The Heavy Runner

five white sheep on farm
Photo by Skitterphoto on

It’s Lockdown and we are allowed to go out for exercise once a day. We can also collect medicine, and buy essential goods.

Off licences have been kept open, as the government appears to think alcohol is essential to get through a health crisis.

‘How can alcohol be classed as an essential?’ I say to my husband, incredulously. ‘Surely it is a good time for everyone to cut back and give up?’

After one day of trying to home school two children with a baby throwing toy cars at my head, I understand. Alcohol is essential.

Mayhem is asking where his Storm Trooper’s arm is, and Midnight is stumbling around the kitchen like a drunk student, searching for food.

It’s 4pm. The worst time of day to be stuck in a house with three children.

‘Can we go for a bike ride? Shouts Milk above the clattering, as the baby chucks a cheese grater out of the cupboard.

‘Good idea. I’ll take you,’ my husband says appearing in the doorway.

‘Errr, I’m not staying here with these two.’ I say pointedly.

‘OK, we’ll all go. This can be our family exercise.’

Milk takes his bike and Mayhem jumps on his scooter. My husband puts Midnight in the carrier on his back, and we are off.

‘Look I can see a deer!’ Squeals Mayhem after 50 paces. He stops his scooter to peer over a gate.

We all have a look.

‘It’s a sheep.’ I say.

‘No, it’s not. It’s a deer.’ Says Mayhem crossly.

‘Car, car.’ Says Midnight.

‘It’s a lamb actually,’ Milk declares.

‘You’re all meanies!’ shouts Mayhem and sits down on the grass verge. ‘I’m not talking to any of you EVER again.’

I plonk myself down next to my middle child.

‘We’re not really allowed to sit down,’ says my husband. ‘We’re supposed to be exercising.’

‘You can have some of your Easter bunny when we get home if you carry on.’ I whisper to Mayhem. My husband raises an eyebrow.

Mayhem jumps up. ‘Let’s go home now then,’ he shouts.

We coax him down the hill away from the house. After another 100m I feel a familiar pain in my foot.

‘My foot really hurts from that thing,’ I say to my husband.

‘What thing?’

‘My Plantar Fasciitis.’

‘What’s that?’ Says Milk wobbling past.

‘It’s when your foot hurts from too much exercise,’ I say.

It’s actually caused by over-training, or running on hills and for being, as my husband  pointed out, ‘a heavy runner.’

‘I think I’ll need a foot operation after all this virus stuff.’

Mayhem’s eyes light up. ‘Will they cut your foot off?’

‘What?’ Milk shouts, slamming on his brakes. ‘Why are they cutting off your foot?’

‘No one is going to cut my foot off. I just need to rest it.’ I wonder what year that will be at all possible.

‘No walking or running,’ says my husband.

‘No standing or jumping!’ says Milk.

‘No hopping!’ chips in Mayhem.

‘Car, car!’ calls Midnight.

‘You could go on the bike?’ suggests my husband.

The next afternoon I feel like a child again, freewheeling down the slopes near our house, the wind blowing the spider webs out of my helmet. Moments later I am standing on my pedals, panting and sweating, trying to get up a hill. The wheels slip on loose stones.

A lady overtakes me, keeping her distance. Then a man and his son. And a dog. I don’t think I’ve ever seen our lane so busy.

‘You’re quite red,’ my husband observes when I return.

‘I got overtaken four times on the hill.’ I say, washing my hands.

‘Shouldn’t be that many cars around,’ he frowns, checking Midnight’s nappy.

‘They were walking.’

‘Oh,’  My husband laughs, and offers me a glass of wine.

‘Car, car.’ Says the baby.


Author: Felicity Cousins


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