Week 2 Day 1

Despite plans to run on either Sunday or Monday I failed, by forgetting to take my running gear away with me. I did slightly redeem myself by happening across an outlet and buying a pair of running shoes, some tights and a long sleeve top, however didn’t have time to use them. 

Then on Tuesday I again planned to run, even making sure I ate at the services on the way home so that I was good to go when we arrived home… but had very little time to do so because we were going to an event in the evening and didn’t end up running then either. 

And so, finally, on Wednesday I ran again, full of regret about not running the days before, because it rained

Running in the rain is a new experience for me and not one I particularly enjoyed! The original plan was to warm-up walk to a nearby park, run, cool-down walk home, and then stretch. However, the park is very open and exposed and it was pouring down so I got in the car and drove to the woods that I’ve run in previously, hoping for shelter. I still ended up drenched. 

Having driven I hadn’t accounted for the car keys that I had to carry around with me in frozen fingers. I also forgot to leave my glasses in the car (I have astigmatism so it’s not the end of the world if I go without them) so spent the majority of the run trying to see through the rain spots and fog. Luckily I had the sense to wear a hat so my head stayed warm. 

Now that Week Two has commenced the running time has increased to 1 minute 30 seconds, followed by 2 minutes walking (x4), followed 1 minute running and 1 minute running (x2).  I found the increase quite a jump to begin with, and half way through had to extend one of my walking periods to catch my breath before carrying on with a run. Overall I was pleased. Despite the cold and wet I wasn’t looking desperately at the countdown until I had about 20 seconds to go. Before it was around 30 seconds into a 1 minute run. 

One thing I was aware of was a tightness in my left calf. I had to stretch several times during my walks, and needed a really good stretch after. I was also very aware of keeping my shoulders down – I’ve still been suffering with muscular tension in my neck and shoulders and am desperate for a massage, and can almost feel myself hunching.  Finally, I made a conscious effort to slow down and focus on running for the whole time and no wearing myself out by trying to beat my distances. Especially with the wet and cold, I felt that it was more important to finish than to burn out. 

Observations

  1. I don’t like running in the rain. Maybe I’m a fair weather runner?
  2. I should invest in a rain resistant jacket; this is the UK after all. 
  3. The day after (when I wrote this post) my legs are heavy and I can definitely feel that I’ve used them. Must pay close attention to stretching. 

Week 1 Day 3 

This morning (Friday) I woke up feeling very agitated. My last run was on Tuesday. 

Work on Wednesday blew my mind. For a while I’ve been feeling like I need to be pushed and have more opportunity to progress. On Wednesday I got that opportunity. By the end of the day my mind was absolutely fried. I’m not complaining, I want to be challenged, and despite feeling both drained and wired by the end of the day I was feeling proud of what I had achieved. I slept restlessly for about 7 hours then got back up and did it again. Yesterday I was in the same environment with the same patients (did I mention I’m a Nurse?) but as I had already wrapped my head around it the day before things were much smoother. However, on my short drive home I realised that my neck and shoulders were tight and I quickly developed (or became aware of?) a horrible headache. 

So, back to this morning. I woke up early feeling agitated. The state of the house annoyed me. We’ve been decorating so I had accepted that it would be a mess and it really hasn’t been an issue, but this morning the clutter made me want to throw something. And scream. The environment infuriated me and I was completely on edge. 

I was really mindful of not taking it out on my boyfriend, even making him breakfast,  but still somehow managed to chew his ear off when trying to explain how I felt. He told me I’m crazy and that he’s glad he won’t be at home today. I can’t say I blame him. 
I had a quick tidy around before deciding that I was still tired and needed to give myself a break so lay on the sofa with a blanket and coffee and watched the second half of Mind Over Marathon. I’d stumbled across the first episode last night by chance and was eager to watch the end. 

For anyone who hasn’t seen the documentary, it follows a group of 10 people with various mental health issues who are challenged to train for and complete the London marathon. The documentary explores both their physical and mental challenges, and highlights the effects of exercise on mental wellbeing.

I essentially sobbed from start to finish. 

While I have my challenges with overthinking and anxiety my issues are not even on the same scale as some of these people, yet I was overwhelmingly moved by their journey. If that’s not motivation to get off the sofa and go for a run I really don’t know what is. 

I ran in the woods again today. My boyfriend got home before I left so we went together, did a few warm up walking laps with the dogs and then he left me to it. 

By the second running interval I felt like I was struggling. My chest was tight and my ears hurt. I wondered if it was down to my poor mood but then realised my painful ears felt cold, and wondered if the drop in temperature over the last few days may have had an influence. 

Despite my mood and struggle I tried to be mindful of my surroundings, but the sky was grey and the bluebells didn’t look quite so magnificent. I spent considerably more of the run looking at the time counting down on my phone screen and barely caught my breath at the end of the walks before I had to start running again. 

But I did it. I pushed through and ran (jogged slowly) through all of the allocated run times, finishing with heavy legs and a heaving chest. Beginning the cool-down walk was the best feeling! 

Despite finding today harder and feeling a bit crap about it, my kilometre splits tell a different story. I actually ran a bit further and a bit faster than Day 2! 

My right calf was niggling in a very specific spot so I couldn’t wait to get back into the garden and have a good stretch. Sadly, my boyfriend had locked the gate from the inside and while standing on a rock and trying to reach over I managed to do myself an injury. 

Yes it’s small but it really hurt my cold little thumb! Luckily I was still buzzing from my run so something that would usually really frustrate me (how could he be so inconsiderate?!) was quickly forgotten when I realised that I could just walk around the front. 

A few hours later and the tiredness is setting in. My shoulders are neck are still tense and the clutter in the house is still frustrating me but admittedly I feel quite good. I’m pleased about the small progress I’ve made in speed and even more pleased that my poor mood did not stop me going out today. If anything it was a release and a distraction. 

Observations

  1. My mid-section still itches when I run! It’s an odd sensation. 
  2. Maybe I should wear a hat on cooler days to avoid ear pain?
  3. Stretching felt wonderful today. I think I’ll do some research into appropriate stretches in case my calf plays up again. 

Tomorrow will be a rest day. I’m going home to see my family on Sunday and Monday so will take my trainers and choose which day to run based on how my plans develop. Oh, and tonight I’m going to lie in a nice bubble bath with a good book. 

Week 1 Day 2

The day after my first run I worked 07:30 to 20:15; not quite a rest day but there was no running involved. I didn’t notice any aches, pains or discomfort and looked forward to my next run. 

I needed to walk the dogs, which worked out well because my boyfriend’s family live right by the woods. There is a path around the outside and the ground is much flatter and more suitable than the hilly area I had previously attempted. I did a few walking laps with the dogs as a warm up and then put them in the garden while I went off to run alone. Again, I used my Fitbit app to track the distances and followed 5k Runner for walking and running intervals. 

The woods are absolutely beautiful at this time of year. I made a conscious effort to be mindful when walking, pay attention to the world around me and not my overactive inner dialogue. 

Aside from the expected tiredness and sweating it wasn’t until about 3/4 of the way though that I really felt like I was struggling. I pushed through, mentally counting down the seconds until my next walking interval, and managed complete the run without passing out. 


One thing that did bother me, which I realise is ridiculous, is that there was a man walking laps who always happened to pass me when I was in a walking interval. Every time we crossed paths I was puffing and panting and generally a sweaty mess. Walking. I’m not quite sure why it bothered me because who actually cares what he thought? I just couldn’t get past it. 

Observations

  • The flat ground was much more suitable to run on. I’ll definitely use this area again. 
  • Thinking about and trying to control breathing makes me feel lightheaded. Something to work on later. 
  • My stomach and sides were itchy again today while running. It wasn’t as wide spread but still noticeable. 

Again I felt good later on in the day. My legs and bum ached slightly but it was more of a niggle than an issue. I did stretch after. 

For the next two days I will be working long shifts again so my next run is planned for Friday. 

Week 1 Day 1

A few days ago I bought a Fitbit in the hope that it would movitate me to be more active. I got the Fitbit One for two reasons:

  1. My job dictates that I have to be bare below the elbow. As I didn’t want to lose out on all the steps I take in work (12 hour shifts on my feet) I went for the clip which is perfect to hide under my uniform. 
  2. I wasn’t sure how successful it would be and didn’t want to fork out on the more expensive versions. 

In fairness, it seems to the doing the job. I like to track things, analyse, and generally overthink. I found myself drinking more water to make sure I hit my hydration target and have taken the 4 stairs knowing I would get the reward of extra steps and levels on my daily count. 

Admittedly I’ve been pretty poor with the food diary- not only do I find it difficult to accurately record what I’ve eaten, I’m also pretty sure I’ll never be the kind of person who religiously calorie counts. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that more calories in than out equals weight gain but it’s not something I want to focus on right now. Maybe later. 

So with my new fitbit in tow and my newly downloaded (free) 5k Runner app I took myself to an area just down the road where I walk the dog and started my first run. Well… walk then run then walk then run. I really am I complete novice. 

Run One stats

Usually I would be far too self conscious and embarrassed to post that but I can’t see how I will improve unless I put myself out there and give myself a good kick up the bum.

I spent the majority of the running periods puffing and panting wondering what the hell I was thinking. The walking was more reflective. I got through it and these are my reflections;

  • I need to find a flatter area to run. Hilly, uneven ground is not sensible for a beginner. 
  • My trainers are probably not that great for running. If I make it a few weeks I’ll definitely invest. 
  • Aside from sweating I felt quite itchy across my torso and down my sides. Not quite sure if this was due to my loose top rubbing or because I was a hayfever sufferer running though an area of grass and bushes. Maybe my body was just protesting? 
  • When I got home I was very aware of not eating junk. Who wants to waste that effort? 
  • Two hours later I was full of energy. I genuinely felt good. Will this continue?

Tomorrow I have work so will be a “rest day.” Who knows if I will be sore. I aim to run again on Tuesday on more suitable terrain. Wish me luck! 

Motivation; The beginning. 

I just spent 40 minutes writing a big long history of my reasons for starting a blog. Then, clumsy as I am, managed to delete the whole poxy lot. 

So I’ll look at the silver lining and take the opportunity to NOT moan and for once just get on with it. 

So here are my main reasons – 

  1. I am a ridiculous over thinker desperately looking for a way to focus my mind. 
  2. I haven’t done regular exercise for a long time and quite frankly am feeling a bit tight in my clothes. 

“I want to learn to run.”

My Facebook is full of people who have discovered running, gotten addicted, and never looked back. 

I want to be one of those people. I want to have something to focus on, to improve on, and to make me feel good about myself. Something I can do on my days off and not have to wait around until 6pm when the masses finish work and the ram packed fitness classes start. Something to help calm my relentless mind. 

I am under no illusions. Yes you can go back to basics and “just run” but to be able to build up stamina and form is a task not taken lightly. It takes time and dedication and I think I may be ready for that. 

This blog is a way of holding myself accountable. For the days when I’m sore, tired, and quite honestly can’t be arsed. It may not be a particularly riveting read but I’m going to do it anyway. Or that’s the plan.