Runs with son

February was so grim. Tom (13) was hating school and every morning was a gut-wrenching battle. Given my strong bias for action I had to do something. Keeping him at home wasn’t an option so instead I signed him up to the 7k virtual run I was doing. I figured that exercise/endorphins are a game changer for me when life isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, so I thought it was worth a try for him too. We did a few short jaunts and then the 7k, which he found really tough: we had to stop a few times, but we got it done.

We then signed up for another virtual run: 50k in March. We’ve done 2ks, 3ks, 4ks, 5ks and a 7k. We’ve run in the dark and in the rain and early on a weekend morning. We’ve run with snotty noses and headaches and whilst feeling crap. We got behind due to an enforced 6-day break because he was poorly. We’ve mostly run together, and sometimes with a local running club. One day he went off to do a 3k on his own (I had an extra 15k in the bag) and he ended up doing 8.3k. Just like that. No stopping. We’ve done 42k and we have two days left to crack out our final eight, which we’re going to do in one go.

Entering a virtual challenge forced us to drag each other out during March when we wouldn’t have otherwise bothered. And what a difference it has made. He’s now perfectly happy going off to school (new friendships have helped), and is of course fitter and faster. And most importantly he has his oh-so-special spark back.

Running helps build resilience and it’s so accessible. All you need is a pair of trainers and off you go. It’s much like life: put one foot in front of the other and keep going. And the other benefits shouldn’t be underestimated because fresh air, sunlight, Vitamin D and being in nature are generally always going to make you feel better. We’ll certainly carry on running together and in a few short weeks it will have become a habit.

I didn’t really think about our March challenge improving my running, but it has. This morning I did a 3k for speed and managed a sub five-minute 1k, which I’ve never done before. The credit for that has to go to Tom and his willingness to put his trust in me, and see our commitment through to completion 💙

Jeremy jobs and Mo the motivator

When I woke up this morning the thought of starting a blog was just about the furthest thing from my mind: in fact I’d go as far as to say that I’ve never considered writing a blog. Why would I?

But then, after I posted on Facebook about my son and our running challenge there followed a nudge from my lovely professional writer friend to suggest I start blogging (closely followed by other friends).

And just like that a seed was planted and “why would I?” was swiftly superseded by “why wouldn’t I?”. Having a strong bias for action, here I am, less than six hours later with a:

  • WordPress account
  • domain name
  • new Twitter handle (@effperfect)
  • Google sheet, mapping out ideas
  • first post written
  • moderate dose of imposter syndrome

But seriously, why not? When I was in my early teens I wanted to be a journalist (and a PE teacher  and, briefly, a social worker). If I could do any job in the world it would be Jeremy Vine’s: those who know me know I’m a bit of a superfan: the people he gets to meet, the stories he hears and has the privilege of re-telling, the breadth of discussions, the sensitivity, intelligence and wit he has crafted over the course of his career. Second choice: Jeremy Clarkson’s. I’m not so much a superfan of the man himself, but what a job description: travel, adventure, mates, cars, driving, tomfoolery. What’s not to love?

During my recent foray into adult education (Foundation Degree in Business, 2016) tutors’ assignment feedback often included a few lines about the quality of my writing (in a good way). My day job is in marketing, for a startup: again, the written word features strongly.

Then there’s the draw of starting over with something, learning new skills, developing my writing, getting to grips with the backend of blogging, all helping to keep the old grey matter ticking over.

And finally, I actually enjoy writing. For my personality type it can be a frustrating process of back and forth, getting hung up for forever and a day on the suitability of a single word, ruminating and refining until I wonder if the three -versions-ago draft was actually better. But ultimately writing feels like a tonic for my inner perfectionist. At some point, as with much of life, one just needs to hit the button and move on to the next thing. “Poo or get off the pot” as my husband likes to say. So in that respect, should nobody ever read my words, for me they’re still a cathartic antidote to the self-abuse that is perfectionism.

When I consider all this alongside my 8+ year mission to develop my mental, physical and emotional health, I think I do have something worth sharing, and I suppose that’s what my friends were telling me. And if one middle-aged (or any aged – I’m not fussy) person reads my ramblings and connects with them in some way, well, that would be a very satisfying bonus.


Anyway, I’m going to give it a try.

Because I do love to get shit done.

And if you don’t try, you don’t know.