Swimathon – done!

My last post about running 16miles was accompanied by a rather miserable photo so thought it was about time to post something a bit cheerier! I’m still proud (and impressed with myself) for posting the photo and admitting how hard it was but more on that later.

Swimming has never been my thing for 2 reasons – I never really learned and I’ve always been too body conscious to ‘expose’ myself in a swim costume.  Somehow, I’m now living in Lycra and feel the most comfortable in it! Although not swimming but the bridge has been built and I’m over it.

So I signed up for the local Swimathon to make sure I kept my swimming up as I will be doing more triathlons this year.  I opted for the 2.5km, not quite courageous enough to do 5km but 1km didn’t feel like I was pushing myself enough.  2.5km did! I managed the distance a couple of times before the event so naturally my mind switched to getting a better time.  I did start to suffer stomach cramps the few swims before it though which had me worried a little.

On the day I felt good, and my partner and youngest came with me.  Had hoped my parents would too but they thought it was 50miles away in Glasgow and not the local pool.  There were 4 of us in the lane – 2 older woman, a young lad and myself. One of the women insisted on introducing herself and I could tell this was ‘her challenge to herself’.  I loved her the minute I met her.  We were all asked if we had someone with us to count our laps but my youngest is 2 so he’s not going to sit in one place for an hour never mind 2 minutes.  I had my Garmin though and ignored the fact everyone else had an entourage of cheerleaders. 

We set of 10secs apart and I’d read there was to be no overtaking so when I caught up with the woman in front of me I expected her to wait at the end.  She didn’t.  So I thought maybe the other end.  Nope.  This went on for a few lengths until the young lad clearly had enough and went past both of us.  If he was then I was so I went past her also.  To my surprise though she grabbed my leg for half the length! I didn’t stop at the end thinking I could pull away from her but no, grabbed my leg again.  This time I did stop and let her past.  Then she slowed down!  This routine went on for good few hundred metres until I ended up kicking her in the chest – her fault not mine but oh my word I’ve never felt so bad in my life! I stopped and let her go a really good distance before continuing, I couldn’t do that again.

Other than that it was quite uneventful – the women who had introduced herself was the slowest out the 4 of us and had lots of breaks at the pool end.  Always had an encouraging word as we went past and when I said ‘keep going you’re doing good’ her reply was ‘oh I’ll finish my dear don’t you worry!’.  Fabulous determination. 

I don’t think I will do another swim challenge, it’s not really for me.  Helped keep my training on track but it’s certainly not a passion.  1 is enough and I’m happy with just 1 swim medal.


Did my body really just do that??

It’s nothing grotesque I promise you so please don’t skip past! Yesterday I ran the furthest I’ve ever ran – a whopping 16miles.  Not a marathon no, but further than a half.  And that my friend is something to celebrate (albeit quietly, but I am in awe of my body right now).

I went out with the intention of at least 10miles – it’s been a while since my last long run due to illness and family life.  My calves were really quite tight despite my other half massaging them the night before so I thought maybe about 10miles to play safe.  I planned a little of the route, mainly because if I don’t I would stop all the time and feel very uneasy.  That old panic/anxiety monster still lurks in the undergrowth.  Let me just give it a quick stomp! I wanted to go across the railway bridge and I wanted to sprint it so I tried taking it easy beforehand (which is a lie because I didn’t, still haven’t got my head around it being ok to run a little slower). 

Across the railway bridge and up to my brothers and back – he wasn’t in so no excuse to stop ha ha.  I was needing the bathroom by now so headed to the local sports centre, stupidly taking the long way round.  Hello, you’ve had 3 kids, when you need love you need now!  No accident though but there was a LOT of clenching (sorry, too much info?).  

I took my time, I wasn’t in a rush I was going for distance, so a good few minutes later I started off again.  Up the beautiful River Tay and back down again.  As always I was jumped on by a few dogs.  I don’t mind this, the owners are always very apologetic but they’re dogs, they do that.  I certainly wouldn’t shout and scream at a child for getting in my way so why would I shout at a dog?  Mostly dogs just try to race me, and yes, they always win.  The thing that does annoy me though are the ones on leads who’s owners are at one side of the path and the dogs on the other – effectively making a trip wire.  If I get caught out by one of them and fall im not so sure I will be quite as easy going!

Anyway, at this point I was aiming for half marathon distance.  I felt OK and I had a gel with me which I took at about 12 miles.  The only reason I took it was because I had it if I’m honest.  I wasn’t hungry and I wasn’t thirsty but I had read the day before its best to have something before you feel like that so I did.  I do think it helped and I will probably continue to take a gel on longer runs.

At this point I was feeling it at the top of the inside of my leg, and by feeling it I mean I really was!  I figured it was another 2 miles back to my parents where the kids were.  It hurt, I’m not going to lie, and I’m not too proud to admit it hurt.  So what did I do?  Took a selfie of my pained face and slowed the pace right down.  I could have phoned my infamous and ever supporting mother to come and pick me up but this wasn’t about taking the easy route.  Why the selfie? Well I had read an article about why people only post their run photos when they look good and how this gives the perception that it’s easy.  This run was not easy – so yeah, I took a photo.

3 miles later – not 2! – and I was back at my parents with an ice cold water and a biscuit.  16 miles.  My body had just carried me 16 miles.  And only a year after not being able to go lamppost to lamppost. Had it really just done that?!

Next weekend is the Swimathon – where my body will swim 2.5km.  Yet another thing I was incapable of only 6 months ago! 

Challenge accepted.


Runnerversary (it’s a real thing)

I’m celebrating my ‘Runnerversary’ just now.  The sheer fact I have been running for a year astounds no one more than me! I didn’t start because of the usual reasons (I wasn’t overweight, I didn’t fancy a challenge) – I started just to get me out the house.  It was never the intention to run more than 5k, enter any races or even talk to anyone about it.  But now, well, almost 20 ‘official’ events, 200 runs totalling 850 miles(!!!!!!!), an Instagram account that’s nothing but my training and events booked up until the end of the year – I think it’s safe to say it’s now just a way of life. 

I could never have guessed just how good it feels to know I could go out at any time and run a half marathon 


I couldn’t run between lamp posts a year ago!!

Yes my bodies changed – my weights dropped over a stone (my chest was the first to fall victim to this!), my stomach is finally toned after 3 kids and I have ‘baby abs’.   I’m still uncomfortable in a swim suit though – I look like a young boy thanks to no more lady lumps – but I pretty much live in Lycra, not something I ever thought would happen. 

What I like most though is how my mind has changed.  I’m happier now.  Something stresses me or worries me I go for a run and think it over.  Work gets on top of me I lace up at lunch time and head out.  I don’t have to go far and I don’t have to go fast, I just have to go for me.  

So in 2 months time when I’m running 26.2 miles and it gets tough (because it will, that’s bloody far let’s be honest), I will remind myself just how hard it was for me to do that 1 lap of the park at the start of this, how my mum had to walk round the opposite way just so I could still see my youngest, and I will kick my self up the arse, mutter ‘you can do this Ella’ over and over and I WILL get to that finish line.  

Because I can.