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I’ve done something rather foolish (read: I’ve been a tit) and signed up to run a half marathon in November. Actually I’ve signed up for two, but the second isn’t until next April so it doesn’t count yet. 

This is based mainly on me lacing up my trainers at one month post-partum and running 5k without dying, and thereby self-proclaiming that with the birth of Moo I’ve miraculously turned into Jo Pavey.

Soon I was finishing most of my social media posts with #thisgirlcan and generally naffing everyone off by being a Smug Sue.

I enlisted one of my wonderful marathon-running friends as a motivational coach, assuming she’d look after me without actually warning her that I was calling her up for duty. This has so far involved me screenshotting my Runkeeper logs and barking at her “Am I doing alright? AM I A RUNNER YET?” to which she replies with lovely soothing words like “Gosh, you’re super-speedy! Go go go, little legs of steel!” I love her. Years ago she comforted me on a bench after I’d made a total pigs ear of my second ever Parkrun and I knew she was a keeper.

I’ve got myself a clever countdown app, inserted a cute photo of the marathon logo (Gosport, FYI), and captioned it “Sweat is fat crying”.

I’ve even got a t-shirt with that printed on, and it really does make me sweat to the point of hallucinatory dehydration because it’s made from cheap material and is clearly a novelty garment rather than a proper exercise top.

If you see me in it and I’m running, feel free to wick me. Wick me real good.

I’ve bought a running buggy off Gumtree and subscribed to Women’s Running magazine on a 5 issues for a fiver offer. I’ve joined about 80 Facebook groups loosely with a running theme and I scored myself a “one previous careful lady owner” Garmin on the down-low (SMP folks, SMP).

So really, the only thing left to do is actually get good at running. I’m not bad – although I’ve massively over-egged my training already because I’m already up to 13 miles in one sitting (Oh, how I wish I was sitting!). But going through an entire day of hardcore parenting and then stepping outside at 8pm to run 13 sodding miles over the course of 110 minutes isn’t exactly a cakewalk, especially when I’ve eaten aduki beans and Brie for dinner and want to vomit into a bush at mile 6.

My husband is legit good at running, brilliant in fact. He does proper marathons and then cycles to work the next day. He runs seven minute miles for about two hours straight. He’s proper badass. I therefore regard him slightly warily as a competitor, inspiration and killjoy all in one. He did try to do me up like a kipper when I was searching for a fast and flat half to enter, by suggesting Bath. Have you been to Bath? If you’re due to go, regardez vous the undulating, hilly vista before your eyes as you coast in via the M4. Bloody stitch-up merchant.

“Yeah, I mean, I think you’ll be fine,” he tells me. “All you need to make sure of is that you respect the distance.”

I nod along sagely. Respect the distance. Got it. Except I don’t really get what he means – how does one respect a distance further than their running legs have carried them? I respect that it’s a bloody long way, 13.1 miles. I respect that this isn’t something I can just wing, and I’ll need to keep training. I crucially mustn’t let it turn into another one of my fads and sack the whole thing off when the clocks go back. I’ve paid for it now, anyway.

I’ll tell you this for free though. I’ve discovered, via my amazing Run Mummy Run Facebook group friends, that going commando while running is brilliant. Revelatory. I’m Breezy Gonzalez. Oh, #thisgirlcan…and #thisgirldoes.

-SJW August 2016

This post first appeared on Meet Other Mums on 11th July 2016. You can view that version, and my other posts as a member of the #BlogSquad, here.

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