“I can’t do yoga – I can’t even touch my toes”. Yarp, I was one of those. Completely missing the point that my inflexibility was exactly the reason I SHOULD – and could – do yoga.
I was a typical runner – full of running, tight of hamstring, and full to the brim of excuses not to stretch. I loved the idea of doing yoga; being all lithe and calm and supple, but actually doing it? In a room full of other people? Nope. Just nope.
Before I got really serious about the running thing, I was pretty much all about the strength training thing. Determined to be something other than The Skinny One, I’ve been trying to build muscle and ‘tone up’ for a few years now, and it still forms the bulk of my training – albeit more running specific these days. So far, I’ve done all of my strength work at home. I’m a strong advocate of working out at home, and it fits into my lifestyle perfectly; allowing me to exercise when The Toddler is in bed.
I’m not known for my patience (hello, always skipping to the end of a book), but when it involves not doing the one thing that keeps me sane-ish and prevents me from starting training for a marathon that I’ve only just signed up for, it straight up deserts me.
There’s the usual stuff that is pissing me off; worrying about losing fitness, the boredom that comes from not running, the lack of Garmin/leg/trainer photos to post to Instagram, the worrying that I’m eating too much now that I’m hardly doing any cardio (this worry is despite the fact that I’m trying to gain weight. But that’s a post for another day), and the irrational fear that I’ll never run again – a fear which threatens to overwhelm me with panic at any given moment. I’m also premenstrual whilst I write this, which throws most of my scant-at-best rationality out of the window, so yeah, not the best of weeks.
Although as I sit here, shin-splint-ravaged legs elevated (all about that RICE), and having run a total of 1 kilometre in the past fortnight, it doesn’t seem like the most achievable of goals.
I mean, I’m probs being a little dramatic; I have been suffering from a rather nasty case of shin splints, likely brought on by too much racing and speed work over the past few months (did I mention I won a race? I did. I won a race. See my smiley face down there?), but two weeks of rest later and I seem to be coming out the other side.
THIS POST CONTAINS DISCUSSION AND DESCRIPTIONS OF SELF-HARM.
I’ve been pretty open about my experiences of anxiety and depression – on this blog, on social media, and in real life – but one thing I haven’t opened up about is my experience of self-harm. Only a handful of people know that I hurt myself – close friends, current and ex partners, and medical professionals. Well, those are the only people that I’ve told; a not-so-close examination of my patchwork quilt of a left arm would tell you all you need to know, so I imagine a fair few people already have an idea. Nobody has ever brought it up though – except a certain osteopath who lost my custom after some ill-judged comments.
So why the secrecy up to now? Put bluntly, I’m ashamed. Anxiety and depression are illnesses. Illnesses are nobody’s fault. I can’t help being ill. But I can help cutting myself. It’s a choice I make. It’s my fault. A sign of weakness (so my brain tells me). But what I’ve come to realise is that it is a symptom of my anxiety – and not something to be ashamed of. I’m not proud of it, of course, but there is an awful lot of unnecessary stigma attached to it, and I’m only perpetuating that stigma by keeping quiet.
One of the things that makes me a bit sad, is that I don’t get to run Parkrun very often. Childcare arrangements mean that it just isn’t possible very often (although hopefully in a few years The Toddler will be able to come along with me), and is a bit of a logistical nightmare.
But, a few months back, David floated the idea of a Parkrun UKRunChat tweetup; the wheels were put in motion and on a freezing cold January morning, me and Jodie found ourselves decked out in 95 layers and ultra-flattering headbands and on our way to Willen Lake for the Milton Keynes Parkrun.
A MoRun has been on my running to-do list for a while, as they’ve always looked like pretty fun events, so it was on a FREEZING cold November morning, that I found myself at Milton Keynes’ Willen Lake, along with hundreds of other runners, ready to don fake ‘taches and MoRunning headbands and tackle two laps of the 5k course.
As this was exactly a week after Rockingham, I had no real aim time-wise, leading up to the event. However, on the day I woke up feeling strong, so decided to ‘go for it’. Not a PB – I knew there were too many hills for that – but to give it a decent crack.