Irish Parenting Bloggers on How and Why they Keep on Running.
We are powering through, people. We’re in week 6. We’re tired and we’re sore but we’re fecked if we’re gonna come this far and quit. We’ve now built up to almost 4K. Hurrah! Not too shabby. There are only three weeks left in the programme. Only three weeks until we can parkrun with the best of them. Only three weeks until we can sign up for 5k runs and casually but oh-so-smugly wear 5K t-shirts on the grocery shop. I’m hearing Chariots of Fire as I type; a sure sign that a) I’ve lost myself in my reverie and b) I’ve lost the run of myself entirely.
Week 5 in review. A Q&A.
- Did I complete week 5? Yes. On day three I ran for twenty whole minutes without stopping.
- Did I enjoy it? Not one tiny bit.
- Did I curse myself for deciding to document this running business? Yes. Stupid idea.
- Did I curse this blog and consider shutting it down? Yes, approximately 12 minutes in. And every 30 seconds thereafter.
- Was I dignified? Nope. I was blotchy-faced, sweating and very close to tears for the latter half of day three.
- Did I feel amazing afterward? No. My calves burned and my head ached. I despaired at the five minute walk home and feared that I may have to call my husband to come and pick me up at the roundabout up the road.
- Am I being melodramatic? No. It was THAT hard.
- Did I choose the wrong music? Yes. Spotify running playlists need to take age profiles into consideration. In the throes of my running misery, I had neither the energy, nor the wherewithal to faff with the shuffle button and so was forced to suffer through the likes of Flo Rida & Jay Z.
- Am I happy I did it? Hells yeah!
- Could I do it again? I reckon so.
- Am I making progress? Absolutely. I struggled to run for two minutes a month ago and now I can run for twenty.
- Am I going to finish this? Yes. Yes I am. And then I will celebrate with all of the alcohol.
The Week Ahead
Anyone else pleased and relieved that we’re reverting back to runs with acceptable walk breaks in days one and two? Phew.
SEE HOW THEY RUN!
This week I’ve invited some of your favourite Irish parenting bloggers to share their thoughts and experiences on the series. We’ve got Andrea from Office Mum, Sharyn from Raising Ireland, Gwen from Wonderful Wagon, Candi from Often Called Cathy and Margaret from His Friend the Fox. These ladies all enjoy a jaunty little run as much as we will when we’ve completed this thing and I’m delighted that they’ve agreed to share some of their wisdom with us.
Andrea Mara – Office Mum
You’ll know Andrea from one of Ireland’s most popular, award-winning parenting blogs, officemum.ie. She’s a working mother of three and her first novel The Other Side of the Wall will be published later in the year. How, you ask, does she manage to juggle it all and run too?
Prepare to get lost in her blog. She writes in a way that will keep you clicking for more and her posts on family life, travel and being a working mum are so honest and relatable that reading them makes you feel like you’re chatting to a pal. Here’s what she has to say about her first ever run.
Before I had kids, I had no time for exercise (no, I have no idea what I was doing either). After kids, I had less time than ever, but also a greater need than ever to find something I could do that was just for me and made me feel good. A couple of years ago, running became that thing. I still remember the first time I went out – it was a Sunday morning, the kids were sitting at the kitchen table colouring, paying no attention. My husband was peeling potatoes to go with a roast. He assumed I was going for a walk, and I wasn’t brave enough to say I was going for a run. I arrived back twenty minutes later – that’s all it was that first time – and the kids were at the kitchen table, still colouring. My husband was at the counter, still peeling potatoes. I’d missed nothing. And I felt amazing. Eureka moment. And I’ve never looked back.
Sharyn Hayden – Raising Ireland
Sharyn Hayden is just one of those naturally funny people and her blog posts always manage to give me a chuckle. I love a mama who doesn’t take it all too seriously and Sharyn has that wicked, self-deprecating humour that will always make the reader feel at ease. She’s a mother of two as well as a presenter, actress and published author (her book – I Forgot to Take my Pill – is on my reading list for Spring). And if that isn’t enough, she’s the brains behind Mumsbox, her recently-launched business venture, providing subscription boxes designed specifically for mums. Her blog, Raising Ireland, deals with all things parenting in a way that will make you laugh, cringe and nod in agreement.
“I find it hard to get any exercise done once the day has truly started, and by that, I mean when everyone else in the house is awake. If I don’t get up and out the door for about 7am I have no chance to get that bit of exercise I need in! The past few months have been tricky with the darker mornings and really, I haven’t been getting out for many daytime walks or runs that weren’t a guilt-fuelled ‘nip around the block’ with the dog. But now! Oh hail, glorious bright mornings again!
I took off with our dog Pearl this morning to kick-start what I hope will be the return to my early morning exercise. I get the earphones in and either listen to music or inspirational podcasts and head for the beach or big field by a small woods that is near our house. It generally makes me feel like I did something just for me at the beginning of the day and so then I don’t mind too much if I don’t get a moment to myself for the rest of it. It was hard getting back to it this morning and I genuinely needed a puff of my inhaler when I got back, the shame! But onwards and upwards – tomorrow is another day and maybe, just maybe, I’ll run without the need for resuscitation!”
Candi O’Reilly – Often Called Cathy
Candi’s blog is a very positive corner of the web. A busy mother of three and full-time carer, she writes a warm and honest blog about parenting and motherhood, with a focus on parenting her daughter with special needs. Candi has been running on and off for years. She’s even run marathons. She’s currently training for a 10k in April and while she enjoys running, she has ulterior motives these days and understands the health benefits more than ever.
I’m running for my life. To keep me alive, to give me more energy for my children, to help me ditch medication, and to battle anxiety and depression, the life partners of many family carers, including me. In my 20s running gave me a social life and respect from my male co-workers. In my 30s running gave me my body back after childbirth and helped me make friends in Ireland. In my 40s running gave me an escape from my problems. In my 50s running is helping to keep fit and healthy so I can stick around for as long as my children need me.
Gwen Loughman – Wonderful Wagon
Gwen is an another blogger who tells it like it is but does so with wry humour and a warmth that will instantly draw you in. Her blog balances the funny with the sentimental as she shares her stories and experiences as a busy mum of four boys. She, too, documented her running journey in her Big Bird blog series. Below she’s sharing what running has done for her…
I like my challenges to have a purpose with a clear and definitive end goal in sight. I find it difficult to commit otherwise. So the first time I completed my circuit of 4.8km without stopping, I was delighted. I set myself a challenge and I got there. The not-so-hidden purpose was to lose the weight gain of four babies in five years. I dropped three and a half stone. Last year I trained for a 10k and was the first lady across the finish line. That was some buzz I can tell you.
I have never had a bad run. I’ve had plenty of difficult ones and there have been a few times when I really didn’t want to get out there, but within five minutes, I forget about the rain and my excuses. I think people run for different reasons and similarly everyone gets something unique out of it. It doesn’t relax me but it certainly makes me feel good. It provides me with much needed energy for the rest of the day. I also have a dog who likes to come with me and she is the perfect incentive to get out there after I drop the kids to school in the morning. If I don’t do it then, it doesn’t happen. It’s part of my day’s work and not something I fancy doing in the evening. I’ve found the evenings are the worst time for me to run. I’m tired, sluggish and am heavy both physically and mentally. I didn’t go out during mid-term as my boys are still too young to be left alone but I’ve already got my gear laid out all ready for the morning. Ready to get back into it! and I can’t wait!
Margaret Shine – His Friend the Fox
A relative newbie to the blogging scene like myself, Cork native and primary school teacher Margaret shares posts about life with her toddler Mike – a.k.a. The Prince – on her blog, His Friend the Fox. She blogs about adjusting to motherhood and shares snippets of her life in County Clare. Margaret has managed to effortlessly fit running into her new role as mum (something which has taken me almost seven years) and she’s happy to share why and how she stays fit.
When I was choosing my buggy, I didn’t go looking for a running buggy; instead, I got a Quinny Buzz. So imagine my surprise, three months post-partum, when my feet just started to move a bit faster on my daily walk! Then five months post-partum I was signing myself up for the Park Runs! I’ve fallen in and out of love with running for years: sometimes going on three or four runs a week, sometimes just two and often, only wearing my runners to get the cleaning done faster! I hadn’t envisaged being a buggy-pushing runner but that’s what I have become and now I love it. Don’t get me wrong, there are still weeks when getting out for a walk is a struggle but I haven’t given up on it yet (though I still haven’t upgraded to a running friendly buggy!) Running for me is head space; it’s a time to think, or not to think. It’s a chance to feel strong; it helped me, along with a lot of yoga, to lose the baby weight. Running makes me happy. Most important of all though, I love that I am being a good role model for The Prince, I want him to lead a healthy lifestyle so it’s important that I show him how! It’s never too late to start and the world is full of motivating and inspiring bloggers like the lovely Sinéad here, so if you want to do it – just do it!
If you love reading blogs and would like to discover more Irish parenting bloggers, check out this handy directory. You’re sure to find some that float your boat.
Fancy sharing your own running experiences with us in the comments below? If you’re taking part in the Momto5K series, don’t forget to stop back here or visit my Facebook page during the week to let us know if you’ve battled through another three runs. You’ll find me either gloating or complaining (mostly complaining and banging on as if I’m the first woman to ever run) on Instagram Stories.
If you’re a blogger or someone with an interest or background in fitness and you’d like to contribute to the series, get in touch via email. You’ll find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you miss the other posts in the series? Find them here:
- Mom to 5K – This time I’m doing it!
- Mom to 5K #1 – Running Safety feat. Carrie Budds from Carrie Small Plate
- Mom t0 5K #2 – 5 Running Tips for Beginners feat. Laura Crichton from Edinburgh Life – With Kids
- Mom to 5K #3 – How to Choose the Right Running Shoes feat. Mary Jennings from ForgettheGym.ie
- Mom to 5K #4 – Easy Ways to Fuel your Run feat. Rachel Wattson from rachelwattsonfitness.com
- Mom to 5K #5 – How to Not Quit feat. Laura Fountain from Lazy Girl Running.