Harewood Half Marathon – Sunday 26th Feb

Well this was another one that didn’t happen. I wasn’t very well prepared for this in terms of training but I was looking forward to doing it even though I knew I would be slow.

Anyway, in the week leading up to this I wasn’t well, I had a bad headache that knocked me out for three days and then just generally felt a bit shit for the rest of the week.

On the Sunday morning I set the alarm and woke up with yet another massive headache. I knew I couldn’t run as I felt so bad. I just went back to sleep & didn’t surface until mid afternoon!

I felt mildly annoyed at missing the race but I knew it was the right thing to do so don’t really regret it.

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Life is full of ups & downs & downs

As I’ve mentioned before I have an ongoing struggle with depression. After a dramatic crash a few years ago things improved until about 18 months ago (although I only realised just over a year ago) that things had taken a turn for the worse.I tried to manage my symptoms and do all the ‘right’ things but it didn’t really go anywhere.

About 8 months ago I went to see the doctor, upped my depression meds and faced a barrage of tests which basically showed I was low in VitaminD, Folic Acid and menopausal. Add in a few more meds for these and I thought I would be ok.

I think I was ok for a bit but now I have started slipping again. I’m tired all the time and finding it increasingly difficult to cope with daily life, the anger is coming back and I cry at the stupidest things (like the aisles in Sainsbury’s being re-arranged) but what really hit me tonight was that I had a moment of serious body image anxiety in the gym and the response that came to me first was to eat (I didn’t BTW).

Before I even made it to the gym I went through 3 pairs of leggings to find one thatย  didn’t make me feel self conscious (you know how I like bright leggings so that was a bit of a shocker) and I had a similar issue with the shirt so when I arrived I was already feeling fat & lumpy.

I did a bit of cardio stuff and then headed to the weights room where I instantly felt seriously out of place. It didn’t make sense as I usually go in there & do my thing with no problem but tonight I just felt inadequate and fat, mostly fat.

I know I am fat, I’m not stupid, but I usually don’t feel so crushed by it or feel ashamed of myself. Anyway the next shocker was that I did feel ashamed. I saw myself in the mirror and all I could see was the lumps and the wobbly bits, the bingo wings, the double chin etc etc and I felt ashamed of what I saw. I just wanted to curl up and cry and then I had an almost overwhelming urge to eat, to stuff my face and wipe out the feelings with food.

I chose to write about this as an alternative to trying to bottle up what I was feeling, so that I could hopefully avoid stuffing my face with crappy food and possibly alcohol. So far that has worked.

We (Pete & I had gone together) came home from the gym, having finished our workouts & me not having had a meltdown (although it was close for a few moments), we didn’t stop at the shop on the way and buy a shed load of crap to eat & drink (although we did briefly debate stopping) instead I cooked some pasta which we had with pepper & parmesan and drank some lime cordial.

As I write this I’m still feeling shit about myself, I’m still fighting the urge to stuff food down my gullet, I’m still tired and feeling like a failure, I’m still snappy & weepy and I’m having a massive wobble about taking part in a trail event at the weekend because of all of the above. On the plus side I haven’t reverted to type and abused food.

 

#Run1000miles 2017

Over the new year period I saw a tweet with the hashtag of #Run1000miles and thought it was an intriguing idea so I followed the link and saw that it was something being ‘organised’ by Trail Running Magazine. Its not an official competition or anything but it is a challenge, something to aim for, and there is a facebook group to provide support.

Anyway, I decided to give it a go. In 2015 I challenged myself to run 500km and actually made it to 1000km, in 2016 I challenged myself to run 1000km and made it to 750km so I thought I would aim high this year and go for the 1000 miles or 1600km. I thought I would be ok with this as I am planning to run two marathons and a few halfs during the year so I need to do a decent amount of training.

Sheffield 10k -Sunday 30th October

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I just found this in my Drafts, don’t know why I didn’t finish it at the time but here it is!!

This was another Run For All that was added during the year. I decided to enter as I had done all the other 10K races they had put on during 2016 and I wanted to get the full set.

The race started in the city center and then headed up Ecclesall Road to Endcliffe Park. This is the start of the Sheffield half marathon route so I have run up here before, the road is a steady drag upwards, not too steep but enough to notice.

When we got to the park we headed along Rustlings Road, initially this was flat but then it became fairly steep but there was relief at the top in the form of a water station. The route then headed downhill along Riverdale Road but then evened off a bit before undulating up and down Endcliffe Vale Road.

We then took another downhill on Brocco Bank before rejoining Ecclesall Road and heading back into town.

This was a good route as it went through some nice areas and there was plenty of support out on the way.

 

Still a fat bird running

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At the end of 2013 me & my husband bought a set of withings scales. The reason we got them is that they are gadgety and satisfy the nerdy side of us while weighing us. The scales talk to the wifi and via that an app on the phone and the app produces some nifty graphs.

The weight scale is in kg (I know, it makes me ashamed to see it too) and the date is obvious. As you can see my overall loss in the 3 years I have been tracking my weigh this way has been about 5kg.

The first steep drop in 2014 was due to a low carb diet, the second drop (after a gain) that year was also the result of a low carb diet.

The steady drop during 2015 was due to me tracking everything I ate (in an app, of course) and staying below a calorie limit.

The drop early in 2016 was again due to a low carb diet

All the ups have been when I haven’t been paying such close attention to tracking food (either carbs or calories), just to eating & drinking it.

Throughout this whole period I have been running & going to the gym, admittedly in a bit of a random fashion with no overall plan but I did train for the marathon in 2015!!

 

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This graph is a bit more depressing in a way.

The blue portion shows where my healthy weight would be with the green line being where I want to be

The red line of actual weight is a very long way from this and even though the first graph makes it looks like some of the weight change has been quite dramatic this graph shows that it hasn’t been really.

I don’t really I know where I’m going with this, my whole weight loss thing.

What I do know is that if I don’t make some dramatic changes in what I’m doing, how I’m thinking, how & what I’m eating and I don’t work out why I abuse food & change that too then I’m going nowhere.

fullsizerender1The other aspect to this is that I’m not really getting much better at running either.

I’m still slow, I still have to run/walk (but I can run more & walk less), I still don’t train in a great way & I’m not good at sticking to a plan

I’m still a fat bird running and I still want to change that

 

PS this is me in the Bovington half marathon on Sunday 11th December 2016. The t-shirt says “Don’t be shit”. I’m working on that too !

Why I’m straying off road in 2017

Up to now most of the events I have participated in have been mass-participation road events. I have enjoyed doing the few off road events that I have done and I do a lot of my ‘training’ off road and I have begun to notice that I no longer enjoy some of the bigger (& generally road based) events as much as I used to.

This year I have taken part in 5 off road events (2 of which were mass participation) and 11 mass participation road based events.

I have enjoyed/endured various aspects of all of these events to a varying degree but it has been the same things that have niggled me at all the big events.

  • Parking
  • Running out of things (t-shirts, medals, water, everything)
  • Loo queues
  • Pointless warm ups & standing around in start pens
  • Running through masses of people who have already finished & are on their way home
  • The pushing & shoving at the start
  • The general busyness
  • The creeping feeling that I’m not good enough

Some of these things are obviously in my head but some are real and I’m no longer sure that I want to put up with them.

Over the last couple of months I have been trying to figure out what is the point of entering races. I’m never going to win anything, I’m not really getting any better/faster (although that is a different issue to be addressed elsewhere) but I still think there is some point to it.

I’ve pretty much come round to the idea that the point is to have fun and the races where I’ve had most fun are those that are a bit smaller and that are in the countryside, trails are good but not essential, smaller & low key events are generally more fun as they are less pressured (but still well organised).

However, I still need to be careful because some races that seem to fit the bill don’t actually deliver what they say they do. I’m quite happy being slow, I’m ok with being last but I’m not ok when the sweeper starts moaning that they are too far behind because I’m too slow.

Which has brought me round to me loose plan for 2017 which is not to enter my usual series of run for all 10k events, not to enter the Sheffield & Leeds half marathons but to look for other things instead.

So far I’m going for the Harewood half marathon again, Tissington Trail half again, Monsal Trail half (a new one organised by the people behind the Tissington event), the Round Sheffield Run again, the Dorchester Marathon and I want to enter a couple more White Star Running events that are not open yet ๐Ÿ™‚

 

The Lovestation

I thought this White Star Running thing deserved a whole blog post of its own as it is a bit special.

Over the years I have done loads of events, mostly mass participation stuff, and most of these have aid stations.

The bigger events tend to rope in local schools, scouts, army cadet units etc to stand there and hand out fluid of various sorts and sometimes gels while the smaller events tend to have a more informal approach.

The Round Sheffield Run had bananas, flapjack, gels, water & juice. The Tissington half marathon had water, juice, coke, cakes & biscuits. The Urban Trail series had ice creams (it was in the summer). All of these were great but essentially they are the same as the big races in that they are there to dispense something to give you energy and to get you going again albeit in a more friendly fashion.

And then there was the Lovestation.

Now, I had been told about this, I had read about it on FB, people sang its praises etc etc but the cynic in me still thought “well, its just an aid station” but I was wrong.

On the first pass I didn’t see anything special (but that was because it was just a water table), friendly people yes but nothing to make a fuss about (sorry) and I didn’t stop at the second aid station as I didn’t feel the need but on the way back at about 8miles it was different.

I was just starting to feel the lack of energy creep in so the Lovestation was a welcome sight, I was thinking I’d have some water and some sugar but I was seduced by the array of cakes on display and before I knew what I was doing I was halfway through a piece of Guinness cake and I had a tot of rum in my hand. I had a little chat about the race with the ladies behind the table and some of the other runners and then (as if by magic) another piece of cake & some cider made their way into my hands.

I eventually trundled off feeling like I had a bit more energy, both emotional & physical.

Now I have been reflecting on this a bit today. In previous half marathon events I have found myself running out of energy at the 8 or 9 mile mark and I have struggled more with this emotionally than physically. I have ended up in the ‘feeling very for myself, I want to give up, I need a little cry’ place in every event over 10km I have done and this has kicked in after 8miles following a running out of energy feeling.

I have tried fueling on the go with gels (dodgy guts), flat coke (made me sick), bananas (dodgy guts), peanut butter & chocolate (dodgy guts), haribo (made me sick), jelly babies (no effect but then I could only eat one or two without problems) and parma violet/loveheart type sweets (worked but needed loads), pork pies (don’t go there), bread (dodgy guts) etc etc

Anyway, this was the first event where I didn’t end up being an emotional wreck with dodgy guts at around 10miles, maybe it was the cake, maybe it was the booze, maybe it was stopping for a few minutes to eat properly, maybe it was the human contact, maybe it was all of these things. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it was the Lovestation effect

Yes, I know I’ve been a bit gushing here but I do appreciate that there is more to the Lovestation than it being just a fancy aid station & it certainly helped me get through the race so thank you all ๐Ÿ™‚