Severn Bridge Half Marathon

A volunteer’s race recap

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I’m not a fan of 6:30 alarms, but Sunday’s was surprisingly easy to get up for. Hooray – Severn Bridge Half day!

This time last year I had just marshalled the 2015 Severn Bridge Half Marathon, and I was raring to get training and run the 2016 race. Yes, despite the fact that I was suffering with a prolonged chest infection, I firmly believed I was going to kick that and get my running back on track so that I could enter.
No. Life and my body had other plans.

There was no way I was going to miss the race though. 2016 is the 50th anniversary of the bridge’s opening, and the half marathon was going to be something special. So what if I couldn’t run it? I could have just as much fun marshalling and supporting the runners.

So for this notorious night owl, Sunday’s early alarm wasn’t so bad. I quickly got ready, being as quiet as possible so I didn’t wake my sleeping fiancé, and I was out of the door and programming the satnav by 6:50.

A travel mug of coffee was very, very necessary.

Of course, I didn’t have enough petrol, so had to stop off. The first garage wasn’t open and the second had no unleaded. Third time lucky…

Despite the stops and a bit of congestion on the slip road to the car park, I made it to the St David’s Hospice Care marshall meeting point on time and met up with some familiar faces. I’ve volunteered for a few local(ish) races over the last year, as well as parkrun, so it’s always nice to see people and have a chat. Volunteers for this race are usually from the charities that the race supports, and as St David’s means a lot to me personally, I love to help out on their team.

We were given our assigned spots, maps and contact numbers, then myself and four others set out for the 10-mile point at Pwllmeyric. I don’t know the area, so I was relieved that someone else was driving. With an hour to go before we expected the first runners through, we settled down to wait.

The two ladies I was sharing a stretch of road with were from Fairwater running club, and we chatted for a while. Several people in cars and on foot stopped to ask what time runners were coming through so they could see friends and loved ones, and it was lovely to see support from the local community who came out of their houses to watch, too.

The first runners came through shortly before 10 o’clock. By that time I’d moved to my corner, where I was directing runners to turn for the loop. The Loop. The one where they had a camera set up to make sure no one avoided running it and check that people were adhering to the strict ‘no headphones’ rule. As a side note: I don’t understand why you would miss out part of a course. You’re cheating yourself. Surely you can’t be proud of your time or achievement.

The views from my little corner:


Anyhow, the lane was closed to vehicles, so there was a young guy from the traffic management company also stationed at that corner, which was nice. I had some company and also didn’t have to deal with any irate drivers who weren’t happy about the road closures. That was the only thing I had been dreading, after some verbal abuse when I marshalled the Newport Half back in the spring. Big credit to the people who stopped to ask about the closure on our corner yesterday, they found alternate routes without a single complaint.
I didn’t catch the traffic guy’s name, but we had a bit of a talk and I think he enjoyed watching the race. I know I did!

Once the main body of runners started to come through, I clapped and cheered them on. Some were chatty, some struggling but still smiling. They had just come from a water station and I could see a lot had poured water over themselves. It was warm, and apparently the course was tough this year, due to some changes that had to be made to the route.

I cheered especially loudly for the runners I knew or recognised. Every time I saw a vest from a local club I shouted for them – Pont-y-Pŵl, Parc Bryn Bach, Fairwater, Lliswerry, Islwyn. There were several Vegan Runners, and I recognised two Cornelly Striders who had run the Sospan 10k earlier in the summer. I also saw two UKRunChat vests – I’d love to know who those runners were!

The minion’s guide runners did a great job of guiding – I doubt s/he could see much in that suit!

A few people came to stand on that corner and cheer at various points throughout the morning. One runner stopped to see her supporter, before carrying on.

By the time the last people came through, my hands were aching from clapping. Can’t complain though, these people had completed a tough 10+ miles and had just under 3 left to go!

Once the road was open again and the empty water bottles and gel packets picked up from the road (thank you to the water station volunteers from Winston’s Wish), we all got back in the car to drive to the finish. We walked about 400 metres of the course from the car park, and sympathised with the runners who, after 13 miles, had one final incline before the finish line. That’s cruel!

Things were winding down at the finish when we got there. Runners were sitting on the grass, clad in their new bright red 2016 race shirts, eating and drinking and freshening up. Some were getting well-deserved massages. The volunteers were given race shirts and there was a tent set up for us to have tea/coffee, sandwiches and cake. Oh, that was good cake!

I stuck around for a bit to see the last few finishers, and chatted with a couple of people, then as it started to spit with rain I walked back to my car with one of the other volunteers.
It was a fun day, and being a part of it so that those 4000 people could run was so rewarding. The cake was a nice bonus! Thank you to the organisers for making it an enjoyable event to marshal, and for making us feel welcome and valued.

Afterwards I checked out the #SevernBridgeHalf hashtag on Twitter and saw people raving about how much they’d enjoyed the run. Congratulations to you all for getting out there, and for all your personal achievements on Sunday!

The only problem is that it’s given me runner’s envy (and some definite clothing envy – so many gorgeous leggings whizzed past me!) and now I can’t wait to get my body sorted so I can run again.

Maybe this time next year I’ll be lining up at the start of the 2017 Severn Bridge Half Marathon…

…Maybe.

Did you run it this year? How did you find it? I’d especially love to know how the new route compares to last year’s course. Leave me a comment – or if you’ve blogged about it leave the link, I’d love to read it!

The post that I almost didn’t post…

…about the Rainbow Run 5k and anxiety.

I’m in the mood for honesty, so I’m going to skip over the 10k that I ran last weekend and tell the honest story of yesterday’s 5k colour run, before the urge to sugar-coat it kicks in.

The last week or so hasn’t been pretty. It’s all the same old stuff, but piling stress on top of stress, plus an added emergency trip to the garage to have my car repaired, never leads to anything good.

On Friday, my fiancé and I escaped from the DIY and other things that have been stressing us out and took my borrowed dog for a long walk. We covered 8 miles through some lovely countryside and along the canal before taking him home (where he immediately brought me a squeaky toy to throw – so much energy!). It was good to get out in the fresh air and do something active. The evening was spent watching There’s Something About Mary because we wanted a really feel-good film.

I thought that after that I might have had a good night’s sleep and woken up excited to do a colour run with some friends.
I did not.

I woke up late and couldn’t bear to get out of bed. The thought of leaving the house was terrible. I dragged myself down to the kitchen, made Alex a cup of tea and a green tea for myself. I went back upstairs and forced myself to get in the shower. Then I dithered about, wandering from place to place to get my running kit, find my race number, and eventually ended up sitting on the edge of the bed with my tea. I did not want to go. I felt like crying when I thought about having to go out and run surrounded by people. Had it not been a charity run, I wouldn’t have gone. In fact, the only reason I kept pushing myself to get ready was that a few people had sponsored me for the run and I felt like I couldn’t let them down by not going.

I cried when I pinned the race number on my t-shirt and then saw that it wasn’t straight. I yanked it off, declared I wasn’t going, then carried on getting ready. I was sure I was going to be late and miss the registration cut-off. I stuck some bread in the toaster and forgot about it until it was burnt, but covered it in nut butter anyway because I needed something to eat.

Alex drove me to the race venue, the beautiful Parc Bryn Bach. Several times I nearly insisted we turn around and go home. Halfway there the skies opened and the rain just poured down.

By the time we got to the park, the rain had stopped so Alex dropped me off on the roadside. I started to walk up the hill to the park and he passed me in the car, then got stuck in traffic. My legs felt like marshmallows. There was no energy in my body at all. I told myself that if I could get to the car I would just get in and we would go home, no matter how disappointed in me everyone would be. I couldn’t even run to where the car was inching forwards. The traffic finally started moving and I kept walking to the park. I didn’t know where I was going and as the marshals were busy directing traffic I just wandered around until I saw the crowds.

I had been told that registration would take place at the visitor centre, so I headed for that. There were plenty of people milling around inside, but no sign of registration. I decided to use the loo there and look for registration afterwards. I stood in the queue for the ladies for what felt like ages. It didn’t move and I felt like I was in the way of the people trying to get to the gents and the disabled loo, so I gave up and told myself I didn’t need to go anyway.

Two other confused ladies were looking for registration, and we were eventually told that it wasn’t at the visitor centre but near the start line. I trudged over, signed disclaimer form in hand, and found the tent. I handed over the form, which by that time was incredibly soggy because it had started to drizzle, and that was that. No name ticked off a list, no further instructions. I felt I may as well have not bothered with trying to find registration at all. That really is my only criticism of the day – the lack of signposting to where we were supposed to register (as well as the fact that we were told one place when it was another), and that it seemed a largely pointless thing anyway.

I’d signed up with a group of about 10, but in a crowded field full of people wearing white t-shirts, I couldn’t see them. I wandered around feeling (and probably looking) miserable and lost. Once again I considered just going home, but just as I was reaching the point of walking away, one of the group found me.

Things improved from then on. We had a chat, then joined in the group warm-up and the Nation Radio selfie.

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Photo credit: Nation Radio

At that point, the DJs doused the crowd with paint from pressurised canisters. We then made our way to the start, where we were set off in waves.
It was difficult to run because so many people in front were walking, so I ran and walked in intervals with one of the girls. We did more walking than running, but had a good chat all the way around, and managed a running finish.

The volunteers, especially those throwing the paint, deserve a huge shout-out. Their enthusiasm was brilliant and they looked like they were having a blast. It was a great event, raised a lot of money for the excellent children’s hospice, and all around me I could see people having lots of fun.

I collected my (somewhat bizarre) goodie bag, which contained sunscreen, a makeup palette and a 9 Bar, had a photo with the girls and our medals, then met Alex for the drive home.

I felt guilty for not enjoying myself as much as I could have, especially as it was a charity event. I felt like I hadn’t appreciated it fully, and all the hard work the charity and volunteers had put in. The volunteers, especially those throwing the paint, deserve a huge shout-out. Their enthusiasm was brilliant and they looked like they were having a blast. It was a great event, raised a lot of money for the excellent children’s hospice, and all around me I could see people having lots of fun. I still feel bad about that. I felt bad for not running more of it, even though I was keeping company with someone who couldn’t run more. But a text from my friend yesterday afternoon, which said ‘I’m impressed you made it there’ and another saying ‘seriously well done’ reminded me that I actually did really well to go and do it at all.

After three showers, most of the paint was off me. After two good scrubs, all the paint was off the bathtub. We went for a walk in the afternoon, then came home and watched a fitness documentary, both of which did wonders for my mood and motivation.

So. A totally honest post about how bloody difficult it is to get yourself out and moving when you’re battling with a bout of anxiety. Going for the run wasn’t a magical cure, didn’t make me feel happy, but it did at least make me feel that I’d done something.
I feel quite hesitant to post this, but I’m going to do it anyway, so please be kind if you’re commenting.

Thinking Out Loud #1

10k without training / taking photos for your blog / ‘shedding for the wedding’ / choices / good things in sport

Very little running or fitness to report this week, so let’s try something different!

Thinking Out Loud is something I came across when I started following Running With Spoons. It is what it says. So here are the things that have been wandering through my mind today.

  • Something I’m curious to ask my fellow bloggers about, so I tweeted earlier. Were you embarrassed to be taking lots of photos when you first started blogging?
    I went to a lovely restaurant on Tuesday night and I wanted to take a few photos of the décor and the food so I could share on the blog. I just couldn’t bring myself to get up and do it, though. If you were embarrassed to be taking photos at first, how did you get over it?
    • ‘Shedding for the wedding’ is a phrase I’ve only just become aware of. But as soon as I’d read it once on a blog, it was everywhere. I don’t like it. This idea that it’s just what you do now, you lose weight before your wedding. But I can’t deny it’s exactly what I am doing. I’m not getting married until 2018, but I know that by then I want to be considerably more comfortable in my skin than I am now. Yes, that means losing weight. A few months ago I was the heaviest I recall being in my adult life. I hate it. I’m uncomfortable all the time, my confidence has taken a nosedive since the weight started going on a couple of years ago, and none of my clothes fit anymore. My goal isn’t really to be skinny by the time I get married. It’s just to be comfortable and confident again. I don’t know how much weight I’ll have to lose to get to that point, but I know I’ve been there before, so I’ll recognise it when I get there. Added bonus: not hating the way I look in my wedding photos, because I currently want to cry when I see photos of myself.
    • Similar theme for my next musing. This is very much on my mind at the moment. I’m being kind to myself and giving myself choices. I realised a little while ago that choices were the key to my success at giving up pork. Not once since I decided I don’t want to eat pigs anymore have I told myself I must not eat something. My mindset was simply ‘I don’t eat pork’. No ‘can’t’ or ‘mustn’t’. When I went out to dinner earlier this week, I fancied mussels as a starter, then noticed there was bacon in the sauce. I didn’t think ‘I can’t have that’; I told myself I could have it if I wanted it. But I didn’t want it. I think giving myself similar choices will be very helpful to my weight loss. It’s something I’ve not done before when trying to lose weight, so I’m interested to see how it goes.
  • I have a 10k run coming up on Saturday morning. I haven’t trained. Between problems with my ankle and the dreaded piriformis syndrome, I’ve barely run lately. I feel like I’m really not ready to take on a 10k. I feel like I’m crazy to be going ahead with it. But at the same time, I’m excited about it. I’m running (as those of you who’ve read some of my previous entries will know) with my best friend. We did a 5k colour run a fortnight ago, which was great fun. We’ll be doing this 10k with her 6-month-old baby in the buggy, so there’s not a great deal of pressure to be fast. It’s a flat course, and we’ll be Jeffing (using the Jeff Galloway walk/run method). We won’t be running to get a good time; we’ll be running to have a good time.
  • Final thought. I dislike football a lot. Tennis bores me senseless. But I hear Vassos’s sport updates on Radio 2 whilst driving to work and I have to say, Iceland… Well done, Iceland! And my colleague showed me a little of Marcus Willis at Wimbledon – he just seems to be full of joy. Like a puppy.

Anyway. That’s enough thinking out loud for today. I have packing to do, stretches to do for my piriformis muscle, and then I’m going to go and put together a CD for the drive to Llanelli tomorrow. Just for a start, I’m thinking Weezer, Cake, Bowie, Kylie Minogue, and Queen.

Kolor Dash

I’ve never been so orange in my life…

I woke up yesterday morning, excited for my first running event, the 5k Kolor Dash in Newport. Not only was it my first event, but also a colour run organised by and in aid of a great charity, St David’s Hospice Care. And I was going to be running it with by best friend. What could be better?

Alex had agreed to come along and support us (not at all influenced by the promise of BBQ after the run), so after a healthyish breakfast of cereal, strawberries from our garden, and cocoa nibs, we set off for Tredegar Park in Newport.

We got there fairly early. Registration opened at 10 o’clock, and we knew parking was going to be tight so we wanted to make sure we were there in plenty of time. There was a little confusion for both us and Liz, because the park wasn’t signposted at all coming off the motorway, but we all made it there and headed over to the registration tent at about half past 10.

Everything was so well organised and efficient. We collected our numbers and then headed back to the park entrance to find a toilet. With that taken care of, it was time to meander over to the start, where the DJ was playing some energetic music to get people fired up. Alex left us to find a spot to spectate, while we tried to join in with the warmup. I don’t know about you, but I’m not so good at getting into things like that. The personal trainer and Bollywood dancers leading the warmup from the stage were fantastic, but I think Liz and I both felt a bit awkward.

We made a small error with our placement at the start. Because we knew we would be doing running and walking intervals, we decided to start near the back. We ended up a little too far back, behind quite a lot of children and people with buggies. That hampered our start, so our goal of running the first mile and then doing intervals for the rest sort of went out the window.

The course was 3 1-mile laps around the park. It was a little frustrating having to dodge and overtake, but as a lot of the slower runners and people with children dropped out after the first lap, the second two felt easier.

The volunteers showering runners with paint powder were brilliant. As you can see from my face, the team at the orange station were particularly enthusiastic! Sunglasses were encouraged, to keep paint out of runners’ eyes, but somehow the first cloud of orange went straight under my glasses and into my eyes anyway!

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Attempt at a running selfie
The music was fun – every time we came around to the start of a new lap we’d have a great song like Gina G or McFly.

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Better attempt at a post-run selfie
Afterwards, we claimed our medals, took a few photos, then headed back to our cars to clean up a bit. Thank goodness for baby wipes! We went back over to the park to get some food and coffee, and watched The Bollywoodettes perform while we sat on the grass to eat.

The whole day was well organised, with a lovely atmosphere. I love the engraving on the back of the medal – my first medal for a live event! I hope the Kolor Dash runs again next year – I’ll definitely be signing up! Huge thanks to St David’s Hospice Care for putting on the run, and to all the staff and volunteers who gave their time to make it a success!

It was great fun, and running with Liz was brilliant. I’m definitely looking forward to our 10k together next month, and I really hope we can run together more often, even though we live 50+ miles away from each other.

Running again

Finally!

What’s this? An actual blog post about running? No way!

I have, to put it mildly, been a bit crap these last few weeks. I ran twice last week. I ran once the week before, and the week before that. I haven’t been idle, I’ve walked and started back to strength training, but for several reasons I just haven’t run.

Last week was a good running week, though. I decided that since I was visiting my parents after work on Tuesday, I would take my running kit with me and go for a run along the canal path near their house. It’s one of the places I feel safe running alone, so that wouldn’t be an issue. Of course, after sitting in traffic, sweating like mad despite having the car windows open, I didn’t feel like running. It was only when my dad checked the traffic news and found that my route home was blocked by a collision that I decided I would go for the run after all.
I aimed for 2 miles, but my app had somehow reconfigured itself to kilometres. I’m not the greatest at maths on the fly, so I misjudged and came up short at 1.96 miles. I was thrilled to have run the whole distance, after such a lousy few weeks with no running time, and pretty pleased that I managed the first mile with a pace of 11:23, and the whole run with an average of 12:04.

Wednesday is the day I usually run with a group of ladies from work, but last Wednesday I was the only person up for it. I didn’t fancy running alone around the area I work, so I headed to my parents’ house to change and run the canal path again, determined to make it to 2 miles this time. I made it to 2.33 miles, and managed an average pace of 12:06.

Since then, I let things get in the way. The heat – I’m not used to it at all, let alone running in it. It’s aggravated my asthma, making things that much more difficult. Anxiety has played a large part in keeping me from running. More about that in a future post, but for now it’s enough to say that some days I just can’t get out of the front door to run because of it. My birthday on the weekend meant cake and booze, rather than exercise, and I just haven’t been able to get back into the mindset.

I left the house today with my running kit in my bag, and although I had to be somewhere after work so I couldn’t join my colleagues for a run, I once again changed at my parents’ house and went out, determined to get myself back into the habit.

The beautiful Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal
It was hard going. I promised myself that after the first mile I could stop and do run/walk intervals. I just had to get to the bridge that marked a mile… Then at the bridge I convinced myself to go to 1.5… I got there and saw a dog walker coming towards me, so told myself to just pass him and then I could stop. Then it was 2 miles. Then it was ‘go on, just beat that 2.33 you did last week’. But 2.33 is so close to 2.5… I made it, according to my Garmin, to 2.62 before I really did have to stop because my lungs were struggling to cope.

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Maybe don’t look at the pace there, yeah?
Since getting back home, a stinking, sweaty mess (who wants to look pristine after a workout, anyway?), I’ve caught up with social media and discovered that today is Best Friends Day. Knowing that, I can’t pass up a shout out to my best friend, Liz. We’ve known each other for almost 13 years, since meeting at university, and stuck together through thick and thin. Check out her blog, Lizitivity. It’s bloomin’ good.

In all our years of friendship, with both of us having an interest in fitness and running, we’ve never once worked out together. That’s going to change next weekend – we’re running together for the first time on Sunday at the Kolor Dash in Newport. This is my first event ever, and I can’t wait! We’ll be run/walking, as Liz has recently had a baby, and this is her first running event since.

We’re running for St David’s Foundation Hospice Care, a charity that’s very close to my heart, as they looked after my granddad in his last days. They do brilliant work supporting patients and families, so if you’d like to read more about their projects or sponsor us and contribute to the work they do, this is our fundraising link.

Now I think it’s time for me to relax with my newest Netflix obsession: Orange is the New Black. Despite thinking I wasn’t going to like it when I first put it on, I’m now halfway through the first series and hooked!

‘Enter a race’, they said.

‘It’ll give you motivation’, they said.

So I did. I entered four. Oops.

The first is the Kolor Dash at Tredegar Park in Newport. I signed up in January with my friend, Liz. I’ve always wanted to try a colour run, and
as the charity organising this one is very close to my heart, I decided to sign up. It’ll be my first running and fundraising event, and Liz’s first since having a baby. Although I did sign up so that it would motivate me to train, because it’s a fun event and not a timed one, there’s no pressure. If we want to run, we can run. If we want to walk some of it, we can walk. Plus there’s a BBQ at the end, which I’m already looking forward to!

colour run

A couple of days after signing up for the Kolor Dash, some friends asked if I wanted to join them for the Parc Bryn Bach Rainbow Run in July. Of course, I said yes! A couple of days later, we all signed up for a Pretty Muddy 5k run in the autumn. Two fun events ticked straight off my running wish list – a colour run and a mud run!

Then, a few weeks ago, Liz asked if I wanted to do the Sospan 10k in Llanelli. I’ve wanted to sign up for a 10k, but worried that I would be too slow or not able to finish. I decided to go for it. Liz and her husband will be running, and pushing their daughter in the buggy, so we’ll run together.

I’m looking forward to all four of these runs. I know that I can run the whole of the Kolor Dash, albeit slowly. Since the other two 5k runs are quite a long time after that, I know I’ll be ok for those. The 10k is the one I’m most apprehensive about. I think that if I hadn’t signed up with friends, I would struggle, but knowing they’ll be there not only gives me motivation to train but means that I won’t chicken out on the day and let them down.

What was your first organised event?
What races and events do you have coming up?

A bad run

Better than no run at all?

I’ve waited a few days to write this post, just to get a little distance and perspective.

I had a terrible run last Thursday.

I wanted to write a blog post as soon as I got through the door, but I was in such a terrible mood that it seemed inadvisable.

I hadn’t run at all since the previous Monday, which had been a fab run with a friend. I don’t know about you, but after a good run like that, I tend to put too much pressure on myself for the next one to be just as good. So I put off going again. I skipped my Wednesday run with work colleagues in favour of going to a Latino Fit class, which I missed because I got stuck in traffic. The universe conspired against me then, with a few days where everything went wrong. You know they say things come in threes? I think this household had three sets of threes…

So by the time I was ready to run again, it had been nine days. I spent all day in work thinking about the run, which, since I don’t like to run alone, Alex had agreed to join me for. I knew it wasn’t going to be a good run. It had been too long since the last one, and last week was so hot. Still, I was excited to get back out there and when I got home from work I squeezed into my running gear and off we went to the park.

And it was shit. Right from the start, it was a struggle. I can’t say how much of it was down to the gap between runs and how much was down to the weather, which made me feel as though there was no air. I couldn’t fill my lungs; I gasped and wheezed all the way around.

I’ve been trying to improve my mental attitude and become more positive. (Readers who know me are now laughing in disbelief.) I ran telling myself I could do it, and I was stronger than my negative thoughts. Still, at the half mile point, when I hit a small incline, I uttered the words “sod it” and walked. I started to run again when I caught some of my breath back, but stopped halfway up the only hill on the route, and resumed running on the way back down. It wasn’t so bad for the next half mile or so. Somehow, I kept going. But I was slow. So slow. I apologised countless times for how slow and crap I was. The worst of it was that Alex hadn’t run with me in a long time, and this first run together since I re-started running (for the umpteenth time) was so much worse than all the others I’d done recently. All the way around the course I compared it to previous efforts, and concluded that it had never felt so hard. Clearly, the positive mental attitude was working…

Running up the final incline, I had to stop and wrestle my inhaler out of my running belt. I walked up that hill, puffing on it, and in the distance saw my usual running buddy. She was with a friend and they seemed to be enjoying themselves. I envied them, and I was embarrassed at the fact that I was walking and not enjoying myself. I ran the final stretch, got to the end (we were running the parkrun course) and wanted to cry.

I looked at Runkeeper. 3.27 miles in 41:14. 12:38 min/mile.
I compared it to the excellent Monday run. 3.35 miles in 38:42. 11:34 min/mile.
Awful, awful, awful.

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I told Alex I wouldn’t make him go running with me again. After all, he’s a good runner, and fast.

I wasn’t a happy bunny all evening. My lungs hurt, my pride hurt, and between wheezes and attempts to cheer myself up, I spent a lot of time staring at Runkeeper.
I looked back over recent runs and concluded that it wasn’t as horrendously slow as I thought. My Wednesday runs after work are always slower than that. Most of the runs I do with my running buddy, including parkruns, are only a little quicker.

Now, having had more time to think about it, I can see why it felt so awful.
I was putting pressure on myself to be better than was reasonable, given the gap between runs and the fact that the weather was against me.
I pushed myself too hard. Normally, when I go with my running buddy, we chat during the run. On Thursday, I could barely get out a couple of words at a time. I wasn’t running at my comfortable pace. Whether that was because I was desperate to ‘do better’ or because I didn’t want to be too slow because I was with Alex, I don’t know. Maybe a little of both.
And I spent the whole time beating myself up about being slow and useless and unfit. Normally, even when it’s a difficult run, I focus on the positives. The lovely park I run in, the fact that I’m out there and doing it at all, that kind of thing.

So Thursday was a bad day. But it’s not the end of the world. I got through it, despite wanting to give up and walk, and despite wanting to burst into tears at several points. My next run will be better, and I’ve been reminded of a few things not to do when I go out there.

Do you think a bad run is better than no run at all?
What’s your strategy for getting over a disappointing, discouraging, or just plain bad run?

The difficult second post

Why I stopped running, and why I started again. And stopped again.

In December 2009 I experienced my first fitness setback. A sharp, awful pain in my left hip. I got out of bed one morning and found myself stuck, just holding on to the windowsill. It eased, and I drove to work. Or halfway to work, before pulling over into a car park, in tears of pain, ringing my boss and telling her I couldn’t come in.

I went to the doctor. No help. I went to my mum’s osteopath, who managed to ease the pain.

I started my fitness routine again. But the pain kept coming back. Every few months it would get too bad to continue, and it turned from just a sharp nerve pain to tingling in my leg. The doctor insisted it could be a tumour and I needed an x-ray. Thanks for that. That didn’t have me worried, panicked and crying at the drop of a hat for weeks. Yes, I’d have preferred if she had just not mentioned ‘tumour’ at all. Continue reading “The difficult second post”

The awkward first post

A VERY quick intro, and how I got into fitness.

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It’s an old photo, but this is a post about the past, after all.

I’m Laura. I’m 30 years old, from South Wales, and as of earlier this year I live in the Rhymney Valley with my fiancé and our three cats.

I always find introductions awkward, so I’m going to skim over that and invite you to check out my ‘about’ page to find out more about me and about this blog, including why it’s called Maximum Sloth.

This first post is going to focus on how I got into fitness in the first place.

Continue reading “The awkward first post”