. I've had too much Hippo Time (thanks SUMO Guy) during March in particular, struggled with the new job, DIY procrastination, felt angry, upset, sad and allowed the past to erode some of the foundations I'd built.
I am somewhat worried (like most of us, Ten in Ten-ers, if reading my colleagues' blogs are anything to go by), about going through the process again. I've just been reading an online article 'Nine Things I Wish I'd Known Before Giving Birth', in which the author recounts ten things (talk about baby brain). In point three, Danielle (the author) states that you cannot actually prepare for the pain of labour (she spells it labor but since I'm not in America, I'm spelling the word correctly); funny that because I don't think anything I've done to date has enabled me to prepare for the inevitable pain of ten consecutive runs around Lake Windermere (and the excruciatingly wonderful and generous physiotherapy led by Dr Katie Walker-Small and the good fellows of the University of Cumbria) for a second time. I've pulled in some mileage (not enough) and completed a few marathons (not enough), over the past nine months (there's links to each if you fancy finding out more):
Kielder Marathon - beautiful marathon course and loved the support and organisation
Robin Hood Half Marathon - it's good fun city marathon
Langdale Marathon - tough half marathon course that you love so much you have to do it twice
Swinsty Reservoir (4x4 - but I only did 1) - Its Grim up North Running, fun, fun fun!
Forest of Bowland - Ouch! Beautiful and The Beast but so glad I did it.
North Lakes Half Marathon - A Cumbrian Run to start the year was a great choice
Grizedale Forest Trail Marathon - Ouch! Beauty and The Beast Return
Northumberland Coastal Marathon - Great organisation, great fun and lovely support along the way
Millennium Way Ultra - 41 miles of canals, fields, brilliant organisation and a great introduction to Ultras if you're interested.
That said for some strange reason, whether it's the recent sunshine, the odd kind word, the fairly decent consecutive training runs, the fact that several rooms in my home are now nearing completion and the whole house is beginning to feel cleaner and more comfortable, who knows, maybe I'm in better shape than I give myself credit for. I guess it all adds up. At the end of the day I stated last year on my Just Giving page that perhaps I was 'Biting Off More Than I Can Chew', but I'm determined to shove it in my mouth and swallow it all.
It doesn't take a genius to work it out but I simply have to be more disciplined and organised to get more out of what I've set out to do. The unfortunate truth though is that I've never been disciplined or regimented in my routines so I wonder where this path of good intent will lead me?
During the last few months I've also done a little 'show and tell' about last year's Ten in Ten to a couple of Rotary Clubs in Cumbria, which I have to say, I've thoroughly enjoyed. It appears I've been well received too and have received kind donations from The Rotary Club of Kendal, who's to say that I may not have a few more speaking engagements in the future? It is naively gratifying to think that if any element of what I say or do can make a difference to the sole receptive individual out there, perhaps I am helping to fulfil one of the fundamental aims of the Rotarians; service before self.
What is important now is adopting the right mind set; I have to believe that what I've done will see me through from 10th to 19th May, culminating in the last push for the Asics Windermere Marathon (last minute entries still available I believe) and the final day of the Ten in Ten. It's perhaps not so much a case of believing I've done enough but more proceeding as if success is inevitable. Besides, I don't know how long I'll be in 'labour' for, what woman does (not saying I'm a woman). All I know is that last year's delivery took 55 hours and just over 14 minutes. How long will it take this year?
Quick note to anyone else delivering their own marathon babies (whether it be London, Blackpool or any other), good luck and enjoy your labour!