Tag Archives: running

Into the Groove Blogtober20-day 4

It’s October and I’m very excited to be taking part in Blogtober 2020 which involves blogging everyday through October using prompts.

Today’s prompt is Into the Groove , so I’m talking about how I’m trying to get ‘into the groove’ and motivated through October (not sooo tenuous right?) I’ve been missing in action lately on the blog front. I am just feeling thoroughly uninspired at the mo. My phone notes are usually full of blog post ideas I’ve had , usually so full I’ll never get around to writing many of them but I’m scared not to note these ideas as they pop into my head , because what if they were brilliant ?! y notes are currently empty , my many notebooks lay unwritten in, my brain is just not feeling very creative.

Autumn is usually my absolute favourite season. I love the pretty cosiness of it all . I like cold days with the sun shining , I like multicoloured leaves , I like fluffy jumpers and stews.

With everything else going on currently though it’s feeling a bit tricky to embrace all the things I love about Autumn and run with them, there’s so much uncertainty in the world at the minute I’m untrusting of even Autumns cosy little months coming along. There are so many what ifs . Will the kids stay in school and college without event ? Will teen boy the younger be allowed home from uni? Will we find ourselves thoroughly locked down again? Are we going to find ourselves restricted to just one exercise a day again?

Everything feels up in the air and unsettled right now. I have anxiety and uncertainty doesn’t suit me at all. I like yes and no and dislike maybe. Whilst everything was all shut and we were all stuck home I was perfectly happy , when and if life goes back to the normal of before I’ll deal with that but we appear to be in halfway kind of place currently and it doesn’t sit well with me .

What do I do when I feel a little out of control and I need to focus my anxious energies ?

I make a plan!

There are two things that focus my mind when all around me seems unsure. Firstly , this blog. Though it has been woefully neglected of late just knowing it’s here ready for me to pour my thoughts and worries and hopes and dreams and rants into whenever I need it is fantastic . Writing down my thoughts has always been hugely therapeutic to me , also a bit of creativity makes me happy .

Secondly , running . Another thing that focusses my mind . I wrote Running and mental health all about how running helps me .

So the plan just needs to make time for these two things and also give me a bit of a challenge , I do like to test myself.

I am , for the third year in a row, taking part in Blogtober . A blog challenge which means posting a blog post everyday in October . The brilliant Mandi at https://bigfamilyorganisedchaos.com/ has put together some fab song based prompts and I’m excited to give this brain a good old kick start and get back to the blogging that I love. I have never yet managed to blog every single day of October , but maybe this is the year!

On the running front I’ve two new challenges for this month.

Manchester Marathon has now been postponed until next autumn . I have been very anti ‘virtual’ races in the past. I love the atmosphere of run day and as an annoyingly competitive person the chance to attempt to try and catch someone up who isn’t too far away are what helps me finish most races!! However the plan calls for challenging my little running self so I am going to do the virtual Manchester Marathon , which means running the 26.2 miles through October (not all at the same time thankfully , I’m not there yet!)

I’m also in October , with This Girl Runs , challenging myself to run and walk 100k in the month of October. That sounds quite a lot when you type it ??!!Eeeeek what have I gotten myself into ?I don’t know but am already much chirpier just having some fun things to focus on what with everything else going on !!

Let’s see how I get on !!!

You can find me on Facebook Twitter and Insta

Running and mental health

Unfortunately ,for me ,the experts are right again . Exercise IS good for my mind. My mind doesn’t think that when I’m laid in bed thinking “ah it’s raining…don’t bother running today .. it’ll be horrible..stay cosy instead ”

However when (and in all honesty if sometimes) I manage to not listen to lazy sloth voice and go and run. I always feel better afterwards. I can’t think of a time I’ve ever gotten in from a run and wished I hadn’t bothered.

I don’t want to turn into run bore , but I want to just tell you about the ways running has helped my mental health.

Firstly I’ve got to tell you this isn’t going to be me telling you about how running has saved my sanity. How it’s cured all my mental health issues. How I just want to run like Forrest Gump because it makes me feel so fabulous. That wouldn’t be true . I’m writing this with an incredibly sore foot , achy thighs and a weird ache in my bum . I’m not feeling invincible or unstoppable right now .

I know , I know stop going on about it BUT I’m running a marathon so training is ON! I’m not a natural long distance runner. Every long run I do currently is the longest run I’ve ever done. It’s hard .

Yet I’m glad to be running ,here’s how it helps me .

I am sleeping like a log

I suffer with intense nightmares occasionally .Linked to traumatic experiences that my brain likes to bother me with of a night. I went through a stage of barely sleeping which isn’t like me at all it was horrible and made me even more absent minded than usual. When I’m running hard or doing a gym workout that’s tough and I suppose any kind of exercise you do. It tires me out physically . Being physically tired , for me , aids getting to sleep and more importantly staying asleep !!

Running quietens anxiety symptoms

When I’m running I’m not panicking about my breathing feeling weird or my heart pounding … because that’s what’s meant to happen. The weird tricks my body plays on me in Sainsbury’s are normal here , actively encouraged!

The feel of my feet hitting the path , the wind or sun or rain on my face , the rhythm of my limbs these are all quite grounding for me . Paying attention to how my body feels concentrating on steps means my brain just has no space to spiral off thinking of all the horrible things I’m certain is going to happen to me . Having to push through when my lazy legs want to stop mean I have no brain space to worry about how I’ve upset everyone I’ve ever interacted with and everyone hates me !!

It’s one on one time with my head

My head and disfunctional brain can be my worst enemy a lot of the time . As I mentioned just now running means the brain can’t spiral into over thinking but it can do actual thinking. Just me and my mind no distractions I can often problem solve something that’s been bothering me out on a run or have great ideas creatively when I’m out in the open air ,alone.

The great outdoors

I must admit over the past few months I have been utilising the treadmill as well as outside because , well ,I live in Manchester it rained here for weeks on end and I was finding it hard to keep motivated . However outside a bit of a blue sky and somewhere pretty to run and it’s not just good for my head but my soul. I adore a gorgeous landscape it makes my little heart joyous . When I’m running somewhere pretty I’m smiling rather than grimacing (usually) this goes for walking for me too bit of green and I’m happy as Larry (whoever he is !)

My mental health issues become superpowers

I suffer from hypervigalence. My fight or flight instinct is triggered permanently. I live my life on high alert . A bird dared squawk the other day and I screamed in fear of danger. On a day to day basis it’s bloody exhausting and extremely inconvenient. When I’m out running though it’s quite handy to spot potential danger or obstacles ahead before they become a problem.

It makes me trust my body

Altering my breathing pattern , my body does that when I run . My legs start to feel tired but I know I can push them a bit more I have faith in them . When lazy brain starts telling me “ah you said you’d run 7 miles but you’ve done 3 …that’s enough .Stop and go home and drink tea ” I can dismiss it . Trust in my body. Rely on it ,have faith in it . This is a new phenomenon for me . My body when in the grips of anxiety lies to me all the time. Makes me feel like I’m going to faint . This is my biggest anxiety symptom. If you’ve fainted before ,you know the bit before you pass out where people’s voices sound distant and lights are all strange and everything goes hazy ? My anxious body does that to me. During a period of high anxiety several times a day . I never ever have fainted during these times but it’s enough to cause me to panic and be anxious that I will? So yeah I have trust issues with my body . It pranks me at times ,sends the side of my face numb so I panic I’m having a stroke. Makes my breathing feel like I can’t catch my breath. All its usual tricks. When I’m running though I trust in my body. It behaves itself and that makes me feel strong .

Can I just finish by saying again . I’m not saying if you are depressed it can be cured by putting on your trainers or that I am free of my mental health problems. I’m just telling about something that is helping me at the moment, and honestly when my anxiety is at its worst I could no more run than I could fly to the moon !!! I’m just discovering little by little babystep by babystep that the old three keep myself sane techniques of good sleep , good diet and exercise are key in my situation.

Right there are blue skies and maybe even a bit of sunshine going on today . Let’s go ! Have me a bath run upon my return would you ?

You can find me on Facebook Twitter and Insta

Shank You Very Much

Podcasts that very nearly make you forget that you’re exercising ….

img_20180212_135907_534-284299248.jpg

Before I begin , I must draw emphasis to the fact the title does clearly state ‘almost’ makes you forget you’re exercising . Nothing actually makes me forget I’m exercising . Mainly because I hate it I hate it I hate it !!….or at least I think I do when I’m getting to my limits and am tired. Yet the second I get to my limit ….pass my limit at times and especially when I’ve finished a run or a hard workout my first thoughts are *insert thought bubble here *

“Wow i feel SO good ”

“When can i next do that?”

“There is nothing in the world I couldn’t do right now”

“I am actually superwoman”

That’s where it grabs you .

I am currently training for a marathon. You can read here about the list of things I vowed to do when I turned 40. Run a marathon was one ….eeekk and sometimes you’ve just gotta put your money where your mouth is !!

Marathon training when you’re not really an exercise freak and chips are way more appealing than lacing up the run shoes is hard . Once upon a time I was someone who gave up too easily on things that were hard . Seems those days are gone . So here I am , someone not keen on the thought of exercise training to run a ridiculous amount of miles round Manchester.

I started by listening to music as I run which is great because there’s a rhythm to follow and a good song will even have me speed these lazy legs up. As much as running to music does motivate me , bursts of 4 mins a song just make my brain calculate how many more of these bloody songs before I can sit down?

So one day I tried a podcast and I found them so good for drawing you in and paying attention and listening (there’s no real need for me to actively listen to songs I’ve heard a thousand times ) I honestly can momentarily forget the legs are moving so enthralled into the podcast I am.

Safety advice : obviously be enthralled but aware ….roads , tree branches , dogs , other people etc are all hazardous .

I thought I could share my current faves in case you guys are looking for something to listen to whilst exercising . Or in the bath/on the train you don’t even have to exercise !! Only I do because I wrote a daft list.

Bloody marathon.

Anyway here they are :

Unfiltered with James O’Brien

A great episode that I loved was with Caitlin Moran. I love listening to anything she has to say anyway but this was a really good interview. The list of episodes though is a real who’s who of interesting people …if that’s your thing.

The Guilty Feminist

A great listen for the flawed feminists among us . Each episode beginning with I’m a feminist but…..

There are 179 episodes of this podcast at the moment so you can just have a flick through and find which ones stand out to you. A hell of lot of funny women in one place . If you’re anything like me you’ll start with the intention of just listening to one and lose yourself in this podcast.

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day

This is a new one I’ve just discovered. I came across it on Twitter when I saw my ultimate fantasy bff Marian Keyes was on an episode , and what an episode . It was a really touching , raw interview and I immediately got looking for who else had been on . The Lily Allen episode was another heart wrenching listen.

Mad World with Bryony Gordon

A refreshingly honest podcast where celebrities discuss their struggles and wins with mental illness . Prince Harry was the very first guest and I was really surprised with how open he was . Will Young talking about his ptsd was of interest to me and Scarlett Curtis discussing chronic illness and depression was inspirational.

Happy Place with Fearne Cotton

This is a recently discovered one for me . A lockdown discovery! I find that Fearne has the most soothing voice anyway ,I could listen to her talk for hours. This podcast is really great though not just because of that. I caught the Russell Brand lockdown episode and enjoyed so much I started going through the whole back catalogue in some kind of binge . I highly recommend the Daisy May Cooper episode.

Shagged Married Annoyed with Rosie and Chris Ramsey

I have saved the best for last here. My goodness if you are having a bad day and are in need of a giggle this is the one for you. Although on the exercise front I have had to stop running to laugh or guffawed in the gym like a maniac more than once. It reminds me of listening to my sis and her other half bickering and laughing ! This one though , not for anyone offended by crudity..stay away if that’s you . If it isn’t then you , my gorgeous friends , are welcome.

So there we are a genius trick to take your mind off the fact you are so fed up of exercise ….and what’s the point anyway and who’s stupid idea was a marathon anyway !!

* I listen on Spotify but sure they’re all available on the Apple thing too

Obviously this isn’t an ad , what would anyone want with me ? I’m just sharing the love !!

If I’m missing out on anymore amazing podcasts do let me know ….I’ve a lot of marathon hours to fill…..

You can find me on Facebook Twitter and Insta

Shank You Very Much

Sunshine is magic!!


Really it is!

In fact sunshine is like my very own fairy godmother. Instead of changing pumpkins into coaches though it takes some of the dodgier, dull aspects of my personality and shines them up making me a little brighter than I once was.

I don’t think I’m alone in this either. Everyone is more smiley in the sun. Can I share with you though how sunshine magically transforms me into a totally new woman??

When it’s sunny…

I believe anything is possible
I’m pretty optimistic at the best of times. I can silver line the hell out of most situations – annoyingly so. Add sunshine though and DING!! (insert own fairy godmother magic wand sound here!) My dreams are bigger and they feel do able. In the sun over the weekend I pulled some of my ‘book ideas’ sat abandoned in notebooks together. I was feeling like why can’t I write a book? Rather than who would want to read my nonsense as I often do.

I become a more inventive parent
We’re quite set in our ways here. We eat the same dinners on a fortnightly loop, we tend to visit the same places on days out, we watch the same TV shows.. but – DING (you remember.. the magic wand?) and before you know it I’m scouring the Internet for summer dinner recipes and picnic ideas. I made my own flat breads and lamb kebabs today! A brand new dinner. Go me! I find new places to visits and events we might like to go to. I think summer mum me is better and certainly way more happy giddy than winter mum me!!

I become exercise girl
You know how I am. I’ll sit on my arse eating chips whilst whinging about putting on weight yet do absolutely nothing about it. I sit and think about exercise but never quite get around to doing anything other than lamenting not appreciating my size 8 days… but DING !!!
Sun’s out – running gear is out. I actually like running you know when I’m doing it. It’s just the thought that puts me off. I’m very much a fair weather exerciser, I’ve ran twice the past week and am getting back into my summer routine of walking everywhere instead of the train or bus! I mean, I still expect to lose half a stone every time I break into a sweat but even sunshine has it’s limitations I guess!

I contemplate boyfriend stuff!!
This is the weirdest one.
You know how I’m steadfastly single, I enjoy my own company have no interest in the love stuff?? Well DING!!
This cold hearted ice maiden here starts to get a bit slushy. I start to quite fancy one of those boyfriend shaped people. I start to think of would it be actually quite nice to do things in the sun with another human (not those kind of things you filthy lot!)
Don’t worry too much, I’ve not totally lost the plot. There are still very strict parameters in place for the boyfriend (happy to just see me once a month, PROMISES to not start with love stuff and isn’t needy-yes yes, still work to do I know)
The boyfriend would not be for life but just for summer. Beer gardens and snogging. Strict September expiry date. He’d be easy to find I know it! Lucky, lucky boy!!

So yes sunshine is magic.
Crack open the pimms, get your sundress on, hell even paint your toenails if you’re feeling fancy and enjoy the magic of the sun.

Let’s face it, the grey rainy days are never far away!!