How running helps me cope with being a single mum

Posted Tuesday 9th June 2015   By Ericka Waller

The morning after my husband left me, I got up at 7am and put the kettle on. I am not a hero, I just wanted a cup of tea and no one else was going to make it. When I found out he was seeing someone else, I had the ‘Mrs J Waller’ tattoo adorning my left buttock covered up with a giant Ganesh. I was not trying to be tough, I was just replacing one pain in the arse with another. I’ll never forget lying face-down on that cling-film covered operating table while a man with giant holes in his ears and no unmarked skin shaved my buttock. I remember asking, ‘Jesus, is that why he left?’

When he went cycling to Paris, high on his new life, I took the kids camping and we didn’t wash for three days. I was not trying to spite him. I just thought it would be better than sitting at home. I cried my eyes out round the campfire but told everyone it was the smoke.

When the girls came home from their first weekend away and told me about how great his new place was and how much fun they’d had, I smiled, waited till they’d gone to sleep, then went and headbutted the punch-bag in the garage. I did it with no skill and had a headache for three days, but I wanted that anger out of me.

Whenever I feel angry, or sad, or sorry for myself, I run. I run and I think how lucky I am to be able to run. I think of my aunt’s last days in hospital and how she fought to control a single muscle. I can control all of mine (except my big mouth now and again).

I run and I think of my friend, and the brave choice she is making. I run because I can. When I’m running I don’t have to smile when I want to cry, or laugh when I want to scream. I don’t have to listen to people telling me about myself and what I should be doing. I run my worries out and finish, spent and cleanly erased like a blackboard, like the pavements after rain.

I run because I want my daughters to see strength. I run because I want them to grow up with the gift of exercise. Better than a pill, or a drink, or a cigarette. Better than sex (mostly). It’s a vice that no one can take from you. It’s a happiness you can give yourself, anytime you need it.

There is no finesse, no snazzy outfit needed. I don’t care if my technique is wrong. It’s about how it makes me feel. I take a lot of inspiration from the THIS GIRL CAN website.

Here are the things that inspire me