Friday, 24 October 2014

Runstreak Day #320 - hilly runs with friends...

... inflicting hills on runners who don't normally do hills is kinda mean.  Ish.  Only you just can't be afraid of hills.  Once you get your head around how to run them, it's then just a case of watching them help your legs get stronger.  And yet, no-one really seems to like doing hills because they're kind of hard work.

Still, it's nicer running them with friends.  Which is what I did tonight.  Although because I was leading the run with a route I'd made up, I always worry ever so slightly that everyone's going to hate me afterwards.  After all, you have inflicted hills on them!  I did enjoy the run though.  It's exciting that it's the first of our Notts Women Runners runs.  And fingers crossed in the next couple of weeks we can get it registered as a Run England group before heading towards affiliated club status next year.

In fact, as we were running, a woman came up to one of our group and asked about who we were running with.  I love the fact that we can say we're a new running group - and we passed on the details of our Facebook group and hopefully we'll have another new member.  I love that a group of 8 women got together this evening and tackled hills.  I love that I get to be part of that too.

And yet again, I'm grateful of the chance to feel 'normal' without the anxiety that plagues so many other things that I attempt at the moment.  Normal with added hills and running friends.  That's pretty good for a Thursday evening.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:4.40 mi
Avg Pace:9:04 min/mi
Elevation Gain:282 ft

Runstreak Day #319 - soggy, squelchy and dark

More soggy running for me today.  Another Wednesday, another SRC run.  This one was wet.  Surprisingly so.  Until I went to put on my trainers, I thought it was okay outside.  Got my trainers... looked out of the window.  Rain.  Lashing down.

Mmmm mmmm... doesn't that just say 'go out and run' to you?!

Fortunately there were other crazy people out for a run this evening.  Including a couple of running friends who I ended up running with.  Chatting and running is a nice thing to do.  And contrasted with the weeping version of me who attempted a walk home from the kids' school earlier today.  The suffocating panic descends when I'm walking.  But not when I'm running.  When I'm running I get to feel normal.

And wet!  Still, my flipbelt held out even though it got soggy.  It doesn't ride up and it sits on my hips without budging which is great.  Plus, because it's fabric, you can easily chuck it on the radiator to dry when you get home.  That's all good!

And that was another day done.  A bit of rain.  A bit of dark.  Some wet feet.  Some nice company.  A bit of time and space.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:4.22 mi
Avg Pace:8:35 min/mi
Elevation Gain:122 ft

Runstreak Day #318 - afternoon run

Haven't done a run in an afternoon for absolutely ages.  I'm not at work at the moment - the 'delights' of dealing with post-traumatic stress are keeping me off - so I had the opportunity to run while it was still daylight.

It was okay.  Sometimes you're able to completely clear your head when you're running.  Sometimes, thoughts intrude that you'd rather not have in your mind.

Like today.  I keep wondering what's wrong with me and why I don't feel angry at the motorcyclist for what happened with the accident.  Part of me feels guilty - surely I should feel angry at the fact that he could have killed my children??  Even with that thought, I still don't feel anger towards him.  It all just seems so pointless.  What is the point in feeling anger at someone who's gone?  So, the thought plays in my mind as I run.  What would I have said to him had he survived?  I don't know.  What would I say to him if I could, even though he's gone?  I don't know.  I just feel a kind of flat sadness that I'm struggling to shake.

And when that thought lodges itself in my head, it permeates the whole run.  It's all an effort.  I run, but I run heavy.  And if I'm not careful, the fear and tension I feel when I'm trying to walk somewhere on my own, starts to seep in to my running and any sudden noise jangles me completely.  I ended up running up and down a pretty steep hill to get myself on a more even keel.  I have to concentrate so hard on getting up it, or not slipping as I run down, that those other negative churning thoughts calm for a bit.

The funny thing is... if anyone were to see me run... they'd have just seen a runner running.  You can look perfectly okay from the outside and be a mess on the inside.

Another day.  Another run.  Some are good.  Some are bad.  Some are just confusing.  But there's always something to be gained from all those different flavours of run.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.17 mi
Avg Pace:8:29 min/mi
Elevation Gain:214 ft

Monday, 20 October 2014

Runstreak Day #317 - wet, wet, wet...

Ah... Autumn... season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

Scrub that.

Autumn... season of gloves, Buffs, squelchy trainers, hi-vis clothing being dragged out of the wardrobe, shorts packed away for the Winter, rain dripping off your chin, headwinds whipping around you as you run up hills, cars splashing you as they drive through puddles, dark nights, leaf-slime of pavements... and the occasional nice day that instantly makes you forget all the revolting stuff that happens at this time of year.

However, there was no nice day today.  It rained.  And rained.  And rained a bit more.  Then added swirly winds into the mixture.  And rained just a tad more.  So, when I went out for my run this evening, the puddles were pretending to be lakes, the drains were emptying themselves in angry little rivers down the hill and I doubted my sanity as the first blast of cold and wet hit me square in the face.  Unsurprisingly, I saw absolutely no other runners out this evening.

After the first few minutes of getting soaked, it was okay.  The odd puddle into trainer incident wasn't particularly pleasant... but it was survivable.  I needed the space to think after having had counselling today.  It's intense and emotionally exhausting... and leaves me with so much going on in my head that I can't easily process it... running is downtime when there is none otherwise.

And after a soggy run, getting home to a nice warm bath and a cuppa cha, well... that's all good!  Another day run.  Day 317, I think?!  Am losing track!

Geeky stats stuff (add on another 0.25 - my Garmin couldn't cope with the weather!)

Distance:3.16 mi
Avg Pace:9:06 min/mi
Elevation Gain:140 ft

Runstreak Day #316 - misty long runs

I went for a run with the Sweatshop Running Community - and ran with a running friend the whole way.  It was lovely near the river and the canal with the mist rising off the water, cobwebs dripping with jewels, rowing boats appearing from the haze.  I was glad to be there.  I was glad to feel relaxed enough to enjoy it. 

We took it really slowly.  My ankle is not feeling brilliant but apart from anything I just wanted to relax and not think about pace or worry about getting to particular distances.  It's such a freedom from stress right now that it needs to not matter.  

It's funny really.  A few months ago, I would find the prospect of running with others really daunting.  Now it doesn't bother me.  Now, I like the thought that I don't have to run at *my* pace, and don't have to think about anything other than just gently running.  That's a change, isn't it?  I want to encourage other women to have that safety net of enjoying the freedom and peace that running brings.  In the past four weeks since the accident, when everything else has been so hard... dealing with panic attacks, anxiety, flashbacks of the awful moment of seeing the motorcyclist on the road and the wreckage of our car, bonnet cleaved in two and snarled up in an angry curl... when everything else has been so hard, running has been simple.  Has provided control.  Has allowed me to escape.

And this morning, I ran for 8.5 miles.  And had the space to breathe.  The safety net of company.  And the knowledge that I am okay underneath all of the mess that's happened.   

Once you get past the sheer physical effort of running, it gives you far more back than you could imagine during those lung-burning, leg aching early days.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:8.56 mi
Avg Pace:10:00 min/mi
Elevation Gain:51 ft

Runstreak Day #315 - hills and hobbling

Today I have mostly run hills.  A lot of them.  Long hills.  Slow inclines.  Short sharp nasty hills.  Hills that are difficult to run down because they're so steep.  Hills that make you swear to run up them because they're also so steep.  Straight ones.  Bendy ones.  Ones covered in leaves.  Ones blocked by pedestrians.  Hills.  Lots of them.

I had the company of a running friend which made all of that hilly hilliness much more tolerable.  It's amazing what a bit of company will do when you're faced with a stupidly steep hill.  There's camaraderie in the crazy, I guess.

And now for the ranty bit.  Periodically I had to stop to stretch my ankle which is still sore and doesn't like me doing hills.  I have the weirdest restriction in its movement which means I can't flex my foot to point my toes... and it makes running uphill difficult and painful.  It is VERY wearing to have non-running injuries which impact your running.  Somehow if it was a running injury I feel like I could get my head around what to do about it.  But this is just annoying and although the physio is helping, it is just... well... frustrating.  Rant done.

Overall, the run was good.  The company was great.  We did just over 6.5 miles of hills and spent most of our time chatting.  Even with all that silly uppy downy nonsense in between.

50 days left until a full year is done.  Blimey!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:6.63 mi
Avg Pace:8:57 min/mi
Elevation Gain:501 ft

Runstreak Day #314 - post physio run

Shoulders achy... check
Back achy... check
Neck achy... check
Ankle stiff and achy... check

That would be the joy of running after visiting the physio. He's been really good so far and very supportive of my running... I'm just impatient to feel my normal self again.  

I left running until the evening.  And ended up doing a hillier run than I originally intended just because I was a) being competitive and winning back a segment on Strava (which means nothing to snybody but satisfied me for a few minutes!) and b) just doing a different route.  At the moment I think I prefer running in the dark.  It feels less threatening some how. When I walk on my own during the daytime, as I've been challenged to do by my counsellor, there is always a point where the anxiety takes over and I end up in tears.  At night, when I'm running and it's quiet and dark, I feel much calmer some how.

I don't really understand what's going on in my head other than the extreme tension of walking / being in a car isn't at all how I feel when I'm running. It gives me a chance to relax a little when I'm outside.

When I started to run back in January last year, it was all just hard work. I could never have imagined feeling relaxed when running, but I do.  Even when it's hilly.  And cold.  And dark.  And I hurt from the aftermath of the accident.  Running is my safe space.

Isn't that an odd thing?

Runstreak Day #313 - flipbelt and physio

Yup... it's definitely that time of the year.  There is no denying it.  The capris are back out and the shorts are packed away. Although if I run tomorrow during the daytime, the shorts will probably reappear.  I'm fickle like that!

I'm also using my new flipbelt which is great (had advice from a running friend about the sizing as I just didn't get it - anyway, if you're interested, as a size 8, XS is fine and sits either on my hips or waist with no problem).  It's good to be able to carry my phone with me 'just in case' and to not have it bouncing around is great too.

And tonight's run?  Well, it was nothing special. A 3.5 mile trot around the block.  Concentrating on my form because if I don't then my back / ribs / ankle protest loudly.  Plus, I'm still taking it easy after the weekend's HM.  Tackled a naughty little steep hill at the end of my run, just because I fancied it.  I think I was a little bit spurred on by someone at yesterday's running group saying that they'd been admiring my form as I ran up another steep hill yesterday evening.  What feels like a shuffle obviously looks mildly less shuffle-like from behind!  So, I did my hill shuffle again today, just because!  You don't need more reason really, do you!

More physio tomorrow.  Come on body... sort it out.  I'm bored of feeling crappy now!!

And now, I fancy a cup of tea.  Mmmm... tea...

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.39 mi
Avg Pace:8:20 min/mi
Elevation Gain:151 ft

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Runstreak Day #312 - accidents and anger

Today has been seriously hard.  We had to go to get the last of our possessions from our wrecked car and drive along the road where the accident happened.  The last we saw of the car was on the night of the accident... since then, this image has played in my mind.  In the immediate aftermath it felt like all the cars coming towards me were caving in, their bonnets melting into the same mess ours had been left in.  I'm still struggling with walking on my own near traffic.  I can't bring myself to drive yet.  I know that today was another piece of the puzzle in finding a way to come to terms with what's happened.  It was no less shocking to see it.

Running has been a sanctuary from images like this playing in my mind.  When I run, I feel a sense of calm which neutralises the panic which rises at other times.  Today I ran.  And for every car which pulled out of a driveway without looking properly, I felt like I wanted to show them this image and shout 'It's NEVER worth taking risks' at them.  For every car which dashed over pelican crossings without stopping... or every car which jumped the lights.  The calm vanishes in an instant and a sharp spike of anger replaces it... and then the calm returns.

I am a bit of a solitary runner at the moment.  I can do a veneer of conversation, which is handy when you're running with a group - as with this evening - and don't want to appear rude... but as I run, I'm processing and thinking and calming and don't feel quite the same as I did before.  Chit chat is okay, but I need my running for selfish reasons right now.

Coooer, that was a bit of a meander, wasn't it?  I think I'm saying that I ran today.  I'm glad I ran.  I needed to run.  And when there's stuff that's just too big for you to get your head around... running is still a safe space... even when you feel like shouting at the world.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:4.07 mi
Avg Pace:8:17 min/mi
Elevation Gain:256 ft

Runstreak Day #311 - contrasts and control

Finally hauled my backside outside for a run.  It took hours to coax myself off the sofa.  You'd think by my 311th day, I'd have gone into auto-pilot and would just get ready and go.  But no.  We're back to dark, dismal days and I would rather be snuggled up under a duvet than plodding round the streets with my 'still tired from Sunday's HM' legs reluctantly doing their thing.

In the end, I managed just over 5k.  Wearing a bizarre combo of running shorts, long-sleeved top and a buff, covering my ears.  It's cold, but I'm not quite prepared to ditch the shorts yet.  That would be admitting seasonal defeat and accepting that we really were headed for the months of shivery yuck.  So, my legs are still out - their pasty whiteness acting in a reflective capacity as I lollop around the streets.

Am still mildly bemused by the fact that I can run around the streets, but am struggling to walk around them on my own.  I walked a little on my own today and my hands were balled up with tension while I felt sick as I forced myself to put one foot in front of another.  I wonder if it's because I had to work so, so hard to start running... and to force myself through the umpteen things I was afraid of (from running with others to races to running on the streets or running at night)... that I feel a sense of control and ownership over it that gives me a confidence I need and can still tap into.  Who knows?  It's maddening to be trapped other than running right now though.

So, some days it might take me an effort to get out and run.  You can't underestimate how important it is to stick at it and to make it part of your life.  Even if you do go out looking like a crazy short-wearing fool on a cold night in October!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.19 mi
Avg Pace:8:26 min/mi
Elevation Gain:126 ft

Monday, 13 October 2014

Runstreak Day #310 - the slow run after the HM

Only a short run tonight.  Couldn't manage anything quick as it's not just that my legs are tired from yesterday's half, but I've also had a counselling session today and I find that completely exhausting.  It's ridiculous that I should find walking alone so much harder work than running, isn't it?  I know it's as a result of the accident and the whole post-traumatic stress thing... but I was challenged to walk on my own, just a short way... and the whole thing was so panic-inducing that by the time I was done, I was on the verge of being sick.  And yet, I could run a 13.1 miles yesterday.  And, even though my legs were really tired today, I could manage a run without feeling that fear.

Running is a very powerful way of helping you feel in control.  At least it is for me.  I don't know if it's because I'm already running away from whatever it is my brain is trying to defend me from when I'm walking... but running feels so very different.

Anyway, the end result was that I was so tired I wasn't able to do much more than a simple loop around the neighbourhood.  The hill was hard going.  My ankle didn't appreciate it and my shoulders are complaining nicely now it's done.  What price a bit of freedom though, right?

Tomorrow I'm going to brave walking on my own again.  It can't be worse than today.  And at least my legs will find my run a bit easier!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.81 mi
Avg Pace:9:08 min/mi
Elevation Gain:105 ft

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Runstreak Day #309 - the HM after the HM before

This is long... sorry!

If I were to give advice to someone else, on my list of 'things you shouldn't do when you're a bit of a mess' would probably be 'run a half marathon'.  But then, I did that last weekend, so having clearly failed to take heed of that advice, it seemed stupid to not just run another one the following weekend.  When there is no logic in a choice, sometimes you've just got to embrace the illogical.

So... today, I ran the Tissington Trail Half Marathon.  I was so fortunate to be able to share a lift with Helen Waterfall (thank you for your lovely company Helen!), which helped to distract from pre-race nerves and nonsense.  We got there nice and early.  I was spectacularly underdressed.  Who wears a t-shirt and shorts to run when it's pretty darned cold and you're running in the Peak District?!  The answer is 'me'.  Like a shivering fool.  In between moaning about being cold, we got ourselves registered and sorted (three loo visits before the start - not bad going)... and then headed off on the bus which had been laid on to get people to the start.

By the time 10am rolled round and we actually started, I was shivering up a storm and could barely feel my feet.  The weather was absolutely beautiful, but beautiful doesn't make cold any less cold, sadly!  The views, however, were stunning.  Once we set off I was hoping to get warm (this was obviously my main focus of the race rather than anything sensible like pacing) and ran off far too quickly and did the first mile in a stupid 7:52.  My hands were freezing and instead of warming up, were growing painfully cold.  Note to self: prepare more for a race than shaving your legs, making a veggie sausage sarnie to eat afterwards and putting vaseline on your toes.

That aside, as the runners thinned out, there was space to just concentrate on my own running and take in the views.  The route follows the old railway line from Parsley Hay to Ashbourne and it is delicious.  The trail cuts through rock, sweeps over fields lit in golden Autumnal sunshine, over bridges crossing small country roads... and silent except for the pattering of feet and the occasional bit of huffing and puffing from the runners.  By mile 4 any bit of climb is really done with only slight inclines occasionally peppering the gentle descent towards Ashbourne.

As we went past the 6 mile mark, I noticed that I'd just done another couple of sub-8 minute miles and if I pushed it a bit, I'd get a sub-50 10k time, which meant that finishing comfortably sub-2 would be possible.  So, I decided not to be a lazy arse and do my normal trick of slowing and slowing as I went and concentrated instead on keeping a nice even pace.  Which then fell apart a bit by mile 9 which was my slowest mile by far!  What didn't help was someone at around about mile 8 telling me that there wasn't far to go.  Well, missus... you just run another 5 miles and tell me if that's not too far.  Then we'll talk.  So, you can see I was in giving up and getting into moany mode by this point!

Gave myself another stern talking to, ate the sad little date I'd brought with me for a bit of an energy boost, and caught up with a guy I'd been chatting to before the race started.  He was much faster than me but having problems with his calf muscles so had slowed a lot.  He'd settled into an 8 minute mile pace and so I decided to keep him in sight.  Between him, me and another female runner, we covered the next couple of miles fairly quickly... although all I could think when we passed the 11 mile marker was 'do two more 10 minute miles and you're sub-2'.  Which actually was my normal 'stop trying, give up and walk' brain starting to talk to me a bit too loudly and I could feel myself easing up.

I mentally told the voice to eff off.  Got my legs moving a bit more... and concentrated on enjoying running under a tunnel of trees instead.  The very last bit of the half marathon was almost in sight as we passed mile 12.  The thought of being able to stop running within the next 10 minutes was just about the only thing that kept me going.  That and the fact that the other female runner who was near me had taken to calling out the distance left to go every half mile, so once she bellowed 'half a mile left', I knew I could hang on for what would be a maximum of 5 minutes.

The thing they don't tell you about the route is that at the very end.  Just before the 13 mile marker... you go down a fairly steep slope.  Mirrored by a fairly short steep hill on the other side.  Which your weary legs think has been sent from hell to push you right over the edge.  If there hadn't been a few people at the top of the stupid, short, mean hill then I quite fancied walking that bit!  Instead, I couldn't lose face, so hauled myself up it... past the 13 mile marker... and... finish!

1:46:59 chip time.  And my hands were so cold, I couldn't even move them to take the medal out of its little cellophane wrapper and plonk it around my neck!

An absolutely lovely route.  My ankle is wrecked.  But Helen is awesome and had painkillers in her car.  And you know what?  I felt lucky to be able to run through the beautiful Peak District on a sparkly morning in October.

And I haven't felt lucky or that kind of happy since the accident.  I may have been a stubborn idiot to not stop running after it happened, but today, I got to be a happy stubborn idiot... and even though I know that things are still really hard (got to the end of your road before turning into a panicky mess, Helen!)... this morning, I got a bit of me back.  And I'm so grateful for that.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:13.10 mi
Avg Pace:8:10 min/mi
Elevation Gain:281 ft

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Runstreak Day #308 - reasons to run

Decision made about tomorrow's Tissington Trail half marathon.  I'm going to run it.  I have no expectation of time.  I have no expectation of how it will be or how it will go.  But I *will* run it.

I didn't make a decision about it until yesterday when I was out for a run.  We'd had a hard day - collecting our belongings from the wrecked car which were being held by the police, plus it was the motorcyclist's funeral.  And running allowed my head to stop turning those things over and over.  So, instead, I was thinking about tomorrow's half marathon and I realised that it's not about competing.  It's not about feeling compelled to run it whatever the cost.  It's not about a medal.  I would just like to run that route.  It's as simple as that.  I don't have to worry about traffic.  I get to be in beautiful countryside.  And I get to feel in control for a couple of hours.  Which, given that following the accident I'm struggling to even walk down the street on my own, is a feeling that I particularly need right now.

So, today's run was a gentle one.  5k.  No parkrun.  Nothing other than a bit of a plod.  Other than running, I did also get to talk about running as we're trying to turn our Notts Women Runners group into a proper running club.  Which is really exciting and we met today to start putting our plans into action.

I don't know if I would have even suggested creating a running club when I started this runstreak 308 days ago.  I do know the difference running has made to me at what's been a seriously awful time.  It's not something you can necessarily explain to anyone else.  Why you'd run when your back, ribs and ankle are painful from a car accident.  How you can run on the same pavement you're too panicked to walk down.  It doesn't seem to make sense.  Until you need it and it does make sense.

Running gives you more than you realise, over and over again.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.11 mi
Avg Pace:8:39 min/mi
Elevation Gain:151 ft

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Runstreak Day #307 - zig zagging the hills

Am still taking it fairly easy with my running.  My ankle has been pretty painful today and I don't want to aggravate it (weirdly, swimming - which is non-weight bearing - is much harder than running, and I can't do front crawl at all at the moment because I can't kick with my right ankle), but a gentle run is okay.

I've also been feeling pretty anxious generally - we had to go and pick up some possessions from our wrecked car today - and a longish car journey plus a walk to the shops (neither on my own), left me feeling exhausted.  I left going for a run until the evening to try to rest and feel a bit more human... and that seemed to help a bit.  Plus, running is a bit of freedom right now that I just don't feel when I'm walking / being driven anywhere.  I don't feel trapped when I'm running.  I don't get that sense of suffocation.  I don't like to look at the oncoming traffic, but I don't really have to when I'm running, because the concentration required for mindful running is enough to distract me from the fear of the car on the road.

So, I zig zagged up and down the residential streets nearby.  Not very far (and zig zagging allows me to do my minimum distance, but not be too far from home at any point) and definitely not very fast.  But enough to breathe again.

I think I've decided that I would like to run the Tissington Trail Half Marathon on Sunday.  I'm not sure how it's going to happen, but with everything else feeling such hard work at the moment, I resent that being 'taken' from me too.

Wonder if I'll get there??

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.76 mi
Avg Pace:8:48 min/mi
Elevation Gain:112 ft

Runstreak Day #306 - dithering and dithering...

306 days done... and I'm not pushing myself at all with my running right now.

I'm dithering about whether or not to do the Tissington Trail Half Marathon on Sunday.  I'd like to do it, but it's a tricky one as I can't get myself to drive at the moment... and... it's all so difficult.  My children want me to do it, but other people definitely don't.

Hmmm... difficult.  I hate the thought that I won't do it basically as a result of the accident.  Am still having problems with my back, ribs and ankle too... but having survived the Robin Hood half last weekend, I know that physically I can cope.  And psychologically I already have so much stuff which I'm struggling with that not doing this would feel like it was something else to add to the list of 'stuff that's not going right'.

I'll have another slow plod tomorrow and see if I can think about it some more and wait for the answer to come to me.  Running is always good for that.  And hopefully my physio appointment tomorrow will help with the other aches and pains too.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.17 mi
Avg Pace:8:49 min/mi
Elevation Gain:135 ft

Runstreak Day #305 - group running

... yup, hard work again.

Isn't this getting boring?  Managed just over 4 miles with Sweatshop this evening.  Mainly ran on my own... and really felt the pace drifting away from me again.  I am exhausted at the moment.  I can manage just over 2 miles and then it's as if the brakes go on and the batteries drain.

Ho hum.

There wasn't really anything notable about my run either.  It's now October... in two months time I'll have been running every day for a year.  I guess that's the way with running every day.  Some runs just slip by without there being any feature of note other than the quiet satisfaction of having got out there.  Some runs are memorable.  The Ramathon was brilliant.  I've done parkruns where I've buzzed with happiness afterwards.  There have been runs with friends which was pure fun.  But there have been lots which have been hard work or just not that special.  You accept those though.  There is always something to be gained from any run.

At the moment, it's allowing me to feel just a tiny bit of control in my life.  For almost 4.5 miles this evening, I made a decision to run, saw it through, sucked up the fact that it's still painful and didn't give in to the post traumatic stress which is making everything so difficult right now.

Hard work.  It doesn't all have to be fun to be worth doing though.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:4.36 mi
Avg Pace:8:22 min/mi
Elevation Gain:148 ft

Runstreak Day #304 - 1000 miles not out...

Today I managed to run my 1000th mile of the year.  Okay, so it was a pretty darned slow mile as I'm still kinda wiped out after the Robin Hood half  last weekend... but it was the 1000th nevertheless.

I wish I could tap into my happy bunny-ness at the moment.  I feel so ridiculously flat most of the time.  I love running, I really do... but I guess you can tell when things are difficult when the things you love doing, just aren't making you happy.  It's very frustrating!

It's like standing and looking at a version of me that I just don't recognise.  We're connected by running.  The normal version of me runs because it makes her toe tinglingly happy.  Because she feels strong and full of energy when she's running.  Even when the run is hard, it still makes her happy because it challenges her to try more, do more, go further... and she knows that if she manages to do what she set out to do, she's going to feel great.

But, this version?  This version slogs out the miles because she is grasping at feeling normal.  Because it's only when she runs that she can be on her own and not feel that crushing sense of panic.  This version is hanging on while she works through post traumatic stress and desperately wants the old version to come back.  This version braces herself against the pains in her back and ribs and carries on stubbornly regardless.

Day 304 and I still haven't had a day of running that I've regretted.  I just want a bit of happy and easy back.  That's not too much to ask, is it?

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.21 mi
Avg Pace:8:57 min/mi
Elevation Gain:113 ft

Runstreak Day #303 - yes, more running...

... A very tired run today.  Only managed three miles, but at least I got myself moving again.  Ran them with one of my running friends who has been brilliantly supportive and it was good to have her company. It distracted me from the discomfort of running and the tiredness I've been feeling after a really tough day.

I feel like there is no book for what I'm going through at the moment. Dealing with post traumatic stress is massively draining. Running is distracting but tiring.  Who knows what the right thing is to do?

When nothing makes sense, I want running to make sense. I need it to make sense.

Only three miles. I kept on going.

I will not let this drag me under.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.03 mi
Avg Pace:8:57 min/mi
Elevation Gain:206 ft

Monday, 6 October 2014

Runstreak Day #302 - the Robin Hood Half Marathon

Two weeks ago, I was sure that I wasn't going to be able to make it to the next day of running, let alone the Robin Hood half this morning.  In the immediate aftermath of the accident, I think it was adrenalin and determination that I wasn't going to lose more of myself than the accident had already taken that got me running again.  It was stupidly painful and I felt desperate in doing it.  I have never cried while running (and at other times - am a bit of a mess at the mo) as much as I have in the past couple of weeks.

I made it to the Robin Hood.  I am grateful that I'm here and that I could run it at all.

So... how was it?  To be honest, I'm too tired to process it.  I found it a mixture between overwhelming and just hard work.  I wanted to enjoy it.  But I think I'm trying to deal with pain / emotional stuff which means that I have to focus so hard on keeping on running, that enjoying it isn't on the cards right now.

The first 3 miles seemed to go okay and then I just got slower and slower. My tonsillitis turned into a chest infection at the beginning of the week and adding that into the mix, my energy levels are in the toilet.  By the 11th mile, it was only the fact that I knew the end wasn't too far away that kept me going.  I could hear other people chatting near me and saying it was less than a parkrun left... but I'm sure that the last miles in a half marathon are deliberately longer than any others!  Plus, I couldn't see my family anywhere as I finished which didn't help shorten those longer miles at all.

Even though my time was nowhere near what it might have been without the accident, I got a sub-2 with a time of 1:57.  I did what I set out to do and got myself round the Robin Hood.  I'm too exhausted to feel pleased with it right now - but I am hugely grateful to everyone who's supported me over the past two weeks and who made it possible to keep on running at all.  Thank you.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:13.15 mi
Avg Pace:8:56 min/mi
Elevation Gain:127 ft

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Runstreak Day #301 - the night before the HM

The day before the Robin Hood half marathon.  A slow run.  Am having a bit of a struggle with recovering from the crash (if you hadn't guessed from my last few blog posts), and my energy is shot to pieces.

I wanted to do the Robin Hood as my first half marathon.  Although I ended up doing another in June so it's not my first, it is still a race that I wanted to do to see what I could accomplish.  Now, I just want to get it done.  I don't want to disgrace myself.  I feel fed up that I can't get anywhere near the time I might have got had the accident not happened.  But I will get to the end of it.

And today's run was the last one before I do the half.

Please let me not let myself down.

Geeky stats stuff

3.24 mi
8:31 min/mi
Avg Pace
156 ft
Elev Gain

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Runstreak Day #300 - the number's not that important

Well, I didn't think I'd be at this point a couple of weeks ago... but today marked my 300th day of running every single day.  I only managed 5k, but... on the flip side... I managed 5k and didn't give myself any excuse for not getting out there.  My ankle is strapped up.  My ribs are painful.  My back and shoulders are robbing me of sleep.  But, I am running.  Sometimes that's as good as it gets.

And actually, for the past couple of weeks, keeping on clocking up days in my runstreak really hasn't been important.  Instead, what's been important has been using running for an escape, for headspace, running to feel something other than what's been going on since the accident, running to feel a little bit like me when I don't feel like me at all at the moment.

Which is why the thing I did today to mark my 300th run was to sign up for the Leadership in Running Fitness course for the end of next month.

You know what?  Running might be hard work sometimes.  Sometimes it feels impossible.  Sometimes you don't really feel like it.  Sometimes it's dark, it's cold, it's wet, it's the end of a long day and you can't seem to force yourself out.  But if you do get those trainers on.  And you do get yourself out there... then running really is a gift to treasure.  I'm really looking forward to being able to support others in giving themselves the gift of running.

And thank to all those who've supported me to help keep me running too.  You have been amazing too. x

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.10 mi
Avg Pace:8:41 min/mi
Elevation Gain:182 ft

Runstreak Day #299 - nearly 300

And nearly didn't get out there as I really wasn't feeling very good at all today. From messed up emotions to coughing, sore throaty patheticness. By the time I went it was dark a windy out. And not that nice at all.

In the end, I decided to aim only for the bare minimum of two miles and if I did more that would be fine. And that's what I did. Slowly. Not pushing myself, not breathing too hard or doing anything to aggravate my back, ankle or ribs. And going completely into auto pilot mode. Sometimes you have to do what it takes to get your run done,  

And I was glad I did it although I very nearly had a panic attack when some idiots in a car beeped at me and yelled really loudly in my direction. Won't do that route on my own for a while. I need to feel safe when I run and I didn't after that,

Right. Last run if the 200s done. They've been 'interesting'.  Let's hope the 300s are a smidgen kinder to me.

Geeky stats stuff

2.47 mi
8:54 min/mi
Avg Pace
117 ft

Runstreak Day #298 - necessary normal

Today has been a bit of a tough day - we had to go to the police station to make statements and it was an hour and a half of reliving it which was stressful beforehand, difficult to get through and exhausting afterwards.  As I was talking to the officer about the impact it's had on me, something occurred to me.  I was talking about the panic I feel when I've driven (I've managed once and it was awful) and when I've walked on my own.  And I realised that although my running has been painful and stupidly hard work for the last 10 days, I haven't felt that same crushing panic which has happened when I've walked / driven.

When I run, I feel in control.  My body might feel alien to me because of various pains / problems right now... but I feel so much less vulnerable when I'm running.  For a while every day for the past 10 days, I've struggled, but I've found a little piece of life which I felt was still in my control.  When everything else has felt like it's sliding away from me, running is still mine.

This evening, I ran with Sweatshop.  I ran with a friend who is always lovely company.  I ran slowly.  It was painful.  I'm still wheezy from the tonsillitis / chest infection I've had.  But I'm still running.

If you have the chance to grab a bit of life just for yourself, you want to hold onto it really tightly.  Because when things are tough, it makes all the difference.  Running every day has made running part of my normal life - and I need normal right now.

298 days is a powerful amount of normal.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.48 mi
Avg Pace:9:33 min/mi
Elevation Gain:140 ft

Runstreak Day #297 - sheer bloody hard work

If you were going to come up with the recipe for the perfect running conditions they wouldn't include rain, night-time, wind or someone running who's recently been in a car accident and is struggling with injuries... and tonsillitis / chest infection.

But if that's all you've got to work with, that's all you got to work with.

Which is all I had to work with.

So, I did.  I had to remind myself to keep it slow and relaxed... mainly because of feeling a bit crappy the whole time.  And I don't want to make things completely worse before Sunday.  It's weird though, when I'm running I don't feel that same crushing sense of panic that I do when I walk on my own anywhere at the moment.  If I'm walking, I feel this sense of everything closing in on me, of the cars coming at me and it's as much as I can do to keep on going.  When I'm running, it's not really like that.  Maybe it's a question of feeling in control?  When I'm running, I can move quickly out of trouble (or that's how it feels?).  When I'm walking, I'm waiting to be hit.  And that feeling of powerlessness and helplessness from the accident is overwhelming.  I feel in control when I run.  I feel frustrated that it's so damned painful and hard right now.  But it also feels like the only bit of my life where I *can* do something positive.

Today, was a struggle of a 5k.  Tomorrow, I'll find a little window to take control again.  Because without it, tomorrow would just be an extraordinarily stressful, anxious day.

Right now, I know that my running doesn't make sense to anyone.  For my brain, it does.  And for a while, I can glimpse my life through less anxious eyes.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.08 mi
Avg Pace:8:40 min/mi
Elevation Gain:107 ft

Runstreak Day #296 - the simple things

Am getting very frustrated with my running.  Running when you have pain in your back, ribs, shoulder, ankle etc takes what should be a pretty simple pleasure from it.  Don't get me wrong, the space from giving it a go is absolutely needed at the moment.  However, my tonsils etc are still not better, and finishing my run is to not only resort to more painkillers but to then spend the next half hour wheezing and coughing.

Okay, it's not frustration with my running so much as frustration with the state of my body right now.

Trying to think of the positives from my run.  I stopped to look at the stars.  Does that count?  I guess it does.  I haven't done a post-sunset run for a while, and because of the back pain (saw the osteopath earlier so getting it sorted gradually), I was in 'delaying my run mode' until after it had got dark.  As I ran, I could feel my breath not happening right.  It's pretty shallow because my throat hurts and my chest is tight.  Just shy of three miles I stopped halfway up a hill.  I just needed to get my breathing sorted.  And as I stopped, I looked up.  And saw how beautiful the dark sky was with its blanket of stars.  Sometimes when you're running you get so focused on looking ahead of you or glancing to the side, that you forget that the night sky can be such a velvety treasure.

Seeing the stars on a night-time run.  That's a positive.

My frustration about not feeling great right now pales compared to the fact that I am still getting myself out there and am still able to experience quiet, lovely moments like that.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.21 mi
Avg Pace:8:33 min/mi
Elevation Gain:142 ft

Runstreak Day #295 - stubborn survival

Sometimes (okay a lot of the time) I think I might be too stubborn for my own good because bloody hell it was hard work doing a long run this morning.

I could write a list of things I'm fed up of...

I'm fed up of my ribs hurting
I'm fed up of not getting much sleep
I'm fed up of my back pain
I'm fed up of my ankle aching
I'm fed up of having tonsillitis
I'm fed up of how hard things are at the moment.

Okay, I did write a list.

But when it was really tough this morning, I started to say 'I'm thankful' instead.  I'm thankful I'm able to run at all.  I'm thankful that I'm alive.  All of the things that I'm fed up of are only symptoms of still being here.  For which I'm thankful.

I have absolutely wiped myself out with my long run though.  If I'm to stand any chance of doing the Robin Hood half next Sunday, I had to give myself the confidence back that I *could* do the distance.  The first couple of miles were okay before the rib pain really started to kick in.  About 6 miles in and I could feel my energy draining and my pace really slowing.  By 8 miles, I caught up with someone I know, and was grateful of the fact that I have no voice at the moment because of the tonsillitis - and could run in silence with him with no pressure to do 'chit chat'.  The last two miles were just plain hard work.

Altogether I managed 10.5 miles.

I've been in bed the rest of the day.  But I did it.

There are always excuses why you shouldn't do something.  There are some pretty good reasons why you shouldn't too.  Sometimes, if setting your mind on a goal to get you through a really hard time is all you've got, then ignoring excuses and reasons and doing it anyway makes as much sense as anything else does.

I will feel like me again.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:10.40 mi
Avg Pace:8:50 min/mi
Elevation Gain:71 ft