Conflicted

Earlier this week I blogged about how everything was getting on top of me There is one other thing worrying me and I am feeling quite conflicted.

Regular readers will know two of my very favourite things to do are running and watching my younger son play rugby. A couple of months after last year’s Bristol half marathon I started thinking about doing a half marathon in the spring. I’d done the Bath one before and I’d enjoyed the course, but I’d found the travelling stressful. So I  looked around for a smaller race, and signed up for the Forest of Dean one.

A few weeks later, the dates came through for my son’s county cup rugby competition. The group stages on 24th February and the finals ON THE SAME DAY AS MY HALF MARATHON.  I can’t begin to describe how gutted I am about this. Nothing beats the pride of seeing my son and his team do their best playing rugby – even better if they win. What if they win? What if they’re the best under 9s rugby team in the whole county and I’M NOT THERE TO SEE IT? Me, who stands outside in the freezing cold for two hours every Sunday to support my son. Frankly, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

But could I quit the running? Could I say ‘sod it’ I’m not going to do it? I couldn’t. I’m not a quitter. It’s just not in my nature. I’ve trained hard for this race. I’ve run in the cold all winter – eight miles a time, building up to 10 miles and now 12. I get a great sense of achievement in completing a half marathon. I get almost as great a sense of achievement at completing a training run. I feel relaxed and happy. For me, there’s no feeling like it.

A few weeks ago, I had an injured ankle. It was getting quite close to the race. Now I’m not a quitter, but I’ll admit, if my ankle hadn’t been fixed in time, I wouldn’t have minded too much (obviously as long as it was only a short-term injury and had sorted itself soon afterwards). That would have taken the pressure and the decision-making off me.

And there’s another more selfish issue to consider. I’m not a very good driver, I’m particularly not a good driver when I’m driving strange places. I’m nervous about driving myself there. I also like to know my husband and daughter are there supporting me. The sense of achievement and occassion won’t be the same when I roll up on my own, run my race and skulk off home again on my own.

And then something smiled down on me… Following the cancellation of my eldest’s group stages, they postponed the under 9s finals – because the older boys were due to play their finals at the same time and venue.

For 24 blissful hours, the world was a better place. I’d get to watch my son play rugby! I might even see his team win! I’d get a lift to my half marathon! My husband and daughter would be there to support me!

And then another email… After careful consideration of the logistics of postponing so many different competitions, the organisers have decided to reinstate the under 9s finals.

My conflict is back with a vengeance and, having had that glimmer of hope that it would all be OK, it feels a whole lot worse than before now.

I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to run my half marathon. But every time I think of that, I get a picture in my head of my boy playing rugby and I can’t bear it.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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12 Comments

  1. I read a psychological report recently that said that over-parenting stunts childish independence. And included as over-parents were those of us who cheer from the sidelines at every match and performance. I disagreed with this but, every now and then when I can’t be there to witness my kids’ glory, I dust down this article and tell myself I’m sacrificing my own pleasure for their good!

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  2. Thanks very much for that, it makes me feel a bit better! Maybe I was over-parented myself – making me too dependent on husband to drive me places!? Or maybe I’m just sensibly considering the safety of other road users…

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  3. OK, I do understand. But surely you can make it to the rugby after your run? Take warm clothes and a flask of something warm to drink and you’ll be OK. Might even be in time to see them win! Good luck, have a super run x.

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  4. Thanks very much, I might make it, but it’s one side of a large, rural county to the other! I reckon by the time I get there it will be all over. I’ll play it by ear. The weather forecast is now so appalling that one or both of them could be called off anyway! x

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  5. So does that mean that you will all be at the race and your son will not have anyone watching the rugby? If you are going to do the run I’d say go and run it and maybe someone could take you or you apply your determination to running to conquering your driving fear. Let your husband go with your daughter to watch your son. I agree with the parenting helicopter thing but he is the child and you are the adult. In real terms it is easier for you to do this for yourself – you don’t need people cheering you on. That’s what a child needs. They’re only going to see you fly past.Everyone is happy then aren’t they? Sorry if that’s brutal but that’s how I roll! x

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  6. I can only imagine what a huge conflict that is, it’s clear from your blog how much you enjoy both activities! X

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  7. What about your parents take and watch you and let your husband go watch your son?! Think about missing the running (how do you feel?) and then consider missing your son win the final (which makes you feel worse?) There will be other races….there may npbe no more under 9s rugby finals for your youngest son…..Does that help?!

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  8. I think you have made the right decision. In our house we have a ‘whatever is on the calendar first wins’ rule! You have worked hard and deserve the satisfaction of completing what you set out to do, and in doung so are settng a fantastic example to your children. Am sure photos and videos will be taken of your sons final. But I know not only will you miss his support, but you will miss theirs too. What a bugger it is that they clash.

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  9. Thank for your thoughts, everyone. It’s a tough one, Suzanne, I don’t know which makes me feel worse. All I know is I’ve put in many hours of training for my race. I like Sonya’s view about the calendar and I know there will be other rugby (and football) tournaments and I do always support them. Good point about setting an example to the kids too – to do sport, to be committed and not to quit! Exactly what we want from them.
    Mummyglitzer – you are so right, they are pretty much my two favourite things to do!
    Natasha – I will drive myself there and be there without support. My family will of course support my son.

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  10. You are an excellent mum and I regularly see you standing freezing your butt off at all your sons weekend practice. And running means so much to you too…I think you should do the run and then rush over to your boys game. Hopefully you will both have reason to celebrate and it will be a lovely day for you all 🙂

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  11. I have to agree with a few others. You’re an adult. Cheer-lead yourself, love! Your boy needs a parent there. But remember, you absolutely have support! Every spectator is supporting every runner. And your family will be sending you heaps of energetic support! And they’ll be darn proud of you for doing it this way.

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  12. As I’ve said previously, there was never any question of my family abandoning my son to go with me. If my run hadn’t clashed with his rugby tournament, they would have gone with me, but I would never have asked or wanted them to come with me as the two clash.
    You’re right, they will be proud of me for completing the race and for being independent! Thanks very much for commenting.

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