Monday, 15 April 2013

Talking the TORQ, Walking the Walk.

It's been a while since I've posted any news proving my writing is as inconsistent as my training and health, but what a difference a weekend can make.  

I have applied a while a go to be part of a new trail team for TORQ Fitness a specialist fitness consultancy who has also developed a complete range of sport nutrition products for endurance sports.  Freestak a social media marketing company for the running industry have joined their expertise with TORQ to develop a unique trail running team on inspirational (non elite) runners who will inspire and encourage others through sharing their wide range of achievements.

After submitting my application including what races I have done, what I love about trail running and my ambitions, I got on with work, training and life. A few weeks later when I got the email to say I had made it through to the selection day at Church Stretton you would have thought I had been selected for the Team GB, I was truely delighted and ran round the house so excited (probably the fastest I ever run)

So Saturday (13th April) was selection/assessment day at the YHA in Church Stretton but the weekend was extended so we could run and get to know the other candidates.

On Friday evening I met Carrie and we had the pleasure of sharing some time with Stuart Mills over a drink in the pub and meeting the other early arrivals.

Julie & Simon from Freestak

On Saturday we were made most welcome by Julie and Simon from Freestak along with Simon and Ben from TORQ, the day started with a presentation from Ben on the TORQ nutrition and recovery systems which gave us the chance to ask questions and importantly to taste the products. Who can complain when they they include yummy flavours such as Rhubarb & Custard or Banoffee gels or Ginger & Pineapple Bars The debates rage on to carbload or not, high protien diets, what to fuel on, myths and facts about the impact of hydration,  perspiration on performance etc. Ben was great and not phased by these ambitious high achieving runners firing questions at him and allowing us to learn from each other.
Lots of chat and getting to know you

Loves to chat running - Stuart Mills

Following this we were treated to a talk and presentation from Stuart Mills winner of the Lakeland 100 in 2010 and is a GB International Trail Runner with a string of impressive race results to his name. I have seen Stuart speak before and as usual his open approach, sense of humour and positivity was evident as he encouraged us to embrace a positive attitude, consider what effect negativity can have on your performance, how we percieve fatique and explains his own approach to racing. What is refreshing about Stuart is he challenges the common approaches to ultra running and is not afraid to review his own training regime change it up and develop a new approach based on his goals and ambitions, a lesson for us all.

What was totally brilliant about the weekend was the participants and their individual stories of why they run and what they have achieved, I was in awe around the pub table I was chatting to Carrie who has sumitted Everest - yes Everest to Rob? (sorry forgot name) running 160 continous miles the Ocean Floor in Egypt and that was just for starters. Rueben running the lakeland 50 along with me, to Mel who is a personal trainer and ultra runner and Amanda who has just completed the Paris Marathon last week and is a seasoned trail runner.

A straw pole of the room earlier in the day indicated that most had run 50 miles or more and whats more everyone loves it and I mean loves it and all are passionate about their chosen sport and so encouraging and supportive of each other and admiring of respective achievements. I left the pub on Saturday evening stating I need to get more adventurous, feeding off others motivation and adventures and a big challenge is needed - watch this space.

The tempting prize - trail training on
the Mont Blanc Mastif
 On display in the hostel was a reminder for all, along with being involved in a unique, innovative trail team you get the opportunity to train on the UTMB course. Despite having the qualifying points I didn't get through the ballot for the CCC so a chance to train on this iconic terrain would be awesome.

 Well what did I learn from this weekend:
Trail running is still awesome.
Trail running is an inclusive community
You can achieve in trail running whatever your level or ability
You can challenge yourself and go on a journey in a literal and emotion sense
 I want to challenge myself further
 I need to regain and improve my fitness
 You meet incredible interesting people and laugh
                                                        The concept of a non elite team is genius
                      and also
Mentally prepare as well as physicially train
Get your nutrition right by planning and testing before a race
More about Rate of Perceived Exersion and fatigue from Ultra Stu
Run hard and fast (I wish)

                      and on a personal level

I put myself through a lot to attend the weekend, I am lacking confidence in my abilities after a long period of not being at all well and a knee and back injury proved my worse fears on the asssesment run, and the old nagging self doubt hit me like a ton of bricks on the first hill all the reasons for leaving my old running club came rushing back by the truck load.

But I persevered with the weekend buoyed up by the fantastic crowd I was with and not wanting to leave the hub of enthusiasm and talent.

What is wanted from the TORQ Trail Team I'm not sure whether it is people that will generate publicity with their amazing back stories, heaven help the panel choosing from that lot or people who they can take on a new journey and improve their fitness to achieve new goals I'm not sure. What is clear they want ambassadors for the sport - what a difficult choice to make.
View of the valley from back of the YHA

 I am a slow runner I probably redefine slow especially as I have miss so much training recently but what I do know I can't give it up there's too many adventures to go on and as my granddaughter is 12 I hope I am some sort of role model that age, health status and gender is not a barrier to achieving.

   It's not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.

  Good luck to all involved - brilliant.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Ultra Trail 26 - Grizedale

A tough marathon in more ways than one.           

Sunday 18th November 2912 it's a beautiful sunny morning and we are lucky this late on in the year to have perfect conditions for the inaugural Ultra Trail 26 based in and around Grizedale Forest.

Grizedale Sculptures

It has taken a massive effort to get here, I have been on a constant emotional roller coaster for many weeks and in essence I have been really quiet depressed and struggling with every day life. I am so use to masking this complex illness in order to function that it is hard for others to have an insight or an real understanding of the battle I have been going through. It's not an issue I harp on about or want to draw attention to on a daily basis, ironic I know, I use my (this)blog in order to raise some awareness of the crushing impact this illness can have and also how it can be also improved and contained through exercise, for me through running and to create an understanding that despite it people can achieve.

I arrive at Grizedale ready to take on the 27.2 miles of forest, hills and lakeside with in my mind it's 2 loops if I'm not hacking it I can drop after loop 1, especially as I can't remember the last time I had a complete nights sleep - all part of this crappy condition

I'm starting on empty! but this will be my 10th marathon at marathon distance my 4th this year and I am looking forward to the race after recceing some of the course and knowing other aspects from other races in the area I know it's going to be good; the course did not disappoint.

Competitors gather for a race briefing at 10.15 in the Grizedale Forest courtyard and we are set off promptly at I am a little concerned as I realise it's a small field of runners and will I, as a plodder, get left behind? but I was given some sound advice "embrace your inner burner, let go of the plodder" or in reality there are sweapers out on the course.

Grizedale Forest
The race takes us through Grizedale forest on well established forest tracks, non of it flat but gradually and constantly undulating with some good steady climbs, the ones that slowly pull on your legs but your daren't stop. Some of the views across to the main mountains above Coniston are breath taking as you come out of the wooded forest to be greeted by the majestic hills it is quiet a contrast and just amazing.
It doesn't take long for me to drift towards the back of the pack but I do seem to hang on to the sight of the back of the pack, and I'm enjoying the journey despite massive waves of tiredness that I don't usually experience this early in a race but I accept I'm knackered. My wonderful partner is out and about walking in the area and pops up every now and then to cheer me on and I know is checking I'm ok, I am loving the sun, the views and the course. - Loop 1 12 miles is the warm up, the fun was about to begin.

After a pit stop to collect water, jelly babies and flapjacks at the checkpoint I choose to press
on quiet quickly if I stop I won't start out again. I'm pointed in the right direction and soon find myself on a rocky, stone strewn path to start the 1st short climb for loop 2, this is more like it love this sort of terrain and soon hook up with fellow runner Emmett and we fall into jogging, chatting as we explore this exciting loop and exchange race stories and experiences.

There is great variety from forests, lakes, Esthwaite Water, Windermere and the villages of Near Sawrey, Far Sawrey and tarns.We narrowly miss a bull in a field as a local dog walker tells us we have missed turning, too busy gabbing and lost our position on map. The variety is also under foot with some challenging climbs and descents in particular down the coffin trail to the edge of Windermere Belle Grange scarily slippy - a snail would have got down this quicker than me.

Hawkshead Fisheries
A sudden downpour as we move along the bank of Windermere  before another rocky climb that would take us over to Far Sawrey, darkness is falling and as we enter High Dale Park we give in an get the head torches out although improved vision doesn't stop me falling head first in the stream we were
crossing, a chilly dip and a fit of the giggles to compliment the bruised hip.

It is
noticable that we haven't seen other competitors for a couple of hours and we are now admiting to each other tiredness has set in, my companion hasn't done a lot of training on hills and we fall in to informal team work, I pull us up the hills Emmett keeps us going on the downs and flats.

The last 3 miles took an age I had really slowed down, I knew the route but the forest track in the dark seemed to never end and I was really hanging on I needed to eat but couldn't face anything. In the dark other runners caught us up and we chivvied each other along, the girls knew the course well and I realise I wasn't totally focused on where I was, the 4 of us complete the half mile or so together, a short rocky descent and across the road to a fairy lit finish line and a warm welcome. I was so pleased to have finished but felt like I had been run over by a tractor.

It had been tough getting to the start line for this one and it was a tough course, but so worth the effort, the challenge and pushing that bit further. Even for me this has taken a long time to complete, its not an indication of a poor performance more an indication of a challenging exciting course. 27.2 miles done.
Revived by really delicious soup I give an very brief interview about the event take a look then sign up for one of the other marathons next year, challenge yourself and you may find you love it too. Race video featuring 30 seconds of me!!!

The event organiser's Epic Events, the marshalls and volunteers were excellent. THANK YOU
It's not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.

Friday, 16 November 2012

UTLD 50 1st Recce for 2013: Ambleside to Consiton

A night recce by a solo plodder ! Ambleside to Coniston

It has been an age since I have written my blog and a lot has happened in that time. I will come back to some of that in another posting.

I can't believe that we are here again meeting up to recce the UTLD50/100 routes or that I have indeed signed up again!! it really gets under your skin this race (in a good way) and I swore blind I'm not doing this event again!! move on Maxine.

Sooooo... here I am in Ambleside meeting up with some old friends and new ones; ready to listen to the talks on training for ultra events, choosing a headtorch and navigation. Even though this will be the 4th time I have entered the UTLD 50 I still pick up useful information at the recces and you can never cover the course enough.

Marc Laithwaite gave an insightful talk about our (Ultra Runner's) approach to training and how some of us are plodders - yep the slower ones of us that can get round and maintain an even pace no matter what race and the burners - speedy people.  Marc got the plodders to stand on one side of the room and the burners on the other and asked people to place themselves with in this running spectrum.


I am quiet clearly and was a proud plodder and firmly placed myself by the left hand wall to watch people spread across the room. Judging by the case studies presented by Marc of Sarah the plodder and Tom the burner I technically should have been stood outside the building, behind Sarah but then I would have missed the rest of the talk.

I learn the prognosis for a plodder is not good according to our knowledgable speaker especially for an old one who came into running whilst having a mid life crisis like me. My tendons are loosing their elasticity, I have rubbish running technique, I know you think its just a case of placing one foot in front of the other fast -think again; I lack coordination and my body doesn't understand speed. Apparently it is difficult to improve a plodder, I'm now gutted I'll never make Team GB.

My dreams/delusions of being an elite runner are dying whilst I listen to Marc who challenges us to focus on speed work, drills and good technique, for distance junkies who love a good mountain to climb this is indeed asking us to go cold turkey, you can sense the panic in the room and he tries to reassure us you won't loose your fitness if you change your approach to training, more twitching in the seats, I sense people wanting to run to Coniston NOW just to check not fitness has been lost listening to good advice.

This great talk makes me realise I have a lot to do to recaputure my deluded dreams, and plays to my own insecurities, (emphasis here) mine not imposed by others or Marc for that matter. I am now uncertain about the night recce I'm so slow they'll be waiting for me all night and to top it all off I learn I also have the naff headtorch as well. I recieve some comfort from the navigation overview - yep understand my map, contours, keep compass work simple etc.

Reminder slide from my talk this year
Those of you who have read my blog or had to eat chocolate that accompanies my talk that I gave at a UTLD recce this year will know I run (plod) more for health reasons than anything else; and have developed a great love for the lakes and a massive sense of achievement completing in marathons and Ultra's.

Catch up on this aspect here.

So recognising I really haven't felt great for quiet a few weeks I decide to set out early on the night recce. I ran most of the race this year on my own including the night sections and know the course well; so all I have to deal with for this recce is rain, mist and my decreasing confidence.
I inform the event organisers of my plans and will check in with the team and then call my partner telling them my route and contingency routes as I am out there on my own; off I trot it's pouring down.

There is something quiet special about running on your own out on the hills I have done this route so many times yet still the Langdale valley can take my breath away with its beauty, and I love the sense of climbing and covering the rough ground, it's still pouring down.

I soon, don't hold me to times, reach Chapel Stile and continue to where the checkpoint will be, the rain has eased for a moment and I can take my jacket off. The dusk is starting to drop and the mountains around the valley still look fantastic in their black silhouette, as I finish the climb to Side Pike cattle grid at the road to cross for Blea tarn and Blea Moss it is totally dark I stop for a second and get out naff head torches and re-group it is cold and wet I decide to wear all waterproofs and have a chewy bar.

There appears to be no-one in the valley and I can't face a stumble over Blea Moss despite knowing it well I decide to take the road; feeling its safer at this stage I don't feel that brilliant and can't challenge my nerve as well. It really is pouring down and I plod on noting my breath is creating its own mist, it must be colder than I think. I enjoy the jog to the edge of the moor and remember I need to turn back slightly to start the next climb at Fell Foot Bridge that will take me over Knotts to High Tilberthwaite farm.

I start off and I really enjoy this section it's rocky and water is running down the path, a head I see a couple of headtorches and wonder of others have set off early as well? I splash my way up to the headtorch wearers to meet a group of walkers and say hello to be greated by 'Mr Walker' with "hello; you came up there so quick I thought you were on a bike"  I reply "no just training for a race next year have a good evening" whilst thrilled at this compliment I do realise if they thought I was quick the proper runners are just behind me imitating motor bikes.

As I get near to the top of this moderate climb the mist swirls in and out it's quiet fast moving but in small patches. At the top my phone jumps into signal and rings, a number I don't recognise - note to self don't bring a smart phone on a soggy recce fingers slide on the screen but the phone doesn't respond. The problem with the type of depression (see black mountains posting) I have is it comes with a complete panic attack package which I have learnt (CBT) to control but when I'm not feeling good I am conscious of, mine are mostly triggered by telephones? I know bonkers. Whilst pondering on who could of rung and I rationalised it's probably work (self employed) the mist has dropped to all around me and eaten the footpath! where are Mr & Mrs Walker now - not climbing fast enough. Ahhh ha navigation I take a quick compass bearing whilst thinking 'do I have to test myself all the time'?, 'what the hell am I doing here' etc as the compass points the way the mist moves on to scare someone else.

I plod on to be caught up by Sarah & Tom Burner and friends who by the way are also wearing head torches with losts of lumins, luxes, watts and candle power and jog passed me with the ease of a park run whilst saying hello - another note to self for Christmas list " Dear Santa please can I have a bag of confidence for descending the slippy stoney stuff"  how do they do that?

I reach the haven of Tilberthwaite checkpoint and Clare with chocci biscuits, fortified by chocolate I decide I'm not going to do last climb, laziness and close encounters with a phone and the mist I decide its not worth going over Tilberthwaite my own, even though I have taken a competitors over each time I have done the race, they couldn't navigate, and take my continency route of road and forest. I let Clare know where I am going and rang my partner to meet me at Coniston.

Spooky forest at night oohh... actually it was ok as I know the path so well, the mist is even drifting in at this low level and swirls around the trees. At last the miners road in to Coniston and I check in with Terry safe and sound. The phone call was from Jon (of Jon & Otto fame) who were manning checkpoint 1 who I missed as I set out early, checking I was Ok. I text and call Jon to thank him for looking out for me.

Recces are all about learning not only the route but our responses to it and how we test ourselves, especially experiencing the hills at night.
A Massive thank you to Marc, Terry, Clare & Jon for not making a fuss when I ventured out on my own and trusting me to have the skills to do so and for still keeping an eye out for my safety.

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves"    Edmund Hillary

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Spring is round the corner.

It has been a while since my last posting where I was reflecting on my autumn training and like everyone looking forward the start of a New Year 2012 - the Olympic year.

Like most people involved in running and walking you start to plan your events, races and training and set yourself goals, for me it has to be the UTLD 50, unfinished business from my DNF last year and the dream to get somewhere near the fitness I had 3 years ago when I completed it. So for me 2012 races and events are all leading to that illusive 50 miles over the lakeland hills.

My recovery from surgery has taken so much longer than anticipated and it certainly has changed my running physically - 9th March this year has marked two years from going under the knife for major surgery and I can honestly say I am only now starting to run something like I did before I was physically ill, which means I can  now maintain my mental health, one of the main motivating factors for getting out there.

I have been re-reading the book the Flying Scotsman about Graham Obree the  who also has clinical depression, he described his depresssion as, amongst other things " a chronic lack of self worth which is a huge driving force to make up for it by overachievement, to achieve what others don't"  I can understand that and my slow running and how rubbish I felt about that was a motivating factor in entering an ultra marathon.

I feel my runnning is getting stronger (about time !!) I am still not achieving the times I would like but I don't feel like the total hell when on the move, that must be an improvement even if  I still have significant back pain in my lower back and now in my neck.

I attend BMF running club 3 times a week and this for the first time is enabling me to achieve some consistancy in my training and it is paying off, I am starting to feel a bit fitter; motivation in it's self. Training in winter is always tough for everyone one:- dark and cold doesn't always inspire and motivate, but running with BMF has got me out of the door, especially as a group have signed up to do Manchester Marathon.

However for me some of my old demons  have started to come back to haunt me, being enthusiatic about running, events and the buzz of the finish line I encourage friends to get signed up,  "you can do a marathon, If  I can you can....."  January sees about 10 or so of us part with our hard earned cash, download training plans and with the drive and enthusiasm of Paula Radcliffe start to train and plan "the long runs". Small groups start to form and friends keep each other company to get all those miles into their legs, a facebook page is set  up to to motivate and share training tips and by February we are in the grip of marathon fever. Before you know it running pals are way ahead of me, running at fab paces and with the strength of gazelles, I'm back to lone training runs and hear of others long run plans; I realise yet again I'm too slow to run with others - why the hell my legs won't move any quicker I don't know.??

I have only done one road running marathon London in 2008 and swore I would never do another one ........... I do prefer off road, but  here I am looking forward to doing a marathon in my home town followed by a walking marathon in London 2 weeks later.

Now we are galloping towards the end of March and the marathon training gets tough, it is interesting to see the drop out rate; as life, illness, work and the realisation of what a training committment a marathon is sees quiet a few of people I know who signed up are now not going to run at the end of April, for me it is a milestone in my base fitness and a stepping stone to getting somewhere near UTLD 50 match fit.

In terms of my health winter is always tough, but I am now running a new business from home, which does have the early signs of being successful and it certainly gives me the breathing space to look after my health both physical and mental.

Living long term with a mental health condition is for me an ultra marathon , there is no describing the strategies you have to have in place in order that you can function and how it can consume your life, there isn't a time when I don't have to think about it, plan to maintain my health and work bloody hard to "fight it" - running is a massive part of that.  The benefit is I enjoy the events and races, the people I have met, and the finish line and most of all the well being it can bring.

Good luck everyone with the tough training ahead, spring is round the corner, lighter nights and a bit of warmth will make that start line seem a bit nearer. Stay Healthy and Fit.

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves"

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Am I Getting My Mojo Back ? Autumn Training 2011

Am I getting my mojo back ? I ask myself as I write this latest posting to my training blog- I know I have confessed to eating too many sweets, chocolate and cake on my last posting but I am not alluding here to nipping down to the shops for a bag of sweeties.

Surprisingly writing this blog and recording my training journey has helped to provide some motivation, particularly with the supportive messages I have recieved, reviewing my own progress in public black and white and though reading other blogs.

After looking at my training record for October, I realised I had slumped in to just coping mode and letting my training tick over. I need to up it and gain some confidence in my running again and start to enjoy it again - does my pace really matter? well in all honesty yes but in reality I have to accept the last 18 months have been hard and STOP comparing myself to others and people I know. I still don't get why my legs won't move any faster?? answers on a postcard (lol that shows my age) or to move into the 21st century comments on a blog.

My autumn training has been as inconsistent as ever plagued with the relentless tiredness and struggling to maintain my workload. I still haven't quiet found the drive I need to maintain a decent training programme. However there is some light at the end of the tunnel. BMF has started a running club alongside the usual classes and this is making a difference, the sessions are challenging, include speed work, hills and endurance and I have really enjoyed them mainly due to my great BMF pals and the ethos of always encouraging each other, also we are lucky at Heaton Park; Tony (BMF instructor & BMF Park Manager) is really an excellent coach providing interesting sessions that push you - whilst Tony is yelling instructions at the group he also quietly tells us (individually) as we pass him how well we are doing. Who would have thought these running club speed sessions could be fun!!!- well in relays, in pouring rain they are -aren't they?. I have tried to build up my running sessions and this has been done through the BMF running club and park run, the local free 5k on a Saturday morning.

To work on my endurance Saturday is a hard training session I jog to the park, do the park run 5k then BMF running club and jog/walk/crawl home and fall asleep in the afternoon- well recovery is important.

A small turning point has been doing the dirty double lakeland trail races Hellvelyn trail race on 5th November and Ullswater on 6th. Hellvelyn was fantastic the first race I have really enjoyed, sunny, crisp November morning, lakeland autumn colours, an excellent route. I LOVED IT perhaps wearing the lucky fancy dress cat's ears took the pressure off!! it was ok to be at the back "fun runner". The hills, the views awesome this is really why I try to train.

I have maintained my mad Saturday morning training sessions completing about 9 miles each Saturday as training so that I could run the Stockport 10 - a road race with slight hills. I felt strong on this run and certainly I am managing to run the hills much better, I usually give in and power walk, I was a bit disappointed with my time 7 mins slower that the last time I ran it - 3 years ago, but I do feel my body is getting use to the impact again after the surgery and a year out, I certainly see it as base to build on.

I have entered Manchester marathon 29th April 2012 with BMF mates more because this lot keep me going and we are getting together to train off and on road and I have every intention of enjoying this one and the party after.

Taking a Christmas break from work has given me a chance to jog on the moors near my son's house and I certainly feel a bit more motivated and dare I say I'm looking forward to training in the New Year - well I've been given a lovely training log that needs filling in for 2012.

Autumn training summary (Nov & Dec )
3 races = 2 trail 1 road
3 park runs
1 UTLD recce
11 BMF sessions
134 miles & 33.5 hours of training.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Black Mountains - Not the read you would expect

 The Black Mountains - not the read you would expect !

I have been amazed at the response to my blog, on the blog site, the personal messages, text and comments I have received THANK YOU

During a social evening with BMF (British Military Fitness) pals I was complimented on my blog by a friend she kindly said that she "wanted to keep on turning the pages" I'm stunned I really don't expect my writing to merit such appreciation, thanks Amanda. I replied with a thanks and stating that I was trying to keep it light-hearted, I don't want to bore people and it's not as dark as it could be.-laugh in the face of adversity and all of that.  I was surprised by her additional response "you should write about it" that short exchange stayed with me and I am aware that I minimise what being me is like and try to maintain a sense of humour about the whole long term health condition thing that makes such an impact on my life. I have to say when I'm really depressed my sense of humour deserts me or can become quiet acute think of the well known comediennes or entertainers with depression; John Cleese, Spike Milligan, Stephen Fry, Ruby Wax etc. To be honest I'm not that funny but depression can attune to the absurd - black humour.

Back to the Black Mountains, the dark side - the side of the mountain where the sun does not shine. It's really hard to describe clinical depression, it's so much more than feeling low, lost, anxious, not motivated etc, it also has a profound physical impact and for each person it impacts in different way

For me it is now part of my life that has taken many years to accept that it is so prevalent in my life and that I have had to develop strategies to enable me to function alongside the rest of the world. It is a very rare day when I do not have to think about gauging how I feel - which to some extent is instinctive now, ( I hessen to add I don't sit on the edge of the bed and think how do I feel today?  to indulgent for me.) I deal with it and work through the day or half day at a time.

Whats it like to be depressed?, there are no real words that can describe the depth and the difficulties it can present - for me it is a syndrome of complete fatigue, low self-esteem and confidence, negativity, acute anxiety, confusion, darkness, limited concentration and finding it at times to make sense of life along with eating crap (which makes you feel more crap) - so don't!! aching joints, feeling sick, headaches and panic attacks - God what a barrel of fun. So pile all these issues together and they could create quiet a mountain which has to be climbed everyday without training for it, when your are tired and you can't navigate; talk of relentless progression! - it's one large black mountain to overcome.

 When I describe not being able to get out of the door it's not just lacking motivation its more than that, walking in treacle whilst tired to the point of your legs are lead, and bashing yourself over  the head with the low self-esteem mallet and having an internal dialogue - so I want to run? not really, its it cold,? am I tired?, I hate the roads, where shall I run? and who bricked up the front front door making it impossible to get through?

Organising my time to train is hard (I know common to proper ultra runners so I'm not mad after all)
managing work takes such a huge effort and commonly I try to excel to compensate, so that my work, integrity, and professionalism cannot be questioned, the stigma does mean your decision making processes are questioned and at times concentration is so difficult - a working day is totally knackering, I tend to be a perfectionist and never satisfied with what I do or achieve.

I have been pushed to breaking point in 2 jobs; so much for the charity sector. I now work for myself so at least I don't have office politics to contend with. I work from home and its the best place for me to be. I have to accept I don't really have a career and won't earn that much. I know depression has decimated my career and some of the opportunities I had.

However combining work and training is a struggle and I feel I should be working not running or training. I want to go out for a jog in the day as I tend to end up working at night but feel guilty and need time to fit in all the different elements you need to develop a small business not so much a black mountain but a treadmill in hell.

So this is a blog I didn't think I would write, as there are no real ways of describing what its like to be clinically depressed. But I do get through, my wonderful family and running are a large part of that. Running has transformed my health, I hate being a slow crap runner and seeing everyone I
have ever run with over take me either from the start or eventually they do - that is hard to take at times. I really want to be good at something. I love my training at BMF there is a banter in the group and the trainers know how to push you, as I tend to run alone I enjoy being part of a team when racing round the park with a log.!!!

But I do love the trails, the views, the descent's, the weather, the mountains - is it really me up here?
I pinch myself. I often been in the hills and mountains on my own (yes I leave a route behind) I can map read ( including getting lost) and what confidence this gives me is amazing. So not all mountains are black some are big and green made of granite and have to be conquered.

I have a really amazing family wonderful family who support my running I have a partner who supports this mad woman so I can take to the hills and believes in me to cope with what is thrown at me, now that is love.

 It's not the mountain we conquer is ourselves" normal blogging service will be resumed shortly. I'm behind with my November update.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

I'll start training next week !!! the good intention guide.

OK so I have signed up for the lakeland 50 on 04/10/11 after much self doubt and wondering if it would be worth it. A really good friend who has similar health problems to me has also signed up, there lies a problem for my head; they are a much better runner than me, quiet good at training; managed to stick with the running club, is training on the fells, doing cross country and I admire how they cope. 
So I think (I know its not logical) they will absolutely finish hours ahead of me. Am I competing with a friend NO !!! but for me I introduce friends to events and then find I'm lagging behind again, this I hasten to add is a mind set of someone with depression, we can be very good at putting ourselves down, then again I have seen many women who start out on a running journey also put themselves down and lack confidence, WHY do we do this Girls (and boys)?

I was determined that signing on the dotted line for the 50 would give me the impetus to train and to try to get my training on a more regular basis. I tend to be an inconsistent trainer, in my head I am training like Paula Radcliffe in reality at the moment I manage to get a BMF (British Military Fitness) training session in and a 5k per week. Mileage what mileage? I tell myself I need some strength training -will go to the gym, long runs on Sunday, and loose some weight guess what all that will start on Monday as well.

Each week I think I will catch up with work; (I am now self employed and can manage my health better working from home) and then I will feel a bit better, then I will really no really get down to some serious training starting on Monday, I sound like a member of diet club ! Monday arrives what happens someone has stolen my motivation - was completing the 50 in 2009 in my imagination I ask myself?

So training which was supposed to have started in ernest in October looks a little thin (that is paper thin) on the ground. I am really struggling to step foot out of the door. I am forcing myself to BMF because at least I meet a friendly face and the instructors get you through the session and we have a laugh as well. At the moment there is a definite block in my mind for getting the running shoes on, when I do I beat myself up on how crap I am running - god this is 

When I chat to people I am so enthusiastic about long distance events they think I am mad in that "wow your mad - I couldn't so that" sort of way.  I must at times in my mission to encourage all to "have a go, go on you know you want to" seem like I've been there done that; I'm not a big headed I still just can't believe I can jog on hill and the buzz you get. So not the start I wanted for the big 50 training plan - but I will start on MONDAY.

October Training Summary
Week 1: 1st - 9th      Training miles 5
                                BMF sessions  1
                                Race miles 18 Coniston trail race (2nd) Reservoir Jogs in 
                                Glossop (9th) both 9 miles
Week 2:10th -16th    Training miles 15
                                BMF sessions 0 (away in Wales)
Week 3:17th - 23rd   Training miles 12.5
                                BMF sessions  1
Week 4:24th - 30th   Training miles 11
                                BMF sessions 1
Sleepless Nights: lost count .