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Saturday, 12 July 2008

Run, baby, run!

My legs were aching all last weekend. The reason? I managed to get myself talked into running in the Mum's race at Eden's school sports day. It had been a week of highs and lows at work and I was having a tough time shaking a particularly difficult issue out of my mind. I wanted to be with Eden 100%, at her first school sports day, enjoying the moment. But the work problem wouldn't go away. Running as fast as I could along a 100m dash sounded like a good idea. It worked. For a few seconds I was ten years old again, free of all the crap, adult stuff that clogs up my mind most of the time, running through the sunshine and laughing and nearly wetting myself (the pelvic floor really isn't what it was - sorry, was that too much information?). And my mind was gloriously empty, just for those few seconds. I'd forgotten how much I used to *love* running. Something else interested me about the race. As we stood at the start line, I did wonder just for a second whether I could win it. And I quite liked the idea that I might! Some glimmer of the highly competitive ten year old me, the one who couldn't bear even second place, was resurfacing. I didn't win. But, unlike when I was ten, that really was OK. It's funny how your perspective changes as you grow older. Like, now, running 100m without falling over, getting cramp or actually wetting myself really felt like an achievement! However, this mature and somewhat wry sense of perspective was entirely lost to me watching Eden compete in her first 'serious' sports day race. I watched her jiggling about on the start line and willed her obvious nerves to dispel. As she shot off, her pigtails streaming, I found myself yelling, "Go, Eden! Ruuuuuuun! You can do it!" I wanted her to win, not because I wanted her to be the best, but because I knew how disappointed she would be if she didn't. She won her heat, and I was immeasurably proud. But when she came third in her final, and her tears began to flow, I wished I could take away her disappointment. I went to comfort her and she ran into my arms. And as I pulled away from our cuddle, she said to me in a slightly choked voice, "It doesn't matter that I didn't win, Mummy. Running that race has made me stronger for the next time. It's the taking part that counts, isn't it?" I knew she only half believed it, but I admired her assertion, her swift attempt to regain perspective in the face of disappointment, all the same.

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