29 September 2019
Chilling at the beach with my little man.
As many of you know, I don’t drink. So when I see Go Sober for October adverts, although I see what I think is a good cause, I also see a reminder of something I couldn’t do for a long time, and by that I mean stopping drinking. I signed up for at least two years, knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I thought that by signing up, some sort of magic wand would be waved and I’d be able to drink soft drinks for the rest of the month without wanting anything more, and my problem would be fixed. How much easier that would have been than going through recovery!
I recently saw a post from someone excited to start Stoptober, wondering if cutting out alcohol would help make any improvement on their running. I was interested in this too, although I started running after I stopped drinking, so it wouldn’t affect me in the same way. I was really surprised at the amount of different opinions to it! So many people out there don’t drink at all, many having used Stoptober as a stepping stone and then just not started again. Others are more training orientated and use races as a guide to how much or little they should be drinking. Some, clearly happy with where they are at, are just happy to, in the words of one gentleman, ‘crack on’. It isn’t envy I feel any more when I read comments like that, (it used to be, and not so long ago), I’m not sure that it’s pity, but there’s definitely an element of sadness that people would choose to drink to excess. Now I have a clear head, I’d rather keep it. It took a long time to get it and it isn’t always perfect, but it is certainly a lot better without wine. I do understand though that not everyone is the same.
What stood out the most to me was someone questioning the reasoning having a month off. The point was that if someone doesn’t have a problem with drinking then a month is nothing, and shouldn’t need to be celebrated. It makes me wonder just how ingrained alcohol is in our society that it is the norm that ‘everyone’ drinks and so stopping for a month becomes nothing more than a game?
It’s a great cause, all the fundraising helping Macmillan, but I do wonder if drinking wasn’t so much a part of our society, would we need Stoptober, or Dry January? Although maybe they are a helpful excuse to help people recognise when they have a problem? Reading through the website, they promote the benefits of being sober, including clearer head, more energy, better sleep, weight loss, personal achievement and helping those with cancer, but I was so disappointed to read that they offer a ‘Golden Ticket’ that you can buy if you have an occasion where you really need to drink! It seems like a contradiction, to be offered a way out before you start, and a reinforcement of how ‘important’ alcohol is to society! Maybe I’m just over-sensitive when it comes to this subject?
As always, thanks for reading!
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!
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?