Love on the Long Run

Where friendships are made and social barriers fade!

Today I am here as an observer, I am not here to put the world to rights, or solve your latest problem, that is what the “Long Run” is for.

The Long Run – from this moment forward will affectionately be called the LR, is generally a run that is over 60 minutes and essentially it has no limits in length, I have LR anywhere from 9 miles up to 32 miles depending on time and race training for. So, it is ALOT of time either on your own or with a group.

Regarding my running, it is where I have met in recent years the majority of my close friends. A 2-hour run could genuinely equate to 2 months’ work of regular hanging out, I am not sure why? Maybe it is the intensity of the work you are doing, the heightened serotonin, or you just talk a shit ton to fill time? Maybe, you just feel safe, as here is another person doing the same crazy stuff you are doing. I have been known to not knowing someone at the beginning of the run and occasionally revealing all trauma and inner secrets by the end, they never ran with me again :). The high from running, is similar to drinking for me, it makes me honest, ummmm sometimes too honest. But more open than I would be in a bar, or at a social gathering. I also do not trust people who hide their inner workings, trust is the wrong word, maybe I just feel unsafe with how genuine they can be. Maybe that is a 3 x long run crack the emotional crust kind of person.

Whatever it is, I am thankful for the people running has given me, raw, slightly bananas, very driven people. Who are usually outsiders, a little damaged (running keeps us together mentally) we may be running from problems or using it to be safe in the pain we inflict on ourselves to feel sane, happy, included? Running is tribal and religious, it is forgiving of your sins, I do not think it really cares about them. It lifts you up and gives you people you can geek out about paces, races, gear, nutrition etc. etc. all that shit that the rest of world thinks “you are so boring” for being maybe a lot obsessed about!

So, thank you running, for all the sunny, eclectic, wonderfully strange, fantastically beautiful friends you have given me.

Love on the LR

LOVE

I would say that this is surely the most written and sung about subject in the entire existence of humanity. “Love”, such a short word that encompasses a plethora of emotions. All of which equate to, or are, the result of being in, feeling, receiving and giving love

LOVE – even has three meanings in the dictionary

1 – an intense feeling of deep affection.

2 – a great interest and pleasure in something.

3 – a person or thing that one loves.

The topic is huge, the breakdown of emotional and physical response of the word could take me weeks to discover each delicate strand that coils around to make the rope that curls around a heart. The heart, the organ that sustains life and is continuous in its persistence to keep us alive and to experience LOVE.

There is a wealth of love types, a love of a friend, dog, parents, partner, things, nature, life.

Yet I want to talk about the purest of love, the mothers love for a child. A love physically born from you. A love that shares your DNA, a love you carried inside for 9 long months, unbeknownst at that moment to be the most powerful love of all, a love you fed from your body. It is an untarnished, unquestionable love. I sadly do not have the super powered intelligence or breadth of vocabulary to explain it, but I will try.

When I look at my child it is like two warm soft hands are grasping my heart, crushing me so hard that the air from my lungs have been ripped away by a warm, persistent current. It’s like the sun caressing me on a slightly chilly day, illuminating each cell in my body and making them vibrate in harmony. When I look at my children’s faces, hold their hands, smell their hair, feel their soft cheek against mine as they whisper “mummy I love you” love pulsates out of me and covers them in a nurturing blanket. A blanket that will always wrap around them, ensuring they know I will always love them. It is infallible, unbreakable, a titanium tower of surety that I will always be there to care, with arms and heart wide open. I am theirs and no one else’s. Yes, I love Kieron my husband deeply, but that love can change with the day, the year, the person and circumstances, it is not necessarily forever, as much as I hope it will be.

But with a child, through life and death it is there, tangible, visible, like a light flickering across water, a shooting star in the sky, a firefly dancing through a forest, it lights up all the dark corners and glows. It illuminates kindness, dreams, hopes, emotions and needs. It is powerful, constant, suffocating, it consumes all who come within its radius and breathes life into you. Once you have inhaled that love, without it you will surely drown. I would die for that love, I would place myself in front of my child and take whatever life hurls at me, I am their shield, their knight, their champion. FOREVER.

A mother’s love is the strongest of all loves

Love Kelly, A Mother of Dragons.

Tis the most wonderful time…..

OF THE YEAR…. If I sing loud enough will this make it true? PLEASE MAKE IT TRUE…

Hummm Christmas. Sits as a conundrum in my mind. A time of magic, fairy lights, stories, family, a fat jolly man and fantasies.

I still see Christmas through my child eyes, I dreamed of Victorian London, Carol singers, Father Christmas appearing down a chimney, elves, reindeer, Rudolph and brightly colored presents piling under a tree, that was so beautiful it used to make my heart flutter with excitement.

Christmas could stop right there for me as a child, when the magic was still tangible, and I could smell excitement in the air. As soon as that first present was opened Christmas was dead, the magical bubble POPPED.

Then came Christmas as a mother! First up, ALL MOTHERS OUT THERE, I SEE YOU, I see the magic you weave, the unseen grind you commit to from Halloween to Christmas its a full time job of……. FUCKING doing EVERYTHING which no one fucking really sees.

DEEP BREATH here goes

Costume making, candy buying, present wrapping, cooking, cooking, cooking, cleaning, cleaning, laundry, laundry, cooking, navigating family tantrums, family feuds, kid hyperactivity, kid meltdown, kid fighting (my boys go from Lord of the Flies, to Kill Bill then finish up with the Hunger Games), present wrapping, travel, travel organizing, packing, school plays, school carnivals, school parades, activities, kids party x 20000..

Mothers drowning under expectation, suffocating in the false Joy you emit as you sweat holding the 2nd turkey of the year and bring it to the table, which NO ONE EATS. Lets not forget the cards you create, mail, trying not to forget the random uncle who lives in the Outer Hebrides. Next on top of family gifts we have, teachers gifts, breakfasts, thank you notes. The list is endless… I make lists for lists, it is all about survival by the third Thursday in November.

Now multiple all of the above by 3, I have 3 kids, this is three of everything. EVERYTHING !!!!

Mamas of multiples – I SEE YOU.

Coping strategies equate to, but are not limited to….

Running away / drinking / drinking / hiding in cupboards (oh drinking) / Valium and drinking / hiring help if rich / running away if poor / screaming /learning to box / Running away / sitting in the car (hiding) / doing puzzles in the cupboard / changing idendity.

I want to love Christmas, but I’m too tired to even try.

My head breaks through, and I breathe again.

My anxiety is triggered by many things, many things I have to manage on a daily basis. Yeah the whole world has anxiety I know – YAWN – The modern day excuse for not coping with life.

How I see it though, is when my anxiety kicks up a notch and smacks me over the head with a BIG SCREAMING SURRRRPRRRIISSSSEEEE , I am always actually surprised, even though I have been navigating this for about 38 years. Because, after every single episode; that can be as long as a month, but is usually 2 weeks, I think I have it beat and I’m like oh if this happens again, I have totally got this bitch covered.

NOPE! Here I am again, curled up, struggling to breathe, frantically checking my heart rate over and over again, desperately trying to act like all is cool when I am fighting back tears, and crumbling back into the child who is crushed against the floor.

It really comes out of the blue, but I do get clues, when life is busy and I’m continuously coping with its pace, I am not sleeping enough or not getting enough alone time, multiple stressors are thrown at me, and I cope, I cope, I cope and then BOOM I am not fucking coping …

I have just realized that racing kicks me off, WHY? I have goals , I do not want to fail, and now I am in a semi elite group (I am not a semi elite), as the almost oldest and definitely the slowest, I am terrified if I do not perform I will get laughed at or worse kicked out. This is all self inflicted and my own insecurities blooming with the stress of my own expectations.

I AM WORKING ON THOSE!!!

Please understand that anxiety and panic attacks are not me failing to cope, IT IS me coping! I am accepting my own imperfections, sitting in them, falling apart and rebuilding a more resilient version of myself.

Anxiety is not something you can always see, it is a silent manifestation of the mental and physical. Panic attacks are actually my overly sensitive personality combining with my overly busy life, plus dragging up my past and forming its own little package of hellish survival.

I have said this before, but the strange thing is, as much I struggle with my anxiety, I would not give it up. The constant state of high I sit in is beyond anything, my whole entire body is alert and buzzing, the world snaps into ultra HD and colors can hurt my eyes. When I fall out of the cycle, the calm is mesmerizing, and I sleep dreamlessly, my whole body falls loose and the world spins back down to normality, which I cherish. I will never conquer my panic attacks or anxiety, but I accept what they are, they no longer terrify me like they used to and I always know in time they will pass.

This too shall pass. To live my life, is to feel my life in all its gory, painful glory.

This is for all of you who suffer, I see you, I know you, I am you, I am here for you.

Love Kelly (just had another episode and survived) Joy

Why I run! A Poem

I run to release,

I run to reflect,

I run to breathe

I run to perfect

With every stride my life unravels

With every breath another path travelled

I lift my gaze, my sight glazes, the sunlight hits my eyes

I pick up pace, my heart pumps harder, problems simply slide.

Away to the wind, away with the beat, away with the thrum of the race

Pain is rising, heat is building, sweat pours from my brow, mind loosens, no thought is given space.

I flow

I pound

I slow

I float back to the ground

STOP, BREATH, SWEAT, ACHE, BEAT , HEAT, ITS DONE!

T I R E D

Tired is a feeling I know well. From a very early age, It has been a significant safety net in a world that has always felt a little too fast, a little too loud and a little too busy to me. However, over the years I have become sloppy with my wanton usage of the word “tired”….

The conversation being…

“Hey are you ok? yes, I am just a bit tired!”

Now just change that word, the word “tired”, that innocuous, innocent 5 letter word to reflect its excuse to my real meaning. We then could replace tired with a multitude of hidden feelings that I am not quite ready to share…

Sad / angry / annoyed / scared / bored / uninterested

It is also my blatant lame attempt to avoid, confrontation / talking / expressing feelings / facing truths / doing something I do not want to / avoiding sex / avoiding physical activities that bore or scare me.

It’s true meaning is….

TIRED in need of sleep or rest; weary.

an anagram of ..

TRIED – found good, faithful, or trustworthy through experience or testing

Yet, 50% of the time when I say I am tired I am not “found good, faithful or trustworthy”. I am lying through a fa├žade of sleepiness to avoid revealing the real thing that has me off center.

I am not entirely sure when I started to do this. I mean, do not get me wrong I do experience true exhaustion daily. I am a mother of three boys, and I am running after them, on top of running just shy of 60 miles a week. No I do not take naps, there truly is no time, so in reality, YES I am pretty knackered. I daily would love to lie down and stay very still, but no, instead in my world I am putting on ANOTHER WASH!!!!!

So when I say I am tired as an answer to a question, I truly may be tired, or failing that I just do not want to talk to you.

Love Kelly – so so tired – Mother of Three.

Hey, I’m not stupid! Says the mother…..

I was listening to a podcast today and they were discussing, how no one ever recognizes raising kids, or being a carer as a full time job. That it should be celebrated, appreciated and quantified in value. Yet, I am not writing this piece from the stand point of “hey look at how hard this job is”, or how much work I do, everyday, all day and night. As a parent you also do the night shift. Check me out – I am a warrior against bad dreams and bed wetting.

What I want to share is the silent shame that seems to be woven intrinsically into being a full time mum. At age 32 I became pregnant with my first child, at the time I was a project manager for a media company. I am also a 2:1 graduate with a Sports Science Degree, and have been a top 10% student for my whole schooling career. In the past I have been a fashion buyer for department stores and Levi’s Europe, an assistant Pastry Chef, blogger and recruiter.

BUT as soon as that wiggly single sperm fertilized that big ass mama egg, I became a “mother”. On a dime I decided to give up work, and work hard at being a mum. In that single moment all my education, and my entire career just faded away. From then on, all people would see, was a disheveled woman with kids!!! With snot on her shoulder and a small, dirty handprint on her thigh. All they can see is a bearer of screaming infants, and not the intelligent being that lays dormant beneath. I basically became a walking womb! A person who could not do both, who could not parent and hold down a paid job simultaneously. DO not get me wrong I tried to do both, but I crumbled, I was up working at 5 am and starting again at 9 pm and trying to parent in between. I could not do either job well, and I was failing miserably.

Today I cried when I heard that podcast, because, I do feel like life has kind of passed me by when it comes to work. I am a 44 year old mother of 3. Seriously no one wants me, when you read the numbers. When people cast their eyes in my direction and look me up and down, I want to scream, “PLEASE see me, I am smart, I have ideas, I can create and be creative, Hey hey hey I can still do mental arithmetic in my head, go on, go on, test me.

Yet, why? Why do I feel like I need to hang my head as I mumble, yes I am a full time mum, full time care giver. Is it my own internal shame of working failure, or did society create this. “Oh you don’t work”??? What you settled into the homemaker role, what a cop out. “Dumb bitch” !!! I am not going to sit here and list all the shit I do every day. The continuous work I do as a parent of three. I hold my hand up high, yes I took the role willingly, but that does not make me unintelligent, so why do I have this driving need to make sure people know I have a brain

I will admit at times I feel so unbelievably lost. A languishing amoeba floating in a sea of meal planning, bed making, wound cleaning and ferrying small humans around. Yes I am single cell creature fighting to be more. Yet life right now just doesn’t see me, I am an aging shadow that no longer has the time to be fleshed out.

What do I want to be when I grow up? I still want to be an architect, a painter, an antiques buyer, museum curator, a historian, a writer, a sneaker designer, a run shoe tester, a gallery curator, a merchandiser…….

I still have work dreams. However, as a sit up at 2 am cradling a small frightened child on my lap, stroking his hair and telling him mummy loves him, I do know I have the right job. I was made to be a boy mum, a strong mum, a fair mum, a loving mum, a mum who will always be there….. To pick you up, take you to the dentist, to hold your hand, to take you to the zoo, to rush you to hospital, to clean a bloody knee, to make you pancakes in the morning, to bring a forgotten lunch, to see your first steps, your first smile, to hear the words mama first, to have your warm arms around my neck and your face buried in my hair, just loving you. I was made to love you.

Yes, that may not tell the world my IQ, but that makes me amazing to them, to the little people I created. It grants me the time to watch them blossom and grow, forge their own path. AND that is why I gave up work, I gave up so I could be everything to my children. AND I must stop feeling guilty about that.

That is who I am and will always be, a mama, a mother, a mum, their mom, mummy…

Love ME

Not “Another” Mother runner!

As a mother and a runner, there is something really damn annoying about the title of “mother runner”! It is an over used rhyme, for runners who happen to be mothers. To be a runner and a mother are actually two very separate things for me. Both elements / roles are extremely important, commanding equal positioning in the genetic fabric of my soul, my being, my sanity.

Each have single handedly created a very resilient human being, blossoming from my core. Each have taught me love, deep deep happiness, a sense of order, and a sense of relief. In equal measures they have also driven me bat shit crazy and forced me to look at the reality of my failure. Of missing expectations and grounding myself in the limitations of my “Now”! Not that this has to be continuous, but it grants me the time and space to sit in the moment and to feel, taste, tangibly experience loss and pain, in a safe and controlled way.

Motherhood has been my making, yet, so has running. However, they are not part of the same thing, they are not joined or rhymed or even belong together. But they can flow in harmony, rubbing together with a slight friction that creates the “spark” that is my drive and superhuman powers to dig in and welcome the ability to feel extremely uncomfortable in wilding emotions and pain for long, excruciatingly long periods of time.

Although the Mother runner phrase is ridiculously over used, and even slapped across tee shirts, to be a mother and a runner with goals makes me an outlier, an outsider, a juggler. I cannot make the 7am run or the 8am run, I cannot take naps after a 60 mile week, I like many run on a perpetual empty, I cannot stay and chat, I have to run, pack up and haul ass back to the fold of wild boys, school, runs, packed lunches and activities. PTO commitments, work, dinner planning, shopping, washing, cleaning, folding, doctors appointments. I work fucking hard in my over scheduled life to carve out a daily 1-2 hour slot to run, to train and to not impact my home life. That does not make me a mother runner, but a “Mutha Fucking Runner!”

But, there are others, other mothers running in those twilight hours, alone and dedicated. Other Mother fucking Runners” all juggling, all exhausted, all so badass and dedicated to managing time to have the ability to leave, alone. Propelling ourselves forward, stride after stride. Stride, arm swing, breath, sweat, inhale, exhale – repeat over and over and over again. We run together at 5am pushing each other with a strength and understanding no one else can provide. We hold each other up and listen in those dark morning hours, just waiting for the sunrise to peek above the horizon, beckoning, calling us home. As the light hits the trees we crouch in tiny groups stretching, pulling off sneakers, guzzling water, moving inwards, shedding our runner skin as the mother once again returns, all business as she kisses small children awake, drinks coffee, busying whilst listening for the waffles to pop.

Wake up children! The Mother has returned.

Where did all the “normal” go?

Where did all the normal go? Yes that boring old, Dullsville regular, normalcy of life? What is normal I am sure you ask?  You know that well worn lovey that smells all cozy and is soft on your cheek – GONE. The well worn rug under your feet, RIPPED AWAY and you are left alone, loveyless and standing, barefoot, alone on a cold, concrete floor shivering… brrrr . Lets add naked to make this sink in and really morbific. (I learnt that word today, so had to use it.) PS. please do not imagine me naked, as enough to put anyone off their cereal.

COVID 19 came in disguised as a “chest cold” originating in China (please watch how Trump says this word, it is clearly the pandemics greatest gift, oh and apart from the social media explosion, that kindly fills up 1/2 my day with belly laughs).  It snuck in and BAM took over the world and decided to kill a few for good measure, just to make sure we took notice. So, began COVID’s assault and eye opening ride of world domination. “Outta ma way bitches”, it screams.

Side note –  humor is how I deal with change and impending doom (I can also be very dramatic). I do not make light of the situation, but I will point out all the “funny” in it. Because, there is a whole fucking lot, otherwise I may as well cry at the complete mismanagement of the situation and utter shit show we are in.

In life, in the space of one tiny month, a mere 30 ish days, everything went from “regular” to a dramatic, head spinning change to the way we live, socialize, work, educate, shop, wash ourselves, communicate. Shit, I even have to clean my own home now. Yes, I had to formally reintroduce my self to Mop and Bucket and Mr Dyson. Plus, the check I normally give to the cleaners, went into my drastically low, alcohol fund.

Essentially, we used to be “free” to roam (I am not sure that should necessarily be allowed for some members of society) and now we are not. LOCK DOWN PEOPLE, the aliens are coming (yup dramatic), Stay at home orders and chained to a 6ft bubble of safety (but not really, but we kinda of are). I went from stay at home / PT working mum to homeschool teacher Mrs Joy, who essentially my kids do not see as any type of educator. More snack bitch and Band-Aid distributor. I hear the calls from the social media do gooders, “now you know how hard those underpaid teachers work”. YES I do know, I have always known, I have always admired their love and hard work they put into my children, as all three can be compliant on a good day and ass holes the rest. But can I just point out, dear do gooder (non teacher, social media smack down person) these beautiful souls chose to be teachers, they knew the score and they have a special, innate ability to teach. I on the other hand NEVER chose to teach, should NOT teach and I am now thrust in to the glare of 3 pairs of beady, baby dragon eyes, smoke spilling from their nostrils. ALL WAITING for me to step up to the plate and get BURNED by their total lack of interest in me as a teacher. I was not trained, I do not have the enthusiasm or patience to guide my middle child through reams of cursive, I did my time of that when I was 8 years old (my cursive is something I am proud of today, you really should check it out, if I actually ever write again with a fountain pen). I also have to guide three children through a wealth of online schooling, I am but one, humble parent, running like a decapitated chicken through three different sets of educating. It is not a pleasant sight, believe me.

Sod this, any one up for a cookie baking session? Lets count those damn cookies and subtract as we eat, or throw in a little fraction work. MATH – check, Kid 2 read the instructions – ENGLISH – check. Baking is a science ooohhh SCIENCE – check – Job done.

Then we have the fact I cannot really leave my house, don’t get me wrong, I love my house, but I also love a good coffee shop and not being with my family 24 fucking 7 . I truly cannot hold my breath long enough at the bottom of the pool. The kids are wild, I am wild, that cat is getting into fights, the kids are pretty much re enacting the Hunger Games and Daddy is locked in his office working more hours than if he were at actually work. But instead I now have to feed him and shush the kids when he is on a work call. I spend a lot of my time shhhh shhhhhing SHHHHHH SHHHHHHINg like a train pulling into a station SHHHHHHHHHHHHH. SHHHHHH the F up PLEASE!!!

Now we come to shopping, what is the deal people? Apparently, toilet paper, eggs and meat are survival essentials. They are nowhere to be found, unless you dig deep into the recesses of the nut jobs back yard self made bunker, who think this is Armegeddon. Newsflash, paper to wipe your arse will not save you, neither will the eggs for that matter, a hospital just might. – Now that is a combo for the Chopped kitchen.

Just don’t get me started on the hoarders, as that is a whole another 1000 words right there. I mean who are these people? Where are these people? They are clearly the same over 65 year old ass holes (UHUM you are high risk) hanging out with their mates in groups over 6. Well if you want to get sick and potentially die I’ll bagsey your bog roll thank you very much. Jesus people! (and no he will not fucking save you, he doesn’t give a crap about you, but he may just want your toilet paper). We are staying inside to keep you safe and out you are trying to get on the damn beach, to watch a sunset with your buddies. You do realize this is just the tip of the iceberg, its gonna get BIG and you may just need that non existent hospital bed.

My head feels like it may just combust into a cloud of tiny pieces, with the wealth of miscellaneous thoughts I would like to share and amuse you with. But dear people, this is humungous and I could be here for days, I’ll surely be locked at home with my “sweet,” “dearsome,” kiddiewinkis FOR MONTHS and this blog may be my only savior. Because, hell I know and as I said God will not be doing any of that save you stuff, and I certainly will not be knocking on the doors of his big pearly gates.

Well, until my next brain dump, keep well. keep apart, wash those filthy hands AGAIN and don’t cough or you may just be hunted and killed.

Love an insane, not drunk enough, locked up mother of three boys, who has no Xanax.

Peace out