This morning my heart went out to the anguish of my 9 year old, when facing another year’s swimming carnival, and the disappointments that come from not being naturally gifted with speed. My thoughts then journeyed to my own years of athletic carnivals (we didn’t have swimming carnivals), and the pain at coming last (or almost) in every race. “It doesn’t matter how you go, just do your best.” Except that it does matter, because everyone wants their team house to win.

I have never been a runner, nor particularly sporty. Not the “typical” physio. But I knew exercise was healthy, and what I needed.  Maintaining regular fitness when my kids were young, hyper-clingy/needy and sleepless was incredibly hard to say the least. But at least I regularly had exercise carrying a little balance bike when it was discarded mid-walk, while carrying one child and simultaneously pushing a stroller with the other child, with whatever spare hands I could find!

A few years ago, as my children were entering their early school years, I became the classic story of a mum starting to look after herself after years of neglect. I
followed the droves of similar-life-stage women down the well-trodden path of going to high intensity small group personal training.  I made some great gains, but my body started to complain a bit too much at the insult! After a while it hit me that I can do fitness myself, without spending much money.  I began running using the Couch-2-5k app, which was like an incredible bright light bulb moment! I can actually be someone who runs! (still not a “Runner”).  It didn’t look pretty, and it certainly wasn’t fast, but it was regular!  However, as time continued, I was disappointed to find that despite persistence, I was still very speed challenged – even though I was doing regular home-based strength exercises!

Recently I started a new training program, involving some weekly HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). I realized I am terrible at jumping or hopping, and this seems to be a great area in need of improvement. 2 1/2 years on from my running debut, I have FINALLY hit the 6 minute km mark at Parkrun a couple of weeks ago. I am still on a high, and now officially label myself as a runner!

So I wish I could let my 9 year old son stay home from the dreaded swimming carnival.  I feel for the poor little fellow.  But there is hope for all of us, and I am pleased that he loves playing sport so much.  If anyone has any tips to help me get to 5:30min kms, please send them in to me!