"I want to get fit. Who's coming for a run " announced my 12 year old at 7.30 this morning. I don't know why she thinks she isn't fit. She dances at least three times a week, swims and walks best part of a mile to school and back every day.But this is what she wants to focus on today. So, we look at each other in a " Who is going to sort this one ?" sort of way. It is still dark at this point and there is snow on the lawn. " Well, " I say " I don't run so looks like that's one for you Daddy." Phew!
Some time later Daddy and three daughters all suitably dressed for exercise set off down the drive for a brief turn around the block and return a while later with pink cheeks and shining eyes, promising even greater things next time.
It's true though. I don't run. I never have. In my youth when one is forced into such activities by merciless PE teachers I always had one, major disadvantage. In fact, two. I had big boobs. This in no way assists one to run. Not only do you look ridiculous and have to face jeers from the monster that is the teenage boy but it hurts and as a teenager I had neither the money nor the inclination to get hold of a super support sports bra to strap me in.
I continued to use my boob excuse throughout my twenties although I could occasionally be seen on a treadmill in the gym. This is not like running though. It's really easy compared with running outside on the pavement so it doesn't really count.I did once get bullied into running the Fun Run in Ilkley. There is nothing fun about it. Half the course goes vertically up and the other half....? You guessed it and then most of Ilkley appear to be there to cheer you in when you get back exhausted and not looking at one's best.
So that was it for me with running. I wasn't built for it, I didn't like it and I wasn't doing it and that was that.
My thirties were spent either pregnant or breast feeding - neither of which are conducive to a good jog. And then finally my youngest child starts school. As I look around the playground I note in horror that the other mothers who aren't pushing buggies or dragging toddlers to preschool, fall into two camps. Those who have dogs and those who run. As we know, dogs are not my thing. So, to be in with the in crowd, I need to run. However, a slightly closer inspection of the running mothers reveals something sinister. Bandages, straps, supports. They are all injured. Knees, ankles, tendons. ligaments. They all have bits that hurt when they run. Well, der! What's the point of that then?
Sadly, my excuse has shrunk over time. I am no longer not built to run. My boobs have shrunk to a much more manageable size and are far more easily contained than they ever were.I am also fitter and stronger than ever before. Carrying four children through pregnancy works wonders for the strength of your heart.Years spent pushing single and double buggies at speed up the hills of Ilkley have increased my stamina remarkably and whizzing around for most of last year on my bike with my four year old in a seat on the back has done wonders for my leg muscles. So I could probably run now. Perhaps for some distance. But why would I? I am fit and healthy. All my joints work and I am rarely seen looking disheveled. That has to be good.
So running with the children will continue to be a Daddy activity and I can provide praise and hugs and orange segments when they return.