In Sickness & in Health: No pain, no gain? No jog, no pub is my motivation
Last year, Rebecca’s husband Nick was hit by a car and seriously injured. Here, in one of a series of columns, she writes about the aftermath of his accident
There’s a bunch of things that I’ve not done for a while. I haven’t been on holiday without my parents for a couple of years (I can’t justify the guilt of leaving Nick unless I’m accompanied by family members and likely to have a few arguments to temper the fun). I haven’t had a lazy weekend breakfast with my husband without it involving me feeding him (and getting told off for poking the pointy bit of the toast too far into his mouth on one fraught occasion). I haven’t come home to anyone making dinner, except on one occasion when my amazing pal Sophie let herself with her keys to surprise me by cooking for me.
Nick’s accident is the reason why all of these things have been lacking. There’s another thing I haven’t done in ages that I’d like to pin on circumstances, but really it’s all down to me. Until the other afternoon, I hadn’t been for a run (I call it running, it’s really a limping jog) for more than two years. I only went because I’m fed up with well-meaning people telling that me I ought to do some exercise for the sake of my head, and because I’m equally sick of beating myself up about the state of my gut.
Oh god, it was horrible. I had the wrong trousers - and trainers, headphones and bra. My glasses bounced all over the place because I forgot to put in contact lenses. My lungs were furious. My running app had seized up, I kept dropping my inhaler and the whole sorry process was more stop than go. Despite being rubbish at running, I’m also high maintenance, which is one of the reasons why I’d stayed stationary. When you live out of a suitcase, it’s hard enough remembering the things you need without adding a whacking great PE kit into the mix.
I’d also got the fear about running in London. The combination of Nick being run over and knowing that there would be no one at home to miss me if the same thing happened was enough of an excuse to put me off, let alone the mountain of things I could be doing with the time spent puffing my way around the block.
I remember reading a theory that says we all have a finite amount of willpower, so we have to chose what we really want to achieve rather than trying to, say, diet, get up early, write a novel and take up martial arts all at the same time. Given that I’ve spent most days of the past 22 months trying not to murder anyone, attempting to keep my job as well as my sanity, I think that I’ve been using my willpower wisely.
The time has come, though, to resume plodding round parks and on pavements. An old friend I’m back in touch with - shout out to Vicki - has launched a running group and set herself the challenge of running 50 marathons before she’s 50. I’m far too scared to join the former and can’t fathom the latter, but I’m impressed. I’m also inspired by Nick, who tells me that his own gym sessions are painful and exhausting but important. “No pain no gain” is his motto. “If you keep going you can have a pint at the end” is mine.