Monday, July 21, 2008

Been there. Done That. Got the T-shirt.

Yesterday was a big(ish) day in the history of MarathonMum. For the first time in almost three years, I finished a 10k race!

This is huge for me, especially since in November 2006 my doctor told me I would never run again, due to my psoriatic arthritis. Frankly, I took the news that I wouldn't be able to run harder than the diagnosis. But even getting to the diagnosis was a long road: it took several doctors, lots of tests, an MRI and finally a Google search done by me to ascertain what was wrong with my foot. 

Needless to say, I was a basketcase leading up to the race. I kept trying to talk myself out of going, trying to find a variety of excuses as to why I wasn't free on race day. It was much like the scene in the seminal film, "Animal House" where he's got an angel on one shoulder telling him one thing, and a devil on the other, telling him the opposite. 

I didn't tell many people about the race, in case I chickened out. But in the end, I went because I wanted to prove that I could do it, but also for the merchandise. During a run with my friend Sam earlier in the week I admitted, "I really don't want to do this race. But I really, REALLY want the T-shirt." 

I nearly had a nervous breakdown while making my way over to the park and then while waiting for the race to start. Eventually I calmed myself down by doing three things: first, reminding myself that this race would be 20 miles shorter than the marathon, and surely my body would remember how to do it; second, by realizing that my first 10k was more than 25 years ago, so surely if a 12-year-old me could do a 10k, the 39-year-old me could do it too; and finally, the tried-and-true method of looking for people who looked as though they hadn't done as much training as perhaps was necessary (read into that whatever you want). 

The race was started by George Clooney's ex-girlfriend Lisa Snowden, so that distracted me too, because I kept thinking, "Sure, she's pretty, but is she as FUNNY as my friend Quigs? Surely not." 

My race strategy was simple: "Slow and steady wins the race." So while I was several thousand people away from winning, I didn't stop once, which enabled me to pass several people who would keep stopping to walk. When I got to the 8K mark, I thought, "2k left! The boys can do this!" Once I got near the finish line, I thought I was going to die, or at least throw up at the finish line, but I did neither. 

In the end, I got my t-shirt. It's enormous-- almost as big as the grin on my face when I finished.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sex Education

Thing One, just finishing out Year 3 (and yes, my American friends, we are STILL. IN. SCHOOL), told us during dinner on Sunday night, "This week we're going to learn about something, but I'm too embarrassed to say what it is." But having already read his homework, I knew that they were going to be talking about.... (drum roll, please)

Sex Education!

This morning, having heard through the mom's grapevine that they all watched The Movie yesterday, I asked him, "How was sex ed yesterday?"

"It was really good," he told me. "We learned all about the penis and the Virginia!"

(When I stopped laughing a good two minutes later, I told him that I wouldn't have a problem calling it the Virginia, even if it was the wrong name.)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Happy Independence Day (Whatever that is)

We were having our family "What's on Schedule This Week" on Sunday-- and believe me, since it's the end of term, there was a lot-- when our discussion turned toward Friday.

"Do you know what Friday is?" I asked Thing One and Thing Two. "I'll give you a hint: the date is July 4th."

"Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!" said Thing One excitedly. "I know this answer! It's on the tip of my tongue."

Thing Two had no answer. He waited patiently for his older brother to come up with it.

"Is it the day that the Civil War ended?" he asked. (We've been talking about the American Civil War recently. Don't ask me why. It's not as if it came up during school.)

When I told him no, it wasn't that, he had a few more guesses, none that were even close.

I finally put him out of his misery and told him that it was the day that the U.S. decided it wanted to be independent of England. This discussion is always tricky, because it leads to the inevitable question of why we live here in London if Americans want to be independent of England.

So how did we celebrate Independence Day yesterday? I'm sorry to say, not at all. I completely forgot to mention it to them. But don't tell U.S. Immigration: they might take away their American passports if they found out we forgot to celebrate July 4th.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Guided Tour of Lego Police Station

Thanks to his generous aunts and uncles in the United States, Thing Two was able to fulfill his long-held dream (OK, a dream for about a month) of getting into Lego law enforcement.

Here, for the enjoyment of those aunts and uncles, as well as for any Lego enthusiasts out there, is his guided tour. (The tour was filmed by Thing One, who you can also spy in the video.)

OK. I've tried to upload the video six times (here and at YouTube) without success. I may be tenacious, but I also know when to cut my losses and say it's not going to work. Instead, here's a picture of the boys at the aforementioned Lego station. In case you were wondering, yes, Thing One is doing the classic technique of holding out the camera to take a picture of him and his brother.

Believe me, the video is hilarious. You'll just have to imagine it.