Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Runstreak Day #349 - short and sensible

Well, if sensible involves running up a jolly steep hill, then that's sensible.  I only did just over 2 miles, but it really was enough for me at the moment.  I need to just do what I can do and make what I can do... count - if that makes sense.  So, if all I can manage is a couple of miles, then there will be a hill of some sort involved.  And I will try to focus on my form / breathing.  Or at least try to get something useful out of it.

I also don't want the pressure of other people who, given that I'm going through a rough patch right now, seem to think that the only thing I *should* do is to stop running.  But having seen my physio today and let him know that I'm not doing Sunday's half, he said a) good (yeah, I can do sensible) and b) our aim is to keep you running.  My aim is to keep me running too.  And if it means taking it back to short distances and just getting myself out there and moving.

Physio is definitely helping my ankle and shoulder / neck.  No, they're not better yet, and although running after physio is probably the most painful run of the week, weirdly, it's walking up and down hills which aggravates my ankle far more than anything.

So, a random bit of waffling.  I didn't go far.  I didn't quit the runstreak.  I don't particularly care about the whole runstreaking thing.  I just want to experience the freedom that running gives me.  To blank out the stuff in my head for a short while.  And I'm hanging on to that.  No-one else needs to understand that but me.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.15 mi
Avg Pace:8:40 min/mi
Elevation Gain:164 ft

Runstreak Day #348 - short is where it's at

Right now, I can only manage short runs.  It's massively frustrating, but I'd rather do a short run than no run at all.  So I did just over 2.5 miles, had my 'normal' feeling faint thing after 2 miles.  But at least I managed to run up the big hill from my house without stopping.

I have definitely decided that I can't do the half marathon I'm signed up for on Sunday though.  I am not feeling well enough and I can't risk feeling faint / fainting during a race.  I feel pretty damn fed up about it, but I know that my body just isn't up to it at the moment and I could land myself in all sorts of trouble physically if I push it too hard.  I'm already feeling like I'm on the edge of what I can cope with, so there you have it... I'm (almost) being sensible.

I was thinking again about my decision to keep on running.  It struck me that it's just become such a normal thing for me to run every day that to *not* run every day is like not doing any of the other everyday things you do.  Not walking.  Not sleeping.  Not eating.  If you had those things taken away from you, or had to fight to continue doing them... you'd do it, right?  So why shouldn't I fight to carry on running?  I am not physically injured enough not to run (other than the remnants of the car accident), I am exhausted because of the PTSD and am not feeling too good generally, but not enough to stop me from wanting to get out there and feel just a little bit human.

Even if it is just for short bursts.  Not fast.  Not far.  But free.  Just for a little bit.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.60 mi
Avg Pace:8:26 min/mi
Elevation Gain:189 ft

Runstreak Day #347 - slowness personified

I thought about stopping my runstreak today.  I thought about it on and off all day.  But I really don't want to.

It's not the runstreak, to be honest.  It's the chance that the run will be okay and I'll get to feel normal that I don't want to let go of.  I ended up running with Sweatshop and had the same lovely runner as at the weekend run with me and put up with my stopping every so often to feel grotty.

At least I managed to run.  I feel quite, I don't know, judged for carrying on running at the moment.  It's not as if I don't know that rest is an option.  It's not as if I don't know that I could stop.  But it really isn't like that.  I'm not obsessively running to clock up the days.  Yes, I know I write down the number, but that's just a handy way of logging things.  I just want to feel happy again.  I want to feel free.  I want to feel like me.  I want to have a route back into myself that without running feels harder to find.

So, I put on my trainers.  I give it another go.  I try my hardest to see what I can achieve.  I try my hardest not to cry with frustration that it's so damn hard at the moment.  And it's not me *not* being 'kind' to myself by carrying on.  It's me offering myself a tiny bit of hope that it will be better.  That I'll feel better.  That one day soon this nightmare of PTSD will ease and that I will be okay.

You don't enjoy every run.  You don't always feel joy while you're running.  I might feel anxious and ill a lot of the time right now... and maybe that is intruding into my running.  But while I can at least try to run, I'm going to give it my best go.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.18 mi
Avg Pace:10:03 min/mi
Elevation Gain:107 ft

Runstreak Day #346 - the abandoned run

For the first time ever, absolutely ever, I had to abandon a run.  I can hardly believe I did it, but I just could not carry on running any further.

In my head, I was going to run 10k today.  I thought it would be okay.  I'd take it steady, do as flat a route as I could.  The first mile was okay.  The second was going alright.  Then I had to stop at the traffic lights to wait to cross the road, and the horrible faint feeling came over me.  I crossed the road and carried on.  The faint, sicky feeling came again.  I went a little further.  I thought I would throw up.

It was SO frustrating.  I had run to the place where I first started running back in January 2013.  I've run around that area loads of times.  I felt like I was letting myself down terribly.  Letting down the version of me who'd battled to get running in the first place.  I ended up sat on the footbridge which crosses a stream before the main lakes I run round.  I could not stop feeling faint.  It was horrible.  I gave myself a stern talking to and carried on.  I got to a bench and sat down, feeling awful.  I sat for a while, wondering what to do.  I had barely done 2.5 miles and I knew that I was struggling badly.  I thought I'd slow down, try to carry on.

I made it to the next bench before the wave of nausea and horrible faint feeling became too much.  In the end, I decided to try to get to 3 miles and see how I felt.  There was no way that 10k was happening.  I didn't even get to 3 miles before I had to stop again, retching by the side of the path.  Finally, 3 miles beeped mercifully on my watch.  I stopped.  Felt angry and so, so frustrated with myself.  I've worked so hard to become a runner.  I've run those lakes so many times, each time quicker, more confident.

And now, this.  The day I had to abandon my run and I just could not run a single step further.  I trudged slowly home, feeling the anxiety of the traffic keenly.

Plus, it turns out walking 3 miles takes a LOT longer than running them.  And you get so much colder too.

Gah to it all.  I am SO fed up of it!!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.01 mi
Avg Pace:8:37 min/mi

Runstreak Day #345 - streak-saving short run

20 days left until the full year... and today I invoked the '2 mile minimum' rule... as all I did was just over 2 miles.  The only aim was to keep moving and not stop.  Which sounds a bit pathetic for such a short distance, but having felt poorly for the past few weeks and not being able to run without stopping, this was about keeping moving and nothing else.

It just goes to show, you can be capable of running much further... but sometimes your goals need to shift and become much smaller... yet they're still important to you.  I knew today was going to be a hard run.  Monday is the day I have counselling which means I'm generally wrecked afterwards and haven't much energy left for anything, let alone any kind of distance.  To have been able to run up a mile of hill without stopping was pretty satisfying... and to get a break from feeling so anxious for a while was massive relief.  I'm so stupidly anxious / tense at the moment that my teeth hurt.  Isn't that mad?  It's from my jaw being so clenched, I guess... but even so.  Crackers!

At least when I was running, I was consciously in charge of my breathing, my pace, consciously getting myself to relax my shoulders and focus on my form.  Running is brilliant for allowing you to escape what's going on in your head... even if you do have to shrink your goals, shrink your expectations and just hang on in there.

Day 345 done.  And... bed.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.14 mi
Avg Pace:8:42 min/mi
Elevation Gain:153 ft

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Runstreak Day #344 - atrocious runs and running stars

With 3 weeks left until the year is done, I managed my worst run of the year today.  It was shockingly bad.  I was meant to be doing my normal long run with Sweatshop... and was using it to see if I was up to running a half next weekend.  I figured that if I could manage 10 miles this Sunday, then I could cope with a half next weekend.

My body thought different.

I started off okay - at a slow, relaxed pace, running with a few others... but by the time I was 3 miles in, I began feeling faint.  Light-headed and everything going a bit black and wobbly around the edges.  I stopped, and then walked for a while, one of the people I was with stayed with me... then I started again... by 4 miles, it happened again.  I told the person I was with to carry on running and she carried on to catch up with another couple of people we'd been with.  I felt terrible.  A mixture of 'not very well' and massively frustrated.  The tears started to come.  I tried to carry on running... ended up walking again... and stopped... again.

So, there I am, on the edge of the path, head down trying to stop feeling faint and hoping that people will just run past and leave me alone to wallow in the misery of not being able to run.  But one of them didn't.  He stopped and asked if I was alright and I said I felt faint.  Unlike the others who had gone past, he stayed with me.  And he didn't just stay with me at that point, but he ran with me the rest of the way - another 6 miles of me running, feeling faint, having to stop, then walking and back to a run... over and over.  He was absolutely brilliant.  I felt guilty for ruining his run, but so grateful that he stayed with me when I was feeling so horrible.  I apologised so many times for making him stop, but he was a complete star about it.

Just when you feel at a complete low.  Just when you're wondering how you can carry on.  When you feel a bit swallowed up and hopeless.  Someone can show you how fantastic people can be.

And yes, I know everyone's thinking 'you shouldn't have gone for a long run today' - and you're probably right.  But I did, it was rotten... and I'm going to do very slow, short and gentle runs for a while until I feel better.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:9.81 mi
Avg Pace:10:28 min/mi
Elevation Gain:115 ft

Runstreak Day #343 - the old lady hijack...

So... after 343 days of running each day... I have a first.  Today, as I ran in the cold and wet, doing a 'don't quite know where I'm going but I'm just going to see where I end up' run... today, I got hijacked by an old lady.

Yup.  An old lady.

There I was, a couple or so miles into my run.  Wet through and trying to work out the best way of getting back to where I'd started from, when I'm just about to cross the road.  On the pavement opposite is an old lady.  She beckons me over.  Not knowing what she wants, I decide to cross and find out.  As I get to her, she grabs my arm and basically makes me walk her back up the hill and where she needs to go!!  At snail's pace.  She could manage about a couple of metres before having to stop to get her breath.  Grasping my arm firmly the whole time.

I couldn't really tell what she was saying as a) she was deaf (and halfway through decided to take out her hearing aids so couldn't hear me either) and b) I think she'd had a stroke as her speech wasn't clear.  But she knew where she was going and knew she wasn't letting go of my arm.  I even had to adjust her support socks for her halfway through!  Between us, twenty minutes later, we eventually ended up at the top of the hill, on the high street.  She goes on her way without a thank you... and I carry on my run, a little bemused by the whole thing, soaked and absolutely frozen!

In almost a year, I've run half marathons, I've swallowed flies, I've made new running friends, I've parkrun, I've run up and down hills all over the place, I've been chased, I've had umpteen catcalls and gone through several pairs of trainers.  And now, I've been hijacked by an old lady.  In support stockings.

Who says running is boring?!

*sups tea and tries to work out the weirdness of the day's run again*

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.62 mi
Avg Pace:8:45 min/mi
Elevation Gain:242 ft

Runstreak Day #342 - annoyingly slow

... but annoyingly slow is all that's keeping me going at the moment until I get the whole 'feeling faint / generally not feeling very well' thing under control.  I think I might not be able to do the trail half I'm meant to be doing in just over a week's time - will have to see how I feel next week, but if I feel like this then, it'll be a sensible decision rather than a stubborn one.

Today's run was the same old boring route with a slight variation to try to make it just a bit more interesting.  Because I haven't started driving again yet (really not sure when that's going to be - it's massively anxiety inducing to think about right now), I can't go anywhere for a run... so end up running the same loops around the neighbourhood over and over again.  Today's detour involved running round some streets that felt just a bit too dark.  And then I nearly got myself run over by a prat in a car who wasn't looking as he went to pull out of a car park!  Won't be doing that route again!!

I'll also be glad when the fireworks have stopped.  I hate the banging and general noise and ended up wearing my earphones to try to block it all out a bit.  It distracted rather than blocked it out, but you've gotta try this stuff, right?

Anyhoo... just over 5k.  A very slow pace.  Looking forward to feeling better as this sucks quite badly at the moment!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.15 mi
Avg Pace:9:00 min/mi
Elevation Gain:143 ft

Runstreak Day #341 - slowness prevails...

Yes.  More slow running.  And more nearly fainting too.


This time, I ended up sat on a bench with my head between my legs as the ground went swirly in front of me.  Had to stop a few times after that as well because I still wasn't feeling good.  I am torn between wanting to run to feel the freedom of running... and feeling too ill to run.  At the moment, I need the feeling of freedom more than anything because life has become a restricted, anxiety-fest which isn't much fun at all.  But boy oh boy is it hard.  When I'm feeling better, I will *never* take it for granted.  Being able to run with ease is a luxury.

I will also remember that when I'm doing the beginners' courses we're running from January.  The joy of running can seem so far away when running itself is hard work.  You have to feel that it's worth it though to carry on, don't you?  Whatever worth there is in it, you have to tap into that to find your motivation.

Oh, and today's run was actually two runs.  One was me running on my own - listening to music for a change (which didn't help!).  And struggling with the big hill and my general tiredness.  The second was with a friend as we went to see how another beginner group was being run.  Less struggle, more chatting for the second run.  Running friends are brilliant.  Especially when they understand what you're going through.

And that's another of the reasons why I'm still running.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.14 mi
Avg Pace:9:01 min/mi
Elevation Gain:210 ft

Runstreak Day #340 - aaargh! Another tough run!

Can I just recommend not having PTSD to people?  It sucks massively.  And it's sucking the life out of my running at the moment.  My energy is in the toilet.  My sleep is massively disrupted.  Physically I'm still recovering from the accident.  Emotionally, I feel ridiculously low.  And the medication I'm now on is leaving me feeling pretty darned horrible.

So, in terms of things not to experience... I recommend not experiencing PTSD and running.  It is threatening to rob me of my love of running and it is only through stubborn stupidity that I won't give in to it.  I could quite happily just curl up and shut myself away from the world and wait for it to quiet down and for me to feel better.  Instead, I went (well, was driven - am still not back to driving) to SRC where it was a hilly Wednesday run in prospect.  Normally, I really enjoy the challenge of that route.  I like chatting with people beforehand and the matey relief at surviving the hill afterwards.  But tonight I felt a bit anxious about it.  Because of the fireworks going off (a lovely reminder of the airbag going off in the car accident a few weeks ago), but also because I know my energy is terrible at the moment.  A route I can normally run with no issue has become hard.


I ended up having to stop a few times as I ran up the hill.  Which is not like me at all.  I don't know how I'm going to manage the trail half I'm doing in 10 days time when I can't even get up a relatively small hill, and I have several BIG climbs to do.  I guess just getting round and being grateful that I'm there at all will have to be enough.

You know what?  That *is* enough.  I am struggling at the moment *because* I survived a fatal road traffic collision.  I survived.  This is hard right now... but I survived.  And I still get to run, no matter how hard it might be.  That's definitely enough.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:4.04 mi
Avg Pace:8:46 min/mi
Elevation Gain:246 ft

Runstreak Day #339 - form and fainting...

So, that's day 339 all done and dusted.  And I almost had to exercise the 2-mile minimum rule this evening and in the end only did 2.5 miles.  A bit pathetic, but then, the whole point of the 2-mile minimum thing was about running fitting into less than 20 minutes if it needed to.  And tonight, it did.  Because that's all I had energy for.

Ended up sitting on a wall with my head between my knees at one point as I felt faint.  All part of the general exhaustion I'm experiencing at the moment, but weird to deal with.  While I wasn't feeling crappy, I was trying to be a bit more grown up with my running and think about my form / pace.  I think with the ankle / back / rib pains I've had from the accident, I've ended up not running terribly well.  So, tonight, I focused on running taller, lighter and getting my knees up a bit more.  Definitely makes a difference to your pace if you pay attention to your form.

And it distracted me from the fact that it was BLOODY FREEZING!!!!!

Am back to two layers on top, thermal long running tights on and gloves.  And a Buff.  And if I could hibernate / run while wrapped in a duvet, that'd be lovely.

How long until Spring again?!

Tea, slurped... and off to bed!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.36 mi
Avg Pace:8:02 min/mi

Runstreak Day #338 - freezing and freedom

Day 338... done.  Phewie!

So, it is now officially cold enough to freeze my ladybits off out there and I think the days of wearing capris for evening runs are numbered!  Since it has also officially been quite a stressy day (have been queen of all things weepy and pathetic), I obviously treated myself to some new running kit.  A new top, some running gloves and my first pair of trail shoes.  New top is pretty and lilac - nice.  Running gloves are sensible - go me.  And the trail shoes... well... they ended up being bloke's shoes in a size that is embarrassingly massive!!

Hey ho!

New running stuff is good for the soul.  I could wish I were running better at the moment though.  I'm *still* ridiculously tired and it is taking all my energy to run at all.  However, it takes all my energy to do anything at the moment - I had an appalling night of nightmares again last night.  Again.  But, in contrast to the anxiety of walking outside on my own.  In contrast to the panic I feel near traffic where I feel like I physically have to force myself to keep on walking when the urge is to stop / escape.  In contrast to the feeling of being completely overwhelmed by so much stuff?  Well, running is freedom.  It's hard, but it gives me a freedom of movement which I don't otherwise get when I'm outside at other times.

5k of freedom?  Definitely worth it.  Plus, I have earned my cuppa cha.  Which is all good too!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.24 mi
Avg Pace:8:44 min/mi

Runstreak Day #337 - hilly trail run

Today was supposed to be my normal long run.  But my energy has been so lousy lately that I didn't feel like attempting 10 miles+ was going to go any way other than badly!  So, I decided against it.

I know!  Sensible right?!  I ended up doing a short 5k run round the woods instead.  I'm doing a trail half in a couple of weeks time so it was sort of practice for that - hilly, muddy, trails.  Kinda fun really in a messy, exhausting kinda way.  It was nice not to have to run on the pavement for a change.  I've been a bit confined to pavements lately as I still can't bring myself to drive again (thank you PTSD and panic attacks), so have had to just run from the house the whole time.  And with the exhaustion, can't run too far either.  So, running in the woods, through the damp leaves, up and down the muddy hills... that was a nice change.  Even if I was slower than a slow thing!

I think I need some trail shoes though.  It was kinda slippy underfoot and I had visions of ending up covered in mud and soaked through on some of the gloopier bits.  You end up having to do some interesting footwork just to stay upright and when your legs are getting a bit tired, that makes it all a bit trickier.

Still... run.  Done.  337 days.  And haven't given in to the rubbish I'm going through at the moment either.   There is still a bit of me kicking about somewhere, after all.

Geeky stats stuff

  • 3.1mi
  • 30:36
     Moving Time
  • 9:44/mi

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Runstreak Day #336 - the first of the last...

Rightie ho... that's my the first day of my last month done! Well, last month towards a year of running every day. Slow-vember has begun! With a ploddy three miles which I didn't think I'd manage earlier this evening due to a 'husband didn't want me to run' crisis.
I didn't exactly ignore him. Well, a bit. But I have worked so hard to hold onto running since the accident that I'm damned if I'm going to lose it now. Okay, my body is having a weird struggle at the moment and I haven't felt at all well the last few days... but... running is still something I can still do. I haven't been to work in weeks and am signed off for at least the next few as well. I can't drive. I find walking on my own a struggle. I have nightmares every night and wake mid-panic attack around 2am each morning. Being in a car is massively stressful. I can't seem to string together a coherent sentence and I constantly forget stuff.
But I can run. I can taste a bit of the old me in that. It is very hard work to run. But when I'm running at least I *am* running. I am at least a little bit free.
So, there you have it. The first run of the last month. 336 days run? I think! Too tired to work it out! Nightie night all!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.02 mi
Avg Pace:8:41 min/mi
Elevation Gain:178 ft

Runstreak Day #335 - Halloween horrors...

Very nearly didn't run tonight. I could feel myself giving in to the tiredness and sat for ages in my running kit without being able to prise myself out of my chair.
In the end, I managed a very slow 2.5 miles. Nearly fainted part way round (don't recommend ending up slumped against a wall on Halloween - it's guaranteed to make you freak yourself out!). Hauled my backside back up the hill to home and bed. Well, a shower first, but not even the energy for a cuppa first!
Exactly one month left until I manage to run every day for a year. Really thought I was finished this evening. October has been crazily hard work. Here's hoping for a gentle November. And some slow short runs for the next few days while I try to get my energy back! 

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.32 mi
Avg Pace:9:08 min/mi
Elevation Gain:100 ft

Runstreak Day #334 - more exhaustion and a decision

Bloomin' heck, I am SO exhausted at the moment.  I think it might be the beta-blockers I'm taking for the panic attacks the delightful post-traumatic stress disorder has brought with it.  I'm sure people look at me and think 'she seems okay after the accident'... but they don't see the pain from things like my ankle and shoulder / neck / back... and they certainly don't see the struggle it is to make it from one end of the day to the other.  The nightmares.  The panic attacks.  The flashbacks.  The anxiety. Running has been a complete sanity saver for the past 6 weeks and I need to keep on being able to run so that I at least feel like there's a sliver of normal in my life at the moment.

So, I think I need to do something about the beta blockers.  I ran tonight - a hill session with a group of lovely Notts Women Runners - and while it was great to have their company I found myself struggling with a route I can normally manage easily.  Hills I can run up with no problem made me breathless with exhaustion.  I hate the thought of that suffocating panic coming back into my life, but I can't cope with feeling utterly shattered the whole time either.

Yes, the running would still be there if I carried on taking the medication regardless, but I think that it's probably not sensible to carry on with the beta blockers as I have a fairly low heart rate (40 - 50 bpm) and they're just making me feel very well.

And running is too important in my life to let go.

I think I may have just made a decision.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:5.17 mi
Avg Pace:9:53 min/mi
Elevation Gain:376 ft

Runstreak Day #333 - still exhausted

Right... that's 333 days run.  Yet another slow one.  Yet another run when I ended up stopping to catch my breath.  No idea what's the matter with me at the moment other than I am just exhausted as a side-effect of the post-traumatic stress disorder nonsense.  Night after night of terrible sleep really does take its toll, as do the spikes of panicky crap during the day.  It is exhausting just making it from one end of the day to the other.

At least tonight's run was a Sweatshop run, which meant I got to run with other people that I know.  I could chat to them before it started, ran with a few for a couple of miles.  Stopped to adjust my shoelace which was driving me potty and gratefully let the main group speed off.  Carried on running a bit more.  Eventually stopped again to put my gloves into my FlipBelt and got caught up by another couple of runners... and since they were properly taking it steady, ran with them for the rest of the way.

I'm glad that earlier this year I persisted with getting used to running with other people.  It is good to have got to know so many others through my running.  When you run, you can chat... or not.  If you chat, it doesn't have to be anything heavy.  If you don't, it's companionable silence.  And that's fine too.

I also met with a friend who I did the Leadership in Running Fitness course with, together with our England Athletics contact (who's super dooper nice) to discuss the beginners courses which we'll be running in January.  In a day which was pretty darned difficult for a whole load of stupid car accident-related reasons (don't get me started on insurance companies and lawyers!!!), running yet again proved how lovely people can be and how good it is just to get out there, even if you don't feel like you've got any energy left.  There's still a way to do something.

And there's always room for a cuppa.  :o)

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:4.30 mi
Avg Pace:8:52 min/mi

Runstreak Day #332 - exhaustion...

Day 332 done. 5k at a very slow pace with my lovely running friend, who had to put up with stopping every so often as I'm just too tired to be able to run properly right now. I really was pathetic. I have no pace at all right now and hills and routes I normally run easily are beyond me. It's an alien feeling, that's for sure.
Have to say, other runners have been brilliant and even though I'm finding it such a struggle right now, it is a beautiful thing to know their positive energy is there in the background. Hopefully some of that will rub off on me because I sure could do with a bit more energy!
Now... sleep (too tired even for a cuppa!). Here's to the next day peeking over the horizon!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.08 mi
Avg Pace:8:59 min/mi
Elevation Gain:176 ft

Runstreak Day #331 - that place beyond treacle...

Moany update alert...

So, today's run was ridiculously rough.  I had a terrible night's sleep - nightmares and flashbacks galore - and even managed the feat of waking up in tears.  Not crying once I'd woken up, no... waking up to find my face wet with tears.  You can tell that I wasn't especially rested, right?!  The rest of the day involved counselling and a doctor's appointment - such are the delights of post-traumatic stress.  And therefore more blubbing.

Now, I know that people say that running is therapy.  Well, I'll tell you what.  Running isn't therapy.  Therapy is hard, draining, emotional stuff.  Running should be a joy.  Should be freedom.  Should be space and time and strength.  Then again, today's run was hard and draining... and physically I felt so tired that I struggled to run at all.

I decided to try listening to music as I ran, which I haven't done in absolutely ages.  I couldn't find my running rhythm at all.  And in the end, I stood, in the cold and dark and listened to the music.  Just me.  No-one else about.  On my own.  And wondered what I was doing at all.  I didn't really care what I looked like.  I closed my eyes.  Listened to the music.  And stood.

Okay, so maybe I shouldn't have gone for a run at all.  Maybe, after 331 days, today should have been a rest day.

No.  Sod it.  I deserve to attempt to at least try to feel like me.  Even if it doesn't pay off.  At least I tried.

If there turns out to be no point to running every day, at least I was doing something to find that out rather than staying at home and doing nothing.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.65 mi
Avg Pace:9:22 min/mi
Elevation Gain:110 ft

Runstreak Day #330 - long run treacle day

I am in a bit of a bleh place with my running at the moment.  For the past week almost all of my runs have been just sheer bloomin' hard work.  I think because I'm feeling pretty low in myself it's starting to rub off on my running.  Normally, that wouldn't happen because I'd have the physical energy spare to get my act together and run without thinking about it too much.  Unfortunately, I'm not sleeping at all well at the moment and it means that day after day of that is giving the net result of my feeling exhausted.  And therefore running is a struggle too.  Because I need that, right?!

So, today's run involved three bits.  Run to the Sweatshop Sunday long run.  Do the long run.  Run home.  Part one - that was okay.  Survived in one piece with no particular problem other than just generally feeling a bit tired.  Part two - ran with a running friend, which was good... you get to chat and survive it together... plus, she wanted to run at a fairly steady pace and that suited me fine.  What wasn't fine, however, was the bloomin' head wind we were running into for most of our run.  It was relentless.  Even swearing at it a bit didn't help (and that *always* helps!)... and it carried on battering us.  Head on.  Blowing across us.  Head on and swirly.  Urgh.  We did at least have the wind behind us on the way back, but after nearly 4 miles of battering, it was poor relief... and neither of us were really feeling the run at all.  Chatting or not chatting, a hard run is still a hard run.

Then... part three.  The bit we'll call 'I gave up after 1.5 miles, walked for half a mile, then ran the last half mile home.  And it was horrible.  A slow shuffle for most of it.  And after a mile or so of hill, I'd had enough and couldn't face running up the last bit of hill.  So, I stopped my Garmin and trudged.  Even running down the hill at the end wasn't the normal fun-fest.  I was frozen (wore the wrong clothes - again!).  And tired.  And my ankle was hurting a fair bit.

Okay, so I still did it.  But I think I've broken myself a fair bit!

Tomorrow will involve a VERY gentle run.  VERY gentle.  I am officially knackered.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:11.56 mi
Avg Pace:9:45 min/mi
Elevation Gain:310 ft

Cool down

Distance:0.55 mi
Avg Pace:8:56 min/mi

Runstreak Day #329 - LiRF day, slow run

I did an 'emergency back up only a complete data nerd would think this was a sensible thing to do it doesn't count unless it's recorded' run this evening.  It was a shabby affair really.  I ran with my littlest - with him carrying a torch and at first doing his best impression of a stuntman, running along walls and jumping off, singing like a crazy thing... and then running out of energy at just after two miles and having to run-walk the last bit home.

I had run a fair bit earlier in the day as part of the Leadership in Running Fitness course I went to with a lovely running friend - but my brain doesn't count that running because I never recorded any of it!  The course itself was good.  Learned lots.  *Still* know that I don't do proper warm ups, but will get my act together when I'm working with groups in future.  Plus, it was really enjoyable and I feel like I can give planning and delivering 'proper' sessions a good go and actually do this thing properly.  Which is part of what we're going to be doing just after Christmas in Notts when we start running beginner learn-to-run courses - super dooper exciting!!  It blows me away that at the start of January 2013, I'd never run a step in my adult life.  And now, I'm going to help other people start to run!  So brilliant!

The only bit I didn't enjoy was where I got absolutely frozen during the afternoon practical bits.  Those were good... but I got stupidly cold and without the happiness of tea to warm me up, was like an ice-block by the end!  It's taken me all evening, five cups of tea and a warm bath to get warm again!

After the last few absolutely sh*tty weeks - and yet another night of little sleep and nightmares - today sure was a welcome break!!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.02 mi
Avg Pace:11:06 min/mi
Elevation Gain:130 ft

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Runstreak Day #328 - no excuses

How not to prepare for a run...

1.  Have a physio appointment which leaves your ankle and back feeling sore
2.  Eat a truck load of curry
3.  Realise you have no suitable running kit
4.  Wear the dregs of your running wardrobe and end up baking in a thermal top and thermal running tights
5.  Don't leave enough time between currying and running... because everyone should run with a massive food baby on board
6.  Realise that along with all of that, you didn't actually get very much sleep the night before (thank you nightmares - you are splendid indeed...)
7.  ... and that generally it's been a weird day with a panic attack or two thrown in for good measure
8.  And by the time you get to run, it's dark, wet, the pavements are slippery with soggy leaves and you're at 'running past pubs on a Friday night' o'clock.
7.  Run anyway.

As runs go, it was a pile of cack.  But, after 328 days, it's not like there haven't been a fair few cacky runs along the way, so another cack one won't really make a difference.

Y'know, there are always excuses why you can't go for a run, aren't there?  If you waited for the perfect day, the perfect conditions, the perfect route, the perfect running kit, the perfect running buddy, the perfect distance... you'd never get out of the front door.  Most of the time, you just make a decision to run and do it anyway.  Today, I did it anyway.  And the fact that you put aside all those reasons why not and make a choice to say 'sod it, I'm going', probably does more for your self-belief and resilience than you might imagine.

And tomorrow, I'm doing the Leadership in Running Fitness course all day!  Which I'm looking forward to because it's a positive thing to get my head into, plus, I'm going to learn some stuff which is always good!  I'm also going to run home from it afterwards because that'll get my run done.  Though I don't know if I'll have the energy left, so we'll have to see how that one pans out!

Still time for a cuppa?  I believe so!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.13 mi
Avg Pace:8:40 min/mi
Elevation Gain:94 ft

Runstreak Day #327 - hills with friends

Something weird's happened over the last year.  At some point... I don't know how it happened... I... and I can hardly bring myself to say this... but... I quite like running up hills.  Okay... I like running up hills.

There.  I've said it.

I like running up them.  I really do.  Hills are great.  I have outed myself as a full-on hill lover.  Ta da!!!

They are a pain in the arse, sure... they make you all sweaty and gross... they make your legs feel like they're made of jelly at some point... but when you get to the top, you get a little bit of 'YEAH BABY!!!' which is the gift that keeps on giving because you never tire of getting to the top and feeling just a bit bloomin' epic.  And then... then... you get to run down them like you're 8 years old and you don't give a monkeys about anything other than running down a hill.  At full pelt.


Tonight was 5.5 miles of hilliness.  Running with a lovely group of Notts Women Runners... which makes running up hills more fun because you get to chat and go 'yay!' with other people.  And although I've had to have my ankle raised since I got home (damn stupid bloody accident!)... running a hilly run with old and new running friends made me feel a whole lotta happy.  And for the first time all day the low mood that I'm struggling to shift at the moment... shifted.

Running + hills = happiness.  Who knew?!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:5.50 mi
Avg Pace:9:12 min/mi
Elevation Gain:394 ft

Runstreak Day #326 - running, chatting, distracting

It's funny how running with someone else can break you out of the fug of a few duff runs, isn't it?  I usually run with the Sweatshop Running Community on a Wednesday evening and tonight's run was the normal hilly one.  I ended up running with someone who I ran with on Sunday's struggle-a-thon and chatted with her the whole way round.

Bingo!  Relaxed pace... run that felt easy.  And I got to go from 'I can't run at all' to 'oh yeah... that's how it happens'.  When you run on your own regularly and end up doing the same / similar routes all the time, you can really get stuck in a rut.  You don't run at a conversational pace because there's no-one to have a conversation with.  There's no-one to distract you if you're struggling a bit... or encourage you if that's what you need.  And runs just feel, well, different when you're running with someone else.

All of which helps when you're running up a jolly big hill and you appreciate being distracted from its big scariness!

I also appreciated talking about normal stuff.  I'd had a bit of a rough day of it after lots of horrible nightmares and a bad night's sleep.  Running with someone else, chatting about things like kids and work and school... and generally getting to feel like a human being again... well, that was definitely a result.  Plus, since she's also doing the Liverpool marathon... fingers crossed I have a scarily-long-run-buddy sorted too!

Not bad for a dark and cold Wednesday evening in October.  Especially considering I didn't even fancy going for a run at all!

Geeky stats stuff

Runstreak Day #325 - avoiding the crazy weather

Today I get to feel virtuous.  I got my run done before 10am... and before the really crazy windy and rainy weather was due to hit.  After my last couple of really duff runs, I decided to take the easiest route that I can get to without driving.  Which is kinda dull, but dull is okay sometimes!

The first part of it was okay.  Nearly had someone pull out of the petrol station without looking and straight into me... nice.  But other than that, it was okay.  Dodging some big puddles from the heavy rain overnight, trying to deal with the glare of the sunshine (an unusual sight at this time of year!), avoiding the trio of dog-walkers and their skittery dogs... and generally trying to keep to a nice steady pace.

About halfway through though, my legs gave up the ghost.  Well, not completely otherwise I'd be stuck someone on the path that runs by the railway line, unable to move!  But my knee was feeling sore.  Then my ankle.  Then everything just felt heavy and tired.  I stopped and stretched a bit.  And carried on.  But the 'You Must Stop' Fairy had me in her sights.  I carried on a bit.  Then ended up stopping and stretching.  Then carried on a bit more.  And a bit more.  Then the You Must Stop Fairy waved her wand again.  So I stopped.  Got my breath.   Ran up a hill... couldn't stop because there was someone walking up it (and there's a law that says you can never stop if you're running up a hill and someone might see you stopping!)... got almost all the way home.  Then stopped again!

Ridiculous stuff.  I think I've got a lot going on in my head at the moment which is just making me feel a bit tired and run down generally.  Like it's not enough to have a head full of accident-nonsense... I get to feel exhausted and faint a lot of the time too.  Isn't that just dandy!?!?!

Anyway... I'm keeping on keeping on.  These hard work runs won't last forever.  Just gotta treat myself a bit gentle and ride it out and it'll be fine.

I definitely earned my cuppa though!!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.30 mi
Avg Pace:8:26 min/mi
Elevation Gain:150 ft

Runstreak Day #324 - bad runs are like buses

... you wait for a while and then several come along at once.

It was hard work to get out at all this evening.  I really didn't fancy it.  It's always like that on the day I've had a counselling session.  It's such a draining process that it leaves me feeling exhausted.  That realisation that I'm still a mess after the accident is front and centre for part of the day... and the after effects ripple throughout the rest of the day.  The lack of decent sleep also takes its toll - nightmares about being trapped are the current flavour of the moment - and it adds up to a rubbish Monday run!

So, my plan, after I forced myself out, was to just to loops from my house to the bottom of the hill, back up to my house and out again... about a mile and a bit... and to run that 3 times to get to 3 miles worth of run.  Never too far from home in case I really wanted to give up... but doing enough that it was worth doing.  Up and down, up and down.  Slogging my way through my run.

And hoping that tomorrow will be better.  I wish I felt able to drive to go to some different routes... but for now, I'm just doing what I can do to keep on getting out there and grabbing back a bit of me.  Even if the version of me is the sulky tired version who's not keen on hauling herself outside for a run!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.02 mi
Avg Pace:8:39 min/mi
Elevation Gain:220 ft

Runstreak Day #323 - the awful long run!

Good grief I did not get on well with today's run.  I just was not feeling it at all.  Some runs you do.  Some you don't.  Today, I didn't.

For a start, it was a t-shirt and shorts day.  Which is weird in October.  And threw me slightly.  And then it was stupidly windy.  Which I always hate, especially when it comes to running into a headwind for nearly 6 miles along the river.  And then I had stomach ache which, had I not been running with a group would have had me stopping and bending double to try to provide some relief.  And my ankle / back weren't feeling great.

And the list could go on and on.  Moan, moan, moan!

To be honest, I wasn't in the best frame of mind to start my run.  The delights of the post-car accident crap continue to reverberate and I managed a teary panic (triggered by just the thought of driving again) right before joining the Sweatshop run.  I pulled myself together and did the run, but it does have an impact.  The first three miles were a struggle, even though I was running with someone else the whole time... then the next three, our group of two became four as we ran with another couple of runners - battling the battering from the headwind the whole time.  The last 5 I ran just about on my own, with the other three a little way behind.  I was so glad to get past 10 miles and know I'd got less than a mile left.  Even though I'd taken it steady, it really took its toll.  I wonder how it is that I could run a half marathon two weekends running and be okay... but not even manage 11 miles today and find each mile a struggle.

Felt so ill afterwards I had to go to bed.

Ah well.  Better than not doing it at all.

And it didn't put me off registering for the Tissington Trail Half Marathon next year!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:10.76 mi
Avg Pace:9:10 min/mi
Elevation Gain:55 ft

Runstreak Day #322 - zombie running

Day 322 and I couldn't really face a run on my own today. It was dark by the time I had chance to go and after physio yesterday it's been a pretty sore day generally. So... I persuaded my littlest to come with me on a spooky run! Genius!

I get company... I get to run slowly... he gets to wave a torch about enthusiastically (apparently it was a lightsaber)... he manages to keep a hi-vis vest on for most of the run before declaring that he's boiling and MUST take it off... and together, including one pitstop at Tesco for a pee (why can't boys just hold it in for a bit, huh?!), we ran 3 miles. It was good. Completely no pressure on me in terms of my running, but having his company and chit chat instead.

We discussed the intricacies of zombies, zombies eating brains, how you could tell it was a zombie (answer: it would be eating brains, obvs!) and so on. Every so often we stopped for him to catch his breath and stretch. But his idea of stretching involved lying on the pavement doing a bridge or some other kind of crazy yoga position. Can you imagine if us grown ups were that uninhibited? No more mimsy stretching, full on sprawling instead. Quality.

By the time we got home he said he was absolutely boiling and ran his arms under cold water to cool down. 8 year olds are weird!

Fingers crossed my ankle doesn't hate me after that run too much... and that I get more sleep than last night. Damn painful bits and bobs keeping me awake! Grrr to them!

Might just have another quick cuppa...

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.08 mi
Avg Pace:10:11 min/mi
Elevation Gain:100 ft

Runstreak Day #321 - post-physio painful run

So... after a hilly (but fun) run with some lovely running friends last night... today... I had the opposite.  A flatter, less fun run on my own for day 321... and a post-physio painful run at that.

When the physio (who is super dooper nice and enthusiastic even when he's inflicting pain!) says 'this will be sore for the next couple of days', you know that your run is going to be... ermmm... interesting.  I managed just over a mile when the pain in my ankle made me stop for a moment.  Swear a bit.  Then carry on.  And then another mile before the shoulder and back pain needed a bit of a stretch and a breather to try to lessen it hurting.  And now I'm home, I'm still feeling sore.  'Sore for the next couple of days'... you say?  Well, isn't that something to look forward to, Mr Physio. *winces*

In my brain, regardless of boring 'recovering from accident stuff' (still haven't managed walking by the road without blubbing in frustrated panic yet, and can't bring myself to drive - how pathetic am I!)... there is other good stuff to look forward to.  I'm doing the Leadership in Running Fitness course a week on Saturday.  We're going to register our Notts Women Runners group with Run England in the next few weeks.  And I've entered another half marathon for next month (Beacon Trail Half Marathon - a half marathon for fun, what am I thinking?!?!).

Life may be temporarily derailed, but good ol' running is giving me stuff to focus on which is helping drag my head out of the sludge-fest it currently finds itself in.  That's not bad going really.  Thank you, running!

And tea.  Thank you tea for being all tea-ish and delicious.

And painkillers.  Those are awesome too.  :o)

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.17 mi
Avg Pace:8:39 min/mi
Elevation Gain:126 ft