Thursday, April 20, 2006

Marathon Sunday, on its way

This Sunday will mark the 26th anniversary of the London Marathon, and my first anniversary of completing it. (Technically, that anniversary was Monday, but I was busy drinking with my friends that day, which prevented me from posting it).

Yesterday I spotted two guys in Greenwich with their TNT bags slung over their shoulders (fellow marathoners will know what I mean), having returned from the Expo to pick up their numbers. The barriers are already up around Greenwich, the pubs have their signs up, and the portaloos, yes, the ones that made me burst out crying last year, are up in the park.

While the loos still make me want to cry (thinking about the fact that I actually did the marathon, not the sight itself), it's a supremely great feeling this year. In the past, I always felt great regret when marathon time rolled around, knowing that I still hadn't crossed that goal off my life list, and trying to figure out when it would be possible. Instead, this year, I feel such pride, elation and relief that I've done it, and I don't HAVE to do it this year. I've proven that I've done it.

However, our new house is literally on the way from the train station to Greenwich Park, so the boys and I will be setting up outside, distributing last-minute good luck supplies (Nurofen, bin bags, jelly babies: essentials that they don't give out on the course). It'll be a great way to join in the fun, and I won't have to do any running to do it.

Unfortunately, the no-running thing is important, because I've done something odd to my left foot (ha! no pun intendend) which makes it difficult to walk, let alone run. I'm back to the doctor for the second time today to try to figure out what the problem is.

Last month, Paula Radcliffe announced she wouldn't be running London this year because of a foot injury. So that's something else she and I have in common. That, and the fact that we've both run the London marathon.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Some Home Truths About Moving Homes

After packing and unpacking at least 7.5 million boxes (at least it seems like it), MarathonMum is back at the blog.

For the record, Mr. MarathonMum and I are pretty good at moving. In our 10 years of marriage, this is the fifth residence we've been in (working out to a new place once every two years). But despite our skills in knowing how to pack china so it doesn't get broken, giving away copious amounts of items to the local charity shop in an effort to streamline operations, and knowing that we ought to keep the bottle opener in a safe place so we can have a cold one at the end of the first day, problems still emerge.

Unfortunately for us, this time it was the bottle opener we couldn't find. So the first night we got beer in cans, the second night we used a screwdriver, and by the third day, I thought it wasn't worth the stress so I went out and bought a new one. As soon as I got home, went to look in a box for something else and guess what I found? The bottle opener, of course! (Now we have two).

Three weeks later, we're still unpacking. Given the strains of the sale, we decided we weren't going to kill ourselves to get everything unpacked immediately. It didn't help, though, that two different friends stopped by soon after we moved in and commented that when they moved, they had everything unpacked and organized within a day. I repeated this, with some distress, to my friend's mother who looked at me and said, "Sounds like they need to get a life!" I felt much better after that.

Now on to my Home Truths About Moving Homes:

1. Inevitably, you will end up hating the buyer of your old home. The person might actually be a wanker-idiot and you have no choice but to detest him (as was our case) or they might be perfectly nice, but you'll still feel a certain amount of hostility toward them. This time, our wanker-idiot walked into the flat at 11 a.m. in the middle of the move and asked when we'd be done. "At 1:30, like it says in the contract," I told him. "Really, it says that?" he asked. "I thought I could move in at any time today." Anybody who's bought or sold a house, or even watched a T.V. program on the process, knows that 1:30 p.m. is the standard time in this country for gaining possession. As we were down a man in the crew, when 1:30 came and we realized we weren't nearly done, I made the boys a round a tea. Our wanker-idiot had to watch them drink it from his comfortable perch on the sidewalk.

2. Something will get lost. Despite the best efforts to be organized and keep things in order, something crucial will get misplaced. This time, it was half of the pegs needed to assemble our 14-year-old Ikea bookshelves. I finally found them after a very intensive search involving many boxes and several hours.

3. Olympic years are a good time to move. We bought our first house together in 1996, and I packed boxes while watching the women's gymnastics final in the Summer Olympics. We moved in 1998, but it was 10 months after the Winter Olympics (it still counts, in my mind). In 2000, we moved into our flat just a month before the Summer Olympics in Sydney. And finally, this year, we moved a few weeks after the conclusion of the Winter Olympics.

4. Learn to embrace chaos. It's part of the fun.

5. Cold beer is critical to the success of the move. Make sure you can find the bottle opener.