Sunday, 30 October 2011

Where there's a slow runner there hope for us all !!!

The start of this blogg is to give you some background to me the "runner" (LOL) and the person. I have never written a diary and have a weired pathological fear of writing about myself so this is the out of the comfort zone, but one that I hope in some tiny way encourages others to get out there, walk, jog, run, you just don't know what you can achieve. If I can you can.

My beautiful granddaughter
Ok so I became a grandma (10 years ago) then decided I'm not going to be old, grey and start knitting!! I know totally an ageist stereotype, it took a further 3 years to take up some form of exercise - running, I'll correct that jogging, much to the surprise of my family and friends not to mention myself, however I did recieve words of encouragement "you don't get of your backside to go to the bar! whats all this running about" I perseverved and ran a Manchester 10k what a buzz, got a medal and had to do another event to check it wasn't a mistake, there lies the start of my fitness and health journey.

Now for clarification purposes when I say "ran" lets be honest in reality its a jog with a powerwalk & crawl approach but it works for me and not much has changed except me.

I won't bore you with races, medals, times and paces surffice to say I have 3 running speeds which I know other 'atheletes' have easy runs, tempo sessions and speed training well I have very slow, slow, and good jog sort of paces. I did join a running club and stuck with it for about 4 years but ended up leaving once I felt like the "village idiot" (my term for me) for turning out at races and always being the last runner for the club I got demoralised and left. I must stress here it was not club members who made me feel like that it was how I felt that caused this move. 

To cut a long story short I did get the opportunity through the club to run the London Marathon in 2007 it took me 5hr 35mins with what I thought was a hamstring injury - surgery soon after revealed it was far from that. But aching legs, sore hamstrings I LOVED it, from mile 20 onwards was just the best I couldn't believe I was covering more than 20 miles the last 6 miles were awesome - I felt like hell at finish but I soon came back for more - I found I can keep going and then later found trail running.

My MOTIVATION  I am not a natural runner as you can tell from my assessment of myself, lets face it when you feel as though the only thing that doesn't hurt is your eyelashes -then what the hell am I doing plodding on? It's what running has done for my health and confidence that has kept me going. I have suffered from clinical depression for as long as I can remember and had to take anti-depressants in various doses for years,I don't tell my family or my friends I just try to cope with the most debilitating illness that causes panic attacks, erodes confidence, well being, my career and health, at times it saps all my energy just to get through a day.I still refer to myself as "fighting my health".

Through running I dropped some weight and reduced the medication I have to take and found my self-esteem. Like many women I didn't take time for me but I found my family didn't fall apart because I took some time to train in fact I think they are a bit proud. I have met some fanastic people and been to beautiful places. Through trail running my love of the odd ramble/hike has grown into an obsession with mountains and hills, I'm a slow climber (no surprise there then) but the buzz of descending down a trail path makes you feel amazing I still can't believe that it's me as hikers step to one side and smile at you in that 'your mad to do that way' as I pass yelling thanks!!

  THE LAKELAND JOURNEY ( bet you thought I would never get here)

I entered the Lakeland 50 in 2009 I can't remember why I think I was so fed up of being at the back of every race AND that I wanted to prove I could achieve something. I can map read but the thought of crossing the fells on my own at night was to say the least scary. I trained with lots of power walking and got to the start line, proud family and friends on the sideline - the challenge was controlling the panic and not backing out before I'd taken one step. I hated it until got I through Pooley Bridge, then out on the hills panic gone I plodded on met people, laughed, admired the views and jogged, walked 50 miles - thanks to Danny who I buddied up with (he can't read a map that well) 19hrs 25mins later I crossed the finish line and buzzed for 6 months after- totally AWESOME.
This positive impact on my health is what kept me going until March 2010 where I found I had to have an emergency total hystercomy - I tried to get back on my feet but ended up taking months off not being able to 'run' has had a massive impact. I have put some of the weight back on and well over 18 months later I still have not got a decent level of fitness, I am constantly exhausted, especially as the surgery has left serious adhesions (scar tissue) that is painful and the only way the pain get under control is to go into hospital and be filled with morphine, I got quite depressed with the lack of exercise, my answer to all of this is to get on the start line of the Lakeland 50 for 2011(my place from 2010 was deferred).

Its always worth the up for the views

Naturally after a period of rubbish health the first thing you would think of is a 50 mile race over a hill or two - isn't it?
I did try to attempt to maintain a consistent training pattern building up to the event and did quiet well on the June recce weekend, coupled with an attempt at the National 3 peaks the week before where I completed Ben Nevis, wasnt well on Sca Fell and completed Snowdon.

My last long run was the lakeland trails coniston trail marathon which I crawled round as the tiredness had hit me again like a sledge hammer, it took forever.

At the end of July I was back on that start line, lovely hot sun perfect, the nerves were pumping with an atmosphere of excited nervous anticipation for us all as we clap and admired the 100'ers coming through Dalemain. The new route round the estate was good and we were soon through Pooley Bridge and on the hills at checkpoint 1(for 50ers) plenty of bananas, cake and drinks and ready to aim to Mardale Head with just Fusedale and High Kop to get over. As I climbed my foot felt sore and I felt so tired I was leaning on my sticks, having to stop and really struggling I had literally had slowed to a crawl. By Mardale Head I felt so sick and dizzy I had to drop out with the voice of my dad echoing in my ears "don't take risks on the mountains its the lives of mountain rescue that you are risking if they have to come for you." Ok a bit extreme considering it was pretty good weather it was me not feeling pretty and totally gutted. I has beaten myself up and forced myself round events, been in and out of hospital to get ready for this only to feel so sick as I had to take pain killers. I don't regret stopping as I felt like hell, But...  
Pooley Bridge 2009

.... there is unfinished business and I find myself signing up for          50 more lakeland miles in July 2012.

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

This blog documents my journey to UTLD 50: 2012 (next entry won't be so lengthy!!)


  1. I'm writing a blog too. I am finding it quite interesting to seek out other blogs about training for Ultras specifically this event. I well know what you mean when you say you were fed up feeling like the village idiot as sometimes that's how I feel always being last at club events, so have decided that it's time I got a bit serious about this running lark. Will be dipping in to read all about your progress.

  2. Interesting read Maxine, you've been through so much yet continue to push and challenge yourself. Good luck with your training!

  3. Good luck with your training for LD 50. Like Joss said at the briefing 'You're the luckiest folk alive'

  4. Maxine, make no mistake, as a finisher of the L50 you are among the elite and light years away from 'village idiot'. It's not about speed, it's about having the mental guts to keep going. Enjoy your preparations over the next nine months.

  5. Maxine, you are amazing!!! You are an inspiration to me and I suspect many others. Not just from an exercise point of view but from such a positive outlook point of view.
    I am just one individual that you have helped on your amazing journey and I appreciate it. Keep up the good work,
    Sue Tickle xx

  6. A very open and honest account of your journey through both physical and psycholgical difficulties and coming out the other side. I look forward to reading more of your up coming journey in preparation for finishing your unfinished buisness. Keep going and keep being you Maxine xx