There are NINE weeks to go to the London Marathon 2014. The bum is squeaking. The knee is grinding. Surprisingly, I am also suffering from heated seat-based chaffing of what I will call ‘the leg-bum delta’…more on that later.
14 miles were run yesterday. Here’s the bonkers bit: wow, that’s a long way, yet, ooh, there are 12.2 miles to go???
My pride and joy are the pair of trainers I have knackered during the winter training sessions.
So many boxes ticked! Virtue – I have been running a lot (tick). Sympathy – oh you poor thing, soldiering on with holes in them slippers (tick). Validation – I am tougher than a pair of shoes (tick), Retail – I can go shopping for some new sports gear!!! (tick).
A man comes of age when he starts taking an interest in utility sportswear ahead over other apparel. Walking boots, trainers, weather appropriate garb. To hell with the price, this is about survival.
North Face exists on this basis. I need a $400 jacket. I may get stuck in a snowdrift. The fact I get to look like I work on a film set is a fringe benefit. Survival is paramount. Pass me the clapperboard.
But running the marathon is the real deal. It’s the snowdrift. And my right of passage will come in the shape of brand spanking new pair of trainers. I will, of course, pay them no heed. They are just a tool of the trade, now. An overhead. All in a days work. Show me the puddle.
Well, after my run yesterday in Dorset – where me mam and dad lives – I went through the standard protocol – hydration, stretching, small amount of crying, then this sort of cock sure limp-walk around the house to stamp my authority on the morning. All done.
Imagine then my surprise when, after the 2.5 hour drive home later that day, I experience chaffing…of the lower butt?? I walked from the car as if supported by imaginary calipers, a bow-legged cowhand in a hurry. The heated leather seats of the Seat Alhambra had roasted my open-pored upper hamstrings. I can only think that a combination of exercise, shower, jean-pants-heat-fatigue had assaulted my unsuspecting ‘arris.
For those of you who have ever chaffed, you’ll know how unsettling it is. However, most times, it comes from a build-up of movement. You can see it coming. Imagine then a chaffing surprise? A ninja rash assassin when you thought you were home and dry. What surprises lay head on the road to 26.2 miles I know not. Even at rest, you are vulnerable.
But enough of me…
Olive has also gone up a gear this week, too. She has walked with a stroller. Whoop! She does it a bit like I do running, with a sense of begrudging necessity. But does it she does! Go Luffalo!
It’s one of those teary parent moments that you never forget. And with Olive, it always comes with the consideration of how much her eyesight affects her ability to do things. There’s this peculiar balance you strike as a parent with a visually impaired kid, or I expect, as a parent of any child with special needs. You want them to be ‘normal’ and you want them to be ‘special’. You want to tell the world they walked today and then forget about it. Jump for joy then back to business.
What you can never underestimate is the how hard Olive tries. She ran the gauntlet of critical neonatal illness. From day one she has had to dig really deep. She invests huge amounts of energy in getting on with things. We notice with Olive that when she is poorly, with a cold for example, her eyesight is not as good. It’s because she’s low on resources. And what comes spontaneously to most people she has to work for. She has to apply herself.
However, to sanctify her efforts also serves to undermine them. That’s the weird bit. You know that for every milestone reached, another waits round the corner and that Olive’s motivation is not based on a need for recognition. She just wants to get on, to survive. North Face doesn’t even get a look in.
Here’s to a thousand more magically modest milestones. There’s plenty more footwear to tear up yet.
As always, you can sponsor my efforts to raise money for the RLSB here.