Monday: Right. Once more into the breach, and all that. We are in the zone, and we get to school and work without too much problems. As I arrive at work, I discover that a crucial colleague is out sick, meaning my morning is taken up with the project she was going to handle. The day flies in an montage of forced smiles. Yay.
Tuesday: Physio day. I head over to the sports clinic and sit in a chair while beautiful and earnest athletes pass by. I feel ugly and ridiculous, and get to feel worse when a young man in a wheelchair comes in and waits in the same area. The entire process is a new type of torture for me; having people touch me is the equivalent of someone asking me to hold a spider in my hand; it won’t hurt me but it is bloody unpleasant. Turns out I have deep muscle injury in both my hips, and my glutes are way too tight. I discover this face down on a table while mah flabby butt is being prodded by an earnest cleanfaced kid, and I can hear myself asking disbelievingly, “You mean I need to unclench?!”
I’m given a series of exercises and am told to come back next week where it will really hurt. Ah for feck’s sake.
Wednesday:The exercises hurt a lot, especially in my knee. No way should I be hobbling with a new injury because of this. I ring the kid and he tells me to do a variation on it. The call takes 20 seconds, but the fact that I ring at all is new; normally I would have blamed myself for the pain and gotten on with it. Look at me, growin’.
The sky wears a wig of rain all day long, and I find myself sulking in the evening. Stupid rain.
Thursday: Lots of important meetings, and the really important one goes okay. I strongly suspect that I am not being taken seriously, and so resolved to go over their head. Hey, I could be dead next year, I need to move fast.
Friday: Sing praise and hallelujah, it’s Friday. Work is done as much as my fried little brain can take, and I go home with a sense of exhaustion that is hitting me much too early in the college year. I have miles to go yet.
Saturday: I start the day earnest, with many good plans. Luckily they will still be there for me Sunday, too. Oh joy.
Sunday: Summer’s last perfect day. I have coffee with a friend, and a long walk with the boy. I hope all goes well for everyone out there, but next door is having a moment. Her separated husband did the dirt on her with her best friend, and said best friend just tried to walk in the house to “talk about your relationship”. What a piece of scum, especially when the children were there, standing behind her. She’s shaky-brittle with the shock, but insists she’s fine. She heads into her house with an air of breathless pain, and I watch her go wishing I could make it better.
Some people are bears throwing things, when it comes to relationships. They don’t even see how much damage they do.
Monday. Rest day. And also is the first day we bring my little boy to school. I’m reminded of the refrain in ‘Going on a Bear Day!’: “What a beautiful day! – We’re not scared!”
We head over to his school and he trots in with zero problems, especially when he sees that they have toy cars. I am not sure what to do; parents were never allowed into classrooms, so it is hard to lean on my own experience. We head away, and he’s perfectly okay to see us go. We go back after two hours and again, he’s grand. All happy. So far so good! We spend the afternoon together just hanging out, the three of us, and life is good.
Tuesday. I’m supposed to go running today, but I honestly can’t make myself. We drop little man into school, and go do errands at Dundrum Shopping Centre. We seem to buy everything, then go pick him up. Again, he’s all happy and joyous, all skipping innocence. Home, dinner, all happy joy joy.
Wednesday: So we drop him off early this morning, at 830 am and oh my god the traffic. Lots of lovely Mummies rushing in and out, parking aggressively without actually letting themselves acknowledge it. It’s hellish, and we make the mistake of trying to cross over the M50. Oh my God! How the hell does anyone get anywhere in this city? It’s so bad I want to cry for them.
Being at home means there is much more likelihood of eating. Trying to keep busy when in essence you’re just trying to kill time is hard. We go to pick him up and he is exhausted, he falls asleep in the car. I feel guilty, for some reason. He’s so little. He has to go to school. We’re taking a week off to focus on him, while he gets used to it. But I am here relaxing and getting annoyed at daytime radio, while he copes with it by himself. It seems uncaring and wrong; indulgent.
Thursday: – Right, look enough talk. I get up, do some gentle exercises, then we drive him over to school. He heads in all happy, then home we go. At about ten to eleven, I head out for a jog. I get about half a mile done, and the pain in my hip starts. Then it gets worse, and much worse. I figure, sure, not good, but I’ll walk it off. I try again and the pain is just awful. I walk the rest of the way home. My mood isn’t helped by a size X runner passing me by (size X is a size so small it’s theoretically possible to be less than zero), who gives me a dismissive once over. I glance at myself in a window and confirm that yes, I am all lumpy roundness. Damnit. Damn it. I go in, limp upstairs.
I check my weight. I haven’t done that for 30 days, and have kept to a diet. I have waited for this moment to cheer myself up, and not being able to run is a good time to get some good news. So on the scales I get. And I discover I have lost the grand total of FOUR POUNDS. Misery for 30 days, and now this. After grumpily briefing the other half I head into the shower.
As I begin to wash off the sulk, I get to see a spider rushing out towards me from the corner. A big, hairy spider. I’m superstitious about these, I’m convinced they mean bad news in on the way.
Nevertheless, the resulting scream was both powerful and courageous, and I was perfectly happy to be covered in soap when I got out of the shower.
I got into bed afterwards to see if a rest would improve the hip. I honestly just wanted to have a bit of a cry, was feeling low because of the pain. And that was when the phone rang.
It was the school.
Little man had managed to get out of the classroom. He’d run to the front door, and managed to nearly get out of there.
Up and out and away we go, not talking.
So on Thursday we’d managed to get to the school, and found little man crying his eyes out on the mat in the schoolroom. We made the teacher explain herself (how the hell did he get out please?) and made him apologise for causing such worry to her. Then home, fretting, and lots of chores. Then bed, as early as I could manage. Trauma makes me exhausted, and there was nothing else for it. Friday saw me awake at 4 am, worrying. And also little man decided it was the perfect time to play, despite my ignoring him. Then up at 6 am with the alarm, breakfast, and heading over at 7.30 am. I headed out later to get my hair cut, determined to keep myself in a permanent state of readiness. This is also the last chance for hair cuts and any real maintenance for ages; strike while the iron is working through phonetic sounds. The haircut is actually a lot of fun, and I come home looking more reasonable than I had for a while. No sign of escapism from Junior either, that seems to go okay.
We pick him up, and the teacher informs us in an appalled tone that he fell asleep in the room. This was utterly unremarkable in the creche two weeks ago. But I am now, it seems, worse than Hitler. We take him home, grateful to all the Gods that it is now Friday, and we can exhale.
Saturday: Dear friends come over, who we have not seen in far too long. Because she is a baker, and she is brilliant.
I learn in quick succession:
- A child sleeping in class would indeed be a very bad thing, and we are now those parents.
- I can’t cut fringes for peanuts.
We eat, and laugh, and I feel my shoulders go down slightly. I stay away from the weighing scales, though.
No exercise. Is that to be gone forever, I ask myself? We play for hours in our pjs, and I realise I’ve left the Little Man’s bike out in the rain. We wheel it in, only for the electronic siren to go off again and again. Eventually I take it off the bike and hide it in the sitting room, and the child had the job of running in and turning it off at random intervals; a job not unlike being a parent. We eventually give up and smother the noise with a pillow and a stuffed hedgehog, which isn’t giving me hope for his parenting future.
In an effort to encourage civilising my offspring, I line up Lego figurines to convey the importance of sitting in a desk, of listening and of focus. Two rules are laid out over and over; do what the teacher says, and wait for Mummy and Daddy. He trots off to bed later that day as innocent as snow.
Exercise audit; nothing done so far. A worthy goal would be to have three exercise sessions of small duration this week. A swim during lunch and a run during the week, and a run at the weekend. If I can fit that in, and that is how I am seeing this, then I’ll have accomplished something. Wish me, and us, luck.
Monday; Back from my trip down to the sister, I found myself all exhausted, and so didn’t go for a run. Shame on me, yadayada, but I promised myself I’ll do better the next day.
Tuesday; Today was the day I had put aside to get a few errands done, and so at lunchtime I headed into town. When I was finished, I was waiting at the bus stop when a taxi pulled up. Out stepped a former colleague of mine, dressed beautifully. She was wearing what I call antler heels (where they’re so big as to make a statement). Off she went on her way, and off I went on mine. Which was on the back of a bus taking me back to work. I got through the rest of the day with a weird kind of sadness. Failure, to achieve, and failure to avoid; you imagine I’d be used to it by now.
Anyway; went for my run. I checked it out on google and in fact I was completing a mile and a half, not a mile. Hence the inability to do well. Got it done, in the same time as before. Then down to pick up beloved child, dinner, bath, bed.
Wednesday; Today was the Little man’s last day in the crèche. He’d been there since he was nine months old, and it was both a huge thing and a nothing thing. We’d got lots of presents made up, and I had special cards made for the staff as well. The other half was coming home early from work, and so we headed down together. We gave the staff lots of hugs, thank yous, and hard liquor. Then home we went, and it was only when I was there that I realised how tense I was about this. I place way too much emphasis on this sort of stuff; how well do we/I carry myself off? I can’t help it, but it does mean that I worry too much about how things look rather than how things are.
We delighted little man with a toy when we got home, the Lego Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. And I know he was delighted because he woke me up at 3am to play with it.
Thursday – Now this was a long day, involving a lot of adulting throughout the day. Maybe to compensate for that moment on Tuesday, I wore a dress and heels, trying to look like a grown up. Fate didn’t come up with any rom-com hilarities for me along the way, no ripped tights or prat falls were experienced by me. Instead it was one long day, on my feet and running around. Meetings, crying students, no lunch, more crying students, colleagues with lots to do, and so on. I left at 4pm as usual, with the sensation of having hugged a hurricane to myself all day.
And Thursday was the other half’s birthday. I came home with a birthday cake for him, along with some other treats. Little man helped me give him all the parcels we had wrapped for presents, then we ordered takeout for dinner. Afterwards, we had birthday cake.
It was awful; the buttercream icing tasted utterly bland, more like lard than cream. I took a disbelieving bite, but really some part of the ingredients must have been missing from it. The beloved child didn’t have a second bite, and the other half was unimpressed on it. Nice one, guys. After my long long day, I was in bed by 9.30 pm, exhausted. My stomach was in a riot because of that damn cake, and no run was had by me. I’ll go to my grave with nothing but unfinished to-do lists on my gravestone.
Friday – Right. Swim! I walked towards the gym on Friday morning so utterly uninspired I wondered if it was a good idea. But I just treated that notion like the childish whine it was, and headed in. Got changed and realised I’d forgotten my shampoo. Don’t care, I told myself, I was still going swimming. I got into the Medium lane, and it had to be said, they seemed much slower than last time. So, feeling brave, I headed into the fast lane.
You don’t move into the fast lane unless you are sure you’re not going to be an inconvenience to someone else. I was only going to be swimming twenty minutes but I had to be sure I was going to stick to the pace. So off I went, pushing off from the wall.
And it was fantastic. It was a lovely, wonderful swim, an absolute dream and it saw me feel so much like my old self the years dripped away. I was swift, I was clean, the lines and everything else was perfect. I had walked towards the building feeling like I had nothing to contribute and no good would come of it, but it was fantastically pleasant and I was so happy. Happy! Finally! I met someone on the way into work who told me that I looked all happy and fit and everything was good. I got through work and the excitement of dinner, bath and bed with a good mood. Home, dinner, and finally the weekend.
Saturday; rest day. I felt so good after the swim I know I could have gone running. But when I said it on Saturday morning, the little man looked so sad at the idea I couldn’t do that. Maybe Sunday? We spent the day getting him ready for school; lunch boxes, juice bottles, new shoes, extra clothes, and all the rest.
Sunday: No more excuses. Up, out, and away I went. Not one but two circuits this morning, of three miles in total. I feel wonderful and tired at the same time. I can confirm that there is no pain in my left hip, but there is now a pain in my right hip. Ah bless.
But, it’s done. I’m pleased that I did it, that I added to my music running playlist, that I can rest tomorrow. I’m pleased that this rambling blog is done for this week, and that now I can go to bed. So on that note, good night sisters.
Monday – no exercise. No jog, no swim. The weekend had left me less than energetic, and the pouring rain certainly didn’t help. Bold Claire. Try again tomorrow.
Tuesday – right, no more procrastination. I made myself get into work as early as I could and get into my swimming gear. I’d been here before last week, when I didn’t really feel any joy at being in the water, and I frankly ‘parented’ myself into it again today. I got into the medium speed lane again, secured my goggles, and pushed off the edge.
And booom, the old push and sway was right back there. I pushed off that edge like a fish being freed again, and all the old skill I’d had was right back there with me; keep to the top of the water, make your movements smooth and clean, get into the rhythm and keep it going.
As I swam, I noticed the pool filling up. UCD is lucky enough to host the Women’s’ Rugby Tournament this year, and the campus is filled with teams from all over the world getting ready to compete. The gym and pool is no different, and a team were there this morning to get some recovery swims in. They’re strong, with all the various body types you might expect of a rugby team. I am by political leanings a feminist, but by culture I’m sexist; I’m still surprised when society puts women first without qualification. To have these women given resources, and priority, and emphasis, is a strange state for me. As I watched one figure happily swim past me, I realised I’d never seen a woman succeed for her own sake.
Men win in movies because they are the Hero. Women win in movies so they can get the guy.
Women are never heroes by themselves. They never succeed unless they succeed just-so-far and no farther. Women are not the default, they’re the reward, and that is an area I should grow a bit in.
Anyways. I got out of the pool and got ready. I’m still too slow on that one, I find.
Wednesday – no work, rest day, alalallalalllaa
Thursday; Run! Run fast! Home, shoes on, out the door! I pushed myself very hard and managed to… maintain the same speed. I would have hoped I could cut more time off it, but I didn’t. Standing at my front door, trying to breathe, I told myself it didn’t matter. What was I going to do, give up? No, I was not. Maintain, fall back, get better; it doesn’t matter, just keep going.
Friday – Rest day
Saturday & Sunday – See, I was actually full of good intentions on Thursday? And I did indeed manage to get a lot done, both for work and for exercise? But on Saturday I headed down to the sister’s for the weekend. They have a lovely home down there, and kids that still fake liking the mad aunt, and a dog so my beloved angel adores it too, and all of it. So by 11am off we went in the car to enjoy the weekend. The older I get the more I love getting out of Dublin, and I’m never down enough in Kilkenny for my liking, I miss the place very much. So it was fantastic, frankly, to recognise the hills in the distance as we went on down the country. The weekend was very much waterlogged. We had a long walk on Sunday morning just before there was a break in the rain, out in the woods called The Islands, and that took a good hour, so I am calling that exercise.
We even found a car; a passat had been pushed off the road, all the windows smashed. The more I looked at it the more I was convinced it had just been put there; the weeds were wilted, the upholstery was dry, and the thread marks weren’t pushed down. We rang the guards and told them about it, but something about it troubled me; They would have had to drive in the pitch dark and then walk back the same way. That’s a lot of effort for just a joyride.
It started to rain. We got just wet enough so that we were grateful to be back at our cars and get cosy. The rest of the day was a deluge, and I spent it reading and looking out of the window, tututing and going back to my book. Hard life.
While I was down there, I had another idea for a novel; a beginners cooking class focusing on Desserts. You could see each of the people taking part in the class, and learn about them as the cooking class goes on. The book should include the actual recipes as well, so that a person buying the book would have the chance to learn to cook it too. Yes, it is a bit Maeve Binchy, but frankly there’s nothing wrong with that. The title came to me this morning as I was putting on my mascara; “Sweet Things For Beginners.” And a cover in pink. Hmm, I like that.
But no exercise make Claire lose the point of the blog. I want to go for a quick jog today, and will update this blog this weekend. Don’t lose hope! I will be back!
So. After the fun that was last week, I decided to keep going, and on Saturday morning early headed out to do my run. I wasn’t too worried about the time, I just kept going until I had a couple of miles down. Then it was back home.
“Mummy!” my little angel greeted me. “You’re all pink!”
Ah bless. Yes, pale skin and red hair and flushed face means Mum look all pretty. I had my shower and cleaned up, ate breakfast, tidied up. Then it was out of the house for a bit. The other half needed to get some parcels from the post office, so I headed down in the car. Walking away from the parked car I noticed something.
My left hip felt like someone had wretched it out and hurriedly put it back in again. I limped into the post office, got the parcels, then back to the car. It felt like I needed to put myself in some weird position to get the ache out of my limbs, but I had no idea how.
Then, that afternoon, it was time to take the car to the NCT place in Deansgrange. The kid was happy (at first) to watch them have a look at it, but became convinced that they were stealing it. Coping with that and growing dehydration wasn’t good. Back home, I headed down to the local shop to get dinner, then ate and then bath for kiddo, followed by bed for me, honestly glad there was no scheduled exercise for a few days.
Sunday: get away from me, rest day.
Monday: Was lucky enough to see the in-laws, and to hang out with my very cool sister-in-law and brother-in-law. It was supposed to be a ‘simple tapas thingie’, but my mother-in-law managed to present the most sophisticated buffet out of no-where. We sat in the garden and relaxed, not really caring that the rain was coming down. I drove us all home, glad of the few days off work.
Tuesday: Right! Home from work, time to get twenty minutes in. I managed to cut two minutes off the time, so hurrah for me. It is getting easier, but one thing about getting older is that you notice your improvement speed is slower, as is your recovery time. Still. I feel much better these days, so much so that I’ll be able to pose laughing over a bowl of salad any minute now.
Wednesday: Rest day, ha ha!
Honestly not sure if I can find the time today. Lots of lovely meetings.
I went swimming.
And it was a lot better than before; the rhythm was much more present, and I got it done with not a bit of bother. Still taking far too long to get ready afterwards, however.
I was supposed to go away this weekend, but had to change them, which means mentally I have no plans to go running today, Sunday. But needs must. Will see how we get on.
The plan for next week is:
Monday – Rest day
Tuesday – run after work
Wednesday – Rest day
Thursday – Swim at lunch
Friday – Rest day
Sunday – Run
So now you know too and should feel duty bound, dear reader, to remind me if I fail. Anyways, keep her lit!
New Readers start here.
So, the saga continues. I know I said that this was going to start on Tuesday, but Sunday rolled around and I decided that there really was no point in waiting. So on went the shoes, and the tracksuit, and off I went.
See, that happened at about 5pm. And if you go to Met.ie, and look up the daily data for Dublin Airport at that time, you’ll see that 1mm of rain fell at that time.
All at once.
On my head.
About half way through the first mile I realised this was not going to level off. I kept going, because I had to; there was no way I was giving up on the first mile of the first run. But ye gods! Everything was soaking wet; the hair, the leggings, all of it. I was honestly worried the phone was going to go with all that water. I saw a kid out there in shorts and a jacket and wondered where the hell were his parents…
I will say that the number of joggers-nods increased. This is a phenomenon whereby joggers/runners show their mutual respect by giving a solemn nod to each other as they pass. No words, just a nod, implying that we are all in a special club, and everyone else is just running because they’re late somewhere. I got several nods on Sunday, even from the wiry ‘I haven’t stopped running since Gay Byrne was on the Late Late show’ types, and I felt very special. I made it home and had the most amazing shower ever. That evening I looked out and saw the same kid, still wondering around the estate. What the hell was going on?
Monday – Rest day. Ambrosia from the Gods day.
Tuesday– Swimming day. Packed up my dust-covered (not kidding) swim suit and headed over to the pool at work. I swam for twenty minutes, with no headaches, dizziness or trouble. I was as slow as a mule, which, if you picture one in a pool is pretty much what we have here.
Swim, in short, was fine. Getting myself ready to be productive at my desk took me forever (shower, dress, hair, makeup, and go). I need one of these, me thinks.
Wednesday; felt that pleasant ache in my muscles. All good.
Thursday; Right, when to go for a run? Couldn’t do it during lunch hour, so instead pulled on the runners before I went to pick up the child. And oh my God the difference. Running after a day’s work, even desk work, is much much harder on the body and soul. Firstly, lots of lovely people about, to comment and smile that smile, the smile that is both smug and amused at the same time. Bless ‘em in their ear.
Secondly, it is harder. I was more tired, and much slower than I had any right to be. I should have improved since last Sunday, but instead was much worse. I got into bed like a zombie, and honestly fell asleep as fast as I sank into the mattress.
Friday: (Today) Rest day. Three sessions down, and the schedule getting closer to figured out. The great thing about fitness is that it only needs brute endurance. If you keep going, you cannot but get better.
Good luck sisters.
So. I used to exercise, three times a week. Up at 5am, off to the pool, where I’d swim four kilometres, then clean myself up and then get on with the day. But as we can see here (points with pointer), I got sick. And spent most of the month sick. And as I am so rarely sick, I felt a bit out of it, and unwilling to stretch myself since then.
There was also the rather important fact that my son got used to my being here in the mornings; That is, when he thought I was now gone in the mornings, he’d scream the house down. I don’t know much about motivation, but seeing the mite horrified and traumatised by the idea of my absence saw me mentally put the gym bag down.
And keep it down. Meaning that I have not been exercising AT ALL since April. No swims, no running, nowt. And that is not good, if only because I’m getting older and regular exercise is the way to prevent a huge range of illnesses.
So. I aim to do something about it. Starting next week, I will be following the VHI Ladies Mini-Marathon training programme. And it also means you get to hear about it.
So, this is me;
Day 1: Run 20 minutes easy – Tuesday lunchtime
Day 2: Rest – Wednesday
Day 3: Run 20 mins – easy pace – Thursday after work
Day 4: Rest – Friday
Day 5: Cross train- cycle/swim/walk – Saturday
Day 6: Run 25 mins – easy to moderate pace – Sunday
Day 7: Rest
Will be reporting back next week.
Anyone want to follow it with me? Anyone??
See this image?
It is level. Quiet. Undisturbed. The ground is even and smooth. Its very marginal nature is intended. It makes me think back to the marriage referendum, when person after person after person in our society came forward to disclose that they were gay. These people were not deviants, strangers or outside the mainstream; instead they were establishment figures well within the status quo, and who had operated and achieved much within our communities. And yet, they had lived a life somewhere both within and without our world. where they were made to feel different and excluded, because they were. They were people who were not part of how society views itself. Instead, they lived lives that were at least in terms of its dialogue, silent and unfree. The silence was imposed both within and without; Ursula Halligan says she never spoke of her sexuality to her family, in her need to avoid exclusion. Pat Neary was never out either; years and years of not being able to be himself without fear in our country.
We hate. We hate well in this country, with passion, history and layers. Right now, as I type, the Citizens Assembly listens to testimony regarding the need to repeal the 8th Amendment. It invites Churches, but will not hear from TFMR people, an oversight that is outrageous. But lets go back to that field; that quiet, lonely, smooth field. That silence is what is wanted. Shut up. You need to shut up. It is the same silence one finds on battle fields and in cemeteries. It is the silence of rooms empty of the living and loved. Those horrible people who destroy the doctrines of hate are silenced and are no more.
The last entry of Anne Frank’s diary is the 1st of August, and after that there is a white, silent, page. That silence is the desire here. We can be compounded, capitalised and calcified into nothings, ground like pestle and mortar by the greed of them that will have us for their pleasure or their worth, and then we will be made silent and uncomplaining by the deeds of their ways. They will destroy us, make us silent, and let the sweet calm pastures left after us testify that there is no loss or damage to be noted. We were not here. The loss of us is no loss at all. Let that which was here be not here from now on. Let our words be silent, and not heard. Let the wind alone be heard as our voices.
These people have been free to kill us; there are people not here who should be here today. They will continue to act in this way if allowed. For the sake of overly silent rooms, this must not continue.
As a kid and young adult I would fantasise about finding some place where I see and hear nobody. I would get from one end of the year to another with no sight of anyone, and I would, I would tell myself, be free. From what, I’m not sure, but I would be free of it.
The point of that, though, is that we grow up. We realise that both the best and the worst of us is brought about by other people. When we’re alone, we’re never ourselves, we’re always a mere potential of ourselves. Instead, when we’re among others, we grow, change and stretch into the people we can be, often whether we want to or not.
Being alone seems like a treat, an ease of the demands of life. But instead, it means that you’re never free of yourself and the life that you lead. When you are with the others you want to be with, then you find both life and yourself easier.
Don’t go it alone. Just.. trust me on this one.