Over a decade ago I was inspired by a revered and popular public figure who ran their first marathon sometime after turning 40. I said, "I'd like to do that one day - run a marathon - sometime in my 40's". Fast forward to November 3rd, 2010, and within minutes of the clock striking midnight, I cried myself to sleep. I had turned 40. My tears were not due to the actual number, but over the fact that my life didn't look like what I thought it would at this age. I was childless despite every effort not to be, and behind closed doors I was hopeless and lifeless. I had many broken dreams and a broken spirit to match.

A month after turning 40 I remembered my words all those years ago and asked my health care practitioner whether I'd be physically able to run a marathon (especially being 20kg / 45 pounds overweight), and if so - how long would I need to prepare. He replied, "12 months". I asked, "Would 11 be okay?" He nodded. That night I registered for the New York City Marathon and the next morning, I started my training program (which was written for me by an expert in aerobic endurance training). To ensure nothing stopped me from realising my dream (like luck in the lottery selection process), I registered with a charity and have a guaranteed place. I now have 9 months to go before I head to New York and realise my dream - running the marathon, three days after my 41st birthday.

This is my journey...

Friday, 25 February 2011

A Child's Life

I'm here at my brother's house having just spent the last four hours babysitting my 6 year old nephew and 3 year old niece, whom I've just put to bed with a Mr. Men book.

We spent the evening playing snakes and ladders, drawing frogs and trapdoor spiders, then finished off with an imaginary game called 'mothers and fathers'. My nephew called himself Storm, my niece Curly and I was Polly - their daughter. We re-enacted a typical day and it was amazing to see how they expertly responded to daily crises like me getting imaginary shampoo in my eyes whilst having a virtual shower. "Put your head back Zia!" they cried. Gorgeous.

The things I love most about kids is their imagination, honesty and infectious energy. When I first arrived here, I was feeling exhausted and couldn't fathom how I was going to last to their 7:30pm bed time. Within half an hour of getting into their world, I was energised and felt 35 years younger. Now that they're in bed (way past their bedtime), my fatigue has returned. If it weren't for typing this post, I'd be in a sweet slumber myself.

The energy and joy I felt tonight is reminiscent to what I feel like when I'm out training. Since declaring my dream of running in the NYC marathon, every day out brings me closer to making it a reality. My imagination transports me there. With each step I imagine scenarios like running through Central Park and over the Brooklyn Bridge - and I'm just as pleased with my imaginary athleticism as what my nephew and niece were with their imaginary parenting.

As my eyelids grow heavy, I cannot help thinking that there's a lot to be said for those still in their single digits. How much sweeter life would be if we were to model ourselves on them:
  • When you're doing something you love, you are focused, present and cannot be dissuaded or distracted.
  • You have so much energy, you don't know what to do with it all - and can run around for hours without waking up sore the next day
  • You must have fun in all that you do, or it's not worth doing.
  • All problems are simply solved by imagination.
  • You call things as you see them and your honesty is seen as cute.
  • You know what you want and your determination will take you to great lengths to get it.
  • You don't take no for an answer.
  • You go to bed when the sun sets and up again when it rises.
On that note, it's time I bid you good night as the sun set quite some time ago.

Until tomorrow, remember what it was like to be a child and allow it to expand your imagination, honesty, joy and infectious energy. Oh, and remember to tilt your head back when you wash your hair ;-)

Grace xx

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