Tag Archives: running

Running from my problems

So in January I was suddenly inspired to download the Couch to 5k app. I had started running on the treadmill last autumn and managed to keep it up instead of giving up after a few weeks. My stamina and cardio fitness have been issues for me since having to give up dance but maintaining progress has been difficult. Running is just something I never saw an appeal in. Which is odd, as I ran a lot, and long distances, up hill, cross country, as a teenager.

So anyways, back to my story, in January I downloaded the app, I decided that my first run would be on the following Tuesday. Tuesday came around and wouldn’t you believe it, so did a storm. I was undeterred and went for a run, wearing a bright yellow hoodie and an owl beanie hat to try and keep warm. To say I got wet would be an understatement. I was drenched. But what was important is that I didn’t use the weather as an excuse. Really after that introduction, it could only get better.

Well if i am honest, it didn’t really, not where the weather is concerned, it was pretty wet and windy for 90% of my runs, and I quickly learnt that it doesn’t matter how much lighting, bright colours, hi vis or reflective items you go out in… cyclists will always act like they can’t, or hadn’t see you and try and push you off the path.

A quick run around the lake

As I progressed, I was finding my initial path ( the same I take to the gym at the weekend) was not long enough, so I sat down and had a look at possibilities. I am lucky, I have a river, canal and common land in what I refer to as my back garden. It means that I don’t spend a lot of time running on the road. I spend enough time as a pedestrian that running on roads has absolutely no appeal to me.

I also downloaded Strava to help me track my workouts – I wanted to see what my pace was, have an accurate way of analysing and recording my runs. And this does also seem to have helped motivate. A lot of the time, you need to figure out what works for you, what makes you tick. I found the map on this even easier to use and found a nice reservoir that I could run around… well not around. Every run I pushed myself to run a little further, and I was able to judge how far I was and when to turn around. But between the high winds which felt that I was going to be pushed into a lake or a river, and cyclists pushing me off the path (not as often as my original route) regularly, it was becoming frustrating.

Well, I have found a third route which I have done for the last 2 weeks and honestly, it is like an awakening. As its alongside a canal, so is pretty straight, and there isn’t much variation on the incline. Running around the lake, the path was so bad that I was worried about my knee or tripping and twisting my ankle. The final straw was having to walk back after my knee gave in which I am fairly sure has a lot to do with the appalling state of the path. But the path I am using now is almost bouncy and is a pleasure to run along.

Last night was my final run, I have officially completed the Couch to 5K but you know what really got me, I didn’t hit 5k! How? Well I was going with the timings and now the distance so tomorrow will be my first solo run and I am aiming to hit 5k.

So there are a couple of things that I have learnt – I do not yet have the ability to run without slowing down – I slow down for a few steps before setting off. This is mostly to catch my breath. I am not annoyed with myself, I try and go further and further between breaks and know I will get there, I am not training for anything so there is no pressure. I am a social runner – I take bread out to feed the local birds, ducks and swans.

Finished my final run in Couch to 5K

I have learnt that some days will be better than others, and it is important to recognise when you have had a bad run. It is no good ignoring it, or glossing over it. If it was shit, it was shit. You know you can do better next time. I had a few bad runs but yesterday, my final run of the program? I smashed it! I ran further, faster and longer and there is no real reason for it. But go with the flow, don’t force it, don’t fight it. What is important, is that you tried.

What I can say, is that, outside having a pair of running trainers, and wearing high vis, making sure you are warm, the one thing that is REALLY important when running is a decent sound track! It helps you pace, even if its subconscious. Oh and leggings with a pocket ūüėČ

Running from inspiration

So I did a rather waffly, self absorbed piece on fitness recently. It was my explanation that as much as I can try to excuse my weight gain on my injury, it isn’t entirely to blame. So I am making some changes, slowly but if you rush into these things they tend not to last.

I went to see my beautiful friend Ren run in the Silverstone half marathon on the 13th March. It wasn’t planned as such, I knew that she had been training to do the London Marathon later this year after smashing Tough Mudder last year. She mentioned Silverstone and since it is just up the road from me, I thought I should go give her some support.

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I used to run, cross country, long distance, with the dog… it was in my soul. I got to the track and felt…. in awe, I felt inspired, I felt sad that I wasn’t also running…. (although the course looks pretty brutal!). We walked over to the finish line to see people coming in, I wasn’t sure where Ren would come in so this seemed like a good place. I was seriously so knocked sideways by the emotions. I cannot really put into words how it feels watching people come over the finishing line, it was a collection of pretty palatable emotions from both spectators and competitors, the joy and in many cases relief as people realised they had finished.

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Now I mentioned that Ren is running in the London Marathon in a few weeks, the Silverstone half marathon is something of a ‘warm up’ for many competitors. Ren has done extremely well, and I am so proud, i may well burst by the time she makes it across the finish line. She is running for Mind – an amazing mental health charity that has helped her personally. It is important that we talk about these things, the work that is done to support people when they aren’t able to access it though the usual channels (as much as we may wish otherwise, resources are finite). They do a fantastic amount or work in the community – if you are interested please¬†click here.

Ren has her reasons for running for Mind –¬†so far she has shaved off her hair and done a half marathon, and as I may have mentioned is also running in the London Marathon. If you have a couple of coins to spare, I know she will appreciate it, as will Mind! Even if you can’t donate, read Ren’s story if you need any further inspiration – please¬†click here¬†to check Ren’s story!

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I said that I felt inspired by the runners didn’t I ? I was debating joining the Race for Life and going a gentle walk/job around the course. But being I came to this decision all of 3 weeks ago, I am going to wait until next year and try and train a little. What is difficult for me is that I am a little broken. I only have tarmac to run on, and that will only make my injuries worse. So as much as I may want to get back into running, it just isn’t feasible for me. However I have managed to find a dance class that is 5 mins away and have really enjoyed it! Great to get back into the swing of things!¬†

Now I want to take a moment to talk about muscle memory. It is pretty important and yet something we all manage to forget about. I have danced for a few years, and so when I went back to dance a couple of weeks ago, I found I was able to do things that I didn’t think I would be able to, purely because I have drilled certain moved over the years. I also walk for at least an hour a day to get to and from work, so I am relatively fit. Relatively. I decided on the first day of Spring to go for a bike ride. First time this year, killing two birds with one stone, the boy suggested going to the pet shop as there is a cycle path that takes us to the industrial park. I got into the ride pretty quickly however, the seat… help me the seat! And I am fairly useless at hills. By the end of the ride back, I was getting quite upset at myself and how badly I was coping. But as the boy pointed out – muscle memory. I run, I ride horses, I dance, I lift… bike riding is something I pretty much stop as soon as my booty remembers how uncomfortable it is. Muscle memory – riding is different kettle of fish. Every time you start a new exercise, you are more than likely using a different set of muscles than you are used to. So instead of being discouraged… embrace it. I love feeling sore after exercising. And it is also a great reason to mix up your exercises – using different muscles groups is great and it helps you keep motivated!¬†

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So I have bought a new seat for my bike РI will keep you updated with that and the rest of my fitness journey! 

If you want to get your hands on the leggings Ren and I are wearing Рhead over to Wild Bangarang by clicking here for the website and clicking here for the facebook page.

Truth behind injury

Specifically, my injury. I can’t and won’t talk about another persons injury – as if!

So, a few years ago, I came off a horse, I thought we would be continuing to the right of a bush, my horse decided at the last moment, to go left. I had a Hollywood worthy pitch over her head, landing first on my head and then on my booty (which luckily has plenty of padding). The worst thing was a. realising the other 2 riders hadn’t noticed, and secondly… most importantly to me …. how the hell was I going to get back on…. Yikes. But I managed it – I have years of experience of adjusting stirrups on the hoof so we didn’t hang around.

I didn’t really think much of it for the rest of the hack, I had bigger things to worry about, but once I got off… oh boy! Every part of my felt bruised. So off i went to the pub and enjoyed the rest of my afternoon.

Wow that was a short blog!

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But that wasn’t what I wanted to write about – shortly after my stunt dive, I developed a lump on the arch of my left foot. I am the worlds worst patient and will only go to my doctor when it becomes borderline fatal. But after six weeks, a pea sized lump was on my foot, and I couldn’t walk properly. So off I go to the GP…. I get fobbed off and asked to wait another 6 weeks. I go back to the GP and get told that I need to book an apt with another doctor at the surgery who would remove the lump under local anesthetic. Not a good patient, remember? So off I got to reception and book in an apt and duly attend in another couple of weeks for – what I thought – was an apt to remove the lump. But no, I am instead referred to my local podiatry department – another 6 weeks waiting, still not entirely sure what is going on… now I am going to have to cut this short because it is already ridiculous. I go to podiatry, I have a steroid injection directly into the lump. I go back for a follow up after 6 weeks, and get told that the injection should have been in my ankle… After another 6 weeks I go back to the GP because at each stage I had had a different diagnosis. At this point having already seen 5 medical professions, I finally see a doctor who can diagnose the issue and give me advice. Great.

During this time i have continued with my dancing, classes, workouts and walking (I walk for at least an hour a day to and from work) and consequently have managed to cause irreparable damage to the tendon on my foot, congratulations to me. It was certainly a combination of not understanding what the cause was, what the injury was, and certainly not having the right information on how to best treat it.

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So what does that mean for me now? Well frankly it means chronic pain in my foot, whereas I had previously had pain on getting up after being stationary for a while thanks to the plantar fasciitus, now I often find it painful and tender on the side and top of my foot, difficult to negotiate stairs, sudden onset of pain. Basically every step I take is painful, with the added bonus pain. It means that I stopped dancing, I quit high impact, and I slowed down.

What else does it mean….it means, that I got fat. I mean I was never thin, I was not skinny, but I had toned and honed my body so that I didn’t hate looking at it, that I would wear a body con dress and feel happy. But you know what, diet? Yeah you can have a questionable diet when you are burning those calories, but the moment you stop? Yeah that.

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Blue Weights, Green Apple, and Tape Measure

Things change, I used to run long distance as a teenager, worked with animals as long as I could remember, dancing has always been part of my life, but when you grown up, things change. Your body changes. What doesn’t change is your responsibility to your body. I am fat, I am not happy about it. And yes, I can say that I stopped my usual forms of exercise because of injury, certainly if I hadn’t had the injury I am unlikely to have stopped.

But equally, I could have paid more attention to what I was (am) eating, I could have made sure that I wasn’t putting in more energy than was being expended, especially as my job has become more and more sedimentary. I certainly should have looked at alternative forms of exercise. But I didn’t.

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This is what I am trying to say is that IT HAS TO STOP – I have literally no excuse, the pain is chronic, it won’t get better, I put up with it daily so I can damned well put up with it during some classes. With that in mind, I have signed up to a new local dance class, and I am hoping to go to a skate class as well. And you know, if the pain gets all that bad, I could even pop an anti-inflamatory…

No more excuses people, this girl, can and will stop hiding being the injury. It isn’t what makes me, it won’t be what kills me.

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