Mental Health

Nine years ago today I’d just got married.  Little did I know on that day that the marriage wouldn’t last very long and I’d be hurt in a way that I never thought would happen. (In hindsight there were definitely warning signs that I should have paid heed to).

Last night I watched the first episode of Mind Over Marathon on BBC.  From what I’d already read on social media I knew that the programme would be emotional but what I didn’t expect was to recognise myself in what was been spoken about.

I watched the programme with my other half, someone who knows me better than I know myself !  He was a friend for many years before becoming my significant other and had to watch as my marriage fell apart and the affect that had on me.  Once, many years ago, he did broach the subject of depression and wondered if it would be a good idea for me to visit my GP.  I brushed this off in my typical stubborn manner… ‘I can’t be depressed, I’m still functioning’ ‘I can still be happy sometimes’ ‘I can’t be ill, I’ve got to look after my child’ (as if anyone ever makes the choice to be ill…).  And I never did go to the GP.  I’m lucky in that I did have some support and I know now I was being watched / monitored / worried about, whatever you want to call it, in case things deteriorated with my mental health.

Rhian on the programme, who had suffered the loss of her child and husband within five days, was describing herself and the way she was ‘coping’.  My other half looked at me and said that I was very similar to this lady.  And yes I can see that my coping strategies are very similar.  Very good at pushing grief / pain / upset away as you daren’t / can’t / won’t face it.  Rhian, you are an incredibly brave woman. To share your story and your journey with others is a huge step to take.

I think of myself as lucky that I found running when I did.  Running definitely helps with my mental health.  I have run and cried many a time.  I’ve run to get rid of the physical feelings of frustration.  Running helps!

2 Races plus parkrun!

What an Easter weekend!

Bridlington Easter Dash 5 miler – Good Friday

I only decided the day before to enter this race.  It is pretty local to me, no hassle to get there, would know plenty of people.  And the biggest thing……  my teenage son said he would do it if I did!

The race starts at the lifeguard station near Limekiln Lane car park in Bridlington.  It consists of two laps – a small one and then a big one.  Apparently this is a change from previous years where it has been a different one lap route.  I didn’t mind this too much, although felt like I didn’t settle into the race until I’d started the second lap.  Terrain was tarmac / rough path / grass / bark chippings – a little bit of everything!  And don’t forget the steps either.  Due to the wind it also felt like you were running on two different days!  On the way out, towards Sewerby, it was very warm but as soon as you turned to come back along the cliff top it was a head wind and pretty cold.

I managed a finish time of 43:57 which I was over the moon with!  Helped by running with our club coach, it was a really good run.  (And my son, who hasn’t run more than 3 miles since last November…..  he came in at 44:50!)

Bling?  Yes, a pretty good medal for everyone and a crème egg seeing as it is Easter.

Would I do it again? Yes I probably would – it isn’t the most exciting route, but it is convenient and good fun.

parkrun

I have to mention parkrun here although I didn’t run this week as I’d decided I was overdue to volunteer.   I’ve made a commitment to myself to volunteer a minimum of three times a year.  I don’t think this is much to ask really and as something I want to see continue I believe I should support it to do so.

So, Sewerby parkrun, Easter weekend.  Wow!  What a turnout.  347 people.  99 more than our previous attendance record.   Thanks in part to a large touring party from Sowerby Bridge Snails (great to see you all!) plus lots of other visitors this was a great turnout.

Helmsley 10k Multi terrain challenge – Easter Sunday

Another good turnout for Yorkshire Wolds Runners on a chilly Sunday morning in Helmsley.  A challenging course, with the first two miles being uphill on roads, onto tracks and fields as it levels out and then drops back down.  I found the hill hard and did walk for a short stretch.  I was slower than I’d hoped for the first two miles so decided that rather than targeting a finish time I would aim for negative splits.  That way I’d still feel like it was a successful run.  I was struggling mentally to find the motivation to push on – how do you deal with this?

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 I managed it – just!

Official finish time:  58:50

Bling?  An Easter Egg and a Mug

Would I do it again?  Yes.  I enjoy off road and I have unfinished business with that hill!

Early morning fasted running? Do you or don’t you?

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Yorkshire Sunrise

Early morning fasted running?  Do you or don’t you?

I ask this because our club coach posted that she had done and that it wasn’t a regular thing for her.  We discussed it and she is happy to go out and do 5-7k but is aware that pace won’t be as good as it could be.  This got me thinking!

By choice, I run first thing in the morning, before breakfast.  I generally have half a glass of water and head straight out of the door.  Ok, I’m not aiming for world records, but I do sometimes push for intervals / tempo runs etc.  I also rarely eat prior to parkrun or a morning race.

I love running at this time in the morning, particularly when the sky is clear – it’s quiet, you get to see wildlife and it sets you up for the day.  At the moment I’m out the door just after 6am, so there is no way I’m getting up at 4.30 / 5am just to eat something but on parkrun days it is relatively easy to change what I do as I’m normally awake by 7am anyway.

Do you think it makes much difference?  Or only over a certain distance?

On the same theme I’m currently following the 5:2 diet.  So on one or two days of the week restricting my intake to between 600 – 800 calories.  If I choose carefully, this still means that I’m having three meals.  So far I’ve been avoiding running the morning after a fast day, but would it make any difference?  I think I’m going to have to try and it and see how I get on.

March 2017 round up

March:

  • Total miles:  63.43
  • Number of runs: 15
  • Races: 1

 

As the above figures show, this has been a month low in miles.  I’m really trying to not let that bother me, and hope that I will at some point in the year make up the lost miles to still hit my target of 75 miles a month because I know that I needed to pull back a bit and give my body a break.

Do you plan lower mileage months into your plan?  I’m wondering if I should.

This picture shows the company that I had for my post run stretches 🙂 what a wonderful sight to have.

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Ups and downs

It’s been a manic month!  But not in terms of running.  As far as running goes I seem to be falling apart…..  I had a week or two where lots of little niggles seemed to be starting up: my feet ached; my hips were sore; something popped in a calf; my back spasmed; I felt ill one day.  No one thing was particularly epic, just all added together had me feeling a bit down.

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In the rest of life, I’ve got engaged and got a new job.   March has been an exciting month!  If you go back to the very beginning of this blog you’ll get an idea of why getting engaged is such a huge deal.  I never thought I would again.  Part of me is still terrified.  But the person who gives me the confidence to go out and do what I want to do will be the one that is by my side.   Running has really helped me know the person I am and have the confidence to stand up for what I want.  The relationship I have with my OH is a very equal one – we are two adults whom chose to be together, but support each other to be very much individuals too.  Watch this space for the wedding photos!

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Dalton Dash 2017

Last week I ran Dalton Dash 10k.  I wasn’t looking forward to it as I’d really not been feeling good the previous week, but I decided to go and start.  If I had to pull up, well that is what I’d have to do. My OH offered to run with me but I knew that if I needed to stop he would want to stay with me and I really didn’t want that added pressure.  The course is a very rural one, starting and finishing in front of the house and running out of the grounds and onto country lanes.  It is undulating, but nothing too bad.  I started very steady and decided very early on that I wasn’t going to look at my Garmin at all, not to check my mile pace / distance, anything! DaltonDash2017

The course was marked in kms and I used my mental strategy of ticking off the kms rather than adding up (6 to go, 5 to go, 4 to go etc, rather than 1 km run, 2 km run and so on) as I find this really does work for me.  I set off very steady and just aimed to try and find a rhythm.  We’d only been running for less than 10 mins and a lady fell into step beside me and started to chat.  I quite like this.  I like the fact that it doesn’t matter that we didn’t know each other, that we’d never spoken before, but we had in common this moment.   We chatted until the water station where I didn’t stop for a drink (just before the biggest hill on the course – I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to have a drink!) and I had my head down to aim to run the whole of the hill – and I managed it !

I knew from then on it was relatively easy for the rest of the course so tried to pick up the pace a little.  I was pleased with how I was feeling when I’d been so worried about completing the run.  The last two miles ended up being the quickest miles of the race, so I’ll take that as a result!  Official finish time 58:02.

February 2017 round up

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Feb:

  • Total miles:  77.94
  • Number of runs: 17
  • Races: 0

Pretty pleased with that.  February being a short month I was expecting to be lower on the mileage than this, but a few longer Sunday runs with the OH has kept the miles up.

February also saw my quickest parkrun of the year (and since last Oct) 26:48.  Still a long way from my PB, but at least heading in the right direction.  On the theme of parkrun last week my son ran an amazing run to knock 70seconds off his PB, and gain his first sub 26 min run.   For someone who is only running once a fortnight this kind of improvement is fab; can’t wait to see what he can do when he is running more consistently.

Parkrun have also announced that they are starting a junior parkrun fairly locally to me.  Although my son is too old for this, I am very pleased to see it as there aren’t any other junior parkruns in the area.  Hopefully it will encourage more and more children and families to get involved.

Time is going to be even more stretched as I’ve just taken on a new role at work.  This means my runs will be even more precious – ensuring I have the time to wind down as well as get my exercise.

For the love of trails

It has been a few weeks of trail runs, runs that I love.  They aren’t fast, they aren’t easy, but they are good fun and give a good break from the road running.

We had a good club away run (to break up the monotony of our usual winter route) to Scarborough sea front, to roughly follow the route of the Yorkshire Coast 10k.  It was a nice evening, but windy on the way back made it hard work.  All added up to very much deserving the fish & chips afterwards!

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At the beginning of the month we broke from our usual routine to visit another parkrun to meet with a friend who was visiting too.  Humber Bridge parkrun – first visit.  I wasn’t sure how I’d find this, as a three lap course, but actually quite enjoyed it.  Although it is paths, it was pretty wet on our visit hence we finished with mud splashed up our legs – all good fun.  Don’t think I like it as much as Sewerby, but would be happy to come back and run it again.

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My OH and I had a very rare free Sunday so what else is there to do but to go for a nice long run (is that normal?!)  We wanted an off road run and thought a return visit to the Hudson Way old railway line would be a good idea.  Ended up with 8 miles of mud and puddles.  Thoroughly enjoyed this run and my OH reminded me that this is why he started running, so that we could have times like this, out in the countryside, not worrying about pace, but just enjoying it.  We were however, very grateful for the dry socks and shoes in the car along with old towels to sit on and stop the mud clarting the car seats!

This weekend the weather was not conducive to a leisurely run hence we decided on a few miles from home with the dogs.  It was very windy and raining, muddy underfoot.  The picture show the dyke we had to cross, that I failed and ended up with my feet dangling in the water whilst laid on the bank.  Oh well, all good fun!

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Valentine’s Day today.  It is also club night.  Which means that we will be spending our evening out on a club head torch run (the advantages of both enjoying running!).

Do you share your passion for running with your OH?

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January 2017 round up

Jan:

  • Total miles:  80.15
  • Number of runs: 20
  • Races: 1

#Yorkshire

That is actually the most runs I think I’ve ever done in a month!  Hadn’t realised that until I’ve written it down.  Although I’m still struggling with pace, I’m pleased that I have run the distance I have in January.  I’ve seen the doc again and am to remain on iron tablets for another three months as my levels are still pretty low.  Also I’ve been advised to add in a Vitamin D supplement.  I’m hoping that a combination of these, plus losing some weight, will really make a difference and the pace I was running at will come back again.

Within those runs, I’d included 3 hill reps sessions.  I do think these do me a lot of good!  I really want to keep these up through the rest of the year.  I’m also looking forward to club track sessions starting again.  I like the structured sessions and think they help increase pace and stamina.

How did January go for you?

Dalby No Ego Headtorch run

Saturday 28th January 2017 found me, along with a large contingent of my club mates turn up at the Dalby Forest visitors centre in preparation for a 5 mile run, in the dark, in the mud, through Dalby Forest…

I had mixed feelings about this run, I knew it would be hilly and muddy therefore hard work.  As I’ve been finding running generally very hard work recently I was expected this to be very tough!

A forty minute drive and we arrived nice and early (hate being late) so plenty of time to get registered and site and have a drink and a chat with mates.  There were lots of people I knew at this run (nearly 600 runners in total), and it still strikes me what a difference this is from the first races I did when I hardly knew anyone at all.  My other half treated me to a No Ego long sleeved running top (worn for the first time yesterday and it was great – I would recommend one if you get the chance) and before long we were on to the final loo stop and then time to get our jumpers off, head torches on and make our way to the start.

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I was approaching this race in a different way to any I’ve run before.  I was preparing to walk some of the course.  Although I have walked on some other races, it always seems to feel like I’m not pushing enough, but this one I’d been warned that there are areas where it is impossible to run.

The first few hundred meters are on tarmac and then a right turn to immediately climb up a hill on a narrow forest track.  Now I LOVE trail running (have I said that before…) and straight away felt at home.  It was steep, and due to the sheer number of people we had to walk part of it, but I felt like I was managing to find some kind of rhythm.

It was really hard to look about you, even at the people very close because you were so focused on the short distance in front of your feet to try and make sure you didn’t trip.  The few glances I did get of a row of head torches heading up the hill were fab.

The race was 5 miles long and pretty crowded tracks for the first couple of miles and then it really started to thin out and you had a bit more space.  Here is the elevation chart:

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How come when you start and finish in the same place there seems to be an awful more uphill than down ?!

I feel very comfortable off road and even I nearly went over on my ankle a couple of times and definitely need to learn to pick up my feet more judging by the amount of tree roots that I nearly tripped on.  The mud was very thick in places and there was lots of slipping and sliding.  All that adds up to lots of fun but I was grateful for the new trail shoes that I bought a week or so ago.

I don’t know why so many people seem to have such a problem running downhill though.  There were some that seemed to go slower down than up!

The last mile or so was mainly downhill and I really felt like I was getting into my stride and pushed for home, very happy to come through the finishing arch in chip time of 57:04.

splits

I was really pleased when looking back at my splits on Garmin that I’d managed negative splits!  Taking that as a result.

And to finish of a great evening our club went to a local pub (The Black Bull Inn) for something to eat afterwards.  Great food, great company – a perfect Saturday night.

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Would I do this race again?  Yes !

Best bit?  Running through the middle of the biggest puddle whilst everyone else was going around the edges 😉