There’s no such word as ‘Can’t’

Sue and Kerry

They say behind every good man there’s a good women …. this lady is no exception. This lady will always be there for you with a warm, heartfelt hug, a tissue, a shoulder to cry on, a jelly baby, a bottle of water or a good solid kick up the bum. Whatever you think you WANT, this lady has the natural ability to know what you NEED. Whether you’re running a 5k parkrun, a half marathon or a marathon, THIS is the lady who will get you through. She Marshall’s, she dishes out water and hugs, and she may be little but she’ll be the one with the loudest and most heartfelt cheers as you’re running. As most of you know, I’m privileged to have Steve Boothby as my mentor for the marathon training ….. Well I think I’m double lucky – let me introduce you to a superwomen in her own right, as well as being my mentor’s “wifey” .. my guest blogger Sue Boothby (she’s gonna kill me for this photo!! 🙂 )

My Journey from I CAN’T to I CAN

Sue and Steve 1

When the gorgeous creature that is SAVAGEMUM asked me to contribute to her blog, the first thought that came to me was ‘I can’t do that’, and there in a few words is where I was a few months ago, back to where I had been for years. Now, it would have been very easy to just leave it at that, and forget about it, do the safe thing, do the fail-safe thing….but no, not this time, this time I would grab the bull and do it!!

Why? Why would I do it this time, what’s changed? Well, the main thing has been, after years of believing I wasn’t any good at anything, not bad, just not good, and thinking that was what mattered, that to do something you had to be good at it, I’ve realised finally, actually just doing it is what is important, and the thing that matters.

I suppose I should explain why I’ve always thought I wasn’t very good at anything, you know, jack of all trades, master of none. I’ve always felt mediocre, physically, intellectually and when doing anything practical, do something, not be good at it, and say to myself, well, there you go, something else you are crap at!! I seriously do not know why I have been like this most of my life, just have. The only theory I have is I’m the eldest of three, but my parents were never the sort to put pressure on us kids, think I put it on myself.

Most people, my friends, even my closest ones, family, don’t know or see this Sue, they see, happy, reasonably confident (HA!!) outgoing happy Sue, they don’t see the Sue that has had lots go wrong one way or another, the Sue that sits at home crying and wondering why? How wicked was I in a previous life?

It got worse after I got married, Cervical cancer scare, the treatment, then finding I couldn’t have children because basically my lady parts (that sounds ridiculous, but it’s polite) [Editor’s note: we’re not too bashful here Sue … anything would’ve done! ] where for want of a better word royally screwed! BANG, and back to ‘God, I can’t even do that right!’

So, down the adoption route we went, after two failed IVF attempts…Oh look, couldn’t do that right either!! Anyway, after months of the usual adoption procedures, we adopted our eldest…YAY!! Then a couple of years later our youngest…Double YAY!! and they are half siblings, which is fab. Oh, look life is going swimmingly, I should be happy, shouldn’t I? I should be thinking, I can do this. Well no, I constantly thought I was a rubbish Mum, things just didn’t seem to be working, had we not bonded properly? What was I doing wrong?, because obviously it was me, they were just children after all.

I didn’t know at the time, that both boys had issues, and issues that will be there their whole lives, we have learnt more about their first few months, and we know they were not great (understatement), whether that has contributed at all, who knows. The eldest has, to a degree, got off lightest, as he has High Functioning Asperger’s, and is doing great, at Uni, has a job, all good. Our youngest unfortunately not so much, he has something called Reactive Attachment Disorder, rare amongst ‘normal’ kids, quite common in adopted and fostered children, and to be honest this is not the place to go into the ins and outs, it’s blinking complicated to say the least, but having read up on it, it can be devastating to the children and their families. Anyway, I digress, all I will say is, I felt like the worst parent in the World, and there it was again…. I Can’t do anything right or well!!!

And so, this never ending circle of doubt carried on, and on, and on. Just forever telling myself to get used to it, you’re not very good at anything, stick on that smile and get on with it woman!!

So, what changed, what made me think, ‘does it really matter?’ In a nutshell running, yep, that simple, just running. Now, it’s not a miracle cure, and it didn’t happen overnight that’s for sure!! I had a tough start to this running lark, really slow, then injury after injury, so naturally I reverted to my usual mindset…. Oh, there’s a surprise, something else you are crap at! I was going to walk, well I certainly wasn’t running away from it, but then I thought, hang on, when I am running I enjoy it, kind of, I certainly enjoy running with our fabulous club, and the fab friends I’ve made. No, this time, I wouldn’t give up, this time I’d bloody do it, and you know what, if I’m rubbish then I’m rubbish…I don’t care anymore!!!!

So, with that, still injured I decided to get fitter, couldn’t run, so what to do to get better prepared for when I could? Well, in the club we have a fabulous PT, spoke to her, had a trial session, and that was it…completely hooked, and I hate Gyms!! Still don’t do gyms, just work with my PT, who has done wonders for my self-belief, and confidence and absolutely knows I can do whatever I put my mind to. Why it’s taken this amazing young lady to get through to me, I don’t know. Maybe it’s her passion, her belief in me, she has actually called me inspiring…Wait, what??? Wow! But it is sinking in that ‘YES, I CAN’

Then the day came to get to running again, I decided to help with a beginners group, I went out, felt good, then carried on, week after week, getting, in the words of my PT, Stronger, Fitter, Faster.

I’m now on the verge of doing my very first Half Marathon, yes I’m as scared as the proverbial about it, and yes, I want to do well, but and it’s a big but, I’m not going to win anything, I’m not going to be a perfect athlete, but you know what?, it doesn’t matter….because I am doing it, I CAN DO IT, and if you hear me say I can’t do something, kick me up the jacksy and remind me I’ve run a Half marathon.

Which actually means


Sue and Steve 2

Footnote: Having read through this, I’ve realised I haven’t mentioned hubby. This man has been wonderful, he has put up with me for 32 years, and is really the only person who truly knows me, but I think the poor man got fed up with trying to convince me I was good at stuff, I just thought he was saying it, well because he’s a lovely man, with a heart of gold. However, he’s stuck by me and my thoughts of how inadequate I am, and for that I will always be truly thankful, I don’t know where I would be without him, and sorry for making you, my rock a footnote.

Love you Sue and thank you for writing for me xx.

Until next time.

SM xx


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