Hmmm. Now the baby is sleeping "through the night" (as long as your definition of "night" means "until the first glimmer of dawn"), all excuses for avoiding exercise and counting chocolate as a core food group are officially void. Bugger. Continuing my personal quest to ensure that the soundtrack of my life is World's Cheesiest Songs, my current default tune is a line from Paul Simon's "You can call me Al" -
"Why am I so soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard?"
Not that my life is hard, per se - it's just full. But hey.
Anyway. I was beginning to bore myself with the excuses for not actually doing something about it, but somehow fitting in a run even twice a week just doesn't compute when you're a quarter of a family of four. Partly because I just really like hanging out with the boys, big and little, and am loathe to give up weekend time. And as a chronic insomniac, running in the evenings is pretty much out - it'd be like knocking back a triple espresso at midnight then wondering why I couldn't sleep.
So I hit upon the idea of getting up at 6am every other morning (Dave and I alternate getting up with the kids and so this would be my "off" morning) and going for a run then. In theory this would make me instantly glamorous, fit, and chirpy. Actually, I suspect I'd need a frontal lobotomy and a total personality transplant to become instantly glamorous, but I probably need those anyway for contemplating sunrise runs.
In practice, here's how it played out:
Day 1, 6am: Dave and I wake up after a (for us) colossal 8-hour sleep to the gentle chirruping of the boys in their respective bedrooms. Grin, yawn, cuddle. I remember I've left my running gear in Lucas' room and clearly it would be a heinous crime to disturb him. Run foiled.
Day 2, 5:45am: Lucas wakes us up burbling to himself. I leap out of bed and selflessly (hmm) offer to get up with him so that Dave (who has been doing morning wake-ups for 8 months at this stage whilst I did nights) can sleep in. What this actually means for me is that I can snuggle with a dozy baby rather than having to face any exercise, but still feel virtuous about it. Yay.
I had a blinding realisation halfway through the morning that thinking about going running wasn't actually the same as having gone running. Genius, that's me. The rest of my life is not actually so hard, but my middle? Still soft.
However, there's a solution: Support knickers.
Sexy, huh? And do you know just how much of a cliche you feel running into Marks and Sparks after work to buy control knickers before legging it to nursery to collect your two small children? Ooh, that would be a HUGE one.
The control knickers worked like a Walk of Shame, though - the very sight of them was enough to make me determined to bloody run already lest I have to wear the damn things. So...
Day 3: 5:45am: Lucas awakens. The baby monitor springs into life, as does Dave. I lie in a pleasantly dazed state until BAM, into my head pops the picture of the evil support knickers. Enough! cries my conscience. Alright, alright. I'm getting up, just stop threatening me with those monstrosities.
So I stumble into my running gear and fall out of the door. And once I'm out, it's fab. Well, the run itself wasn't exactly my finest moment in a pair of trainers.
I was wheezing like a charlady on 80 a day,
my boobs were giving me two black eyes, and the whole circuit was an exercise in internal plea bargaining ("run just five more minutes and you can eat all of Jonah's Maltesers for breakfast").
But - and here's the thing, and this is what I remembered from running and what will get me back out the door when the threat of the Support Knickers fades. It was just so cool to be out there in the waking-up day. Barely anyone else about, save a few other early-morning masochists and their dogs. And the run took me past the Martello Tower that serves as a James Joyce museum:
and along the coast. The sun was just rising. The ships were leaving Dublin and heading off to new lands (well, pretty well-known lands, but bear with me). The day just seemed full of possibility.
And then I arrived back home and found Dave and the little boys all cosied up on the sofa with their milks and "cuppateas", as Jonah calls it. Gorgeous. So even if it's a heinous idea tomorrow, I'm going to remember the good points and get back out there. Support knickers, I may avoid you yet.