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The fear of failure re: half marathon.
The looking forward to vegging out and feeling healthier (oxymoronic though that may seem).
The long distance that I hoped to close – and the potential for things to go spectacularly wrong.
I didn’t fail. I completed the half marathon in < 2 hours. 1:49:55, to be exact. Position #553, and 50th female across the line.
So that was one thing.
I have barely exercised since (unless ascending & descending 102+ stairs every day counts), but plan to change that (gradually) starting soon, as I still feel the same as before.
I closed the distance. I got a job in the city (bleh, the city), and moved in with Him. Unfortunately the job contract is temporary, ending Christmas. Fortunately I have interviews for more permanent ones coming up, and a decent chance of being kept where I am if those don’t go well.
‘Bleh, city’ has been basically the only downside in all of this so far. There have been no catastrophic fuck-ups yet. Ok so I don’t really feel like my work (Social Research) can ever contribute more than 0.00000000000001% to anything that really matters in this world, but hey; I’m not dead yet. I’m not even old, yet. I’m not even not-that-young, yet.
Here is a photo of myself and my brother in the garden back home, wearing our medals and t-shirts and pretending to be cool a couple of hours after the race;
Hope you guys are all good :)
I spent some time thinking, late last night. I was in a small amount of pain as a result of my most recent half marathon training effort, in which I managed 2.5 miles – for the majority of which I genuinely thought I was going to die. And this pain led me to panic to no small extent about the real thing. I have six weeks to go from thinking I am dying during a 2-mile run, to surviving 13 miles. And there it was; fear of failure.
This maybe isn’t the best example of what I’m trying to say here, because it didn’t take me all that long to come to the conclusion that, hey, how many people ever get this far in the pursuit of a fitness/exercise related goal? How was I to know, when I started out, that the regular exercise we all believe to be holy and divine and to have the power to transform us into our very best selves, was in fact going to destroy my health inch by disappearing inch? How many people have ever been in that “enviable” position of neither needing nor wanting to lose any weight or burn any more calories than they did before they started running 20 miles a week? That place where running 20 miles a week will leave them feeling wiped out all the time, weighing scarily less than they used to and bingeing on all the junk they can find (whilst at the same time trying to fit in the recommended amounts of healthy stuff every day) in a desperate effort to feel alive and get some kind of a figure back?
No; all things considered, it wouldn’t really be a sign of failure if I were to heed my body’s sage warnings and end this madness. I could do something less potentially life-threatening in aid of the charity people donated money to in my name. Although the whole point of my doing this was so that I could feel like I’d achieved something at the end of it, I was labouring under all of the universally held assumptions surrounding physical exertion. I still have every intention of continuing to train, of completing the race, of achieving the aim; I am just massively looking forward to vegging out and returning to a healthy weight and not-feeling-like-a-zombie when it’s all over and done with.
From that train of thought I guess I finally figured out what He meant when he said I need to fuck up more.
There aren’t that many everyday fuck-ups that are impossible to get through, to survive and recover from. Whether I run the race and come out of it hideously unhealthy or pull out and find something else admirable to do for the charity, things will work out and everything will be ok in the end. At the very worst, at least I know a kick-ass way to lose weight should I ever need to.
And yet, with most of everything I do (or want to do, could do, should do but don’t) I am held back by the crippling terror of it all going horribly wrong. The reason I am so afraid is because I’ve so far never allowed anything to go horribly wrong enough in my life. I haven’t experienced the outcome of that, that recovery from that crash, that new door opening because an old one closed. I haven’t taken the calculated risk, because I got too scared during the calculation.
Except in one area of my life; the one He became a part of as a result of my past fuck-ups. Relationships. Having been messed with in all imaginable ways by past partners (I know that makes me sound like an old woman at the tender age of 21; there have been less than a handful of past partners, just enough to teach me most of all I’ll ever need to know) I have reached a position of relative fearlessness where my current one is concerned. Ok so a sizable portion of that may just be due to the fact that he isn’t an asshole like the others were. A sizable portion may be due to the fact that I knew that about him all along, even before I chose to ignore all rationality and spend a stupid amount of my precious time with one of said asshole others. A sizable portion may be due to the fact that eventually giving in to common sense felt like going home from a long vacation in several cities where I could never belong.
Of course I still have worries, I still have doubts, nobody is perfect. But the thing is, I know now that whatever happens, I will be ok in the end. I will survive, I will recover. After my very first proper relationship failed when he cheated on me for the second time (with one of my good friends, no less) I didn’t think life could go on. I thought I had lost the love of my life (ha. ha ha ha). I was devastated, heartbroken. Nowadays I am embarrassed to think that I ever indulged in such emotions for his sake; really, he was never any good to me. I am baffled as to why I never figured that out at the time. Perhaps I did, maybe I always knew we weren’t right together but was just too afraid to admit it and let go. And so he trampled all over me and… I survived. I learned. I learned to look at things differently and realised that things turned out for the best on all sides. Ok so I took a longer and more dangerous route than I should have to get to where I am now, but I made it; I am still here and I have developed a backbone and I will never put with that kind of bullshit in a relationship again. As one half of a couple, I now have self-worth. In the event of misbehaviour on His part, we both know that I will be ok. I will survive, I will get over it, I will maintain that self-worth. Sure, he could hurt me… but I could heal. And this is why, despite the long-distance nature of our relationship, we have managed so far. This is how I have the strength to trust him, to believe him and believe in him, to back off when he needs me to and to never be jealous or clingy or have ridiculous expectations of either of us. I have no intention of hurting him, and I believe him when he tells me he would never do anything to hurt me. Oh, and we’re both smart enough to realize and take responsibility when our actions have unintentionally harmed each other. Without speaking too soon, I think this really, really works.
Now I just need the courage/stupidity/naivety to throw more than my whole self into something work-related and be prepared to watch it go gloriously tits-up (as the saying goes round here), in the name of closing that long distance.
It was about 10.30pm, and I was on a train and in my third hour of a journey home from London.
Somewhere on the opposite side of the carriage and a couple of seats behind mine were sitting a young mother and her little boy – who was at a guess around two years old.
For most of the journey the pair were babbling away to each other in that way that mothers and toddlers do. Then we reached a station a couple of stops away from my own (and a couple more still away from theirs), and as the train slowed to a halt the boy got ridiculously excited, jumping up and down screaming ‘Are we there are we there are we there? Mummy, are we there???’
No, mummy explained, no we’re not there yet. This is Thorne, we’ve got about 45 minutes to go…
and so (even though I’m pretty sure this kid was far too young to understand ’45 minutes’) he began to cry. Loudly. Wailing and sobbing as if the most tragic thing in the world, ever, had just happened to him.
(At this point the teenage boy sitting in front of and opposite to me, with whom I’d looked up from my book to make brief eye contact, shared a smirk with me before mumbling something which might have been ‘oh god, please no’).
After about 30 seconds of the mournful hysterics the mother put us all out of our misery/mild irritation;
“Oh… Stop Pretending To Cry!”
And so he did. Instantly. And remained silent for the next thirty seconds before starting up all over again.
Maybe you had to be there, but I had to giggle.
You Can Hear Me Through The Radio,
In That Bright White Noise…
(Because there’s just something so pleasing about that line, and this song makes me want to dance even when I feel most worn out, unhappy and inhibited – and so least capable – of doing so).
I live directly opposite my village’s primary school.
I have never quite been able to understand why an apparent majority of parents of the young children in the village (and I’m sure the same goes for children attending their local primary schools everywhere) choose to drive said offspring to school when said school cannot possibly more than around a ten-minute walk away.
That’s right, Mums and Dads; I’m suggesting that it would be better for you to (shock, horror) get off your fat lazy arses and walk your young ones to school. Put one foot in front of the other a few times a day. It probably won’t kill you, and it definitely won’t kill the kid(s). And if it is likely to kill you that’s probably in large part due to the fact that it’s been so long since you last did such a thing – which would account for how your lazy ass got so fat. I mean, is there any wonder childhood obesity is a growing problem in this country? By chauffeuring your brats to and from the other end of the same damn road you live on you are encouraging them to be incredibly lazy too.
No you are not pushed for time, and no you will not be late for work; getting up ten minutes earlier to allow for a casual hundred-metre stroll will not kill you any more than will the use of your legs’ full potential.
If your children happen to be older than, say, eight; why can’t they walk to school by themselves or with other children who live nearby? This is a small village and there are plenty of other kids and parents going the same way; nothing terrible will happen to them so long as they possess a shred of common sense and you’ve taught them such essentials as look-both-ways-and-listen-for-traffic-before-crossing-roads, and don’t-talk-to-strangers.
(This is a village. Everyone knows everyone’s business. There basically are no strangers, anyway).
Perhaps your ass isn’t fat and lazy; perhaps you’re one of those who drive your kids to school because you find it difficult to walk in those new Prada heels and that figure-hugging pencil skirt you’re desperate to show off – crowning glory as they are of the ‘yummy mummy’ image you’re trying to project.
Or perhaps you want to show us all how well-off and respectable you are through the medium of that fancy new car you’re driving?
Well I’m sorry, but unfortunately for your maxed-out credit card/chief exec hubby, most of us don’t give two hoots about that stuff either. At least, not beyond wishing you’d move your status symbol from across the bottom of our drive so we can get the youngest members of our own family to their school (six miles away – does not provide a bus service to this locality) on time. And we’d appreciate you doing so without the (excessively-lipsticked) stuck-up-bitch pout, please. Thanks.
Rant Over. Hastily-Carved-Cat-(mini)Pumpkin:
Something you always think ‘what if’ about.
Something you are proud of.
The what if thing is really easy.
When I was little I always said I was going to be a vet when I grew up. This ambition was very simply premised on the fact that I adored animals, and found all of them fascinating without exception. I also liked how they never required me to be polite and come out from behind the sofa to say things to people; things like ‘Hello’, and whatever the appropriate answers might be to the questions *insert relative’s name here* might care to ask me by way of small talk.
Anyway, the point is that I lacked confidence. Everyone who tried to instil it in me over the years must ultimately have failed, because I still lack confidence. Painfully. While such character flaws are mostly acceptable in doe-eyed, cherub-blonde four-year-olds, they are a little less forgivable in tired-eyed twenty-one-year-olds (with hair of god-knows-what-colour).
But up until the point where it started to matter, I aced everything I needed to ace in order to keep my early ambitions a possibility. Then for some reason I lost all faith in my ability to continue my education in the sciences, and chose to study English, History, Classics and Philosophy to A Level. Which in turn killed all potentially lucrative options when it came to possible University courses. Despite the fact that I went on to do well in all of those things and my eventual university degree, I now very much doubt that I will ever become a Veterinary Surgeon. I lament my decisions from time to time… vets make a lot of money; I’m sure that’s almost worth the horror of having to stick your hand up cows’ backsides every now and then. Having made the choices I did back then, and followed them up in the way that I have, I often wonder nowadays if I’ll ever be able to make money out of doing anything I vaguely enjoy. Not to mention the fact that the confidence has waned still further as a result; simply not being terrified of anything I might possibly decide to do seems like an unattainable Holy Grail nowadays. I’ve backed myself into a corner so that I pretty much can’t avoid living a lie, and I’m tearing my hair out in my efforts to figure out which lie would be best to go for.
Something I’m Proud Of.
My little sister loves me?
Here is a picture of a stumpy dog and its owner walking in the sea at Filey: