‘I have twins and I’ve just run a 50km race. Impressed?’
Keeping up his running after babies takes some organisation, says Jamie Killeen
Jamie Killeen with his children, Adam and Sadie: while Jamie runs, his babies get to see the world around them . . . at speed.
I am writing this article after finishing the Irish 50km championships, a running race. I not saying it to impress you, but to impress upon you that if you want something badly enough, it’s possible.
The last time I participated in this event, our days and nights (myself and my wife) were our own. We could come and go as we pleased, stay out late, sleep in late, eat out, drink out . . . we could do whatever we wanted really. And that was great. But so is this.
We now have two wonderful little people in our lives – Adam and Sadie, 17 months old. My life has changed, our lives have changed, but without doubt for the better.
When a new baby comes into your life, it is an adjustment. When multiple babies arrive at once, it is a revolution. We all know that. Planning and co-operation are critical; the great military strategists of history have nothing on us, we think.
Being a parent of children is difficult and, like many others reading this, it has pushed me to the brink. I’ve no doubt it will do so again. But why should we give up pursuing some of our own passions and cease doing something that brings a smile to our faces?
Outside of my family, running is my passion. It keeps my body and my mind in the right frame for dealing with the many challenges life throws at me. I’m a dad of twins, I hold a senior position where I work, and I am the organiser of a weekly 5k parkrun, which attracts a couple of hundred runners each week.
When the babies came along, cutting out running was not an option for me. But, where previously some of my personal time took its shape around races and training, from now on this would need to fit in where I had some spare time. I had to think smart.
How could I train for a marathon? How could I continue to make improvements in my running? I couldn’t do a two-hour training session on a Saturday and then flop on the sofa watching sports and munching assorted goodies for the afternoon anymore. I needed to enhance my juggling skills to keep these balls in the air.
It was time to be efficient. Work is five miles from home. The commute using public transport would generally take about 40 minutes. I can run five miles faster than that.
So that’s what I did. I would run in or out of work each day. Then, to build on that, I added in lunchtime runs occasionally, so I was covering five to 10 miles a day. On fine weekend days, I’ll pop Adam and Sadie in the buggy and run with them. I get to run, my wife gets some personal time and the babies get to see the world around them . . . at speed.
This strengthened me and, strangely enough, all my personal best times have improved since the babies arrived.
For me, my responsibilities as a parent or a partner always come first. A partner who understands you is key, as is remembering to reciprocate.
This isn’t meant to be a celebration of my running, this is not a self-praise article. This is me saying to you, mams and dads of multiples and kids in general, that there is always time to do that thing you want. It may not be exactly the same as it was before – you need to adjust – but you can still pursue your goals and your passions. Never give it up.
Can’t find the time? I’ll bet you can if you want it enough. In the words of Gandhi: “Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even If I didn’t have it in the beginning.”
How did I do in the 50km on Saturday? I ran faster than I did two years ago. And my wife and babies were there to cheer me on as I crossed the finish line.
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