SoberMe

My Not So Secret Diary

Today I came last…

Today I Came Last
At the start of parkrun this morning!

I don’t like coming last. I don’t like doing things that draw unnecessary attention to myself. I don't like, (and always think), that that people are looking or laughing at me. Running a race is usually okay because I have the cover of several others running alongside me to hide behind. I’m not that slow, or fast that I’m often on my own. Yet there is always this little voice telling me that I could be last. So a few weeks ago I thought I’d face my fear and instead of marshalling, I signed up to be a tail walker. Last night I was very nervous!

I was worried I’d be too slow, that everyone would be waiting to go home. As you may have read in my other posts, my home parkrun is hilly. Very hilly! We have a lot of people who volunteer, but we also have a fairly remote course, and cows, so those marshalling are often fairly busy! I knew I had to collect all the signs as I passed them, and hand them to other marshals along my way, but I was worried I wouldn’t be able to manage them all.

The start was interesting. It was strange to not go off as fast as I could, in fact I had to slow down from my jog and walk in a lot of places so I didn’t pressure the slower runners. We often get a lot of visitors on holiday, and many don’t expect it to be quite so hilly. Add to that the fact we have had pretty much non stop heavy rain for the past three weeks, and so our course was a bit slippy in places!

It was nice to chat with other people along the way. It was a very different experience to a normal Saturday parkrun for me, but it was great. My legs did get a bit of a mind of their own on the final stretch, and I found myself wanting to sprint to the end, despite having a handful of signs, but I held back!

So I came last, and do you know what? It was okay! No one laughed, I got a bit closer to my parkrun milestone and I had fun. It didn’t even rain! What a great start to the weekend - and guess what, I’m tailwalking again next week!

Did anyone else parkrun this morning?

Have a lovely weekend, and thanks for reading!

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Feeling Inspired by Kipchoge!

Feeling Inspired By Kipchoge
Finishing a Half Marathon at The Eden Project last weekend. I can do so much more than I ever thought I could!

Yesterday I was listening to a programme on the Radio about Eliud Kipchoge and his amazing feat of running a sub 2 hour marathon. I was listening to it because my lovely husband heard it, thought I might be interested and text me to tell me to turn it on. With the power of catch up I didn’t miss it. I had only managed to catch bits of the race itself, but from what I did see I was amazed. What an inspiration Kipchoge is, and how lovely to see someone who looks like he is truly enjoying himself while achieving such amazing things.

I couldn’t believe that running the time of 1:59:40 didn’t earn Kipchoge a world record, but I was interested while listening to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2, to find out some of the reasons why. I hadn’t appreciated that a car leading Kipchoge and his pacer team provided a laser target on the road which allowed them to provide a form of wind break for him, allowing him to attain maximum speed without expending excess energy. It’s interesting, as listening I realised I often slide in behind other runners, slip streaming, but when I do, it doesn’t have the same effect!

I know the choice of venue was questioned as Vienna apparently had optimal weather conditions, in that it wasn’t too hot or cold, but also it was dry and relatively wind free. Also, the course seems to be an ideal track for the target time. Again, I can see why he and his team would choose this though, as I know I’d hope or maybe expect to PB on a flat road course over some of the trails I run. Now out of choice given the scenery I love a trail, I love the technicality of it, it keeps my mind focused, but I also love the adrenalin rush of sprinting along a road and achieving a time I wouldn’t be able to elsewhere. Given the choice, I know where I’d choose to run if I want a good time, so surely he was doing the same?

The programme also spoke of another runner who has been close to the previous best time of Kipchoge. It was suggested that if in a true marathon event, the two runners were to both enter, they could provide a welcome challenge for each other, being of similar pace but with a competitive element. Imagine what that race would look like!

What really struck me is the inspiration it gave me. I won’t ever be a professional athlete, but I’m not trying to be. I do think though, that I can be better than I am. Kipchoge, although a professional athlete now, wasn’t always one and in fact only began formal training with a coach at 16. Now, at 34, while not old by any means, he is also not a spring chicken. It makes me question my limitations, or the limitations I put on myself. We all limit ourselves by social expectations of age, gender and ability amongst other things. Perhaps we should instead be thinking like the hash tag #nohumanislimited it gives me a lot of hope.

Thanks for reading!

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The end. And a new beginning…

The end. And a new Beginning
Smile!

It’s hard to give up something you love. Even when that something isn’t good for you. I know that although I was worried for a long time about the amount I was drinking, it was hard to admit and ask for help because I was terrified that it would be the end for me. I couldn’t imagine a life without wine. We are encouraged by the media, amongst other things, to see alcohol as a reward, and I knew I did. It was always there for me at the end of a hard day, to reward a good day, to relax. There was always a reason. And of course like as was proved yesterday when I ran a half marathon and was given a kids juice as I didn’t want the beer they were offering, all the cool kids drink. So I must be be very boring now! Excuse my sarcasm. I just find the stigma of alcohol as a reward very annoying now I am sober. But like I said, it wasn’t always that way.

I’ve had lots of people ask me for advice and I am more than happy to give it, but to be clear, I am not qualified as a addiction counsellor, I just have my own experiences to share. I hope they help someone. Other people’s experiences were always a help to me.

The first time I managed to stop drinking I convinced myself that moderation was the key. After all, there are so many people out there who drink for fun and seem to be fine. I was wrong. It happens so quickly, one glass becomes two or three. Suddenly you are back where you were or worse. For me moderation just isn’t an option. It takes all the confusion and guilt out of it if I just remove it completely. But that’s just me, I can’t say what would work for you.

I’ve been asked how you stop a loved one who has a problem. Simple answer? You don’t. It might not be nice to hear, but until someone is ready to stop drinking they won’t. If you try to stop someone who isn’t ready, then they will end up resenting you. They might end up feeling more alone than they already do. Dependency is isolating.

It’s a slow process, there is no right or wrong, but I believe when you realise you have a problem and can admit it, you are on the right path. At the beginning of that path though, you find you have a very long way to go. Your whole life needs to be reworked. You can’t just stop drinking and expect things to be fixed. Dependency takes a lot of your hours and you need to find things to fill the void so you don’t slip back. Hobbies, self-care, there is so much you can do, but it’s weird to have the time suddenly. I also found my mind got chaotic. When I stopped drinking I unleashed it from the years I had spent dampening it down with wine. My anxiety was released with a vengeance! Learning to be quiet and still was a challenge, I felt I should always be busy.

I guess what I am trying to say is stick with it. It isn’t easy, but it is so worth it. Amazingly worth it. Just start at day one and remember to be kind to yourself.

Much love and as always, thank you for reading.

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Apple Juice at Eden

Apple Juice at Eden
Celebrating with my kiddie juice after Eden Half!

Today was The Eden Project Half Marathon. I’ve been training for it for a while, it’s my fourth half marathon this year, but nothing could have prepared me for the weather.

It has rained almost constantly down here in Cornwall this week, and it has been proper heavy wet rain. My heart sunk a little each time I checked the forecast. But, I don’t like to give up before I’ve tried something so I went, as did hundreds of other people. We were drenched before we started!

One mile down and we entered the woods. I was grateful to get off the leaf covered lanes, I was so scared of slipping, that is until I saw where we were going. The trail turned into a mud bath for about two miles then, as we ran alongside the river, it was hard to get going and when I did I couldn’t stop!

It was such a fun race. I can’t say I’ve ever had such a good time while running over 13 miles. My time wasn’t the fastest, but under the circumstances I was really pleased with it. It felt such an achievement to be able to run that sort of distance and come out of it smiling, even if I was covered in mud.

When I got back to Eden all the finishers collected their medals, shirts and vouchers for a free pasty and a beer. I was even given some tea bags! When I mentioned to the lady handing things out that I’d prefer the tea she was surprised, so I told her I didn’t drink. She kindly told me I could get a cider instead of a beer! It takes a minute for my brain to catch up with me when I’ve been for a long run, so I just followed the other runners into the queue and waited for my free pasty.

I was lucky though, as I got to the front of the queue I saw that amongst the stacks of cans of beer, there were half a dozen bottles of kids juice. I was so pleased to get a cold drink that it didn’t matter so much that the alcohol free runners seemed to be a bit of an after thought in the eyes of the organisers. It made me laugh, kids juice for those who didn’t want a ‘proper’ drink? What sort of message does that send out?!

All in all though, a great race! I think I’ll be back next year!

How has everyone’s weekend’s been? Who else has been running and where have you been?

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