Self Loathing and Frustration

I have no one to blame but myself. It started with a treat here and there, justifying my food intake because I was running 30+ miles a week. Slowly my weight crept up but everyone puts on weight when they start running? Don’t they?

In 2016/17, I lost 2 stone and was the lightest I’d been in my adult life. I was happy. Confident. Then I told myself I didn’t need to go to group anymore, I could do this myself at home. I was wrong. That 2 stone weight loss became 1 and a half. Then 1. It settled there and I tried half heartedly to lose it again but never fully committed to any plan.

Running helped me maintain and although I wasn’t happy I wasn’t unhappy either. We moved to Cornwall and the change in lifestyle meant I started comfort eating. My clothes were getting tighter, my face rounder but still I didn’t try and change my bad habits.

Then I broke my ankle. Twice within 9 months and that combined with a new job meant I stopped running. Before I knew it I was back to where I was. Then heavier. When my weight hit an all time high, 23lbs more than my original starting weight, and my health started to suffer I decided enough was enough and signed up to my local slimming club. I’d started running again by this point and found it almost impossible being almost 4st heavier than when I started running in 2017. I was ashamed and unhappy. Had had I let all that hard work go to waste? Why didn’t I do something sooner?

Week one went well with a 4lb loss. I was buzzing. Finally I’d taken control and was going to do something about my weight (again!). Then I got ill. The last thing I wanted to do was eat healthy and I stopped tracking. By some miracle I still lost 2.5lb in my second week. I couldn’t believe it! So close to my first 7lbs in just two weeks. My first goal was in sight …

But obviously I’m an idiot and it all went to pot! A weekend away doing Duke of Edinburgh with work and the diet of a student. I couldn’t stop eating rubbish 😞 in fact I ate so badly I almost ended up in hospital with a gallbladder flare up. You’d have thought this would be a wake up call. Week 3 weigh in and a 1lb gain. I was up to my old tricks … a couple of good weeks and then I’d revert to old habits and undo my good work. What is wrong with me???

I had all the excuses. I’m tired. I don’t feel well. I don’t have time. I deserve a treat. It’s been a busy week. My bad habits continued and at the end of Week 4 I completed a 10 mile race. I hadn’t trained. I weighed far too much. My food intake was rubbish. But I did it. Just!

It hurt so much and I was in tears when I crossed the line. It took me 30 minutes more than my old 10 mile time … but I did it! For the rest of Sunday I ate like a pig. And Monday. I felt awful. Sick. Exhausted. Sore. The drive back to Cornwall was horrible with several stops so I could be sick. My poor body was struggling with what I had put it through.

You’d have thought this would have taught me something, given me a reason to sort myself out once and for all. Tuesday I was back on plan. Boiled eggs for breakfast but we only had white bread. Oh well never mind, it won’t hurt. I planned the weeks meals and went food shopping but felt poorly still so ate 4 pepperami in the car on the way home. Homemade veggie soup for lunch, no bread. I can do this! I finished the bag of wine gums. Then the popcorn. The day was slowly slipping away from me …

Grilled pork steaks, potatoes and a plate full of veg for tea. I was still trying but the damage had been done. I finished my day with 3 glasses of wine and a bag of pretzels. I’m my own worst enemy and the only person I can blame for all this is me.

No Week 4 weigh in as we were away for the race but I now have 5 days to turn it around. 5 days to follow the plan, focus and minimise the damage. I don’t want to be this big. I don’t want to feel poorly due to my size. I need to make the change and move back towards where I want to be.

Follow my journey from overweight, unhappy, unfit mum of 4 to a slimmer, happier, fitter future.

Determined as ever

It’s been a while and lots has happened! Two days after my last post I broke my ankle, again, and ended my dreams of running a Marathon before my 40th birthday.

Recovery this time was a lot slower as I broke it in two places and was banned from running for 3 months minimum. I might have bent the rules slightly, as in January I began Couch 2 5K with my eldest daughter as a way of easing myself back in slowly. I’m not going to lie, it was tough. Starting from scratch with what felt like zero fitness, an extra couple of stone in weigh, a demanding job and a small person that still woke several times a night required ever ounce of strength I had. Every week I pushed myself to go, come rain or shine. I followed the plan, increased my intervals and completed my 5k non stop run. I was on top of the world. It was slow. It was painful. But I’d done it. It gave me hope that I could get back to where I was before, that a Spring Half Marathon was a possibility after all – then I got poorly. A flu type virus knocked me sideways and left me unable to climb the stairs without getting out of breath, let alone run. That was 6 weeks ago and I’ve still not managed to run a full 5k again.

Despite this I have pushed myself time and again to get back out there and keep running. I’ve cried more than I care to admit over my lack of fitness and my impossibly busy life that means there just aren’t enough hours in the day to be a wife, mother, student, teacher and runner. I could so easily have given up on running. Thrown away my trainers and resigned myself to watching my friends continue to go great things without me … but it’s just not in my nature.

Yesterday I should have run Brighton Marathon. Instead, with my husbands encouragement, I went out and did my longest run since the GSR in October. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t comfortable. I ran solidly for the first 2 Miles and then introduced walking sections as needed for the final two. It was just what I needed and gave me the fire I needed to stop wallowing and focus properly on my recovery. I’ve bought a new running watch to inspire me. I’ve started going to the gym to incorporate strength training into my routine and I’ve drawn up a plan. I have 6 races booked so far in the next 12 months starting with a local 10k next week.

Watch this space …

Let do this!

Yikes that was tough 🙈

Half term means I can rejoin JP for Tuesday morning training and thankfully daddy kept the smalls at home. Strength and conditioning this morning but it was painful. My lungs screamed, the cold air played havoc with my asthma and my stamina is shot. I knew it would be tough, knew I’d lost my fitness since the summer but I didn’t expect it to be so bad. But I did it. I pushed through. It wasn’t fast. It wasn’t pretty but I did it.

2.7 miles this morning. Transform this afternoon. Slow and steady. One day at a time. I will get back where I was and then I can get where I want to be. Roll on Thursday.

Starting again

It’s been a while! Since Heron HM in June things have all gone awry. Summer holidays, teacher training and niggles that just wouldn’t shift. My training has been non existent and I’ve (stupidly) done 2 HM’s and a 10 mile race in the last 5 weeks.

16th September – Truro Half Marathon. Hard and Hilly but I finished with a smile on my face and flying feet. 2:51:45 with 1,198ft elevation.

7th October – Cardiff Half Marathon. Such a busy race with a huge field. Couldn’t settle into a good pace at the start as just so busy which meant I had to walk as couldn’t get round the people in front. Disappointed as I know I could have done better and instead ended up with my slowest ever HM 😞.

21st October – Great South Run. I was so desperate to complete my home run and finish with a 10 mile PB but the lack of training was evident and it took me a disappointing 2:03:41

Big races on little or no training is not a good idea. They hurt and I had to dig deep each time. But I finished each and every one of them with a smile and a sprint finish. One positive is no ill effects the next day except a little tiredness and slight ache. Imagine how I’d feel if I trained?!?!?!

So what next?

Training plan is in place and countdown is on to my biggest challenge yet … Brighton Marathon! Training doesn’t start properly for several weeks so for now I’ll focus on habit forming and rebuilding my stamina slowly. Back on the healthy eating plan, cross training built in to my schedule and a determination to succeed. Fingers crossed I can stay injury free this winter!!! Watch this space ….

A change is as good as a rest

My plan has worked. Dropping my miles right back down after Heron Half in June and increasing strength and conditioning work has paid off. Although I’ve run regularly I’ve kept the mileage low until recently and rekindled my love of running. My natural, comfortable pace on the flat has increased dramatically and I now have the strength and stamina to run up the hills that I would have previously walked.

This morning I tackled my longest run since Heron. 7 hilly miles that I smashed! My pace on the climbs matched my previous flat pace for a run of this distance and my flat/downhill/gentle incline pace was fast (for me). I’m absolutely buzzing after this run. Excited to see what the next few weeks/months holds and feeling confident for some new PBs.

The difference I have felt in my last few runs is huge and has given me a real confidence boost. Who knew that all I needed to do was reduce my mileage and start from scratch?

Happy Runniversary to me!

I had no idea that the events of 26th June 2017 would have such a huge impact on my life. I dropped the big girls at school, took the boy to nursery and popped into Sports Direct. I spent £50 on a pair of trainers, a sports bra, capris and a top. I strapped little miss into the (completely unsuitable) buggy, put some tunes on my phone and set off on a run/walk.

I did 6k in 42 minutes and earned my first virtual medal, the RMR finishers medal, for completing 5k. I went out again on the Wednesday and the Friday. I took part in my first Parkrun that Saturday and so the cycle began. I ran with the buggy when boy was at nursery, with my big girls on a Friday pm when Mr W got home and Saturday morning was parkrun.

First proper race was a 5k Race for Life in Taunton with the girls. We ran the whole 5k, no walking and stayed together to cross the finish line. Somewhere along the line Mr W convinced me to sign up for the Great South Run in October with two friends, told me it would add focus to my training a give me something to aim for! By this point I could run/walk 10k but 10 miles was a whole other ball game.

I was doing this all by myself. I had no training plan, knew nothing of how to increase mileage safely, gait analysis, correct trainers, technique. I just laced up my trainers and ran. I quite quickly bought a second hand Phil & Teds buggy for running and the second seat meant it could go out with boy smalls if necessary. The most I covered with double trouble was 7 (painful) miles but I did the full 10 miles with little miss.

I’d been running 2 months when we moved to Cornwall and it was then that my running life changed. On a whim I signed up for Truro Half Marathon on 17th September 2017. I’d covered 10 miles on 3 separate occasions so this was ‘just a parkrun’ more. It didn’t feel that way on the day that’s for sure!

I’d been running for just 12 weeks when I completed Truro in 2:43:57. The emotions I felt when I crossed that finish line was something I can’t even begin to explain. I’d run a Half Marathon! Me. The girl who didn’t run.

When we moved to Cornwall I joined JP Fitness and went along to 2 buggy friendly running sessions a week. I learned how to tackle hills (essential in Cornwall), correct form and most importantly – made friends. This is by far the best decision I ever made and made the move even further away from family that little bit easier.

Those cheap trainers didn’t last long and straight after Truro I could barely run a mile without pain. I went for gait analysis and came out £100 poorer but with properly fitted trainers – what a revelation! Great South Run was only a few weeks away and 10 flat miles would be easy in comparison to 13.1 miles of hellish hills. Except I never did do GSR. The day before I was due to leave for Portsmouth I rolled my ankle on a gentle 5k through Penrose and tore the ligaments. No running for me.

I was out for 3 weeks and just 5 weeks later raced again. This time it was a 5 mile road race and it felt so good to be back.

From here I just got stronger. January 2018 I set myself the challenge to run every day and had planned to run 6 half marathons in 2018. The first 13 days went really well. I felt strong and was improving every day. Then I broke my ankle.

6 weeks (and two cancelled races) later I was back. I took it easy, increased my miles slowly and in May ran Plymouth Half Marathon. My first race as part of team JP and a new PB! Despite the searing heat and niggling ankle pain I took 5 minutes of my time.

3 weeks later I travelled to Yeovil with 3 other JP ladies and ran Heron Half Marathon. Taking another 4 minutes off for another PB!

This year has been something else. It’s changed me so much and I can’t imagine my life without running. I run 4-5 times a week, own 3 pairs of trainers, 12 pairs of leggings and shorts in various lengths, 6 sports bras and numerous race tshirts and vests. I’m no longer on medication for depression, I’m fitter than I ever have been and I’m proud to be a positive role model for my children. But most importantly? I have a whole rack of bling now 😂

Best £50 I ever spent!!! Here’s to the next year …

Time for a rest

Sunday saw the completion of half marathon number 3 – Heron Half. A lovely flat, fast, course but this didn’t seem to help my performance. I managed to run the first 6.5 miles but after that I had to build in walking breaks. I used the race function on my tomtom to ensure I stayed within my target zone and completed the course with a new PB of 2:34:34 which was my goal.

It was hot, sticky and stuffy. Race prep involved deep heat, freeze spray and painkillers but it seemed to work. My ankle was uncomfortable rather than painful and a fetching pair of compression socks post race meant the swelling stayed away.

I now have just under 14 weeks until my next Half Marathon in Truro. This was my first Half Marathon so I want to make sure I’m on form and can beat last years time. It’s a very challenging course so it will be tough to beat this weekends PB but I’ll try. The next few weeks will see me drop my mileage right back down, focus on my diet and increase my strength and conditioning. I’m also hoping that next weeks sports massage will finally release the knots in my right calf and ‘fix’ the multitude of niggles I feel every time I run.

I have a long road ahead of me to Brighton 2019 but I have a plan. This is undoubtedly going to be a challenge but one I’m looking forward to.

A new goal

Now that I have returned to fitness following my broken ankle and completed my first Half Marathon of 2018 I am no longer an “injured runner”. This blog is no longer about my path to recovery but about something bigger. You see yesterday I did something which 12 months ago I would never have even considered doing. Yesterday I entered the Brighton Marathon 2019.

I’ve been running 11 months today. Clocked up numerous miles, and now have 2 Half Marathons under my belt with a further 3 booked for this year. With the Big 4-0 looming next May I decided it was the perfect time to set myself my ultimate goal. London would be incredible but the chances of winning a ballot place are so slim and there is no way I could raise enough money for a charity place with my current personal circumstances. So I’ve decided on Brighton. I’ve heard great things about it. It’s close to family so logistically as good as it’s going to get. It’s slap bang in the middle of Easter holidays meaning I will have time to recover before returning to work and with any luck my parents will have the children for a couple of days so hubby and I can build in a mini break too.

Having made this momentous decision I went out last night for my usual Friday club run. It was awful. I struggled through the first 1.6 miles but ended up calling it a day and walking back to the car in years. I have NEVER done this but it was an awful run. Nothing felt right. I couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t find my pace. My calf hurt which caused pain in my foot and I felt like I was wading through treacle. Not a good start to marathon training.

This morning I drew a line and set off for Parkrun. It wasn’t my fastest but it was infinitely better than last night and great starting point for my new journey. The first entry in my training diary. Next year, I’m running the Brighton Marathon and this is my training diary. Highs, lows and everything in between. A no holds barred document of my journey. Come follow me 🙂

Plymouth Half Marathon

I’d put in the training. I’d hydrated, tapered, carb loaded and done everything I needed. My ankle was niggling in the last few weeks leading up to race day but I taped it, rested as much as I could and prayed it would hold up.

Race day arrived and nervous excitement crept in. I knew I had the miles in my legs, had a plan for race fuel but still didn’t realise just how hot it would be. Plenty of suncream on and a good breakfast I was ready.

There were people everywhere. We lined up among the masses and waited for the klaxon to sound. Countdown from 10 and we were off. Slowly at first but as we crossed the line gaps emerged and we began to pick up our pace. The first mile or so was adrenaline fuelled and excited. We ran together as a group, chatting and laughing. Waving to supporters in the crowd and smiling.

It didn’t last. By mile 4, the beginning of the 2 mile climb to Saltram House I was not quite so chipper. We’d all found our own natural pace and gaps were forming in our little group. This was always our intention but as I saw my teammates pull away and willed my legs to keep I just couldn’t. It was too hot and the hill was brutal. Just when I thought it was nearly over there was more … and more.

A nice downhill around mile 6 was followed by yet another climb and here I hit my wall. I wanted to cry. I was on my own, my teammates just a flash of colour ahead and I was hot and tired. What was I thinking? I couldn’t do this? I’m not a runner. For the first time since the klaxon sounded my watch buzzed to tell me I wasn’t going to get the sub 2:30 I wanted. I took a breather to gather my thoughts, a brief walk as we passed through Saltram House but I wasn’t done. The brow of a hill around 7.5 miles was all I needed. I took a deep breath and flew, my body and momentum propelled me down the hill and my watch buzzed to tell me I was back on target. I caught up with some of team JP and came out the other side onto Laira Bridge. Away from the beauty of Saltram, back into dual carriageways, cars, industry and heat my little legs were flagging. The water station was welcomed with open arms but with 4.1 miles left to go I wasn’t optimistic of that sub 2:30 anymore. I just wanted to finish, preferably quicker than I had done Truro last year.

As we passed each other on the other side of the bridge it was smiles and high fives all round for team JP. Encouragement a plenty and support all round. The 10 mile sign loomed and it was suddenly just a Parkrun … an uphill Parkrun! By this point I was having to talk walking breaks but I kept finding the strength I needed to pick up speed and run. All I could think of was the next water station and the finish line. Then the moment I’d been dreading. That niggle in my ankle wasn’t a niggle anymore. It was pain. I wanted to cry and I needed a hug but there was no one in sight from team JP, if I was going to finish this, pain and all I was going to have to do it alone.

The final 3.1 miles were pure hell. I ran as much as I could but walked more than I wanted to. In fact, I hadn’t wanted to walk at all but by this point all I wanted was for it to be over. I pushed on. I put one foot in front of another and ran/walked through the pain. The crowd support was phenomenal. Clapping, cheering, encouraging, I couldn’t have asked for more. Having my name on my club top meant people were calling my name from all directions, spurring me on when I could barely move.

Then my watch buzzed for 13 miles and adrenaline kicked in. My pace quickened and I pushed through the pain. I could do this, 0.1 miles left to go and I’d be over that line … except it wasn’t 13 miles according to the mile markers strapped to the lamppost. When I had pushed my body to its absolute limit I looked up and saw that neon sign that read 13 miles. I could have cried. Infant I probably did. But I had another hill to climb and I couldn’t even see the gantry. What was this hell? I had to walk, except I couldn’t. It was more of a hobble, each step making me wince. The crowds were calling my name, telling me I was nearly there, urging me to run, telling me not to give up and then I saw it … the finish line. One final deep breath. One final push. I was damned if I was going to walk over that line. I was going to run, and run I did. Eyes on the prize, focused and determined I ran with all I had and completed Plymouth Half Marathon.

My official chip time was 2:38:05 nearly 6 minutes faster than my Truro time. I hadn’t done what I wanted but I had achieved something fantastic. According to Strava my actual HM time for 13.1 miles was 2:36:43 so that is my new PB, my new time to beat.

Britain’s Ocean City nearly broke me. I could barely walk and my ankle was in bits but I loved it and can’t wait for next year when at least I’ll know what to expect! Luckily the pain was short lived and I’m no longer hobbling, I even went for a gentle 5k today with friends and managed a little sprint finish. I’m not broken. I can still run … which is just as well seen as Heron Half Marathon is just 18 days away.

Race ready

18 weeks ago I broke my ankle and had to sit on the bench of 6 weeks. On Sunday I’m running my second half marathon. To say the journey has been emotional would be an understatement but I kept going. Listening to the advice of my trainer and returning slowly meant I escaped any further injury and am now fitter and stronger than ever.

I’m ready. I’m excited. I’ve made it to the start line and can’t wait to cross the finish line. Completing this will definitely be an emotional experience. The culmination of all my hard work and of those I’m running with. I’m so proud to be able to share this with the rest of team JP. We’ve all worked tirelessly to get to this point and put in the miles when we thought we had no more miles left in us. We are an incredible team and without them I wouldn’t have recovered so quickly or so well.

Kit packed. Race nails painted. I’ve done my research and have hopefully got my nutrition and hydration right. In 48 hours this will all be over and the countdown to the next HM on 10th June will begin. This girl can!