Thank God it’s all over
So that’s a second half marathon under my belt. I had decided not to write ‘yet another’ post on the race but then it dawned on me that after writing various posts on the training and build-up (albeit from a tongue in cheek perspective because it’s not exactly a full marathon after all), it would be a little odd to say nothing about how the day itself went. Then a comment from someone who read Race Day…The Lie-In Has to Wait convinced me to stop debating already and just get on with it. I suppose I could say, well the starting signal sounded and I put one foot in front of the other and repeated that til I got to the finish line.
But I’m not going to do that. So:
They need to design a nappy (diaper) for female runners
“Oh no…Not again!”
because so help me God am I sick to death of running races needing the toilet from start to finish or what? If you’re not wild about reading about pee-related issues, feel free to skip to the next point. The rest of you, let me break it down for you: Half Mara 2013, went to the toilet about ten times before the race and still needed the toilet 90 seconds into the run. Pfffff. Gozo 8 miler 2013, same. This Half Mara, got in the queue for the toilets and had to step out of the queue and go find my friends at the starting line or else risk a repeat of last year where I couldn’t get to them in time for the starting gun because of the long queue for the toilets. I simply can’t stand stopping to use porta-loos as I don’t want to lose a second off my time (although I’m sure that attitude is counter-productive because surely running with a happier and erm emptier bladder would help my speed?!) and I’m just not good at doing the Paula ‘pulling over to the side of the road’ thang for reasons of modesty. Any of my friends who have just read the last part are screaming with laughter at the idea of me trying to pass myself off as a bashful lady.
Running like the police are chasing you really helps
My pace during my training runs (if you can call running twice a week training) was predicting that I was barely good enough to get through the finish at 2 hours 15 (only 5 minutes up from last year’s half mara) and yet the official race result has me grinning from ear to ear. Alright, so maybe my little legs weren’t exactly moving at warp speed – I don’t do much at warp speed apart from open a new jar of nutella as soon as I’m back in the car after leaving the supermarket- but I’ll take that result thanks (see below).
Why oh why is there so little ‘atmosphere’?
“Why on earth are we clapping? We still have 9 miles to go!”
I almost left this bit out for fear of being verbally punched in the face. So before any local seasoned Malta mara runners wade in here and tell me off for being critical, I’m simply saying that from my limited experience of two half maras here, I find it really odd that there are so few people lining the route for huge portions of the race. I guess you can rationalise that part and simply accept that most people want to be near the start and finish lines for obvious reasons. However, the thing I really don’t get at all is why – with the exception of those spectators at the start and finish – the majority of those few who do come out and ‘support’ and ‘watch’ the race along some of the route are so lacking in enthusiasm.
Okay, so there are small pockets of people doing their best to cheer you on and a few bands playing but for the most part, many just stand at the side of the road staring silently without so much as a wave, cheer, fist punch or ‘keep going’ between them. For goodness sake, I actually started clapping myself out of sheer desperation (the proof is in the pic). You’re out there, giving it your all running your socks off all the way to the finish line and you look over only to see a bunch of miserable faces and you just think, ‘honestly…go home…you’re no good to me’.
I know that comparing events from different countries is pointless because that’s just it: they’re different (size-wise, culture-wise etc). Also, I realise that despite Malta’s full and half maras apparently getting bigger year on year, as this is a tiny island obviously it is never going to emulate the biggies like London or New York in terms of sheer scale and consequently atmosphere. But come on you silent spectators…if the organisers can do such a good job every year of organising, can’t you muster up a little more of that famous Mediterranean passion and enthusiasm when you’re spectating?
No idea how my runner chick friend found me at 19k
“Where are my kids? I can’t see my kids!”
after she ‘pulled over’ twice from 11k but I’m sure glad she did. Those last 2k may not have hurt as badly as they did last year but they still hurt. I do love running with my tunes but sometimes it helps to have a running buddy. And if you’re wondering why she’s smiling while I’m grimacing here, it’s probably because she had the sense to do those two pitstops earlier while I stupidly pushed on through the needing to pee and was in proper agony by the time this pic was taken near the finish 🙂
“Children do as their parents do, not as their parents say”
Although this adorable note from Dreamy D is factually incorrect – as I am neither a fast runner nor the best mum ever – it warms my heart that over the last couple of years, my kids have witnessed their stay-at-home-mum trying something new (that she wasn’t sure she’d be any good at because she was the least sporty kid at school and spent half a lifetime with knee problems) achieving a few cool results along the way. I’m not talking about teaching them to compete against others. For me, it’s about teaching them to set their minds on something, try hard and achieve something, small or big (and if they don’t achieve it…at least they tried right?). It’s about the personal victory. Not the “I want a medal to prove I’m bigger/better/faster than you” mentality. But the “It’s nice to have a medal in the drawer proving that I’m bigger/better/faster than I myself thought I could ever be” mentality. Surely that’s setting a good example right? And erm…technically…I am the fastest runner and the best mum in MY house. So just let me own that alright?
How the heck did I manage to wear these just hours after the race?!
Who Says Runners Don’t Have Sexy Feet?
What I love most about finishing a race:
Happiness Is a Long Hot Shower
(apart from getting a shiny medal and hugs from la famille, I mean).
Looks like we’ve started a tradition with the Half Marathon dinner
If so, I think the ‘Thank Frank It’s All Over Til Next Year – Oh No There’s the Gozo 8-miler – Crap, I Need a Tequila!’ Dinner is a more appropriate name. Impractical but accurate (and I only wrote this part as an excuse to post up this pic of the ever-lovely K.L. and T.K.).
I’m not sure if I found my competitive gene or if my competitive gene found me.
Struggling to stand after 21k…and this heavy medal isn’t helping
Who cares? Either way, got the job done faster than I expected. Happy.
We Brits may not celebrate Thanksgiving but it doesn’t mean I can’t stop for a moment and take stock of all the good things in my life. For all my flaws, one of my good points is that I usually manage to find some reason almost every day to drink from the cup of gratitude. I know, I know..horrendously cheesy but it’s true! (Mental note to self: sit down and make a list of all those good things in the not-too-distant future.)
Anyway, yesterday was such a dreary wet day here in Malta that after running a bunch of errands in the bad weather, it was so nice to get home to three kids (school closed early for Thanksgiving) and my husband (who was off work with man flu). There was something so lovely about having the whole family home on a weekday and all of us staying warm inside while it poured outside that I simply had to ignore the housework (again) and show hubster and MDK how thankful I am to have them in my life by:
1) taking these:
2) doing this with them:
3) pouring all this love into a cake tin (you can hold the jokes about it looking like a cow pat thanks…hubster already had a good laugh):
4) enduring being asked 47 times ‘is it ready yet?’ (and that was just my husband) and then a short while later – tbh considering how many times I was asked if it was ready, it didn’t feel like a short while at all –
5) pulling one of life’s simple pleasures, chocolate cake, out of the oven and waiting what felt like an eternity for it to cool down a bit:
6) before slapping on some of this:
[hopes her readers will help her out by simply imagining a photo of the chocolate butter cream icing which she forgot to photograph]
7) and serving this up (okay I admit I couldn’t wait for the cake to cool down enough hence the melted icing):
and yes, don’t worry, I did leave a bit for my family too
8) before finally snuggling up on the sofa with my life’s loves to watch this for the umpteenth time:
Dreary wet afternoon?
See, I even ended up giving thanks for that too.
You know you haven’t got this parenting thing right
when you decide not to send them homemade lunches today, in favour of buying them hot pizzas at lunchtime. And then later you sit in your favourite cafe writing a post called 10 Signs of the Scatty Mama mentally patting yourself on the back for spending quality time with your youngest (when in actual fact she’s occupying herself with jigsaw puzzles, colouring for three hours and sipping babyccinos while you work on your blog).
And then you head off late to the grocery store
and as you’re salivating over the baked goods section and putting doughnuts into a bag as an afternoon treat for the kids, you shriek “**** I FORGOT THEIR LUNCHES!” so you grab some sorry-looking pizza slices from the bakery but you can’t call the kids’ teachers to let them know you’re on your way because you left your phone at home that morning (again) and you feel sick to your stomach at the thought of your other two kids sitting at school wondering where the hell their stay-at-home-mum is while everyone around them eats food lovingly prepared by proper mums, some of whom work and who don’t forget their kids’ lunch.
So you end up flying around the store like a lunatic
literally throwing stuff into the trolley at breakneck speed with your three year-old in the front seat firing nonsensical questions at you and then you line up at the ‘under 10 items checkout’, realise you have 11 items, line up at the correct checkout, literally throw everything onto the belt at breakneck speed like a lunatic, throw it all into shopping bags, run to the car, get to school way after they’ve all gone back in after lunch, endure hurt looks from your kids and faintly disgusted looks from their teachers and learn that some of the teachers scrambled around for food for your son who was crying.
Afterwards, you rush home and throw the food into the freezer
and fridge, grab your phone, nuts and chocolate (yep I really did say you grab your phone, nuts and chocolate), head off an hour late to your amazing baker friend for her help in grinding them up for a dessert that you promised to make for a fundraiser the next day because you bust your own food processor the week before when you made the same dessert.
Then your husband (who never questions your parenting)
calls you and questions your parenting…and you feel so deflated at your rubbish mothering skills that you end up gratefully accepting your friend’s invite to stay for lunch when you should really be heading home to put your toddler down for her nap and hang out that laundry load. And later when you’re going to school to get the kids, you think how celebrity mums like
Angelina, Gwyneth and Victoria just don’t have days like this
(how would they when they have an entire army of childcare and domestic employees helping them fake the image of the hands-on-mum?) and you get to school so late that your kids have gone back into the school building…and then you get your husband from work and he drops you back at your baker friend’s house but turns up again a bit later because on his way back to work he discovered you’d left your phone in the car. Then you go home, finally prepare dinner, get the kids fed and get everyone upstairs for bedtime but as you’re bathing them, you think
“Oh crap, I don’t have eggs or sugar for the dessert”
and you realise the local store will close before you’ve finished bathing the youngest. So your eldest has to change back out of her pyjamas and run to the store to buy some and as she’s leaving the house, she discovers the house keys in the front door and it’s at that point that you realise how fitting it is that you wrote 10 Signs Of The Scatty Mama just that morning…
…and that you need to borrow one of those employees from Angelina, Gwyneth or Victoria…
You can always trust your sister for good advice. One of my siblings suggested I start a blog. So being a firm believer in “why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” I did just that…and put it off for 3 years.
Then more and more friends who had been reading my facebook posts started urging me to start a blog. Well alright, they didn’t exactly ‘urge’ me…they just said they find my posts really entertaining and though I might do a good job of writing a blog.
So why the hesitation and procrastination?
Yes my brain was still in baby-fug as my youngest wasn’t even 2 months old when my sis suggested it but let’s face it, I’ve still had plenty of time since then to do something about it given that my youngest is about to turn 3 [at time of writing]. And it’s not like I’m new to writing. From the bespectacled little girl who used to sit at the back of her parents’ shop, quietly penning poetic masterpieces in her little green notebook to the numerous short stories I wrote in adole scence to my superb (if I say so myself) university thesis to my recent stints as freelance copywriter, I’m no stranger to writing.
No, I think the reason for the delay was probably the same reason why a lot of people don’t immediately reach for the remote, switch off American Idol, leap up from the sofa and exclaim “I’ll start a blog!” FEAR. Fear of looking like a show-off (I mean nothing screams “Look at me! Look at me!” quite like a blog…well, nothing apart from your own Kardashian-style TV series). Fear of nobody reading it (who on earth would pay attention to my ramblings?). Even worse, fear of people reading it and disliking it (how on earth did she think anyone would find this tosh interesting?). Fear of not having anything to say after the initial rush of inspiration and so on and so on…you get the picture. Yes, I hate to admit it but 8 years as a stay-at-home mum – despite all the fulfilment and joy they’ve brought me – have gradually eroded that confidence I had as ‘a girl about town’ to the point where I am now often too scared to try something new.
Enough with the fear though. I figure that if I can conquer my lifelong crippling fear of water to the point where I now jump into the Mediterranean sea, make some hilarious attempts at diving and go snorkeling unaccompanied (warning….don’t go snorkeling unaccompanied), then I can blooming well start a blog!
What’s more, I still have a couple of years before my youngest starts school but am itching to do something now to keep my 4 remaining mummy braincells intact. So…what to do? Well, going back to work is high on the wishlist but in the meantime, doing something from home which allows me an outlet for my increasing interest in writing seems like a pretty good idea. So, off my derriere I finally get and voila, a new blog is born (which ironically requires a lot of sitting on my derriere).
So the core of this blog will revolve around my experiences raising my 3 monkeys, ‘domestic bliss’ with hubby and life in Malta all from a fairly light-hearted angle. I’ll get serious from time to time and I’ll add some practical stuff too.
Yes, I may only reach a small audience. No, I’m not doing anything admirable like risking my life providing medical treatment in a war zone, building housing for impoverished children or dedicating my life to finding a cure for a terrible disease…but hopefully if my musings can put the odd smile on the faces of a few or a few smiles on the faces of many, then I’ve done something to ‘contribute’ in some way. (Between you and me, I hope it ends up being so successful that I barely manage to get out of my pyjamas all day and the kids have to drive themselves to school, as I spend my entire time responding to comments by my many adoring followers.)
Move over little green notebook.