The girls and I ran the Race for Life today. I first ran it 4 years ago, 4 months after Mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I hadn't started running regularly yet and hadn't realised what a major part of my life it would become.
I now run 3-4 times a week, and it's often the only thing that can take away the pain of the last few years as well as the stress of every day life. When I'm running I switch off (often because it takes all of my energy just to keep putting one foot in front of the other) and after I've run I feel so much more in control of everything. I don't think I'm a natural runner, I find it hard work, but I do love it. And I do love what it has brought to my life.
Both the girls have watched me go from someone who couldn't run for more than 60 seconds, to someone that can run 7 miles. They've both seen me persevere and work hard at something that doesn't come naturally to me. And I love that I'm not only teaching them that exercise is important, but also teaching them that working hard and persevering is the most important thing.
Lily has watched Bella run the Race for Life with me for the last two years and has been desperate to do it to. This year we agreed that all three of us would do it together and in preparation the girls have been joining me for a 5k run every sunday morning along the canal. While I've been running, they've cycled, to build up their stamina. We've all loved it and even though the race is over for this year, we're going to keep on doing it.
And now running has taken on a new meaning for me again, because two months ago Jim started running too. We're doing the Leeds 10k together next month and now run together 2 or 3 times a week. After 4 years of running by myself I can now share it with Jim too. And I have to admit that I'm proud of us when we run together. Life can be a challenge, and we've had a lot to cope with over the years, and yet here we are now, starting something new together, and seeing eachother in a new light.
I never would have thought that I would feel this way about something as basic as running. I didn't start it until I was 40 and still find it a challenge most days. But just the act of getting out there and running as far as I can, pushing myself when I think that I can't go any further, showing my body that it can do it, showing myself that I can do it, makes me feel that I'm winning just a little bit. And it's my way of combating the feelings I had watching my Mum not be able to fight what her own body was doing to her. It's a small thing, but it's a big deal to me. And to my daughters.