Stamina (noun): The ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort
If you asked me whether I’d prefer to run 10 kilometres, or to run one 5 minute kilometre, I would opt for the first one (I just hope James doesn’t read this, otherwise he’ll try to get me out to do it, this weekend). I’m the slow and steady tortoise, rather than the speedy hare.
It’s been the same with the ongoing building work in our house. The job was supposed to take 13 weeks; they’re now running 8 weeks over with no fixed end date. It will likely ‘only’ be another 4-5 weeks, which in the grand scheme of things, is not really a big deal. Yet it was this week that I had a meltdown, the “this is never going to end, get them out of my house!” moment (James said that where I went wrong, was in my assumption that builders were nice, honest people). I was fine when it was taking ages and ages, yet when the end is in sight, this is when I choose to have my freak out?
It’s made me think, I do tend to do badly with the time-pressured events, perhaps that’s why this is the hand I’ve been dealt (are you loving the mixed metaphors? Sorry, I’ll concentrate). I should be suited to this pregnancy ‘journey’ malarkey, then right? Because I’m in it for the long haul. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
A textbook pregnancy + labour = The sprint
Delays + hurdles + setbacks = The marathon
Except the reason I’d opt for the long run, is because it’s easier somehow, spread out. Less concentrated (James is good at both marathons and sprints – yeah, he’s annoying like that!). There’s no point where I’ll just stop, I can just slow down until it gets done. This baby loss challenge obviously isn’t like that. Well, it is and it isn’t.
Perhaps that‘s how I should think about it now, just one step at a time, in a very long race. That’s quite a competitive analogy, quite suited to my personality, actually. I just need to try not to think about the others who have already crossed the finish line, the friends I started the race with, who now have their toddlers cheering me on. There will always be uphill stretches, but there are also the easier downhill inclines – the temporary reprieves to catch my breath. The recovery after an uphill, does still surprise me though.
My favourite bit about running is that I can’t really think straight. I lose the ability to do mental maths, so my thoughts wander to simple things, like the music I’m listening to and when I do eventually snap back to reality I’ll go “oh yeah, I forgot I was running!”. That’s sort of similar to what happens at the moment. I can get distracted by the work day, but then I’ll stop and my mind resettles: “oh yeah, something bad happened” – it’s a thought that’s never far off. This happens SO much with music. I can’t remember the last time I could just enjoy a song (well, it was when I was pregnant), because now I can only get close. If I get too close to really enjoying it, I get snapped back into the reality: “this is making you happy, but something bad happened” – that’s what we mean by only being able to be “80% happy”.
I’m actually pretty injury prone when I run: I fall over and get stung by nettles a lot. I thought this happened to everyone! Again, that’s sort of like my unique little pregnancy journey, really. But like all of my timed distance runs, at least James is by my side, pace-making. Though my trainers are worn, and I’m exhausted, it is a marathon, not a sprint. And then maybe one day it will be done, and there will be elation, relief, the crazy “let’s do it again!”
But for now, I will plod on. There is no end in sight, still a long road ahead. This is the part of the run to just endure, and so for me, it should be the easy bit. It’s the stage of the run where I just need to get into a bit of a routine, welcoming the distractions, though trust me: it is easier said than run.
P.S In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to note that I’ve not been for a run in weeks. After we lost Summer in March, I was shocked about how much my body had been put through, I’d lost so much blood and energy, I found it difficult to run for more than 15 minutes. This motivated me to get some measurable strength back and I got into a good routine, so that by June I ran 50 miles (80km) in the month, but this week, I achieved a different personal best: the most chocolate digestive biscuits eaten in a week. Good times.
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