29 February. 2020 • Category: Addiction | Mental Health | Recovery | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Sobriety | Running
A photo from 2015. Five years make such a difference.
I get a bit nervous doing things that are out of the ordinary. Well sometimes I actually get nervous doing things that are ordinary, but let’s put that to one side for a minute.
It’s a little bit of an endless circle for me, I feel like I might get nervous, so of course I do get nervous, then I stop myself doing things and when I have no choice but to do them, guess what? Yep, I get nervous. Nervous for me can be anything from chattering incessantly, I don’t even notice I’m doing it, to crying, which is embarrassing, or full blown panic attacks. I try to control situations I put myself in because I hate feeling out of control, but that doesn’t always solve it. Sometimes it can be something genuine, like a lack of the unknown, but other times it is something odd, like being stuck at traffic lights when I am in the passenger seat. Usually it’s more frequent when I am somewhere not so normal, but it can make me really nervous to feel trapped. The same thing happened when we were going on holiday a couple of years ago. I was fine at the airport until we got to the departure lounge. I think it was because I was stuck there until they told us to go, rather than it being of my choosing, but it really affected me, and I began to panic. It was such a relief when they let us board the bus to the plane, and before you ask, no, it isn’t small spaces. I was fine on the plane itself.
The thing is, although I’m nervous, and somewhat cautious of my reactions to things, I am keen to get over things as much as I can and push myself out of my comfort zone. Sometimes challenging myself is a good thing, even when it’s hard.
This year I wanted to run the London Marathon. I entered the ballot and although I had a really good feeling about it, I didn’t get a place so I entered the London Landmarks Half. I didn’t get a place in that ballot either, so I was a bit disappointed, but when I saw the Vitality Big Half being advertised without a ballot I bought a place straightaway. I was hoping to book a hotel and have a few nice days away. It seemed like such a good idea... As it’s got closer to the event though, it all seems a bit much. It is more of a mission than it was intended to be. I’ve even thought of not going, because it would just be easier. Instead, I booked my two middle kiddies onto The Little Half, a 2.3 mile event on the same day that is suitable for under 18’s and those not able to run the full half. They are excited so I am trying to be too. I love the idea of running through London and of seeing the sights as I run. It is exciting, I just wish I wasn’t so anxious about it.
Lots of things go through my mind though, like the last time that my husband and I went to London together without the kids. We had some meetings for work, and went up early just for the day. It was right around the time I was trying to stop drinking and was cutting down a lot. We had a lovely day, and on the way home stopped for dinner. I wasn’t keen to go to a fast food place, I wanted somewhere I could have a glass of wine. I only had one, maybe two, I can’t remember, but I was disappointed in myself for not being able to do without even then and I’m pretty sure the day ended up in a bit of an argument about it. So now, it’s a bit of a worry to me, a little bit of a reminder, and while I know I’m not going to want to stop on the way home for anything more than a cup of tea, I just want everything to go well and not be overly stressful. It feels like pressure, and yet I think I am probably the only one remembering and worrying about it.
So we’ll see, logically I know I can run the distance, so I just have to get there on time to start. The forecast isn’t great but I have my fingers crossed it doesn’t snow, or if it does, it waits for all the runners to finish first!
Thanks as always for reading.
13 February. 2020 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Recovery | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Sitting at the bar drinking my lovely lemonade.
We used to go out a fair bit. A lot of it was pubs and clubs when we were younger, in fact, we met in a nightclub. After we had the kids we’d go out to eat more often sometimes with them, sometimes without them, although it often involved me having a few drinks. I never needed to be the designated driver.
It was strange recently to be invited out for the opening of a new venue that my husband had been working at. It was a high end place, and to be invited by the owners was a real privilege. I’d just got back from parkrun and was expecting a relaxing afternoon and evening, when my husband told me we’d had the invitation. I felt quite excited for several minutes before the doubt crept in. Suddenly I remembered I didn’t drink anymore, that there would be no ‘fun’ drinks while getting ready, no drinks when we got there and none with dinner. It was so different to past nights out and I did wonder what the point was.
It’s tough when a lot of your relaxation, socialisation, and fun seems to be associated with alcohol. Learning to do without it on a daily basis is one thing, learning to be without it on occasions like this is almost harder. You don’t get so many of them to practice with, as going out for me is now a more unusual occasion, so the memories haven’t been worked through in the same way that day to day life has. Although predictably, there are still things in my daily life that catch me out from time to time.
It’s hard, but I also don’t want alcohol to win. It’s had enough of my time already. (Would you believe I wrote ‘wine’ instead of ‘win’ when I wrote that?! Clearly it’s quite ingrained!
So, I got dressed up. I straightened my hair and did my make up and off we went to the coast where there was a crazy amber weather warning that night! But, most importantly, it was good.
I find social situations difficult, not because I expect people will wonder why I don’t drink. I mean, I suppose especially when it’s work related, I don’t want people to judge me, to think I’m not up to standard, but generally I’m okay with who I am now. But sometimes, some situations are difficult. For example, a couple of months ago, our daughter won a prize for her art work and was invited to a University for the presentation. It was a lovely evening, food and drink were laid on, and an art gallery was set up for us to view the students pieces. We avoided the complimentary glasses of wine that were being handed out, but when we approached the bar to see what else was available we had no luck. I asked for a cup of tea, and was actually told they only had wine available and weren’t allowed to use the facilities to make hot drinks! I was more surprised than anything else. But of course, situations like that, where it seen as ‘different’ not to drink make it harder. I also ran a half marathon last year where everyone was given beer at the finish line. The odd few like me who declined were given a kids bottle of juice. These things don’t help any of use who are in recovery, we just want to fit in, and for things not to be any harder than they already are.
Luckily Saturday night was not like that. We were greeted at the door and I immediately felt welcomed. I walked in and went straight past the complimentary champagne. No one batted an eye-lid at us when we politely declined it, and it actually didn’t bother me. In fact, I only felt my eye wander once much later on to someone else’s glass. It was a glass of red wine in case you are wondering, and I was tempted for a split second, but with a deep breath, that moment passed too. Instead, we sat at the bar, and had some very nice lemonade. I did sniff it several times before I drank it, just to be sure you know. One sip now, and who knows where I’d be, but the thing is I actually wanted to check, rather than slip up.
I had a lovely evening. I chatted and the next morning I remembered it all. I didn’t have to wrack my brain to remember to whom I spoke and what was said. I knew. And that’s a great feeling. Remembering. And enjoying myself.
Thank you as always for reading my thoughts.
08 February. 2020 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Recovery | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Start line selfie with Katie and Stanley this morning.
It’s been a busy few days. My husband has been working like crazy again, I’m not complaining, but he’s tired and it’s hard not to be able to do anything to help him. Our littlest has had a nasty cold and that means he has been up a lot in the nights, and this morning our running son had to go to Bournemouth for a race as he is representing Cornwall Schools. Since we’re in Cornwall and he was going on the coach he had to be up and out early, in time to meet his team just after 6am. So that was another early start, but as he is lovely, my husband took him down and then popped into work for a few hours. Our eldest son always has plans so leaving him to it, me and my daughter Katie decided to take our youngest out to parkrun.
I’ve now run 42 parkruns, and I run with Stanley in the buggy a lot, but I haven’t ever parkrun with him. I think it’s just another thing where I’m afraid of being not good enough, maybe other people are faster, or have a better running buggy, etc, etc. Anyway, what I mean is that I do tend to put things off, especially if I feel I won’t be that good. Today we just made up our minds and went for it, and you know what? It was great. Well it was once I managed to get Katie out of the door. She is easily distracted and by the time we were on our way, I wondered if parkrun might have been and gone by the time we got there. It was okay though, it was easy to park and we got there with four or five minutes to spare.
We started near the back as I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way with the buggy and clog up the pack. It took almost a minute to get through the crowd to the start line at the beginning so my PB went out the window, but it was one of the nicest parkruns I have done in ages. We just ran and chatted, and resorted to walking on some of the hills because my two and a half year old is heavy! I should probably have checked my tyres before I went because my front one was quite low, so of course, I’m going to blame any perceived slowness on that, rather than on me and Katie. But like I said, it was lovely.
We stopped afterwards at the cafe and warmed up with some hot drinks before going to play in the park on the way out. It was a beautiful day and really felt like spring was coming as we saw so many beautiful flowers coming out.
We arrived home to find my husband was already back from work. I was thinking that other than having to go and meet Barn from his coach later in the evening we had nothing else on for the evening. Instead, I was told we’ve been invited out. It’s so nice, and yet it’s made me panic a bit. I don’t cope that well with change. It makes me a little nervous, and it’s worse because I don’t know what to expect. It’s one thing going out just with Lee, as I know he has no expectations of me, but going out with others in a group makes me a little nervous as I haven’t done it much recently. I’m not sure of the venue, of what drinks they’ll offer and what conversation will be expected of me. Those points alone are many of the reasons I used to have a drink, to stop myself feeling nervous in situations like these. Clearly I won’t be doing that tonight. I’ll be working my way through it as best as I can, and I am sure I will have a lovely time. I just wish I didn’t feel so nervous about it.
It’s annoying that things I want to do still make me nervous after all this time. It would be easier to stay at home, but then when I stopped drinking I didn’t mean that I would stop living, so I’m going to go out, and hopefully I’m going to have a good time. Fingers crossed!
Thanks for reading!
06 February. 2020 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Recovery | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
With my medal.
Last year I wanted to run Newquay 10k but I missed out and it was full before I got the chance. I decided to make sure I got in quicker this year. They have quite tight guidelines as to who can book a place and it fills up very quickly. They open the entries first to local clubs, but although I’m local and in a club it isn’t a local club so I couldn’t get in. Then they open the second phase to non-club members, with the third phase being for anyone else. Typically, I totally forgot about it, even after trying to organise myself to get a place this year. By the time I remembered all three phases had opened and there were no spaces left.
I was so disappointed, but that day I saw a thread on Facebook about putting in for a reserve place. I never normally bother, but thought I’d give it a go. I had nothing to lose. I knew I wasn’t the only one, but I was pretty surprised when the email came back to say I was on the reserve this and I was number 26 in the queue. I thought that meant I had no chance!
A week before the race, I had an email to say I was in! I couldn’t believe it, what luck!
My son normally trains with his club three times a week and one of those days is a Sunday, which is fine, but as he needs a lift to get to training, it meant I would have to drive myself to the race. I know it won’t seem much to other people, but I’ve always had someone to come with me, whether it is my husband or one of the kids. Even on the start line, I am seldom alone. This race was the first time I had no-one so I was a little nervous, but I made up my mind I would push myself out of my comfort zone and go anyway.
I was the only one from my running club there, I know that for definite because I saw the list when they were handing out our race numbers. It actually said Lonely Goat RC (1). I don’t think I have ever been the only one from my club at a race before! But it was quite nice, as I didn’t know anyone, I could be properly anti-social and not worry about talking to anyone. I didn’t even have to look out in case there was any one I knew there as I was sure there wouldn’t be. It was quite a walk from the car to the race HQ so I left my hoody in the bag check area. Then there wasn’t a lot else to do, so I found a corner and waited, I even played on my phone for a bit. It was strange being on my own, but not in a bad way, just in a I hadn’t done it before way. I was pretty proud of myself too. A year ago there would have been no chance of me doing something like that on my own. Actually a few months ago I wouldn’t have. So it’s another step forward.
All in all the race itself was great. I’ve been worrying about it because I have had a nasty cold and chest and have been worried I might not be able to run. Last year I had a chest infection that turned to pleurisy so this year I’ve tried to take it a little easier, in the hope that I can shake it off and it seems to be working. Due to that though, I haven’t run as much as I would have liked this week, and my watch has been telling me I am on the edge of de-training, which isn’t that helpful for my self-confidence. It was good to get out though, and as so much of the race was on the road, and seen quite obviously by other passers by, it pushed me to keep going even when it was hard.
I have to say, I don’t mind having to go on a waiting list for a race that is really well organised with a lovely medal. I totally get why it would have sold out, but I am glad I bothered to put my name down for the reserves. I was warned that as a reserve I might not get a finishers t-shirt in the right size, so I was more than happy to get one, in bright pink, with the Newquay Road Runner logo on it. What a nice reminder to have! Hopefully next year I’ll be more organised and remember to put my name down straightaway!
Were any of you there? What else did you get up to this weekend?
Thank you for reading.