So it’s been a while…

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Miles run so far: 323.4 (520.4 km)

So it’s been a while…

It’s two months since I last updated the blog, but I’ve had rather a lot going on. I’ve been away (lots of running in the Big Apple), I’ve added regular strength training and yoga to the training regime, I’m still in the middle of selling up and moving, but – most of all – I’ve been ‘de-cluttering’ in terms of the internet, social media and all that goes with it.

The results of all of that have been really positive (perhaps not so much the selling up and moving). My running distances are up, as is my pace – managed to take 5 minutes off my half marathon personal best this week – and my head (which had been a bit poorly) is a far calmer and clearer place than it was a couple of months ago.

The training continues, adding miles and doing my best to steer clear of injury, as does the fundraising (please click here to donate, you lovely people) and I will do my best to update things a bit more regularly!

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Beauty on the doorstep

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Miles run so far: 142.9 (229.9 km)

I have to confess to feeling slightly overwhelmed (in a good way) at the unexpected response I received to my previous post. I mentioned my ongoing struggle with my own head (and some of the tactics I use to try to manage it) and I was very touched by the replies and supportive messages that arrived over the following days – many of which came from people who I wouldn’t naturally assume had been affected by mental health issues. It’s always a great help to know you’re not on your own and, as my own battle continues, I’m so grateful to the wonderful people who I know have my back.

Running continues to be the medicine of choice, and I’m happy to report that the mileages are creeping up, the speed is improving and the occasional nasty hill is making a reappearance in the training schedule.

As I mentioned last time though, not everyone can pop out for a restorative ten-mile run as part of a recovery strategy. That’s why it was great to head out to the stunning North Cornish coast last night for a short stroll, some fresh air and some evening sunshine. Whenever I feel despondent about things (real or imagined) it’s a real comfort to know that I have this stunning landscape on my doorstep, available for my use – free of charge!

I know I still have some way to go before things are back to ‘normal’ (and this blog can return to the reassuringly dull, nerdy business of running stats) but I’m grateful to know that I have options and some wonderful people who look after me. Thank you!

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It’s a Wonderdrug!

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Miles run so far: 120.4 (193.8 km) 

It’s been over a month since I’ve updated this page, but that’s not because I’ve been lying idle! The training feels like it’s back on track after the IT Band hiatus of the early summer. My distances are creeping back towards pre-injury levels, some pace is starting to return and I’ve shifted the little bit of weight I added while I couldn’t run.

So, all positive then? Well, it hasn’t all been straightforward…

As this is the 21st century, I can’t be afraid to talk about mental health. I’ve suffered some ups and downs over the years (some triggered, some cyclical) and I’m doing battle again at the moment. The difference this time is my running. Two years ago I was a 15 stone couch potato with no other weapon to fight depression but medication. Now, four stone lighter, I have a genuine, non-pharmaceutical wonderdrug to help me through. It’s not a complete magic wand, but I know that the days I run will be the best days of the week.

Running isn’t for everyone, but exercise is well-known for its benefits to mental health. If you, or anyone you know, is suffering then – first of all – talk to people. Don’t be alone. Make sure you eat, sleep if you can, and stay in touch with people who care about you. And if you’re able, do some exercise. It doesn’t have to be a ten-mile run or weight training or a fifty-mile cycle ride – a good walk and some fresh air will start to work wonders.

I’m lucky. I have some great people who have my back and I’ve been able to learn from my previous experiences. I know I’ll be fine. Now, I’m off for a run in the wind and the driving rain. No sane person would do that, after all…

The nonsense between the ears

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Miles run so far: 71.2 (114.6 km) 

It’s a funny business, running. Yes, it’s very much about physical fitness, diet, looking after your muscles, but pretty much any runner will also tell you that so much of it is in the mind.

The last couple of months have been a bit of a struggle, to be honest. Almost the very day my London Marathon place was confirmed, my IT Band started to play up. Runs became painful, as did walking for a while, and then I started to worry about it. You can’t push it because it might make it worse but equally, there’s a Marathon to train for! Rest, perhaps? Maybe ease the odd gentle run back in? Pretty soon the whole business had started to become hard work.

Then the excuses begin. It’s a bit hot. There are too many tourists out there getting in the way. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow…

In the end, I decided to take two weeks off and stop thinking about it all. Happy to report a couple of incident-free runs since.

The task now is to get back up to the distances I was covering before all of this nonsense between the ears. Before the summer, half-marathon distance was relatively regular. The truth is I’m somewhat off the boil now, although yesterday’s run represented my best effort since the end of May – here’s hoping it’s the start of an upward curve!

The good news is that I have no choice. London beckons and I must be ready. Thank you to all the people who have supported me so far.

Doing OK for an old bloke…

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Miles run so far: 40.8 (65.6km)

Just a short recovery run today, still trying to build my fitness back up. Once again, a huge thank you to the wonderful people who’ve donated so far – fundraising is going better than I dared hope. (If you would like to donate to Asthma UK, you can do so here.)

Apparently, my efforts are being monitored very closely by a very special young thing (you know who you are) who is amazed that a 47-year-old can do anything strenuous at all! Well, to be honest it’s not all about a quick finish when you reach your late forties – you have to introduce some skill and technique if you want to last the longer distances. If you’re not sure, give it a go – it does wonders for the temperament too!

For now, I’m just going to leave this here…

A few more miles under the belt

Miles run so far: 37.4 (60.5km)

More recovery stuff today. Not breathtakingly fast (just under 9 minute miles) but looser and without pain. Part of the running experience is dealing with niggling doubts while you’re out there and every clear run after you’ve had an issue helps you relax next time and crack on with the job. Hoping to fit in a couple of longer runs next week – watch this space!

A gentle return

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Miles run so far: 32.1 (51.9km)

After a grumpy week or two, today marked my (gentle) return to training. I’m happy to report that it passed off without incident, so hopefully I can slowly (although not too slowly) start adding the miles again.

Fundraising is off to a good start – online and offline sponsorship, plus a World Cup sweepstake, have just nudged the total over £300. Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed so far. If you’d like to make a donation to the fantastic work that Asthma UK do then please click here.

Until next time…