SoberMe

My Not So Secret Diary

Parkrun

Parkrun
The start of our home parkrun. Not a bad place to run!

Last week I ran my 30th parkrun. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with parkrun. I do really enjoy going, and certainly after I’ve been I feel glad I have. My home run is beautiful, it’s at a National Trust Estate and running through the woods is amazing. The downside is that it also is rated as one of the hardest in the country as it is so hilly, and we get a lot of parkrun tourists. Now I am not saying I don’t like the tourists, I am proud that they come and get to share what I get to have every week. It’s just, it gets so very busy! The first hill is down a lane and when it’s wet I am afraid I’ll slip, then it’s onto a steep gravel up hill, followed by an even steeper uneven gravel downhill that goes on forever to the river at the bottom. This bit gets narrow and I am always afraid I’ll fall. This run was worse as the sun was shining between the trees and I struggled to see where I was going. I’m conscious that I’ll slow other runners down, so I try to keep to the side, often running on more bumpy ground to do so. So, in the summer months running down this bit is even harder than normal because there is a much larger group of runners out, in the winter I feel a bit safer.

It took me a long time to get to my first parkrun. I heard they were really friendly and that you could, “walk, run or jog”, but I still thought I’d be last, and show myself up. The first time I ran, I knew I could comfortably complete the distance, but that I’d definitely have to walk some of it. I enlisted my middle son, (now a super keen runner who knocks out 10k ridiculously fast) into coming with me. He said he would and was happy to run with me, but as we started, I could see him itching to get away. I told him to go and so he did after a little encouragement. I didn’t see him again until the finish line! Meanwhile I wasn’t fast enough to be at the front and not slow enough to be at the back… at one point I was worried I’d get lost in the woods as there seemed to be a spot down by the river with no signs and marshals. It was fine though. I got back and finished, feeling super proud of myself.

I’ve since gone on to improve my time, I’m not the fastest, but as they say, it isn’t a race, I’m just running against myself and I like that. The only trouble is, I am quite competitive (mainly with myself) and I get quite disappointed if I don’t get a personal best each week, Now logically, I know that I couldn’t do that week on week anyway, there is only so fast anyone can go, no matter how fast they are, but some weeks I’ve been a little bit slower, and then a bit slower again and it knocked my confidence. Combining that with lots of visitors made it easy to miss the odd week, and suddenly I realised I hadn’t been to a parkrun since the beginning of the summer.

As well as being a keen runner, my son is also happy to marshal at parkrun, and has logged many weeks as a #hivishero but again hasn’t done much over the summer. This week he suggested marshalling and checking the roster I saw that they were in need of another time keeper, so he quickly signed up. This was great, because although he offered to ride his bike there I decided I’d drive him, giving him a few extra minutes in bed and giving me a reason to go and run. It was cooler, being September, and less busy which was nice, although I did have to give myself a stern talking to several times regarding times. Eventually I settled into a rhythm and realised that getting a PB didn’t really matter, I was out, I was running, I was enjoying myself so whatever time I came in, it was better than staying at home on the sofa!

The best bit? Tea and cake with my son in the park cafe at the end!

Thanks for reading!
xx

Motivation

Motivation
I'm smiling! Proof I do enjoy being out once I get there!

I’m not sure that I really like running. Well that isn’t exactly true. I do like running, in fact I love running. Especially after I’ve been out and I’m feeling all good about myself. But the getting out bit is hard. I think the actual running is okay, although I often have this little voice in my head which questions what I am doing. It often asks me why I’m running, reminds me that people looking will be laughing at me and of course that I am slower than everyone else in the world. If I can push through, which I usually do, I get to a point at about 3 miles, where something clicks and it suddenly becomes easier. Maybe it isn’t easier, maybe it’s just because I no longer have a choice, I am aware that my legs have taken me a certain distance and short of phoning someone to come and get me (which I have never done) I have no choice but to run home again. Or finish the race, but you get my point.

On the other side, I can’t say it’s just running. I love yoga class, but if you gave me a good excuse I’d find it easy not to go. I think it’s more that when I have things on my agenda it feels like I have to tick them all off my list as quickly as I can so I can clear them. It means I feel like I am rushing a lot and always on the go, sometimes it feels like I don’t really enjoy what I am doing because I am looking at what I need to be doing next.

So I’m working on mindfulness, I’m trying to be more present, but it’s hard. Who knew life would be such a challenge at times? There always seems to be something I need to learn or improve on.


Does anyone else struggle with motivation for doing things they enjoy?

Becoming a Runner

Becoming a Runner
Freedom Racing on the Cornish cliffs - I'm number 116.

Over the years I’ve classed myself as many things, a wife, a mum, an employee… They are all things that I am proud of, that I value, and things that I think I do well, but I guess over time, it is hard to define yourself as someone or something without relying on others for that definition. To be any of those things, I always need someone else. I didn’t really have many hobbies and for a while I lost sight of who I was. It has become clear that to have something that is just mine is actually really important.

On Saturday I ran a race. It was 10 miles, which gave me quite some time on the trails in the woods by myself. I don’t run with others, which can be a good thing as I get plenty of time to myself to think, but also it can be lonely, especially when the going gets tough and there is no one to help you along. I didn’t find it as mentally challenging as I do some races. I’ve often said that my body runs better than my mind does. Sometimes it is hard to get to the start line, let alone over it and as this one was quite long I doubted myself. Especially as the first mile or so was a long drag up a hill. There were a lot of hills, and only the front runners ran these, back where I was we dropped to a fast walk. Rather than panic I just ran and before I knew it I’d settled into a nice rhythm. Some of the course was on my home parkrun course, so I knew it quite well, maybe this helped? I thought it would make it worse as every time I thought I knew where we were going we veered off in another direction. The end was possibly the most challenging as we ran past the finish at nine and a half miles and had to do another loop in the other direction before coming back the other way to cross the line! That was hard!

While it was a challenging race, I was immensely proud of running it. No one else got me round that course. I could have been at home on the sofa, watching the TV. It was a rainy Saturday so there were a lot of other things I could have done instead. I chose to run 10 miles in rain and mud and I rubbed a blister on my heel. I think I need some new trail trainers. But as I was running it dawned on me, I might not be the fastest, I might not be the fittest, but I am a runner now. That definition belongs just to me and others like me, it doesn’t rely on someone else to make me a runner. By putting my shoes on and getting out the door, no matter how long or short a run, I am doing something that I couldn’t do a year or so ago. To those of you who choose to run, no matter how fast or slow, just remember that you are always lapping those people who stay on their couch!

Thanks for reading!
xx

Treadmill Run

Treadmill RunTreadmill run.

So today is most definitely a treadmill day. It is pouring down outside, not that that would always stop me, but I also have a poorly little man. Said little man is currently snuggled up on the sofa with an episode or two of Peppa Pig so it is the treadmill or no run.

Now I know that treadmill's are often seen as boring and hard going compared to running outdoors, and I do have to say I prefer the fresh air more often that not. But, and it is a big but, I find they really work for me when I'm trying to do any sort of speedwork training.

I've been using apps since I started running, the first being couch 2 5k. I progressed on to 10k and now in the midst of training for a half marathon, am using the half marathon version. It is a fab way of not having to think about your training, beyond scheduling days for running and days for resting. After that you just run, sprint or walk when it beeps at you. I don't think I would have been able to run a half marathon without the training I did using the app and I'm hoping it will work well for me again this time. This will be my fourth, I ran my first in May this year, having only started running last year.

I guess the difficulty for me, and for a lot of people is that my mind gets in the way. I've often said that my body runs better than my mind does. Whether it is stepping outside the front door or stepping onto the treadmill, it often seems like such a challenge to run for a set amount of time. Indoors, there is nothing to distract you. I listen to music normally, or a podcast, but this morning disaster struck when the battery on my speaker went flat! I could hear my phone well enough for the interval timers but turned off the music, worrying that my phone battery would too go flat. Suddenly my 40 minute or so run seemed like a mountain to climb, which is ridiculous because I have run for longer. Sometimes there is no arguing with my mind though. I find distraction works quite well for me, and soon enough I was counting my footsteps, my breath falling into rhythm again and I began to relax. It is funny what an effect such a small thing can have. Before I knew it, I'd completed my run, 4 miles in the bag, and was somewhat warmer than I'd been in the beginning.

It never fails to amaze me how good I feel after a run, regardless of whether it is indoors or out. I wish I could bottle that feeling, it would make getting out there so much easier.

Thanks for reading!
Much love x
💜💜

Sunday Morning Run

Sunday Morning Run
Running from the Camera!

Most evenings I go to bed with the intention of getting up and going straight out for a run. I know on the odd occasion that I achieve it, normally for a race or a Parkrun, that I will feel great when I get back, and that I'll know my exercise is all done for the day so nothing will get in the way of it. In reality though it is much harder for me and a lot of people not to put things (excuses) in the way. I got up and put my running clothes straight on. Being a Sunday morning, I am quite pleased with myself for that achievement. However, my lovely husband suggested making me a bacon sandwich before I run which I couldn't say no to. That appears to be turning into a full cooked breakfast and it is now just after 11am.... things aren't looking good for the run! A little later we are going to my Mum and Dad's for lunch so I should really run before. It might be too late when I get back. The difficulty is, that now it's a little later, all our neighbours are out and about doing Sunday jobs in their gardens and washing their cars which means they are likely to see me running. Now, I've got over the fact of people seeing me in lycra, running races will do that for you, but I can't help but feel it looks attention seeking if I run past people who don't know I run. I'm pretty sure that it is my anxiety talking and that my neighbours don't really care what I am up to. But still... it crosses my mind. It might have to be a sunglasses on and earphones in run, because if I can't see or hear them, they can't see or hear me! 🤣🤣

Freedom Racing

Freedom Racing
What a beautiful sunset!

Last night was the end of the summer. Well, the end of the summer as far as Freedom Racing's Summer Sessions go. Set from May to September these 10k races are set in stunning locations all over Cornwall, from North Coast to South Coast and in between. I didn't run all of them, but I will next year, I've already promised myself that. Mainly set on Friday nights these races are breathtaking. There is something very primal about trail running in a race. It's more than just a group running together. It feels like you are part of the pack, and with the wind blowing and the sun setting as we tore up and down the cliffs, over St Agnes Beacon and back across the beach in Porthtowan I felt so alive.

To be honest, I wish I was faster, last night was possibly my slowest 10k (it was very hilly!) But, it was stunning so maybe I didn't push myself as I would normally try to. It was only really the super fit runners at the front of the pack that could run most of the big hills which was fine with me as it gave me a chance to catch my breath. The only problem was, as I was coming back along the cliffs it started to get dark, and that, combined with being on a very uneven cliff path only slowed me down more. Coming down the last hill and across the beach to the finish line was such a relief, mainly because it meant I could see again.

What a great way to spend a Friday night. SO looking forward to next year!
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The Start of Running

The Start of Running
That's me at the back in the pink and black leggings!

I started running in June 2018. I’m not really sure why, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. I wanted to lose the dreaded ‘baby weight’ from baby number 4 and I wanted something to help my anxiety. To be honest though, I think that came afterwards and I certainly didn’t realise how much of a difference it made to my state of mind at the start. I just decided I’d do it, downloaded the C25k app and went out. At the time I was not the sort of person who felt comfortable in lycra, so I'm not quite sure how I managed it. I couldn’t even run for 1 minute back then, I mean probably not even 30 seconds and I was mortified. I knew I wasn’t super fit but until I’d had number 4 I thought I was doing okay. I was so wrong! Sweating and out of breath I managed the first few sessions, unable to do more even if I had wanted to. My husband and older kids encouraged me but I’m not sure if I let on how hard I was finding it. Other runners galloped along making it look so effortless, their hair was always great and they certainly didn't glow like I did!

Around week 5 I hurt my knee. It wasn't too bad and so I tried to push through. I thought running through it would help make me a better runner or something. What a mistake that was! It got worse and worse until I could barely climb the stairs at work! I had signed up for a 5K race as my first ever event for The Cornwall Air Ambulance. It was supposed to give me the incentive I needed to keep me going but instead I felt like I had a lot of pressure on me to achieve it and to raise the money I had promised the charity. I wasn't even sure if I would be able to run 5k, that target seemed almost unreachable to me. Eventually I gave in and repeated the week of training, twice I think in the end but suddenly something started to click. Suddenly I could do it and I began to enjoy it!

The first time I ran for 5 minutes was huge for me, and the first time I did a longer run I remember thinking it is okay, only another 8 minutes. Suddenly I realised that I had thought 8 minutes wasn't long! Such a huge difference and a milestone for me. I began to think maybe I could run longer distances, maybe, just maybe I'd be able to class myself as a runner!