My Not So Secret Diary

Other people and public spaces…

Other people and public spaces
Fun in the water with the kids.

To the noisy lady at the swimming pool… I don’t want to hear all about how hard your life is, at top volume while you are changing your child. I’m sure it is challenging, but after the last few weeks I think I’ve heard every detail several times and I think perhaps you are either creating drama for attention, or actually just thrive off a hectic life. That’s fine, but can you keep it away from me? Or maybe try being just a little bit grateful for what you have?

I don’t need the drama to be honest. It’s taken me a long time to be as calm as I am, and it doesn’t take a lot sometimes to tip the balance. I distance myself from drama, whether it is on the TV or in person, I separate myself from people who drain me, it is enough sometimes to keep myself afloat, without propping up others too. Sometimes people and the noise they bring is all a bit overwhelming.

I think this must seem selfish to some, but actually it’s self preservation. Keeping myself in my little bubble helps. My circle is small, my husband, children, close family and work. I’ve read a lot about mental health over the years after struggling with my own. We, as humans are not meant to interact in the way that modern life dictates. We were designed to care about our small circle, our immediate family and our ‘village’. We don’t need to know the intricate details of the happenings all over the world, and yet today we are subjected to it all. We know everything, all the time. We are bombarded and it is too much for some of us to process. There is no reprieve and it is tiring. Our minds are on constant high alert for events which actually may not ever affect us, and that is on top of our daily lives.

Its children I feel for most. I’m glad I think, that I am not a teenager today. When I was young, if I had a falling out I left it at school. With my kids, they are always available. Friends and acquaintances can get to them at all times, and if they choose to put down their phones or leave a chat, then they are suddenly out of the loop. It’s sad, and frightening that a lot of their friendships are superficial. I’m not sure that I’d cope very well with that. To help, I limit my phone to one hour per day of social media, then it cuts off. That can be hard as I manage a page for work too, so it isn’t all personal, but once it’s gone I don’t check in anymore. It gives me a break and sometimes that break is all I need. Sometimes I wonder if life would be easier if I lived in a cabin on a mountain somewhere!

Anyway, thanks again for reading!

Have a great weekend everyone!


The Ballot

The Ballot
Me and Katie half way through her first road race.

Like many others when I first started running I thought getting to 5k would be a huge achievement and it was. Like many people, I thought it would be enough to go from a non-runner to one that could do 5k without walking. It was for a time, and then I decided to tackle a 10k. Then a half. I never wanted to run a half marathon, or so I thought. They were for serious runners, but the idea took hold and I just wanted to see if I could. It gave me something to focus my training on, an end goal to work towards. Once I’d done it I was amazed that I could do something like that. Me, a runner for only a year could run 13.1 miles. That was pretty cool and it was enough. But then a few weeks later I watched the London Marathon on TV. It was inspiring, the runners at the front moving like machines, covering double the distance in less time than I had run my half. I was watching as Hayley Carruthers fell at the end, and willed her to make it over the line. A professional runner, but one who still worked and had a life outside of training, she made me wonder if I could do it.

That feeling didn’t go away and as soon as it opened I entered the ballot. I didn’t even wait to get home, I was out in a carpark waiting to pick my son up from the end of a Duke of Edinburgh expedition on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon. I just knew I had to get my name down. I didn’t realise I’d have to wait over five months to know if I was successful.

I’ve been waiting patiently to find out the ballot results as I know so many other people have, but it has made me question why exactly the ballot is done in this way. I know it is a successful event and so many people want to run it, but why not make it a little more available to the average runners out there too? If I don’t get a place, I can run for a charity, but because they have to pay so much for their places they want thousands of pounds raised in return. I understand that they need to maximise their return, but when these charities are chosen from a list and not one close to my heart, it doesn’t seem genuine, it seems like a means to an end. Putting so much effort into fundraising would take time too, and like many, I find it hard to fit training around life, work and family, so to put more demands on my time would be difficult, as would the stress of having to reach a target or lose my place. I don’t think that would help my anxiety at all.

It seems that a fairer option would be to have so many places open on a first come first served basis, and after that maybe open the ballot? At least then the early birds would get a chance. Even if the tickets cost more, I’ve heard of other marathons that actually give people a place when they have been unsuccessful on so many previous occasions. This seems like a fairer option. I know many people would like to run on several occasions, but for many, once would be enough.

So it brings me to the question, do I actually want to support this ballot, which I think is actually quite unfair, or do I want to find a marathon that I can just buy a place for and run, and enjoy the experience. What do you think?

Today the results begin to go out. Some already know if they are in or not. I don’t. As soon as I find out, I’ll let you know. Happy running!

Thanks for reading! Xxx

Two Race Sunday

Two Race Sunday
Finish photo with my two runners.

Today is the first anniversary of my first ever race - the Plymouth 5k. It was the first official run I had done, and I was nervous! I wasn’t sure how well I’d do, having only ever done parkruns. I wasn’t sure how it would be running on a road in a race as I hadn’t done anything like it before. I worried I would be last. I worried that people would laugh at me. I was mainly afraid I’d embarrass myself. I ran with my son, Barn. He was 13 then and had also just started running. We ran together, slowing down at the hills and walking where we needed to. Towards the end I encouraged him to go off, and eventually he did, after a lot of persuasion and sprinted off towards the end. It was the first time we had a glimpse of how fast he might be. Running down the last straight to the finish people called my name, it was an amazing feeling. And I didn’t come last!

This year I decided to run the same race again, but as I’ve upped my distance over the last year, I signed up for the 10k instead of the 5k. I am not the fastest, but I am a lot faster than I was (at times), so I was looking forward to it. My lovely daughter Katie has started running this year and is getting much more confident, but is not keen on running further than 4 miles, so the 10k was out of the question for her, despite me trying to convince her. Knowing how much I’d enjoyed it last year I signed them both up for the 5k. Barn knew what to expect and was just planning on smashing his time from last year, while Katie was more nervous, as like me, she didn’t know what to expect from the event and wondered whether it would be overwhelming. So, in the spirit of encouragement, I signed up for the 5k too.

In my head I thought it would be a good plan. I’ve got a half marathon coming up, so I thought I’d use these two races as training, but in practice it made me more than a little nervous. Until now, I hadn’t run the same race twice and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do both, when really I should be more confident. I have run further before. It’s just nerve wracking running on closed streets when people are watching!

Well, to cut the story short, I am super proud of all of us. I was really happy with my 10k time and once finished I had enough time to change my race number over before going out again on the 5k. Katie and I ran together the whole way. It was lovely. She slowed down a couple of times, but considering she has a stinking cold, I am not surprised! I would have done the same! Barn started with us but that was the last time we saw him, until the lead car passed us with the front runners coming back the other way, giving us an opportunity for a quick high five and a few words of encouragement.

A lot of people can do more, but for someone who didn’t think they could run 5k not so long ago, running two races in one day is a great feeling! I’m looking forward to next year!

What races have you all done this weekend?

Thanks for reading!