If you know me in real life (or maybe even virtually) you will know that I’m a pretty anxious person.  I’ve suffered from anxiety for quite a long time, and for a long time I honestly had no idea what it was.  I used to lay awake at night as a child convinced I was going to die in the next few minutes.  I’d wake my mum up just so I didn’t have to be alone.  And at the time, I’d feel rather sick to my stomach, so I was convinced that it was my stomach that was causing the issues, not my mind.  It was never talked about, only those moments in the dark were the evidence anything was wrong.

I didn’t know it was anxiety until I was 18 when I took a psychology class.

It took until I was in my 30s to discuss it with a medical professional while I was trying to sort out my headache issues.  And while I was more or less dismissed by this person in relation to the headaches, I was listened to about the anxiety.  It took until then to bring it up because throughout my late teens and 20s, I was able to control it relatively well.  The “episodes” flared up under times of stress, like exams.  I knew to expect it then, so I was ready for the shaking, the crying, the tremors, the feeling of imminent demise.

Once I completed my first Master’s degree and started working in education, the anxiety flared up.  I could barely drive to work without having an episode.  I was terribly grateful that I was given medication to help deal with the symptoms and I could at least get out the door without hoping that I’d get in an accident so I didn’t have to go to work (it’s a very long story, but things weren’t good for me and it was heartbreaking all around, but I won’t bore you all with that right now).

And now, ten years later? While I still have medication to help me out, I have to ration it.  So I run.  I just lace up my shoes and run.  And while these days, I’m usually running towards a goal (a race or a personal goal), it’s still the enjoyment of the wind in my hair and the sun (hopefully) on my face that can clear my mind.

While I was trying to deal with all of the grief and issues from losing my parents, I ran.

While I was trying to deal with the multiple times I didn’t think I’d get to finish my PhD, I ran.

While I was trying to get the blasted thing finished and hit any number of roadblocks, I ran.

It doesn’t always solve all my problems, and certainly there are some runs where it just doesn’t help.  But it is a bit better than it used to be.  And that’s all I can ask for.

 

 

 

This post was written for #mentalhealthawarenessweek.  All thoughts are my own.

 

April was a pretty good month.  My hip cleared up and I had a total of 102.54 km (64 miles) for the month.

Early in the month, we went to London to see David Tennant in Don Juan in Soho.  He was truly outstanding as always and I am so glad that we got the opportunity to see him in the theatre again.

I was glad that my hip felt improved enough so that I could get my run in in London.

I drank a lot of nitro cold brew, ate too much gelato, and had a great time as always.

The rest of the month consisted of running, Pilates, and the never ending job searching.  I’m all set to graduate next month, and hopefully I’ll be able to celebrate also having found a job!

Hopefully May’s catch up will be more interesting as I’m off to Mallorca this weekend for some R&R (running and rest) so. . .

I haven’t been able to run since Monday and I’m going crazy.  I’ve managed to pull something in my hip and while it is not as painful as it was earlier this week, it’s still slightly uncomfortable.  I’ve been to the physio and I’ve been doing the exercises and stretches prescribed, and I’ve been icing/heating/TENS machining it since.

It’s terribly frustrating and I find that I’m looking at runners as they pass my flat or while I’m at the gym with envy.  I’ve been able to do alternative exercises such as the elliptical and the spin bike, which is fine and all, but it’s not the same.  I find that I’m more anxious and on edge since then, and it’s a combination of good and frustrating how much I’ve come to rely on running to clear my mind.

Hopefully, I will be back up and running sooner than later, because I’m not sure how long I can go without feeling like I’m back in control of my own body and mind.  Luckily, I’m off to London for a few days on Sunday, so that will surely brighten my mood and hopefully by Monday, I’ll be able to pop out for a short run.

Wow, I’ve really sucked at blogging.  Oops.  I do have to say in my defence that I spent the first two months of the year completing my thesis corrections, so. . .  now I have more time on my hands while I look for employment.

The training:

This round of training went well.  I ran the 10k improvers plan from the Edinburgh marathon/half/10k page as it had many of the features I was looking for; 12 weeks in length, speedwork, and were time based rather than mileage.  Normally, I prefer plans that are mileage based (I find them best for half marathon training) but I wanted to try something new and challenge myself.  This plan called for 4 runs per week, which is one more than I usually run.  I felt confident I would be able to handle the additional day and in the 12 weeks I only missed one training run (I was ill and needed the extra rest).  Otherwise, I had a handful of days off throughout the 12 weeks as I have been incorporating strength training back into my routine as well.

My schedule for the past 12 weeks looked something like this:

Monday: easy run + strength
Tuesday: Pilates
Wednesday: speedwork and strength
Thursday: easy run or speedwork
Friday: strength or rest
Saturday: long run
Sunday: strength or rest (depending on Friday)

The race:

All week I’ve been anxious about race day.  Something about tapering for a race makes me a bit anxious, but I knew I needed the rest.  I’ve had a few niggles as of late (my hip this time) but it wasn’t anything that was agonising.  I also made the mistake of trying out some new trainers recently and had a blister/hot spot on my left foot for about 2 weeks, which has been terribly annoying.  I hope that it heals quickly!

I was also concerned about the weather forecast. It’s been pretty miserable this past week; I hadn’t seen the sun in forever and every day it seemed to be raining more and more. Most of this week the forecast had called for heavy rain and high winds for today.  I was pleasantly surprised when I saw sun forecast for today (and didn’t believe it).  I re-waterproofed my trainers and had my kit ready last night, prepared for the worst.

I slept pretty poorly and got up around 7, faffed about for a bit, got dressed and then got the train to Central.  It was drizzling, but not raining, which was a good sign.  At Central, I grabbed the breakfast of champions.

 

I took a quick selfie before walking to Glasgow Green.

 

It was a quiet walk over to the Green.

Yay Spring!

Once I got to Nelson’s Column, there was a bit of waiting around in the queue for the porta-loos.  There were only 5, for a lot of people (800+).  The event had been sold out, so. . .

Finally we were off!

Selfie at the start

Km 1: 7:12 & Km 2: 6:48 It was fairly crowded the first 2 km.  I felt crammed in and was worried that I was going to get tripped.  There were a lot of puddles and there was a bit of dodging going on by me and others.  I didn’t really get into a rhythm.

Km 3: 6:41 It has cleared out a bit and I have room to move and run.  I finally settled into a good rhythm and felt good, if not a bit warm. We’ve looped around most of the green at this point and are about to swing back on the loop.

Km 4: 7:13 & Km 5 7:19: Ugh what a bloody awful cramp. Ow.  I was disappointed I had to slow down and walk for about 30 seconds off and on here.  Just ow.  Very glad for the water station at 5km.

Km 6: 7:00 I know that this is do or die time.  If I want to PR I need to pick up the pace.

Km 7: 6:47 & Km 8: 6:28 I obviously picked up the pace.  I felt so much better after the water and a bloc shot. I’ve done plenty of 10K+ without additional fuel but I knew that I was running a bit earlier than normal and it definitely helped.

Km 9: 7:01 & Km 10: 6:49 (and the last .5???? 6:32 as clearly my GPS was different than the km markers).  At this point I am seriously regretting  my life choices of wearing a long sleeved shirt under my t-shirt.  I’m so hot at this point and I very nearly stopped to pull off my layers.  I just kept telling myself that I was almost there, that this is just like any other run.  As soon as I got past the Glasgow G, I ran as fast as I could to cross the finish line.  They called out our names as we crossed, and I forgot I had registered as Dr. Corliss so they called me Dr. Corliss and I had to laugh.

The Glasgow G

Runkeeper told me I had run 10K in 1:09 which is my fastest 10k to date (yes, I am still slow AF).  For the entirety of the run, it was 1:12:09 (this is the time from my Fitbit, which I stopped before Runkeeper).  Last  year I did this run in 1:18 and change, so there was obviously improvement, which is good.

 

Finish line selfie. Yes, I am bright red.

 

So, all in all, a good run.  I really would like to improve pace/speed wise, as after running for over 10 years and consistently for well over 3, I really  should be SO MUCH FASTER.  Hopefully, the next race will be better.  Now, I’m going to eat some more food!

 

Yesterday, I got up at shit o’clock™ to get the train to Edinburgh for the Great Winter Run 5K.  I’m not a morning person, and I’m especially not a morning person who likes to get up at 6 am to sit on a train for over an hour.  But, not knowing what the future holds, I figured if I wanted to do a “destination” run in the UK, I should pick one that’s at least close enough to travel back and forth from without requiring a night in a hotel.

 

The train ride was uneventful, and when I arrived in Edinburgh, I had no idea where I was going.  I was glad to spot some other runners and followed them to Holyrood Park.  I was a bit shocked to see how high the hill was having not ventured into this area of Edinburgh before.  I wondered what I had got myself into.  I knew that it was partially up hill, but I didn’t think it was quite that high.

 

I had plenty of time to stand around and people watch until it was time to get into the corrals.  I was in the green corral and it was certainly quite crowded.  There was barely enough room to stand, let alone do the warmup.  I wonder if the person leading it realises that she has a lot of space to move, and that those of us on the ground can’t really do the movements unless we want to kick and step on our neighbours.

A few minutes after 10 and the green corral was off.  It was a bit crowded and we slowly gained elevation.  At one point I thought I was going quite fast, as the first km marker appeared within about 4 minutes.  The second one took a bit longer and balanced out and then started to be more consistent with Runkeeper.

The first 3 kilometres had us slowly gaining elevation, but once hitting the 3rd km marker, the world seemed to open up and you could see the city Edinburgh as I’ve never seen it before.  Had the sun been out, it would have been even more brilliant.  If it hadn’t been a race, I’d have stopped to take pictures!  In fact, I want to go back and walk up and around this area taking my time and taking pictures!

The last 2 kilometres were downhill.  What a rush!  I felt like a child running down a hill!  It’s probably the first time I’ve experienced such a runner’s high.  I’m not sure if it was the view or the altitude or what, but it was terribly exhilarating.  I had to actively work to control my speed and keep from just flinging myself down the hill.  These were probably 2 of my fastest ever kilometres at 5:33 and 5:52! If I want to PR my 5k, I need to find an all downhill one!

And then, as quick as it started, the race was over.  I had really picked up the pace at the end, and I nearly forgot to grab my bag with my shirt, water, and medal.

My official time was 34:11, not a PR but considering the hill at the beginning, I’m pleased.  Especially as (mile wise) I had negative splits the entire way (12:29, 11:09, 9:16, 8:14 (for the .14).

I’m hopeful I will be able to PR at some point, provided the course is flat or downhill!  🙂

All in all, it was a great event and I’m glad that it didn’t rain!