Highs and lows

One question that I get asked quite often is “how do you stay so motivated?” The answer is that I don’t really know but I know that I feel better and my life is better if I run, so I run. By and large this has been enough to keep me going.

However, since the Bristol 10k “race” I have really, really struggled. They say that every high is followed by a low but I was not prepared for how “low” the low would be. The emotional investment that the 10k took was far beyond anything I could have ever imagined not to mention the physical undertaking. I was absolutely shattered – emotionally and physically. Adrenalin is a very powerful thing and after it’s done it’s important job, it leaves you a whimpering shadow of your former self. I had never really experienced this before. I spent the week following the 10k bursting into tears for no reason whatsoever (I am not a weeper – not that crying is a bad thing, it’s just not something I really do) so this was difficult to manage. I looked dreadful and felt mentally broken.

I have an Instagram account which I mainly use to post running updates and photos of gin and tonic (it’s all about balance right?!) @ladyclaireabell in case you’re bored enough to take a look. Some of my “official” 10k photos were truly horrific. As proud as I was to complete the race in the time I did, let’s just say that the effort it took was visible for all to see in the photos! Gurning is a phrase that comes to mind. As transparency is key to everything I do related to running, I thought it was only fair that I post these terrible photos on Instagram in the same way that I would also post a more flattering photo. Dame Kelly Holmes (yes THE Dame Kelly Holmes) made a complimentary comment on my photo. I was awestruck! Now here is a true inspirational role model that girls can really aspire towards. You can keep your Little Mix (am I the only person who worries about them catching a cold as they don’t seem to wear enough clothes? Or does this mean I am getting old?….actually don’t answer that). Dame Kelly Holmes in the real deal. However, getting back to highs and lows, if the pride of having DKH comment was the high, a deep low was to follow. I was cyber trolled on Instagram. I know it’s hard to believe. You think cyberbullying is a thing that happens at school? Well I’m here to tell you that it isn’t. It was 2 direct messages from two different people saying “you think you’re all that” only not in a nice way (I’m paraphrasing) and using the words “still a fat cow” and some other expletives – at least I think this is what they were trying to imply…grammar and spelling didn’t seem to be high on their agenda.

I was shocked and quite upset. Actually I was much more upset about it that I could have aniticipated. It wasn’t what they had said so much as who had said it. Now I am aware that people aren’t always who they seem to be when you’re online (maybe it was a Russian called Boris?), but if the photos were to be believed, I had been trolled by teenage girls. This made me so sad inside. I started doing all this to be a good role model for my girls and yet here I seemed to be having the opposite effect on two teenage girls. I simply didn’t (and still don’t) know what to make of it. However, I blocked the perpetrators and moved on with my week. It did make me want to stop. Not running (I couldn’t stop running I don’t think), but being so open about my struggle and quest for health and balance and ultimately whether I should stop writing this blog. But in the end, I decided to ignore them and move on. As Taylor says…”haters gonna hate”.

The bizarre situation kept me awake for many nights and didn’t help my preparation for the Westonbirt 10k which was a couple of weeks after the 10k. It was another scorching evening and I ran with Hattie and Curly Sue. I really struggled all the way around as the heat sapped my strength. The sun is my kryptonite. TMR were out in force and it was good to catch up with the ladies. Although it was a proper trundle and significantly slower than the Bristol 10k, I still managed to get round in 89.29 seconds which is a 13 minute improvement on last year’s time. However, even though I was hurting, it was impossible not to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and running with my buddies Hattie and Curly Sue is always a treat.

Westonbirt 2017

After Westonbirt, I decided to give myself a week or so off from running and would have a rest before half marathon training was scheduled to officially start. I didn’t run, but thought about it often. It really is a love/hate relationship. When I run, I don’t enjoy it, but the second you don’t, you miss it.  It’s a real conundrum.

Hattie and I sat down with our calendars and planned out our runs for the month of June – working out how many/how long each run should be in order for us to be able to cross the finish line in one piece on September 17th. Our schedule was a work of art. It had runs together, runs alone, we’re both “Run Angels” so it incorporated our TMR runs that we lead (30 minutes long, fast or trundle paced, all are welcome), sprints/hill sessions. We have a plan for the whole Summer but are only plotting out a month at a time as my job is unpredictable and so “wiggle” room was built in.

Then life got a bit weird and the plan went to pot. We received some family news that rocked me to my core. I was shocked, upset, worried, grasping to understand and this is without the Terror Attacks and General Election. My world seemed to have turned on it’s head.  I didn’t run more than once a week which was stupid really as running gives me thinking time, but I just couldn’t get out there, which was compounding the problem. Then came the heatwave…..oh my days. Hattie and I kept pushing our run back further and further in the evening trying to wait until it was cool enough…but it didn’t so we didn’t go. My asthma was back and so was my hayfever. My chest rattled like I was smoking 40 cigarettes a day. The odd run I did manage was tough.

But then last Saturday morning, Hattie and I went our very early for a run. It was an exploring run and I haven’t done one of those for ages. I loved it. We ran down the chocolate path and I think I have finally sussed out how to get to Ashton Court from the Towpath. It was still warm but bearable. Everyone who was out said hello as we trundled past them and it was a heartwarming experience. Almost a recognition that we are all as mad as each other being out on a Saturday morning with a 7 in the hour, but I liked it. I remembered why I like running (because I do sometimes?!)

So this morning I ran to work. First time I have run on my own with music for a while and it felt good. I am back on track again…which is lucky because the half marathon isn’t going to run itself you know. Haters gonna hate but I’m just going to keep on trundling.

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