Wednesday 6 March 2013

And finally, back to the running

Oh, the relief of giving up.

The relief of backing out, hands in the air, and saying: "Nope, not me. Can't do it."

Don't frown. It's seriously underrated.

I am an enthusiastic proponent of the 'try, try again' method. But you have to be strong to keep trying.

This week I am not feeling very strong. In fact I am feeling rather Victorian: a bit swoony and teary and outfaced by modern life. (Oh for a lace handkerchief to flutter and a chaise longue upon which to collapse.)

Yesterday it took me two hours to leave the house for a twenty-minute round trip to the post office. Later, it took me three attempts at parking my car in three different parking spaces before I felt confident enough to actually remove the key from the ignition and get out.

Repeatedly admitting that you're not dealing very well with the stuff that other people do without thinking is embarrassing. The whole try, try again thing actually means: so you failed again. Tough. Keep going.

But you can only keep going so long. And then, I think, you have to stop for a bit.

So here's my new mantra: Try, try again. And then give yourself a break and give up for a while.

So I am giving up for a while. I'm not going to try to do everything. I'm not going to try to be everything to everyone who needs me and berate myself for not being brilliant at it all.

I'm going to narrow everything right down to two daily targets: to get out of bed. And to run.

On Monday for the first time in months, I put on my trainers, laced them up with shaky hands, and ran four miles. Actually, it was more of a jog. And I did it on a treadmill in a gym because I felt a bit scared to go running outdoors. But I ran, and within five minutes of starting I was smiling.

On Tuesday I woke up with a welcome, familiar ache in my legs that made me smile again and offset my fear upon waking. I went to the gym again and ran another two miles.

Today I plan to run again. It won't be very far or very fast, but it will be enough.

I will take it one step at a time, until I feel like trying again.

Who wants to run with me?


  1. Hi Sophie

    Gosh, I wouldn't even be able to tell you how many times I've been unable to leave the house for ages, or be able to do apparently simple things that I've done for my whole adult life, like the food shopping! I definitely relate to trying to do everything too and it's a very good idea to stop trying to do that! I guess when we try so hard to do everything, we become unable to do anything (perhaps our bodys' way of forcing us to stop when we refuse).

    Take care of yourself. Lots of hot chocolate and baths, okay?, that's an order... Have you tried yoga stretches? A whole hour's routine is kinda long, but I find concentrating on thighs and shoulders addresses all the anxious bits of me and can be done in about 10 minutes.

    love Debi : )

  2. I'll run with you, dear Sophie.

    I know it's been awhile since I checked in. Last December, my husband and I embarked on the adventure of homeschooling our daughter. We're viewing this semester/summer as a sabbatical with hopes that our daughter will be accepted into a tax-payer funded school this autumn. At the same time, I am training for my first 21k/half marathon with questionable knees and topsy-turvy spirits. I cannot tell you how many times these past few months I have thought of Grace and you, and have taken courage from you both. (It seems I should give some of it back!)

  3. Hello to both of you, dear friends. Sorry I've been a bit absent. Still plodding here. Thank you for your support and lovely comments. Debi: I am taking your advice on the baths! SS: I am full of admiration for your homeschooling adventure and wish you every success for autumn. And for your half-marathon! Well done! Topsy-turvy spirits of the world, unite xx

  4. Good luck with the running! I loved your book- I have AS and am a runner, and could really identify with so much of it. Am running my first marathon this year... Writing lots of poems about running atm- I'm also really interested in mermaids (I think I tweeted you that a while ago- couldn't believe it when I read that in 'Grace Under Pressure'!) so have done a running/mermaid poem:


    Sometimes you run
    until your feet feel mermaid pain
    and joints grind bone-on-bone
    like calcium clockwork
    and that's the moment
    you don't know you've been waiting for
    and you run five, ten miles
    more than planned,
    mind lost in the rushing sea
    sharpened by salted wind raw from dawn
    footsteps balance the earth's shift.

    You're semi-aware, endorphins
    loosen your senses to drift
    mindless clouds through a hazy sky
    sense of self solidified in motion.
    Coded in muscle, you point
    outside, inside your body; ego
    dissolved in runner's high.

    There's a reason she never
    returned under the sea.

  5. Oh my goodness I've only just seen this poem. I LOVE IT. You have a gift. I plan to print it out and put it beside my desk for those moments when I really have to remember to stop writing and go out and run. Thank you! xxx

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