Where I’m at…

So after my last post about how I’d fallen off the waggon I’ve completely neglected my little personal blog. However, I’m happy to report that I’m still very much working on improving my running (jogging slowly). 


Running and fitness. 

I finally defeated W4D1 of C25k!! Admittedly I had to have slightly longer walking breaks between the running periods but I completed all of the running parts and was so so proud of myself! 

I’ve only attempted D2 once and was going pretty well until some grown men with a remote control car scared the dog, resulting in her sprinting away terrified across the field and me having to chase her. Needless to say I did not have it in me to complete after that. 

As I’ve previously mentioned C25k isn’t really fitting me as well as I’d hoped so I’ve been doing a lot of other running between sessions; intervals or just jogging/walking for the hell of it with no set times or measurements. One evening I really just wanted to run so I went out in the rain, found a trail and just went for it. The air was warm, the rain was cold, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I don’t even know how far I went or at what pace but it was lovely. 

As before, my very inconsistent Nurse rota is a bit of an issue as I’m trying to give myself rest days but then sometimes can go 4 days without a jog because I’m working nights or have been in work and don’t want to run after a 12 hour shift on my feet. Having said that, doing shorter jogs and not pushing C25k is easier on my legs so I could do a quick jog around the block. 

I’m also doing a lot of walking lately which the dog is loving! We’ve been out exploring so much in the last month and it’s a nice change from the park I was doing laps in – much more interesting! 

My ever ticking mind…

The increase in exercise has done worlds of good. I feel better both physically and mentally; I’ve improved my diet drastically to fuel my body, losing weight in the process and feel much more comfortable with my body, and now have an outlet when my thoughts are tumbling around. 

I think I’ll always be a slave to my hormones and am pretty awful a week before my period but for the rest of the month I’m feeling much more content, or when I’m not I have a way to make myself feel better. I still tick over while I’m running but it’s much better to think about my speed, my breathing, watching my footing on uneven ground than it is to fume about the clutter in my living room or the fact next doors cat keeps shitting in my front garden! 

When I started I never truely believed I would finish C25k and although I’m doing it less and less I’m not upset about that – I’m accepting the fact that being rigid isn’t working for me. I’m improving nonetheless and that’s all that matters. 

Fitbit

A little mention about my Fitbit – I’m obsessed! I always thought they were a silly gimmick but as someone who tends to focus on numbers I find myself wandering up and down the stairs or around the block to hit my daily goal. I only had a Fitbit One because in work I have to be bare below the elbow but I’ve now bought a Charge 2 aswell and wear that when I’m jogging. I love looking at which HR zones I’ve been been in!

And so… 

I may not be exactly be on the course I originally planned and my 3 month C25k subscription has run out. I will renew it after I finish my night shifts next week because I still ultimately want to complete it. Regardless of how long it is taking, my lifestyle has dramatically improved and I’m very glad of it. 

Mindfulness when away from home; food and exercise.

Last weekend I went home. I’ve lived away from home for over two years and don’t get to go back very often because of my dodgy nurse shifts, so took advantage of annual leave and went to spend some time with my family and friends. The absolute highlight was spending time with my nephew, who at 1 year old doesn’t really know who I am yet *sad face*.

Aside from the lovely family and friend time, I was very mindful of staying active and eating well. My main goal is the activity, but I’m aware that in order to do that I need to fuel my body properly. 

Food. 

My mum has a cupboard on the wall in the kitchen that is essentially dedicated to cakes, biscuits and sweet treats. Anyone that knows me knows that I have a notorious sweet tooth and will always find room for dessert. When I lived at home I would sit in front of the tv with a cup of tea and devour a whole pack of biscuits in one sitting. Every time I go home I head straight for the cupboard. Not this weekend. I made a conscious effort to avoid it like the plague, and in all honesty the only time I struggled (as opposed to habit) was when I was bored. Well done me! 

Having pre-warned mum that I’m trying to eat a better diet she happily obliged and made sure that my meals were balanced and nutritious. Yes, I’m a 28 year old woman and can (barely) cook for myself, but my mum loves to look after people so I didn’t not feel guilty about being fed. She’d be offended if I said no! 
I also ate out a few times and was again extra-specially good. On an unexpected trip to Nando’s I had chicken salad, and at the park with my friends and their children I had a spicy chicken pasta salad. On Friday night I took my parents out to dinner as a late Father’s Day celebration and to break up the chicken salad party had a lovely steak with onions, tomato, peas and only ate half the chips. No dessert. 

Exercise

Lately I’ve been hitting my 8000 step target most days so I’ve increased my daily Fitbit step goal to 9000. On days off work I find reaching my target much more difficult to achieve, with this weekend being no exception. 

Both Friday and Saturday I saw friends, and as the weather was nice suggested that we go for walks in the park with their respective dogs and children. Two birds with one stone. Saturday, being friends-with-children day, was slower on the step front, so at 20:30 while it was still light I went for an evening walk and added 3000 steps to my total. Goal met! 

Determined not to fall off the wagon I had packed some shorts and my running shoes  with the intention of actually walk/jog/running at some point. Then when I told one of my friends (we’ll call her T) about my pursuit towards 5k she confided that she can easily run 5k on a treadmill but is terrified of running outside alone. T had even worked out a route near her home but just didnt have it in her to do it alone. So, once I’d gotten her to agree to forgive my absolutely appalling lack of stamina, we decided to do it together. We’ve done a lot of things together in our 15 years of friendship but exercise is not one of them! 

I arrived at T’s house at 10am on Sunday morning and we got going. The weather was warm and humid already, and while T didn’t even break a sweat I found it really difficult. The intention was always to walk and jog but being with someone who doesn’t even break a sweat while I’m struggling to breathe and not throw up isn’t ideal. It did mean that I (she!) pushed myself much harder than usual. 




It’d say over the whole 5k I probably only jogged for about 1k of it – the rest of the time I spent puffing and panting and feeling nauseous. Had I thought about it properly I should have done less because usually I don’t go anywhere near that far so it was a big big increase in distance. 

I did a lot of apologising for holding T up so much and felt pretty embarrassed but she was great and kept encouraging me. Luckily we are good enough friends that we can say pretty much anything to each other, and I laughed pretty hard when she later said she thought I might punch her. 

Once I had composed myself I did feel proud of myself. 42:38 is now the time to beat. I checked my local parkrun times and the most recent slowest time was around 55:00. I’m certainly not ready for parkrun yet but I have a goal in mind.

As for T, she said now that she’s actually gone out and run along the road she’s not as afraid, and thinks might go out alone. I’m sure her time will be a hell of a lot faster than our joint effort and I’m very proud of her for it. Goals!! 

Getting back to it following a C25K meltdown. 

My last post was over a month ago. Let me explain…

Week 4 Day 1 broke me. I just couldn’t get past that 4 minute run. All-in-all I attempted it three times.

3 minute run / 2 min walk
4 minute run / 3 minute walk (x2)
3 minute run / 2 minute walk.

 
To cut a long story short, during my first attempt I had to finish both 4 minute runs early and walk for about 30 seconds of the run time. The second attempt a few days later was essentially the same. I did complete the whole session both times which some may have accepted and moved on, but I really found it awful; so was determined to finish more comfortably. On the third attempt I was too hot, felt a bit sick and gave up about half way through. Literally just stopped, got in my car and went home in a rage. 
  

Following the stroppy third attempt I worked 3 night shifts and had gotten into the habit of not running when on nights. The fortnight following that I spent soul searching. I found plenty of excuses why not to go; work, too tired, my period, too hot, too busy etc. 

Essentially I was upset and frustrated – even though I knew it was highly likely that at some point I would need to repeat. I was angry that between W3D2 and W4D1 I was expected to jump from running 2.5 minutes to 4, never mind that W4D2 then expected me to magically run for 5 minutes. WTF?! It was completely unrealistic and quite frankly was setting me up to fail. 

At this point it’s worth mentioning that my boyfriend was working away for three weeks and I was rattling round the house alone. I generally enjoy my own space but I was missing his company. If I’d had any sense I would have thrown myself into running as a distraction but, alas, I used the time ruminating and feeling defeated. 

It’s also worth mentioning that I really dislike discussing fitness and physical activity with my boyfriend. He’s been trying to get me to join a team for years, and while I see/saw (ha) running as a huge mountain to climb he thinks I’m being dramatic. He’s lot fitter than I am, captains his rugby team and plays or trains three times a week. Don’t get me wrong he’s no athlete but he is hands-down fitter than I am. Anyway, he’s been supportive of my goal and shown a genuine interest so I swallowed my pride and confided in him. It felt good to get my frustration and disappointment off my chest. 

Between us we came to the conclusion that I need to shake it up. I’m very good at fixating on plans and guidelines, which didn’t appear to be working for me. So the plan is to continue running but to chill out and go off piste a bit. Which is what I’ve done over the last 10 days. 

Some days I go to the park and run around the outside of the fields. No tracking, no time and distance goals, I just run until I can’t, and then walk until I can run again. Once my boyfriend came with me and carried on running for some of my walk – I would never have let him see me in this state before. Sometimes I do short bursts and sometimes I run until I can’t breathe. I also took my kit and went for a jog on the way home from a night shift once. It was only for about 10 minutes but it was 10 minutes more than previous night shifts! I’m not actually sure if I’ve improved because I haven’t tracked it. 

Regardless, in a round-about way, I’ve been running. 

I would like to get back into 5k Runner now that I’ve sorted my head out. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to attempt W4 or maybe fall back to W3. Regardless, if I do struggle with that 4 minute run again I won’t let it defeat me. I’ll run for a shorter period before the 4 minutes. Or I’ll have a bigger walk break before. 

Ultimately, the goal is to be able to run 5k; not to complete a programme word for word.